The Federalist: Your Political Leaders Hate You And Think You’re Stupid

From The Federalist, something you may have already suspected – Your Political Leaders Hate You And Think You’re Stupid

One thing should be abundantly clear by now, after ten months of this pandemic: our political leaders hate us and they think we’re stupid. Nothing else can explain the blatant hypocrisy we’ve seen, mostly from Democrat governors and mayors who are eager to impose harsh lockdowns and strict rules for the public at large but then turn around and do whatever they please with their own families, friends, and cronies.

Examples abound, but this week brought a fresh spectacle of hypocrisy in the form of a nervous, patently disingenuous apology from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was caught dining at an opulent birthday dinner for a top California political operative at a fancy French restaurant in Napa earlier this month, in apparent violation of his own COVID-19 protocols.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. On Monday Newsom announced he was “pulling the emergency brake” on reopening his state amid a spike in COVID cases, dealing a crippling blow to shuttered businesses and out-of-work Californians who have been struggling for months under rolling lockdown orders.

Only after Newsom was widely criticized for his rank hypocrisy did he offer an attenuated mea culpa, explaining that upon his arrival he was surprised to find there were “just a few extra people” at the party, but quickly added it was an “outdoor restaurant” in Napa County, which has looser restrictions compared to other areas of the state. Blinking incessantly and smiling tightly, Newsom finally got around to saying, albeit in the passive voice, that “the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted.” Indeed it was, governor.

But then we come to find out this week that the dinner wasn’t outdoors at all. Pictures obtained by the Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles show Newsom and a bunch of others dining at the French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California. They are obviously not outside, not social distancing, and not wearing masks.

The woman who took the photos told the Fox affiliate that Newsom was with a “very large group of people shoulder to shoulder,” and that she was “surprised because it didn’t look like he was uncomfortable being there until the very end, until people were looking at him and staring at him as he was leaving the room.”

But it doesn’t end there! On Wednesday, Politico reported that two top officials with the California Medical Association were among the guests at Newsom’s fancy birthday dinner.

You might think the state’s top medical lobbyists would think twice about flagrantly disregarding COVID guidelines, or even feign an apology like Newsom, but no. A spokesman for the CMA told Politico that “the dinner was held in accordance with state and county guidelines,” which prohibit more than three households from gathering privately—but do allow restaurants to seat people from more than three households together. See?

Apparently this is a pretty common attitude among California politicians and their lobbyist buddies. With much of their state locked down by government fiat, last week a bunch of state lawmakers and corporate lobbyists flew off to Hawaii for a five-day conference and schmooze-fest at an upscale Maui resort. Legislators and their families mingled with representatives of businesses and trade groups that paid thousands of dollars for access to the lawmakers in what has become an annual lobbying tradition—even during a global pandemic!

Dan Howle, chairman and executive director of the Independent Voter Project, which hosts the conference, didn’t apologize. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Somebody has to be first to say, ‘OK, we’re going to do a group event safely.’” Yes, Dan, somebody does has to be the first, and why shouldn’t it be a handful of powerful politicians and corporate lobbyists instead of, you know, ordinary people trying to salvage their businesses and visit their loved ones?

Lockdowns For Thee, But Not For Me

On and on it goes. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who issued a citywide stay-at-home order last week, defended her recent appearance at a massive street rally celebrating Biden’s apparent victory, where a mask-less Lightfoot addressed the crowd through a bullhorn.

When asked about the obvious double standard on MCNBC last week, Lightfoot was defensive, insisting that, “There are times when we do need to have relief and come together, and I felt like that was one of those times.” She added, as if it excuses her hypocrisy, “That crowd was gathered whether I was there or not.”

Seemingly everywhere you look you find people in positions of power ignoring pandemic restrictions and doing as they please. Often these are the same people who are most outspoken about the need for lockdowns.

Back in September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was defiant after being caught on camera (mask-less, of course) at a shuttered San Francisco salon in violation of a citywide lockdown order, calling it a “setup” and refusing to apologize.

Then last week, Pelosi was forced to cancel a dinner for incoming Democratic House members after a viral tweet showing tables being set up for the soiree understandably provoked outrage. “It’s very spaced,” she explained to an NBC News reporter.

The truth is, our elites have been doing this since the pandemic began. Who knows how many ordinary Americans were barred from attending the funerals and burials of their beloved dead these past months? Yet thousands were allowed to gather in July for memorials of Rep. John Lewis, in services that stretched from Alabama to Washington, D.C. Thousands were allowed to gather for George Floyd’s memorial service in June in Minneapolis.

We all saw the way the media treated Trump rallies like COVID super-spreader events yet condoned the hundreds of large-scale protests over the summer and fall in cities all across the country under the idiotic pretense that the protesters were “all wearing masks.” Same with the post-election celebrations that brought out thousands, dancing in the streets cheek-by-jowl and passing around champagne bottles.

Again, there is only one possible conclusion you can reach, based on months and months of appalling hypocrisy from the media and our ruling elite: they think lockdowns are for you, not them. They think pandemic rules are for you, not them. They think suffering hardships and doing as you’re told are for you, not them. Why? Because they hate you and think you’re stupid.

AIER: FedCoin Revisited

A US physical coin, not a digital currency

This article at the American Institute for Economic Research talks about a new push for government-controlled, central bank digital currency to more easily track the income and tax liabilities of end users – FedCoin Revisited.

The Federal Reserve is thinking about issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The International Business Times reports that the Fed “would be open to collaborating with private business on the creation of a digital currency but emphasized that they were not yet making any commitments.” Talk of a so-called FedCoin appeared to have quelled. But it is now back in full force.

To some, the idea of a FedCoin seems obvious. They see no reason for the Fed to forego adopting 21st century monetary technology. And, certainly, there are a number of benefits, such as lower transaction costs of electronic transfers and helping to execute instant payments (such as in the FedNow project). However, a CBDC also carries risks that must be weighed against the benefits.

One’s view on FedCoin is often related to his or her view on cash. If she thinks cash is good, she is likely to oppose FedCoin. If he thinks cash is bad, he is likely to see FedCoin as an improvement on the status quo. Indeed, some see the introduction of FedCoin as an important step in the direction of a completely cashless economy.

Advocates of moving towards a cashless economy argue that making all payments electronic would help to fight tax evasion and crime. If the move were required, however, it would harm those preferring to use cash for legal transactions as well.

Many people place a high value on anonymity. For some, it’s personal. They don’t want others to know what they are doing. For some, it’s political. They worry about the degradation of institutions, as private information might be used for political ends. The threat of obtaining and revealing private information might silence opposition and undermine the democratic process.

A cashless economy might also lead to policy changes. In order to foster spending during a recession or an economic downturn, the Fed might tax money demand with negative interest rates. If holding cash is an option, then depositors can withdraw their deposits and avoid the negative interest rate. But, if cash is not an option, then consumers are stuck paying interest on their FedCoin holdings. Since they cannot avoid the negative interest rate, consumers would rather spend their money than see their bank balances go down.

In addition to the issues related to one’s view on cash, FedCoin might also undermine financial intermediation. By offering FedCoin, the central bank might crowd out commercial banks.

A checking account at Bank of America is guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to the max of $250,000. An account at the Fed is a liability of the government. If both offer the same payment services, why would one opt for the riskier commercial bank account?

Many will see little cause for concern with depositors having access to safer accounts. But that’s because they don’t think much about banking. Banks attract deposits with payment services and interest payments. They then funnel those funds to productive investment ventures. Financial intermediation makes us more productive, thereby raising the standard of living. As the World Bank reports, private credit to GDP high-income countries is “more than 4 times the average ratio in low-income countries.”

If would-be depositors hold FedCoin instead, the corresponding funds will have to be intermediated by the Fed. At best, the Fed would just auction off funds to private financial institutions. But recent events suggest the Fed might be inclined to allocate credit.

My concerns with FedCoin, and other CBDCs, are admittedly speculative. We don’t know whether the Fed would take steps to eliminate cash or impose negative rates on FedCoin balances. We don’t know how it would go about intermediating funds. But such speculations should make one thing clear: there are risks. At the least, we should develop strong institutional checks before permitting the Fed to plow ahead.

Cato Institute: Government in a Pandemic

From Thomas Firey at the Cato Institute, Government in a Pandemic

When the threat of COVID-19 became apparent, some political commentators began arguing that Americans must accept much greater governmental intervention in their lives if the United States were to respond effectively to the disease. This idea was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

In fact, government can respond effectively to the historic COVID-19 crisis while following the principles of limited government. However, federal, state, and local governments in the United States have done a poor job of identifying and implementing good policies for the pandemic that are compatible with those principles. Instead, policymakers have attempted interventions far beyond the powers of a properly limited government—with poor results.

Americans and their political leaders are understandably worried about COVID-19 and its effects, both on human health and the economy. That worry may indeed lead some people to reflexively demand broad government intervention. But if the United States follows the principles of limited government, those principles will help see us through this crisis.

Introduction

When the threat to the United States from the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became apparent, political leaders and commentators began calling for large governmental interventions to counter the disease’s health and economic effects. Many of these people added that the political philosophy of limited government—“liberalism” in the classical sense—would handicap the country’s response to the crisis and thus must be rejected. This was soon distilled into a pithy slogan: “There are no libertarians in a pandemic.”

As COVID-19’s grim health toll and economic statistics have accumulated, the criticisms of liberalism have grown louder.

Appropriate to the era, the “no libertarians” slogan was popularized by a Twitter post: Atlantic staff writer Derek Thompson used it to introduce a news item about Republican lawmakers advocating public funding for COVID-19 testing and for treatment of uninsured victims of the disease.1 A week later, his Atlantic colleague Peter Nicholas used a variant of the slogan as the title of a column criticizing President Trump for campaigning on “anti‐​socialism” while his administration pushed a host of extraordinary interventions into the economy in response to the pandemic.2 “Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, in a national emergency, there’s no truly laissez‐​faire government,” Nicholas wrote.

Others quickly picked up the theme. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, noting the same news item as Thompson, concluded, “Everyone’s a socialist in a pandemic.”3 Ryan LaRochelle, a lecturer at the University of Maine, wrote in the Washington Post that a “decades‐​long war on the safety net and the government’s administrative capacity [has] made our society particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s impact on our economic life. This has seriously hampered the federal government’s response to the coronavirus and shown how dangerously ill‐​suited this ideology is to the crisis.”4

Perhaps the sharpest criticisms came from essayist and novelist George Packer, who bemoaned “a federal government crippled by years of right‐​wing ideological assault” and “politicians and donors who wanted government to do as little as possible for the common good.”5 He described a dystopian America that, without active management from Washington, DC, is nearly powerless against COVID-19:

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill‐​equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.6

As for the idea that private actors could respond to the virus, Packer asserted simply, “It turns out that ‘nimble’ companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that.”7

The belief that COVID-19 shows the need for bigger, more interventionist government has not been confined to the left of the U.S. political spectrum. The right, which in previous decades repeatedly declared a commitment to “small government,” began talking about the need to boost “state capacity” to respond to the pandemic and other problems. Two of the right’s up‐​and‐​coming leaders, Sens. Marco Rubio (R–FL) and Josh Hawley (R–MO), pushed large‐​scale government financial assistance programs, with Rubio helping to craft the Paycheck Protection Program that has blossomed into a roughly $650 billion subsidy to businesses.8 Its creation was part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that provides federal support to businesses, households, and state governments.9 The CARES Act passed with overwhelming support from Republican lawmakers and was signed by President Trump, who had his name prominently stamped on the ensuing household subsidy checks.10

Those efforts are in accordance with the new “national conservative” movement, which endorses government intervention in the economy to promote a host of goals.11 As one of the movement’s intellectual leaders, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Politico about policymaking in response to COVID-19:

This is going to jump‐​start the already simmering debate over how the right should deal with domestic policy. Clearly there’s going to be demand for many types of stimulus. There’s going to be demand for the view that we’re not going to let this happen again. And a libertarian, hands‐​off policy doesn’t really respond to that.12

These calls for government to intervene in response to COVID-19 are understandable. The disease is often painful and sometimes fatal, and it is produced by a novel virus that spreads through social contact. As yet, there is no known effective vaccine against the virus, and treatment therapies are limited. People naturally want something to “fix” a crisis, and they look for government to be that powerful fixer. It is comforting to envision government scientists in their labs probing the virus, government doctors tending to the infected and uninfected alike, government financing research and development on therapies and vaccines, and government policymakers, counseled by sage experts, directing the public toward safety and away from danger.

That’s the vision; the reality is different. Government leaders and their advisers have been operating with imperfect knowledge about the recently discovered disease, resulting in public recommendations and policies that, especially in the early months of the outbreak, have been wasteful at best and harmful at worst. Though a number of those failures can be attributed to an especially inept Trump administration, they can be found across the political spectrum, at different levels of government, and among both the virtuous and dishonorable.

Government does have important roles to play in a pandemic. However, those roles are consistent with the principles of limited government. This analysis examines some of those interventions—constraining negative externalities and providing public goods—and notes instances where government has performed poorly in those areas when responding to COVID-19. The analysis also discusses interventions that limited government should not undertake—such as manipulating the production and distribution of private goods—but that government has attempted broadly in this crisis, with poor results.

Limited Government and Market Failure

Critics of limited government often equate it with anarchy, the lack of any government activity. That equivalence is false. The philosophy of limited government does place the highest value on individual liberty, including people’s freedom to privately arrange for the satisfaction of their wants. These arrangements often take place in the market, an arena for many forms of voluntary exchange. So, rather than rejecting government altogether, valuing liberty means creating important roles for government in protecting the freedom of exchange and private ordering.

Among the oldest roles of the state is defending its citizens from violent invaders, thereby protecting against a dramatic disruption of the market. This defense is difficult, if not impossible, to provide through purely private agreement. Residents operating individually would be hard‐​pressed to fend off an invading horde, and private mutual aid agreements or contracts employing mercenaries would be weakened by residents who did not join the arrangement or who joined only when a threat was imminent. A defense that protects only parts of a community is a defense penetrated by invaders.

Defense is an example of market failure: a want that cannot be adequately addressed through private exchange. Specifically, defense is an example of market failure known as a public good. Public goods are difficult to limit only to individuals who pay for them; the goods must be provided to everyone in a community if the goods are to have much value. If left to private exchange, residents would be tempted to not purchase the goods but instead free‐​ride on the purchases of others. That would result in only some residents—or perhaps none—purchasing the goods. That, in turn, would reduce the funding and quality of the public goods provided, to the detriment of all residents, including those who do purchase the goods.

Government can provide its citizens public goods via taxation. Government can produce the goods itself (e.g., by employing troops to provide defense) or contract with a private provider to furnish them (e.g., purchasing materiel to equip the troops). The key is that taxation overcomes the market failure by requiring citizens to pay for the goods. Besides defense, examples of public goods include police and fire services (private security and firefighters cannot ignore crimes and fires at noncustomers’ properties without putting their customers at risk), street lights (the lighting’s benefit cannot be limited to customers), and—at least until recently—local roads (before technological advances, it was prohibitively costly to toll local roads).

Other types of market failure exist. Though there is no definitive list, several forms are commonly recognized. One of these is externalities, which are costs or benefits of an exchange that are borne by some party other than the participants who agree to the exchange. Externalities result in less welfare than if all involved parties had voluntarily reached agreement. For instance, a polluting factory inflicts a cost (negative externality) on its neighbors, who may not be part of the voluntary exchange between the factory and its customers. Positive externalities, in which a third party receives a benefit, are less commonly cited as a problem, but they do exist.

Government can intervene to address other market failures.13 Often, such policies take the form of laws, regulations, and enforcement. For instance, environmental law is intended to reduce the negative externality of pollution.

Minimizing Government Failure

From an economic perspective, under a properly limited government, market failure is a necessary but insufficient condition for government intervention. Another necessary condition is that the proposed policy does not violate established liberties. Also, intervention always comes with costs, and those costs must not outweigh the benefits.

Further complicating matters, many of the troublesome dynamics that produce market failures also afflict government policymakers and bureaucrats, producing government failures.14 For instance, policymakers often suffer from imperfect information, resulting in bad policies.15 Also, policymakers and bureaucrats are motivated by private incentives just like everyone else, and those incentives can yield misguided—and even corrupt—outcomes.16 Unlike in the marketplace, where interaction is voluntary and participants can look for the exchanges that best fit their wants, citizens are compelled to abide by and pay for the choices of government policymakers and bureaucrats regardless of how sensible those choices may be. Classical liberal principles help to minimize those problems.

Despite the constraint of limited government, there is much it can do to address COVID-19 by focusing on the market failures associated with the disease. Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government and some state and local governments have struggled to identify and implement such policies. Instead, they have intervened in ways beyond the powers of properly limited government, with poor results. The following sections describe some of those government failures.

Limited Government and COVID-19

Several market failures are present in the COVID-19 crisis. Among them:

  • Negative externality: Infected persons can transmit the virus that causes the disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐​CoV‐​2), through common social contact. Transmission involuntarily inflicts costs on others, making it a negative externality. As libertarians often say, “People’s right to swing their fists ends at the tip of another’s nose”; likewise, people’s liberty ends at the point that they put others at involuntary risk.
  • The public goods of medical research: People want to avoid the disease and recover from it quickly if they are infected. That creates market incentives for research into the virus and disease and distribution of the findings. But the benefits from that work are difficult to confine to the individuals who pay for it. Information is easily transmitted, and the academic world rewards the broad distribution of many types of research to accelerate scientific discovery. That makes research into SARS‐​CoV‐​2 and COVID-19, and the resulting knowledge, public goods. Though some people would still pay for that work even if others free‐​ride on the results, private funding would likely be below optimal levels.
  • The public good of acquired immunity: Relatedly, an effective vaccine against the virus has public goods characteristics. A population can become resistant to an infectious disease if only a portion of its members develop resistance to it, a phenomenon known as “herd immunity.” Some diseases require high member immunity rates to produce this resistance—80 percent or more—but others have lower thresholds.17 Currently there is no scientific consensus on a threshold for COVID-19, though early guesses by epidemiologists fall in the 60–70 percent range, and one study argues that it could be as low as 43 percent.18 Those numbers suggest that a third to more than half of the population could free‐​ride on others’ bearing the cost of the vaccine, allowing for a public goods problem.

Some government interventions are justified to address these market failures regarding COVID-19, provided that the interventions’ benefits outweigh the costs and that the interventions do not violate protected rights. The U.S. federal government and state and local governments have made efforts at this sort of policymaking. Below are a few examples…(continues)

The Federalist: If Americans Can No Longer Trust Our Elections, We’re In Big Trouble

From Willis Krumholz at The Federalist, If Americans Can No Longer Trust Our Elections, We’re In Big Trouble

The polls from the major networks and universities promised a blue wave. President Trump was down by at least 10 points nationally, and by nearly that much or more in the major swing states. The few pollsters, including Trafalgar, who got 2016 and 2018 right and called 2020 a close race, were widely ridiculed.

Nate Silver, a leftwing poll analyst, was chief among the critics. Silver gave former Vice President Joe Biden a nearly 70 percent chance of winning Florida.

Immediately on Election Day, turnout looked good for the GOP. Trump won Florida decisively and by 8:30 p.m. Central Time, and made huge inroads in urban areas. While Hillary Clinton won Miami-Dade County by 30 points in 2016, the 2020 Trump ticket was down only single digits in the county.

That’s because Trump made significant gains among nonwhite Americans, and according to exit polls had the second-highest nonwhite share of the vote of any Republican since 1976. Cuban Americans are a big reason for Trump decisively winning Florida, but Trump’s gains with minority voters are a nationwide trend. The flipside was lower black and Hispanic turnout for Democrats—except for several major Democratic cities in contested swing states.

In other words, a significant margin of minority voters who didn’t defect to Trump decided not to vote. Indeed, a Bloomberg article days before the election cited anonymous Biden officials who said the campaign was worried about black and Hispanic turnout due to a lack of a ground game in these traditionally Democratic strongholds. But the warnings had gone unheeded.

Instead, the campaign hoped to make up these lost minority votes with gains in the suburbs, particularly among white women. In the end, Trump gained among white women compared to 2016, and only appeared to marginally lose votes from white men—many of which may have been upper-class suburban white men.

Back to Election Night

On election night, Trump’s decisive win in Florida was a bellwether to punters in the betting markets. The Trump campaign also seemed to outperform Election Day voting in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, especially given the turnout seen in Florida. A shy Trump vote did exist, especially in the suburbs among women, and the GOP was morphing into a working-class, increasingly multiracial party. Betting odds swung in Trump’s favor, peaking at around 85 percent.

That’s when things went south for the Trump campaign. In a yet unexplained move, states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin stopped releasing vote counts on election night. Fact-checkers have noted that these states didn’t stop counting—fair enough—but not why they stopped releasing the results of their counting.

Come 4 a.m. the next morning, huge amounts of fresh Biden votes were reported. Trump’s betting odds plummeted, and days later the media declared Biden to be the president-elect.

Except 70 percent of Trump voters, who comprise half the country, are convinced of massive election fraud. Yet corporate media has no intention of investigating claims of fraud. Instead, it has pivoted from saying there is “no evidence” of fraud, to saying that not enough evidence exists to overturn the results.

Contrary to the hope of Trump supporters, the courts will probably be powerless to sort these issues out. This is an incredibly dangerous moment for the country and may be a pivotal point in the future of America’s democratic republic. Did we just cross the Rubicon?

The Morning After

Before all else, we must go to the source of distrust over this election. Whereas Florida finished counting votes on election night, and has a system that knows roughly how many votes are outstanding and will be counted before election night is over, in key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin an unknown number of ballots could come in at the last second. And they did.

For that, thank Democrat lawsuits to overturn state voting laws at the last second, using COVID as a pretext. For those who doubt that the suits were nakedly political, note that they looked like a wish list based on a bill Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi authored in 2019 to accomplish nationwide mail-in voting.

Many of the suits were quarterbacked by former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias, who was involved in manufacturing Russiagate’s Christopher Steele “dossier.” Like most things rotten in this country, particular blame should be placed on the courts that decided bureaucrats could unilaterally rewrite state laws to turn absentee voting into mail-in voting.

There was no good reason to remove requirements that absentee ballots arrive before the end of Election Day, nor to allow the fraud-welcoming practice of “ballot-harvesting.” The John Roberts Supreme Court stood idly by and let lower courts rip up longstanding state election law. Democrats and the media complain that the legislatures should have acquiesced and affirmed this judicial tyranny by changing the law to allow ballots to be counted before Election Day. That would have only put the legislature’s seal of approval on a mess that the courts stupidly created.

Mail-In Balloting Is an Easier Fraud Mark

Regardless of the existence or level of fraud in the 2020 election, it is a fact that mail-in balloting opens elections to the likelihood of massive fraud and chaos. First, there’s an easy opportunity for cheating, given the unknown number of ballots that can come in. Because ballots can be accepted after election day, an unscrupulous faction that lags in earlier counting can come up with the votes to make the difference.

Second, there’s less accountability for election officials. In a normal election, it is possible to immediately tell how many votes are cast and from where—once the votes are cast, all that’s left is to count the votes, because officials know by ward and precinct how many votes are in and what type have been cast (are the votes early in-person, absentee, or election day in-person?). Not so for mail-in voting.

One can have a recount, but that will only recount the same bad ballots.

Then, once the counting starts, mail-in voting brings problems of a haphazard chain of custody and reduced controls over voter-eligibility verification. All this is why one can have a recount, but that will only recount the same bad ballots.

The obvious problems with mail-in voting are not a rightwing conspiracy. France banned mail-in voting in the 1970s for these very reasons. In a recent New Jersey mail-in election, about 20 percent of the ballots cast were found to be fraudulent. A local New York election this year saw huge delays in processing ballots. A 2012 article in the New York Times warns that regular old absentee voting could screw up the electoral process, let alone allowing ballots to come in after election day.

Independent left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald writes Georgia had an 80 percent chance to go for Trump on election night, ostensibly because of a good Republican turnout. But so many ballots came in for Biden the next morning that the state ostensibly swung to Biden’s favor, due to major Democratic turnout in the Democratic stronghold of Fulton County.

This doesn’t prove fraud, but Greenwald calls this seesaw process in which many areas are counting votes nearly a week after the election a “disgrace.” “Distrust in U.S. outcomes [under such a system] is dangerous but rational,” writes Greenwald.

‘No Evidence’ of Any Fraud?

The media, Democrats, and many establishment Republicans have reflexively repeated that “no evidence” of fraud existed. Yet evidence does exist. The stories coming out of major vote-counting centers are shocking, and only add to the distrust. Dozens upon dozens of witnesses have signed affidavits attesting wrongdoing or highly inappropriate behavior from officials who are supposed to be impartial.

Detroit poll challengers have signed affidavits, under penalty of perjury, that they saw election workers counting ballots for non-eligible voters, and the double counting of voters. These persons say they were harassed constantly, and that election workers and Democratic operatives would get in their faces and start screaming if they raised a concern.

Federal agents threatened one of these whistleblowers, in an effort to get him to recant his story.

Some “election workers” appeared to be AFL-CIO activists. If concerns were raised, GOP poll challengers said, they were ushered from the room by the police and the entire room would cheer. They say election workers’ goal was to get as many GOP poll challengers as possible kicked out of that room.

Poll challengers also allege that they were pushed out of the room when the military ballots came in. Workers were sent to lunch; Democrats ate inside the building and the Republicans ate outside the area where votes were being counted, and the doors were locked so Republicans couldn’t get back in.

Irregularities alleged by these challengers aside from counting ineligible voters include ballots being dropped off by random vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz and a Ferrari, or arriving after the cutoff period. A sworn affidavit claims ballots were being “fraudulently and manually entered” when the person had no information and the birthdate was simply put as “1/1/1900.” Another Detroit GOP poll challenger says she witnessed names on ballots not coming up in the system but being counted nonetheless. When she raised concerns, she says she was kicked out.

Sworn affidavits by several U.S. Postal Service employees, in at least Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with a city employee from Detroit, alleged they were asked to backdate ballots (make ballots appear as if they were sent on election day) by their superiors. It was later revealed that federal agents threatened one of these whistleblowers, in an effort to get him to recant his story. A Clark County Nevada elections department employee says that his coworkers fabricated proof of residence data to allow ineligible voters.

In Philadelphia, GOP poll challengers had to sue to be allowed to observe what election workers were doing. Democratic state officials counter-sued to stop the access. While GOP poll challengers were moved forward in the room, the vote counters were moved further away, a mockery of state law that allows oversight of this process.

Photos of Philly vote counters show several women wearing Biden masks. A Trump campaign lawsuit has a sworn affidavit from a person who says he or she saw USB drives being delivered to the back of the room where voting machines were housed, and where observers were restricted.

In Philadelphia, GOP poll challengers had to sue to be allowed to observe what election workers were doing.

Meanwhile, the Georgia GOP state party chair claims Fulton County election officials told his observers to go home on election night because they were closing up, but then continued to count ballots “in secret.” In Wisconsin, election clerks allegedly altered “thousands” of absentee ballots to make them eligible.

Add to this multiple videos of what appears to be poll workers throwing away Trump ballots, and at least a handful of examples of dead persons voting. A conservative pollster, Richard Baris, claims to have found evidence of 10,000 deceased persons voting in Michigan. Others also claimed to have found thousands of dead voters in that state.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania far exceeded its record for 90-year-olds registering to vote. In Nevada, multiple witnesses signed sworn affidavits that they saw a “Biden-Harris” van filling out loads of ballots.

Yes, Republicans have at least anecdotal evidence of fraud, although in one sense the media is right: these anecdotes are not evidence enough to overturn the election. That’s because there’s no way to quantify any of this evidence into an actual number of bad votes, even assuming all these claims are well-founded.

Then There Are the Statistical Anomalies

There’s more than anecdotal evidence, however. Observers and experts pointed out plenty of statistical anomalies. Some may turn out to be innocuous, or easily explainable. Others have been less well-explained.

First, Republicans took issue with the massive vote dumps for Biden that occurred overnight, in which Biden was getting nearly 100 percent of the vote. One of these was attributed to an extra zero and human error.

Michigan added almost 150,000 votes in one instance, all of which were for Biden except for about 6,000.

Silver tweeted that around 27,000 votes out of Philadelphia went “all for Biden.” In the face of obvious wonderment of how Biden could get 100 percent of such a large share of votes, Silver was quick to claim that election officials “unintentionally enter vote updates one candidate at a time, rather than entering all candidates together.” Maybe, but when votes stop getting reported and reporting starts coming in early in the morning with nearly 100 percent of votes coming in for Biden that justifiably raised eyebrows.

On a graph, these vote dumps in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania resulted in Biden quickly jumping above Trump, and the odds of a Trump win plummeting. Michigan added almost 150,000 votes in one instance, all of which were for Biden except for about 6,000.

On election night, Trump led in Pennsylvania by almost 800,000 votes. The next morning, Trump’s lead shrunk to less than 100,000. Later, ballots found, including those apparently lingering with the U.S. Postal Service, supposedly put Biden over the edge.

Biden received an unbelievable amount of the mail-in share in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Biden’s advantage in mail-in voting was to be expected, but the magnitude of the spikes for Biden in these select states is worth scrutiny. According to ballot requests across the country, GOP voters voted by mail too, just not with the same intensity as Democratic voters.

But while Trump received a reasonable share of the mail-in or absentee votes in places like Ohio, Biden received an unbelievable amount of the mail-in share in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Biden’s Pennsylvania mail-in total, excluding about 90,000 mail-in votes from libertarians and those with no party affiliation, equates to winning all the Democratic and Independent mail-in votes, and 9 percent of the GOP mail-in votes.

Said differently, Biden is up 60 points in absentee or mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, and up by almost 40 points in Michigan. That’s not Biden receiving 60 percent of mail-in votes in Pennsylvania. That’s Biden receiving 80 percent of the mail-in vote. Comparably, Biden was only up single digits in absentee voting in most other battleground states. Biden’s mail-in advantage was 15 points in Ohio and 5 points in Minnesota.

There’s no reason to think Pennsylvania and Michigan should be outliers to national mail-in voting trends. Despite several comments by the president, the Trump campaign ground game in these states encouraged mail-in voting. In Michigan and Wisconsin, according to NBC News, Republicans actually led Democrats in mail-in ballots requested and returned. Yet the vast majority of the ballots that were counted after election day in these states were for Biden.

A Weird, Asymmetric Surge in Only Some Cities

No, this Biden surge in cities wasn’t driven by the suburbs abandoning Trump—Trump didn’t lose the suburbs any more than he lost them in 2016, and losses there were more than replaced by gains in working-class areas. These Biden votes were entirely driven by massive turnout in select Democratic strongholds in swing states. As mentioned before, this turnout was not consistent across the country. In parts of these cities, there was more turnout than registered voters.

Biden only had a net gain of 4,000 votes compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016 in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio. Yet Biden had a net gain of almost 70,000 in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. In Minneapolis, Democrats bragged of 88 percent turnout—extremely high relative to the rest of the country and the state…(continues)

Mises Institute: Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional

Professor Gary Galles at the Mises Institute says political Talk of “Unity” Is Both Hypocritical and Delusional

In Joe Biden’s address after being declared president-elect by news organizations, he promised to be a leader who “seeks not to divide but to unify.” Making that assertion after the campaigns we have seen, not to mention the light-years-apart treatment of the candidates, while Donald Trump is still adamantly disputing the election because of alleged Democrat malfeasance is, at a minimum, ironic. And it would be the height of hypocrisy if only a few of Trump’s claims of cheating are true. But we need to go further and recognize that even the possibility of Joe Biden uniting us is a delusion.

Agreement on the specific ends we want to achieve is unattainable because our desires are mutually inconsistent. Our agreement is very limited on even very broadly defined issues, and once we look further than vague, aspirational language and feel-good generalities, Americans disagree on virtually everything.

All of us want to be fed, clothed, housed, educated, etc. We agree in that sense. But we disagree about virtually every aspect of who, what, when, where, why, and how. We want different types and amounts, in different ways, at different times and places, and for different people. We are vastly different in the tradeoffs we are willing to make among our desires, not to mention who we think should pay our bills. Once we consider any of the myriad actual choices faced, the fact of scarcity necessitates that our specific ends conflict, rather than align.

Consider a mundane example played out daily in our homes—breakfast. Does everyone in your family agree on “the most important meal of the day”? Does everyone even eat breakfast? Does each member have coffee, a cold caffeine drink, or neither? Juice? What kind? Are all agreed on when, where, what, or how much to eat? Do we agree on who should pay for breakfast, cook it, and clean up after it? Do we agree on the “dress code” that should apply, either at breakfast or afterward?

Diverse individuals have diverse preferences. Multiplying this single example by the uncountable decisions that must be reached in society every day makes our fundamental disunity clear. And we are no more unified when we get to public policy. We are not in agreement about people’s rights and government powers that some view as essential but others view as unforgivable. The same is true of many foreign policy choices. We cannot be unified as “one nation under God” when some vehemently reject any reference to God. We cannot be unified about abortion when some view it as murder and others consider it sacred. Policies that take from some to give to others also inherently create disagreement from those whose pockets are involuntarily picked. Reducing what we take from some, entailing giving less to others than they wish, also triggers disagreement. So long as government dictates such choices, political unity is unattainable.

In fact, politics as currently practiced eviscerates the one thing Americans could agree about. This reflects the far-too-little-recognized fact that we have greater agreement on what all of us want to avoid than on what all of us want. None of us wants what John Locke called our “lives, liberties, and estates” violated. That is, each of us wants rights and property defended against invasion. Respecting all of our property rights reduces the risk from predation for each of us. But creating added rights and privileges for some at the expense of others’ equal rights and privileges makes government the most dangerous predator, even when who is selected to do so is determined by majority vote.

Each of us would like the freedom to peacefully pursue our own goals. As Lord Acton put it, “liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition,” because freedom to choose for ourselves is always the primary means to our ultimate ends. That is why the traditional functions of government are to protect us from abuse by our neighbors and foreign powers, while its greatest threat is supposed protectors becoming predators against citizens. That is why Acton recognized that liberty requires “the limitation of the public authority.” But we are incredibly far from agreement on that today.

Well-established property rights and the voluntary market arrangements they enable let individuals decide for themselves, limiting each of us to persuasion rather than coercion. Except in the very unusual case where we must all make the same choice, this allows us to better match our choices to our preferences and circumstances. And unlike minority votes in elections, every dollar “vote” matters.

In fact, we should recognize that markets are our primary means to transform our disagreements into mutually beneficial cooperation, while restrictions on markets hobble that essential function.

Say I offer you a widget for sale at $10 and you say yes. That does not mean we agree on its value. We disagreed. I valued it at less than $10 worth of other goods and services, or I wouldn’t have sold it for that. You must have valued it more than $10, or you wouldn’t have bought it for that. Importantly, however, we have transformed our disagreement on values into an exchange that gives both of us benefits we consider to be worth more than the costs.

In contrast, talk of political unity is primarily rhetorical cover for those who are in power to coerce those who disagree with them. They benefit themselves at others’ expense, taking others’ resources and making them acquiesce in what they object to. And unlike markets, in which greater disagreements about value create greater net benefits from voluntary arrangements, “unifying” political initiatives are just ways to control who will be forced to do what for others, driving Americans apart while hamstringing cooperative arrangements and squandering the wealth they would have created.

Grand invocations that “I will unify us” are actually shorthand for “We disagree about many things, but those in this group are unified against others’ preferences, and we mean to get our way, regardless of their well-being and desire,” which is made clear by the demonization of anyone who doesn’t support the supposed “unity” position as divisive. That kind of unity is tyranny. Strengthening our union actually runs along a different path than the unity of 50 percent plus one, unified against the interests of others. It is uniting in a common commitment to honoring one another’s rights and the liberty this makes possible for all of us. Without unity in that, we can never achieve the kind of unity that is actually desirable and achievable. The alternative is the prospect of more of what we have experienced of late, which resembles what Thomas Hobbes called “a war of all against all.” But if we are united only by the ongoing fight to win that war against other Americans, we are selling out the birthright we have from our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

The Asia Times: First Comes a Rolling Civil War

A Trump supporter argues with counter protesters in St. Paul, Minnesota, November 7, 2020. Photo: Tim Evans/NurPhoto via AFP

Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times writes about the near future in First Comes a Rolling Civil War.

The massive psyop is ongoing. Everyone familiar with the Transition Integrity Project knew how this would imperatively play out. I chose to frame it as a think tank gaming exercise in my Banana Follies column. This is a live exercise. Yet no one knows exactly how it will end.

US intel is very much aware of technology that can abet election fraud. That includes NSA software that can interfere with any network, as detailed by Edward Snowden, and manipulate vote counting; the Hammer supercomputer and its Scorecard app that hacks computers at the transfer points of state election computer systems and outside third party election data vaults; and the Dominion software system, known to have serious security issues since 2000 but still used in 30 states, including every US swing state.

The key actor is the Deep State, which decides what happens next. It has weighed the pros and cons of placing as a candidate a senile, stage 2 dementia neocon warmonger and possible extortionist (along with his son) as “leader of the free world,” campaigning from a basement, incapable of filling a parking lot in his rallies and seconded by someone with so little support in the Democratic primaries that she was the first to drop out.

The optics, especially seen from vast swathes of the imperial-interfered Global South, may be somewhat terrible. Dodgy elections are a prerogative of Bolivia and Belarus. Yet only the Empire is able to legitimize a dodgy election – especially in its own backyard.

Welcome to the New Resistance

The GOP is in a very comfortable position. They hold the Senate and may end up picking up as may as 12 seats in the House. They also know that any attempt by Biden-Harris to legislate via Executive Orders will have…consequences.

The Fox News/ New York Post angle is particularly enticing. Why are they suddenly supporting Biden? Way beyond internal family squabbles worthy of the Successionsaga, Rupert Murdoch made it very clear, via the laptop from hell caper, that he has all sorts of kompromat on the Biden family. So they will do whatever he wants. Murdoch does not need Trump anymore.

Nor, in theory, does the GOP. Former CIA insiders assure of serious backroom shenanigans going on between GOP honchos and the Biden-Harris gang. Trade-offs bypassing Trump – which most of the GOP hates with a vengeance. The most important man in Washington will be in fact GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Still, to clear any lingering doubts, a vote recount would be absolutely necessary in all 6 contested states – WI, MI, PA, GA, NV and AZ. Through hand counting. One by one. The DoJ would need to act on it, immediately. Not gonna happen. Recounts cost a ton of money. There’s no evidence Team Trump – on top of it short of funds and manpower – will be able to convince Daddy Bush asset William Barr to go for it.

While relentlessly demonizing Trump for spreading “a torrent of misinformation” and “trying to undermine the legitimacy of the US election”, mainstream media and Big Tech have declared a winner – a classic case of pre-programming the sheep multitudes.

Yet what really matters is the letter of the law. State legislatures decide whose electors go to the Electoral College to appoint the President.

Here it is – Article II, Section 1, Clause 2: Each state shall appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature Thereof May Direct.”

So this has nothing to do with governors, not to mention the media. It’s up to GOP state legislatures to act accordingly. The drama may roll out for weeks. The first step of the Electoral College procedure takes place on December 14. The final determination will only happen in early January.

Meanwhile, talk of a New Resistance is spreading like wildfire.

Trumpism, with 71 million + votes, is firmly established as a mass movement. No one in the GOP commands this kind of popular appeal. By sidelining Trumpism, the GOP may be committing seppuku.

So what will Deplorables do?

The always indispensable Alastair Crooke hits the nail on the head in a powerful essay: Trump is the President of Red America. And depending on how the scripted (s)election tragicomedy develops next, the Deplorables are bound to become The Ungovernables.

Crooke references a crucial parallel evoked by historian Mike Vlahos, who shows how the current American saga mirrors Ancient Rome in the last century of the Republic, pitting the Roman elite against the Populares – which today are represented by Red (Trumpist) America:

“This was a new world, in which the great landowners, with their latifundia [the slave-land source of wealth], who had been the ‘Big Men’ leading the various factions in the civil wars, became the senatorial archons that dominated Roman life for the next five centuries — while the People, the Populares, were ground into a passive — not helpless — but generally dependent and non-participating element of Roman governance: This sapped away at the creative life of Rome, and eventually led to its coming apart.”

So as much as the Dem machine had wanted it, Trump is not yet Imperator Caesar Augustus, whom the Greeks called Autokrator (autocrat), but was a de facto monarch. The American Augustus, Tiberius and most of all Caligula is still further on down the road. He will definitely be a benign, humanitarian imperialist.

In the meantime, what will imperial Big Capital do?

The West, and especially the American Rome, is on the edge of a double precipice: the worst economic depression ever, coupled with imminent, myriad, uncontrollable explosions of social rage.

So the Deep State is reasoning that with Biden – or, sooner rather than later, Supreme shakti and Commander-in-Chief Maa Durga Kamala – the path gets smoother towards the Davos Great Reset. After all, to reset the chess pieces, first the chessboard must be knocked over. This will be one step beyond Dark Winter – which not accidentally was evoked by teleprompter-reading Biden himself on the final presidential debate. The script gets ominously closer to the Rockefelller Foundation’s 2010 Lock Step.

Meanwhile, Plan B is kept in ready, steady, go mode: the lineaments of a global rampage, focused on “malign” Russia’s sphere of influence to satisfy a “revived” NATO and the military-industrial complex, which selected the now media-appointed President-Elect in the first place because he’s no more than a pliant cardboard figure.

The Federalist: 5 Reasons Conservatives Should Have Hope For The Future

The Federalist and Peter Burfeind have 5 Reasons Conservatives Should Have Hope For The Future

If Joe Biden walks away with a presidential victory, conservatives will have many reasons to despair. This would portend some terrifying realities about propaganda and the manipulation of public opinion, the acceptance of potential fraud, and the willingness to accept the curtailment of basic liberties.

But it need not. In fact, conservatives have reason to be quite hopeful. We might be in an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment, wherein striking Trump down will make his movement more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine. Beyond the typical takes on the election that give conservatives hope — we appear to have kept the Senate, and socialism and critical race theory lost — we have five long-term reasons to be hopeful.

1. Final Liberation from Establishment Republicans

At some level, the left has to be jealous. For any chance of defeating Donald Trump, look what they had to settle for: a dementia-addled, 78-year-old fossil who’s spent 47 years in the Senate as a pandering politician straight out of Central Casting. But the Democrat establishment pushed him because he polled best against Trump and, as Democrats are so quick to remind us, “science and data.”

Ah, I remember those days. I remember hearing the smart set tell us how a Herman Cain would be an abject failure as a candidate or president, so we’d better go with a traditional politician, such as John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush.

Then came Trump, dismantling the entire paradigm. One of the most beloved politicians in our history, he showed us how a successful American with a love for his country can do great things, things politicians have been promising for years, such as lowering unemployment for minorities, increasing wages for the working class, sticking it to communist China, creating peace in the Middle East, giving us energy independence, restructuring bad trade deals, withdrawing from foreign entanglements, and revolutionizing the federal judiciary.

Meanwhile, the Democrats get to watch a doddering hack grapple with the wily Sen. Mitch McConnell for four years, while trying to pick up the pieces of an economy they tanked to get Biden elected president and nothing else. Or maybe they’re looking forward to a President Kamala Harris doing her “Excuse me! Excuse me!” routine like that vice principal you mocked in high school.

You almost have to laugh. While they’re locked into “establishment mode” for four years, pantomiming gravitas with their whole “adults in the room” schtick to impress the seven remaining people watching CNN, the right will be having a blast retaking the House, nurturing a new generation of Trump-like candidates, and choosing another unconventional leader for president in 2024 that we actually like and don’t have to hold our noses to select. We’re done with the establishment, and it feels so liberating.

2. Germination of Several Movements

Let’s get into that new generation of conservatives. Trump brought in a significant swath of working-class voters. The Blexit movement continues, with obvious results in the increased turnout of black voters for Trump. With Trump’s Hispanic gains, can we say the whole “demography is destiny” theory officially ran out of juice at, of all places, the Rio Grande and southern Florida?

The last these demographic groups tasted of genuine Trumpism — prior to the Wuhan virus — they were doing outstanding. Now they got Biden to build his case that destroying the energy sector and subsidizing green energy will really get things going again.

Who better than an old, pandering white guy to convince young minority Americans that maybe it’s time for a second exodus from the Democrat plantation? And who will be on the sidelines with a megaphone the whole time saying, “I told you so. Remember what you had under me?”

3. Trump Not Going Anywhere

That of course leads to our third reason for long-term hope: Trump isn’t going anywhere. This is a man who did five to six rallies a day, speaking an hour and a half at each one, for two weeks after recuperating from COVID-19. He’s also a man who hates losing, and his family is completely invested in the movement he started.

Who knows how this will translate. There’s talk of him beginning a right-leaning media outfit to compete with Fox News. Will he continue doing rallies to inspire support for a transformed Republican Party? Will he do a Grover Cleveland number and run for president again?

Whatever it is he chooses to do, he remains the same person uniquely suited to the task at hand, of disrupting the status quo in Washington. He clearly has the support of half the country. Many love him like they’ve never loved any other politician because of how he spoke up for them. That doesn’t end.

4. The Left Not in Charge When We Survive Meltdown

The left displayed a real logic problem this year. I became alert to this problem when I heard Biden and others blame Trump for the COVID-19 deaths. Huh? Do people really fall this easily for the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, the logic that “X is president during Y, therefore X caused Y”?

Of course they do. That defines the leftist mind, the hive mind, the belief that agency doesn’t reside in the individual but in collective systems. This is how they think. Consequently, they must run those systems. They must have power.

Their attraction to the swamp comes with an underlying presumption of incredible self-importance. They manage the economy. They keep peace in the world. They take care of us all, good people that they are.

So what do you suppose it means when precisely nothing happens 10 years from now, about the time the world is predicted to implode from climate change? If the left is in charge of things, you know exactly what that will mean: “Thanks to President Ocasio-Cortez’s extreme measures, we’ve saved the world from catastrophe.” We’ll get a preview of this propaganda when a President Biden announces the end of the pandemic due to his wise governance.

This is why they not only needed to win this year but win big, big enough to enact the Green New Deal. That, in turn, could only be sustained with court-packing and a few new states to ensure a friendly Senate for the foreseeable future. With each radical measure, they would use the COVID-19 response as a template. “We came together before to defeat coronavirus; let’s do the same to defeat climate change!”

Alas, this is not going to happen thanks to the GOP’s other 2020 election victories. Without new states and new senators, the midterms will remain seasons of GOP success. It’s difficult to imagine the next presidential election generating excitement for a second Harris or Biden term, at least enough to create coattails for a Democrat takeover of the Senate and House.

2030 will come with glorious weather, and the left will have had nothing to do with it. After a string of exposed lies — Russia, COVID-19 “science,” systemic racism, polls, climate change — how soon before the nation becomes wise to the fact that leftism is synonymous with lying?

5. America Is Still America

The answer to that last question gets to the American DNA. Americans distrust power. The left does well appealing to that distrust, promoting a false narrative blaming the “powers that be” whenever they’re out of power. They milk that “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy for everything it’s worth. It comes more naturally to them than it does to the right.

How often, these past four years, did the leftist mind resort to “Orange Man Bad!” and a primal scream into the cosmos every time their car didn’t start, or they encountered a long line at McDonald’s, or they just felt blue? It’s their psychic makeup.

No more. The left is running their asylum now. They’re great at manufacturing fear about the bogeymen behind “the system,” but in actual governance, they do nothing but lose. Of course, the leftist answer to that conundrum is, “If we all just work together, nothing is impossible.” So they can continue to blame the Senate, disinformation, gridlock, those on “the wrong side of history,” and Trump.

The whole point of leftism is that it can’t succeed without total investment by everyone in its program. That’s why it’s “all hands on deck” from Big Tech, Big Media, Big Business, Hollywood, Wall Street, human resources departments, and the Washington swamp. That’s why cancel culture is integral to their success. Dissent, alternative information, and a muscular minority topples the whole house of cards.

We’re America. We left the tyrannies of the world to come here. We left our cultures and even families. We’re all just a few generations away from incredible risk-takers, fighters, and survivors. Rugged individualism is in our blood.

Add to that the brilliant system set up by the forefathers with its many checks and balances. The newly conservative federal courts, red state governments, and that troublesome right to free speech aren’t going anywhere for now. Meanwhile, the free market is begging for new social media platforms and a FBexit or Twexit movement.

The left tells Americans, “We’re all in this together,” but it won’t be too long before, well, 70 million people say, “Speak for yourself. We’ll speak for ourselves, thank you.” That 70 million isn’t going anywhere. It’s only growing.

The Automatic Earth: Biden IS the Swamp

I can understand why various people don’t like Trump. I don’t understand anyone who thought Biden was actually a good candidate. This Automatic Earth article says it all – Biden IS the Swamp.

Since the US has no official institution to call an election soon after the polls have closed, and people want a result fast, it has befallen on the media to make the announcement. And by and large, this hasn’t been that big a deal. But when those same media have for 4 years relentlessly hounded one of the two candidates, it should be obvious that this “system” should not be applied. If only because it has no legal status whatsoever.

However, people both in the US and abroad don’t appear to be aware of this. So when the New York Times et al declare a winner, this is seen as an “official” announcement. It is not. That won’t come until the Electoral College gathers in December (8-14th?!). And at least until then, Trump will have every right to contest the election in court. Still, “world leaders” are congratulating the “next president”. Do they really not know how this works?

The idea behind it all is obvious, of course: to make Trump look like a sore loser, and Biden the president-elect, a title the media claim they can bestow upon him. Do remember that both Biden’s and Kamala’s campaign were considered dead in the water at one point, before they were magically resurrected by the party machine, which ensured that =two people very unpopular in their own party now lead the ticket. Be careful what you wish for.

In that light. I found this intriguing. Twitter adds a warning to this Trump tweet: “Official sources may not have called the race when this was Tweeted”. I haven’t seen one instance where they attached the same warning to tweets about Biden winning and being President Elect. But wouldn’t that be the same thing?

No, I don’t particularly mind Biden winning, Washington is a shit hole whoever occupies the White House and other posts, but this is not about Biden. It’s about the people behind him. About the people who elected him to be a candidate, and that’s not his voters; it’s the DNC, the FBI and media that made him possible.

Everyone in the MSM is talking about Trump’s alleged lies, as they have for 5 screeching years, main news networks on Thursday even cut off/short a speech by the President of the United States -that must be a first-, but nobody reflects on the 5-year neverending constant lies they have all told ABOUT Trump, on the entire Russiagate episode, the Mueller report based on only lies, the whole shebang.

The DNC that paid for the Steele dossier without which there would never have been a Mueller special counsel, commissioned by Rod Rosenstein when he was Deputy Attorney General, which was based on lies, exclusively, the FBI that used the Dossier to falsify FISA applications, people like Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi who kept on lying about having evidence of Russian collusion.

And still these are the people accusing Trump of lying. And they feel they can get away with it, because their media also incessantly repeated their lies, and is still doing that. Forget for a moment about what you think about Donald Trump, and tell me how you feel about an attempt to unseat an elected American president with nothing but lies.

Do you think that will be a one-off? If so, you’re blind. If Joe Biden and his handlers ever get into the White House, respect for the Office of the Presidency will still be gone, and it will be for a long time, decades. That’s the price the American people pay for the attempt to unseat Trump based on lies only. Do you really feel that’s a price worth paying? I suggest you give that some serious thought.

With Biden you don’t get Biden, you get the entire cabal that went after Trump, the Democratic Party, the media, the intelligence agencies. And yes, Biden was and is very much part of that cabal. How people do not find that a whole lot scarier than Donald Trump is beyond me.

If -and no that is not when- Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20 2021, that cabal will take over the country. And we’ve seen plenty indications that they intend to make it impossible for the Republicans to ever get one of their own elected as president again. Moreover they will not be investigated for what they concocted over the past 4-5 years.

How the Hillary campaign and the DNC leaked things to the FBI, and the FBI to the MSM, how they lied in courtrooms to get FISA applications on Trump campaign people like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. How they set up Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn so he wouldn’t be Trump’s National Security Adviser, because Flynn knew too much.

It’s a scheme so full of illegal actions that it will be devastating for the entire American political system if it is never investigated, or even if it isn’t investigated very very thoroughly, by an impartial party. And it won’t be if Biden becomes president.

The cabal wants you to think this is about Trump, and any given way to get rid of him is justifiable no matter what, but that is a very dangerous way of thinking. If crimes have been committed, they must be brought into daylight and before a court.

Problem is, of course, that at least half the nation has no idea of what’s been going on. Because they get their news and information from those media that are in on the whole deal. They won’t know that the DNC paid for the Steele Dossier, or that is was just a bunch of lies, or that the FBI knew this even before Rosenstein appointed Mueller as Special Counsel. All that has been kept away from them.

And yes, 4 years ago Trump said he would fight the swamp, but landed right in the middle of it. Early in his presidency he found himself surrounded by the likes of McMaster, John Kelly, Tillerson, and many other swamp creatures, and today he still has people like Mike Pompeo. But at least Trump is an outsider, and if anything can ever be done to drain the swamp, it will have to come from an outsider. That it may take more than 4 years is something we have to take for granted.

The swamp has fought back, and they may yet win. Joe Biden is the face of that. But people who celebrate that victory should think again, whether they like Trump or not. The swamp is not good for you, and it’s not good for your country, your rights, your freedoms. Its entire MO is to take all these away from you. This is not a partisan thing; the fat ass of the swamp easily fits and sits across the divide.

Joe Biden is not Joe Biden, the man doesn’t stand for anything other than holding on to power while getting richer off that power. He’s done it for 47 years. Term limits are desperately needed in Washington, but the only people who can make that decision are those who profit most from not having term limits. If there’s one area where McConnell and Schumer and Pelosi and Lindsey Graham agree, it’s that.

And meanwhile, Trump, unlike Joe Biden, is just Trump. He doesn’t represent a cabal, or a swamp. Even if he’s surrounded by them. Trump is not the biggest threat to America, that’s just something they’ve been wanting you to think for the past 4 years. Successfully, too, for millions of Americans.

The swamp is the biggest threat, whether their handpuppets come in a Democratic or Republican disguise. But to recognize that, you would have to be able to think for yourself, and if you read or watch the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, you simply can’t do that. You just think you can.

The Burning Platform: I Am Done

The following is a guest post at The Burning Platform from someone who has tired our two party system and endless stream of awful, hypocritical, dishonest, deceitful of candidates. I Am Done. While I personally feel the same regarding most political candidates, if you ignore the two party binary which the powers that be want you to believe is your only choice (Anyone you hear saying, “If you voted for X, then it’s your fault that Y won!” is someone who drank the kool-aid, a sheep in sheep’s clothing), then sometimes you can actually find a decent person in the third party candidates.

I was born at the end of Gen X and the beginning of the Millennial Generation, and grew up in a middle class town. Life was good. Our home was modest but birthdays and Christmas were always generous, we went on yearly vacations, had 2 cars, and there was enough money for me to take dance classes and art lessons and be in Girl Scouts.

My 1940s born Dad raised me to be patriotic and proud, to love the war bird airplanes of his era as much as he does, and to respect our flag and our country as a sacred thing. I grew up thinking that being an American was the greatest gift a person could have. I grew up thinking that our country was as strong, and honest and true as my Dad. I grew up thinking I was free.

As an adult, I have witnessed the world I grew up in fall to ruin. I have watched as our currency and our economy have been shamelessly corrupted beyond redemption. Since we’ve been married, my husband and I TWICE had our meager investment savings gutted by the market that we were told to invest in, now that pensions no longer exist and we working stiffs are on our own. We will be working until we die, because the Social Security we’ve been forced to pay into has also been robbed from under us.

I have watched as our elected officials enter Congress as ordinary folks and leaves as multi millionaires. I have watched my blue collar husband get up at an ungodly hour every day and come home with an aching back that we pray will hold out long enough to get him to old age in one piece. Outside of shoes, socks and underwear, almost everything my family wears was bought used. We’ve been on one vacation in 12 years.

We don’t have cell phones, or cable, or any sort of streaming services, just a landline and internet. We hardly ever eat out. Our house is 1400 square feet, no air conditioning. I cook from scratch and I can and I garden and I raise chickens for eggs and meat and I moonlight selling things on Etsy. Still it is barely enough to pay the bills that go up every year while service quality and the longevity of goods goes down. What I just described is the life you can live on 60K a year without going into debt.

At last calculation, when you consider all of the federal, state and local taxes plus registration and user fees, Medicare and SS payroll taxes, almost a third of what my family earns is stolen by the govt each year. What’s left doesn’t go far, just enough to cover the basics and save a little for when the wolf howls at the door.

I watched as my family’s health insurance was gutted and destroyed. Our private market insurance, which we had to have because my husband’s employer is too small to have a group plan, was made illegal. We were left with the option of either buying an Obamacare plan with unaffordable deductibles and insanely ridiculous out of pocket maxes, or paying the very gov’t that destroyed our healthcare a fine for not buying the gov’t mandated plan that we cannot afford. We now have short term insurance that isn’t really insurance at all, and I live in fear of one of us getting injured or sick with anything I can’t fix from the medicine cabinet.

I have watched as education, which was already sketchy when I was a kid, became an all out joke of wholly unmathematical math, gold stars for all, and self-loathing anti-Americanism. My family has taken an enormous financial hit as I stay home to home school our child. At least she’ll be able to do old-fashioned math well enough to see how much they are screwing her. A silver lining to every cloud, I guess.

I’ve sat by and held my tongue as I was called deplorable and a bitter clinger and told that I didn’t build that. I’ve been called a racist and a xenophobe and a chump and even an “ugly folk.” I’ve been told that I have privilege, and that I have inherent bias because of my skin color, and that my beloved husband and father are part of a horrible patriarchy. Not one goddamn bit of that is true, but if I dare say anything about it, it will be used as evidence of my racism and white fragility.

Raised to be a Republican, I held my nose and voted for Bush, the Texas-talking blue blood from Connecticut who lied us into 2 wars and gave us the unpatriotic Patriot Act. I voted for McCain, the sociopathic neocon songbird “hero” that torpedoed the attempt to kill the Obamacare that’s killing my family financially. I held it again and voted for Romney, the vulture capitalist skunk that masquerades as a Republican while slithering over to the Democrat camp as often as they’ll tolerate his oily, loathsome presence.

And I voted for Trump, who, if he did nothing else, at least gave a resounding Bronx cheer to the richly deserving smug hypocrites of DC. Thank you for that Mr. President, on behalf of all of us nobodies. God bless you for it.

And now I have watched as people who hate me and mine and call for our destruction blatantly and openly stole the election and then gaslighted us and told us that it was honest and fair. I am watching as the GOP does NOTHING about it. They’re probably relieved that upstart Trump is gone so they can get back to their real jobs of lining their pockets and running interference for their corporate masters. I am watching as the media, in a manner that would make Stalin blush, is silencing anyone who dares question the legitimacy of this farce they call democracy. I know, it’s a republic, but I am so tired of explaining that to people I might as well give in and join them in ignorance.

I will not vote again; they’ve made it abundantly clear that my voice doesn’t matter. Whatever irrational, suicidal lunacy the nanny states thinks is best is what I’ll get. What it decided I need is a geriatric pedophile who shouldn’t be charged with anything more rigorous than choosing between tapioca and rice pudding at the old folks home, and a casting couch skank who rails against racism while being a descendant of slave owners.

I’m free to dismember a baby in my womb and kill it because “my body my choice”, but God help me if I won’t cover my face with a germ laden Linus-worthy security blanket or refuse let them inject genetically altering chemicals into my body or my child’s. I can be doxed, fired, shunned and destroyed for daring to venture that there are only 2 genders as proven by DNA, but a disease with a 99+% survival rate for most humans is a deadly pandemic worth murdering an economy over. Because science. Idiocracy is real, and we are living it. Dr. Lexus would be an improvement over Fauci.

I am done. Don’t ask me to pledge to the flag, or salute the troops, or shoot fireworks on the 4th. It’s a sick, twisted, heartbreaking joke, this bloated, unrecognizable corpse of a republic that once was ours.

I am not alone. Not sure how things continue to function when millions of citizens no longer feel any loyalty to or from the society they live in.

I was raised to be a lady, and ladies don’t curse, but fuck these motherfuckers to hell and back for what they’ve done to me, and mine, and my country. All we Joe Blow Americans ever wanted was a little patch of land to raise a family, a job to pay the bills, and at least some illusion of freedom, and even that was too much for these human parasites. They want it all, mind, body and soul. Damn them. Damn them all.

Of Two Minds: What We Don’t Elect Matters Most – Central Banking and the Permanent Government

Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds talks about the people in government for whom we are not allowed to vote. These bureaucrats in various administrative agencies make much of the law that governs us, but they are not in the legislative branch and they are not representative.

What We Don’t Elect Matters Most: Central Banking and the Permanent Government

We’re Number One in wealth, income and power inequality, yea for the Fed and the Empire!

If we avert our eyes from the electoral battle on the blood-soaked sand of the Coliseum and look behind the screen, we find the powers that matter are not elected: our owned by a few big banks Federal Reserve, run by a handful of technocrats, and the immense National Security State, a.k.a. the Permanent Government. These entities operate the Empire which hosts the electoral games for the entertainment and distraction of the public.

The governance machinery controlled by elected representatives is tightly constrained in what it can and cannot do. It can’t do anything to stop the debasement of the nation’s currency, which is totally controlled by the Politburo of the Fed, nor can it do much to limit the Imperial Project, other than feel-good PR bits here and there.

The president wields vast powers but even the president is powerless to stop the debasement of the nation’s currency and the enrichment of bankers, financiers, corporations, etc., who fund the campaigns of the gladiators, oops I mean politicians.

If we set aside the term Deep State and simply call it the unelected machinery of governance (Permanent Government), we get a clear picture of its scope and power. Presidents, senators and representatives come and go, but the machinery of Empire grinds on, decade after decade.

A great many people and places in America don’t matter to the Fed or the Permanent Government, and so they’ve been abandoned to their fates. The darlings of the Fed and Empire are clustered in Silicon Valley and other urban hubs where the technological and financial machinery of global hegemony are fabricated and maintained.

Those far from these centers of banking, finance and Big Tech have little to no stake as owners of meaningful capital. All they have to sell is their labor, and that’s been losing purchasing power for decades as financialization and globalization have stripmined rural America and enriched the bankers, financiers and speculators who serve the Fed and unelected Permanent Government.

The Fed and the Permanent Government have been very, very good to the few at the expense of the many. Look at the chart below at America’s complete dominance when measured by the soaring wealth of its top 1% power elite: We’re Number One in wealth, income and power inequality, yea for the Fed and the Empire! And we don’t have to elect them–they elect themselves.

Rutherford Institute: America After the Election – A Few Hard Truths About the Things That Won’t Change

Constitutional law attorney John Rutherford makes some commentary about things that won’t be changing soon in America After the Election: A Few Hard Truths About the Things That Won’t Change

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”—George Orwell

The American people remain eager to be persuaded that a new president in the White House can solve the problems that plague us.

Yet no matter who wins this presidential election, you can rest assured that the new boss will be the same as the old boss, and we—the permanent underclass in America—will continue to be forced to march in lockstep with the police state in all matters, public and private.

Indeed, it really doesn’t matter what you call them—the Deep State, the 1%, the elite, the controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter which party occupies the White House in 2021, the unelected bureaucracy that actually calls the shots will continue to do so.

In the interest of liberty and truth, here are a few hard truths about life in the American police state that will persist no matter who wins the 2020 presidential election. Indeed, these issues persisted—and in many cases flourished—under both Republican and Democratic administrations in recent years.

Police militarization will continue. Thanks to federal grant programs allowing the Pentagon to transfer surplus military supplies and weapons to local law enforcement agencies without charge, police forces will continue to be transformed from peace officers to heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. “Today, 17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles,” stated Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. “Some have tanks.”

Overcriminalization will continue. In the face of a government bureaucracy consumed with churning out laws, statutes, codes and regulations that reinforce its powers and value systems and those of the police state and its corporate allies, we will all continue to be viewed as petty criminals, guilty of violating some minor law. Thanks to an overabundance of 4,500-plus federal crimes and 400,000-plus rules and regulations, it is estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it. In fact, according to law professor John Baker, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime.” Consequently, we now find ourselves operating in a strange new world where small farmers who dare to make unpasteurized goat cheese and share it with members of their community are finding their farms raided, while home gardeners face jail time for daring to cultivate their own varieties of orchids without having completed sufficient paperwork. This frightening state of affairs—where a person can actually be arrested and incarcerated for the most innocent and inane activities, including feeding a whale and collecting rainwater on their own property—is due to what law scholars refer to as overcriminalization.

Jailing Americans for profit will continue. At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, as states attempt to save money by outsourcing prisons to private corporations, imprisoning Americans in private prisons run by mega-corporations has turned into a cash cow for big business. In exchange for corporations buying and managing public prisons across the country at a supposed savings to the states, the states have to agree to maintain a 90% occupancy rate in the privately run prisons for at least 20 years. Such a scheme simply encourages incarceration for the sake of profits, while causing millions of Americans, most of them minor, nonviolent criminals, to be handed over to corporations for lengthy prison sentences which do nothing to protect society or prevent recidivism. Thus, although the number of violent crimes in the country is down substantially, the number of Americans being jailed for nonviolent crimes such as driving with a suspended license is skyrocketing.

Poverty will continue. Despite the fact that we have 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food, and at least 900,000 veterans relying on food stamps (mind you, these are pre-COVID numbers, which have only got worse during this pandemic), enormous sums continue to be doled out for presidential excursions (taxpayers have been forced to pay at least $100 million so that Donald Trump could visit his golf clubs and private properties more than 500 times during his four years in office).

Endless wars that enrich the military industrial complex will continue. Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe. Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense. Consider that since 2001, Americans have spent $10.5 million every hour for numerous foreign military occupations, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Police shootings of unarmed Americans will continue. No matter what our party politics, race, religion, or any other distinction used to divide us, we all suffer when violence becomes the government’s calling card. Remember, in a police state, you’re either the one with your hand on the trigger or you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. At least 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. Indeed, Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist. Americans are 110 times more likely to die of foodborne illness than in a terrorist attack. Police officers are more likely to be struck by lightning than be made financially liable for their wrongdoing. As a result, Americans are largely powerless in the face of militarized police.

SWAT team raids will continue.  More than 80,000 SWAT team raids are carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. There has been a notable buildup in recent years of SWAT teams within non-security-related federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Education Department.

The government’s war on the American people will continue.  “We the people” are no longer shielded by the rule of law. While the First Amendment—which gives us a voice—is being muzzled, the Fourth Amendment—which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents—is being disemboweled. Consequently, you no longer have to be poor, black or guilty to be treated like a criminal in America. All that is required is that you belong to the suspect class—that is, the citizenry—of the American police state. As a de facto member of this so-called criminal class, every U.S. citizen is now guilty until proven innocent. The oppression and injustice—be it in the form of shootings, surveillance, fines, asset forfeiture, prison terms, roadside searches, and so on—will come to all of us eventually unless we do something to stop it now.

Government corruption will continue.  The government is not our friend. Nor does it work for “we the people.” Americans instinctively understand this. When asked to name the greatest problem facing the nation, Americans of all political stripes ranked the government as the number one concern. In fact, almost eight out of ten Americans believe that government corruption is widespread. Our so-called government representatives do not actually represent us, the citizenry. We are now ruled by an oligarchic elite of governmental and corporate interests whose main interest is in perpetuating power and control. Congress is dominated by a majority of millionaires who are, on average, fourteen times wealthier than the average American.

The rise of the surveillance state will continue. Government eyes are watching you. They see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet. Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line. Police have been outfitted with a litany of surveillance gear, from license plate readers and cell phone tracking devices to biometric data recorders. Technology now makes it possible for the police to scan passersby in order to detect the contents of their pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Full-body scanners, which perform virtual strip-searches of Americans traveling by plane, have gone mobile, with roving police vans that peer into vehicles and buildings alike—including homes. Coupled with the nation’s growing network of real-time surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

The erection of a suspect society will continue. Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Making matters worse are Terrorism Liaison Officers (firefighters, police officers, and even corporate employees) who have been trained to spy on their fellow citizens and report “suspicious activity,” which includes taking pictures with no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements and drawings, taking notes, conversing in code, espousing radical beliefs and buying items in bulk. TLOs report back to “fusion centers,” which are a driving force behind the government’s quest to collect, analyze, and disseminate information on American citizens.

Government tyranny under the reign of an Imperial President will continue. The Constitution invests the President with very specific, limited powers: to serve as Commander in Chief of the military, grant pardons, make treaties (with the approval of Congress), appoint ambassadors and federal judges (again with Congress’ blessing), and veto legislation. In recent years, however, American presidents have anointed themselves with the power to wage war, unilaterally kill Americans, torture prisoners, strip citizens of their rights, arrest and detain citizens indefinitely, carry out warrantless spying on Americans, and erect their own secretive, shadow government. The powers amassed by each past president and inherited by each successive president—powers which add up to a toolbox of terror for an imperial ruler—empower whomever occupies the Oval Office to act as a dictator, above the law and beyond any real accountability. The grim reality we must come to terms with is the fact that the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned. More than terrorism, more than domestic extremism, more than gun violence and organized crime, the U.S. government has become a greater menace to the life, liberty and property of its citizens than any of the so-called dangers from which the government claims to protect us. This state of affairs has become the status quo, no matter which party is in power.

The government’s manipulation of national crises in order to expand its powers will continue. “We the people” have been the subjected to an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security. Whatever the so-called threat to the nation—whether it’s civil unrest, school shootings, alleged acts of terrorism, or the threat of a global pandemic in the case of COVID-19—the government has a tendency to capitalize on the nation’s heightened emotions, confusion and fear as a means of extending the reach of the police state. Indeed, the government’s answer to every problem continues to be more government—at taxpayer expense—and less individual liberty.

The bottom line is this: nothing taking place on Election Day will alleviate the suffering of the American people. Unless we do something more than vote, the government as we have come to know it—corrupt, bloated and controlled by big-money corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups—will remain unchanged. And “we the people”—overtaxed, overpoliced, overburdened by big government, underrepresented by those who should speak for us and blissfully ignorant of the prison walls closing in on us—will continue to trudge along a path of misery.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, these problems will continue to plague our nation unless and until Americans wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can change things for the better and then do something about it. If there is to be any hope of restoring our freedoms and reclaiming control over our government, it will rest not with the politicians but with the people themselves.

After all, Indeed, the Constitution opens with those three vital words, “We the people.”

What the founders wanted us to understand is that we are the government.

There is no government without us—our sheer numbers, our muscle, our economy, our physical presence in this land. There can also be no police state—no tyranny—no routine violations of our rights without our complicity and collusion—without our turning a blind eye, shrugging our shoulders, allowing ourselves to be distracted and our civic awareness diluted.

No matter which candidate wins this election, the citizenry and those who represent us need to be held accountable to this powerful truth.

Gatestone Institute: The Autocratic Future of the United States?

Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, at the Gatestone Institute writes about the suppression of information in the US in The Autocratic Future of the United States?

There seems to have been an attempt for the last four years to instill among the population a hatred of America and of the president, to present them both as a criminal and to try to overthrow them. In any event, it is the first time in American history that there has been an attempted coup d’état against a duly elected president.

If institutions of democracy — the state, the judiciary, opposition parties and the free press — suppress verifiable information instead of informing the public about it — as has just taken place for more than two weeks regarding alleged financial corruption and the possible resultant compromise — by China, Russia, and Ukraine among other countries — of an allegedly financially compromised family as possible a national security threat — these institutions of democracy instead become vehicles to sabotage a democracy.

A danger to American democracy in the past years — with threats to undo the Constitution by, for example, abolishing the electoral college, banning guns and, in 2014, eliminating free speech — has therefore become imminent.

In 2016, the FBI, under the leadership at the time of James Comey, used a fraudulent document bought and paid for by the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to launch a two year “investigation” in search of a crime against the president. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, at the time of his appointment, on May 17, 2017, knew, or should have known — along with the leadership of the CIA, the FBI, and other key agencies, in extremely dubious, possibly even criminal, actions — that the document on which is investigation was based, the Steele dossier, was fraudulent.

Now we have the later round. After a political experiment in California successfully used late, fraudulent voting to turn Orange County from red to blue, the effort, with the complicity of the Supreme Court, seems to have expanded. There were worries that mail-in voting might rig the election, and if the military might be needed to remove a reluctant incumbent from office. No one, of course, asked what the opposition would do if it lost the election and refused to leave. The only recommendation so far seems to have been threatening more riots.

In a recent article, Abe Greenwald, executive editor of Commentary magazine, described what is happening as “a revolution against the United States of America and all it stands for”.

Roger Kimball has described in his book The Long March how, from the 1960s onwards, members of the radical left gradually took control of the universities, the educational system, culture, media. The takeover of their preferred party followed. The method pursued was defined by the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, who advocated the infiltration of the existing civil society to destroy it from within and lead it to collapse. The tactics were set out in Saul Alinsky’s 1971 book, Rules for Radicals.

Former US President Barack Obama, a disciple of Saul Alinsky, said, before being elected in 2008, that his followers were “five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America”. He did not say into what. Hillary Clinton, another disciple of Alinsky, was expected to win and continue what Obama had started. To these self-appointed elites, whoever seems to have taken their lace seemed to become the enemy –the obstacle that had prevented them from taking what they appear to hope will be irreversible control of the United States.

There has been talk about killing the filibuster, to pass just about anything with a simple majority, and talk about enlarging the Senate by adding more states, presumably to enable one side to hold a permanent majority. Also on the agenda has been adding more members to the Supreme Court to turn it into a branch of legislative government, eliminating America’s historic system of checks and balances. There are also plans to raise taxes on everyone (remember, “You can keep your healthcare“?), abolish fossil fuels and fracking, and establish a Marxist-socialist economy of redistribution to replace a free economy.

These ideas appear to have the support of hundreds of professors, mainstream journalists, and members of the so called “cultural elites“, as well as the leading social networking services, such as Twitter and Facebook, that are practicing with impunity suppression of factual information and censorship of anything that might run counter to their preferred policies, especially if it threatens to reveal national security concerns about issues they would rather keep from public view.

Many if these ideas also have the support of international financiers and entrepreneurs, who are seeking above all, to keep hiring cheap labor, and to gain easy entry into China’s vast market share of 1.5 billion consumers. The long-term threat of China, outspokenly determined to unseat America and control the world, seems less of a threat than a slightly-less-spectacular quarterly report for their shareholders.

Communist China is ruled by leaders who have been stealing information for decades and using a kind of state capitalism to enrich themselves and those close to them, meanwhile ruling over millions of “serfs” who are increasingly deprived of information and freedom.

If the American people do not fight to defend their institutions and democracy, the United States could soon be ruled by an “expert” class, tech oligarchs, and other autocrats, and, although what will happen if the US government changes hands remains to be seen, many Americans could be forced to follow the usual autocratic road to serfdom.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute Thomas Klingenstein noted that “We are in a fight for our lives”.

When you see proposals to disrupt elections and plans about destroying a free economy, believe them.

Straight Line Logic: The Corruptocracy

Robert Gore at Straight Line Logic writes about The Corruptocracy that is our nation.

Most political philosophy is just an elaborate justification for theft and fraud.

What’s called the silent majority is really the ignored majority, who for the most part are happy being ignored. Their lives revolve their families, jobs, friends, and community, not the media, publicity, polls, or politics. They’re sick of elections well before they’ve seen their hundredth campaign ad, received their hundredth mailer, or ignored their hundredth telephone call. They know that politicians are phony and corrupt and make jokes about them, but hope that their rulers don’t screw things up too badly, cross their fingers, and vote for the perceived lesser of two evils.

There’s a shortage of blue-ribbon pedigrees, Ivy League degrees, and gold-plated resumés among the ignored majority, but a surfeit of hard-knocks wisdom and common sense. Benjamin Franklin said, “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” Everybody does foolish things, but by and large, the ignored majority learns from the dear school and puts its lessons to good use.

The gilded class denigrates those outside it: Hillary Clinton deploring the “deplorables,” Barack Obama saying working-class voters, “cling to guns or religion,” and Obama telling entrepreneurs, “you didn’t build that.” Yet, it consistently, almost invariably, demonstrates a complete lack of the common-sense street smarts found in abundance among those it disparages.

The quotes’ condescending arrogance rankles, but at a deeper level illustrate the real division in American politics—between the productive class and those it supports. At the intellectual level it’s the irreconcilable difference between those who believe that value can and should be conferred by the government, and those who know it must be created and produced. It’s believing or not believing that something can be had for nothing.

Freeloaders’ delusion stems from psychology, not ignorance. Every human faces a choice. They can produce value or they can beg, borrow, defraud, or steal it from someone else. For every advance humanity has made, there’s always been someone claiming their unfair share. Most of what we call history is merely an account of who’s stealing or defrauding from whom.

Because production is necessary for human survival, not producing anything of value creates a gaping psychological fissure, one not generally recognized or acknowledged. What’s generally accepted is that humans grasp at rationales and justifications for their actions, not just for the audience to which they’re playing, but for themselves. Most political philosophy is just an elaborate justification for theft and fraud. Political systems don’t spring from philosophies, the philosophies spring from the systems’ actual or potential beneficiaries.

Governments can take every scrap of what is produced. They can pledge every scrap of future production as repayment for their debts. The legitimization of unlimited current and future plunder leads to ever-increasing plunder and debt—and ever-diminishing production. Present governments are merely repeating a cycle that’s played out countless times throughout history.

You would think that government rapacity would be curbed when taxes, regulatory extortion, and debt disincentivize and begin reducing legitimate production. Unfortunately, that assumption flies in the face of historical fact; countless regimes have killed their golden geese. The only regimes that haven’t are those that are currently in the process of doing so.

One among many of rulers’ delusions is that the ruled are buying their lies.
Over time the victims see through the propaganda and narrative management. The lies fool the rulers more than the ruled and are essential psychological support for this predatory and parasitic class.

Commentators from the alternative media bemoan the lack of intelligence and awareness of the American people, and the supposed dominance of the mainstream media narrative. Yet, any number of alternative media commentators, YouTubers, and sites routinely receive more readers or viewers than touted mouthpiece media “powerhouses.” More people watch dissident Paul Joseph Watson’s videos than Rachel Maddow’s nightly screeds, but Maddow receives an inordinate amount of attention from the alternative and mainstream alike and Watson virtually none.

The alternative media’s thousands of sites have eclipsed the mouthpiece media, which exists in a bubble of its own creation. It’s a hugely underreported trend—without fanfare millions of people rejecting the mainstream, reading, researching, and coming to their own conclusions. There’s 330 million Americans and many of them are neither stupid nor duped. It’s just that nobody pays attention to them.

The media bubble envelopes the government-centered corruptocracy and allows those within to preserve the self-deception of personal worth. Someone who lives off the corporate-lobbyist-political food chain, shuffles paper in a government bureaucracy, enforces tax or regulatory extortion, or is otherwise supported in a something-for-nothing scheme cannot have the self-respect that comes from producing value. Instead, the predatory and parasitic classes cling to psychological crutches: conceit, arrogance, condescension, delusion, and willful ignorance.

The most intense predator and parasite condescension is directed at the producers who provide their sustenance. This may seem paradoxical but it’s not. Honest production is an obvious moral rebuke to those who live by theft and fraud. Acknowledging either the value of producers or their own dependence on them would undermine the fragile edifice of their rickety substitutes for self-worth.

Disaffected veterans were the core of a group that would grow to millions, their “faith” in government and the people who ran it obliterated by its repeated failures and lies. Revolutions dawn when an appreciable number of the ruled realize their rulers are intellectual and moral inferiors. The mainstream media is filled with vituperative, patronizing, and insulting explanations of what’s “behind” the Trump phenomenon. It all boils down to revulsion with the self-anointed, incompetent, pretentious, hypocritical, corrupt, prevaricating elite that presumes to rule this country. It is, in a word, inferior to the populace on the other side of the yawning chasm, the ones they have patronized and insulted for decades, and the other side knows it.

Much More Than Trump,” Robert Gore, SLL, March 3, 2016, reposted November 6, 2016

Nothing has changed over the last four years, except that the ranks of disaffected have swollen. Trump gave voice to them in 2016 and he’ll do it again in 2020. Once more it’s the productive businessman outsider against a government hack insider. After Russiagate, the impeachment, the coronavirus power-grab, leftist and Marxists riots, and endless media-driven tempests in teapots, the somethings in this country are far more contemptuous of the nothings who presume to rule them—and farcically, have designs on the whole world—than they were four years ago. The ultimate farce is the Harris/Biden ticket: a corrupt, doddering, old fool and a nakedly ambitious shrew who even Democrats don’t like, neither with a scintilla of detectable principle, waging the most inept campaign ever in front of face-masked, socially distanced audiences that number in the tens.

If he gets anything approaching an honest vote count Trump will win in a landslide. The “reputable” pollsters have become another arm of the entrenched powers’ narrative management. Like everything else the corruptocrats have tried, this effort will prove inept. The purported double-digit Biden leads will motivate, not discourage, Trump’s voters. By every other indicator—voter registrations, growing black and hispanic support, the crumbling entertainment and sports complex, the crumbling mainstream media, the ascendent alternative media, millions of new gun owners, backlash against the riots, slowly fading coronavirus hysteria, and off-the-charts attendance and enthusiasm at Trump rallies—Trump’s winning by a country mile.

And let’s not forget Hunter Biden’s hard drive, much as the corruptocracy, Twitter, Facebook, and most of the mainstream media would like us to. The revelations are important not because they reveal that the Bidens are a criminal enterprise—we already knew that—but because they further confirm the suspicions of millions of street-smart, disaffected Americans: our country is a corruptocracy.

If Trump wins and quells the Super Tantrum, he’ll have to do more than give voice to the disaffected. He’s forced the corruptocrats from the depths of their swamp, and he may or may not be blackmailing them for his own purposes. But not a drop of swamp has been drained, and if nothing happens the next four years, Trump’s tenure will be nothing more than a feel-good fantasy for his fans.

He’ll have to either blackmail paid up swampsters William Barr and Christopher Wray to do their jobs or get rid of them for people who will. Nothing less than indictments and prosecutions that cuts a wide swath across the corruptocracy— Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Mueller, Page, Strzok, Haspel, the Biden crime family, Obama, the Clintons, many of the listings in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book, and the rest of their insidious ilk—will do. Arresting Hunter and Joe Biden the day after the election would be a good start.

Trump must put up or shut up on draining the swamp before he can proceed to his long list of other unfinished business. The swamp is the inevitable backwash of a government that has arrogated unlimited power to itself, has first claim on everything produced within the United States, issues debt without limit, and maintains a confederated global empire. Power creates corruptocracies. There is a one in a trillion chance that Trump or any other ostensible outsider changes any of this, and a one in a quadrillion chance that the system reforms itself.

Trump or no Trump, the disaffected will get more disaffected, at least until the system collapses, which it will. The failing of all governments is that they can’t produce, only coerce. What they can force their citizens to produce is astonishingly low compared to what those citizens would produce if left to their own devices in free markets. The productive economy is straining under the tax and debt loads it’s being forced to carry. The debt orgy this year is probably the last straw. The shut-down real economy and debt-bloated financial markets will force a reckoning.

That reckoning will be global and governments will get smaller. Not because anyone within them experiences an intellectual conversion towards less government—and consequently less power—but because they are bankrupt and access to credit will be severely limited. Central banks may continue to buy their governments’ debt with their own devalued debt, but that daisy chain will come to an end as well. A bear market in debt of all stripes and a bull market in interest rates loom. The silver lining: long suffering savers (both of them) and creditors will finally be compensated for the credit risks they bear.

With the crumbling of governments will come the crumbling of current political institutions and boundaries. The breakdown of the corrupt and doomed old order presents the opportunity for the establishment of new orders. What seems inconceivable now may occur with astonishing speed. A year ago, who envisioned what’s transpired so far in 2020?

Millions of salt-of-the-earth, common sense Americans have watched in horror as their country has imploded from lockdown insanity and riots. There’s an exodus from urban hellholes to safer and saner locales. The response to those who say breakdown can’t happen is that it’s already begun.

Alasdair Macleod is writing about Europe, but what he says applies to the United States:

The fate of the euro will be shared with the majority — if not all — of other fiat currencies for reasons specific to them. The recovery from the ashes of government incompetence can be swift — a matter of a year or two, so long as successor governments quickly learn that free markets, sound money and minimal interference from government are all required for the restoration of economic progress. Additionally, all socialist policies must be discarded, and the profit motive and individual wealth creation embraced.

The destruction of the euro,” Alasdair Macleod, goldmoney.com, October 22, 2020

There will be jurisdictions, some born out of secession or insurrection, that will institute “free markets, sound money, and minimal interference from government,” along with the concomitant essentials: freedom and the protection of individual rights, because they work and have worked throughout history. They are the quickest way to recover from economic and financial devastation. Most importantly, freedom is the only moral system, the only system compatible with productive survival, and the only system that promotes human happiness.

Freedom, rather than Trump, represents the best hope for the righteously disaffected.

Continue reading “Straight Line Logic: The Corruptocracy”

Kunstler: Biden and Media – Bleeding Out

James Howard Kunstler writes Bleeding Out about the corruption of Biden and associates, and the media that protects the elites at the expense of journalistic integrity and representative government.

“The difference between you and me,” Mr. Trump said to the ever more ghostly Joe Biden, fading mentally late in the action on the debate stage, “is that I’m not a politician and you are, and you’re a crooked politician.” Millions watching this spectacle might not have noticed, due to the media’s near-complete blackout of news detailing the Biden family’s adventures in systematic global moneygrubbing, but the Democratic candidate for president has political Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever of credibility, now gushing out of every pore and orifice.

Twitter and Facebook may try to squelch the story, but the evidence is all over the Internet now, like blood on a crime scene, in verifiable emails, texts, Snapchats, memoranda, and bank records that Ol’ White Joe Biden is at the center of a decades-long influence-peddling spree, selling his personal services to China, Russia, Ukraine, and any other country seeking favors in US government policy, and that this slime-trail of grift disqualifies him from holding high office as much as the irreversible rot of his cognitive abilities.

The “Laptop from Hell” affair has twelve more days to play out before the November 3 vote and the Democratic Party is in a terrible jam. Do they ask Mr. Biden to step aside, or do they keep running with him while the barrage of allegations and hard evidence pours down on them like so many mortar rounds on a besieged bunker? It’s obvious now that one way or another, voters are actually being asked to elect Kamala Harris president — but who asked for her? Only the disgraced and disabled head of the ticket, Joe Biden, desperate for a non-white running mate. Elsewise, she was so disliked by voters that she skulked out of the Iowa caucuses, ending her own run. Is Hillary ironing her purple pantsuit up in Chappaqua, awaiting the emergency call from her DNC?

The early 2020 impeachment gambit has finally blown up in the Democrats’ faces, too, as it’s now obvious the phony furor over Mr. Trump’s phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky was ginned up to smother any inquiry into Hunter Biden’s $83,000-a-month services to the Burisma gas company and its crooked chief, Mykola Zlochevsky, with help from then US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and several of her staff, as well as then Secretary of State John Kerry.

Interestingly, figures associated with Mr. Kerry (the 2004 Democratic party nominee), Devon Archer and Christopher Heinz (Mr. Kerry’s stepson) also happened to be business associates of Hunter Biden’s, and therefore the Biden family syndicate. Mr. Archer is currently under conviction, awaiting sentencing, on a federal securities fraud rap. If US attorneys out of the DOJ have any interest in talking to him, they have a lever to incentivize his testimony about many of the transactions involving Burisma in Ukraine and the Chinese companies that were funneling payments to the Bidens for “introductions” to US persons of influence.

The Democrats have a whole lot of bad behavior to defend, ranging far beyond the Bidens to the decades-long activities of the Clintons in their charity frauds, the related Uranium One matter — in which $150-million in Russian money found its way into the Clinton Foundation — and the deal that set up transfers of US secret computer tech to Russia’s Skolkovo project, which eventuated in Russia’s development of hypersonic weapons. Not to mention the RussiaGate coup operation to overthrow the president using false allegations supplied by Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and scores of high officials in a range of executive agencies.

Ironically many of those same schemers are at it again in the recent letter by a long list of former Intel spooks trying to discredit The New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop as “having all the earmarks” of a Russian disinformation op. At the top of the list of that letter’s signers, you’ll find John Brennan, CIA chief under Obama, and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence – both of them progenitors of the RussiaGate coup and liable to prosecution for seditious conspiracy. Can you smell their desperation?

Something else may be turning now, though, on this titanic hairball of corruption and deceit: mainstream media reporters starting to jump into lifeboats to save their reputations by actually reporting honestly on developments in this web of stories. The few early adapters to truth-telling may be the only survivors. The ones who stick with the ship of deception are going down into cold and darkness. And if President Trump wins reelection — a possibility despite polling that, in many cases, is just propaganda — the public will learn exactly how the Democratic Party became the enemy of the people.

See also:

Pat Buchanan: A Biden Family Special Prosecutor in 2021?

Jonathan Turley: Disinformation by Popular Demand – How the Authenticity of Hunter Biden’s Laptop Became Immaterial

Zero Hedge: You’re Gonna Bury All Of Us’: Whistleblower Describes Brazen Biden-China Dealings In Explosive Interview With Tucker Carlson

The National Pulse: Hunter Biden Audio Confesses Partnership With China ‘Spy Chief’… Joe Biden Named as Criminal Case Witness

Zero Hedge: Blockbuster Report Reveals How Biden Family Was Compromised By China

The National Pulse: Biden, Corruption, and Ukraine’s Election Interference AGAINST Trump

Advancing Time: Hunter Biden Is Not The Problem, The Problem Is His Dad

 

Rutherford Institute: Tyranny at the Hands of a Psychopathic Government

Constitutional law attorney John Whitehead writes at The Rutherford Institute – Don’t Vote for a Psychopath: Tyranny at the Hands of a Psychopathic Government.

Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths. I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this… That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow — but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one.”—Dr. Martha Stout, clinical psychologist and former instructor at Harvard Medical School

Twenty years ago, a newspaper headline asked the question: “What’s the difference between a politician and a psychopath?

The answer, then and now, remains the same: None.

There is no difference between psychopaths and politicians.

Nor is there much of a difference between the havoc wreaked on innocent lives by uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, irresponsible, parasitic criminals and elected officials who lie to their constituents, trade political favors for campaign contributions, turn a blind eye to the wishes of the electorate, cheat taxpayers out of hard-earned dollars, favor the corporate elite, entrench the military industrial complex, and spare little thought for the impact their thoughtless actions and hastily passed legislation might have on defenseless citizens.

Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars, glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and shallow.

Charismatic politicians, like criminal psychopaths, exhibit a failure to accept responsibility for their actions, have a high sense of self-worth, are chronically unstable, have socially deviant lifestyles, need constant stimulation, have parasitic lifestyles and possess unrealistic goals.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Democrats or Republicans.

Political psychopaths are all largely cut from the same pathological cloth, brimming with seemingly easy charm and boasting calculating minds. Such leaders eventually create pathocracies: totalitarian societies bent on power, control, and destruction of both freedom in general and those who exercise their freedoms.

Once psychopaths gain power, the result is usually some form of totalitarian government or a pathocracy. “At that point, the government operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups,” author James G. Long notes. “We are currently witnessing deliberate polarizations of American citizens, illegal actions, and massive and needless acquisition of debt. This is typical of psychopathic systems, and very similar things happened in the Soviet Union as it overextended and collapsed.”

In other words, electing a psychopath to public office is tantamount to national hara-kiri, the ritualized act of self-annihilation, self-destruction and suicide. It signals the demise of democratic government and lays the groundwork for a totalitarian regime that is legalistic, militaristic, inflexible, intolerant and inhuman.

Incredibly, despite clear evidence of the damage that has already been inflicted on our nation and its citizens by a psychopathic government, voters continue to elect psychopaths to positions of power and influence.

Indeed, a study from Southern Methodist University found that Washington, DC—our nation’s capital and the seat of power for our so-called representatives—ranks highest on the list of regions that are populated by psychopaths.

According to investigative journalist Zack Beauchamp, “In 2012, a group of psychologists evaluated every President from Washington to Bush II using ‘psychopathy trait estimates derived from personality data completed by historical experts on each president.’ They found that presidents tended to have the psychopath’s characteristic fearlessness and low anxiety levels — traits that appear to help Presidents, but also might cause them to make reckless decisions that hurt other people’s lives.”

The willingness to prioritize power above all else, including the welfare of their fellow human beings, ruthlessness, callousness and an utter lack of conscience are among the defining traits of the sociopath.

When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, jailed if we dare step out of line, and then punished unjustly without remorse—all the while refusing to own up to its failings—we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic.

Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.”

Worse, psychopathology is not confined to those in high positions of government. It can spread like a virus among the populace. As an academic study into pathocracy concluded, “[T]yranny does not flourish because perpetuators are helpless and ignorant of their actions. It flourishes because they actively identify with those who promote vicious acts as virtuous.”

People don’t simply line up and salute. It is through one’s own personal identification with a given leader, party or social order that they become agents of good or evil.

Much depends on how leaders “cultivate a sense of identification with their followers,” says Professor Alex Haslam. “I mean one pretty obvious thing is that leaders talk about ‘we’ rather than ‘I,’ and actually what leadership is about is cultivating this sense of shared identity about ‘we-ness’ and then getting people to want to act in terms of that ‘we-ness,’ to promote our collective interests. . . . [We] is the single word that has increased in the inaugural addresses over the last century . . . and the other one is ‘America.’”

The goal of the modern corporate state is obvious: to promote, cultivate, and embed a sense of shared identification among its citizens. To this end, “we the people” have become “we the police state.”

We are fast becoming slaves in thrall to a faceless, nameless, bureaucratic totalitarian government machine that relentlessly erodes our freedoms through countless laws, statutes, and prohibitions.

Any resistance to such regimes depends on the strength of opinions in the minds of those who choose to fight back. What this means is that we the citizenry must be very careful that we are not manipulated into marching in lockstep with an oppressive regime.

Writing for ThinkProgress, Beauchamp suggests that “one of the best cures to bad leaders may very well be political democracy.”

But what does this really mean in practical terms?

It means holding politicians accountable for their actions and the actions of their staff using every available means at our disposal: through investigative journalism (what used to be referred to as the Fourth Estate) that enlightens and informs, through whistleblower complaints that expose corruption, through lawsuits that challenge misconduct, and through protests and mass political action that remind the powers-that-be that “we the people” are the ones that call the shots.

Remember, education precedes action. Citizens need to the do the hard work of educating themselves about what the government is doing and how to hold it accountable. Don’t allow yourselves to exist exclusively in an echo chamber that is restricted to views with which you agree. Expose yourself to multiple media sources, independent and mainstream, and think for yourself.

For that matter, no matter what your political leanings might be, don’t allow your partisan bias to trump the principles that serve as the basis for our constitutional republic. As Beauchamp notes, “A system that actually holds people accountable to the broader conscience of society may be one of the best ways to keep conscienceless people in check.”

That said, if we allow the ballot box to become our only means of pushing back against the police state, the battle is already lost.

Resistance will require a citizenry willing to be active at the local level.

Yet as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if you wait to act until the SWAT team is crashing through your door, until your name is placed on a terror watch list, until you are reported for such outlawed activities as collecting rainwater or letting your children play outside unsupervised, then it will be too late.

This much I know: we are not faceless numbers.

We are not cogs in the machine.

We are not slaves.

We are human beings, and for the moment, we have the opportunity to remain free—that is, if we tirelessly advocate for our rights and resist at every turn attempts by the government to place us in chains.

The Founders understood that our freedoms do not flow from the government. They were not given to us only to be taken away by the will of the State. They are inherently ours. In the same way, the government’s appointed purpose is not to threaten or undermine our freedoms, but to safeguard them.

Until we can get back to this way of thinking, until we can remind our fellow Americans what it really means to be free, and until we can stand firm in the face of threats to our freedoms, we will continue to be treated like slaves in thrall to a bureaucratic police state run by political psychopaths.