FEE: Why Adam Smith Said ‘Virtue Is More to Be Feared Than Vice’FEE:

Today’s article comes from the Foundation for Economic Education, Why Adam Smith Said ‘Virtue Is More to Be Feared Than Vice’. Those who seek to impose their version of virtue on others, will do so viciously and unconstrained by their conscience, because they believe they are morally correct.

The use of force in society is one of the most important issues governments must address. Unfortunately, they often get it wrong—and Smith understood why.

ally, a coworker, walked into my office one day and announced that he’d discovered the answer to the world’s problems. And it was all so simple. People just needed to act with wisdom. If everyone acted with wisdom, then crime, poverty, and war would disappear. I agreed and asked how he would achieve this miracle. I expected some elaborate plan, but it turned out that that “acting with wisdom” was the sum total of Wally’s insight. In response to every question, he only repeated that people should act with wisdom.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a world-famous astrophysicist, but his plan for solving the world’s problems is neither more scientific nor less threadbare than Wally’s. Tyson proposes the world of “Rationalia,” a virtual utopia in which everyone will act with reason.

Socialists have a similar solution to the world’s problems. In their utopia, people will all act, not with wisdom or reason, but with altruism. Unlike either Wally or Tyson, though, they have proposed various plans for bringing this about—all of which boil down to some variation of: (1) burn it all down and a perfect world will spontaneously arise from society’s ashes, (2) force everyone to act benevolently until so acting becomes natural, or (3) create a fair and equal society in which material goods are distributed uniformly, thus eliminating all greed and envy and, along with them, any motivation for violence and crime.

Each socialist scheme relies on force, or the threat of force, wielded by omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent dictators. But could such a society, which necessarily sacrifices justice for altruism, survive?

A reading of Adam Smith’s book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, suggests not.

Smith’s concept of justice was based on securing people from injury by others. That is, protecting people from assaults on their persons, property, and agreements. To Smith, acting justly consisted largely of refraining from injuring others. He believed that a society’s fundamental reason for existence was to provide this level of justice. Further, he argued, any society that fails in this basic duty will itself fail. In his book, Smith wrote: “Society may subsist, though not in the most comfortable state, without beneficence; but the prevalence of injustice must utterly destroy it.”

Unfortunately, securing the peace often requires force. But using force is just when it is done to oppose injustice—that is, when it is used in response to the initiation of force. While governments cannot hope to establish perfect justice, they can provide sufficient security to allow people to live their lives and to flourish.

What no government is competent to do, however, is to ensure that its citizens act wisely, rationally, or altruistically. Doing so would require using force—not to prevent people from harming others, but to compel them to behave in ways that the government determines to be proper. Force so employed leads to socially destructive injustice.

First, someone’s idea of what is altruistic (or wise or rational) must be imposed on everyone. A recent example is Biden’s executive order forgiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal student loans. Was his action altruistic? It appears so if our focus is fixed on only the students who benefit from the President’s order. It seems less so if we broaden our focus and our time horizon to include those who must pay for the loans and those who will be hurt in the future by the perverse incentives that his order will create. Universities, for example, will be emboldened to hike tuition and even more students will borrow money that they are unlikely to be able to repay.

In short, whatever policy is chosen in the name of morality, some will see it as immoral, and they will bitterly resent being forced to support it.

Second, a policy that the central authority deems altruistic must be implemented and paid for by people who may oppose it or the way it is implemented. They must be compelled—by force if necessary—to comply with the policy and they must be prevented from subverting it. If “subversion” is construed to include “fomenting social discord” by public criticism, then the central authority may limit free speech and freedom of the press. If pastors question the policy’s morality, the central authority might also limit religious freedoms.

Third, the policy may produce unintended consequences that create more injustices. How will the central authority respond? Will it suppress knowledge of the consequences to prevent discord and, potentially, loss of its legitimacy or power? Will it respond with another layer of coercive policies and, if so, how will it enforce them and what will it do if more unintended consequences result?

Finally, as Smith observed, “Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.” Those attempting to impose virtue—or, at least, their idea of it—tend to deal viciously with dissidents who, because they oppose “virtue,” are, by definition, evil.

“Hell,” Michael Novak once said, “is what happens when you pursue heaven-on-earth.”

Force used to prevent or redress assaults on persons and property is legitimate; force used to coerce “benevolence” is not. Force is, ultimately, the only hammer in a government’s toolkit and it should be used only on what is achievable and, even then, only sparingly.

Governments can reasonably aspire to deliver Adam Smith’s formula for prosperity: “Peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.” In attempting to provide what it cannot, government will destroy its ability to provide what it can.

AmRRON Goes to AmCON 2 for Hurricane Ian

From the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network, Sept. 26, 2022:

AmRRON is at a Readiness Condition Level 2 (AmCON-2), for a regional event.  Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall on the western Florida coast Wednesday afternoon/evening, September 28th.

Click on the NOAA message/image below to visit the source page.

FLORIDA, GEORGIA, and ALABAMA AmRRON OPERATORS, WE ARE PREPARING TO BE THERE FOR YOU.

The Eastern AmRRON SIGCEN (GA/SC border) will be activated beginning early Wednesday morning, and will be monitoring the AmRRON frequencies, ready to help facilitate traffic, coordinate radio operations, and offer assistance and receive reports from operators in the impacted areas in the days following the hurricane, to include welfare traffic.

This will hopefully help relieve congestion on other related nets, such as the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.300 (for example).

All available AmRRON operators are encouraged to monitor the Persistent Presence Net frequencies through at least Sunday, October 2nd.

WHAT TO EXPECT: 

  • Expect to hear nothing (initially) from the impacted area on Wednesday afternoon and evening.  Operators will be grid down and most HF antennas will not survive the hurricane-force winds.  Additionally, lighting threat mitigation will have radio stations off the air.
  • HF antennas and backup power could take many hours, or even days, to reconfigure and make operational.
  • Any HF radio communications will likely increase in tempo beginning Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and will likely begin to taper off on Sunday onward.
  • Most grid-up coordination will take place on the AmRRON Corps Z-Net Breakout Channel, as that is where the overwhelming majority

OPERATIONS:

FOR STATIONS IN THE IMPACTED AREAS:

  • Let us know you are okay!  Your safety, and that of your family, is first and foremost.  Please report as soon as it is safe and practical, with at least an abbreviated STATREP.
  • As you know, digital modes are the most effective.  Use the mode which gets the most information out the fastest.  If you are running QRP (low power), then JS8Call may be your only way to reach out.  We will keep the frequencies clear to monitor for your traffic.  Please include your county and state, and nearest town/city.
  • Use the @AMRRON group in JS8Call to query Signal Reports (SNR), and determine who is on frequency, and where, and the quality of your path to others.
  • At minimum, please send out an abbreviated STATREP, including your maidenhead grid square, so we can account for our opertors.
  • Voice frequencies will also be monitored, per the AmRRON SOI.  If you have misplaced your SOI, then we will also be monitoring 80m, 40m, and 20m AmRRON Voice frequencies at the top of each hour to give you a better time window.
  • We will send SITREPs (Situation Reports) over HF on the SOI net schedule frequencies so that you can be informed on what might be happening beyond your local VHF/UHF communications, as information is available.
  • If you encounter an emergency, and AmRRON nets are your only source of communications, (we will have operators standing by monitoring persistently), then announce your emergency traffic.  We will coordinate your traffic and route it to the appropriate agencies or entities.

SUPPORTING AmRRON STATIONS OUTSIDE THE IMPACTED ARES: 

  • Most importantly, keep the frequency clear if you do not have traffic to pass.
  • Only stations in the impacted grid-down areas should be beaconing/heartbeating and conducting Signal Report queries (SNR).
  • The AmRRON Corps Z-Net Breakout Channel is the most effective method for coordinating with other AmRRON support stations and getting the most up-to-date information related to the post-hurricane operations.
  • If you receive STATREPs or SITREPs from stations in the affected area, relay to the Eastern SIGCEN or to an NCS station, who will then be able to relay to the SIGCEN (unless you know that an NCS or SIGCEN has also copied the same traffic).
  • NCSs should have a /N after their callsign, and stations working as SIGCEN operations stations will have a /S after their callsigns.

More information and guidance will be added here in the coming hours and days.   Keep checking back.

Radio Contra Ep. 186 Building Preparedness Communities Through the Church

In Radio Contra podcast episode 186, NC Scout talks to John Dyslin, author of Nehemiah Strong about building communities though the Church, from understanding the call to action to why it crosses many of the hurdles preparedness minded folks consider when forming their own groups.

Radio Contra Ep. 186 Building Preparedness Communities Through the Church with John Dyslin

Tensions Rising Over Ukraine War

In the past few days there has been a spate of news describing escalating tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

First, NATO announced a new strategic deterrence concept aimed at the Russia-China alliance, while President Biden warned Putin about escalating the Ukraine conflict saying, “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II.”

Putin responded to these threatening words, announcing a partial mobilization of Russia.

Calling the moves “urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia,” Putin said that Russia is fighting the full might of NATO. The US and its allies, he said, are seeking to “destroy” Russia.

Radio Contra Ep. 184. NC Scout breaks down Putin’s speech

Then Russia announced that they could use nuclear weapons to defend the annexed regions of Ukraine. Russia had just the day before moved to formally annex the areas of Ukraine under control of Russia’s soldiers.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” said Putin.

Then Russia restricted travel for young men as part of its national mobilization, and called up 300,000 reservists. Russia’s domestic airlines have halted all sales of tickets abroad to men aged 18 to 65 without a waiver from the Ministry of Defense. The BBC reported lines of Russians trying to flee through the Georgia border.

Nearby nations are preparing for escalating conflict. Estonia has decided to confiscate firearms belonging to Russians living in the country. Meanwhile the President of Serbia is warning that there may be a great world conflict in the next few months. Tensions have increased between Turkey and Greece as they have started to revisit territorial disputes since the start of the Ukraine war. The EU also recently called for a war crimes tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine where bodies showed signs of torture after Russian occupation.

How does this or could this affect you? While Ukraine has had political and economic issues for many years, now, it is still an agricultural powerhouse. When it was part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was responsible for 25% of the entire agricultural output of the USSR. If Russia was able to control the entirety of Ukraine, it would approximately double its wheat and corn and production. Even without controlling the entire country, the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine grow the most wheat. Combining just the exports of wheat by Russian and Ukraine, the two would more than double the amount of the second place exporter – the US.

We’ve seen Europe’s dependence on Russian fuel and how the conflict has caused fuel prices to rise worldwide, but especially in Europe. Should Russia also start controlling the food, it’s hard to predict specific outcomes, but food prices have already risen as a result of uncertainty over Ukrainian wheat exports.

Russia may be seeking a second lever in its geopolitical arsenal, adding food to fuel. Or it may be preparing for a period of imposed international isolation by “stocking up” on its neighbor food and fuel. Either way the effects on food and fuel will be upward moving prices even without the conflict going nuclear or spreading to additional countries.

Putin notices that Ukraine is a little “light on defensive weaponry”

Radio Contra Ep. 183: Propagandizing The War On Conservative Americans

Radio Contra Ep. 183 NC Scout covers the murder case of 18 year old Cayler Ellingson by a 41 year old Leftist, Shannon Brandt, in North Dakota because Ellingson was a conservative and why this is going to continue in America, cheerled on by a complicit White House. Propaganda is in full swing, with books aimed at the traditional RINO Conservatives in America painting real Patriots as enemies, co-authored by a familiar name on the Right.

WMBF News: S.C. joins fight to stop tracking guns purchased with credit cardsWMBF News:

source: WMBF News

WMBF reports on a group of states demanding that banks and credit card processors stop tracking firearms purchases. Why isn’t Washington on the list of states that joined? Hmm…

S.C. joins fight to stop tracking guns purchased with credit cards

South Carolina joined 24 other states demanding banks and credit card companies stop tracking, or monitoring, firearms purchased using credit cards.

The coalition alerted the chief executive officers of three major credit card companies that the recent adoption of the Merchant Category Code for the processing of firearms purchases from gun stores is “potentially a violation of consumer protection and antitrust laws.”

In the letter to the CEOs of American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, the attorneys general say the monitoring and tracking of firearms purchases creates a “list of gun buyers” and creates the obvious risk that law-abiding consumers’ information will be obtained and misused by those who oppose Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.

“Why would banks and credit card companies need a separate code to process gun purchases, if not to possibly track and monitor people who buy them?” Wilson asked.

The following states joined: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia.

To read the letter, click here.

Mises Institute: Molinari Explains the Difference between Monarchy and Popular Government

Mises Institute senior editor Ryan McMaken writes about Gustave de Molinari’s take on differences between monarchy and popular government. McMaken mentions how the discussion of monarchy has risen recently in the UK after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, but I’ve known even some American who bemoaned the loss of the monarchy from the US revolution.

With the impending burial of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth, republicans from London to Sydney have ramped up their efforts to end the British monarchy. The resulting war of words between monarchists and their opponents has highlighted the sheer diversity of opinions over the desirability of monarchy. Indeed, it would be impossible to enumerate all the different criteria on which different groups and individuals judge monarchy as an institution. However, for those of us who favor the ideology known as laissez-faire liberalism—also known as “classical” liberalism or libertarianism—a fundamental question we must ask ourselves in judging monarchies is whether or not they are useful in limiting state power.

This is not a new question and fortunately the question has already been addressed by the nineteenth-century Belgian-born French liberal Gustave de Molinari. Molinari is known today as an early proponent of truly radical laissez-faire, all the way to privatizing the military functions of states.

He favored neither monarchy nor republicanism on principle, and thus was willing to entertain any regime type so long as it could be used to limit the exercise of state power. In exploring this idea, Molinari did note that in cases where a monarchy is genuinely at odds with popular sentiment, the resulting “opposition of interests” can work as a brake on the expansion of state powers. Moreover, he suggested monarchs are also potentially more inclined than elected officials to engage in long-term thinking when it comes to the stewardship of a polity’s resources. These benefits are not due to any additional virtue or self-restraint on the part of monarchs, but are simply by-products of the public recognition that the relationship between ruler and ruled is fundamentally exploitative. 

Molinari on “the Old System”

For Molinari, a chief benefit of monarchy was that monarchs are likely to take a long-term view of the viability of the government institutions under their control. In his 1899 book The Society of Tomorrow, Molinari explains:

Under the old system the political establishment, or the State, was the perpetual property of that association of strong men who had founded, or conquered, it. The members of this association, from the head downwards, succeeded by hereditary prescription to that part of the common territory which had fallen to their share at the original partition, and to the exercise of those functions which were attached to their several holdings. Sentiments of family and property, the strongest incentives known to the human race, combined to influence their action. They desired to leave to their descendants a heritage which should be neither less in extent nor inferior in condition to that which they had received from their fathers, and to maintain this ideal the power and resources of the State must be increased, or at least maintained in all their integrity. 

According to Molinari, this way of thinking imposed a sort of fiscal conservatism on monarchs who feared that imprudent extension of state prerogatives and responsibilities would imperil the economic soundness of his regime. Specifically, policies that brought about the economic ruin of the general population would also spell the ruin of the monarchy itself. Molinari writes:

There was also a fiscal limit to the imposts which they exacted from their subjects, any overstepping of which involved personal loss, often personal danger. If they abused their sovereign power as possessors, whether by exhausting the taxable potentiality of the population or by squandering the product of an impost which had become excessive, their State fell into poverty and decay, and they themselves lay at the mercy of rivals who were only too alert and ready to seize any opportunity of enrichment at the expense of the decadent or defenceless. 

As Molinari notes, economic and financial missteps could lead not only to bankruptcy, but to total destruction of the regime at the hands of rival princes. But foreign rivals were not the only powers that might end a monarch’s dynasty. Should the monarch excessively antagonize “the governed,” they might also apply their own pressure against the monarch through rebellion:

The governed were able to check any abuse of sovereign power on the part of government through the pressure which was exerted on the ruler by his hope of transmitting his power to his children, and by that form of competition which constituted the State of War.

It is important to note that Molinari was no naïve ideologue who entertained flights of fancy about an imagined “good old days” of monarchy. His writings make it clear Molinari was well acquainted with the bloody realities of military conquest, and the means by which monarchs in ages past had consolidated political power. He nonetheless concluded that monarchy theoretically could—by accident—act as a restraint on state power. This was simply by virtue of the fact that in practice those who were subject to the monarch were suspicious of their rulers and did not regard the interests of the people to be synonymous with those of the dynasty. Rather, in this view, “the governed” accepted monarchs simply as a utilitarian instrument of staving off foreign invasion and violent disorder. At the same time, this instrument was to be viewed with substantial alarm whenever it attempted to exert its influence beyond its specific remit. 

The Problem with Popular Government 

Molinari contends that whatever benefit might have been gained from this arrangement between ruler and ruled was abolished by the advent of popular government. 

The embrace of popular government was in conflict with earlier thinking in which coercive government institutions were identified with the monarch’s regime alone, and as such represented a threatening and competing power in opposition to the interests of the governed:

The chief feature which distinguishes the new order and separates it, in theory at least, from that which preceded it, is the transfer of the political establishment, of the State, to the people themselves. With it, naturally, passed that sovereign power which is inseparable from ownership of the domain and the subjects of the State. 

This blurring of the lines between the rulers and ruled meant views changed as to the purposes of the regime and the prerogatives which the regime’s revenues—extracted, of course, from the taxpayers—might be used. Thus, the exercise of regime power was no longer a focus of the public’s suspicion, but now was subject to loud public demands for ever greater spending in accordance with the supposed general will. Molinari explains how this was magnified by competition between political parties which extended their own power by promising the public a share of the revenues:

These associations, or political parties, are actual armies which have been trained to pursue power; their immediate objective is to so increase the number of their adherents as to control an electoral majority. Influential electors are for this purpose promised such or such share in the profits which will follow success, but such promises—generally place or privilege—are redeemable only by a multiplication of “places,” which involves a corresponding increase of national enterprises, whether of war or of peace. It is nothing to a politician that the result is increased charges and heavier drains on the vital energy of the people. The unceasing competition under which they labour, first in their efforts to secure office, and next to maintain their position, compels them to make party interest their sole care, and they are in no position to consider whether this personal and immediate interest is in harmony with the general and permanent good of the nation. 

This state of affairs is also characterized by a shift from long-term interests under the old system—i.e., the interests of a multigenerational dynasty—toward short-term interests. This was due to the fact that “the theorists of the new order” substituted “temporary for permanent attribution of the sovereign power.” 

Ultimately, all this combined to “aggravat[e] the opposition of interests which it was [the elected governments’] pretended purpose to co-ordinate.” These changes also “weakened, if they did not actually destroy, the sole agency which has any real power to restrain governments.”

The Problem with Constitutional Monarchy

Molinari was also careful to show that constitutional monarchy was not to be confused with the older form. Much of Molinari’s career in France had coincided with the constitutional monarchy of Louis Philippe who oversaw substantial growth in the powers of the French state. The experience no doubt also helped solidify Molinari’s recognition of the fact that constitutional monarchies are functionally indistinguishable from constitutional republics. The constitutional monarch, rather, supported the popular elements of the regime be offering additional support for the elected ministers. Molinari explains:

In a constitutional monarchy the chief office in the State remained subject to hereditary transmission, but its occupant was declared irresponsible and his action was limited to the sole function of nominating, as responsible minister, the man chosen by the majority of the national representatives. 

In other words, the constitutional monarch is essentially a mere servant of the popular regime, and as such offers no true counterbalance to the alleged national will. 

What Type of Monarchy Actually Restrains the State?

For Molinari, then, monarchy is only useful when it is seen as remote from the will of the people, and thoroughly distinct from the nonstate portion of the polity the liberals called “society.” Under these conditions, society—from which the monarch extracts resources—is inclined to jealously guard its own liberties and prerogatives in the face of monarchical power. 

Molinari, however, no doubt understood that the possibility of encountering this sort of relationship between ruler and ruled in the nineteenth century was remote at best. Yet, by describing monarchical regimes in these terms, Molinari helps to illustrate the dangers posed by popular government. The ideologies underlying popular ideologies like nationalism, democracy, and republicanism suggested that there was no fundamental difference between state interests and the interests of those from which the state extracts resources. As a trenchant critic of states of all kinds, Molinari knew this was a grave error. With states, there is always a relationship of exploitation between the state and those over whom the state rules. The decline of monarchy has done nothing to abolish this grim reality. 

Of Two Minds: The Fourth Turn, Turn, Turn

Charles Hugh Smith discusses the fourth turning.

The cycles of The Fourth Turning, Fischer and Turchin are all in alignment at this point in history..

The 1997 book The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy proposed a cyclical pattern of four 20-year generations which culminate in a national crisis every 80 years. The book identifies these dates as Fourth Turnings: 1781 (Revolutionary War), 1861 (Civil War) and 1941 (global war). add 80 years and voila, 2021.

I use the term Fourth Turning generically to describe an existential crisis that decisively changes the course of national identity and history.

In other words, we don’t have to accept the book’s theory of generational dynamics to accept an 80-year cycle. There are other causal dynamics in play that also tend to cycle: the credit (Kondratieff) cycle, for example.

While each of the previous existential crises were resolved positively, positive outcomes are not guaranteed: dissolution and collapse are also potential outcomes.

David Hackett Fischer’s book The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History proposes another cycle: humans expand their numbers and consumption until they’ve exploited and depleted all available resources.

As resources become scarce, societies and economies unravel as humans do not respond well to rising prices generated by scarcities.

The unraveling continues until consumption is realigned with the resources available. In the past this meant either a mass die-off that drastically reduced human numbers and consumption (for example, The Black Plague), a decline in fertility that slowly reduced population to fit resources, mass migration to locales with more resources or the discovery and exploitation of a new scalable energy source that enabled a new cycle of rising consumption.

The 14th century Black Death reduce Europe’s population by roughly 40%, enabling depleted forests to regrow and depleted agricultural land to restore fertility.

Once the human population regained its numbers and consumption in the 17th century, wood was once again under pressure as the key source of energy, shipbuilding, housing, etc.

The development of steam power and the technologies of mining enabled the exploitation of coal, which soon replaced wood as the primary energy source.

Oil and natural gas added to the energy humans could tap, followed (at a much more modest level) by nuclear power. Despite gargantuan investments, the recent push to develop solar and wind energy has yielded very modest results, as globally these sources provide about 5% of total energy consumption. (See chart below)

It’s self-evident that despite breezy claims of endless expansion of consumption, the global human population has now exceeded the resources available for practical extraction. Energy, fresh water, wild fisheries and fertile soils have all been exploited and the easy/cheap-to-extract resources have been depleted.

(The chart below of global CO2 emissions is a proxy for energy / resource consumption.)

So once again it’s crunch-time: either we proactively reduce consumption to align with available resources, or Nature will do it for us via scarcities.

Peter Turchin proposed another socio-economic cycle of 50 years in his book Ages of Discord: in the integrative stage, people find reasons to cooperate. In the disintegrative stage at the end of the cycle, people no longer find much common ground or reasons to cooperate. Political, social and financial extremes proliferate, culminating in a rolling crisis.

In Turchin’s analysis, the previous 50-year age of discord began around 1970, and the current era of discord began in 2020. Those who lived through the domestic terrorism, urban decay, stagflation and political/social/legal crises of the 1970s recall how inter-related crises dominated the decade.

In my analysis, the last period of discord in the 1970s was “saved” by the supergiant oil fields discovered in the 60s coming online in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That oil enabled a 40-year boom which is now ending, with no new scalable source of energy available to replace oil, much less enable an expansion of consumption.

In other words, the cycles of The Fourth Turning, Fischer and Turchin are all in alignment at this point in history. We have proliferating political, social and financial extremes and a forced transition to lower consumption to align with declining energy.

Turn, turn, turn. Right when we need to cooperate on transforming a high-consumption, bubble-dependent “waste is growth” Landfill Economy to declining consumption / Degrowth, we’re beset by discord and demographic pressures, as the promises made to the elderly back when it was expected that there would always be 5 workers per retiree cannot possibly be kept now that the worker-retiree ratio is 2-to-1 and there are no limits on healthcare spending for the elderly.

Humans are happy to expand their numbers and consumption and much less happy to consume less. They tend to start revolutions and wars in vain attempts to secure enough resources to maintain their profligate consumption and expansion.

Today’s extremes of wealth and income inequality are optimized to spark political discord and revolts. The wealthiest 20% will be able to pay higher prices, but the bottom 40% will not. The middle 40% will find their disposable income, i.e. their income left over after paying for essentials, will drop to near-zero.

When 80% of the populace are crunched financially, revolutions and the overthrow of governments follow.

As I’ve outlined in previous posts, global inequalities are widening as the Core exploits its built-in advantages at the expense of the vulnerable Periphery.

Core nations will be much better able to maintain their consumption at the expense of the Periphery nations, which will experience sharp declines in purchasing power and consumption.

Previous Fourth Turnings have been resolved one way or another within 5 to 7 years. If this Turning began in 2020, we can expect resolution by 2025 – 2027.

As I explained in my book Global Crisis, National Renewal, those nations that embrace Degrowth will manage the transition, while those that cling to the endless-expansion, bubble-dependent Waste Is Growth model will fail.

This is why I keep talking about making Plans A, B and C to preserve optionality and reduce financial commitments and consumption now rather than passively await crises over which we will have little direct control.

As I’ve endeavored to explain, those anticipating decades of time to adjust are overlooking the systemic fragilities of the current global financial/supply systems. Tightly bound systems of interconnected dependency chains have been optimized to work perfectly in an era of expansion. They’re not optimized to gradually adjust to contraction; they’re optimized to break and trigger domino-like breakdowns in interconnected chains.

We don’t control these macro-trends, we only control our response.

Organic Prepper: Yes, There IS a Domestic Threat in America. It’s Our Own Government

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper talks about the disturbing things being said in the halls of government in Yes, There IS a Domestic Threat in America. It’s Our Own Government

The federal government loves labeling folks who think differently from them as domestic terrorists. We’ve seen it multiple times over the years and this name-calling has picked up recently.

The flames are being fanned.

There was Joe Biden’s speech casting Trump supporters as villains.  The attacks on dissent are nearly constant. Celebrities are being praised on outlets beloved by millions of young people for walking away from their own families over politics.

Everything is meant to be divisive, to cause even more internal strife in America before the midterm elections by painting approximately half of the country as the enemy. No longer are differing opinions a constitutionally protected right – they’re practically criminal and seen as a reason for hatred.

And now, there’s a vile comparison to 9/11.

Regardless of what you believe happened on September 11th, I think we can all agree that it wasn’t a bunch of Trump voters hijacking planes.

More recently, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, compared those who participated in the events on January 6th to the people responsible for the devastating attacks on September 11th.

On Face the Nation, Warner said:

I remember, as most Americans do, where they were on 9/11. I was in the middle of a political campaign and suddenly, the differences with my opponent seem very small in comparison and our country came together. And in many ways, we defeated the terrorists because of the resilience of the American public because of our intelligence community, and we are safer, better prepared

The stunning thing to me is here we are 20 years later, and the attack on the symbol of our democracy was not coming from terrorists, but it came from literally insurgents attacking the Capitol on January 6th.”

This is deliberately orchestrated to make coming together as a nation impossible.

So who is the real threat?

Who’s actually the threat right now? Is it your neighbor with the lawn sign for an opposing candidate, out there watering her roses in the late summer drought? Is it your obnoxious uncle who makes every family get-together unpleasant by voicing opinions you’d rather not hear?

Or is it someone else? Here’s what Tulsi Gabbard had to say about it.

I think Gabbard is right. The biggest threat to our country right now is the politicians and public figures telling us how much we should hate and fear each other. In this article, Selco talks about being bombarded with fear and hate right before the Balkan War. Are we being any less manipulated by our own media today?

We need to stand up and refuse to be manipulated like this. We need to find common ground with our fellow Americans again, because divided like this, we’re sure to fall.

But what do you think?

Who are the people actually causing our country to stagger under the weight of hatred? Why can’t we all just agree to disagree like we used to? What would it take for us to unite again as a nation?

WPC: Normal Governance to Return to Washington on October 31

The Washington Policy Center reports on Governor Inslee’s announcement that he is ending 900 days of his COVID emergency order.

Governor Inslee announced today that he will finally end governing under an emergency order, after more than 900 days, on October 31. When the legislature next convenes it should ensure that this type of ongoing emergency governance without affirmative legislative approval never happens again. Whether or not you agree or disagree with every decision the Governor has made for the last 900-plus days, the fact remains these decisions with vast impact on individuals and businesses were made behind closed doors in the executive branch.

It is true that in an emergency, governors need broad powers to act fast. Legislative bodies inevitably take longer to assemble and act than a single executive, so they temporarily delegate their power to the executive in emergencies. But these powers are supposed to be transferred for a limited period of time with meaningful legislative oversight of the decisions made.

Earlier this summer, Court of Appeals Judge Bernard Veljacic (appointed by Governor Inslee) wrote this dissent in a case concerning emergency powers:

“Even so, I am not convinced that the legislature, in making the grant of authority, anticipated such a broad and lengthy imposition of emergency health measures when it first enacted chapter 43.06 RCW. It is true that our Supreme Court has recognized that the broad grant of authority ‘evidence[s] a clear intent by the legislature to delegate requisite police power to the governor in times of emergency.’ But this begs the question: ‘for how long’?

Certainly, while initial executive response to emergencies should be robust and unhindered by the burden of administrative or legislative oversight, this should not be the case over a longer period of time. Of course, in the early days of an emergency, Washingtonians would suffer if required to wait on the executive to set a legislative session, assemble the necessary quorum, and oversee a vote on a course of action. But at some point, over the long term, an emergency grows less emergent. After all, time allows for the opportunity to reflect. That same opportunity should include legislative review.

In all instances, we must be careful with such broad grants of authority. We would do well to employ a healthy skepticism of such authority upon objective consideration of who might possibly wield it at some point, or what they might deem an emergency.”

Long-lasting emergency orders should receive the input and affirmative approval of lawmakers following a public process, allowing the perfection of policies through a collaborative weighing of all the options, alternatives and tradeoffs. This is precisely why the people’s legislative branch of government exists – to deliberate and provide guidance to the executive branch on what policies should be in place and how to implement them.

There is a very simple fix the legislature should make next session to restore balance to the state’s emergency powers framework. Harmonizing the existing law so that both waiving of statute and restrictive proclamations expire after 30 days unless the legislature votes to continue should not be controversial. There is no logical reason to treat those emergency actions by the Governor differently.

Requiring affirmative legislative approval after a set point in time removes not a single tool from the Governor’s toolbox. All existing authority remains, the only change is that the closed-door policymaking is required to be justified to the people’s legislative branch of government to continue a policy (i.e., the separations of power and checks and balances envisioned and promised under our republican form of government).

The Governor should not fear being required to make the case to lawmakers why a particular emergency restriction is appropriate to continue, and the legislature should not hide from its constitutional responsibility to debate and adopt policy. At some point the executive branch should be required to receive permission from the legislative branch to continue making far-reaching policies under an emergency order.

Our system of governance is not meant to be the arbitrary rule of one behind closed doors. Judge Veljacic is correct that ‘we must be careful with such broad grants of authority.’ An emergency order should never last more than 900 days unless it has received affirmative authorization for continuation by the legislative branch of government. The legislature must still act to restore the balance of powers for future use of emergency orders.Sign up for the WPC Newsletter

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, Sept. 17-18, 2022

The QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo returns to the internet for the fifth time on the weekend of September 17-18, 2022.

There will be:

  • 50+ amateur radio presentations on a wide variety of subjects. Check out the full list at Presentations and download times now to your calendar to plan a full weekend and optimize your time at the Expo.
  • For the first time, anyone can share their latest ham radio project, technology, operating mode, DXpedition, or history in our new Project Gallery. Just submit your presentation article, video, or slideshow at Project Gallery Submission.
  • Meet with ARRL representatives and other exhibitors in state-of-the-art video lounges. Visit the ARRL booth to meet over Live video with ARRL staff to get answers to your specific questions answered. Other exhibitors will answer product questions, provide technical training, etc.

Tickets are only $10 and grant full access to the Expo weekend, presentations, Project Gallery, and Exhibitor video lounges as well as the 30-day post-Expo on-demand period where all presentations and resources are available. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com.

AmRRON: T-REX 2022, Sept. 9-11

From AmRRON

The timeline is set, the inject traffic and initiating stations are in place, and hundreds of operators are making final preparations of their gear.

As in years past, this year’s scenario-based nationwide exercise is based on a cyber attack.  But there will be more!

For most participants, this makes the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or more T-REX exercises they’ve participated in.  Each time, more is learned, tested, and previous experience applied.  We all grow and become better radio operators for it.  But we take it for granted that this might be the first time for many of the new members who have joined AmRRON over the past year or more.  Apologies!  We will help prepare the newer folks much farther in advance in the future, as we’ve done in the past.

WHAT IS T-REX?

It is a three-day (actually, 48 hours) scenario-based disaster preparedness exercise, from Friday, September 9th, through Sunday at Noon, Pacific time, September 11th (non-stop).   All participants cuts commercial power, internet, cell phone, satellite, and any other conventional communications methods and simulates a nationwide grid-down emergency.

TIME:  Beginning Friday at Noon Pacific time (1pm Mountain; 2pm Central; 3pm Eastern; 1900 Zulu).

It is an opportunity for you as an individual, or family, or preparedness group, church disaster relief ministry, militia, or organization to practice implementing your worst-case emergency preparedness plan.  Cook with your off-grid equipment, power your batteries with your solar panels, test out alternative lighting, play a board game with your family by lantern and no electronics, practice your bugout plan, etc.

But most importantly, it’s an opportunity for you to practice using your emergency communications skills and equipment.  Make mistakes, learn shortcomings, capabilities and limitations, and identify where you need to make improvements (and you will, each time you do an exercise).  Take it seriously, but have fun!

WHAT WILL ACTUALLY HAPPEN DURING THE EXERCISE?

Initially, each SIGCEN (Signals Center) and NCS (Net Control Station) will produce and send an Initial Event Summary.  In a real-world event, radio operators will be taking to the airwaves to find out exactly what has happened, and how widespread are the effects.  They will inherently be looking to Net Control Stations for answers and guidance.  The Initial Event Summary is a tool we use to convey what we know at the moment, at the onset of an event, as well as guidance and instructions such as reminders of when the next scheduled net is to take place, and what frequency and mode, etc.

Also, this year there are 38 pieces of preloaded radio traffic (we call ‘injects’) which was developed and distributed to over twenty volunteer Initiating Stations across the country.  Nine of  those are welfare traffic requests, such as someone requesting a check on a loved one in another state, for example.

Each Inject that was issued included a set of instructions for each Initiating Station, including when to ‘inject’ their radio traffic into the scenario.  This helps enhance the timeline and the scenario with realistic messages, reports, and developments which might occur in logical fashion in a real-world emergency.  Net Control Stations will direct traffic to help keep the nets running smoothly, and will facilitate getting radio traffic to their destinations.  Tuning in to the nets will help you gain an understanding of the size, scope, and impact of the disaster.

Each piece of traffic is assigned a three-digit training exercise control number, or Traffic ID number.  And each Inject Station is assigned a two-digit Station ID number.  This helps us track official exercise traffic so we can understand the effectiveness of the nets, identify shortcomings, and track the successful delivery of the traffic.

Some traffic is for wide distribution, for everyone’s situational awareness.  Some wide distribution traffic pertains to specific communities, or regions, and is not intended for all nationwide participants.  For example, a church setting up a soup kitchen at the American Baptist Church on 123 Merry Lane, Smallville, USA,  would only pertain to the people in that community.  It wouldn’t pertain to someone a thousand miles, and five states away.  On the other hand, foreign military forces landing on the shores of the east coast, the west coast, and crossing the Mexican border would pertain to everyone on the North American continent — when wide distribution means WIDE distribution.

The SIGCENs (Signals Centers) on the east and west coasts will be compiling reports as they are receiving them from NCSs, and others, and compiling consolidated SITREPs (Situation Reports), or Intelligence Briefs, etc.  Those are generally for wide distribution intended for all parties with the ability to receive radio signals.

Keep notes for ideas on how to improve your personal situation.  As you receive information over the air, and you learn of some of the events taking place, use the opportunity to discuss with your family or group, ‘what would we do, or how would we respond, if this were real’?

YOU GET TO TRANSMIT.  One of the first things an NCS is going to try to do is take a ‘pulse check’ to find out who is out there on the air, who else is affected, in what ways, how far reaching the effects are, and what does he not yet know, but should.  We use the STATREP (Status Report) as a tool to provide a formatted method for each radio operator to report the status at their location.  As each station reports his/her Status Report, others will be able to see those reports as well.  The NCS will use the information from these STATREPs to update his Initial Event Summary to fill in any gaps on what he didn’t know beforehand.

Be prepared to submit your STATREP if you are properly licensed to transmit on the Amateur Radio bands.  This pertains to both HF and local VHF/UHF frequencies.  USE THE ABBREVIATED STATREP.  AmRRON operators will find guidance on how to format their STATREPs on Page 37 of the AmRRON Signals Operating Instructions, Section 6.3.1 — the ‘Abbreviated STATREP‘.

YOU ARE GRID DOWN DURING T-REX, and your STATREP should reflect that.   Your STATREP should indicate that, at minimum, you are without commercial power and all conventional communications (phone/internet).

This can be done over voice (aka. phone) or using ham digital modes, such as JS8Call, FSQCall, or fldigi modes such as Contestia 4-250.  Follow the instructions of NCS.  For most AmRRON operators, this is a walk in the park.  We practice this regularly.

What is different about T-REX nets versus regularly-scheduled practice nets?

TRAFFIC.  Ensuring important traffic (especially Priority or Immediate/Emergency traffic) gets passed.  This is the primary difference.

In a real-world emergency, unless there is not business (traffic) to attend to, taking check-ins for the sake of filling a list of callsigns is the lowest priority. Generally, AmRRON nets become ‘Traffic Nets’ for the purpose of moving important, time sensitive, or lifesaving information.

Net Control will likely announce himself, including his name and location, and then announce any traffic he has for the net, including the precedence level of the traffic.  Then:

A.  He will (should) ask for another station to act as an Assitant NCS (ANCS).  The ANCS helps relay traffic to others which may not have a good path to Net Control, and he can step up to take over the net if something happens to NCS (like, if NCS vanishes — it happens — computers crash, generators run out of fuel, dogs chase the neighbor cat, etc.).

B.  First, he will ask if there is any Immediate (or Emergency) traffic for the net.   He may take the traffic directly, if appropriate, or he may facilitate getting the Priority traffic relayed on to its destination.

C.  Then he will send any traffic he has for the net, beginning with Priority traffic.

D.  If a station announces he has directed traffic, NCS will then try to identify a station at, or close to, the destination.  For example.  If NCS is in Missouri and a Station from Texas calls announcing he has traffic that needs to go to Montana, NCS will tell him to stand by and ask if there are any Montana station on frequency.  If nothing heard, he may ask for stations in states surrounding Montana to check in who can relay the traffic.  An Idaho station responds, offering to take the traffic, and who will work with others in the region to get the traffic to its destination.  NCS will then direct the Texas and Idaho stations to move up, or down, three to six kilohertz and exchange traffic.  if they do not have a direct path to each other, then the ANCS can move with them, and relay the traffic between them, clearing the main net frequency as soon as possible.  ANCS will return to the net frequency as soon as the relay is finished.   If there are no stations at or near the destination, the NCS can take the traffic and pass it along using other means after the net closes.

E.  Other NCSs from adjacent regions should announce themselves on a net, so the primary NCS knows they are there, and can relay net traffic to them which is intended for their region.

To help keep the scheduled nets from becoming congested, any stations with directed traffic should try to use the Persistent Presence Net to find other stations who might be able to relay the traffic toward its destination.  All stations should keep a log of who you sent traffic to, and who you received traffic from.  If it gets lost or disappears during the exercise, this will help in tracking it down and learning what happened to it, and why, so we can remedy any shortfalls.

However, since many stations have limited alternate power (perhaps a single RV battery and a small solar panel), it may not be viable for them to be on the air continually.  This is why we have regularly scheduled nets listed in the SOI, creating a time window when as many stations as possible can meet on the air to exchange traffic.  Scheduled nets is also when wide distribution traffic from AmRRON will be sent.

IF YOU HAVE  NO HF CAPABILITIES:

This is a shortcoming you MUST overcome.  Get a shortwave radio receiver with SSB capability, or an SDR dongle, if nothing else.  You must have the ability to receive information from outside your immediate area if repeaters are rendered inoperable.  You must be able to inform your community if there is a radiation cloud, lava, zombies, langoliers, or foreign military convoys bearing down on you from the next state over.

IF YOU HAVE A LOCAL VHF/UHF, GMRS, CH3 COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK BUT NO INJECT TRAFFIC:

Develop your own ‘micro scenarios’ which fit your community, but which go along with the larger nationwide scenario.  You’re already a leader, so organizing some training scenarios which provide opportunities to use your communications networks should be right down your alley!

AmRRON is a patriot-oriented network, not an anti-government network.  So, do not create micro scenarios which project an adversarial relationship between your local group and government officials or political groups.

But share your small group training experiences as well.  What worked, what didn’t, overall impressions and experiences, and areas you’ve identified as needing improvement, and solutions to address the shortcomings revealed during the exercise.

Keep a list of the traffic you receive over the course of the exercise!  There will be a survey that will be used to create several after action reports (something we did not get to complete last year).

American Thinker: Biden’s Hateful Rhetoric Against Americans Presents Sterling Opportunity

The Democratic party has been engaging for many years now in a purge of conservatives in the media, the military, and in academia. Last week President Biden, in a surreal speech, expanded the purge to the citizenry who dare to have opposing viewpoints, especially calling out Republicans who want to make America great again claiming that they are an extremist threat to the foundations of the republic. In this article from American Thinker, the author says it is an opportunity for conservative voices.

Whenever political leaders lose all political capital due to their misgovernance and have no real issues to base their campaign on, they often resort to focusing on the symbolic — usually referring to “the soul of the nation.”

This happened before in the U.S., it happened in India, it happened in the U.K. and it happened again in the U.S.

This is most typical of the left.

Instead of being humble and conceding their mistakes, they attack voters for thinking of voting against them while overlooking the myriad catastrophes they presided over.

They often blame their opponents for what they are guilty of — bigotry, violence — and then end with the “soul” plea.

Biden delivered his “soul” speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The manner of delivery was unhinged; he frequently waved his fists aggressively.  His voice was hoarse, perhaps owing to recent bouts with COVID-19, giving the speech a scornful tone. 

Biden spoke flanked by uniformed Marines, while his backdrop was bathed in blood-red hues making it look ominously like a hellscape.


Twitter video screen grab.

His speech was a sequel to his recent addresses, where he claimed that he doesn’t respect MAGA Republicans and that MAGA philosophy is like “semi-fascism.”

Biden called for Americans to “unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.”

But Biden added a caveat that this doesn’t apply to “MAGA forces” — i.e., all those scores of millions who voted for and intend to vote for MAGA candidates.

Biden said that “too much of what’s happening in our country today isn’t normal.”

Biden is right here, but the blame for this lies on him.

Never before have government institutions been hijacked and misused to target political opponents.

Never before has a virus been misused to impose lockdowns that infringe on the right to freedom of movement and the right to earn a living.

Never before have vaccines been mandated, causing people to be fired from their jobs or suffer from health issues.

Never before has the U.S. government demonized its own citizens, calling them domestic terrorists.

Never before has the U.S. government set up a “Disinformation Governance Board” that sits in judgment of the utterances of citizens.

Never before has the U.S. been subjected to prolonged disinformation campaigns, the Russian collusion hoax, the Ukraine call hoax, and now the insurrection hoax.

Never before has the U.S. had a president whose cognitive abilities are so impaired that he struggles to read off a teleprompter and causes citizens to wonder who is in charge.

Biden continues by claiming that the Republican Party is “dominated, driven, intimidated by Donald Trump” and his supporters, calling it “a threat to this country” because “they refuse to accept the results of a free election.”

Perhaps Biden forgot the Russian collusion hoax concocted by the Democrats that baselessly attempted to delegitimize the results of the 2016 presidential election.  It was the Democrats who refused to accept the results of a free election.

Perhaps Biden forgot that big media and Big Tech suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal prior to the 2020 election.  A recent poll shows that nearly four of five Americans believe that “truthful” coverage would have changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Perhaps Biden forgot about Mark Zuckerberg spending $419 million to infiltrate sacrosanct electoral infrastructure of the 2020 elections and push for mail-in voting.

Perhaps Biden forgot that 69% of voters nationwide cast their ballot non-traditionally — i.e., by mail and/or before Election Day for the 2020 election.  Mail votes are highly vulnerable to fraud.

Biden also alleged that the “MAGA forces” are aligned with white supremacists, violent extremists, and other undesirables.

Perhaps Biden forgot violent Democrat extremists threatening Supreme Court justices and vandalizing Catholic churches, pregnancy centers, and the offices of pro-life groups.  There was an assassination plot against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Biden also accused “MAGA Republicans” of seeing a country consumed in “darkness.”

Perhaps Biden forgot that his misgovernance is the sole cause of darkness.

The open borders have caused an influx of illegal aliens, some of whom are violent criminals.  More than 4.9 million illegal migrants have crossed the southern border. 

The smuggling of illicit drugs across the border is a regular occurrence.  There were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during the 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% during the same period the year before.

Inflation is at a very high 8.5 percent, causing the price of essential items to skyrocket.  The price of fuels continues to be high.

The crime wave is ravaging the nation, and Democrat judges refuse to prosecute misdemeanors such as drug possession, driving offenses, disturbing the peace, shoplifting, larceny, domestic violence, etc.

None of the Biden-backed initiatives such as the Inflation Reduction Act or the infrastructure bill or his climate initiative or pardoning student loans will reduce people’s suffering.  In fact, wasteful spending will make inflation worse. 

Biden’s “gun safety” red flag laws allow instant confiscation of guns on mere suspicion.  This endangers lives, especially considering the crime wave.

Thus, not only has Biden taken the nation into darkness, but his misgovernance will blacken the darkness even further.

Biden perfunctorily claimed that “not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans; not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”

If that were indeed the case, and the MAGA movement were just a small minority, why did Biden base his entire speech on an insignificant minority?

This was an attempt to distinguish between the Good Republicans (Lincoln Project, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and company) versus the Bad Republicans (Trump and the MAGA GOP).  The truth is the “Good Republicans” are useful idiots, who will instantly become bad if they dare to run against Democrats.

Most Americans disapprove of Biden; that number is likely to rise after his hateful rhetoric.

The purpose of the address was to demonize, dehumanize, and otherize Donald Trump and his supporters, which would justify any kind of persecution by government agencies.

This also creates grounds for the Democrats to reject the outcome of the midterms should the GOP, particularly the MAGA GOP, win by a landslide.  They could claim to stand against fascist forces.  The Democrats have broken every immutable norm in recent times; they already attempted to overthrow the 2016 election; they could very well do this for the midterms.

But there is a silver lining.

Despite claims that the speech would be apolitical, Biden delivered a campaign speech.  However, it wasn’t for the Democrats.  It was instead for the Republicans and Donald Trump.

Even personnel from Democrats’ mouthpieces such as CNN and the Daily Beast weren’t impressed…(continues)

Radio Contra Ep. 179 and 180 – Political Warfare and Coming Troubles

Episode 179. Mike Belcher on Conservative Political Warfare. I’m joined by Mike Belcher, candidate for New Hampshire State House, to talk political warfare for conservatives. Coming into a adulthood raised in a far Left household and himself a former Leftist Environmental activist, he describes the exact steps the Left in America is taking, how he became a Conservative and a Christian, and how to beat the Marxist ideology at its own game.

Radio Contra Ep. 179 Mike Belcher on Conservative Political Warfare

Episode 180. The Coming American Troubles with Chris Weatherman. I’m joined by Chris Weatherman, author of the best selling Going Home series, to talk the coming troubles in America and the incitement of leftist political violence as a result of last night’s speech from President Biden.

Radio Contra Ep. 180 The Coming American Troubles with Chris Weatherman

ZeroHedge: Twitter, Facebook Regularly Coordinated With Biden Admin To Censor Users

Here’s another shot in the argument about whether censorship by private companies is or should be illegal/unConstitutional. It’s well accepted that the First Amendment right to free speech only applies against the government. But when the government is directing or influencing the decisions of the private company…then what? Here’s ZeroHedge, talking about how Twitter, Facebook Regularly Coordinated With Biden Admin To Censor Users.

Newly released internal emails from Facebook and Twitter show an extensive effort to coordinate with the Biden administration to censor users, according to a Thursday release of information by GOP Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana.

Throughout the emails, officials within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) emailed Facebook and Twitter employees with instructions on flagging instances of alleged misinformation, and guided them with talking points to counter allegedly false narratives on the platforms. 

In one instance, a CDC official asked Facebook for monthly meetings to plan “debunking” strategies, while in another case a White House official requested the removal of an Anthony Fauci parody account.

“We have already received a number of documents that clearly prove that the federal government has an incestuous relationship with social media companies and clearly coordinate to censor freedom of speech, but we’re not done,” said Schmitt in a joint statement. ” The Department of Justice is cowering behind executive privilege and has refused to turn over communications between the highest-ranking Biden Administration officials and social media companies. That’s why, yesterday, we asked the Court to compel the Department of Justice to produce those records. We’re just getting started – stay tuned.”

More via AG Schmitt’s Thursday release:

The communications already provided by the Department of Justice to the plaintiff states show, as the joint statement points out, a vast “Censorship Enterprise” across a multitude of federal agencies. In response to Missouri and Louisiana’s interrogatories, defendants identified 45 federal officials at DHS, CISA, the CDC, NIAID, and the Office of the Surgeon General (all of which are contained in either DHS or HHS) that communicate with social media platforms about “misinformation” and censorship. The joint statement points out, “But in those responses, Defendants did not provide information about any federal officials at other federal agencies of whom they are aware who engage in such communications with social-media platforms about misinformation and censorship, though Plaintiffs had specifically asked for this highly relevant information. Defendants’ document production, however, reveals that such officials at other federal agencies exist—for example, their emails include extensive copying of officials at the Census Bureau, and they also include communications involving the Departments of Treasury and State.”

Beyond the Department of Justice’s production, “Meta, for example, has disclosed that at least 32 federal officials—including senior officials at the FDA, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the White House—have communicated with Meta about content moderation on its platforms, many of whom were not disclosed in response to Plaintiffs’ interrogatories to Defendants. YouTube disclosed eleven federal officials engaged in such communications, including officials at the Census Bureau and the White House, many of whom were also not disclosed by Defendants.”

 
The joint statement continues, “The discovery provided so far demonstrates that this Censorship Enterprise is extremely broad, including officials in the White House, HHS, DHS, CISA, the CDC, NIAID, and the Office of the Surgeon General; and evidently other agencies as well, such as the Census Bureau, the FDA, the FBI, the State Department, the Treasury Department, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. And it rises to the highest levels of the U.S. Government, including numerous White House officials. Defendants have objected to producing some of the most relevant and probative information in their possession.”

This “Censorship Enterprise” is proven by the Department of Justice’s productions thus far, but the full extent of federal officials’ collusion with social media companies on censorship is unknown until the Department of Justice produces further communications requested by Missouri and Louisiana.

A senior Facebook official sent an email to the Surgeon General stating, “I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.” This email chain follows the SG’s “misinformation health advisory” in July 2021: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/hhs-fb-email-1.pdf?sfvrsn=53bc4454_2

The same senior official sent a later email to HHS and noted, “Thanks again for taking the time to meet earlier today.” Then, the official continued to discuss how Facebook is taking even more steps to censor freedom of speech: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/hhs-fb-exhibit.pdf?sfvrsn=55bd83df_2

Twitter scheduled a meeting to debrief top White House officials on “vaccine misinformation.”: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/twitter-vaccine-meeting-wh.pdf?sfvrsn=6599e359_2b 

 
There are several instances where Facebook wouldn’t proceed with censoring freedom of speech on their platform until they had input, or a “debunking” from the CDC. Twitter followed the same course in at least one email.

The CDC also proposed a monthly pre-debunking meeting with Facebook to help them censor free speech (https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/cdc-fb-monthly-debunk.pdf?sfvrsn=3508a21f_2) as well as regular “Be on the Lookout” calls with major social media outlets: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/cdc-bolo-meeting.pdf?sfvrsn=9a060658_2

A White House official was even concerned about parody Fauci accounts and coordinated with FB to take them down: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/free-speech-pitch-thread-docs/fake-fauci.pdf?sfvrsn=a9d8f2bf_2