Events

Australian War Criminals

Australian War Criminals

Australia has a proud military history, even before it was a federation in 1901 it had sent men abroad in service of Empire. Still a new nation while the British fought bitterly against the Boers in South Africa, the Australian military identity was slowly forged in incidents of undeniable heroism and controversy. Famously, the Australian soldier Breaker Morant became an Australian hero, elsewhere he was a revenge minded man who executed unarmed Boer prisoners and likely civilians. He was tried and executed, perhaps as an example by the British as such conduct was not rare in an ugly war. Morant’s legacy however would run on in most theatres for over one hundred years of Australian military service.

In the World Wars the Australians were notorious for heroic conduct and fighting with a respected ferocity. They were not above executing prisoners. This was not unique to the Australian soldier, they were not above it either. Intimate savagery was not unlawful it was expected to be found inside the heat of battle and soon after as the fog of war lingered. It is not a statement of good and evil, merely one of fact. Most if not all sides in war have had soldiers that do this to others. It is the disregard and acceptance of such actions that brings into question the society and culture that not only continues to conduct war abroad but condones all its horrible outcomes with pride. That is the Australian character regarding its wars and war fighters. 

The recent emergence of footage of an Australian SASR troops murdering an unarmed man as he prayed in a field somewhere in Afghanistan has not raised much controversy inside of Australia. It has mildly been reported but mostly buried beneath the concerns about COVID-19 and the potential shortages on toilet paper for most Australian voters. The military however, still abroad, still killing are always above reproach. As with most released footage incidents it beckons just how common such events are, given the confidence of those who are being recorded. To kill an unarmed man as shown in the clip is almost routine. 

In June 2019 the Australian Federal Police raided the homes of journalists, most of those raided worked for the state-run ABC network. The raids were a response to a 2018 report about the Australian intelligence agencies using their powers to spy on Australian citizens. For most Australians such a revelation and the frightening response on journalists was met with apathy and an eager trust in the governments wisdom when it comes to their defense. It was assumed by some that such measures taken by the AFP would not only keep Australians alive, the terrorists at bay but most of all save Australian soldiers lives. Australian soldiers still fighting an unwinnable war inside Afghanistan. 

Australians love war. They always have. Every year in April the nation indulges in a ritual to celebrate the lives of martyrs that served the British empire in a brutal war, the date commemorates the invasion of mainland Turkey in 1915. The heroism is never in doubt, the rationale reason for the war is however never truly sought. It assumed as a righteous destiny of the Australian soldier to be overseas in the service of a larger imperial partner. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan it does not matter, it is the right of the Australian soldier to be there. That is the imbedded belief of the citizen as they stand for dawn service each April 25.  

So as news reports and whistle-blowing soldiers from both Australia and New Zealand share their experiences in Afghanistan with shaky voices they are met with wary ears and sometimes distain. When former defense lawyer David McBride revealed what became known as the “Afghan Papers” much of it revealing unlawful killings by Australian SAS members he was charged for leaking classified materials, though the content was never disputed or denied. The Australian government simply did not want the truth of bloodshed to become exposed to the public but more importantly to foreigners that have a glowing opinion of the Australian nation. 

Now with such graphic footage of an Australian special forces member murdering an unarmed man it is hard to deny the claims of the whistle-blowers. Even if the executed man was a horrible mass murdering terrorist, he was unarmed and vulnerable. His capture could have provided intelligence and many hours of painful debriefing at the hands of coalition interrogators. Instead it is likely this man had nothing to offer alive, so he was executed by the elites of the Australian military. 

What the outcome is, remains uncertain. Perhaps a tighter grip on the release of such footage. It is alleged that the SAS soldier in the clip was stood down, how would we know given the secrecy of the SAS and how precious trained and experienced soldiers at his level are.  With the COVID-19 pandemic it is likely that the Australian government will use the fear and concerns to help widen its already immense powers over the citizenry’s lives. No matter how incompetent it reveals itself in either health or security it is without competition. 

It would take an elite level of mercenary and psychotic mentality to visit upon a land thousands of kilometres away from home and to then execute a man already on his knees as he prays to his God close to his own house. A stranger In shock, frightened and pleading for his life is then killed. This is the war that continues to be waged in many of our names, and this is the horrors that distant strangers face because it is our foreign policy to kill out of our own insecurities and our governments need to rule in any capacity. 

The Australian Police are investigating the allegations in a recent incident of an SAS soldier Ben Robert-Smith who kicked a handcuffed prisoner off a cliff and ordered his killing. Smith is a highly decorated hero of the war. The outcome of such an investigation and trial will be telling. But what it does reveal is the harshness of those elites pressed into long periods of service in a war that few understand other than it must somehow go on. 

So, for the time being, hidden among the news of pandemic the crimes of war will trickle to the screens of those who care. The few watchdogs that exist will limply bark into a mob desperate for their own creature comforts as they face quarantine. The war, those endless epidemics of government cruelty will go on. The futility of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan will most likely continue, even if in secret. And the recent incident so graphically captured on film is just another contact.

The Unseen Consequences of the Coronavirus Response

The Unseen Consequences of the Coronavirus Response

While sicknesses and death mount from the coronavirus pandemic, the responses by all levels of government have been overwhelming. 

School closings, business closings, cancellations of sporting events and concerts, “stay in place” orders, hysterical panic spread by the corporate press, and massive government “stimulus” and bailout plans have all been justified as a means to save lives and “flatten the curve” of the spread of the virus so the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

These efforts have been made in an attempt to head off what some are predicting would be a historic mass pandemic resulting in hundreds of thousand or possibly a million deaths in the U.S., according to some preliminary, worst-case scenario projections

No doubt such a result would spur sizeable social and economic upheaval. Such a momentous number of deaths and illnesses would cause mass panic and grind the economy to a halt. In strictly economic terms, to the extent that the workforce is reduced (most deaths would be to the elderly population), a supply shock would diminish productivity for a noticeable duration. Supply chains would be disrupted and need to adjust to the new labor market. 

During the outbreak, non-specific capital goods would be converted to the production of medical supplies to address the virus, similar to how factories were converted to producing tanks and guns during WWII. 

There would be at minimum a significant economic downturn during the crisis, and depending on the government’s response, it would take a considerable amount of time for the economy to shift back to normal once the virus subsided. 

The coronavirus’ threat to health and the economy is indeed serious, and the trade-offs of “doing nothing” have been often discussed to justify the unprecedented response.

What seems to be missing from the discussion, however, is the notion of any trade-offs coming from the government’s actual response. The government’s measures are positioned as but temporary inconveniences needed to stave off mass illnesses and save lives. Better to be safe than sorry, goes the justification.

But what if trying to “be safe” comes with dramatic costs as well? Why is nobody talking about those costs?

As Mises Institute Research Fellow Peter G. Klein tweeted:

“I hear ‘lives vs. livelihoods’ as if the cost of shutting down economies to flatten the curve is inconvenience and reduced economic growth. But what about the immediate and long-term public health harms from shutdown?”

To drive the point further home, Mises Institute President Jeff Deist wrote in a Facebook post

“A broken economy, crazed fiscal/monetary responses by Congress and the Fed, not to mention egregious & illegal violations of liberty, are not all justified by this virus. Our actions will kill & impoverish people, perhaps far more people than the virus. The lesson of Bastiat’s seen and unseen remains unlearned.” 

Indeed, it’s easy to see the government’s response and attribute a slowed infection growth rate and lower mortality figures from the virus to those measures.

But what of the negative impacts the government’s response will have? These “unseen” impacts, as Bastiat would frame them because they are much harder to detect, will be numerous and possibly more deadly the coronavirus itself.

Massive job losses may increase suicide, depression, substance abuse

Due to the mass panic being spread by governments and media (not to mention government edicts shuttering the doors of many businesses), many industries are being devastated. Especially harmed is the hospitality industry. Sadly, panic is a result of the government’s response to head off the panic that would result if government failed to act to prevent the spread of the virus.

Some estimates are predicting more than 2 million people will apply for unemployment this week, which would be the highest one-week figure on record. 

The stress and uncertainty of joblessness has numerous negative consequences, some of them deadly. 

A study published by The Lancet found “the relative risk of suicide associated with unemployment was elevated by about 20–30%” in their study period. 

The study further attributed roughly 45,000 suicides per year worldwide to the mental and psychological toll of unemployment.

The hope for many laid-off workers is that their unemployment will be temporary, but there remains great uncertainty just how long this will last. The longer this economic shutdown and its consequences last, the more suicides there will be. 

Moreover, as the substance abuse rehab clinic Recovery Ways notes, “One study from 2017 found that every time unemployment rises by one percentage point in a given county, the rate of opioid deaths increases by 3.6 percent and the rate of emergency room visits increases by seven percent.” 

In sum, research has shown the anxiety of joblessness leads to increased rates of suicide and drug abuse. 

Furthermore, a study published by the National Institute of Health concluded: “Results suggest that unemployment is associated with young adults’ heavy episodic drinking,” This is of particular concern given that the hospitality industry workforce tends to be younger. 

Another NIH study found “Unemployment increases the risk of relapse after alcohol and drug addiction treatment,” and that “Unemployment is a significant risk factor for substance use.”

Shutdown will have much broader economic impact, exacerbate other health problems

The current shutdowns and mass hysteria are having first order effects largely on the travel and hospitality industries. But the negative financial consequences will not be contained.

As economist and financial advisor Doug Casey said in an interview published at LewRockwell.com:

A restaurant closes down, but the owner still has to pay his mortgage. And the staff mostly lives on tips. How are they going to pay the rent—and if they don’t, then how’s the landlord going to pay his mortgage? The consequences of businesses shutting down, and going bust, are just huge.

The economic contagion and domino effect could indeed be very significant. Recall how the bursting of the housing bubble triggered the Great Recession. We may now be facing similar effects, as small businesses struggle to pay their rents and laid-off workers struggle to make rent and mortgage payments. As debt defaults mount, banks lose their cash flow and become extremely cautious about creating new loans. Liquidity freezes and grinds the economy to a halt.  

There is a very real chance that the orchestrated economic shutdown can trigger a much broader economic collapse. Keep in mind, of course, that prior to the virus outbreak the economy was largely propped up by fiat Fed money printing, and that bubble was bound to burst eventually.

The hysterical response to the virus is serving as the pin to pop that bubble, and make things worse.

We’ve already seen how unemployment leads to severe health consequences. Full-blown recession serves to double down on them, and then some.

One study found that the Great Recession was linked to an additional 260,000 cancer deaths in OECD countries alone, with the authors suggesting “increased joblessness during the economic crisis may have limited people’s access to health care, leading to late-stage diagnoses and poor or delayed treatment.”

Moreover, with the stock market taking a major hit, it’s not just Wall Street fat cats taking a haircut. Thanks to decades of absurdly low interest rates driven down by Federal Reserve policy, average workers can no longer set aside their retirement savings into safe, interest-bearing savings accounts. Instead, they have been driven to invest retirement savings into the stock market. The economic shutdown has caused current retirees and those nearing retirement to lose a significant share of their retirement nest egg. Senior citizens facing such high levels of stress will be more likely to suffer ill health effects, like stroke or heart attack. 

Anxiety from mass hysteria weakens immune systems

Politicians and the corporate media are in 24/7 mass hysteria mode. There is no way to avoid constant chatter about the impending doom of coronavirus. 

The most visible signs of this ginned up mass panic can be found in retail stores across the country with empty shelves. Panic-buying of hand sanitizer and toilet paper has been well publicized.

But there is a more serious consequence of spreading mass panic among the populace. In a very bitter case of irony, the anxiety and stress caused by the reaction to fight the spread of the coronavirus can actually weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to the spread of viruses. As reported at Healthline.com

But if you repeatedly feel anxious and stressed or it lasts a long time, your body never gets the signal to return to normal functioning. This can weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections and frequent illnesses. Also, your regular vaccines may not work as well if you have anxiety.

Panic can also drive up suicides, while panic-stricken grocery shoppers gather in long lines in close proximity to each other holding shopping cart handles that are likely riddled with germs and bacteria

 

Long-term impacts

The federal government’s fiscal response to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown has been unprecedented. 

The Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates to near zero, while pumping $1.5 trillion of fiat money in an attempt to prop up the economy. A “stimulus” bill to bail out affected industries and send money to households is being negotiated, and seems to grow by the day, with latest reports indicating it could top $2 trillion. With the federal government already $23 trillion in debt and running trillion-dollar deficits, most – if not all – of this stimulus spending will need to be funding by newly-printed fiat money.

By comparison, President Obama’s stimulus package to combat a global financial meltdown was estimated to be less than $900 billion. 

While households will no doubt welcome the financial relief of government checks, this level of new money printing will have dire effects. The new money may help temporarily prop up some industries, but it will ultimately wreak havoc on the economy and hurt low-income households the hardest.

With so much newly-created money sloshing around the economy, price inflation is sure to follow the current shutdown. Price increases will impact low-skilled, low-income workers and those on fixed incomes the hardest, as they will not be able to keep pace with the rising cost of living. More people will fall further behind, exacerbating the mental and physical health consequences mentioned above.

Finally, the mad money printing by the Fed will at best temporarily re-inflate the economic bubble. But it’s during the bubble that the seeds for the next recession are planted, and the current massive money printing will serve to deepen the next recession.

The deeper the next recession, the more deaths from suicide, anxiety and substance abuse there will be.

Conclusion

Bastiat’s warnings about the seen vs. the unseen continue to be ignored. The negative consequences of the government’s hysterical response to the coronavirus stretch far beyond a temporary economic disruption. Higher rates of suicide and substance abuse, anxiety-induced illnesses, and a deeper recession that worsens these public health issues will be among the steep price we pay. 

It may be time for more to question if the cure will be worse than the disease. 

 

Bradley Thomas is creator of the website Erasethestate.com and is a libertarian activist who enjoys researching and writing on the freedom philosophy and Austrian economics.

Follow him on twitter: Bradley Thomas @erasestate

 

This Martial Law Will End, and End Badly

This Martial Law Will End, and End Badly

First, let’s get the three principles for the post-COVID-19 world out there:

  1. If you think COVID-19 is fake, or not really scary, you don’t know science and are an ignorant person.
  2. If you post cavalierly about frolicking socially with your friends, you have no empathy for the elderly and other vulnerable populations and are a horrible person.
  3. If you think we only had two options to fight COVID-19 – “A. Destroy the economy, or B. Grandma dies.” – you are sheeple-level stupid, and the media programming has brainwashed you. There were options C, D, E and F.

Now that I’ve offended everyone on social media, let’s talk about that last principle, which also happens to be the one no one in the media or Washington wants you to talk about. Politicians and their media spokesliars call their policy “social distancing,” but that’s just the political marketing angle for an economic and social shutdown we’ve always called martial law. 

The other options could have included a two-stage isolation of the infected and separately isolating the vulnerable elderly and immuno-compromised populations. The latter self-isolate in their own communities in many cases anyway. For those that don’t already self-isolate, all those empty hotel rooms today could have provided sanctuary, or the federal government could have cleared out all those ICE detention centers and welcomed boomers into them. Today’s closed casinos – already famous for feting seniors – could also have become a refuge for the oxygen-tank-and-walker set. 

Moreover, Trump using his bully-pulpit to call for greater ICU capacity to accommodate COVID-19 cases would have been helpful. The pandemics of a century ago – polio, the Spanish flu, smallpox and cholera outbreaks – should have provided historical clues that increasing hospital capacity is key. The data thus far from Italy and China shows COVID-19 has taxed the capacities of hospitals, as the elderly and the younger with pre-existing conditions need hospitalization many multiples more frequently than the regular flu virus. 

The unfolding disaster of martial law

The plebes – to their credit – know intuitively the economic reality which dictates there is no bottom in a market economy based upon closing the markets. Thus, they knew they had better stock up on food, guns and other necessities. And it will be bad: Great Depression-level bad. Last week, Tyler Cowen of George Mason University rather off-handedly posited that if current policy is maintained until August, the result would be 20 percent unemployment – not for months – but for years. 

This false choice of “a new great depression or grandma and two million more dies” has already aged worse than a dead tuna on a hot summer day, so it shouldn’t be a surprise the Trump administration has already pulled lead on suppressing the dire jobs numbers. It will only stink more as time goes on. But that doesn’t mean people with a brain stem no more complex than a box jellyfish won’t defend the martial law status quo. I turned on Fox News the other night to hear that twit Sean Hannity agree with Sen. Lindsay Graham’s call for the federal government to – not end the closure of markets – but reimburse wages for people being prevented by federal and state mandates from producing the goods and services we all want.  Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump have embraced Andrew Yang’s UBI platitude. With what money, neither pair said. Nor did they have to; there isn’t any money in a federal government already running a $1 trillion deficit whose tax revenue income source is about to hit the far slope of K2. So much for “conservative” small government principles. All politicians and mass media corporate whores are Keynesians now.

Democrats never pretended to have small government principles, but Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders likewise opted to cynically lie to the American people in the most recent Democratic debate rather than tell inconvenient truths. Biden claimed of people who have lost income to the virus shutdown: “We can make them whole now, now, and put in process a system whereby they all are made whole.” Sanders also deployed nearly identical language: “We have got to say to the American people, if you lose your job, you will be made whole.” 

There are now two kinds of people in the world: 1. Those who believe the Democratic candidates for President, and 2. Adults. There’s no going back to the old economy or old jobs, and Biden and Sanders are both knowingly lying to you.

But the above at least confirms we will never have any relief from the politicians of either party in Washington or the establishment corporate media. 

If working Americans want an end to the looming great depression, they’ve got to rise up in a revolution and end it themselves. Expect the stock market to lose a minimum of 5-10% per week and the effective unemployment rate (the unemployed plus furloughed employees no longer receiving a check) to increase 2% per week until that revolution happens. Much of that effective unemployment – maybe even half – will be permanent once the shutdowns are lifted, as leveraged or marginal firms shutter after accumulated fixed costs and no revenue make re-openings impossible. 

The end of martial law will come, as the status quo becomes increasingly unbearable and a new Great Depression emerges. I’m convinced the workers will rise up, even if “social distancing” does make protests and riots more difficult. And the riots will come once the peaceful protests are inevitably ignored by Washington.

This end was known, or at least should have been obvious, owing to the likelihood that Trump had no clue. America is not just ruled by fascists; we are governed by dumb fascists. 

If Trump had possessed the stones, and even a whiff of economic sense, he would have called out Italian President Sergio Mattarella as a lunatic for ruining his country by putting the entire nation on lockdown. He would have quipped that Mattarella is really “Stupid Mussolini”: Mussolini made the trains run on time, but Mattarella is dedicated to making sure the trains don’t run. Trump could have then recommended the voluntary isolation of the elderly in the US, and encouraged the markets to provide spaces for sanctuary to seniors. Instead, America’s Mango Mussolini decided to show solidarity with the Eurocratic democratic socialists ruining their nations by aping their stupid fascist policy of economic suicide. 

This shutdown was probably the inevitable result of letting scientists set government policy: What else would one expect from a socially awkward group of pencil-necks with no knowledge of regular human social interaction, or, for that matter, economics? Of course scientists were going to suggest ruining society; these dweebs never understood human society in the first place. All that mattered was their “human social interaction” computer models about how the virus might spread. Scientists are like Bill Murray in the movie “Caddyshack,” blowing up the whole golf course in order to stop a gopher infestation. But it’s emblematic of any government by so-called “experts,” who will “solve” the problem but inevitably show shortcomings in areas in which they are not experts, creating greater overall misery.

Even Wall Street has also been slow on the uptake; it has certainly been behind the prols mobbing the grocery stores. If you happened to turn on CNBC, Bloomberg or any other financial network last week (or even yesterday), you were treated to the highly-paid and delusional chattering class telling us that the bottom is near. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jim Kramer. All they see are percentages and profit margins, and the directives of their corporate masters. But the plebes knew there is no bottom to a market when nobody is making things or providing services and everybody is still consuming them. The bottom won’t happen until the shutdowns end. 

If there’s a “sheeple,” it’s the media class. Sure, there were lots of people who stupidly accepted the incremental state-based martial law in reaction to the COVID-19 virus, and blindly repeated the political talking points. But most workers intuitively know that’s not true, even when they’re repeating those same talking points. It’s actually the people who are America’s greatest chance for ending the  madness. It’s time those workers lead, and demand an end to the charade and reopen the markets. The longer they wait, the greater the economic damage.

Workers of the world, unite … to reinstate capitalism!

 

Thomas R. Eddlem is a freelance writer, a graduate of Stonehill College, and is enrolled in the applied economics master’s program at Boston College. 

Turning the Handle on the Door They Can’t Breach

Turning the Handle on the Door They Can’t Breach

Space monkeys, art exhibits, Operation Latte Thunder – that was the plan anyways.  Nameless members of Project Mayhem set out to destroy a piece of art and a coffee bar.  It was all part of Tyler Durden’s plot to begin, as Caitlin Johnstone aptly puts it, “disintegrating patterns.”  Things were going as planned until a trigger-happy security guard shot a retreating “space monkey” in the head.  His name was Robert Paulson. Back then, that became the rallying cry for the remaining misfits hellbent on sewing discord in our personalized fishbowls as Fight Club climaxed.  Today, his name was Duncan Lemp.  The new name memorialized after the 21-year old became yet another shooting death in the police-pillaged countryside called The Land of the Free.  Lemp’s last tweet hangs eerily prescient, “the constitution is dead.”  Whatever the investigation bears out, freedom has yet again proven to be nothing more than décor for our fishbowl.

The Siege of Internet Freedom

For now, there remains a final bastion against the eroding waves of bureaucratic ink and jackboots.  The world wide web. On the internet, communication and information dissemination has altered the course of human society completely.  Every relevant inch of guard rail on the “superhighway” is encrypted, or functionally digitally impenetrable. That security is becoming increasingly undervalued as both user privacy demands and bad actors multiply.  Amid the collective fever-dream of the novel coronavirus, the Senate was furiously crafting the EARN IT Act to quietly begin removing the last safeguard to American internet privacy: end to end encryption (E2EE).  E2EE is the code that digitally obfuscates data being sent between two parties so that only they can view it, and has been a thorn in the side of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies for years.  Passage of the EARN IT Act would be the legislative equivalent to siege towers landing on the wall, allowing for an endless stream of lawmen to pore over your digital private life. 

The Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996.  Section 230 of which has served as the legal cornerstone for internet privacy, ensuring that website owners are not held legally liable for the content their users publish.  In 2018, President Trump signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) into law, making sites liable if their platform facilitated trafficking, even unwittingly.  This forced sites to make drastic adjustments to ensure compliance, most notably seeing Craigslist remove its Personals section and Backpage being shut down just before passage.  This had the unintended consequence of forcing sex workers offline and back to the streets, unprotected from the rampant violence they often endure.  FOSTA met significant resistance from tech and privacy advocates, but a “watershed” testimony secured its passage, surprising the bill’s opponents per Protocol

The EARN IT Act is the brain-trust alternative to issue-based Section 230 carve outs, mandating a compliance checklist for online companies regarding children.  A newly minted 19-member National Commission on Online Sexual Exploitation Prevention would create a list of “best-practices” co-signed by Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission.  This list would be made available so, “providers of interactive computer services may choose to implement,” them, or lose Section 230 immunity for their users content. The scope includes anything from comment sections to private messaging, meaning companies like Facebook would be forced to monitor otherwise E2EE protected data.  In other words, tech will be forced to forge the “back door” the feds have long waited for or be hauled into court.  

Children as Human Shields

Child sex crimes facilitated or committed online aren’t trivial – which is precisely why we shouldn’t want Lindsey Graham and Joe Biden sniffing around.  As we well know, government has a history of fostering unintended consequences, or achieving precisely the opposite of their stated goals.  We shouldn’t expect anything different with child sex trafficking regulations for online businesses.

The fight to undo encryption isn’t a new one.  When the phone data of Rizwan Farook – the San Bernadino gunman who killed 14 – couldn’t be accessed by the FBI, they asked Apple to assist in unlocking it.  Apple CEO Tim Cook refused, sparking public debate and a federal lawsuit before the FBI eventually dropped the case; they found a shadowy third-party who could open it.  Cook’s argument for E2EE, it turns out, was evergreen, “Our smartphones are loaded with our intimate conversations, our financial data, our health records. They’re also loaded with the location of our kids in many cases. It’s not just about privacy, it’s also about public safety,” Cook said. “No one would want a master key built that would turn hundreds of millions of locks … that key could be stolen.”  What Tim fails to realize – or perhaps wisely omits – is that the most dangerous hands for such a key to fall into belong to our very own government. The EARN IT Act will necessarily does just that, as co-sponsor Lindsey Graham has said, “Facebook is talking about end-to-end encryption which means they go blind,” Sen Graham said, later adding, “We’re not going to go blind and let this abuse go forward in the name of any other freedom.”  The master key would never be palatable without a chorus of weeping eyes, and no shield from criticism has been more tried and true than victimized children

More “Actionable Intel” Means More Violent Action

From embarrassing revelations of “LOVEINT” where NSA contractors were using systems to spy on lovers to the Snowden revelations that saw forgetful intelligence director James Clapper committing perjury before Congress, the public track record of abuse and dishonesty is terrifying.  With transparency only brought to the surface by leaks and painstaking probes, how deep does the rabbit hole go? Without whistleblowers like Snowden, the American public would still be completely in the dark on intelligence secretly shedding light on our private lives.  Any law that even potentially expands their reach should be roundly rejected. 

American policing is a critical lesson in metastasizing practices and power.  SWAT use has increased 15,000% since the late seventies to now, with 80% of the 50,000 annual raids being warrant executions like the one that killed Duncan Lemp.  The transformation of state and local police into soldiers stems, in part, to the distribution of surplus military gear from the global war on terror, allowing for images of “kitted-up” cops patrolling streets and raiding houses that look plucked straight from Fallujah c. 2004.  As local police agencies continue accessing technology spun out of federal research labs, like drones and social-media geolocating, there’s no doubt that weakened encryption will inflate frontline police capabilities and targets. 

Mission Creep to a Home Near You

As the master key dangles before Congress and their army of spies, American’s are faced with a choice.  They can continue to watch with eyes glazed over as an unrestrained militarized bureaucracy turns the handle to the last unbreachable door, or they can “ride out and meet them.”  The war outside our encryption refuge will rage on no matter the outcome of EARN IT.  Lemp was right, “the constitution is dead,” and has been a long time.  His death is the consequence of a perpetually growing state codified by a legal system equipped to make criminals of us all.  Losing the protection of encryption spells the definitive end to privacy and the age of thinkpol.  Tomorrow, our time in quarantine can be used to dream up paths to victory in this intellectual war.  Today, the EARN IT Act must be defeated, and legislative attempts on encryption along with it.  

 

Police Stole $225K in Cash and Coins, and the Court Said “Okay”

Police Stole $225K in Cash and Coins, and the Court Said “Okay”

Arlington, Va.—Seven years ago, police officers in Fresno, California, executed search warrants on the homes and business of Micah Jessop and Brittan Ashjian, who owned a business operating and servicing ATMs. Police were investigating a report of illegal gambling. Although neither was ever charged with a crime, police seized nearly $275,000 in rare coins the men owned and cash they used to restock their business’ ATMs. When the investigation was over, police said they’d seized only approximately $50,000 in cash; they kept the remaining cash and the coins for themselves.

Most Americans would say this was a clear-cut case of theft, but when Jessop and Ashjian sued the police, the federal courts threw out their case, citing a controversial legal doctrine called “qualified immunity.” Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear their case, and the Institute for Justice (IJ), as part of its recently launched Project on Immunity and Accountability, has filed an amicus brief urging the Court to take up the case and put an end to this dangerous doctrine once and for all.

“No one should be above the law, least of all those who are supposed to be enforcing it,” said IJ attorney Patrick Jaicomo. “And yet, according to the federal courts, police officers who steal money from people cannot be held accountable because the courts have never ruled that it is unconstitutional for the police to steal from someone. No one really believes that theft is a reasonable seizure permitted by the Constitution. The Ninth Circuit’s decision shows how absurd qualified immunity has become.”

After the search, Jessop and Ashjian filed a lawsuit, claiming that government theft violates the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures. But both the trial court and the Ninth Circuit held that they did not need to address the issue because—even if the theft was a constitutional violation—the officers were immune under the qualified immunity doctrine.

Qualified immunity traces back to 1982, when the U.S. Supreme Court announced a rule that government officials would be liable only if their specific actions had already been held unconstitutional in an earlier court case. They called the new rule “qualified immunity.” The Court’s decision was a drastic departure from the historical standards of government accountability. At the founding and throughout the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, courts simply decided whether a government official’s actions were unlawful and, if they were, ordered a remedy. It was up to the other branches of government to decide whether the official should be reimbursed (if he had acted justifiably) or not (if he had acted in bad faith).

Unfortunately, Jessop and Ashjian’s case is not an outlier. It is the result of forty years’ worth of Supreme Court decisions that make it effectively impossible to hold government officials accountable, even when they intentionally break the law. The courts are so concerned with protecting the government that they are willing to shield even those officers who act in bad faith.

“It’s time for the Supreme Court to end the failed experiment of qualified immunity,” said IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell. “The fundamental purpose of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is to protect Americans from government abuses. But thanks to qualified immunity, police can literally come into your home and steal from you, and the courts will shield them from liability. In the brief we filed today, IJ is urging the Court to reconsider the entire doctrine of qualified immunity and revoke the license to lawless conduct it provides.”

The Institute for Justice’s Project on Immunity and Accountability is devoted to the simple idea that government officials are not above the law; if citizens must follow the law, the government must follow the Constitution. In addition to filing amicus briefs, like this one, IJ has also filed three petitions with the Supreme Court on behalf of Americans whose rights were violated by police but were barred from seeking redress due to governmental immunity. Those cases are all pending with the Court.

Reprinted from The Institute For Justice.

 

The Money-Printing Gods Have Failed

The Money-Printing Gods Have Failed

Hooray!

Finally even the robo-machines and day traders are puking, not BTFDing. Today’s 3,000 Dow Point Dump says even they have had enough of the craven dolts who occupy the Eccles Building.

You do not need a PhD in economics—or even a night school survey course—to see that COVID-19 is temporary supply side shock which 0.05% money market rates are powerless to combat.

Likewise, you don’t need to be a finance wizard to see that with 10-year USTs at 0.78% and 30-year mortgages at their lowest level in history more QE is a sick joke. Adding another $700 billion of government and GSE debt to the Fed’s already hideously bloated balance sheet can’t possibly drive interest rates meaningfully lower, even if rates were a barrier to activity, which they are not.

In fact, the new barrage of QE5 is nothing more than a blatant financial fraud authorized by the official criminals domiciled in the Eccles Building. Today, and for years in the past, the FOMC has been scurrying about in the dealer markets swapping counterfeit credits plucked from thin air for Treasury and GSE bonds that funded the consumption of real economic resources such as government salaries, purchases and private housing construction.

The traditional argument for central banking, of course, was that a little bit of financial fraud (3% per year balance sheet expansion per Uncle Milton Friedman, for example) could help lubricate the banking system and nudge GDP to steadier performance over time.

But what we have now is epic-scale counterfeiting. That is, upwards of $5 trillion of fiat money liabilities at the Fed and $25 trillion at all the world’s central banks, compared to just $500 billion and $2 trillion, respectively, at the turn of the century; and the latter of which had taken decades, and in some cases, centuries to accumulate.

Moreover, on top of everything else in the last several days, these madmen announced in late morning today a new $500 billion O/N repo to be offered two hours later. Just like that—up to one half-trillion dollars of Fake Credit was to emanate from the Fed’s “buy” key during lunch hour!

Fortunately, only $19 billion got taken down, proving these economic morons and arsonists have absolutely not idea what they are doing.

So not knowing, however, they have succeeded in turning the entire financial system into a cesspool of false prices and destructive gambling rackets, thereby stripping

capitalism of the honest money and capital markets its needs to function and thrive. What lies ahead, therefore, is a no man’s land of statist economic and capital demolition.

Needless to say, you don’t need to be a cynic to understand why the Eccles Building launched this limp baby bazooka last night. The Federal Reserve now, and for many years past, has been the abject handmaid of the Wall Street gamblers, bullies and crybabies.

The Fed heads are deathly afraid of honest stock market prices (i.e. a crash) because they know it will make a mockery of their risible claims that the US economy is in a “good place” or that the consumer is “strong” and that they have delivered the hallowed state of Keynesian full employment, world without end.

In truth, decades of Keynesian central banking have sucked the lifeblood out of main street prosperity, stability and resilience. It has destroyed savers; addicted households to debt-based hand-to-mouth living; eviscerated the purchasing power of wages via its 2.00% inflation obsession; and turned the C-suites of corporate America into stock trading rooms and financial engineering joints in the service of Wall Street speculators, not the construction of resilient, value-creating enterprises.

But now the mask of self-serving rhetoric is being ripped-off the Fed’s (and Wall Street’s) phony narrative about the alleged strength of the main street economy— especially the purported Energizer Bunny of household consumption.

After all, just consider the implications of Nancy Pelosi’s Friday Night Abomination—a mass scale soup line of Washington-ordered handouts that is every bit as insidious as the TARP bailout of September 2008.

That is, anyone on Wall Street back then who was illiquid, deserved to be liquidated; and anyone on main street today who has not had enough common sense to put aside at least two weeks of rainy day funds—which is the amount of sick leave Nancy ordered businesses to pay— might profit from spending 14 days begging, borrowing and scrounging for canned soup.

So let’s be very clear. This isn’t about humanitarian necessity or safety net minimums. There are upwards of 110 million American now receiving welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing etc. and not a dime of it that aid—deserved or not—is imperiled by COVID-19.

For crying out loud, Pelosi’s mandated sick pay covers just 80 hours of work for the minority of American workers who are employed by firms with less than 500 employees and (apparently after the allowed DOL waivers) more than 50.

So consider the median wage earner, who doesn’t work for a Small Business (< 50 workers) or a Big Business (> 500 workers), but got their economic porridge just right, thereby qualifying for Nancy’s bequest.

According to the Social Security Administration, there were 167 million US persons who generated a payroll tax record in the most recent year (2018). Among them, there were 9.29 million workers right around the median wage who generated $330 billion of gross pay or an average of $32,450 each.

That is to say, two weeks’ pay amounted to the grand sum of $1,250. Yet these cats down in the Imperial City insist these workers positively can’t get by for even 14 days by drawing down savings, belt-tightening and selling some excess junk on e-Bay if they get the COVID-19 or the quarantine, as the case may be.

We doubt whether that’s strictly accurate, but are quite sure that Federally mandating employers to provide sick leave—and then paying for it on the other side with a tax credit handout— is just another fatal step down the slippery slope of socialization of economic life that will eventually bankrupt the US Treasury.

The fact is, the entire Keynesian policy regime of the present era encourages households, businesses and governments alike to borrow to the hilt and spend every dollar of income in hand-to-mouth fashion. It has therefore left all economic sectors vulnerable, fragile and, in the metaphor of the day, defenseless against even the short-term dislocations generating by public health measures to contain a strain of flu which is highly contagious but not even remotely a Black Plague scale phenomena.

Indeed, the chart below puts the lie to the “strong” consumer canard. The second set of bars covers households right in the middle of the wage distribution cited above, with annual incomes between $25,000 and $45,000.

At each income interval the bars cover households which actually have savings accounts according to the most recent survey of the Federal Reserve, meaning that even the dark green bars representing median amounts significantly over-state the case.

Accordingly, at best the median wage earning household has cash savings of just $1,400. Yet that is not evidence that households are inherently irresponsible spendthrifts; it’s merely the consequence of central banking policies that positively punish savers and encourage them to shop until they drop.

The evidence for the Fed’s role in leaving large swaths of the working population naked in the face of even a modest interruption of paychecks is dispositive. As shown in the chart below, there have been only 9 months since the eve of the financial crisis in early 2008 during which liquid savings generated a return that even matched the inflation rate.

As it happened, during most of that 12-year period, the liquid savings rate as represented by the 90-day T-bill (purple line) earned well less than 1.0% when the inflation rate was consistently 2.00% or higher.

Moreover, after the brief interlude in 2019 when the T-bill yield crossed above the inflation rate, the positive yield wasn’t even a rounding error, albeit enough for the crybabies of Wall Street and the ignoramus in the Oval Office, respectively, to come down on the Fed with a ton of bricks for daring to raise rates too much, too fast.

Needless to say, these monetary cranks have now gotten their way. Today the 90-day T- bill posted at a ridiculously low yield of just 0.23% at a time when the running core inflation rate (CPI less food and energy) most recently clocked in at 2.37% ( February).

So the real yield on liquid savings is negative -2.14%.

Is it any wonder that households have no savings?

Is it any surprise that the Republican sheeples of the beltway just rolled-over Friday night and voted through the Dems’ latest plank on Bernie’s highway to social democracy?

The fact is, the free market would be more than capable of handling a temporary disruption of the supply side—even in the form of the kind of shutdown hysteria that is now issuing from any and all Federal, state or local officials who can manage to grab and open mike, as we will outline in Part 2. In the meanwhile, Gary Kaltbaum gets the last word:

He’s printing money to buy bonds but bonds are already yielding under 1% on the 10 year and around 1.5% on the 30 year. Mortgage rates are not coming down much more. Loan rates are not coming down much more. But again, Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob are screwed because there goes any return on riskless income investments. You already know what we think of these people. We have highlighted them time and time again. They have done nothing more than distort price and yield, screwed savers, bubbled up asset prices, enabled massive leverage and massive debt and deficits but let’s keep depending on them. What’s next? You deposit money and also have to give them the toaster? Does this compare to 1987? To our eyes, it is worse. In 87,

 

Reprinted from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

The Mystery Deepens Over The Pre-Dawn Police Killing Of Duncan Lemp

The Mystery Deepens Over The Pre-Dawn Police Killing Of Duncan Lemp

Five days after shooting 21-year-old Duncan Lemp in a predawn raid, the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department announced Tuesday that the killing was immaculate. 

Under pressure by media criticism, the police department issued a detailed statement this afternoon purportedly exonerating itself. But that statement—the third revision of their official account of the fatal raid—is contradicted by multiple eyewitnesses.

Police now say that the raid was spurred by “an anonymous tip at the beginning of the year, indicating that Lemp was in possession of firearms.” A response from the Lemp family, delivered by their lawyer, Rene Sandler, noted, “Using a three-month old ‘anonymous’ tip, the police sought and obtained a no-knock search warrant on March 11, 2020 at 2:38 p.m.” 

The police department states that the warrant “was served in the early morning hours, consistent with Montgomery County Department of Police practice.” So an anonymous tip is all it takes for a SWAT team to launch violent predawn assaults on Montgomery County homes? The press statement declared, “The officers entering the residence announced themselves as police and that they were serving a search warrant.” Why did they obtain a no-knock warrant if they intended to enter the residence and announce themselves?  

Read the entire article at The American Conservative.

Direct Payments From Government is Not the Way to Stimulate the Economy

Direct Payments From Government is Not the Way to Stimulate the Economy

The latest in the Federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is President Trump’s announcement of a “stimulus package” estimated between $850 billion to $1 trillion. The plan reportedly includes $50 to $100 billion bailouts to the airline industry, $200 to $300 billion in small business assistance, and at least half a trillion in “direct payments or tax cuts.” 

On that last option, it is further reported that potentially $250 billion would go toward direct payments to citizens, a form of a “rebate check” of sorts. As cnbc.com reported, “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier Tuesday that the administration wants to get emergency funds in Americans’ pockets ‘immediately.’” Mnuchin added “Americans need cash now. I mean now in the next two weeks.”

There were few details yet available for Trump’s proposal, and it would still need to be negotiated in Congress.  One idea picking up steam, supported by Sen. Mitt Romney and others, is to send every American adult a check for $1,000.

Naturally, that would provide welcome and needed financial relief during very stressful times, and returning stolen money to the people it was stolen from is a good thing. 

The notion, however, that the government sending money to people will somehow “stimulate” the economy in this, or any other crisis, is wrongheaded.

We do have some fairly recent precedent for this, specifically the 2008 George W. Bush tax rebates of up to $300 in 2008 at the onset of the Great Recession. As Sheldon Richman wrote at the time, however, “Those checks transferred money from the capital markets to consumers, distorting economic decisions and doing nothing to improve the incentives for wealth creation.”

Applying basic economics to today, mailing government checks will be equally impotent in terms of economic stimulus, if not more so. 

For starters, the shock to the economic system is coming from the supply side. Putting government checks into the hands of consumers will do nothing to address the significant hit to production caused by closed factories and companies suffering from high worker absences due to workers staying home.

To the extent that people will spend part of their government check, there will be more money chasing fewer goods and services, the result will be price inflation. 

And that artificial price inflation will interfere with the market’s price system that sends important signals to both producers and input suppliers. Increasingly scarce resources should be allowed to flow to those items that are genuinely in highest demand, not propped up by government checks.

Moreover, as Richman alluded to, is the fact that these government checks aren’t manna from heaven. The money must come from somewhere, be it taxes, borrowing or new money printing.

With the federal government running trillion dollar deficits, the rebate checks will need to come from borrowed funds, and the Federal Reserve stands at the ready to monetize this new debt. But the creation of more fiat dollars does not magically put self-quarantining workers back to work. 

Instead, it just further erodes the purchasing power of the very same dollars the government will be sending you in the mail. And with more money being diverted into consumers’ hands, there is less money in the capital markets for struggling businesses to borrow to help make payroll and otherwise weather the current storm. As Richman noted, “If the government increases some people’s ability to spend by decreasing other people’s ability to spend, where’s the stimulus?”

Naturally, rising prices will impact low-income, low-skilled people the hardest, because they are least equipped to see their wages rise along with the cost of living. 

The government’s policy to mail out checks will not only not stimulate the economy, but in the end may make workers worse off.


Bradley Thomas is creator of the website Erasethestate.com and is a libertarian activist who enjoys researching and writing on the freedom philosophy and Austrian economics.

Follow him on twitter: Bradley Thomas @erasestate

SCARE!

SCARE!

It has arrived, a pandemic. It swept the world, we watched, laughed and ignored it. Memes were made, media excitedly reported and millions speculated. It was fun to tinker inside of our minds what we would do should the zombie hoards arrive. We had seen the movies, but more honestly we had witnessed it on a smaller scale, with Black Friday sales or in localized settings during a storm or a hurricane. Now slowly but surely it is upon us and we have more of what was before.  All you can do in the end is be scared. 

Those with the mandate to protect us and inform lost our trust long ago. But what alternatives do we now have? For many of us we have a monolithic public health system that was already at capacity in the before. No matter how much funding, it would never be enough. The entity is swollen, incoherent and inefficient but most of all it is centralized. None of which work at the best of times, in a crisis it is guaranteed to fail. But all of us no matter how independent we think, are ultimately dependents. 

The media, those corporate, state run and alternative, all meander with truths and sometimes facts. They entertain and seek a social media credit or advertiser friendly output that tends to lose the directness that is often needed. The memes are often deceptive and just for the LOLs or to shock. The censors and social media reviewers mince whatever information comes through and then celebrities and ‘influencers’ are sought as though fame is a verification of enlightenment. The favorite podcaster is suddenly an authority, any voice will do so long as it sounds calm, informed and reasonable. Those official and in authority, they have broken that trust far too many times that even their most ardent supporters and dependents grow weary.

The conspiracy theories and more government controllers all unite in their own self affirmations. They were right all along, they declare. The numbers all coincide, Dean Koontz predicted it, Bill Gates will profit from it, the cabal of Zionist, reptilian, Satanist, central banking, big pharma, etc. all manufactured this simply to (insert reason here). Meanwhile individuals are lost beneath the fog of theories. Those yearning to rule boast that if only they had more control then they would have prevented it, if only they or people like them controlled us all, then none of this would happen. Yet it did and will continue to happen.

Social Media, a mere medium of innocent utility, is now locked in a tug of war between the benevolent availability of direct communication between distant strangers and familiars, a source of immediate information from across the globe and even outer space. Against the menacing idiocy of viral trends, memers of flamboyant idiocracy and self-directed bias ensuring a self-directed algorithm of ignorance. Toilet paper is now a desperate commodity, the run on the banks of the Great Depression is now a run on another disposable paper.

What will the outcome be? It is safe to say that most of us will suffer the COVID-19 virus, how it harms our health will likely be determined by our circumstances. Many who have neglected and lavishly destroyed their health over the years are suddenly concerned with it, and many who have invested great energy in maintaining it may not find medical treatment anytime soon. Human bodies will no doubt survive long after the collective sanity does.

How will the economic rebound take shape? The moment is one of historical interest. To be studied and scoffed generations from now, with hindsight experts will declare an omnipotent answer but here in the moment everyone is self-absorbed and lost in the momentum. Like a piece of snow in the avalanche, individual destiny lost to the chaos as it gains inertia and the inevitable crash. The partisanship of politics ensures that the cure is around the corner next time should you vote in their favor, the left and right idiocy of rule proclaims that they are the answer to it all. In the end, regardless here we are. Perhaps helpless, maybe frightened. Things that do not feed the virus but the infection of tyranny. 

Businesses, individuals of independent means and traders will suffer. While those on pensions, in government will find the incoming stream of fiat, a stimulus will be injected again with the menace of inflation only to prop up the larger businesses who can then pay their employees to take long periods of time away. The self-employed, already drained from the parasites of regulatory toxicity cannot take a hit of such proportion. The slowdown will be murderous for them. But it is likely already too late. But how deep will this go? It will be then with resilience and endurance that those independent individuals will thrive and survive, the entitled will need to adapt or get out of the way. 

The monstrosity of hospitals, mega structures of public health which were already over daunted before the pandemic will become places of further infection. The elites in their field of health will be concentrated in one stew of sickness. What if this virus mutates and becomes worse? What if it is devastating in its re-infection? Events and festivals are to be shut down, schools and universities soon to follow suit. How will the police go about their day-to-day, will revenue raising still be a priority or will it give way to looming uncertainty. 

The massive public health system of ideological righteousness that has been imposed on most nations can barely survive the normal times. Its waste and bureaucratic sludge is a menace to those who truly do want to offer care and treatment to the sick and desperate. Cost is never as important as efficiency. Having such a centralized monstrosity has never been efficient and as the pandemic arises, it will only compound the situation. Should a vaccine be discovered, how effective will it be? Will it play well with the other medications and vaccinations that are already being handed out for the ‘normal’ sicknesses. 

There is already a wariness of vaccine fatigue from within the community. Whether they work or not the long-term effects are not truly known, furthermore not all vaccines are the same. With the cocktail of chemicals already being ingested and injected by most people what are the widespread effects over time on the individual and the future generations? Will individuals be forced to take the vaccine? Whether it is effective or not, has been trialed sufficiently or is being pushed through out of desperation. Already among the more wary there exists an absolute anti-vaccine cabal of zealots, then those who are as just as ardent in their favor. Any in between that look at each with consideration and honest enquiry become lost to the screaming blowhards of both extremes. How much will this influence the treatment in the long run?

China the world’s manufacturer is no longer producing many of the goods that many decried, suddenly the excessive wages, benefits and regulations that killed domestic industry are starving nations. Instead of having a dynamic private sector nations find that the lumbering public sector continues to swell and impose, but the shelves grow empty and the economy shrinks. The offices full of bureaucrats will soon be empty as they are sent home so those truly needed will keep the world going. 

Perhaps in time when the death toll rises, corruption emerges, and extreme measures are sought then those who dare to report on it will suffer the censors wrath. It is after all an international crisis; the truth and facts can be damned in such a situation. Despite the rhetoric of a free press, something that federal police raids on journalists in Australia and the continued mistreatment in custody of Julian Assange have shown us to not really matter in the end. The wars, that sacred ritual of government, will likely continue and in the time of such a desperate crisis the true reporting on them will be lost to the fear mongering of pandemic and greater dependence in the powers that be.

Despite this being a worldwide crisis, the wars go on. With as much lust for murder as the serial killer in a plague the military seeks the blood of the innocent and their enemies with constant enthusiasm. The embargoes on Iran and Yemen will continue. While those in the West waffle on about toilet paper, the already desperate seek clean water and salt. The pressure from the most powerful empire on this planet is not relaxed as the people at the bottom continue to suffer, from foreign bombs and aggression to the domestic tyrants of the homegrown variety. 

Be scared, but don’t be. Trust the authorities but be self-sufficient. Socially isolate but still go to work and school in some situations. Work from home if you can, yet the question beckons in the Global Warming climate why were people not doing that in the first place? Why were offices and city businesses necessary in the first place if the technology already was in place for people to operate from home? Why did activists and political masters not simply Skype conference instead of jet set and enjoy the luxuries of exquisite hotels and restaurants. The new normal is uncertainty and hopefully in months from now it will be a phase as perplexing as the fidget spinner and concerns over Pokémon Go.

It is easy to be pro-liberty in the light of day with sun on our faces but inside the dark cold of uncertainty that deceptive, deadly, incompetent and ever restrictive government becomes a seductive glow of reason. It is a temptation that cowards of principle approach because inside of the scare they cannot imagine a freer alternative to the calamity and crisis. The calculations of the central planners become more coherent than the infinite possibilities of anarchy. It is with the democratic carnage of the mob that the avalanche swallows us all because the voices of individual reason and champions of liberty become silenced, infected at times by the virus of fear. The cure for COVID-19 is unknown currently but the anecdote to the pandemic of human idiocy and destruction is liberty. The monolith that inhibits, prohibits and constricts us all is not only getting in our way but its own self. Central monstrosities are dangerous, their necessity are based on ideology and belief but worst of all the need for jobs, more of their jobs and economy of excessive waste. Less is sometimes best, less of the monster, less constrictions. But always more freedom. 

Could the Coronavirus Be Fatal for the EU?

Could the Coronavirus Be Fatal for the EU?

Since the EU’s debt crisis over Greece in 2009 and the subsequent problems with Italy, Spain, and Portugal, eurozone banks have dedicated their balance sheets to financing government deficits. At a cost to the commercial banks’ own cash flows, negative deposit rates at the ECB have ensured that no material losses have arisen from holding short-term government bonds on their balance sheets. And the only other beneficiaries have been the large corporations which through bond issues have managed to lock in zero or even negative interest rates on their debt.

Officially, this has not been the reason behind the ECB’s monetary policies. The stated objective has been to kick-start the EU’s nonfinancial, nongovernment sector into economic growth, a policy that has not succeeded and has merely increased unproductive debt at the expense of predominantly German savers. But the problem ahead will now be the ECB’s ability to sustain the government bond bubble.

The coronavirus will make this more or less impossible, because productive output in the real economy is now collapsing. The implications for government borrowing are extremely worrying. All those debt problems of eleven years ago will resurface. This time Greece’s debt-to-GDP starts at over 180 percent, compared with 146 percent in 2010; Italy at 135 percent (115 percent); Spain at 95 percent (60 percent); Portugal 122 percent (96 percent); and France 98 percent (85 percent). And that’s what is on balance sheets. The situation is simply unsustainable given the combination of a new systemic crisis and likely shutdowns due to coronavirus.

Not only will banks face a rapid escalation of nonperforming loans and payment failures, but the bland assumption that the Eurosystem with its TARGET2 imbalances guarantees that the debt rating for Italy or Greece is similar to that of Germany is sure to be challenged. That being the case, not only the commercial banks but the ECB itself will have to contend with substantial losses on their bond holdings from widening spreads.

Nor is the eurozone immune to developments elsewhere. US Treasurys are wildly overpriced when a realistic rate of price inflation is taken into account instead of the goal-sought 2 percent approximation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). With foreigners and the hedge funds liquidating dollar exposure as the Fed begins to lose its grip on the US’s financial markets, US Treasury bond prices are set for a significant derating and eurozone bond markets are sure to be adversely affected.

The scale of banking difficulties already in the pipeline but catalysed by the coronavirus are immense. There are bound to be squabbles over whether to bail in, as the law now requires, or to bail out. The possibility of bail-ins is bound to scare bank bondholders into selling out of all bank-issued bonds and preference shares, spreading a systemic crisis more effectively than traditional bailouts, which protect bondholders, ever could.

Whichever way you analyse these dynamics, the eurozone’s bond bubble with its negative yields has almost no further upside and like Icarus is bound to crash, taking not only the Eurosystem and the TARGET2 settlement system with it, but the currency as well.

The Demise of the EU

The euro is not the only currency whose future is tied to financial asset bubbles. For a brief period, the euro should rally against the dollar, if only because foreigners and speculators are up to their necks in dollars and short of euros, positions that will be reversed as the fx (foreign currency) swap market implodes. It will be after that imbalance has worked its way out that the euro will be in freefall against sound money, which is gold, and to everyone’s surprise its purchasing power, measured in basics, such as food, energy, and commodities, will begin to slide.

For now, the Brussels machine is ploughing on regardless. As the nation-states take the brunt of their economic collapses on the chin, they will begin to realise that the EU superstate is little more than an obstructive and costly irrelevance. Brexit will increasingly be seen as the precedent for others to leave the sinking ship.

One needs to have little sympathy with the spendthrift member states, whose finances will irretrievably collapse. The former members of the Soviet Union which are now EU members will have lost their subsidies and will observe comparative monetary stability in a gold-centric, resource-rich Russia and conclude that for them it has been out of the frying pan and into the fire. But the greatest disappointment will be in Germany, suffering her third currency wipeout in a hundred years.

It is very likely that Germany will seek to restore its own currency, utilising her gold reserves in some way. Doubtless she will attempt to reclaim the gold she reallocated to a failed ECB, but none of it is located in Frankfurt. Even without it, she has sufficient gold reserves at home in Frankfurt to turn a future mark into a proper gold substitute. And importantly, there are a few old-school operators at the Bundesbank who understand the importance of an enduring monetary reset.

That will be primarily for Germany, but some other EU member states in the north that have reasonable fiscal control could join them, establishing a new Hanseatic League based on sound money. But it cannot happen while they remain members of a failed European project.

Reprinted from The Mises Institute.

Corona Crow is a Feast Fit for Kings

Corona Crow is a Feast Fit for Kings

Sympathy and hope for “fear and loathing” in these uncertain days

If only the chemically constricted pupils of Hunter S. Thompson could see us now.  I wonder if he’d look up from his gourmet-plated cocaine and through the smokescreen of cigarettes and imperceptible acid inputs to tell us to keep our fingers out of our mouths.  At least then we’d have some comic relief served alongside this never-ending buffet of uninformed opinions, conspiracy mongers, and fear jockeys endlessly feeding us during the coronavirus outbreak. 

With 2019-nCoV spreading globally, our newsfeeds serve as something like a cross-section of American’s gut reaction to the outbreak.  Accounts range from paralytic fear to complete apathy, multinational-elite conspiracy to deep-state biological war against Donald Trump.  American’s response to the coronavirus has been the accidental analog to the government purportedly representing them; clunky, devoid of nuance, unqualified and skeptical.

I’m not, by any means, a subject matter expert on dangerous pathogens or medicine.  I am, however, a second-year emergency nurse who spent the six years before nursing working full-time on an ambulance.  That experience has given me profound insight into how people react to stress, how people interface with medicine, and most of all, how staggeringly weak health literacy is among the general public.  But it’s the social media age, with its cornerstone feature being an easy-to-use drop box imploring you to tell the world, “what’s on your mind?” It shouldn’t be any wonder we have a wellspring of meme-takes feigning a kernel of truth.  

Are We There Yet?

A common thread among so many consuming the constant breaking news headlines seems to be akin to impatient kids eager for their porch light after a long road trip whining, “are we there yet?”  Whether generally fatigued by the excitement of all of this, or completely skeptical of the “official narrative” streaming endlessly, it seems just about everyone is ready to get back to business as usual.  As if media-alchemists that can turn any lowly molehill into mountains for our viewing pleasure is going to stop covering the first global coronavirus pandemic. Any overzealousness for a return to regularly scheduled monotony needs to take a breather (preferably through the elbow).

One of the major question marks still lurking over this situation is how transmissible the coronavirus is when infected people have no symptoms.  This fact overlaid onto a globe made smaller than ever by travel and commerce is reason enough to pause. If people are unwittingly transmitting this virus, it will be even harder to contain.  Even if that’s not the case, our recent nCoV is still projecting to infect millions in the US based on its documented behavior so far. Unlike a typical flu season, nCoV-19 isn’t going to take the warmer months off, meaning measures to suspend public gatherings like sports and Broadway, or state-wide school cancellations and work reprieves are not going to stop the spread of disease, but will put the brakes on a little.  Slowing the spread and “flattening the curve” will soften the ultimate projections, per the CDC and independent researchers, but the world appears poised for long-suffering nonetheless.  So, for those among you who can’t hit “share” fast enough when side-by-side comparisons of influenza (now at the tail end of its season) and the coronavirus (likely just beginning to gain global traction) show that flu afflicted more people and didn’t cause a stir, take solace in knowing you won’t be dining alone this evening.

In the meantime, scoffing at the only bull market left in Charmin and Quilted Northern is low-hanging fruit.  My readers are above that, but their friends list certainly isn’t. If reports for Connecticut wintery-mixes leave grocers picked clean, “pandemic” seems at least worthy of extra toilet paper for the prudent.  After all, with the kids stuck home eating tv-dinners through their gas masks, demand is surely to rise.

Corona Crow

I’m taking for granted there’s enough of a coronavirus common knowledge at this point that a review of “social distancing” and droplet precautions isn’t necessary.  There are so many disheveled assertions, predictions, and Q-breathed theories built on that collective foundation, though, I’m seeing stars.  Let’s review a nightmarish distillation of my newsfeed:

  • COVID-19 was done or is being used to crash the economy or impeach Trump.”
  • COVID-19 was done to force globalization protestors from the streets.”
  • COVID-19 was done to dramatically expand federal, state, and local powers to implement an endless totalitarian police state.”
  • COVID-19 was made to drive depopulation while simultaneously furthering the plot to, “evolve the human race to interface with the Deep State’s advancing information technologies utilizing 5G and the Cloud, and the Silicon Valley’s most promising “PROMIS”-like software, for optimal permanent control over civilization.” Jeff Epstein and Bill Gates are bankrolling it.
  • COVID-19 was funded by Bill Gates with the express purpose of infecting the population, thus making them reliant on a vaccine he’s already discovered.” 

The list, unfortunately, goes on.  

I’ve come to think of conspiracy theorists like internet chihuahuas.  They bark at everything, and on the off chance they’re right, it’s nice they were there to alerted us.  But we’re so used to hearing them yelp incessantly at everything that moves, that anything genuinely noteworthy doesn’t get our attention.  Conspiracies often grow from founding myths that aren’t falsifiable, like the existence of a global superrich cabal of string-pullers. When major narratives like coronavirus develop, they can be neatly fit into these elastic stories seamlessly, because the scaffolding doesn’t exist apart from them.  

Whether it’s a hoax or not, downplaying the coronavirus potential is dangerous.  Much like the hopelessness that drove Thompson to snort and slosh is way through life, there’s an underlying uniformity emerging in the response to COVID-19: you’re being swindled.  From the web chihuahuas to the upper crust eye-rollers, so many among us aren’t buying what they perceive is being sold. In the age of the internet, with truth like an elusive object that must be unearthed at the end of a harrowing epic, information consumers have self-segregated towards their own personally tailored outrage caves for treasure.  Just as in fantasy, dragons are always just around the corner, and worse than the town crier could have imagined. Every meme can be the crumb that leads you along the path to ambush, or to the preferred oasis. The fearful and the loathing – an inadvertent group of fellow travelers – will be forced to eat “corona crow” by the time this contagion plays itself out. 

In Defense of Fear and Loathing

I’ve found myself surprisingly sympathetic to the broad spectrum of internet responses, regardless.  I can understand the fear for yourself or your loved ones – young and old – that drives irrational stockpiling and white-knuckled commutes.  An unknown pathogen sweeping the globe is a terrifying prospect, even if the survival rate is high. That fear should be balanced by the same inclinations that drive our loveable Q folks, though. The government knows to, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  Public fear is political capital.  

Since the outbreak we’ve seen federal bureaucracy has been a significant hurdle to responding appropriately.  When they’re not outright fumbling over themselves and do manage to get their governing tool kits open, it turns out it’s as sparsely populated as national medical supply reserves.  Outside of dramatic stimulus spending, inane partisan policy victories, and draconian-infused state of emergency declarations, the feds are left to rely on individuals to make rational choices.

Of those loathing, I’m all ears.  Consider me thoroughly unconvinced that a contagion of known-origin was manufactured and deployed by government spooks, though.  Pandemics aren’t unprecedented, and neither are unfounded conspiracy theories regarding them.  Any skepticism towards government is better than none; but walking the edge of Occam’s Razor is almost always the better course.  A cynical, poorly managed, underqualified and overfunded bureaucracy trying to be “creative” and capitalize on public panic is much scarier than that same bureaucracy secretly carrying out intricate orders from despotic pedophiles.  Both will fail, but one boot thinks its benevolent. Those are the villains I’m worried about.

Importantly, sweeping disregard of critical voices isn’t the right response either.  The “state-loathing” crowd has a substantial argument on offer. First, the media landscape has learned a lot about keeping an audience captive since the Trump era began, turning panic and outrage into profits.  From fallacious cycles like Russiagate to the Iraq War fear-blitz of old, training a critical eye for headlines is wise.  That, coupled with the incestuous nature of intelligence nomenklatura like John Brennan – who lied to Congress and the press during his tenure but still enjoys his freedom making TV appearances with Rachel Maddow – makes news consumers rightfully skittish. Compounding that is a fact the US government has made crystal clear: there is no bridge too far when the chips are down.  From Operations Northwoods and Mockingbird, back to Iraq, to the torching of Waco, NSA’s domestic surveillance program, or the poisoning of prohibition-era alcohol,  the government has shown an expectation for individuals and their rights to die on the altar of institutional wisdom.

Take A Day Off

With the coronavirus making its way around the world like the memes that doubt it, just take a day off; from work, from worrying about infection, and from media.  This virus is likely going to be a new paradigm for our lives for the foreseeable future. During that time away, we can reflect on the success and failures of media, on government abuses of power, on our own sacred cows and what they yield, and how rational actors can starve the state of vital nutrients.  Beyond prudent preventative measures, there’s not much more you will do to change what’s to come of COVID-19.  With such a sudden shock to our lives, to our personal security, and to the structural safeguards we believe in, there is fertile ground ahead.  We can choose to sew radical new seeds for change, or we can stay the course, hoping there’s enough crow to go around. 

Did Maryland Police Shoot And Kill A Sleeping Man?

Did Maryland Police Shoot And Kill A Sleeping Man?

The constitution is dead” was the last tweet ever sent by 21-year-old Duncan Socrates Lemp.  On Thursday morning at 4:30 a.m., a Montgomery County SWAT team killed Lemp during a violent attack on his family’s home in the affluent Washington suburb of Potomac, Maryland. 

Why did the SWAT team attack the home as Lemp was sleeping? The initial county police press release referred only to “firearms offenses.” County police spokeswoman Mary Davison refused to disclose either the details of Lemp’s alleged offense or the affidavit used to justify the raid.  Instead, she notified me that my press inquiries were being handled under the Maryland Public Information Act which entitles government agencies to delay responding for weeks or months.

Even the search warrant used to justify the raid is reportedly sealed for 30 days. This Blue Wall of Silence is doing nothing to slow the cascade of allegations on social media that Lemp was murdered.  

Read the full article at The American Conservative.

‘The Person Advocating Violence Is The Fed!’

‘The Person Advocating Violence Is The Fed!’

A lot of people have heard my “liberty story.” It’s the common, “I saw Ron Paul confront Rudy Giuliani on the debate stage in 2007” narrative. Then the reading started; pretty much every “libertarian” book I could get my hand on. For two years all I did was read. Attending a Campaign for Liberty event in Atlanta in 2010 or 2011 sealed the deal and I was all in. 

What most people don’t know is that soon thereafter I became interested in what many refer to as the “Sovereign Citizens.” I came across a few online that invited me to Skype chats to discuss the illegitimacy of the government. One of the main issues people have with those referring to themselves as “Sovereign Citizens” is that a few advocated violence and straight up theft from individuals. This was not the group that I talked to. These were people who came up with scripts of what to say to a judge in a courtroom to get the case dismissed. They advocated peaceful resistance based on education, not belligerence. They always said that if it gets to the point where you’re getting emotional, they’ve won, that they thrive on you being combative.  

It was in one of these groups that I heard a phrase that I’ve heard many times since; “If someone in these groups starts advocating the use of violence, they’re a Fed.” That stuck to me like glue and it’s an alarm that has been ringing in my head a lot lately. 

The Virginia Lobby Day Gun Rally 

Most of the people I follow and interact with on social media would consider themselves to be for personal liberty. Or at least that’s their message. My Facebook and Twitter accounts are purposely set up to not interact with family or friends. The overwhelming majority of them are still stuck in the two-party system and I don’t want to interact with them especially when other people can see the posts and start a dog-pile. I consider family important and am not going to abandon them because they’re where I was 13 years ago.  

All of that being said, the amount of people that I witnessed not only advocating for violent uprising against the State, but calling the Virginia rally a LARP because no shots were fired honestly shocked me. The only reason I’m either “friends” with them on Facebook, or interact with them on Twitter, is because I assumed, they were logical, liberty-minded thinkers.  

 Some of the sentiment I witnessed goes like this: 

 Tyrants only understand you’re serious if you’re pointing guns at them! (this one was “liked” by a “liberty-minded” person whose show I have appeared on) 

 Commenting on the guillotine that was wheeled into downtown Richmond, someone said:  

 The fact that it was dismantled before it was dripping with blood proves this was all a LARP! 

Other comments lamented the lack of violence, especially since the Virginia Senate voted to send the House a bill instituting a Red Flag law the next day. Bill SB 16 which would have been an assault weapons ban that hinted at confiscation has been rescinded but that doesn’t mean that that part of the fight is over. 

Is Violent Revolution the Answer? 

Many are frustrated that a state as “red” as Virginia has been taken over by the “blue” team. Making the joke that you all need to “vote harder” probably isn’t helpful but it makes me chuckle. But seriously, there may come a time that they become tyrannical and all peaceful options have been exhausted. That’s not right now. As I warned in an article prior to the rally, the powers that be control the narrative, but the country saw the white supremacist portrayal debunked when people across the racial and political spectrum came together to celebrate their love of guns. That was a win for everyone except the coastal elites. You have a country on your side. A few randos firing off shots would have destroyed that.  

Which brings me back to the title of this piece. People have heard that the FBI infiltrates peaceful groups who gather to celebrate liberty and to talk about how they can peacefully remove themselves from the power of the government. The FBI radicalizes otherwise peaceful Muslims to continue “The War on Terror.” When I see people who on one hand promote liberty, but on the other advocate for violent, disorganized revolution, I have to wonder whether they’re ignorant, or there to promote an agenda advantageous to the State. It certainly is something to consider. 

Law Enforcement Respects The Constitution?

Law Enforcement Respects The Constitution?

With the 2nd Amendment rally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia’s “Lobby Day” now completed, those who warned against “agent provocateurs,” and other possible hazards, get to breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful for being wrong. The narrative that this was going to be an event dominated by “white supremacists” was proven empirically false by photos that came out showing a racially and politically diverse crowd of people who showed up to communicate to the world that they have one thing in common; their belief that the right to own firearms to protect themselves is a universal idea that only seems to be bemoaned by the most loud and obnoxious “coastal elites” on Twitter, as well as those who believe they are the rulers of the people because they won a popularity contest.  

Among the photos that have been circulated from the event is one that shows unidentified law enforcement officers carrying a banner with the American flag on it that includes the words, “We Support the Second Amendment.” To those who closely monitor the State’s enforcement arm, this is a confusing message. The question needs to be asked; do you? 

Virginia’s New Gun Laws 

As was discussed in a previous article, the Virginia senate has passed three gun bills that are now being sent to the house for consideration that would see it become one of the most restrictive states in America when it comes to firearms ownership. 

Bill SB35, which would “allow localities to ban guns from public events, would actually repeal the current law that restricts localities from enforcing ordinances that would prohibit the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carry, storage, or transport of firearms or ammunition.”  

Bill SB69 “amends the current law, only allowing Virginia residents to purchase one handgun a month, or in a 30-day period.”  

Bill SB70 “requires a background check on all private transfers of firearms.” 

If these bills pass the house, and the governor signs them into law (as he has promised he will), will Virginia law enforcement do as their sign claims and support the Second Amendment over their boss’ own mandate? Will they enforce these three bills, the worst of which amounts to a gun registry? 

Why is the Second Amendment a Bridge Too Far? 

Anyone who has spent any time around groups that promote the “American Gun Culture” has heard the claims from not only law enforcement (they are represented mightily), but from their acolytes that police are defenders of the Constitution and would never enforce gun control laws. “They would quit before they took an American citizen’s God-given right to own firearms!” When you point out occasions where law enforcement has not only shown up to take someone’s guns, but killed them in the process, you’re met with everything from excuses about how that was done in a liberal area, to the inevitable back pedaling about how maybe some people shouldn’t be trusted with guns.  

When one points out that they already violate the Constitution by not only trampling over the First Amendment, but especially the Fourth, that’s when the dancing really begins. 

The First Amendment 

The First Amendment to the United States says: 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Article 1, Section 12 of the Virginia Constitution states:  

That the freedoms of speech and of the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained except by despotic governments; that any citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances. 

Both the US and Virginia Constitutions give people the right to “peaceably assemble.” Is that in fact true? According to the ACLU there are conditions upon which one may have to acquire a permit to do just that in Virginia.  

Do we need to get a permit? The need for a permit depends on the type and size of event, as well as the locality in which it will be held. Generally, events requiring a permit include: 1) A march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk and other events that require blocking traffic or street closure; 2) A large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or 3) A rally at certain designated parks or plazas. 

Properly understood, a permit is when the State takes a guaranteed “right” away, and sells it back to you by either requiring a fee, or for you to ask permission from them. At this point your “right” has been transformed into a privilege, something you must ask permission for.  

And if you did decide to bypass the “permit” process and declare your rights, who is going to be there to enforce these statutes? No, not the people at the window who take the fee and paperwork you have so dutifully filled out; it will be the law enforcement officer. You will be confronted by a man/woman with a gun and they will stop you from exercising your “rights.” 

Privacy? 

The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution reads: 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 

One need only to go to YouTube and search “traffic stop” videos to know that the Fourth Amendment’s right to be secure in your person and possessions is a thing of the past. An individual’s vehicle, which many states have extended “Castle Doctrine” to, can be rifled through after the officer utters the phrase, “I smell marijuana.” It doesn’t matter if they actually do or not, the courts have interpreted privacy out of existence and local and state law enforcement happily use these phrases to gain access to your private spaces. 

The most egregious of these laws is “Civil Asset Forfeiture” in which you do not have to be convicted of a crime, only suspected, and local law enforcement can seize your bank account, home, anything they deem to be part of a criminal “conspiracy” or “drug nexus.” In the event you are found innocent you do not automatically have your property returned to you; you must petition to get it back. 

It was determined that in 2014 that the property taken from individuals by law enforcement was greater than all burglaries by criminals combined that year. And law enforcement uses the seized belongings for their benefit 

 

Many will no doubt applaud Virginia law enforcement for showing up to the January 20th rally to proclaim that they support the Second Amendment. It has been proven that State policy enforcers will enforce gun laws and already do when it comes to the National Firearms Act of 1934, et al. Yet, most fail to consider how they so easily enforce other laws that blatantly violate protected Constitutional rights such as assembly and privacy. One should afford people respect and consideration when it comes to their word but prior action is always a better gauge when taking into account people’s future behavior. 

Virginia Second Amendment Advocates Beware!

Virginia Second Amendment Advocates Beware!

The Virginia senate has passed three gun bills that are now being sent to the house for consideration that would see it become one of the most restrictive states in America when it comes to firearms ownership. A reading of the laws would put Virginia close to New Jersey from a legal standpoint when it comes to the ease at which one will be able to procure property guaranteed by its own state constitution. 

Bill SB35 which would “allow localities to ban guns from public events, actually would repeal the current law that restricts localities from enforcing ordinances that would prohibit the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carry, storage, or transport of firearms or ammunition.” 

Bill SB69 “amends the current law, only allowing Virginia residents to purchase one handgun a month, or in a 30-day period.” 

Bill SB70 “requires a background check on all private transfers of firearms.” 

In response to the three bills that went to the house, the NRA (who has grown out of favor with many pro-2A people in recent years over their non-response to the Philando Castile shooting, but mostly due to their willingness to cave to lawmakers) issued the following statement: 

“Regrettably, Virginia lawmakers approved a series of measures today that will make it harder for law-abiding Virginians to protect themselves, while doing nothing to stop criminals. We are pleased one of the most egregious gun confiscation bills was pulled from consideration. The NRA will continue our work with lawmakers to find solutions that address the root cause of violent crime, rather than punishing honest, hardworking Virginians.” 

The “Boogaloo” Bill Has Been Canceled 

The most controversial of the proposed bills, SB16 “was struck from the record, which included the ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers.”  

This is the bill that was seen by most pro-2A activists as an act of aggression by the Governor Northam led, Democratically-controlled, Virginia legislature. In no uncertain terms, Northam let it be known that this bill meant that anyone in possession of any weapon/accessory under the statute’s purview (inevitably the lawmakers could make any weapon/accessory fall under the jurisdiction of this law), would be confiscated by state agents.  

As one might imagine, Virginia gun owners immediately started planning what they would be willing to do to stop this tyranny from happening. Terms such as the “boogaloo” started to be seen everywhere on social media. The term has been taken to mean a second Civil War or another American Revolution. In this context it specifically references gun-grabbers but can easily be tied to either of the previous descriptions. 

With this one bill being eliminated the fight against what essentially creates a gun registry in Virginia continues. 

A Planned Rally and the Governor’s Response 

The Virginia Citizens Defense League is planning a lobbying day and rally for Monday January 20th at the state capitol grounds in Richmond. Gun rights supporters will meet to protest the new laws. 

In response, Governor Northam has declared a “State of Emergency” claiming that “officials” have heard reports of “out-of-state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.” He continued saying, they “are coming to intimidate and to cause harm.” 

“Northam is raising concerns about a reprise of the deadly violence surrounding the white supremacist march in Charlottesville in August 2017. He said state intelligence analysts have identified threats and rhetoric online that mirror the chatter they were picking up around that time.” 

The New York Times reported on Thursday, January 16th, that the FBI arrested three suspected neo-Nazis of purchasing guns with the intention of attending the Richmond rally 

Taking all of this into consideration, Governor Northam banned the carrying of any weapons at the rally. That decision was contested but upheld by a judge. 

This “racist” narrative is to be expected and one that protesters must take into consideration; almost accept as a given. 

White Supremacists, Racists and Radicals 

This is how the protesters will be painted in the press. It won’t matter if half of the activists there are black and Hispanic; the corporate press has reported before on someone carrying an “assault weapon” at an Obama appearance but conveniently omitted a picture revealing that he was African-American.  

No, this will be about “white nationalists” “clinging to their guns and religion,” and that “outdated” Constitution.  

Agent Provocateurs 

Anyone considering going to a rally in which it has already been expressly declared by the state that they are expecting violence has to watch out for the agent provocateur. One need look no further than the Oakland, California protest against police violence where it was revealed that California Highway Patrol had undercover officers amongst the protesters for weeks before their cover was blown. When their ruse was discovered, one of the officers pulled a gun on his “fellow protesters.” 

Another tactic that must be brought up is federal law enforcement’s history of infiltrating  groups and pushing them towards violence. Since 9/11/01 this has been a recurring narrative that has been uncovered yet largely ignored by the corporate press. 

All it will take at the Richmond rally is for one “provocateur” to fire off a couple of rounds and the story concocted by Northam and his friends in the media will take hold and mainstream public support will jump right to the state (which is where their sentiments already lean). 

It cannot be argued that the laws going through the legislature in Virginia are not only against the US Constitution, but against that state’s very own. The impulse to fight back against this tyranny is strong and has garnered support throughout the country. The most noxious bill, SB16, (the one that would have the state trying to confiscate AR-15s), has been trashed due to the public’s outcry, showing the power masses of people speaking out and protesting can still have. In 2016 a bill was getting pushed through the Virginia legislature to remove the religious exemption from vaccines but a vocal group protested and it was scrapped.  

Contrary to popular belief, letting the powers that be know that this isn’t going to work and you have something to say about it often makes them stop in their tracks. Protest at the state capital, do it peacefully. Violence should be the last resort, the one you never want to go to except when nothing else can be done. But remember, a rally like the one planned is a powder-keg, and the powers that be hold all of the cards to paint the people as the villains were something to break out. In the struggle against tyrants be careful that they don’t turn the tables and have the public screaming for your heads as they have done so many times before.  

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities

The dust has settled and the evidence is in: The 1960s Great Society and War on Poverty programs of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) have been a colossal and giant failure. One might make the argument that social welfare programs are the moral path for a modern government.

They cannot, however, make the argument that these are in any way effective at alleviating poverty.

“We waged a war on poverty and poverty won.”

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesIn fact, there is evidence that such aggressive programs might make generational poverty worse. While the notion of a “culture of dependence” is a bit of a cliché in conservative circles, there is evidence that this is indeed the case – that, consciously or not, the welfare state creates a culture where people receive benefits rather than seeking gainful employment or business ownership.

This is not a moral or even a value judgment against the people engaged in such a culture. Again, the claim is not that people “choose to be on welfare,” but simply that social welfare programs incentivize poverty, which has an impact on communities that has nothing to do with individual intent.

We are now over 50 years into the development of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. It is time to take stock in these programs from an objective and evidence-based perspective. When one does that, it is not only clear that the programs have been a failure, but also that they have disproportionately impacted the black community in the United States. The current state of dysfunction in the black community (astronomically high crime rates, very low rates of home ownership and single motherhood as the norm) are not the natural state of the black community in the United States, but closely tied to the role that social welfare programs play. Or as Dr. Thomas Sowell stated:

“If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on “the legacy of slavery” with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.”

Here’s a peek into how black America has been a victim of LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty.

Defining Terms: What Is the Great Society and the War on Poverty?

Before going further, we must define the terms “Great Society” and “War on Poverty.” These are two overlapping, but somewhat distinct terms that are, in any event, not the same as “welfare” as a whole.

The “War on Poverty” refers to one part of the Great Society, namely the part focused specifically on poverty. When the War on Poverty was started in 1964, the poverty rate in America was 19 percent. Seeing an opportunity to recreate the same New Deal magic that had propelled President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the White House in four successive elections 30 years earlier, Johnson pushed his War on Poverty.

It’s worth noting that the New Deal has some success to boast in terms of lifting some extremely poor communities, particularly those in the rural South, out of grinding forms of poverty. This was through, for example, mass electrification and other similar campaigns, which radically redefined the experience of the poor in the United States. One can argue about the ethics of redistributive wealth programs, but one cannot argue about whether or not, for example, the electrification of the Tennessee Valley elevated people out of crushing and abject poverty – it did.

There are four primary initiatives of the War on Poverty:

  1. The Economic Opportunity Act: This was the flagship effort of the War on Poverty. It created the Community Action ProgramVolunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and Job Corps.
  2. The Food Stamp Act of 1964This created a food stamp program that remained largely in place until President Bill Clinton “ended welfare as we know it.” At this time, food stamps were open-ended and could, in theory, be a means of feeding a family for life.
  3. Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1964This is known as the most sweeping legislation impacting education passed by the United States Congress. It sought to level an alleged “achievement gap” in public education. It has been reauthorized by both Democratic and Republican presidents under the names Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994No Child Left Behind Act of 2004, and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
  4. Social Security Act of 1965Created both Medicare and Medicaid.

The Economic Opportunity Act, in particular, was insidious in that it gave broad leeway to create programs without Congressional approval or oversight. An example of this is the Head Start program, which is shown to have only extremely limited and short-term effects on the ability of children to succeed in public schools.

The Great Society refers to a far broader set of programs, some of which still exist today, others of which were casualties of both the massive budget for the Vietnam War, LBJ’s other pet project, as well as the passage of time and subsequent Republican administrations. It’s difficult to summarize the Great Society as a whole, precisely because its scope was so broad. Education, health, welfare, culture (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for example, is a product of the Great Society), transportation, the environment, housing, labor and rural development were all areas where the Great Society had some hand.

Whereas the New Deal has demonstrably impacted communities with crushing and severe forms of poverty, the Great Society has demonstrably not only not “worked” by any available metric, it has also created a negative impact, most severely felt in the black community in the United States.

This article will make the case that the Great Society is the greatest disaster to befall America’s black community since slavery.

What Were the Goals of the Great Society?

Some discussion of the goals of the Great Society and its historical context are in order. The Great Society was seen by LBJ as nothing less than the completion of the New Deal as pioneered by his predecessor and mentor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesThe thinking was basically this: The New Deal proved that government intervention could have some impact on poverty. As we stated above, there is some truth to this, albeit in a limited sense. The New Deal was able to lift incredibly poor people out of what were effectively Third World conditions in the United States. Because Johnson had at his disposal “the best and the brightest,” he believed that all he needed to do was apply their technocratic acumen to the problem of poverty and it would be solved.

One of the glaring and immediate differences between the New Deal (where it was successful) and the Great Society was the definition of poverty. Poverty, the kind the New Deal was effective at reducing, was largely an objective condition. For example, people without electricity or running water in their homes. For the Great Society programs, however, poverty was largely defined in subjective, albeit quantifiable, terms like educational attainment and income level.

Here’s the problem with defining poverty in those terms: We now live in a world where the overwhelming majority of people who wish to get one can obtain a college degree. All this has done is devalue the college degree and saddle people with both unmarketable skill sets and a high level of nondischargeable debt. A college degree simply doesn’t mean much anymore because anyone who wants one can have one.

Similarly, consider income in real terms – the ability to buy things. The poorest people in America now have access to more computing power in their pocket than NASA used to go to the moon. Cheap consumer goods are plentiful, even for people with very low incomes – part-time minimum wage jobs, for example.

Poverty, defined as “making much less than rich people” or even “struggling to get by” simply means one is at the bottom of the economic ladder. The bottom of the economic ladder will always exist as long as there is one. Grinding, Third-World-style poverty – in the vast overwhelming majority of cases – is a thing of the past. The United Nations puts the percentage of Americans with access to electricity at 100.

A report estimated that 1.6 million Americans lack access to “clean” water, “clean” here being a weasel word that is undefined. Even if we took the 1.6 million figure at face value (which we should not), this means that approximately 0.48 percent of all Americans (i.e., less than half of one percent) do not have access to “clean” water.

In the absence of significant poverty conditions to attack, the “War on Poverty” was largely about hitting a moving target subjectively defined as “having less than some other people.”

Despite the best intentions (to which, it should be noted, “the road to hell is paved with”), the Great Society was bound to fail simply because there were no clear targets. In this sense, the War on Poverty prefigured other government wars on abstract concepts, such as the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

The failure, of course, is seen by big government advocates as a sign that not enough has been done. Since the War on Poverty began, $15 trillion has been spent, with negligible impact on lifting people out of poverty. For context, the Apollo program cost $25.4 billion, $146.1 billion in 2019 dollars. Put simply, for the cost of the War on Poverty, America could have funded almost seven Apollo programs.

Unlike the War on Poverty, the Apollo program was a resounding and verifiable success.

The Breakdown of the Black Family

“The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”

The biggest problem resulting from the Great Society is the breakdown of the black family. This is a sensitive subject, but one that must be broached to fully understand the devastating impact that the Great Society has had on the black community in the United States.

In 1965, when the Great Society began in earnest following the massive electoral landslide reelection of LBJ, the out-of-wedlock birthrate among the black community was 21 percent. By 2017, this figure had risen to a whopping 77 percent. In some cities, this rate is as high as 80 percent, with most of the unwed mothers being teenagers. We have documented extensively in our article on the death of civil society in the United States the negative effects of the single-parent household on child development and outcomes. The black community is now entering its third generation of single parenthood as the norm, something that rose astronomically with the advent of the Great Society.

To provide some historical context, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in the black community was already rising before the Great Society. In 1938, that rate stood at 11 percent. Still, it’s worth noting the difference between the slow and steady increase of 1938 to 1965, and the explosive growth from 1965 until the present day. In any event, black women were more likely to be married than white women as late as 1950. It’s also worth looking at single parenthood over time: In the 1950s, 52 percent of all black children lived with both parents until the age of 17. By the 1980s, that number had plummeted to 6 percent.

In addition to outcomes, there is also a wide divide between the percentage of black families in poverty when there is a father present. Among married black families, the poverty rate is 8 percent. Among black households headed by a single mother, that rate jumps to 37 percent.

And again, while we outline a number of negative consequences resulting from single-parent families, it’s worth pulling one out in relation to the destruction of the black family in America: There is no better predictor of male criminality than being raised in a fatherless home. 70 percent of all juvenile offenders in state reform institutions were raised in fatherless homes. This includes 60 percent of all rapists, 72 percent of all murderers, and 70 percent of long-term inmates.

Black Participation in the Labor Market

There is another statistic that is significant when it comes to evaluating the role of the Great Society in the destruction of the black family and, by extension, black society: participation in the labor market.

This is an important metric for a very simple reason: Few would argue that it’s better to not work than to work. Data provided by every census between 1890 and 1954 shows that black Americans were just as active – and sometimes more – in the labor market than their white counterparts. In 1900, for example, black unemployment was 15 percent lower than white unemployment. In 2017, it was 30 percent higher.

If the conventional narrative on black American poverty and general social dysfunction were correct – that this was caused by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and private discrimination – wouldn’t we expect to see a decline in black unemployment rather than the opposite?

Black Business Ownership

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesOf course, participation in the labor market is not the only metric of economic activity. Another is business ownership. The years between 1900 and 1930 are known as “the Golden Age of Black Entrepreneurship.” By 1920, there were tens of thousands of black businesses in the United States, the overwhelming majority of them very small, single proprietorship. This in no way diminishes the importance of this sector of the black economy. People who had, in many cases, started their lives as slaves were now, even when “poorer” in terms of income, freer than many of their white counterparts who worked for wages.

There was also a social aspect to this period of black entrepreneurship. Black insurance companies and black-owned banks represent the apex of the economic pyramid in the black community. While the black community was comparatively poorer than its white counterparts, money spent by black Americans could stay within the black community. Thus, the black community could enrich itself from the bottom of the ladder all the way up to the top.

This concept was known as “double duty dollars.” The idea is that money spent at black businesses not only purchased goods for the consumer, but also played a role in advancing the black race in America. This, and not government handouts, was seen as the primary means of achieving, if not a perfect equality with whites, a social parity with them.

Another aspect of why black entrepreneurship was so important in the black community was that national businesses tended to ignore the black market entirely. This, however, began to change in the 1950s and, to a much greater extent, by the dawn of the next decade. No one forced national businesses to begin marketing their products to black America. National businesses simply saw that there was an emerging black middle class with money to spend and didn’t want to get cut out of the market.

Today, black business ownership is in a state of “collapse” according to Marketplace.org. This cannot entirely be laid at the foot of the Great Society. For example, the unlikely culprit of integration is one of the reasons that the black business districts began to fall apart. For example, once the biggest burger joint in town would serve black people, there was no reason to go to “the black burger joint” anymore.

Still, it’s impossible to separate the end of the thriving black business districts from the Great Society. These were once centers of the community, in addition to being centers of commerce. Now they are virtually extinct. While other factors are in play, it’s difficult to not notice the overlap between the rise of the welfare state through the Great Society, the overall decline in the black community’s civil society anchored by the black business community, and black business ownership in general.

The Decline in Black Homeownership

Another area where the impact of Great Society policies is seen is in statistics on black homeownership. The black homeownership rate is basically the same today as it was 50 years ago. There was a spike in black homeownership during the Bush years. However, these were largely a function of subprime mortgages being given out to people who couldn’t really afford them.

Few places saw the hand of government on the scale more than housing. One of the final policy initiatives of the Great Society was the Fair Housing Act, which banned discrimination in housing sales (but not in lending practices). This effectively meant an end to “restrictive covenants,” which allowed a homeowner to specify that their house could not be sold to a black family, not just for an individual sale, but in perpetuity.

As a brief aside, this is, as are many other parts of the Great Society, an egregious attack on freedom of association, property rights, and ability to transact and dispose of one’s property in a manner of one’s own choosing.

Which Way Forward for the Black Community

It’s difficult to ignore that black Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party, who champion the policies of the Great Society, which have largely destroyed the black family and black civil society. Why is this?

Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society: How LBJs Welfare State Helped Ruin Black CommunitiesThere are a number of factors in play here. First, the Democratic Party has little incentive to provide innovative solutions for such a loyal voter bloc. Black Americans have voted at over 80 percent for Democratic Party candidates since 1964. In several elections (1964, 2000, 2008 and 2012) they voted over 90 percent for the Democratic Party candidate. The highest share of the black vote received by the Republican Party since 1964 was 15 percent, achieved by Richard Nixon in 1968 and Gerald Ford in 1976. While Donald Trump’s performance among black voters has been touted for its strength, he received only 8 percent of the vote, reversing a trend where the black vote dropped as low as 4 percent in 2008. Despite the much-touted “Blexit,” 2018 saw no significant exodus from the Democratic Party on the part of black voters – a scant 9 percent voted for Republicans.

The flip side of this is that there is not much incentive on the part of Republicans to court black voters. While the Nixon “Southern Strategy” is slightly distorted when presented, the core of this narrative is true – when presented with various strategies for victory, Nixon chose to appeal to northern, union Catholic workers and Southern Protestant conservatives, both of whom were white. This is simple math: A large increase in the black vote doesn’t represent a whole lot of votes, but a minor increase in the white vote moves the needle significantly. The so-called “Sailer strategy,” named after Steve Sailer, exploits this math: Spiking the rural white vote to record levels while effectively ignoring all other voting blocs is what delivered Donald Trump the presidency.

The point here is that neither party is incentivized to offer solutions to black Americans. But black Americans are also not demanding solutions from either political party, as evidenced by the lockstep voting for Democratic Party politicians, despite failing to deliver anything of value in 50 years.

One historical example that might represent a way forward is the National Black Independent Political Party. Formed in 1988, it had virtually no impact on electoral politics. However, its model might represent something of value for black Americans looking to break free of the two-party duopoly and demand actual policy solutions from Washington. The purpose of the NBIPP was not to obtain power in its own right, but rather to form black America into a political voting bloc that could act as kingmaker in elections. This is in the broader tradition of self-reliance in the black community.

Whatever the way forward is, one thing is clear: Social welfare programs ostensibly designed to help the black community have done little more than put the boot of government on the neck of black Americans. Rather than raising up the black community, these programs have acted to – despite whatever their intentions might be – destroy the black family, the black business community, and black social solidarity.

What might “work” depends on what the goal is. However, the evidence is in and the Great Society’s War on Poverty has been a resounding failure.

Black America Before LBJ: How the Welfare State Inadvertently Helped Ruin Black Communities originally appeared in the Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

After Calling Out Obama for Starting War with Iran to Get Re-Elected, Trump Doing Same Thing

After Calling Out Obama for Starting War with Iran to Get Re-Elected, Trump Doing Same Thing

Thousands of angry protesters stormed the US Embassy in Iraq this week after US airstrikes killed dozens of Iraqi militia men who were actually fighting terrorists. As they shouted “Down USA!” many of the protesters broke through the gate after hurling water bottles, setting fires and smashing security cameras outside the embassy. When news of the protest broke, Donald Trump, without proof, took to Twitter and immediately blamed Iran—for the thousand of Iraqis protesting in Iraq.

“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many,” Trump tweeted. “We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”

The American contractor, to whom Trump is referring was reportedly killed during an alleged attack on an Iraqi military base. After the alleged attack, Trump immediately blamed Iran via the Iraqi Shi’a militia. US officials offered zero proof that Ketaib Hezbollah was behind the alleged attack, but did say the group has links to Iran’s Quds Forces. Iran immediately denied any involvement and called the US response a “clear example of terrorism.”

Knowing America’s propensity toward raining down hellfire from above in dramatic over reactions, after the alleged attack on the military base, Iraqi officials pleaded with the U.S. to stave off bombing their country. These requests fell on deaf ears and U.S. airstrikes on targets in Iraq and Syria on Sunday killed at least 25 fighters and injured dozens more.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday called the U.S. strikes “a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region.”

Prior to the strikes on Sunday, Iraqi officials also warned that any strikes inside their sovereign borders would have dangerous consequences. They say that it has forced the Iraqi government to “review” its relations with the US, according to Antiwar.com.

Despite the US referring to Ketaib Hezbollah and other Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) forces as “Iranian forces,” the groups function to fight ISIS in Iraq and are part of the Iraqi government’s security forces. As Jason Ditz points out, the Trump Administration has at times spoken ill of the PMU, but must also have known that attacking them on Iraqi soil would be a bridge too far for Iraq’s government to cross.

Indeed, that appears to be the case. Now, we are watching Donald Trump saber rattle with Iran in an attempt to start a war that he was so hell bent on exposing a decade ago. When his predecessor Barack Obama was attempting to start a war with Iran, Trump accused him of doing so to boost his poll numbers and to get reelected. Now Trump is taking a page out of the previous warmonger and chief’s manual and appears to be doing the same thing.

iran

For those who may be unaware, the plan to overthrow Iran has long been in the works but their military and status makes them a harder target than Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, in April 2012, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Seymour Hersh reported that the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command had trained (Mojahedin-e Khalq) MEK operatives at a secret site in Nevada from 2005 to 2009. MEK is the Iranian political-militant organization that advocates for the violent overthrow of the current Iranian regime. They are hardly quiet about it.

According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site until President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Hersh also reported additional names of former U.S. officials paid to speak in support of MEK, including former CIA directors James Woolsey and Porter Goss; New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Louis Freeh and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

Coincidentally, MEK was classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and its allies—during this training period—until they suddenly removed them from the list in 2012.

While the current Iranian regime is certainly no bastion of freedom, the idea that US intervention or a violent revolution would be beneficial for the people of Iran is outright insane. To see what US intervention—through military support and the support of ‘protesters’—does to countries, one need only look at Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya to see the horrific death tolls and war-ravaged dystopias left in America’s wake. Libya went from being a growing wealthy country to the hellish war ravaged state that it is today in which humans are being openly bought and sold in public spaces.

To those paying attention over the years, Trump’s desire to intervene in Iran, and his subsequent support in the media should come as no surprise as it has been the plan since Bill Clinton was in office and was documented in the neoconservative PNAC report. This was even admitted by General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, that the U.S. planned on going to war with Iran, according to a 2001 memo from the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

“This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years,” Clark said. “Starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off with Iran.”

All presidential regimes since Clinton have crossed countries off this list. Now, Trump will likely get four more years to try. Remember that when US troops are being used as cannon fodder and come home limbless and in boxes, and innocent children are being turned into a fine red mist by drone strikes in a country who is not attacking the United States — that this is your government — “fighting for your freedom.”

Reprinted from The Free Thought Project.

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