Rutherford Institute: Declare Your Independence from Tyranny, America

Just in time for Independence Day weekend, attorney John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute writes Declare Your Independence from Tyranny, America.

Imagine living in a country where armed soldiers crash through doors to arrest and imprison citizens merely for criticizing government officials.

Imagine that in this very same country, you’re watched all the time, and if you look even a little bit suspicious, the police stop and frisk you or pull you over to search you on the off chance you’re doing something illegal.

Keep in mind that if you have a firearm of any kind (or anything that resembled a firearm) while in this country, it may get you arrested and, in some circumstances, shot by police.

If you’re thinking this sounds like America today, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

However, the scenario described above took place more than 200 years ago, when American colonists suffered under Great Britain’s version of an early police state. It was only when the colonists finally got fed up with being silenced, censored, searched, frisked, threatened, and arrested that they finally revolted against the tyrant’s fetters.

No document better states their grievances than the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

A document seething with outrage over a government which had betrayed its citizens, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by 56 men who laid everything on the line, pledged it all—“our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”—because they believed in a radical idea: that all people are created to be free.

Labeled traitors, these men were charged with treason, a crime punishable by death. For some, their acts of rebellion would cost them their homes and their fortunes. For others, it would be the ultimate price—their lives.

Yet even knowing the heavy price they might have to pay, these men dared to speak up when silence could not be tolerated. Even after they had won their independence from Great Britain, these new Americans worked to ensure that the rights they had risked their lives to secure would remain secure for future generations.

The result: our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Imagine the shock and outrage these 56 men would feel were they to discover that 246 years later, the government they had risked their lives to create has been transformed into a militaristic police state in which exercising one’s freedoms—at a minimum, merely questioning a government agent—is often viewed as a flagrant act of defiance.

In fact, had the Declaration of Independence been written today, it would have rendered its signers extremists or terrorists, resulting in them being placed on a government watch list, targeted for surveillance of their activities and correspondence, and potentially arrested, held indefinitely, stripped of their rights and labeled enemy combatants.

Read the Declaration of Independence again, and ask yourself if the list of complaints tallied by Jefferson don’t bear a startling resemblance to the abuses “we the people” are suffering at the hands of the American police state.

Here’s what the Declaration of Independence might look and sound like if it were written in the modern vernacular:

There comes a time when a populace must stand united and say “enough is enough” to the government’s abuses, even if it means getting rid of the political parties in power.

Believing that “we the people” have a natural and divine right to direct our own lives, here are truths about the power of the people and how we arrived at the decision to sever our ties to the government:

All people are created equal.

All people possess certain innate rights that no government or agency or individual can take away from them. Among these are the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The government’s job is to protect the people’s innate rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The government’s power comes from the will of the people.

Whenever any government abuses its power, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and replace it with a new government that will respect and protect the rights of the people.

It is not wise to get rid of a government for minor transgressions. In fact, as history has shown, people resist change and are inclined to suffer all manner of abuses to which they have become accustomed.

However, when the people have been subjected to repeated abuses and power grabs, carried out with the purpose of establishing a tyrannical government, people have a right and duty to do away with that tyrannical government and to replace it with a new government that will protect and preserve their innate rights for their future wellbeing.

This is exactly the state of affairs we are under suffering under right now, which is why it is necessary that we change this imperial system of government.

The history of the present Imperial Government is a history of repeated abuses and power grabs, carried out with the intention of establishing absolute tyranny over the country.

To prove this, consider the following:

The government has, through its own negligence and arrogance, refused to adopt urgent and necessary laws for the good of the people.

The government has threatened to hold up critical laws unless the people agree to relinquish their right to be fully represented in the Legislature.

In order to expand its power and bring about compliance with its dictates, the government has made it nearly impossible for the people to make their views and needs heard by their representatives.

The government has repeatedly suppressed protests arising in response to its actions.

The government has obstructed justice by refusing to appoint judges who respect the Constitution and has instead made the courts march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

The government has allowed its agents to harass the people, steal from them, jail them and even execute them.

The government has directed militarized government agents—a.k.a., a standing army—to police domestic affairs in peacetime.

The government has turned the country into a militarized police state.

The government has conspired to undermine the rule of law and the constitution in order to expand its own powers.

The government has allowed its militarized police to invade our homes and inflict violence on homeowners.

The government has failed to hold its agents accountable for wrongdoing and murder under the guise of “qualified immunity.”

The government has jeopardized our international trade agreements.

The government has overtaxed us without our permission.

The government has denied us due process and the right to a fair trial.

The government has engaged in extraordinary rendition.

The government has continued to expand its military empire in collusion with its corporate partners-in-crime and occupy foreign nations.

The government has eroded fundamental legal protections and destabilized the structure of government.

The government has not only declared its federal powers superior to those of the states but has also asserted its sovereign power over the rights of “we the people.”

The government has ceased to protect the people and instead waged domestic war against the people.

The government has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, and destroyed the lives of the people.

The government has employed private contractors and mercenaries to carry out acts of death, desolation and tyranny, totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

The government through its political propaganda has pitted its citizens against each other.

The government has stirred up civil unrest and laid the groundwork for martial law.

Repeatedly, we have asked the government to cease its abuses. Each time, the government has responded with more abuse.

An Imperial Ruler who acts like a tyrant is not fit to govern a free people.

We have repeatedly sounded the alarm to our fellow citizens about the government’s abuses. We have warned them about the government’s power grabs. We have appealed to their sense of justice. We have reminded them of our common bonds.

They have rejected our plea for justice and brotherhood. They are equally at fault for the injustices being carried out by the government.

Thus, for the reasons mentioned above, we the people of the united States of America declare ourselves free from the chains of an abusive government. Relying on God’s protection, we pledge to stand by this Declaration of Independence with our lives, our fortunes and our honor.

In the 246 years since early Americans first declared and eventually won their independence from Great Britain, “we the people” have managed to work ourselves right back under the tyrant’s thumb.

Only this time, the tyrant is one of our own making: the American Police State.

The abuses meted out by an imperial government and endured by the American people have not ended. They have merely evolved.

“We the people” are still being robbed blind by a government of thieves.

We are still being taken advantage of by a government of scoundrels, idiots and monsters.

We are still being locked up by a government of greedy jailers.

We are still being spied on by a government of Peeping Toms.

We are still being ravaged by a government of ruffians, rapists and killers.

We are still being forced to surrender our freedoms—and those of our children—to a government of extortionists, money launderers and corporate pirates.

And we are still being held at gunpoint by a government of soldiers: a standing army in the form of a militarized police.

Given the fact that we are a relatively young nation, it hasn’t taken very long for an authoritarian regime to creep into power.

Unfortunately, the bipartisan coup that laid siege to our nation did not happen overnight.

It snuck in under our radar, hiding behind the guise of national security, the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on immigration, political correctness, hate crimes and a host of other official-sounding programs aimed at expanding the government’s power at the expense of individual freedoms.

The building blocks for the bleak future we’re just now getting a foretaste of—police shootings of unarmed citizens, profit-driven prisons, weapons of compliance, a wall-to-wall surveillance state, pre-crime programs, a suspect society, school-to-prison pipelines, militarized police, overcriminalization, SWAT team raids, endless wars, etc.—were put in place by government officials we trusted to look out for our best interests.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the problems we are facing will not be fixed overnight: that is the grim reality with which we must contend.

Yet that does not mean we should give up or give in or tune out. What we need to do is declare our independence from the tyranny of the American police state.

Rutherford Institute: US Gov. Waging Psychological Warfare on the Nation

John and Nisha Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute writes Everything Is a Weapon: The U.S. Government Is Waging Psychological Warfare on the Nation. One note, when the author talks about cryptocurrency being used for government surveillance, not all cryptocurrencies allow for that kind of tracking. In fact, most cryptocurrencies were designed to provide privacy. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies that are sponsored by the government, banks, or large tech companies are often designed specifically to provide that kind of surveillance and tracking of money.

Have you ever wondered who’s pulling the strings? … Anything we touch is a weapon. We can deceive, persuade, change, influence, inspire. We come in many forms. We are everywhere.”— U.S. Army Psychological Operations recruitment video

The U.S. government is waging psychological warfare on the American people.

No, this is not a conspiracy theory.

Psychological warfare, according to the Rand Corporation, “involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups.”

For years now, the government has been bombarding the citizenry with propaganda campaigns and psychological operations aimed at keeping us compliant, easily controlled and supportive of the police state’s various efforts abroad and domestically.

The government is so confident in its Orwellian powers of manipulation that it’s taken to bragging about them. Just recently, for example, the U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, the branch of the military responsible for psychological warfare, released a recruiting video that touts its efforts to pull the strings, turn everything they touch into a weapon, be everywhere, deceive, persuade, change, influence, and inspire.

This is the danger that lurks in plain sight.

Of the many weapons in the government’s vast arsenal, psychological warfare may be the most devastating in terms of the long-term consequences.

As the military journal Task and Purpose explains, “Psychological warfare is all about influencing governments, people of power, and everyday citizens… PSYOP soldiers’ key missions are to influence ‘emotions, notices, reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments and citizens,’ ‘deliberately deceive’ enemy forces, advise governments, and provide communications for disaster relief and rescue efforts.”

Yet don’t be fooled into thinking these psyops (psychological operations) campaigns are only aimed at foreign enemies. The government has made clear in word and deed that “we the people” are domestic enemies to be targeted, tracked, manipulated, micromanaged, surveilled, viewed as suspects, and treated as if our fundamental rights are mere privileges that can be easily discarded.

Aided and abetted by technological advances and scientific experimentation, the government has been subjecting the American people to “apple-pie propaganda” for the better part of the last century.

Consider some of the ways in which the government continues to wage psychological warfare on a largely unsuspecting citizenry.

Weaponizing violence. With alarming regularity, the nation continues to be subjected to spates of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

Weaponizing surveillance, pre-crime and pre-thought campaigns. Surveillance, digital stalking and the data mining of the American people add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence. When the government sees all and knows all and has an abundance of laws to render even the most seemingly upstanding citizen a criminal and lawbreaker, then the old adage that you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’ve got nothing to hide no longer applies. Add pre-crime programs into the mix with government agencies and corporations working in tandem to determine who is a potential danger and spin a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports using automated eyes and ears, social media, behavior sensing software, and citizen spies, and you having the makings for a perfect dystopian nightmare. The government’s war on crime has now veered into the realm of social media and technological entrapment, with government agents adopting fake social media identities and AI-created profile pictures in order to surveil, target and capture potential suspects.

Weaponizing digital currencies, social media scores and censorship. Tech giants, working with the government, have been meting out their own version of social justice by way of digital tyranny and corporate censorship, muzzling whomever they want, whenever they want, on whatever pretext they want in the absence of any real due process, review or appeal. Unfortunately, digital censorship is just the beginning. Digital currencies (which can be used as “a tool for government surveillance of citizens and control over their financial transactions”), combined with social media scores and surveillance capitalism create a litmus test to determine who is worthy enough to be part of society and punish individuals for moral lapses and social transgressions (and reward them for adhering to government-sanctioned behavior). In China, millions of individuals and businesses, blacklisted as “unworthy” based on social media credit scores that grade them based on whether they are “good” citizens, have been banned from accessing financial markets, buying real estate or travelling by air or train.

Weaponizing compliance. Even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on COVID-19, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands.

Weaponizing entertainment. For the past century, the Department of Defense’s Entertainment Media Office has provided Hollywood with equipment, personnel and technical expertise at taxpayer expense. In exchange, the military industrial complex has gotten a starring role in such blockbusters as Top Gun and its rebooted sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which translates to free advertising for the war hawks, recruitment of foot soldiers for the military empire, patriotic fervor by the taxpayers who have to foot the bill for the nation’s endless wars, and Hollywood visionaries working to churn out dystopian thrillers that make the war machine appear relevant, heroic and necessary. As Elmer Davis, a CBS broadcaster who was appointed the head of the Office of War Information, observed, “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized.”

Weaponizing behavioral science and nudging. Apart from the overt dangers posed by a government that feels justified and empowered to spy on its people and use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technology to monitor and control them, there’s also the covert dangers associated with a government empowered to use these same technologies to influence behaviors en masse and control the populace. In fact, it was President Obama who issued an executive order directing federal agencies to use “behavioral science” methods to minimize bureaucracy and influence the way people respond to government programs. It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from a behavioral program that tries to influence how people respond to paperwork to a government program that tries to shape the public’s views about other, more consequential matters. Thus, increasingly, governments around the world—including in the United States—are relying on “nudge units” to steer citizens in the direction the powers-that-be want them to go, while preserving the appearance of free will.

Weaponizing desensitization campaigns aimed at lulling us into a false sense of security. The events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the lockdowns, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have conspired to acclimate the populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully.

Weaponizing fear and paranoia. The language of fear is spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure. Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government and control a populace, dividing the people into factions, and persuading them to see each other as the enemy. This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. Instead, fueled with fear and loathing for phantom opponents, they agree to pour millions of dollars and resources into political elections, militarized police, spy technology and endless wars, hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes. All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward, and “we the suckers” get saddled with the tax bills and subjected to pat downs, police raids and round-the-clock surveillance.

Weaponizing genetics. Not only does fear grease the wheels of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified, cowed citizens, but it also embeds itself in our very DNA so that we pass on our fear and compliance to our offspring. It’s called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences. For example, neuroscientists observed that fear can travel through generations of mice DNA. As The Washington Post reports, “Studies on humans suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of such traumatic events such as famine, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

Weaponizing the future. With greater frequency, the government has been issuing warnings about the dire need to prepare for the dystopian future that awaits us. For instance, the Pentagon training video, “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity,” predicts that by 2030 (coincidentally, the same year that society begins to achieve singularity with the metaverse) the military would be called on to use armed forces to solve future domestic political and social problems. What they’re really talking about is martial law, packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security. The chilling five-minute training video paints an ominous picture of the future bedeviled by “criminal networks,” “substandard infrastructure,” “religious and ethnic tensions,” “impoverishment, slums,” “open landfills, over-burdened sewers,” a “growing mass of unemployed,” and an urban landscape in which the prosperous economic elite must be protected from the impoverishment of the have nots. “We the people” are the have-nots.

The end goal of these mind control campaigns—packaged in the guise of the greater good—is to see how far the American people will allow the government to go in re-shaping the country in the image of a totalitarian police state.

The facts speak for themselves.

Whatever else it may be—a danger, a menace, a threat—the U.S. government is certainly not looking out for our best interests, nor is it in any way a friend to freedom.

When the government views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their government, when government officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the government routinely violates the rights of the people and perpetrates more violence against the citizenry than the criminal class, when government spending is unaccountable and unaccounted for, when the judiciary act as courts of order rather than justice, and when the government is no longer bound by the laws of the Constitution, then you no longer have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

What we have is a government of wolves.

Our backs are against the proverbial wall.

“We the people”—who think, who reason, who take a stand, who resist, who demand to be treated with dignity and care, who believe in freedom and justice for all—have become undervalued citizens of a totalitarian state that views people as expendable once they have outgrown their usefulness to the State.

Brace yourselves.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, “we the people” have become enemies of the Deep State.

The Machine Gun Nest: Biden’s Ghost Gun Rule is Dead on Arrival

The Machine Gun Nest writes about the Biden administration’s latest attempt to strip rights from the American people in Biden’s Ghost Gun Rule is Dead on Arrival Thanks to the 0% Receiver. It has long been recognized in the USA that a person may manufacture a firearm for their personal use with no need for any licensing, registration, or serial numbering. Gun controllers, however, are willfully ignorant on the current laws, historical context, and even the simplest technical understanding of firearms.

Yesterday, President Biden, the Department of Justice, and the ATF announced the details of their new 364-page rule for the redefinition of “frame or receiver.” In doing so, they have decided to attempt an illegal rewrite of the 1968 Gun Control Act. 

If you’ve been paying close attention to headlines the past few weeks, you may have noticed a surge in articles pertaining to “ghost guns.”

The corporate media has been setting up Biden for an easy “win” on guns with this new rule. Likely because of Biden’s low poll numbers headed into the midterms. 

Initially announced in April of 2021, almost a full year later, we’re finally able to see what sort of egregious gun control has been put together for the law-abiding gun owner. 

The rule stems from the gun control lobby’s obsession with home-built firearms. The problem here, though, is that to regulate privately made firearms, or “PMFs” as they’re defined in the new rule, the ATF had to cast an extremely wide legal net. 

In the 364-page rule, we can see that the Biden admin intends to ban “ghost guns” by creating a new class of highly regulated items by redefining the term “firearm” to include parts and collections of parts that the ATF now considers to be “readily” convertible into functional firearms. 

The example used in the press conference was a Polymer80 kit, which quickly sold out of all available models after the announcement of the rule change. 

It’s important to note that from what we can tell from the rule change and the opinion of others in the know, this rule does not ban possession of firearms made from 80% kits. It also does not mandate the serialization of those already made firearms or 3D printed items for personal use. What it does do is require the serialization of 80% kits that are in possession of Federal Firearms Licensees (also known as FFLs) and manufacturers. It’s interesting because the expected outcome of this rule, as Biden pitched, was the complete and absolute ban of “ghost guns” altogether. 

In addition, ATF has commanded Federal Firearms Licensees to hold 4473 records on-site indefinitely. This small change may go unnoticed by many, but this is a significant step towards a legitimate registry. This action shouldn’t surprise many gun owners, who already know that these rule changes are not about saving lives; they’re only about the consolidation of power.

Firearms Policy Coalition had this to say: 

“Far from “clarifying” anything, the rulemaking tortures simple terms from law into multi-part definitions, with newly injected sub-terms like “readily” having their own lengthy definitions. This is clearly an attempt to sidestep Congress, as Biden even indicated in his remarks today.”

Here’s the irony of the situation, though. Regardless of how overly complex it is or how wide a legal net the ATF decides to cast, this rule change will have little to no effect. 

That’s because of the 0% Receiver. 

In response to the announcement of the Biden Admin’s proposed rule change, Defense Distributed decided to shift its focus to the creation of 0% receivers

Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed had this to say about the new rule:

“The receiver rule is an illegal attempt to rewrite the GCA outside of Congress. Nevertheless, Ghost Gunner anticipated this maneuver and is now shipping Zero Percent receivers which perfectly defeat the rule from day one. Americans will always be able to build firearms in the privacy of their homes.”

This rule change has caused a surge in demand for Defense Distributed’s Ghost Gunner 3. The Ghost Gunner is a small CNC Machine that users can insert a bar of aluminum, press a button, and after the machine mills out the metal, have a completely legal, privately made, non-serialized firearm frame ready to go. 

Because all the Ghost Gunner 3 needs is a block of aluminum to produce the firearm frame, the Biden Admin & ATF would need to regulate blocks of aluminum to stop people from producing privately made firearms. While the DOJ may be able to convince a judge that an 80% lower is likely to be made into a gun, a block of aluminum is a much harder sell. 

The same can be said for 3D printing. Are we to assume that PLA plastic is to be regulated as a firearm? 

Because gun control has a hard time passing in the legislative branch (even with all three branches of government controlled by democrats currently), the Biden admin has resorted to governing by executive fiat, using the executive branch to pass new “regulations” using existing law. 

As of right now, the rule change has 120 days to take effect after it hits the federal register. Many groups such as Gun Owners of America & Firearms Policy Coalition have already announced their intent to sue the Federal Government over these new rule changes.

Mises Wire: The State – It’s Oligarchs All the Way Down

It’s turtles all the way down.

There is an old saying about the world resting on top of a giant world tortoise, and a question about what the holds up the tortoise with the answer being “It’s turtles all the way down.” In this article from the Mises Institute, Professor Jason Morgan of Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan, writes about government as a hierarchy of oligarchs in The State – It’s Oligarchs All the Way Down.

The standard history of post-Soviet Russia goes something like this. During the Soviet era, there were no real prices because of the Communists’ incessant, blanket meddling in economic activity. Nobody knew what anything was really worth. Not a loaf of bread, not a mine full of uranium. It was all owned and redistributed by the state. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the state of course disappeared. Suddenly, there were no prices, and no owners. It was like a gigantic economic free-for-all. A “Wild West,” as the saying goes. Everything was up for grabs.

In a fashion that Mises readers will immediately understand as textbook Hoppean-Rothbardian, in the midst of this chaos the worst of the worst rose to the top. The hyenas moved in to tear at the Soviet carcass. Ruthless and cunning opportunists took over formerly state-run factories and extraction operations. A kind of national gang culture emerged, and the logic of this gangland mentality worked to sort out the spoils among the strongmen. Some people, those who were particularly well endowed with craftiness, came out ahead, appropriating to themselves billions upon billions of dollars’ worth of oil, gas, and mineral rights, among other commodities. Those nouveau riche from the Russian criminal class we now call “oligarchs.” And the king of all the oligarchs, the baddest dog in the junkyard, turned out to be a former KGB colonel and deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

A by-now-infamous 2009 episode in the Russian town of Pikalyovo sums the whole thing up perfectly. Prime Minister Putin (then on theatrical break from his main job of president) showed up to order a factory complex restarted so thousands of breadwinners could get back to work. One of the factories was owned and supplied by Oleg Deripaska, one of Putin’s rival oligarchs. Putin humiliated him at a public meeting, ordering Deripaska to sign an agreement which would reopen the factory complex, thereby showing the world that Putin was in charge of every operation in Russia. When Deripaska had signed the agreement, Putin twisted the knife by making Deripaska return to him his pen. Oligarchs gonna oligarch. Putin is the man, and he will show up in any town to have a shootout with anyone foolish enough to cross him. One big O.K. Corral: this is how most of us in the West understand Russia today.

But let us think a bit more carefully, going back to our Hoppe and Rothbard for help. What is a state? A state is a gang of criminals. A state is organized crime on a massive scale. A state is oligarchs everywhere. It always is, always has been. Political scientist James C. Scott’s most recent book, Against the Grain (2017), details how the “earliest states” preyed on human endeavor. States extract protection money (euphemistically called “taxes,” sometimes also called “tribute” or “war bonds”) from as many people as the criminals who sit in the state’s central chambers or on the state’s throne can reach.

Russian oligarchs post–Soviet era are hardly unique. States are just this, just as we see in the relationship between Putin and the beta oligarchs. The only thing shocking about the Russian case is that it is more transparently corrupt than usual. Most states clothe their theft behind anthems and flags and tales of heroic deeds. The Russian Federation lost its politico-mythic backing when it rose out of the ashes of the USSR. But it is trying to get it back. Stalin has been rehabilitated in Russia as a great man. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will one day be remembered as the glorious sacrifice of the brave for the motherland. All states are gravity fields for propaganda and fake news. Give Russia time, and she will look just like all the other states again. You won’t be able to see through the shop windows the smash-and-grab going on inside. Everything will look grand and state-like. The Russian state will normalize, and nobody will call its elite “oligarchs” anymore.

Thus, statists have a natural incentive to legitimate one another’s plundering schemes. Presidents and prime ministers and kings drink to one another’s health at sumptuous galas paid for with private property taken from all the rest of us (who never get invitations to the ball). I wouldn’t be surprised to find crowns and ermine capes coming back in fashion among state leaders soon. Statists think they’re gods, and they act like they own everyone else’s money. Not just Russia, not at all.

Indeed, this Hoppean-Rothbardian insight, that states are basically groups of oligarchs who give themselves titles and medals, can be expanded far beyond the Russian example. For if the current crop of Russian oligarchs are just standard statists, then the narrative about the collapse of the Soviet Union must also be called into question. It wasn’t that the Soviet Union collapsed, in this sense. It was that one form of oligarchy gave way to another, with a messy period of transition in between. The Soviet Union was “Communist,” but communism was never about the equal distribution of wealth or the alleviation of social problems. As Hoppean-Rothbardians, we must not take statist excuse making at face value. Communism was, and remains, a system for gathering total social and economic control into the hands of a very few. In other words, a cover story for oligarchy. The current Russian oligarchs aren’t doing anything new. Before them there was Stalin, of course, and Brezhnev and Khrushchev and Lenin, and the handful of other divines who took everything from the Russian people and lived in opulent palaces with servants and harems and caviar.

And it isn’t just Russia. What state does not have oligarchs running it? It’s a trick rhetorical question, because, as I’ve been saying, states and oligarchies are the same thing. Communism, democracy—it’s all from the same barrel. Unjust enrichment comes in many different flavors. But the main ingredient is always taxation and consolidation of ownership into the hands of the elite. The exclusion of the hoi polloi from the fruits of their expropriated labor is what makes the state the state. There are grand halls and massive monuments in the state’s capitals, marble utterances of the state’s political theology scattered across the land. The state has its own saints and martyrs, its own calendar of holy days. The state is a kind of religious ritual, only the tithe is not optional. And it’s a lot more than 10 percent. That’s what a state is, theft dressed up as solemn duty. People die all the time for the state. Graveyards are filled with the state’s dead. The state charges the bereaved for those cemeteries’ upkeep. More taxes. No matter what happens, the state always wins in the end.

So let’s use this knowledge to examine the current situation in Ukraine. A world-class oligarch, who relaxes in a Russian Versailles, is going up against a very minor Ukrainian oligarch to his west. This arriviste oligarch has the ambiguous backing of a massive cabal of big-time oligarchs in Western Europe and the United States. This cabal calls itself the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and it is a very exclusive club. Members have access to an impressive array of security options, including all the best equipment of some of the biggest militaries in the world. The ostensible leader is the American president, whose son has grown extraordinarily rich by conspiring with the oligarchy in Ukraine, where the North Atlantic Treaty Organization oligarchs are now glaring across the borderlands at the oligarchs in the Kremlin. The Atlantic oligarchy wants to crowd in on the turf of the Russian oligarchy, and a Ukrainian oligarch is caught in the middle. The people who are normally taxed by the oligarchs are also the ones who are being shelled and who are being sent out in tanks to do the shelling. More deaths for the glory of the state—which doesn’t exist, being simply a euphemism for “oligarchy.”

There is more. An upstart oligarchy in Beijing hovers over the tense scene, appearing ready to broker “peace” among the other oligarchs when its own interests will be best served. And the Beijing oligarchy has its own coterie of beta oligarchs, including the tribute bearers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan, all of which are filled with political cronies with access to their own income streams ultimately deriving from the paychecks of lowly taxpayers. When the time comes, the taxpayers in those places will also die for the oligarchs. American Marines are on Okinawa waiting their turn to die, too. The oligarchs are going to live, though. They are going to do just fine. War and peace—the oligarchs make money either way. “L’état, c’est moi!” Yes, exactly.

The fact that the United States Department of Justice managed to slap sanctions on Russian “oligarchs” in record time after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and is now deploying a special “task force” to appropriate the property of Putin and his network of grifters, tells us everything we need to know about what is going on in Eastern Europe right now. The task force—can you believe the chutzpah?—is aimed at “Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs.” Abbreviation: REPO. The state taketh, and then the state taketh some more.

Lenin called World War I a war among the capitalists of Europe. He was wrong. It was a war among oligarchs, statists who extract wealth from legitimate economic activity at the barrel of a gun. And when some oligarchs step out of line, they are killed off and the other oligarchs take the spoils. Ditto for Ukraine. It’s not the “West” versus the Russian oligarchs there. It’s the oligarchs versus the oligarchs versus the oligarchs. It’s oligarchs all the way down. Read Hoppe and Rothbard, and don’t fall for the latest round of fake news about the always, everywhere criminal state.

The American Mind: Bitcoin Versus the Bond Villain

Alexander Leishman at The American Mind briefly writes in Bitcoin Versus the Bond Villain about government overreach, tyranny in western so-called democracies, and the power of cryptocurrencies.

The perfect tool to thwart the ambitions of modern autocrats.

If you’ve watched any spy movies lately, you’ll have noticed a new type of villain: the old-fashioned cat-scratching megalomaniac has been replaced by the power-mad government functionary or bureaucrat. Consider the character of Max Denbigh—or “C”—the head of the “Joint Security Service,” from the 2015 Bond film, Spectre. C’s vast ambition is to capture all personal data from all places, and thus build a public spying operation described as “George Orwell’s worst nightmare.”

“Take a look at the world…chaos…because people like you, paper-pushers and politicians, are too spineless to do what needs to be done,” C explains to his intelligence counterpart. “So I made an alliance to put the power where it should be, and now you want to throw it away for the sake of democracy, whatever the hell that is. How predictably moronic.” Similarly, in the Jason Bourne series, CIA officials use terrorist threats as a pretext for widespread government surveillance and black operations of questionable legality.

The anti-heroes in these blockbuster films style themselves as the good guys, “protectors” who use their power for your own good, to prevent something worse from happening. And yet, it says something that we instinctively sense and mistrust their sinister ambition when we see it on screen—and we cheer when their plans are thwarted.

These movies jumped to mind over the last week, as we’ve seen a real-life Bond villain—less over-the-top in his self-presentation but no less dangerous—usurp the rule of law in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to quell anti-vaccine mandate protests. While the powers were in effect, he was able to use provisions in the Emergencies Act of 1988 to expand the rules within the Terrorist Financing Act, giving him leverage against financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, and crowdfunding platforms.

Under the Emergencies Act, Trudeau was able to apply banking surveillance to payment processors and crowdfunding websites. He demanded that cryptocurrency exchanges and crowdfunding platforms report “suspicious” transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). His government could also suspend the insurance and freeze the accounts of companies that own the trucks being used in the protest.

Ten days after Trudeau first invoked the Act, it became clear that he did not have the votes in the Senate to extend his powers. So he revoked the measures. But the logic of Trudeau’s governance is all too clear: the head of state in a Western, democratic nation is prepared to treat a public protest by his own citizens as an act of terrorism. It is hugely significant that his chosen form of leverage was forcing financial institutions to do his bidding. This is a breathtaking—and frightening—abuse of government powers, and it will set a precedent for other Western leaders to delegitimize opposition using digital control of finances.

That makes Canada’s protests an essential proof point for the virtues of Bitcoin. While much is written about Bitcoin, its ability to evade the traditional financial system rarely gets much coverage. That’s deliberate: Bitcoin advocates have been fighting to gain legitimacy for so long that they tend not to focus on “avoiding surveillance” as a selling point.

But this moment calls for something different: It’s a chance to talk about Bitcoin as a safeguard against the whims of those public leaders who use finance and money as a political cudgel. Trudeau’s actions make a sterling case for why Bitcoin matters for free speech and free expression—because both speech and expression require the free movement of money. And when the government controls how money flows—and when they decide to cease that flow to suit various political goals—that leaves free speech and expression in the lurch.

By contrast, Bitcoin operates on a distributed ledger system, with no one authority able to control or access privileged information about where money does and does not go. While government regulators have been trying to curtail the work of cryptocurrency exchanges, they are finding it hard to even wrap their heads around the technology, let alone write sensible regulatory protocols for it.

And thank goodness for that delay and lack of comprehension. Because if the Canadian government’s Bond-villain-style tactics show us anything, it’s that the free movement of money needs as much protection as the free transmission of ideas, picket signs, or trucks. Bitcoin is a defense of financial independence—an ideal as vital to liberty as any other.

Rutherford Institute: Stand Up to Tyranny — How to Respond to the Evils of Our Age

Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute writes Stand Up to Tyranny: How to Respond to the Evils of Our Age

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”—Martin Luther King Jr. (A Knock at Midnight, June 11, 1967)

In every age, we find ourselves wrestling with the question of how Jesus Christ—the itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist who died challenging the police state of his time, namely, the Roman Empire—would respond to the moral questions of our day.

For instance, would Jesus advocate, as so many evangelical Christian leaders have done in recent years, for congregants to “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” which in the American police state translates to complying, conforming, submitting, obeying orders, deferring to authority and generally doing whatever a government official tells you to do?

What would Jesus do? 

Study the life and teachings of Jesus, and you may be surprised at how relevant he is to our modern age.

A radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn, Jesus spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire, and providing a blueprint for standing up to tyranny that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him.

Those living through this present age of government lockdowns, immunity passports, militarized police, SWAT team raids, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside strip searches, invasive surveillance and the like might feel as if these events are unprecedented. However, the characteristics of a police state and its reasons for being are no different today than they were in Jesus’ lifetime: control, power and money.

Much like the American Empire today, the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day was characterized by secrecy, surveillance, a widespread police presence, a citizenry treated like suspects with little recourse against the police state, perpetual wars, a military empire, martial law, and political retribution against those who dared to challenge the power of the state.

A police state extends far beyond the actions of law enforcement.  In fact, a police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

Indeed, the police state in which Jesus lived (and died) and its striking similarities to modern-day America are beyond troubling.

Secrecy, surveillance and rule by the elite. As the chasm between the wealthy and poor grew wider in the Roman Empire, the ruling class and the wealthy class became synonymous, while the lower classes, increasingly deprived of their political freedoms, grew disinterested in the government and easily distracted by “bread and circuses.” Much like America today, with its lack of government transparency, overt domestic surveillance, and rule by the rich, the inner workings of the Roman Empire were shrouded in secrecy, while its leaders were constantly on the watch for any potential threats to its power. The resulting state-wide surveillance was primarily carried out by the military, which acted as investigators, enforcers, torturers, policemen, executioners and jailers. Today that role is fulfilled by the NSA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the increasingly militarized police forces across the country.

Widespread police presence. The Roman Empire used its military forces to maintain the “peace,” thereby establishing a police state that reached into all aspects of a citizen’s life. In this way, these military officers, used to address a broad range of routine problems and conflicts, enforced the will of the state. Today SWAT teams, comprised of local police and federal agents, are employed to carry out routine search warrants for minor crimes such as marijuana possession and credit card fraud.

Citizenry with little recourse against the police state. As the Roman Empire expanded, personal freedom and independence nearly vanished, as did any real sense of local governance and national consciousness. Similarly, in America today, citizens largely feel powerless, voiceless and unrepresented in the face of a power-hungry federal government. As states and localities are brought under direct control by federal agencies and regulations, a sense of learned helplessness grips the nation.

Perpetual wars and a military empire. Much like America today with its practice of policing the world, war and an over-arching militarist ethos provided the framework for the Roman Empire, which extended from the Italian peninsula to all over Southern, Western, and Eastern Europe, extending into North Africa and Western Asia as well. In addition to significant foreign threats, wars were waged against inchoate, unstructured and socially inferior foes.

Martial law. Eventually, Rome established a permanent military dictatorship that left the citizens at the mercy of an unreachable and oppressive totalitarian regime. In the absence of resources to establish civic police forces, the Romans relied increasingly on the military to intervene in all matters of conflict or upheaval in provinces, from small-scale scuffles to large-scale revolts. Not unlike police forces today, with their martial law training drills on American soil, militarized weapons and “shoot first, ask questions later” mindset, the Roman soldier had “the exercise of lethal force at his fingertips” with the potential of wreaking havoc on normal citizens’ lives.

A nation of suspects. Just as the American Empire looks upon its citizens as suspects to be tracked, surveilled and controlled, the Roman Empire looked upon all potential insubordinates, from the common thief to a full-fledged insurrectionist, as threats to its power. The insurrectionist was seen as directly challenging the Emperor.  A “bandit,” or revolutionist, was seen as capable of overturning the empire, was always considered guilty and deserving of the most savage penalties, including capital punishment. Bandits were usually punished publicly and cruelly as a means of deterring others from challenging the power of the state.  Jesus’ execution was one such public punishment.

Acts of civil disobedience by insurrectionists. Starting with his act of civil disobedience at the Jewish temple, the site of the administrative headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish council, Jesus branded himself a political revolutionary. When Jesus “with the help of his disciples, blocks the entrance to the courtyard” and forbids “anyone carrying goods for sale or trade from entering the Temple,” he committed a blatantly criminal and seditious act, an act “that undoubtedly precipitated his arrest and execution.” Because the commercial events were sponsored by the religious hierarchy, which in turn was operated by consent of the Roman government, Jesus’ attack on the money chargers and traders can be seen as an attack on Rome itself, an unmistakable declaration of political and social independence from the Roman oppression.

Military-style arrests in the dead of night. Jesus’ arrest account testifies to the fact that the Romans perceived Him as a revolutionary. Eerily similar to today’s SWAT team raids, Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night, in secret, by a large, heavily armed fleet of soldiers.  Rather than merely asking for Jesus when they came to arrest him, his pursuers collaborated beforehand with Judas. Acting as a government informant, Judas concocted a kiss as a secret identification marker, hinting that a level of deception and trickery must be used to obtain this seemingly “dangerous revolutionist’s” cooperation. 

Torture and capital punishment. In Jesus’ day, religious preachers, self-proclaimed prophets and nonviolent protesters were not summarily arrested and executed. Indeed, the high priests and Roman governors normally allowed a protest, particularly a small-scale one, to run its course. However, government authorities were quick to dispose of leaders and movements that appeared to threaten the Roman Empire. The charges leveled against Jesus—that he was a threat to the stability of the nation, opposed paying Roman taxes and claimed to be the rightful King—were purely political, not religious. To the Romans, any one of these charges was enough to merit death by crucifixion, which was usually reserved for slaves, non-Romans, radicals, revolutionaries and the worst criminals.

Jesus was presented to Pontius Pilate “as a disturber of the political peace,” a leader of a rebellion, a political threat, and most gravely—a claimant to kingship, a “king of the revolutionary type.” After Jesus is formally condemned by Pilate, he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, “the Roman means of executing criminals convicted of high treason.”  The purpose of crucifixion was not so much to kill the criminal, as it was an immensely public statement intended to visually warn all those who would challenge the power of the Roman Empire. Hence, it was reserved solely for the most extreme political crimes: treason, rebellion, sedition, and banditry. After being ruthlessly whipped and mocked, Jesus was nailed to a cross.

As Professor Mark Lewis Taylor observed:

The cross within Roman politics and culture was a marker of shame, of being a criminal. If you were put to the cross, you were marked as shameful, as criminal, but especially as subversive. And there were thousands of people put to the cross. The cross was actually positioned at many crossroads, and, as New Testament scholar Paula Fredricksen has reminded us, it served as kind of a public service announcement that said, “Act like this person did, and this is how you will end up.”

Jesus—the revolutionary, the political dissident, and the nonviolent activist—lived and died in a police state. Any reflection on Jesus’ life and death within a police state must take into account several factors: Jesus spoke out strongly against such things as empires, controlling people, state violence and power politics. Jesus challenged the political and religious belief systems of his day. And worldly powers feared Jesus, not because he challenged them for control of thrones or government but because he undercut their claims of supremacy, and he dared to speak truth to power in a time when doing so could—and often did—cost a person his life.

Unfortunately, the radical Jesus, the political dissident who took aim at injustice and oppression, has been largely forgotten today, replaced by a congenial, smiling Jesus trotted out for religious holidays but otherwise rendered mute when it comes to matters of war, power and politics.

Yet for those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire.

Ultimately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is the contradiction that must be resolved if the radical Jesus—the one who stood up to the Roman Empire and was crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be—is to be an example for our modern age.

After all, there is so much suffering and injustice in the world, and so much good that can be done by those who truly aspire to follow Jesus Christ’s example.

We must decide whether we will follow the path of least resistance—willing to turn a blind eye to what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the “evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination, to the moral degeneracy of religious bigotry and the corroding effects of narrow sectarianism, to economic conditions that deprive men of work and food, and to the insanities of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence”—or whether we will be transformed nonconformists “dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.”

As King explained in a powerful sermon delivered in 1954, “This command not to conform comes … [from] Jesus Christ, the world’s most dedicated nonconformist, whose ethical nonconformity still challenges the conscience of mankind.”

Furthermore:

We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians, who were nonconformists in the truest sense of the word and refused to shape their witness according to the mundane patterns of the world.  Willingly they sacrificed fame, fortune, and life itself in behalf of a cause they knew to be right.  Quantitatively small, they were qualitatively giants.  Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests.  Finally, they captured the Roman Empire for Jesus Christ… The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.  The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.  In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!

…Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, “Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?”  But we are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence.  Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear.  To be a Christian, one must take up his cross, with all of its difficulties and agonizing and tragedy-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its marks upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way that comes only through suffering.

In these days of worldwide confusion, there is a dire need for men and women who will courageously do battle for truth.  We must make a choice. Will we continue to march to the drumbeat of conformity and respectability, or will we, listening to the beat of a more distant drum, move to its echoing sounds?  Will we march only to the music of time, or will we, risking criticism and abuse, march to the soul saving music of eternity?

Charles Carroll Society: Democrats and Domestic Terrorism

Democrats and Domestic Terrorism comes from the Charles Carroll Society.

Just a reminder that the last time a Democrat ran the federal government and decided some Americans were domestic terrorists, the result was a bunch of American children burned alive in Waco, Texas. No one was ever punished for burning American Children alive. Authoritarian Democrats love to burn alive people they call “domestic enemies.”

Philadelphia Democrats burning down an entire black neighborhood and killing 11 people to get to MOVE

In 1985 Philadelphia Democrat Mayor Woodrow Goode and police commissioner Gregore J. Sambor classified MOVE as a terrorist organization. MOVE, originally called the Christian Movement for Life, was a black militant “anarcho-primitivist” group led by John Africa. In 1985 Democrat Mayor Goode ordered the firebombing of their homestead burning eleven people, including five children aged 7 to 13). Five hundred police officers participated in the assault. No one was punished.

Poor white family in the middle of nowhere murdered by Republican H.W. Bush

In 1992 Republican H.W Bush’s administration at Ruby Ridge in Boundary County, Idaho: FBI snipers surrounded and then shot a boy, and later his mother as she stood in her kitchen holding her young child. No one was punished.

In 19APR1993, in the first year of Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, he and his administration in Waco, Texas, surrounded and murdered 76 Americans, including children.  Many of these children were burned alive.

Poor white families burned alive by Democrat Bill Clinton

Even in the 1990s, this was a post-Christian and post-rule-of-law nation, and it’s much worse now. Chuck Schumer, who now leads the Senate and all other elected Democrats, defended what happened in Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas, calling the murderers heroes and the murdered “insurrectionists.” At the same time, the establishment Republicans did nothing as per usual.

 

The lying, legacy, liberal media covered it up, performing the function they were designed for. Defend the powerful and encourage murdering people they do not like. The American people changed the channel back to Seinfeld, and the march towards  communism continued unabated.  Any of your family, coworkers, or neighbors who support Beijing Biden supports this regime’s actions.

See your future, know your fate.

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Grandchild of one of the MOVE members murdered in 1985

Organic Prepper: Would YOU Be Considered a Domestic Terrorist Under This New Bill?

Robert Wheeler at The Organic Prepper talk about the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 and asks Would YOU Be Considered a Domestic Terrorist Under This New Bill?  If you go looking for the bill, please note that there was a DTPA of 2020 and one for 2019, and 2018, and 2017… so be sure you’re looking at the right one. There are also news articles relating to some of the old acts saying things like “the legislation doesn’t mention MAGA rallies anywhere,” but we currently don’t have text for this years act.

After 9/11, the entire country collectively lost its mind in the throes of fear. During that time, all civil and Constitutional rights were shredded and replaced with the pages of The USA PATRIOT Act.

Almost 20 years later, the U.S. has again lost its collective mind, this time in fear of a “virus” and it’s “super mutations” and a “riot” at the capitol. A lot of people called this and to the surprise of very few, much like after 9/11, Americans are watching what remains of their civil liberties be replaced with a new bill.

The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021

The DTPA is essentially the criminalization of speech, expression, and thought. It takes cancel culture a step further and all but outlaws unpopular opinions. This act will empower intelligence, law enforcement, and even military wings of the American ruling class to crack down on individuals adhering to certain belief systems and ideologies.

According to MI Congressman Fred Upton: 

“The attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month was the latest example of domestic terrorism, but the threat of domestic terrorism remains very real. We cannot turn a blind eye to it,” Upton said. “The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act will equip our law enforcement leaders with the tools needed to help keep our homes, families, and communities across the country safe.

Congressman Upton’s website gives the following information on DTPA:

The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 would strengthen the federal government’s efforts to prevent, report on, respond to, and investigate acts of domestic terrorism by authorizing offices dedicated to combating this threat; requiring these offices to regularly assess this threat; and providing training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement in addressing it.

DTPA would authorize three offices, one each within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to monitor, investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic terrorism. The bill also requires these offices to provide Congress with joint, biannual reports assessing the state of domestic terrorism threats, with a specific focus on white supremacists. Based on the data collected, DTPA requires these offices to focus their resources on the most significant threats.

DTPA also codifies the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which would coordinate with United States Attorneys and other public safety officials to promote information sharing and ensure an effective, responsive, and organized joint effort to combat domestic terrorism. The legislation requires DOJ, FBI, and DHS to provide training and resources to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in understanding, detecting, deterring, and investigating acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy. Finally, DTPA directs DHS, DOJ, FBI, and the Department of Defense to establish an interagency task force to combat white supremacist infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement.

Those who read the bill aren’t so gung ho to shred the Constitution

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has some serious reservations. In a recent interview on Fox News Primetime, Gabbard stated that the bill effectively criminalizes half of the country. (Emphasis ours)

“It’s so dangerous as you guys have been talking about, this is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said.

She continued: “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this unholy alliance of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians.”

Gabbard, stating her concern about how the government will define what qualities they are searching for in potential threats to the country, went on to ask:

“What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this”

Tulsi said the bill would create a dangerous undermining of our civil liberties and freedoms in our Constitution. She also stated the DPTA essentially targets nearly half of the United States. 

“You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said.

Tulsi Gabbard is not the only one to criticize the legislation

Even the ACLU, one of the weakest organizations on civil liberties in the United States, has spoken out. While the ACLU was only concerned with how the bill would affect minorities or “brown people,” the organization stated that the legislation, while set forth under the guise of countering white supremacy, would eventually be used against non-white people.

The ACLU’s statement is true.

As with similar bills submitted under the guise of “protecting” Americans against outside threats, this bill will inevitably expand further. The stated goals of the DPTA are far-reaching and frightening enough. It would amount to an official declaration of the end to Free Speech.

Soon there will be no rights left for Americans

In the last twenty years, Americans have lost their 4th Amendment rights, and now they are losing their 1st. All that remains is the 2nd Amendment, and both the ruling class and increasing numbers of the American people know it.

Dark days are ahead.

Here is also an interview with Tulsi Gabbard on the issue.

Rutherford Institute: Enemies of the Deep State – The Government’s War on Domestic Terrorism Is a Trap

Constitutional law attorney John Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute writes Enemies of the Deep State: The Government’s War on Domestic Terrorism Is a Trap

“This is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends. What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? [The proposed legislation could create] a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.”—Tulsi Gabbard, former Congresswoman

This is how it begins.

We are moving fast down that slippery slope to an authoritarian society in which the only opinions, ideas and speech expressed are the ones permitted by the government and its corporate cohorts.

In the wake of the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, “domestic terrorism” has become the new poster child for expanding the government’s powers at the expense of civil liberties.

Of course, “domestic terrorist” is just the latest bull’s eye phrase, to be used interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist,” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous.”

Watch and see: we are all about to become enemies of the state.

In a déjà vu mirroring of the legislative fall-out from 9/11, and the ensuing build-up of the security state, there is a growing demand in certain sectors for the government to be given expanded powers to root out “domestic” terrorism, the Constitution be damned.

If this is a test of Joe Biden’s worthiness to head up the American police state, he seems ready.

As part of his inaugural address, President Biden pledged to confront and defeat “a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism.” Biden has also asked the Director of National Intelligence to work with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in carrying out a “comprehensive threat assessment” of domestic terrorism. And then to keep the parallels going, there is the proposed Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021, introduced after the Jan. 6 riots, which aims to equip the government with “the tools to identify, monitor and thwart” those who could become radicalized to violence.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss the sleight of hand.

This is the tricky part of the Deep State’s con game that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

It follows the same pattern as every other convenient “crisis” used by the government as an excuse to expand its powers at the citizenry’s expense and at the expense of our freedoms.

As investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald warns:

“The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting ‘terrorism’ that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This New War on Terror—one that is domestic in name from the start and carries the explicit purpose of fighting ‘extremists’ and ‘domestic terrorists’ among American citizens on U.S. soil—presents the whole slew of historically familiar dangers when governments, exploiting media-generated fear and dangers, arm themselves with the power to control information, debate, opinion, activism and protests.”

Greenwald is referring to the USA Patriot Act, passed almost 20 years ago, which paved the way for the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since Sept. 11, 2001.

Some members of Congress get it.

In a letter opposing expansion of national security powers, a handful congressional representatives urged their colleagues not to repeat the mistakes of the past:

“While many may find comfort in increased national security powers in the wake of this attack, we must emphasize that we have been here before and we have seen where that road leads. Our history is littered with examples of initiatives sold as being necessary to fight extremism that quickly devolve into tools used for the mass violation of the human and civil rights of the American people… To expand the government’s national security powers once again at the expense of the human and civil rights of the American people would only serve to further undermine our democracy, not protect it.”

Cue the Emergency State, the government’s Machiavellian version of crisis management that justifies all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security.

This is the power grab hiding in plain sight, obscured by the political machinations of the self-righteous elite. This is how the government continues to exploit crises and use them as opportunities for power grabs under the guise of national security. Indeed, this is exactly how the government added red flag gun laws, precrime surveillance, fusion centers, threat assessments, mental health assessments, involuntary confinement to its arsenal of weaponized powers.

The objective is not to make America safe again. That has never been the government’s aim.

Greenwald explains:

“Why would such new terrorism laws be needed in a country that already imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world as the result of a very aggressive set of criminal laws? What acts should be criminalized by new ‘domestic terrorism’ laws that are not already deemed criminal? They never say, almost certainly because—just as was true of the first set of new War on Terror laws—their real aim is to criminalize that which should not be criminalized: speech, association, protests, opposition to the new ruling coalition.”

So you see, the issue is not whether Donald Trump or Roger Stone or MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell deserve to be banned from Twitter, even if they’re believed to be spouting misinformation, hateful ideas, or fomenting discontent.

Rather, we should be asking whether any corporation or government agency or entity representing a fusion of the two should have the power to muzzle, silence, censor, regulate, control and altogether eradicate so-called “dangerous” or “extremist” ideas.

This unilateral power to muzzle free speech represents a far greater danger than any so-called right- or left-wing extremist might pose.

The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association.

Yet where many go wrong is in assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or challenging the government’s authority in order to be flagged as a suspicious character, labeled an enemy of the state and locked up like a dangerous criminal.

Eventually, all you will really need to do is use certain trigger words, surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, drive a car, stay at a hotel, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, question government authority, or generally live in the United States.

The groundwork has already been laid.

The trap is set.

All that is needed is the right bait.

With the help of automated eyes and ears, a growing arsenal of high-tech software, hardware and techniques, government propaganda urging Americans to turn into spies and snitches, as well as social media and behavior sensing software, government agents have been busily spinning a sticky spider-web of threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious” activity reports aimed at snaring potential enemies of the state.

It’s the American police state’s take on the dystopian terrors foreshadowed by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Phillip K. Dick all rolled up into one oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package.

What’s more, the technocrats who run the surveillance state don’t even have to break a sweat while monitoring what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, how much you spend, whom you support, and with whom you communicate. Computers by way of AI (artificial intelligence) now do the tedious work of trolling social media, the internet, text messages and phone calls for potentially anti-government remarks, all of which is carefully recorded, documented, and stored to be used against you someday at a time and place of the government’s choosing.

For instance, police in major American cities have been using predictive policing technology that allows them to identify individuals—or groups of individuals—most likely to commit a crime in a given community. Those individuals are then put on notice that their movements and activities will be closely monitored and any criminal activity (by them or their associates) will result in harsh penalties.

In other words, the burden of proof is reversed: you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.

Dig beneath the surface of this kind of surveillance/police state, however, and you will find that the real purpose of pre-crime is not safety but control.

Red flag gun laws merely push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless.

This is the same government that has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state.

For instance, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list.

Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car.

According to one FBI latest report, you might also be classified as a domestic terrorism threat if you espouse conspiracy theories, especially if you “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

Additionally, according to Michael C. McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, the bureau now “classifies domestic terrorism threats into four main categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism.”

In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you may well be suspected of being a domestic terrorist and treated accordingly.

Again, where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention.

In fact, U.S. police agencies have been working to identify and manage potential extremist “threats,” violent or otherwise, before they can become actual threats for some time now.

In much the same way that the USA Patriot Act was used as a front to advance the surveillance state, allowing the government to establish a far-reaching domestic spying program that turned every American citizen into a criminal suspect, the government’s anti-extremism program renders otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist.

In fact, all you need to do these days to end up on a government watch list or be subjected to heightened scrutiny is use certain trigger words (like cloud, pork and pirates), surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, limp or stutter, drive a car, stay at a hotel, attend a political rally, express yourself on social media, appear mentally ill, serve in the military, disagree with a law enforcement official, call in sick to work, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, appear confused or nervous, fidget or whistle or smell bad, be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun (such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane), stare at a police officer, question government authority, or appear to be pro-gun or pro-freedom.

Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there.

You will be tracked wherever you go.

You will be flagged as a potential threat and dealt with accordingly.

This is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.

The government has been building its pre-crime, surveillance network in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the corporate sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

If you’re not scared yet, you should be.

Connect the dots.

Start with the powers amassed by the government under the USA Patriot Act, note the government’s ever-broadening definition of what it considers to be an “extremist,” then add in the government’s detention powers under NDAA, the National Security Agency’s far-reaching surveillance networks, and fusion centers that collect and share surveillance data between local, state and federal police agencies.

To that, add tens of thousands of armed, surveillance drones and balloons that are beginning to blanket American skies, facial recognition technology that will identify and track you wherever you go and whatever you do. And then to complete the picture, toss in the real-time crime centers being deployed in cities across the country, which will be attempting to “predict” crimes and identify so-called criminals before they happen based on widespread surveillance, complex mathematical algorithms and prognostication programs.

Hopefully you’re starting to understand how easy we’ve made it for the government to identify, label, target, defuse and detain anyone it views as a potential threat for a variety of reasons that run the gamut from mental illness to having a military background to challenging its authority to just being on the government’s list of persona non grata.

There’s always a price to pay for standing up to the powers-that-be.

Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, you don’t even have to be a dissident to get flagged by the government for surveillance, censorship and detention.

All you really need to be is a citizen of the American police state.

The Federalist: Biden Intelligence Agencies To Investigate Pro-Trump ‘Bigots’ And ‘Libertarians’

The Federalist reports John Brennan: Biden Intelligence Agencies To Investigate Pro-Trump ‘Bigots’ And ‘Libertarians’

Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan said federal intelligence agencies’ top priority, under the leadership of President Joe Biden, is seeking to root out people in pro-Trump “insurgency” groups filled with “white supremacists.”

“I know, looking forward, that the members of the Biden team who have been nominated or have been appointed are now moving in laser-like fashion, to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas, where they germinate in different parts of the country and they gain strength, and it brings together an unholy alliance frequently of religious extremists — so authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, and even libertarians,” Brennan said on MSNBC.

The decision to target these groups, Brennan admitted, stemmed from the recent riot at the Capitol and the administration’s belief that then-President Donald Trump incited an insurrection among his supporters that could continue to be a “threat to our democracy and our republic.”

“Unfortunately, I think there has been this momentum that has been generated as a result of unfortunately the demagogue of rhetoric of people that just departed government, but also those who continue in the halls of Congress,” Brennan continued. “And so I really do think that the law enforcement, Homeland Security Intelligence, and even the defense officials are doing everything possible to root out what seems to be a very, very serious and insidious threat to our democracy and our republic.”

Despite repeatedly insisting that Obama’s intelligence agencies conducted “no spying on Donald Trump’s campaign,” a claim contradicted by inspector general reports, a two-year special counsel probe, congressional inquiries, and continued investigation, Brennan has repeatedly lied about the role Christopher Steele’s dossier played in the FBI and CIA’s review of disproven collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. He is also well-known for other public lies on TV and to Congress while under oath.

Rutherford Institute: The Deep State’s Stealthy, Subversive, Silent Coup to Ensure Nothing Changes

Constitutional law attorney John Whitehead writes about DC corruption in The Deep State’s Stealthy, Subversive, Silent Coup to Ensure Nothing Changes

“You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country…why in the name of God don’t you have any faith in the system of government you’re so hell-bent to protect? You want to defend the United States of America, then defend it with the tools it supplies you with—its Constitution. You ask for a mandate, General, from a ballot box. You don’t steal it after midnight, when the country has its back turned.”—Seven Days in May (1964)

No doubt about it: the coup d’etat was successful.

That January 6 attempt by so-called insurrectionists to overturn the election results was not the real coup, however. Those who answered President Trump’s call to march on the Capitol were merely the fall guys, manipulated into creating the perfect crisis for the Deep State—a.k.a. the Police State a.k.a. the Military Industrial Complex a.k.a. the Techno-Corporate State a.k.a. the Surveillance State—to swoop in and take control.

It took no time at all for the switch to be thrown and the nation’s capital to be placed under a military lockdown, online speech forums restricted, and individuals with subversive or controversial viewpoints ferreted out, investigated, shamed and/or shunned.

This new order didn’t emerge into being this week, or this month, or even this year, however.

Indeed, the real coup happened when our government “of the people, by the people, for the people” was overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic, techno-corporate state that is in cahoots with a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations.”

We’ve been mired in this swamp for decades now.

Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought lock, stock and barrel and made to dance to the Deep State’s tune.

Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC. Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the Deep State to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.

Joe Biden will be no different: his job is to keep the Deep State in power.

Step away from the cult of personality politics and you’ll find that beneath the power suits, they’re all alike.

Follow the money.  It always points the way.

As Bertram Gross noted in Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, “evil now wears a friendlier face than ever before in American history.”

Writing in 1980, Gross predicted a future in which he saw:

…a new despotism creeping slowly across America. Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and, more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion

This stealthy, creeping, silent coup that Gross prophesied is the same danger that writer Rod Serling envisioned in the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, a clear warning to beware of martial law packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.

Incredibly enough, almost 60 years later, we find ourselves hostages to a government run more by military doctrine and corporate greed than by the rule of law established in the Constitution. Indeed, proving once again that fact and fiction are not dissimilar, today’s current events could well have been lifted straight out of Seven Days in May, which takes viewers into eerily familiar terrain.

The premise is straightforward.

With the Cold War at its height, an unpopular U.S. President signs a momentous nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Believing that the treaty constitutes an unacceptable threat to the security of the United States and certain that he knows what is best for the nation, General James Mattoon Scott (played by Burt Lancaster), the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and presidential hopeful, plans a military takeover of the national government.  When Gen. Scott’s aide, Col. Casey (Kirk Douglas), discovers the planned military coup, he goes to the President with the information. The race for command of the U.S. government begins, with the clock ticking off the hours until the military plotters plan to overthrow the President.

Needless to say, while on the big screen, the military coup is foiled and the republic is saved in a matter of hours, in the real world, the plot thickens and spreads out over the past half century.

We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’ve been on that fast-moving, downward trajectory for some time now.

The question is no longer whether the U.S. government will be preyed upon and taken over by the military industrial complex. That’s a done deal, but martial law disguised as national security is only one small part of the greater deception we’ve been fooled into believing is for our own good.

How do you get a nation to docilely accept a police state? How do you persuade a populace to accept metal detectors and pat downs in their schools, bag searches in their train stations, tanks and military weaponry used by their small town police forces, surveillance cameras in their traffic lights, police strip searches on their public roads, unwarranted blood draws at drunk driving checkpoints, whole body scanners in their airports, and government agents monitoring their communications?

Try to ram such a state of affairs down the throats of the populace, and you might find yourself with a rebellion on your hands. Instead, you bombard them with constant color-coded alerts, terrorize them with shootings and bomb threats in malls, schools, and sports arenas, desensitize them with a steady diet of police violence, and sell the whole package to them as being for their best interests.

This present military occupation of the nation’s capital by 25,000 troops as part of the so-called “peaceful” transfer of power from one administration to the next is telling.

This is not the language of a free people. This is the language of force.

Still, you can’t say we weren’t warned.

Back in 2008, an Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report went on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

In 2009, reports by the Department of Homeland Security surfaced that labelled right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) and called on the government to subject such targeted individuals to full-fledged pre-crime surveillance. Almost a decade later, after spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.

Meanwhile, the police have been transformed into extensions of the military while the nation itself has been transformed into a battlefield. This is what a state of undeclared martial law looks like, when you can be arrested, tasered, shot, brutalized and in some cases killed merely for not complying with a government agent’s order or not complying fast enough. This hasn’t just been happening in crime-ridden inner cities. It’s been happening all across the country.

And then you’ve got the government, which has been steadily amassing an arsenal of military weapons for use domestically and equipping and training their “troops” for war. Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.

Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that has been colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

So you see, January 6 and its aftermath provided the government and its corporate technocrats the perfect excuse to show off all of the powers they’ve been amassing so assiduously over the years.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats.

I’m referring to “government” with a capital “G,” the entrenched Deep State that is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and has set itself beyond the reach of the law.

I’m referring to the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.

Brace yourself.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by the antics of the political ruling class that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.

Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware.

And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are at our most vulnerable right now.

All of those dastardly seeds we have allowed the government to sow under the guise of national security are bearing demon fruit.

The gravest threat facing us as a nation is not extremism but despotism, exercised by a ruling class whose only allegiance is to power and money.

FFF: The Real Constitutional Crisis

Laurence Vance at the Future of Freedom Foundation talks about the ever-spreading Constitutional crisis in the US.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a crisis (plural: crises) is:

All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated.
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1a: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life; a midlife crisis

2: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot); The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.

3a: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome; a financial crisis, the nation’s energy crisis

b: a situation that has reached a critical phase; the environmental crisis, the unemployment crisis

And likewise in other dictionaries.

The Constitution

Regardless of any flaws or problems that the Constitution had or has (the countenance of slavery, the assumption of the right of eminent domain, ambiguous clauses, the income tax), it is the supreme law of the land that the federal government is supposed to follow. The Constitution is neither a long nor an obscure document. Any American with a computer or smart phone can access it in a matter of seconds. Yet most Americans are woefully ignorant about the Constitution.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and took effect in 1789. It established the United States as a federal system of government where the states, through the Constitution, granted a limited number of powers to a central government. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, so eloquently explained in Federalist No. 45,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

There are about thirty enumerated congressional powers listed throughout the Constitution. Most of those powers are found in the eighteen paragraphs of Article I, Section 8. Six of them concern the militia and the military. Four of them concern taxes and money. The rest relate to commerce, naturalization, bankruptcies, post offices and post roads, copyrights and patents, the federal courts, maritime crimes, and the governance of the District of Columbia. The last paragraph gives Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) was added to the Constitution in 1791. The first eight Amendments protect civil liberties and fundamental rights. the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make it clear that all rights and powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the people and the states.

The ignorance that most Americans have of the Constitution is exceeded by the ignorance of the Constitution that most congressmen have. Members of Congress swear to uphold the Constitution. Article VI, Clause 3, of the Constitution requires that senators and representatives be “bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.” U.S. law requires that members of Congress be sworn in before they can take their seats. The congressional oath of office begins, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” One would think that members of Congress — most of whom have at least a bachelor’s degree and many of whom are lawyers — would have a firm grasp of what the Constitution says. Yet they are often the worst offenders when it comes to violations of the Constitution.

The crisis

It was called a constitutional crisis.

After the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, anti-police demonstrations erupted in large, predominantly black cities across the country. Yet, Portland, Oregon, which is about 77 percent white and 6 percent black, became the epicenter of anti-police demonstrations this past summer. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful, but others not so much. Protesters shut down streets, broke windows, set fires, committed acts of vandalism and looting, and clashed with police. Then, on July 10, it was reported that armed federal forces were making arrests and using tear gas against the demonstrators.

Writing in the Guardian, Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, mentioned the Constitution in his report about Portland: “A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.” Writing for the Associated Press, journalist Gillian Flaccus is the one who termed the events in Oregon a “constitutional crisis”: “Federal law enforcement officers’ actions at protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local authorities’ consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse.” In a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protective Service, the Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, accused the federal agencies of violating the constitutional rights of Oregon residents.

According to the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 15): “[Congress shall have power to] provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 requires state legislatures or governors to request help from the federal government. It empowers the president to call into service the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard to address “an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy, in any state, which results in the deprivation of Constitutionally secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights.” The armed federal forces that descended uninvited on Portland were not members of the Militia, U.S. Armed Forces, or the National Guard. Under the guise of “protecting” federal property and maintaining “law and order,” they were functioning as de facto secret police — wearing military fatigues, sporting all manner of weapons, driving unmarked vehicles, compiling dossiers on journalists, grabbing people indiscriminately off the streets without regard to their lawful presence or personal behavior, assaulting people who weren’t engaged in criminal activity, detaining people who weren’t near federal property, and holding people for hours without charge.

But according to acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” According to attorney and chronicler of the police state John Whitehead, “Just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.”

Constitutional scholar and senior judicial analyst at Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano well explained the constitutional crisis in Portland:

The only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

The feds’ activities are unconstitutional because they are using government force to arrest people without probable cause or arrest warrants. We know there is no legal basis for these “arrests,” as they have not charged anyone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution requires the government to protect speech, not assault those who exercise it. If these indiscriminate beatings and kidnappings are intended to deter folks from publicly dissenting, it is profoundly unconstitutional, counterproductive and will be costly to the federal government.

Under the Constitution, the ability to regulate for health and safety belongs to the states and local governments. The feds simply do not have the lawful authority to fill in gaps in local law enforcement, no matter how offended they may be.

This last point is why Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) commented about the situation in Portland, “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”

Past constitutional crises

There have been other constitutional crises since the adoption of the Constitution in 1789.

The Constitution wasn’t even ten years old when the first constitutional crisis took place. In 1798, in the name of “national security,” the Federalist majority in Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law, four pieces of legislation known collectively known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Naturalization Act, the Alien Friends Act, and the Alien Enemies Act targeted noncitizens (who were perceived to be political opponents of the Federalists) by extending the residency period for aliens seeking citizenship, allowed the president during peacetime to imprison or deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” and authorized the president to imprison or deport any male citizen of a hostile nation above the age of 14 during times of war. The most egregious piece of legislation was the Sedition Act. It authorized fines or imprisonment for persons who, in speech or print, criticized “the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States.” (The office of the vice president, which at the time was held by Adams’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, was not mentioned.) Critics of the Sedition Act argued that it blatantly violated the freedom of speech and freedom of the press clauses of the First Amendment. Federal courts prosecuted many Jeffersonian newspaper editors for violating the Sedition Act.

The so-called Civil War was itself a constitutional crisis. According to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Problem with Lincoln (2020), Abraham Lincoln ruled as a de facto dictator. He essentially “resurrected the Sedition Act,” imprisoned judges, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, authorized government officials to read Americans’ mail, imprisoned “tens of thousands of Northern state citizens” for “criticizing the government,” and “shut down more than three hundred opposition newspapers in the Northern states.”

The Sedition Act was actually resurrected in 1918 while the United States was fighting World War I. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. war effort. The Sedition Act amended and broadened the Espionage Act. It effectively criminalized speech and expression that criticized the government. Whoever “shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag” could receive a $10,000 fine and twenty years in jail. Under the Sedition Act, Americans were arrested for reading aloud the Declaration of Independence or singing German beer-hall songs. Although World War I ended in 1918, the Sedition Act was not repealed until 1921.

More recently, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It vastly expanded the federal government’s authority to spy on Americans, while at the same time reducing checks and balances on those powers. It is an assault on both the First and Fifth Amendments. Napolitano terms sections 215 and 505 of the PATRIOT Act as “fatal to freedom,” “weapons of mass surveillance,” and “instruments of a totalitarian government that defy the Constitution.”

The real constitutional crisis

There is currently a constitutional crisis in America, and it has existed since long before the Portland protests and the PATRIOT Act. It is a crisis that has been perpetrated by both political parties in the Congress, approved by the president, sanctioned by the Supreme Court, and carried out by the bureaucrats who administer the myriad departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards of the federal government.

The existence of Social Security is a constitutional crisis. Not only is Social Security immoral because it takes money from those who work and gives it to those who don’t, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have a retirement program, a pension plan, a forced savings account, or a disability plan.

The existence of Medicare and Medicaid is a constitutional crisis. Not only should no American be forced to pay for the health care of any other American, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to subsidize any American’s health insurance or health care, pay for anyone’s prescription drugs, have health-care programs, or have anything whatever to do with health insurance, health care, or medicine.

The existence of the war on drugs is a constitutional crisis. Not only is the drug war a failure and a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to regulate, monitor, or restrict Americans’ consumption, medical, or recreational habits; what Americans put in their mouths, noses, veins, or lungs; or Americans’ eating, drinking, or smoking habits.

The existence of federal aid to education is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Head Start program, student loans, Pell Grants, teacher-education or certification requirements, school accreditation, math and science initiatives, a Department of Education, an Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a Higher Education Act, special-education mandates, or national standards, or to have anything to do with the education of anyone’s children. Education should be a service obtained on the free market just like any other service.

The existence of the welfare state is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have food stamps, refundable tax credits, Section 8 housing vouchers, or entitlement programs. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the government to fight poverty, maintain a safety net, provide public assistance, or guarantee income security. All charity should be private and voluntary.

The existence of foreign aid is a constitutional crisis. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution says that the Congress shall have power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” It does not say that taxes should be collected to provide for the general welfare of people in other countries. Like domestic charity, foreign charity should be entirely voluntary.

The existence of federal subsidies for art, culture, and the humanities is a constitutional crisis. Government funding for them is basically providing welfare for cultural elitists. It is always immoral for the government to take the resources from some Americans and redistribute them to other Americans. And the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to subsidize them. Although the Constitution does authorize the national government to issue patents and copyrights, it does not follow that that entails giving subsidies to inventors and writers.

The existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a constitutional crisis. The TSA provides security for private entities — the airlines. But not only is the security provided not paid for, not asked for, and just security theater, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to provide security for the airlines or any other private business.

The existence of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC) is a constitutional crisis. Amtrak, as the NRPC is more commonly known, is a government corporation that has relied on government subsidies every year it has been in operation. But since when does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a corporation, be a stockholder in a corporation, appoint and confirm a board of directors, or operate a passenger rail service?

The existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a constitutional crisis. The existence of the EEOC is predicated on the idea that the federal government should prevent and punish acts of discrimination in employment that it considers to be unjustified. But not only is discrimination not aggression, force, coercion, or violence — and therefore, as far as the law is concerned, not the concern of government — the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have an EEOC or oversee any employer’s hiring or firing practices.

The existence of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) is a constitutional crisis. It outlaws the selling of one’s body organs. Aside from the obvious fact that if you own your own body, then you certainly own the organs in your body, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to be concerned in the least with what Americans want to do with the organs in their body.

What is so perplexing and frustrating about the massive constitutional crisis that the United States is in is that it could quickly and easily be fixed. All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated. All federal departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards that carry out functions not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be shuttered. Doing that would reduce the federal government by about 95 percent. And therein lies the problem. Not only do the Congress, the hundreds of government agencies and programs, and the entrenched bureaucracy resist a reduction in the government of any size, most Americans receive some kind of payment, benefit, or subsidy from the federal government.

Imprimis: Orwell’s 1984 and Today

The following is a written adaptation for Imprimis of a speech given by Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn last November – Orwell’s 1984 and Today.

On September 17, Constitution Day, I chaired a panel organized by the White House. It was an extraordinary thing. The panel’s purpose was to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth. It took place in the National Archives—we were sitting in front of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—a very beautiful place. When we were done, President Trump came and gave a speech about the beauty of the American Founding and the importance of teaching American history to the preservation of freedom.

This remarkable event reminded me of an essay by a teacher of mine, Harry Jaffa, called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” Its point was that a certain kind of scholarship is needed to support the principles of a nation such as ours. America is the most deliberate nation in history—it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray. I was reminded of that essay because this event was the greatest exhibition in my experience of the combination of the scholarship and the politics of freedom.

The panel was part of an initiative of President Trump, mostly ignored by the media, to counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project promotes the teaching that slavery, not freedom, is the defining fact of American history. President Trump’s 1776 Commission aims to restore truth and honesty to the teaching of American history. It is an initiative we must work tirelessly to carry on, regardless of whether we have a president in the White House who is on our side in the fight.

We must carry on the fight because our country is at stake. Indeed, in a larger sense, civilization itself is at stake, because the forces arrayed against the scholarship and the politics of freedom today have more radical aims than just destroying America.

***

I taught a course this fall semester on totalitarian novels. We read four of them: George Orwell’s 1984, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.

The totalitarian novel is a relatively new genre. In fact, the word “totalitarian” did not exist before the 20th century. The older word for the worst possible form of government is “tyranny”—a word Aristotle defined as the rule of one person, or of a small group of people, in their own interests and according to their will. Totalitarianism was unknown to Aristotle, because it is a form of government that only became possible after the emergence of modern science and technology.

The old word “science” comes from a Latin word meaning “to know.” The new word “technology” comes from a Greek word meaning “to make.” The transition from traditional to modern science means that we are not so much seeking to know when we study nature as seeking to make things—and ultimately, to remake nature itself. That spirit of remaking nature—including human nature—greatly emboldens both human beings and governments. Imbued with that spirit, and employing the tools of modern science, totalitarianism is a form of government that reaches farther than tyranny and attempts to control the totality of things.

In the beginning of his history of the Persian War, Herodotus recounts that in Persia it was considered illegal even to think about something that was illegal to do—in other words, the law sought to control people’s thoughts. Herodotus makes plain that the Persians were not able to do this. We today are able to get closer through the use of modern technology. In Orwell’s 1984, there are telescreens everywhere, as well as hidden cameras and microphones. Nearly everything you do is watched and heard. It even emerges that the watchers have become expert at reading people’s faces. The organization that oversees all this is called the Thought Police.

If it sounds far-fetched, look at China today: there are cameras everywhere watching the people, and everything they do on the Internet is monitored. Algorithms are run and experiments are underway to assign each individual a social score. If you don’t act or think in the politically correct way, things happen to you—you lose the ability to travel, for instance, or you lose your job. It’s a very comprehensive system. And by the way, you can also look at how big tech companies here in the U.S. are tracking people’s movements and activities to the extent that they are often able to know in advance what people will be doing. Even more alarming, these companies are increasingly able and willing to use the information they compile to manipulate people’s thoughts and decisions.

The protagonist of 1984 is a man named Winston Smith. He works for the state, and his job is to rewrite history. He sits at a table with a telescreen in front of him that watches everything he does. To one side is something called a memory hole—when Winston puts things in it, he assumes they are burned and lost forever. Tasks are delivered to him in cylinders through a pneumatic tube. The task might involve something big, like a change in what country the state is at war with: when the enemy changes, all references to the previous war with a different enemy need to be expunged. Or the task might be something small: if an individual falls out of favor with the state, photographs of him being honored need to be altered or erased altogether from the records. Winston’s job is to fix every book, periodical, newspaper, etc. that reveals or refers to what used to be the truth, in order that it conform to the new truth.

One man, of course, can’t do this alone. There’s a film based on 1984 starring John Hurt as Winston Smith. In the film they depict the room where he works, and there are people in cubicles like his as far as the eye can see. There would have to be millions of workers involved in constantly re-writing the past. One of the chief questions raised by the book is, what makes this worth the effort? Why does the regime do it?

Winston’s awareness of this endless, mighty effort to alter reality makes him cynical and disaffected. He comes to see that he knows nothing of the past, of real history: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified,” he says at one point, “every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. . . . Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” Does any of this sound familiar?

In his disaffection, Winston commits two unlawful acts: he begins writing in a diary and he begins meeting a woman in secret, outside the sanction of the state. The family is important to the state, because the state needs babies. But the women are raised by the state in a way that they are not to enjoy relations with their husbands. And the children—as in China today, and as it was in the Soviet Union—are indoctrinated and taught to spy and inform on their parents. Parents love their children but live in terror of them all the time. Think of the control that comes from that—and the misery.

There are three stratums in the society of 1984. There is the Inner Party, whose members hold all the power. There is the Outer Party, to which Winston belongs, whose members work for—and are watched and controlled by—the Inner Party. And there are the proles, who live and do the blue collar work in a relatively unregulated area. Winston ventures out into that area from time to time. He finds a little shop there where he buys things. And it is in a room upstairs from this shop where he and Julia, the woman he falls in love with, set up a kind of household as if they are married. They create something like a private world in that room, although it is a world with limitations—they can’t even think about having children, for instance, because if they did, they would be discovered and killed.

In the end, it turns out that the shopkeeper, who had seemed to be a kindly old man, is in fact a member of the Thought Police. Winston and Julia’s room contained a hidden telescreen all along, so everything they have said and done has been observed. In fact, it emerges that the Thought Police have known that Winston has been having deviant thoughts for twelve years and have been watching him carefully. When the couple are arrested, they have made pledges that they will never betray each other. They know the authorities will be able to make them say whatever they want them to say—but in their hearts, they pledge, they will be true to their love. It is a promise that neither is finally able to keep.

After months of torture, Winston thinks that what awaits him is a bullet in the back of the head, the preferred method of execution of both the Nazis and the Soviet Communists. In Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, the protagonist walks down a basement hallway after confessing to crimes that he didn’t commit, and without any ceremony he is shot in the back of the head—eradicated as if he were vermin. Winston doesn’t get off so easy. He will instead undergo an education, or more accurately a re-education. His final stages of torture are depicted as a kind of totalitarian seminar. The seminar is conducted by a man named O’Brien, who is portrayed marvelously in the film by Richard Burton. As he alternately raises and lowers the level of Winston’s pain, O’Brien leads him to knowledge regarding the full meaning of the totalitarian regime.

As the first essential step of his education, Winston has to learn doublethink—a way of thinking that defies the law of contradiction. In Aristotle, the law of contradiction is the basis of all reasoning, the means of making sense of the world. It is the law that says that X and Y cannot be true at the same time if they’re mutually exclusive. For instance, if A is taller than B and B is taller than C, C cannot be taller than A. The law of contradiction means things like that.

In our time, the law of contradiction would mean that a governor, say, could not simultaneously hold that the COVID pandemic renders church services too dangerous to allow, and also that massive protest marches are fine. It would preclude a man from declaring himself a woman, or a woman declaring herself a man, as if one’s sex is simply a matter of what one wills it to be—and it would preclude others from viewing such claims as anything other than preposterous.

The law of contradiction also means that we can’t change the past. What we can know of the truth all resides in the past, because the present is fleeting and confusing and tomorrow has yet to come. The past, on the other hand, is complete. Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas go so far as to say that changing the past—making what has been not to have been—is denied even to God. Because if something both happened and didn’t happen, no human understanding is possible. And God created us with the capacity for understanding.

That’s the law of contradiction, which the art of doublethink denies and violates. Doublethink is manifest in the fact that the state ministry in which Winston is tortured is called the Ministry of Love. It is manifest in the three slogans displayed on the state’s Ministry of Truth: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” And as we have seen, the regime in 1984 exists precisely to repeal the past. If the past can be changed, anything can be changed—man can surpass even the power of God. But still, to what end?

Why do you think you are being tortured? O’Brien asks Winston. The Party is not trying to improve you, he says—the Party cares nothing about you. Winston is brought to see that he is where he is simply as the subject of the state’s power. Understanding having been rendered meaningless, the only competence that has meaning is power.

“Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution,” O’Brien says.

We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. . . . There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. . . . All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

Nature is ultimately unchangeable, of course, and humans are not God. Totalitarianism will never win in the end—but it can win long enough to destroy a civilization. That is what is ultimately at stake in the fight we are in. We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

***

“An informed patriotism is what we want,” Ronald Reagan said toward the end of his Farewell Address as president in January 1989. “Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?”

Then he issued a warning.

Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the [1990s], and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. . . . We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.

So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. . . . [S]he said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.

American schoolchildren today learn two things about Thomas Jefferson: that he wrote the Declaration of Independence and that he was a slaveholder. This is a stunted and dishonest teaching about Jefferson.

What do our schoolchildren not learn? They don’t learn what Jefferson wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” he wrote in that book regarding the contest between the master and the slave. “The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” If schoolchildren learned that, they would see that Jefferson was a complicated man, like most of us.

They don’t learn that when our nation first expanded, it was into the Northwest Territory, and that slavery was forbidden in that territory. They don’t learn that the land in that territory was ceded to the federal government from Virginia, or that it was on the motion of Thomas Jefferson that the condition of the gift was that slavery in that land be eternally forbidden. If schoolchildren learned that, they would come to see Jefferson as a human being who inherited things and did things himself that were terrible, but who regretted those things and fought against them. And they would learn, by the way, that on the scale of human achievement, Jefferson ranks very high. There’s just no question about that, if for no other reason than that he was a prime agent in founding the first republic dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The astounding thing, after all, is not that some of our Founders were slaveholders. There was a lot of slavery back then, as there had been for all of recorded time. The astounding thing—the miracle, even, one might say—is that these slaveholders founded a republic based on principles designed to abnegate slavery.

To present young people with a full and honest account of our nation’s history is to invest them with the spirit of freedom. It is to teach them something more than why our country deserves their love, although that is a good in itself. It is to teach them that the people in the past, even the great ones, were human and had to struggle. And by teaching them that, we prepare them to struggle with the problems and evils in and around them. Teaching them instead that the past was simply wicked and that now they are able to see so perfectly the right, we do them a disservice and fit them to be slavish, incapable of developing sympathy for others or undergoing trials on their own.

Depriving the young of the spirit of freedom will deprive us all of our country. It could deprive us, finally, of our humanity itself. This cannot be allowed to continue. It must be stopped. 

Gold Goats ‘n Guns: Big Tech’s Purge is Only Beginning… For Them

Tom Luongo at Gold Goats ‘n Guns writes Big Tech’s Purge is Only Beginning… For Them

There’s nothing easy about living through a political coup. The Big Tech firms long in cahoots with our government have been pushing a false narrative of evil MAGA-Nazis trying to undermine polite society for more than four years now.

Suppression started with Milo Yiannopoulos, accelerated to include Alex Jones and InfoWars and reach a temporary peak in 2018 with the persecution of alternative social media platform Gab in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting.

I said this then in a piece entitled: Attack on Gab Proves Speech Was Never Free:

Friday’s attack by an unhinged, vile piece of human excrement on a Synagogue in Pittsburgh wasn’t hours old before real world agendas pushed to the top of the news.

Twitter alternative Gab was immediately dropped by PayPal without specific reasons.

Then immediately, Gab’s latest hosting service unilaterally gave the company a 48-hour termination notice of its contract.

Gab was hounded to the point of extermination and only a herculean effort by CEO and total warrior Andrew Torba and his staff kept the company afloat. Today Gab can only take Bitcoin and checks for payment. Torba himself has no banking privileges or access to credit, payment processors etc.

All for what? Running a social network where someone posted something terrible hours before doing something terrible?

Or was this a political hit job? The coordination of the event with the response is a little too convenient for any person of room temperature or higher intelligence to stomach.

The Rhyme Without Reason

Sound familiar to what happened to Parler? The attack then on Gab was a dry run for this weekend. If no one would stand up for Gab who didn’t have the resources to fight this in court, then when it came time to do it for real to a more high profile firm they knew it would stand up.

This growing duopoly in internet on-ramp gatekeeping by Apple and Google has been something I’ve warned about for years (go look through the archives searching out terms like Gab and Facebook).

No one listened. We all kept retweeting Trump and I even finally broke down and bought an iPhone. Parler just got the Gab treatment literally over nothing.

I’m not going to say both events were scripted false flags (though there’s certainly enough evidence that there was something really hinckey going on at the Capitol) but they certainly had their action plans ready for when the right trigger occured.

In fact, I’d argue that it’s more likely the people posting vile garbage on these networks is a plant than a real violent dissident. We know that the FBI, for example, infiltrates militia groups all the time and in some cases there are more agents working undercover than there are actual militia guys.

When you’re in the narrative creation business and we know that a minimum of 30% of users on Twitter aren’t real but bots, is it really a stretch to think a Deep State actor isn’t posting inflammatory shit on Parler to give the tech giants the excuse they need to do the thing they desperately want to do anyway, namely destroy their up and coming competition?

These companies have normalized suppression of speech in the public commons that their networks operate on top of. I remind people all the time that they are bandwidth pigs, feeding at the subsidized trough of publicly-built and maintained infrastructure.

Net Non-Neutrality

Trump’s biggest sin in his time as president wasn’t, to these people, saying inflammatory things, it was getting rid of their cashcow, Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers. It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.

By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care. Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.

And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low. And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.

They grew uncontrollably. In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.

Look, I’m more than okay with saying that Apple, Google or Facebook have the right to restrict content on their services, but only if they are also doing that over their own privately-built public networks, their own private wires.

But, we all know that isn’t the case. They utilize the public airwaves, fiber trunks, satellites etc. that we paid to build. As libertarians we’ve always argued that freedom of association also meant freedom from association.

That freedom, through the application of private property, also comes with responsibility to the counter-party in any and all interactions. No one would have allowed these companies to build these networks in a true private property regime.

No way would they have become this big, this powerful or this cowardly if they had had to bear the true costs of their business roll out. These aren’t the bastions of the free market conservatives (and even classical liberals to an extent) think they are.

They are, ultimately, as we’ve seen from their actions this week, the biggest welfare queens in the world simply stepping on the competition to ensure conformity of information flow.

Continued Section 230 immunity has elevated their ever-changing Terms of Service above the proscriptions against limiting speech in the Bill of Rights.

Moreover, these firms use these Terms of Service to provide no guarantee of service. These ToS’s are contracts of adhesion, entered into where one party has unequal standing versus the counter-party.

But, since the whole idea of living under a coercive government is one big contract of adhesion, since you really aren’t an equal partner to the government in the social contract nor did you have any choice but to sign on the moment you were born, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when that reality is shoved into our faces when their power is threatened.

This is the fundamental problem with accepting any of these ideas as valid. The whole society is structured around these enshrined power imbalances and we think we’re going to upend them by voting for Orange Man Bad?

Globo-Stasi’s

The way they operate is far beyond the strictures placed on governments themselves, who have to at least create Byzantine rules to obfuscate the tyranny and force us into a corrupt and expensive court system stacked against us to get the barest minimum of injunctive relief, assuming the judge isn’t a partisan hack or a congenital moron.

I think it’s rich that a person like Angela Merkel, the first political leader to send police into a person’s home for posting hate speech on Facebook, is now clutching her pearls over the censorship by Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google.

Spare me the crocodile tears Frau Stasi.

Because now, anyone to the right of your rank and file BLM member is looking over their shoulder waiting for the hammer to fall on them. It has become commonplace on Twitter for the star-bellied bluechecks to call out for blood against any and all Trump supporters or worse, *shudder* Republicans.

They should be driven to the brink of extinction. Denied jobs or a living for using the wrong pronoun because they are simply, too stupid to matter. We’ve got people honestly thinking it’s okay to take children out of your home for voting for the wrong party.

What comes next is even worse, vaguely-worded legislation from D.C. supporting these companies’ hyper-aggressive market defense, we’re already being treated to it by none other than AOC.

This is all the bad news I can come up with (today). What I do know, however, is that what comes next is that Facebook, Twitter and Google have whistled far beyond their graveyards here.

The backlash will against them will be epic. Shareholder lawsuits as stock prices plummet will gut them leaving them in the position to be bailed out or nationalized by the government.

Because, at the very least, there is still some semblance of sanity in that corner of the legal system. These companies have attacked and alienated their customers. In the process they have tainted their brand and if their stock prices do not recover will have real problems in the future.

They may look invincible now, but wait until the government under control of totalitarians like Pelosi, AOC, Schumer and the rest, turn on them and gobble them up to regain their credibility with a rightfully outraged and horrified public.

The best thing all of us can do is complete that transition to other services, deploy our time, expertise and investible capital into building censorship-proof communications platforms without an owner to lean on.

All things built on a nodal structure have critical points of failure. Amazon nuked Parler, not Apple or Google. Gab is proof that a social network doesn’t need an app to survive or even thrive.

Finding Our Way Home

Dave Rubin, major partner in Locals, is convinced the days of monolithic, massive social networks are numbered and we’ll all be congregating into smaller, more intimate communities. And I don’t disagree with him.

In fact, I hope he’s right.

I’ve tried to use Patreon this way to bring people together. It’s why I started a private server on Slack for people to congregate away from the insanity of Twitter. It thrives today as a place where only the most interested and committed people hang out, share ideas and help each other.

It’s a community. The very thing lefties think libertarians are no good at building. Don’t let the wrapper fool you, though. Community is all we ever have on our minds.

Discord and Telegram are exploding as we go back to the days of Usenet and Yahoo Groups dedicated to specific topics of like-minded people. Gab has had private groups for years now.

The cries about echo chambers being a bad thing are falling on deaf ears all across the spectrum. People complain at me all the time that there are no use-cases for cryptocurrency and blockchains and I just look at them like they are children.

Now more than at any other point in history is there the opportunity for a real, properly-built and decentralized social media platform owned by those that hold the governance tokens and not a corporation or organization which is corruptible.

Because we’ve seen how that story ends.

The Federalist: Democrats Are Using The Recent Capitol Riot To Consolidate Power

From The Federalist, Democrats Are Using The Recent Capitol Riot To Consolidate Power

The Capitol Hill riot was an inexcusable, pathetic, and disgraceful display. Its consequences will extend well beyond the bloodshed and property damage inflicted by those who shamefully acceded to the left’s view that force is legitimate means of persuasion — exhibited repeatedly via the left’s normalization of political incitement and violence throughout President Trump’s term in office.

The riot not only overshadowed the corruption that marked the 2020 election and undermined the MAGA movement’s people and principles, but set up Americans of all political stripes for an onslaught on their rights and cherished freedoms. The riot was an accelerant for what was already likely planned under Democrat rule in Washington: crushing dissenters from its leftist orthodoxy as part of an effort to achieve total power by disenfranchising the opposition.

President Trump has personified this dissent, but the effort to delegitimize, de-platform, and ultimately destroy him and anyone around him is merely the opening scene of the “Godfather”-like settling of scores with all who threaten the ruling class’s power and privilege. This effort will directly harm not just the thousands of peaceful patriots who had descended on Washington D.C., and their tens of millions of like-minded neighbors across the country, but all Americans.

The coming crackdown on dissenters in the political realm was pre-ordained in the wee hours of Jan. 6, when both Georgia Senate seats flipped to the Democrats. Now, should Senate Democrats successfully blow up the filibuster, they will work to pass an agenda in which any one item, let alone all, could put Democrats in a virtually unshakeable control of the federal government for years to come.

They have made no secret of their agenda, which includes such items as mass amnesty for illegal aliens, statehood for Washington, D.C., statehood for Puerto Rico, and federal enshrinement of mail-in voting through a re-upped H.R. 1. Needless to say, total leftist political control will erode liberty and justice, and be used to target dissenters in cruel and unusual ways.

In the near-term, the Capitol Hill riot has served as a pretext for other corrosive political acts: calls for the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president, a second impeachment vote; consultations between the speaker of the House and the Pentagon about preventing the president from accessing the nuclear codes and discharging his other duties; and calls by our national security and legal apparatus against conservatives and their speech — all under the pretense of combatting domestic terrorism and punishing “incitement.”

This is not purely an issue of politics, for it will encompass all of civil society. The coming assault on dissenters will play out in arenas that far transcend our increasingly unrepresentative government.

Its adjuncts in big tech, woke capital, corporate media, and beyond have already started participating in the purge, of their own volition, in a continuation of the anti-cultural revolution of summer 2020. It is nothing less than the weaponization of civil society institutions against political dissenters, in conjunction with and often indirectly supported by the state. Americans are now primed to punish their fellow Americans for Wrongthink to a greater extent than we have seen before.

It will go far beyond banning the president of the United States from major social media platforms, purging countless like-minded voices, and stymieing their alternative means of communication. It will go far beyond pulling a U.S. senator’s publishing deal. It will go far beyond even firing people purportedly acting peacefully at political rallies. Ultimately, it will extend across every aspect of the digital world, and affect real life as well.

Yes, we are headed towards something like China’s “Great Firewall,” where, albeit without the power of a government gun, big tech will silence speech that challenges the ruling class’s official narratives, disappear the digital profiles of those who run afoul of its ever-changing terms of service, and take down websites where alternative ideas might proliferate.

More chilling is this thought: What is to stop the crackdown from going beyond communications to where and how you can work, bank, travel, eat, shop, obtain health insurance, and send your kids to school?

Think, for a second, about everything you do in daily life. Consider how reliant you are on goods and services controlled by entities in whole or in part run by executives who either hate your political views or think they can survive by currying favor with those who are contemptuous.

The left has already said it is making lists to prevent Trump administration personnel from getting jobs in the private sector. What’s to stop them or their allies in the media and corporate America from doing the same to any of us?

Is there any apparent limiting principle that will keep us from developing a CCP-style “social credit system with Western characteristics” — as my Federalist colleague Sumantra Maitra has put it — whereby private enterprises grade us on ideology and determine what we can and cannot do based on how closely we hew to its ideology?

In a world where politics has become all-pervasive, virtue-signaling demands not only disavowing but punishing the 74 million enablers of what the left has been asserting for years is Nazism. As in so many other matters, they have been projecting onto the right what the left itself endorses.

If you accede to the view that anything that challenges the prevailing progressive orthodoxy constitutes violence, then you will take any means necessary to snuff it out. There are an awful lot of true believers, useful idiots, cynics, and cowed people across American life seemingly willing to adhere to such a principle. It will likely push us to ideological segregation, which will only further fuel hostilities, strife, and chaos.

America’s Cold Civil War will only heat up as those with all the power take precisely the wrong lessons from the Capitol Hill riot and, rather than seeking to represent millions of Americans and address their concerns, simply chooses to punish or silence them.