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‘That is theft!’ — Pat Gray calls out ‘despicable’ FBI for seizure of property belonging to innocent citizens

Unless a federal judge intervenes, innocent Americans may never see $85 million in cash, precious metals, and family heirlooms seized by the FBI during a raid on Private Vaults (USPV).

USPV was indicted by the feds for conspiracy to sell drugs and launder money, which led to the seizure of 800 safety deposit boxes, only a few of which were reported to have been included in the search warrant.

According to a report, “The asset list in the seizure notice discloses more than a dozen boxes containing more than $1 million each in cash, and many more in six figures. Others list jewelry, collectible coins, gold and silver, and ‘Precious Items’ with nominal $1 figures.The FBI appears to have exceeded the search warrant approved by the court, which prohibited snooping on the box contents except to ‘identify their owners in order to notify them’ about claiming their property.”

The report also stated, “The Institute for Justice (IJ) is seeking class-action status, for a May lawsuit by several owners alleging “shocking, unconscionable, and unconstitutional” behavior by the government. IJ attorney Robert Frommer accused the feds of an “$85 million cash grab” from people who were not accused of wrongdoing.”

On Monday’s show, Pat Gray called the FBI “despicable” for confiscating property belonging to USPV clients who were never charged with a crime.

After the lawsuit was filed, the FBI reportedly offered to return some property to the original owners but those included in the suit say they still have not received their property.

“That is theft,” Pat asserted.

He added that he wasn’t sure which constitutional amendment was more violated, the First Amendment — free speech or the Fourth Amendment — illegal search and seizure.

Watch the clip for the full scoop. Can’t watch? Download the podcast here.

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To enjoy more of Pat’s biting analysis and signature wit as he restores common sense to a senseless world, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

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The FBI’s Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, the FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes a Day

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

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”— Friedrich Nietzsche

Almost every tyranny being perpetrated by the U.S. government against the citizenry—purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure—has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by our own government.

Think about it.

Cyberwarfare. Terrorism. Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race. Surveillance. The drug wars. Domestic extremism. The COVID-19 pandemic.

In almost every instance, the U.S. government (often spearheaded by the FBI) has in its typical Machiavellian fashion sown the seeds of terror domestically and internationally in order to expand its own totalitarian powers.

Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government.

Which country has a history of secretly testing out dangerous weapons and technologies on its own citizens? The U.S. government.

Which country has conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases, and exposing them to airborne toxins? The U.S. government.

What country has a pattern and practice of entrapment that involves targeting vulnerable individuals, feeding them with the propaganda, know-how, and weapons intended to turn them into terrorists, and then arresting them as part of an elaborately orchestrated counterterrorism sting? The U.S. government.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from terrorism.

The U.S. government is creating terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror.

Consider that this very same government has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, control, and trap us.

So why is the government doing this? Money, power, and total domination.

We’re not dealing with a government that exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness. Rather, these are the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

Case in point: the FBI.

The government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused. Indeed, far from being tough on crime, FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues, and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work.

For example, this is the agency that used an undercover agent/informant to seek out and groom an impressionable young man, cultivating his friendship, gaining his sympathy, stoking his outrage over the injustices perpetrated by the U.S. government, then enlisting his help to blow up the Herald Square subway station. Despite the fact that Shahawar Matin Siraj ultimately refused to plant a bomb at the train station, he was arrested for conspiring to do so at the urging of his FBI informant and used to bolster the government’s track record in foiling terrorist plots. Of course, no mention was made of the part the government played in fabricating the plot, recruiting a would-be bomber, and setting him up to take the fall.

This is the government’s answer to precrime: first, foster activism by stoking feelings of outrage and injustice by way of secret agents and informants; second, recruit activists to carry out a plot (secretly concocted by the government) to challenge what they see as government corruption; and finally, arrest those activists for conspiring against the government before they can actually commit a crime.

It’s a diabolical plot with far-reaching consequences for every segment of the population, no matter what one’s political leanings.

As Rozina Ali writes for The New York Times Magazine, “The government’s approach to counterterrorism erodes constitutional protections for everyone, by blurring the lines between speech and action and by broadening the scope of who is classified as a threat.”

This is not an agency that appears to understand, let alone respect, the limits of the Constitution.

Just recently, it was revealed that the FBI has been secretly carrying out an entrapment scheme in which it used a front company, ANOM, to sell purportedly hack-proof phones to organized crime syndicates and then used those phones to spy on them as they planned illegal drug shipments, plotted robberies and put out contracts for killings using those boobytrapped phones.

All told, the FBI intercepted 27 million messages over the course of 18 months.

What this means is that the FBI was also illegally spying on individuals using those encrypted phones who may not have been involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

Even reading a newspaper article is now enough to get you flagged for surveillance by the FBI. The agency served a subpoena on USA Today/Gannett to provide the internet addresses and mobile phone information for everyone who read a news story online on a particular day and time about the deadly shooting of FBI agents.

This is the danger of allowing the government to carry out widespread surveillance, sting, and entrapment operations using dubious tactics that sidestep the rule of law: “we the people” become suspects and potential criminals, while government agents, empowered to fight crime using all means at their disposal, become indistinguishable from the corrupt forces they seek to vanquish.

To go after terrorists, they become terrorists. To go after drug smugglers, they become drug smugglers. To go after thieves, they become thieves.

For instance, when the FBI raided a California business that was suspected of letting drug dealers anonymously stash guns, drugs, and cash in its private vaults, agents seized the contents of all the safety deposit boxes and filed forfeiture motions to keep the contents, which include millions of dollars worth of valuables owned by individuals not accused of any crime whatsoever.

It’s hard to say whether we’re dealing with a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), a kakistocracy (a government-run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations, and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens), or if we’ve gone straight to an idiocracy.

This certainly isn’t a constitutional democracy, however.

Some days, it feels like the FBI is running its own crime syndicate complete with mob rule and mafia-style justice.

In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts.

USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day (5600 crimes a year). Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

In a stunning development reported by The Washington Post, a probe into misconduct by an FBI agent resulted in the release of at least a dozen convicted drug dealers from prison.

In addition to procedural misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, the FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, and harassment.

For example, the Associated Press lodged a complaint with the Dept. of Justice after learning that FBI agents created a fake AP news story and emailed it, along with a clickable link, to a bomb threat suspect in order to implant tracking technology onto his computer and identify his location. Lambasting the agency, AP attorney Karen Kaiser railed, “The FBI may have intended this false story as a trap for only one person. However, the individual could easily have reposted this story to social networks, distributing to thousands of people, under our name, what was essentially a piece of government disinformation.”

Then again, to those familiar with COINTELPRO, an FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, it should come as no surprise that the agency has mastered the art of government disinformation.

The FBI has been particularly criticized in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for targeting vulnerable individuals and not only luring them into fake terror plots but actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons, and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward-leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”

Another fallout from 9/11, National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.

The FBI’s surveillance capabilities, on a par with the National Security Agency, boast a nasty collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls.

In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”

The FBI has also repeatedly sought to expand its invasive hacking powers to allow agents to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world.

Indeed, for years now, the U.S. government has been creating what one intelligence insider referred to as a cyber-army capable of offensive attacks. As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That’s because U.S. intelligence and military agencies aren’t buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.

As part of this cyberweapons programs, government agencies such as the NSA have been stockpiling all kinds of nasty malware, viruses, and hacking tools that can “steal financial account passwords, turn an iPhone into a listening device, or, in the case of Stuxnet, sabotage a nuclear facility.”

In fact, the NSA was responsible for the threat posed by the “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor” malware worm which—as a result of hackers accessing the government’s arsenal—hijacked more than 57,000 computers and crippled health care, communications infrastructure, logistics, and government entities in more than 70 countries.

Mind you, the government was repeatedly warned about the dangers of using criminal tactics to wage its own cyberwars. It was warned about the consequences of blowback should its cyberweapons get into the wrong hands.

The government chose to ignore the warnings.

That’s exactly how the 9/11 attacks unfolded.

First, the government helped to create the menace that was al-Qaida, and then, when bin Laden had left the nation reeling in shock (despite countless warnings that fell on tone-deaf ears), it demanded—and was given—immense new powers in the form of the USA Patriot Act in order to fight the very danger it had created.

This has become the shadow government’s modus operandi regardless of which party controls the White House: the government creates a menace—knowing full well the ramifications such a danger might pose to the public—then without ever owning up to the part it played in unleashing that particular menace on an unsuspecting populace, it demands additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threat.

Yet the powers-that-be don’t really want us to feel safe.

They want us cowering and afraid and willing to relinquish every last one of our freedoms in exchange for their phantom promises of security.

As a result, it’s the American people who pay the price for the government’s insatiable greed and quest for power.

We’re the ones to suffer the blowback.

Blowback is a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.

As historian Chalmers Johnson explains, “blowback is another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows.”

Unfortunately, “we the people” are the ones who keep reaping what the government sows.

We’re the ones who suffer every time, directly and indirectly, from the blowback.

Suffice it to say that when and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America: how a nation that once abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions has steadily devolved into a police state where justice is one-sided, a corporate elite runs the show, representative government is a mockery, police are extensions of the military, surveillance is rampant, privacy is extinct, and the law is little more than a tool for the government to browbeat the people into compliance.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

We can persuade ourselves that life is still good, that America is still beautiful, and that “we the people” are still free. However, as science fiction writer Philip K. Dick warned, “Don’t believe what you see; it’s an enthralling—[and] destructive, evil snare. Under it is a totally different world, even placed differently along the linear axis.”

In other words, as I point out Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all is not as it seems.

The powers-that-be are not acting in our best interests.

“We the people” are not free.

The government is not our friend.

The post The FBI’s Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, the FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes a Day first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Thug threatens 82-year-old man, punches him in head, shoves him to ground — then steals his cane — while others just watch attack happen

New York City police released a disturbing video this week showing a man raising his fist at an 82-year-old victim — allegedly while demanding money — and then punching the victim, shoving him to the floor of a Manhattan convenience store, and running out the door with the victim’s cane.

And video shows that the Wednesday incident all happened in front of at least three other people in the lower east side bodega who didn’t intervene during the threat and physical attack.

What happened next?

Police soon arrested 42-year-old Raoul Hyacinthe — who lives in a nearby men’s shelter, according to witnesses — and charged him with robbery, the New York Daily News reported.

Hyacinthe also was charged with criminal mischief for striking a car mirror with the stolen cane after he walked out of the store, the Daily News added, as well as for a Sept. 4 incident during which he allegedly threw a brick through a store window.

The paper, citing police sources, said Hyacinthe has 24 prior arrests, most for misdemeanors including criminal mischief, menacing, fare-beating, and drug possession.

What did the victim have to say?

The victim, Bernard Serlin, minced no words in regard to what he’d like to do to his attacker.

“I want to kill him,” Serlin told the Daily News. “He had no business doing that to me. … Really, I’m not a violent guy. But he deserves to die, this guy.”

Serlin is a regular at the deli where he was attacked while simply trying to grab his morning coffee, bagel, and newspaper, the paper said.

“He just pushed me,” Serlin recalled to the Daily News. “I never saw him before, and he never saw me. The bastard stole my cane. … I don’t bother nobody. This guy was nuts, he couldn’t be sane.”

Police told WNBC-TV Serlin suffered only a minor head injury and declined further medical attention — and he later told the station he wishes he would have “shot at” his attacker.

“I’d punch him right in the f***ing face,” Serlin added to WNBC in a gravelly, streetwise voice.


Image source: WNBC-TV video screenshot

The Daily News said Hyacinthe allegedly followed Serlin into the store about 6:20 a.m.

“When I turned around, that’s when I saw him grabbing [the victim] by his neck,” deli worker Hector Ponce told the paper. “I heard him say, ‘Oh, you don’t want to give me money? Well, if you don’t want to give me money, I’ll give you a punch.’ And he was standing there with his fist clenched in the air.”

Ironically a store employee told the Daily News that Serlin typically hands out dollar bills to homeless people gathered outside the store.

‘Nothing scares me no more’

Refusing to allow the attack to change his routine, Serlin — a 40-year neighborhood resident — was right back at the store Thursday morning, the paper said.

And a friend loaned him a cane, the Daily News reported.

“Nothing scares me no more,” Serlin told the paper.

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It Has Begun: Want To Work? Get The Jab

The Houston hospital that required its employees to take the experimental gene therapy shot has “paved the way” for others to do the same. Several employees sued Houston Methodist hospitals for mandating the “vaccine” but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit which will embolden other employers to require this shot.

COVID-19 mRNA Shots Are Legally Not Vaccines

In his strongly-worded ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes on Saturday knocked down arguments made in similar legal actions underway across the nation, limiting the likelihood that others will succeed.

Hughes discounted claims that the vaccine is experimental and dangerous. Unless they meet legal health or religious exemptions, the judge said that workers who refuse to get vaccinated, “will simply need to work somewhere else.” –USA Today

Whether Hughes’ ruling (note the word usage: ruling) will be the final word in Texas remains to be seen. The nurse leading the fight, Jennifer Bridges, has vowed to appeal on behalf of herself and 116 other plaintiffs, including at least three dozen nurses and others with medical training. The rest hold jobs ranging from patient liaison to lab tech to transplant coordinator.  All of them want the freedom of body autonomy to decide what they put in their bodies.

But this has been a long time coming.  Last year, before the vaccines (which aren’t vaccines by any definition of the term), were announced, medical journals were already talking about how to punish those who won’t submit to the reward-based system of free beer, lotteries, donuts, etc. and just take the shot because ruling class propaganda told them to.

Medical Journal: Get The COVID-19 Vaccine, Or Be Punished HARSHLY

So far, employers have been hesitant to mandate the “vaccine” as a condition of employment. Methodist’s CEO Marc Boom decided medical tyranny and force were the way to go. He soon began hearing from others eager to follow his lead, according to USA Today.  “My phone and email have rung off the hook,” says Boom, a fit, gray-haired doctor who urges people to call him by his first name. “We’re all going to go there. It’s just a matter of when not if.”

And how did Boom get away with mandating a vaccine?

Boom had started with an incentive: a $500 “hope bonus” for anyone who got the vaccine by March. He traded that carrot for a stick in April, telling those who did not comply their jobs were on the line. His success up to that point informed his decision to act.

“I would have never pulled the trigger on a mandate if we were sitting at 55%,” Boom said. “You do have to run a hospital and care for everybody, and you do need your staff to do that.” –USA Today

This is just the beginning.  If you plan to refuse this shot, have a backup plan. This won’t end until the “whole world is vaccinated.” They have already let that cat out of the bag. Start saving some money, invest in gold or silver or cryptocurrency to protect the wealth you have, and most importantly, stand firm. They will continue to treat us like slaves as long as we act like slaves. If we conduct ourselves as the free human beings we were born to be, they have no power and they know that.  All they can do is try to manufacture as much consent to be “governed” which means “controlled” as possible.

This lawsuit, if anything, should prove that trying to use the system to beat the system is never going to work. It wasn’t designed to work in our favor but in theirs.

The post It Has Begun: Want To Work? Get The Jab first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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VIDEO: Thief brazenly fills trash bag with store items as security guard records the crime — and crook easily bicycles past guard and out the door

A thief was caught on video filling a trash bag with items from a San Francisco Walgreens store Monday while a security guard stood in the aisle and recorded the crime.


Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @LyanneMelendez

The crook ended up easily bicycling past the guard — who attempted to snag the bag to no avail — and exiting the store in broad daylight.


Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @LyanneMelendez


Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @LyanneMelendez

Check it out the video:

What are the details?

Lyanne Melendez, a KGO-TV reporter, was shopping in the store on her day off — and she’s the one who recorded the above cellphone clip.

“That’s when he sort of ran into me with his bicycle,” Melendez told her station in the aftermath. KGO said she was not injured.

“It’s hard for me as a journalist to say ‘I won’t be involved, I can’t get involved,’ I have to be sort of neutral, but this is also my city,” Melendez added to her station. “I live in this city, and I see this constantly. Not only Walgreens, but cars, and my garage … has been broken into twice.”

Image source: KGO-TV video screenshot

The brazenness of such crimes is common these days, KGO said, and they’re driving retailers out of the city. Indeed, the station said that while three people recorded video of the theft, it didn’t deter the crook — who cruised down the aisle past the guard and got away with his entire haul on a Lyft bike.

TheBlaze reported about a similar theft at a San Francisco Walgreens last year involving a couple filling up backpacks with store items as an employee helplessly watched.

Melendez told KGO that she’s witnessed three out-in-the-open shoplifting sprees at different Walgreens in San Francisco: “At what point do we say, ‘Enough is enough, we want our city back’?”

Stores closing

The station said stores are closing in the wake of such thefts, which drive down profit.

Image source: KGO-TV video screenshot

“Seventeen Walgreens over the last five years, almost every Gap retail outlet is gone, CVS is under assault,” San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai told KGO.

Image source: KGO-TV video screenshot

The station said Safai held a hearing last month on organized retail theft, and he said District Attorney Chesa Boudin and the police department need a much more coordinated response.

“It might even involve a more aggressive effort when it comes to surveillance cameras, because you see the same individual hitting multiple locations, then you can begin to have deeper conversation about bringing multiple charges, or aggregate charges against that individual and really start to break this up,” he told KGO.

Safai added to the station that he’s seen some success at a Walgreens in his district that uses uniformed off-duty police officers to guard it. He added to KGO that Boudin and the SFPD have until mid-July to respond to his letter of inquiry on organized retail theft.

Anything else?

And if you’re hoping Boudin will respond positively to Safai’s letter, you might want to place your hope elsewhere. The far-left DA came into office in 2019 with a promise not to prosecute things like prostitution and public urination. In fact, just two days into his term, Boudin fired seven tough-on-crime prosecutors in order to get his progressive agenda off the ground.

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Myths of the Mixed Economy

This article was originally published by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at The Mises Institute on September 14, 2006. 

The planned economy was all the rage in 1937 when Prentice-Hall published a 1,000- page tome on The Planned Society: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: A Symposium by Thirty-Five Economists, Sociologists, and Statesmen.

The “question that confronts us today is not if we shall plan, but how we shall plan,” wrote Lewis Mumford in the Foreword. All the contributors – Keynesian, socialist, communist, and fascist – agreed with that point, including such luminaries as Sidney Hook, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin.

But the book was honest. It linked Stalin and Keynes, fascism, and the New Deal. The plans were not identical, of course, but all agreed on government “rationality” versus the “chaos” of the free market.

Most of the authors advocated the “mixed economy,” Mises’s name for an admixture of capitalism and socialism. Such a combination, he showed, is necessarily unstable, and our own mixed economy is tilting towards statism, with such regulatory disasters in the last few years as the Clean Air Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Civil Rights Act.

Today, no part of the economy is left untouched by the President’s budget and the swarm of regulatory agencies. Buttressed by most of the economics profession, the regulatory state today rules and ruins America. Communism lost, but social democracy won.

In the American mixed economy, it is the job of the planner to: ensure “full employment” (as federal policies create joblessness); encourage technological innovation (not through markets, but through subsidies); ensure a “fair” distribution of wealth (rewarding parasites and punishing the productive); manage international trade (though it needs no more management than domestic trade); keep “public goods” out of private hands (even though public ownership must always be less efficient than private).

The planner has taboos as well. He must never mention private property, praise the coordinative function of prices, criticize pressure groups unless they’re anti-big-government, be cynical about the uses of power, call for a tax cut, or identify the real source of prosperity as the free market.

Charles Schultze, President Carter’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, adheres to these rules and taboos in his book and “guide to macroeconomics” Memos to the President. He sets out these rules for every policymaker to follow in the future.

In the entire work, he has not one good word to say about the market, private property, or the price system. His central assumption is that the government must manage the economy to prosperity. According to Schultze, we should believe that: the Federal Reserve protects the dollar when our money has lost 94% of its value since the Fed was established; the Fed can cure business cycles, when every decade or so, it causes a serious economic setback; the government can create full employment, even as it causes unemployment with such welfare measures as the minimum wage and civil rights; the government can develop new technologies, even though bureaucracy is a proven technology killer; we can trust the government to improve our standard of living, though our standard of living has fallen for nearly twenty years; the government protects us from monopolistic capitalists, even while the government creates and sustains destructive monopolies from the post office to the schools; regulatory agencies do protect us from dirty air, unsafe drugs, and lead poisoning, while everywhere government is biggest, from Moscow to D .C., life is dirty and unsafe.

Naturally, mainstream economists – the useful idiots of the interventionist state – advise presidents on economic policy. Today, these economic planners see their primary task as “keeping supply and demand in balance.” That doesn’t mean allowing the market to work, of course, but rather pushing and releasing buttons on the planning machine.

There are two views on how to do this, one mainstream and one rival. The mainstream view says that a decrease in overall demand causes economic downturns, and so demand should be increased by government spending and money creation. This is supposed to make up for the deficiencies of the private sector.

The rival view says declines are caused by a fall in overall supply, caused by any number of factors, including an irrational fear of investment. So, boosting overall demand through spending or inflation only exacerbates the troubles.

The second view has better policy implications, but both are misguided. They assumed that there is something called overall demand conglomerating the values of consumers and producers alike. This obscures the real economy.

The obscurantist aggregations don’t stop with “supply” and “demand.” The planners also discuss such categories as capital and investment as if they were homogeneous, representing these very diverse groupings as single letters in their macroeconomic models.

Both views also assume that government managers are smarter than the market. Imagine that you had to plan the household finances of your next-door neighbor, with little or no information about their income, tastes, and talents, all of which can and do change. Yet the planners have been trying to do this for decades, to the entire economy.

To explain their way out of this problem, the planners separate the “micro” economy from the “macro” and claim the decisions of individuals have nothing to do with the overall picture. It’s true that no one individual can, for example, change the net rate of savings in the economy, but there would be no net rate of savings without individual decisions.

It is out of the millions of decisions of real people that the economy is created, and it is the job of the economist to understand and explain how that happens, not to encumber it.

The planners of the mixed economy like to talk about supply and demand as if they needed the government to coordinate them. Yet supply and demand describe the natural pattern of economic behavior in the absence of government interference.

If there is a chicken plague, the price of eggs will soar. The consumer doesn’t have to read the “Chicken Health Update” to know that he should economize on eggs. The price tells him that, and he can then look for substitutes.

Conversely, if Frank Perdue genetically engineers a super chicken that lays many more eggs than the normal bird, the price of eggs will plummet. But the consumer doesn’t need to read “Techno-Poultry Weekly” to know that. He need only look at the price.

In a free market, there is no need for planners to bring supply and demand into line. The daily transactions of millions of consumers do so, leavened by the risk-bearing entrepreneurs. It is the mixed economy itself that creates the demand for economic planners to run it. Massive deficits destabilize the economy, leading to calls for the government to stabilize it.

The “entitlement” programs are interventions as well. Government spending may increase the demand for some goods and services, but it drains resources from the private economy just as surely as taxes. Yet the “opportunity costs” of confiscating these resources never factor into the planners’ models.

How much does the mixed economy cost us? We can’t know. Despite the well-intentioned attempts of some economists to figure it out, no one can know the effects of technologies never created; firms never started; people never hired; others hired by government fiat; central bank-created recessions; and higher prices from taxes, regulations, and government-generated demand. We can only know that the effect is gigantic, harmful, and growing.

Government intervention can be criticized on a number of other grounds that the mixed-economy planners do not mention:

First, politicians and bureaucrats are self-interested. In the private sector, self-interest works for the common good. In the public sector, it means expansion of the government’s budget and power, which attacks the common good.

Second, the market can sometimes anticipate the planners, negating the effects of government action. If the Federal Reserve increases the money supply, the market can take account of the likely inflationary effects and prices will rise sooner and higher than the managers thought.

Third, intervention increases the incentive to evade the law, thereby enlarging the less-efficient and the societally unfortunate underground economy.

Fourth, intervention distorts the price system and the interest rate, which work to coordinate the use of resources. Price controls and regulations cause misallocation, and Fed-lowered interest rates cause businessmen to make bad investments.

Fifth, intervention undermines the division of labor, preventing people from doing the tasks they are most suited for because regulation prevents employers from hiring on merit.

If the mixed economy is such a disaster, why do we have one? Because it enables the well-connected to loot the rest of us in a social democracy disguised as “democratic capitalism.” To get away with the looting, the mixed-economy state attacks all countervailing institutions: families, neighborhoods, businesses, private schools, and charitable and religious organizations. The result is the barbarism and increasing poverty we see all around us.

The Planned Society didn’t mention that, but it is the inevitable outcome of what it recommended, and what the U.S. government practiced in 1937, and today.

The post Myths of the Mixed Economy first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Peter Schiff: The Major Problem is “The Inflation Tax”

Gold bug Peter Schiff has said that the upcoming economic collapse will be much worse than the scamdemic. Coupled with the “inflation tax” and potential for food shortage, we could see a disastrous end to this year.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for April came in much hotter than expected. Year-on-year, inflation is up 4.2%. The big number even prompted Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida to say, “We were surprised by higher than expected inflation data.”

Schiff said this hot CPI print is a cause for concern and ultimately it is a tax.

It is the inflation tax. And if you look at how much the cost of living went up, measured by the CPI in the first four months of this year, it’s 2%. So, if you triple that to annualized it, we have consumer prices rising at 6% annually. But if you look at the monthly numbers, every month it accelerates. So, if you extrapolate the trend of the first four months of this year for the entire year, you’re going to get a 20% increase in consumer prices in 2021.” -SchiffGold

Inflation is going to massively impact the poor and middle class (which has been the target since the beginning of this scamdemic as the agenda rolls out).

Tucker Carlson asked if the value of the US dollar is falling as quickly as the CPI suggests, why would any country want to invest in US bonds? Doesn’t this threaten to cause a shake-up?

Schiff said they won’t want to invest. They’ll be selling US Treasuries.

Anybody that can connect these dots is going to be selling US Treasuries. And the problem is there’s a lot of US Treasuries to be sold.”

Peter noted that a lot of people are talking about a shortage of goods.

The real problem is the surplus of money. Whenever you print a lot of money, it’s always a goods shortage because the Federal Reserve can print all the money they want, but they don’t print products to buy with the money. So, we have all this money being printed. We’re not producing a lot. People are sitting at home cashing unemployment checks. This is a tax. It’s an inflation tax, a Biden tax, whatever you want to call it. But when Joe Biden says ‘don’t worry! Only people that make over $400,000 a year are going to have to pay higher taxes to fund all these programs,’ he’s lying. Because every American is going to pay the inflation tax. And it’s going to hit the middle class and the poor the hardest.

But the mainstream media and ruling class are telling people not to worry or panic. What isn’t said, is that this is all by design. The dollar will crash as a new central bank digital currency (total slavery) is introduced as the solution.

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

The Central Bank Digital Dollar Is Coming: Prepare For Totalitarian Domination

Stay prepared.  No one knows how soon this will begin to roll out, but it is in the works and they will do anything they can to get people locked into the system of total control. The only solution is to be self-reliant and break free.

The post Peter Schiff: The Major Problem is “The Inflation Tax” 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

The post Alert: Programmable Central Bank Digital Currencies Will End All False Sense of Freedom first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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The Central Bank Digital Dollar Is Coming: Prepare For Totalitarian Domination

The United States nonprofit Digital Dollar Project said on Monday it will launch five pilot programs over the next 12 months to test the potential uses of a U.S. central bank digital currency.  This is a huge part of their plan: a fully centralized digital currency where freedom and privacy are nonexistent.

This is the first effort of its kind in the United States. If the ruling classes are successful in convincing the masses they need the CBDC (central bank digital currency) the best you can do is prepare for totalitarian enslavement.  Every transaction you make will be tracked and traced. Any time they decide you have to pay some taxes, they’ll just take it.  Want to speak out against the slavery that is government? Fine, they’ll cut off your digital wallet. It’s coming unless we wake up and quickly.

The private-sector pilots initially will be funded by Accenture Plc (ACN.N) and involve financial firms, retailers and NGOs, among others. The aim is to generate data that could help U.S. policymakers [the ruling class] develop a digital dollar. –Reuters

This beast system is getting a boost and they are going to make this sound utterly delightful. Sadly, some will willingly agree to be slaves to the banking cartel and ruling class.

“There are conferences and papers coming out every week around the world on CBDCs based on data from other countries,” said Christopher Giancarlo, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and co-founder of the Digital Dollar Foundation. “What there is not, is any real data and testing from the United States to inform that debate. We’re seeking to generate that real-world data,” Giancarlo added.

David Treat, a senior managing director at Accenture, said CBDCs would exist alongside other forms of physical and electronic money, rather than replace them. But we’ve already seen a push to get rid of cash becasue it’s difficult to track and tax a cash transaction between two people.

Ready for a Cashless Society? WHO Says Contaminated Cash and Spread the Coronavirus

Control Agenda Moves Forward: Federal Reserve Is Pushing HARD For A Digital Dollar

Getting everyone on a digital dollar system would ensure that breaking away from the two tier society they are also fashioning right now would be impossible. Being free would be something that in a few generations, no one will ever talk about. It’s time to wake up to what’s going on.  They want us on this planet only if we agree to be slaves and give up everything including the most important thing: our free will.

Use your critical thinking. Does anyone honestly think central banks were set up for our intrest? Does anyone think that a CBDC fully controlled by the rulers of the planet will be good step for humanity? This is yet another puzzle piece to the overall New World Agenda that’s magically falling right into place. Coincidence?

The post The Central Bank Digital Dollar Is Coming: Prepare For Totalitarian Domination first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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The Reasons Why Leftists Will Never Successfully Disarm Americans

This article was written by Brandon Smith at Alt-Market.us.

Gun confiscation has always been the Holy Grail of totalitarian regimes. Without disarmament, fully centralized control of a population is not possible. And though it is true that not every evil regime seeks to disarm every single citizen (at least not right away), they always disarm the people they specifically intend to hurt the most.

For example, gun control advocates today like to point out that the Third Reich in Germany did not disarm the entire German population. This is a rather bizarre position for leftists as they continually wail and scream about Nazis around every corner and behind every tree, but they will STILL defend their gun-grabbing policies by arguing that the Nazis were not as bad as conservatives assume. Of course, what they rarely mention is that the Nazis DID disarm millions of people; most of them Jews and political opponents under 1938 German gun laws.

The National Socialists disarmed the people they planned to destroy. It’s not hard to figure out why; they didn’t want their targets to be able to fight back. They allowed their political supporters to keep their weapons legally; this is not a relaxation of gun laws, in fact, it’s the reverse – It is selective enforcement of gun confiscation based on ideological loyalty.

Hilariously, leftists in the US when confronted with this fact double down on their gun control arguments. Instead of admitting their foolish error they will say: “Yes, the Nazis disarmed the Jews and others, but having guns would have made no difference in saving their lives…” And there you have it – The most backwards circular logic of all time. If Jews and others owning guns was not a deterrent to their slaughter, then why would the Nazis bother disarming them in the first place? Leftists have no answer to this question.

They are trying to argue against facts using a hypothetical; really, how would they know? Maybe owning guns might have saved the lives of millions of people the Nazis had deemed enemies of the state? Maybe it would have acted as a deterrent to the Holocaust? Maybe the Nazis would have been afraid to expand tyranny into Europe if they had to worry about their own population fighting back and disrupting their momentum? Maybe, WWII would have never happened? We could argue hypotheticals all day long…

What we do know for certain is that disarmament is ALWAYS one of the first steps by totalitarians in cementing their control of a population, and this is most common among the biggest political killers in modern history – And no, it’s not the Nazis; it’s the communists.

While a debate rages over the exact number of deaths attributed to communist governments, it is estimated that they are responsible for approximately 65 million to 100 million murders over the course of the last century, a genocide beyond anything history has ever seen before. These deaths were caused by direct means, such as shooting dissidents, or indirect means, such as imprisoning dissidents until they died from complications, or stealing food supplies from rural communities and allowing them to starve en masse.

Stalin, in particular, declared any theft of state property a crime punishable by death. He then at the same time declared that all products including food production was state property. So, if you eat food that was not granted to you by the state, you are stealing, and could therefore be shot. See how that works?

None of this would have been possible without gun control and confiscation laws put in place before the larger genocide was enacted. In 1918 the Bolsheviks and the Council of the People’s Commissar mandated that Russian citizens turn in their firearms under penalty of prosecution. Gun restrictions and penalties were increased over the years until WWII when the Soviets were loath to arm their own population in response to the Nazi invasion. In fact, the ease by which the Nazi army rolled through the Eastern front was partly due to the disarmament of the Russian population.

Communist governments only allow people to have firearms in their hands when they are fighting against the ideological and foreign foes of the regime. You are allowed to be cannon fodder for the elites, you are not allowed the means to defend yourself from those same elites.

Americans (primarily conservative Americans) have an in-depth understanding of this dynamic. While leftists are more concerned with rewriting history to their benefit, we are more concerned with learning from it. We know where gun control leads, and so did the Founding Fathers of our nation, which is why they codified gun ownership into the US constitution as an inalienable right under the 2nd Amendment. Here are the reasons why leftists, globalists and communists will NEVER be able to disarm the American population as they have done in previous nations…

We Know The History Of Gun Control

As noted above, we have studied the history of tyrants. There is no tyranny that has ever existed that did not try to disarm the population or disarm the portion of the population the government intended to enslave or destroy. Leftists froth at the mouth trying to re-imagine history in a way that circumvents or ignores the tyranny issue when it comes to gun control. They are wasting their time.

They are never going to convince conservatives and moderates that gun confiscation was not a key step in the establishment of various tyrannies in modern history. All the mental gymnastics and manipulation, all the energy they spend trying to rationalize away genocide as somehow “inevitable” regardless of gun rights – it’s all for nothing. We are far smarter than they are. We are well versed in the legacy of gun control, and this makes their tactics useless.

We Understand Incrementalism – We Know All The Tricks

The level of dishonesty involved in gun control advocacy is astonishing. Leftists often use lies as a means to gain political capital; if they were completely honest about their intentions they would not receive much support from the general population for their efforts. Gun grabbers are very careful in most cases to use phrases like “common sense” when talking about new restrictions. They try to refrain from admitting what they really want is complete disarmament, at least, they tried until recently.

Incrementalism was the name of the game for decades, but in the past year, they are going for broke. Some leftist politicians are openly admitting their true goals because frankly the song and dance wasn’t working and they know conservatives aren’t going to allow any further encroachment on their rights.

I find it interesting that leftists are so astonished at our refusal to compromise on any further gun restrictions. They seem to think that any new mass shooting buys them new gun control capital. Maybe that’s how things used to work, but not any longer. Frankly, these shootings are irrelevant to our gun rights. Punishing everyone for the crimes of a handful is no longer acceptable to conservatives because we know that if we give gun control advocates an inch, they will take a mile.

Kamala Harris, now Vice President of the US, is one of the many Democrats openly seeking mandatory government buybacks of firearms and the dismantling of gun rights. However, it was Beto O’Rourke who really took the mask off when it came to the true intentions of gun grabbers.  Stating that “hell yes” the Dems are going to take away our AR-15s.

Joe Biden is famous for his statements admonishing military-grade weapons in civilian hands and telling people that a “double-barreled shotgun” is “superior” to the AR-15 for home defense. Obviously, a two-shot weapon with a limited effective range of around 50 yards or less makes it very difficult to fight back against government tyranny. And, we all know that eventually even the shotguns would be taken away.

Biden’s specific focus, though, seems to be Red Flag gun laws, which allow authorities to confiscate firearms from people not involved in criminal activity, and this is based on hearsay testimony and without due process. Criteria includes any “suspicion of mental illness”, which is completely subjective. Conservatives have been accused of mental illness because they oppose Covid lockdowns, they question vaccine safety, they question the legitimacy of Global Warming fear-mongering in the media, etc. ANYTHING could be labeled a mental illness by the state and therefore make a person susceptible to Red Flag confiscation.

This is targeted incrementalism and slective enforcement of gun control, much like that used by the Nazis. Red Flag laws allow the government to attack political and ideological opponents one at a time and disarm them, just as the Nazis selectively targeted their political opponents for disarmament. We know where all of this is going. We’ve seen it before.

BLM Race Riots

Despite the false claims of the mainstream media, we have seen first hand the destruction and insanity perpetrated by Marxist groups like Black Lives Matter. They are anything but “peaceful”, they are dangerous in their lack of intelligence and logic, and their social justice ideology is a cancer that infects and debilitates every vital organ of Western civilization.

In his movie ‘Platoon’, Oliver Stone’s character Chris Taylor says: “Hell is the impossibility of reason”. If this doesn’t describe the social justice movement today then I don’t know what does.

If a group of people is determined to make every single tragedy about racism and “white supremacy” despite all facts to the contrary, and then use those tragedies as an excuse for mass violence, then they are zealots, and zealots cannot be reasoned with. They are cultists with a mission, and they will do anything to accomplish that mission.

In this case, the mission of Marxists within BLM and the globalist foundations that fund them (like Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation) is to destroy the very fabric of America, “burn it to the ground”, and then rebuild it into an unrecognizable husk devoid of principles or freedom.

Yeah, I don’t think conservative gun owners are going to go along with that. Burning down their own neighborhoods is one thing, but BLM activists have tried to spread beyond the borders of their own garbage cities in the past, and we aren’t going to allow them to act violently. For this reason alone, conservatives will never disarm.

The Control Agenda Is Out In The Open

There is a reason why leftists and globalists are so obsessed with taking away combat-ready firearms from Americans, and it’s not about “saving lives”. These weapons act as a deterrent to full blown tyranny. As long as they exist, our ability to take back our other rights and freedoms exists.

If anything has convinced gun owners of the need for firearms, it has been the past year of pandemic fear-mongering. What have we learned so far? Well, we are now fully aware of the “Great Reset” agenda, which has been promoted nonstop by the World Economic Forum and various political leaders. This agenda calls for years of economic lockdowns and medical mandates, forced vaccination, medical passports without which a person might be completely removed from the economy, a new cashless society, a shared economy in which you will “own nothing and like it”.

The medical or vaccine “passports” are particularly disconcerting. For one, governments don’t necessarily have to enforce them right away. Rather, they can simply allow their corporate partners to demand said passports from anyone that wants to get a job or shop in their stores. Once this system is ingrained into the consumer world, governments can then step in and make passports a legal requirement. Eventually, the passports give the establishment the ability to control and micro-manage every aspect of every individual life. Without compliance to every whim, the technocrats can easily void your passport, and then you die from poverty and starvation.

This would be impossible to do in a country where a majority of the population is armed. I think it’s safe to say most Americans do not want to live in the dystopian world that the globalists at the WEF envision, and we will fight to ensure it does not happen.

Tyranny Is Enforced By Armed Men On The Ground

My favorite mantra of gun grabbers is the claim that “Your AR-15 isn’t going to help you against an Abrams tank or a predator drone”. These people don’t understand how totalitarian systems function. In order to control a population, you have to have loyal troops on the ground…everywhere. Not only that, but you also need loyal civilians, a large percentage of the population, to act as your eyes and ears and sometimes brute force. And finally, you need anyone who might oppose you to be afraid to take action to defend themselves. You need them docile and passive.

There are a lot of moving parts to tyranny, and tanks and planes are secondary to basic manpower. And where there are troops and others enforcing tyranny, there are numerous targets. Where there are firearms, there is a means to eliminate a tyrant at the top of the pyramid with a single well-placed bullet. Furthermore, you don’t need armored vehicles and stealth jets to fight tyranny; what you need is a good firearm to remove the people driving and flying those machines. A smart rebel might even take those weapons for his own arsenal in the process.

A lot of gun owners are also military veterans, and they have seen how things played out in places like Afghanistan, where all the military might in the world was ineffective against tribesman with old AK-47s and roadside IEDs. It’s about force of will along with minimal necessary firearms. Guerrilla wars are not fought in terms of battles, they are fought in terms of attrition. Americans understand this better than most.

For all these reasons and more, the gun grabber ethos is essentially pointless. They can have total dominance in the federal government, they could have every state government on their side and pass hundreds of laws and executive orders making every gun owner a criminal, and it still would not matter. We will not budge, we would rather fight.

Elitists and leftists just don’t seem to get it. Maybe it’s the way their brains work. Maybe they just can’t comprehend the idea that some people will not compromise certain freedoms no matter the cost. They think everyone has a limit; that everyone has a price. They think anyone can be bought, or that anyone can be leveraged into submission. The truth is, many of us can’t. Some of us have no price, and we cannot be compelled to comply.

We are the people that keep freedom alive, and totalitarians are terrified of us; gun-grabbing is merely a natural extension of their fear and doubt. Wherever an oligarchy is seeking to disarm the population this is a sure sign they are about to grasp for even more control, and they are afraid that the population might dethrone them. And honestly, they should be afraid.

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Financial Tyranny: Footing the Tax Bill for the Government’s Fiscal Insanity

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taxation is theft. The rulers see us as tax cattle to be stolen from and abused until they no longer need us.  Time to wake up.

“We are now speeding down the road of wasteful spending and debt, and unless we can escape we will be smashed in inflation.”—Herbert Hoover

We’re not living the American dream. We’re living a financial nightmare.

The U.S. government—and that includes the current administration—is spending money it doesn’t have on programs it can’t afford, and “we the taxpayers” are the ones who will be forced to foot the bill for the government’s fiscal insanity.

We’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians promising to pay down the national debt, jumpstart the economy, rebuild our infrastructure, secure our borders, ensure our security, and make us all healthy, wealthy, and happy.

None of that has come to pass, and yet we’ve still been loaded down with debt not of our own making.

This financial tyranny works the same whether it’s a Democrat or Republican at the helm.

Let’s talk numbers, shall we?

The national debt (the amount the federal government has borrowed over the years and must pay back) is $28 trillion and growing. That translates to roughly $224,000 per taxpayer.

The government’s answer to the COVID-19 pandemic has been to throw more money at the problem in the form of stimulus checks, small business loans, unemployment benefits, vaccine funding, and financial bailouts for corporations. All told, the federal government’s COVID-19 spending has exceeded $4 trillion.

The Biden administration is proposing another $2 trillion in infrastructure spending.

The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross domestic product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). And the top two foreign countries who “own” about a third of our debt are China and Japan.

That debt is also growing exponentially: it is expected to be twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2051.

Essentially, the U.S. government is funding its very existence with a credit card.

We’re paying more than $300 billion in interest every year on that public debt, not including what COVID-19 just added to the bill. That breaks down to more than $2400 per household.

According to the Committee for a Reasonable Federal Budget, the interest we’re paying on this borrowed money is “nearly twice what the federal government will spend on transportation infrastructure, over four times as much as it will spend on K-12 education, almost four times what it will spend on housing and over eight times what it will spend on science, space, and technology.”

Clearly, the national debt isn’t going away anytime soon, especially not with government spending on the rise and interest payments making up such a large chunk of the budget.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed, and undeterred in its wanton spending.

Indeed, the national deficit (the difference between what the government spends and the revenue it takes in) is expected to be $2.3 trillion for fiscal 2021.

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Despite the government propaganda being peddled by the politicians and news media, however, the government isn’t spending our tax dollars to make our lives better.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

In the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than pocketbooks waiting to be picked.

Consider: The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes. Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing. And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

We have no real say, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property.

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War. As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.”

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894. Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived. Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds. As The Atlantic reports, “U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

Of course, we’re the ones who will have to repay that borrowed debt.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out more than $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military-industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

The United States also spends more on foreign aid than any other nation ($50 billion in 2017 alone). More than 150 countries around the world receive U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance, with most of the funds going to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. That price tag keeps growing, too.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech, this is how the military-industrial complex will continue to get richer, while the American taxpayer will be forced to pay for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

This is no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

Unfortunately, we’ve become so invested in identity politics that pit us against one another and keep us powerless and divided that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

Trust me, we’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real-life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words: “We the people.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there is power in our numbers. That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace. It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might).

Where we lose out is when we fall for the big-talking politicians who spend big at our expense.

The post Financial Tyranny: Footing the Tax Bill for the Government’s Fiscal Insanity first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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The Song That Is Irresistible: How the State Leads People to Their Own Destruction

This article was originally published by Robert Higgs at The Mises Institute. This is from Robert Higgs’s Schlarbaum Award Acceptance Speech, delivered on October 12, 2007, at the Mises Institute’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Margaret Atwood’s poem “Siren Song” begins:

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls.

Our rulers know how to sing that song, and they sing it day and night. The beached skulls are those of our fathers and our sons, our friends, and our neighbors, for whom the song proved not only irresistible but fatal.

The state is the most destructive institution human beings have ever devised — a fire that, at best, can be controlled for only a short time before it o’erleaps its improvised confinements and spreads its flames far and wide.

Whatever promotes the growth of the state also weakens the capacity of individuals in civil society to fend off the state’s depredations and therefore augments the public’s multifaceted victimization at the hands of state functionaries. Nothing promotes the growth of the state as much as a national emergency — war and other crises comparable to war in the seriousness of the threats they pose.

States, by their very nature, are perpetually at war — not always against foreign foes, of course, but always against their own subjects. The state’s most fundamental purpose, the activity without which it cannot even exist, is robbery. The state gains its very sustenance from robbery, which it pretties up ideologically by giving it a different name (taxation) and by striving to sanctify its intrinsic crime as permissible and socially necessary. State propaganda, statist ideologies, and long-established routine combine to convince many people that they have a legitimate obligation, even a moral duty to pay taxes to the state that rules their society.

They fall into such erroneous moral reasoning because they are told incessantly that the tribute they fork over is actually a kind of price paid for essential services received, and that in the case of certain services, such as protection from foreign and domestic aggressors against their rights to life, liberty, and property, only the government can provide the service effectively. They are not permitted to test this claim by resorting to competing suppliers of law, order, and security, however, because the government enforces a monopoly over the production and distribution of its alleged “services” and brings violence to bear against would-be competitors. In so doing, it reveals the fraud at the heart of its impudent claims and gives sufficient proof that it is not a genuine protector, but a mere protection racket.

All governments are, as they must be, oligarchies: only a relatively small number of people have substantial effective discretion to make critical decisions about how the state’s power will be brought to bear. Beyond the oligarchy itself and the police and military forces that compose its Praetorian Guard, somewhat larger groups constitute a supporting coalition. These groups provide important financial and other support to the oligarchs and look to them for compensating rewards — legal privileges, subsidies, jobs, exclusive franchises and licenses, transfers of financial income and wealth, goods and services in kind, and other booty — channeled to them at the expense of the mass of the people. Thus, the political class in general — that is, the oligarchs, the Praetorian Guards, and the supporting coalition — uses government power (which means ultimately the police and the armed forces) to exploit everyone outside this class by wielding or threatening to wield violence against all who fail to pay the tribute the oligarchs demand or to obey the rules they dictate.

Democratic political forms and rituals, such as elections and formal administrative proceedings, disguise this class exploitation and trick the masses into the false belief that the government’s operation yields them net benefits. In the most extreme form of misapprehension, the people at large become convinced that, owing to democracy, they themselves “are the government.”

Individual passages back and forth across the boundary between the political class and the exploited class testify, however, to nothing more than the system’s cunningly contrived flexibility and openness. Although the system is inherently exploitative and cannot exist in any other form, it allows some leeway at the margins in the determination of which specific individuals will be the shafters and which the shaftees. At the top, a modest degree of “circulation of elites” within the oligarchy also serves to mask the political system’s essential character.

It is a sound interpretive rule, however, that anything that cannot be accomplished except with the aid of threats or the actual exercise of violence against unoffending persons cannot be beneficial to one and all. The mass belief in the general beneficence of democracy represents a kind of Stockholm syndrome writ large. Yet, no matter how widely this syndrome may extend, it cannot alter the basic fact that owing to the operation of government as we know it — that is, a government without genuine, express, individual consent — a minority lives on balance at the expense of the rest, and the rest, therefore, lose on balance in the process, while the oligarchs (elected or not, it scarcely matters) preside over the enormous web of criminal organizations we know as the state.

Notwithstanding the ideological enchantment with which official high priests and statist intellectuals have beguiled the plundered class, many members of this class retain a capacity to recognize at least some of their losses, and hence they sometimes resist further incursions on their rights by publicly expressing their grievances, by supporting political challengers who promise to lighten their burdens, by fleeing the country, and, most important, by evading or avoiding taxes and by violating legal prohibitions and regulatory restraints on their actions, as in the so-called underground economy, or “black market.”

These various forms of resistance together compose a force that opposes the government’s constant pressure to expand its domination. These two forces, working one against the other, establish a locus of “equilibrium,” a boundary between the set of rights the government has overridden or seized and the set of rights the plundered class has somehow managed to retain, whether by formal constitutional constraints or by everyday tax evasion, black-market transactions, and other defensive violations of the government’s oppressive rules.

Politics in the largest sense can be viewed as the struggle to push this boundary one way or the other. For members of the political class, the crucial question is always: how can we push out the frontier, how can we augment the government’s dominion and plunder, with a net gain to ourselves, the exploiters who live not by honest production and voluntary exchange, but by fleecing those who do so?

National emergency — war or a similarly menacing crisis — answers the political class’s crucial question more effectively than anything else, because such a crisis has a uniquely effective capacity to dissipate the forces that otherwise would obstruct or oppose the government’s expansion.

Virtually any war will serve, at least for a while, because in modern nation-states the outbreak of war invariably leads the masses to “rally ’round the flag,” regardless of their previous ideological stance in relation to the government.

Recall the situation in 1941, for example, when public-opinion polls and other evidence indicated that a great majority of the American people (approximately 80 percent as late as autumn) opposed outright engagement in the world war, an engagement that Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration had been seeking relentlessly by hook and by crook from the very beginning. When news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor reached the public, mass opposition to war dissolved overnight almost completely. No wonder the neocon intriguers, in a September 2000 report of the Project for the New American Century, expressed their yearning for “some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Although other kinds of great crises may not elicit the same immediate submission to the government’s announced program for the people’s salvation, they may prove equally effective if they are sufficiently menacing and persistent. Thus, the Great Depression, which pushed millions of Americans into economic desperation in the early 1930s, was eventually viewed by almost everybody as, in Justice Brandeis’s words, “an emergency more serious than war.” Other pregnant crises have included nation-wide strikes or widespread labor disturbances, so-called energy crises, such as those of the 1970s, perceived crime waves, great epidemics or health scares, and, lately, even a bogus scare about global warming.

In 2001, the attacks of 9/11 answered to perfection the neocon prayer for “a new Pearl Harbor.” An administration that had been wallowing without a breeze in its sails was suddenly invested with overwhelming public support for aggressive military action abroad. In a Gallup poll taken during September 7–10, 2001, 51 percent of the respondents approved of “the way George W. Bush [was] handling his job as president,” 39 percent disapproved, and 10 percent had no opinion — yielding an “opinion balance” of + 12 percent (= 51–39). A few days later, while the ruins of the World Trade Center’s twin towers were still smoldering, 86 percent approved, 10 percent disapproved, and only 4 percent had no opinion — an opinion balance of + 76 percent, or more than six times greater than it had been just a few days earlier. Although Bush had done absolutely nothing to demonstrate an abruptly improved performance of his job as president, nearly the entire population, many members of which roundly disliked the president, suddenly showered approbation on his performance in office. A week later, the opinion balance had risen even higher, to 84 percent, on the strength of a 90-percent approval response.

Afterward, Bush’s job-performance-approval rating followed a long downward trend, interrupted by only brief upticks, until it reached its present range. In the Gallup poll of July 6–8, 2007, the opinion balance was negative 37 percent, and only 29 percent of the respondents rated the president’s performance favorably. (In more recent polls, the balance has stood a few points higher in the president’s favor, but such small differences have little significance.) During the long downhill slide, Bush’s performance-approval rating held up amazingly well among Republicans but fell lower and lower among both Democrats and independents — an expression of how normal political partisanship reasserted itself as the initial, unifying crisis slipped farther and farther into the background.

Similar movements may be seen in the Gallup polls that asked the respondents whether they viewed George W. Bush himself favorably or unfavorably: here, the opinion balance jumped from + 25 percent in August 2001 to + 76 percent in November 2001 — a three-fold increase — before beginning a long downward trend and becoming increasingly negative after mid-2005.

When the public’s approval of the president’s actions is broken down by specific issues, we see that his greatest 9/11-related jump occurred in the area of — mirabile dictu — foreign affairs. In the Gallup poll taken during July 10–11, 2001, the opinion balance in this area was + 21 percent (54 percent favorable minus 33 percent unfavorable), but in the poll taken during October 5–6, 2001, the opinion balance had jumped to 67 percent, or more than three times higher (81 percent favorable minus 14 percent unfavorable).

The lesson is clear: if the president conducts foreign policy so as to antagonize foreigners and provoke them to launch massively destructive attacks on this country, the American public will respond with an enormous outpouring of approval of his actions, as if to prove that in our political system no failure goes unrewarded.

Bertrand Russell long ago stated the underlying condition for this sort of perverse public reaction when he remarked that “neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” Indeed, the fundamental condition of the entire process by which the government leads people to their own destruction is widespread public fear, which causes people to put aside their normal distrust of the state and to turn to it, especially to its chief, as a child turns to a parent, for security and reassurance that everything will be okay if only people do as they are told.

Not only did the events of September 11, 2001, cause the American public to look more favorably on the president as a person, as a president, and as the principal architect of US foreign policy, but those events also apparently caused the public to express more trust in the federal government in general in its handling of both international and domestic matters.

In the Gallup poll of September 7–10, 2001, 68 percent of the respondents expressed “a great deal” or a “fair amount” of trust and confidence in the government’s handling of international problems, whereas 31 percent expressed “not very much” or “none at all,” which implied an opinion balance of + 37 percent (= 68–31). A month later, in the poll conducted during October 11–14, this opinion balance had risen to 67 percent (= 83–16), almost doubling. The public’s perversely increased trust in the government had also spilled inexplicably onto its handling of domestic problems, increasing this opinion balance from 22 percent (= 60–39) in the early September poll to 56 percent (= 77–21) in the October poll.

A final measure of public opinion, “trust in Washington to do what is right,” which is normally a fairly stable indicator, also rose in an unusual way owing to 9/11. In the Gallup poll of July 6–9, 2000, 42 percent of the respondents expressed confidence that the government will do what is right “just about always” or “most of the time,” whereas 58 percent responded “only some of the time” or “never,” which implies an opinion balance of negative 16 percent. When the pollsters next asked this question, in October 5–6, 2001, however, the opinion balance had risen to + 21 percent (= 60–39), indicating a complete turnaround toward greater trust than distrust in government.

At the time of these events, as I considered everything that was going on, I was dismayed by what seemed to me to be a wholly unwarranted public stampede into the protective arms of the federal government — the same government that had been robbing and abusing most of the people in countless ways for as long as they could remember. Hardly anyone asked whether the government’s actions abroad might actually have provoked the 9/11 attacks — of course, most were so ignorant of those actions that they had no inkling of how the government might have created such a provocation. Many people seemed consumed by a combination of fear and rage that manifested itself in a desire to “nuke” someone, anyone, who might have had something to do with the attacks. Standards of proof fell precipitously. People didn’t want careful investigation; they didn’t want to “get to the bottom” of what had happened. Instead, they wanted action, and in particular, they wanted the government to “strike back” immediately at any and all plausible targets.

In searching for the cause of this tremendous, rationally unjustified “rallying ’round the flag,” we do not have far to go. Such public reactions are always driven by a combination of fear, ignorance, and uncertainty against a background of intense jingoistic nationalism, a popular culture predisposed toward violence, and a general inability to distinguish between the state and the people at large.

Because the government ceaselessly sings the siren song, relentlessly propagandizing the public to look upon it as their protector — such alleged protection being the principal excuse for its routinely robbing them and violating their natural rights — and because the mass media incessantly magnify and spread the government’s propaganda, we can scarcely be surprised if that propaganda turns out to have entered deeply into many people’s thinking, especially when they are in a state of near-panic. Unable to think clearly in an informed way, most people fall back on a childlike us-against-them style of understanding the perceived threat and what should be done about it.

If any resistance should arise to the rulers’ war-making, the state has a time-tested means of disposing of the resisters. Perhaps the classic description of this tactic was given by the Nazi bigwig Hermann Göring when he was being held in prison during the trials at Nuremberg in 1946. This account comes to us from Gustave M. Gilbert, the German-speaking prison psychologist who had free access to all of the prisoners during the trials and talked to them frequently in private. On the evening of April 18, 1946, Gilbert visited Göring in his cell, and he later described their conversation as follows:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Göring shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare war.”

“Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That 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 way in any country. (Nuremberg Diary, pp. 278–79)

Göring was right, and matters have only become worse in this regard during the past sixty years. Under the postwar regime in the United States, of course, Congress never declares war — it has made no such declaration since June 5, 1942, when it declared war on Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary — and the president now wages war solely at his own pleasure and caprice, as if he were Caesar.

“Dragging the people along,” as Göring put it, remains as easy as ever, because, as we have seen, an initial incident, even one the government itself has provoked or trumped-up, invariably causes the masses to rally ’round the flag. We have also seen, however, that the ardent enthusiasm and mindless support for the government’s war-making begins to erode soon afterward. When the people increasingly come to their senses, as casualties and other costs accumulate and as bits and pieces of the truth seep out, why does the system not revert to the status quo antebellum?

The answer is that actions taken during the early days of the crisis, when the government responds practically without opposition to the public’s fear and desire for retribution by vastly expanding its powers (Stage II of the ratchet phenomenon), take the form of political, legal, and institutional changes that set precedents or become so deeply embedded that not all of them are abandoned during the post-crisis stage of incomplete retrenchment (Stage IV of the ratchet phenomenon).

For example, soon after the Pearl Harbor attack, the government enacted the First War Powers Act (December 18, 1941) and the Second War Powers Act (March 27, 1942). These sweeping delegations empowered the president to rearrange the executive branch as he pleased, gave him a free hand to contract with munitions suppliers almost as he pleased, and gave him far-reaching control over international financial transactions and censorship power over all communications between the United States and any foreign country; they expanded the government’s powers to seize private property for war purposes, empowered the president to set priorities for deliveries of designated goods and services, and gave the president effectively unrestrained power over resource allocation in the domestic economy, a power he delegated to the War Production Board under his direct oversight. Wielding all this authority, the president and his lieutenants became in effect central planners of a command economy for the duration of the war.

Similarly, just six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the government enacted the USA PATRIOT Act, which greatly trenched on civil liberties and long-established rights, effectively demolished the Fourth Amendment, and gave a mighty boost to the US police state. Other measures moving in the same direction followed soon afterward, including nationalization of the airline-security industry and creation of the bureaucratic monstrosity known as the Department of Homeland Security, an organization as menacing in its ideological underpinnings as it is feckless and absurd in its day-to-day operations.

Once the government has expanded greatly at the outset of war or other crisis and then employed its new powers for an extended period, getting rid of all the new weapons in the government’s arsenal of power is virtually impossible even when the emergency ends and people clamor for a return to normal arrangements. Therefore, many of the crisis measures become permanent parts of the government’s apparatus for dominating and robbing those outside the political class.

Wartime organizations may be retained to carry out new functions, as, for example, the War Finance Corporation of World War I was kept going for six years after the war, providing subsidized credit to exporters, agricultural cooperatives, and rural banks. After finally having been discontinued in 1925, it was revived in 1932 as the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a huge lender to politically favored railroads, banks, and insurance companies during the Depression, and later the government’s chief agency for financing a variety of military-industrial undertakings during World War II. Retained after 1945, the RFC continued to make subsidized loans to privileged borrowers until it sank in a storm of scandal in 1953, only to be replaced — as a political quid pro quo — by a similarly egregious agency, the Small Business Administration, which has continued its politically driven misallocation of taxpayer money ever since.

Cases such as that of the War Finance Corporation and its direct descendants exemplify how national emergency solidifies so-called iron triangles: alliances of government bureaucrats, congressional overseers, and privileged private-sector beneficiaries. These arrangements are called “iron” because they are so difficult to break. Their beneficiaries have great incentive to fight for the retention and even for the expansion of the triangle’s activities, whereas the general public rarely has much incentive to fight against them, even when it is aware of them because the public burden per capita is normally too small to justify anyone’s expenditure of much time or effort in the requisite politicking.

Under modern conditions, high wartime taxes always stick to some extent, leaving the amount of the government’s plunder much greater after the war than it was before the war. In the present so-called war on terror, the government has partially concealed this increased seizure of private property by running up the national debt, rather than by jacking up ordinary tax rates or imposing new kinds of taxes, but this financial trick does not alter the raw fact that the government has been using more of the people’s resources for its own purposes, as shown by the rapid run-up of its spending, leaving the public on the hook to pay the increased interest and eventually to repay the principal, or to suffer the consequences if the government should attempt in effect to repudiate its obligations to creditors by inflating the money stock. During the present Bush administration, Treasury debt held by the public has grown from $3.3 trillion (end FY 2001) to an estimated $5.1 trillion (end FY 2007), or by about 53 percent in only six years.

During the Great Depression, governments at every level greatly increased their tax revenues, by imposing new kinds of taxes — state and local sales taxes, for example, and an undistributed-profits tax at the federal level. In fiscal year 1940, with the Depression still lingering, the federal government collected 57 percent more total revenue than it had in the prosperous year 1927. Federal taxes relative to GNP doubled between 1933 and 1940.

Apart from the financial legacies that exacerbate the government’s burden on the public, national emergencies leave institutional legacies of various kinds that enhance government power at the expense of the people’s liberties. The rent controls of World War II, for example, never ended here in New York City. For more than sixty years, they have denied landlords and tenants the liberty to contract on any mutually agreeable terms, and they have created incentives that foster the avoidance of maintenance for rented apartments and discourage the construction of the new structures that would be built if only the housing market were free of these war-borne fetters.

The institutional legacies of the New Deal, of course, are legion even now, nearly seventy years after FDR’s political momentum petered out: a vast system of agribusiness subsidies; intricate regulations of financial markets, union-management relations, and financial intermediaries; federal insurance of bank deposits, home mortgages, and other financial liabilities; direct federal involvement in electricity production and distribution — the list goes on and on.

Perhaps most important crisis has effects on the dominant ideology that works in favor of long-lasting government power and the permanent reduction of public liberties. During wartime or other crises, governments take many actions that would be more or less unthinkable in a reasonably free society during normal times, because people would not tolerate them. Having tolerated them during a national emergency, however, people may come to regard them not only as permanently tolerable but even as desirable.

For example, nearly everything the US government did during the Great Depression had an obvious wartime precedent in the Great War. President Herbert Hoover declared, “We used such emergency powers to win the war; we can use them to fight the depression.” Everything from the Depression-era agricultural price controls to the industrial cartelization program, the public housing program, the schemes to control oil and coal prices, the tax hikes, and the promotion of labor unionization had a precedent during 1917–18. Obviously, many of these war-inspired public policies then became permanent after the 1930s, as did, later, the military-industrial complex created from 1940 to 1945. People can get used to almost anything, especially if it has a plausible justification. War and other great crises managed by government soften up formerly free people and habituate them to government controls and abuses that they would resist except for their alleged emergency necessity. In this way, government emergency measures change the very character of once-free people, by breaking down their will to be free and their determination to resist homegrown tyranny.

It is important to appreciate that all the effects on freedom that I have been discussing occur regardless of the rationale for the war or other crisis intervention itself. One may regard a war, for example, as ever so necessary and desirable or not, yet these effects will occur in any event. The logic of a government at war asserts itself in more or less the same fashion regardless of the war’s provocation and purpose, because every major war requires the government to take a much bigger bite out of the people’s resources quickly, and it cannot do so successfully without suppressing many normal liberties and rights, especially those that might be exercised to obstruct the government’s wartime programs and policies or to persuade people to resist the war or to demand its discontinuation or settlement.

Hence, as Göring noted, the government and its supporters vigorously denounce all those who stand in the way as traitors, and the state encourages the masses to act as amateur G-men, identifying “disloyal” citizens, hounding them into buckling under, and reporting them to governmental authorities. Great peacetime initiatives operate similarly. Many historians have noted the parallels between the government’s intimidating public efforts to entice or browbeat people into cooperation with the National Recovery Administration and the Nazi extravaganzas being staged in Germany at the same time.

Nowadays, for example, the government frequently encourages all of us to report any “suspicious” persons or actions to the police or the FBI, ostensibly to prevent terrorism. Needless to say, no free society can exist when everyone in effect has enlisted as a government informant, especially when the character of the threatening persons and actions is so vague that it is bound to give rise to abuses. Not uncommonly now, people are reported for nothing more than looking like an Arab or for speaking a strange language to strange-looking companions. This insidious enlistment of informants, so reminiscent of the atrocious American Protective League during World War I, is turning our once-open society into a sort of East Germany redux. Horror stories abound of perfectly innocent persons taken into custody for interrogation or worse.

While the government promotes mindless support of its war-making and may induce a sort of patriotic hysteria in the most mentally fragile personalities, many citizens swing into action as faux patriots on strictly opportunistic grounds. War contractors, for example, may be able to position themselves to make a killing, so to speak, off of the actual killing; moreover, they may parlay their wartime business as government suppliers into a profitable postwar business that long outlives the war itself. The aircraft companies that suddenly profited so greatly during World War II, for example, became permanent, highly successful feeders at the government’s trough, where some of them are feasting lavishly even now, the current administration’s military buildup having proved a godsend for them and a boon to their stockholders. Other people simply want a cushy job in the government’s expanded wartime bureaucracy.

The so-called war on terror has given rise to a huge industry that has emerged almost from scratch during the past few years. According to a 2006 Forbes report, the Department of Homeland Security and its predecessor agencies paid private contractors at least $130 billion after 9/11, and other federal agencies have spent a comparable amount. Thus, besides the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC), we now have a parallel security-industrial-congressional complex (SICC).

Between 1999 and 2006, the number of federal homeland-security contractors increased from nine companies to 33,890, and a multi-billion-dollar industry selling security-related goods and services has emerged complete with specialized newsletters, magazines, websites, consultants, trade shows, job-placement services, and a veritable army of lobbyists working around the clock to widen the river of money that flows to these opportunists. As Paul Harris wrote, “America is in the grip of a business based on fear.” The last thing these vultures want, of course, is an abatement of the perceived terrorist threat, and we can count on them to hype any signs of an increase in such threats and, of course, to crowd the trough, happily slurping up the taxpayers’ money.

What chance does peace have when millions of well-heeled, politically connected opportunists of all stripes depend on the continuation of a state of war for their personal financial success? For members of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security has quickly become the most magnificent dispenser of pork and patronage to come along in decades. Everyone is happy here, except for the beleaguered ordinary citizens, whose pockets are being picked and whose liberties are being overridden by politicians and private-sector predators with utter contempt for the people’s intelligence and rights. Yet, so long as the people continue to be consumed by fear and to fall for the age-old swindle that the government seeks only to protect them, these abuses will never end.

Along the Gulf Coast during the past two years, a legion of opportunists has similarly rushed onto the scene to take advantage of the unprecedented sums of federal money pouring into the area in the guise of financing recovery from the damage wreaked by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Bank accounts have been stuffed with this loot, to be sure, but little in the way of genuine recovery and reconstruction has sprung from it. Never mind: in the immortal words of President Bush, “Brownie, you’re doin’ a heck of a job.” The ridiculous Brownie was subsequently sacked as the head of FEMA, of course, but the “heck of a job” goes on as before, all at taxpayer expense and at great profit for the corporatist cronies, political favorites, and other privileged parties who are appropriating the people’s money after it has been duly laundered through the federal treasury.

Recall Margaret Atwood’s poem “Siren Song,” with which I prefaced my remarks. It begins,

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls.

And the poem ends,

Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

In the present regard, it works every time because the people falsely believe that those who sing it are their protectors, rather than their exploiters. Until people learn to disregard the state’s siren song of beneficence and protection, they will continue to suffer and die as victims of the state’s wars, foreign and domestic. People yearn for security, and they look to the state to provide it, but they are calling upon a wolf to guard the sheep.

The state cannot refrain from crime because it is an inherently criminal enterprise, living by robbery (which it relabels taxation) and retaining its turf by mass murder (which it relabels war). Constantly singing the siren song, it seduces the people by giving back to them a portion of what it has previously extorted from them and by ceaselessly claiming to protect them from all manner of threats to their lives, liberties, property, and even their self-esteem. If it protects them at all, however, it does so only as a shepherd protects his captive flock: not because he recognizes and respects the natural rights of his sheep, but only to keep them unmolested in his sole possession and control until he finds it expedient to shear or slaughter them.

A peaceful state is an impossibility. Even a state that refrains from fighting foreigners goes on fighting its own subjects continuously, to keep them under its control and to suppress competitors who might try to break into the domain of its protection racket. The people cry out for security, yet they will not take responsibility for their own protection, and like the mariners of Greek mythology, they leap overboard immediately in response to the state’s siren song.

When the Israelites had fled from their captivity in Egypt, they made do for centuries with only judges, yet they were not satisfied, and eventually, they demanded a king, crying out:

we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. (1 Samuel 8:19–20)

Well, they got a king all right, just as we Americans have embraced one of our own, though we call ours a president. The Israelites, as the prophet Samuel had warned, were no better off for having a king, however: King Saul only led them from one slaughter to another (1 Samuel 14: 47–48). Likewise, our rulers have led us from one unnecessary slaughter to the next; and, to make matters worse, they have exploited each such occasion to fasten their chains around us more tightly. Like the ancient Israelites, we Americans shall never have real, lasting peace so long as we give our allegiance to a king — that is, in our case, to the whole conglomeration of institutionalized exploiters and murderers, we know as the state.

 

 

The post The Song That Is Irresistible: How the State Leads People to Their Own Destruction first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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General Recommends “Quick Reaction Troops” In DC To Protect The Ruling Class From The Slaves

A United States military general, who was appointed by the ruling class, is recommending “quick reaction troop” in Washinton D.C. to protect against the slave uprising.  It sure appears that the powers that believe they own everyone are starting to worry that people no longer need them and are no longer willing to be slaves.

The retired Army general appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead a security study after the January 6 Capitol riot has called for setting up a quick-reaction force to permanently stand ready for threats against the government, according to a report from RT. Meaning any uprising from the “governed” or “the controlled” or the slave lass will not be tolerated by the masters.

Now, are we beginning to understand that government is slavery? It literally doesn’t matter if it’s a republic or a democracy or a socialist dictatorship. None of us should ever be owned by anyone else. The government knows it, and enough of the public must be figuring it out if retired US Army Lt. General Russel Honore says those who desire their freedom are the problem to be dealt with.

The strategy would permanently militarize the nation’s capital with an active-duty force dedicated full-time to responding to security emergencies in Washington’s government district. Honore, who previously said that US Capitol Police (USCP) may have been “complicit” in the riot, also called for hiring more than 1,100 additional officers for the department, including filling 233 open positions.

Many of the new hires would be intelligence analysts who would monitor security threats against the Capitol. Honore also wants the USCP to create a force of horse-mounted officers to help control crowds, as well as expanding its unit of bomb-sniffing dogs. Other recommendations include speeding the decision-making process for deploying the national guard; beefing up security-monitoring systems; requiring background checks of Capitol identification holders to reduce “insider threats”; establishing more screening portals to access the complex; and creating dedicated riot platoons who can be called on whenever Congress is in session. Members of Congress also would be given beefed-up security for travel, their home offices and their residences. -RT

Honore is best known for his role in leading the National Guard response in New Orleans after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His troops were involved in confiscating guns (stealing property) from residents after New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass III declared that only law enforcement officers would be allowed to have firearms amid the violent, post-storm chaos in the city.

Wake up if you haven’t yet. If anyone says they have a higher claim over your life and property than you do if any says they have the right to “make laws” that you are forced to obey or they can physically harm you or steal your property, you are a slave. We all are slaves. The ruling class is fortifying their defenses against us, which means enough of us have figured it out. The next step is massive peaceful disobedience of the government, the protection of each other against them.

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Machinery of Death: When the Government Acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner

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

“Police fail to grasp that they are public servants for peace. They should provide a civil service, to enforce the laws equally, without bias and with discretion. They must understand that they do not have immunity or special privileges and — most importantly — are just responsible for apprehending suspects, and should not act as judge, jury and executioner, which too many of them truly believe themselves to be.”—Frank Serpico, former police detective who exposed corruption within the NYPD

The government should not be in the business of killing its citizens.

Nevertheless, the U.S. government continues to act as judge, jury, and executioner over a populace that has been pre-judged and found guilty, stripped of their rights, and left to suffer at the hands of government agents trained to respond with the utmost degree of violence.

That the death penalty was recently abolished in Virginia is just the tip of the iceberg.

While any effort to scale back the government’s haphazard application of the death penalty—meted out as a punishment, a threat, and a chilling glimpse into the government’s quest for ultimate dominion over its constituents—is a welcome one, capital punishment remains a very small part of the American police state’s machinery of death.

Yet it’s not enough to declare a moratorium on federal and state death penalty executions.

What we need is a moratorium on federal and state violence in all their varied forms (on police shootings of unarmed citizens, innocent civilians killed by the nation’s endless wars abroad, unknowing victims of secret government experiments, politicians whose profit-over-principle priorities leave Americans vulnerable to predatory tactics, etc.), because as long as government-sanctioned murder and mayhem continue unabated, the right to life affirmed by the nation’s founders in the Declaration of Independence remains unattainable.

The danger is real.

Everything about the way the government operates today (imperial, unaccountable, and manifestly corrupt) flies in the face of what the founders sought to bring about: a representative government that exists to protect and preserve life, liberty, property, and happiness of its people.

Police violence is but one aspect of the government violence dispensed without restraint or respect for the rights of the people, but it is widespread.

The casualties are legion.

At a time when growing numbers of unarmed people have been shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety, even the most benign encounters with police can have fatal consequences.

Unfortunately, police—trained in the worst-case scenario and thus ready to shoot first and ask questions later—increasingly pose a risk to anyone undergoing a mental health crisis or with special needs whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent or require more finesse than the typical freeze-or-I’ll-shoot tactics employed by America’s police forces.

Indeed, disabled individuals make up a third to half of all people killed by law enforcement officers. (People of color are three times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts.) If you’re black and disabled, you’re even more vulnerable.

For example, California police sent out to deal with a 30-year-old Navy veteran experiencing a mental health crisis reportedly knelt on the man’s neck for nearly five minutes until he stopped breathing. Angelo Quinto died days later. The circumstances are unnervingly similar to the death sentence meted out to George Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officers knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.

In South Carolina, police tasered an 86-year-old grandfather reportedly in the early stages of dementia, while he was jogging backward away from them. Now, this happened after Albert Chatfield led police on a car chase, running red lights and turning randomly. However, at the point that police chose to shock the old man with electric charges, he was out of the car, on his feet, and outnumbered by police officers much younger than him.

In Oklahoma, police shot and killed a 35-year-old deaf man seen holding a two-foot metal pipe on his front porch (he used the pipe to fend off stray dogs while walking). Despite the fact that witnesses warned police that Magdiel Sanchez couldn’t hear—and thus comply—with their shouted orders to drop the pipe and get on the ground, police shot the man when he was about 15 feet away from them.

In Maryland, police (moonlighting as security guards) used extreme force to eject a 26-year-old man with Downs Syndrome and a low IQ from a movie theater after the man insisted on sitting through the second screening of a film. Autopsy results indicate that Ethan Saylor died of complications arising from asphyxiation, likely caused by a chokehold.

In Florida, police armed with assault rifles fired three shots at a 27-year-old nonverbal, autistic man who was sitting on the ground, playing with a toy truck. Police missed the autistic man and instead shot his behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey, who had been trying to get him back to his group home. The therapist, bleeding from a gunshot wound, was then handcuffed and left lying face down on the ground for 20 minutes.

In New Mexico, police tasered, then opened fire on a 38-year-old homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, all in an attempt to get James Boyd to leave a makeshift campsite. Boyd’s death provoked a wave of protests over heavy-handed law enforcement tactics.

In Ohio, police forcefully subdued a 37-year-old bipolar woman wearing only a nightgown in near-freezing temperatures who was neither armed, violent, intoxicated nor suspected of criminal activity. After being slammed onto the sidewalk, handcuffed, and left unconscious on the street, Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being restrained in a prone position.

This is what happens when you empower the police to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

This is what happens when you indoctrinate the police into believing that their lives and their safety are paramount to anyone else’s.

Suddenly, everyone and everything else is a threat that must be neutralized or eliminated.

And then you have U.S. Marshals—the federal government’s de facto national police force—who may be even more violent and unaccountable.

“One reason for the high level of violence,” according to an in-depth investigation by The Marshall Project, USA TODAY and the Arizona Republic: “The Marshals Service’s rules are looser than those of many major police departments. Marshals are not required to try to de-escalate situations or exhaust other remedies before using lethal force. And marshals are allowed to fire into cars. Though body cameras have become routine in major police departments, marshals do not wear them.”

Marshal task forces, which are made up of local law enforcement officers who get deputized as federal agents but are not necessarily given any special training, are also shielded from prosecution by the Justice Department.

Look more closely and you may find that many of the same cops who serve on marshal task forces also serve on local SWAT teams.

For instance, 23-year-old Casey Goodson was shot and killed outside his family home in Columbus, Ohio by a deputy police officer who also happened to be a member of a marshal task force and the local SWAT team. Although the cop claimed to have shot Goodson in the back for waving a gun while driving, that police account conflicts with other accounts, which suggest Goodson was shot on the doorstep while holding a bag of sandwiches. Goodson was not a target of a police investigation.

Sariah Lane, 17 years old, was killed on her way to the grocery when an Arizona cop, also working as a marshal task force member, fired into a Toyota Corolla in which she and her boyfriend were passengers. Taskforce members, out to get the driver of the car for violating his parole, used an unmarked car to ram the Corolla in a parking lot, boxed it in with other unmarked cars, and then started firing into the car. Lane was shot in the back of the head with a hollow-point bullet.

Lane’s alleged killer, Detective Michael Pezzelle, trains police officers around the country to “be polite, be professional, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

Talk about a recipe for disaster: take poorly trained cops, deputize them as federal marshals, grant them immunity from prosecution, and authorize them to use deadly force to kill someone who poses an “imminent danger.”

To that noxious stew add the government’s interest in adopting domestic terrorism legislation to “better monitor and regulate the environments in which extremist ideologies proliferate” and the Biden administration’s pivot to have FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assist states and cities in their fight against domestic extremism.

Not to be outdone, the Department of Homeland Security is also considering ramping up its initiatives to combat domestic terrorism by expanding training, providing technical assistance to local jurisdictions for threat assessment investigations, and developing strategies to combat the influence of false online narratives.

Translation: the government is about to rapidly expand its policing efforts to focus on pre-crime and thought crimes.

Given the government’s tendency to manipulate labels to suit their purposes (case in point: consider how interchangeably the government uses the terms terrorist, extremist and anti-government), that could easily put a target on the back of any American who dares to challenge the government’s agenda or hold it accountable to the rule of law.

This is how “we the people” become enemies of the state.

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

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

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

We’re playing against a stacked deck.

As journalist Sharyl Attkisson observed, “What’s been most striking to me is just how one-sided the rules are when Americans take on their own government…. It has been dismaying to learn the extent to which rules and laws shield the government from accountability for its abuses—or even lawbreaking…. It’s been a long and frightening lesson…. The rules seem rigged to protect government lawlessness, and the playing field is uneven. Too many processes favor the government. The deck is still stacked.

Because the system is rigged—because there are no real consequences for agents of the police state who inflict violence on the American people—and because “we the people” are at the mercy of a government that has almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they are supposed to “serve and protect”—Americans will continue to die at the hands of a government that sees itself as judge, jury, and executioner.

Something has to give. Something has to change.

What remains to be seen, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, is whether any of that change will be for the better.

The post Machinery of Death: When the Government Acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Canadian Politician Proposes Seizing Private Hospitals to Fight COVID-19

This article was originally published by Pierre-Guy Veer at The Foundation for Economic Education.

*EDITOR’S NOTE: The seizure of and the banning of ownership of private property is one of the tenants of the Great Reset. “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” This is just the beginning. The ruling class will own everything, including you.

In the Canadian province of Quebec, no party sitting in the provincial parliament dares to question the mammoth size of government. But strangely enough, only one party openly embraces socialism: Québec solidaire (QS). Their motto could be boiled down to “There is no salvation without the State.”

This conclusion is quite obvious when reading a recent Facebook post written by a leader of the left-wing party.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesman for the party who was elected to the provincial legislative assembly in 2017, expressed outrage that it was possible to get an appointment for a “Brazilian butt lift within a few days” while “intensive care units are overwhelmed” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nadeau-Dubois’ team called a few private clinics, and they told him that “there’s no reason to cancel or delay surgeries unless the government tells us otherwise.”

Perhaps inspired by that last point, he proposed seizing private ORs because “an exceptional situation requires exceptional measures… Lives are on the line.”

For a moment, let’s forget the fact that “nothing is more permanent than a temporary government measure,” and that QS is only dreaming about having an all-mighty public sector in nearly every aspect of everyone’s lives.

One has to wonder whether Nadeau has even skimmed through Quebec’s administration of the healthcare system since it was nationalized some 50 years ago. Since the deep cuts of the mid-1990s under Lucien Bouchard, the nominal budget for healthcare has multiplied by a factor of 3.7, increasing five percent per year.

And yet, waiting lists hardly budge.

As of July 2018, the waiting time to see a family doctor was 371 days. These specialists are so overwhelmed that they have already denied service to 75,000 people and counting. As for elective surgeries, over 100,000 people have been on a waiting list for more than six months. Many more patients will have to wait too since “non-urgent” procedures have been delayed because of the pandemic.

What’s more, the province-wide ER occupancy rate is currently 95 percent of available gurneys, with some being well overcapacity. So nothing much has changed over four years ago.

Seizing private ORs, or even taxing corporations that “profited from” the pandemic, is very unlikely to shorten waiting lines, however.

As Montreal’s Economic Institute reminds us, Medicare-for-all (Canada has its own version of Medicare) sees people as spending, and therefore they need to be rationed in order not to go over budget.

But in a private hospital, patients are seen as a source of revenue; there is, therefore, an incentive to give great care so that, for future needs, the patient will come back.

And when there is waiting time in private hospitals, it’s rather short compared to their public peers. So much so that public organizations like CSST (Quebec’s OSHA) send workplace injuries to private establishments in order to save time. Indeed, a shorter waiting time means quicker rehab, less spending on worker compensation, etc.

So as long as the government funds and administers healthcare, refunding patients using private hospitals could mean saving on precious public funds.

It’s already happening for certain long-term care facilities (CHSLD) that receive public funding but are privately administered. In other words, they work like charter schools, and just like them, they have a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

In short: They need to work exceptionally well in order to remain open. Otherwise, the state can easily revoke its license. It’s a strong motivator—especially since public establishments hardly, if at all, suffer the same fate—but it pushes charter school administrators like Alex Quigley in North Carolina to find ways to improve their performance. Through trials and tribulations, Quigley was able to improve his school’s grade from F to D; and he hopes to make it to a C soon.

“Charter” CHSLDs operate in a similar fashion. Since they are publicly financed, they can’t charge users more than the fixed price, which was around $2,000 for a room with one bed in 2020. They even pay income and sales taxes, unlike their 100 percent public counterparts.

And yet, their quality is much better: None of them were evaluated as offering a “preoccupied” level of service compared to 12 percent of their wholly public peers. As for a “very satisfying” level of service, it was respectively 64 percent compared to 18 percent, according to a survey of users.

The improved level of care also probably explains why the only CHSLDs that weren’t contaminated by COVID when it started last year were either charter or entirely private. One head administrator, Marie-Hélène Girard, even went to buy PPE in mid-March 2020 on her own initiative despite severe shortages.

“It wasn’t recommended, but we did it anyway. Better to have those handy than nothing at all,” she said in an interview.

Girard was able to act promptly thanks to a lighter administrative burden. According to economist Pierre Fortin, administrative cost for “charter” CHSLD is 26 percent lower than their 100 percent public counterparts. The overall cost is about 12 percent lower.

So rather than envying the private sector’s efficiency, QS should look at it and take notes. While having no direct out-of-pocket spending can be nice, a median waiting time of 16.3 weeks for medically necessary procedures can lead to a heavy human toll.

Rationing is the result of regulating supply and ignoring prices, profits, and good incentives. “Non-essential” procedures like Lasik or butt lifts either saw price decreases or much slower price increases than regular medical because practitioners saw an opportunity for profit.  This drew more providers into the marketplace, which increased supply, driving prices down.

Canadian lawmakers would be wise to emulate the private sector, not co-opt it. By utilizing markets, the private sector has shown it can lower both wait times and costs—something Canada’s “Medicare-for-all” system has failed to deliver.

The post Canadian Politician Proposes Seizing Private Hospitals to Fight COVID-19 first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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How To Protect Your Local Economy From The Great Reset

This article was originally published by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.us at The Birch Gold Group. 

Over the years, I have written extensively about the concept of economic “decentralization” and localization, but I think these ideas are difficult for some people to visualize without proper motivation. By that I mean, it’s not enough that the current centralized model is destructive and corrupt; it has to start breaking down or show its true totalitarian colors before anyone will do anything to protect themselves.

Sadly, the majority of people tend to take action only when they have hit rock bottom.

In recent months the pandemic lockdown situation has provided a sufficient wake-up call to many conservatives and moderates. We have seen the financial effects of pandemic restrictions in blue states, with hundreds of thousands of small businesses closing, tax revenues imploding, and millions of people relocating to red states just to escape the oppressive environment.

Luckily, conservative regions have been smart enough to prevent self-destruction by staying mostly open. In fact, red states have been vastly outperforming blue states in terms of economic recovery exactly because they refuse to submit to medical tyranny.

I outlined this dynamic in detail recently in my article Blue State Economies Will Soon Crumble – But Will They Take Red States With Them?

The data is undeniable: the states and cities that enforce lockdown mandates are dying, the states that ignore mandates are surviving. However, with a Biden presidency, there is a high probability that the federal government will now seek to force compliance from all states. In other words, lockdowns will become a national issue rather than a state issue.

For now, Biden is pretending as if reopening is right around the corner, but as I have noted in the past, the Reset agenda will never allow this. A reopening, if it happens at all, will be short and lockdowns will return. We are already seeing a new narrative being introduced to the public involving “COVID mutations”, which are supposedly “more deadly” than the original COVID-19 outbreak. So, there is a brand new and useful threat and the establishment will exploit it as a rationale for more lockdowns and restrictions.

Beyond the pandemic mandates, there are also numerous Reset agenda policies that will be implemented under the Biden administration, including insane Green New Deal related executive orders and legislation claiming to reduce carbon emissions. What they will really do is annihilate resource production. Millions of jobs will be lost and entire industries will be erased unless conservatives act to stop Biden in his tracks.

This means doing far more than stalling through political maneuvers. We are going to have to use concrete strategies to retake control of resource management within the states. Pointless globalist carbon policies composed by entities like the UN have no place in American economic planning. A message needs to be sent that they will never be accepted here.

Time is running out to prepare. Lockdowns will return within a few months and this time they will be federally enforced. Conservatives must be ready to defy these orders if they have any hope of saving their local economies. This is going to take individual efforts to stock necessities and secure their finances, but ultimately wider organization is going to be needed to weather the storm.

Conservatives must establish coalitions of counties and states, and certain economic measures will have to be applied to insulate from damage. The federal government and Biden will attempt to punish red states for refusing to submit, and we need to be ready for that eventuality.

Here are some ways that conservative communities can stop the Reset agenda…

Localization

On a smaller scale, conservatives can accomplish a lot by simply changing their buying habits. If you do 80% of your retail spending with big box stores and online outlets like Amazon and only 20% at local small businesses, then try to switch that ratio. Spend 80% at local businesses and 20% at corporate outlets. Yes, small businesses tend to cost a little extra, but who do you really want your money going to? Do you want your money filling the pockets of international corporate moguls that are working to destroy your freedoms and undermine your economy? Or, do you want your cash to circulate locally?

Individuals can also start their own business from home focusing on the production of necessities or necessary skill sets. They can establish a small business co-op and encourage the community to buy locally. Often, people just don’t know how many services are available from small businesses in their area, so they automatically go to big-box providers. Small businesses must work together to change the dynamic.

This strategy also extends to local farms. Consumers and grocery stores need to buy more of their produce from farms in the area and less from chains that ship in produce from other countries. There are millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. that do not grow food at all because these farms are paid by the federal government not to. Encouraging local food production is paramount to remaining free from centralized control.

Organized Refusal To Comply

The problem with conservatives is that we tend to be so independent that we avoid organization. This is a problem because it leads to self-isolation. During the pandemic lockdowns in blue states, some conservative-owned businesses refused to comply, but they were left mostly to fend for themselves with no aid from the wider community. If more businesses were to ally with each other and protested in tandem, dozens or hundreds of defiant businesses working together would be a lot harder to shut down than just a few.

By extension, it’s not enough for conservatives to merely argue against the lockdowns and demand businesses stay open, we need to also defend those businesses that take action. We need to support them with our dollars and stand in the way of anyone trying to close them down. They are taking a big risk for us, so we need to be willing to take risks for them.

Imagine if Biden tried to assert a national lockdown order and more than half the businesses in the country ignored him? What if patrons refused to allow federal agencies to intimidate those businesses? The lockdowns would be nullified, and Biden would have little recourse.

Establish Barter Networks

In the event that the U.S. economy breaks down completely, we must create contingencies to prevent total trade disruption. Without trade, populations become desperate because no one has the ability to provide every necessity all the time. People have to be able to barter goods and services in an open market.

Barter networks are a base fundamental, the universal go-to solution during an economic collapse. Every society in modern history has used barter markets to stay afloat during financial crises and to bypass government economic controls. We must be willing to do the same.

Conservatives must start organizing barter networks within their communities now. It does not matter if you are trading with a couple of people or hundreds; the process needs to start somewhere.

Why is this so important? Because there is a very good chance that the federal government will try to fiscally punish any state or county that opposes lockdown measures and Reset policies. This means that the government will first seek to cut off federal funding to red states. In the midst of economic crisis, many regions have become reliant on federal stimulus as a crutch, and this dependency makes them vulnerable to control.

To truly rebel against the Reset, local economies need to be free from federal oversight or consequences. With barter networks in place along with possible local scrip and alternative currencies, the public will be less fearful of economic retaliation.

Take Back Management Of Local Resources

We have already seen attempts by Biden to disrupt the production of carbon-based energy resources like oil and coal. Frankly, the time is long past due for states and counties to take back control of federal lands. The government has been stifling American production for decades and this has hurt rural communities in particular.

In my area, the EPA has essentially destroyed the timber harvesting industry through unfair regulations. This has led to federal mismanagement of forests to the point that fire hazard has become a major issue. All the young men in the county used to work as lumberjacks to support their families; now they have to leave or work as wildland firefighters. It’s completely backward. And this is happening while U.S. lumber prices are skyrocketing.

Conservative counties and states need to take back land and resource management and allow reasonable production to return. Biden should have no say in whether or not oil wells in North Dakota stay operational, or coal mines in West Virginia stay open, or trees Montana are selectively harvested. As long as the bulk of wealth from the resource production stays within the state where the resources were harvested, I see no downside to this kind of response.

If the federal government tries to retaliate by cutting off federal funds, it won’t matter because the states will be producing jobs and wealth for themselves independently.

Immunity From Cancel Culture

In our current political environment, it is becoming a fact of life that the hard left can and will try to harm people that oppose their ideology. Big tech companies and the government are helping them to do this. Now more than ever, conservatives that wish to remain free to voice their views and share facts that are contrary to the leftist narrative must seek protection from cancellation. But how do we do this?

For one, we can work for ourselves. Being self-employed means never having to worry about being fired because of your political opinions. Or, conservatives need to work for conservatives. This means conservative companies need to focus on hiring conservative employees, and if the leftist mob tries to attack an individual, those companies can easily ignore them. Of course, this also means that conservative consumers need to start making a list of conservative companies that have proven themselves to be immune to leftist pressure. We need to support these companies.

Conservatives should also look into the possibility of campaigns to build more platform alternatives to Big Tech and social media. We need more web service providers that are owned by people who respect free speech rights. We may even need our own internet.

All of these things are possible, but it takes organization and effort. Conservative communities can become safe havens for civil liberties, but this means we cannot be isolated from each other anymore. We have to be connected by more than our principles, we must also be connected through actions.

The post How To Protect Your Local Economy From The Great Reset first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Web Credit Card Skimmer Steals Data from Another Credit Card Skimmer

MalwareBytes is reporting a weird software credit card skimmer. It harvests credit card data stolen by another, different skimmer:

Even though spotting multiple card skimmer scripts on the same online shop is not unheard of, this one stood out due to its highly specialized nature.

“The threat actors devised a version of their script that is aware of sites already injected with a Magento 1 skimmer,” Malwarebytes’ Head of Threat Intelligence Jérôme Segura explains in a report shared in advance with Bleeping Computer.

“That second skimmer will simply harvest credit card details from the already existing fake form injected by the previous attackers.”

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Dutch Insider Attack on COVID-19 Data

Insider data theft:

Dutch police have arrested two individuals on Friday for allegedly selling data from the Dutch health ministry’s COVID-19 systems on the criminal underground.

[…]

According to Verlaan, the two suspects worked in DDG call centers, where they had access to official Dutch government COVID-19 systems and databases.

They were working from home:

“Because people are working from home, they can easily take photos of their screens. This is one of the issues when your administrative staff is working from home,” Victor Gevers, Chair of the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure, told ZDNet in an interview today.

All of this remote call-center work brings with it additional risks.

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A Nation Imploding: Digital Tyranny, Insurrection and Martial Law

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

“In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. [Y]ou can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization…filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort … to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love… What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”—Robert F. Kennedy on the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

This is what we have been reduced to: A violent mob. A nation on the brink of martial law. A populace under house arrest. A techno-corporate state wielding its power to immobilize huge swaths of the country. And a Constitution in tatters.

We are imploding on multiple fronts, all at once.

This is what happens when ego, greed, and power are allowed to take precedence over liberty, equality, and justice.

Just to be clear, however: this is not a revolution.

This is a ticking time bomb.

There is absolutely no excuse for the violence that took place at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Yet no matter which way you look at it, the fallout from this attempted coup could make this worrisome state of affairs even worse.

First, you’ve got the president, who has been accused of inciting a riot and now faces a second impeachment and a scandal that could permanently mar his legacy. While the impeachment process itself is a political beast, the question of whether President Trump incited his followers to riot is one that has even the best legal experts debating. Yet as First Amendment scholar David Hudson Jr. explains, for Trump’s rhetoric to be stripped of its free speech protections, “The speaker must intend to and actually use words that rally people to take illegal action. The danger must be imminent—not in the indefinite future. And the words must be uttered in a situation in which violence is likely to happen.”

At a minimum, Trump’s actions and words—unstatesmanlike and reckless, by any standards—over the course of his presidency and on Jan. 6 helped cause a simmering pot to boil over.

Second, there were the so-called “patriots” who took to the streets because the jailer of their choice didn’t get chosen to knock heads for another four years. Those “Stop the Steal” protesters may have deluded themselves (or been deluded) into believing they were standing for freedom when they stormed the Capitol. However, all they really did was give the Deep State and its corporate partners a chance to pull back the curtain and reveal how little freedom we really have. There is nothing that can be said to justify the actions of those who, armed with metal pipes, chemical irritants, stun guns, and other types of weapons, assaulted and stampeded those in their path.

There are limits to what can be done in the so-called name of liberty, and this level of violence—no matter who wields it or what brand of politics or zealotry motivate them—crossed the line.

Third, you’ve got the tech giants, who meted out their own version of social justice by way of digital tyranny and corporate censorship. Yet there can be no freedom of speech if social media giants can muzzle whomever they want, whenever they want, on whatever pretext they want in the absence of any real due process, review, or appeal. As Edward Snowden warned, whether it was warranted or not, the social media ban on President Trump signaled a turning point in the battle for control over digital speech. And that is exactly what is playing out as users, including those who have no ties to the Capitol riots, begin to experience lockouts, suspensions, and even deletions of their social media accounts.

Remember, the First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to peacefully air viewpoints, vent frustrations, debate and disagree, and generally work through the problems of self-governance. Without that safety mechanism in place, self-censorship increases, discontent festers, foment brews, and violence becomes the default response for resolving disputes, whether with the government or each other. At a minimum, we need more robust protections in place to protect digital expression and a formalized process for challenging digital censorship.

Unfortunately, digital censorship is just the beginning. Once you start using social media scores coupled with surveillance capitalism to determine who is worthy enough to be part of society, anything goes. In China, which has been traveling this road for years now, millions of individuals and businesses, blacklisted as “unworthy” based on social media credit scores that grade them based on whether they are “good” citizens, have been banned from accessing financial markets, buying real estate or traveling by air or train.

Fourth, you’ve got the police, who normally exceed the constitutional limits restraining them from brutality, surveillance, and other excesses. Only this time, despite intelligence indicating that some of the rioters were planning for mayhem, police were outnumbered and ill-prepared to deal with the incursion. Investigations underway suggest that some police may even have colluded with the rioters.

Certainly, the lack of protocols adopted by the Capitol Police bears an unnerving resemblance to the lack of protocols in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when police who were supposed to uphold the law and prevent violence failed to do either. In fact, as the Washington Post reports, police “seemed to watch as groups beat each other with sticks and bludgeoned one another with shields… At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured.” Incredibly, when the first signs of open violence broke out, it was reported that the police chief allegedly instructed his staff to “let them fight, it will make it easier to declare an unlawful assembly.”

There’s a pattern emerging if you pay close enough attention: Instead of restoring order, local police stand down. Without fail, what should be an exercise in how to peacefully disagree turns ugly the moment looting, vandalism, violence, intimidation tactics, and rioting are introduced into the equation. Tensions rise, violence escalates, and federal armies move in.

All that was missing on Jan. 6 was a declaration of martial law.

Which brings us to the fifth point, martial law. Given that the nation has been dancing around the fringes of martial law with each national crisis, it won’t take much more to push the country over the edge to a declaration and military lockdown. The rumblings of armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., will only serve to heighten tensions, double down on the government’s military response, and light a match to a powder keg state of affairs. With tens of thousands of National Guard troops and federal law enforcement personnel mobilized to lock down Washington, DC, in the wake of the Jan. 6 riots and in advance of the Jan. 20 inauguration, this could be the largest military show-of-force in recent years.

So where do we go from here?

That all of these events are coming to a head around Martin Luther King Jr. Day is telling.

More than 50 years after King was assassinated, America has become a ticking time bomb of racial unrest and injustice, police militarization, surveillance, government corruption and ineptitude, the blowback from a battlefield mindset and endless wars abroad, and a growing economic inequality between the haves and have nots

Making matters worse, modern America has compounded the evils of racism, materialism, and militarism with ignorance, intolerance, and fear.

Callousness, cruelty, meanness, immorality, ignorance, hatred, intolerance, and injustice have become hallmarks of our modern age, magnified by an echo chamber of nasty tweets and government-sanctioned brutality.

“Despite efforts to curb hate speech, eradicate bullying and extend tolerance, a culture of nastiness has metastasized in which meanness is routinely rewarded, and common decency and civility are brushed aside,” observed Teddy Wayne in a New York Times piece on “The Culture of Nastiness.”

Every time I read a news headline or flip on the television or open up an email or glance at social media, I run headlong into people consumed with back-biting, partisan politics, sniping, toxic hate, meanness, and materialism. Donald Trump is, in many ways, the embodiment of this culture of meanness. Yet as Wayne points out, “Trump is less enabler in chief than a symptom of a free-for-all environment that prizes cutting smears… Social media has normalized casual cruelty.”

Whether it’s unfriending or blocking someone on Facebook, tweeting taunts and barbs on Twitter, or merely using cyberspace to bully someone or peddle in gossip, we have become masters in the art of meanness.

This culture of meanness has come to characterize many aspects of the nation’s governmental and social policies. “Meanness today is a state of mind,” writes professor Nicolaus Mills in his book The Triumph of Meanness, “the product of a culture of spite and cruelty that has had an enormous impact on us.”

This casual cruelty is made possible by a growing polarization within the populace that emphasizes what divides us—race, religion, economic status, sexuality, ancestry, politics, etc.—rather than what unites us: we are all human.

This is what writer Anna Quindlen refers to as “the politics of exclusion, what might be thought of as the cult of otherness… It divides the country as surely as the Mason-Dixon line once did. And it makes for mean-spirited and punitive politics and social policy.”

This is more than meanness, however.

This is the psychopathic mindset adopted by the architects of the Deep State, and it applies equally whether you’re talking about Democrats or Republicans.

Beware, because this kind of psychopathology can spread like a virus among the populace.

As an academic study into pathocracy concluded, “[T]yranny does not flourish because perpetuators are helpless and ignorant of their actions. It flourishes because they actively identify with those who promote vicious acts as virtuous.”

People don’t simply line up and salute. It is through one’s own personal identification with a given leader, party, or social order that they become agents of good or evil. To this end, “we the people” have become “we the police state.”

By failing to actively take a stand for good, we become agents of evil. It’s not the person in charge who is solely to blame for the carnage. It’s the populace that looks away from the injustice, that empowers the totalitarian regime, that welcomes the building blocks of tyranny.

This realization hit me full-force a few years ago. I had stopped into a bookstore and was struck by all of the books on Hitler, everywhere I turned. Yet had there been no Hitler, there still would have been a Nazi regime. There still would have been gas chambers and concentration camps and a Holocaust.

Hitler wasn’t the architect of the Holocaust. He was merely the figurehead. The same goes for the American police state: had there been no Trump or Obama or Bush, there still would have been a police state. There still would have been police shootings and private prisons and endless wars and government pathocracy.

Why? Because “we the people” have paved the way for this tyranny to prevail.

By turning Hitler into a super-villain who singlehandedly terrorized the world—not so different from how Trump is often depicted—historians have given Hitler’s accomplices (the German government, the citizens that opted for security and order over liberty, the religious institutions that failed to speak out against evil, the individuals who followed orders even when it meant a death sentence for their fellow citizens) a free pass.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

None of us who remain silent and impassive in the face of evil, racism, extreme materialism, meanness, intolerance, cruelty, injustice, and ignorance get a free pass.

Those among us who follow figureheads without question, who turn a blind eye to injustice and turn their backs on need, who march in lockstep with tyrants and bigots, who allow politics to trump principle, who give in to meanness and greed, and who fail to be outraged by the many wrongs being perpetrated in our midst, it is these individuals who must shoulder the blame when the darkness wins.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” Martin Luther King Jr. sermonized.

The darkness is winning

It’s not just on the world stage we must worry about the darkness winning

The darkness is winning in our communities. It’s winning in our homes, our neighborhoods, our churches and synagogues, and our government bodies. It’s winning in the hearts of men and women the world over who are embracing hatred over love. It’s winning in every new generation that is being raised to care only for themselves, without any sense of moral or civic duty to stand for freedom.

John F. Kennedy, killed by an assassin’s bullet five years before King would be similarly executed, spoke of a torch that had been “passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Once again, a torch is being passed to a new generation, but this torch is setting the world on fire, burning down the foundations put in place by our ancestors, and igniting all of the ugliest sentiments in our hearts.

This fire is not liberating; it is destroying.

We are teaching our children all the wrong things: we are teaching them to hate, teaching them to worship false idols (materialism, celebrity, technology, politics), teaching them to prize vain pursuits and superficial ideals over kindness, goodness, and depth.

We are on the wrong side of the revolution.

“If we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution,” advised King, “we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.

Freedom demands responsibility.

Freedom demands that we stop thinking as Democrats and Republicans and start thinking like human beings, or at the very least, Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr. dared to dream of a world in which all Americans “would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

He didn’t live to see that dream become a reality. It’s still not a reality. We haven’t dared to dream that dream in such a long time.

But imagine…

Imagine what this country would be like if Americans put aside their differences and dared to stand up—united—for freedom…

Imagine what this country would be like if Americans put aside their differences and dared to speak out—with one voice—against injustice…

Imagine what this country would be like if Americans put aside their differences and dared to push back—with the full force of our collective numbers—against the evils of government despotism.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, tyranny wouldn’t stand a chance.

The post A Nation Imploding: Digital Tyranny, Insurrection and Martial Law first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Ruling Class Wants Yo To “Remain Calm” And “Respect” The Oppressive System They Force You To Live Under

World leaders (the ruling class) is urging the public to “remain calm” and “respect democracy” after people stormed the Capitol yesterday.  We are the slaves, and not allowed to demand we live freely as is our birthright.

One such ruler is Canadian President Justin Trudeau.  The rulers can not possibly have people realizing no one has the right to rule them, whether the majority votes or not.

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” -Benjamin Franklin

Wake up, people.  This is how the ruling class sees us! We are their docile slaves and don’t you dare complain about it or do something about it.

Elitist UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “saddened by today’s events in Washington,” a spokesman for the international body said yesterday after protestors stormed the Capitol, according to RT. He added: “In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law.” Even though that rule of law is their enslavement. This is getting ridiculous.

These are all the same, honestly.  Respect the system of oppression set up for you, obey the ruling class, and just submit to your own enslavement and oppression to people who think they own you.  Is this finally the wake-up call people need? This is how they view us!

Another ruler Indian PM Narendra Modi said he was distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington, DC.” The Australian ruler is also upset that people are finally realizing no one should be enslaving, ruling, or otherwise owning them.

Government literally means “guvernare” to control “mentis” the mind. You can almost feel these rulers are getting anxious as people wake up to their birthright: freedom.

The ‘Great Reset’ is about Expanding Government Power and Suppressing Liberty

Figure out who owns you and do it quickly.  Time is up. Be safe, and stay alert.  Listen to what these tyrants are saying so you can understand how they view us and always continue to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

2020 Was a Snack, 2021 Is the Main Course

The post Ruling Class Wants Yo To “Remain Calm” And “Respect” The Oppressive System They Force You To Live Under first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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The Year in which Comforting American Myths Were Ravaged

This article was originally published by James Bovard at The American Institute for Economic Research. 

Thanks in large part to Covid lockdowns, this year has left vast wreckage in its wake, with ten million jobs lost, more than 100,000 businesses and dozens of national chains bankrupted or closed. Up to 40 million people could face eviction in the coming months for failing to pay rent, and Americans report that their mental health is at record low levels. But the casualty list for 2020 must also include many of the political myths that shape Americans’ lives.

Perhaps the biggest myth to die this year was that Americans’ constitutional rights are safeguarded by the Bill of Rights. After the Covid-19 pandemic began, governors in state after state effectively placed scores of millions of citizens under house arrest – dictates that former Attorney General Bill Barr aptly compared to “the greatest intrusion on civil liberties” since the end of slavery. Politicians and government officials merely had to issue decrees, which were endlessly amended, in order to destroy citizens’ freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of choice in daily life. Los Angeles earlier this month banned almost all walking and bicycling in the city, ordering four million people to “to remain in their homes” in a futile effort to banish a virus.

The Rule of Law is another myth impaled by 2020’s dire developments. Courts have repeatedly struck down sweeping restrictions. Federal judge William Stickman IV invalidated some of Pennsylvania’s restrictions in a September ruling: “Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.” After the Michigan Supreme Court effectively labeled Governor Gretchen Whitmer a lawless dictator, she responded by issuing “new COVID-19 emergency orders that are nearly identical to her invalidated emergency orders,” as the Mackinac Center noted. How many governors and mayors have you seen on the television news being led away in handcuffs after their arrest for violating citizens’ rights this year? None.

Another myth that 2020 obliterated was the notion that politicians spending more than a hundred billion dollars every year for science and public health would keep Americans safe.

The Centers for Disease Control utterly botched the initial testing regime, sending out bogus tests to state and local health departments and taking a month and a half to do what the Thai government achieved in one day. The Food and Drug Administration helped turn the coronavirus from deadly peril into a national catastrophe. Long after foreign nations had been ravaged and many cases had been detected in America, the FDA continued blocking private testing. The FDA continued forcing the nation’s most innovative firms to submit to its command-and-control approach, notwithstanding the pandemic.

The benevolence and compassion of public school teachers was another myth that 2020 obliterated. Teacher unions helped barricade school doors the same way that segregationist governors in the 1950s and 1960s refused to obey federal court orders to admit black students. The Chicago Teachers Union proclaimed: “The push to reopen schools is based in sexism, racism, and misogyny.”

Black and Hispanic students suffered much larger learning losses due to school shutdowns, leading former Education Secretary John King to warn of a “lost generation of students.” Despite a deluge of studies that showed that schools posed little risk of fueling the pandemic, teachers insisted that they were entitled to both their salaries and to stay at home as long as they considered necessary.

This was part of the collapse of the broader myth that the rulers and ruled have common interests. Among other splits, the response to the pandemic divided Americans into those who work for a living, and those who “work” for the government. Government employees in most states and at the federal level have been the Untouchables, continuing to draw full pay even when they were no longer even required to show up for work. One exception to this trend is government tax collectors, who continue commandeering as much as ever from citizens and property owners regardless of the collapse in public services in many places this year.

Another myth that perished in 2020 was that social media and the Internet could be a powerful propellant of free information. Instead, the biggest players pulled the most strings to suppress criticisms or dissent from the latest Covid policies promulgated by officialdom. On March 18, Twitter announced that, in response to Covid-19, it would ban tweets guilty of “denial of expert guidance” or “misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities.”

The World Health Organization initially overestimated the Covid fatality rate by 50-fold but they remain Twitter-approved. Facebook recently launched far more aggressive policies, including directly contacting anyone who liked or commented on a piece that was later ruled erroneous by Facebook guardians and is refusing any ads that discourage people from getting vaccinations. Will they ban WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan for declaring on Monday that there was “no evidence to be confident [vaccine] shots prevent transmission” of Covid? Google sought to suppress any doubts about lockdowns: “Most users in English-speaking countries, when they google ‘Great Barrington Declaration’, will not be directed to the declaration itself but to articles that are critical of the declaration,” a Spiked-Online analysis noted.

This year’s presidential election put a helluva dent in the credo that politicians rule with the “consent of the governed.” The pandemic provided the pretext to radically change voting procedures, spurring 65 million mostly unverified mail-in ballots. The New York Times warned in 2012 that “fraud in voting by mail is… vastly more prevalent than the in-person voting fraud that has attracted far more attention.” Many states solved that problem by “defining down fraud” and expunging the verification procedures previously used to routinely invalidate 20% or more of mailed-in ballots. The controversies around mail-in ballots, questionable software, ballot harvesting, and other practices mean that a record number of Americans will doubt Joe Biden’s legitimacy even before he takes his oath of office.

Perhaps the saddest casualty of 2020 is the myth that average Americans cherish their personal freedom. Politicians continually shifted the rationale for lockdowns – from flattening the curve, to ending “community spread,” to reducing cases to near zero. Regardless of the proclaimed rationale, most people submitted without a fight, and usually without even a whimper. Politicians and bureaucrats fanned mass fears which quickly ripened into hatred of anyone who did not comply with the latest edict.

States and cities across the country set up snitch lines that were soon deluged with complaints of people outside without a mask, meeting friends, or having more visitors in their homes than could fit in a phone booth. Many, if not most, people quickly acquiesced to the “new normal” where any government hack who recited the phrase “science and data” became entitled to rule their lives with an iron fist.

As the Harvard International Review warned, “The very methods that liberal democracies are currently using to effectively fight the virus are the same tactics that authoritarian leaders use to dominate their people. The tools that have been temporarily deployed in the fight against a once-in-a-lifetime disease may become permanent.” That was written on May 23, more than 15 million Covid cases ago – proof of the failure of lockdowns and pervasive restrictions to make Covid-19 vanish. But the miserable batting average of officialdom will vanish into the Memory Hole if politicians launch a campaign to make Covid vaccinations mandatory, complete with boundless vilification of anyone who balks at the injection.

Perhaps it has long been a myth that we live in a self-governing republic rather than a Leviathan Democracy where citizens merely make cameo appearances every few years at the voting booth. It is still possible that the catastrophic and pointless losses imposed by Covid crackdowns will finally awaken enough people to their growing subjugation. But the most dangerous myth is that Americans will finally become safe after they cease making any efforts to leash their rulers.

The post The Year in which Comforting American Myths Were Ravaged first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You.

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Here’s A Breakdown Of Everything Inside The $900BN Stimulus Bill, And What It Means For The US Economy

This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.

Within hours, Congress is set to vote on (and pass) a $900 billion Covid-19 aid bill that includes assistance for households and businesses, as well as funding for vaccine distribution and more. As discussed previously, the bill excludes the Republican priority of liability protections for businesses and other entities and left the key Democrat demand of state and local bailouts.

In a nutshell, the new package extends federal UI programs (e.g. PUA, PEUC) with an extra $300/week for all UI claimants for at least an additional 11 weeks.

It also sends another round of stimulus checks worth $600 per individual per household for those making less than $75k ($150k for married couples) and gradually phases out at higher incomes. The bill renews funding for PPP to support small businesses and provides targeted aid to transportation and other hard-hit sectors of the economy.  Similar to the prior bipartisan proposal, $325bn would go to small businesses’ support, including $284bn for the second round of PPP grants. Of note: the bill also allows businesses to deduct expenses paid with the first round of loans, which the Treasury had previously disallowed (i.e., a double-dip). With around $525bn in forgivable PPP loans issued and more coming, this looks likely to reduce tax receipts by tens of billions and possibly more than $100bn, though it depends on the profitability of the businesses that received the loans

Here are the details of what is in the legislation.

Workers and Households

Direct Payments: The legislation would authorize a second round of economic-impact payments, following the checks Americans received in the spring and summer, at a cost of $166 billion. Households would receive $600 for each adult and $600 for each dependent, instead of $1,200 and $500, respectively, in the first round. Mixed-status households, where some people are ineligible noncitizens, would get payments based on the number of eligible people in the households, as opposed to being shut out as they were in the first round.

The payments would be based on income from 2019 and begin phasing out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes over $75,000 and married couples over $150,000. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that the first electronic payments could reach bank accounts by the beginning of next week. Households whose incomes were too high to qualify or who added dependents in 2020 might not qualify for full payments immediately. But they can request additional money as part of the 2020 tax returns they will file in early 2021.

Jobless Aid: Workers would be eligible for a $300-a-week federal unemployment subsidy. As with the prior aid package enacted in March, gig workers and others who don’t ordinarily qualify for benefits would be eligible for the jobless aid. The money is available through March 14. The legislation would also extend to 50 weeks the amount of time for which workers may claim benefits through both state and federal programs. Most states typically provide 26 weeks of jobless benefits.

The measure also provides an additional $100-a-week subsidy for workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose basic unemployment benefits don’t take into account their self-employment income. The cost of the enhanced unemployment benefits are projected at $120 billion.

Rental Assistance: The bill provides $25 billion of assistance to tenants in arrears on their rent. It also extends until the end of January 2021 a federal eviction prohibition, which the incoming Biden administration may extend again. The Treasury Department would be responsible for dispersing the rental assistance to states via a formula based on population. Landlords and building owners can apply on behalf of tenants meeting the eligibility requirements, generally those who make less than 80% of median income in their area, have at least one person in their households who has lost a job and can demonstrate they are at risk of losing their home.

Covid response

Health Care: The bill includes $9 billion for health-care providers and $4.5 billion for mental health, as well as more than $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health to conduct Covid-19 research.

Schools: The bill provides $82 billion for public and private K-12 schools, as well as colleges. Of that, the bulk would go to a $54.3 billion fund for public schools, while $22.7 billion would go to public and private higher education.

Testing and Tracing: States would receive $22 billion for testing, tracing and Covid-19 mitigation programs. Of this, $2.5 billion would be sent as grants targeting rural areas and communities of color.

Vaccines: States and federal agencies would receive funding for vaccine distribution. About $20 billion would go to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or Barda, for procuring vaccines and therapeutics. Nearly $9 billion would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states for further distribution of the vaccine, and $3 billion is designated for the national stockpile. Included in those sums is $300 million that is directed to go to high-risk areas and to communities of color.

Businesses

Airlines: Tens of thousands of airline employees would get their jobs back, at least for a few months, under the new bill, which includes $15 billion to cover airline salaries and benefits through the end of March. The bill also includes $1 billion for airline contractor payrolls. Airlines received $25 billion under the Cares Act in the spring to cover workers’ pay and benefits, and in exchange agreed not to lay off or furlough employees until Oct. 1. As that date neared without much improvement in their outlook, carriers and labor unions warned that job cuts would be coming and pleaded for another round of aid. When it didn’t arrive in time, they furloughed tens of thousands of workers, including 19,000 at American Airlines Group Inc. and over 13,000 at United Airlines Holdings Inc. The bill also includes $2 billion for airports and airport-based businesses.

Banks: The bill would provide $12 billion in support to small lenders focused on low-income and minority communities, buttressing minority-owned banks and firms known as community financial development institutions.

Entertainment Venues: The bill has $15 billion for independent movie theaters, live entertainment venues and cultural institutions.

Farms: The U.S. agriculture sector is set for another multibillion-dollar injection in the new relief bill, which directs $13 billion to crop farmers, cattle ranchers and rural communities. The new aid would come on top of roughly $46 billion that the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects the federal government will directly pay to the nation’s farmers this year, a record. That sum includes previous Covid-19 relief for farmers who had to plow up fields of produce ordinarily destined for restaurants, as well as hog producers who had to euthanize livestock because of pandemic-driven shutdowns at meatpacking plants.

Rail and transit: The bill would provide $1 billion in relief funds to Amtrak, aimed at helping the national passenger railroad avoid further layoffs and furloughs of its workers. Amtrak receives a regular operating subsidy of around $2 billion a year from the federal government, but its ticket revenue was devastated by the pandemic and lockdown orders. Ridership on some routes fell by more than 90% this year. The company says it will need a total of $4.9 billion in relief aid to get through the remainder of the year without deeper worker and service cuts. The bill also sets aside $14 billion for transit systems, many of which are considering major cuts in service and layoffs. In New York City alone, elected officials say they need an immediate $4.5 billion infusion to stave off severe reductions in subway and bus service. The bill also sets aside $2 billion for the bus industry and $10 billion for state highways.

Small Business: The $325 billion allotted to help small businesses includes $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, and expands eligibility for local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters. The bill also includes $20 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Businesses that received PPP loans would be able to take tax deductions for the expenses covered by forgiven loans, overcoming objections from Mr. Mnuchin. The provision would save businesses about $200 billion, according to an estimate from Adam Looney of the Brookings Institution. But it doesn’t count as part of the overall cost of the legislation.

U.S. Postal Service: The bill loosens some of the strings imposed on the U.S. Postal Service from the Cares Act, which provided a $10 billion Treasury loan after terms were negotiated. The bill would still provide $10 billion to the financially strained institution, but the Postal Service wouldn’t be required to repay it, and the conditions imposed by the Treasury wouldn’t apply. In exchange, the bill would require the Postal Service to provide more information to Congress, including a plan about its long-term financial solvency, within 180 days of the bill’s passing and information about how it plans to use the funds in reports to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Taxes: Aside from the PPP break, the bill would extend a tax credit for struggling employers who keep workers on the payroll, and it would let recipients of certain tax credits qualify based on their 2019 incomes; in some cases, lower 2020 incomes could reduce their eligibility. The bill would also temporarily extend tax breaks for renewable energy, including incentives for wind energy and carbon capture. It also includes deductions for business meals, a provision that President Trump backed but that faced criticism from Democrats as a subsidy for three-martini lunches and indoor dining during a pandemic. Lower excise taxes on beer, wine and spirits that were set to expire Dec. 31 will be permanently extended, and tax incentives for investing in low-income areas and hiring workers from disadvantaged groups would be extended for five years.

* * *

Economic Impact

Based on cost estimates of the various provisions and applying the corresponding fiscal multipliers (Chart 1), Bank of America estimates that the new stimulus package will contribute approximately 2.7% to growth in 2021. The bank now expects that more of the stimulus impact will be frontloaded into 1Q (Chart 2). The start of the year has cross currents with weaker economic data but an earlier and more targeted fiscal stimulus (we had expected passage after inauguration). On balance, the bank now sees upside risk to the bank’s forecast of 1% GDP growth in 1Q.

One final point: no more stimulus?

As we reported last week, Goldman’s economists believe that this is the last major COVID-focused fiscal package. Assuming that President-elect Biden is facing a divided Congress next year, this looks likely to be the last fiscal package that Congress passes worth several hundred billion dollars or more (as by 2021 covid vaccines will be widely distributed making the passage of another broad-based stimulus virtually impossible). That said, Goldman does expect another debate over fiscal support in Q1, ahead of the expiration of the extended unemployment provisions in March. However, since Congress left the most difficult issues out of the current package, it seems unlikely that lawmakers will be able to agree on those in subsequent legislation. Of course, this would likely change if Democrats win both Senate seats in Georgia on January 5 and reach 50 seats in the Senate. In that scenario, Goldman would expect at least another few hundred billion in additional fiscal measures, including aid to states.

The post Here’s A Breakdown Of Everything Inside The 0BN Stimulus Bill, And What It Means For The US Economy first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Finnish Data Theft and Extortion

The Finnish psychotherapy clinic Vastaamo was the victim of a data breach and theft. The criminals tried extorting money from the clinic. When that failed, they started extorting money from the patients:

Neither the company nor Finnish investigators have released many details about the nature of the breach, but reports say the attackers initially sought a payment of about 450,000 euros to protect about 40,000 patient records. The company reportedly did not pay up. Given the scale of the attack and the sensitive nature of the stolen data, the case has become a national story in Finland. Globally, attacks on health care organizations have escalated as cybercriminals look for higher-value targets.

[…]

Vastaamo said customers and employees had “personally been victims of extortion” in the case. Reports say that on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, the cybercriminals began posting batches of about 100 patient records on the dark web and allowing people to pay about 500 euros to have their information taken down.

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Cities Across The Country Board Up Windows Ahead Of The Election

 

Many cities are anticipating election chaos and violence after the election takes place on Tuesday, so business owners have been boarding up their windows to prevent as much damage as possible. Small businesses are being systematically destroyed and this could be the end for so many more.

Regardless of the outcome, businesses are concerned about the public’s response to the winner. From San Francisco to New York, major cities are taking precautions and shuttering their doors and windows to prevent theft and damages. After a spring of economically disastrous lockdowns and a summer of protests, looting, and rioting, storefront businesses across the country are bracing for a potential wave of social unrest related to the election.

In Chicago, several businesses along the Michigan Avenue shopping district have boarded up their windows in preparation for Election Day, Adam Skaf, a spokesperson for the Magnificent Mile Association, told NBC News. The group also partnered with the city government to participate in an auxiliary command center on Election Day, when it will share real-time information to businesses.

Walmart has also taken a controversial step. The store said this week it would remove all guns and ammunition from its sales floors as a precaution, after seeing some “isolated civil unrest.” Walmart announced Friday it had reversed that decision, however.

Another Secret Model: A Contested 2020 Election

While President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that he will refuse to participate in a peaceful transition of power in the event he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and others have suggested the Joe Biden refuse to concede no matter what.

This election has been promised to be chaotic at best. Prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.  You cannot control the actions of others, but you can prepare for the rabid hoards of people that are likely to take to the streets the night of the election and for days, if not weeks afterward. Be where you want to be and make sure you are safe. This has been promised to be ugly, and with so many Americans impoverished thanks to lockdowns, people are going to feel backed into a corner, and they may think fighting is the only way out. 

Texas Governor Orders 1,000 Troops For “Post-Election Disturbances”

Don’t Vote for a Psychopath: Tyranny at the Hands of a Psychopathic Government

The post Cities Across The Country Board Up Windows Ahead Of The Election first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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