Glenn Greenwald: Congress Demands More Internet Censorship

Journalist Glenn Greenwald writes Congress, in a Five-Hour Hearing, Demands Tech CEOs Censor the Internet Even More Aggressively

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Mar. 25, 2021

Over the course of five-plus hours on Thursday, a House Committee along with two subcommittees badgered three tech CEOs, repeatedly demanding that they censor more political content from their platforms and vowing legislative retaliation if they fail to comply. The hearing — convened by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of its Subcommittees, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) — was one of the most stunning displays of the growing authoritarian effort in Congress to commandeer the control which these companies wield over political discourse for their own political interests and purposes.

As I noted when I reported last month on the scheduling of this hearing, this was “the third time in less than five months that the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms.” The bulk of Thursday’s lengthy hearing consisted of one Democratic member after the next complaining that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have failed in their duties to censor political voices and ideological content that these elected officials regard as adversarial or harmful, accompanied by threats that legislative punishment (including possible revocation of Section 230 immunity) is imminent in order to force compliance (Section 230 is the provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields internet companies from liability for content posted by their users).

Republican members largely confined their grievances to the opposite concern: that these social media giants were excessively silencing conservative voices in order to promote a liberal political agenda (that complaint is only partially true: a good amount of online censorship, like growing law enforcement domestic monitoring generally, focuses on all anti-establishment ideologies, not just the right-wing variant). This editorial censoring, many Republicans insisted, rendered the tech companies’ Section 230 immunity obsolete, since they are now acting as publishers rather than mere neutral transmitters of information. Some Republicans did join with Democrats in demanding greater censorship, though typically in the name of protecting children from mental health disorders and predators rather than ideological conformity.

As they have done in prior hearings, both Zuckerberg and Pichai spoke like the super-scripted, programmed automatons that they are, eager to please their Congressional overseers (though they did periodically issue what should have been unnecessary warnings that excessive “content moderation” can cripple free political discourse). Dorsey, by contrast, seemed at the end of his line of patience and tolerance for vapid, moronic censorship demands, and — sitting in a kitchen in front of a pile of plates and glasses — he, refreshingly, barely bothered to hide that indifference. At one point, he flatly stated in response to demands that Twitter do more to remove “disinformation”: “I don’t think we should be the arbiters of truth and I don’t think the government should be either.”

Zuckerberg in particular has minimal capacity to communicate the way human beings naturally do. The Facebook CEO was obviously instructed by a team of public speaking consultants that it is customary to address members of the Committee as “Congressman” or “Congresswoman.” He thus began literally every answer he gave — even in rapid back and forth questions — with that word. He just refused to move his mouth without doing that — for five hours (though, in fairness, the questioning of Zuckerberg was often absurd and unreasonable). His brain permits no discretion to deviate from his script no matter how appropriate. For every question directed to him, he paused for several seconds, had his internal algorithms search for the relevant place in the metaphorical cassette inserted in a hidden box in his back, uttered the word “Congressman” or “Congresswoman,” stopped for several more seconds to search for the next applicable spot in the spine-cassette, and then proceeded unblinkingly to recite the words slowly transmitted into his neurons. One could practically see the gears in his head painfully churning as the cassette rewound or fast-forwarded. This tortuous ritual likely consumed roughly thirty percent of the hearing time. I’ve never seen members of Congress from across the ideological spectrum so united as they were by visceral contempt for Zuckerberg’s non-human comportment:https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/vsA4u7i20_0?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0

But it is vital not to lose sight of how truly despotic hearings like this are. It is easy to overlook because we have become so accustomed to political leaders successfully demanding that social media companies censor the internet in accordance with their whims. Recall that Parler, at the time it was the most-downloaded app in the country, was removed in January from the Apple and Google Play Stores and then denied internet service by Amazon, only after two very prominent Democratic House members publicly demanded this. At the last pro-censorship hearing convened by Congress, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) explicitly declared that the Democrats’ grievance is not that these companies are censoring too much but rather not enough. One Democrat after the next at Thursday’s hearing described all the content on the internet they want gone: or else. Many of them said this explicitly.

At one point toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), in the context of the January 6 riot, actually suggested that the government should create a list of groups they unilaterally deem to be “domestic terror organizations” and then provide it to tech companies as guidance for what discussions they should “track and remove”: in other words, treat these groups the same was as ISIS and Al Qaeda. https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/owN9C1PZgG8?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0

Words cannot convey how chilling and authoritarian this all is: watching government officials, hour after hour, demand censorship of political speech and threaten punishment for failures to obey. As I detailed last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the state violates the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee when they coerce private actors to censor for them — exactly the tyrannical goal to which these hearings are singularly devoted.

There are genuine problems posed by Silicon Valley monopoly power. Monopolies are a threat to both political freedom and competition, which is why economists of most ideological persuasions have long urged the need to prevent them. There is some encouraging legislation pending in Congress with bipartisan support (including in the House Antitrust Subcommittee before which I testified several weeks ago) that would make meaningful and productive strides toward diluting the unaccountable and undemocratic power these monopolies wield over our political and cultural lives. If these hearings were about substantively considering those antitrust measures, they would be meritorious.

But that is hard and difficult work and that is not what these hearings are about. They want the worst of all worlds: to maintain Silicon Valley monopoly power but transfer the immense, menacing power to police our discourse from those companies into the hands of the Democratic-controlled Congress and Executive Branch.

And as I have repeatedly documented, it is not just Democratic politicians agitating for greater political censorship but also their liberal journalistic allies, who cannot tolerate that there may be any places on the internet that they cannot control. That is the petty wannabe-despot mentality that has driven them to police the “unfettered” discussions on the relatively new conversation app Clubhouse, and escalate their attempts to have writers they dislike removed from Substack. Just today, The New York Times warns, on its front page, that there are “unfiltered” discussions taking place on Google-enabled podcasts:

New York Times front page, Mar. 26, 2021

We are taught from childhood that a defining hallmark of repressive regimes is that political officials wield power to silence ideas and people they dislike, and that, conversely, what makes the U.S. a “free” society is the guarantee that American leaders are barred from doing so. It is impossible to reconcile that claim with what happened in that House hearing room over the course of five hours on Thursday.

The Trumpet: Barack Obama’s Radical Gun Control Agenda

Stephen Flurry at The Trumpet talks about the current administration, implementing Barack Obama’s Radical Gun Control Agenda

A deranged gunman entered the parking lot of a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday and began shooting a Ruger AR-556 pistol at customers trying to buy groceries. Over the course of the next hour, this madman murdered 10 people, including 51-year-old police officer Eric Talley, before he surrendered to local police officers after they shot him in the leg. The motive for this demoniac’s killing spree was not immediately apparent, but that did not stop the propaganda media from speculating.

After seeing a photograph of the murderer, who was clearly Caucasian, actress Rosanna Arquette posted a comment on Twitter, saying, “Call it what it is … white supremacist domestic terrorism.” American lawyer Meena Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, posted, “Violent white men are the greatest terrorist threat to our country.” usa Today editor Hemal Jhaveri insisted that only “an angry white man” could have done such a thing. And one self-avowed social media activist stated, “A white Christian terrorist killed ten innocent people with a gun in a grocery store, Colorado, USA.”

These statements reveal how the Democrat media complex is obsessed with race.

Yet authorities have now identified 21-year-old Ahmad al-Aliwi Alissa as the gunman. Alissa is a Muslim immigrant from Syria who has praised the prophet Mohammed and has scouted out churches and Trump rallies as potential jihadi terrorist targets. So, while Ahmad Alissa is technically a Caucasian male, he was not a “a white, Christian terrorist.” He is an Islamic jihadi who murdered 10 white Americans and injured several others in his quest to terrorize the American people.

Prominent American race baiter Tariq Nasheed has doubled down on the white supremacy narrative, insisting that terms like “Arab” and “Islamic” do no change Alissa’s “whiteness.” But most of the progressive media has dropped the white supremacy angle now that we know Alissa is Muslim. They have shifted the narrative away from race to focus on another leftist obsession: gun control.

American activist and writer Amy Siskind perfectly illustrates this pivot. On Monday, she said that the fact that the shooter “was taken into custody” reveals that he “was certainly a white man … if he were black or brown, he would be dead.” On Tuesday, when authorities announced that the killer’s name was Ahmad al-Aliwi Alissa, she said, “Let’s mourn the victims, but not glorify the killer with the attention of having his name widely known.” And on Wednesday, she said, “Obviously we should all be calling and messaging our members of the House and Senate to demand gun control measures now! Keep the pressure on!”

Former United States President Barack Obama has weighed in on the issue. The day after the shooting, he released a statement saying, “It will take time to root out the disaffection, racism and misogyny that fuels so many of these senseless acts of violence. But we can make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war. We can overcome opposition by cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any limit on the ability of anyone to assemble an arsenal. We can, and we must. A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country.”

And shortly after Obama released his statement, Joe Biden faithfully repeated his boss’s stance. “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common sense steps that will save the lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said at the White House. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings.”

So, both Obama and Biden are calling on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like they did when they passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. This 10-year ban expired in 2004 and was not renewed because, contrary to Biden’s assertions, several studies determined that the ban did not have a significant effect on firearm homicides. Plus, the ban is almost certainly a violation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Since the AR-15 is the most commonly owned rifle in America, it is certainly protected by the “common use” standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Heller v. District of Columbia (2008).

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has further noted that “Colorado has everything the left has asked for,” including universal background checks, red flag gun seizure laws, “hi-capacity” magazine bans, and a passing gun control grade from the American advocacy and research organization Giffords. And all that still did not stop a radical Islamist from obtaining a lethal weapon and massacring people.

So, the radical left’s gun control proposal is not really about keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals, who can buy guns on the black market if they want them. The radical left’s gun control proposals are about keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. You do not have to know a lot about history to realize why the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed gun policies are dangerous.

“The Soviet Union left its mark as one of the deadliest political regimes in the history of mankind,” wrote José Niño at the Mises Institute. “However, it could not get away with such atrocities without having a complete monopoly on the use of force. To maintain its iron grip, the Soviet Union had to turn to the most proven form of suppression—gun confiscation. On Dec. 10, 1918, the Council of People’s Commissar mandated that Soviet citizens turn in their firearms. Failure to do so led to criminal prosecution.”

Nazi Germany, Communist Cuba, socialist Venezuela and many other authoritarian dictatorships throughout history have also relied on “the most proven form of suppression” to control people. And the radical left in America today is showing its tendency more and more to force its will on the public.

“Most Republicans don’t realize what they are dealing with: people who are absolutely committed to destroying the government of this land!” my father wrote in his 2018 article “Saving America from the Radical Left—Temporarily.”

The mindset behind the radical Democrats is exposed when you look at their handling of another issue: gun control. Every time there is a school shooting, even before any facts about the situation come out, they immediately begin pushing for gun bans. After the most recent shooting, they funded student groups and encouraged students to revolt against authorities. They don’t just want to raise the buying age or to restrict the sale of a few types of guns; they want to eliminate all guns. They hate the Second Amendment and want to destroy the Constitution. They want a revolution!

This is a perspective you do not get from mainstream sources. Liberals will tell you that we have to ban assault weapons to stop “white supremacists” from going on mass shooting sprees. And conservatives will cite research showing that gun control is ineffective against criminals—since they are willing to break the law anyway. But too few are warning about the dangers of an out-of-control government that wants to confiscate guns so they can transform America into a socialist state without fear of a public uprising!

The murders that happened at King Soopers supermarket are a national tragedy, but don’t expect the Biden-Harris administration to do anything to fight against radical Islam. They will be too busy talking about white supremacy, clamping down on gun ownership, and attacking the U.S. Constitution.

An end-time Bible prophecy about the nations of America, Britain and Israel says, “And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror …. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass” (Leviticus 26:15-16, 19).

Today, Americans have turned away from God’s law, so they are being plagued by terrorists like Ahmad al-Aliwi Alissa and no longer have the willpower to do much of anything about it. That is why so many are willing to surrender to the radical left. They do not trust God to protect them, nor do they even have the pride to defend themselves. So the curses on America will continue to intensify until, as verses 40-43 state, people “shall confess their iniquity” and cause God to “remember [His] covenant” with America’s ancestors!


Ammoland: ATF Ponders Changing Definition of What Is a Firearm To Target Growing Gun Diversity

Ammoland reports: ATF Ponders Changing Definition of What Is a Firearm To Target Growing Gun Diversity

Several large type-7 Federal Firearms Licensed manufacturers, The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and Polymer80 met with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) today.

Although the detailed discussions of the meeting are unknown at this time, AmmoLand News received leaked emails from our sources that show that the ATF is seeking a new definition of a firearm. Joe Biden has targeted so-called “ghost guns” and semi-automatic rifles and recent days. Sources say he is pushing to accelerate those changes by using the ATF as a stop-gap for stalled federal legislation.

The email states: “As you know, under current regulation 27 C.F.R. 478.11, the definition of firearm frame/receiver states that it is that part of a firearm which provides housing for “the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

The email goes on to state that many frames/receivers do not meet this definition. The meeting was to solicit input and feedback on the new definition to include all current firearm frames/receivers on the market.

The Wallstreet Journal incorrectly reported that the meeting was to be about targeting unfinished (80%) frames. Actual emails received indicate the “listening session” with ATF was more about the growing diversity of new gun styles and how to serialize more gun parts. Including Rifle Chassis Systems but also the long unchanging history of the firearms’ receiver definition and the need for updates to reflect “changes in technology”.

An AR-15 lower receiver houses the hammer and firing mechanism while the upper receiver houses the bolt. In a FAL, the upper receiver is the serialized firearms. The meeting seems to be stepping in the direction to change the discrepancies between different guns.

Recently there have been multiple cases where the ATF has arrested someone for selling an AR-15 lower receiver. The defendant challenges the ATF because an AR-15 lower receiver doesn’t meet the definition of a firearm. The ATF quietly dropped the cases without comment.

One case that stands out is the ATF arrest of Joseph Roh for illegally manufacturing AR-15-style rifles in Los Angeles. He challenged the ATF’s classification of an AR15 lower receiver as a firearm. Instead of fighting the case, the ATF quietly dropped it. Most believe that the ATF was worried a judge would decide in Roh’s favor unending gun control efforts.

The 60 plus person video meeting included multiple firearms industry manufacturers and industry representatives including Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) who commented:

“As the firearm industry’s trade association, NSSF is always willing to engage with ATF in a dialogue concerning regulatory matters that impact our industry members businesses so that we can protect their legal and business interests.”

Changing The Definition of What Is A Firearm

Sources inside the ATF tell us that the agency is considering changing a firearm’s definition to encompass the upper instead of the frame. The ATF reasons that anyone can finish an 80% frame or even 3D print one, but most of the general public do not possess the tools to complete a slide.

Safety Harbor Firearms produces a .50 caliber magazine-fed upper for the AR-15 called the SHTF 50. The ATF stepped in and insisted that the upper was a firearm and forced the company to serialize it. This decision made both the upper receiver and lower receiver a gun. The ATF reasoned that the company made the upper too much like a bolt action rifle.

Safety Harbor Firearms SHTF 50 Mag Fed Upper
Safety Harbor Firearms SHTF 50 Mag Fed Upper

The proposed changes have made their way into the hands of Everytown for Gun Safety even though it is not currently public. The gun-control group seems to be happy with the proposed changes. It isn’t clear how they managed to get the documents.

Summit News: UK Supreme Court Judge Expects COVID Social Controls For TEN YEARS

In this article from Summit News, a UK Supreme Court judge opines that mask wearing and other social controls for COVID could last for a decade. Would that happen in the US, too? Supreme Court Judge Expects People Will Be Forced To Wear Masks, Stay Home For TEN YEARS

British former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption has warned that “social controls” brought about by the coronavirus pandemic may be kept in place by governments for up to a decade.

“It’s politically unrealistic to expect the Government to backtrack now,” commented Sumption, who has been highly critical of the government’s ‘totalitarian’ lockdown policies.

The judge compared the reaction to rationing after the Second World War, which went on for nine years, adding that this time “I think it may be even longer.”

“An interesting parallel is the continuation of wartime food rationing after the last war. People were in favour of that because they were in favour of social control,” he said during a ‘Sketch notes on’ podcast.

“In the 1951 general election, the Labour party lost its majority entirely because people with five years more experience of social control got fed up with it. Sooner or later that will happen in this country,” he added.

Sumption’s warning comes in the wake of Public Health England officials stating that restrictions will remain in place for as long as other countries have not vaccinated everyone, a process likely to take years.

England’s chief medical officer also recently asserted that the pandemic restrictions, which have been in place on and off for a year, have “improved life” for some people.

Despite promising an end to restrictions in June, the UK government yesterday extended emergency COVID laws until October, with Health minister Matt Hancock refusing to say how long they will remain in place after that.

Lord Sumption also noted during the podcast that scientists skeptical of lockdown policies have been “subjected to an extraordinarily unpleasant campaign of personal abuse”.

“I know a lot of people that would prefer not to put their head above the parapet,” He continued, adding “From the very moment I started to make these points I began to get emails from politicians who agreed with what I had to say but that they themselves didn’t dare to speak out. That I think is a very serious state of affairs.”

The judge also argued that governments are using the virus politically, noting “They have consistently tried to maintain that the virus is indiscriminate when it is perfectly well-established that it primarily affects people with identifiable vulnerabilities, particularly in the elderly.”

Speaking about the draconian crack down on anti-lockdown protesters, Sumption said “People ought to be entitled to voice their differences (of opinion),” adding “If the only way you can enforce distancing is by beating people over the head with truncheons then it’s not worth it.”

Now that Brits have allowed society to be permanently deformed, with polls routinely showing vehement support for lockdown and other pandemic rules, things are never going to be the same again.

Having allowed the precedent that the government can put the entire population under de facto house arrest on a whim, look for the policy to be repeated over and over again with different justifications that have nothing to do with COVID-19.

As we previously highlighted, one of those justifications will be man-made global warming, with climate lockdowns set to become a regular reality.

The Organic Prepper: Eight Ways to Practice Advanced Situational Awareness

We often talk about situational awareness being one of the most important skills to have to avoid danger. Here is Fabian Ommar at The Organic Prepper with 8 Ways to Practice ADVANCED Situational Awareness.

In one of my recently published articles, I defined situational awareness. I also presented a list of risks and threats commonly found in the urban environment and those posed by large and smaller groups of people and individuals. Selco, who survived in an urban setting, offers excellent examples of the differences between Urban Survival and Rural Survival as well as guidance for survival planning. 

Here I will go over techniques for development and practices to improve situational awareness. Before we move ahead and get practical, let’s see one more aspect of situational awareness theory and psychology. Let’s also look at how it works in our minds to apply it in the most productive manners during training and everyday situations.

The four levels of awareness

I’m talking about awareness levels, which is a “scale” of alertness according to the context in which we find ourselves. There are several versions of this scale out there, all based on Col. Jeff Cooper‘s work. Cooper originally designed it as a practical guide for police and military agents who need to move fast between levels when readying for combat or violent action.

While I personally have some reservations about the way Cooper’s Color Code was adapted (and promoted) in the “situational awareness” concept, the scale’s idea is to provide a simple yet effective reference to ordinary people, and for that, it works. Besides, the levels of awareness help educate us on self-assessment and control. 

It is essential to note the mind can’t operate in constant states of high alertness. Too much stress for too long is detrimental to our performance and even our health. Besides, it’s practically impossible to maintain a high level of awareness for long periods. We must learn to adjust, dial down or up as the context changes, and as our mind/body requires. 

  • Level 1: Relaxed – When (for instance) we’re at home watching a movie, focused on the TV, and tuned out to the rest.
  • Level 2: Relaxed Awareness – There’s no significant threat, but we are aware of the situation around us, usually because we’re performing some task that demands some attention (as when driving and paying attention to what’s going on around, other vehicles and people moving and signaling (or not) their intentions, etc.).
  • Level 3: Focused Awareness –  The situation demands a higher level of focus (for example, when driving in the snow or a heavy storm, at night or through a poorly conditioned road with hazards)
  • Level 4: High Alert – Thing’s have gotten scary. We recognize an actual or imminent threat and become ready to act. It can be fight, hide, or flight. At this level, we’re still able to function. 

Above Level 4, there’s paralysis, panic-induced freeze, and comatose. Our senses get overwhelmed, and the rush is too big to cope, so we “shut down” as an automatic defense mechanism takes over.

Here is a bit of advice for preppers on how not to let anxiety paralyze you.

Know your limits and adapt accordingly

Moving abruptly between levels or jumping stages too quickly is what can cause break-outs. We go from Level 1 to 2, or 3 to 4 without a problem. But moving from, say, Level 1 to Level 4 in a snap can cause a short-circuit. There are techniques and training to deal with quick shifts in mental state, which, as said before, is the original proposition of the Cooper Color Code.

But there are limits, and even trained professionals can become paralyzed in some situations. That’s why we must learn and practice to “enter” the level of awareness best indicated to each situation and move or “flow” between the levels. It can become more natural and automatic once we become more aware. We reduce the chances of getting caught by some unpleasant surprise. (Read more here.)

Even SHTF and other dangerous situations will allow for periods of relaxation. Maybe not “Level 1” total relaxation, but more acceptable or perhaps manageable levels that still provide the awareness required by the situation and the relaxation needed by the mind. 

Cognitive systems of the brain and how it concerns us and situational awareness

Our brain has two systems. One is the “automatic,” responsible for the majority of our daily tasks. It is intuitive, multitasking, and economic (demands less energy/time to decide). The other is the “deliberate” system, which handles analytical decision-making. It can only process one choice at a time (more focus) and is more energy/time-consuming. 

Understanding this is useful for decision-making and also developing new skills. When we start something new, our “analytical” mind gets busy analyzing every individual aspect of the task at hand. In this phase, we’re slow and clunky. Once we repeat enough, the “automatic” mind takes over, and we no longer need to focus on every detail (or any at all) to perform the task. We become fluent, fast, and smooth.

Situational awareness doesn’t mean just becoming aware. It implies running scenarios and analyzing possibilities, arriving at a conclusion, and taking action to achieve the desired outcome. There’s a decision(s) involved. For this entire process to become useful and effective, it must be done fast and efficiently by the “auto” system. To get there, we must practice and repeat the steps necessary individually. 

In short, we must practice focusing on one or two aspects at a time until it becomes internalized and natural. It will then be an acquired ability, and our brain will work automatically in a fast, comprehensive, efficient, and intuitive manner. That should be our final objective. 

Techniques for Situational Awareness Training

Practice and training don’t mean willfully chasing dangerous situations, but rather exposing ourselves to everyday situations and interactions with focus and intent, purposefully working on these aspects and skills as explained above.

Disclaimer: Please note this is from a common-man perspective. I’m not a specialist. These are the techniques I have used myself and with others I have successfully guided. Situational awareness is not rocket science. It is a vast topic, though. If you believe you need advanced or specialized training for some reason, look for professional orientation or enroll in a tactical course. 

1. Stay informed

We begin to become aware by staying connected to our world, tuned to what’s happening in all the different levels of our reality: neighborhood, city, state, country, and international. Like it or not, current events and prepping are inextricably entwined.

  • Locally, it’s best to do your own work and keep in contact with the people in your community. Be casual and generic, rather than intrusive or particular. The aim is to be on top of situations concerning infrastructure, the chain of supply, security, etc. 
  • On the macro level, stay informed about political, geopolitical, social, and economic scenes. Here the idea is to zoom out and have a general picture of developments in the world. It’s OK to focus on topics that have the potential to affect us directly. For this, choose your sources wisely and separate noise from signal (another skill).

2. Head on a swivel

Having “eyes in the back of your head” is a beneficial skill. No one has to turn into an international spy. Still, techniques for “looking around” or specifically spying on someone or somewhere (without giving the impression that we’re focused or too intent on doing so) are essential. 

  • Some people take this as a cue to look around every 10 seconds, searching for danger. Doing so draws unwanted attention and makes us look paranoid or frightened in the eyes of others. Act casual, relaxed, but attentive and decided. Avoid looking worried, scared, or anxious. 
  • Use shadows, mirrors, and glasses in buildings, storefronts, vehicles, bus stops, etc., to casually and discreetly glance around. Our peripheral vision is a powerful ally too. All the time, I pretend to look at something on a store window or whatever to spy on what I actually want with the corner of my eyes.
  • Every once in a while, take a look back and to the sides, calmly but assuredly. Being intentional indicates we are alert and attentive. 
  • A slightly more discreet tactic is to use noises such as other people or passing vehicles to turn my head and look around. This way, I can scan the surroundings or peek at something or someone without staring directly. 
  • Use your phone in a planned, deliberate way. For instance, pull it out while turning your back against a wall or store entrance (to avoid being surprised from behind) and pretend you’re talking to someone or reading, texting, etc., while you scan around or look at people or places more deserving of your attention. 
  • The power of darkness: during the daytime, I’m always wearing sunglasses, even when overcast. Mostly because I feel comfortable, but also to hide the direction of my sight. 

This is a great way to learn how to be more observant.

3. The right attitude

It’s vital to achieve a balance here: not confrontational and not appearing like a victim. Being confident is different from being cocky. Most of the time, people (especially street people) can tell between someone aware, confident, and capable of handling him/her self and someone faking toughness. Never underestimate the capacities and abilities of others, no matter what. 

  • Capable and self-reliant people don’t pick fights, don’t provoke, don’t take offense from random and impersonal provocations and attacks, don’t lock eyes in defiance (or fear), and above all, don’t have anything to prove. On the contrary: if you see a person moving away or calmly trying to avoid confrontation or de-escalate a situation, it’s probably someone with serious self-defense training. Bruce Lee famously said, “The most dangerous person is the one who listens, thinks and observes.”
  • Whatever happens and whoever is on the other side, if we want to survive, we need to avoid danger. Situational awareness is crucial for achieving that. Showing you’re aware and tuned is an excellent way to hold off potential attackers. Criminals will always favor surprise and thus prefer to prey on distracted people. For them, it’s a matter of risk/reward, and the risks are more considerable when someone can anticipate their moves.

4. Entering and exiting

These are common situations that can involve higher risk/vulnerability, depending on the settings. Entering and exiting places require Level 2 or 3 for a few moments to look at routes, hidden risks, potential threats (which can be anything like other people and moving vehicles), and even ongoing works (for instance, around or near construction sites). 

  • Whether driving or walking, we should make a habit of searching the surroundings with attention when leaving or entering garages, buildings, etc. Not only to avoid being robbed or attacked but also to prevent collisions and other accidents.
  • One common situation preferred by thugs and robbers is someone entering or leaving their vehicles. Most people do this in automatic mode, often while searching for the keys, talking on the phone, grabbing a piece of clothing or a purse, or in a hurry. Don’t be like that. Have everything at hand and ready before heading to/from the car and remain focused and aware until safety is reached. 
  • We can also be attacked while stuck in traffic or at a stoplight. Focus on driving, be ready and stay alert for suspicious people or activities at all times in these situations, particularly when going through locations that may present a risk for attacks, accidents, or are known crime/accident spots.

5. Evaluating people

We must know how to analyze strangers from what we can pick, recognize between real and fake threats and non-issues, and adjust and act accordingly. It is essential in the streets. 

  • One common mistake is judging based on looks alone. Some criminals know that people do this and use “reverse grey man tactics,” i.e., they make a deliberate effort to blend in and fool their victims and the authorities. Some are very efficient at blending in; therefore, appearance alone may not cut it.
  • Analyze demeanor, body positioning, stance, how everyone treats personal space (theirs and others), where and whom they lock their eyesight on, things like that. Pay attention to clothing details, how the person scans the surroundings, how they walk, etc. Overall, we should look for “oddities” in other people’s appearance and behavior.
  • Avoid personal judgment or emotional assessments: this should be as impersonal, objective, impartial as possible to have some use.
  • Everyone should be treated with equal respect. But in the streets, there are all kinds of people and everyone is a stranger. Each type of person and interaction demands a specific positioning on our part. I’m talking specifically in regards to reaction. For the most part, we should leave other people alone unless contact is needed for some reason.

6. Rehearse situations

Back in the early 2000s, I took part in the local community safety council. I’ve had a previous experience taking part in the neighborhood watch group while studying in Colorado a few years before and tried to introduce the concept to my local scene. It didn’t work in the end, but the research I did to make that presentation was of great personal value. 

Chuck Remsberg’s seminal The Tactical Edge – Surviving High-Risk Patrol stands today as a reference for tactical evaluation, training, and dealing with life-threatening situations. It’s complex, thorough, and extensive (as are all great works) and was written for police training. But the lessons and information provided are helpful for everyone living in a big city. It has some great insights and valuable knowledge for preppers.

Remsberg uses “mental movies” to describe what he calls “crisis rehearsal.” Business people, negotiators, and salespeople also use this technique. It is essentially conjuring up and visualizing situations, “playing” in our minds what we’d do, how we’d act, and what we’d say to come out on top and achieve the desired outcome (winning). I like to imagine and play out what this person would say or do and what I would say or do in response. Daisy recommends doing just this when watching survival-related movies.

There’s, of course, a physical side to being prepared to deal with a real-life situation, whether it’s some martial arts training or another self-defense discipline (firearms, tactical combat, etc.). One must be prepared and trained to act. But here, we’re specifically dealing with the mental aspect of this preparation, which is related to situational awareness in essence—for that, playing and rehearsing situations while in the streets can be very effective.

7. Practice

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” This quote, attributed to the ancient Greek poet Archilochus, is one of my favorites. It reminds me of the importance of constant practice. Use it or lose it. In all these years guiding and helping others in street survival training, I’ve seen people improve significantly. Many went from totally tuned-out and oblivious to incredibly sharp and aware. 

The best and most effective way I’ve found to practice the skills listed here is to walk and spend time in the streets, often with the homeless. It may seem obvious, but it’s not something easy when we’re out there: there are too many distractions, and early on, we have difficulty staying focused on the task at hand for even fifteen or thirty minutes. 

But it’s just like working out: as time passes, we naturally become better, stronger, more fit. The same happens with our awareness if we keep at it (walking has the bonus of improving our fitness).

  • The most significant advantage of walking is the speed: it’s the slowest we can travel, which allows for greater attention to the surroundings. When we’re skating or cycling or even running, we must focus a lot on movement around us to avoid obstacles. Walking frees us from a lot of that to focus on whatever we want and practice the skills.
  • One good exercise is to pause from time to time and stay put, paying attention to what’s going on around. Sit down on a bench, bus stop, anywhere with some movement. Do that in different places and areas around town: commercial, corporative and residential regions, parks, train and metro stations, plazas, shopping centers, museums, etc.
  • Situational awareness should also be practiced in everyday situations: when leaving home, driving to places, strolling in the mall, going for lunch or dinner, everywhere. The practical, real-life application of situational awareness is the main objective. Doing so internalizes awareness and turns it into a mental state. Once it becomes natural, we’ll be more apt to move between attentiveness levels and remain in better control of our focus and emotions. 

8. Trust your instincts

Finally, no amount of skill or practice will help if we don’t trust ourselves. Follow your gut and act upon it. Don’t worry about being polite. At the core of any and every kind of training, physical or mental, in every discipline is instinct. Situational awareness is a tool: the more we sharpen it, the more reliant and confident we should be to perform when the situation presents itself. 

Yet, we’re not in this to be right but rather to be safe. For that, we must act. Don’t worry. Acting comes naturally. But stay alert and conscious of this vital aspect from now on, especially during training.

Conclusion

These are the main elements of situational awareness, according to my experience and knowledge. As always, there’s a lot more to be said about it. (I could go on and enter the specifics of urban ‘zoning’ (analyzing the heterogeneity and different aspects of the city to determine dangerous/safe areas and routes), how to develop an information network to collect “street intel”, resource mapping, the importance of educating others about awareness for collective/community safety and more.)

These and other strategies are explained in more detail in my book, but if there’s interest, drop a note in the comments below, and I’ll do another article exclusively on these topics. Perhaps even illustrating with some real stories to explain how these principles work in real-life situations. For now, stay safe and share with the community your tips and experiences on situational awareness. I’d be interested in hearing those too.

Comm Academy, Apr. 10 & 11, 2021 – Online

The 2021 Comm Academy will be held online this year on April 10 & 11, 2021. In the past this has been an excellent venue for learning more about emergency/disaster communications, especially with amateur radio.

Two days of training, talks, and information on emergency communications on this year’s theme:
Disasters Here, There, and Everywhere – Are We Ready?

Headquartered in Seattle, Comm Academy is two days of training and information on various aspects of emergency communications. Organizations attending include:

Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES©)

Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS)

EOC Support Teams

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Civil Air Patrol, Coast Guard Auxiliary

REACT

CERT

All those interested in emergency and amateur radio communications are welcome. Learn, network, and share your experiences with others.

As it has in all of its 22+ previous iterations, the conference will feature expert speakers on a wide variety of topics, from radio and messaging technologies to communications techniques to tales from the “trenches.”

More than just a collection of online presentations, Comm Academy 2021 will be an interactive event, with participants able to converse with presenters and other attendees.

Registration link.

Link to schedule

AYWtGS: How to Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

A Year Without the Grocery Store has a short and photo-filled article on a proper way to prepare buckets for long term food storage in How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage. This is pretty much the way that I sealed my own food storage buckets, though I just put the oxygen absorber in before starting to seal the mylar. On some bags, I also used the tube of our FoodSaver vacuum sealer and sucked the air out of the mylar bag before sealing it the last little bit. I don’t know if that helps much because the oxygen absorber should take care of it, but I was hedging against not having put enough oxygen absorbers into my bag. But I have been accused of overdoing things sometimes.

Here on the blog, we’ve been doing a lot of talk about five-gallon buckets recently.  We’ve discussed how to get 5-gallon buckets for free or at least cheap.  There was also a recent post on using a five-gallon bucket for a container garden.  Today, we’re going to talk about how you properly fill your five-gallon bucket to ensure that your food storage remains good for up to 30 years!

I remember the first time I sealed oats, wheat, beans, and rice in Mylar bags. I was afraid that I was going to do it all wrong and lose all my food. However, I have some good news! I didn’t lose any of the food that I sealed up, and I’m going to walk you through the very same, simple process I used. 

***There are links in this post.  Some of the links may be affiliate links. My promise to you is that I will only recommend the most economical version of the best quality of items to serve you. All of these are the items that I have bought for my own family.  If you click on a link, your price will remain the same.  If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission that aids in the cost of the running of this website.***

Step 1:

Grab your five to six-gallon bucket with a lid, a five-gallon Mylar bag, a 2000cc oxygen absorber, a 2 foot or longer length of 2×4 (or 1×4), and an iron.  Start by plugging the iron in and letting it heat up.

Step 2:

Stand the Mylar bag up in the bucket and pour whatever it is that you want to preserve into the bag.

How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

Step 3:

When the bucket looks just about full, you’ll want to bounce it up and down and then twist it back and forth quickly.  This will help the contents to settle.  Do this several times and add more.  Once it’s all settled and it’s filled within two inches to the top, lay the 2×4 across the bucket.

How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

Step 4:

Pull the Mylar bag up, straighten it as much as is possible and pull it across the 2×4.  You’re going to iron the bag, all but two inches across.  Keep it as flat as possible while doing this. 

How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage
How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

Step 5:

Pull the bag back up, and then push it down into the bucket to squeeze as much air out as possible.   If you are using single sealed oxygen absorbers, this is when you will open the single oxygen absorber.  Stuff it through the 2 inches that you left open.  

How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage
How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

Step 6:

Pull the bag back up and straighten it over the 2×4 and iron the rest of the way across.

Step 7:

Fold the bag back down.  Stuff it into the bucket and place the lid on.  

How to Properly Fill Your 5-Gallon Bucket for 30 Years of Food Storage

Step 8:

Write the date and the contents on the lid.  

And you’re done!

If you do NOT purchase single sealed oxygen absorbers, then do steps 1-4 for every bucket that you are going to do.  If you have ten buckets that you’re doing then do all ten buckets up through step five BEFORE you do step six.  Then you’ll need to do step six as quickly as possible so that the oxygen absorbers don’t lose their potency.

Follow the rest of steps 7 and 8, and you’ll be done.

Washington Times: Americans have ‘no right’ to carry guns in public, 9th Circuit Court rules

Contrary to the US Constitution’s (and numerous individual state constitutions’) statement that there is a right to “bear arms,” the 9th Circuit Court has ruled that Americans have no such right to carry guns in public. This was decided in spite of the US Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v Heller decision which said of bearing arms that it is “unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia.” However, the 9th Circuit appears to be hoping that because the Heller decision was narrowly decided upon a law that made bearing arms illegal in the home, that their decision against public carry is somehow valid.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that there is no right to carry a gun in public.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to Hawaii’s requirement that residents must pass an application to have weapons outside the home.

“There is no right to carry arms openly in public; nor is any such right within the scope of the Second Amendment,” the court ruled in an “en banc” decision that involved all the panel’s judges.

“We can find no general right to carry arms into the public square for self-defense,” the majority wrote, claiming that the Second Amendment applies to the “defense of hearth and home.”

“The power of the government to regulate carrying arms in the public square does not infringe in any way on the right of an individual to defend his home or business,” the judges wrote.

The court noted that “we have previously held that individuals do not have a Second Amendment right to carry concealed weapons in public” which means people in the West Coast states it covers have no right to carry a firearm in any capacity in public.

The National Rifle Association noted the impact of the decision and said it would not stand.

“The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit just ruled that THERE IS NO RIGHT TO CARRY – either openly or concealed in public. This ruling impacts RTC laws in AK, HI, CA, AZ, OR, WA, & MT. This was not an NRA case but we are exploring all options to rectify this,” the gun-rights group wrote on Twitter.

Forbes: Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Let Cops Enter Homes And Seize Guns Without A Warrant

From Forbes, Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Let Cops Enter Homes And Seize Guns Without A Warrant

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral argument in Caniglia v. Strom, a case that could have sweeping consequences for policing, due process, and mental health, with the Biden Administration and attorneys general from nine states urging the High Court to uphold warrantless gun confiscation. But what would ultimately become a major Fourth Amendment case began with an elderly couple’s spat over a coffee mug. 

Capitol Breach
People view the Supreme Court building from behind security fencing on Capitol Hill in Washington, … [+] ASSOCIATED PRESS

In August 2015, 68-year-old Edward Caniglia joked to Kim, his wife of 22 years, that he didn’t use a certain coffee mug after his brother-in-law had used it because he “might catch a case of dishonesty.” That quip quickly spiraled into an hour-long argument. Growing exhausted from the bickering, Edward stormed into his bedroom, grabbed an unloaded handgun, and put it on the kitchen table in front of his wife. With a flair for the dramatic, he then asked: “Why don’t you just shoot me and get me out of my misery?”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tactic backfired and the two continued to argue. Eventually, Edward took a drive to cool off. But when he returned, their argument flared up once again. This time, Kim decided to leave the house and spend the night at a motel. The next day, Kim phoned home. No answer.

Worried, she called the police in Cranston, Rhode Island and asked them to perform a “well check” on her husband and to escort her home. When they arrived, officers spoke with Edward on the back deck. According to an incident report, he “seemed normal,” “was calm for the most part,” and even said “he would never commit suicide.” 

However, none of the officers had asked Edward any questions about the factors relating to his risk of suicide, risk of violence, or prior misuse of firearms. (Edward had no criminal record and no history of violence or self-harm.) In fact, one of the officers later admitted he “did not consult any specific psychological or psychiatric criteria” or medical professionals for his decisions that day.

Still, police were convinced that Edward could hurt himself and insisted he head to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. After refusing and insisting that his mental health wasn’t their business, Edward agreed only after police (falsely) promised they wouldn’t seize his guns while he was gone. 

Compounding the dishonesty, police then told Kim that Edward had consented to the confiscation. Believing the seizures were approved by her husband, Kim led the officers to the two handguns the couple owned, which were promptly seized. Even though Edward was immediately discharged from the hospital, police only returned the firearms after he filed a civil rights lawsuit against them.

Critically, when police seized the guns, they didn’t claim it was an emergency or to prevent imminent danger. Instead, the officers argued their actions were a form of “community caretaking,” a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

Supreme Court
UNITED STATES – JANUARY 7: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (Photo By … [+] CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

First created by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago, the community caretaking exception was designed for cases involving impounded cars and highway safety, on the grounds that police are often called to car accidents to remove nuisances like inoperable vehicles on public roads. 

Both a district and appellate court upheld the seizures as “reasonable” under the community caretaking exception. In deciding Caniglia’s case, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals acknowledged that “the doctrine’s reach outside the motor vehicle context is ill-defined.” Nevertheless, the court decided to extend that doctrine to cover private homes, ruling that the officers “did not exceed the proper province of their community caretaking responsibilities.”

Siding with law enforcement, the First Circuit noted that a police officer “must act as a master of all emergencies, who is ‘expected to…provide an infinite variety of services to preserve and protect community safety.’” By letting police operate without a warrant, the community caretaking exception is “designed to give police elbow room to take appropriate action,” the court added.

In their opening brief for the Supreme Court, attorneys for Caniglia warned that “extending the community caretaking exception to homes would be anathema to the Fourth Amendment” because it “would grant police a blank check to intrude upon the home.”

That fear is not unwarranted. In jurisdictions that have extended the community caretaking exception to homes, “everything from loud music to leaky pipes have been used to justify warrantless invasion of the home,” a joint amicus brief by the ACLU, the Cato Institute, and the American Conservative Union revealed.

This expansion could also have perverse effects and disincentivize people from calling for help. As that brief noted, “When every interaction with police or request for help can become an invitation for police to invade the home, the willingness of individuals to seek assistance when it is most needed will suffer.”

But in its first amicus brief before the High Court, the Biden Administration glossed over these concerns and called on the justices to uphold the First Circuit’s ruling. Noting that “the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is ‘reasonableness,’” the Justice Department argued that warrants should not be “presumptively required when a government official’s action is objectively grounded in a non-investigatory public interest, such as health or safety.”

“The ultimate question in this case is therefore not whether the respondent officers’ actions fit within some narrow warrant exception,” their brief stated, “but instead whether those actions were reasonable,” actions the Justice Department felt were “justified” in Caniglia’s case.

As a fail-safe, the Justice Department also urged the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court ruling on qualified immunity grounds, arguing that the officers’ “actions did not violate any clearly established law so as to render the officers individually liable in a damages action.”

But the Biden Administration, along with the courts that have extended the community caretaking exception, overlook a key component of the Fourth Amendment: the Security Clause. After all, the Fourth Amendment opens with the phrase, “the right of the people to be secure.”

In an amicus brief, the Institute for Justice noted that “to the Founding generation, ‘secure’ did not simply mean the right to be ‘spared’ an unreasonable search or seizure” but also involved “harms attributable to the potential for unreasonable searches and seizures.” Expanding the community caretaking exception to “allow warrantless entries into peoples’ homes on a whim,” argued the IJ brief, “invokes the arbitrary, looming threat of general writs that so incited the Framers” and would undermine “the right of the people to be secure” in their homes.

The IJ brief further argued that extending the “community caretaking” exception to the home would “flatly contradict” the Supreme Court’s prior rulings, which “has only discussed community caretaking in the context of vehicle searches and seizures.” In those cases, “the animating purpose for the exception [was] to allow officers to remove damaged or abandoned vehicles that pose a risk to public safety.” By contrast, the IJ amicus asserted,  “that justification is entirely absent” when it comes to homes.

“The Fourth Amendment protects our right to be secure in our property, which means the right to be free from fear that the police will enter your house without warning or authorization,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Joshua Windham. “A rule that allows police to burst into your home without a warrant whenever they feel they are acting as ‘community caretakers’ is a threat to everyone’s security.”

Publius Huldah: When the feds violate the Constitution, should we blame the Constitution?

Attorney Publius Huldah has some important to understand criticisms for the Convention of States movement in When the feds violate the Constitution, should we blame the Constitution?

In Rob Natelson’s paper [link], “The Solution is a Convention of the States”, he makes claims about what our Framers said is the purpose of amendments to our Constitution which are not true. He also gives false assurances about the safety of a convention called by Congress under Article V of the Constitution.

At the outset, we should note that the title of Natelson’s paper incorporates a stratagem which creates the false belief that the States control the convention. The belief is false because the convention provided for by Art. V of the Constitution is a federal convention called by the federal government to perform the federal function of addressing our federal Constitution. It is not a state function; accordingly, the term, “convention of States”, does not appear in Article V. So the “Convention of States movement” (COS), of which Natelson is “senior advisor”, renamed the convention provided for in Article V as a “convention of the States”; 1 and re-defined it as “a convention controlled by State Legislatures”.

Now let’s examine various other claims on which COS builds its case.

1. The fabricated George Mason quote

COS claims that our Framers gave us the convention method of getting amendments so that when the federal government “violate[s] its constitutional limitations”, we can get a convention to “make adjustments to the constitutional text in order to rein in the abuse of power by the federal government.” Or, in plain English, when the feds violate the Constitution, the solution is a convention to amend the Constitution.

But our Framers didn’t say that. The falsity and absurdity of COS’s claim is exposed here. What our Framers actually said is that the purpose of amendments is to correct defects in the Constitution. And they recognized that the purpose of a convention is to get another Constitution. James Madison warned that those who secretly want to get rid of our Constitution would push for a convention under the pretext of getting amendments.

2. Natelson’s claims re using amendments to “overrule bad Supreme Court decisions” & “restrain federal power”

Natelson admits that the Framers said we can use amendments to correct defects in the Constitution; but then muddles up what the Framers actually said with what they never said, thereby seemingly legitimizing his misleading claim that the Framers envisioned that we could use amendments to “overrule bad Supreme Court decisions” and “restrain federal power”.

As an example of a “bad” Supreme Court decision, Natelson claims that “[i]n early 1795, the States ratified the 11th Amendment to reverse an overreaching Supreme Court decision”.

The decision he is referring to is Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) [link]; and what he says about it isn’t true. What Chisholm actually stands for is this: Our Constitution originally delegated to federal courts the power to hear cases “between a State and Citizens of another State” (Art. III, §2, cl.1). But when a Citizen of South Carolina sued the State of Georgia, States were outraged! Georgia sued. In Chisholm, the Supreme Court decided the case in accordance with the Constitution and held that Chisholm could maintain his suit.

But the States didn’t want Citizens of other States suing them. So the States ratified the 11th Amendment which took away from the federal courts the constitutional authority to hear cases filed by a Citizen against another State. So the 11th Amendment illustrates what our Framers actually said is the purpose of amendments: to fix defects in the Constitution.

Natelson also claims that our Framers said we could use amendments to “restrain federal power” when the federal government “exceeded and abused its powers”.

Again, Natelson muddles up the true and the false when he fails to distinguish between usurpations of undelegated powers and abuses of delegated powers.

No Framer said that amendments could be used to restrain usurpations of powers not delegated. And in Federalist No. 49 (last para) James Madison says the opposite. He warns against another convention and says, “occasional appeals to the people [a convention] would be neither a proper nor an effectual provision” for restraining the federal government within its legal powers.

But when the federal government abuses a delegated power, an amendment could be appropriate. Here’s an example: the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional since tariffs are authorized by Art. I, §8, cl. 1. But it was abusive because it benefited infant industries in the Northeast at the expense of the Southern States. So what’s the remedy for such abuse of delegated power? Article I, §8, cl. 1 could be amended to say that Congress may impose tariffs only to raise revenue to carry out the enumerated powers; and may not impose tariffs in order to benefit one section of the Country at the expense of other sections.

3. Natelson’s proposed “corrective reforms” to the Constitution

Natelson says he wants a convention to get a balanced budget amendment (BBA); to curb “undemocratic and unfair” regulations; to reverse “liberal-activist Supreme Court decisions”; to impose term limits; and get other amendments “to restrain federal power”.

But as anyone who has read it knows, our Constitution already limits the federal government to a handful of enumerated powers. The powers are listed here. The categories of cases federal courts are authorized to hear are listed at Art. III, §2, clause 1. All the problems of which COS and Natelson complain are the result of violations by the federal government of the existing constitutional limitations on their powers – and the States’ acquiesce in such violations!

Balanced Budget Amendment: Our Constitution already limits federal spending to the enumerated powers. But for 100 years, everyone has ignored the existing limits on federal spending. A BBA would replace the existing enumerated powers limitation on federal spending and create a new constitutional authority to spend on whatever the President or Congress put into the budget! A BBA thus legalizes spending which is now unconstitutional as outside the scope of the enumerated powers, and transforms the federal government into one which has constitutional authority over whatever Congress decides to spend money on.

Federal Regulations: Article I, §1 vests all lawmaking powers in Congress. So all regulations issued by federal executive agencies which purport to apply to the Country at Large are unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, §1; and as outside the scope of the enumerated powers. An amendment such as Natelson proposes is a grant of constitutional power to federal executive agencies to make Laws.

Supreme Court Opinions: This shows why Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. This shows why the opinions banning Christian speech in the public square are unconstitutional. The remedy our Framers advised for such usurpations is impeachment and removal from the Bench (Federalist No. 81, 8th para), and nullification by the States of unconstitutional opinions [link].

Natelson cannot produce any writing from a Framer which says that when the Supreme Court violates the Constitution, the remedy is to amend the Constitution. Our Framers were not silly men. And what would such an amendment as Natelson proposes say? That federal judges must obey the Constitution? Article VI already requires that. Does Natelson propose amendments which list the subjects on which federal courts may not act? But Art. III, §2, cl. 1 already lists the kinds of cases they may hear. But we ignore those existing limitations.

Term limits amendment: If we learned anything from the last election, it should be that we will not in the foreseeable future have an honest federal election. With H.R.1, Congress is likely to attempt to “legalize” the unconstitutional shenanigans which enabled the theft of the last election. So your vote won’t matter!

But even if we had honest federal elections, consider this: As you decrease the powers of elected members of Congress by making them transient beings – you increase the powers of the “deep state”. With term limits, elected members of Congress would become like train cars passing in the night – the power would be solidified in the nameless, faceless, un-elected bureaucrats who infest the Executive Branch.

Anyone who analyzes the amendments proposed by COS and their allies can see that their amendments increase the powers of the federal government by delegating powers already usurped, granting new powers, or stripping States of their existing powers. See: ‘Mark Levin’s “Liberty” Amendments: Legalizing Tyranny’ [link]; ‘COS Project’s “simulated convention” dog and pony show and what they did there’ [link], & ‘The “Regulation Freedom” Amendment and Daniel Webster’ [link].

4. Amendments to “prevent federal abuse” can backfire!

When amendments correct defects in the Constitution, they are clearly a good thing. The 12th & 13th Amendments, like the 11th Amendment, corrected defects in the Constitution. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment extended Citizenship to the freed slaves and provided constitutional authority for the much needed federal Civil Rights Act of 1866.

But amendments added to prevent federal abuses backfired. In Federalist No. 84 (10th para), Alexander Hamilton warned against adding a Bill of Rights to our Constitution. Under a Constitution of enumerated powers, the government may lawfully do only what the Constitution permits it to do. So

“…why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? … it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power...” [emphasis mine]

But Hamilton’s warnings were brushed aside.

Beginning in the 1920s, Justices on the Supreme Court – who were “disposed to usurp” – fabricated a doctrine under which they claimed that §1 of the 14th Amendment “incorporated” various parts of the first 8 Amendments so that those Amendments restricted the States! This how the Supreme Court usurped power to dictate how the States must apply the Bill of Rights. As shown here (at 12. & endnote 4), this is the theory the Supreme Court used to ban Christian speech from the public schools and County courthouse lawns.

Throughout the years, the Supreme Court has extended its “incorporation doctrine” to dictate to the States how they must apply the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments [link].

Furthermore: Amendments usher in implementing federal statutes and executive agency regulations – and judicial power over the subject of the Amendment becomes vested in the federal courts. Article III, §2, cl.1, says, “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases … arising under this Constitution …”

Beware of what you ask for.

5. Natelson’s assurances that a convention would consist of “state delegations” sent “to propose pre-specified amendments” are false and reckless in the extreme 2

Natelson presents nothing to support his assurances. He can’t because his assurances are contradicted by the Constitution; and by the federal “amendments” convention of 1787, which is our sole historical precedent for a federal convention called by a Congress to address our federal Constitution.

Article V, US Constit., says:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments…” [italics added]

Article I, §8, last clause, US Constit., says Congress shall have the Power…

“To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” [italics added].

So Congress calls the convention and makes the laws necessary and proper to organize the convention.

The April 11, 2014 Report of the Congressional Research Service [link] shows that Congress recognizes that Article V grants to Congress exclusive authority to set up a convention:

“Second, While the Constitution is silent on the mechanics of an Article V convention, Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including (1) receiving, judging, and recording state applications;(4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates…” (page 4).

So Congress has the power to receive and judge the applications; how to count the applications, which ones to count, whether to aggregate the different forms of applications, etc.

Nothing in the Constitution permits State Legislatures to dictate amendments to be considered. The convention is the deliberative body.

Nothing in the Constitution requires Congress to permit States to select Delegates. Congress – the same Congress which Natelson tells us is “abusive”, “mendacious” and “revels in its power”- has the power to select the Delegates. Congress may appoint themselves as Delegates. 3

6. The People have the power to take down and set up governments

The push for an Article V convention is a hoax. The Globalists who stole the Election want a new Constitution. They are using “getting amendments to rein in the federal government” as a pretext for getting a convention where a new Constitution is sure to be imposed. Madison expressly warned of this stratagem [link].

Our Declaration of Independence is part of the “Organic Law” of our Land. It recognizes that The People take down and create governments. When Delegates meet in convention to address a Constitution, they are the Sovereign Representatives of The People. They cannot be controlled by the “creatures” of Constitutions previously ratified by the People [link].

In Federalist No. 40 (15th para) James Madison invoked the “transcendent and precious right” of a people to throw off one government and set up a new one as justification for the Delegates to the federal “amendments” convention of 1787 ignoring their instructions to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation, and instead writing a new Constitution with its own easier mode of ratification.

Accordingly, even if the “abusive” and “mendacious” Congress doesn’t “revel in its power” to appoint Delegates, but graciously permits States to select Delegates, State Legislatures have no competent authority to control Delegates at a convention called by Congress pursuant to Article V. The Delegates, as Sovereign Representatives of The People, have the power to eliminate the federal & state governments! 4

Heed the warning of the great statesman Daniel Webster:

“The politician that undertakes to improve a Constitution with as little thought as a farmer sets about mending his plow, is no master of his trade. If that Constitution be a systematic one, if it be a free one, its parts are so necessarily connected that an alteration in one will work an alteration in all; and this cobbler, however pure and honest his intentions, will, in the end, find that what came to his hands a fair and lovely fabric goes from them a miserable piece of patchwork.” Daniel Webster, 4th of July Oration, 1802.

Endnotes:

1 In a speech Natelson gave on Sep. 16, 2010 [link at top of p. 2], he said he would no longer call what he wanted a “constitutional convention”; but would ‘put our concepts on “reset” ’ and henceforth call it a “convention of states”.

2 Noted conservative constitutional litigators and law professors William Olsen and Herb Titus have already recognized that COS’s “false assurances” are “reckless in the extreme” [link].

3 Page 40 of the CRS Report says it’s been recognized that there doesn’t seem to be any “… constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention..”

4 The proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America [link] does just that. Article XII, §1 provides for ratification by a referendum called by the President. Do YOU trust the voting machines?

Gatestone Institute: Denmark Cracks Down on “Parallel Societies”

This article from the Gatestone Institue describes Denmark’s attempt to “preserve social cohesion in the country by encouraging integration and discouraging ethnic and social self-segregation” — Denmark Cracks Down on “Parallel Societies”. The Danish Prime Minister said, “We must not accept that democracy is replaced with hatred in parallel societies. Radicalization must not be protected. It must be revealed.”

The Danish government has announced a package of new proposals aimed at fighting “religious and cultural parallel societies” in Denmark. A cornerstone of the plan includes capping the percentage of “non-Western” immigrants and their descendants dwelling in any given residential neighborhood. The aim is to preserve social cohesion in the country by encouraging integration and discouraging ethnic and social self-segregation.

The announcement comes just days after Denmark approved a new law banning the foreign funding of mosques in the country. The government has also recently declared its intention significantly to limit the number of people seeking asylum in Denmark.

Denmark, which already has some of the most restrictive immigration policies in Europe, is now at the vanguard of European efforts to preserve local traditions and values in the face of mass migration, runaway multiculturalism and the encroachment of political Islam.

The new proposals, announced by Interior and Housing Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek on March 17, are contained in a 15-page report, “Mixed Residential Areas: The Next Step in the Fight Against Parallel Societies.”

A main element of the plan calls for relocating residents of non-Western origin to ensure that, within the next ten years, they do not comprise more than 30% of the total population of any neighborhood or housing area in Denmark.

The plan also calls for phasing out the term “ghetto areas,” which has been criticized as being derogatory, and replacing it with the more politically correct “prevention areas” (forebyggelsesområder) and “transformation areas” (omdannelsesområder).

The term “ghetto,” which refers to areas with high concentrations of immigrants, unemployment and crime, first came into official use in Denmark in 2010 with the release of a government report, “Reinserting Ghettos into Society: A Showdown with Parallel Societies in Denmark.”

A “ghetto area” currently refers to a residential area with at least 1,000 inhabitants, where the proportion of non-Western immigrants and their descendants is higher than 50%, and where at least two of the following four criteria are met:

  • The proportion of residents aged 18-64 who are not in work or in education exceeds 40%.
  • The proportion of residents who have been convicted of violating the Penal Code, the Firearms Act or the Narcotic Drugs Act is at least three times the national average.
  • The proportion of residents aged 30-59 who have only a primary school education exceeds 60% of all residents in the same age group.
  • The average gross income for taxpayers aged 15-64 in the area (excluding education seekers) is less than 55% of the average gross income for all residents in the area.

In 2018, the Danish Parliament, with support from all of the country’s main political parties, adopted the “parallel society package” (Parallelsamfundspakken), also known as the “ghetto plan” (Ghettoplan). The 22-point plan states that there will be no “ghetto areas” in Denmark by 2030. Details are included in a government report, “One Denmark Without Parallel Societies.”

At the time, the government, explained the need for a comprehensive strategy to combat parallel societies:

“The government wants a cohesive Denmark. A Denmark that is based on democratic values ​​such as freedom and the rule of law, equality and freedom. Tolerance and equality. A Denmark where everyone participates actively. Over the past 40 years, Denmark’s ethnic composition has changed markedly.

“In 1980, we were 5.1 million people in Denmark. Today we are close to 5.8 million. The growth of the population comes from outside. Both immigrants and descendants of immigrants. The majority of the new Danes have a non-Western background.

“In 1980, there were about 50,000 people with non-Western backgrounds in Denmark. Today there are almost half a million. This corresponds to an increase from approximately one percent of the population to approximately 8.5 percent….

“What has gone wrong? At least three things.

“First, the individual immigrant has the responsibility to learn Danish, to get a job and become part of the local community and to be integrated into his new homeland. Far too few have seized the opportunities that Denmark offers, despite the fact that Denmark is a society with security, freedom, free education and good job opportunities.

“Second, as a society, for too many years we have not made the necessary demands of newcomers. We have had far too low expectations for the refugees and immigrants who came to Denmark. We have not made sufficiently tangible demands on jobs and self-sufficiency. Therefore, too many immigrants have ended up in prolonged inactivity.

“Third, for decades too many refugees and family-reunified people have not been integrated into Danish society. They have been allowed to clump together in ghetto areas without contact with the surrounding community, even after many years in Denmark, because we have not made clear demands on them to become part of the Danish community….

“It’s about to be the last call. In parts of Western Europe, massive challenges have arisen with ghettos and very ingrained parallel societies. Denmark is not there yet. And that is why we must make a massive effort now, so that we can stop the development before the problems become impossible to solve.

“There is only one way. The ghettos must be completely eradicated. Parallel societies must be broken down. And we must make sure that new ones do not arise. Once and for all, the very big task of integration must be tackled whenever immigrants and their descendants have not embraced Danish values ​​and isolate themselves in parallel societies.”

The 2018 agreement stipulates that if a residential area ends up on the so-called ghetto list, local councils must choose between four measures: 1) demolish public housing; 2) build new housing for private rental; 3) convert public housing to elderly or youth housing; or 4) sell public housing to private buyers or investors for private rental.

The plan seeks to reduce the share of public housing to no more than 40% in the most vulnerable areas by 2030. The overall goal is to transform the ghetto areas into normal residential areas.

Interior and Housing Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek says that the plan is working. The number of residential areas on the government’s most recent “ghetto list,” published in December 2020, has declined by half in three years, from 29 in 2018 to 15 in 2020. The number of “hardened ghettos,” which refers to any area that has been included on the ghetto list for four years in a row, has declined from 15 in 2018 to 13 in 2020.

Bek attributed the decline mainly to more people finding employment or pursuing an education:

“It is fantastically positive that it is progressing in so many areas, and we are already seeing the effect of the parallel society package. There is a historically large decrease in the number of vulnerable areas on all lists, especially because far more residents have come to find work or pursue education.

“The large drop in the number of vulnerable areas is especially a pat on the back to the housing organizations and municipalities that in recent years have worked hard to ensure mixed housing areas, so that all children have the same opportunities, no matter where they grow up.”

Bek’s newly named “prevention areas” are to be designated on the basis of the same criteria as the existing “ghetto areas,” but with lower limits. A “prevention area” refers to a residential area with at least 1,000 inhabitants, where the proportion of non-Western immigrants and their descendants is higher than 30%, and where at least two of the following four criteria are met:

  • The proportion of residents aged 18-64 who are not in work or in education exceeds 30%.
  • The proportion of residents who have been convicted of violating the Penal Code, the Firearms Act or the Narcotic Drugs Act is at least two times the national average.
  • The proportion of residents aged 30-59 who have only a primary school education exceeds 60% of all residents in the same age group.
  • The average gross income for taxpayers aged 15-64 in the area (excluding education seekers) is less than 65% of the average gross income for all residents in the area.

A total of 58 residential areas in Denmark will be categorized as “prevention areas” in the government’s new proposal, which will affect approximately 100,000 people of non-Western origin. Bek explained:

“For far too many years, we have closed our eyes to the development that was underway, and only acted when the integration problems became too great. Now we want to make sure that we do not once again stick our heads in the sand while new parallel societies emerge. We will do this by preventing more vulnerable housing areas and by creating more mixed housing areas throughout Denmark.

“Today, municipalities and housing organizations do not always intervene in time if large public housing areas enter into a negative spiral. Therefore, we will now provide access to most of the tools that apply to vulnerable residential areas. For us, it is about helping the residents and creating equal opportunities for all children, regardless of where they grow up in Denmark.

“The ‘ghetto’ term is misleading. I do not use it myself, and I think it overshadows the important work that needs to be done in the residential areas. This whole effort is about fighting parallel societies and creating a positive development in the residential areas, so that they are made attractive to a broad section of the population.”

Denmark’s governing center-left Social Democratic Party has pursued strong anti-immigration policies, partly in an effort to blunt the appeal of populist parties on the right.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who has been in office since June 2019, recently announced that her government intends significantly to limit the number of people seeking asylum in Denmark. The aim, she said, is to preserve “social cohesion” in the country.

Denmark, which has a population of 5.8 million, received approximately 40,000 asylum applications during the past five years, according to data compiled by Statista. Most of the applications received by Denmark, a predominately Christian country, were from migrants from Muslim countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

In recent years, Denmark has also permitted significant non-asylum immigration, especially from non-Western countries. Denmark is now home to sizeable immigrant communities from Syria (35,536); Turkey (33,111); Iraq (21,840); Iran (17,195); Pakistan (14,471); Afghanistan (13,864); Lebanon (12,990) and Somalia (11,282), according to Statista.

Muslims currently comprise approximately 5.5% of the Danish population, according to the Pew Research Center, which forecasts that this figure will double or possibly triple by 2050, depending on the migration scenario.

On January 22, during a parliamentary hearing on Danish immigration policy, Frederiksen said that she was determined to reduce the number of asylum approvals:

“Our goal is zero asylum seekers. We cannot promise zero asylum seekers, but we can establish the vision for a new asylum system, and then do what we can to implement it. We must be careful that not too many people come to our country, otherwise our social cohesion cannot exist. It is already being challenged.”

In her 2021 New Year’s address, Frederiksen said that in the year ahead, her government would continue to insist that immigrants integrate into Danish society:

“As a society, we must step more into character and stick to our Danish values. We must not accept that democracy is replaced with hatred in parallel societies. Radicalization must not be protected. It must be revealed.

“The government will rethink its integration efforts so that it is based to a greater extent on clear requirements and clear expectations with a focus on law and duty.

“Basically, it must be the case that once you have been granted residence in Denmark, you must of course support yourself. If this is not possible for a period of time, the government will propose that you — in return for your social welfare benefit — be obliged to contribute the equivalent of a normal working week of 37 hours. These are some of the tasks ahead of us in the new year.”

CPR, AED & First Aid Certification Class at Bleyhl’s Grandview, Mar. 24, 2021

Would you like to get certified in CPR, AED & First Aid?
Do you need to renew your current certification? We invite you to join us on Wednesday, March 24th for a training led by Firepoint Training Associates, LLC. We will be offering two classes on Wednesday, please see below for more information.
Cost:
$35
Location:
Bleyhl Co•op Main Office
940 E. Wine Country Rd. Suite A
Grandview, WA 98930
Class:
March 24th
8:30am – English
1:00pm – Spanish
Please contact (509) 492-1281 with questions.

Click here to register

Straight Line Logic: The Inversion

Robert Gore at Straight Line Logic writes The Inversion about peer pressure, technologies, lies, and being a dissident.

Getting along by going along with the patently absurd.

A seamless web, they all believe because they all believe.

The Gordian Knot, Robert Gore, 2000

If it seems like the world has turned upside down it’s because it has. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Truth is lies and lies are truth. Knowledge is ignorance and ignorance is knowledge. Success is failure and failure is success. Reality is illusion and illusion is reality.

It would be comforting to say that this inversion is a plot by nefarious others. Comforting, but not true, in the pre-inversion meaning of the word true. Rather it stems from answers to questions that confront everyone. To think for yourself or believe with the group? To stand alone or cower with the crowd? It’s the conflict between the individual and the collective, and between what’s true and what’s believed.

We live in an age of fear. It’s not fear of germs, war, poverty or any other tangible threat that most besets humanity. It’s the fear of being disliked and ostracized by the group.

If every age has its emblematic technology, ours is social media, with its cloying likes and thumbs up and its vicious cancellations, doxing, and deplatforming. No longer must you wander through life plagued by that nagging insecurity—am I liked? Now you can keep virtual score: you not only know if you’re liked or disliked, you know how much and by whom. Unfortunately, that knowledge doesn’t seem to help; the scoreboards only amplify the insecurity. What was once an occasionally troubling question, privately asked of one’s self, has become a widely held, public obsession.

The official Covid-19 response is the apotheosis of inversion and probably the one that runs it off the rails. There’s a model that has repeatedly erred predicting infection and death rates by orders of magnitude. Use it! Politicians and bureaucrats, the two most power-hungry groups on the planet, are clamoring for unlimited powers to destroy jobs, businesses, economies, lives, and liberty. Give it to ’em, no questions asked! Sunshine, Vitamin D, fresh air, and exercise prevent diseases and lessen their symptoms’ severity. Lock ’em up! Lockdowns aren’t working. Lock ’em up harder! Masks don’t prevent or hinder viral transmission, their packaging says so. Double, triple, or better yet, quadruple mask! At high cycle thresholds, the PCR test throws off many false positives, inflating case counts. Crank up the cycle thresholds until Biden gets in office! Cheap medicines hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin both prevent and cure the disease, provided it’s not too far advanced. Discourage their use! They work better than expensive vaccines. Make vaccinations mandatory! Scores of reputable and eminent doctors and scientists are questioning and criticizing the protocols. Censor them and follow our shapeshifting science! Death counts are inflated because hospitals have a financial incentive to attribute deaths to Covid-19 and anybody who has tested positive and subsequently dies of whatever cause is labeled a Covid-19 death. If they scare people into saving just one life…. The cure is far worse than the disease. Shut up or we’ll shut you up! There’s always germs out there and they constantly mutate, this horseshit could last forever. New Normal, Great Reset. It will last forever, and it will get worse, won’t it? We’ll circle back on that.

Peer pressure is the fundamental force of the social universe. Anyone who’s part of a collective will be pressured to accept its consensus on matters trivial and important. Congruence between what a collective believes and truth is happenstance. The larger the group, the higher the chance of incongruence.

Groups don’t think, they perpetuate and enforce belief. Collectives collectivize what passes for thought, none more so than governments. There’s always the danger that someone might ask why those who rule get to club everyone else into submission. Rulers either suppress that question or try to provide a nominal justification. If they have the clubs, what are they worried about?

The ruling caste is always small compared to the ruled. No matter how many clubs it has and how overmatched the subjects may be, the ruling caste knows its position is more secure if their subjects believe their propaganda and consent to their rule. The underpinnings of frightened compliance with “Do as you’re told or else!” are rickety compared to a chorus chanting in unison “We’re all in this together!” or some such rot.

None are so enslaved as those chained to group belief. Truth is irrelevant, group acceptance paramount. Belief is unquestioned and unchallenged, truth the shunned and hated enemy. Governments have promoted this inversion for centuries, always telling the same lies. Faith in government may be the strongest and longest-lived secular religion, and it’s certainly the one most resistant to questions, investigation, or contrary evidence.

The script never varies. We’re good, they’re bad, exterminate them. Conquest, domination, and empire are our nation’s greatness. Need not greed: those who earn it are selfish for trying to keep it; we’re virtuous for taking it away. Our pieces of paper are good as gold. Your squalor has nothing to do with our opulent lifestyles; be grateful for your bread and circuses. Dissidence must be suppressed; opposition is traitorous. Ruination and death are everyone’s fault but ours. You just weren’t good enough to live up to our ideals.

Inversions can only last so long. People consciously or unconsciously reject them, and reality doesn’t invert. A small coterie in Washington may believe they run a global empire, but Russia and China refuse to kowtow, even nominal allies are backing away, and the costs of maintaining its crumbling empire are helping drive the US into bankruptcy. What US cheerleaders call the best military in the world hasn’t won a significant war since World War II and its fighting forces are being ideologically culled or indoctrinated in wokesterism, systematically rendering it even less fit to fight.

The censors no longer hide their censorship. There are stories that cannot be reported, questions that cannot be asked, investigations that cannot be launched, platforms that cannot be allowed, and issues that cannot be discussed within the captured media. It cried foul when Donald Trump made “fake news” a catch phrase, but it caught on because it confirmed what millions know: much of today’s “news” is fraudulent propaganda.

After a month-and-a-half of one-party rule it’s clear that suppression is only going to get worse. Among those who intellectually stand outside the collective, suppression neither decreases belief in what is suppressed nor increases belief in the party line. They know the truth lies in what’s being kept from them.

Subconsciously, even adherents to the party line never completely believe it. Fully “woke,” you may “know” that Western civilization is a discredited product of the white male patriarchy. However, do you throw yourself from the top of a tall building because the properties of gravity were first described by white English patriarch Isaac Newton?

Psychological dissonance plagues true believers. What are they going to believe: dogma or their own senses and thought processes, such as they are? It’s the root cause of their psychic brittleness: the inability to answer questions or engage in debate, the insistence on ostensible agreement, and the need to suppress anyone who doesn’t go along.

The fragility that tries to adjust reality to belief runs head-on into the desire among those whose behaviors are to be adjusted to live their own lives as they see fit, not to mention reality itself. America’s divide is between those who want to be left alone and those who want to tell them what to do. It’s so much easier for the latter if they can impose at least the appearance of consent on the former through suppression, fraud, or force.

Reality doesn’t invert, no matter how many people believe otherwise. Governments and central banks will debase their fiat debt instruments until the illusion that they’re worth something is discarded. They have every incentive to do so and it’s happening now as governments go broke. Empires crumble because they require more energy and resources to maintain than they generate. The American empire will be no exception. The more production is taxed, regulated, and otherwise penalized, the less production you get. The more indolence is rewarded, the more indolence you get. As government’s power expands, people’s freedom shrinks. You can make people engineers or brain surgeons based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference or any other irrelevant factor, but it increases the likelihood that the bridge collapses and the patient dies on the operating table.

A society that corrupts science, the basis for discovering, describing, and employing reality, is doomed. Honest science requires free inquiry and debate. It is a never-ending process of proposing, testing, evaluating, revising and discarding hypotheses for new ones with more explanatory and predictive power. There is no such thing as settled science. The claims that there is with regards to climate, coronaviruses, or any other scientific issue are nothing more than admissions that the purported science is propaganda. Unchallenged science is a contradiction in terms; challenge is the lifeblood of science.

So add science that isn’t science to the long list of inversions that collectively could spell humanity’s doom. Consequences don’t recognize wishful thinking or political diktat. Climate and coronavirus dogma masquerading as science is the Trojan horse ushering in the great reset of a new world order. Global governance, state-approved science, political and cultural canons enforced with jihadist zeal, top-down economic command-and-control, the eradication of any vestiges of liberty, and billions of unthinking adherents will destroy rather than build, compounding today’s inversions and creating new ones.

The danger to all this is individuals who think and act for themselves, those who are woke to the woke, so to speak. The key to standing on the outside, critically examining what’s within, is to abandon any desire to be on the inside. The docile dreck and their puppet-masters within are usually sufficient inducement to stay outside. Once that decision is made, independence of thought is almost assured. (Those who see the inside for what it is and still want in are corrupt beyond redemption.)

Challenge dogma and propaganda and you’re a dissident. Not always a comfortable position, but the dissidents will have the best shot at surviving the coming collapse. The insiders will suffer shattering disillusionment as reality obliterates cherished belief…and the insiders.

The historically unprecedented scale of present inversions guarantees upheaval and change beyond reckoning when reality’s full force can no longer be denied or subverted. Even those who see things as they are and regard themselves as fully prepared will be shocked by what’s to come. At least they will retain the existential essentials of observational power and logic as they sort through the smoldering intellectual landscape, discard the inversions, and get on with the rebuilding.