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Do You Get The Feeling That Events Happening Now Are Leading Us Into An Endless Global Nightmare?

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog. 

2021 was supposed to be the year that life went back to normal.  Obviously, that is not happening, and so a lot of prominent voices out there are going to be forced to update their narratives.  Global events have really started to accelerate, and so many of the things that the “doom and gloomers” have been warning about are starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

For example, on my websites, I have been talking about Israel a lot in recent months, and now it appears that the region is on the brink of war.  So far, more than 700 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, but by the time you read this article, that number will probably be even higher.  In response, the IDF has conducted a series of dramatic strikes inside Gaza, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising “to attack harder and increase the pace of attacks”

‘Hamas will be hit in ways that it does not expect,’ Netanyahu said. ‘We have eliminated commanders, hit many important targets and we have decided to attack harder and increase the pace of attacks.’

Joe Biden and other world leaders are begging for peace, but neither side appears to be inclined to back down.

Every time Israel retaliates, Hamas just launches even more rockets at Israeli cities, and they are insisting that this is their “right”

“We have the right to respond to the Israeli offensive and protect the interests of our people as long as the Israeli occupation continues the escalation,” Hamas said in a statement.

So here we go.

As I discussed yesterday, this situation has the potential to get wildly out of control very rapidly.

On Tuesday, the skies above Tel Aviv looked like something out of a science fiction movie as Israel’s Iron Dome intercepted countless incoming rockets from Gaza.  Could you imagine living in fear that a rocket could explode right next to you at any moment?

If that was happening in this country, millions of Americans would be screaming for Biden to nuke somebody.

Meanwhile, the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack has caused massive gasoline shortages up and down the east coast of the United States.  On Tuesday evening, the Drudge Report breathlessly declared that more than 1,000 gas stations had run out of gasoline, and Zero Hedge was reporting that some people were waiting in line for up to five hours in a desperate attempt to fill up their vehicles.

Up until recently, just about the only thing that we were missing from the economy of the 1970s was the long gas lines, but now here we are.

North America’s largest petroleum pipeline has been shut down for just a few days, and now much of the southeastern quadrant of the country is absolutely paralyzed.

Do you think that there is a lesson to be learned here?

Of course, there is.  Once again we see how incredibly vulnerable we are to any sort of a major disruption.  If the unprecedented power grid failure in Texas a few months ago was not enough of a wake-up call for you, this definitely should be.

At this point, we are being told it is uncertain whether or not the Colonial Pipeline will be able to restore operations by this weekend…

If the Colonial Pipeline is not back in business by the weekend, prices could continue to rise at the pump and there will be broader localized fuel shortages across the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

Eventually, the flow of gasoline will be restored and everyone along the east coast will be able to fill up their vehicles again.

But the crazy inflation that we are witnessing right is not going to go away.

For years, economic “doom and gloomers” have been warning that if we kept recklessly creating, borrowing, and spending money that really bad things would happen.

How many times have we heard about “the death of the dollar” and the dangers of wildly inflating our currency?

Well, it turns out that the “doom and gloomers” were dead-on accurate.  Inflation is one of the biggest stories of 2021 so far, and we just got another confirmation of how bad things are getting out there…

The median price for a single-family home in the U.S. rose the most on record in the first quarter, as buyers fought over a dearth of inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Prices jumped 16.2% from a year earlier to a record high of $319,200. The growth eclipsed the 14.8% rate in the fourth quarter, which was the highest in data going back to 1989, the group said in a report Tuesday.

But at least home prices are not rising as fast as the price of cotton is.

If you can believe it, the price of cotton is up more than 50 percent over the past year.

Of course the price of corn is rising even more rapidly.  As I discussed the other day, the price of corn is up about 50 percent just since the turn of the year.

Needless to say, lumber still has everyone else beat.  The price of lumber has actually risen more than 200 percent over the past 12 months.

A lot of comparisons have been made to the horrible inflation that the U.S. experienced during the 1970s, but really I think that we need to go all the way back to the 1930s for a more accurate parallel to our current situation.

At this point, we are becoming more like the Weimar Republic with each passing day.

But if you think that things are really bad now, just wait, because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Everywhere you look, systems are failing, society is crumbling and evil is growing.  Even the Secret Service, who are supposed to be the best of the best, are now plagued by endless scandals and widespread incompetence.

This is not a drill.  A widespread societal collapse is now underway, and it is going to get progressively worse.

This is the time of our endless nightmare, but nobody is going to ever be allowed to wake up from it.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream, and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial, or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter, and Parler, and anyway that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The post Do You Get The Feeling That Events Happening Now Are Leading Us Into An Endless Global Nightmare? first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Alert: Programmable Central Bank Digital Currencies Will End All False Sense of Freedom

With the advancement of the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) worldwide comes the permanent elimination of and sense of freedom.  What little freedom we have left is systematically being destroyed by those who seek ultimate power and control over the rest.

Dominic Frisby with Money, Markets & Other Matters said CBDCs are “the final step into the brave new world, Orwellian great reset dystopia.” And anyone who has looked into this even for a minute knows that this will be the end of whatever false sense of freedom we pretend to have right now. (We aren’t free, that’s obvious. But any sense that you could be will be gone if we collectively allow the central banks ultimate control.)

Programmable money, such as CBDCs, means the user has even less control over their money than they ever had in human history. Frisby said almost any kind of rule could be coded into CBDCs. He provides an example of China mulling over the idea of expiry dates for its digital money. This means those holding the programmable money have to spend the money by a specific time or it disappears from their account, according to a report by ZeroHedge. 

They could also switch your account off or remove funds whenever they see fit for any reason. We are approaching the precipice of permanent slavery unless we can figure it out, stand together, and firmly let the rulers know we don’t need them and they no longer have power.

Frisby said issuers (the ruling class) could manipulate money velocity by changing expiry dates. He said the money could be programmed to work only in certain areas or jurisdictions. He then warned:

“Every transaction ever made will be visible to the all-seeing government.

Governments will know your whereabouts and habits at all times simply by tracking your use of funds through the CBDC payment system. This can already be done, to some extent, by tracking credit card transactions, but the CBDC system will make state surveillance more pervasive.

CBDCs also allow the government to have direct access to a person’s wallet to remove taxes and other fines.  –ZeroHedge

This will be a beast system of permanent slavery from which there will be no escape. If you think calling the government slavery right now (which it is based on definitions and roots of the words involved) the dystopian control and loss of even the idea that maybe we could be free is what comes after the installment of any CBDC.

Frisby then said CBDCs allow issuers to weaponize the money against certain users who are enemies of the state.  Digital money is the key for governments to control and shape the behavior of their citizens. 

“The best slave is the one who thinks he is free.”? Johann von Goethe

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LA Schools To Launch Microsoft COVID-Tracking App So Children Can Attend Classes

This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge. 

The Los Angeles school district is launching a Microsoft-developed a COVID-tracking app for children, which allows students to schedule and view the results of COVID tests, post the results of off-campus COVID tests, and schedule vaccinations.

According to a promotional video, however, “the real magic is your daily health check,” where students answer a questionnaire about whether they have any symptoms – after which the “Daily Pass” app will issue the child a scannable QR code to be scanned by a staff member, who will also take the child’s temperature.

Your entrance ticket appears!” exclaims the narrator.

Given the incredibly low transmission rate of COVID transmission at schools – just 0.08% among more than 90,000 students in North Carolina school districts according to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – one can’t help but question whether Microsoft’s app will actually improve the COVID situation, or simply collect data and habituate children to being tracked. Of note, all data will be reported as required to health authorities, according to the LA Times.

The app, first announced in August, will be ‘instrumental in coordinating student and employee health checks, coronavirus tests and vaccinations.’

The software associated with the app is already being used to schedule and track district-managed coronavirus tests and vaccinations — the district began a pilot vaccination effort last week.

In Monday’s announcement, Beutner touted the app’s ability to generate a unique QR code for each student and staff member authorizing entry to a specific L.A. Unified location for that day.

A person will receive that code based on a negative coronavirus test or by self-reporting that they are free of symptoms. When those individuals arrive at a campus, their QR code, a type of barcode, is scanned by a staff member, who also takes the individual’s temperature. Besides helping to keep people safe, the goal is to prevent logjams at the entrance to school at the beginning of the day. –LA Times

Sort of like the golden ticket in ‘Willy Wonka,’ everyone with this pass can easily get into a school building,” said Superintendent Austin Beutner in a Monday statement.

The Times notes that this process “will not catch people who are asymptomatic carriers of the infection” (16% of children who contract COVID), but the school district hopes to “address that shortcoming through the weekly coronavirus testing of students and staff.”

“We’ll know the status of everyone on the building,” said Buetner, who added that it’s unclear when elementary schools will return to in-person instruction, but that day-care and small-group in-person learning will begin this week for a limited number of children.

United Teachers Los Angeles, meanwhile, says their district’s teachers, counselors, nurses, and librarians should not return to work until they are fully immunized.

 

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Calls For Censorship & A 1984-Style “Ministry of Truth” Coming From MSM

The biggest liars and propagandized mouthpieces for the establishment ruling class are calling on Joe Biden to create a “ministry of truth” to fight information that counters the official narrative.  We are in the middle of a truly dystopic society.

The New York Times is urging Biden to appoint a “reality czar” to lead the fight against “disinformation and domestic extremism.” But really, the mainstream media and the government want to work together to maintain their stranglehold on the public.  The government would be in charge of dictating everyone’s “reality” if this manifests.

And yes, George Orwell fans, America’s supposed newspaper of record used the phrase “reality czar” in describing the task-force leader that several “experts” recommended would be needed to take charge of the cross-agency “strategic response” to those odious people who say things deemed false by the government. This would be equivalent to the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s ‘1984’, and the New York Times’ experts’ see the secretary of truth, or reality czar, turning loose the tools of Big Brother to crack down on those conspiracy theorists who have created“the reality crisis.-RT

The “reality crisis” is that people have finally figured out that the mainstream media is pushing the news at us in a way that brainwashed the weak-minded into a controlled servitude state of mind. As more and more people wake up and realize what’s really going on, the mainstream media and the government will become increasingly desperate to control and silence any information.

Does the mainstream media actually believe that by silencing any dissent that people will suddenly begin to trust them again?  They must or they are really at the end of their rope and have to pull out all the stops to keep people from figuring out that government is slavery.

“It sounds a little dystopian, I’ll grant,” Times technology columnist Kevin Roose conceded on Tuesday, “but let’s hear them out.” He went on to say that the “tip-of-the-spear” task force could hold regular meetings with social media platforms and demand “structural changes, such as violating the privacy of their customers under special government exemptions.

So the mainstream media actively wants to punish “wrongthink.” Do you still believe falsely that you’re in the land of free? It’s pretty obvious by now that none of us are.

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IMF (World Bank) Wants To Track Your Web Browsing History To Determine Your Social Credit Score

The International Monetary Fund, or World Bank, wants to track your web browsing history to determine your social credit score. This will come in handy for the elitists and ruling class during the Great Reset.  They’ll know exactly who to cut off.

Four researchers have examined the results of a working paper that explores the ever-evolving relationship between finance and technology, according to a report by Interesting Engineering.  “We study the effects of technological change on financial intermediation, distinguishing between innovations in information (data collection and processing) and communication (relationships and distribution),” write the experts in their study.

Do NOT Fall For It: Centralized Digital Currencies Will Only Enslave You Further

If a globalist or member of the ruling class wants you tracked, traced, and surveilled, it should be common knowledge by now that that entity has one goal in mind: ultimate control over people. This world will look Orwellian in years if humanity can’t wake up and figure out what’s going on.

The researchers further look at the possibility of using your browsingsearch, and purchase history to determine your credit score. This may allow some individuals that are overlooked by financial institutions to have access to more loans, state the writers.

Some would also argue that it paints a picture of a very dystopian future. Although, the researchers argue that this tracking would be for our own good (by providing access to more financial services), the public can likely fail to see any real benefit. Most people would prefer maintaining their privacy over financial compensation. Still, the paper and blog do make for an interesting read. –Interesting Engineering

Kind of like the lockdowns and the destruction of people’s livelihoods: it was for their own good.  This will be a wholly centralized system where the power all lies in the hands of the very select few.  The writers of this paper said some people would be concerned over privacy if this became a real-world solution.

Here’s the thing for those who still don’t get it: if this wasn’t something they wanted to do, they wouldn’t even be suggesting it knowing many will balk at the underlying dystopian reality of it.

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“Newspeak” Is the Future

This article was originally published by Peter Foster at The Mises Institute. 

George Orwell pointed out that one of the first casualties of socialism is language. The damage is not collateral, it is deliberate—designed to numb minds and render critical thought difficult or impossible.

The instrument of this dumbing down in Nineteen Eighty-Four was Newspeak, the official language of the English Socialist Party (Ingsoc). Newspeak was a sort of totalitarian Esperanto that sought gradually to diminish the range of what was thinkable by eliminating, contracting, and manufacturing words. New words had a “political implication” and “were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.” The meaning of words was often reversed, as was most starkly emphasized in the key slogans of Ingsoc:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Nineteen Eighty-Four was written in 1949. Its nightmarish fictional world is now thirty-six years in the past, so one might reasonably conclude that Orwell was far too pessimistic, but his great book was less a prediction than a warning and above all an analysis of the totalitarian mentality. Meanwhile, there is another significant date in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The book’s appendix on the principles of Newspeak stressed that the corruption of language was a multigenerational project whose fruition would not come until well into the present century. Ingsoc’s objective was to render independent thought impossible by “about 2050.”

Intriguingly, that is the same year that the world allegedly has to become “carbon neutral,” or “net-zero,” to avoid climate Armaggedon.

Twenty fifty has become a key date for the UN’s “global governance” agenda, which seeks nothing less than to oversee and regulate every aspect of life on the basis of a suite of alarmist projections. The main existential threat is claimed to be catastrophic manmade climate change. “Climate governance” has thus emerged as the “fourth pillar,” of the UN’s mandate, joining peace and security, development, and human rights. So far—as with the other three pillars—the UN’s climate efforts have been spectacularly unsuccessful. It has held enormous “Conferences of the Parties,” or COPs, which have promoted a morass of uncoordinated national policies that have had zero impact on the climate. COP 21 in Paris in 2015, for instance, was meant to hatch a successor to the failed Kyoto Agreement. But all it produced was a raft of hypocritical, voluntary, fingers-crossed “Nationally Determined Contributions.” The failure of Paris, and of temperatures to rise in line with flawed models, led to a doubling down of “ambitions.” One new commitment that seeped out of Paris was for the countries of the world to hold temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above levels before the Industrial Revolution (the Original Climate Sin). Staying below that level, UN policy wonks rapidly calculated, would require the world to become carbon neutral, or net zero, by 2050.

In fact, there is no climate “crisis” or “emergency.” However, as Orwell noted, the language of fear and panic is one of the main instruments of political control.

Today, just as in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the classical liberal concepts of liberty and equality (of opportunity) are under relentless attack, as are the values of reason and objectivity. Liberty and equality were classified in Newspeak as “Crimethink.” Objectivity and rationalism were “Oldthink.” A doomed Newspeak lexicographer named Syme tells the book’s equally doomed hero, Winston Smith, that even the party slogans will eventually become incomprehensible: “How could you have a slogan like ‘freedom is slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished?”

Orwell was hardly the first observer to point to the political dangers of linguistic manipulation, which go back to discussions of sophistry in Plato. The great economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek pointed in particular to the Left’s use of “social.” He dubbed it a “weasel word” that not merely sucked meaning from words to which it was attached but often reversed meaning. Thus, by classical liberal standards, social democracy is undemocratic, social justice is unjust, and a social market economy is antimarket. We have a prime current example in the phrase “social license to operate,” which in fact means a potential veto on corporate activities by radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the stormtroopers of the global governance agenda. Private corporations were once socialism’s enemies; now they have been co-opted as its partners, agents of “global salvationism.” Nobel economist Milton Freidman pointed to the subversive, open-ended nature of “corporate social responsibility,” where “responsibility” represents another weasel word. CSR’s purpose is to force corporate executives to abandon their responsibility to their shareholders in favor of an endless list of “stakeholder” demands.

Perhaps the most significant new weasel word to have emerged from the UN’s equivalent of the Ministry of Truth is “sustainable.” Commitment to sustainability is now mouthed by every politician, bureaucrat, marketing executive, and media hack on earth. It sounds so benign, so reasonable, but what it actually means is “bureaucratically controlled and NGO-enforced within a UN-based socialist agenda.”

Like “social,” “sustainable” tends to vitiate or reverse the meaning of words to which it is attached. Thus sustainable development is development retarded by top-down control and whose effectiveness is further compromised by the insertion of a long list of cart-before-the-horse social policy objectives, from gender equity to “responsible consumption.”

Recently, “sustainable finance” has also bubbled up from the UN verbal swamp. What it means, not surprisingly, is stopping the financing of fossil fuels by browbeating banks and investors and rigging the regulatory process.

There are no dictionaries of sustainable Newspeak. Its mavens rely less on new words than on perverting or reversing the meaning of old ones. One recent clarion call heard echoing around the corridors of power is that recovery from the covid crisis must be “resilient.” Insofar as that means forcing the use of more expensive, less reliable, and less flexible energy sources such as wind and solar, it will inevitably make economies less resilient. Thus it promotes the first energy “transition” in history that involves moving backward. Typically, such backward movement is a key part of a “progressive” agenda.

The indoctrination of young people was a key strategy of Ingsoc. Likewise, Agenda 21, the doorstop socialist wish list that emerged from the UN’s Earth Summit at Rio in 1992, declared: “Students should be taught about the environment and sustainable development throughout their schooling.” They should learn that “The world is confronted with worsening poverty, hunger, ill-health, illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of ecosystems on which we depend for our wellbeing.” In other words, a catalog of alarmism that has—or should have been—utterly discredited by the evidence of the intervening decades. However, we tend to see what we have been taught to believe. Walls may have ears but more important is that ears have walls. Building such walls was the specific purpose of Ingsoc’s Crimestop, or “protective stupidity.” The capture of academic institutions has virtually installed Crimestop as a compulsory course.

Meanwhile, not only did Agenda 21 demand that children be indoctrinated, it demanded that the most indoctrinated among them be allowed into political fora to lecture their elders. This program came to stunning fruition last fall at the UN, when Greta Thunberg, a bright, anxious, and thoroughly indoctrinated Swedish teenager, was elevated to the podium to paraphrase Agenda 21: “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

One is reminded of the Newspeak appendix: “A Party member called upon to make a political or ethical judgment should be able to spray forth the correct opinions as automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets.”

Meanwhile, the political establishment’s current watchwords of inclusivity, diversity, and equity are all aimed at perverting truth and concealing real meanings. Inclusivity and diversity involve excluding white men and conservatives of either sex (although it is a “thoughtcrime” to suggest that there are fundamentally two sexes, as J.K. Rowling discovered). Equity falsely equates the inevitable inequality of outcomes in a free society with moral inequity.

Through all of this, the concept of doublethink, that is, effortlessly holding incompatible beliefs, spreads apace. Orwell wrote that “Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.”

Keep that in mind the next time a public figure cites the climate emergency, intones the existential necessity of sustainable development and sustainable finance, and trumpets the job-creating benefits of a resilient recovery and a transformative green transition to a net-zero future.

 

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Virtual School Dangers: The Hazards of a Police State Education During COVID-19

This article was originally published by  John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute. 

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984

Once upon a time in America, parents breathed a sigh of relief when their kids went back to school after a summer’s hiatus, content in the knowledge that for a good portion of the day, their kids would be gainfully occupied, out of harm’s way, and out of trouble.

Back then, if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school or suffering through a parent-teacher conference about your shortcomings.

Of course, that was before school shootings became a part of our national lexicon.

As a result, over the course of the past 30 years, the need to keep the schools “safe” from drugs and weapons has become a thinly disguised, profit-driven campaign to transform them into quasi-prisons, complete with surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero-tolerance policies, lockdowns, drug-sniffing dogs, school resource officers, strip searches, and active shooter drills.

Suddenly, under school zero-tolerance policies, students were being punished with suspension, expulsion, and even arrest for childish behavior and minor transgressions such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing LEGOs to school, or having a food fight.

Things got even worse once schools started to rely on police (school resource officers) to “deal with minor rulebreaking: sagging pants, disrespectful comments, brief physical skirmishes.”

As a result, students are being subjected to police tactics such as handcuffs, leg shackles, tasers, and excessive force for “acting up,” in addition to being ticketed, fined, and sent to court for behavior perceived as defiant, disruptive, or disorderly such as spraying perfume and writing on a desk.

This is what constitutes a police state education these days: lessons in compliance meted out with aggressive, totalitarian tactics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added yet another troubling layer to the ways in which students (and their families) can run afoul of a police state education now that school (virtual or in-person) is back in session.

Significant numbers of schools within the nation’s 13,000 school districts have opted to hold their classes online, in-person or a hybrid of the two, fearing further outbreaks of the virus. Yet this unprecedented foray into the virtual world carries its own unique risks.

Apart from the technological logistics of ensuring that millions of students across the country have adequate computer and internet access, consider the Fourth Amendment ramifications of having students attend school online via video classes from the privacy of their homes.

Suddenly, you’ve got government officials (in this case, teachers or anyone at the school on the other end of that virtual connection) being allowed carte blanche visual access to the inside of one’s private home without a warrant.

Anything those school officials see—anything they hear—anything they photograph or record—during that virtual visit becomes fair game for scrutiny and investigation not just by school officials but by every interconnected government agency to which that information can be relayed: the police, social services, animal control, the Department of Homeland Security, you name it.

After all, this is the age of overcriminalization, when the federal criminal code is so vast that the average American unknowingly commits about three federal felonies per day, a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law.

It’s a train wreck just waiting to happen.

In fact, we’re already seeing this play out across the country. For instance, a 12-year-old Colorado boy was suspended for flashing a toy gun across his computer screen during an online art class. Without bothering to notify or consult with the boy’s parents, police carried out a welfare check on Isaiah Elliott, who suffers from ADHD and learning disabilities.

An 11-year-old Maryland boy had police descend on his home in search of weapons after school officials spied a BB gun on the boy’s bedroom wall during a Google Meet class on his laptop. School officials reported the sighting to the school resource officer, who then called the police.

And in New York and Massachusetts, growing numbers of parents are being visited by social services after being reported to the state child neglect and abuse hotline, all because their kids failed to sign in for some of their online classes. Charges of neglect, in some instances, can lead to children being removed from their homes.

You see what this is, don’t you?

This is how a seemingly well-meaning program (virtual classrooms) becomes another means by which the government can intrude into our private lives, further normalizing the idea of constant surveillance and desensitizing us to the dangers of an existence in which we are never safe from the all-seeing eyes of Big Brother.

This is how the police sidestep the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for probable cause and a court-issued warrant in order to spy us on in the privacy of our homes: by putting school officials in a position to serve as spies and snitches via online portals and virtual classrooms, and by establishing open virtual doorways into our homes through which the police can enter uninvited and poke around.

Welfare checks. Police searches for weapons. Reports to Social Services.

It’s only a matter of time before the self-righteous Nanny State uses this COVID-19 pandemic as yet another means by which it can dictate every aspect of our lives.

At the moment, it’s America’s young people who are the guinea pigs for the police state’s experiment in virtual authoritarianism. Already, school administrators are wrestling with how to handle student discipline for in-person classes and online learning in the midst of COVID-19.

Mark my words, this will take school zero-tolerance policies—and their associated harsh disciplinary penalties—to a whole new level once you have teachers empowered to act as the Thought Police.

As Kalyn Belsha reports for Chalkbeat, “In Jacksonville, Florida, students who don’t wear a mask repeatedly could be removed from school and made to learn online. In some Texas districts, intentionally coughing on someone can be classified as assault. In Memphis, minor misbehaviors could land students in an online ‘supervised study.’”

Depending on the state and the school district, failing to wear a face mask could constitute a dress code violation. In Utah, not wearing a face mask at school constitutes a criminal misdemeanor. In Texas, it’s considered an assault to intentionally spit, sneeze, or cough on someone else. Anyone removing their mask before spitting or coughing could be given a suspension from school.

Virtual learning presents its own challenges with educators warning dire consequences for students who violate school standards for dress code and workspaces, even while “learning” at home. According to Chalkbeat, “In Shelby County, Tennessee, which includes Memphis, that means no pajamas, hats, or hoods on screen, and students’ shirts must have sleeves. (The district is providing ‘flexibility’ on clothing bottoms and footwear when a student’s full-body won’t be seen on video.) Other rules might be even tougher to follow: The district is also requiring students’ work stations to be clear of ‘foreign objects’ and says students shouldn’t eat or drink during virtual classes.”

See how quickly the Nanny State a.k.a. Police State takes over?

All it takes for you to cease being the master of your own home is to have a child engaged in virtual learning. Suddenly, the government gets to have a say in how you order your space and when those in your home can eat and drink and what clothes they wear.

If you think the schools won’t overreact in a virtual forum, you should think again.

These are the same schools that have been plagued by a lack of common sense when it comes to enforcing zero-tolerance policies for weapons, violence, and drugs.

These are the very same schools that have exposed students to a steady diet of draconian zero-tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior, overreaching anti-bullying statutes that criminalize speech, school resource officers (police) tasked with disciplining and/or arresting so-called “disorderly” students, standardized testing that emphasizes rote answers over critical thinking, politically correct mindsets that teach young people to censor themselves and those around them, and extensive biometric and surveillance systems that, coupled with the rest, acclimate young people to a world in which they have no freedom of thought, speech or movement.

Zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students have turned students into suspects to be treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike while criminalizing childish behavior.

For instance, 9-year-old Patrick Timoney was sent to the principal’s office and threatened with suspension after school officials discovered that one of his LEGOs was holding a 2-inch toy gun. David Morales, an 8-year-old Rhode Island student, ran afoul of his school’s zero-tolerance policies after he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and tiny plastic Army figures in honor of American troops. School officials declared the hat out of bounds because the toy soldiers were carrying miniature guns.

A high school sophomore was suspended for violating the school’s no-cell-phone policy after he took a call from his father, a master sergeant in the U.S. Army who was serving in Iraq at the time. In Houston, an 8th grader was suspended for wearing rosary beads to school in memory of her grandmother (the school has a zero-tolerance policy against the rosary, which the school insists can be interpreted as a sign of gang involvement).

Even imaginary weapons (hand-drawn pictures of guns, pencils twirled in a “threatening” manner, imaginary bows and arrows, even fingers positioned like guns) can also land a student in detention. Equally outrageous was the case in New Jersey where several kindergartners were suspended from school for three days for playing a make-believe game of “cops and robbers” during recess and using their fingers as guns.

With the distinctions between student offenses erased, and all offenses expellable, we now find ourselves in the midst of what Time magazine described as a “national crackdown on Alka-Seltzer.” Students have actually been suspended from school for possession of the fizzy tablets in violation of zero-tolerance drug policies. Students have also been penalized for such inane “crimes” as bringing nail clippers to school, using Listerine or Scope, and carrying fold-out combs that resemble switchblades.

A 13-year-old boy in Manassas, Virginia, who accepted a Certs breath mint from a classmate, was actually suspended and required to attend drug-awareness classes, while a 12-year-old boy who said he brought powdered sugar to school for a science project was charged with a felony for possessing a look-alike drug.

Acts of kindness, concern, basic manners or just engaging in childish behavior can also result in suspensions.

One 13-year-old was given detention for exposing the school to “liability” by sharing his lunch with a hungry friend. A third-grader was suspended for shaving her head in sympathy for a friend who had lost her hair to chemotherapy. And then there was the high school senior who was suspended for saying “bless you” after a fellow classmate sneezed.

In South Carolina, where it’s against the law to disturb a school, more than a thousand students a year—some as young as 7 years old—“face criminal charges for not following directions, loitering, cursing, or the vague allegation of acting ‘obnoxiously.’ If charged as adults, they can be held in jail for up to 90 days.”

Things get even worse when you add police to the mix.

Thanks to a combination of media hype, political pandering, and financial incentives, the use of armed police officers (a.k.a. school resource officers) to patrol school hallways has risen dramatically in the years since the Columbine school shooting (nearly 20,000 by 2003). What this means, notes Mother Jones, is greater police “involvement in routine discipline matters that principals and parents used to address without involvement from law enforcement officers.”

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, these school resource officers (SROs) have become de facto wardens in the elementary, middle, and high schools, doling out their own brand of justice to the so-called “criminals” in their midst with the help of tasers, pepper spray, batons, and brute force.

The horror stories are legion.

One SRO is accused of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting in the cafeteria line. That same cop put another student in a chokehold a week later, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury.

In Pennsylvania, a student was tased after ignoring an order to put his cell phone away.

A 12-year-old New York student was hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker. Another 12-year-old was handcuffed and jailed after he stomped in a puddle, splashing classmates.

On any given day when school is in session, kids who “act up” in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords, and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered, or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under “control.”

In almost every case, these undeniably harsh methods are used to punish kids for simply failing to follow directions or throwing tantrums.

Very rarely do the kids pose any credible danger to themselves or others.

For example, a 4-year-old Virginia preschooler was handcuffed, leg shackled and transported to the sheriff’s office after reportedly throwing blocks and climbing on top of the furniture. School officials claim the restraints were necessary to protect the adults from injury.

6-year-old kindergarten student in a Georgia public school was handcuffed, transported to the police station, and charged with simple battery of a schoolteacher and criminal damage to property for throwing a temper tantrum at school.

This is the end product of all those so-called school “safety” policies, which run the gamut from zero-tolerance policies that punish all infractions harshly to surveillance cameras, metal detectors, random searches, drug-sniffing dogs, school-wide lockdowns, active-shooter drills, and militarized police officers.

Yet these police state tactics did not make the schools any safer.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, police state tactics never make anyone safer so much as they present the illusion of safety and indoctrinate the populace to comply, fear, and march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

Now with virtual learning in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes are even higher.

It won’t be long before you start to see police carrying out knock-and-talk investigations based on whatever speculative information is gleaned from those daily virtual classroom sessions that allow government officials entry to your homes in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

It won’t take much at all for SWAT teams to start crashing through doors based on erroneous assumptions about whatever mistaken “contraband” someone may have glimpsed in the background of a virtual classroom session: a maple leaf that looks like marijuana, a jar of sugar that looks like cocaine, a toy gun, someone playfully shouting for help in the distance.

This may sound far-fetched now, but it’s only a matter of time before this slippery slope becomes yet another mile marker on the one-way road to tyranny.

The post Virtual School Dangers: The Hazards of a Police State Education During COVID-19 first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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The Economy Continues To Unravel Despite All Stimulus Measures

This article was originally published by Brandon Smith at Alt-Market. 

Since the pandemic lockdowns were first implemented in the US I have been more concerned with the government and central bank response than the virus itself. As I have noted in past articles, the pandemic restrictions and subsequent economic and social crisis events they help to create will cause far more deaths than Covid-19 ever will. Not only that, but the actions of the Federal Reserve continue to con the American public into believing that there is some kind of “plan” to stop the crash that THEY engineered.

The only agenda of the Fed is to increase the pain in the long term; they have no intention of actually preventing any disaster.

This is evidenced in comments by voting members of the Fed, including Neel Kashkari who recently argued for the enforcement of hard lockdowns for at least six weeks in the US, all because the US savings rate was going up. Meaning, because Americans are saving more in order to protect themselves from economic fallout, Kashkari thinks we should be punished with an economic shutdown that would force us to spend whatever we have been able to save.

Do you see how that works?

Fed members and government officials demand hard lockdowns, depleting public savings, and destroying small businesses. Then, the public has to beg the Fed and the government for more and more stimulus measures so that they can survive. The people and the system become dependent on a single point of support – fiat money creation and welfare. Yet, the evidence suggests that this strategy is failing to do much of anything except stall the inevitable for a very short time.

If the goal was really to reduce the pain of the pandemic as much as possible, then the strategy should be to keep the economy as open as possible and let the virus run its course.  By initiating lockdowns, all we are doing is extending the economic damage over the span of years instead of months.  We can deal with the comparatively minimal deaths associated with the virus; we cannot handle the disaster that is about to befall the financial system.

The small business sector appears to be the most fragile element of the economy right now. The PPP loans that were supposed to shore up small businesses failed miserably, with data showing only 13% to 19% of applicants getting a loan of any kind. Over 64% of small businesses that received a loan are also worried about being approved for loan forgiveness. In other words, of the few small business owners that got a PPP loan more than half do not have the ability to pay the loan back if they end up not qualifying for an exemption.

This problem does not seem to be affecting the corporate sector, however. International companies are enjoying incredible cash infusions from the Fed through overnight loans as well as Fed stimulus propping up stock markets (at least for now). Tech companies in particular are enjoying a rush of investment as the assumption in the day trading world is that the central bank will not allow these companies to fail.

Maybe they are right, but stock markets today DO NOT reflect the health of our system in any way. Stock tickers are a placebo, a Pavlovian trigger for the public, a tool to make people believe that the situation is improving merely because share values are going up. This is not the case.

Small businesses in the US account for around 50% of all employment and job creation. They are a vital part of the economy. Yet, government and central bank measures seem to have left them out in the cold to die.

To be sure, the $600 weekly unemployment enhancement created through the CARES Act passed in March did boost consumer spending, primarily on durable goods such as computers, TVs, cellphones, etc. Spending on services declined though, which is where the majority of small businesses make their money. And, considering the fact that most durable goods are manufactured overseas, this means that the majority of stimulus dollars that went to consumers did not go into the US economy, but foreign exporters like China.

Now, the unemployment enhancement has ended and its return is in question. It will be interesting to see if the boost to purchases of goods will continue without that extra $600 weekly stimulus. Consumer spending rose in July by 1.9%, but this was already a weak print compared to the increases during the previous two months.

Unemployment numbers have declined due to soft reopenings in numerous states, and at the very least some part-time jobs appear to be returning, but nowhere near the level needed to erase the millions of jobs lost since February after the initial lockdowns began. If you count U-6 measurements and unemployed people who have been removed from the rolls for being jobless for too long, the REAL unemployment rate is closer to 30% of working-age Americans. This is essentially Great Depression levels of joblessness.

US GDP has continued to decline by 32% according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (despite statistical rigging by the Fed and government agencies), and while it’s possible that stimulus slowed the effects of GDP loss, there is no indication what the trillions of dollars created by the Fed have actually bought other than a few months of time and a massive bubble in the stock market.

The economy cannot survive extreme lockdown conditions for any length of time, let alone almost two more months. And, if you want to know what it means when elites in government and central banking call for a “hard lockdowns”, just look at Level 4 restrictions in places like Australia and New Zealand, where only one person can leave home at any given time, can only travel 3 miles from home and only for food and supplies, and anyone caught not wearing a mask is subject to arrest or a $10,000 fine.

This mother in Melbourne, Australia was arrested because of a Facebook post calling for protests over the lockdown restrictions.  She later had to take the post down and offered an apology, saying she did not know it was illegal to post such statements on social media:

Yeah, this kind of Orwellian response will do wonders for any economic recovery, and this is what Kashkari is calling for in the US.  It’s almost as if the Fed and certain politicians WANT a financial collapse in America…

The REAL solution is to stop the lockdown restrictions altogether. If the goal is truly to protect as many American lives as possible for the “greater good”, then the pandemic response must stop. Luckily, it seems that more and more people are beginning to see through the facade and are rejecting the restrictions. Even in Europe and Australia, there have been some signs of protest and rebellion. The problem is that, at least in terms of the economy, it may be too late.

We have to consider the fact that once a large portion of the business sector (like small businesses) takes a massive hit like the one they have suffered over the past several months, many such businesses and jobs will simply not come back. There are many reasons for this, but primarily it’s a matter of debt. The average small business owner carries almost $200,000 in debt for 3-5 years before he reaches profitability or breaks even. This is assuming that there are no major economic catastrophes in that time.

With the pandemic, the riots, the restrictions, etc., businesses will have to take on much more debt with little guarantee of recovery in the next few years let alone the next few months.  Chapter 11 business bankruptcies in the US rose over 26% in the first half of 2020 alone.

Even if lockdown restrictions were completely eradicated tomorrow, a large number of businesses would go bankrupt anyway.  The “Retail Apocalypse” has been growing over the past decade, LONG before the coronavirus was on issue.  Thousands of businesses shut down last year and tens of thousands more are slated to close this year.   The virus and lockdowns simply accelerated the existing decline.

This is why large banks are cutting off loans to business owners and consumers right now; they know exactly where all this is headed.

Banks act as middlemen for the PPP loans financed by the Fed, yet those loans are not getting to most businesses. Banks have also cut credit card lending in the past few months, and general lending has crashed. All of this despite low interest rates for banks receiving stimulus injections from the Fed. Where is all of the money going? They are keeping it for themselves, buying up hard assets as well as propping up the stock market. As noted above, the elites have NO INTENTION of saving the economy, only themselves.

If the stimulus is not getting to the main-street economy then the only purpose it serves is to give the public a false sense of comfort.  The people who gain the most from the ongoing pandemic chaos are establishment elites that want severe restrictions on personal liberty.  Not to mention, the virus and lockdowns offer a convenient scapegoat for the financial crisis that was already brewing due to central bank mismanagement of stimulus, inflation, and interest rates. The bottom line is, the banks do not want the crisis to end.  Why would they?  The longer the panic continues, the more they benefit.

The post The Economy Continues To Unravel Despite All Stimulus Measures first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Police Use Contact Tracing And Big Tech To Identify Protesters

EDITOR’S NOTE: Well who could have guessed that the government would ever use the plandemic’s “contact tracing” to mass surveil the public?

This article was originally published by Mass Private I at Activist Post. 

Countless warnings about how law enforcement could use contact tracing apps to monitor people have gone unheeded. As BGR.com revealed, police are using contact tracing to identify protesters’ affiliations.

According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harringon, officials there have been using what they describe, without going into much detail, as contact-tracing in order to build out a picture of protestor affiliations — a process that officials in the state say has led them to conclude that much of the protest activity there is being fueled by people from outside coming in.

A Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing” revealed how police are using contact tracing to identify and arrest protesters. “Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they’ve begun contact tracing arrestees.” 

Recently, 100 human rights groups warned that an Apple/Google contact tracing app could be used as a cover to identify activists and minorities.

An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities—undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.

So despite all assurances to the contrary, it appears that 100 human rights groups were right; law enforcement can and will use contact tracing to identify protesters.

As NBC News noted, contact tracers also use geofencing to help identify protesters.

“Geofencing” captures the social media posts of people entering a specific area. The technology locates any cellphones that cross into the area by locking onto their geolocation systems, and then records social media posts and sometimes other data from the phones.

Time exposed how the military (National Guard) uses a classified system called “Secret Internet Protocol Router” or SIPR to monitor protesters. (To learn about Perspecta Inc.’s role click here & here.)

Big Tech’s hands are dirty with federal money paying for new ways to monitor Americans.

A recent Business Insider article describes how police use Big Tech to monitor activists and protesters the moment they walk out their door.

Law enforcement agencies have made full use of high-tech surveillance tools as protests sweep the country following the death of George Floyd. A predator drone operated by Customs and Border Patrol circled above protesters in Minneapolis.

Buzzfeed News warns,

law enforcement has a wide breadth of surveillance technologies that could be used to monitor and target protesters — including controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI, license plate readers, body cameras, and video analysis tools.

Both of these articles reveal a frightening array of Big Tech surveillance devices being used by police nationwide.

Minneapolis police and the Minnesota Fusion Center are also using Clearview AI, BriefCam, Ring doorbell cameras, Axon police body cameras, ShotSpotter, and license plate readers to create an intimate view of people’s lives.

BuzzFeed’s article also revealed how police use Arxys “Milestone” software which uses video detection and analytics to identify people.

The Minneapolis Police Department said in a surveillance white paper that it uses Arxys [Milestone] software — a video management tool that claims to offer “video motion detection” and “video analytics” — to analyze CCTV footage.

While both articles do a great job of revealing some of the ways law enforcement can monitor anyone, it really did not go into detail about how invasive Big Tech’s surveillance devices truly are.

Let’s say you use your smartphone for everything; texts, phone calls, pictures, music, etc. — if you also use Alexa or a NEST thermostat or any smart device in your home, these devices collect, store and transmit all that personal data, which police can use to identify a person. Police can also identify people who use a tablet or laptop because like a phone they have an IP and MAC address.

If you use any of these devices to make online purchases, police can ask those companies to provide details of what you bought and when. Anytime you use a credit/debit or customer rewards card, someone is compiling a database of everything you purchased.

Let’s say you drive or take public transit, police can track your vehicle and they can use facial recognition to identify where you work or which bus or train stops you use.

If you drive or take an Uber or Lyft, chances are your personal information is being recorded and used to build a massive database of your comings and goings. From the moment you step outside of your home, your neighbor’s Ring doorbell or Flock cameras have identified you, your family, and your vehicle.

And if they are any social distance snitches in your neighborhood, they have recorded you and reported you to police via Ring Neighbors or Nextdoor.

Thanks to Big Tech, a person’s everyday life is no longer private. Now everything we do is being recorded in real-time. Things like what and where you eat, who your friends and family members are, who your family doctor is or where you worship are all available to law enforcement.

Despite what Big tech, politicians, and law enforcement say, AI and smart devices are being used to identify activists and protesters.

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BILL GATES SURVEILLANCE DREAM: Your Freedom IS NEXT!

This article was contributed by Tom Beck at Portfolio Wealth Global. 

The world has come a long way since the days of United States v. Microsoft Corporation, when everybody thought Bill Gates’ worst alleged crime was violating antitrust policy. Today, the corporate press treats Bill Gates with kid gloves as if he’s just naïve about politics and regulations, but his overreach into global affairs has been well documented.

Bill’s been busy pushing his personal agenda for many years now – though the mainstream press keeps this on the back burner if they even bother to report on it at all. It’s well-known that Bill Gates’ father was on the board of Planned Parenthood and Bill’s foundation donated $1,730,000 to the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Portfolio Wealth Global has studied the life of Bill Gates closely.

The Planned Parenthood connection fits into Bill’s agenda, where he’s admitted that he wants to implement population reduction measures in third-world countries. The problem is that Gates knows how to speak persuasively, framing extreme population control measures as “philanthropic efforts.”

This underscores a much deeper and more disturbing strain in Gates’ master plan, which encompasses not only population reduction but also mega-scale, technology-enhanced surveillance tactics – and the common thread, as always for Bill Gates, is personal gain.

Gates’ immunization efforts have already failed miserably, as the government of India abruptly cut off ties with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017, essentially refusing to accept their funding capital for a massive vaccination program. India’s immunization advisory body reportedly suspected conflict of interest arising from the foundation’s connection with pharmaceutical companies.

Then there was the $121 million completely wasted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a failed attempt to bring an anti-HIV vaccine to South Africa. After all that money was spent, the research indicated that the proposed “vaccine” was no more effective than a placebo. The trials for this failed vaccine started back in 2016 and were finally put to rest in February of this year.

All of this was just preparation for something much bigger and far worse. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was involved in the so-called “Event 201” simulation, in which a computer simulation of the spread of a fatal virus suggested that 65 million people would die globally.

This “training exercise” took place in October of 2019, long before the coronavirus was the topic of conversation in the United States. Truthfully, the pandemic wasn’t discussed in earnest in America until February, yet Bill’s foundation was planning and preparing a simulation of what might be considered the most evil of “population control” schemes.

But this goes beyond a plan to depopulate the world – there’s also a surveillance component to Gates’ agenda. Old Bill has always been a techie, so his Orwellian version of a police state naturally involves a “broad” use of “digital tools” to monitor the population.

Bill figures that everybody can be tracked through the smartphones they carry with them everywhere, so he wants to implement “apps that will help you remember where you have been; if you ever test positive, you can review the history or choose to share it with whoever comes to interview you about your contacts.”

Exactly who would “come to interview you about your contacts?” Would it be the government, or perhaps an enterprise controlled by Bill’s foundation? Wait, it gets even more dystopian, as Gates seems to like the idea of “allowing phones to detect other phones that are near them by using Bluetooth and emitting sounds that humans can’t hear.”

That’s how total population control starts: tracking of each individual that’s undetectable because it’s beyond the range of human hearing.

Moreover, Bill Gates suggests that “if someone tested positive, their phone would send a message to the other phones…” Say goodbye to privacy and hello to Orwell’s 1984.

Gates also wants to get into your DNA – literally. He’s now “excited” about a vaccine that would actually alter your genetic code, along with your immune system. This would be the final nail in the coffin for your basic human rights: first “contact tracing” through invasive technology, then control of your body and genes is given up – Bill’s got a vision, alright, and we’re all in the crosshairs.

 

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White House Uses COVID-19 As A Reason To Create A Real-Time National Coronavirus Surveillance System

This article was originally published by Mass Private I at Mass Private I Blog. 

When is enough, enough? How many national surveillance systems does America need?

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has created a task force that wants to create a real-time national coronavirus surveillance system.

An article in Politico.com revealed how the national coronavirus surveillance system would allow federal authorities to see why someone is visiting their doctor and why they are in the hospital.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s task force has reached out to a range of health technology companies about creating a national coronavirus surveillance system to give the government a near real-time view of where patients are seeking treatment and for what, and whether hospitals can accommodate them, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions.

Giving government officials unfettered access to a patient’s doctor’s visits and what they are being treated for would destroy the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

A national coronavirus surveillance network hospital surveillance network would affect American’s rights on a scale not seen since 9/11.

The prospect of compiling a national database of potentially sensitive health information has prompted concerns about its impact on civil liberties well after the coronavirus threat recedes, with some critics comparing it to the Patriot Act enacted after the 9/11 attacks.

Using COVID-19 as an excuse to monitor hospital emergency rooms is disingenuous at best and misleading at worst.

It would allow federal officials to continuously track elements like hospitals’ bed availability and the flow of patients into specific emergency rooms across the country — thereby enabling the government to rush resources to parts of the country before they’re hit by a surge of coronavirus cases.

It is hard to put into words how disturbing the White House’s plan is. Imagine serving up your entire life’s medical history to a government that only seems interested in knowing everything about all of us.

Most kids are born in hospitals, most kids go to the hospital to receive vaccinations. When someone goes to the hospital for say an injury or a malady they are asked to fill out a medical questionnaire that asks patients to reveal all kinds of personal information that government officials could have access to at their fingertips now because of this proposed  program.

Whether a national coronavirus surveillance system is run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only time will tell.

Some public health experts, meanwhile, suggested that the administration might instead built out and reorient an existing surveillance system housed within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that aided the response to prior epidemics. The system, called the National Syndromic Surveillance Program, is a voluntary collaboration between the CDC and various state and local health departments that draws data from more than 4,000 health care facilities.

Politico’s summarization of the CDC’s the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is slightly misleading.

According to the CDC’s “overview” page, the NSSP is much more than a voluntary collaboration of hospitals sharing patient information and more like a secret public surveillance network.

The NSSP collects, analyzes, and shares electronic patient encounter data received from emergency departments, urgent and ambulatory care centers, inpatient healthcare settings, and laboratories.

The NSSP is the closest thing America has to a secret national patient surveillance network.

Currently, there are “more than 4,000 health care facilities covering 47 states and the District of Columbia that contribute data to the BioSense Platform daily.”

The NSSP’s BioSense Platform is a cloud-based patient surveillance program that hospitals voluntarily hand over to the Feds. The CDC calls it “a secure integrated electronic health information system that allows them to rapidly collect, evaluate, share, and store syndromic surveillance data.”

Creating a national coronavirus surveillance system run by the CDC which has a long history of working with the Department of Homeland Security is a no-brainer for the White House.

Giving DHS the keys to Americans’ health records at the click of a button is a recipe for disaster. Not only will every hacker in the world try and gain access to them, but it will open up a new form of public surveillance.

Imagine getting stopped by a police officer who interrogates you at a state border because you had a fever and cough two weeks ago. If you think that could never happen, I encourage you to read my latest story about police doing just that.

As Politico said, creating a real-time national coronavirus surveillance system “would represent a significant expansion of government use of individual patient data, forcing a new reckoning over privacy limits amid a national crisis.”

Since 9/11 we have seen numerous public surveillance networks created as an excuse to assuage public fears, but creating another patient surveillance system doesn’t make sense and it is not needed.

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AAPS: The MSM Reporting & Government Response to COVID-19 Is “Unprecedented”

According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, there is something more tragic than COVID-19, and that’s the mainstream media and the government’s response to it. What is more concerning than the virus itself is our un-American collective response to it.

So far, the fear-mongering and the government’s response has been nothing less than tragic. If it is not seen for what it is, it very well may mean the end of the American experiment and will lead to a new totalitarianism that will harm and persecute future generations. So let’s reveal the fact-based case for giving Americans their lives and livelihoods back:

Coronaviruses have been around for quite some time already, and most of us have already contacted them.

These viruses rarely cause death in humans; they are often cited as the cause of common colds.  COVID-19 is for the most part acting in the same way but with a notable exception – it can be deadly in the elderly and the immunocompromised. It hits these populations fast and hard.   Nonetheless, even in Italy, where the virus has killed thousands, most of those (78.3%) over the age of 90 recovered.  This is different from influenza epidemics in 1918 or 2010; those epidemics involved all ages.  This ability for younger individuals to be safe from serious illness has important implications for treating the virus and will be discussed below.  Ultraviolet light can be a significant treatment for the virus as UV light damages viral DNA and RNA and therefore kill it. –Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

So we have been committing economic and societal suicide to control the spread of a virus that even medical professionals are now saying is still not going to be “worse than the flu” for the vast majority of human beings.  In fact, the AAPS proceeds to bade their article in facts, by layin out the statistics that no one wants to listen to.

Of all the deaths reported in the United States as of today, only 2 have been in patients under 18 years of age.  Currently, our death rate (deaths/confirmed cases) has been as high as 2.3% and as low as 1.1% over the past 2 weeks.  The President’s COVID-19 Taskforce estimated that as many as 1/1000 New Yorkers may have the virus.  If this were projected to the entire United States (population 328,239,523), then the total number of COVID-19 would be approximately 328,239 and deaths from COVID-19 (1.8% death rate) at 5,909.  Even if this ends up being wrong by 1,000 percent, the death rate would still be 59,000, i.e., within range of the estimates for influenza deaths.  You can look at it in another way.  98% of people who get COVID-19 fully recover!

As of today (March 29, 2020) there are 123,828 confirmed cases and 2229 deaths (1.8% death rate) from COVID-19 in the United States.  Compare that with the influenza estimates so far this year:  29,000 deaths!  And the flu season is not yet over, with the CDC estimating as many as 59,000 will die of influenza by May of this year.

The CDC estimates that influenza like illnesses and pneumonia accounted for on average 7.65% of total deaths during the 12th week of the year the last six years.  For the 12th week of 2020 the CDC estimates that percentage as 8.15%, but part of the reason for the increase is a noticeable decrease in the deaths by all other causes. On average 55,000 Americans died in the 12th week of the last six years. During the 12th week of 2020 40,000 American died. Who in the media is discussing this?Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

The biggest problem is that the media told people to live in fear and be afraid and the government then made a command that the brainwashed fearful masses followed.  At this point, there may not be any limit to how much authoritarianism the American public will allow. Tyranny has set in and we all allowed it.

According to the AAPS, the only way to effectively combat the disease from a practical standpoint, not a fear-based one. Other than herd immunity, which would mean we’d have to be allowed to go about our business and get sick, is to shield those at high risk until the virus has run its course through the country.  Patients with significant underlying health conditions (cancer, lung disease, immune deficiency disorders) and those over the age of 65 should isolate themselves to the best of their abilities. But the rest of us need to be able to go about our lives just like we do during cold and flu season.

If we can learn anything from this epidemic is that mitigation efforts that destroy our economy were some of the biggest boondoggles every foisted on the American people.  Even worse, they aren’t necessary.  We have better ways to combat this virus.

What can be done to end this epidemic?  The answer is herd immunity. Don’t close schools – open them up!  Don’t close universities – reopen them!  Let those under the age of 65 with no significant health problems go to work.  Their risk of death is very close to zero.   They become the wall that stops the virus.  Our current strategy of isolating these healthy people from the virus: a. is not working – the virus is still spreading and b. for those who theoretically may be shielded from the virus, they will get exposed later. –Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

The entire article can be read by clicking here, as well as on the links throughout the body of this article. 

This is a must-read for everyone.  We are killing ourselves and each other and doing far more harm than good by not allowing humanity to resume as normal and this is coming from the medical professionals looking into this virus.

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“Pandemic Drones” Can Now Detect Fever and Coughing

This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.

The COVID-19 outbreak is proving to be the Trojan horse that justifies the ushering in of the surveillance state. We’ve noted how governments and corporations are quickly deploying big data and spy tools to monitor people during the pandemic.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, and now the war on COVID-19: all start out as legitimate responses but then are used by politicians to increase the surveillance state and erode any freedoms citizens have left.

What’s coming to America in the not too distant future is a full-blown surveillance state, that could be on par with China’s. In particular, we want to show ZeroHedge readers what could be coming down the pipe: That is, “pandemic drones” outfitted with specialized sensor and computer vision system that can fly around cities and detect if people have elevated body temperatures, respiratory rates, as well as to identify if people are sneezing and coughing (all signs of a COVID-19 carrier)

A US-based drone company called Dragonfly is spearheading the effort to build a drone network across public areas to detect infected people. The drone network is called the “global early warning system” that would be able to spot the first signs of a pandemic.

Dragonfly was recently selected by Vital Intelligence, a healthcare data services, and deep learning company in conjunction with the University of South Australia, to “immediately commercialize” pandemic drones to monitor people in public areas.

“Draganfly is honored to work on such an important project given the current pandemic facing the world with COVID-19. Health and respiratory monitoring will be vital for not only detection, but also utilizing the data to understand health trends. As we move forward, drones and autonomous technology doing detection will be an important part of ensuring public safety,” said Andy Card, Director of Draganfly and former Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff.

As shown below, the pandemic drone can easily detect breathing rate, heart rate, body temperature, and if the person is sneezing and coughing – all signs that could point to a COIVD-19 carrier.

Here’s Dragonfly’s video showing the drone in action:

On Monday, former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that the US must build a “massive surveillance system” to detect where the virus might be spreading next – and maybe one of the best ways to monitor large swaths of the population could be through the use of pandemic drones across major US metropolitan cities.

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Edward Snowden’s Warning: Surveillance Measures Will Outlast The Pandemic

Edward Snowden has a warning for those who are giving up liberty for a false sense of security: the temporary mass surveillance measures put in place will be anything but temporary. Snowden says that these measures are not worth giving up even more liberty.

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program, and infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden is sounding the alarms about the Orwellian mass surveillance that will long outlast this coronavirus pandemic.

The former CIA contractor, whose leaks exposed the scale of spying programs in the United States, is warning that once this tech is taken out of the box, it will be hard to put it back. “When we see emergency measures passed, particularly today, they tend to be sticky,” Snowden said in an interview with the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.

The emergency tends to be expanded. Then the authorities become comfortable with some new power. They start to like it.

Power corrupts. It always has and always will.  But people have become comfortable with government officials ruling over them, stealing their money, and telling them what to do.  We’ve been transformed into the government’s slaves, and Snowden says it’s only going to get worse.

Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.

Take the proposals to monitor the outbreak by tracking mobile phone location data.

This could prove a powerful method of tracing the spread of the virus and the movements of people who have it. But it will also be a tempting tool to track terrorists — or any other potential enemies of the states. -The Next Web

This virus has so far been an excuse by the ruling class to institute permanent tyranny. As I’ve stated before, I’m far less afraid of this virus than I am of the government’s response to it. Snowden is as well.  He’s especially concerned about security services adding artificial intelligence to all the other surveillance tech they have. “They already know what you’re looking at on the internet,” he said. “They already know where your phone is moving. Now they know what your heart rate is, what your pulse is. What happens when they start to mix these and apply artificial intelligence to it?”

There is no disputing the severity of this pandemic, however, surrendering basic human rights and dignity to the government is essentially giving up and allowing yourself to be enslaved for the remainder of your life.

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This Is a Test: How Will the Constitution Fare During a Nationwide Lockdown?

This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute. 

“It takes a remarkable force to keep nearly a million people quietly indoors for an entire day, home from work and school, from neighborhood errands and out-of-town travel. It takes a remarkable force to keep businesses closed and cars off the road, to keep playgrounds empty and porches unused across a densely populated place 125 square miles in size. This happened … not because armed officers went door-to-door, or imposed a curfew, or threatened martial law. All around the region, for 13 hours, people locked up their businesses and ‘sheltered in place’ out of a kind of collective will. The force that kept them there wasn’t external – there was virtually no active enforcement across the city of the governor’s plea that people stay indoors. Rather, the pressure was an internal one – expressed as concern, or helpfulness, or in some cases, fear – felt in thousands of individual homes.”—Journalist Emily Badger, “The Psychology of a Citywide Lockdown”

This is a test.

This is not a test of our commitment to basic hygiene or disaster preparedness or our ability to come together as a nation in times of crisis, although we’re not doing so well on any of those fronts.

No, what is about to unfold over the next few weeks is a test to see how well we have assimilated the government’s lessons in compliance, fear and police state tactics; a test to see how quickly we’ll march in lockstep with the government’s dictates, no questions asked; and a test to see how little resistance we offer up to the government’s power grabs when made in the name of national security.

Most critically of all, this is a test to see whether the Constitution—and our commitment to the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights—can survive a national crisis and true state of emergency.

Here’s what we know: whatever the so-called threat to the nation—whether it’s civil unrest, school shootings, alleged acts of terrorism, or the threat of a global pandemic in the case of COVID-19—the government has a tendency to capitalize on the nation’s heightened emotions, confusion and fear as a means of extending the reach of the police state.

This coronavirus epidemic, which has brought China’s Orwellian surveillance out of the shadows and caused Italy to declare a nationwide lockdown, threatens to bring the American Police State out into the open on a scale we’ve not seen before.

If and when a nationwide lockdown finally hits—if and when we are forced to shelter in place— if and when militarized police are patrolling the streets— if and when security checkpoints have been established— if and when the media’s ability to broadcast the news has been curtailed by government censors—if and when public systems of communication (phone lines, internet, text messaging, etc.) have been restricted—if and when those FEMA camps the government has been surreptitiously building finally get used as quarantine detention centers for American citizens—if and when military “snatch and grab” teams are deployed on local, state, and federal levels as part of the activated Continuity of Government plans to isolate anyone suspected of being infected with COVID-19—and if and when martial law is enacted with little real outcry or resistance from the public—then we will truly understand the extent to which the government has fully succeeded in recalibrating our general distaste for anything that smacks too overtly of tyranny.

This is how it begins.

The coronavirus epidemic may well be a legitimate health concern, but it’s the government’s response to it that worries me more in the long term.

Based on the government’s track record and its long-anticipated plans for instituting martial law (using armed forces to solve domestic political and social problems) in response to a future crisis, there’s good reason to worry.

This is not a government with a rosy view of the future.

To the contrary, the government’s vision of the future is particularly ominous if a Pentagon training video created by the Army for U.S. Special Operations Command is anything to go by.

Obtained by The Intercept through a FOIA request, the training video titled “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity” provides a chilling glimpse of what the government expects the world to look like in 2030, a world 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.

Add health contagions to the mix, and we’re arrived there, ten years ahead of schedule.

The training video is only five minutes long, but it says a lot about the government’s mindset and the way it views the citizenry. Even more troubling, however, is what this military video doesn’t say about the Constitution and the rights of the citizenry: nothing at all.

In typical fashion, the government seems to consider the Constitution only when forced to do so. It complies with the dictates of the Constitution even less frequently. Indeed, the government’s efforts to systematically lock down the nation and shift us into martial law have not been stymied one iota by the restraints imposed upon it by the Constitution: when it’s not bulldozing its way through the Fourth Amendment, the government just sidesteps it (with the help of the courts).

So what should you expect if the government decides to declare a national state of emergency and institute a nationwide lockdown?

More of the same of what we’ve been seeing in recent years.

After all, like the proverbial boiling frogs, the government has been gradually acclimating us to the specter of a police state for years now: Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.

This is how you prepare a populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully.

You don’t scare them by making dramatic changes. Rather, you acclimate them slowly to their prison walls. Persuade the citizenry that their prison walls are merely intended to keep them safe and danger out. Desensitize them to violence, acclimate them to a military presence in their communities, and persuade them that only a militarized government can alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation.

It’s happening already.

The sight of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to “a military patrol through a hostile city,” no longer causes alarm among the general populace.

We’ve allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional lockdown of government buildings, Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory, and  Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers, and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis.

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 called on the government to subject right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans to full-fledged pre-crime surveillance.

Meanwhile, the government has been amassing an arsenal of military weapons, including hollow-point bullets, 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.

All of this has taken place right under our noses, funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry.

And then you have the government’s Machiavellian schemes for unleashing all manner of dangers on an unsuspecting populace, then demanding additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threats. Almost every national security threat that the government has claimed greater powers in order to fight—all the while undermining the liberties of the American citizenry—has been manufactured in one way or another by the government.

We have made it way too easy for the government to lock down the nation.

Consider that it was seven years ago when the city of Boston was locked down while police carried out a military-style manhunt for suspects in the 2013 Boston Marathon explosion.

Six years ago, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, was locked down, with government officials deploying a massive SWAT team, an armored personnel carrier, men in camouflage pointing heavy artillery at the crowd, smoke bombs and tear gas to quell citizen unrest over a police shooting of a young, unarmed black man.

Five years ago, the city of Baltimore was put under a military-enforced lockdown after civil unrest over police brutality erupted into rioting. More than 1,500 national guard troops were deployed while residents were ordered to stay inside their homes and put under a 10 pm curfew.

Three years ago, it was Charlottesville, Va., population 50,000, that was locked down while government officials declared a state of emergency and enacted heightened security measures tantamount to martial law, despite the absence of any publicized information about credible threats to public safety.

Fast forward to the present moment, with the world on the verge of a possible coronavirus pandemic, and growing numbers of Americans are already voluntarily sheltering in place in an effort to avoid falling ill.

For those like myself who have studied emerging police states, the sight of any American city placed under martial law—its citizens essentially under house arrest (officials used the Orwellian phrase “shelter in place” in Boston to describe the mandatory lockdown), military-style helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices buzzing the skies, tanks and armored vehicles on the streets, and snipers perched on rooftops, while thousands of black-garbed police swarmed the streets and SWAT teams carried out house-to-house searches—leaves us in a growing state of unease.

Watching the events of the various lockdowns unfold, I couldn’t help but think of Nazi Field Marshal Hermann Goering’s remarks during the Nuremberg trials. As Goering noted:

It is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.

It does indeed work the same in every country.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for the American people to be terrorized into compliance by the government’s latest and greatest scare tactic, even if it means being stripped of one’s constitutional rights at a moment’s notice.

This continual undermining of the rules that protect civil liberties has far-reaching consequences on a populace that not only remains ignorant about their rights but is inclined to sacrifice their liberties for phantom promises of safety.

It may be that we’ve already gone too far down this road. However, don’t let this latest “crisis” cause you to panic to such an extent that you relinquish your fundamental right to make decisions for yourself and your loved ones and willingly surrender what remains of your freedoms.

This too shall pass.

Remember, a police state does not come about overnight.

Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American Peopleno matter how it starts, with a questionable infringement justified in the name of safety or a nationwide lockdown to guard against a global pandemic, it always ends the same: by pushing us one step closer to a future in which the government has all the power and “we the people” have none.

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Spiro Interview: How The Coronavirus Is Being Used To Control You And Remove Your Rights

This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute. 

“If, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that’ll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.”—Philip K. Dick

Emboldened by the citizenry’s inattention and willingness to tolerate its abuses, the government has weaponized one national crisis after another in order to expand its powers.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, 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.

It doesn’t even matter what the nature of the crisis might be—civil unrest, the national emergencies, “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”—as long as it allows the government to justify all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security.

Now we find ourselves on the brink of a possible coronavirus contagion.

I’ll leave the media and the medical community to speculate about the impact the coronavirus will have on the nation’s health, but how will the government’s War on the Coronavirus impact our freedoms?

For a hint of what’s in store, you can look to China—our role model for all things dystopian—where the contagion started.

In an attempt to fight the epidemic, the government has given its surveillance state apparatus—which boasts the most expansive and sophisticated surveillance system in the world—free rein. Thermal scanners using artificial intelligence (AI) have been installed at train stations in major cities to assess body temperatures and identify anyone with a fever. Facial recognition cameras and cell phone carriers track people’s movements constantly, reporting in real-time to data centers that can be accessed by government agents and employers alike. And coded color alerts (red, yellow and green) sort people into health categories that correspond to the amount of freedom of movement they’re allowed: “Green code, travel freely. Red or yellow, report immediately.”

Mind you, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese surveillance state had already been hard at work tracking its citizens through the use of some 200 million security cameras installed nationwide. Equipped with facial recognition technology, the cameras allow authorities to track so-called criminal acts, such as jaywalking, which factor into a person’s social credit score.

Social media credit scores assigned to Chinese individuals and businesses categorize them on whether or not they are “good” citizens. A real-name system—which requires people to use government-issued ID cards to buy mobile sims, obtain social media accounts, take a train, board a plane, or even buy groceries—coupled with social media credit scores ensures that those blacklisted as “unworthy” are banned from accessing financial markets, buying real estate or traveling by air or train. Among the activities that can get you labeled unworthy are taking reserved seats on trains or causing trouble in hospitals.

That same social credit score technology used to identify, track and segregate citizens is now one of China’s chief weapons in its fight to contain the coronavirus from spreading. However, it is far from infallible and a prime example of the difficulties involved in navigating an autonomous system where disembodied AI systems call the shots. For instance, one woman, who has no symptoms of the virus but was assigned a red code based on a visit to her hometown, has been blocked from returning to her home and job until her color code changes. She has been stuck in this state of limbo for weeks with no means of challenging the color code or knowing exactly why she’s been assigned a red code.

Fighting the coronavirus epidemic has given China the perfect excuse for unleashing the full force of its surveillance and data collection powers. The problem, as Eamon Barrett acknowledges in Fortune magazine, is what happens after: “Once the outbreak is controlled, it’s unclear whether the government will retract its new powers.”

The lesson for the ages: once any government is allowed to expand its powers, it’s almost impossible to pull back.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the government thus far has limited its coronavirus preparations to missives advising the public to stay calm, wash their hands, and cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze.

Don’t go underestimating the government’s ability to lock the nation down if the coronavirus turns into a pandemic, however. After all, the government has been planning and preparing for such a crisis for years now.

The building blocks are already in place for such an eventuality: the surveillance networks, fusion centers and government contractors that already share information in real-time; the government’s massive biometric databases that can identify individuals based on genetic and biological markers; the militarized police, working in conjunction with federal agencies, ready and able to coordinate with the federal government when it’s time to round up the targeted individuals; the courts that will sanction the government’s methods, no matter how unlawful, as long as it’s done in the name of national security; and the detention facilities, whether private prisons or FEMA internment camps, that have been built and are waiting to be filled.

Now all of this may sound far-fetched to you now, but we’ve already arrived at the dystopian futures prophesied by George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.

It won’t take much more to push us over the edge into Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, in which the majority of humanity is relegated to an overpopulated, diseased, warring planet where the government employs technologies such as drones, tasers and biometric scanners to track, target and control the populace.

Mind you, while these technologies are already in use today and being hailed for their potentially life-saving, cost-saving, time-saving benefits, it won’t be long before the drawbacks to having a government equipped with technology that makes it all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful——helped along by the citizenry—far outdistance the benefits.

On a daily basis, Americans are relinquishing (in many cases, voluntarily) the most intimate details of who we are—their biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to navigate an increasingly technologically-enabled world.

Consider all the ways you continue to be tracked, hunted, hounded, and stalked by the government and its dubious agents:

By tapping into your phone lines and cell phone communications, the government knows what you say. By uploading all of your emails, opening your mail, and reading your Facebook posts and text messages, the government knows what you write. By monitoring your movements with the use of license plate readers, surveillance cameras and other tracking devices, the government knows where you go. By churning through all of the detritus of your life—what you read, where you go, what you say—the government can predict what you will do.

By mapping the synapses in your brain, scientists—and in turn, the government—will soon know what you remember. By mapping your biometrics—your “face-print”—and storing the information in a massive, shared government database available to bureaucratic agencies, police and the military, the government’s goal is to use facial-recognition software to identify you (and every other person in the country) and track your movements, wherever you go. And by accessing your DNA, the government will soon know everything else about you that they don’t already know: your family chart, your ancestry, what you look like, your health history, your inclination to follow orders or chart your own course, etc.

Of course, none of these technologies are foolproof.

Nor are they immune from tampering, hacking or user bias.

Nevertheless, they have become a convenient tool in the hands of government agents to render null and void the Constitution’s requirements of privacy and its prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The ramifications of a government—any government—having this much unregulated, unaccountable power to target, track, round up and detain its citizens is beyond chilling.

Imagine what a totalitarian regime such as Nazi Germany could have done with this kind of unadulterated power.

Imagine what the next police state to follow in Germany’s footsteps will do with this kind of power. Society is rapidly moving in that direction.

We’ve made it so easy for the government to watch us.

Government eyes see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet.

Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line.

Chances are, as the Washington Post has reported, you have already been assigned a color-coded threat assessment score—green, yellow or red—so police are forewarned about your potential inclination to be a troublemaker depending on whether you’ve had a career in the military, posted a comment perceived as threatening on Facebook, suffer from a particular medical condition, or know someone who knows someone who might have committed a crime.

In other words, you’re most likely already flagged in a government database somewhere.

The government has the know-how.

Indeed, for years now, the FBI and Justice Department have conspired to acquire near-limitless power and control over biometric information collected on law-abiding individuals, millions of whom have never been accused of a crime.

Going far beyond the scope of those with criminal backgrounds, the FBI’s Next Generation Identification database (NGID), a billion-dollar boondoggle that is aimed at dramatically expanding the government’s ID database from a fingerprint system to a vast data storehouse of iris scans, photos searchable with face recognition technology, palm prints, and measures of gait and voice recordings alongside records of fingerprints, scars, and tattoos.

Launched in 2008, the NGID is a massive biometric database that contains more than 100 million fingerprints and 45 million facial photos gathered from a variety of sources ranging from criminal suspects and convicts to daycare workers and visa applicants, including millions of people who have never committed or even been accused of a crime.

In other words, innocent American citizens are now automatically placed in a suspect database.

For a long time, the government was required to at least observe some basic restrictions on when, where and how it could access someone’s biometrics and DNA and use it against them.

That is no longer the case.

The information is being amassed through a variety of routine procedures, with the police leading the way as prime collectors of biometrics for something as non-threatening as a simple moving violation. The nation’s courts are also doing their part to “build” the database, requiring biometric information as a precursor to more lenient sentences. And of course, Corporate America (including Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) has made it so easy to use one’s biometrics to access everything from bank accounts to cell phones.

We’ve made it so easy for the government to target, identify and track us.

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 have the makings for a perfect dystopian nightmare.

This is the kind of oppressive pre-crime and pre-thought crime package foreshadowed by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Phillip K. Dick.

Remember, 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.

In the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

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.

This is the creepy, calculating yet diabolical genius of the American police state: the very technology we hailed as revolutionary and liberating has become our prison, jailer, probation officer, Big Brother and Father Knows Best all rolled into one.

It turns out that we are Soylent Green.

The 1973 film of the same name, starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson, is set in 2022 in an overpopulated, polluted, starving New York City whose inhabitants depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation for survival.

Heston plays a policeman investigating a murder, who discovers the grisly truth about the primary ingredient in the wafer, soylent green, which is the principal source of nourishment for a starved population. “It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people,” declares Heston’s character. “They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food.”

Oh, how right he was.

Soylent Green is indeed people or, in our case, Soylent Green is our own personal data, repossessed, repackaged and used by corporations and the government to entrap us.

Without constitutional protections in place to guard against encroachments on our rights when power, technology, and militaristic governance converge, it won’t be long before we find ourselves, much like Edward G. Robinson’s character in Soylent Green, looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted, and go where we wanted without those thoughts, words, and movements being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

We’re not quite there yet. But that moment of reckoning is getting closer by the minute.

In the meantime, we’ve got an epidemic to survive, so go ahead and wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. And stock up on whatever you might need to survive this virus if it spreads to your community.

We are indeed at our most vulnerable right now, but as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it’s the American Surveillance State—not the coronavirus—that poses the greatest threat to our freedoms.

Police forces across the United States have been transformed into extensions of the military. Our towns and cities have become battlefields, and we the American people are now the enemy combatants to be spied on tracked, frisked, and searched. For those who resist, the consequences can be a one-way trip to jail or even death. Battlefield America: The War on the American People is constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead’s terrifying portrait of a nation at war with itself. In exchange for safe schools and lower crime rates, we have opened the doors to militarized police, zero-tolerance policies in schools, and SWAT team raids. The insidious shift was so subtle that most of us had no idea it was happening. This follow-up to Whitehead’s award-winning A Government of Wolves is a brutal critique of an America on the verge of destroying the very freedoms that define it. Hands up!?the police state has arrived.

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