Alt-Market: Martial Law Is Unacceptable Regardless Of The Circumstances

This article is a reminder from Brandon Smith at Alt-Market that Martial Law Is Unacceptable Regardless Of The Circumstances

Back in 2014, hundreds if not thousands of conservatives and liberty movement activists converged on a farm in rural Clark County, Nevada. The purpose was to protest the incursion of federal government agents onto the property of the Bundy family, who had defied pressure from the Bureau of Land Management to stop allowing their cattle to feed on “federal land” in a form of free ranging. It was a practice that had been going on for decades and one that was required for the Bundy farm to survive, ended abruptly by environmental laws protecting a tortoise.

The Bundy family had been improving on the area with water sources and other measures for generations without interference. The claim by the BLM and other agencies was that the farmers were destroying wildlife habitat with their cattle, yet the Bundy’s land improvements had actually allowed wildlife to THRIVE in areas where animals would find life difficult or impossible otherwise.

The federal government became fixated on the Bundy’s, and decided to make an example out of them. Their defiance of the crackdown on their use of the land was met with extreme measures, including their cattle impounded, their farm being surrounded and sniper teams placed in the hills nearby. The liberty movement saw this as the last straw, and so reacted at a grassroots level. The concern was that Bundy Ranch could become another Waco. They locked and loaded and went to defend the Bundy’s.

I completely agreed at the time with the efforts surrounding Bundy Ranch and I still agree with them today. The federal government had overstepped its bounds on multiple occasions when it came to rural farmers in sagebrush country and everyone had finally had enough. The feds were faced with a group of armed liberty movement members and eventually ran away. They even gave the Bundy’s back the cattle the feds had initially tried to confiscate. This event showcased the power of the people to repel tyranny when necessary.

The claim that the public is impotent against government force was summarily trounced.  The action was not perfect, and there were many internal disputes and a plethora of mistakes, but overall it had achieved its goal.  It sent a message to the establishment that if you try to assert unconstitutional force against the citizenry there is a chance a Bundy Ranch scenario might happen again, and next time it might not simply be a defensive measure.

I mention Bundy Ranch because I want to remind conservatives of their roots. We are a constitutional movement. We are a small government movement. We believe in individual rights, states rights and the 10th Amendment, as well as strict limitations placed on the federal government and state governments when they try to violate the Bill of Rights.  If you don’t believe in these things, you are not a conservative or a constitutionalist.

No government, whether state or federal, supersedes the boundaries placed upon them by the constitution. Once they violate those boundaries, they must be put in check by the citizenry, for the constitution is merely an object that represents an ideal. It can’t defend itself. If a government undermines constitutional protections, it is not a failure of the constitution, it is a failure by the public to act.

Sadly, there are “conservatives” out there who supported the efforts at Bundy Ranch in 2014, but are now calling for federal overreach and martial law today. The very same people who argued vehemently against unconstitutional actions back then are arguing for bending or breaking the rules of the constitution now. This is something I have been warning about for years…

The greatest threat to freedom is not the government, extreme leftists or the globalist cabal; the greatest threat is when freedom fighters foresake their own principles and start rationalizing tyranny because it happens to benefit them in the moment. If freedom fighters stop fighting for freedom, who remains pick up the mantle? No one. And thus, the globalists and collectivists win the long game.

Right now there are two sides calling for martial law-like restrictions on the public, and both sides think they are doing what is best for society at large. They both believe they are morally justified and that totalitarian actions are necessary for “the greater good”. Both sides are wrong.

The Pandemic Puritans

On one side, we have a group made up primarily of political leftists but also some conservatives who say that the coronavius pandemic creates a scenario in which medical tyranny must be established to protect the public from itself. Leftists enjoy control in general and the pandemic simply offers an opportunity for them to act out their totalitarian fantasies in real life.

These are the people who wag their fingers at others on the street or in the park or at the beach for not “social distancing” properly. These are the people that inform on their neighbors, or inform on local businesses for not following strict guidelines. These are the people that get a thrill from forcing other people to conform.

This is not to say that precautions are not warranted, they certainly are. However, these precautions MUST be up to individuals, not enforced by bureaucracy. The moment you hand government ultimate power to dictate people’s health decisions, personal daily activities, freedom of assembly and their ability to participate in the economy, you have given the government ultimate power to destroy our very culture. No government should be allowed to have that kind of influence.

The issue here is one of the greater EVIL, not the greater good. What is the greater evil? To avoid unconstitutional measures, avoid violating individual rights and allow the virus to spread faster than it normally would? Or, to completely throw out the Bill of Rights, individual liberty and economic security in the name of a brand of “safety” that is ambiguous and undefined?

As I write this, the state of New Jersey among others is implementing a draconian response against businesses that defy lockdown orders. NJ just arrested the owners of a gymnasium in Bellmawr who refused to close down. Even though they used social distancing measures and applied their own guidelines, the state has decided that citizens are children that must be controlled rather than adults that can make their own choices. This sets a dangerous precedence for the whole country.

Understand that small businesses that are not deemed “essential” by arbitrary decree from the state are on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse. Millions of people are having their livelihoods threatened by the lockdowns. Millions of jobs are at risk. Is the coronavirus really worth destroying our own economic system? Because that is EXACTLY what is happening right now. The US economy was already suffering from destabilization, and now the pandemic response is putting the final nail in the coffin.

If the economy tanks far more people will die from the resulting crisis of poverty, crime and civil unrest than will EVER die from the coronavirus pandemic. When you look at the big picture, how can anyone justify medical tyranny and martial law measures? There is simply no logical explanation for violating the economic and personal freedom of Americans in response to a disease. If some people die from the virus, so be it. Its a small price to pay to keep our freedoms intact.  Furthermore, I would stand by that argument even if I get sick from the virus.

Sock Puppet Conservatives

There are people out there that like constitutional rights and civil liberties “in theory”, but in practice they view these rights as inconvenient to their goals.  For these so-called “conservatives”, the Bill of Rights is only for peacetime. When war or domestic conflict rolls around, our rights are suddenly forfeit.

I use this particular metaphor often but I really can’t find a better one:

Government power is like the “one ring” in Lord Of The Rings. Everyone desperately wants control of it. The side of evil thirsts for it. The side of good thinks that if only they had it they could use it for honorable ends; they think they can use it to defeat evil. They are wrong.

The “one ring” (government power) corrupts ALL. It cannot be controlled. It cannot be used for good. Eventually, it warps the minds of those who hold it, twisting them into something grotesque. Good people who exploit the ring end up becoming the very monsters they were trying to defeat, and evil wins.

Right now through the Trump Administration conservatives are being tempted with the “one ring”. We are being tempted with ultimate government power. The leftist hordes and their actions are egregious. They act irrationally and foolishly. Their communist ideology and mindless zealotry is destructive and they openly seek the collapse of western civilization. But in the end this doesn’t matter.  They are nothing more than useful idiots for a greater agenda.

It’s interesting that the only solution I see being presented in conservative circles lately is the use of federal power to crush the protests and riots. Again, this might seem like a reasonable action in the face of so much lawlessness, but if taken too far the implications are horrifying.

Some conservative groups are cheering the deployment of federal agencies to cities like Portland in the name of stopping civil unrest, but there is a fine line between law enforcement and martial law. And by martial law, I mean ANY government force that is designed to suppress or break civil protections. This does not only include a military presence, it can also include federal agencies overstepping their bounds, just as they did at Bundy Ranch.

In Portland and other cities like New York, federal agents and police have been snatching protesters off the street in unmarked vans without identifying themselves.  Essentially, they are black-bagging people. This is the kind of behavior which real conservatives traditionally despise.

Yes, some of these protesters did in fact loot or participate in property damage; and some of them did absolutely nothing.  This is being done under 40 US Code 1315 which was signed into law by Neo-con president George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks as part of the tidal wave of unconstitutional Patriot Act measures that were railroaded through during mass fear and panic.

Conservatives have been warning for years about the potential for misuse of these laws to violate people’s rights. Will we now support them because they are being enforced against people we don’t like? I will say this: If an unmarked van with unidentified armed people tried to grab me off the street, I would do everything in my power to put a bullet in each and every one of them.  And, I would not hold it against any person who did the same, even if they were my ideological opponent.

Some conservatives are calling for much more, including the deployment of the National Guard or a standing military presence. The use of such tactics opens the door to serious consequences, and I believe if we allow the federal government to bend the rules now, we set the stage for expansive martial law in the near future. By extension, labeling looters or rioters as “terrorists” also has dangerous implications.  Those of us that were activists during the Obama years know how freely that label is thrown around by government and the media.

We might feel righteous in violating the civil liberties of social justice Marxists because of their insane behavior and the threat they pose to the stability of the country, but, what happens when the roles are reversed? During Bundy Ranch, conservatives were also being labeled “terrorists”, and who is to say we won’t find ourselves in that position again?   Would defying the pandemic lockdowns also be considered an existential threat to the country?

Uncomfortable Questions

There are some questions in all of this that are either not being asked or are being deliberately avoided.  For example:

1) Why is it that the Trump Administration has not bothered to go after the elites and globalists FUNDING Antifa and BLM groups behind the unrest?  Why does George Soros and his Open Society Foundation get to operate in the US with impunity?  And what about the Ford Foundation?  Members of that institution openly admit that they have been funding and organizing the social justice cult for decades.  Shouldn’t the men behind the curtain paying for the entire thing be targeted first, instead of going after the useful idiots?  Perhaps the fact that Trump is surrounded by those very same elites in his cabinet has something to do with it…

2) If we support martial law measures, WHO are we giving that power to?  Is it Trump, or the deep state ghouls that advise him daily?  People like Wilber Ross, a New York Rothschild banking agent, Mike Pompeo, a long time Neo-con warmonger and promoter of mass surveillance, Robert Lightheizer, a member of the globalist Council On Foreign Relations, Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs banker, Larry Kudlow, former Federal Reserve, etc.  Even if you think Trump has the best of intentions, can anyone honestly say the same for his cabinet?

3) When the left is “defeated” and the riots stop, will martial law simply fade away, or, is it a Pandora’s Box that can never be closed again?  And if it doesn’t end, will supporters justify fighting against not just leftists, but also conservatives who will not tolerate it?  I for one will be among the people that will not tolerate it.

Real Solutions

There are other much better solutions than martial law when confronting the leftist riots or the pandemic.

For the pandemic, stop trying to dictate public behavior.  If individuals feel they are at risk from the virus, then they can take their own precautions.  The only other option is to continue on the path of shutdowns and an informant society that will destroy this nation in a matter of months.

Foe the leftists, communities that stage an armed presence in the face of protests have ALL escaped riots and property damage. Sometimes Antifa and BLM decide to not even show up. We DON’T NEED a federal presence or a military presence to get the job done. We can do it ourselves. We already have proof that this strategy works.

And, if the lefties want to burn down their own neighborhoods and cities and local governments don’t want to stop them, then I say let it happen. It’s sad for the people in these places that had no dog in the fight, but maybe this will teach the locals to speak out against BLM or Antifa instead of remaining silent or virtue signaling their support in the hopes that their businesses won’t be attacked.  Maybe they should look for better government officials as well.

Finally, it’s far past time to go after the elites that fund and engineer such groups.  Remove their influence and I suspect many people will be shocked at how fast all this unrest and chaos suddenly disappears.  Isn’t this what people wanted Trump to do from the very beginning?  And yet, nothing happens to the vampires at the top.

Only cowards demand everyone else give up their freedoms just so they can feel safe.  The establishment is trying to pit the American people against each other as a means to pave a path to tyranny. I believe what the elites want more than anything else is to trick conservatives into forsaking their own principles. If we do, we become hypocrites that can no longer sustain a movement for freedom. By becoming the monster to fight the monster we hand our enemies victory. This is unacceptable.

Tenth Amendment Center: Gov’t Worried that Mask Use Thwarts Gov’t Facial Recognition

From the Tenth Amendment Center, DHS Worried Widespread Mask Use Will Thwart Government Facial Recognition.

There has been a lot of controversy over masks, but no matter what you think about the efficacy of face coverings in preventing the spread of COVID-19, there is one advantage to masking up. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed concern that widespread use of masks will thwart facial recognition.

A DHS “intelligence note” dated May 22 came to light in the BlueLeaks trove of law enforcement documents. The DHS Intelligence Enterprise Counterterrorism Mission Center in conjunction with a variety of other agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement drafted the note. It “examines the potential impacts that widespread use of protective masks could have on security operations that incorporate face recognition systems — such as video cameras, image processing hardware and software, and image recognition algorithms — to monitor public spaces during the ongoing Covid-19 public health emergency and in the months after the pandemic subsides.”

According to The Intercept, the Minnesota Fusion Center distributed the notice on May 26, as protests over the killing of George Floyd were ramping up. “Email logs included in the BlueLeaks archive show that the note was also sent to city and state government officials and private security officers in Colorado and, inexplicably, to a hospital and a community college.”

The note warned, “We assess violent extremists and other criminals who have historically maintained an interest in avoiding face recognition are likely to opportunistically seize upon public safety measures recommending the wearing of face masks to hinder the effectiveness of face recognition systems in public spaces by security partners.”

The note also expresses more general concern about mask-wearing. One header reads, “Face Recognition Systems Likely to be Less Effective as Widespread Wear of Face Coverings for Public Safety Purposes Continue,”

“We assess face recognition systems used to support security operations in public spaces will be less effective while widespread public use of facemasks, including partial and full face covering, is practiced by the public to limit the spread of Covid-19.”

The debate on masking aside, thwarting facial recognition is a good thing because the federal government is aggressively pushing the expansion of its vast and increasingly intrusive facial recognition network.

THE GROWING FEDERAL PROGRAM

recent report revealed that the federal government has turned state drivers’ license photos into a giant facial recognition database, putting virtually every driver in America in a perpetual electronic police lineup. The revelations generated widespread outrage, but this story isn’t new. The federal government has been developing a massive, nationwide facial recognition system for years.

The FBI rolled out a nationwide facial-recognition program in the fall of 2014, with the goal of building a giant biometric database with pictures provided by the states and corporate friends.

In 2016, the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law released “The Perpetual Lineup,” a massive report on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology in the U.S. You can read the complete report at perpetuallineup.org. The organization conducted a year-long investigation and collected more than 15,000 pages of documents through more than 100 public records requests. The report paints a disturbing picture of intense cooperation between the federal government, and state and local law enforcement to develop a massive facial recognition database.

“Face recognition is a powerful technology that requires strict oversight. But those controls, by and large, don’t exist today,” report co-author Clare Garvie said. “With only a few exceptions, there are no laws governing police use of the technology, no standards ensuring its accuracy, and no systems checking for bias. It’s a wild west.”

There are many technical and legal problems with facial recognition, including significant concerns about the accuracy of the technology, particularly when reading the facial features of minority populations. During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.

With facial recognition technology, police and other government officials have the capability to track individuals in real-time. These systems allow law enforcement agents to use video cameras and continually scan everybody who walks by. According to the report, several major police departments have expressed an interest in this type of real-time tracking. Documents revealed agencies in at least five major cities, including Los Angeles, either claimed to run real-time face recognition off of street cameras, bought technology with the capability, or expressed written interest in buying it.

In all likelihood, the federal government heavily involves itself in helping state and local agencies obtain this technology. The feds provide grant money to local law enforcement agencies for a vast array of surveillance gear, including ALPRs, stingray devices and drones. The federal government essentially encourages and funds a giant nationwide surveillance net and then taps into the information via fusion centers and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).

Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”

Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.

Reports that the Berkeley Police Department in cooperation with a federal fusion center deployed cameras equipped to surveil a “free speech” rally and Antifa counterprotests provided the first solid link between the federal government and local authorities in facial recognition surveillance.

See also EFF’s San Francisco Police Accessed Business District Camera Network to Spy on Protestors

 

AIER: Government, Govern Thyself

Michael Munger is a Professor of Political Science, Economics, and Public Policy at Duke University and Senior Fellow of the American Institute for Economic Research. In the article Government, Govern Thyself, he argues that the state is always either too weak to do what we want, or so strong it can do whatever it wants.

leviathan

In January 2014 then-President Barack Obama made a speech in Washington, D.C. In that informal speech, just before a cabinet meeting, he explained he found it necessary to ignore the U.S. Constitution and unilaterally impose his vision of the good society on the nation:

We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone…

And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.

Many people on the right complained (I thought correctly) that this was Presidential overreach. To be fair, even the New York Times called the overzealous suppression of information and prosecution of whistleblowers “a stain on Obama’s legacy.”

Now, of course, all my friends on the left are appalled by the actions of the overreach of the Republican administration. Many who were fine with Obama ordering states around on the environment have recently taken a strong interest in the 10th Amendment, worrying about immigration enforcement and sending federal police to Portland and other cities. Understand: this is no partisan disagreement, but an irredeemable flaw in the nature of the state. The modern state is either too weak to do what we want, or so strong it can do whatever it wants.

The problem is often stated recursively. In Luke 4:23, Jesus mocked his skeptical listeners, “Physician, heal thyself.” The audience doubted Jesus’ claim that he was the messiah, because “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Just some local kid putting on airs and getting above his raisin’. Jesus’ taunting response was, in effect, “Nobody wants a sick physician, or a skinny cook, right?”

There are other observations in this vein; perhaps the most famous is that of the Roman satirist Juvenal. Around 100 C.E. he wrote about a problem of making sure someone does the right thing, even if the boss isn’t watching. His example (it was a satire) focused on ensuring the sexual fidelity of wives:

I know well the advice and warnings of my old friends: “Put on a lock and keep your wife indoors.” Yes, and who will ward the warders? They get paid in kind for holding their tongues as to their young lady’s escapades; participation seals their lips. The wily wife arranges accordingly, and begins with them…. (Satire #6)

Juvenal’s question, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (I’ve seen it translated “Who will ward the warders/guard the guardians?”), and Jesus’ parable, both illustrate the problem with the dual nature of the state. The usual social contract myth endows the state with the duty to enforce all agreements. But who then is to enforce the agreement between citizens and the state? Can the state be both enforcer and a party in the dispute? Physician, heal thyself.

There is of course a long history of just this kind of critique among libertarians, particularly those of us with some anarchist sympathies. One of the most interesting, important, but (to my mind) underrated of these was the late Anthony de Jasay. The origins of government are supposed by our inability to enforce contracts. So we create an entity that specializes in violence, to force everyone to obey their contracts. In Hobbes’ terms, “Covenants, without the sword, are but words.” Of course, once “we” “consent” to this universal contract enforcer, we have some problems. Who is this “we?” It all happened a long time ago. And very few people actually “consented;” all that happened is that we didn’t leave the country. And who will enforce our contract with the violent contract enforcer? Somehow, the government has to govern itself.

According to Jasay, there are two fatal flaws with the “social contract” idea. The first is the “enforceable contracts” justification, and the second is the “limiting Leviathan” problem of self-governance.

If contracts are unenforceable, then who governs the government? If we can’t enforce contracts with equals, how can we trust Leviathan? Jasay compares this magical thinking to “jumping over your own shadow.” As he puts it, “[I]t takes courage to affirm that rational people could unanimously wish to have a sovereign contract enforcer [itself] bound by no contract.” And by “courage” he intends no encomium. Either (1) those who make this claim are contradicting themselves: since we can’t have contracts, we’ll use a contract to solve the problem; or (2) the argument is simply circular: cooperation requires enforceable contracts, but these require a norm of cooperation that makes the state obey the contract. Of course, if there is a norm of cooperation then other contracts are enforceable without the state.

We are on the horns of a dilemma: either the former claim—contracts cannot be enforced—is true, and we cannot conjure enforceable contracts out of a shadow; or the latter claim—people naturally cooperate on their own—is true, and then no state was necessary in the first place. Robert Nozick (1974) put it well: “Tacit consent isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on.”

The second problem highlighted by Jasay is “limiting Leviathan.” Let’s assume the best: state officials genuinely intend to do good. We might make the standard Public Choice claim that officials use power to benefit themselves, but let us put that aside; instead, suppose officials genuinely want to improve the lives of their citizens.

That still means a minarchist state is not sustainable.

Officials, thinking of the society as a collective rather than as individuals with inviolable rights, will immediately discover opportunities to raise taxes, create new programs and new powers that benefit those who, in the minds of the officials, need help. In fact, it is precisely the failure of the Public Choice assumptions of narrow self-interest that ensure this outcome. It might be possible in principle to design a principal-agent system of bureaucratic contract that constrains selfish officials. But if state power attracts those who are willing to sacrifice welfare, even their own welfare, for the “greater good” then the constitutional dams of minarchy are quickly overtopped, and Leviathan floods the land.

I should hasten to add that it need not be true, for Jasay’s claim to go through, that the concept of “greater good” has any empirical content. It is enough that (some) people believe. The true believers will brandish “the greater good” like a truncheon, smashing rules and laws designed to restrain the expansion of state power. No one who wants to do good will pass up a chance to do good, even if it means changing the rules. This process is much like that described by Hayek in “Why the Worst Get on Top,” or Bertrand de Jouvenal’s On Power.

So, the argument has the same structure, creating a logical dilemma or contradiction. Either

  1. Minarchy is not possible, because it is overwhelmed by the desire to “do good,” which cannot be controlled by the state because it would require officials to limit themselves for moral, not legal reasons, or
  2. No state, minarchist or otherwise, is necessary because people can limit their actions on their own, without the state’s use of coercion.

Jasay is especially scornful of those who would invoke constitutions and “parchment barriers” to protect a minarchist arrangement. A formal state and a constitution are either unnecessary (if people are self-governing) or ineffective (if they are not). Leviathan either cannot survive because everyone opposes it, or else it is illimitable because no one can resist it.

Most people seem to think that the problem with government power is that the wrong people are in office. That’s not right; the problem is that we want to rely on a physician who suffers an illness that cannot be cured.

Mises Wire: The Government Wants Your Crypto Data. And Lots of It.

Bitcoin Manifesto author Allan Stevo has an article at the Mises Institute about how the government would like to track your crypto transactions, as well as ways that can help anonymize your cryptocurrency use – The Government Wants Your Crypto Data. And Lots of It. Don’t be scared off of cryptocurrency just because governments want to control them. It takes some time and effort to understand and take countermeasures. While governments would have you think otherwise, the money you have earned is yours not theirs.

he Venezuelan government recently announced that its Administrative Service for Identification, Migration and Foreigners (SAIME) is now accepting bitcoin as a payment method for passports.

The problem with that is that bitcoin is not anonymous but pseudonymous.

To interact with any government using bitcoin is to reveal to them the wallet you are paying from. The blockchain is public. When commentators like Caitlin Johnstone and Stefan Molyneux or organizations such as the Mises Institute or TOR Foundation ask for bitcoin contributions, one can follow the money with a blockchain explorer to see how much comes in and how it is spent. One can also see who gave it to them if a donor hasn’t exercised some caution in protecting their privacy.

I would never want the Venezuelan government, the US government, or anyone else who might misuse that information to be able to peek into my crypto finances, especially not through a transaction tied to my passport. Who’s to say that the next time I appear at an immigration checkpoint I won’t be flagged for having too fat of a bitcoin wallet or putting money toward some politically incorrect use?

Though the Venezuelan government dedicates a fraction of the resources to spying on its citizens that the US government does to spying on Americans, there is no need to carelessly provide any government with extra personal data. Knowledge in the hands of the state will be used as a weapon in the hands of the state.

There are plenty of lists of big bitcoin wallets and there are people who make a name for themselves by watching bitcoin move from one account to another. Among them is the US government.

On February 6, 2018, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Chris Giancarlo before the US Senate Banking Committee revealed that the US government uses spot exchanges such as Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit, and Kraken to glimpse into the industry.

Chainalysis, run by Kraken’s cofounder and former COO Michael Gronager, exists to tie personal identity to bitcoin transactions. Their business model is the reduction of other people’s personal privacy, data that they then monetize by selling it to their customers. Far more sinister than Google or Facebook, which at least anonymize data prior to selling it to advertisers, Chainalysis links real-life personal data, including legal name, to a specific wallet. Many blockchain analysis competitors exist.

Coinbase has recently come under fire for having a similar service, Coinbase Analytics, which has a contract with the US Department of Homeland Security. “Coinbase joins a crowded field of cryptocurrency analytics companies – Chainalysis, Elliptic, CipherTrace and others – vying for a piece of the federal pie. Agencies from all corners of the U.S. government regularly contract with crypto intel firms, inking deals for their tracing software worth millions, and sometimes stretching years,” reports Coindesk.

The bitcoin exchanges that KYC (know your customer) their customers are a perfect place for industry data collection to take place. Coinbase could monetize and simplify that data collection process, not only charging fees for their exchange services, but taking it a step further and monetizing their user data, making their users the product. This is especially pernicious in the privacy obsessed, smaller-government realm of cryptocurrency.

How much money did it take for this $8 billion company to sell out crypto consumers to the US government? Government disclosure shows that the contract has a current award amount of $49,000, with potential for another $134,750 total over the next four years.

Coinbase has reassured users that it is only collecting publicly available data about its users, nothing more, and packaging that for government use. Its CEO, Brian Armstrong, has encouraged users not to use bitcoin if they don’t want to be snooped on by Coinbase, but to use privacy coins instead.

Luckily, the marketplace is responding to privacy incursions like this:

  • There are decentralized exchanges like Bisq that can’t easily be subpoenaed because there is no central entity to subpoena.
  • Additional ways of anonymizing bitcoin purchases exist, such as with cash or through ATMs, which may or may not KYC customers.
  • We are now witnessing the introduction of “privacy coins.” These are designed to be far more difficult to trace—some might even say impossible—though I long ago learned that the word “impossible” is not really that accurate, as possibility or impossibility is merely a question of will and available resources.

This topic of maintaining privacy in bitcoin transactions is especially pertinent as personal privacy comes under attack.

  • US Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) have introduced the “Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act,” an antiencryption bill that insists that all encryption without a government back door is illegal. To follow such an order would spell the death of encryption. Any encryption with a back door is not actually encryption.
  • The pseudonymous Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex was under threat of doxxing by the New York Times and consequently deleted his popular blog out of privacy concerns. The New York Times defended itself by saying it has a policy to identify all people it writes about. Alexander, after a month of silence from the New York Times on the topic, believes the threat has subsided. The callous disregard for privacy remains.
  • Google and Apple are begging governments to let them use mobile phones to monitor the whereabouts of users in the name of the latest cause against liberty—public health.

As journalist Peter Chawaga has pointed out, “Privacy is becoming one of the most scarce resources in the world.”

If these attacks on privacy were without consequence, then perhaps one might feel better about them, but as the current spate of cancel culture demonstrates—from Central Park Karen to Seattle’s middle finger Karen—merely having a camera turned on a person when they’re showing disagreeable behavior can be enough to shatter the fragile lives that many live. There’s almost a sociopathic hunger to destroy a person intertwined in some of this behavior. How much worse would the impact of that mob of sociopaths be if they also had access to all of a person’s financial data?

It’s a great time for more encryption and more privacy, and an awful time for helping governments or any other organization populate databases that you can guarantee will one day be used heartlessly against you.

Survivopedia: Are We Looking At The Wrong Numbers?

Bill White at Survivopedia writes about some of the numbers that aren’t being talked about much related to the current coronavirus pandemic – people with permanent damage who didn’t die – Are We Looking At The Wrong Numbers?

As the second wave of COVID-19 continues sweeping the nation, it is becoming even more politically polarized than ever before.

This is sad to me, that we can’t unite over something that is really not a partisan issue but is affecting us all. Our focus, all of us, should be on doing what is best for the people of our county; and that includes both protecting their health and protecting their ability to provide for their needs, financially speaking. The two are not mutually exclusive.

But that’s not what’s happening. Those on the political left are trying to use the pandemic to make Trump and Republican governors look bad, focusing on the rise in cases, as we wade through the second surge. It doesn’t matter that this second surge was part of the plan all along, as the original lockdowns were just about flattening the curve, in their narrative, the surge has to be because of some grave error in judgment on the part of their political enemies.

Then we’ve got the political right, many of whom are focusing on how the left-leaning media is overreacting and overstating the danger of the current situation. Sadly, they aren’t serving us any better, when they’re saying that we shouldn’t have to be wearing masks. Yes, I understand their position that the government is infringing on our liberty, but at the same time, I’ve got to say that there’s enough evidence that masks help save lives, that it makes sense to do so.

The argument that’s being used is that only one percent of the people die of COVID-19. But just what do they mean by “one percent?” If they’re talking 1% of the people who come down with it, the numbers don’t jive. We’ve had 4,170,000 people come down with the disease and 147,342 deaths as of this writing. That works out to 3.53% of total cases ending up in death.

But we need to realize that 3.53% is a low number. Even if nobody else comes down with the disease, some of the 2,042,559 active cases will result in death. We just don’t know how many. If we divide the number of people who have died by the total number of closed cases, we get 6.9%. That’s probably too high. When all is said and done, the death toll will probably end up being somewhere between those two percentages; we just don’t know where.

On the other hand, if they’re talking about one percent of the total population dying from COVID-19, then we’re talking 3.31 million people. Since we have no idea of how many total people are going to come down with the disease, that number is not outside the realm of possibility. I personally don’t think it will get that bad, but I can’t discount the possibility…

o start with, for every person who dies of COVID-19, there are 19 others who require hospitalization. That’s a hard number, which can be substantiated by hospital records. So the 147,342 people who have died become 2.8 million who have been hospitalized. Unfortunately, I can’t find any data to substantiate that; as everyone is reporting hospitalizations on a weekly basis, not a cumulative total; and I can’t just add those up, because we don’t know how long any of those people have been in the hospital.

So let’s use that 2.8 million number for now. Supposedly for every person who dies of COVID-19:

  • 18 people will have to live with permanent heart damage
  • 10 people will have to live with permanent lung damage
  • 3 people will end up having strokes
  • 2 people will have to live with chronic weakness and loss of coordination due to neurological damage
  • 2 people will have to live with a loss of cognitive function due to neurological damage

Granted, I’m sure these numbers are preliminary and they will be modified in the future, as our medical community gains more information. But we’re talking about the potential for all of those 2.8 million people having to live with some sort of permanent or semi-permanent disability. And that number is only going to go up, as we’re nowhere near the end of this pandemic if an end actually even exists.

If we take the viewpoint that one percent of the population is going to die of COVID-19, as some are saying, then we’re looking at a total of:

  • 3,311,000 dead
  • 59,598,000 with permanent heart damage
  • 33,110,000 with permanent lung damage
  • 9,933,000 who have strokes
  • 6,622,000 with permanent weakness and lack of coordination
  • 6,622,000 with permanent loss of cognitive function

Obviously, we can’t afford that as a nation. While I’m sure that there will be a considerable amount of overlap, with people having more than one of those symptoms, that just means that those who do have long-term effects will be in that much worse shape. And before you say it will just be old people, I know people in their 20s who have come down with COVID and are still battling these sorts of long-term symptoms two to three months later.

When I say we can’t afford that, I’m referring to the loss in our labor force. While a large percentage of the people who have serious problems with COVID-19 and die are elderly people with underlying health problems, more and more younger people are having serious problems with the disease. Are those young people going to become disabled and end up needing public assistance their whole lives? (continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Survivopedia.

Forward Observer: Election 2020 – Catastrophic Failure? The Evidence Is Stacking Up

This video comes from intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer.

Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations (1996) describes a world in disarray following the collapse of the American Empire.

In the latest Forward Observer TV video, I describe what that looks like for the United States, focusing on uncertainty surrounding November elections.

Organic Prepper: What It’s Really Like to Work in a COVID Ward

Chuck Hudson, a friend of Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, who works at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Roper Hospital in South Carolina takes time to write about what it is like to work in a COVID ward there. Because some people still believe that COVID-19 is entirely a hoax without any patients or full hospitals, Daisy had to preface with the article with her statement about Chuck being a personal friend of hers, so that people don’t think it’s some kind of planted fake story.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by a personal friend of mine. This isn’t some stranger who wrote to me to share some story that may or may not be true. This is a man I’ve known for years who has dedicated his entire career to caring for the health of others. In this essay, he shares an average day in the COVID ward of the hospital where he works. ~ Daisy

COVID virus has turned the world upside down. From the economy of the planet to pitting neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. Never mind the violence destroying our cities. We are all dealing with this virus with totally unbelievable numbers, huge numbers of infected people, and a rising death toll.

Yet, I look out my living room window and see green grass, flowers blooming and some kids down the street playing basketball.

And then, I go to work.

The area where our day patients come in is called 2HVT. All 14 rooms of 2HVT are now negative pressure rooms. (Also called isolation rooms, negative pressure rooms help prevent airborne diseases from escaping the room and infecting others.) All the rooms of the old Cardiac ICU, which is attached to our cath lab by a short hall, are now negative pressure rooms. 4 South on the 4th floor is now a COVID unit. 6 south, an old Ortho ward, and 5 South have been converted as well. All these conversions are in the downtown hospital alone. All patient areas of the 3, newer hospitals in the system have been converted to handle COVID patients.

Watching the news here in my new home state of South Carolina, no matter the station, it is the same thing: doom and gloom. More and more infected people from testing, talking heads pointing the finger of blame, and numbers being sensationalized. After all, “If it bleeds it leads.” It’s gotten so bad that I turn on the news just long enough to catch the weather and traffic for the morning drive from Summerville to Charleston.

But enough of that. Let me tell you what it is really like in the COVID step-down unit. This unit is for people not sick enough to need high flow O2 or intubation, yet too sick to go to a “regular” floor. (Like there is a regular COVID floor!) As with any floor, the “permanent “ nurses and techs get morning reports from their night shift counterparts. After getting the reports we start our rounds with the patients.

Wait…no, we don’t just walk into a COVID room.

It takes about 3-5 minutes to gear up before entering a room.

Step 1 put on a set of gloves.

Step 2 Put on impermeable gown.

Step 3 Put on N95 mask.

Step 4 Put on face shield. ( We 3D print the frames for these. And use pieces of acetate we get from Staples. )

Step 6 Put on 2nd set of gloves.

Step 7 Triple check that everything is sealed and in order.

Now…we can go in the room.

We try to allow only 1 person at a time in the room, unless something demands that 2 people are needed. The nurse or tech who goes in the room does not leave the room until they have completed all tasks. If the nurse or techs needs something this is where I come in. If I am not assigned a patient, I run and get things. We are runners. We run and get whatever is needed.

What about emergencies?

Same procedure.

We have Mayday bags stapled to the wall in front of each room. Each of these Mayday bags contains the following:

  • 2 N95’s: small and regular
  • “Bunny Suit”
  • Face shield (We 3D print face shields in-house)
  • 6 pairs of separately bagged gloves (sm, med, lg)
  • Bouffant hat

All of this must be put on prior to entering a room. It is mandatory. Even if the patient is dying.

Very little is talked about…so much to tell.

Even the little things that the patients and the staff endure take a huge toll on us.

A majority of our patients have lost their sense of taste and smell. Some can only sense texture and temperature. This makes it difficult and frustrating for our patients and staff. The food delivered to our COVID patients is left at the “Airlock”. In normal rooms, insulated containers can be used for the food, keeping it hot. However, food in the COVID areas must be served using only paper plates, paper cups, paper serving trays and plastic ware. We have to use a microwave to heat the food just before it goes in the room.

In normal rooms a tech, nurse or CNA brings the food to the patients. In our world, only the assigned nurse or tech brings the food. And it may be a LONG wait due to having to microwave the food just prior to going in. We have to coordinate routine care to keep the number of times a room is entered to a minimum. (I have become an expert at microwaving paper plates of hospital grade food!)

One thing the virus does that many people outside of the medical field don’t know is it interferes with the blood clotting cascade. Believe you me, as a former Medical Lab Tech (MLT) I would LOVE to go over in mind-numbing detail the 12 steps of clotting. The intrinsic and extrinsic pathway that lead to a fibrin strand…”OUCH!” (My wife just tossed a crafts magazine at me. I started describing the steps. In detail.)

So, in addition to damaging the lungs, COVID can cause deep vein thrombosis. It also causes DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.) Post mortem exams have revealed up to 30% of early COVID patients had elevated D-Dimer, C-reactive protein and lactate dehydrogenase. All markers for clotting system problems, which has led to death by stroke, even in young people.

Some patients are in denial until the last moment.

Recently, I was helping to discharge a fairly young patient, about the mid to late 40s. As I was getting his history and gathering information on his experience, I asked how he ended up in ICU and then in my area.

He told me he thought he had a summer cold. He thought the whole virus was a hoax and refused to wear a mask. When his wife brought him in he thought it was a bad cold AND an ulcer. He complained of stomach pain, severe diarrhea, and shortness of breath. He was admitted to our COVID floor, still in denial. What he had believed was a stuffed up nose was actually him losing his sense of smell. Then he crashed.

The anesthesiologist did what is called rapid sequence intubation. The patient is given sedative and paralytic drugs. That’s it. Once they are intubated, they are put out.

He told me when they jerked his head back and he saw that the young doctor looking scared though his protective gear he knew then it wasn’t a hoax.

Good news: we ARE saving more than we lose.

Here in Charleston where I work, our average patient stay is 4 days. If they go to the ICU their stay is about double that. In the last 3 weeks we have dropped from 44% to 31% of our inpatients being in for COVID. Our percentage of positive COVID tests is at about 21%. We test EVERY PATIENT that comes in the hospital.

We have a game plan:

  • Remdesivir
  • Lovanox
  • Plasma antibodies from COVID survivors
  • Intervene and intubate
  • ECMO: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (to treat some patients)

We have a long way to go. We still have shortages of protective gear, but we improvise, adapt and overcome. Up to 170 or so of our teammates, young and not so young,  have been out with COVID. Some ended up in the ICU. Our hospital is finding ways to use senior management. A large group of nurses that haven’t been bedside in years are filling in as runners, housekeepers, and patient transport.

This is part of a corporate email from this past week. (Patient sensitive information has been removed.)

Roper St. Francis Healthcare has tested and confirmed that 46 more patients since Tuesday have COVID-19, bringing our total to 3,806 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Once each week, we will provide additional information about our testing and which segments of the population are most affected by the virus.

In the past seven days, 19 percent of our 3,014 COVID-19 tests have been positive, which is down from our 22 percent positive rate during the past 14 days. Our overall positive rate since we started COVID-19 testing is 15 percent. We have 949 tests pending.

Of those testing positive in the past seven days,

– 19 percent are under 29 years old

– 15 percent are 30-39 years old

– 12 percent are 40-49 years old

– 17 percent are 50-59 years old

– 16 percent are 60-69 years old

– 20 percent are over 70 years old

Thirty four percent of those patients have been white, 44 percent have been Black, 5 percent have been Latino and 16 percent have been other.

The areas where we’ve seen the largest number of new cases are North Charleston, Charleston and Summerville.

There have been 3,882,167 cases nationally with a total of 141,677 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. South Carolina has had 73,101 confirmed cases and 1,203 deaths.

Hero’s? Nah…We signed up for this because we wanted to help.

I’m not going to berate, belittle, or bully anyone over their choice when it comes to personal protective equipment. I am going to ask that you be careful. You do not want someone like me or my old Ranger bud Johnny doing CPR on you. You will end up with damaged ribs.

I’m pretty blessed to be working at Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Roper Hospital. We show up to work each day to care for our patients, and we go home to rest up a little before doing it again the next day. Some of us, myself included, don’t care much for the term “hero”. It is MY job to take care of YOU if you end up in OUR hospital. It is YOUR job to stay healthy, be careful, and be smart about this virus.

Forward Observer: What’s Next for the Urban Insurgencies

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer writes about the continuing urban insurgency in What’s Next for the Urban Insurgencies.

For the past couple months, I’ve been hitting some old counterinsurgency standby’s. The last time I read most of the these manuals and books was prior to deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Somehow insurgency followed us back.

Given that the reelection of President Trump is likely to blow wide open these urban insurgencies, it’s long past time for us to begin or continue learning about the cat and mouse of the insurgent and counterinsurgent. In this case, anarchist insurrectionists are trying to foment a broader insurgency against local, state, and federal government.

In his book Counterinsurgency Warfare, author David Galula outlines six strengths and weaknesses that determine the potential for a successful counterinsurgency campaign. I’ll list them below with some brief notes on the current situation.

1. Galula writes that an absence of problems in a country makes insurgency virtually impossible. Since there is no absence of problems — we have both real and artificial problems in this country — an insurgency was virtually inevitable as soon as local, state, and federal governments were weakened, as they are now.

2. Next, a national consensus against insurgents is a strength that this country currently lacks. There’s no national consensus on anything, and there’s substantial support for the insurgents, which strengthens the urban insurgencies.

3. Resoluteness of counterinsurgent leadership is the next strength or weakness. The Trump administration currently has the resolve to wage counterinsurgency, but there’s been opposition from state and local governments. The insurgents’ political and social efforts will focus on degrading the administration’s capacity to execute a counterinsurgency campaign, increasingly so after President Trump’s potential reelection. (The activism against ICE in previous years is a good example.) The Trump administration will face significant problems in instituting a whole-of-government approach, likely leading the administration to take more deliberate or extreme actions, which will increase accusations of fascism.

4. A major factor in any outcome is the counterinsurgents’ knowledge of counterinsurgency warfare. The Trump administration will rely on those with experience in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where a shaky counterinsurgency strategy was unevenly applied. Regardless of strategy, defeating urban insurgencies could become a multi-year process in places like Portland and Seattle, as America experiences its own version of the “Irish Troubles” — albeit not an exact comparison.

5. The machine for control of the population includes four factors which a second Trump administration could lack: the political structure (x), the administrative bureaucracy (x), the police (), the armed forces (x/✓). If reelected, President Trump will either face a split Congress or a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, and lack control of the political structure. The Trump administration doesn’t have control of the administrative bureaucracy now and is likely to lack control in a second term. The Trump administration will likely retain control over most federal law enforcement, and is likely to have influence over some local and state law enforcement — that’s certainly less the case in areas where there’s local political support for the insurgencies. Army Secretary Mark Esper and GEN Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month demurred at the deployment of regular Army troops to confront rioters. Esper and Milley can be replaced with military officials who are more amenable to using the military to put down insurrections, but Democrat-majority Congress would cast doubt on how effective the use of armed forces would be.

6. The sixth and final factor is geographic conditions. These insurrections will primarily occur in urban areas, regardless if they trigger a national insurgency. The most important thing we learned about fighting against urban insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the counterinsurgency effort can be incredibly disruptive to the city.

Both sides are vying for support of the populace, so the insurgent must develop and propagandize a cause that will garner popular support — this is where the overall effort is won or lost.

These are some initial thoughts on what we could be looking at for at least the next four years, based on Galula’s factors presented in Counterinsurgency Warfare. These are not predictions, of course, but I do hope these initial thoughts are helpful in understanding the future…

WA Gov. Candidate Joshua Freed Meet and Greet, July 31st, Prosser

A Meet and Greet for Washington Gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed will be held on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 7:00 pm in The Patriot Barn at 22236 N. Hinzerling Rd, Prosser. If you plan to attend the meet and greet, please RSVP to Frank Ver Mulm so that we know how much food and drink to prepare. Tri-tip, soda, beer and wine will be served.

Joshua and Lindie Freed are college sweethearts and have been married for 23 years.

Tenth Amendment Center: A Brief History of the Freedom of Speech in America

Judge Andrew Napolitano writes at the Tenth Amendment Center A Brief History of the Freedom of Speech in America

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he included in it a list of the colonists’ grievances with the British government. Notably absent were any complaints that the British government infringed upon the freedom of speech.

In those days, speech was as acerbic as it is today. If words were aimed at Parliament, all words were lawful. If they were aimed directly and personally at the king — as Jefferson’s were in the Declaration — they constituted treason.

Needless to say, Jefferson and the 55 others who signed the Declaration would all have been hanged for treasonous speech had the British prevailed.

Of course, the colonists won the war, and, six years afterward, the 13 states ratified the Constitution. Two years after ratification, the Constitution was amended by adding the Bill of Rights. The first ratified amendment prohibited Congress from doing what the colonists never seriously complained about the British government doing — infringing upon the freedom of speech.

James Madison, who drafted the Bill of Rights, insisted upon referring to speech as “the” freedom of speech, so as to emphasize that it preexisted the government. If you could have asked Madison where he believed the freedom of speech came from, he’d have said it was one of the inalienable rights Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration.

Stated differently, each of the signatories of the Declaration and ratifiers of the Bill of Rights manifested in writing their unambiguous belief that the freedom of speech is a natural right — personal to every human. It does not come from the government. It comes from within us. It cannot be taken away by legislation or executive command.

Yet, a mere seven years later, during the presidency of John Adams, Congress enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which punished speech critical of the government.

So, how could the same generation — in some cases the same human beings — that prohibited congressional infringement upon speech have enacted a statute that punished speech?

To the some of the framers — the Federalists who wanted a big government as we have today — infringing upon the freedom of speech meant silencing it before it was uttered. Today, this is called prior restraint, and the Supreme Court has essentially outlawed it.

To the antifederalists — or Democratic-Republicans, as they called themselves — the First Amendment prohibited Congress from interfering with or punishing any speech.

Adams’ Department of Justice indicted and prosecuted and convicted antifederalists — among them a congressman — for their critical speech.

When Jefferson won the presidency and the antifederalists won control of Congress, the Federalists repealed the speech suppression parts of the Alien and Sedition Acts on the eve of their departure from congressional control, lest it be used against them.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln locked up hundreds of journalists in the North who were critical of his war efforts. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson — whom my alma mater Princeton University is trying to erase from its memory — arrested folks for reading the Declaration of Independence aloud or singing German beer hall songs.

Lincoln argued that preserving the Union was more important than preserving the First Amendment, and Wilson argued that the First Amendment only restrained Congress, not the president. Both arguments have since been rejected by the courts.

In the 1950s, the feds successfully prosecuted Cold War dissenters on the theory that their speech was dangerous and might have a tendency to violence. Some of the victims of this torturous rationale died in prison.

The government’s respect for speech has waxed and waned. It is at its lowest ebb during wartime. Of course, dissent during wartime — which challenges the government’s use of force to kill — is often the most important and timely speech.

It was not until 1969, in a case called Brandenburg v. Ohio, that the Supreme Court gave us a modern definition of the freedom of speech. Brandenburg harangued a crowd in Hamilton County, Ohio and urged them to march to Washington and take back the federal government from Blacks and Jews, whom he argued were in control. He was convicted in an Ohio state court of criminal syndicalism — basically, the use of speech to arouse others to violence.

The Supreme Court unanimously reversed his conviction and held that all innocuous speech is absolutely protected, and all speech is innocuous when there is time for more speech to rebut it. The same Supreme Court had just ruled in Times v. Sullivan that the whole purpose of the First Amendment is to encourage and protect open, wide, robust, even caustic and unbridled speech.

The speech we love needs no protection. The speech we hate does. The government has no authority to evaluate speech. As the framers understood, all persons have a natural right to think as we wish and to say and publish whatever we think. Even hateful, hurtful and harmful speech is protected speech.

Yet, in perilous times like the present, we have seen efforts to use the courts to block the publication of unflattering books. We have seen state governors use the police to protect gatherings of protestors with whose message they agreed and to disburse critical protestors. We have seen mobs silence speakers while the police did nothing.

Punishing speech is the most dangerous business because there will be no end to it. The remedy for hateful or threatening speech is not silence or punishments; it is more speech — speech that challenges the speaker.

Why do folks in government want to silence their opponents? They fear an undermining of their power. The dissenters might make more appealing arguments than they do. St. Augustine taught that nearly all in government want to tell others how to live.

How about we all say whatever we want and the government leaves us alone?

Alt-Market: Election 2020 – The Worst Case Scenario Is The Most Likely One

Brandon Smith at Alt-Market talks about this year’s Presidential election and what may happen in Election 2020: The Worst Case Scenario Is The Most Likely One

…For the past few month my suspicion is that there might not be an election at all. But let’s look at the factors that are in place:

1) Joe Biden, the Dem candidate, appears to have stage four dementia. Either that, or he is a very good actor. This is another situation where I am questioning WHY? Why would the establishment run Biden (like they ran Clinton), perhaps the worst possible choice if they hope to rally people against Trump and conservatives?

Maybe Trump is meant to stay in office for another four years, because Biden appears to have no capacity to hold the attention of an audience (again, unless his Alzheimer’s is an act).  That said, if the economic decline is severe enough into November, the election numbers could still be very close because of the backlash against Trump.  Close elections are the easiest for the establishment to manipulate one way or the other.

2) Leftists hate Trump so thoroughly that they would vote for anyone at this point just to get rid of him; but will this fervor be enough to sway moderate Dems to participate if Biden continues his displays of mental frailty?

3) The pandemic lockdowns and viral spread are likely to hit hard by November. Meaning, there is a chance that people will find it difficult to vote at all, unless the votes are handled by mail-in or by electronic means.

4) Electronic or mail-in voting will not be trusted by the public on either side. Whoever wins will be accused of cheating.

5) Civil unrest and violence is almost guaranteed in the lead up to the elections, which could frighten people away from voting booths if they are even in operation.

These factors and more lead me to predict that Election 2020 will be a contested election which ends with Trump staying in office but accused of usurping the democratic process. This outcome is the worst possible outcome and also the most advantageous for the globalist establishment.

The elites are even hinting publicly that this is about to happen. For those of you that have been reading my work for many years, the name “Max Boot” might sound familiar. In my article ‘How Globalists Will Attempt To Control Populations Post Collapse’, published in 2016, I outlined writings by Council on Foreign Relations member Max Boot on the Malaysian Model, a method he describes as the perfect strategy for taking control of a population and destroying an insurgency.

The model calls for the institution of city-sized concentration camps which are used to isolate a rebellion away from the general population. The population in these cities is then subjected to extreme tracking and control measures, while the military is sent out to rural areas to eliminate potential insurgent threats.

Well, Boot is back again, this time writing about how he thinks Donald Trump will try to “hijack” the presidency in 2020.

In an article for the Washington post titled ‘What If Trump Loses But Insists He Won’, Boot outlines a scenario that was “war gamed” by a group called the Transition Integrity Project. The group played out a scenario in which there is a razor thin victory for Joe Biden, followed by actions by Trump to keep control of the presidency through lies and legal wrangling. The group also predicted civil unrest leading to potential “civil war” as the fight over the White House expands.

This article is, I believe, an attempt at predictive programming by the establishment. They are TELLING US exactly what is about to happen. A contested election, civil war, martial law, economic collapse and the US will be destroyed from within.  If conservatives actively support unconstitutional levels of federal power or martial law, then the scenario becomes even worse.  By forsaking our foundational principles in order to “defeat the left”, we would be handing victory to the globalists.  We would be destroying our own movement’s reason for existing while the elites barely have to lift a finger.

The CFR and its long time goal of erasing US sovereignty would then be nearly complete. All that would be left is to ensure they they are the people that get to rebuild America from the ashes of all out domestic conflict and collapse. This cannot be allowed to happen.

I continue to predict that the plan is to destroy the US as we know it and blame conservatives in the process. With so many elites inhabiting Trump’s cabinet, this outcome would be easy for them to engineer. That said, the end game is not in the hands of the elites. It’s in the hands of conservatives.

The temptation for conservatives will be to fully embrace government power in order to stop the leftists, but if we refuse to support martial law measures, if we demand or assert alternative solutions (such as community based security), if we stand by our principles of limited government and if we fight back against the globalists specifically instead of only focusing on the political left, then there is a chance we can stop them from taking control. That said, if we bow to government power and hand over our freedom just to defeat the leftists, then we will lose the greater battle against globalism in the long run.

Off Grid Ham: When Your Batteries Are Boiling

Chris at Off Grid Ham has an article up, talking about the danger/effect of heat on your batteries. When Your Batteries Are Boiling

Most of the USA is going through a blazing hot summer! Here in the upper Midwest it’s been over 90F/32C every day for almost two weeks. As I write this it’s 87F/31C in Buffalo, New York. That doesn’t sound too bad until you consider that it’s past sundown there, and the average daily July high for Buffalo is only 80F/27C. Most off grid amateurs fuss about battery temperature when it’s cold. Have you ever thought about what heat does to batteries? If you haven’t you should.

The chemistry of heat. battery temperature

How heat effects batteries varies greatly depending on the type of battery, how it is used, and the current going into/out of the battery. Battery chemistry, which is quite complex, is made even more complex by changes in temperature.

In addition to ambient heat, batteries themselves generate heat when they are charged or discharged. So, we have two factors at play. The radio amateur has only limited control over these two factors. Managing heat, to the extent that you can, will give your batteries better performance and a longer service life. battery temperature

Lithium batteries. battery temperature

Few things have benefitted amateur radio like lithium batteries. They are so much lighter and more powerful than their predecessors that the step forward in technology can plausibly be compared to when the transistor replaced the vacuum tube.

But like their ancestors, extreme temperatures effect lithium batteries. Once a lithium reaches 113F/45C, it should not be charged because excessive gas buildup can cause a cell to bulge. Lithiums can be discharged at up to 140F/60C but will lose capacity as they reach the upper limit of their operating range. There is also evidence that the higher the beginning state of charge, the more capacity will be lost as the battery heats up.

All larger lithium batteries have an on-board battery management system (BMS) that controls charging and cell balancing. Usually these electronics will reduce the current or not let you charge or discharge at all outside of acceptable temperature parameters. The high limits may seem generous, but do not underestimate them. Leaving a battery in a car on a hot summer day can easily push it beyond 113F/60C. If you are operating outdoors on a hot day and connect a solar panel to your lithium battery, the ambient temperature plus heat generated by the charge has the potential to exceed established temperature limits. The bottom line is, if your lithium batteries do not already have temperature-compensating circuitry, then you’ll have to monitor battery heat yourself.

AGM/Sealed batteries.

AGM, sealed lead acid, and gel cell batteries are cousins of each other and share similar characteristics. They’re very popular with amateurs due to their relatively low cost and ease of use. battery temperature

The top operating limit for AGM/SLA/gel batteries is 120F/49C. Like lithiums, AGM batteries will have reduced capacity at high temperatures and can also bulge/expand out. Thermal runaway is rare but possible. Overcharging generates heat and AGM batteries are especially sensitive to overcharging, so radio amateurs should be attentive when charging these batteries. A “smart charger” with a temperature probe would be ideal.

AGM-class batteries should not be discharged to less than 50% full. This presents a problem because they lose capacity at high temperatures. So if you have a battery that already has diminished capacity because it is hot, and then have to observe a 50% floor, that doesn’t leave much useful power for your equipment. At the same time, you will have to reduce charge current to avoid further overheating. The end result of all of this is a battery that will need to be charged more often and for longer periods. In a hot environment your AGM battery will for all practical purposes have less than half of its rated capacity. Lastly, long term exposure to heat will cut the service life of an AGM battery by half for every 15F rise above 77F (source)…

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CS Lewis Doodle: Equality

C.S. Lewis sets out why he believes in democracy. Believing in God, that is ‘hierarchy’ or ‘inequality within’, is the foundation stone of ‘equality without’ – that is, legal and political equality. Notes below in video description…
This is an illustration of C.S Lewis’ article published in the British magazine called ‘The Spectator’ on 27 August 1943. The Spectator was a weekly magazine and is the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language. You can find the book containing this article here: https://www.amazon.com/Present-Concer…
(0:07) When C.S. Lewis says he is a ‘democrat’, he means with a small ‘d’. (i.e., a person who believes in democracy, not a member of the Democratic Party of the United States). Dictionary meaning 1 below, not 2.
1. An advocate or supporter of democracy. “as a democrat, I accepted the outcome of the referendum”
2. (in the US) a member of the Democratic Party.
(0:16) Rousseau’s great lie was that: “People in their natural state are basically good. But this natural innocence, however, is corrupted by the evils of society.” This view is held almost universally in the world today, which clings to its own ‘righteousness’ just as a drowning man is hesitant to leave a sinking, rickety raft, when offered a short swim to a rescuer’s arms. Once this lie of our “inherent goodness” is abandoned, the truth does not lead to the wrong kind of hopelessness as was feared, but for the first time opens the door to the need of a Saviour. Leaving that raft of false hope can give us freedom. Christianity claims, by contrast, that we were once innocent but are now fallen and corrupted. Yet even in their innocent state in paradise, Eve could be deceived, and Adam couldn’t hold to the truth under pressure. They committed an act of betrayal, not just a mistake (Hosea 6.7).
Rousseau is called the ‘father of the totalitarians’. (Lewis, ‘On the Transmission of Christianity’).
(0:55) See “The Screwtape Letters” #1 and #25 for ‘catch words’.
(1:12) Lewis thought himself a natural non-leader (also see Judges 9.11): ‘…I don’t think there are in fact any people who stand to the rest of us as adult to child, man to beast or animate to inanimate. (Note: this is really the same objection as that which I would make to Aristotle’s theory of slavery (Politics 1254A et seq.). We can all recognize the “natural” slaves (I am perhaps one myself) but where are the “natural” masters?’ (Lewis, ‘The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment’).
(1:50) Some high forms of unequal statuses (and burdens) like kingship and the Levitical priesthood were also medicines or corrections, not ideals. See 1 Samuel 8.1-7, Exodus 4.10-14, and even Deuteronomy 5.25-28. But as Lewis points out, the basic headship or ‘shepherdships’ were ideal and began even before the fall of mankind. Before kingship also, God’s ideal system was to raise up leaders and appoint saviours for each individual crisis. In fact the judges refused kingship – mastership – they only took a shepherd’s role. In English history, we would call these military men the ‘Churchills’ I suppose (i.e. the Duke of Marlborough or Winston Churchill) who saw the gathering danger much earlier than others, came from obscurity and disregard, and led the British nation to outstanding, unlikely, victory over powerful enemies.
(5:15) Lewis mentions the feminist writer Naomi Mitchison, author of “The Home and a Changing Civilisation” (London, 1934, Chapter I, pp. 49-50). “Everybody minds being owned economically, even when they acquiesce; nobody minds being owned in love (or, more accurately, everybody wants to be owned in love). But when the two things are mixed there is the devil to pay…”
(7:10) In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture. A polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to (1) a musical texture with just one voice, a monophony, or (2) a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called a homophony.
(7:48) ‘I’m as good as you’ – See the demon’s instruction about democracy in “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”.
The original article had certain words italicised: *real* (2:55, 3:57), *erotic* (5:11), and *wear* (8:28).

Mises Institute: Americans Are Buying Guns in Record Numbers

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute writes Americans Are Buying Guns in Record Numbers. The Washington Post Isn’t Pleased. about how rising political instability and violence in the US has led to a record surge in gun sales and especially sales to first time gun owners and how the media is desperately trying to spin this as increased gun ownership causing increased crime.

Social scientists have been trying for many years to blame homicides on the presence of guns. A favorite tool in this quest is the use of studies that show a correlation between gun ownership and crime. These studies are then reported as “evidence” that the presence of guns causes crime.

But there’s always been a problem with this attempt at showing causality between guns and homicides: causality can just as plausibly go the other way. That is, in times and places where the local population feels they are in danger of being crime victims, people are more likely to purchase guns for protection. So, rather than saying “guns cause crime,” we should be saying “crime causes guns.”

New Gun Purchases Soar as Uncertainty and Violence Increase

We’re likely seeing this phenomenon at work now.

In recent months, according to the firearm industry’s trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Americans have purchased millions of guns:

The early part of 2020 has been unlike any other year for firearm purchases—particularly by first-time buyers—as new NSSF® research reveals millions of people chose to purchase their first gun during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fox News reports:

Gun sales have skyrocketed during the past three months, and a record-breaking 80.2 percent increase in sales was reported in May compared to last year, according to the shooting foundation. April’s data showed a 71.3 percent increase from 2019, and there was an 85.3 percent increase in March, according to information previously released by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting.

Many new gun owners during this period feared general unrest as a result of the government-mandated lockdowns. Potential first-time buyers still on the fence about buying a firearm in May were perhaps confirmed in their fears by the riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Then, in the wake of the riots, serious violent crime appeared to spike. It was widely reported, for instance, that homicides in New York City spiked “21 percent in first six months of 2020.” Crime in other cities increased as well, ranging from a jump of over 200 percent in Nashville to 23 percent in Kansas City, Missouri.

Naturally, seeing these news stories, many potential gun owners are more likely to conclude that they need a gun for personal protection. This is especially true when combined with a perception that police organizations cannot be relied upon to engage in crime prevention and enforcement. And this has indeed been the perception in many places where police have appeared unwilling to intervene in June’s riots.

Many normal people would see these events as an illustration of how gun purchases result from fears over crime and uncertainty.

But now, perhaps predictably, left-wing media organizations like the Washington Post are trying to turn this narrative around: people aren’t buying guns as a reaction to violence and social disarray, the Post insists. All those new gun purchases are what’s causing the violence in the first place.

Says the Post:

Americans purchased millions more guns than usual this spring, spurred in large part by racial animosity stoked by widespread protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as anxiety over the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

That gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States.

The Post cites two new reports, one from the Brookings Institution and another from the University of California, both of which conclude that the rise in gun purchases has likely caused more “gun violence.”

Note the careful use of language here, though: the gun purchases are “associated” with an increase in gun violence, since causality cannot be established. Indeed, near the bottom of the Post article, the author admits:

The authors [of the Brookings and UC reports] caution that a study of this nature cannot prove causality, particularly at a time of massive social upheaval in a country dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis as well as a nationwide protest movement.

Of course, if one is already committed to the idea that guns cause crime, it makes perfect sense that millions of Americans in early 2020—after passing a criminal background check—will buy guns, and then almost immediately use those guns to commit crimes.

Moreover, it’s unclear that the two studies referenced by the Post article even imply that homicides result from more gun purchases.

The Brookings study, for instance, is more of an op-ed than a study. It’s simply a review of some past events which were followed by surges in gun purchases, including the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings. This appears to be true indeed, and is a helpful reminder that people do often purchase firearms in light of concerns over personal safety, or at least in light of concerns about future access to firearms.

The UC study is a bit more specific, but even this is far too general to be of any use in concluding that gun purchases lead to violence. Because of data limitations, the UC report, of course, doesn’t establish that the people who bought firearms this year are responsible for any increase in crime that may be occurring. But it’s not even established that surges in gun purchases correlate with surges in crime at the city or neighborhood levels. This is critical, since trends in homicides are not really on a statewide or even metro-wide level. Homicide trends in the US tend to be dominated by homicides in a relatively small number of cities and neighborhoods. For example, the homicide rate in Baltimore is ten times that of the US overall. But this doesn’t mean homicides in Maryland are remarkably high.

So, have firearms purchases surged near the neighborhoods in Chicago, New York, and Kansas City where surges in crime have also occurred? It’s possible, since people bordering the most violent neighborhoods may feel the most at risk. On the other hand, it’s also entirely possible that firearms sales are occurring in places relatively distant from the places with surging homicides. The UC study only appears to give a state-level reading on this. In other words, the study really tells us very little.