COVID-19 Passports, Step by Step

COVID-19 Passports, Step by Step

With reports that President Joe Biden’s administration is planning for imposing a vaccine passport mandate in America, expect to see in the media a deluge of vaccine passport propaganda. What will that propaganda look like? A template illustrating several elements you can expect to see in the propaganda push was provided several weeks ago in a CNN interview.

In the first week of March, host Fareed Zakaria and his guest Arthur Caplan provided at CNN a textbook example of how to present vaccine passport propaganda to the American people. Let’s look at some of the major elements of the propaganda template as demonstrated by Zakaria and Caplan.

1) Include some short expression that the idea of vaccine passports can be troubling, but make sure to only bring this up superficially. This is accomplished in the CNN segment by starting with a clip from a short scene from the movie Casablanca. In the clip, a policeman asks to see a man’s “papers,” the man says he does not have them, and the policeman responds, “in that case we’ll have to ask you to come along.” Not shown is the remainder of the scene in which the accosted man, after presenting apparently expired papers, attempts to flee only to be gunned down. Not showing the full scene demonstrates the care demanded in the propaganda to not allow any depiction of potential dire consequences from imposing vaccine passports.

2) Frame the imposing of a vaccine passport mandate as something that is both inevitable and threatens only minimal, if any, harm. Zakaria accomplishes this task with the first sentence he utters to begin the media segment. Zakaria states: “From Casablanca to today, a demand to produce personal documents can be uncomfortable, but, post-pandemic, it’s something we’ll all likely have to get more and more comfortable with.” Masterfully, Zakaria, in addition to minimizing the problems with passports as just causing discomfort, asserts that even that discomfort with time will disappear, suggesting objecting to vaccine passports is just an irrational or silly reaction.

3) Bring on a guest who, despite his description making him sound like someone who would be looking out for the interests of people concerned about vaccine passports, pretty much says that vaccine passports are the best thing since sliced bread. In the CNN interview the guest performing this role is Arthur Caplan, who Zakaria introduces as a “medical ethicist” and “professor at NYU.” A medical ethicist will surely provide some warning about dangers from vaccine passports, right? Yes, in many cases. But, Caplan is not that sort of medical ethicists. He is the one picked to be interviewed in a media segment designed to promote acceptance of vaccine passports.

4) Reiterate that vaccine passports are inevitable, and that people should support them. Zakaria hits the nail on the head with this, presenting this first question to his guest: “So explain why you think, basically, that this is the future and we should be comfortable with it.”

5) Declare that vaccine passports must be imposed on the American people because of coronavirus. Caplan accomplishes this task in his first words in the media segment. He states: “Well, I’m sure that the future holds vaccine passports for us, partly to protect against the spread of Covid.” Of course, as coronavirus has turned out not to be a major danger to most people, imposing a vaccine passport mandate to counter it makes no more sense than doing it to counter any other of many diseases. But, this is not a topic to be brought up when selling people on vaccine passports. Fearmongering, no matter how ridiculously unjustified, is the name of the game. This is the fraudulent message people are encouraged to act on without much critical thought: Coronavirus is gonna kill us all unless we take the shots and show our papers!

6) Say that mandating vaccine passports is really no big deal because of some other supposedly very similar restriction to which some people are already subjected. Caplan states: “And, you know, it’s not a new idea, we have it for yellow fever; there are about more than a dozen countries that say you can’t come in if you haven’t been vaccinated against yellow fever, and many others require you to show proof of vaccination if you transit through those countries.” Are the yellow fever-related requirements justified? Caplan does not say more than that, because these somewhat similar restrictions exist someplace, the mandating of vaccine passports in America is fine. That’s medical ethicist reasoning? Anyway, the yellow fever stuff, because most Americans have no experience with or knowledge of it, is a fine example for the propaganda. Few watchers of the segment will have any basis for questioning the current practice that is used to justify the new desired mandate. One big difference, though, jumps out on further consideration. Caplan explains that the yellow fever requirements apply for just coming to several countries. In contrast, Zakaria early in the interview says the vaccine passports that will, he claims, inevitably be imposed on Americans will be required for people “to get on an airplane, to go to a concert, or to go back to work.” The vaccine passport mandate is, thus, much more troublesome for most Americans than yellow-fever-related requirements for entry into a few countries that most Americans never visit. But, the point is to quickly present the example as if it provides conclusive support no matter how far that representation is from the truth.

7) Dismiss as insignificant people’s concerns about being required, in order to go about their daily activities, to present a vaccine passport and to take a vaccine, or, really, an experimental coronavirus vaccine that is not even a vaccine under the normal meaning of the term. Assert instead that the only danger to freedom could be something theoretical that could be additionally required in the future. Here is how Zakaria puts it in a question to Caplan: “What about the concerns that many people have about privacy, about the privacy of their health data, that, you know, is there a slippery slope here — ‘OK, I’m comfortable telling you whether or not I have Covid, but does that mean it becomes OK to ask about other things?’” Of course, many people are justifiably wary of being pressured to take the shots and then having their mandated vaccine passport used to track them as they go about their daily activities. That is why this media segment and others like it are being presented, after all.

8) Dismiss any concern that vaccine passports can in fact harm freedom. Instead, describe people as benefiting from and gaining freedom by their being mandated to take experimental coronavirus vaccines and present vaccination passports in order to go about their daily activities. Oh yeah, and keep quiet about all the mass surveillance facilitated by a vaccine passport program, the vaccinations-based caste system resulting from the mandate that will make people who do not take the shots suffer, and how the vaccine passport program can be expanded to advance many additional types of control over people. Here is how Caplan puts it: “With a Covid certification, you’re going to gain freedom, you’re going to gain mobility, and I’m going to suggest that you’re probably going to be able to get certain jobs.” Talk about turning things on their head. The mandate really means that people who do not comply will be barred from the mobility they already have and fired from their jobs. Freedom is supported by rejecting the mandate, not by supporting it.

9) Insist that the vaccine passport mandate is fine because it will be applied equally to all people. This is something Zakaria and Caplan spend a long time talking about in the CNN segment. Come on guys, something bad does not become good because it is applied to the maximum number of people, irrespective of their race, sex, or whatever. We are dealing with a mandate here, not giving everyone a serving of his favorite dessert.

10) Declare that a vaccine passport mandate helps encourage people to take the shots. (Unlike the other nine elements of the vaccine passport mandate propaganda template, this one is likely true. Threats can yield compliance. Still, the threats could deter some people from taking the experimental coronavirus vaccine shots. It sure makes you wonder about shots’ supposed safety when an extreme, and unprecedented, act of force is employed to ensure people take the shots.) States Caplan in the interview: “It also gives you an incentive to overcome vaccine hesitancy. Some people are not sure still whether they want to do the vaccine, but if you promise them more mobility, more ability to get a job, more ability to get travel, that’s a very powerful incentive to actually achieve fuller vaccination.” What Caplan is really talking about is coercion. He is saying that people who would otherwise refuse taking the shots will be forced to do so by the vaccine passport mandate severely restricting their activities and even depriving them of the ability to earn an income so long as they do not give in to the demand they take the shots. All this authoritarianism is dressed up in deceptive language. “Vaccine hesitancy” is substituted for “vaccine refusal” to disguise that the vaccine passport mandate is about stopping people from exercising free choice. “Incentive” is substituted for “coercive technique.”

Watch Zakaria and Caplan’s interview here:

Hopefully, many people will see through the deception and be able to prevent the implementation of the vaccine passport mandate Zakaria, Caplan, and others are promoting in the media.

This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and is republished with permission.

Ron Paul Sits Down with Matt Kibbe for Longform Interview on Life & Liberty

Ron Paul Sits Down with Matt Kibbe for Longform Interview on Life & Liberty

In interviews, Ron Paul tends mainly to be asked about events of the day. These often-short interviews help Paul advance his goal of communicating the ideas of liberty. It is interesting and illuminating in a different way when Paul on occasion takes part in longer, in-depth interviews focused largely on himself and his relationship to libertarianism.

A new interview of Paul by host Matt Kibbe at Kibbe on Liberty is such an in-depth interview.

Much of the interview is focused on Paul’s life and its relation to libertarianism. The interview starts with Paul’s learning about Austrian economics and libertarian ideas through reading and through discussions with individuals including Hans Sennholz. The interview then deals with Paul being a premier communicator of libertarian ideas via activities including campaigning for and serving in the United States House of Representatives, running for president, and hosting the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

Watch Paul’s interview here:

This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute and is republished with permission.

The War Party Aims For Regime Change in Belarus

The War Party Aims For Regime Change in Belarus

It seems that whoever wins the presidency, United States foreign policy will keep chugging away at intervening across the world, including via “regime change” efforts. Over the last couple decades, targets for U.S.-government-supported overthrow have included Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Belarus also appears to be in the U.S. government’s crosshairs. If its government holds back through January the effort seeking to topple it, Belarus looks sure to remain a U.S. target for regime change during either a second term of President Donald Trump or a first term of President Joe Biden.

On Monday, as revolutionaries in Belarus capital Minsk attempted to oust the Belarus government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden issued interchangeable statements regarding Belarus and U.S. policy toward it. Both Pompeo’s statement and Biden’s statement condemned the government of Belarus, called fraudulent the country’s recent national election in which President Aleksander Lukashenko won reelection by a wide margin, and made demands upon the Belarus government.

The statements of Pompeo and Biden may not seem so threatening if you imagine them coming from the government of a country of average population, economic strength, military power, and tendency to intervene in other countries. The comments could then just be understood as politicians spouting off or being relatively harmless buttinskis.

It is different when the pronouncements are made by a top foreign affairs official of the US and the potential next president of the U.S. The U.S. presides over a large population country with major economic resources. The U.S. has military bases and ships, as well as covert operatives, across the world. The U.S. has a long and ongoing history of pursuing, and often achieving, the overthrow of governments through actions including invasions, assassinations, sanctions, election meddling, and the financing and coordinating of coups and revolutions.

In 2015, during the Barack Obama administration in the U.S. and after another wide-margin reelection win by Lukashenko in Belarus, Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams discussed the U.S. government’s disdain for Lukashenko and the Belarus government. McAdams wrote in part:

Lukashenko has been a favorite punching bag of the U.S. and western neocons for a number of years because he has not shown the required level of deference to his would-be western overlords compared to, say, the Baltics. He routinely wins re-election even as the U.S. government has funneled millions of dollars into the political opposition in hopes of somehow fomenting a regime change.

Don’t believe the sanctimonious comments, whether from the Trump administration or the Biden campaign, about the U.S. seeking to promote democracy and human rights in Belarus. This is about power. The U.S. has let slide and continues to let slide democratic and human rights shortcomings of countries across the world where benefit can be obtained. Dictatorship? No problem. The expression of concern about democracy and human rights is propaganda selectively applied to stir up support for, or at least quell opposition to, U.S. intervention abroad.

Pompeo and Biden’s statements regarding Belarus help make clear that overthrowing governments appears set to remain a feature of U.S. foreign policy no matter if Trump wins a second term or Biden defeats him in the upcoming November presidential election.

Adam Dick is a Senior Fellow at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He previously worked as a legislative aide to Rep. Ron Paul from 2003 to 2013. This article was originally featured at the Ron Paul Institute and is republished with permission.

Ron Paul Sits Down with Matt Kibbe for Longform Interview on Life & Liberty

Jacob Hornberger for President?

Jacob Hornberger appears to be laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run as a Libertarian. That is the subject of a Monday article at Independent Political Report that notes Hornberger, who is the president of the libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF), “is visiting many, if not all, the Libertarian Party state conventions” and has produced a new website jacobforliberty.com. That website looks like a campaign website, though it does not outright declare Hornberger is running for office.

Many people familiar with the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) will also be familiar with Hornberger, whose articles have been featured at the RPI website and whose speeches have been highlights of RPI’s annual conference near Washington, DC and an April of 2018 joint FFF/RPI conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

Reprinted from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act Would Repeal the 2001 AUMF

Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act Would Repeal the 2001 AUMF

In his work opposing United States wars overseas, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), before his death Sunday, put much effort into seeking a repeal of the 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF) that has been used by successive presidents as a basis for intervention and war across the world in the name of fighting terrorism. In the week before Jones’ death, Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act (HR 966), with Jones as the original cosponsor, that would repeal that AUMF and thus eliminate a reason used for presidents to intervene overseas without particular congressional approval.

Garamendi spoke fondly of Jones in Garamendi’s press release announcing the introduction of the bill,:

‘Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war, and we have abdicated that responsibility for far too long,’ Garamendi stated. ‘That is why I am introducing this legislation to repeal the 2001 AUMF within one year of enactment, which would provide ample time to debate this important issue in Congress. I am also grateful to recognize the leadership of my dear friend, Walter Jones, who is currently in hospice care. Walter has championed this cause for years, I have worked with him closely on this issue in Congress. I am grateful for his wisdom, passion, and advocacy.’

In March of 2017, Jones and Garamendi spoke in-depth in a C-SPAN interview about their effort to end funding for the US government’s war in Afghanistan. You can read about and watch that interview here.

In that interview, Jones said the 2001 AUMF has helped lead to a situation where “Congress is letting the president determine what is going to be done with our military when we have a constitutional duty to declare whether we want to send our men and women to die for this country or not.”

On Monday, Ron Paul spoke at his Ron Paul Liberty Report about Jones, Paul’s friend and US House of Representatives colleague who was a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s advisory board. You can watch Paul’s discussion of Jones here.

Republished from ronpaulinstitute.org.

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