DELAWARE: GOP LAWMAKERS DEMAND EARLIER, WIDER REOPENING; CALL GOVERNOR CARNEY’S MOVES “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”

News 2020 - APR 03 - Delaware Governor John Carney answers questions regarding Delaware’s response to coronavirus disease
DELAWARE: GOP LAWMAKERS DEMAND EARLIER, WIDER REOPENING; CALL GOVERNOR CARNEY’S MOVES “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”
BY CHRIS BARRISH WHYY
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:

On Wednesday, Delaware officials reported 8,194 cases of the coronavirus, 310 related deaths and 220 current hospitalizations.
A chorus of downstate Republican legislators has taken aim at Democratic Gov. John Carney, demanding he reopen Delaware quicker and more broadly and asking U.S. Attorney General William Barr to review their claim that Carney’s shutdown orders have violated the constitution.
The complaints voiced in the two GOP letters reflect what has become growing disenchantment among some residents, business owners and politicians to Carney’s March 12 declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis. Thursday will mark 10 weeks that the emergency has been in effect.
“It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Your Phase One “reopening” of the Delaware economy is too little, and too late,’’ the letter from 15 state Senate and House members from Kent and Sussex counties wrote to Carney.
Among the moves the letter wants Carney to make:
  • Move up the first phase of reopening statewide to Friday, the start of Memorial Day weekend, instead of his target date, June 1.
  • Allow short-term rentals and stop blocking non-residents from coming to Delaware unless they quarantine for 14 days.
  • Let churches, child care centers, youth sports and other activities return to normal.
  • Audit hospitalizations and deaths in part because of “chatter in the medical community about deaths being classified as COVID-19 that perhaps should not be.”
“We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities,’’ the lawmakers’ letter to Carney said.
The letter to Attorney General Barr was written by Sens. Brian Pettyjohn of Georgetown and David Wilson of Milford and Rep. Ruth Briggs King of Georgetown.
They contend that Carney’s emergency declaration and subsequent steps such as closing businesses, forcing visitors into quarantine and limiting public gatherings were “taken without legislative or judicial consent and without due process for the citizenry.”
One example they cited is Carney’s March 22 stay-at-home order except for work he deemed essential and shopping for necessary items such as groceries or medicine.
“This order strips the important constitutional rights of the citizens of Delaware,” amounts to “an unconstitutional restriction on travel liberties and imposes criminal penalties for actions not approved by the General Assembly.”
The letter charges that Carney “has usurped the authority’’ of citizens and Delaware’s legislative and judicial branches of government’’ and requests Barr’s “immediate attention to this broad, unconstitutional overreaching.”
Carney wouldn’t agree to an interview with WHYY about the letters, but criticized the one sent to him at his press briefing Tuesday.
Carney recently allowed non-essential retail businesses such as clothing and sporting goods stores to reopen with curbside service, and hair salons with strict sanitary guidelines and limitations. He’s permitting a limited reopening of beaches and boardwalks starting Friday for the holiday. Churches, which had been limited to gatherings of no more than 10 people, can open at 30 percent of capacity.
“I’m very disappointed in that letter,” the governor said. “It just sounds political. This is not a time for politics. This is a time when Delawareans pull together — Democrats, Republicans and independents … We’re a state of neighbors who treat one another like neighbors and we’re going to through this as neighbors.”
Carney said the letter contained “inaccuracies’’ he did not specify and noted that several Republicans did not sign it, “which tells me something in and of itself.’”
Nine of the 24 House and Senate Republicans did not sign the letter.
Republicans are in the minority of both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly and don’t hold a single statewide elective office in a state where registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans.
The governor derided the “divisive tone’’ and said he has been speaking regularly with many of the GOP lawmakers whose signatures are on it “and they never led me to believe’’ they objected so strenuously to his moves.
This is a situation like we’ve never experienced in our history,’’ Carney said. “It’s uncharted territory for all of us. We’ve tried to make decisions using the data and the science, to inform those decisions incorporating points of view across the spectrum.”
Carney spokesman Jonathan Starkey added that the GOP lawmakers “seem to be recommending the governor’s own strategy to him, saying he should be opening businesses as we can safely do so. That’s what the governor is doing. They know Delaware is implementing a ‘rolling reopening.’”
On the letter to Barr, Starkey said the GOP trio “expressed constitutional concerns to the federal government about Delaware implementing a contact tracing program. It was the federal government — the White House and the CDC — that recommended all states set up contact tracing programs before they safely reopen their economies.”
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Republicans slam Carney, demand faster 

state reopening

SEE: https://townsquaredelaware.com/2020/05/19/republicans-slam-carney-demand-faster-state-reopening/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Fifteen Republicans in the General Assembly are urging Gov. Carney to speed up the state’s reopening
Republican members of the Delaware House and Senate joined in a scathing letter to Governor John Carney today, saying results of the state’s shutdown had been “disastrous” and calling for a more aggressive lifting of pandemic-related restrictions imposed on businesses, churches and citizens.
Fifteen representatives and senators told Carney they were frustrated with being shut out of decision making and criticized “mixed messages and confusion.”
 
“We have fought tirelessly behind the scenes to impact the decisions you have made, largely because we believed that we needed to all be on the same team in combatting this virus. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded and our suggestions have been adopted too late, if at all.”
 
Republicans signing the letter, including Senate minority leader Gerald Hocker and House minority leader Danny Short, came largely from Kent and Sussex Counties.  The group said Carney had “favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants” and his administration lacked individuals with business experience.
 
“Decisions over the future of thousands of Delaware small businesses [are] being made by a group of people who have little to no experience running a business, and to no one’s surprise, the results have been disastrous. The state needs to adopt a new decision framework – one that prioritizes opening those businesses that can be opened.”
 
The letter calls for specific actions, including beginning Phase One before Memorial Day weekend, lifting the short-term rental ban and the ban on out of state visitors, opening churches and allowing wider latitude for daycares, youth sports and camps.
“Our small businesses know how to operate safely. They know that the ultimate judge of their success will be public confidence. They just want a fair playing field in order to compete. It’s time to give them the chance to do so. It’s time to trust Delawareans to know what is best, and to act accordingly.”
 
The letter in its entirety follows below.
May 19, 2020
DELAWARE GENERAL ASSEMBLY STATE OF DELAWARE 411 LEGISLATIVE AVENUE DOVER, DELAWARE 19901
Governor John Carney Carvel State Office Building 820 N. French Street, 12th Floor Wilmington, DE 19801
Dear Governor Carney:
We write today with extreme concern over the impact of the decisions that have been made so far by your administration in an attempt to combat the coronavirus. We have watched as your administration favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants. We have seen businesses shut down and their owners threatened with criminal charges. And we have listened as mixed messages and confusion have caused panic and fear to spread far and wide.
We have fought tirelessly behind the scenes to impact the decisions you have made, largely because we believed that we needed to all be on the same team in combatting this virus. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded and our suggestions have been adopted too late, if at all.
It is time to say, “Enough is enough.”
Your Phase One “re-opening” of the Delaware economy is too little, and too late. Delawareans and the businesses they love have given so much during this time, in order to flatten the curve and to give our medical system time to prepare for the long haul. We have met that goal, and hospitalizations are declining. Meanwhile, we have decisions over the future of thousands of Delaware small businesses being made by a group of people who have little to no experience running a business, and to no one’s surprise, the results have been disastrous. The state needs to adopt a new decision framework – one that prioritizes opening those businesses that can be opened.
Our small businesses know how to operate safely. They know that the ultimate judge of their success will be public confidence. They just want a fair playing field in order to compete. It’s time to
give them the chance to do so. It’s time to trust Delawareans to know what is best, and to act accordingly.
Specifically:
Move the start date for Phase One to Friday, May 22. Memorial Day weekend is one of the largest weekends of the year for many businesses, especially those at the beach. To cut that flow of business off in favor of an arbitrary June 1 date, despite evidence that the virus is receding in Delaware is a major mistake that will have devastating consequences for Sussex County, especially.
Remove the restriction on short-term lodging, and the blockage of visitors from other areas.
Hotels, motels, campgrounds and rental housing add to the ability of people to properly distance themselves. With delivery and innovation, we can boost our economy and keep people safe. People want to spend money here. Nearby locations like Ocean City are safely doing so. We need to do the same.
Open the churches. Church leaders need to have the leeway to make decisions for their congregations. They know the heavy weight of the risks, and they will do the right thing.
Allow daycares, youth sports and children’s activities to return to normal. No one can go to work if they have young children at home. Children have been proven to be less susceptible to the virus, and there are questions about their likelihood to be spreaders, as well. Give people the choice in whether or not to send their kids to daycare or camp. Outdoor play is good for the body and mind, and there is strong evidence that outdoor transmission of the virus is very rare.
Audit hospitalizations and deaths. There are many doubts and concerns that have been raised anecdotally about the quality of the data that is being reported. While we do not question the intent of the hospitals, DPH and DHSS, there is a great deal of chatter in the medical community about deaths being classified as COVID-19 that perhaps should not be. If there is a discrepancy in the data, it is in everyone’s interest to find out.
In the end, we all want what is best for the people of Delaware. But the time has come to express our opinion on how to reach the best outcome. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities. This virus will be with us for some time. It is up to all of us to adjust to its existence. We believe in the people of the state of Delaware. We hope you will join us.
Sincerely,
Sen. Gerald Hocker (Senate Minority Leader)   Rep. Danny Short (House Minority Leader)
Rep. Tim Dukes (House Minority Whip)  Sen. Dave Lawson   Sen. Brian Pettyjohn
Sen. Bryant Richardson   Sen. Dave Wilson  Rep. Rich Collins  Rep. Ron Gray  Rep. Ruth Briggs King
Rep. Shannon Morris   Rep. Charles Postles   Rep. Jeff Spiegelman   Rep. Jesse Vanderwende
Rep. Lyndon Yearick
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Group threatens lawsuit if right to worship isn't restored in Delaware

BY AMY CHERRY
SEE: https://www.wdel.com/news/group-threatens-lawsuit-if-right-to-worship-isnt-restored-in-delaware/article_7586c404-955a-11ea-bc9f-dbb484683062.htmlrepublished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
They're calling themselves the "Committee to Save Christmas," and they're threatening legal action against the state and the governor if their right to practice religious freedom isn't restored soon. 
The group is wishing to remain anonymous for now, fearing retribution, but attorney Tom Neuberger, who represents them, said its comprised of about a dozen pastors, businessmen, and political figures.
They sent a six-page demand letter to Governor John Carney on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, calling Delaware's State of Emergency and various modifications--which include stay-at-home orders, as well as bans on gatherings of 10 persons or more--a violation of the First Amendment.
"When it was Easter, out of fear of imprisonment, all the churches shut down for that most Holy day of the year, and the committee believes that that should never happen again. With eight months remaining before the celebration of Christmas, it's time for Carney to allow religious worship back again inside churches, synagogues, and mosques, provided socially distancing and other generally applicable health-related precautions are responsibly practiced by the church."
The committee noted in the last two months Delaware has moved to reopen secular businesses; some like barbers and hair salons, which were initially deemed non-essential, have re-opened their doors under strict guidelines.
"The big-box shopping, landscaping, laundromats, law firms, grocery stores [are all allowed to be open], but you can't have soul-sustaining activities, and this is discriminatory under the First Amendment of our Constitution--our very first freedom."
Churches and places of worship don't directly appear on a list of state-sanctioned "essential businesses." But "religious organizations" were deemed essential.
"You can go out to buy liquor, but you can't go to church on Sunday," said Neuberger. "Such a distinction cannot stand because if beer is 'essential,' so is Easter, and so shall be Christmas."
Neuberger believes Carney made "honest" mistakes in the threat of the public health emergency.
"He had to act in hyper-pressurized environment; it's been two months now. He can step back and think on these serious issues, and remove the serious precedents to our freedoms by stopping church services if people want to engage in social distancing and other safe practices that people are using in other venues."
Other states have seen lawsuits challenging emergency orders that closed places of worship. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio has issued two affirmations of religious freedom along with two District Courts in Kentucky, according to Neuberger, to allow for worship inside a church building.
The demand letter cites the Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, whose pastor was allegedly threatened with jail time and a $2,500 fine for holding a 16-person church service on Palm Sunday, with social distancing guidelines in place. The church sued, and the U.S. Department of Justice has intervened to protect it from was called "illicit religious content discrimination." Matthew Schneider, the special U.S. Attorney reviewing state activities in this regard is quoted as saying:
"Unlawful discrimination against people who exercise their right to religion violates the First Amendment whether we are in a pandemic or not."
"Or, in the words of the U.S. Attorney General on April 27th, 'the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis,'" the demand letter cites.
If Carney doesn't act soon, Neuberger said they'll file a lawsuit. He added he'd also challenge the stay-at-home orders which ban a person's right to peacefully protest.  
"I'm saying that the criminalization of peaceful protests...has to be lifted," Neuberger said. "You're allowed to protest on the streets, in the parks, in front of Legislative Halls. There should not be a six-month jail sentence...hanging over your head if you've got the guts to go out and violate the law."
On May 1, as protesters gathered in both Wilmington and Dover, Governor Carney said at a bi-weekly coronavirus news conference he had concerns about the protests, but wanted to respect Delawareans' rights.
"Obviously, they have free speech rights and so you always want to be careful, particularly with respect to that, but they don't have the right to put other people at risk, which is what happens when they're gathering, kind of illegally," Carney said. "But I, just, as governor, don't want to go around looking for...fights. I just don't think it's productive. I want people to work together. I would rather that they gather to make the case with me in a kind of reasonable way, and I hear them. They have every right to do what they're doing. They do not have the right to do it in the way that they're doing it. That's counterproductive, I think, to pick fights. Obviously, we have to enforce some of the restrictions, and we've tried to do that respectfully, but seriously. And I think that's the most effective way to do it "
No one has been arrested for protesting stay-at-home orders in Delaware.
When reached for comment Wednesday, a spokesman for the governor said they've "presumably" received the letter and are reviewing it.
Read the group's full letter:  
______________________________________________________
Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state. (Courtesy of Lighthouse Baptist Church)

Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state. (Courtesy of Lighthouse Baptist Church)

Del. leaders face divided backlash over reopening houses of worship

BY ZOE READ
SEE: https://whyy.org/articles/del-leaders-face-divided-backlash-over-reopening-houses-of-worship/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Delaware officials are facing a divided backlash from religious leaders, following an executive order allowing houses of worship to reopen, as long as they abide by several restrictions.
Some religious leaders say they should have the freedom to worship as they choose, while others say it’s too soon to open houses of worship under any conditions.
Gov. John Carney on Monday put out new guidance to worship leaders and congregants, encouraging them to continue virtual religious services and discouraging them from meeting in person.
Nonetheless, the governor allowed houses of worship to reopen as of Wednesday, so long as attendance is capped at 30% of fire occupancy requirements.
The guidance urges vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay home. Residents who do attend religious services must wear a face covering and maintain a six-foot distance from other congregants. Other requirements include disinfecting surfaces and offering hand sanitizer to congregants.
The decision to reopen followed complaints from some members of the religious community that their freedom of religion was being infringed upon, and a federal lawsuit asserting the closure of houses of worship discriminates against communities of color and low-income congregants.
Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state.
“A church, just by the very nature in scripture, requires face to face proximity through fellowship and interacting with each other, loving each other, worshiping together,” he said. “Livestream, we’ve been doing very successfully. But it’s not a proper substitute for what a church really is — that requires proximity.”
However, some religious leaders argue reopening houses of worship now flouts the advice of public health experts, and fear it could jeopardize public safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends states should not reopen until they see a downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period. Delaware, which has had more than 8,000 positive cases, has not yet reported a downward trend.
According to the CDC, when two symptomatic congregants attended gatherings in a small Arkansas church in early March, 35 of the 92 participants later tested positive for COVID-19, which led to three deaths. Through contact tracing, an additional 26 confirmed cases were identified in the community.
“It’s too fast and too soon,” said Rev. Jason Churchill of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington.
“These are folks who haven’t seen each other in over two months. They’re going to hug, they’re going to touch and shake hands, and it’s going to be very hard to prevent that without a solid plan put into place, and a couple days is not going to cut it,” he added. “I really worry that what’s going to happen is that this could potentially set us back two incubation cycles.”

Rev. Jason Churchill of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Churh interacts online with Bible school students. (Courtesy of Jason Churchill)

Rev. Christopher Bullock of Canaan Baptist Church of Delaware filed a civil action against the governor on May 19 calling for the reopening of houses of worship in the state. The complaint argues closures discriminate against Black churches and low-income worshippers, many of whom don’t have access to the internet to attend virtual services.
“The wholesale shutdown of religious worship has a severe racially discriminatory purpose and effect on the African-American faith community, which is made up of many small churches and their parishioners, without the wealth of white churches and their parishioners, who can so easily switch to services on-line,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also argues the shutdown order has caused the “deprivation of [Bullock’s] rights to the free exercise of religion, freedom of religious speech, religious assembly and religious association, as well as to be free of government establishment of religion under the First Amendment and to the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Bullock did not respond to requests for an interview.
Churchill said he agrees access to virtual services is limited for some worshippers, but argues it’s more important to protect his congregation. He notes that members of his congregation who don’t have internet access can call into his services.
“From all the data I’ve been looking at, lower income folks are affected more negatively by the virus right now. The access to health care, the access to testing, has been ravaging the lower socioeconomic communities and it’s compounded on top of that for people of color,” said Churchill, who plans to continue virtual services through the end of June and have medical professionals review his reopening plan.
“I took a vow in my ordination,” he said. “One of the vows we take is to do no harm, to not give false sense of security and no false hope, and I take that seriously. We’re responsible by the very nature of what we do to be sure we take all steps necessary to keep our congregation safe.”
Rabbi Michael Beals of Congregation Beth Shalom is the chair of the Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships. He said religious leaders in the multi-denominational coalition are unanimously opposed to reopening. Beals’ services also will remain virtual for the time being.
“In Judaism, we have the idea of, ‘If you save one life, you save the entire universe.’ None of us would want to have one death on our hands because we prematurely opened up,” he said. “We were promised that science would lead — and this is politics leading. This is about people in the state who are louder than us who are pressuring [Carney] or threatening to sue him under the First Amendment — freedom of religion, freedom of gathering. It’s true, but at what cost?”
Beals said the governor has listened to the coalition’s anxieties about reopening, and believes the guidance strikes a balance between the polarizing opinions of different religious leaders.

Rabbi Michael Beals livestreams daily services to the empty Congregation Beth Shalom sanctuary in Wilmington. (Courtesy of Rabbi Michael Beals)

However, he said he’s concerned that if one religious leader decides not to reopen, they might be pressured by the public to do otherwise. Beals also worries restrictions, such as the 30% occupancy rate and the six-foot separation, might be difficult to enforce.
“The real issue is what type of people tend to go to churches and synagogues? It’s older people who tend to go to brick-and-mortar houses of worship. And who’s the most vulnerable for getting this disease? Older people,” he said. “So you’re taking the most vulnerable people in the population and opening up the thing they’re most likely to go to.”
Witmer said even though his church is reopening on Sunday, it will continue to offer livestreams, so those who don’t feel comfortable attending can watch from home.
He said his church will abide by the restrictions, despite the fact he sees some of them as an overreach. Witmer said the occupancy requirement will hurt small churches, and points to certain guidelines, such as the prohibition of hand-held microphones, as taking things too far.
“We want to respect and honor our government, but there is a great desire in the religious community for individual personal liberty to make these decisions on our own…,” he said. “There’s a fine line between being cautious and being full of fear of everything.”




“DECLARATION OF ESSENTIALITY”: 1,200 CALIFORNIA PASTORS DEFY GOVERNOR NEWSOM; PLAN TO REOPEN MAY 31

Demonstrators hold signs demanding their church to reopen during a rally against stay-home orders in San Diego on May 1, 2020. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP / Getty Images)
“DECLARATION OF ESSENTIALITY”:
1,200 CALIFORNIA PASTORS DEFY GOVERNOR NEWSOM; PLAN TO REOPEN MAY 31 
BY BOB ADELMANN
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:
The day after the Department of Justice warned California Governor Gavin Newsom about discriminating against churches in both his shutdown and his reopen orders, a lawyer announced that more than 1,200 pastors have said they will open in-person services in defiance of those orders on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.
The attorney who drafted the “Declaration of Essentiality” sent a letter to the governor, declaring that the pastors were not asking permission: “This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission.”
The Declaration began with this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
After briefly reviewing the case against Newsom’s onerous and unconstitutional edicts, it ended with this: “NOW THEREFORE, WE DECLARE THAT WE WILL RESUME IN-PERSON RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, MAY 31, 2020, OR SOONER.”
The letter to the governor ran 15 pages, outlining the legal case against Newsom’s infringements of precious rights guaranteed in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. In addition, it quoted large portions of the Declaration of Independence.
It included this from founders Madison and Jefferson:
James Madison once said, “All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.” And Thomas Jefferson said, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Our founding fathers did not intend to allow a single individual to establish law that permits the infringement upon individual liberties recognized in the Constitution.
This is especially true where one individual has issued executive orders to suspend the religious liberty of individuals to assemble together in worship of God.
The letter said, “We agree that the government has a legitimate interest in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but that interest cannot go unchecked.”
Therefore, “In order to restore the proper balance between public safety and individual liberties, the clergy we represent have declared their intent to begin holding in-person church services beginning on Sunday, May 31, 2020. All services will be held in compliance with CDC and state guidelines for social distancing as is required of “essential businesses.”
Robert Tyler, the attorney who drafted both the Declaration and the letter, said, “These pastors are willing to stand against the state and face fines or penalties in order to fulfill their calling and essential needs of those around them.”
May 31, the Day of Pentecost, is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-31).
It is often referred to as the birth of the Christian religion. In California this year, it will celebrate the birth of freedom from onerous and unconstitutional restrictions issued by the state. More than 3,000 churches are expected to join that celebration.
Related article:

TREASURY SANCTIONS IRAN’S INTERIOR MINISTER & SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

TREASURY SANCTIONS IRAN’S INTERIOR MINISTER & SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
purposes:
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Iran’s Interior Minister for his role in serious human rights abuses against Iranians, as well as seven senior officials of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and a provincial commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Today’s action also targets the Bonyad Taavon NAJA, which is translated as LEF Cooperative Foundation, along with its director and members of the board of trustees. The LEF Cooperative Foundation is an economic collaborative controlled by the LEF and is active in Iran’s energy, construction, services, technology, and banking industries.
“The Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people.”
The LEF has played a key role in government crackdowns on protesters, and operates detention centers associated with physical and psychological abuses. The LEF has begun to crack down on Afghan migrants in Iran, sending them to deportation centers where the IRGC has reportedly coerced many into fighting for Iranian militias in Syria. In May 2020, the LEF was implicated in the torture and drowning of Afghan nationals attempting to cross into Iran.
This action is taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553 of September 28, 2010, which imposes sanctions on certain persons with respect to serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran. On June 9, 2011, Treasury sanctioned the LEF and IRGC pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses that have occurred since the disputed June 2009 presidential election and ensuing protests. The LEF has also been designated under separate authorities for its support to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad in the civil conflict in Syria, which has resulted in the displacement and suffering of millions. The IRGC has also been designated under counterterrorism and counter proliferation authorities. Both organizations continue to be implicated in human rights abuses, including those involving the killing of Iranian protestors, most recently in November 2019 following widespread protests in Iran over an increase in gasoline prices. In November 2018, OFAC designated Ghavamin Bank for providing banking services and facilitating routine financial transactions for the LEF.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
As the Iranian regime’s Interior Minister and chair of Iran’s National Domestic Security Council (NDSC), Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli (Rahmani Fazli) has responsibilities for overseeing internal security issues, including Iran’s LEF. Rahmani Fazli holds the title of “Deputy or Replacement Commander-in Chief of Police Forces”, as delegated to him by the Supreme Leader. Rahmani Fazli has issued orders authorizing the LEF to use lethal force in response to the November 2019 protests, resulting in violence against peaceful protestors and bystanders. His orders led to the killing of many protestors, including at least 23 minors.
In addition, the Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for issuing permits for peaceful gatherings. Under Rahmani Fazli’s tenure, which began in 2013, the LEF has been responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against Iranians on multiple occasions, including killing hundreds of Iranians. As the Interior Minister, Rahmani Fazli issued several public warnings to protestors discouraging them from gathering and emphasizing that the LEF would crack down. Further, under Fazli’s tenure, the Ministry has routinely denied permits, or granted permits and then denied security, for the gatherings. These gatherings have then been attacked by plainclothes individuals believed to be part of the intelligence and security apparatus. Additionally, Rahmani Fazli as chair of the NDSC was involved in the Iranian regime’s decision to impose the days-long internet blackout of the November 2019 protests.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being an official of the Government of Iran or a person acting on behalf of the Government of Iran who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or the family members of the foregoing, on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli is also being identified pursuant to E.O. 13599 as an official of the Government of Iran.
The Department of State is also publicly designating Rahmani Fazli under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights. Rahmani Fazli and his immediate family members are barred from entering the United States.
Hossein Ashtari Fard and Ayoub Soleimani
OFAC is also designating Hossein Ashtari Fard (Ashtari), the Commander of the LEF since March 2015 and Ayoub Soleimani (Soleimani) is the Deputy Commander of the LEF, a position he was appointed to in 2018 by Ashtari with the approval of Iran’s Supreme Leader, pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
During Ashtari’s tenure as commander, the LEF has been implicated in multiple cases of violence, including the reported killing of hundreds of Iranian protesters and several dozen children following nationwide protests against an increase in gasoline prices in November 2019. In addition, Ashtari also directs the LEF cyber police unit, an organization that monitors expressions of dissatisfaction with the Iranian regime, and has threatened to punish Iranians who use social media to organize protests.
Soleimani took an active role in the suppression of anti-hijab protests in July 2019, calling an improperly worn hijab an obvious crime. He issued statements that the security forces would forcefully confront women who were not abiding by the Iranian dress code.
Additionally, Ayoub Soleimani was appointed in April 2020 as the head of the Planning Directorate of the Armed Forces General Staff, the most senior military body in Iran, which was designated by OFAC in November 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran.
Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidreza Ashraq, and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad
Treasury is also taking action against a number of the LEF’s most senior officials: Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, the Chief of the Defense and Intelligence Organization of the LEF; Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, the Deputy of Planning and Budget for the LEF; Hamidraza Ashraq, the Deputy of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the LEF; and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad, the Deputy Coordinator of the LEF. Noorinajad has publically praised the LEF for its role in suppressing the November 2019 protests, referring to the protestors as rebels, villains, and opportunists.
Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidraza Ashraq and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi
Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi (Shahvarpour) is an IRGC Brigadier General and the Commander of the IRGC’s Vali Asr Base in Khuzestan province, and he served in the position during the IRGC’s violent suppression of protestors in November 2019. In this province and the city of Mahshahr alone, the IRGC killed at least 100 protestors in a three-day period. Shahvarpour was designated in January 2020 by the State Department under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2020, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights against protestors during the November 2019 protests. Shahvarpour and his immediate family members are barred from entering the United States.
Today, Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC.
The LEF Cooperative Foundation and Habil Darvish
The LEF Cooperative Foundation is an economic collaborative controlled by the LEF that is active in Iran’s energy, construction, services, technology, and banking industries. It reportedly sold oil worth $180 million, profits of which were not repatriated to the government. The majority of the aforementioned LEF senior officials, including Ayoub Soleimani, Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidraza Ashraq and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad, are, or have been, members of the board of the LEF Cooperative Foundation.
The LEF Cooperative Foundation is being designated today pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
Habil Darvish is the Managing Director of the LEF Cooperative Foundation and Deputy of Engineering of the LEF. Habil Darvish is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, LEF Cooperative Foundation.
Sanctions Implications
All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, non-U.S. persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.
For identifying information on the individuals and entity designated today, click here.

DELAWARE: GOP LAWMAKERS DEMAND EARLIER, WIDER REOPENING; CALL GOVERNOR CARNEY’S MOVES “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”

News 2020 - APR 03 - Delaware Governor John Carney answers questions regarding Delaware’s response to coronavirus disease
DELAWARE: GOP LAWMAKERS DEMAND EARLIER, WIDER REOPENING; CALL GOVERNOR CARNEY’S MOVES “UNCONSTITUTIONAL”
BY CHRIS BARRISH WHYY
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
purposes:

 

On Wednesday, Delaware officials reported 8,194 cases of the coronavirus, 310 related deaths and 220 current hospitalizations.
A chorus of downstate Republican legislators has taken aim at Democratic Gov. John Carney, demanding he reopen Delaware quicker and more broadly and asking U.S. Attorney General William Barr to review their claim that Carney’s shutdown orders have violated the constitution.
The complaints voiced in the two GOP letters reflect what has become growing disenchantment among some residents, business owners and politicians to Carney’s March 12 declaration of a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis. Thursday will mark 10 weeks that the emergency has been in effect.
“It is time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ Your Phase One “reopening” of the Delaware economy is too little, and too late,’’ the letter from 15 state Senate and House members from Kent and Sussex counties wrote to Carney.
Among the moves the letter wants Carney to make:
  • Move up the first phase of reopening statewide to Friday, the start of Memorial Day weekend, instead of his target date, June 1.
  • Allow short-term rentals and stop blocking non-residents from coming to Delaware unless they quarantine for 14 days.
  • Let churches, child care centers, youth sports and other activities return to normal.
  • Audit hospitalizations and deaths in part because of “chatter in the medical community about deaths being classified as COVID-19 that perhaps should not be.”
“We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities,’’ the lawmakers’ letter to Carney said.
The letter to Attorney General Barr was written by Sens. Brian Pettyjohn of Georgetown and David Wilson of Milford and Rep. Ruth Briggs King of Georgetown.
They contend that Carney’s emergency declaration and subsequent steps such as closing businesses, forcing visitors into quarantine and limiting public gatherings were “taken without legislative or judicial consent and without due process for the citizenry.”
One example they cited is Carney’s March 22 stay-at-home order except for work he deemed essential and shopping for necessary items such as groceries or medicine.
“This order strips the important constitutional rights of the citizens of Delaware,” amounts to “an unconstitutional restriction on travel liberties and imposes criminal penalties for actions not approved by the General Assembly.”
The letter charges that Carney “has usurped the authority’’ of citizens and Delaware’s legislative and judicial branches of government’’ and requests Barr’s “immediate attention to this broad, unconstitutional overreaching.”
Carney wouldn’t agree to an interview with WHYY about the letters, but criticized the one sent to him at his press briefing Tuesday.
Carney recently allowed non-essential retail businesses such as clothing and sporting goods stores to reopen with curbside service, and hair salons with strict sanitary guidelines and limitations. He’s permitting a limited reopening of beaches and boardwalks starting Friday for the holiday. Churches, which had been limited to gatherings of no more than 10 people, can open at 30 percent of capacity.
“I’m very disappointed in that letter,” the governor said. “It just sounds political. This is not a time for politics. This is a time when Delawareans pull together — Democrats, Republicans and independents … We’re a state of neighbors who treat one another like neighbors and we’re going to through this as neighbors.”
Carney said the letter contained “inaccuracies’’ he did not specify and noted that several Republicans did not sign it, “which tells me something in and of itself.’”
Nine of the 24 House and Senate Republicans did not sign the letter.
Republicans are in the minority of both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly and don’t hold a single statewide elective office in a state where registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans.
The governor derided the “divisive tone’’ and said he has been speaking regularly with many of the GOP lawmakers whose signatures are on it “and they never led me to believe’’ they objected so strenuously to his moves.
This is a situation like we’ve never experienced in our history,’’ Carney said. “It’s uncharted territory for all of us. We’ve tried to make decisions using the data and the science, to inform those decisions incorporating points of view across the spectrum.”
Carney spokesman Jonathan Starkey added that the GOP lawmakers “seem to be recommending the governor’s own strategy to him, saying he should be opening businesses as we can safely do so. That’s what the governor is doing. They know Delaware is implementing a ‘rolling reopening.’”
On the letter to Barr, Starkey said the GOP trio “expressed constitutional concerns to the federal government about Delaware implementing a contact tracing program. It was the federal government — the White House and the CDC — that recommended all states set up contact tracing programs before they safely reopen their economies.”
__________________________________________________________________

Republicans slam Carney, demand faster

state reopening

SEE: https://townsquaredelaware.com/2020/05/19/republicans-slam-carney-demand-faster-state-reopening/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Fifteen Republicans in the General Assembly are urging Gov. Carney to speed up the state’s reopening
Republican members of the Delaware House and Senate joined in a scathing letter to Governor John Carney today, saying results of the state’s shutdown had been “disastrous” and calling for a more aggressive lifting of pandemic-related restrictions imposed on businesses, churches and citizens.
Fifteen representatives and senators told Carney they were frustrated with being shut out of decision making and criticized “mixed messages and confusion.”
“We have fought tirelessly behind the scenes to impact the decisions you have made, largely because we believed that we needed to all be on the same team in combatting this virus. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded and our suggestions have been adopted too late, if at all.”
Republicans signing the letter, including Senate minority leader Gerald Hocker and House minority leader Danny Short, came largely from Kent and Sussex Counties.  The group said Carney had “favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants” and his administration lacked individuals with business experience.
“Decisions over the future of thousands of Delaware small businesses [are] being made by a group of people who have little to no experience running a business, and to no one’s surprise, the results have been disastrous. The state needs to adopt a new decision framework – one that prioritizes opening those businesses that can be opened.”
The letter calls for specific actions, including beginning Phase One before Memorial Day weekend, lifting the short-term rental ban and the ban on out of state visitors, opening churches and allowing wider latitude for daycares, youth sports and camps.
“Our small businesses know how to operate safely. They know that the ultimate judge of their success will be public confidence. They just want a fair playing field in order to compete. It’s time to give them the chance to do so. It’s time to trust Delawareans to know what is best, and to act accordingly.”
The letter in its entirety follows below.
May 19, 2020
DELAWARE GENERAL ASSEMBLY STATE OF DELAWARE 411 LEGISLATIVE AVENUE DOVER, DELAWARE 19901
Governor John Carney Carvel State Office Building 820 N. French Street, 12th Floor Wilmington, DE 19801
Dear Governor Carney:
We write today with extreme concern over the impact of the decisions that have been made so far by your administration in an attempt to combat the coronavirus. We have watched as your administration favored large and powerful business interests over our local merchants. We have seen businesses shut down and their owners threatened with criminal charges. And we have listened as mixed messages and confusion have caused panic and fear to spread far and wide.
We have fought tirelessly behind the scenes to impact the decisions you have made, largely because we believed that we needed to all be on the same team in combatting this virus. Unfortunately, our concerns have not been heeded and our suggestions have been adopted too late, if at all.
It is time to say, “Enough is enough.”
Your Phase One “re-opening” of the Delaware economy is too little, and too late. Delawareans and the businesses they love have given so much during this time, in order to flatten the curve and to give our medical system time to prepare for the long haul. We have met that goal, and hospitalizations are declining. Meanwhile, we have decisions over the future of thousands of Delaware small businesses being made by a group of people who have little to no experience running a business, and to no one’s surprise, the results have been disastrous. The state needs to adopt a new decision framework – one that prioritizes opening those businesses that can be opened.
Our small businesses know how to operate safely. They know that the ultimate judge of their success will be public confidence. They just want a fair playing field in order to compete. It’s time to
give them the chance to do so. It’s time to trust Delawareans to know what is best, and to act accordingly.
Specifically:
Move the start date for Phase One to Friday, May 22. Memorial Day weekend is one of the largest weekends of the year for many businesses, especially those at the beach. To cut that flow of business off in favor of an arbitrary June 1 date, despite evidence that the virus is receding in Delaware is a major mistake that will have devastating consequences for Sussex County, especially.
Remove the restriction on short-term lodging, and the blockage of visitors from other areas.
Hotels, motels, campgrounds and rental housing add to the ability of people to properly distance themselves. With delivery and innovation, we can boost our economy and keep people safe. People want to spend money here. Nearby locations like Ocean City are safely doing so. We need to do the same.
Open the churches. Church leaders need to have the leeway to make decisions for their congregations. They know the heavy weight of the risks, and they will do the right thing.
Allow daycares, youth sports and children’s activities to return to normal. No one can go to work if they have young children at home. Children have been proven to be less susceptible to the virus, and there are questions about their likelihood to be spreaders, as well. Give people the choice in whether or not to send their kids to daycare or camp. Outdoor play is good for the body and mind, and there is strong evidence that outdoor transmission of the virus is very rare.
Audit hospitalizations and deaths. There are many doubts and concerns that have been raised anecdotally about the quality of the data that is being reported. While we do not question the intent of the hospitals, DPH and DHSS, there is a great deal of chatter in the medical community about deaths being classified as COVID-19 that perhaps should not be. If there is a discrepancy in the data, it is in everyone’s interest to find out.
In the end, we all want what is best for the people of Delaware. But the time has come to express our opinion on how to reach the best outcome. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to give people and business owners back their freedom and let them assume responsibility for themselves and their communities. This virus will be with us for some time. It is up to all of us to adjust to its existence. We believe in the people of the state of Delaware. We hope you will join us.
Sincerely,
Sen. Gerald Hocker (Senate Minority Leader)   Rep. Danny Short (House Minority Leader)
Rep. Tim Dukes (House Minority Whip)  Sen. Dave Lawson   Sen. Brian Pettyjohn
Sen. Bryant Richardson   Sen. Dave Wilson  Rep. Rich Collins  Rep. Ron Gray  Rep. Ruth Briggs King
Rep. Shannon Morris   Rep. Charles Postles   Rep. Jeff Spiegelman   Rep. Jesse Vanderwende
Rep. Lyndon Yearick
_______________________________________________________________

Group threatens lawsuit if right to worship isn’t restored in Delaware

BY AMY CHERRY
SEE: https://www.wdel.com/news/group-threatens-lawsuit-if-right-to-worship-isnt-restored-in-delaware/article_7586c404-955a-11ea-bc9f-dbb484683062.htmlrepublished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
They’re calling themselves the “Committee to Save Christmas,” and they’re threatening legal action against the state and the governor if their right to practice religious freedom isn’t restored soon.
The group is wishing to remain anonymous for now, fearing retribution, but attorney Tom Neuberger, who represents them, said its comprised of about a dozen pastors, businessmen, and political figures.
They sent a six-page demand letter to Governor John Carney on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, calling Delaware’s State of Emergency and various modifications–which include stay-at-home orders, as well as bans on gatherings of 10 persons or more–a violation of the First Amendment.
“When it was Easter, out of fear of imprisonment, all the churches shut down for that most Holy day of the year, and the committee believes that that should never happen again. With eight months remaining before the celebration of Christmas, it’s time for Carney to allow religious worship back again inside churches, synagogues, and mosques, provided socially distancing and other generally applicable health-related precautions are responsibly practiced by the church.”
The committee noted in the last two months Delaware has moved to reopen secular businesses; some like barbers and hair salons, which were initially deemed non-essential, have re-opened their doors under strict guidelines.
“The big-box shopping, landscaping, laundromats, law firms, grocery stores [are all allowed to be open], but you can’t have soul-sustaining activities, and this is discriminatory under the First Amendment of our Constitution–our very first freedom.”
Churches and places of worship don’t directly appear on a list of state-sanctioned “essential businesses.” But “religious organizations” were deemed essential.
“You can go out to buy liquor, but you can’t go to church on Sunday,” said Neuberger. “Such a distinction cannot stand because if beer is ‘essential,’ so is Easter, and so shall be Christmas.”
Neuberger believes Carney made “honest” mistakes in the threat of the public health emergency.
“He had to act in hyper-pressurized environment; it’s been two months now. He can step back and think on these serious issues, and remove the serious precedents to our freedoms by stopping church services if people want to engage in social distancing and other safe practices that people are using in other venues.”
Other states have seen lawsuits challenging emergency orders that closed places of worship. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio has issued two affirmations of religious freedom along with two District Courts in Kentucky, according to Neuberger, to allow for worship inside a church building.
The demand letter cites the Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, whose pastor was allegedly threatened with jail time and a $2,500 fine for holding a 16-person church service on Palm Sunday, with social distancing guidelines in place. The church sued, and the U.S. Department of Justice has intervened to protect it from was called “illicit religious content discrimination.” Matthew Schneider, the special U.S. Attorney reviewing state activities in this regard is quoted as saying:
“Unlawful discrimination against people who exercise their right to religion violates the First Amendment whether we are in a pandemic or not.”
“Or, in the words of the U.S. Attorney General on April 27th, ‘the Constitution is not suspended in times of crisis,'” the demand letter cites.
If Carney doesn’t act soon, Neuberger said they’ll file a lawsuit. He added he’d also challenge the stay-at-home orders which ban a person’s right to peacefully protest.
“I’m saying that the criminalization of peaceful protests…has to be lifted,” Neuberger said. “You’re allowed to protest on the streets, in the parks, in front of Legislative Halls. There should not be a six-month jail sentence…hanging over your head if you’ve got the guts to go out and violate the law.”
On May 1, as protesters gathered in both Wilmington and Dover, Governor Carney said at a bi-weekly coronavirus news conference he had concerns about the protests, but wanted to respect Delawareans’ rights.
“Obviously, they have free speech rights and so you always want to be careful, particularly with respect to that, but they don’t have the right to put other people at risk, which is what happens when they’re gathering, kind of illegally,” Carney said. “But I, just, as governor, don’t want to go around looking for…fights. I just don’t think it’s productive. I want people to work together. I would rather that they gather to make the case with me in a kind of reasonable way, and I hear them. They have every right to do what they’re doing. They do not have the right to do it in the way that they’re doing it. That’s counterproductive, I think, to pick fights. Obviously, we have to enforce some of the restrictions, and we’ve tried to do that respectfully, but seriously. And I think that’s the most effective way to do it “
No one has been arrested for protesting stay-at-home orders in Delaware.
When reached for comment Wednesday, a spokesman for the governor said they’ve “presumably” received the letter and are reviewing it.
Read the group’s full letter:  
______________________________________________________
Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state. (Courtesy of Lighthouse Baptist Church)

 

Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state. (Courtesy of Lighthouse Baptist Church)

Del. leaders face divided backlash over reopening houses of worship

BY ZOE READ
SEE: https://whyy.org/articles/del-leaders-face-divided-backlash-over-reopening-houses-of-worship/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Delaware officials are facing a divided backlash from religious leaders, following an executive order allowing houses of worship to reopen, as long as they abide by several restrictions.
Some religious leaders say they should have the freedom to worship as they choose, while others say it’s too soon to open houses of worship under any conditions.
Gov. John Carney on Monday put out new guidance to worship leaders and congregants, encouraging them to continue virtual religious services and discouraging them from meeting in person.
Nonetheless, the governor allowed houses of worship to reopen as of Wednesday, so long as attendance is capped at 30% of fire occupancy requirements.
The guidance urges vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay home. Residents who do attend religious services must wear a face covering and maintain a six-foot distance from other congregants. Other requirements include disinfecting surfaces and offering hand sanitizer to congregants.
The decision to reopen followed complaints from some members of the religious community that their freedom of religion was being infringed upon, and a federal lawsuit asserting the closure of houses of worship discriminates against communities of color and low-income congregants.
Pastor Tobe Witmer of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark was one of 174 Delaware pastors who signed a letter to Carney on May 16 urging him to reopen churches in the state.
“A church, just by the very nature in scripture, requires face to face proximity through fellowship and interacting with each other, loving each other, worshiping together,” he said. “Livestream, we’ve been doing very successfully. But it’s not a proper substitute for what a church really is — that requires proximity.”
However, some religious leaders argue reopening houses of worship now flouts the advice of public health experts, and fear it could jeopardize public safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends states should not reopen until they see a downward trajectory of documented COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period. Delaware, which has had more than 8,000 positive cases, has not yet reported a downward trend.
According to the CDC, when two symptomatic congregants attended gatherings in a small Arkansas church in early March, 35 of the 92 participants later tested positive for COVID-19, which led to three deaths. Through contact tracing, an additional 26 confirmed cases were identified in the community.
“It’s too fast and too soon,” said Rev. Jason Churchill of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington.
“These are folks who haven’t seen each other in over two months. They’re going to hug, they’re going to touch and shake hands, and it’s going to be very hard to prevent that without a solid plan put into place, and a couple days is not going to cut it,” he added. “I really worry that what’s going to happen is that this could potentially set us back two incubation cycles.”
Rev. Jason Churchill of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Churh interacts online with Bible school students. (Courtesy of Jason Churchill)
Rev. Christopher Bullock of Canaan Baptist Church of Delaware filed a civil action against the governor on May 19 calling for the reopening of houses of worship in the state. The complaint argues closures discriminate against Black churches and low-income worshippers, many of whom don’t have access to the internet to attend virtual services.
“The wholesale shutdown of religious worship has a severe racially discriminatory purpose and effect on the African-American faith community, which is made up of many small churches and their parishioners, without the wealth of white churches and their parishioners, who can so easily switch to services on-line,” the complaint reads.
The complaint also argues the shutdown order has caused the “deprivation of [Bullock’s] rights to the free exercise of religion, freedom of religious speech, religious assembly and religious association, as well as to be free of government establishment of religion under the First Amendment and to the equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Bullock did not respond to requests for an interview.
Churchill said he agrees access to virtual services is limited for some worshippers, but argues it’s more important to protect his congregation. He notes that members of his congregation who don’t have internet access can call into his services.
“From all the data I’ve been looking at, lower income folks are affected more negatively by the virus right now. The access to health care, the access to testing, has been ravaging the lower socioeconomic communities and it’s compounded on top of that for people of color,” said Churchill, who plans to continue virtual services through the end of June and have medical professionals review his reopening plan.
“I took a vow in my ordination,” he said. “One of the vows we take is to do no harm, to not give false sense of security and no false hope, and I take that seriously. We’re responsible by the very nature of what we do to be sure we take all steps necessary to keep our congregation safe.”
Rabbi Michael Beals of Congregation Beth Shalom is the chair of the Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships. He said religious leaders in the multi-denominational coalition are unanimously opposed to reopening. Beals’ services also will remain virtual for the time being.
“In Judaism, we have the idea of, ‘If you save one life, you save the entire universe.’ None of us would want to have one death on our hands because we prematurely opened up,” he said. “We were promised that science would lead — and this is politics leading. This is about people in the state who are louder than us who are pressuring [Carney] or threatening to sue him under the First Amendment — freedom of religion, freedom of gathering. It’s true, but at what cost?”
Beals said the governor has listened to the coalition’s anxieties about reopening, and believes the guidance strikes a balance between the polarizing opinions of different religious leaders.
Rabbi Michael Beals livestreams daily services to the empty Congregation Beth Shalom sanctuary in Wilmington. (Courtesy of Rabbi Michael Beals)
However, he said he’s concerned that if one religious leader decides not to reopen, they might be pressured by the public to do otherwise. Beals also worries restrictions, such as the 30% occupancy rate and the six-foot separation, might be difficult to enforce.
“The real issue is what type of people tend to go to churches and synagogues? It’s older people who tend to go to brick-and-mortar houses of worship. And who’s the most vulnerable for getting this disease? Older people,” he said. “So you’re taking the most vulnerable people in the population and opening up the thing they’re most likely to go to.”
Witmer said even though his church is reopening on Sunday, it will continue to offer livestreams, so those who don’t feel comfortable attending can watch from home.
He said his church will abide by the restrictions, despite the fact he sees some of them as an overreach. Witmer said the occupancy requirement will hurt small churches, and points to certain guidelines, such as the prohibition of hand-held microphones, as taking things too far.
“We want to respect and honor our government, but there is a great desire in the religious community for individual personal liberty to make these decisions on our own…,” he said. “There’s a fine line between being cautious and being full of fear of everything.”

GESTAPO POLICE STATE NEW JERSEY: BELLMAWR GYM CLOSED ON THURSDAY, OPENED AGAIN ON FRIDAY~DEFIES GOVERNOR MURPHY’S ILLEGAL DICTATES

VIDEOS:

NOTICES POSTED AT NIGHT; NO WARRANT

HUNDREDS CHEERED 



GESTAPO POLICE STATE NEW JERSEY: 

BELLMAWR GYM CLOSED ON THURSDAY, OPENED AGAIN ON FRIDAY 
BY BOB ADELMANN
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:

When paper towels were stuffed into toilets at the Atilis Gym on Wednesday, the owners were forced to close. It remained closed on Thursday. On Thursday night health officials attached a closure notice to the front door. On Friday the gym opened again.

A week ago the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, wrote a letter to Governor Phil Murphy telling him that they were going to open their gym in defiance of his edict. They also announced their plans to open publicly, and when Monday morning came, members entered while supporters outside the gym waved American flags and cheered.
Governor Murphy was asked about the gym’s defiance of his orders on Monday afternoon and he warned the owners and their patrons, “If you show up at that gym tomorrow [Tuesday the 19th], there will be a different reality.”
The gym opened on Tuesday, following strict safety measures implemented by the two owners, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti. There was no “different reality.”
The gym opened again on Wednesday, following the safe measures. There was no “different reality” until Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday afternoon the gym’s toilets were sabotaged. Someone had stuffed paper towels into the toilets, causing them to overflow. Trumbetti told the press: “Just so you know, we do not even have paper towels in our bathrooms.”
Mediation teams worked on clearing the obstructions on Thursday. The gym remained closed for the day while the owners suggested members work out in the parking lot.
Late Thursday night, after the gym was closed, officials from the state health department taped a four-page notice to the front door. The notice said, in part, that although the gym “is purporting to take its own measures to address COVID-19 tranmission,” New Jersey cannot “simply allow business owners to set their own divergent health measures, done without the approval of the state and it’s [sic] health officials.”
The order went on to say that indoor gyms pose a “particularly high risk setting” because the members exercise there which “can increase the amount of respiratory droplets or aerosols in a confined setting.”
Trumbetti said the health officials attached the order “overnight, like cowards” and vowed to reopen on Friday: “We’re opening up tomorrow [Friday] morning, no matter what."
Trumbetti asked rhetorically: “How is it possible that they can actually shut [us] down? If there is a problem based on the coronavirus, how can they shut us down but no other businesses in the same building [as our gym]?”
In explaining why they are defying Governor Murphy’s edict and the state’s order, Trumbetti said:
According to our beliefs, we have been allowing our members in because of the wording of Governor Murphy's executive order stating the gym had to remain closed to the public.
We have stood firm. As long as we let members in, we are not doing anything that's against the law and criminal.
The paperwork that's on the window, we don't know if it's actually deemed legal or not because they put it on in the middle of the night. We were not served with those papers.
An Internet search just before publication of this article at 2 p.m. EST revealed nothing untoward. The gym appears to be open to its members, who are following the owners' strict safety and health protocols.
Just in case the state ramps up legal action against the owners, a GoFundMe page has been created, which, when last checked, had raised nearly $70,000 to cover their legal costs.
Related article:

“DECLARATION OF ESSENTIALITY”: 1,200 CALIFORNIA PASTORS DEFY GOVERNOR NEWSOM; PLAN TO REOPEN MAY 31

Demonstrators hold signs demanding their church to reopen during a rally against stay-home orders in San Diego on May 1, 2020. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP / Getty Images)
“DECLARATION OF ESSENTIALITY”:
1,200 CALIFORNIA PASTORS DEFY GOVERNOR NEWSOM; PLAN TO REOPEN MAY 31 
BY BOB ADELMANN
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
purposes:
The day after the Department of Justice warned California Governor Gavin Newsom about discriminating against churches in both his shutdown and his reopen orders, a lawyer announced that more than 1,200 pastors have said they will open in-person services in defiance of those orders on Pentecost Sunday, May 31.
The attorney who drafted the “Declaration of Essentiality” sent a letter to the governor, declaring that the pastors were not asking permission: “This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission.”
The Declaration began with this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
After briefly reviewing the case against Newsom’s onerous and unconstitutional edicts, it ended with this: “NOW THEREFORE, WE DECLARE THAT WE WILL RESUME IN-PERSON RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLIES BEGINNING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, MAY 31, 2020, OR SOONER.”
The letter to the governor ran 15 pages, outlining the legal case against Newsom’s infringements of precious rights guaranteed in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. In addition, it quoted large portions of the Declaration of Independence.
It included this from founders Madison and Jefferson:
James Madison once said, “All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.” And Thomas Jefferson said, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Our founding fathers did not intend to allow a single individual to establish law that permits the infringement upon individual liberties recognized in the Constitution.
This is especially true where one individual has issued executive orders to suspend the religious liberty of individuals to assemble together in worship of God.
The letter said, “We agree that the government has a legitimate interest in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but that interest cannot go unchecked.”
Therefore, “In order to restore the proper balance between public safety and individual liberties, the clergy we represent have declared their intent to begin holding in-person church services beginning on Sunday, May 31, 2020. All services will be held in compliance with CDC and state guidelines for social distancing as is required of “essential businesses.”
Robert Tyler, the attorney who drafted both the Declaration and the letter, said, “These pastors are willing to stand against the state and face fines or penalties in order to fulfill their calling and essential needs of those around them.”
May 31, the Day of Pentecost, is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-31).
It is often referred to as the birth of the Christian religion. In California this year, it will celebrate the birth of freedom from onerous and unconstitutional restrictions issued by the state. More than 3,000 churches are expected to join that celebration.
Related article:

GESTAPO POLICE STATE NEW JERSEY: BELLMAWR GYM CLOSED ON THURSDAY, OPENED AGAIN ON FRIDAY~DEFIES GOVERNOR MURPHY’S ILLEGAL DICTATES

VIDEOS:

NOTICES POSTED AT NIGHT; NO WARRANT

HUNDREDS CHEERED 


GESTAPO POLICE STATE NEW JERSEY: 

BELLMAWR GYM CLOSED ON THURSDAY, OPENED AGAIN ON FRIDAY 
BY BOB ADELMANN
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
purposes:

 

When paper towels were stuffed into toilets at the Atilis Gym on Wednesday, the owners were forced to close. It remained closed on Thursday. On Thursday night health officials attached a closure notice to the front door. On Friday the gym opened again.

 

A week ago the owners of Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, wrote a letter to Governor Phil Murphy telling him that they were going to open their gym in defiance of his edict. They also announced their plans to open publicly, and when Monday morning came, members entered while supporters outside the gym waved American flags and cheered.
Governor Murphy was asked about the gym’s defiance of his orders on Monday afternoon and he warned the owners and their patrons, “If you show up at that gym tomorrow [Tuesday the 19th], there will be a different reality.”
The gym opened on Tuesday, following strict safety measures implemented by the two owners, Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti. There was no “different reality.”
The gym opened again on Wednesday, following the safe measures. There was no “different reality” until Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday afternoon the gym’s toilets were sabotaged. Someone had stuffed paper towels into the toilets, causing them to overflow. Trumbetti told the press: “Just so you know, we do not even have paper towels in our bathrooms.”
Mediation teams worked on clearing the obstructions on Thursday. The gym remained closed for the day while the owners suggested members work out in the parking lot.
Late Thursday night, after the gym was closed, officials from the state health department taped a four-page notice to the front door. The notice said, in part, that although the gym “is purporting to take its own measures to address COVID-19 tranmission,” New Jersey cannot “simply allow business owners to set their own divergent health measures, done without the approval of the state and it’s [sic] health officials.”
The order went on to say that indoor gyms pose a “particularly high risk setting” because the members exercise there which “can increase the amount of respiratory droplets or aerosols in a confined setting.”
Trumbetti said the health officials attached the order “overnight, like cowards” and vowed to reopen on Friday: “We’re opening up tomorrow [Friday] morning, no matter what.”
Trumbetti asked rhetorically: “How is it possible that they can actually shut [us] down? If there is a problem based on the coronavirus, how can they shut us down but no other businesses in the same building [as our gym]?”
In explaining why they are defying Governor Murphy’s edict and the state’s order, Trumbetti said:
According to our beliefs, we have been allowing our members in because of the wording of Governor Murphy’s executive order stating the gym had to remain closed to the public.
We have stood firm. As long as we let members in, we are not doing anything that’s against the law and criminal.
The paperwork that’s on the window, we don’t know if it’s actually deemed legal or not because they put it on in the middle of the night. We were not served with those papers.
An Internet search just before publication of this article at 2 p.m. EST revealed nothing untoward. The gym appears to be open to its members, who are following the owners’ strict safety and health protocols.
Just in case the state ramps up legal action against the owners, a GoFundMe page has been created, which, when last checked, had raised nearly $70,000 to cover their legal costs.
Related article:

WESTLAND, MICHIGAN: NURSING HOME ABUSER MADE VIDEO ASSERTING “BLACK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO RULE THE EARTH”~RECORDS HIMSELF BEATING, PUNCHING PATIENTS

Nursing Home Abuser Made Video Asserting "Black People are Supposed to Rule the Earth"

WARNING DISTURBING: Jaydon Hayden Caught Beating Up Elderly Nursing Home Patients In Michigan

Jaydon Hayden is reportedly from Westland, Michigan and beat elderly white nursing home patients for sport. There are three videos right now on Bitchute showing the man beating white people. The man is filming himself beating the seniors in their beds until they are bleeding.
 
NURSING HOME ABUSER 
MADE VIDEO ASSERTING 
“BLACK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO 
RULE THE EARTH”

Don’t expect too much media coverage of this.

BY PAUL JOSEPH WATSON
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research
purposes:
The culprit behind the horrific beating of an elderly man at a nursing home in Detroit made a YouTube video in which he asserted that “black people are supposed to rule the earth.”
Footage emerged yesterday of a man later identified as 20-year-old Jadon Hayden beating up a defenseless elderly white man by repeatedly punching him in the face.
Absolutely shocking footage has emerged from a black male nurse from Detroit (Jadon H.), who filmed himself beating elderly white men into a bloody pulp. “Get the fuck off my bed, N.,” he is heard saying. Viewer discretion advised.

Embedded video

Another clip shows him beating an elderly white woman.
I’ll never understand why Americans work 40+ hrs a week, pay taxes, fight for their country, just for their children to dump them in care homes in old age and subject them to this kinda treatment. The relevant authorities have his information so dw and I don’t mean the police!

Embedded video

Hayden uploaded the videos to his social media accounts but after the clips started to go viral on Twitter he was quickly arrested by police.
Content Hayden had previously uploaded to his YouTube channel suggested he holds black supremacist beliefs. 
“The black race is the chosen race, the black race was supposed to rule the earth, but now…they have to go to the white man for everything and that’s not good,” Hayden says in one video.
“Black people are supposed to rule the earth,” he emphasizes.
Hayden also posted a video called “drugging ppl prank” that shows a white man convulsing in what appears to be the same nursing home, suggesting that he may have been responsible for the drugging.
Many have questioned why the story isn’t being covered by major news networks like CNN, arguing that if the roles were reversed and the culprit was white, there’d be a mass uproar.
Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?
President Trump has tweeted about the issue and Tucker Carlson vowed last night to cover it fully on his show tonight.

I wonder why the national media is ignoring this story? 🤔
UPDATE: The heroic @TuckerCarlson aired a screenshot from the Detroit nursing home attack and said he would cover the “horrifying” story tomorrow night! “We’re going to have a lot more on that story tomorrow and the tape.”

Embedded video

Hayden was a patient in the nursing home, which as Chris Menahan documents, has a very shady recent history.

TRUMP EXITS OPEN SKIES TREATY OVER RUSSIAN VIOLATIONS

Trump Exits Open Skies Treaty Over Russian Violations
TRUMP EXITS OPEN SKIES TREATY 
OVER RUSSIAN VIOLATIONS 
BY STEVE BYAS
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:
“Russia didn’t adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out,” President Donald Trump announced this week, confirming that the United States will be leaving the 35-nation Treaty on Open Skies because of Russian violations.
Under the terms of the 1992 treaty, which has been in force since 2002, members are allowed to have short-notice, unarmed reconnaissance flights over the land of the other members, so as to observe military forces and activities, by using specific, pre-approved observation aircraft. The official certified U.S. Open Skies aircraft is the OC-135B Open Skies (shown). The stated purpose of the treaty is to reduce the chances that military miscalculations could cause a war.
The United States has objected to Russia’s imposition of restrictions on flights near Kaliningrad, an area between Poland and Lithuania, which has a significant Russian military presence. Jonathan Hoffman, a Defense Department spokesman, said that Russia had denied U.S. flights “within 10 kilometers of the Georgia-Russia border, and denying a flight over major military exercises the past year which completely prevented imaging of military exercise activity that was scheduled and approved previously. Russia flagrantly and continuously violates its obligations under Open Skies and implements the treaty in ways that contribute to military threats against the United States and our allies and partners.” Hoffman also noted that the United States is “committed to our treaty obligations, but in this era of great power competition we are looking to advocate for agreements that benefit all sides and that includes partners who comply responsibly with their obligations.”
Not surprisingly, Trump’s unilateral action was opposed by his enemies in the intelligence and security community. For example, retired four-star General Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, tweeted, “This is insane.” Other important posts held by Hayden include being the former deputy director of national intelligence and director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President George W. Bush.
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the treaty was too important to abandon over the overflights near Kaliningrad. “Concerns about Russian compliance with the accord, though serious, are resolvable [although he does not explain how they are resolvable], pertain to political disputes between Russia and some of its neighbors, and do not rise to the level of a material breach that would merit U.S. withdrawal from the treaty.” Other opponents of Trump’s action include former Secretary of State George Schultz and former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
Trump, however, argued that the withdrawal would not hurt relations with Russia: “No, I think that we’re going to have [a] very good relationship with Russia.” He expressed optimism that his action could force the Russians to take the actions necessary to cause the U.S. to reinstate the treaty, or for the two nations to write a new treaty. “There’s a chance we may make a new agreement or do something to put that agreement back together. I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to pull out and they’re going to come back and want to make a deal.”
President Trump was supported in his decision by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo noted the concern expressed by nations in Europe at the withdrawal, and said, “If not for the value they place on the OST, we would likely have exited long ago. We are not willing, however, to perpetuate the Treaty’s current problems of Russian-engendered threat and distrust simply in order to maintain an empty façade of cooperation with Moscow.” He added that the United States is prepared to reconsider the exit from the treaty “should Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty.”
The opposition to Trump’s actions recalls the almost religious devotion to arms-control agreements with the Russians from the Reagan Era, despite the Soviet Union’s chronic cheating on those very same treaties.
It also illustrates the hypocrisy of Trump’s critics. For his entire presidency, and even before, the Democratic Party leadership, the bipartisan “Deep State” of the intelligence community, and their allies in the mainstream media have said that Trump is somehow under the thumb of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and have criticized every attempt Trump has made to have good relations with him.
A review of headlines from 2019 demonstrates vividly this mantra. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Trump can’t seem to resist the urge to do failures for Putin,” while Politico argued, “Trump can’t help himself when it comes to Putin.” CNN’s David Andelman wrote, in a piece entitled, “Trump keeps doing favors for Putin,” that “There seems to be no end to the ‘solids’ or favors that Donald Trump has managed to do for Vladimir Putin.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has even said, “All roads lead to Putin.”
Yet, when Trump exits a treaty because of violations by a government led by that same Vladimir Putin, he is castigated for it.
What seems more likely is that Trump is doing what he thinks is in the national interest of America. That would include cultivating a good relationship with the man who runs a very powerful country — Russia — while at the same time refusing to allow that same country and its leader — Putin — to develop a military advantage over the United States.
In other words, it could be that Trump is simply putting “America First” — perhaps the most-hated phrase among his globalist critics.

SHOULD I WEAR A FACE MASK?

SHOULD I WEAR A FACE MASK? 
BY CATHY A. SPIGARELLI
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:
Awkward. This is how it feels to be in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some faces are masked; others are not. This polarity has led the public to judgment, anger, and hostile interaction. We all want to do the right thing and stop the spread of disease, but is a face mask really protecting you and those around you? We have all wondered, “Should I wear a face mask?”
As an environmental, health, and safety manager responsible for respiratory protection, I understand that face masks can play a supportive role in protecting the wearer from airborne hazards if the proper mask is chosen under the right circumstances. I also know that face masks can be ineffective, can create new hazards, and should not be the first or only line of defense. Face masks should be relegated to those in an industrial, emergency services, or healthcare work setting where proper mask selection, training, fit testing, and mask inadequacies can be addressed. The general public, in community settings, should not be wearing face masks to lessen viral transmission, as the data and potential drawbacks do not support their use. Instead, the focus should be on the more-effective ways you can protect yourself and those around you.
Face Mask Basics  
Face masks can be used as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect the wearer or used as Source Control to protect those around an infected wearer. But critical to a mask’s performance is filter efficiency and fit. Filter efficiency is the ability to capture contaminants. Design and materials of construction determine filter efficiency. A tight fit is also critical, preventing air leakage out of the mask. Both are necessary for high-level protection.
The most common masks worn are cloth face masks, surgical masks, and N-95 respirators. However, these masks are not all created equal.
cloth face mask is loose-fitting and made from a variety of materials; it has limited filter efficiency, doesn’t adhere to any design or filter efficiency standard, and lacks a test standard that confirms performance.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that the public wear cloth face masks as a form of Source Control and has encouraged the public to make their own masks. And some are wearing cloth masks mistakenly thinking that they will protect them from disease.
Homemade and commercial cloth masks are being worn by the public. The materials of construction vary greatly, which directly impacts their effectiveness. In a 2010 study funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a range of potential cloth mask fabrics (t-shirt, sweatshirt, towel, scarf, and commercial cloth mask) were tested for filter efficiency. The study found, “The use of fabric materials may provide only minimal levels of respiratory protection to a wearer against virus-size submicron aerosol particles (e.g. droplet nuclei). This is partly because fabric materials show only marginal filtration performance against virus-size particles when sealed around the edges. Face seal leakage will further decrease the respiratory protection offered by fabric materials.”
Couple the inadequate filter efficiency with the unstructured, loose fit of these masks, and it should be no surprise that studies have found cloth masks are not effective. In a 2015 study by MacIntyre, et al., they concluded, “In the interest of providing safe, low-cost options in low income countries, there is scope for research into more effectively designed cloth masks, but until such research is carried out, cloth masks should not be recommended.” Also, in a commentary entitled “Masks-For-All For CoVID-19 Not Based on Sound Data,” the authors concluded, “Our review of relevant studies indicates that cloth masks will be ineffective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.”
Cloth face masks are not a form of res-piratory protection and should be thought of as merely symbolic, giving the appearance of doing “something.”
Surgical masks also are loose-fitting masks, ones designed to trap airborne droplets emitted from the mouth or nose of the wearer, preventing droplets from being expelled into the surrounding space. Although regulated by the FDA, surgical masks are not required to form a seal with the face, nor do they have a minimum level of performance to meet.
Surgical masks were initially designed for Source Control to decrease the spread of bacteria or virus from an infected wearer to a vulnerable patient (think open wounds). These were not designed to protect the wearer from disease, and there is much evidence that they do not.
Surgical mask efficacy varies widely. Experimental results are mixed and vary with mask type and manufacturer, experimental setting (clinical, household, lab), and type of disease assessed. So the ability of a surgical mask to function as Source Control is variable. That said, in a recent review by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, it was concluded: “These data suggest that surgical masks worn by the public will have no or very low impact on disease transmission during a pandemic.” This makes sense since, even if the coronavirus is expelled from the body in larger droplets of water that should be caught by the mask, these masks are not fitted and air takes the path of least resistance, so basically through the unsealed edges and openings of the mask.
As PPE, many studies have confirmed that surgical masks do not prevent inhalation of particles due to poor facial fit and limited filtration characteristics. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety states that the filter material of surgical masks does not retain or filter out submicron particles and is not designed to eliminate air leakage around the edges. A 2008 study by Tara Oberg, M.S., and Lisa M. Brosseau, S.D., concluded, after testing several surgical masks, “None of these surgical masks exhibited adequate filter performance and facial fit characteristics to be considered respiratory protection devices.”
N-95 respirators have a tight-fitting design and are engineered to protect the wearer by removing 95 percent of particles, at least .3 microns and greater, from the air moving through it. They are of intricate design, are capable of high filter efficiency, and remove a wide range of particle sizes. N-95 respirators conform to the NIOSH 42 CFR 84 performance standard, and fit testing is required to ensure a protective fit.
The N-95 respirator was designed to function as PPE. A 2006 study by Anna Balazy, et al., published by the American Journal of Infection Control, concluded that N-95 respirators don’t provide complete protection against small virions. Even with a perfect fit — but with less than 100-percent efficiency and particle size-capture constraints — an N-95 respirator is not fully protective. Yet the N-95 provides better protection than a surgical or cloth mask. The N-95 respirator (without an exhalation valve) performs well for Source Control, although one study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene indicated that Source Control efficacy could be improved by sealing the mask further.
Face Mask Problems and Hazards
Personal Protective Equipment, such as a face mask, is the last choice for hazard mitigation, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Hierarchy of Controls. One reason for this is PPE ineffectiveness! Factors such as non-compliance, lack of training, and design limitations all contribute to face mask ineffectiveness.
One of the reasons that PPE is the lowest control strategy for hazard mitigation is because people are human: We make mistakes. We not only forget to wear them, we might take the mask off at lunch, but then do not put it back on when we re-enter the hazardous situation. And face masks can be hot and sweaty, and fog up eyeglasses, causing us to lower them on the face to get relief. They’re also lowered because they make verbal communication and breathing a bit harder. As soon as one does this, the mask is not working to protect you or those around you.
Even observational studies of healthcare professionals have shown that they often incorrectly put on and take off their respirators. Compliance is even more difficult for the untrained public. Training is required for effective PPE use. Face masks become ineffective when a wearer does not know how to examine a mask for flaws or damage prior to use; how to properly clean and store it; when to replace a mask; and how to properly position it on the face. An ill-fitting or damaged mask does little good.
As well, wearing a mask has the potential to create new hazards and even illness.
It has been shown that viruses can collect and hang out on the outside of a mask. This is a source of self-contamination or surface contamination, and leads to spreading the virus if you are not careful handling, removing, and disposing of the mask. Moreover, frequently touching your face to adjust an ill-fitting or uncomfortable mask increases the risk of viral exposure by transferring the virus from mask to fingers to common surfaces — or your face.
Others can then pick up the virus from the contaminated surface and, in a moment of poor hygiene, infect the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, or eyes. This happened to a woman from Charlotte, North Carolina, even though she claimed to follow quarantining perfectly and wore a mask and gloves regularly. One trip to the pharmacy (gloved and masked) and contact with a virus-contaminated credit card reader was all it took (according to contact tracers), and she became sick with the coronavirus.
Studies point to other detrimental health effects of wearing a face mask, especially the tighter-fitting N-95 respirator, if worn for extended periods of time:
• Headaches are a frequent complaint with N-95 use and attributed to impaired breathing.
• One study showed that mask users had a blood oxygen level reduction of 20 percent. Low oxygen levels can cause impaired immunity. According to Dr. Dipankar Saha, scientist and director at the Central Pollution Control Board, this can lead to “oxygen shortage, suffocation, respiratory trouble and heart attacks.”
• In addition, a tight-fitting N-95 can increase viral load. If you are infected, you will constantly be rebreathing the virus and effectively increasing its concentration in the lungs and nasal passages. High viral load early on is associated with worse outcomes for the sick.
• Masks are a potential source of bacteria and viruses. “The moisture from exhalation inside the mask, when in constant contact with the 37 degrees Celsius warm human body, becomes [an] ideal place for virus and bacteria to thrive,” said Dr. Saha.
And simply covering one’s nose and mouth doesn’t stop pathogens from entering your body. According to the American Optometric Association, it is possible that the coronavirus can enter through the conjunctiva of the eye and spread through the body via blood vessels.
Dr. Joseph Fair, a prominent virologist, contracted COVID even though he stated he was using “max precautions,” indicating he was wearing a face mask and gloves while in public. He suggests the possibility that he became infected through eye contact. He states, “Even people like me that do this for a living” can make mistakes (although he does not recall making one).
So in answer to the question, “Should I wear face mask?” the answer is generally “No.” Even WHO, which has taken an alarmist position regarding COVID-19, said on April 6, 2020, “The wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risk.” This thinking is supported in a commentary by Dr. Russell Blaylock, a nationally recognized, board-certified neurosurgeon, health practitioner, author, and lecturer, who stated in a recent article for the online site Technocracy News & Trends, “It is evident from this review that there is insufficient evidence that wearing a mask of any kind can have a significant impact in preventing the spread of this virus.” He very strongly warns that the healthy should not wear face masks.
For the general population, wearing a face mask is a distractor, taking focus away from the more effective mitigation strategies an individual should take. Yes, an N-95 respiratory and surgical mask might have some utility, but due to the problems and risks of their use by the untrained and unsupervised, these should be reserved for work settings where there is oversight. In the case of a cloth mask or covering, the data do not support their use. Add the issues of wearing one (difficulty breathing, discomfort, communication hurdles, the potential to cross contaminate, and the increased risk of infection), and the answer becomes clear, as said Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been elevated by the mainstream media to near god-like status for his views on the pandemic, on a 60 Minutes Overtime interview: “In America, people should not be walking around with a mask!” (March 8, 2020).
Instead of reliance on a face mask for protection, impeccable personal hygiene, isolation of the sick and high risk, social distancing, and decontamination of common surfaces should be emphasized.
Immaculate personal hygiene includes often and carefully washing your hands, using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible, and keeping your hands away your face. These sound like a “duh” to most people, but they are critical to disease-transmission prevention.
Stay healthy.

GESTAPO POLICE FORCE: IKEA TO EMPLOY “SOCIAL DISTANCE WARDENS” TO PATROL SHOPPERS LIKE THEY ARE PRISONERS

GESTAPO POLICE FORCE:
IKEA TO EMPLOY “SOCIAL DISTANCE WARDENS” TO PATROL SHOPPERS
BY PAUL JOSEPH WATSON
SEE: https://summit.news/2020/05/22/ikea-to-employ-social-distance-wardens-to-patrol-shoppers/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
IKEA is set to employ “social distance wardens” who tell people how to behave in stores as a whole new jobs market for Karens is created.
The Swedish furniture giant announced today that it would open 19 of its stores across the UK on June 1st.
However, families hoping to make a day of visiting the store can forget about it – only one adult and one child per household is allowed.
“Other measures to ensure safer trading during the coronavirus outbreak include “social distance wardens” to help shoppers navigate a new one-way system,” reports the Guardian.
Get ready; Our whole society is about to be patrolled by a new breed of busy-bodies telling you how to behave, where to stand, where to sit, where you can walk.
Karens all over the world are rejoicing at the prospect of getting paid for what they love the most – interfering in other people’s business.
All this in response to a virus which, according to the CDC, has a fatality rate of 0.26%, making it no more deadly than a bad bout of seasonal flu.
We’re pedantically re-arranging our entire society around social distancing cringe and empowering an army of new enforcers to make our lives miserable.
All in the name of transitioning out of a lockdown which, according to innumerable experts, will be responsible for more deaths than coronavirus itself.
Genius.



TREASURY SANCTIONS IRAN’S INTERIOR MINISTER & SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

TREASURY SANCTIONS IRAN’S INTERIOR MINISTER & SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:
May 20, 2020
WASHINGTON Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Iran’s Interior Minister for his role in serious human rights abuses against Iranians, as well as seven senior officials of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and a provincial commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Today’s action also targets the Bonyad Taavon NAJA, which is translated as LEF Cooperative Foundation, along with its director and members of the board of trustees. The LEF Cooperative Foundation is an economic collaborative controlled by the LEF and is active in Iran’s energy, construction, services, technology, and banking industries.
“The Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to hold accountable Iranian officials and institutions that oppress and abuse their own people.”
The LEF has played a key role in government crackdowns on protesters, and operates detention centers associated with physical and psychological abuses. The LEF has begun to crack down on Afghan migrants in Iran, sending them to deportation centers where the IRGC has reportedly coerced many into fighting for Iranian militias in Syria. In May 2020, the LEF was implicated in the torture and drowning of Afghan nationals attempting to cross into Iran.
This action is taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13553 of September 28, 2010, which imposes sanctions on certain persons with respect to serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran. On June 9, 2011, Treasury sanctioned the LEF and IRGC pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses that have occurred since the disputed June 2009 presidential election and ensuing protests. The LEF has also been designated under separate authorities for its support to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad in the civil conflict in Syria, which has resulted in the displacement and suffering of millions. The IRGC has also been designated under counterterrorism and counter proliferation authorities. Both organizations continue to be implicated in human rights abuses, including those involving the killing of Iranian protestors, most recently in November 2019 following widespread protests in Iran over an increase in gasoline prices. In November 2018, OFAC designated Ghavamin Bank for providing banking services and facilitating routine financial transactions for the LEF.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
As the Iranian regime’s Interior Minister and chair of Iran’s National Domestic Security Council (NDSC), Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli (Rahmani Fazli) has responsibilities for overseeing internal security issues, including Iran’s LEF. Rahmani Fazli holds the title of “Deputy or Replacement Commander-in Chief of Police Forces”, as delegated to him by the Supreme Leader. Rahmani Fazli has issued orders authorizing the LEF to use lethal force in response to the November 2019 protests, resulting in violence against peaceful protestors and bystanders. His orders led to the killing of many protestors, including at least 23 minors.
In addition, the Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for issuing permits for peaceful gatherings. Under Rahmani Fazli’s tenure, which began in 2013, the LEF has been responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against Iranians on multiple occasions, including killing hundreds of Iranians. As the Interior Minister, Rahmani Fazli issued several public warnings to protestors discouraging them from gathering and emphasizing that the LEF would crack down. Further, under Fazli’s tenure, the Ministry has routinely denied permits, or granted permits and then denied security, for the gatherings. These gatherings have then been attacked by plainclothes individuals believed to be part of the intelligence and security apparatus. Additionally, Rahmani Fazli as chair of the NDSC was involved in the Iranian regime’s decision to impose the days-long internet blackout of the November 2019 protests.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being an official of the Government of Iran or a person acting on behalf of the Government of Iran who is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents, or the family members of the foregoing, on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli is also being identified pursuant to E.O. 13599 as an official of the Government of Iran.
The Department of State is also publicly designating Rahmani Fazli under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights. Rahmani Fazli and his immediate family members are barred from entering the United States.
Hossein Ashtari Fard and Ayoub Soleimani
OFAC is also designating Hossein Ashtari Fard (Ashtari), the Commander of the LEF since March 2015 and Ayoub Soleimani (Soleimani) is the Deputy Commander of the LEF, a position he was appointed to in 2018 by Ashtari with the approval of Iran’s Supreme Leader, pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
During Ashtari’s tenure as commander, the LEF has been implicated in multiple cases of violence, including the reported killing of hundreds of Iranian protesters and several dozen children following nationwide protests against an increase in gasoline prices in November 2019. In addition, Ashtari also directs the LEF cyber police unit, an organization that monitors expressions of dissatisfaction with the Iranian regime, and has threatened to punish Iranians who use social media to organize protests.
Soleimani took an active role in the suppression of anti-hijab protests in July 2019, calling an improperly worn hijab an obvious crime. He issued statements that the security forces would forcefully confront women who were not abiding by the Iranian dress code.
Additionally, Ayoub Soleimani was appointed in April 2020 as the head of the Planning Directorate of the Armed Forces General Staff, the most senior military body in Iran, which was designated by OFAC in November 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13876 for being owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran.
Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidreza Ashraq, and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad
Treasury is also taking action against a number of the LEF’s most senior officials: Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, the Chief of the Defense and Intelligence Organization of the LEF; Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, the Deputy of Planning and Budget for the LEF; Hamidraza Ashraq, the Deputy of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for the LEF; and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad, the Deputy Coordinator of the LEF. Noorinajad has publically praised the LEF for its role in suppressing the November 2019 protests, referring to the protestors as rebels, villains, and opportunists.
Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidraza Ashraq and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi
Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi (Shahvarpour) is an IRGC Brigadier General and the Commander of the IRGC’s Vali Asr Base in Khuzestan province, and he served in the position during the IRGC’s violent suppression of protestors in November 2019. In this province and the city of Mahshahr alone, the IRGC killed at least 100 protestors in a three-day period. Shahvarpour was designated in January 2020 by the State Department under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2020, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights against protestors during the November 2019 protests. Shahvarpour and his immediate family members are barred from entering the United States.
Today, Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC.
The LEF Cooperative Foundation and Habil Darvish
The LEF Cooperative Foundation is an economic collaborative controlled by the LEF that is active in Iran’s energy, construction, services, technology, and banking industries. It reportedly sold oil worth $180 million, profits of which were not repatriated to the government. The majority of the aforementioned LEF senior officials, including Ayoub Soleimani, Mohsen Fathi Zadeh, Yahya Mahmoodzadeh, Hamidraza Ashraq and Mohammad Ali Noorinajad, are, or have been, members of the board of the LEF Cooperative Foundation.
The LEF Cooperative Foundation is being designated today pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the LEF.
Habil Darvish is the Managing Director of the LEF Cooperative Foundation and Deputy of Engineering of the LEF. Habil Darvish is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13553 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, LEF Cooperative Foundation.
Sanctions Implications
All property and interests in property of these persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
In addition, non-U.S. persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of the persons designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.
For identifying information on the individuals and entity designated today, click here.

WESTLAND, MICHIGAN: NURSING HOME ABUSER MADE VIDEO ASSERTING “BLACK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO RULE THE EARTH”~RECORDS HIMSELF BEATING, PUNCHING PATIENTS

Nursing Home Abuser Made Video Asserting "Black People are Supposed to Rule the Earth"

WARNING DISTURBING: Jaydon Hayden Caught Beating Up Elderly Nursing Home Patients In Michigan

Jaydon Hayden is reportedly from Westland, Michigan and beat elderly white nursing home patients for sport.

There are three videos right now on Bitchute showing the man beating white people.

The man is filming himself beating the seniors in their beds until they are bleeding.



NURSING HOME ABUSER 
MADE VIDEO ASSERTING 
“BLACK PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO 
RULE THE EARTH”

Don’t expect too much media coverage of this.

BY PAUL JOSEPH WATSON
republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 
purposes:
The culprit behind the horrific beating of an elderly man at a nursing home in Detroit made a YouTube video in which he asserted that “black people are supposed to rule the earth.”
Footage emerged yesterday of a man later identified as 20-year-old Jadon Hayden beating up a defenseless elderly white man by repeatedly punching him in the face.
Absolutely shocking footage has emerged from a black male nurse from Detroit (Jadon H.), who filmed himself beating elderly white men into a bloody pulp. "Get the fuck off my bed, N.," he is heard saying. Viewer discretion advised.
Another clip shows him beating an elderly white woman.
I'll never understand why Americans work 40+ hrs a week, pay taxes, fight for their country, just for their children to dump them in care homes in old age and subject them to this kinda treatment. The relevant authorities have his information so dw and I don't mean the police!
Hayden uploaded the videos to his social media accounts but after the clips started to go viral on Twitter he was quickly arrested by police.
Content Hayden had previously uploaded to his YouTube channel suggested he holds black supremacist beliefs. 
“The black race is the chosen race, the black race was supposed to rule the earth, but now…they have to go to the white man for everything and that’s not good,” Hayden says in one video.
“Black people are supposed to rule the earth,” he emphasizes.
Hayden also posted a video called “drugging ppl prank” that shows a white man convulsing in what appears to be the same nursing home, suggesting that he may have been responsible for the drugging.
Many have questioned why the story isn’t being covered by major news networks like CNN, arguing that if the roles were reversed and the culprit was white, there’d be a mass uproar.
Is this even possible to believe? Can this be for real? Where is this nursing home, how is the victim doing?
President Trump has tweeted about the issue and Tucker Carlson vowed last night to cover it fully on his show tonight.

I wonder why the national media is ignoring this story? 🤔
UPDATE: The heroic @TuckerCarlson aired a screenshot from the Detroit nursing home attack and said he would cover the "horrifying" story tomorrow night! "We're going to have a lot more on that story tomorrow and the tape."
Hayden was a patient in the nursing home, which as Chris Menahan documents, has a very shady recent history.

The culprit