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[] FBI Goes Hunting for ‘Racially Motivated Violent Extremists’ Published:5/3/2021 12:33:41 PM
[] The Morning Rant DECLARING WAR ON HALF OF AMERICA Ace discussed this last week: Paul and Marilyn Hueper, owners of Homer Inn & Spa, woke with a start at 9 a.m. April 28 when a dozen armed FBI agents kicked down their front... Published:5/3/2021 10:30:54 AM
[Markets] NYT, Washington Post, NBC Retract Incorrect Reporting On Giuliani's Contact With FBI NYT, Washington Post, NBC Retract Incorrect Reporting On Giuliani's Contact With FBI

Authored by Janita Kan via The Epoch Times,

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC News have retracted earlier reporting that incorrectly stated former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was directly warned by the FBI that he was targeted by a Russian intelligence influence operation.

The stories came after federal investigators executed a search warrant at the home and office of the former New York mayor. The searches were allegedly linked to Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, while Giuliani said he believes the search warrant was issued because he allegedly failed to file with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for representing a Ukrainian national or office. He has since denied any wrongdoing.

The Post was the first to report the incorrect information. It also incorrectly stated that One America News had also received a similar warning from the FBI.

“This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings,” the correct appended on the article states.

The NY Times made its correction on a story about Giuliani’s alleged role in the 2019 recall of ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch.

“An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation. Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing,” the correction states.

Meanwhile, NBC News elaborated on why it corrected the story, saying that a second source disputed the assertions of the first source as the briefing was only prepared for Giuliani and not delivered to him. Both sources were anonymously cited in the article.

“The report was based on a source familiar with the matter, but a second source now says the briefing was only prepared for Giuliani and not delivered to him, in part over concerns it might complicate the criminal investigation of Giuliani,” the NBC News correction reads.

The press offices of The NY Times, the Post, and NBC News did not immediately respond to questions about the corrections. Giuliani’s office did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

In two statements on Twitter, Giuliani called for the Post and NY Times to reveal their sources for the incorrect information.

“On a Saturday, the Washington Post added this correction to their defamatory story about me,” Giuliani wrote on Twitter.

“The Washington Post and the NYT must reveal their sources who lied and targeted an American Citizen. #msnbc , #cnn forgot to mention the corrections today. #fakenews #badpeople.”

In a separate statement, he wrote: “Where did the original false information come from? @MSNBC @CNN @nytimes I couldn’t quite hear your apology?”

Tyler Durden Sun, 05/02/2021 - 15:20
Published:5/2/2021 2:34:12 PM
[Uncategorized] Alaska Couple Raided By FBI Because They Attended Trump January 6th Rally

'We're here for Nancy Pelosi's laptop.'

The post Alaska Couple Raided By FBI Because They Attended Trump January 6th Rally first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/1/2021 7:25:52 PM
[2021 News] Washington Post retracts claim that OAN and Giuliani were given FBI warning, NYT stealth-edits

Washington Post retracts claim that OAN and Giuliani were given FBI warning, NYT stealth-edits. It’s no wonder why we hate the media, they make shit up.

The post Washington Post retracts claim that OAN and Giuliani were given FBI warning, NYT stealth-edits appeared first on IHTM.

Published:5/1/2021 4:26:10 PM
[Uncategorized] Biden Loses His Mask and Cities Lose Their Cops

Joe recently had a meltdown after reading from his teleprompter at a local movie drive in theater when his face mask went missing. He panicked and called the FBI for assistance. Unfortunately, 12 crack FBI agents were already preoccupied kicking down the door of an innocent couple in Alaska because the armed G-men erroneously thought […]

The post Biden Loses His Mask and Cities Lose Their Cops appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:5/1/2021 10:21:28 AM
[FBI] In search of Pelosi’s laptop (Scott Johnson) Mark Thiessen — that’s Mark with a “k,” not to be confused with AEI’s Marc Thiessen — holds down the Alaska bureau of the Associated Press in Anchorage. He was well situated to cover the FBI’s raid at the highly rated Homer Inn & Spa resort in search of a laptop used by Nancy Pelosi that was stolen from the Capitol on January 6. The FBI thinks they have their Published:5/1/2021 9:19:16 AM
[] Government Stormtroopers Raid Home of Completely-Innocent Couple With Guns Drawn, Demanding They Turn Over... Nancy Pelosi's Laptop This is fine. Paul and Marilyn Hueper, owners of Homer Inn & Spa, woke with a start at 9 a.m. April 28 when a dozen armed FBI agents kicked down their front door in an investigation associated with Rep. Nancy... Published:4/30/2021 4:45:17 PM
[] DOJ Puts Grandma on Wanted Poster -- While Sealing the Records of Antifa/BLM Rioters While the FBI has a dragnet out for people who took Unauthorized Selfies while trespassing, the Biden's DOJ is now offering to seal the records for George Floyd rioters, essentially granting them pardons, because no employer can ever find... Published:4/30/2021 1:49:49 PM
[Markets] Red States Are Fighting Back Against The Reset – What Does This Mean For The Future? Red States Are Fighting Back Against The Reset – What Does This Mean For The Future?

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

The past year I have been writing extensively about what I call the “great conservative migration”; a shift in US demographics not seen since the Great Depression. Approximately 8.9 million Americans have relocated since the beginning of the covid lockdowns according to the US Postal service, and a large portion of these people are leaving left-leaning blue states for conservative red states in the west and the south. States like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey were at the top of the list of states people wanted to escape.

The response from leftist states has been amusing. California, for instance, has tried to obscure the data on population loss and has dismissed the existence of the migration. They claim that the state population is actually rising, but fail to mention that most of California’s population “gains” have been from babies born along with an increase in illegal immigration. This has not offset the 267,000 individuals and families that left the state in the last three months 2020 alone. That’s an entire city of people, gone in 90 days.

And where are these people going? Places like Idaho, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, etc. ALL red states that are fighting back against draconian covid mandates and other unconstitutional measures. The only outlier seems to be Oregon, which also has seen a population spike, and this indeed appears to be a migration of Californians to the north.

This leads some conservative groups to believe there is an “invasion” going on of liberals into red states. After looking at the data and meeting many people moving to my own area in Montana, I find the “liberal invasion” narrative to be fraudulent.

Leftists don’t relocate to red states, at least not very often. They do not run away from their safe spaces. Rather, they relocate an hour or two from the cities they are addicted to. This is what the data from San Francisco shows. With over 80% of people moving from the city staying within California. In other words, some leftists want to get out of the cities, but they don’t want to move far from their beloved progressive Utopias and they certainly don’t plan on embedding in conservative strongholds and trying to “take over”.

Why this theory persists is beyond me as it has no basis in reality.

No, the people moving across state lines today are mostly conservatives, they are congregating en masse in red states, and the effects have been rather dramatic. Home prices have skyrocketed due to extreme demand. In Montana, people are buying real estate sight unseen, a lot of it raw land that they are trying to build on. Lumber prices have tripled, and anyone in the construction business is booked a year and a half out. There are new residents actually scouring the message boards looking for ANYONE that can do work for them. There is nobody available. No one I know has seen anything like it in their lifetime.

Luckily, a lot of these people seem to be on the same page in terms of principles. Those I have met are all conservative and the majority of them are preppers. They moved here because they know what is coming and they want to be surrounded by like minded neighbors when the manure hits the fan. Specifically, they do not want to be caught isolated in a blue state where vaccine passports, masks and lockdowns become a regular part of life for them and their children. They want to remain free.

On the other hand, I am also hearing rumors that the relatively small number of leftists that live in my county want to leave. Some have expressed the need to “get out” and vacation in places like Portland, Oregon, where they “feel safe” because “everyone wears masks”. And I say, good for them. Hopefully they will stay there. These types of people are miserable excuses for human beings and they make everyone else around them miserable by constantly whining about how “no one follows the rules”.

As a point of reference, there have been only 17 deaths from covid in my county in well over a year. The death rate is non-existent, and the virus already swept through the area with almost everyone either infected or asymptomatic. No one in Montana is afraid of this virus except a handful of weak minded progressives.

My suspicion is that when all is said and done by the end of 2021 the US will essentially be split into two distinct nations: A leftist Marxist nation that continues to degrade into tyranny, and a conservative nation that people want to escape to so they can keep their liberties. Leftists won’t want to live near us, and we certainly will not want to live near them. Hypothetically, it should be a win-win situation, but there are other factors to consider.

We must also take into account red counties. For example, the blue state of Virginia is actually only blue in a handful of counties. The majority are conservative and have stood in defiance of attempts by gun grabbing governor Ralph Northam, saying they will ignore any new gun laws Northam and the state legislature passes. County governments and county sheriffs are in agreement; Northam has no power in these places.

In Eastern Oregon and Northern California, there is a push by multiple counties to actually join Idaho and become a part of the conservative state. The majority of voters in these counties supported the transition. The idea being that this is not a secession, and so the move will be far easier to accomplish with less legal obstacles. The decision will be voted on by county residents in May, and of course there will be attempts by congress to obstruct if the outcome is favorable.

Even if the movement is not successful, the fact that voters in red counties are unified in their goal to get away from leftist political control should be taken very seriously. This is not just about states defying federal dictates, it’s also about counties defying state governments that do not represent their values.

The bottom line is this – The leftist ideology is collectivist and totalitarian in nature. It is completely incompatible with the conservative principles of liberty, self determination, meritocracy, limited government and free market economics.

The social justice cult has gone so far into extremism that reason and logic are actually vilified by them. They openly support mass censorship, mass violence against innocent people, mob intimidation against the citizenry, they argue in favor of economic lockdowns and unconstitutional covid mandates, they support draconian vaccine passports, and they are partners with Big Tech corporations as well as globalists institutions like the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation. They are diametrically opposed to everything that conservatives and lovers of liberty hold dear.

Honestly, it is unlikely that we will be able to share the same land mass, let alone the same cities and states, but I’ll get to that in a moment…

At the state level, there has been a dramatic push-back against constitutional trespasses by the federal government under Biden, and these include measures which are aggressively promoted by the World Economic Forum and other globalist institutions in the name of the “Great Reset”. Multiple red states have passed laws or executive orders making it illegal to require proof of vaccination (vaccine passports). Some blue states have also “claimed” they will not require vaccinations, but the devil is in the details when dealing with the political left.

In Montana, the governor and the state legislature will not allow government enforcement of vaccine passports, AND, they also will not allow corporations to demand vaccine passports either. In blue states like Illinois, the government might keep its word on passports, it might not, but they don’t really need to enforce vaccinations; all they have to do is allow major corporations to do it for them.

With colleges (public institutions posing as private), airlines, hotels, hospitals, and major retail chains requiring a vaccine passport for employment or to make purchases, the effect of medical tyranny will be the same.

Without state legal protections in place to limit social engineering by corporate behemoths the establishment still has all the tools it needs to assert covid controls.

These companies do not represent private business or free markets anymore. Instead, they are appendages of establishment power that receive billions in taxpayer dollars to finance their operations. They should no longer be treated as if they have the same rights as normal businesses.

Another interesting development is the number of red states that are passing laws which prevent the enforcement of any new federal gun controls. In Montana, Greg Gianforte just signed a bill nullifying federal gun bans. Federal rules do not apply here and state law enforcement agencies are prohibited from helping federal agencies enforce such laws. Similar legislation has been passed or is being considered in other red states like Utah and Arizona.

It is unclear what would happen if the ATF or FBI tried to make arrests within Montana based on federal gun restrictions. I suspect that without extra protection from local law enforcement these agencies would be much more vulnerable in their operations. If they met with stiff resistance, they would be on their own. I also would not be surprised if sheriffs in most Montana counties stood in their way.

The mainstream media has been almost completely silent on these developments. They barely even acknowledge the conservative migration. I doubt they will speak of the separation at all until the latest census data and postal data is more thoroughly examined. However, the changes to our nation are going to have far reaching consequences, and the consequences will be obvious in the near term.

The “Great Reset” is meant to be a global project; meaning, no one is allowed to opt out. Leftists and globalists are notoriously plantation-minded; they believe that society is involuntary, and their rules for society should apply to all people. Those who wish to leave are actually seen as traitors, because the very act of leaving suggests that the system is flawed, and doubt creates questions, and questions create demands, and demands lead to defiance, and defiance leads to rebellion.

The progressive/globalist plantation becomes an exercise in antagonistic self affirmation – You cannot leave the system, because everything is fine, and if you left people might think something is wrong and then everything would not be fine, so why would you want to upset the balance and ruin what is already perfect?

In my last article I noted that red states in the US are the ONLY places in the world where freedom from the Reset is ingrained and people have the means to fight back. I still stand by that assertion. Some conservatives assume countries like Russia are going to fight the Reset, yet Putin and the Russian government enforced extensive covid restrictions recommended by the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organization, just like every other government. The head of the Russian Parliament’s committee on public health, Dmitri Morozov, stated that vaccine passports were “very important and needed in Russia”.

Let’s face it, no major government is coming to save us; these delusional fantasies of Russia or any other foreign nation fighting against the Reset need to stop. The bottom line is this: The American red states are probably the only regions in the world that are resisting the reset agenda while also having the arms to back their resolve. If a rebellion is going to start against the globalists, it will start here.

What does this mean for the future? It means we are going to be targeted. This is how I see the situation playing out…

I have no doubt that the first step by the federal government under Biden will be to start cutting off federal funds to red states while flooding blue states with stimulus money. The strategy being that blue states will have unlimited free goodies while red states languish in poverty. Biden will be betting that red state citizens reliant on government checks will become despondent or angry. Of course, these taxpayer backed funds belong to all the states, but that won’t matter to Biden or to leftists; they will claim we are getting what we deserve.

The logical response by red states will be to stop paying taxes, and to take over federal lands and the resources within their borders. Red states and red counties could also negate all EPA and BLM restrictions on resource usage and launch an epic revitalization of industry. In my area, I believe the logging industry which has been stifled by the federal government will return in full force. With lumber prices nearing hyperinflationary levels, it makes perfect sense. This will enrage the feds.

The next step would be to make travel to and from certain red states difficult in order to isolate them. The feds may shut down airline flights while proclaiming that red states are “havens for covid infection”. This will not go over well with conservatives, and we will start demolishing any checkpoints that are meant to keep us in. Leftist controlled states and counties will start checking license plates and ID and harassing or arresting anyone from a conservative area. Travel will stagnate as people will not know which places are safe and which are dangerous.

There will also be attempts to use federal agencies to insert into conservative areas to make arrests based on federal laws that have already been nullified. The goal will be to make examples out of some people, and send a message that conservatives “are not safe”, even in their own states. Eventually, the shooting will start and federal agents will die. Biden will demand a martial law response.

If everything develops as described, the question arises, how many people in the military are actually willing to die for Biden? My guess is not that many, but with the right excuses and rationalizations who knows? Conservatives have been demonized for many years now, there may be a large enough chunk of the military that believes the propaganda, but I am doubtful.

It could take two full terms of Biden for these events to happen. It could take far less time. I would not hold my breath for a 2022 or 2024 election to defuse matters. I think most conservatives learned their lesson on the futility of politics the last four years. The best possible outcome right now is that conservatives congregate, unify and organize from the local level to the state level to the point that we act as a deterrent to future tyranny.

We all know one day the establishment is going to come for us, and if so then we’ll greet them with a long range love letter (if you get my meaning). But at least we will know where we stand. At least we will be living among kindred spirits, and at least there will be a glimmer of hope for the world. Sometimes the greatest act of rebellion is to offer people an alternative, a place where the rules of tyrants hold no weight. Conservative states and counties are doing this today, and it is a beautiful thing.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 04/29/2021 - 23:50
Published:4/29/2021 11:10:00 PM
[World] FISA and the Still Too Secret Police

The FBI continues to lawlessly use counterintelligence powers against American citizens.

The post FISA and the Still Too Secret Police appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:4/29/2021 11:10:00 PM
[Markets] Biden Erased Decades Of Historic Crimes In His Speech To Congress Biden Erased Decades Of Historic Crimes In His Speech To Congress

Authored by Glenn Greenwald and Siraj Hashmi via Outside Voices Substack, (emphasis ours)

Biden's claim that the Capitol Riot was the "worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War" is ahistorical garbage...

As President Biden wrapped up a 65-minute joint address to Congress to mark his administration's first 100 days, what was shared in the lead-up to his speech sowed discord over the entire affair:

Sure enough, the President delivered on this. Opening his address, Biden stated, "I took the oath of office — lifted my hand off our family Bible — and inherited a nation in crisis. The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War."

Yes, the January 6th siege on the U.S. Capitol building, often alluded to as an "insurrection," was an embarrassing day for our country. But to suggest that it was "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War" is disingenuous at best. At worst, it's a malicious attempt to whitewash the history of attacks carried out both by and on the government that have had much more catastrophic results.

Apart from the September 11th terrorist attacks that targeted the country's financial system, Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the defenders of our democracy when a hijacked American Airlines flight 77 flew into the Pentagon. Were it not for the heroes who resisted against the hijackers of United flight 93, Al Qaeda’s attempt to fly a commercial airline into the White House or U.S. Capitol building would have come to fruition. Despite being a horrific tragedy, 9/11 has been dismissed by some as being explicitly a "foreign attack," not one from within.

So, let's explore attacks on our democracy from within.

Following 9/11, the Bush administration, in conjunction with Congress, expedited the passage of the Patriot Act, a wide-sweeping national security law that infringed on the civil liberties of every American in the name of fighting terror. The Fourth Amendment became a relic of the past as the government's power to surveil and spy on its own citizens reached its peak. Individuals who shared names with persons of interest or suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens, landed on government no-fly lists, restricting their right to freely move about the country for dubious reasons and with no due process or recourse. And even worse, many had their right to due process eviscerated when they were detained by the newly-created Department of Homeland Security and found themselves at Guantanamo Bay without even being charged with a crime.

Yet this is not the first time that American citizens, or even permanent residents for that matter, had their rights infringed upon by the government.

As the FBI was formed in the early 20th century, Americans whose ideologies were at odds with the government's interests were often targeted by the agency's longest-serving director, J. Edgar Hoover. In the eyes of the FBI Director, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a suspected communist given his ties to Stanley Levison, whose suspected pro-communist activities were monitored by the FBI in the 1950s. Although Dr. King has been viewed as one of the most consequential leaders in American history due to his role in the civil rights movement, at the time, Hoover and many in the FBI viewed him as a threat to our democracy, ushering in communism under the guise of “civil rights.” The FBI infamously blackmailed Dr. King by sending him a letter advocating he commit suicide. 

J Edgar Hoover (1895 -1972) points his finger while testifying before the House on Un-American Activities Committee, Washington, DC. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Red Scare was so severe in the United States that the government actively sought to chip away at Americans' First Amendment rights to prevent the spread of such ideas. And through the Lavender Scare in the early 1950s, thousands of people were forced out of government service for simply for being suspected of being homosexual. 

When the United States entered the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act of 1917 into law, which then gave way to the Sedition Act of 1918. These two laws worked in conjunction to strip away the First Amendment rights of every American and demand undying fealty towards the U.S. government. Expressing even the slightest bit of criticism of the U.S. or associating with groups like the Communist Party could result in, at the very least, a government wiretap, and, at worst, a hefty prison sentence and possible execution. In the same token that President Franklin Roosevelt interned approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II in fear that they might side with the Japanese Empire, the Espionage and Sedition Acts under President Wilson explicitly targeted German-born American residents during World War I, with over 2,000 arrested and sent to internment camps.

While the FBI has had its fair share of attacking our democracy, its intelligence counterpart, the CIA, has interfered in the affairs of other countries countless times. As Americans decry countries like Russia, China, and Iran for interfering in our electoral process, the CIA has had a hand in interfering in the affairs of well over a dozen nations. For as many autocratic regimes as the CIA tried to topple in places like Cuba, Indonesia, and the Dominican Republic, the CIA had a hand in the overthrow of democracies as well in countries like Iran, Chile, and Guatemala.

For decades, J. Edgar Hoover — the notorious FBI Director after whom the law enforcement's DC headquarters continues to be named — assaulted democracy in every way imaginable. Hoover kept dossiers on political leaders to enforce his will over them. His agency tried to blackmail Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. into suicide with threats to expose alleged adultery. FBI agents routinely infiltrated anti-war and civil rights groups as part of its COINTELPRO program and other similar domestic spying activities. And the NSA notoriously spied on millions of American citizens without warrants.

There is a strong argument to be made that the CIA is responsible for interfering in American democracy, too.

The first impeachment of President Donald Trump in 2019 occurred when a whistleblower within the CIA filed a complaint after Trump had a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for $400 million in military aid.

But it didn't end there.

The story of the Russian Bounty program on U.S. troops in Afghanistan that broke publicly in the summer of 2020 made a significant impact in tipping the scales during the 2020 presidential election. The CIA produced the initial intelligence assessment in 2019, which later broke publicly in the summer of 2020, further cementing the perception that Trump was in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin––a claim that was exacerbated when then-President Trump dismissed the allegations outright, calling it "fake news." However, in April 2021, Trump would be vindicated as the U.S. government revealed that the Intelligence Community had "low to moderate confidence" in the intelligence assessment. In other words, there was little evidence to prove that it was real.

On top of these government abuses that took place on a wide scale impacting every American, there was a long-drawn-out period since the Civil War that impacted millions of Americans that has had consequences that last to this day: Jim Crow.

Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, the implementation of Jim Crow laws in Southern former slave states not only segregated black people from the white population, but also barred them from fully participating in society as equal members. Through policies like poll taxes, literacy tests, and increased residency requirements, black people had their right to vote stripped away, essentially removing them from the political process, keeping them further ostracized from society. It was authoritarianism in the most sinister manner, targeting a racial group that was perceived to be subhuman to their white counterpart, all in the name of protecting democracy.

A young boy drinks from the 'colored' water fountain on the county courthouse lawn, Hallifax, North Carolina, April 1938. (Photo by John Vacha/FPG/Getty Images)

Despite all these examples in which our democracy––and the democracies of other nations––were attacked with our government playing the central antagonist, there were a half dozen times where the sitting U.S. president and, by extension, our democracy were attacked from within. Since the Civil War, four U.S. presidents were assassinated (Lincoln in 1865, Garfield in 1881, McKinley in 1901, and Kennedy in 1963) and two presidents were injured in assassination attempts (Roosevelt in 1912 and Reagan in 1981). These were six attacks on the duly elected leaders of the people of the United States. Not only does changing the leadership alter the trajectory for a nation, but due to its status, it has lasting effects for the rest of the world.

If President Biden is to suggest that the siege on Capitol Hill on January 6th was "the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War," then we should demand that our leaders be honest about what does and does not constitute an "attack on our democracy." Attacks on our democracy aren't just reserved for storming the U.S. Capitol and targeting U.S. lawmakers with historically low approval ratings. If that's the case, that a certain set of rules only applies to the political elite and not the people, then it's safe to say that we do not truly live in a democracy.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/29/2021 - 21:50
Published:4/29/2021 9:09:45 PM
[] Connecticut police investigating noose, five ropes that could be 'interpreted as nooses' at Amazon construction site Published:4/29/2021 6:40:43 PM
[Markets] Biden DOJ "Actively Considering" Domestic Terrorism Law To Target White Supremacists Biden DOJ "Actively Considering" Domestic Terrorism Law To Target White Supremacists

On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden told a Congress that "white supremacy is terrorism," after claiming that US intelligence considers it "the most lethal terrorist threat to our homeland today."

Hours earlier, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) set the stage for the new narrative by telling MSNBC's Nicol Wallace that "The predominant part of that domestic threat " is white nationalists, adding "We can’t ignore that because of a political sensitivity that some of the folks are part of the Trump base."

Less than 24 hours later, Bloomberg is reporting that the Biden DOJ is "actively considering" whether to seek a new law which would allow prosecutors to bring specific charges for domestic terrorists who plot and/or carry out attacks, according to a senior department official.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland

"One of the things we’re looking at is would we need new authorities," said deputy assistant attorney general for the department's national security division, Brad Wiegmann, during a Thursday House hearing.

Weigmann added that while the department has been successful using existing laws to fight domestic terrorism - including bringing charges for offenses involving weapons or explosives violations, hate crimes and arson, there have been more than 430 arrests made in connection with the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol "carried out by extremist supporters of then-President Donald Trump" (as Bloomberg puts it).

The FBI has warned that domestic violent extremists pose a heightened threat for carrying out attacks in the U.S. in the near future, with white supremacists being the most lethal threat.


Currently, no U.S. law lets the government designate domestic extremists as terrorists or bring specific charges for domestic terrorism. That contrasts with laws to combat international terrorism, which allow the government to designate groups and bring charges for providing those groups with material support. -Bloomberg

"The question we’re really wrestling with is, are there gaps," Weigman told a House Appropriations subcommittee. "Is there some type of conduct that we can envision that we can’t cover or would it be an otherwise benefit in having something else other than what we’re having now?"

Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania - chairman of the subcommittee, said that: "Right-wing extremist attacks and plots have greatly outnumbered those from all other groups combined and caused more deaths as well," adding "This is a cancer on our country."

Which is weird, because at least 4 members of the Proud Boys were FBI informants who gave the agency information prior to the Jan. 6 'insurrection.'

That said, several groups have voiced their opposition to a specific domestic terrorism law - from civil liberties advocates to conservatives - who say that a new law is unnecessary, and could be used to violate the Constitutional rights of US citizens.

In March, the Biden DOJ directed US attorney's offices across the nation to notify DC headquarters about any investigations or cases related to domestic extremism, according to Weigmann, who added that the effort is intended to provide the DOJ with the ability to identify and internally track investigations and prosecutions involving the threat.

Perhaps the DOJ can find a way to stop all those 'white supremacists' from murdering hundreds of young black men in Chicago, which stands at 198 year-to-date, or the dozens upon dozens of attacks on Asians by these domestic terrorists.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/29/2021 - 14:20
Published:4/29/2021 1:37:36 PM
[Politics] Gun sales SKYROCKET according to FBI data Gun sales are once again skyrocketing in the US according to FBI data: NY POST – Gun sales in the US hit record highs for the second year in a row — . . . Published:4/26/2021 4:34:48 PM
[Politics] Gun sales SKYROCKET according to FBI data Gun sales are once again skyrocketing in the US according to FBI data: NY POST – Gun sales in the US hit record highs for the second year in a row — . . . Published:4/26/2021 4:34:48 PM
[Markets] Portland Mayor Belatedly Urges Residents To Help "Unmask" Rioters, Stops Short Of Condemning Antifa Portland Mayor Belatedly Urges Residents To Help "Unmask" Rioters, Stops Short Of Condemning Antifa

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Last year, I testified in the Senate on Antifa and the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States. I specifically disagreed with the statement of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler that Antifa (and its involvement in violent protests) is a “myth.”  What was most striking about that hearing was the refusal of Democratic members to condemn Antifa’s activities or recognize the scope of anarchist violence even as riots raged in Portland, Oregon and other cities. Indeed, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, famously walked out of that hearing after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, challenged her to condemn Antifa and leftist violence.

Now, Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler who previously blamed former President Donald Trump and the federal government for violence is calling on citizens to stand up to the “self-described anarchist mob.”  I am not sure why Wheeler added “self-described” but his belated recognition of the threat is still welcomed. He notably did not specifically condemn Antifa, including the homegrown and notoriously violent Rose City Antifa (RCA).

Wheeler called for the city’s residents to assist authorities in their efforts to “unmask” members of the “self-described anarchist mob” who continue to riot and loot in the city. Portland is in a state of emergency and riots have continued for years. Indeed, Democratic leaders in the city appear to have finally worked through all of the “stages of grieving” identified by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

They began with denial and transference in blaming federal authorities and Trump for the violence. 

They then joined protesters in angry denunciations of the federal government is seeking an alliance.

They then bargained with the groups. (They did not go as far as cities like Seattle in allowing actual “autonomous zones” last summer, but avoided confrontations and limited police responses). Wheeler himself was criticized for failing to act against the rioting but insisted that he was trying to find a middle road of “compromise” with the groups. The riots, of course, continued and intensified.

After a period of depression when the rioting continued after the Biden election, they have finally made it to acceptance.

That progression however is not evident with other national and even state Democratic leaders. Democratic leaders continue to avoid criticizing Antifa and some like Nadler deny their very existence. This level of fear and denial is precisely what Antifa has struggled to create. As I have written, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association.  Yet, FBI Director Chris Wray has repeatedly pushed back on the denials of Antifa’s work or violence. He told one committee last year Wray stated “And we have quite a number — and “Antifa is a real thing. It’s not a fiction.”

Some Democratic leaders not only recognize Antifa but support it. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa as riots raged in his city last summer.

Notably, one of the witnesses from the Senate hearing last year was conservative journalist Andy Ngô, who was previously attacked by Antifa members in Portland. He wrote a book about the group but stores like Portland’s famed shop Powell’s Books have banned it from its shelves. When musician Winston Marshall congratulated Ngô on his book, he was condemned and later issued a cringing public apology.  Ngô recently had to leave the country due to the attacks and death threats from Antifa and other groups. One does not have to agree with Ngô to support his right to speak or oppose the efforts to block people from being able to buy or read his book.  Yet, the “deplatforming” campaign against Ngô, his book, and anyone who praises him is a signature of Antifa.

Wheeler’s success in “getting to acceptance” was not easy. He was repeatedly targeted himself by protesters at home and at restaurants. Finally, as riots continue for a second year, Wheeler is willing to rally the public against “self-described anarchists” while avoiding the forbidden reference to the real “A word”: Antifa.

Wheeler’s fear of confronting the Rose City Antifa is conspicuous and pathetic. As I noted in my Senate testimony, the RCA is arguably the oldest reference to “Antifa” in the United States. In 2013, various groups that were part of ARA, including RCA, formed a new coordinating organization referred to as the “Torch Network.” This lack of structure not only appealed to the anarchist elements in the movement but served the practical benefit of evading law enforcement and lawsuits.

The RCA and other aligned groups have little patience for free speech. It is at its base a movement at war with free speech, defining the right itself as a tool of oppression. That purpose is evident in what is called the “bible” of the Antifa movement: Rutgers Professor Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Bray emphasizes the struggle of the movement against free speech: “At the heart of the anti-fascist outlook is a rejection of the classical liberal phrase that says, ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’” Indeed, Bray admits that “most Americans in Antifa have been anarchists or antiauthoritarian communists…  From that standpoint, ‘free speech’ as such is merely a bourgeois fantasy unworthy of consideration.” It is an illusion designed to promote what Antifa is resisting “white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism, and genocide.” Thus, all of these opposing figures are deemed fascistic and thus unworthy of being heard.

The signature of the group is the same orthodoxy and militancy that characterizes groups that they oppose. Like its counterparts in right-wing groups like Proud Boys, Antifa has a long and well-documented history of such violence. Bray quotes one Antifa member as summing up their approach to free speech as a “nonargument . . . you have the right to speak but you also have the right to be shut up.”

Notably, when George Washington University student and self-professed Antifa member Jason Charter was charged as the alleged “ringleader” of efforts to take down statues in Washington, D.C., Charter declared the “movement is winning.” He is right. It is winning because politicians, the media, and academics have refused to recognize it for what it is: a violent, anti-free speech movement. Wheeler’s indirect criticism is tiny blip in a sea of indifference or denials from other leaders. That is all that Antifa needs to win. Silence.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/25/2021 - 12:03
Published:4/25/2021 11:26:07 AM
[Markets] FBI Releases Documents On Investigation Into Death Of DNC Staffer Seth Rich FBI Releases Documents On Investigation Into Death Of DNC Staffer Seth Rich

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The FBI has produced 68 pages relating to a Democrat National Committee (DNC) worker who was shot dead in 2016 in Washington, including an investigative summary that appears to suggest someone could have paid for his death.

Seth Rich, the worker, was shot dead in the early morning hours on July 16, 2016, near his home in the nation’s capital.

The murder, which is unsolved to this day, fueled widespread media coverage, especially after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suggested that Rich was the person who provided internal DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Rich’s family has called the notion that Rich leaked documents to WikiLeaks a conspiracy theory.

The newly released files show top Department of Justice officials met in 2018 and discussed Rich’s murder. They reviewed Rich’s financial records and did not identify any unusual deposits or withdrawals.

Additionally, none of the witnesses interviewed during the investigation reported to authorities anything unusual about Rich’s life prior to the homicide.

One witness saw an individual walking away from the location where Rich was killed but thought Rich was merely drunk so did not alert authorities. They realized something bad had happened when they saw a bloodstain on the ground in the same place the following day, as well as police tape surrounding the scene.

A person whose name was redacted took Rich’s personal laptop to his house, according to one of the newly released documents. The page also indicates that authorities were not aware if the person deleted or changed anything on Rich’s personal laptop.

The FBI came into possession of Rich’s work laptop, the bureau previously revealed.

On another page, it was said that “given [redacted] it is conceivable that an individual or group would want to pay for his death.”

“That doesn’t sound like a random street robbery,” Ty Clevenger, a lawyer, told The Epoch Times.

Law enforcement officials have suggested Rich was the victim of an attempted robbery, according to news reports, though none of his belongings were stolen. They have said no evidence links the shooting to Rich’s employment by the Democratic National Committee.

The files were released this week in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Texas resident Brian Huddleston, who Clevenger represents.

Seth Rich, the voter expansion data director for the Democratic National Committee, in a file photograph. (LinkedIn)

Huddleston sued the FBI after it told him it would take 8 to 10 months in June 2020 to respond to his Freedom of Information Act request. Huddleston asked the FBI to produce all data, documents, records, or communications that reference Seth Rich or his brother, Aaron Rich.

A federal judge earlier this year ordered the FBI to produce documents concerning Rich by April 23. The FBI identified 576 relevant documents but only produced 68 of them to Huddleston.

The FBI has declined to speak about the lawsuit. Attorneys for Rich’s parents did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The documents show that some reporting on Rich’s death was wrong, such as an ABC News report that claimed the FBI was not involved in investigating the murder.

Clevenger said he found concerning how the government apparently does not know whether anything was deleted from Rich’s personal laptop.

The documents were largely redacted but the information that did get through “shows that their whole narrative is falling apart,” he added. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

The attorney plans to ask U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, an Obama nominee, to produce unredacted copies for his perusal. The judge could rule that some redactions were improper.

Defendants could also face repercussions for not producing all of the documents they have concerning Rich, including fines.

U.S. Attorney Andrea Parker, who is representing the FBI, told the judge in a court filing this week that the bureau can only process 500 pages per month for each Freedom of Information Act request. She asked the court to give the bureau additional time to produce all of the relevant records.

Clevenger told the judge in a court filing this week that the private sector routinely processes 500 pages or more per day and that the government should be afforded no more than two weeks to produce the remaining 1,063 pages.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/24/2021 - 22:20
Published:4/24/2021 9:22:59 PM
[Markets] Stockman: Triumph Of The Woke Mob Led By Two Doddering Old Fools Stockman: Triumph Of The Woke Mob Led By Two Doddering Old Fools

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

Events of the last few days have made one thing crystal clear: The Democratic Party (and therefore the nation) is being led by two doddering old fools who should be domiciled in a rest home, not the Oval Office and the Speaker’s Chamber.

How that baleful reality coexists with Wall Street’s expectation of an awesome economic future and stock prices which never stop rising to the sky is one of the great enigmas of our times. Or maybe it’s just because $10 trillion of fiscal and monetary “stimulus” in the past year can turn the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse. For a time.

By now, of course, we expect idiocy from Sleepy Joe, especially on the economic front.

Accordingly, at his virtual global summit he will be reading-out from the White House teleprompter the demented agenda of the Climate Change Howlers. Therein he will promise to cut greenhouse gases by 50% by the end of this decade, which calamity we can also promise would cut America’s debt-entombed economy to its knees.

That comes after Tuesday’s White House contretemps when he first prayed for a guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial even as the jury was sitting in its deliberations, and then, afterwards, made the risible claim that this tragedy was the spawn of systemic racism.

In fact, Nanny State over-reach was the underlying cause of George Floyd’s arrest and unjust death—just as it is the source of most of America’s unfortunate violence between police and unarmed citizens, back, white and otherwise.

In both cases, of course, we find Sleepy Joe fronting for the hideous core agenda—race baiting and climate hysteria— of a Democratic Party which has lost its way and has been taken over by a camarilla of woke zealots.

Indeed, if there were any doubt about the latter, Nancy Pelosi’s truly venal deification of George Floyd should remove it once and for all.

Yes, the man was a victim, but he was also a drug-addicted criminal lout and grifter, who deserves no place of honor anywhere; and who’s estranged family deserves sympathy and support, but not a $27 million gift of blood money from a woke city council that takes Minneapolis one step closer to its demise every time it meets.

“And thank God, the jury validated what we saw, what we saw,” Pelosi said in front of the U.S. Capitol Building as she delivered remarks with the Congressional Black Caucus. “So, again, thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice. For being there to call out to your mom. How heart-breaking was that? To call out to your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But because of you – and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice – your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

For crying out loud. George Floyd didn’t sacrifice himself in the cause of justice. He got hopped up on a lethal dose of fentanyl and then foolishly resisted arrest when the original officers on the scene attempted to place him in the backseat of a squad car.

That is to say, the entire narrative culminating in Nancy Pelosi’s hideous idolization of George Floyd has been blatantly wrong from the get go. This case is not about racial justice at all, to say nothing of striking a blow against so called “white privilege”.

For want of doubt, we need to repeat the facts. That’s because they show that episodes like the George Floyd case do not fit the stereotypes of either the BLM and its race-card playing progressive/Dem allies or, for that matter, the Foxified Right’s knee-jerk defense of the nation’s over-empowered, over-budgeted, over-militarized police.

Needless to say, the George Floyd case was not an aberration. During the recent past there were 38 such police killings of unarmed black citizens in 2015, and then 19, 21, 17 and 9 during 2016 through 2019, respectively. That’s 104 black lives lost to the ultimate abuse of police powers.

Of course, the number should be zero police killings of unarmed citizens. There is no conceivable excuse for heavily armed cops—-usually working in pairs or groups—to cause the death of lone, unarmed civilians, regardless of race or anything else.

And in this case that was especially so, and not withstanding several mitigating factors.

For instance, the Minneapolis police officers originally attempted to put George Floyd safely in the back seat of a squad car after his arrest for the petty crime of attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, but he resisted them intensely for up to five minutes. That’s plain as day in the other videos—those from the cops’ body-cams.

The trial evidence from these body-cams also showed that during this struggle around the squad car Floyd said he couldn’t breath six times owing to a severe medical reaction to the fatal level of fentanyl in his blood and the methamphetamines that he had ingested shortly before the incident. These reactions were surely compounded by the man’s “severe” and “multifocal” arteriosclerotic heart disease and clinical history of hypertension, which the Minneapolis medical examiner said was the underlying cause of his death.

Yet after Floyd was cuffed and placed prone on the street, as he himself had requested, and the officers had called for an ambulance owing to his obvious medical distress, the arrest went haywire and Chauvin exposed himself to Manslaughter 2, at least, for no plausible or justifiable reason.

That’s because Floyd had been unarmed throughout the incident, was hand-cuffed and incapable of flight or harming others and was surrounded by four armed officers. Accordingly, he was no threat to them, nor anyone else, and he therefore presented no policing reason for the extended knee-hold on the back of his neck—especially after the surrounding crowd had warned the police that Floyd was in self-evident dire distress.

So as we see it, Chauvin’s conviction on second degree manslaughter does indeed comport with the Minnesota statute, which reads as follows:

… the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another;

But here’s also where the Woke/Progressive Left narrative goes even more haywire. Floyd’s death was due to an arrest which shouldn’t have happened and bad police behavior that has nothing to do with race.

As to the former point, what should have been on trial in this case was not “systemic racism”, but the Nanny State for grotesquely excessive use of force to enforce a petty counterfeiting complaint that should not be police business in the first place. It’s the job of retail store owners to handle petty counterfeiters or people who unknowingly pass bad greenbacks and to absorb the cost of self-protection just like they do in the case of refusing charges on bad credit cards.

So there is zero reason why George Floyd should ever have been arrested.

As to bad police behavior, you do not have to look too hard to see that it’s essentially color-blind and that being non-black is no guarantee against the same unjust fate.

During the same five-year period in which 104 black lives were lost, a total of 127 unarmed white lives were wasted by the police, as well. That included 32 white killings in 2015 followed by 22, 31, 23 and 19 in 2016 through 2019, respectively.

Overall, 302 unarmed citizens were killed by the police during those five years, with the balance accounted for by 71 deaths among Hispanic and other victims. That is, the real issue is illegal and excessive police violence, not racial victimization.

Indeed, the fact that 34% of these police killings involved black citizens compared to their 13% share of the population is not primarily a sign of racism among police forces, although it is continuously construed to be.

It’s actually evidence that the Nanny State, and especially the misbegotten War on Drugs, is designed to unnecessarily ensnare a distinct demographic— young, poor, often unemployed urban citizens— in confrontations with the cops, too many of which become fatal.

Alas, young black males are disproportionately represented among this particular inharms’-way demographic, and that’s the reason they are “disproportionately” represented in the 302 cases cited above.

Stated differently, the Nanny State results in too many black victims of plain old injustice, even if that is not necessarily the intent of the crusaders and zealots who have launched the state into anti-liberty wars on drugs, vice and victimless iniquities and peccadillos.

That is to say, statism in the sphere of law and order is every bit as dysfunctional as it is in the realm of economics, yet neither conservatives nor progressives recognize it.

Conservatives want way too much law and police empowerment in the service of cultural norms that are none of the state’s damn business in the first place; and progressives confuse the often brutal and unjust over-reach of law enforcement agencies as a manifestation of racism, when it is actually just policing expectorations in behalf of inappropriate missions such as the enforcement of drug laws.

Indeed, the main trouble in America today is not overt racism or even simmering racial animosity. The real evil is the relentless aggrandizement of state power in the form of the Nanny State—a conflation of too many laws, crimes, cops, arrests and thereby opportunities for frictions between the state and its citizenry and for abuse by the gendarmes vested with legal use of violence.

In a word, some citizens sometimes can’t breathe their last breath because in far too many instances liberty can’t breathe in today’s unhinged Nanny State, either.

Among the most recent notorious cases, of course, are George Floyd’s fatal arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill; Eric Garner (NYC 2014), subdual for selling untaxed cigarettes; Rayshard Brooks for falling asleep drunk in his car at a subsequently incinerated Wendy’s in Atlanta; and Breonna Taylor of Louisville for being awake in her own apartment at 1:30 AM when police barged in with guns blaring in a drug enforcement raid.

These are anecdotal cases, of course, but the big picture statistics tell the same story. In the most recent year of complete data (2018), there were 9.3 million arrests in the US excluding traffic enforcement charges of DUI. Yet among this massive number of arrests, those involving serious crimes against persons and property accounted for just 521,000 or 5.6%. These included:

  • Negligent murder and manslaughter: 11,970;

  • Rape: 25,205;

  • Armed robbery: 88,128;

  • Aggravated assault: 395,800;

That’s it. That’s the contribution to core public safety delivered by the 850,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the USA—about 0.6 arrests per year for serious crimes per law enforcement officer.

As for what they were doing the rest of the time and the other 8,777,000 arrests that occurred in 2018, we can say this: They clearly provided more occasion for conflict between citizens and the gendarmes and for policing actions to go haywire, as in the George Floyd case, than any additional increments of public safety.

After all, the single largest category of arrests in 2018 was for drug abuse violations, which totaled 1,654,282.

In fact, while total arrests for all crimes in 2018 were no higher than they were in 1977 despite a 100 million/50% growth in the US population, and had actually dropped from a peak of nearly 13 million in 2006, the opposite trend was extant in the case of the nation’s misbegotten War on Drugs arrests.

As shown by the chart below, drug arrests in 2018 were nearly at peak levels and were up by more than 171% since 1977—the vast majority of which are made for drug possession generally, and marijuana possession most often.

War on Drugs Arrests, 1980-2016

Not surprisingly, the next largest arrest category after drugs is one called “other assaults” for which 1,063,535 arrests were made in 2018. Yet the FBI’s own definitions raise considerable doubts as to why these are even a proper matter for law enforcement by the state:

Other assaults (simple) - Assaults and attempted assaults where no weapon was used or no serious or aggravated injury resulted to the victim. Stalking, intimidation, coercion, and hazing are included.

Then, of course, we have all the victimless and vice crimes, including the following number of arrests:

  • Prostitution and commercialized vice: 31,147;

  • Sex offenses excluding rape and prostitution: 46,937;

  • Gambling: 3,323;

  • Liquor law offenses: 173,152;

  • Curfew and loitering law violations: 22,031;

  • Vagrancy: 23,546;

  • Public drunkenness: 328,772;

  • Disorderly conduct: 329,152;

  • Forgery and counterfeiting: 50,072;

  • Weapons carrying and possession: 168,403;

  • All other offenses: 3,231,700.

The latter huge number tells you all you need to know. The UCR lists 27 enumerated categories of crime including all of those itemized above–plus the usual suspects like fraud and embezzlement for which there were about 135,000 arrests in 2018. Yet when the whole lists is exhausted, 32% of arrests occurred for crimes that are so minor even the FBI is embarrassed to enumerate them!

So, yes, we do think there are way, way too many crimes and cops, and that decriminalizing and de-funding law enforcement are the only route to reducing police violence.

But by the same token, the unwarranted and often mendacious racializing of police malfeasance, which the George Floyd case has brought to a fever pitch, will only insure retrogression. That is, it will unleash a blind rallying to the defense of law enforcement by conservative Republicans, blue collar whites and the Foxified Right, thereby insuring a continuing failure to attack and drastically curtail the Nanny State regime, which is the real source of policing injustice.

Of course, don’t expect Nancy Pelosi or Sleepy Joe to be any more enlightened on the matter than Sean Hannity. These doddering old fools are now enthrall to the wokedom of the progressive-Left; and, as Maxine Water’s blatant performance as agent provocateur in Minneapolis the night before the verdict makes clear, these people want the problem to fester and metastasize, not be alleviated.

Indeed, it is probably not too far fetched to say that Congresswoman Waters’ call for a guilty verdict or else a new round of violent uprisings amounted to an insurance policy. Three guilty verdicts could not trigger the latter, but a judicial appeal resulting in a mistrial order surely would.

In other words, the Democratic Party has fallen into the grip of vicious leftist zealots and power-hungry authoritarians. And the events of the last two days suggest that two dangerously wrong-headed and ugly narratives—-race-baiting and climate hysteria— now stand at the center of the Dem agenda because the party’s two supreme leaders are too weak and too senile to resist the mob.

So we’d say to the feverish punters of Wall Street, yes, embrace the putative Economic Boom impending and buy the Greatest Financial Bubble in history, if you must.

But, really, if the events which culminated in Tuesday’s triumph of mob justice do not scare the living bejesus out of you, then, well, you probably deserve to suffer the thundering financial gotterdammerung which is surely coming your way.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/22/2021 - 18:25
Published:4/22/2021 5:38:42 PM
[Uncategorized] Bernie Bros: FBI Reportedly Calls 2017 Shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, Republicans ‘Suicide by Cop’

"Director, you want suicide by cop, you just pull a gun on a cop. It doesn't take 136 rounds. It takes one bullet."

The post Bernie Bros: FBI Reportedly Calls 2017 Shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, Republicans ‘Suicide by Cop’ first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/22/2021 2:36:18 PM
[Artificial Intelligence] Fraud prevention platform Sift raises $50M at over $1B valuation, eyes acquisitions With the increase of digital transacting over the past year, cybercriminals have been having a field day. In 2020, complaints of suspected internet crime surged by 61%, to 791,790, according to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report. Those crimes — ranging from personal and corporate data breaches to credit card fraud, phishing and identity theft […] Published:4/22/2021 12:40:30 PM
[] Revealed: The FBI Classified the 2017 Baseball Park Attempted Assassination of Republican Congressman Not a Case of Politically-Motived Extremism, but a Mere... Suicide Attempt by James Hodgkinson DEFUND. A congressman who was on the baseball field during the 2017 shooting that nearly killed GOP Whip Steve Scalise says the FBI privately informed lawmakers it ruled the attack a "suicide by cop," a designation he said downplayed the... Published:4/21/2021 12:17:54 PM
[Markets] Hidden Russiagate Docs Expose More Misconduct, Evidentiary Holes: Ex-Investigator Hidden Russiagate Docs Expose More Misconduct, Evidentiary Holes: Ex-Investigator

Authored by Aaron Maté via,

Kash Patel, a former Russiagate investigator on the House Intel Committee and senior White House official, says US intelligence leaders blocked the release of documents that expose more malpractice and critical evidentiary holes in their claims of sweeping “Russian interference.” Patel also singles out the FBI’s “outrageous” reliance on Crowdstrike, and the burying of testimony that the firm had no concrete evidence.

As a senior House Intel investigator and Trump administration official, Kash Patel helped unearth critical misconduct by the intelligence officials who carried out the Trump-Russia probe.

In his first extended interview since leaving government, Patel tells Aaron Maté that still-classified documents expose more malpractice, as well as major evidentiary holes in the pivotal — and largely unquestioned — claims of a sweeping Russian interference campaign to elect Trump in 2016.

According to Patel, the release of these critical documents was “continuously impeded.”

“I think there were people at the heads of certain intelligence agencies who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn’t look good on the agency itself,” Patel says.

Among the tradecraft that Patel criticizes is the hastily produced and highly consequential “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 2017, as well as the FBI’s reliance on Crowdstrike — the DNC contractor that generated the Russian hacking allegations despite later admitting, behind closed doors, that it lacked concrete evidence.

Patel also discusses other aspects of his time in the Trump White House: a secret mission to Syria; Trump’s record on foreign wars; and the January 6th riot at the Capitol.

Guest: Kash Patel. Former senior government official in the Trump administration, where he served as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, and chief of staff to the acting Secretary of Defense. Previously, Patel served as a top investigator on the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee, where he was instrumental in exposing US intelligence misconduct in the Trump-Russia investigation. Also served as a national security official in the Obama-era Justice Department and Pentagon.

Read more:

Aaron Maté’s July 2019 report on the flaws in Mueller’s claims of sweeping Russian interference: “CrowdstrikeOut

HPSCI March 2018 report: “Report on Russian Active Measures

Aaron Maté on Crowdstrike’s secret admission of no “concrete evidence” in Russian hacking claims:

“Bombshell: Crowdstrike admits ‘no evidence’ Russia stole emails from DNC server”

Hidden Over 2 Years: Dem Cyber-Firm’s Sworn Testimony It Had No Proof of Russian Hack of DNC



 AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback. I’m Aaron Maté.

Joining me is Kash Patel. He is a former senior official in the Trump administration who served in several top roles, including as the Deputy Assistant to the President, the Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council, the chief of staff to the Acting Secretary of Defense, and previously he served as a top aide on the House Intelligence Committee when it was chaired by Republican Devin Nunes, where he was instrumental in exposing US intelligence conduct behind the Trump-Russia investigation.

Kash Patel, welcome to Pushback.

KASH PATEL: Aaron, thanks so much for having me. Really appreciate you doing this. Let’s have some fun.

AARON MATÉ: I appreciate the opportunity. You had a front row seat to several major stories of the Trump era. I want to start with Russiagate because that’s where I first heard of you. You helped expose the conduct of intelligence officials who carried out the investigation, including the instrumental role of the Steele dossier and the surveillance warrant on Carter Page, the former Trump campaign volunteer. And I want to get your response to actually how the media portrayed you, because when you were discussed in media accounts in several outlets, it seemed like it was a requirement to describe you as someone who was working to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation. I want to just get your response to that, how you saw your role behind the scenes, and your overall thoughts on the Trump-Russia investigation itself.

KASH PATEL: Well, thanks for allowing me the opportunity to speak about it like that. I don’t think anybody has ever really asked me to do that, so I really appreciate it.

So, I went on as a senior staffer for the House Intel Committee and not in Devin’s personal office. And long and short of it was, I didn’t really want to go over to The Hill, but Devin had said, ‘Hey, somebody with your background as a public defender and a national security prosecutor and knows how to investigate and take depositions, we sort of need someone to run this investigation.’ At the time neither of us thought it would get much coverage. We were just, like, we’ll do the investigation, we’ll make a report and we’ll put it up in Congress for the records, and that’ll be that. But I guess we were both really wrong on that one.

As the investigation unfolded, and the agreement I made with Devin, I said, ‘Okay, I don’t really want to go to The Hill, but I’ll do the job on one basis: accountability and disclosure. Everything we find—I don’t care if it’s good or bad or whatever from your political perspective—we put it out so the American public can just read it themselves.’ And he agreed to that right away. So, I said, ‘Okay, then we’re up and running.’ But then the media came in and, I think the first portrayal of me in the media, because my name as a staffer was leaked, which is generally verboten, unheard of, but was leaked, and they called me a genocidal dictator in that article—Torquemada—and I thought that was—I don’t know how to even describe that—but I felt really upset that my family name was being portrayed as someone who had killed thousands of people during the Spanish Inquisition.

AARON MATÉ: Huh, huh.

KASH PATEL: That was the first big, breaking news story. I don’t know if it was big; it was just the one that put my name out there, which I also was not expecting any of the media to be on me personally, as a staffer. That was a little surprising.

AARON MATÉ: And what were you actually doing behind the scenes, then, that you think would have elicited this attack on you?

KASH PATEL: Well, running types of investigations are hard enough when you’re a public defender with limited resources. So, I analogize going over to Congress and running an investigation in a similar fashion. When I was at DOJ [Department of Justice], you have all the resources in the world and it’s really cool, but Congress has limited capabilities. We had a limited budget and limited authorities, so I sort of went back to my public defender role and I said, ‘Okay, look, the first thing we got to do is line up key witnesses that we’re going to eventually interview. But before that we have to acquire all the relevant documents from the government agencies so that we can ask these witnesses about them and know what we’re doing before we get into the room.’ So, it was a document acquisition first step, and then, a sort of parallel track, lining up witnesses that we would ultimately interview, and I think we interviewed maybe 70 under oath, ballpark.

AARON MATÉ: And do you remember what revelation it was that made you first realize that there was some serious malfeasance going on behind the scenes, when it comes to the conduct of the intelligence officials who ran the Trump-Russia probe?

KASH PATEL: Well, it’s a combination of things, if you’ll allow me.

So, as a terrorism prosecutor at main Justice, I had personally worked on FISA applications myself, for a number of prosecutions successfully, and having done that work, I know how labor-intensive and detailed it is, and how much disclosure requirements you have to present to the FISA court, but also to the federal judge overseeing the case, ultimately, itself. So, I think the first time I read the Steele dossier was maybe a month or so after it came out, and it just seemed pretty sensational. And what I told folks was, ‘Look, the purpose of a FISA application is to go up on someone and surveil them who you think is basically working for another country against America.’ And Carter Page was the crux of that dossier, and I said, ‘This is really easy to prove or disprove.’ The big thing that made Carter Page in the dossier a quote-unquote “agent” of a foreign power was his meetings with high-level Russian officials and then bartering, as the dossier put it, for a 19-percent stake in the biggest gas company in Russia if he would help them, the Russians, trade once the Trump administration got in. Now, I told the members on House Intel if that were true, he’s definitely an agent of a foreign power. That’s the crux of the matter, so that’s where we started.

AARON MATÉ: And when you found out that the FBI was citing the Steele dossier in its surveillance applications to spy on Carter Page and listing Christopher Steele as quote “Source #1” and “credible,” what was your response, and how did you try to go about getting that out to the public?

KASH PATEL: Well, it was just sort of a Search Warrant 101, okay? So, we found out who the source is, let’s look at the source documents and the credibility of the source; that’s just basic Investigative 101. Getting those documents was another story. That was a whole different challenge that DOJ thwarted for a long time, but, ultimately, we were successful.

I think the big breakthrough was a combination of things that happened over the course of obviously many months, and we’ll condense it here. But once I found out that the Steele dossier itself was used in the FISA application, it was a huge red flag, because I was, like, this is not how we do FISA applications. And, also, this information is incredibly salacious, and some of it was just so easily disproved, such as the hotel room that they said the salacious engagement with Trump and others had occurred. Well, if you do some Investigative 101, that hotel doesn’t exist with that room in Moscow, period. And you would think an investigator like Christopher Steele, a human guy spy for the British government for so many years with Russian expertise, would get that little fact right.

The other thing was they had placed at the time Trump’s lawyer on a trip in Prague. I think it was Prague. And I said, ‘This is really easy. We just get the toll records for travel and see if the guy was ever in the Czech Republic or not.’ Turns out, he never left America during that time period. So, these credibility issues started to arise, and I said, ‘If we’re having problems with these easily disprovable facts, what about the heart of the matter?’ And that’s what we turned to next, with trying to get the documents and the sourcing of the whole Steele dossier.

AARON MATÉ: And the public became aware that it was the Clinton campaign and the DNC that was paying for the Steele dossier, in late 2017. When did you find this out?

KASH PATEL:  Was it late 2017? Yeah, your timeline’s probably right. So, what we had to do was, through our investigations and our team, we were able to piece together the sort of players involved in this whole Steele dossier thing. And the Fusion GPS came out. The individual at DOJ, Bruce Ohr, came out; then we tied that to his wife’s work, Nellie Ohr, who we were sort of shocked to see involved in all this. So, these things we started really getting going on our investigative techniques and started to unveil the facts. And, ultimately, I told Devin one thing. I said, ‘Look, when you’re a prosecutor, you follow the money.’ Terrorism Financing Cases 101. This is really easy stuff, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s follow the money.’ But the difficulty was, I wasn’t in federal court. I wasn’t a DOJ prosecutor; I was at Congress with limited powers. So, I told Devin, I said, ‘Okay, give me one bank subpoena for this bank and let’s see what’s behind the curtain, and if I’m wrong we’ll just stop the investigation.’ And luckily, we got that bank subpoena, but that ultimately took us to federal court because Fusion challenged the validity of the subpoena, and now we obviously know why.

AARON MATÉ: So, I think by now the collusion allegation has been pretty much debunked. Few people actually still hold on to it except the most diehard adherents to Russiagate.

But I have a lot of questions about the other aspect of this, which is this allegation of a sweeping and systematic Russian interference campaign which has not been undermined nearly to the extent that the collusion aspect has. And the obvious question for me, even without looking at all the evidence, is that given that collusion was essentially a scam, what else about this was a scam as well? So, you looked at the intelligence used to advance these allegations of Russian meddling. Was it convincing to you?

KASH PATEL:  That the Russians were interfering with the presidential election or that they were doing so for the behest of one candidate over another?

AARON MATÉ: Let’s start with that they were conducting a sweeping, comprehensive interference campaign to install Trump in the White House.

KASH PATEL:  I would say the evidence did not bear that out. Now, it’s the Russians, they’re always interfering in our cybersecurity infrastructure, in our intelligence apparatus, and they will always look to get a leg up in our election cycle. So, were they involved in interfering? Sure. It’s what they do to us, period. Anyone who says otherwise has never really been in the game and understands how it works, or it’s just really making stuff up. I didn’t see this systematic, sweeping level of infiltration to pick one candidate over the other. We didn’t find that kind of hard evidence. We did find them meddling in a lot of places, of course.

AARON MATÉ: So, when it comes to the question of Russia interfering to specifically install Trump, that was an area where your report, the March 2018 HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] report took issue with some of the intelligence communities’ findings, when the US government, in the last days of the Obama administration, put out this Intelligence Community Assessment [ICA] in January 2017, which said that Vladimir Putin ordered this campaign of interference to install Trump. Your committee identified what it called “significant intelligence tradecraft failings.” Can you give us a sense of what those failings were?

KASH PATEL: Sure. Unfortunately, one of the documents we tried to get out during the Trump administration was that document you’re referring to.

So, the ICA was this investigation put together in a span of two to three weeks, led by John Brennan, and in two to three weeks you can’t have a comprehensive investigation of anything in terms of interference and cyber security matters. But they put it together, so we went and looked at it and looked at the underlying evidence and cables and talked to the people who did it.

We, on House Intel on the Republican side, actually put out a report, a highly classified report on the tradecraft used to make the Obama-era ICA that was made public. We wanted that underlying report made public, but we were continuously impeded in our efforts to do so by members of the Intelligence Community themselves, with the same singular epithets that ‘you’re going to harm sources and methods.’ And that was what was thrown in my face the entire time, when we were talking about Christopher Steele before he was Christopher Steele, and all the underlying methods.

And I just highlight that because we didn’t lose a single source, we didn’t lose a single relationship, and no one died by the public disclosures we made, because we did it in a systematic and professional fashion. And that’s what part of the media said would be impossible to do, but we did it, and we wanted to do it for our ICA. But that was, unfortunately, the one report which speaks directly to the issue you’re asking about, that’s still sitting in a safe, classified, and unfortunately, the American public—unless Biden acts—won’t see it.

AARON MATÉ: President Trump, though, had said that he was going to order a full declassification. Did he ever signal that he wanted that particular document released?

KASH PATEL: I don’t know if he personally singled it [out]. I know it was included in a list of documents that Congress was seeking, or some members of Congress were seeking, to have declassified. And I know that list made its way to the White House, and I also know that, I think, on the one of the last days he did declassify a bunch of material, but I still have not seen that.

AARON MATÉ: Right. That was a so-called binder of documents that have not come out yet. Who are some of the key officials who blocked the release of this material?

KASH PATEL: I think it was…look, when you’re calling out the FBI and DOJ, like, one person is calling them out to say, ‘You guys screwed up one of the biggest consequential investigations of this era,’ I think it’s right for them to take your word with caution. So, it was more of an institutional pushback, and then, ultimately, when you were able to peel back the layers and show Christopher Wray and show Rod Rosenstein that these documents in fact existed and then asked them to produce them, they would start to see the shortcomings of the FISA application and the investigative process and the Steele sourcing at the FBI.

And so, it was a repetitive process, one that even led Rod Rosenstein to threaten to investigate me because he got so annoyed at me for whatever reason, and I’m not really sure what he would investigate me or Congress on, but he made that threat, and that was widely reported.

It was just unfortunate to see the Deputy Attorney General who, at that point, was basically the Attorney General because Jeff Sessions was aside [recused] on all matters. We were having private internal discussions, and I just said, ‘Why don’t you just go get me these Bruce Ohr 302s [FBI interview reports], and if they don’t exist and they don’t say what I’m saying they’re saying, then you can say, “Hey, Kash, you’re totally wrong.”’ Well, it turned out that the Bruce Ohr 302s did exist and it took me a long time, but America finally saw 75 percent of them unredacted.

AARON MATÉ: And Bruce Ohr, for those who don’t know, is a former Department of Justice official who, even after the FBI terminated Christopher Steele as a source, he continued to act as essentially a liaison between Steele and the FBI.


AARON MATÉ: Let me ask you about this core assessment in the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 2017 as we discussed—that Putin ordered this campaign specifically to install Trump. It’s been reported that the main source for that judgment was this supposed mole inside the Kremlin who worked for the CIA, and that this mole, after some media reports actually was … he left Russia and came to the US and he was outed as living outside of Virginia. It’s been said that he had high-level access inside the Kremlin. Based on what you’ve seen, are the reports about the mole and his supposed high level of visibility into the Kremlin, are they credible?

KASH PATEL: So, unfortunately, I’m sort of in a bind on this one still, with all the classified information I looked at and the declassifications we’ve requested but have not yet been granted. So, through your great public reporting and investigative work, a lot of people have continued on, and I think rightly so, to get to the bottom of this. But until the ICA product that we created and some of the other documents are finally revealed, if I start talking about them, then I’m probably going to get the FBI knocking at my door, and I don’t really want that right now—or ever.

AARON MATÉ: Fair enough. Alright, I’m going to try one more angle of this, then, which I realize falls into similar territory, but I think it’s worth mentioning because some of it has been also made public.

CrowdStrike is the private security firm contracted by the DNC that generated the core allegation at the heart of all this: that Russia had hacked the DNC and stolen emails. Then, almost three years later, we get last year this declassification of a transcript from Shawn Henry, the CEO of CrowdStrike, testifying to your committee in December 2017. And he said that actually CrowdStrike had no evidence that these supposed Russian hackers actually took any data off of the server. So, essentially CrowdStrike had no evidence that Russian hackers had stolen the emails that CrowdStrike in public was accusing them of stealing.

CrowdStrike’s reports were used for the FBI’s investigation, and the FBI also relied on CrowdStrike’s forensics in terms of investigating and looking into the DNC server. What can you tell us about CrowdStrike’s credibility? Do you think that they relayed credible and accurate information?

KASH PATEL: I think CrowdStrike, as a private company contracted by the DNC, basically did the job that they were hired to do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they served the American public well. They weren’t hired by the American public; they were hired specifically by a private company to look at their servers.

Where the FBI got it wrong—and James Comey admitted this—is that they, the FBI, who are the experts in looking at servers and exploiting this information so that the Intelligence Community can digest it and understand what happened, did not have access to the DNC servers in their entirety. The FBI only received—and for some outrageous reason agreed to having CrowdStrike be the referee as to what the FBI could and could not exploit and could and could not look at. Now, Shawn Henry, being a former FBI agent under James Comey, knew that, and I believe totally took advantage of the situation to the unfortunate shortcomings of the American public, and we were only able to have the FBI look at a piece of the cyber security hardware infrastructure for the DNC rather than all of it, which is what the FBI always does.

So, that was one of the most frustrating things to me, that the FBI, one, permitted that, and two, never went back and got the server so they could look at it. But I do think Shawn Henry testified that day accurately, that CrowdStrike didn’t have any information to support those claims that you were talking about.

AARON MATÉ: Which then leads me to question the claim itself, because it was CrowdStrike that generated it, and I think it’s a scandal that instead of us hearing back in December 2017 that the firm that generated this allegation didn’t have the concrete evidence for it. We had to wait nearly three years to find that out after so much had unfolded and so much hysterical fearmongering about Russian interference had happened.

KASH PATEL: Yeah, I think you’re totally right. And look, we wanted those depositions and those things out and declassified immediately after we took them, and we were thwarted in that ability, too, to do that. If you recall, we had sent all 60, whatever, transcripts to the DNI under then-DNI Coats just to do a quick classification check, and the Office of Director of National Intelligence under Dan Coats never processed or advanced those deposition transcripts until actually Rick Grenell and I got to the DNI and completed the work.

AARON MATÉ: But, by the time Grenell was in there, you had Adam Schiff now heading your committee—and I imagine he was not very receptive to releasing those transcripts.

KASH PATEL: Exactly. And that’s a great fact that you point out: Congress had switched majority/minority positions then, and the power to release the transcripts, even after we returned them, rested with the new chairman Adam Schiff, who, whatever your politics are, didn’t want some of these transcripts to come out. And that was just extremely frustrating because the whole purpose, as I said in the beginning, was accountability and release for the American public, and everybody should have been able to read every single page of those transcripts.

AARON MATÉ: Since we’re on the topic of Schiff, let me ask you quickly, when you see Congress reprimanding Marjorie Taylor Greene for pushing QAnon conspiracy theories, you witnessed Adam Schiff pushing Russiagate conspiracy theories, reading even the Steele dossier into the Congressional Record, including those Carter Page insane allegations that you mentioned before, about Carter Page being offered a stake in the Russian state gas company.

Adam Schiff: Carter Page, back from Moscow, also attends the convention. According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests.

AARON MATÉ: What are your thoughts on that, seeing Greene reprimanded for pushing conspiracy theories, but not Adam Schiff?

KASH PATEL: I think it’s a perfect example of why the American people have such little confidence in Congress’s abilities to do much of anything these days. It’s so infiltrated with partisan politics that people don’t know what to believe, and that’s why the only thing that I wanted to do there was to, instead of me writing stuff that I found, why not just let everybody read it, the way I found it, with a few protections here and there for some certain national security measures? But those are minimal redactions, and I asked that of everybody across the board, whether it was against people in President Trump’s universe or people at the DNC, or whatever. I said, ‘You guys have agreed to testify. We found documents pertaining to your work here. Everybody should read it.’ And that was just an argument that Congress wouldn’t let me win.

AARON MATÉ: I want to ask you something else about your March 2018 HPSCI report. There’s a very interesting line to me. You’re talking about the judgments that were inside that January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, the one that was put out in the last days of the Obama administration.

The report says the judgments, quote, “were mostly well reasoned, consistent with observed Russian actions, properly documented, and—particularly on the cyber intrusion sections—employed appropriate caveats on sources and identified assumptions.”

That line stood out to me because it suggests to me that when it comes to this core allegation of Russian cyber intrusions, that the evidence was not overwhelming, that there were caveats and identified assumptions. Am I right to infer from that, that when it comes to the attribution of Russian cyber meddling, that there were some qualifiers here and that the evidence was not overwhelmingly concrete?

KASH PATEL: Without speaking to the underlying intelligence, I think you’re absolutely on the right path to infer those things, because you smartly picked up on the verbiage that the IC uses a lot of times to qualify its reporting, but especially reporting of that volume done at that speed. And that’s the reason we undertook to investigate the ICA, too, as a piece of the Russia investigation, because we felt that report put out to the American public deserves scrutiny, the same scrutiny that the FISA application process received, and we created a whole separate report for it. And I really hope one of these days that report becomes public, because I think you’ll find a lot of things in that report that are facts that cannot be disputed by the IC, and that would lend a lot of credence to the things that you’re saying now.

AARON MATÉ: So, why do you think Trump didn’t let this get out? Because he had the authority to.

KASH PATEL: I don’t know if I would characterize it as whether or not President Trump let this out or not. I think there were people within the IC, at the heads of certain intelligence agencies, who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn’t look good on the agency itself.

And again, that’s not castigating an entire agency. We’re not disparaging the entire FBI because of Peter Strzok and his crew of miscreants, where the same thing goes for the Intelligence Community. Just because I think John Brennan had four or five folks work on the ICA, if I remember correctly, if they did some shoddy tradecraft, the American public has a right to know about it in an investigation involving the presidential election.

And there were just the same barriers you run into. When we tried to declass just the Nunes memo itself, it’s institutional pushback, and then singular pushback at high levels because they didn’t want those disclosures to happen on their watch.

AARON MATÉ: Another question on this front: Guccifer 2.0 was this internet persona who the US Intelligence Community later said was actually a front for Russian intelligence, and the FBI and Robert Mueller strongly suggested in their indictment of Russian intelligence officers that it was Guccifer 2.0 that provided the stolen Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. Fast forward, though, to Mueller’s final report, and he includes a caveat that actually he has no idea how these emails made their way to WikiLeaks and actually they could have been transferred in person by hand. Do you have any sense of the sourcing behind this claim about Guccifer 2.0 being a front for Russian intelligence, and is it also something that we should be looking at with skepticism?

KASH PATEL: I think it’s something you should definitely be looking at with skepticism. It’s not something that we had time to focus on when we were doing the Russiagate investigation. It wasn’t one of the things that we were able to encapsulate within our sort of guidelines for purposes of investigation, and it sort of came up later. And by that point the handoff to Mueller had already happened, and so there was that cutoff date as to what we could and couldn’t look at. And once Mueller was announced, there was that spring cutoff timeline of the date of his March-April appointment; nothing past that that he was looking at was anything we could look at. But that doesn’t mean you guys can’t or shouldn’t.

AARON MATÉ: Well, speaking of which Mueller, very strangely, I think, chose not to interview Julian Assange, who was at the heart of all this because he released the stolen emails. Was there ever any discussion on your committee about interviewing Julian Assange?

KASH PATEL: I think there was. But remember, you have Robert Mueller whose special counsel is under the authorities of the Department of Justice and FBI. Big Government versus Congress and a Congressional investigator and his committee. To do those things and to make those asks is a very different request than coming from the Executive Branch of the United States government, and that’s the problem we ran into a lot of times. The FBI and the DOJ can ask and subpoena you guys and work with the heads of foreign governments to do so, but Congress’s ability to do that is much more limited.

AARON MATÉ: If you could release just a handful of documents, just say two documents that you think would give the public a better window into the real story here, what would they be?


KASH PATEL: The ICA report that HPSCI did, on the ICA itself. That, for sure, has been at the top of my list for far too long. And the other thing I would say, twofold: one, the entire subject portion of the last Carter Page FISA, and two, in conjunction with that I would release the underlying source verification reporting basically that they used to prop up that FISA. And then the American public can see what a bunch of malarkey it was that they were relying on. And not only that. It’s okay to make a mistake in a search warrant or pleading because that work you’re doing is so hard, but to intentionally make it is just something the American public needs to know about and read for themselves and make their own determination as to why their government allowed this to happen, knowingly.


AARON MATÉ: I want to move on to other aspects of your time in government. It was reported last year that you took part in a secret mission to Syria to try to broker the release of Austin Tice, the US journalist who has been held hostage there. It’s unclear what his status is, whether he’s even still alive. Let me just actually ask you that, do you think Austin Tice is still alive?

KASH PATEL: Hostage rescues are one of the most difficult and probably most rewarding parts of the job, when I was running counterterrorism for President Trump. You get to know the family so well that you just learn not to publicly comment on those matters about their loved ones because it’s just too painful, whatever the answer is. And I reserve my comments on those matters for Mr. and Mrs. Tice, in any efforts we made to get Austin.

AARON MATÉ: Can you tell us anything about your discussions with Syrian officials, what they were asking from you, their level of openness to having talks with the US government?

KASH PATEL: Sure. I mean, look, that didn’t happen overnight. One of President Trump’s priorities was, go get American hostages home, and I think we got over 50, 53-ish hostage/detainees back from 20-some countries, maybe. Maybe a little less.

But Austin Tice had been missing for going on eight years, and we had made no headway, really, on it, so we made it a priority. We started working with our counterparts in the region, and then that trip was almost 18 months in the making, and we finally were able to land a meeting in Damascus. Because I told them, I said, ‘I’ll come see you. You send someone who can represent President Assad directly because I can represent President Trump directly on this matter, and let’s go sit down.’ And they said, ‘Okay, come to Damascus.’

And I don’t know if they thought we would show up or not. But we did, and we were very clear. We said, ‘Look, I understand I’m not getting Austin home on this trip, but I would like a proof of life. What would you like in return for that?’ We had very frank conversations, and they said, ‘We want x amount of movement for the United States military and troop stuff,’ and this and that. I said, ‘Look, all of that’s on the table. We can discuss all those things. I need a proof of life.’ And they said they would take it back to Assad, at which they did. I know they did that. And then, I think, shortly thereafter I switched over to the Department of Defense and tried to continue that mission. But that one was one I just, unfortunately, didn’t succeed on.

AARON MATÉ: President Trump on the campaign in 2016, he was critical of US interventions abroad. He criticized the war on Libya, he criticized the dirty war in Syria, but his record in office did not do anything to reverse all this. And I think actually one could argue that he escalated it. What do you make for the gap between what he was saying on the campaign trail and then what he did in office?

KASH PATEL: I probably disagree with that because we did end three wars, three and a half, and that was what he campaigned on and we…

AARON MATÉ: Where? Which wars?

KASH PATEL: Well, we’re down to zero in Somalia, we’re down to less than 2,500 in Iraq. I won’t discuss the troop numbers in Syria, but it’s the lowest we’ve ever been, and we should hit zero in Afghanistan by 1 May unless the administration alters that trajectory. So, to move that amount of manning from decades of in-country fighting, we did that pretty expeditiously, and that’s something I think I’m pretty proud of, that we ended or drew to a near end so many theaters of war. Not all of them, unfortunately, but a lot of them.

AARON MATÉ: In Somalia, though, haven’t US troops just basically moved next door?

KASH PATEL: Well, yeah. Sort of. Without discussing exact troop locations, we’re no longer in Somalia with a big troop presence, and we are always going to counter terrorism in any form. And al-Shabaab, being one of al-Qaeda’s biggest affiliates, based solely out of Somalia. We, of course, are going to lend help to our forces in Kenya, which is one of our biggest partners in East Africa.

So, if you talk about moving troops from Syria to Iraq versus moving troops from Somalia to wherever, you move them to where you have more reliability, are closer to the actual fight, and your capabilities to counter the terrorist threat is greater, not less. And that’s the line of effort that we took to execute in places like Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and East Africa.

AARON MATÉ: What about the Saudi war on Yemen? Obama greenlit that war. It caused a humanitarian catastrophe—some call it a genocide. There was the ongoing risk of famine, a cholera outbreak. Why did Trump escalate US support for that?

KASH PATEL: I don’t know. The Saudi piece has never been my forte, so I’d just be speculating if I was speaking to that.

AARON MATÉ: Was there talk of ending it?

KASH PATEL: The Saudi component or the Yemeni component? Sorry.

AARON MATÉ: The support for the Saudi war on Yemen.

KASH PATEL: There was always talk of decreasing our support to any theaters of war. The problem with the Yemeni portion of it is, as you know, the Houthis are in Yemen, so that’s Iran’s proxy, and it’s one of al-Qaeda’s bigger branches, too, that bases out of Yemen, that poses a threat to American interests. So that was the balance that they had to strike with that conflict, and it’s a tough one. There are three different governments running around in Yemen. There’s two different…three different foreign terrorist organizations. Well, two now that Biden removed one as the label as a terrorist, and that conflict’s going to go on. It’s one, I do think, we need to monitor because Iran is involved, and they simply don’t like us.

AARON MATÉ: All right, we’re going to have to debate Yemen another time, because I have a much different view.

But let me ask you, finally, what did you make first of Trump’s claims that this election was stolen, and were people advising him that what he was saying was not grounded in fact?

KASH PATEL: I’m not going to speak to what people were advising him on about that, because the election stuff was never my job. My job was to head his counterterrorism program, run his DNI, and then, ultimately, help run his Defense Department. So, I stayed out of all that stuff. That never came to me.

AARON MATÉ: And what do you think explains what happened on January 6th? Do you think that…I mean, who deserves blame here for what happened?

KASH PATEL: That’s not for me to cast. Unfortunately, people died, Americans died, policemen died, which is just one of the greatest tragedies you can have. The Capitol was broken into, which is just a symbol of our democracy.

AARON MATÉ: But what about claims or allegations or suspicion that the Pentagon slowed a response? They did not answer the calls for the National Guard quick enough, and that even that this was deliberate. I mean, that is the suspicion of many people, that there was a deliberate attempt to let that mob happen on the part of even White House officials, possibly even President Trump.

KASH PATEL: I mean, that’s an extended conversation for another day. But I will politely say that that is totally, factually false. Having assisted Secretary [Christopher] Miller running the Defense Department, we put out a very public timeline for our response. We basically quelled the situation at the Capitol so that the United States Senate could go back and certify the presidential election. From the time the incident began, in less than five hours they were voting to certify the presidential election again. We—and the Capitol Police admitted this—went to the Capitol Police beforehand and said ‘Hey, do you need any help?’ They said, ‘No.’ And we, the Department of Defense, cannot lawfully send in the National Guard unless there is a specific request made by the mayor and/or a federal agency, and none were made.

Once they were made—and a caveat to that is Secretary Miller and I had gone to President Trump days before January 6th, and he had authorized 10,000 National Guardsmen throughout the country in case there was any unrest, so he had already authorized the action. The governors and the mayors still had to ask for it, and once they did in the DC area, just to give you an anecdotal example, we activated from a cold start the fastest augmentation and mobilization of uniformed military troops in the DC area since World War II, and we put 24,000 boots on the ground in less than 48 hours. I don’t know who’s saying we slow-rolled anything, because these are Guardsmen, they’re not active-duty military, and we have to pull them out of their daily lives, train them up, get them up and then deploy them, and employ them. And I think we did that. And I think the record will show with extreme alacrity that we’re very responsive because of the severity of the situation.

AARON MATÉ: Kash Patel, former senior official in the Trump administration, thank you very much.

KASH PATEL: Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate it. I had fun.

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/21/2021 - 00:05
Published:4/20/2021 11:24:52 PM
[Markets] Taibbi: An Afghanistan Veteran Looks Back On The "First Postmodern War" Taibbi: An Afghanistan Veteran Looks Back On The "First Postmodern War"

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News,

I first met Adrian Bonenberger in 2014, after he completed two tours in Afghanistan. He’d published Afghan Post, a painful epistolary memoir about his experiences. Bonenberger started that book a breezy, confident, idealistic young officer, but as he came across more cruelty, waste, and corruption, started to break down, second-guessing not only the mission but himself, i.e. why he’d volunteered.

The Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP

At the outset of Afghan Post Bonenberger referenced everything from the illustrated versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad he read as a kid, to All Quiet on the Western Front. But after years of head-scratching missions, circuitous contracting schemes, and lies sent down from above (and demanded in return), he seemed to realize, unpleasantly, that his experience was less Homer and more Catch-22.

He laughs some, but mostly the absurdity crushes him. A selection of passages gives a snapshot of his progression:

My life is in near-perfect harmony… This is what I’ve been aiming for, a sense of balance, of co-existing with the world. My job at this instant is precisely what it needs to be, no more, no less. I’m a good commander, man… Life feels correct.

We aren’t here to defeat the enemy; that’s impossible with our resources. We’re here to occupy them, to distract them from the women wearing blue jeans in Kabul.

No matter how many rifle-bearing insurgents we kill, they only seem to increase in numbers and proficiency.

I just want to keep bashing away at the Taliban until they quit. I refuse to stop. I will break them with constant patrolling…

What are we doing. This makes no sense. I feel my grasp on humanity slipping away. The army believes the solution to this is behavioral health. We’d do better with some religious/moral equivalent — sadly, our own multi-faith shepherd/ expert does not provide me with anything like the type of certainty I’d need to get me through this or buck-up.

He unravels, and as the diary goes on, seems to become more concerned with his own mental survival than with making sense of the mission, which becomes little more than an absurdist plot point. By the end, he writes, “Afghanistan is sending me out, as though I never set foot here, utterly unchanged,” adding:

The landscape is so harsh and unforgiving — on the one hand, the people I see trying to drag a living from the dust seem like heroes or madmen — on the other hand, they move slowly and without obvious desperation — it’s only after a great deal of time spent around them that you realize this transcends the fatalist predisposition of their culture… These people are the embodiment of despair; life without hope of improvement, waiting for an early death from disease, accident, or murder.

Can’t wait to leave this place and these thoughts behind.

I thought of Adrian after Joe Biden announced that “I have concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war.” The question that faded from view by the end of Adrian’s two tours was one of the first Biden addressed.

We went to Afghanistan, President Biden said, “to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again.” And “we did that. We accomplished that objective.”

Is that true? Less than a day after Biden’s speech, even would-be allies of the administration like former Clinton adviser Richard Clarke were saying that there was a “high probability” the Afghan government would fall, and Westerners would soon be chased out by the Taliban, in scenes likely to recall the scrum for helicopter seats in Saigon in 1975.

Is Clarke wrong? If not, what was the point? Was there ever one? I asked Adrian’s perspective, as a former soldier:

Matt Taibbi: Do you believe it? That we’re leaving?

Adrian Bonenberger: I'm just going to go full Charlie Brown and say, yes. Yes, I do. I think they're going to leave. Hold the football, Lucy. Here I come.

MT: What were some of the first things that concerned you about the mission?

Adrian Bonenberger: The first time I went, I was a first lieutenant. I think I became a captain after I got back from the first deployment. That was with the 173rd Airborne. It was a very kinetic deployment… The terrain wasn't as bad where we were. Most of the KIAs, the people who died were hit by IEDs in Humvees.

On that first deployment, I got to see the Humvees swapped out for MRAPs [eds. note: Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle]. I remember reading all this stuff about how Humvees were terrible, and they were. They broke down all the time. They weren't designed for 15,000 pounds of armor. They were not designed for a mountain environment. In this desperate attempt to field stronger-armored vehicles, we got MRAPs, which are these giant, lumbering mine-resistant vehicles.

I didn't realize at the time, but it was a $50 billion expedited program to swap out every up-armored Humvee with MRAPs. What they didn't know when we got the MRAPs was that here we are, on the border of Pakistan with a bunch of roads that we built that barely supported Humvees, so when we get these MRAPs… I was actually in a rollover in one.

There was a fill that collapsed because we were driving over in a vehicle that weighed about 40,000 pounds. The Humvee weighed 20,000 pounds. We blamed the Afghan contractor at the time. It sounds psychotic, but we were like, “Oh, yeah. The Afghans built this substandard road. It’s their fault.”

That felt so emblematic. It feels to me today so emblematic. We only had those MRAPs in service for five years. We spent $50 billion bucks for a five-year rental, and then sold them to police stations across America. Those MRAPs that did fuck-all for us in Afghanistan are now what the police are using, presumably, for their small towns.

MT: That’s via the 1033 program, where the Pentagon sells its surplus equipment to localities?

Adrian Bonenberger: Exactly.

MT: I remember in Iraq, they recalled the original Humvees and had heavier doors put in, I think to repel rockets.

Adrian Bonenberger: Right.

MT: So in Afghanistan, they did that, and then switched out the replacement Humvees for the MRAPs?

Adrian Bonenberger: When they up-armored the Humvee, they surrounded these things with armor, because obviously, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want, per the ridiculous claim by Donald Rumsfeld.

That armor was good at protecting you against RPGs and bullets. We were getting shot at, and I remember vehicles coming back from patrols, all of them had been shot up, and all of the windows were just spider-webbed, but the bulletproof windows would stop the bullets. The problem was when they started putting IEDs in the road, it would channel the blast through the cabin, and ended up just killing everybody in it. The thing that was good at keeping the bullets out ended up being the worst possible design for IEDs.

MT: Because it kept the blast inside the vehicle?

Adrian Bonenberger: Exactly.

MT: They didn't figure that out until later?

Adrian Bonenberger: I just don’t know, man. So many times, so much of our policy, so much of how we... I mean, if we even had a policy, it was reactive and responsive. It seems impossible that nobody, no chemist or no engineer, said, “Hey, if a bomb hits the bottom of this, it's going to turn these guys into Campbell’s Soup.” Nobody was in the room that said, “This is only solving this one problem, but this other problem, it's going to make it much bigger.” Insurgents, not being stupid, are probably going to figure that out.

With the MRAP, the big thing was the V-shaped hull. It's going to be V-shaped on the bottom so the explosion will go around it. Well, I think that certainly helped. That was better, and I saw IEDs that definitely would’ve killed people in Humvees, not kill people in MRAPs, but it didn't do away with the problem of IEDs. It created this other problem of these vehicles are so fucking heavy, you couldn't drive anywhere without rolling over and almost dying in a different way.

MT: Did they have to build new roads?

Adrian Bonenberger: I think what happened was we just left. We just got out before they could do that stuff. Eventually, yes, they would’ve had to have built the new roads, which we wanted to do anyway. Yeah, I think we were there for another two or three years in that place where my first deployment happened, and then we left. We haven’t been back.

That’s Taliban. The Taliban own that area now. They’ve owned that for a decade.

MT: Are there other contracting issues you remember?

Adrian Bonenberger: We only had the MRAPs for a few years. By the time I went back, they were already getting swapped out for something called the M-ATV, an off-road vehicle on steroids. It was a lot better.

There's always a new vehicle.

Another crazy angle was that Biden bragged in a 2020 campaign ad about his involvement in the MRAP push, and the myth of their effectiveness is so complete nobody interrogated the claim. I imagine if anyone registered it in Trumpland it was to grudgingly concede that Biden had played a leading role in fielding MRAPs, which they probably imagined was a good thing. 

Another thing that I remember very vividly was when I was a commander on my second deployment, we had these crypto devices that would fill the radios so the radios could talk to each other via encryption. It’s not like the Taliban had signals, units, or anything else, but we were doing these things in case we ever fought a military that did have the capacity to crack encryption.

We would do this very religiously, and they’re these black boxes that you could throw them on the ground, they wouldn’t break. Everybody knew how to use them. Everybody had been trained on them, and they were a line item on my inventory as a commander, like $4,800, $4,900 bucks apiece. About $5,000 bucks apiece.

I think we had three months left on deployment when a contractor came into the office one day and said, “Hey, you’re getting new crypto devices.” I looked at them and they looked like... Do you remember, I think they’re called pen pilots...

MT: Palm pilots?

Adrian Bonenberger: Palm pilots. That's it. It looked like a palm pilot. This is the very end of 2010, early 2011, I already had soldiers who had smartphones. When we would get up to Tajikistan, and they could get cell coverage, they would be posting their statuses. I may be one of the earliest commanders to deal with the problem of a soldier posting on social media in the field. It was like, “Dude, text your girlfriend, whatever — I get it, but please do not give away our position to the enemy.”

Anyway we get these palm pilot things that are supposed to be the latest and greatest, and we were a week away from going out on a pretty long mission, a week-long operation, and so I told the contractor, “Thanks. We don't really need these. Why don't you just give these to the unit that's training right now to replace us? They'll have some time to get comfortable with them.”

His response was, “Maybe I didn't explain myself. You're getting these. I'm here to train you.”

I went to the battalion commander, and said, “This makes no sense to me. I don't have time to train everybody in my unit for these silly new devices that look fragile, they look like palm pilots. I’m very skeptical here.”

He answered, “My hands are tied. These are ours.” Basically, the contractor training you on these is now your commander, for all intents and purposes.

Now it’s $12,000 bucks a pop instead of $5,000 bucks a pop. I’ve heard subsequently that they are actually a far superior device to that original black box, but just the way it was done right before an operation was… I only had time for one soldier, the smart RTO guy, I think his dad was a professor at Princeton, to learn it. He enlisted for dubious reasons. He figured out how to do it, and he just was “the guy who did it,” because nobody else could figure out how to do it.

For the rest of the deployment, there was one guy who knew how to use the device, and whenever there was a new code that came out, he had to run around the battlefield, or drive around updating everybody’s communications stuff, which is the dumbest thing I’d ever seen. It also endangered lives. But, that to me was a very tangible example of the military not being there to do a thing, but as a receptacle, as somebody who was required to purchase expensive new stuff that was not wanted or even really needed at that moment.

MT: So it was the tail wagging the dog?

Adrian Bonenberger: That’s exactly right. The tail was wagging the dog.

MT: What was your conception of why you were there?

Adrian Bonenberger: They got bin Laden in May, 2011, which was probably the time we should've gotten out. The most generous explanation for our being there was that we were trying to get him and punish him for 9/11, and then we got him. Then we were still there, for no clear reason. We were all okay with that. I’m okay with that, apparently. That happened ten years ago.

Ten years ago next month. We're still there.

MT: I remember in the book of fiction you co-edited, The Road Ahead — I think it was Roxana Robinson in the introduction who talked about how when she asked soldiers if it bothered them that WMDs hadn’t been found, they gave her unexpected answers. What was the understanding in Afghanistan among the people you served with about why you were there? Did they care?

Adrian Bonenberger: That’s a great question. I think it really gets to the heart of the problem with Afghanistan. I was talking with Will Mackin, who was with the SEALs and wrote a really beautiful collection of short fiction… I was telling him that I think the wars on terror have been the first post-modern wars, which sounds so buzzy and annoying, like, “Shut the fuck up, nobody cares about that. That’s dumb.”

But, there is no explanation for why we're there. If you ask ten people why we’re in Afghanistan, or why we’re in Iraq, even, you’ll get ten different answers that are equally plausible. That wasn’t the case in Vietnam. You agreed with why we were in Vietnam or disagreed with it, but we were there to stop communism. A blisteringly stupid and failed idea, but our being there was related to communism in one way, shape, or form. You’ll find people who will explain to you that Afghanistan has nothing to do with terrorism, that it’s about minerals, or it’s about China, or it’s the great game, or it’s Bin Laden.

MT: Or women’s rights now.

Adrian Bonenberger: Women’s rights was a way that I rationalized being in Afghanistan. It’s a powerful rationalization. There were a couple of girls that I saw wearing blue jeans at the end of my second deployment, and that reduced me to tears, because soldiers get sentimental about dumb stuff, and that seemed like it was validating a narrative that I’d constructed in my head that was important to me.

But is that why we were there? No. No, absolutely not. That’s not why we went. That’s not why we stayed.

That’s what some people may think and say in the op-ed pages so that people feel better about us being there, much in the same way that that’s how I felt good about being there when I was a commander. That’s not why we went. We went to get bin Laden, I think, ultimately is what most people will say, or said at the time. That isn’t why we went there, but that's the story that’s probably closest to the truth.

The Taliban got caught up in it because they refused to hand him over, and nobody said no to the United States of America under George W. Bush. You say no, it’s time to go.

MT: Time to smoke you out of your hidey-holes.

Adrian Bonenberger: Right.

MT: What about the Afghanistan Papers story in the Washington Post? Did you and other vets talk about that when that came out? Military leaders were telling the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that the war was so expensive in lives and money, and wasn't getting things done. But the public story was different. What was your reaction?

Adrian Bonenberger: Reading it all laid out there, they just lied. The thing that I'm most worried about right now is, I’m already seeing it around the edges. Biden made the announcement this week, and you see email threads and you see it on Twitter, people are like, “But, what about all the progress? What about all the money that we’ve spent?” It's just like, “Guys, you've been deluding yourselves.”

There was this thing that we did, the officers did. It was kind of a joke to us, and I just didn’t put two and two together. It's called Red, Amber, Green Trackers. The joke was you would have these maps of your AO or your area of operations, and the places that the Taliban had were red, and then were permutations of this, so red-trending-amber meant that the Taliban had it, but maybe there were a couple of guys there that you could work with, whatever.

Amber was we patrol there, and we’re trying to flip it green. Amber-trending-green is like, “Oh, the Taliban haven't blown us up here for a few months, and we built them a well.” Then, green is just like, “We got this. The Afghans have it.” The colors would change sometimes. I think blue became a permutation that I saw later. The joke anyway was you would get to the end of the deployment, and all of the red places were listed as red-trending-amber, or amber, and all the places that were amber were now amber-trending-green or green, and all the places that were amber-trending-green were green, 100%. You give it to the next unit, and it all turned red again. It would downgrade one.

MT: They were juking the stats.

Adrian Bonenberger: I saw that and I didn't think to myself, “This is dumb.” I knew it was dumb. It was more like, “This is fraud.”

This should be illegal. We just all kind of did it all the time. We talked about it, and it’s not like this is a secret. The fact that people were seeing this in the Pentagon and were just like, “Oh, yeah. Of course, we’re just going to keep doing this forever.” There was no plan, and the metrics changed every deployment. They still wanted body counts, EKIA, enemy killed in action.

These frauds, the context changes, but it’s the same.

MT: It sounds like Daniel Ellsberg in his book “Secrets,” when he was talking about a tour with John Paul Vann. They had a similar system. I think it was something like, if the local South Vietnamese commander could sleep without a guard at his door at night, then that area was green. He found that every area that had been designated X was actually X minus one, or X minus two, security-wise… Was that basically what was going on?

Adrian Bonenberger: 100%. The only difference being, and this is one of the saddest things to me… Afghanistan, a parade of sad memories, the eternal bitch-fest… It might’ve been two years ago, it might’ve been three years ago, when SIGAR stopped doing a certain type of report, during Trump’s presidency, because they didn’t have access anymore essentially. They still did the report, but they were like, “Look, we can’t go out and survey 80% of these places, because they're under Taliban control. We’re going to attempt to do a QA/QC* of projects as they happen. We’re still going to be active in Kabul, but we just can’t get to half of these places.”

I saw that, and I remember thinking, “This should be headline news.” If we can’t go anywhere, we’re already out of Afghanistan in a sense. We're not there. We can’t even establish what is being done with the building that cost $50 million or $100 million bucks to build. What else would you call that, except fraud?

It’s as if somebody justified that thing being built. Oh, it’s a hospital. It’ll be great. Was it being used as a hospital? You go down there, and the Taliban are using it as a school or a madrassa or whatever. Honestly, at this point, I don’t care. I’m glad that it's being used for something, but don't say that it’s going to be a hospital if it’s not going to be a hospital. Just say, “We’re paying for madrassas.” That’s fine. Maybe that’s what Afghanistan needs? I don’t know.

MT: Did you see that? Would they build something, or bid out a contract for something, and it would turn into something else?

Adrian Bonenberger: My second deployment, the first mission I was on was a company-plus mission, maybe a battalion-minus mission, to QA/QC a school that had been built for, I believe, $20 million. It had been completed, but we needed to do a final review of it. It was in Taliban-held territory. We had to fight our way all the way out to QA/QC it. We did that, and determined that the Taliban was using it as a recruiting station!

Then, we fought our way out. I was never able to get back there. At the very end, we probably could've gone back out there if we wanted to. We really did “pacify” the province, because of the Afghans. The Afghans did all the heavy lifting. It didn’t last long. It was not something that you can transit again a year or two later, but for that moment, it was. But what is it being used for today? If we’re lucky, it’s being used for that. If we’re not lucky, it's being used for something worse.

MT: Was that mission just to determine if that building was being used correctly?

Adrian Bonenberger: Yes, and it wasn't.

MT: There was an article by William Arkin in Newsweek recently, arguing that just because the uniform boots on the ground may be withdrawing, doesn’t mean we’re leaving. We’ve already started to shift to a system where a lot of the people who are actually engaged in an occupation aren’t even in the country, because they're operating remotely, and/or they're private contractors who don't wear uniforms. Or, they work for some enforcement agency like the DEA or the FBI.

Did you see that process start to evolve while you were there?

Adrian Bonenberger: The most compelling argument against our leaving on a certain level is that it at least leaves the military as some type of official mechanism. Yeah, we’re going to read about them being there. There’s a way to tell when a soldier dies, at least.

I remember when Thomas Ricks went on Fox News, and the Fox guy was trying to rake him over the coals over something, and Tom asked, “Do you know how many contractors have died in Iraq?”

He paused for a second, and he said, “No.” Tom said, “Nobody does. There’s no way to know. We think 500 to 700 died,” but that's a private company. They keep their own statistics. We will never know how many contractors died in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s no legal mechanism for determining that, and as a result, we’re just not going to know. Historians hundreds of years from now may be able to mount lengthy campaigns to figure it out. That’s a problem.

The DEA wanted me to do raids on certain militias that were smuggling weapons and drugs, and I refused point-blank. I said, “That’s not my problem. That’s Afghanistan's problem.”

Internally, I figured out, I would've drawn the line on human smuggling, like if I found out that one of my Afghan partners was trafficking humans or slaves, I’d say, “We can’t work together. You're my enemy now.” But with weapons and drugs, I don’t even think drugs should be illegal in this country, so why would I do anything there? But the DEA would ask me to pull security for their raids, and I’d say, “No, I'm not going to do that.”

Imagine one of the soldiers dying on that mission. You either would’ve had to lie about it and say that the Taliban was actually there and the Taliban ambushed us, or you'd have to explain that you were doing Colombia-style drug raids on an ally, because the DEA wanted it. It’s so complicated. It makes no sense. It made no sense to me then, and I’m proud that, however sneakily I accomplished it, I stood up for what was right.

MT: What’s your prognosis for what happens now?

Adrian Bonenberger: The Taliban already have, by fairly conservative estimates, the run of 80% of the country. So the Taliban are already there. I think the hope with Afghanistan was always going to be that we could support the Afghans who are interested in a non-Taliban government for enough time for them to get their act together.

If we continue to support them diplomatically and economically, they have a chance, but in the same way that the USSR supported their communist administration in Kabul for I think two or three years before the USSR fell apart. It held on. It wasn't doing great, but it was doing okay. I think we can achieve that.

If we can’t, then that’s the most damning indictment possible of everything that we did there, including the things that I did there that I thought were good, and was doing for the right reasons. It means that all of that was just pissing in the wind. The next time we do this, I hope we’ll keep that in mind and do it better, or not at all.

* Quality Assurance, Quality Control

You can find Adrian Bonenberger’s book Afghan Post here. He also co-edited The Road Ahead, a collection of “fiction from the forever war,” and co-edits The Wrath-Bearing Tree, which he describes as “a little independent site that tries to promote good content and be subversive.”


Tyler Durden Mon, 04/19/2021 - 22:30
Published:4/19/2021 9:45:57 PM
[Politics] Deep State Turns On President Biden Over Afghanistan In the early days of the Trump administration, the "deep state" the permanent bureaucracy of the FBI and other national security-related agencies targeted President Trump and his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Some of us warned at the time that there was something fundamentally undemocratic about unelected careerists undercutting the elected president. We were dismissed as conspiracy theorists smearing patriotic whistleblowers. Now President Biden is in the White House, and it... Published:4/19/2021 7:47:56 PM
[Markets] Russia & Belarus Say US-Backed "Assassination" & "Coup" Attempt Against Lukashenko Thwarted Russia & Belarus Say US-Backed "Assassination" & "Coup" Attempt Against Lukashenko Thwarted

Russian and Belarusian state sources are alleging that a major assassination and "coup" attempt of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has been thwarted by security services, which has further been dubbed in state media as an "armed insurrection" attempt which may have had the backing of the United States.

However, details surrounding the alleged 'plot' remain murky and it doesn't appear that anything actually close to an 'insurrection' ever got off the ground. Instead, multiple Belarussian officials were reportedly arrested on vague suspicions of treasonous plotting. Russia's FSB is also widely reported to have detained two conspirators in Moscow for their association with the plot.

"Several people, including two in Russia, have been arrested for allegedly plotting an armed insurrection against the Belarusian president," RT describes of the Belarusian media reports. "He claims that the US may have sanctioned the assassination attempt."

Via Reuters

It comes after prior months of growing protests against the longtime autocrat, and after pro-democracy opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya from exile urged for more opposition to Lukashenko's rule in the streets after a security services crackdown of the past months.

Europe's "last dictator" - as Lukashenko sometimes calls himself, recently claimed victory and was sworn in for a sixth term last September after already being 24 years in power, which set off the widespread protests.

Here's more of RT's description of the alleged anti-Lukashenko coup plotting:

The existence of an alleged plot to kill Lukashenko, other top Belarusian officials, and even their family members was revealed on Saturday. In Minsk, the national broadcaster ONT ran a story naming suspected conspirators and exposing their plans. The report offered as evidence several clips of what appears to be Zoom meetings between them.

And some of the details discussed among the officials were said to be captured by a hidden recording

The plan discussed at the meeting, as described by the FSB, involved killing "almost the entire leadership" of Belarus, a military coup, and a power blackout of the entire country. "It was suggested that the active phase would be launched by some armed groups (‘partisans’), who are currently stationed at 'secret bases'," the FSB reported. The action was reportedly scheduled for May 9, when Belarus holds a military parade dedicated to the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Hidden camera footage of what appeared to be the meeting in Moscow was aired by the ONT in its expose. In it, Zenkovich and Feduta detailed their suggestions on how to conduct a successful armed coup. They said Lukashenko needs to be "disposed of" and at least 30 in Minsk – presumably top officials – need to be "interned literally within the first hour."

In a subsequent televised address, the Belarusian leaders explained: "we detained the group [of coup plotters], they showed us how they had planned everything, I remained silent." He then accused the US of assisting in the plot: "Then we discovered the work of clearly foreign intelligence services, most likely the FBI, the CIA."

At the height of the contested reelection protests last August, Lukashenko and other top officials said that NATO had built up forces along Belarus' Western border. He warned at the time that his military would immediately 'react' with force to any NATO provocation. 

However, the crisis has since died down after a severe crackdown by police and security services, which involved stationing armed vehicles and tanks surrounding the presidential palace complex in Minsk. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/19/2021 - 04:15
Published:4/19/2021 3:41:50 AM
[Markets] The Political Economy Of Fear The Political Economy Of Fear

Authored by Robert Higgs via The Mises Institute,

[This article was originally published May 16, 2005... but seems ominously prophetic given our current age of rage and unreason.]

[S]ince love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. 

- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513

All animals experience fear - human beings, perhaps, most of all. Any animal incapable of fear would have been hard pressed to survive, regardless of its size, speed, or other attributes. Fear alerts us to dangers that threaten our well-being and sometimes our very lives. Sensing fear, we respond by running away, by hiding, or by preparing to ward off the danger.

To disregard fear is to place ourselves in possibly mortal jeopardy. Even the man who acts heroically on the battlefield, if he is honest, admits that he is scared. To tell people not to be afraid is to give them advice that they cannot take. Our evolved physiological makeup disposes us to fear all sorts of actual and potential threats, even those that exist only in our imagination.

The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it. Whether they compose a warfare state or a welfare state, they depend on it to secure popular submission, compliance with official dictates, and, on some occasions, affirmative cooperation with the state's enterprises and adventures. Without popular fear, no government could endure more than twenty-four hours. David Hume taught that all government rests on public opinion, but that opinion, I maintain, is not the bedrock of government. Public opinion itself rests on something deeper: fear.

Hume recognizes that the opinions that support government receive their force from "other principles," among which he includes fear, but he judges these other principles to be "the secondary, not the original principles of government" ([1777] 1987, 34). He writes: "No man would have any reason to fear the fury of a tyrant, if he had no authority over any but from fear" (ibid., emphasis in original). We may grant Hume's statement yet maintain that the government's authority over the great mass of its subjects rests fundamentally on fear. Every ideology that endows government with legitimacy requires and is infused by some kind(s) of fear. This fear need not be fear of the government itself and indeed may be fear of the danger from which the tyrant purports to protect the people.

The Natural History of Fear

Thousands of years ago, when the first governments were fastening themselves on people, they relied primarily on warfare and conquest. As Henry Hazlitt ([1976] 1994) observes,

There may have been somewhere, as a few eighteenth-century philosophers dreamed, a group of peaceful men who got together one evening after work and drew up a Social Contract to form the state. But nobody has been able to find an actual record of it. Practically all the governments whose origins are historically established were the result of conquest—of one tribe by another, one city by another, one people by another. Of course there have been constitutional conventions, but they merely changed the working rules of governments already in being.

Losers who were not slain in the conquest itself had to endure the consequent rape and pillage and in the longer term to acquiesce in the continuing payment of tribute to the insistent rulers—the stationary bandits, as Mancur Olson (2000, 6–9) aptly calls them. Subjugated people, for good reason, feared for their lives. Offered the choice of losing their wealth or losing their lives, they tended to choose the sacrifice of their wealth. Hence arose taxation, variously rendered in goods, services, or money (Nock [1935] 1973, 19–22; Nock relies on and credits the pioneering historical research of Ludwig Gumplowicz and Franz Oppenheimer).

Conquered people, however, naturally resent their imposed government and the taxation and other insults that it foists on them. Such resentful people easily become restive; should a promising opportunity to throw off the oppressor's dominion present itself, they may seize it. Even if they mount no rebellion or overt resistance, however, they quietly strive to avoid their rulers' exactions and to sabotage their rulers' apparatus of government. As Machiavelli observes, the conqueror "who does not manage this matter well, will soon lose whatever he has gained, and while he retains it will find in it endless troubles and annoyances" ([1513] 1992, 5). For the stationary bandits, force alone proves a very costly resource for keeping people in the mood to generate a substantial, steady stream of tribute.

Sooner or later, therefore, every government augments the power of its sword with the power of its priesthood, forging an iron union of throne and altar. In olden times, not uncommonly, the rulers were themselves declared to be gods—the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt made this claim for many centuries. Now the subjects can be brought to fear not only the ruler's superior force, but also his supernatural powers. Moreover, if people believe in an afterlife, where the pain and sorrows of this life may be sloughed off, the priests hold a privileged position in prescribing the sort of behavior in the here and now that best serves one's interest in securing a blessed situation in the life to come. Referring to the Catholic Church of his own day, Machiavelli takes note of "the spiritual power which of itself confers so mighty an authority" ([1513] 1992, 7), and he heaps praise on Ferdinand of Aragon, who, "always covering himself with the cloak of religion, ... had recourse to what may be called pious cruelty" (59, emphasis in original).

One naturally wonders whether President George W. Bush has taken a page from Ferdinand's book (see, in particular, Higgs 2003a and, for additional aspects, Higgs 2005b).

Naturally, the warriors and the priests, if not one and the same, almost invariably come to be cooperating parties in the apparatus of rule. In medieval Europe, for example, a baron's younger brother might look forward to becoming a bishop.

Thus, the warrior element of government puts the people in fear for their lives, and the priestly element puts them in fear for their eternal souls. These two fears compose a powerful compound—sufficient to prop up governments everywhere on earth for several millennia.

Over the ages, governments refined their appeals to popular fears, fostering an ideology that emphasizes the people's vulnerability to a variety of internal and external dangers from which the governors—of all people!—are said to be their protectors. Government, it is claimed, protects the populace from external attackers and from internal disorder, both of which are portrayed as ever-present threats. Sometimes the government, as if seeking to fortify the mythology with grains of truth, does protect people in this fashion—even the shepherd protects his sheep, but he does so to serve his own interest, not theirs, and when the time comes, he will shear or slaughter them as his interest dictates.

Olson (2000, 9–10) describes in simple terms why the stationary bandit may find it in his interest to invest in public goods (the best examples of which are defense of the realm and "law and order") that enhance his subjects' productivity. In brief, the ruler does so when the present value of the expected additional tax revenue he will be able to collect from a more productive population exceeds the current cost of the investment that renders the people more productive. See also the interpretation advanced by Bates (2001, 56–69, 102), who argues that in western Europe the kings entered into deals with the merchants and burghers, trading mercantilist privileges and "liberties" for tax revenue, in order to dominate the chronically warring rural dynasties and thereby to pacify the countryside. Unfortunately, as Bates recognizes, the kings sought this enlarged revenue for the purpose of conducting ever-more-costly wars against other kings and against domestic opponents. Thus, their "pacification" schemes, for the most part, served the purpose of funding their fighting, leaving the net effect on overall societal well-being very much in question. Both Olson and Bates argue along lines similar to those developed by Douglass C. North in a series of books published over the past four decades; see especially North and Thomas 1973, and North 1981 and 1990.

When the government fails to protect the people as promised, it always has a good excuse, often blaming some element of the population--scapegoats such as traders, money lenders, and unpopular ethnic or religious minorities. "[N]o prince," Machiavelli assures us, "was ever at a loss for plausible reasons to cloak a breach of faith" ([1513] 1992, 46).

The religious grounds for submission to the ruler-gods gradually transmogrified into notions of nationalism and popular duty, culminating eventually in the curious idea that under a democratic system of government, the people themselves are the government, and hence whatever it requires them to do, they are really doing for themselves—as Woodrow Wilson had the cheek to declare when he proclaimed military conscription backed by severe criminal sanctions in 1917, "it is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling: it is, rather, selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass" (qtd. in Palmer 1931, 216–17).

Not long after the democratic dogma had gained a firm foothold, organized coalitions emerged from the mass electorate and joined the elites in looting the public treasury, and, as a consequence, in the late nineteenth century the so-called welfare state began to take shape. From that time forward, people were told that the government can and should protect them from all sorts of workaday threats to their lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being—threats of destitution, hunger, disability, unemployment, illness, lack of income in old age, germs in the water, toxins in the food, and insults to their race, sex, ancestry, creed, and so forth. Nearly everything that the people feared, the government then stood poised to ward off. Thus did the welfare state anchor its rationale in the solid rock of fear. Governments, having exploited popular fears of violence so successfully from time immemorial (promising "national security"), had no difficulty in cementing these new stones (promising "social security") into their foundations of rule.

The Political Economy of Fear

Fear, like every other "productive" resource, is subject to the laws of production. Thus, it cannot escape the law of diminishing marginal productivity: as successive doses of fear-mongering are added to the government's "production" process, the incremental public clamor for governmental protection declines. The first time the government cries wolf, the public is frightened; the second time, less so; the third time, still less so. If the government plays the fear card too much, it overloads the public's sensibilities, and eventually people discount almost entirely the government's attempts to frighten them further.

Having been warned in the 1970s about catastrophic global cooling (see, for example, The Cooling World 1975), then, soon afterward, about catastrophic global warming, the populace may grow weary of heeding the government's warnings about the dire consequences of alleged global climate changes—dire unless, of course, the government takes stringent measures to bludgeon the people into doing what "must" be done to avert the predicted disaster.

Recently the former Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge revealed that other government officials had overruled him when he wanted to refrain from raising the color-coded threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, in response to highly unlikely threats. "You have to use that tool of communication very sparingly," Ridge astutely remarked (qtd. by Hall 2005).

Fear is a depreciating asset. As Machiavelli observes, "the temper of the multitude is fickle, and ... while it is easy to persuade them of a thing, it is hard to fix them in that persuasion" ([1513 1992, 14). Unless the foretold threat eventuates, the people come to doubt its substance. The government must make up for the depreciation by investing in the maintenance, modernization, and replacement of its stock of fear capital. For example, during the Cold War, the general sense of fear of the Soviets tended to dissipate unless restored by periodic crises, many of which took the form of officially announced or leaked "gaps" between U.S. and Soviet military capabilities: troop-strength gap, bomber gap, missile gap, antimissile gap, first-strike-missile gap, defense-spending gap, thermonuclear-throw-weight gap, and so forth (Higgs 1994, 301–02).4

One of the most memorable and telling lines in the classic Cold War film Dr. Strangelove occurs as the president and his military bigwigs, facing unavoidable nuclear devastation of the earth, devise a plan to shelter a remnant of Americans for thousands of years in deep mine shafts, and General "Buck" Turgidson, still obsessed with a possible Russian advantage, declares: "Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!"

Lately, a succession of official warnings about possible forms of terrorist attack on the homeland has served the same purpose: keeping the people "vigilant," which is to say, willing to pour enormous amounts of their money into the government's bottomless budgetary pits of "defense" and "homeland security" (Higgs 2003b).

This same factor helps to explain the drumbeat of fears pounded out by the mass media: besides serving their own interests in capturing an audience, they buy insurance against government punishment by playing along with whatever program of fear-mongering the government is conducting currently. Anyone who watches, say, CNN's Headline News programs can attest that a day seldom passes without some new announcement of a previously unsuspected Terrible Threat—I call it the danger du jour.

By keeping the population in a state of artificially heightened apprehension, the government-cum-media prepares the ground for planting specific measures of taxation, regulation, surveillance, reporting, and other invasions of the people's wealth, privacy, and freedoms. Left alone for a while, relieved of this ceaseless bombardment of warnings, people would soon come to understand that hardly any of the announced threats has any substance and that they can manage their own affairs quite well without the security-related regimentation and tax-extortion the government seeks to justify.

Large parts of the government and the "private" sector participate in the production and distribution of fear. (Beware: many of the people in the ostensibly private sector are in reality some sort of mercenary living ultimately at taxpayer expense. True government employment is much greater than officially reported [Light 1999; Higgs 2005a] .) Defense contractors, of course, have long devoted themselves to stoking fears of enemies big and small around the globe who allegedly seek to crush our way of life at the earliest opportunity. Boeing's often-shown TV spots, for example, assure us that the company is contributing mightily to protecting "our freedom." If you believe that, I have a shiny hunk of useless Cold War hardware to sell you. The news and entertainment media enthusiastically jump on the bandwagon of foreign-menace alarmism—anything to get the public's attention.

Consultants of every size and shape clamber onboard, too, facilitating the distribution of billions of dollars to politically favored suppliers of phoney-baloney "studies" that give rise to thick reports, the bulk of which is nothing but worthless filler restating the problem and speculating about how one might conceivably go about discovering workable solutions. All such reports agree, however, that a crisis looms and that more such studies must be made in preparation for dealing with it. Hence a kind of Say's Law of the political economy of crisis: supply (of government-funded studies) creates its own demand (for government-funded studies).

Truth be known, governments commission studies when they are content with the status quo but desire to write hefty checks to political favorites, cronies, and old associates who now purport to be "consultants." At the same time, in this way, the government demonstrates to the public that it is "doing something" to avert impending crisis X.

At every point, opportunists latch onto existing fears and strive to invent new ones to feather their own nests. Thus, public-school teachers and administrators agree that the nation faces an "education crisis." Police departments and temperance crusaders insist that the nation faces a generalized "drug crisis" or at times a specific drug crisis, such as "an epidemic of crack cocaine use." Public-health interests foster fears of "epidemics" that in reality consist not of the spread of contagious pathogens but of the lack of personal control and self-responsibility, such as the "epidemic of obesity" or the "epidemic of juvenile homicides." By means of this tactic, a host of personal peccadilloes has been medicalized and consigned to the "therapeutic state" (Nolan 1998, Szasz 2001, Higgs 1999).

In this way, people's fears that their children may become drug addicts or gun down a classmate become grist for the government's mill—a mill that may grind slowly, but at least it does so at immense expense, with each dollar falling into some fortunate recipient's pocket (a psychiatrist, a social worker, a public-health nurse, a drug-court judge; the list is almost endless). In this way and countless others, private parties become complicit in sustaining a vast government apparatus fueled by fear.

Fear Works Best in Wartime

Even absolute monarchs can get bored. The exercise of great power may become tedious and burdensome—underlings are always disturbing your serenity with questions about details; victims are always appealing for clemency, pardons, or exemptions from your rules. In wartime, however, rulers come alive. Nothing equals war as an opportunity for greatness and public acclaim, as all such leaders understand (Higgs 1997). Condemned to spend their time in high office during peacetime, they are necessarily condemned to go down in history as mediocrities at best.

Upon the outbreak of war, however, the exhilaration of the hour spreads through the entire governing apparatus. Army officers who had languished for years at the rank of captain may now anticipate becoming colonels. Bureau heads who had supervised a hundred subordinates with a budget of $1 million may look forward to overseeing a thousand with a budget of $20 million. Powerful new control agencies must be created and staffed. New facilities must be built, furnished, and operated. Politicians who had found themselves frozen in partisan gridlock can now expect that the torrent of money gushing from the public treasury will grease the wheels for putting together humongous legislative deals undreamt of in the past. Everywhere the government turns its gaze, the scene is flush with energy, power, and money. For those whose hands direct the machinery of a government at war, life has never been better.

Small wonder that John T. Flynn (1948), in writing about the teeming bureaucrats during World War II, titled his chapter "The Happiest Years of Their Lives":

Even before the war, the country had become a bureaucrat's paradise. But with the launching of the war effort the bureaus proliferated and the bureaucrats swarmed over the land like a plague of locusts. ... The place [Washington, D.C.] swarmed with little professors fresh from their $2,500-a-year jobs now stimulated by five, six and seven-thousand-dollar salaries and whole big chunks of the American economy resting in their laps. (310, 315)

Sudden bureaucratic dilation on such a scale can happen only when the nation goes to war and the public relaxes its resistance to the government's exactions. Legislators know that they can now get away with taxing people at hugely elevated rates, rationing goods, allocating raw materials, transportation services, and credit, authorizing gargantuan borrowing, drafting men, and generally exercising vastly more power than they exercised before the war.

Although people may groan and complain about the specific actions the bureaucrats take in implementing the wartime mobilization, few dare to resist overtly or even to criticize publicly the overall mobilization or the government's entry into the war—by doing so they would expose themselves not only to legal and extralegal government retribution but also to the rebuke and ostracism of their friends, neighbors, and business associates. As the conversation stopper went during World War II, "Don't you know there's a war on?" (Lingeman 1970).

Because during wartime the public fears for the nation's welfare, perhaps even for its very survival, people surrender wealth, privacy, and liberties to the government far more readily than they otherwise would. Government and its private contractors therefore have a field day. Opportunists galore join the party, each claiming to be performing some "essential war service," no matter how remote their affairs may be from contributing directly to the military program. Using popular fear to justify its predations, the government lays claim to great expanses of the economy and the society. Government taxation, borrowing, expenditure, and direct controls dilate, while individual rights shrivel into insignificance. Of what importance is one little person when the entire nation is in peril?

Finally, of course, every war ends, but each leaves legacies that persist, sometimes permanently. In the United States, the War between the States and both world wars left a multitude of such legacies (Hummel 1996, Higgs 1987, 2004). Likewise, as Corey Robin (2004, 25) writes, "one day, the war on terrorism will come to an end. All wars do. And when it does, we will find ourselves still living in fear: not of terrorism or radical Islam, but of the domestic rulers that fear has left behind." Among other things, we will find that "various security agencies operating in the interest of national security have leveraged their coercive power in ways that target dissenters posing no conceivable threat of terrorism" (189). Not by accident, "the FBI has targeted the antiwar movement in the United States for especially close scrutiny" (189).

Such targeting is scarcely a surprise, because war is, in Randolph Bourne's classic phrase, "the health of the state," and the FBI is a core agency in protecting and enhancing the U.S. government's health. Over the years, the FBI has also done much to promote fear among the American populace, most notoriously perhaps in its COINTELPRO operations during the 1960s, but in plenty of others ways, too (Linfield 1990, 59–60, 71, 99–102, 123–28, 134–39). Nor has it worked alone in these endeavors. From top to bottom, the government wants us to be afraid, needs us to be afraid, invests greatly in making us afraid.


 Were we ever to stop being afraid of the government itself and to cast off the phoney fears it has fostered, the government would shrivel and die, and the host would disappear for the tens of millions of parasites in the United States—not to speak of the vast number of others in the rest of the world--who now feed directly and indirectly off the public's wealth and energies. On that glorious day, everyone who had been living at public expense would have to get an honest job, and the rest of us, recognizing government as the false god it has always been, could set about assuaging our remaining fears in more productive and morally defensible ways.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 00:00
Published:4/17/2021 11:31:28 PM
[Markets] Black Lives Matter Activist Charged With Anti-Asian Hate Crime Black Lives Matter Activist Charged With Anti-Asian Hate Crime

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A Black Lives Matter activist was arrested in Seattle for allegedly committing two separate hate crimes against Asian people, once again contradicting the media narrative that Donald Trump’s rhetoric on coronavirus was primarily to blame for the hate crime wave.

Pamela Cole, who is Asian, told KIRO 7 News about her experience on March 16 during which she and her young children were subjected to a frightening and abusive attack by a man who later turned out to be 51-year-old BLM protester Christopher Hamner.

Hamner had posted multiple photos of himself attending BLM protests and was also involved in the Seattle CHOP encampment that was populated by Antifa and BLM demonstrators.

“The moment he made eye contact with me he stopped, opens his door and he’s screaming, ‘F— you, you Asian b—-. F— you!’ and I was in complete shock. Are you talking to me?” Cole said.

Cole said she felt like her family were “sitting ducks” as Hamner then proceeded to get out of his vehicle while demanding they get out too.

“I just felt so defenseless and so helpless. And you know as a mom, all we want to do is take care of our kids and protect them,” Cole said.

Cole said that even after the light changed and she was able to drive away, Hamner continued to throw objects at her car and track where she was heading. She was eventually able to pull over and call the police.

“Hamner is accused of committing a similar hate crime two days later, when he cut off two Asian women in a vehicle. The vehicle had a dashboard camera, which enabled authorities to identify Hamner,” reports the Hill, adding that Hamner again charged at the vehicle and threw objects.

After being charged, Hamner pleaded not guilty to hate crimes and his bail has been set at $10,000 dollars.

The two incidents once again expose how the media’s attempt to pin a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes on “white supremacy” by saying they were incited by Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese COVID 19 rhetoric has completely failed.

In virtually every major recent incident where Asians were targeted by violent criminals in hate crime attacks, the perpetrators turn out to be African-American men.

Crime stats also show white people are underrepresented per capita in attacks against Asians.

As the Washington Examiner highlights, citing FBI statistics, whereas whites comprise 62% of the population, they committed 24% of crimes against Asians in 2018.

In comparison, blacks, who comprise 13% of the population, committed 27.5% of all violent crimes against Asian Americans in 2018.

The media’s fake narrative that “white supremacy” is to blame for the hate crime spree in now inciting violent attacks against white people.

37-year-old Michael Sangbong Rhee attacked a woman he believed was white by holding her at gunpoint and trying to rape her.

According to authorities, the attack was “in retaliation for the rise in hate crimes against Asian people.”

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Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 21:00
Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Journalists, Learning They Spread A CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace A New One Greenwald: Journalists, Learning They Spread A CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace A New One

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via,

That Russia placed "bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

A US soldier in Afghanistan CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

The saga began on July 29, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA's claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump's refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump's “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”


The first goal this story served was to weaponize it in the battle waged by pro-war House Democrats and their neocon GOP allies to stop Trump's withdrawal plan from Afghanistan. How, they began demanding upon publication of the CIA/NYT story, can we possibly leave Afghanistan when the Russians are trying to kill our troops? Would that not be a reckless abdication to the Kremlin of this country that we own, and would withdrawal not be a reward to Putin after we learned he was engaged in such dastardly plotting to kill our sons and daughters?

In late June, this alliance of pro-war House Democrats — funded overwhelmingly by military contractors — and the Liz-Cheney-led neocon wing announced amendments to the military budget authorization process that would defund Trump's efforts to withdraw troops from either Afghanistan or Germany (where they had been stationed for decades to defend Western Europe against a country, the Soviet Union, that ceased to exist decades ago). They instantly weaponized the NYT/CIA story as their primary argument.

The record-breaking $740 billion military budget was scheduled to be approved by the House Armed Services Committee in early July. In a joint statement with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) on June 29 — the day the NYT story appeared — Liz Cheney proclaimed that “we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.” One of the Democrats’ most pro-war House members, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), announced on July 1 (three days after the NYT story) his own amendment to block any troop withdrawal from Germany, citing “increasing Russian aggression.”

On July 1 and 2, the House Armed Services Committee held its hearings and votes — I watched all fourteen hours and reported on it in a series of articles and a 90-minute video report — and it not only approved this massive military budget but also both amendments to bar troop withdrawal. Over and over, the union of pro-war Democrats and Cheney-led neocon Republicans steamrolled the anti-war faction of left-wing and right-wing war opponents (led by Congressmembers Ro Khanna (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)), and repeatedly used the Russia bounty story to justify continuation of the longest war in America's history. This little speech from Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) was illustrative of how this CIA story was used all day:

The U.S. media was somehow more militaristic and blindly trusting about this CIA story than even this pro-war union of lawmakers. That the CIA’s leaked claim to The New York Times should even be questioned at all — given that it was leaked anonymously and was accompanied by exactly zero evidence — is not something that even crossed their journalistic minds.

These people who call themselves “journalists” do not view pronouncements from the U.S. security state as something that prompts skepticism let alone requires evidence before believing. The officials who run those agencies are their friends, partners and colleagues — those they most revere — and their every utterance is treated as Gospel. If — after watching them behave this way the last five years without pause — you think that is an exaggeration, watch this short video compilation produced by The Daily Caller to see for yourself how they instantly converted this CIA "Russia bounty” leak into proven fact that nobody, least of all them, should question:

As usual, the media figure most loudly and dramatically enshrining the CIA leak about Russia as Proven Truth was the undisputed Queen of demented conspiracy theories, jingoistic rhetoric, and CIA propaganda: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Over and over, she devoted melodramatic segments to denouncing the unparalleled evil of Russian treachery in Afghanistan (because the U.S. would never pay bounties to kill Russian soldiers in Afghanistan), at no point pausing her histrionics for even a second or two to wonder whether evidence ought to be presented before telling the millions of #Resistance liberals who watch her show that she is vouching for the truth of this story.

Predictably, now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. Government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along.

The Daily Beast on Thursday was the first to notice that “the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story after all.” The outlet added: “that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.” The Guardian also reported that “US intelligence agencies have only ‘low to moderate confidence’ in reports last year that Russian spies were offering Taliban militants in Afghanistan bounties for killing US soldiers.” NBC News went even further, citing Biden’s campaign attacks on Trump for failing to punish Putin for these bounties, and noting: “Such a definitive statement was questionable even then….They still have not found any evidence, a senior defense official said Thursday.”

The Daily Beast and NBC News, Apr. 16, 2021

What made this admission particularly bizarre — aside from rendering weeks of decrees from media figures and politicians humiliatingly reckless and baseless — is that the Biden administration continued to assert this claim as truth as recently as Thursday. When announcing new sanctions aimed at Moscow and diplomatic expulsions of Russian diplomats — primarily in response to allegations of Russian hacking — the White House said “it was responding to reports that Russia encouraged Taliban fighters to injure or kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.” The official White House announcement of the retaliation said explicitly that “the Administration is responding to the reports that Russia encouraged Taliban attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan based on the best assessments from the Intelligence Community (IC)” — a claim for which the IC itself admits it has only “low to moderate confidence” is even true.

When asked about this glaring contradiction yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave an answer that barely rose to the level of cogency, yet she clearly admitted the lack of evidentiary basis for this long-standing CIA/media tale:  

That there is no evidence for this media-laundered CIA story is not something we learned only yesterday. It has been obvious for many months. In September, NBC News — as Maddow was in the midst of her performative sadness and indignation over the story on its cable network — noted:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. continues to hunt for new information on the matter, he said.

"We continue to look for that evidence," the general said. "I just haven't seen it yet. 

That was what made the refusal to question this story all along so maddening. Not only was no evidence presented to support the CIA’s assertions — something that, by itself, should have prevented every real journalist from endorsing its truth — but commanders in Afghanistan were saying months ago they could not find convincing evidence for it. That is what The Daily Beast meant in Thursday’s report when it said “there were reasons to doubt the story from the start” — not just the lack of evidence but also that “the initial stories emphasize[d] its basis on detainee reporting” and “the bounties represented a qualitative shift in recent Russian engagements with Afghan insurgents.” NBC News on Thursday also said that “such a definitive statement was questionable even then.”

But these doubts were virtually non-existent in most media reports. Indeed, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the story publicly attacked me as a conspiracy theorist back in September when I cited that NBC News story about the lack of evidence while pointing out what a crucial role this uncorroborated story played in stopping troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and claiming Trump was beholden to Putin. And while The Daily Beast on Thursday said there were reasons to doubt the story from the start, that same outlet was one of the most vocal and aggressive in pushing the story as true:

Even worse, other media outlets — led by The Washington Post — purported to have “independently confirmed” the NYT/CIA tale of Russian bounties. Twice in the last year, I have written about this bizarre practice where media outlets purport to “independently confirm” one another's false stories by doing nothing more than going to the same anonymous sources who whisper to them the same things while providing no evidence. Yet they use this phrase “independent confirmation” to purposely imply that they obtained separate evidence corroborating the truth of the original story:

For months, pro-war members of both parties and leading members of the NYT/CNN/MSNBC media axis pushed a story — an inflammatory, dangerous one — based on nothing more than the say-so of anonymous CIA operatives. How can anyone do this who knows even the bare minimum about what this agency does and what its function is: to spread disinformation not just to foreign countries but the domestic population as well? It is both mystifying and toxic. But for people who call themselves “journalists” to repeat, over and over, evidence-free CIA claims, telling those who trust them to believe it, is nothing short of repulsive.

If you think that, upon learning yesterday's news, there was any self-reflection on the part of the media figures who spread this, or that they felt chastened about it in any way, you would be very, very wrong. In fact, not only did few if any admit error, but they did exactly the same thing on Thursday about a brand new evidence-free assertion from the U.S. Government concerning Russia: they mindlessly assumed it true and then stated it to millions of people as fact. They are not embarrassed to get caught spreading false CIA propaganda. They see their role, correctly, as doing exactly that.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, run by Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, issued a short Press Release about its targeting of Russian-Ukrainian political consultant, Konstantin Kilimnik, with new sanctions. One sentence of this press release asserted a claim that the Mueller investigation, after searching for eighteen months, never found: namely, that “Kilimnik provided the Russia intelligence services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” that he received from then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Is it true that Kilimnik passed this polling data to the Kremlin? Maybe. But there is no way for a rational person — let alone someone calling themselves a “journalist” — to conclude that it is true. Why? Because, like the CIA tale about Russian bounties — a claim they learned yesterday had no evidence — this is nothing more than a U.S. Government assertion that lacks any evidence.

Do you think journalists learned the lesson that they just had rubbed in their faces hours before about the foolishness of assuming official statements to be true with no evidence? Of course that is a rhetorical question: too many to count instantly proclaimed that this story was true without spending an ounce of mental energy to question if it was or apply any skepticism. Here’s Maddow’s MSNBC comrade showing how this is done:

Do you see what Hayes just did there? It is vital not to lose sight of how irresponsible and destructive this behavior is just because it is now so common. He saw a Press Release from a U.S. Government agency, read an assertion that it contained in one sentence, had no evidence that this assertion was true, but nonetheless “reported” it as if it were proven fact to millions of people in a predictably viral tweet.

Hayes was far from alone. I cannot count how many employees of corporate media outlets did the same: read the Treasury Department's Press Release and, without pausing for a second, proclaimed it to be true. Indeed, the two MSNBC hosts who follow Hayes's nightly news program explicitly described this evidence-free Press Release as "confirmation”— confirmation!

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell celebrating an evidence-free Treasury Department Press Release as "confirmation,” Apr. 15, 2021

Let's set aside the absurdity of treating this as some shocking revelation even if it were true. Just like the oozing historical ignorance of pretending that there would be something astonishing about Russians paying for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan when the CIA just last week explicitly boasted of having done the same to Russian soldiers in Afghanistan, what is this Treasury Press Release supposed to prove that is so breathtaking and scandalous: that the Kremlin could not possibly have obtained polling data about the U.S. electorate had Manafort not provided it to them? That they never would have known that Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were swing states without an elaborate plot of collusion to learn this from the Trump campaign?

But the far more important point is the U.S. media's willingness — their subservient eagerness — to obediently treat U.S. government pronouncements as Truth. Just like with the Russia bounty story, where there were ample reasons to doubt it from the start, the same is true of this Treasury Press Release. To begin with, if this were such a smoking gun "confirming” collusion, why did the Mueller investigation after eighteen months of highly aggressive subpoena-driven investigative activity not discover it?

Let's express this as clearly as it can be expressed. Any journalist who treats unverified stories from the CIA or other government agencies as true, without needing any evidence or applying any skepticism, is worthless. Actually, they are worse than worthless: they are toxic influences who deserve pure contempt. Every journalist knows that governments lie constantly and that it is a betrayal of their profession to serve as mindless mouthpieces for these security agencies: that is why they will vehemently deny they do this if you confront them with this accusation. They know it is a shameful thing to do.

But just look at what they are doing: exactly this. These are not journalists. They are obsequious spokespeople for the CIA and other official authorities. Even when they learn that they deceived millions of people by uncritically repeating a story that the CIA told them was true, they will — on the very same day that they learn they did this — do exactly the same thing, this time with a one-paragraph Treasury Department Press Release. These are agents of disinformation: state media. And when they speak, you should listen to them with the knowledge of what they really are, and treat them accordingly.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 15:00
Published:4/17/2021 2:28:47 PM
[Markets] The Military Origins Of Facebook, Part 1 The Military Origins Of Facebook, Part 1

Authored by Whitney Webb via,

Facebook’s growing role in the ever-expanding surveillance and “pre-crime” apparatus of the national security state demands new scrutiny of the company’s origins and its products as they relate to a former, controversial DARPA-run surveillance program that was essentially analogous to what is currently the world’s largest social network.

In mid-February, Daniel Baker, a US veteran described by the media as “anti-Trump, anti-government, anti-white supremacists, and anti-police,” was charged by a Florida grand jury with two counts of “transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure.”

The communication in question had been posted by Baker on Facebook, where he had created an event page to organize an armed counter-rally to one planned by Donald Trump supporters at the Florida capital of Tallahassee on January 6. “If you are afraid to die fighting the enemy, then stay in bed and live. Call all of your friends and Rise Up!,” Baker had written on his Facebook event page.

Baker’s case is notable as it is one of the first “precrime” arrests based entirely on social media posts—the logical conclusion of the Trump administration’s, and now Biden administration’s, push to normalize arresting individuals for online posts to prevent violent acts before they can happen. From the increasing sophistication of US intelligence/military contractor Palantir’s predictive policing programs to the formal announcement of the Justice Department’s Disruption and Early Engagement Program in 2019 to Biden’s first budget, which contains $111 million for pursuing and managing “increasing domestic terrorism caseloads,” the steady advance toward a precrime-centered “war on domestic terror” has been notable under every post-9/11 presidential administration.

This new so-called war on domestic terror has actually resulted in many of these types of posts on Facebook. And, while Facebook has long sought to portray itself as a “town square” that allows people from across the world to connect, a deeper look into its apparently military origins and continual military connections reveals that the world’s largest social network was always intended to act as a surveillance tool to identify and target domestic dissent.

Part 1 of this two-part series on Facebook and the US national-security state explores the social media network’s origins and the timing and nature of its rise as it relates to a controversial military program that was shut down the same day that Facebook launched. The program, known as LifeLog, was one of several controversial post-9/11 surveillance programs pursued by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that threatened to destroy privacy and civil liberties in the United States while also seeking to harvest data for producing “humanized” artificial intelligence (AI). 

As this report will show, Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley giant whose origins coincide closely with this same series of DARPA initiatives and whose current activities are providing both the engine and the fuel for a hi-tech war on domestic dissent.

DARPA’s Data Mining for “National Security” and to “Humanize” AI

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, DARPA, in close collaboration with the US intelligence community (specifically the CIA), began developing a “precrime” approach to combatting terrorism known as Total Information Awareness or TIA. The purpose of TIA was to develop an “all-seeing” military-surveillance apparatus. The official logic behind TIA was that invasive surveillance of the entire US population was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, bioterrorism events, and even naturally occurring disease outbreaks. 

The architect of TIA, and the man who led it during its relatively brief existence, was John Poindexter, best known for being Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor during the Iran-Contra affair and for being convicted of five felonies in relation to that scandal. A less well-known activity of Iran-Contra figures like Poindexter and Oliver North was their development of the Main Core database to be used in “continuity of government” protocols. Main Core was used to compile a list of US dissidents and “potential troublemakers” to be dealt with if the COG protocols were ever invoked. These protocols could be invoked for a variety of reasons, including widespread public opposition to a US military intervention abroad, widespread internal dissent, or a vaguely defined moment of “national crisis” or “time of panic.” Americans were not informed if their name was placed on the list, and a person could be added to the list for merely having attended a protest in the past, for failing to pay taxes, or for other, “often trivial,” behaviors deemed “unfriendly” by its architects in the Reagan administration. 

In light of this, it was no exaggeration when New York Times columnist William Safire remarked that, with TIA, “Poindexter is now realizing his twenty-year dream: getting the ‘data-mining’ power to snoop on every public and private act of every American.”

The TIA program met with considerable citizen outrage after it was revealed to the public in early 2003. TIA’s critics included the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed that the surveillance effort would “kill privacy in America” because “every aspect of our lives would be catalogued,” while several mainstream media outlets warned that TIA was “fighting terror by terrifying US citizens.” As a result of the pressure, DARPA changed the program’s name to Terrorist Information Awareness to make it sound less like a national-security panopticon and more like a program aiming specifically at terrorists in the post-9/11 era. 

The logo for DARPA’s Information Awareness Office, which oversaw Total Information Awareness during its brief existence

The TIA projects were not actually closed down, however, with most moved to the classified portfolios of the Pentagon and US intelligence community. Some became intelligence funded and guided private-sector endeavors, such as Peter Thiel’s Palantir, while others resurfaced years later under the guise of combatting the COVID-19 crisis. 

Soon after TIA was initiated, a similar DARPA program was taking shape under the direction of a close friend of Poindexter’s, DARPA program manager Douglas Gage. Gage’s project, LifeLog, sought to “build a database tracking a person’s entire existence” that included an individual’s relationships and communications (phone calls, mail, etc.), their media-consumption habits, their purchases, and much more in order to build a digital record of “everything an individual says, sees, or does.” LifeLog would then take this unstructured data and organize it into “discreet episodes” or snapshots while also “mapping out relationships, memories, events and experiences.”

LifeLog, per Gage and supporters of the program, would create a permanent and searchable electronic diary of a person’s entire life, which DARPA argued could be used to create next-generation “digital assistants” and offer users a “near-perfect digital memory.” Gage insisted, even after the program was shut down, that individuals would have had “complete control of their own data-collection efforts” as they could “decide when to turn the sensors on or off and decide who will share the data.” In the years since then, analogous promises of user control have been made by the tech giants of Silicon Valley, only to be broken repeatedly for profit and to feed the government’s domestic-surveillance apparatus.

The information that LifeLog gleaned from an individual’s every interaction with technology would be combined with information obtained from a GPS transmitter that tracked and documented the person’s location, audio-visual sensors that recorded what the person saw and said, as well as biomedical monitors that gauged the person’s health. Like TIA, LifeLog was promoted by DARPA as potentially supporting “medical research and the early detection of an emerging epidemic.”

Critics in mainstream media outlets and elsewhere were quick to point out that the program would inevitably be used to build profiles on dissidents as well as suspected terrorists. Combined with TIA’s surveillance of individuals at multiple levels, LifeLog went farther by “adding physical information (like how we feel) and media data (like what we read) to this transactional data.” One critic, Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warned at the time that the programs that DARPA was pursuing, including LifeLog, “have obvious, easy paths to Homeland Security deployments.” 

At the time, DARPA publicly insisted that LifeLog and TIA were not connected, despite their obvious parallels, and that LifeLog would not be used for “clandestine surveillance.” However, DARPA’s own documentation on LifeLog noted that the project “will be able . . . to infer the user’s routines, habits and relationships with other people, organizations, places and objects, and to exploit these patterns to ease its task,” which acknowledged its potential use as a tool of mass surveillance.

In addition to the ability to profile potential enemies of the state, LifeLog had another goal that was arguably more important to the national-security state and its academic partners—the “humanization” and advancement of artificial intelligence. In late 2002, just months prior to announcing the existence of LifeLog, DARPA released a strategy document detailing development of artificial intelligence by feeding it with massive floods of data from various sources. 

The post-9/11 military-surveillance projects—LifeLog and TIA being only two of them—offered quantities of data that had previously been unthinkable to obtain and that could potentially hold the key to achieving the hypothesized “technological singularity.” The 2002 DARPA document even discusses DARPA’s effort to create a brain-machine interface that would feed human thoughts directly into machines to advance AI by keeping it constantly awash in freshly mined data. 

One of the projects outlined by DARPA, the Cognitive Computing Initiative, sought to develop sophisticated artificial intelligence through the creation of an “enduring personalized cognitive assistant,” later termed the Perceptive Assistant that Learns, or PAL. PAL, from the very beginning was tied to LifeLog, which was originally intended to result in granting an AI “assistant” human-like decision-making and comprehension abilities by spinning masses of unstructured data into narrative format. 

The would-be main researchers for the LifeLog project also reflect the program’s end goal of creating humanized AI. For instance, Howard Shrobe at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and his team at the time were set to be intimately involved in LifeLog. Shrobe had previously worked for DARPA on the “evolutionary design of complex software” before becoming associate director of the AI Lab at MIT and has devoted his lengthy career to building “cognitive-style AI.” In the years after LifeLog was cancelled, he again worked for DARPA as well as on intelligence community–related AI research projects. In addition, the AI Lab at MIT was intimately connected with the 1980s corporation and DARPA contractor called Thinking Machines, which was founded by and/or employed many of the lab’s luminaries—including Danny Hillis, Marvin Minsky, and Eric Lander—and sought to build AI supercomputers capable of human-like thought. All three of these individuals were later revealed to be close associates of and/or sponsored by the intelligence-linked pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who also generously donated to MIT as an institution and was a leading funder of and advocate for transhumanist-related scientific research.

Soon after the LifeLog program was shuttered, critics worried that, like TIA, it would continue under a different name. For example, Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told VICE at the time of LifeLog’s cancellation, “It would not surprise me to learn that the government continued to fund research that pushed this area forward without calling it LifeLog.”

Along with its critics, one of the would-be researchers working on LifeLog, MIT’s David Karger, was also certain that the DARPA project would continue in a repackaged form. He told Wired that “I am sure such research will continue to be funded under some other title . . . I can’t imagine DARPA ‘dropping out’ of a such a key research area.” 

The answer to these speculations appears to lie with the company that launched the exact same day that LifeLog was shuttered by the Pentagon: Facebook.

Thiel Information Awareness

After considerable controversy and criticism, in late 2003, TIA was shut down and defunded by Congress, just months after it was launched. It was only later revealed that that TIA was never actually shut down, with its various programs having been covertly divided up among the web of military and intelligence agencies that make up the US national-security state. Some of it was privatized.

The same month that TIA was pressured to change its name after growing backlash, Peter Thiel incorporated Palantir, which was, incidentally, developing the core panopticon software that TIA had hoped to wield. Soon after Palantir’s incorporation in 2003, Richard Perle, a notorious neoconservative from the Reagan and Bush administrations and an architect of the Iraq War, called TIA’s Poindexter and said he wanted to introduce him to Thiel and his associate Alex Karp, now Palantir’s CEO. According to a report in New York magazine, Poindexter “was precisely the person” whom Thiel and Karp wanted to meet, mainly because “their new company was similar in ambition to what Poindexter had tried to create at the Pentagon,” that is, TIA. During that meeting, Thiel and Karp sought “to pick the brain of the man now widely viewed as the godfather of modern surveillance.”

Peter Thiel speaks at the World Economic Forum in 2013, Source: Mirko Ries Courtesy for the World Economic Forum

Soon after Palantir’s incorporation, though the exact timing and details of the investment remain hidden from the public, the CIA’s In-Q-Tel became the company’s first backer, aside from Thiel himself, giving it an estimated $2 million. In-Q-Tel’s stake in Palantir would not be publicly reported until mid-2006

The money was certainly useful. In addition, Alex Karp told the New York Times in October 2020, “the real value of the In-Q-Tel investment was that it gave Palantir access to the CIA analysts who were its intended clients.” A key figure in the making of In-Q-Tel investments during this period, including the investment in Palantir, was the CIA’s chief information officer, Alan Wade, who had been the intelligence community’s point man for Total Information Awareness. Wade had previously cofounded the post-9/11 Homeland Security software contractor Chiliad alongside Christine Maxwell, sister of Ghislaine Maxwell and daughter of Iran-Contra figure, intelligence operative, and media baron Robert Maxwell. 

After the In-Q-Tel investment, the CIA would be Palantir’s only client until 2008. During that period, Palantir’s two top engineers—Aki Jain and Stephen Cohen—traveled to CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, every two weeks. Jain recalls making at least two hundred trips to CIA headquarters between 2005 and 2009. During those regular visits, CIA analysts “would test [Palantir’s software] out and offer feedback, and then Cohen and Jain would fly back to California to tweak it.” As with In-Q-Tel’s decision to invest in Palantir, the CIA’s chief information officer during this time remained one of TIA’s architects. Alan Wade played a key role in many of these meetings and subsequently in the “tweaking” of Palantir’s products.

Today, Palantir’s products are used for mass surveillance, predictive policing, and other disconcerting policies of the US national-security state. A telling example is Palantir’s sizable involvement in the new Health and Human Services–run wastewater surveillance program that is quietly spreading across the United States. As noted in a previous Unlimited Hangout report, that system is the resurrection of a TIA program called Biosurveillance. It is feeding all its data into the Palantir-managed and secretive HHS Protect data platform. The decision to turn controversial DARPA-led programs into a private ventures, however, was not limited to Thiel’s Palantir.

The Rise of Facebook

The shuttering of TIA at DARPA had an impact on several related programs, which were also dismantled in the wake of public outrage over DARPA’s post-9/11 programs. One of these programs was LifeLog. As news of the program spread through the media, many of the same vocal critics who had attacked TIA went after LifeLog with similar zeal, with Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists telling Wired at the time that “LifeLog has the potential to become something like ‘TIA cubed.’” LifeLog being viewed as something that would prove even worse than the recently cancelled TIA had a clear effect on DARPA, which had just seen both TIA and another related program cancelled after considerable backlash from the public and the press. 

The firestorm of criticism of LifeLog took its program manager, Doug Gage, by surprise, and Gage has continued to assert that the program’s critics “completely mischaracterized” the goals and ambitions of the project. Despite Gage’s protests and those of LifeLog’s would-be researchers and other supporters, the project was publicly nixed on February 4, 2004. DARPA never provided an explanation for its quiet move to shutter LifeLog, with a spokesperson stating only that it was related to “a change in priorities” for the agency. On DARPA director Tony Tether’s decision to kill LifeLog, Gage later told VICE, “I think he had been burnt so badly with TIA that he didn’t want to deal with any further controversy with LifeLog. The death of LifeLog was collateral damage tied to the death of TIA.”

Fortuitously for those supporting the goals and ambitions of LifeLog, a company that turned out to be its private-sector analogue was born on the same day that LifeLog’s cancellation was announced. On February 4, 2004, what is now the world’s largest social network, Facebook, launched its website and quickly rose to the top of the social media roost, leaving other social media companies of the era in the dust. 

Sean Parker of Founders Fund speaks during the LeWeb conference in 2011, Source: @Kmeron for LeWeb11 @ Les Docks de Paris

A few months into Facebook’s launch, in June 2004, Facebook cofounders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz brought Sean Parker onto Facebook’s executive team. Parker, previously known for cofounding Napster, later connected Facebook with its first outside investor, Peter Thiel. As discussed, Thiel, at that time, in coordination with the CIA, was actively trying to resurrect controversial DARPA programs that had been dismantled the previous year. Notably, Sean Parker, who became Facebook’s first president, also had a history with the CIA, which recruited him at the age of sixteen soon after he had been busted by the FBI for hacking corporate and military databases. Thanks to Parker, in September 2004, Thiel formally acquired $500,000 worth of Facebook shares and was added its board. Parker maintained close ties to Facebook as well as to Thiel, with Parker being hired as a managing partner of Thiel’s Founders Fund in 2006.

Thiel and Facebook cofounder Mosokvitz became involved outside of the social network long after Facebook’s rise to prominence, with Thiel’s Founder Fund becoming a significant investor in Moskovitz’s company Asana in 2012. Thiel’s longstanding symbiotic relationship with Facebook cofounders extends to his company Palantir, as the data that Facebook users make public invariably winds up in Palantir’s databases and helps drive the surveillance engine Palantir runs for a handful of US police departments, the military, and the intelligence community. In the case of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Palantir was also involved in utilizing Facebook data to benefit the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign. 

Today, as recent arrests such as that of Daniel Baker have indicated, Facebook data is slated to help power the coming “war on domestic terror,” given that information shared on the platform is being used in “precrime” capture of US citizens, domestically. In light of this, it is worth dwelling on the point that Thiel’s exertions to resurrect the main aspects of TIA as his own private company coincided with his becoming the first outside investor in what was essentially the analogue of another DARPA program deeply intertwined with TIA. 

Facebook, a Front

Because of the coincidence that Facebook launched the same day that LifeLog was shut down, there has been recent speculation that Zuckerberg began and launched the project with Moskovitz, Saverin, and others through some sort of behind-the-scenes coordination with DARPA or another organ of the national-security state. While there is no direct evidence for this precise claim, the early involvement of Parker and Thiel in the project, particularly given the timing of Thiel’s other activities, reveals that the national-security state was involved in Facebook’s rise. It is debatable whether Facebook was intended from its inception to be a LifeLog analogue or if it happened to be the social media project that fit the bill after its launch. The latter seems more likely, especially considering that Thiel also invested in another early social media platform, Friendster

An important point linking Facebook and LifeLog is the subsequent identification of Facebook with LifeLog by the latter’s DARPA architect himself. In 2015, Gage told VICE that “Facebook is the real face of pseudo-LifeLog at this point.” He tellingly added, “We have ended up providing the same kind of detailed personal information to advertisers and data brokers and without arousing the kind of opposition that LifeLog provoked.” 

Users of Facebook and other large social media platforms have so far been content to allow these platforms to sell their private data so long as they publicly operate as private enterprises. Backlash only really emerged when such activities were publicly tied to the US government, and especially the US military, even though Facebook and other tech giants routinely share their users’ data with the national-security state. In practice, there is little difference between the public and private entities.

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, notably warned in 2019 that Facebook is just as untrustworthy as US intelligence, stating that “Facebook’s internal purpose, whether they state it publicly or not, is to compile perfect records of private lives to the maximum extent of their capability, and then exploit that for their own corporate enrichment. And damn the consequences.”

Snowden also stated in the same interview that “the more Google knows about you, the more Facebook knows about you, the more they are able . . . to create permanent records of private lives, the more influence and power they have over us.” This underscores how both Facebook and intelligence-linked Google have accomplished much of what LifeLog had aimed to do, but on a much larger scale than what DARPA had originally envisioned.

The reality is that most of the large Silicon Valley companies of today have been closely linked to the US national-security state establishment since their inception. Notable examples aside from Facebook and Palantir include Google and Oracle. Today these companies are more openly collaborating with the military-intelligence agencies that guided their development and/or provided early funding, as they are used to provide the data needed to fuel the newly announced war on domestic terror and its accompanying algorithms. 

It is hardly a coincidence that someone like Peter Thiel, who built Palantir with the CIA and helped ensure Facebook’s rise, is also heavily involved in Big Data AI-driven “predictive policing” approaches to surveillance and law enforcement, both through Palantir and through his other investments. TIA, LifeLog, and related government and private programs and institutions launched after 9/11, were always intended to be used against the American public in a war against dissent. This was noted by their critics in 2003-4 and by those who have examined the origins of the “homeland security” pivot in the US and its connection to past CIA “counterterror” programs in Vietnam and Latin America. 

Ultimately, the illusion of Facebook and related companies as being independent of the US national-security state has prevented a recognition of the reality of social media platforms and their long-intended, yet covert uses, which we are beginning to see move into the open following the events of January 6. Now, with billions of people conditioned to use Facebook and social media as part of their daily lives, the question becomes: If that illusion were to be irrevocably shattered today, would it make a difference to Facebook’s users? Or has the populace become so conditioned to surrendering their private data in exchange for dopamine-fueled social-validation loops that it no longer matters who ends up holding that data?

Part 2 of this series on Facebook will explore how the social media platform has grown into a behemoth that is much more extensive than what LifeLog’s program managers had originally envisioned. In concert with military contractors and former heads of DARPA, Facebook has spent the last several years doing two key things: (1) preparing to play a much larger role in surveillance and data mining than it currently does; and (2) advancing the development of a “humanized” AI, a major objective of LifeLog.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/16/2021 - 22:20
Published:4/16/2021 9:29:10 PM
[In The News] ‘Outright Lies’: Nunes Accuses FBI Director Of ‘Stonewalling’ During Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

Rep. Devin Nunes blasted FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday over what he said was the bureau’s “outright lies” regarding its surveillance activities against the Trump campaign in 2016. “The government used the Department and the FBI as weapons against the opposition party, a hallmark of banana republics,” Nunes said …

‘Outright Lies’: Nunes Accuses FBI Director Of ‘Stonewalling’ During Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/15/2021 1:14:16 PM
[Markets] Big Corporations Now Deploying Woke Ideology The Way Intelligence Agencies Do: As A Disguise Big Corporations Now Deploying Woke Ideology The Way Intelligence Agencies Do: As A Disguise

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via,

By draping itself in the finery of political activism, the corporatist class consolidates political power, corrupts democracy and distracts from its real functions...

Customers wait in line in an attempt to purchase limited-edition Air Jordan 1 'Light Smoke Grey' outside a Nike store on July 25, 2019, in Yichang, Hubei Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The British spy agency GCHQ is so aggressive, extreme and unconstrained by law or ethics that the NSA — not exactly world renowned for its restraint — often farms out spying activities too scandalous or illegal for the NSA to their eager British counterparts. There is, as the Snowden reporting demonstrated, virtually nothing too deceitful or invasive for the GCHQ. They spy on entire populations, deliberately disseminate fake news, exploit psychological research to control behavior and manipulate public perception, and destroy the reputations, including through the use of sex traps, of anyone deemed adversarial to the British government.

But they want you to know that they absolutely adore gay people. In fact, they love the cause of LGBT equality so very much that, beginning on May 17, 2015 — International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — they started draping their creepy, UFO-style headquarters in the colors of the rainbow flag. The prior year, in 2014, they had merely raised the rainbow flag in front of their headquarters, but in 2015, they announced, “we wanted to make a bold statement to show the nation we serve how strongly we believe in this.”

Official publication of the British surveillance agency GCHQ, May 17, 2015

Who could possibly be opposed to an institution that offers such noble gestures and works behind such a pretty facade? How bad could the GCHQ really be if they are so deeply committed to the rights of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people? Sure, maybe they go a little overboard with the spying sometimes, and maybe some of their surveillance and disinformation programs are a bit questionable, and they do not necessarily have the highest regard for law, privacy and truth. But we know that, deep down, these are fundamentally good people working within a fundamentally benign institution. Just look at their flamboyant support for this virtuous cause of social justice.

Similar agencies of deceit, militarism and imperialism now robustly use this same branding tactic. The CIA — in between military coups, domestic disinformation campaigns, planting false stories with their journalist-partners, and drone-assassinating U.S. citizens without due process — joyously celebrates Women’s Day, promotes what it calls The Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers (ANGLE) and hosts activities for Pride Month, and organizes events to commemorate Black History Month. The FBI does the same.

It’s so sweet that one is tempted to forget about, or at least be more understanding of, all the bombing campaigns and all the dictatorships they install and prop up that repress and kill the very people that they purport to honor and cherish. Like the GCHQ, how menacing can an intelligence agency be when it is so deeply and sincerely supportive of the rights of the people they routinely spy on, repress and kill?

Again, this does not make the CIA perfect — sure, they make some mistakes and engage in some actions that are worthy of criticism — but to combat real evil, you do not go protest at Langley. They are engaged in important work combating homophobia, racism and misogyny. Thus, real warriors against evil look not to them but instead go searching online for the Boogaloo Boys and boomers on Facebook who post Q-Anon and other problematic memes. That is where your focus should remain if you want to root out the real threats.

Large corporations have obviously witnessed the success of this tactic — to prettify the face of militarism and imperialism with the costumes of social justice — and are now weaponizing it for themselves. As a result, they are becoming increasingly aggressive in their involvement in partisan and highly politicized debates, always on the side of the same causes of social justice which entities of imperialism and militarism have so effectively co-opted.

Corporations have always sought to control the legislative process and executive branch, usually with much success. They purchase politicians and their power aides by hiring them as lobbyists and consultants when they leave government, and those bought-and-paid-for influence-peddlers then proceed to exploit their connections in Washington or state capitals to ensure that laws are written and regulations enforced (or not enforced) to benefit the corporations’ profit interests. These large corporations achieve the same goal by filling the campaign coffers of politicians from both parties. This is standard, age-old K Street sleaze that allows large corporations to control American democracy at the expense of those who cannot afford to buy this influence.

But they are now going far beyond clandestine corporatist control of the government for their own interests. They are now becoming increasingly powerful participants in highly polarizing and democratic debates. In the wake of the George Floyd killing last summer, it became virtually obligatory for every large corporation to proclaim support for the #BlackLivesMatter agenda even though many, if not most, had never previously evinced the slightest interest in questions of racial justice or policing.

One of the very few companies that refused to do so was the Silicon Valley-based cryptocurrency exchange platform called Coinbase — which announced that it would remain apolitical and not involve itself in partisan debates or causes of social justice unrelated to its core business mission. When announcing that policy of political neutrality, the company’s co-founder Brian Armstrong explained that “the reason is that while I think these efforts are well intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division.” That once-anodyne announcement — to stay out of politics as a corporate entity — produced instant backlash. And exactly two months after, the notoriously censorious and politicized “tech reporters” of The New York Times punished the company for its heresy of neutrality with a lengthy article depicting Coinbase as a bastion of racism and toxic bigotry (the company was also savaged by journalists because of its audacity to reveal and respond to the NYT’s allegations in advance of the paper’s decision to publish).

Post from Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong, Sept. 27, 2020; New York Times article on Coinbase, Nov. 27, 2020

Ever since, large corporations are diving into numerous other political debates with great vigor and force — provided that their views are in alignment with affluent liberal culture and prevailing social justice pieties (though, like NBA officials and stars, they confine themselves to easy domestic causes and scripted liberal platitudes while they steadfastly avoid commenting on any injustices that may implicate their business interests, such as debates over repression in China or Amazon’s abuse of its workers). The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that “dozens of chief executives and other senior leaders gathered on Zoom this weekend to plot what several said big businesses should do next about new voting laws under way in Texas and other states.” The campaign against these laws includes not just corporate giants but also the nation’s largest and richest corporate law firms.

Part of the motive may be self-serving strategy. With Democrats controlling both houses of Congress as well as the Executive Branch — all of the instruments that can legislate and regulate their businesses — they may be calculating that using their massive weight to serve the Democratic Party’s political agenda is wise. Doing so could curry favor with powerful lawmakers and regulators and result in rewards or, conversely, allow them to avoid punishment and recrimination for the crime of refusing to engage in activism. That motive at least partially explains why they have been so generous with their donations to Democratic candidates. “Wall Street is putting its money behind Democrat Barack Obama for president,” reported Reuters in 2008, while they did the same overwhelmingly in 2020 to support Biden over Trump (just as Democrats have increasingly become the party of affluent suburbanites, they are also increasingly supported by the wealthiest corporate and tech power centers).

The farcical nature of all of this is obvious. Just as it is laughable that the CIA and GCHQ care about social justice, feminism, and racial diversity as they bomb and subvert the rest of the world in ways that contradict all of those professed values, the idea that corporate giants who use sweatshops, slave labor, mass layoffs and abuse of their workforce care about any of these causes would make any rational person suffocate on the stench of their insincerity.

New York Times, Nov. 20, 2020

But whatever the motives, the dangers of growing corporate involvement in U.S. political debates are manifest. In its healthiest form, the way democracy would function is that citizens vote for the representatives they believe will best serve their interests, and those representatives then enact laws they believe their constituents favor. But when giant corporations use their unparalleled economic power to override that process — by forcing state and local governments to rescind or reject laws they would otherwise support due to fear of corporate punishment — then the system, by definition, far more resembles an oligarchy than a democracy. Rod Dreher, writing on Monday in The American Conservative, advanced arguments and concerns that were once the province of the left:

This is progressive oligarchy. Woke Capitalism is a threat to democracy. As I write about in Live Not By Lies, these same people are eventually going to eagerly collaborate with government to create the Social Credit System necessary to make this country controllable.

When is it going to occur to people on the Left that Big Business is doing all this because it knows that if it makes the right moves on cultural issues that matter to the Woke, it will be able to do whatever it wants to workers? It has never had to worry about Republicans. That may be changing soon, if we elect a crop of populists who know how to do more than tweet and make belligerent but empty speeches. I’d like to see Republicans like this get elected, and get active to remind Big Business of its proper place. . . .

Big Business is already quite powerful in our society. Do we really want a society in which Big Business reserves to itself the right to tell polities what their laws and policies are going to be, at the risk of punishing that polity economically if it resists? Does this sound like the kind of country you want to live in? If you are pro-choice, imagine that Big Business decided to threaten your state’s legislature with economic consequences if it doesn’t pass pro-life legislation. One expects the business lobby to engage itself on legislative questions pertaining to its own sphere, but beyond it? Big Business already has a lot of power over our lives — and now it wants more. The only force powerful enough to reign it in is the State. Whatever else you might say about the State, at least it is democratically accountable — unlike Big Business.

Residing beyond the dangers of even greater corporatist control over our lives and politics is the deceitful branding and distractions that this exploitation of social causes, by design, engender. If large corporations are crusading for voting rights, why would anyone regard them as a menace? The contrary is true: we should be grateful for their noble activism.

When it comes time to identify the root causes of social pathologies, we will look elsewhere. The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the corporate class and the ways they abuse and eliminate labor, control government, and destroy the working and middle classes will be impossible to see, as we are all blinded by the glare of their virtuous Instagram posts about racial justice and their unified campaigns against voter suppression. In an instant of swooning over their benevolent devotion to social justice, we will forget what they actually exist to do. When we work to harness their power to support our own political causes, we forget about how out of control and menacing that power is, and what it is most often used for. And that is exactly the way they want it.

*  *  *

[Attention writers, Glenn's hiring]:

As I announced on social media earlier this morning, we are further expanding this Substack by creating a program to actively solicit and publish paid freelance contributions from interesting reporters and writers doing important work that would not fit within standard, conventional, dreary liberal media sectors. The initial success of this page has already enabled me to expand this platform by hiring copy editors, a research assistant and a new video team. I'll have more shortly on the expansion of the journalism we want to do here and the ways it can be supported, but as always, we are an exclusively reader-supported enterprise which relies on readers subscribing either for themselves or as gifts for others. The more we can grow, the more of an impact we can make with truly independent journalism.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/13/2021 - 21:50
Published:4/13/2021 9:01:33 PM
[Security] FBI launches operation to remotely remove Microsoft Exchange server backdoors A court in Houston has authorized an FBI operation to “copy and remove” backdoors from hundreds of Microsoft Exchange email servers in the United States, months after hackers used four previously undiscovered vulnerabilities to attack thousands of networks. The Justice Department announced the operation on Tuesday, which it described as “successful.” In March, Microsoft discovered […] Published:4/13/2021 7:01:18 PM
[Security] Intelligence Community Leaders Should Answer These Questions on Tech Threats to the US

Leaders from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency will testify this week before the... Read More

The post Intelligence Community Leaders Should Answer These Questions on Tech Threats to the US appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/13/2021 3:00:38 PM
[] Do-it-yourself fake vaccination cards are now a thing Published:4/11/2021 5:49:53 PM
[Markets] Anti-War Activist Visited By Police After Posting Embarrassing AOC Video Anti-War Activist Visited By Police After Posting Embarrassing AOC Video

Authored by Max Blumenthal via The,

An anti-war activist said he was visited by California Highway Patrol officers after posting video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bumbling comments on Israel-Palestine. The action, which AOC denies triggering, was initiated by a call to US Capitol Police.

As he waited for a food delivery at his home in Los Angeles on April 8, Ryan Wentz, an anti-war activist and producer for the online viral program, Soapbox, heard two men calling his name from over his front gate. When he approached, he realized they were not delivery drivers, but police officers flashing badges of the California Highway Patrol.

The cops informed Wentz that they had received a call from the Capitol Police, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the US Congress, about a tweet he had sent that allegedly threatened Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Wentz told The Grayzone, "The officers said, 'We got a warning about a sitting member of Congress. And it was because of your tweet, which tagged them in it. And then they just wouldn’t back down from this accusation that I threatened to kill her.'"

The California Highway Patrol indicated on Twitter that it had acted on a call from Capitol Police. Update: A spokesperson for AOC has denied to Intercept reporter Ryan Grim that their office reported Wentz’s post, and has "asked Capitol Police to look into what happened here."

The police visit Wentz received may be part of a wider trend of post-January 6 police intervention in social media criticism of members of Congress.

Though AOC’s office has denied falsely informing Capitol Police of an online threat by Wentz, the Democratic congresswoman has in the past asked her supporters to report critics to social media censors.

Whoever called the police on Wentz furnished law enforcement with a patently false allegation, as he has never threatened violence against any member of Congress. In the tweet that triggered the police action, Wentz merely posted video of AOC delivering a vapid and embarrassingly convoluted answer to a question about resolving the crisis in Israel-Palestine. Describing her answer as "incredibly underwhelming," he let the congresswoman’s cringeworthy commentary speak for itself.

Asked by Michael S. Miller of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council about actions that could be taken to support movements towards peace between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, AOC responded as follows:

Earlier just now you and I were talking about the what and the how. And I think that when we talk about peace, centering people’s humanity, protecting people’s rights – it’s not just about the what and the end goal which actually gets a lot of focus, but I actually think it’s much more about the how, and the way we are coming together, and how we interpret that what, and how we act in, you know, the actions we take to get to that what. So what this really is about is a question more than anything else about process. And we really need to make sure that we are valuing a process where all parties are respected and have, you know, a lot of equal opportunity to really make sure we are negotiating in good faith, etcetera. That being said, you know, I think there’s just this one central issue of settlements, because if the what – if the what has been decided on as two state, then the action of settlements, it’s not the how to get to that what. And so, you know, I think that’s a central thing that, you know, we center. And that we value Jewish and rather, we value Israeli, uh, uh, uh, we value the safety and human rights of Israelis, we value the safety and human rights of Palestinians, in that process that is similar, and that is on equal footing. And so all of that is extremely important in that process.

The video that Wentz tweeted of AOC’s long-winded dodge of a fundamental question about resolving the Israeli occupation of Palestine prompted a flood of online mockery and contempt, mostly from leftist Twitter users. Many derided AOC as a careerist who had abandoned progressive causes like Palestinian liberation in order to curry favor with Democratic Party power brokers, while others ridiculed her meaningless word salad.

Within hours of the online pile-on, someone reported Wentz to the Capitol Police for tweeting the video that embarrassed AOC. Because Wentz does not provide any information about his personal identity in his public Twitter profile, the social media giant appeared to have provided his private details to federal law enforcement.

"Another weird thing is usually I would get a report [from Twitter]," Wentz said, "because I’ve gotten my tweets reported before. But I didn’t get any notification about this."

AOC’s staff has previously appealed to social media censors to suppress online criticism. On February 4, 2021, her campaign sent a mass email to supporters asking them to "scan your social media to find posts with misleading information" about the congresswoman, and "use the built-in report feature to flag them for moderators."

Team AOC issued its appeal for supporters to police social media in response to right-wing mockery of a dramatic livestream in which AOC suggested that the mob which stormed the Capitol building on January 6 nearly assassinated her.

"I just hear these yells of 'WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?'" she recounted in the livestream. "This was the moment where I thought everything was over. I thought I was going to die."

However, the source of the yells which had terrified AOC turned out to be a Capitol Police officer who had been dispatched to protect her. Further, the congresswoman’s office was located in the Cannon House Office Building, which had not been penetrated by any rioters on January 6.

Right-wing activists and other political foes of AOC exploited these points to launch a viral hashtag likening the congresswoman to Jussie Smollet, the actor who faked an attack on himself. After attempting to challenge her critics directly, AOC delegated her staff to dispatch its army of supporters to report critics en masse to Twitter and Facebook censors.

Weeks earlier, online podcaster Jimmy Dore had initiated a "Force The Vote" campaign to pressure AOC and fellow members of the progressive congressional "Squad" to withhold their votes for Rep. Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House until Pelosi agreed to bring a bill for Medicare for All to the floor for a vote.

In response to incendiary criticism from Dore for her refusal to buck centrist party leadership, AOC declared, "That’s not tone, that’s violence."

According to Wentz, the police officers that visited him asked if he had any violent intent behind his tweet, then left. "If this was like a purely intimidation thing," he reflected, "then I guess it did its job. It’s not comforting to be on the receiving end of that. But at the same time, they’re not going to shut the left up."

Wentz’s disturbing encounter with law enforcement appears to be part of an emerging trend. On the same date law enforcement visited him, a Twitter user posted photos of alleged federal agents on their front lawn and claimed, "FBI just came by my house for a tweet to Ted Cruz."

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/09/2021 - 16:21
Published:4/9/2021 3:32:40 PM
[Society] 2 Men on Terror Watchlist Caught Crossing Southern Border

Two men from Yemen were apprehended and found to be on the FBI’s terrorism watchlist after illegally crossing the southern border in January and March,... Read More

The post 2 Men on Terror Watchlist Caught Crossing Southern Border appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/6/2021 12:41:19 PM
[Uncategorized] Report: Border Patrol Arrest Two Yemeni Men on FBI’s Terrorism List

Border Patrol agents arrested the first man in January and the second one in March. Both arrests occurred in California.

The post Report: Border Patrol Arrest Two Yemeni Men on FBI’s Terrorism List first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/6/2021 10:11:48 AM
[Markets] Majority Of Americans Reject Democrats' "Election Integrity" Outrage, Support Voter IDs Majority Of Americans Reject Democrats' "Election Integrity" Outrage, Support Voter IDs

Earlier today, Mitch McConnell blasted the "Outrage Industrial Complex" over the lemming-like response to Georgia's voting integrity reforms.

"Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex," McConnell added. "Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling."

It turns out McConnell is right and in fact, a new AP-NORC poll released Friday shows an overwhelming amount of American support requiring identification to vote.

Voter identification requirements are supported by 72% of the public. That popularity is largely driven by support from Republicans, 91% of whom support a requirement that all voters provide photo identification in order to cast their ballot.

However, as the poll shows, 56% of Democrats also support requiring photo ID to vote.

As AmericanThinker's Eric Utter recently noted, we live in a hyper-credentialed society.

  • Little girls need a government-granted license to sell lemonade at their sidewalk stands.

  • One must provide a valid photo I.D. and be vetted by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) - and possibly be subject to a several-day waiting period - to purchase a firearm.

  • One must present a current, valid photo I.D. to cash a check, or buy a loaf of bread, a six-pack of beer, or pack of smokes at a grocery store. 

  • Want to board a plane? I.D. please.

  • And probably soon, a vaccine I.D.

But one should never have to be troubled to identify oneself to vote for the most powerful person on earth, say Democrats. That would be racist!

It's sad that even a majority of their voting public disagrees with Democratic politicians' (admittedly false) narrative over Voter IDs.

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/05/2021 - 20:00
Published:4/5/2021 7:06:31 PM
[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Suspected Terrorists Apprehended Illegally Crossing Southern Border

By Kaylee Greenlee -

Ice Officer

Two men from Yemen were apprehended and found to be on the FBI’s terrorism watch list after illegally crossing the southern border in January and March, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Monday. CBP agents arrested the men near the Calexico Port of Entry in southern California, according to the …

Suspected Terrorists Apprehended Illegally Crossing Southern Border is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/5/2021 6:04:56 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Dishes On Crack Use, Insists "100% Certain" DoJ Probe Will Clear Him Of Wrongdoing Hunter Biden Dishes On Crack Use, Insists "100% Certain" DoJ Probe Will Clear Him Of Wrongdoing

Following its publication of bombshell revelations concerning Hunter Biden and his alleged influence peddling, which led him to take a stake in a Chinese investment vehicle created in partnership with politically-connected individuals, the New York Post was immediately censored by Twitter and the other social media giants, as they alleged the emails, texts and other information shared by the NYPost had either been "hacked", or were completely fraudulent.

Fast forward five months, and Hunter Biden admitted in an interview with CBS's "Sunday Morning" program that the "laptop from hell" might indeed be his. Asked a point-blank yes-or-no question about the water-damaged laptop (which was eventually seized by the FBI's top child porn investigator) Hunter replied that the laptop "absolutely" belonged to him, but that it could have been "hacked", "stolen" or - who knows? He insisted that he didn't drop it off at the laptop repair shop, contradicting the shop owner's claims that he believed Hunter was the one who dropped them off.

Some clips from the interview were published Friday, but on Sunday morning, the full interview was aired, and it included even more probing questions. Asked about the federal tax probe that he's currently facing, Biden insisted that he is "100% certain that at the end of the investigation, that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing."

He added that he is "cooperating completely" and that..."all I can do is cooperate", before CBS delved into B-roll detailing Hunter Biden's upbringing in the public eye, and the tragic car accident that killed his mother. Afterward, CBS detailed Biden's "substance abuse" struggles for years.

At one point, Biden detailed a previously private story about his father shirking his secret service to visit Hunter Biden's apartment and encourage him to go to rehab.

"I spent more time on my hands and knees, picking through rugs, smoking anything that even remotely resembled crack-cocaine. I've probably smoked more parmesean cheese than anyone that you know. I went one time for 13 days without sleeping...smoking crack and drinking vodka exclusively throughout that time."

The interview was timed to promote the younger Biden's book, "Beautiful Things," reportedly named for a phrase he and his deceased brother, Beau Biden, used to describe their lives.

The interview delved into other sensitive subjects, like Hunter's relationship with his dead brother's widow. "To me, it's not something that's difficult to explain because it came out of a real overwhelming grief that we both shared...that grief turned into a hope for a love that maybe we thought could replace what we had lost."

The interview also probed Biden's decision to join Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that later embroiled him and his family "in a political firestorm". Looking back, did Hunter make "a mistake" by taking a spot on the board of Burisma? "No" he insisted, even after being pressed about whether he had "foreseen" the optics. "Not one investigative body, not one serious journalist has ever come to the conclusion that I did anything wrong, or that my father did anything wrong."

Watch the full interview below:

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/05/2021 - 09:50
Published:4/5/2021 9:03:02 AM
[Markets] Stand Up To Tyranny: How To Respond To The Evils Of Our Age Stand Up To Tyranny: How To Respond To The Evils Of Our Age

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

- Martin Luther King Jr. (A Knock at Midnight, June 11, 1967)

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

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

What would Jesus do? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Professor Mark Lewis Taylor observed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/02/2021 - 23:30
Published:4/2/2021 10:46:00 PM
[Markets] FBI Gun Background Checks Soar To Record High In March Amid Gun Control Push FBI Gun Background Checks Soar To Record High In March Amid Gun Control Push

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Background checks for firearms conducted by the FBI reached a new record high in March.

Firearms are seen at a gun shop in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 13, 2020. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Nearly 4.7 million checks were done across the month, smashing the previous record of 4.3 million set in January.

Chart: ZeroHedge

The FBI numbers include background checks for firearms, permits, and other purposes related to guns.

Adjusted numbers from the National Shooting Sports Foundation provided to The Epoch Times shows the gun checks alone in March were 2 million. That is the second highest number on record, after the 2.3 million checks completed in March 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic conditions and the push for gun ownership restrictions are propelling Americans to buy more guns, Mark Olivia with the foundation told The Epoch Times.

“I think as long as you continue to see these misguided calls for gun control to chip away the rights of law abiding citizens and not look at legislation that’s going to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, firearms on the hands of those who are adjudicated mentally defective, you’re going to continue to see Americans go out and exercise their right before that right is seized from them by their government,” Olivia said.

A man leaves a bouquet on a police cruiser parked outside the Boulder Police Department after an officer was one of the victims of a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store, in Boulder, Colo., on March 23, 2021. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence promoted a different view.

“The latest data released by the FBI shows that Americans continue to react to uncertainty by seeking self protection with a firearm. This reaction follows decades of public posturing by the gun industry and the NRA, who have fueled a year of panic purchasing by promulgating fear and paranoia,” Kris Brown, president of the group, said in a statement. NRA stands for the National Rifle Association.

“These new statistics similarly do not reflect the many firearms that are sold without a background check in private transfers, potentially dangerous sales that are currently legal. Those sales are not regulated and therefore not accounted for in NICS data. We need comprehensive gun safety laws, such as universal background checks, to ensure that firearm sales are conducted safely and that individuals prohibited from buying a firearm do not obtain one,” Brown added.

Along with surging gun sales, NRA memberships have jumped in recent months.

President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, in the wake of mass shootings last month in Georgia and Colorado, are pushing for both new gun control laws and executive action that would curtail gun ownership.

Few mass shootings took place in 2020 as many Americans spent most of their time at home after governors imposed harsh restrictions amid the pandemic.

But crime rose in a number of cities, with a sharp increase in murders. That, combined with the movement to cut police funding, compelled Americans to buy guns in record numbers.

People purchasing guns are “buying guns for defense,” Jerry Koch, owner of Guntraders in Redmond, Oregon, told The Epoch Times in February.

“They’re doing it because they’re afraid,” he added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
Follow Zachary on Parler: @zackstieber
Tyler Durden Fri, 04/02/2021 - 20:30
Published:4/2/2021 7:44:55 PM
[Markets] Gaslighting: How Leftists Demonize And Demoralize Their Opposition Gaslighting: How Leftists Demonize And Demoralize Their Opposition

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

We have all heard this time honored cautionary mantra: “All governments lie”.

It’s not a theory, it is a fact that history has proven time after time.

I would only expand on the rule and say this: All governments, all corporations, all corporate media, all think tanks, and all corporate funded activist groups lie. There is a reason why public trust is at all time lows for the majority of these organizations, and it’s not because they are managed by good and honest people.

If you operate on the assumption that these groups are lying to you most of the time then you will find yourself on the right side of history.

That said, there are questions we need to ask ourselves if we ever hope to change the world for the better and remove these liars from power: Why do they lie? Why has this become a rule to live by? And, how are they able to lie and get away with it so often?

Well, it’s not because power corrupts. That cliché might be true to a point, but I think it’s a way for people to dismiss the bigger problem because they are afraid to address the ugly truth. The reality is, power does not necessarily corrupt; it’s that the corrupt seek out power.

Governments and other mainstream institutions always lie because psychopathic liars always infiltrate and overrun them. We have very few checks in place to prevent this, and very little is understood about psychopaths in the general public. To understand destructive institutions is to understand the character traits and methods of the psychopaths that run them.

Psychopaths are not very complicated people nor are they all that intelligent, but they often succeed because they are relentless in their pursuits. The common signs of psychopathy include a complete lack of empathy, the obsessive desire for dominance, the use of physical or psychological violence to gain control over others, a narcissistic need to feel superior to everyone else and a habit of playing the victim while victimizing others.

A common assumption about psychopaths is that they are incapable of working in a group or organizing for mutual gain. This is simply nonsense. In reality, numerous studies have shown that psychopaths are adept at finding their own kind in a crowd and even working together as a pack of predators. Some modern examples would be organized crime, cartels, sex traffickers, online scamming groups and religious cults.

Almost all psychopaths are inherent cowards; they will rarely pick on anyone their own size unless they have large numbers. The worst case scenario is fully realized organized psychopathy; the advent of a totalitarian culture in which psychopathic behavior is rewarded and defended by those in authority or influence, while honesty, morality and liberty are punished.

Over the course of generations, psychopaths have used different groups and ideologies to gain control over the public, but today organized psychopaths have chosen the cult of socialism, social justice, fake environmentalism and leftist ideology as their vehicles. Essentially, we are dealing with a modernized version of communism. And if we examine the habits of current leftist and globalist “movements” we will see a lot of similarities to historic communism, not to mention numerous psychopathic behaviors.

The use of “Gaslighting” as a weapon is a classic mainstay of psychopaths and by extension communist regimes, and it is visible EVERYWHERE in politics and the media right now. It’s perhaps ironic that I am publishing this article on April Fools Day, because gaslighting is very much a kind of trick, a con game. And, in order to control people, it helps to humiliate them and make them doubt their own conceptions of reality.

The basic definition of gaslighting is the manipulation of a person by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. In other words, making a sane person believe they might be insane. This, however, is not an adequate explanation of gaslighting. It’s not only about questions of sanity, it is also about questions of principle and morality.

The communist Soviet Union was notorious for gaslighting the public with propaganda that suggested anyone who defied the will of the state and who demanded freedom was “mentally ill”. The Cheka secret police and the KGB had special hospitals set aside for political dissidents called “Psikhushkas”. People of any prominence who were critical of the status quo were immediately disappeared and sent to these facilities after being accused of mental instability.

In Maoist China, especially during the Cultural Revolution, Mao targeted impressionable and gullible Chinese youth, brainwashing them into believing there was “institutional imperialism” hiding within every facet of Chinese society. The stability of communism in China was under question at the time, and Mao knew a rebellion was possible. So, instead of immediately cracking down with the military, he encouraged Chinese academics and youths to “rebel” and “bring down the secret imperialists”. He redirected social discontent and aimed it at a non-existent ghost so that a rebellion would never rise up against him and the politburo.

Young and dumb Chinese activists thought they were rebelling when they were actually serving the interests of government elites.

Gaslighting in China was pervasive. Any person that held the most remote belief in freedom, free markets, business, private property or anyone that had any objections to the crimes of the communists was forced to undergo a trial, a kangaroo court called a “struggle session”.

During a struggle session, a dissident was sometimes apprehended, or sometimes shamed and compelled to stand before a large crowd of true believers in the communist faith. The crowd would browbeat them with accusations of criminality and immorality, trying to convince them of the evil of their ways. If the dissident bowed and submitted to the collective, begging forgiveness, then they might be allowed to live, but they had to BELIEVE that they had sinned. They had to fully adopt the communist ideology and plead for absolution.

Many victims that underwent such struggle sessions continued to believe they were criminals for the rest of their lives. They believed they were terrible people, even though they had no idea why they were punished in the first place.

Gaslighting is a powerful device for subjugation because it makes good people who love freedom think they are evil people that need to be restrained. It is also a way for a corrupt system to maintain control of the general population because it normalizes psychopathic behavior and suppresses moral conscience by convincing people that morality is “relative” or a “matter of perspective”, and that some abusive and destructive behavior is “necessary” in order to achieve a better world. If you can discombobulate a population into questioning their own morality, or if you can convince then to question their own sanity, then you can prevent them from ever rebelling against you.

These are the tried and true methods of psychopaths. If you ever wonder why abused spouses or family members stay with and even defend their abusers, it is because psychopaths use gaslighting to disarm their victims. If you are crazy or subconsciously treacherous, then maybe you aren’t being abused at all. Maybe, you are being saved from yourself, and maybe society is being protected from you?

And, if you lash out and defend yourself against the abuser, now you are truly a horrible human being. You just attacked your “protector”. You are now a danger to society. You are now a terrorist. The only way to avoid being labeled a terrorist or a madman is to quietly accept the abuse.

I see this control tactic all over the world, and it is becoming rather prevalent here in the US. The capitol building protest is a perfect example. Millions of law abiding Americans have been abused and oppressed by the establishment through lockdowns and censorship, while groups of leftists like BLM and Antifa are allowed to run rampant across the country looting and burning as they go. Conservative Americans reacted with a protest after the election, seeing that such abuses were likely to be aided in the near future by the federal government under Joe Biden. They raided the capitol building, without armaments, to make a point. Then, they peacefully left.

Afterwards, the media bombarded us for months with the narrative that the capitol protest was actually an “insurrection” and an act of domestic terrorism. So, BLM gets to loot and burn their way through dozens of American cities and it’s called peaceful protesting. Conservatives protest at a single building and bust through the doors, and it’s considered an act of war. This is gaslighting.

Under pandemic mandates a vast portion of the US has been shut down and hundreds of thousands of small businesses have been lost. The fear mongering in the media over the coronavirus has been egregious and ridiculous. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year in America from communicable diseases. Now, suddenly, we are supposed to abandon all of our constitutional rights because of covid?

Anyone who has disagreed with these measures has been called a “conspiracy theorist” and a danger to others. The science is on our side, and always has been. Every element of the pandemic has been exaggerated and overblown. Every statistic supports our skepticism of the government’s response, as I outlined in my recent article ‘The Real Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Will Defy Covid Mandates And Vaccines’.

But, when we cite these facts, we are told by the establishment that we are “lunatics” and “idiots”.

Of course, now we know that the death rate of Covid-19 according to scientific studies is a paltry 0.26% outside of nursing homes. We also know that lockdowns were completely useless in controlling the spread of the virus, as states with the harshest mandates ended up with the highest infections rates. And, finally, we know that masks are also useless in controlling the spread of the disease according to scientific studies and common sense observation.

Rather than admitting that lockdowns are pointless, that the masks do nothing and that it is silly to take an experimental mRNA vaccine for a virus that is a non-threat to 99.7% of the population, establishment hacks continue to double down on their propaganda when it comes to covid. The media continues to attack anyone that points out the REAL science as “conspiracy theorists”. This is gaslighting.

And finally, we can’t really have a discussion about gaslighting without mentioning the social justice agenda.

The phrase “white supremacy” is being repeated by corporate journalists and politicians until they are blue in the face. And more specifically, conservatives are being called out as the “biggest terrorist threat” to the US in decades because of our supposed white supremacist tendencies. The latest “spike” in Asian hate crimes is the new excuse for this propaganda campaign.

Set aside the fact that millions of conservatives are black and brown, not white. Set aside the fact that the majority of the hate crimes targeting Asians the past couple years were actually perpetrated by black assailants (as I noted in last week’s article), and one of them is even a known BLM activist. Also set aside the fact that around 50% of all violent crime in the US is caused by black perpetrators according to the FBI. Somehow, all of this anarchy is the fault of white people in general and conservatives in particular.

The race baiting used by leftists the past several years is a prime example of gaslighting – Telling people they are responsible for evils they had nothing to do with and that are completely unrelated to them, then demanding they declare submission and loyalty to an ideology that seeks to enslave them as a means to wash away sins they were never guilty of.

If totalitarian control of the population is to be established in the US and the west, we have to be tricked into thinking our values of freedom, truth and meritocracy are somehow inherently evil. We have to be tricked into thinking we are insane for wanting liberty. To be clear, there only three ways that the brainwashing and gaslighting of free people will stop:

1) We submit and embrace the false narrative as if it is true and give in to psychological slavery.

2) We separate completely from leftist totalitarians and organized psychopaths and go our own way.

3) We remove the psychopaths from the picture and rebuild without their influence.

Until one of these three things happens, like all psychopaths, leftists and globalists will continue trying to wear us down. This is what they do. They have seen it work in the past and they are single minded in their objectives.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 04/01/2021 - 23:40
Published:4/1/2021 11:11:49 PM
[Crime] About Anti-Asian Hate Crimes (John Hinderaker) Historically, there have been very few hate crimes directed against Asians–just 4.4 percent of hate crimes based on race or ethnicity in the FBI’s most recent report. Lately, though, there has been an uptick, reflected in several highly-publicized and vicious attacks. Democratic Party news sources have absurdly tried to blame anti-Asian crimes on President Trump. NBC News, for example: Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of demographic data and policy research Published:4/1/2021 7:38:40 PM
[Markets] They're Not Even Trying To Make Sense Now They're Not Even Trying To Make Sense Now

Authored by Patrick Armstrong via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In short, we are supposed to believe that in 2016 the Russian hacked nothing but the election and in 2020 they hacked everything but the election.

The US intelligence community published a report on 10 March, widely reported in the US free speech news media, on foreign interference in the US election (how many oxymorons so far?).

The report establishes a new level of idiocy on the long-running “Russiagate” nonsense.


The idiocy began when Trump, campaigning, remarked that it would be better to get along with Russia than not. A sentiment that would not have surprised Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan or any of the others who recognised that, like it or not, Moscow was a fact. A fact that had to be dealt with, talked to, negotiated with so as to produce the best possible result. Why? Well, apart from the diplomatic reality that it is better to get on with your neighbours, the fact that the USSR/Russia was a nuclear power that could obliterate the USA was adequate reason to keep communications alive. If relations could be improved, all earlier US Presidents would agree, so much the better. But for Trump – the outsider – to dare to say so was an outrage. Or more accurately, a hook on which to hang enough simulated outrage to cost him the election. Then, upsetting all expectations, he won. Immediately pussy hat protests, blather about tax returns, Electoral College speculations, 25th Amendment, psychiatrists opining unfitness (COVFEFE: Bizarre Trump Behavior Raises More Mental Health Questions): an entire industry was created to get Trump out, or, if he couldn’t be got out, then at least prevented from doing any of the things he campaigned on. All the swamp creatures were mobilised. The most enduring of these efforts was the Russia allegation. A Special Counsel was created to investigate Russia, Trump and the election. Leaks from this and other investigations fuelled outrage and talk shows.

One of the indications that the story was actually an information operation and not based on fact was its imprecision. Was Trump merely too friendly with Putin, or was he his puppet? Was Trump just a fool to think that relations with Russia could be improved, or was he following instructions? In short, was he a dupe or a traitor? How exactly had Russia interfered in the election and to what effect? Had a few voters been influenced or had the result been completely determined by Moscow? In short was Moscow running the USA or just trying to? Proponents of these crackpot theories never quite specified what they were talking about – it was all suggestion, innuendo, rumours and promises of future devastating revelations. Some of the highlights of the campaign: Keith Olberman shouting Russian scum! Morgan Freeman solemnly intoning that we were at war, and, night after night, Rachel Maddow spewing conspiracies. Some media headlines: Opinion: Here are 18 reasons Trump could be a Russian assetTrump is ‘owned by Putin’ and has been ‘laundering money’ for Russians, claims MSNBC’s Donny DeutschMueller’s Report Shows All The Ways Russia Interfered In 2016 Presidential ElectionA media firestorm as Trump seems to side with Putin over US intelligenceTrump and Putin, closer than everAll signs point the same way: Vladimir Putin has compromising information on Donald Trump. And so on. Four years of non-stop nonsense promising, tomorrow, or the next day, the final revelation that would disgrace Trump and rid the country of him forever: my personal favourite is this mashup of TV hairstyles telling us that the walls were closing in. Information war. Propaganda. Fake news.

All this despite the fact that the story as presented simply made no sense at all. As I pointed out in December 2017, if Moscow had wanted to nobble Clinton, it had far more potent weapons at its disposal than a too-late revelation of finagling inside the DNC.

And it wasn’t just TV talking heads; the US intelligence community participated. There were two laughable “intelligence assessments”. The DHS/FBI report of 29 December 2016 carried this stunning disclaimer:

This report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.

The DNI report of 6 January 2017 devoted nearly half its space to a four-year-old rant about RT and admitted that the one Agency that would really know had only “moderate confidence”. In short: ignore the first report, and don’t take the second one seriously. Were people inside these organisations trying to tell us it was all phoney? No matter, the anti-Trump conspiracy shrieked out the reports immediately.

One by one, it fell apart. Mueller, despite the prayer candles, came up with nothing. The “Dirty Dossier” was a fraud. The impeachment for something that Biden actually did failed. These dates should be remembered – Crowdstrike CEO Shawn Henry told the House committee that he had no evidence on 5 December 2017; this classified testimony was not made public until 7 May 2020. Simply put: the key allegation, the trigger for all the excitement and investigations that followed, was a lie, many people knew it was a lie, the lie was kept secret for 884 days. But the lie served its purpose.

There were no investigations of this fraud, only pseudo investigations that went nowhere. When the Republicans had a majority on the House of Representatives there were serious investigations but the testimonies – like Henry’s – were kept secret because they were “classified”. When the Democrats gained control, there were continual boasts that the evidence of collusion was overwhelming, but nothing happened either. Trump’s first Attorney General recused himself and the investigation was conducted by the conspirators. His second Attorney General promised much, set up a Special Counsel, but nothing happened. Well, not quite nothing: a junior conspirator had his knuckles rapped for faking a FISA warrant. In short, the Deep State ran the clock out: the swamp drained Trump.

Ran it out quite successfully too: relations with Russia got worse and Trump himself was hamstrung. His orders were ignored everywhere: on investigating the conspiracy and on removing troops; here’s an insider telling us that the Pentagon ignored his orders on Afghanistan. He was stonewalled on Syria: “We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there.” The “most powerful man in the world” was blocked on almost every initiative and the long false Russia connection story was a powerful weapon in the conspiracy to impede his attempts to change course.

In 2021 Trump left office and there was no need to mention any of it again. But here’s where it gets really stupid. In December 2020, the NYT solemnly told us: Russian Hackers Broke Into Federal Agencies, U.S. Officials Suspect: In one of the most sophisticated and perhaps largest hacks in more than five years, email systems were breached at the Treasury and Commerce Departments. Other breaches are under investigation. At the same time we were equally solemnly told by US officials “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history”.

In short, we are supposed to believe that

in 2016 the Russian hacked nothing but the election

and in 2020 they hacked everything but the election.

How stupid do they think we are? Even stupider evidently. Instead of retiring the Trump/Russia/collusion/interference nonsense when it had achieved its purpose, the Intelligence Community Assessment on Foreign Threats to the 2020 US Federal Elections takes us right back down the rabbit hole. I haven’t read it and certainly don’t intend to (see oxymoron above), but Matt Taibbi has and eviscerates it here; he’s read far enough to have mined this gem “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact”. (Is this a hint from insiders that it’s all fake?) The report claims that Putin authorised, and various Russian government entities conducted, a campaign to denigrate Biden. Specifically by using Ukrainian sources to talk about corruption of Biden and his son Hunter; despite the video of Biden boasting about firing the investigator, we’re assured that this is all disinformation. And the consumers of the NYT and CNN will believe what they were told. Or, actually, will believe what they weren’t told: the media kept quiet. (Now that’s interference and interference that actually might have changed votes.) The report goes on to say that China did something or other and Iran, Hezbollah, Cuba and Venezuela also chipped in. But fortunately no foreign actor did anything to affect the technical part of the election.

The US security organs expect us to believe,

giving no proof,

that there was lots of malign activity

which had no effect on the election whatsoever.

Which is telling us they think we’re even stupider. Russia swung the election four years ago but forgot how to this time? Putin’s attempt to keep Trump in was blocked by security measures adopted when his tool was President? This time Putin wanted Biden in? Russia’s efforts on behalf of Trump were countered by China’s on behalf of Biden and Iran’s interference broke the tie? But then, information operations don’t have to make sense, they just have to create an impression: Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela do bad things to good people.

Oh, and the latest is that Moscow cultivated Trump for over 40 years, Imagine that: in 1980 they were so perceptive as to see the future importance of a property developer; who’ve they got lined up in the wings now? And Rachel Maddow is back at the old stand pushing some conspiracy theory about Trump, Putin and COVID. I guess it’s not yet time to put away the tinfoil hats.

As I have said before, English needs a whole new set of words for the concept “stupid”: the old ones just don’t have the power any more.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/31/2021 - 21:00
Published:3/31/2021 8:04:24 PM
[] Sharyl Attkisson gets an answer to her question, why is the name of the officer who killed Ashli Babbitt being kept secret? Published:3/31/2021 6:01:57 PM
[Markets] Documents Detail Wild Alleged $25M Gaetz Extortion Scheme Documents Detail Wild Alleged $25M Gaetz Extortion Scheme

Authored by Joseph Simonson and Emily Brooks via the Washington Examiner

Rep. Matt Gaetz possesses text message screenshots, an email, and a typed document that purportedly support his claims that a federal investigation into his relationship with a 17-year-old is related to an extortion scheme against him.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid her to travel with him. Gaetz has called the report "totally false." Gaetz told Axios that his lawyers told him that he "was not a target but a subject of an investigation regarding sexual conduct with women."

The Florida Republican countered the report on Twitter and in statements to Axios and Fox News with a claim that his family is being extorted for $25 million and that the people pushing stories about an investigation into his relationships with women are the people extorting him and the subjects of an FBI extortion investigation over the last few weeks.

The documents in Gaetz's possession detail an alleged scheme that revolves around attempts by former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent and Beggs & Lane attorney David McGee, a former federal prosecutor, to free ex-FBI agent-turned-private investigator Robert Levinson from imprisonment in Iran.

Levinson went missing in Iran in March 2007. McGee is the attorney for the Levinson family. Kent in December 2018 had planned a secret mission to try to rescue Levinson, but he was reportedly thwarted by the federal government.

Screenshots provided to the Washington Examiner show a message that his father, Don Gaetz, a former Florida state Senate president, said he received from Kent on March 16. The message proposes “a plan that can make [Matt Gaetz’s] future legal and political problems go away.” Gaetz has denied any relationship with a minor.

Despite the family members of Levinson saying in March 2020 that they presumed him to be dead based on information given by U.S. officials, the alleged message from Kent said he had located Levinson in Iran and has two “proof of life videos.” Kent also requested the Gaetz family’s help returning Levinson in exchange for giving Matt Gaetz credit for the operation and promising a presidential pardon for unnamed legal issues.

The next day, on March 17, Don Gaetz purportedly met with Kent, and Kent handed him a three-page document outlining “Project Homecoming.” That document detailed a plan to save Levinson at the cost of a $25 million loan.

In 1983, Don Gaetz co-founded VITAS Healthcare, and in 2004, he and his co-founders reportedly sold their stock in the company for $406 million.

In the Project Homecoming document, Kent then asked that the loan should be deposited in the trust account of Beggs & Land, naming David L. McGee, and deposited no later than March 19.

The Project Homecoming document states that Gaetz is “under investigation by the FBI for various public corruption and public integrity issues” and alleges that the FBI is aware of photos depicting Gaetz in a “sexual orgy with underage prostitutes.”

“In exchange for the funds being arranged, and upon the release of Mr. Levinson, the team that delivers Mr. Levinson to the President of The United States shall strongly advocate that President Biden issue a Presidential Pardon, or instruct the Department of Justice to terminate any and all investigations involving Congressman Gaetz," the document reads.

Provided to the Washington Examiner

It also implied that the White House has some knowledge of the plan: "The team has been assured by the President that he will strongly consider such matters because he considers the release of Robert Levinson a matter of National Urgency." The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stephen M. Alford, who has previously faced fraud and extortion charges, was also allegedly at the March 17 meeting and gave Don Gaetz his business card showing Captum Consultants. The April 2020 articles of incorporation for the company indicate they came from Beggs & Land, McGee’s firm.

Provided to the Washington Examiner

Kent, McGee, and Alford did not respond to requests for comment.

McGee told the Daily Beast on Tuesday night, following Gaetz naming him on national television, that any claims that he or his law firm were involved in extortion are "completely, totally false," adding, “This is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that Matt Gaetz is apparently about to be indicted for sex trafficking underage girls.”

Another email chain appears to confirm the existence of the FBI investigating extortion claims.

“My client, Don Gaetz, was approached by two individuals to make a sizable payment in what I would call a scheme to defraud,” Jeffrey Neiman said in a March 25 email to the Department of Justice. “The FBI is not asking Don to voluntarily and proactively assist in their investigation, which Don is willing to do. Please confirm that your Office and the FBI would like Don’s assistance in this matter and that he will be working at the Government’s request.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Goldberg responded: “I can confirm that your client is working with my office as well as the FBI at the government’s request in order to determine if a federal crime has been committed. This has been discussed with, and approved by, the FBI as well as the leadership of my office and components of Main Justice.”

The Department of Justice and the FBI declined to comment on the email or the existence of an extortion investigation. Neiman also declined to comment.

Provided to the Washington Examiner

Gaetz on Fox News Tuesday night said his father wore a wire in order to assist with the case, and he demanded that the “Department of Justice and the FBI release the audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence.”

He suspects that a leak to the New York Times story about the investigation into whether he had a relationship with a 17-year-old was timed to thwart the FBI investigation into the extortion.

“This former Department of Justice official tomorrow was supposed to be contacted by my father so that specific instructions could be given regarding the wiring of $4.5 million as a down payment on this bribe,” Gaetz said. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that tonight, somehow, the New York Times is leaking this information, smearing me, and ruining the investigation that would likely result in one of the former colleagues of the current DOJ being brought to justice for trying to extort me and my family.”

The 17-year-old in question "doesn't exist," Gaetz said, adding that he has "not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false.”


Jerry Dunleavy contributed to this story.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/31/2021 - 18:20
Published:3/31/2021 5:34:02 PM
[Markets] Convicted Felon Arrested For Brutal Attack On Elderly Asian Woman Convicted Felon Arrested For Brutal Attack On Elderly Asian Woman

A parolee who was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in 2002 was arrested on a felony hate crime charge for a Monday attack on an elderly Asian woman outside a midtown Manhattan luxury apartment, while shouting "you don't belong here," according to an early Wednesday statement by New York police.

Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, is the man seen on video kicking and stomping the woman on Monday. They said Elliot was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack.

Elliot, who is Black, was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole. -AP

Surveillance video showed a lone assailant kicking the 65-year-old woman in the stomach - knocking her to the ground before he stomps on her face. The attack occurred just two blocks from Times Square in a section of Manhattan known as the "Crossroads of the World."

Two security guards inside the luxury apartment building were seen on film witnessing the attack but failing to come to the woman's aid, though their union says they called for help immediately. The attacker simply walked away after the assault, the video shows.

Elliott faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault, according to police.

The victim, Vilma Kari, immigrated from the Philippines according to her daughter, while Philippine Ambassador to the United States Manuel Romualdez confirmed that Kari is Filipino American.

Philippines foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr. condemned the attack, tweeting "This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack "absolutely disgusting and outrageous," adding that it was "absolutely unacceptable" that witnesses did nothing. 

"I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker," he said at a Tuesday press briefing.

"If you see someone being attacked, do whatever you can," de Blasio continued. "Make noise. Call out what’s happening. Go and try and help. Immediately call for help. Call 911. This is something where we all have to be part of the solution. We can’t just stand back and watch a heinous act happening."

On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed DOJ officials to give priority to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes and hate incidents, particularly against Asians. Garland cited "the disturbing trend in reports of violence against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community," which the left is now blaming on former President Trump's anti-China rhetoric.

The New York police department has recorded a 1,300 percent increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the pandemic.

If one reads past the headline – which most people do not – the actual numbers are a little less shocking:

"The number of hate crimes with Asian-American victims reported to the New York Police Department jumped to 28 in 2020, from just three the previous year."

report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism drew national media attention for identifying a 149% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020 compared to 2019 in 16 of our largest cities. A startling number -- until you learn the actual number of hate crimes in those cities rose from 49 to 122 in a country of 330 million people.

So, to cut through the gaslighting, here are the facts according to the most recent FBI crime data (2019):

  • White Americans make up 70% of the population and are cited for 52% of all hate crimes (nearly 20% below the percentage of the white population).

  • Black Americans are 13% of the population but are cited for 24% of all hate crimes (nearly double the percentage of the black population).

  • Black Americans are also cited for over 50% of all violent crime in the nation.

...and as we previously noted, NYPD held a press conference last week to highlight the assailants...

And if convicted, we can add Brandon Elliot to the list:

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/31/2021 - 12:25
Published:3/31/2021 11:30:54 AM
[Markets] Matt Gaetz Investigated Over Alleged Relationship With 17-Year-Old Girl; Claims Family Target Of "Extortion Plot" Matt Gaetz Investigated Over Alleged Relationship With 17-Year-Old Girl; Claims Family Target Of "Extortion Plot"

Just days after Axios reported that Matt Gaetz, a conservative pro-Trump Republican from the Florida panhandle with a national profile, planned to quit Congress and take a job at Newsmax, the NYT has published some bombshell allegations. The paper reported Tuesday evening that Gaetz is a "subject" in a federal investigation examining whether he had illegal sexual relations with a minor (an unnamed, unidentified woman who was reportedly 17 at the time). Investigators are also looking into whether the woman traveled with Gaetz, which would constitute another federal offense.

The investigation was reportedly opened during the final months of the Trump Administration before AG William Barr left office. The NYT says Gaetz wasn't targeted directly, but that the behavior in question is somehow tied to a Florida official named Joel Greenberg who was indicted last summer on a range of charges including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl. Greenberg has since resigned his post as tax collector in Seminole County (north of Orlando) and is in jail awaiting trial after having his bail revoked.

No charges have been brought against Gaetz, and his criminal exposure remains unclear. Gaetz addressed the charges directly in a statement to the NYT, saying he believed the investigation might have resulted from somebody's attempt to "to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward." Gaetz told the NYT "I only know it has to do with women," in regards to the investigation.

Gaetz added that the investigation might be part of a scheme to extort his family for $25MM, before telling a reporter that both he and his father had worn a wire while cooperating with the FBI after being approached by people who said they could make the investigation "go away", though he didn't elaborate. He also told the NYT in a later interview that "it is verifiably false that I have traveled with a 17-ear-old woman."

In a statement published later, Gaetz said "The allegations against me are as searing as they are false," Gaetz said in an interview. I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy."

Gaetz also published a statement on twitter reiterating his comments about his family cooperating with the FBI, after becoming "victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25MM." The part about the involvement of a corrupt DoJ official differed from his earlier statement.

The 38-year-old congressman proposed to his girlfriend at Mar a Lago late last year. But he made headlines months ago after proclaiming that he "had a son", later explaining the son, Nestor Galban, 19, was actually the brother of his then-girlfriend. "He is a part of my family story," Gaetz told People magazine in June. "My work with Nestor, our family, no element of my public service could compare to the joy that our family has brought me."

The nature of Greenberg's relationship to Gaetz is unclear. But one thing is for sure: progressives on twitter are having a field day as Gaetz's plans to jump to Newsmax evaporate. They're also slamming him for hypocrisy, after Gaetz repeatedly criticized top Democrats for ties to convicted pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Gaetz was first elected to Congress in 2016. As a member of the Florida State Legislature and the scion of a Republican political family,

Democratic Congressman is already pushing to have Gaetz stripped of his House Judiciary Committee assignment, an echo of how Democrats disenfranchised Marjorie Taylor-Greene.

There's clearly a lot going on here, and we suspect more information about the investigation, and Gaetz's claims, will surface in the coming days. In the meantime, one twitter user pointed out that Gaetz's extortion claims aren't actually all that far-fetched.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/30/2021 - 20:08
Published:3/30/2021 7:26:10 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Journalists Attack the Powerless, Then Play Victim When Called Out Greenwald: Journalists Attack the Powerless, Then Play Victim When Called Out

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via TK News,

The daily newspaper USA Today is the second-most circulated print newspaper in the United States — more than The New York Times and more than double The Washington Post. Only The Wall Street Journal has higher circulation numbers.

On Sunday, the paper published and heavily promoted a repellent article complaining that “defendants accused in the Capitol riot Jan. 6 crowdfund their legal fees online, using popular payment processors and an expanding network of fundraising platforms, despite a crackdown by tech companies.” It provided a road map for snitching on how these private citizens — who are charged with serious felonies by the U.S. Justice Department but as of yet convicted of nothing — are engaged in “a game of cat-and-mouse as they spring from one fundraising tool to another” in order to avoid bans on their ability to raise desperately needed funds to pay their criminal lawyers to mount a vigorous defense.

In other words, the only purpose of the article — headlined: “Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online” — was to pressure and shame tech companies to do more to block these criminal defendants from being able to raise funds for their legal fees, and to tattle to tech companies by showing them what techniques these indigent defendants are using to raise money online.

An unidentified man walks through the lobby of the Gannett-USA Today headquarters building August 20, 2013 on a 30-acre site in McLean, Virginia. (AFP/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The USA Today reporters went far beyond merely reporting how this fundraising was being conducted. They went so far as to tattle to PayPal and other funding sites on two of those defendants, Joe Biggs and Dominic Pezzola, and then boasted of their success in having their accounts terminated:

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Biggs fundraiser was listed as having received $52,201. Pezzola had received $730. Biggs' campaign disappeared from the site shortly after USA TODAY inquired about it….

Friday, a USA TODAY reporter donated to Pezzola's fundraiser using Stripe. Stripe told USA TODAY it does not comment on individual users. A USA TODAY reporter was able to make a $1 donation to Pezzola's fundraiser using Venmo, a payment app owned by PayPal. After being alerted by USA TODAY, Venmo removed the account. 

Soon a PayPal account took its place. PayPal caught that and removed it, too. 

Wow, what brave and intrepid journalistic work: speaking truth to power and standing up to major power centers by . . . working as little police officers for tech giants to prevent private citizens from being able to afford criminal lawyers. Clear the shelves for the imminent Pulitzer. Whatever you think about the Capitol riot, everyone has the right to a legal defense and to do what they can to ensure they have the best legal defense possible — especially when the full weight of the Justice Department is crashing down on your head even for non-violent offenses, which is what many of these defendants are charged with due to the politically charged nature of the investigation.

The right to a vigorous defense has always been a central cause of mine as a lawyer and a journalist (it also used to be a central cause of left-wing groups like the ACLU, years ago; it was that same principle that caused then-candidate Kamala Harris to solicit donations last summer that went to protesters charged with violent rioting). A federal prosecutor was recently referred for disciplinary procedures for publicly threatening to charge some of these Capitol protesters with sedition, one of the gravest crimes in the U.S. Code. That is how grave the legal jeopardy is faced by these people trying to raise money for lawyers.

What makes all of this extra grotesque is that, as The Washington Post reported, most of those charged with various crimes in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot, including many whose charges stem just from their presence inside the Capitol, not the use of any violence, are people with serious financial difficulties: not surprising for a country in the middle of a major economic and joblessness crisis, where neoliberalism and global trade deals have destroyed entire industries and communities for decades:

Nearly 60 percent of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories. . . . The group’s bankruptcy rate — 18 percent — was nearly twice as high as that of the American public, The Post found. A quarter of them had been sued for money owed to a creditor. And 1 in 5 of them faced losing their home at one point, according to court filings.

This USA Today article is thus yet another example of journalists at major media outlets abusing their platforms to attack and expose anything other than the real power centers which compose the ruling class and govern the U.S.: the CIA, the FBI, security state agencies, Wall Street, Silicon Valley oligarchs. To the extent these journalists pay attention to those entities at all — and they barely ever do — it is to venerate them and mindlessly disseminate their messaging like stenographers, not investigate them. Investigating people who actually wield real power is hard.

The Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2021

Instead, the primary target of the Trump-era media has become private citizens and people who wield no power, yet who these media outlets believe must have their lives ruined because they have adopted the wrong political ideology. So many corporate journalists now use their huge megaphones to humiliate and wreck the lives of ordinary private citizens who they judge to have bad political opinions (meaning: opinions that deviate from establishment liberalism orthodoxies which these media outlets exist to enforce).

We have seen this over and over. CNN confronted an old woman on the front lawn of her Florida home for the crime of having used her little Facebook page to promote a pro-Trump event they claimed was engineered by Russians. The same network threatened to expose the identity of another private citizen who created an anti-CNN meme unless he begged and promised not to do it again. HuffPost doxed the real-life name of an anonymous critic of Islam (whose spouted views I find repellent) and ruined her business.

Just last week, The Daily Beast decided to expose the identity of a private citizen at Spring Break in Miami and detail his marital and legal problems because a video of him went viral due to his being dressed as the Joker and uttering “COVID truther” phrases. The same outlet congratulated itself for unearthing and exposing the real name of an African-American Facebook user whose crime was posting videos mocking Nancy Pelosi.

My principal critique of the contemporary media posture — and my governing view of the real purpose of journalism — is summarized by this:

ut increasingly, the largest corporate media platforms are used to punish ideological dissent and thought crimes by powerless, private citizens. They do not criticize or investigate real power centers, but serve them. And what makes it worse — so, so much worse — is that, as they assault, dox and harass private citizens, these journalistic bullies depict themselves as the real marginalized people, as those who are so fragile, voiceless, powerless, and vulnerable that criticizing them is tantamount to bullying, harassment, and violence.

This new journalistic tactic of weaponizing and misappropriating the language of marginalization, abuse, harassment and oppression and applying it to themselves — all to render any criticism of their work a form of assault and abuse — is one I have written about several times before. The last time was when a major front-page reporter at the most influential paper in the country, The New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz, got caught lying twice in six weeks, and those (such as myself) who criticized her for it — who criticized her journalism for the Paper of Record — were branded toxic, misogynistic bullies who were inciting dangerous hate mobs against her. And thus was criticism of this powerful journalist somehow manipulatively converted into an act of morally reprehensible harassment.

What these journalists are doing is as transparent as it is tawdry. They insist that you not treat them as what they are: people who wield extreme power and influence to shape political discourse, widely disseminate disinformation, wreck people’s reputations, expose the identity of private citizens, and propagandize the public. No, increasingly they are demanding that you treat them as exactly the opposite: the most marginalized, vulnerable, endangered and fragile members of society whose standing is so tenuous that publicly criticizing them should be barred as an act of violence, and those expressing critiques of their work must be consequently shunned as harassers and abusers.

This is the demented framework that allowed CNN’s coddled, blow-dried, manicured and pedicured millionaire TV personality Jim Acosta, with a straight face, to write an entire book casting himself on the cover as someone in danger. What enabled Jim Acosta of all people to cast himself as a victim, to the point where so many liberals bought this book that it ended up on The New York Times bestseller list? He was criticized by the President and his supporters for his journalism. That’s it.

And just like that, the real victims in America are not the jobless or the homeless or residents of addiction-ravaged communities or victims of violent crime but, instead, the rich, famous TV personalities for CNN. This is the fictitious melodrama — with themselves cast as the stars — that they are demanding you ingest to treat them with deference and respect.

As I’ve noted before, I’ve been harshly criticized for my journalism for years. I was publicly attacked in deeply personal ways by the President of Brazil many times, and endlessly slandered by his movement. That’s not fun, but it is also not persecution. What is real persecution is being prosecuted or imprisoned or threatened with prison for your reporting. Real persecution is what is being done to Julian Assange. Criticism, even harsh criticism, comes with the territory: the cost of the immense privilege of having a public platform to shape debate. If you do not want to be criticized or called names, don’t become a journalist or seek out public platforms.

Sunday’s USA Today article which tried to destroy the ability of these criminal defendants to raise donations for their legal fees contained the names of three journalists in its byline. The lead reporter — the one who the paper’s editors put first, Brenna Smith — took to Twitter to boast of this monumental journalistic exposé. After I saw several commenters criticizing the story, I added my own critiques of this story:

Note that the critique I voiced is about the reporting she had just published in one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the country. I also engaged the journalist whose name was listed last — a person named Will Carless — in a lengthy discussion expressing similar criticisms.

My criticism of Carless, a white straight male listed last on the byline, attracted no criticism for some reason. But my criticism of Smith, the lead reporter, caused such an explosion of indignation and rage from the corporate media class that it caused my name to trend on Twitter (yet again) as a dastardly online villain: that’s how grave my moral transgression was.

What was my moral offense here? According to these media mavens and the self-serving, manipulative framework they are trying to implant, I did not voice criticisms of a piece of journalism in one of the most influential newspapers in the country. Instead — in their hands — they converted it, just as they did with criticisms of Lorenz, into a narrative in which I bullied a poor, fragile, young lady who is too weak and too vulnerable to handle public critique.

They emphasized that she is just an intern: in their eyes the equivalent of a high school junior — even though she has a long history of writing deranged articles for the U.S.-Government-funded Bellingcat and was, at least in the view of her editors, competent and professional enough to be the lead reporter on what they treated as a major news story designed to harm the lives of numerous private citizens. If she is “merely an intern,” then why is she listed as the lead reporter on a major news story? And if her editors determine that she is capable of fulfilling that role, then you can’t simultaneously demand she be treated like a young debutante off-limits from critique.

Do you see what they are doing here? They are working to create a moral framework where it is always impermissible to criticize their journalism, no matter how shoddy, deceitful and amoral it is. They constantly concoct reasons why the journalist in question is too marginalized and too vulnerable to legitimately criticize. They are all apparently competent and sophisticated enough to be trusted to byline news reporting in major corporate outlets — and we must treat them as tough, talented professionals when it comes time to deference due — but we are then simultaneously instructed that they are not mature or strong enough to endure criticisms of that work. If she had not been an intern, they still would have decreed criticisms of her off limits on the ground that any criticism will stoke misogynistic abuse: after all, Lorenz is a borderline-middle-aged reporter, not an intern, but that is how criticisms of her are delegitimized.

What is even more remarkable is how these liberal media figures invoke the most long-standing sexist, racist and homophobic tropes to erect this shield of immunity around themselves that they demand you honor. Look at how they transformed this journalist from what I see her as and what she is — an adult professional reporter who has sufficiently risen in the profession to byline a major story in a national newspaper — into an offensive sexist caricature straight out of the 1950s. In their manipulative hands, she — like Taylor Lorenz of The New York Times — becomes not a professional adult journalist but just a fragile little china doll who cannot withstand any critiques.

A senior USA Today editor actually emailed me to chide me for my inappropriate behavior — i.e., critiquing the journalism of the reporter they placed first on the byline. And here is how USA Today’s former “diversity and inclusion editor” Hemal Jhaveri — who just got fired for posting a series of racist decrees about how white people are the root of all evil — decided to interpret this event:

Journalists with these outlets wield immense power and influence. These are not the voiceless, marginalized, powerless people in society. They’re the ones who attack, expose and ruin marginalized people if they dare express political views of which these journalists disapprove.

It is not just morally repugnant but quite dangerous for them to try to place themselves off limits from criticism this way. The whole point of journalism — the reason why a free press is vital — is because it is the only way to hold accountable powerful institutions and powerful actors. Corporate media outlets and those they employ as reporters are among the most powerful and influential actors in society and, as such, are completely fair game for criticisms, protests, and denunciations.

What they are trying to do by exploiting the language of oppression and marginalization to cast themselves as vulnerable victims who cannot be criticized is despicable. It deserves nothing but contempt. That is precisely why I intend to heap scorn on it every time they try it, precisely because these in-group, swarming corporate journalists are the real bullies, trying to stigmatize and destroy the reputations of ordinary citizens who commit the crime of criticizing their journalism or expressing political opinions they want banished.

They know that the public — for very good reasons — has lost faith and trust in their work at unprecedented levels. They know that their industry is failing. When journalism turns its guns not on the powerful but on the powerless — descending as low as trying to prevent them from raising needed money for a legal defense — the contempt is well deserved. The demographic characteristics of the journalists doing this disgraceful, cowardly journalism is irrelevant. The only reason they even mention it is because they think they can weaponize it against their critics.

This lowly tactic will succeed only if people are cowed and intimidated by it. It will fail, as it should, if people ignore it and treat them like any other power centers by freely expressing the criticisms you think their journalism merits regardless of what names they call you as a result.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/29/2021 - 21:40
Published:3/29/2021 8:48:30 PM
[2021 News] Hunter Biden Could Be In Serious Trouble – FBI, Secret Service Ordered To Release All Records By GOP Senators

Hunter Biden Could Be In Serious Trouble – FBI, Secret Service Ordered To Release All Records By GOP Senators. Not only has he committed a felony by lying on the BATF form, him and his sister-in-law probably committed another one by being within 1,000 feel of a school with it.

The post Hunter Biden Could Be In Serious Trouble – FBI, Secret Service Ordered To Release All Records By GOP Senators appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/29/2021 7:48:11 PM
[In The News] GOP Senators Demand FBI, Secret Service Records On Alleged Hunter Biden Gun Incident

By Chuck Ross -

Two Republican senators are asking the directors of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for details of their alleged investigation into a handgun that belonged to Hunter Biden that was reported missing in 2018. In their letters, Sens. Chuck Grassley and …

GOP Senators Demand FBI, Secret Service Records On Alleged Hunter Biden Gun Incident is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:3/28/2021 9:42:42 AM
[FBI] Kash on the barrelhead (Scott Johnson) Lee Smith’s The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History is one of the keys to understanding the Russia hoax brought to us by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party, and the FBI. I wrote about it when it was published in the fall of 2019. With Lee’s permission, I also posted a brief excerpt touching on Published:3/28/2021 7:38:56 AM
[Markets] Gohmert: Pelosi's Capitol Police Bill Gaslights America Gohmert: Pelosi's Capitol Police Bill Gaslights America

Authored by Louie Gohmert (Republican representing Texas’s 1st Congressional District), op-ed via The Epoch Times,

Democrats have solidified their effort to act as an Orwellian Ministry of Truth with the passage of Speaker Pelosi’s H.R. 1085 in the House of Representatives. This bill rewrites the historical facts from Jan. 6 under the guise of “honoring” the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) who bravely protect Congress.

Pelosi’s goal, of course, isn’t to show respect and admiration to the Capitol Police—which would be particularly ironic coming from the “defund the police” party—but to perpetuate a false narrative that 74-plus million Americans are dangerous racists and insurrectionists who have no part in civilized society.

H.R. 1085 states its purpose is, “to award three congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

That certainly sounds innocent enough. However, the language in the bill editorializes in its “findings” Speaker Pelosi’s deliberately politicized view of what happened that day, instead of doing what a bill put before Members of Congress for a vote to recognize the USCP presumably would do, which is to recount the many meritorious acts of our brave and devoted officers.

When Speaker Pelosi’s bill speaks of “a mob of insurrectionists,” she ascribes both a mental state and a crime to many Americans who merely showed up to a rally to protest the blatant corruption they’ve witnessed in this nation’s electoral system.

To illustrate how hyperbolic and outright deceptive Speaker Pelosi’s choice of words are here, the internet’s own Free Dictionary defines “insurrectionist” as “a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority,” which is another way of saying the government.

These are the words that Speaker Pelosi has chosen to use, to accuse her fellow Americans of the crime of armed insurrection. As any first-year law student can tell you, publicly accusing someone of a crime is actionable as libel or slander in a court of law.

The facts as we know them, including testimony before the United States Senate from an FBI counterterrorism official, reveals that not a single individual who entered the building that day was carrying a firearm, and as a result, none were arrested and charged with a firearms offense.

Because of my high regard for the Capitol Police, some of whom I personally know and hold in great esteem, I wanted to recognize their valor without lending credence to these deliberate falsehoods. Had I voted in favor of the Speaker’s language, I would have affirmed her narrative.

It is for this reason that my colleagues and I removed her divisive language and filed that bill to honor our Capitol Police, so that every Member of Congress could vote on a non-politicized bill in good conscience.

As to be expected, the Left and the media set out to attack my colleagues and me for voting against Speaker Pelosi’s narrative, which engaged in the ultimate gaslighting of the American people.

For months, our country was under violent siege by radical leftists from Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement. Cities were burned, businesses were looted, and livelihoods were destroyed.

A disturbing report from the Major Cities Chiefs Association revealed that between May 25 and July 31, 2020, 8,700 protests took place across the country. Of those, 574 of them turned into riots in which mass looting and destruction occurred.

At least 2,000 police officers were injured, multiple police precincts were set on fire, hundreds of police cars were damaged, 2,385 incidents of looting occurred, and 624 arsons were reported.

At least 25 Americans were killed, including a federal law enforcement officer and a retired police chief. The damage to property during the riots has been estimated to cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.

What did Democrats do while this was occurring?

Our now-Vice President Kamala Harris urged her followers on Twitter to bail out the rioters. This same bail fund helped free one rioter twice. Since then, he is “facing three new felony counts of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm for allegedly having marijuana, cocaine and psilocyn mushrooms.”

When mobs were destroying city property, Speaker Pelosi casually responded that “people will do what they do.” Radical Leftist lawmakers introduced a bill to defund the police.

Democrats showed no concern for the thousands of innocent lives that were destroyed due to the riots over the summer. We certainly didn’t hear them condemn the violence against the thousands of police officers that took place during these “mostly peaceful protests.”

Unlike what we now see at the Capitol fortress in Washington, D.C., there were no calls from the Left for the National Guard to deploy to these cities and install fencing to protect its residents. To the contrary, when President Trump sent DHS officers to Portland after weeks of unrest, Speaker Pelosi called them “stormtroopers” and “Trump’s secret police.”

Many Americans, and I suspect many law enforcement officers, see right through the Democrats’ recent, fraudulent metamorphosis into the party of law and order.

As someone who has spent a majority of my adult life working for justice, law and order with an abiding respect for honorable, self-sacrificing law officers, I call upon Congress to set aside its self-serving agenda in this time of great peril and to bring forth responsible legislation in the future, not continue down this path of divisiveness. As Members of Congress we owe it to those who elected us to hold sacred our vows and our duties as America’s lawmakers.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/27/2021 - 18:30
Published:3/27/2021 5:36:56 PM
[] Murder Rate Zooms to Levels Not Seen Since the Bad Old Days of the 1990s Who would have thought that when you take away policing from a city, murderers will kill more people? A new crime reporting system released by the FBI shows that the murder rate in virtually every city in the United States... Published:3/26/2021 5:57:35 PM
[Markets] "Let Them Eat Woke" "Let Them Eat Woke"

Authored by Simon Black via,

On October 6, 1789, a group of French peasants surrounded the country estate of King Louis XVI of France and demanded that he and his family relocate to Paris.

The people were sick and tired of the king living the luxurious palace lifestyle at their expense. And, fearing what might happen if he refused, Louis consented to their demand.

The French Revolution was already well underway at that point, sparked in large part by people’s disgust with their out-of-touch aristocracy.

France had been rendered bankrupt by the late 1700s; decades of costly foreign wars, coupled with endless extravagances by the nobility, had completely depleted the treasury.

The government’s solutions alternated between pretending their financial problems didn’t exist, to raising taxes at every possible turn.

The nobles hardly noticed. They lived lavashly while passing on the inflation and tax increases to the peasants.

French aristocrats were either completely clueless, or didn’t care one bit, that their policies were ruining people’s lives.

The Queen, Marie Antoinette, is rumored to have summed up this attitude when she said “Let them eat cake”, in response to hearing how countless peasants were starving.

Most likely that story is just urban legend. However there is plenty of historical evidence that she cared far more about her hair and royal gardens than any plight of the French people.

Her lavish spending was so famous, in fact, that the French used to refer to her as “Madam Déficit”.

And yet— the king, the queen, the nobles— they were the elites. They knew best, and they were in charge of making decisions for everyone else.

You know the rest of the story: the royal couple eventually paid for their conceit with their heads. But that didn’t solve France’s problems.

Soon a wave of radicals took over and formed a new elite (which became known as the Reign of Terror). And just like the old elite, they knew best, and they were in charge of making decisions for everyone else.

This new elite encouraged the population to rat each other out for petty crimes. They printed stupifying quantities of paper money and engineered hyperinflation across the country.

France’s revolutionary history is an incredible example of what happens when a tiny, out of touch group of elites manages to seize power and set the priorities for an entire nation.

We’re experiencing a version of this today in the West.

Prominent media personalities, politicians, tech companies, and self-absorbed social media celebrities, have appointed themselves our cultural nobility and seized the power to dictate just about everything, from how tax dollars are spent, to the words that we’re allowed to say, to how our children are to be educated.

It’s astonishing how quickly it happened, and how much has changed.

For example, it wasn’t that long ago that the entire purpose of the US military was to fight and win wars… and to be the most lethal fighting force in the history of the world.

But today our new elites have changed the priorities. So now instead of the latest weaponry and unit readiness, senior military leaders brag about maternity flight suits, or reducing physical fitness standards in order to be more inclusive.

Twenty years ago the military was about shock and awe. Today the priority has become diversity and inclusion.

Here’s another example: once upon a time, politicians at least paid lip service to fiscal responsibility.

In fact there were numerous government shutdowns and debt ceiling crises in the United States, i.e. political battles to prevent excessive spending, as recently as 2011, 2013, 2018, and 2019.

Today, the new elites have changed the priorities. They tell us that the debt doesn’t matter, and the government can spend as much as it wants.

And with every new massive spending bill, they’re emboldened to spend even more money. It’s been two weeks since the $1.9 trillion ‘Covid’ bill was passed, and they’re already planning a $3 trillion ‘infrastructure’ bill.

Basic fiscal responsibility is simply no longer a priority.

Then there’s education, which used to be about - you know - EDUCATION.

But now that the new elites have taken control, teachers have kids praying to Aztec gods of human sacrifice in order to expunge their whiteness.

Critical Race Theory abounds in schools to teach children they are either victims or oppressors. And the new elite tells us that grading students based on getting the right answer in math class is White supremacy.

Then there’s the media - a once-trusted source of news and information.

Today, under the new elites, the priority is no longer truth.

It’s about force-feeding the narrative they want you to believe, whether about Covid, race, politics, climate change, or anything else.

For example, when a deranged lunatic went on a rampage and killed eight people last week in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian, the media immediately reported that the shooting was due to White supremacy.

Yet the FBI said there was no evidence to suggest a racial motivation, and even the killer himself stated that he was motivated by his sex addiction.

But the media kept pounding the White Supremacy story anyhow.

Yahoo News immediately told its audience in a reprinted article entitled “Whiteness is a Pandemic” that

Whiteness is a public health crisis. It shortens life expectancies, it pollutes air, it constricts equilibrium, it devastates forests, it melts ice caps, it sparks (and funds) wars, it flattens dialects, it infests consciousnesses, and it kills people. . .

Naturally this is considered to be perfectly acceptable content, and not racist in any way.

In 18th century France, people were starving, but the elites who ruled them were so out of touch that the prevailing attitude was, let them eat cake!

Today there’s a new elite that makes all the rules. They’ve completely corrupted western civilization. They are fanatics who embrace Marxism, violence, racism, and censorship.

And like the French elites before them, they’re completely out of touch with how much they’re destroying the country and people’s lives. Let them eat woke!

*  *  *

On another note… We think gold could DOUBLE and silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES in the next few years. That's why we published a new, 50-page long Ultimate Guide on Gold & Silver that you can download here.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/26/2021 - 14:05
Published:3/26/2021 1:29:06 PM
[Markets] Parler Just Flipped Big Tech's Jan 6th Conspiracy Theory On Its Head Parler Just Flipped Big Tech's Jan 6th Conspiracy Theory On Its Head

Authored by Tyler O'Neil via,

In the days after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, Big Tech moved against a conservative alternative social media platform, Parler, based on the premise that the rioters has used Parler to plan the attack on the Capitol and that Parler had failed in its responsibility to prevent such coordination. Based on this narrative, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon removed Parler’s internet hosting. Yet on Thursday, Parler flipped the narrative on its head.

On Thursday, Parler sent a response to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s request for documents regarding the riot, the company explained in a press release. In that response, Parler revealed that it had “proactively developed an open line of communication with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the fall of 2020 and referred violent content and incitement from Parler’s platform over 50 times before January 6th. Parler also warned the FBI about specific threats of violence being planned for the events at the Capitol on January 6th.”

In its letter, Parler said that the company recognizes “legal limits to free speech” and that its policies “have always prohibited threats of violence and incitement on its platform.”

The letter details Parler’s efforts “to flag and remove unlawful speech from its platform that was not protected by the First Amendment.” It also notes that of the 270 charging documents filed by the Department of Justice, 80 percent of social media references involved Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “Only 5% referred to Parler.”

The letter goes on to explain that Parler accumulated over 15 million users by January 2021 and its app was the most downloaded app at the Apple App Store and the Google U.S. Play Store on January 8, 2021.

The company’s press release connected the dots.

“Big Tech rivals Facebook and Twitter saw Parler as a viable threat and ganged up with Amazon and others to de-platform and destroy the Company. Big Tech has been effectively scapegoating Parler for the riots at the Capitol, but Parler’s revelations today show that the Company acted responsibly to try and stop the violence at the Capitol on January 6th,” the press release concluded.

Along with the letter and the press release, Parler provided the emails alerting the FBI to incitements to violence on Parler’s social media platform. The company repeatedly warned its FBI contact about the potential for violence on January 6.

In one email, Parler forwarded a message from a user who called for “an armed force of American Patriots 150,000… prepared to react to the congressional events of January 6th … And follow what the Declaration of Independence has dictated to do in situations of absolute despotism.”

“One more from same account. More where this came from. Concerned about Wednesday,” a Parler employee wrote to the FBI contact on January 2, the Saturday before the events of Wednesday, January 6.

Contrary to the Big Tech narrative, Parler did its due diligence and reported threats of violence to the FBI in advance of the Capitol riot. These actions, coupled with the fact that Parler only appeared in 5 percent of the DOJ’s charging documents, completely flips the Big Tech narrative on its head. The Capitol rioters did coordinate on Parler, in part, but they also did so on other social media platforms.

Parler was not negligent in its duty to remove incitements to violence, as Amazon, Apple, and Google claimed. In fact, it removed those incitements and altered the FBI about them. Parler may not have been perfect in this regard, but the company had been proactive before the Capitol riot.

“There is no truth to the absurd conspiracy theories that have been put forth by Big Tech and its media allies to unfairly malign the company and which were referenced in the Committee’s Letter,” Parler said, according to the letter.

“Contrary to what has been reported, and as explained in more detail below: the company is and always has been American-owned and controlled; Parler has never engaged in any collusion with ‘the Russians’; and Parler never offered President Donald J. Trump an ownership interest in the company.”

Internet Accountability Project (IAP) President Mike Davis summed up the situation well.

“When Twitter targets conservatives – including President Trump – Big Tech shills tell us to ‘build our own Twitter.’ So Parler did. Then trillion-dollar monopolists Google and Apple – running their duopoly/cartel – kicked Parler out of the app stores. Then trillion-dollar monopolist Amazon kicked Parler off the internet,” Davis recounted.

“The stated reason for Google, Amazon, and Apple’s anticompetitive conspiracy was that Parler promoted the violence at the January 6th protests at the Capitol. But we’ve learned today that was a bogus, pretextual excuse by three trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolists (Google, Apple, and Amazon) to kill a competitor of Twitter (another Big Tech monopolist),” Davis declared. “Indeed, we now know that in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th, Parler made over 50 referrals of violent content to the FBI, including specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol.”

“Now we know the truth, which is Big Tech used Parler as a scapegoat to destroy a startup company that was a viable threat to their social media dominance,” the IAP president concluded.

While Parler withdrew its original January federal lawsuit against Amazon, it filed a new lawsuit in Washington State court, alleging defamation and breach of contract.

Former President Donald Trump has announced he will launch his own social media platform, which will apparently compete with Twitter and Facebook, as well as conservative alternatives like Gab and Parler.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/26/2021 - 08:47
Published:3/26/2021 7:54:51 AM
[Markets] The Role Of COVID Lockdowns In 2020's Homicide Surge The Role Of COVID Lockdowns In 2020's Homicide Surge

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Twenty twenty was an unpleasant year for so many reasons. It was a year of riots, unemployment, and the trend in overall rising mortality continued unabated.

Homicides also increased.

In fact, in preliminary homicide data, it looks like homicides increased a lot in 2020.

According to the FBI’s Preliminary Uniform Crime Report for the first half of 2020, “murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased 14.8%, and aggravated assault offenses were up 4.6%.”

If the second half of 2020 proves to be about the same as the first half, then the nationwide homicide rate for 2020 will have risen from 5 per 100,000 in 2019 to 5.8 per 100,000 in 2020. That’s a big increase, and puts 2020’s total at the highest rate recorded in fifteen years, matching 2006’s rate of 5.8 per 100,000.

Some other data, however, suggests the year-end numbers for 2020 will be even worse than that. Homicides look to be up more than 20 percent during the fall of 2020 compared to the previous year. Thus, the increase from 2019 to 2020 may prove to be one of the largest increases in homicide in more than fifty years.

Source: FBI, "Crime in the US" report2020 preliminary report.

Meanwhile, homicides in certain cities increased by far worse rates. Year-over-year increases of 30 percent or more were common in 2020, and this wasn’t limited to only large cities.

In data posted by researcher Jeff Asher, total year-over-year homicides through September 2020 were up in a wide range of locations: up 55 percent in Chicago, up 54 percent in Boston, up 38 percent in Denver, and up 105 percent in Omaha.

What Caused the Surge?

It’s much easier to count homicides than to determine the events and phenomena driving trends in homicides. It’s never a good idea to attribute changes in homicide totals to any single cause.

Nonetheless, we can hazard some guesses.

If we’re going to ask ourselves what might have caused such an unusually large rise in homicide, we ought to look for unusual events.

Most obvious among these, of course, are the stay-at-home orders, business closures, and lockdowns that have occurred since March of last year. These are pretty unusual things.

Although it is considered somewhat heretical to point out that lockdowns can produce significant negative societal side effects, the connection to violent behavior is so undeniable that this is now openly admitted.

For example, in a recent interview with The Atlantic, sociologist Patrick Sharkey discusses some of the likely causes of 2020’s surge in violence, stating:

Last year, everyday patterns of life broke down. Schools shut down. Young people were on their own. There was a widespread sense of a crisis and a surge in gun ownership. People stopped making their way to institutions that they know and where they spend their time. That type of destabilization is what creates the conditions for violence to emerge.

When asked if “idle time” caused by lockdowns was somehow connected to rising homicides, Sharkey continued:

It’s not just idle time but disconnection. That might be the better way to talk about it. People lost connections to institutions of community life, which include school, summer jobs programs, pools, and libraries. Those are the institutions that create connections between members of communities, especially for young people. When individuals are not connected to those institutions, then they’re out in public spaces, often without adults present. And while that dynamic doesn’t always lead to a rise in violence, it can.

The connection between a lack of community institutions and social dysfunction is well known by sociologists.

Last year, when looking at the role the stay-at-home orders might have had on the summer’s riots, I wrote:

As much as lockdown advocates may wish that human beings could be reduced to creatures that do nothing more than work all day and watch television all night, the fact is that no society can long endure such conditions.

Human beings need what are known as "third places." …

As described by a Brookings Institution report, these third places include churches, parks, recreation centers, hairdressers' shops, gyms, and even fast-food restaurants.

Yet, the lockdown advocates, in a matter of a few days, cut people off from their third places and insisted, in many cases, that this would be the "new normal" for a year or more.

These third places cannot simply be shut down—and the public told to just forget about them indefinitely—without creating the potential for violence and other antisocial behavior.

Few of these places exist for the explicit purpose of reducing violence, although they tend to have this effect. But during the government-mandated lockdowns, some organizations specifically devoted to violence prevention were shut down and, as noted by law professor Tracey Meares, the pandemic has prevented many antiviolence programs from operating. These programs, however, require "a great deal of a face-to-face contact, typically, among service providers and the folks who are most likely to both commit these offenses and be the victims of them," Meares says. "And it's a lot harder to do that when people can't meet in person."

Of course, it’s not that these people just can’t meet in person, as if it were physically impossible to do so. It’s that in many places they are legally prohibited from doing so. This means even the most urgent cases were neglected and put on the back burner because policymakers made a decision to ignore the realities of violent crime in order to obsess over covid risks.

And this is a point that must be made repeatedly. “The pandemic” isn’t what caused the widespread destruction of social institutions that are key in increasing social cohesion and preventing violence. Government edicts did this. Certainly, given fears over covid infection, it stands to reason that many people would have elected to stay home, and that important social institutions would have functioned at reduced capacity even without government mandates.

However, what government mandates did was prevent people from even using their own discretion, which means even the most at-risk, isolated, and emotionally volatile people—the people who need these institutions the most—were cut off from important resources.

Also important in understanding homicides is the fact covid lockdowns have increased domestic violence; as Sharkey notes, “Intimate-partner violence increased in 2020.” Again, advocates for stay-at-home orders have used their bizarrely extreme preoccupation with covid deaths as an excuse to insist it is "worth it" to keep women and children locked up with their abusers. Homicides have increased as a result in many cases. 

The Role of Police in Lockdown Enforcement

The lockdowns aren’t the only factors behind rising crime, of course. Another factor in the rising homicide rate is likely the decline of the public’s trust in police institutions.

The reputations of police and police organizations appear to have gone into significant decline in recent years as police encounters are increasingly being recorded and made public—thus exposing police abuse and what at least appears to be police abuse.

These events have been connected to rising rates of violent crime. As noted by both Sharkey and by crime historian Randolph Roth, the public’s trust in government institutions—which certainly includes police—can impact a community’s willingness to turn to violence in personal interactions.

In other words, antipolice sentiment is regarded as a likely indirect cause of growing homicide rates. This declining trust manifested itself in last summer’s riots, but the origins of the riots predate both the riots and the George Floyd case.

But even when we look to the role of police agencies’ status within communities, we find that the stay-at-home orders and lockdowns again play a role.

It is the police, after all, who have been responsible for enforcing government orders to wear masks, close businesses, and avoid gatherings. Throughout 2020, police have been a central in harassing churchgoersbeating up nonviolent citizens for not “social distancing,” and arresting women for not wearing masks. Police have also arrested business owners and shut down their businesses. And then there was the case of a six-year-old girl who was taken from her mother because the mother wasn’t wearing a mask when she dropped her daughter off at school. Who will be providing the regime’s muscle when it comes to separating this child from her mother? Naturally, it will be the police.

Although the police have continued to enjoy uncritical support from the “Back the Blue” movement, more reasonable people can only tolerate so much when it comes to police who willingly attack and arrest people for the noncrimes of using their own private property or not wearing a mask on a public sidewalk.

Reversing the Damage Done in 2020

It’s unclear at this point if reversing policies that caused a year of community destruction can quickly undo the damage. In any case, however, the responsible thing to do is end any and all policies that keep churches, community centers, and meeting spaces closed. The police must be out of the business of roughing people up in the name of social distancing. The politicians’ obsession with isolating people must end.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/25/2021 - 21:40
Published:3/25/2021 8:51:12 PM
[Uncategorized] Parler: We warned FBI in advance about threats of violence on January 6

In letter to House Oversight Committee, Parler rejects the "coordinated and widespread disinformation campaign designed to scapegoat Parler" for Capitol Hill Riot, "Parler even alerted law enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol."

The post Parler: We warned FBI in advance about threats of violence on January 6 first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/25/2021 7:22:35 PM
[Markets] Secret Service Intervened In Hunter Biden Missing Gun Incident After Brother's Widow Tossed Into Trash Secret Service Intervened In Hunter Biden Missing Gun Incident After Brother's Widow Tossed Into Trash

Two years after Hunter Biden left a crack pipe in a Prescott, Arizona rental car, the secret service intervened in an incident in which Hallie Biden - his brother's widow - threw Hunter's .38 revolver into a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone.

Hallie, who was dating Hunter at the time, had searched Hunter's pickup truck while it was parked at her Wilmington, Delaware home, because of "suspicions she had," and decided to wrap the gun in a black plastic bag and toss it in the trash behind Janssen's Market - a high-end grocery store where the Bidens are longtime regular customers, according to Politico.

Later that day, Hallie informed Hunter of what she had done, and he instructed her to retrieve the gun, according to the police report. When Hallie returned to the grocery store, she found that the gun was missing from the garbage bin and reported the issue to the store. Police received calls from the store’s general manager, Paula Janssen, and from another person, according to the report.

The missing gun caused heightened concern, according to the police report, because the grocery store sits across the street from Alexis I. du Pont High School. -Politico

Delaware police launched an investigation - worried that the trash can was across from a high school and that someone could have used it in a crime, according to a copy of the police report obtained by Politico. The FBI, meanwhile, also responded to the scene - as they had been monitoring Hunter Biden as part of an investigation which remains ongoing and which focuses on his taxes.

Hunter was called to the scene by police, where he told them outside the store's loading dock area that he used the gun for target practice.

When a police officer asked Hunter whether the gun had been used in a crime, the officer reported that Hunter "became very agitated with me and asked me if I was intentionally trying to make him mad," according to the report.

When the officer asked Hunter whether he had been doing drugs or drinking heavily, he responded, "Listen, it isn't like that. I think she believes I was gonna kill myself," according to the report.

At the same time, Secret Service agents approached the owner of the gun store where Hunter had bought the gun earlier that month, and demanded they be allowed to remove the paperwork involving the sale, according to the report, which cites two people with separate knowledge of the incident.

The gun store owner, Ron Palmieri, refused to comply, suspecting that the Secret Service might want to "hide Hunter's ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime." Palmieri eventually turned the paperwork over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

A copy of Hunter's Firearms Transaction Record, he responded "no to a question which asks "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?" - five years after he had been discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, and two years before he that crack pipe in an Arizona rental car. He and his family have also spoken openly about his cocaine addiction.

The Secret Service says they have no record of their agents approaching the gun store owner, while Joe Biden claimed through a spokesperson that he had no knowledge of any Secret Service involvement.

Days after the incident, the gun was returned "by an older man who regularly rummages through the grocery store's trash to collect recyclable items," according to the report.

The incident did not result in charges or arrests.

But the alleged involvement of the Secret Service remains a mystery. One law enforcement official said that at the time of the incident, individual Secret Service agents at the agency’s offices in Wilmington, Del., and Philadelphia kept an informal hand in maintaining the former vice president’s security. The person cited an instance in 2019 when the Wilmington office of the Secret Service called the Delaware State Police to arrange security for a public appearance by Biden.

The Secret Service declined to answer a question about whether it had informal involvement in Biden's security during this period.

Asked whether the Secret Service requested state police security for Biden during the period when he was not under the agency’s protection, a Delaware State Police spokesman said, "I have reached out to our sergeant who oversees the Executive Protection Unit with the Delaware State Police. He is unaware of any such requests or services provided." -Politico

According to law enforcement officials, any involvement by the Secret Service on behalf of the Bidens would inappropriate interference with a Delaware State Police investigation and the FBI, according to law enforcement officials.

While Hunter was being questioned at the scene, he told a police officer that two "Mexican males" employed by Janssen's looked suspicious, and were "Prolly illegal," according to the report.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/25/2021 - 14:25
Published:3/25/2021 1:49:57 PM
[Markets] Who Is Really To Blame For The Rise In Asian Hate-Crimes? Spoiler Alert: It's Not "White Supremacy" Who Is Really To Blame For The Rise In Asian Hate-Crimes? Spoiler Alert: It's Not "White Supremacy"

Authored by Brandon Smith via,

These days, just talking about race issues in a critical manner will get you labeled a “racist”. If you don’t regurgitate the rhetoric of the mainstream media and social justice lunatics like a pirate’s parrot, then you are suddenly “problematic” and must be pigeonholed and canceled as quickly as possible. I will be called a racist for writing this article, but then again, what does that word even mean anymore? Almost anything can get you labeled as a racist now, so why should we care?

My position is this: Facts are not racist. Facts are color blind.

I was recently studying the latest “Asian hate crime” narrative and as I examined information on the attacks I was not surprised to find that the mainstream media version of reality was once again completely fraudulent.

For the most part the media tends to “lie by omission”, and it’s something they do on a regular basis.

For example, the media consistently mentions “white supremacy” as a motivator for Asian attacks. Yet, the vast majority of recent hate crimes against Asians have been enacted by blacks. This fact doesn’t really fit the propaganda model, so, the media doesn’t mention the race of the specific assailants, they just use the phrase “white supremacy” and let their audience make assumptions.

Far left outlet Politifact’s analysis of Asian hate crimes does not make a single mention of the race of the majority of the attackers. They only mention the race of ONE attacker, the shooter in Georgia. This is not accidental, this is deliberate disinformation through omission.

And what about the shootings in Georgia? Weren’t those committed by a white guy? Sure, but what the media doesn’t talk about is the fact that those shootings were NOT race related in the slightest. The FBI has confirmed this. Instead, the shooter was a “sex addict” who thought that he could remove temptation by getting rid of local massage parlors. The women being Asian had nothing to do with it.

The problem of black-on-Asian violence is so prevalent right now that social justice groups are trying to “discourage anti-black sentiment” because of all the videos surfacing of the crimes. Perhaps they fell for the disinformation too and assumed the attackers were all white? It’s hard to say, but no one in BLM is calling out black people and telling them to “check their privilege” and “stop the hate”.

Instead, social justice groups are taking advantage of the disinformation campaign. They are calling for “unity”, and are of course using white people as their bogeyman to frighten minorities into joining leftist/Marxist causes. So, black perpetrators commit the majority of attacks on Asians, then BLM and others call for unity with Asians to stop “white supremacy”? How does that work…?

Furthermore, the definitions of what constitutes “racism” and “hate crime” is constantly changing in our schizophrenic era. Many reported hate crimes end up being heated arguments involving people of two different races. How is this a “hate crime”? Well, if one of the people is white, then it is automatically a hate crime. Thus, some of the more biased hate crime trackers out there (like the SPLC or the ADL) are able to hyperinflate their stats.

My question is, who made the political left the arbiters of what a hate crime is? They aren’t qualified, because leftists tend to be the most racist people on the planet. They see EVERYTHING through the prism of race and skin color. Tell them skin color doesn’t matter to you, and they will actually get angry about it. This past couple years Asian activists were protesting unfair college entry quotas that favor black people and discriminate against Asians with superior test scores; this racism is being driven by leftist groups, not by conservatives. Our philosophy is actually anti-racist, because we believe in judging people by merit and not by skin color.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of minorities also do not like to be treated as if they are fragile victims all the time; they don’t want to be purse puppies for leftists.

If the current tide of society seems insane to you, that’s because any normal person finds these events hard to fathom. That said, there is a method to this madness, and to understand it you have to understand the propaganda tactic of “Gaslighting”. I will be examining this subject in detail in my next article, but suffice to say, gaslighting is an integral part of race baiting as well as the demoralization of honest political opposition. Making innocent people believe that they are criminals and that the criminals are the victims is a classic strategy for controlling those innocent people and preventing them from retaliating or rebelling.

Do some some white individuals commit race based crimes? Absolutely. No one is disputing that. What I’m disputing is the notion that hate crimes are the singular domain of white people, and the notion that it is white people in particular that are responsible for latest attacks on Asians.

So, to cut through the gaslighting, here are the facts according to the most recent FBI crime data (2019):

  • White Americans make up 70% of the population and are cited for 52% of all hate crimes (nearly 20% below the percentage of the white population).

  • Black Americans are 13% of the population but are cited for 24% of all hate crimes (nearly double the percentage of the black population).

  • Black Americans are also cited for over 50% of all violent crime in the nation.

Leftists often assert that many race based crimes go unreported, and I actually agree; many crimes committed against whites by minorities are simply labeled “crimes”, instead of hate crimes. Crimes by whites against minorities get far more attention and are often labeled “hate crimes” before all the facts are in (just like the shootings in Georgia).

Case in point, this week a black man stabbed a 12 year old white boy in the neck in a Pittsburgh McDonalds while screaming racial slurs and then attacked police when they tried to arrest him. The majority of the media have completely ignored this event and have swept in under the rug. If the skin colors were reversed, we would be hearing about this attack in the news for MONTHS.

The reality that most recent attacks on Asians are being committed by black people does not mean that there is necessarily an issue of “black supremacy”. Black people are not a monolith, just as white people are not a monolith. But there is indeed a double standard.

Whenever a hate crime is committed by a white person against a minority, the assertion is always that this is the byproduct of a monolithic white supremacist organism and that all whites are somehow to blame. Whenever a crime is committed by a minority against another minority or a white victim, the media conveniently keeps skin color out of it, or, they still blame white people. (How about that shooting in Colorado by a leftist Muslim? The media seems less excited all of a sudden when we all found out it was not carried out by an “evil” white conservative. Instead, they are now acting as if the shooter is the victim, claiming he was “bullied as a child because of his religion”).

I would usually argue that we should be blaming the individuals that commit the crimes, and leave it at that. There is, however, a group today that does represent a monolith, and despite their name they are not organized by race so much as by ideology. I am of course referring to Black Lives Matter and other affiliated leftist groups. These groups have consistently advocated and defended random violence as well as massive destruction of property over the past few years as a means for political gain. Beyond that, these same groups have often been protected by government institutions.

Thousands of people involved in BLM related crimes have been given get-out-of-jail-free cards by state and city officials the past year. Not only that, but they have benefited from endless media spin, telling the world that they are “peaceful” when most of the evidence is to the contrary.

It is not that black people in general are being given a pass; it is that BLM and leftist groups are being given a pass and this is creating a culture of double standards. I believe this is encouraging further violence among black individuals with a predisposition to crime. There are racists and criminals in every group and of every color, but the criminals and racists within the black community are being sent a message that they are immune to consequences because of BLM. So, they swarm out of the woodwork in droves thinking that they are now untouchable and are free to entertain their worst impulses.

Leftists LOVE to preach about how freedom does not mean “freedom from consequences”. This is obviously nonsense and such musings ring hollow when certain groups are protected from consequences while other groups are constantly scrutinized and punished for nothing. When an ideological cult is consistently told they are immune to consequences for the worst infractions, this inspires chaos. Psychopaths should not be given confidence, but this is what BLM does, and leftist governments are also to blame.

I am reminded of the mass migrations of Muslims into the EU after most of Europe forcefully opened the borders of member nations and refused to vet incoming “refugees”. In the years following the surge in migrants, violent crime in parts of the EU skyrocketed. Much of this crime was attributed to migrant assailants. The problem was that numerous crimes went unpunished, and the European media and governments created policies which even forbid descriptions of assailants in the news to avoid “racial tensions”.

Are Muslim migrants more predisposed to crime? Well, like any other group, when they are given a free pass and told they will probably never face consequences for their actions, yes, they are more predisposed. Governments and leftists in the EU created a social structure in which “diversity groups” and supposed victim groups are given more than equality, they are given privileged status. The same thing is happening in America right now.

To conclude, who is really to blame for the rise in Asian hate crimes in the US? Well, the perpetrators are mostly black, but social justice organizations and the governments and media entities that support and protect them are to blame. Immunity from scrutiny sets monsters loose on the world. Immunity from prosecution sets monsters loose on the world. Immunity from justice sets monsters loose on the world. And while some of these people will eventually be punished for their crimes, such crimes will continue to rise because bad people will continue to be encouraged by the precedents set by groups like BLM.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Wed, 03/24/2021 - 23:50
Published:3/24/2021 11:16:30 PM
[Markets] "Follow The Science," They Said... "Follow The Science," They Said...

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

Throughout the Trump years and in particular during the 2020 COVID pandemic crisis, the nation was lectured by the Left “to follow the data,” as the Democrats proclaimed themselves the “party of science.” As sober and judicious children of the enlightenment, they alone offered the necessary disinterested correctives to Trump’s supposed bluster and exaggeration—and to his anti-scientific deplorable following (often dismissed by Biden as dregs, chumps, and Neanderthals).

In truth, leftists and Democrats have become the purveyors of superstition. Their creation of a fantasy world is not because they do not believe in science per se, but because they believe more in the primacy of ideology that should shape and warp science in the proper fashion for the greater good. What prompted Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, or Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hysterically and wrongly to forecast widespread demographic or climatological catastrophe in just a few years was not ignorance of science per se, but a desire to massage science for our own good.

The Godheads of COVID-19

The medical pandemic godhead of the Left has been octogenarian Dr. Anthony Fauci. His twin chief public relations explainer has been liberal darling New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Both were always supposed to be on top of “the science.” 

Dr. Fauci has not just been flat-out wrong on the science of COVID - in his assessments of the origins and possible dangers of COVID-19, of when we can get back to normal, of when the vaccinations would appear, and of which particular governors have been doing the most or least effective management of the disease. He has also, by his own admission, deliberately lied. 

That is, Fauci has rejected science, as he knew it, to mislead the public. For our own interests, he adopted the Platonic “noble lie” on occasion. So, for example, he conceded that he had downplayed the value of masks (he now seems to approve of wearing one on top of another) in order to prevent too many wearing them, and thus the public shorting the supply available to more important health care workers. 

Fauci also proverbially moved the goal posts on herd immunity, from the high 60s to the low 90s as a percent of the population, either vaccinated or with antibodies, necessary to achieve a de facto end of the pandemic. Again, Fauci defied the science on the theory he knew better, in assuming that the childish public would become too lax when and if it believed herd immunity was on the horizon. 

Unspoken, is that Fauci usually errs on the side of what is deemed progressive orthodoxy. In contrast, Dr. Scott Atlas warned us that extended and complete lockdowns in any cost-benefit analyses might well inflict more human and economic damage than the virus. And he added that an opened-up Florida and Texas might do no worse virally than a locked-down California or New York, while avoiding the severe recessionary collateral damage.

Yet Atlas was damned for “not following the science” for the crime of working for Trump and for following the science: while targeted wearing of masks and social distancing and quarantining of vulnerable populations are necessary, complete quarantines of the entire population and extended closing schools are counterproductive. 

Little need be said of Cuomo other than the applicable Roman dictum he created a desert and called it peace. When the federal government delivered a tent-hospital and a huge hospital ship, they went unused. When it sent ventilators, Cuomo raged that they were too little, too late.

When his own record in New York of COVID mismanagement became public (currently over 2,500 deaths per million population, the second highest state in the nation and about 35-40 percent higher than the open, but hated Texas and Florida), he lied about his own redirection of COVID patients into pristine long-term care facilities that resulted in a proverbial bloodbath. 

In his adherence to science, Cuomo received an Emmy for his narcissistic press conferences and adeptness at blame-gaming. That he was brought low not by his lethal politicking, but by serial allegations of being rude and handsy with female staffers suggests that his unscientific approaches to the pandemic were of little concern to his “scientific” supporters. 

The “Science” of Quarantines 

Consider another scientific debacle. In the midst of the quarantine, when governors and mayors were threatening to jail any who violated social distancing, mask wearing, or assembling en mass outdoors, hundreds of thousands hit the nation’s streets in crowded phalanxes of screaming and saliva-projecting protestors—all supposedly in violation of “the science” of epidemiology and public health. 

The reaction of our elected officials—not just silence but open approbation—is to be expected, given the political class is so often timid and simply genuflects to perceived voter pressure groups. But “the science” on spec also came to the rescue of the quarantine violators to offer pseudo-scientific support for violating government-mandated “data”-driven policies. 

Over 1,200 healthcare officials weighed in with their “expertise” and postmodern gibberish to defend mass violations of quarantine rules: “Instead, we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response.” 

And the experts added all sort of postmodern hedging to emphasize that their recalibrated woke “science” was now different than others’ less woke “science”: 

However, as public-health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States.

So in Animal Farm terms, some protests “are more in violation than others.” In a more historical vein, we might imagine these “experts” at another time and place, joining the chorus of scientists praising the agronomic genius of Joseph Stalin, whose “brilliant” and “scientific” irrigation fantasies began the destruction of the Aral Sea. In any case, millions decided why stay indoors when millions of others hit the streets to protest, loot, burn, destroy, and injure—with the sanction of our experts.

Non Compos Mentis

The Left hammered the 74-year-old overweight Trump about his supposedly iffy health. They brought in a Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, to testify about his incapacity to Congress. There and in op-eds, she offered a pseudo-scientific assessment of debility (e.g., “I and hundreds of mental health professionals are available and eager to assist with any or all these efforts”). Yes, and unethically so, without ever having examined the patient in question. 

According to Lee, Trump was mentally impaired, a sociopath, and needed an “intervention,” a serious medical diagnosis that soon became a “scientific” grounding for the wild charges leveled at Trump of incompetence on network and cable news. Trump in his exasperation at “fake news,” took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test to prove his powers of recall and analysis. He aced the exam.

But where is Lee now in the era of a 78-year-old Joe Biden in the White House?

Or rather, where is the Left to use her “research” to question whether Joe Biden is compos mentis? In the last 30 days, he has claimed there were none vaccinated when he entered office (he was photographed receiving a shot on December 21, a month before his inauguration).

In truth, 1 million a day were receiving vaccinations when Biden assumed the presidency. He cannot at times remember the name of his own secretary of defense or of the Pentagon where Gen.(ret.) Lloyd Austin works, and increasingly needs a translator to make sense of his slurred words, raspy voice, off-topic wandering, truncated vocabulary, and fragmented syntax.

Trump was once said to be shaky and disguising an obvious illness because after a long day at West Point he walked slowly in his leather shoes on a smooth ramp. In contrast, this week Joe Biden staggered and fell three times climbing the stairs to Air Force One—without a commensurate media howl. Will Joe be subject to an outside medical assessment? Might Dr. Lee reappear to give him the Montreal test?

I think we know the answer. “Science” is used to denigrate a perceived enemy of the people, and ignored to enhance a guardian of the flock.

Hate Crimes by Whom?

Joe Biden and the Left are implying if not outright asserting that there is now an epidemic of Anti-Asian violence perpetrated by white racists, insidiously emboldened by Trump’s past references to the “Wuhan” or “China” virus. No doubt, in a nation of 330 million, there are lots of haters who happen to be white, but are they the main culprit for racially-motivated crimes of hatred against Asians?

Recently, a deranged sex-addict and religious fanatic shot and killed eight people in the Atlanta area, six of whom were apparently Asian Americans. When apprehended, the 21-year-old confessed to the murders. In unhinged fashion, he claimed that he sought to eliminate sex workers and their places of business in general, with which he was apparently obsessed.

The unhinged shooter denied that race drove his murdering and indeed, he murdered two whites and injured a Latino. And his past proven sex addition and mental instability, along with his lethal shooting of non-Asians, suggest he was a pathological, mentally impaired murderer, not a race hater bent of mowing down the Other.

No matter. The media massaged the story into proof of its theories that a spate of recent hate crime attacks against Asian Americans were fueled by white supremacists, or at least those goaded on by the racist Donald Trump. That narrative was lacking evidence in both the Georgia shootings and the recent assaults on Asians.

One data point to justify such unsubstantiated charges that we might not see is a list of all Asian American victims of recent hate crimes, calibrated by the race/ethnicity of the attacker, and then adjusted to percentages in the general population—all in the context of clear racial animosity.

To do so, might suggest that in all those attacks where a clear, premeditated racial motive, rather than random violence or psychological deviance, is found, black males are inordinately represented.

For example, in the FBI hate crime statistics for 2019, the most recent year available, 4.4 percent of all single bias racial hate crimes were Asian Americans. Where the race and ethnicity of the perpetrators for all hate crimes was known, 52.5 percent were “white,” of whom 33.1 percent were in the ethnic category list as “Not Hispanic or Latino.”

Such so-called non-Hispanic whites make up about 65-70 percent of the population, depending on the method of categorization. In contrast, 23.9 percent of hate-crime perpetrators were identified as black or African American, while they comprise only 12-13 percent of the population. Data from New York and San Francisco on bodily violence or crimes in general against Asians suggest the same pattern.

The science might suggest that in matters of hate crimes - if society insists on focusing on the race and ethnicity of the attacker and knows the motive - it should then compare relative percentages of the population to determine who is inordinately, or not inordinately, committing such crimes.

To the degree, some progressives follow the science, the more honest left-wing venues have conceded that blacks may have been inordinately responsible, in demographic terms, for anti-Asian violence and indeed are over-represented in race-driven hate crimes in general. But they escape the obvious ramifications of such intersectional hatreds, by offering an exculpatory exegesis: nonetheless, whites are responsible for the hate, by pitting one racial group against another to ensure Roman-like divide-and-conquer “white supremacy.” Thus, for example, one Antoine Watson ran across the street to push down and kill 84-year-old San Franciscan Vicha Ratanapakdee because either Donald Trump had used the phrase “Chinese virus” or due to the insidious “white supremacy” that had conditioned the African American Watson to hate immigrants from Thailand.

Fencing in Cities, Vaccination, and Ruskies

The science might also tally up all the material and human damage committed in 2020 in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. and then compare it to the carnage of January 6 at the Capitol. And then experts might show whether there is a scientific correlation between the number of federal troops posted in Washington to other major riot-torn cities, at least in terms of soldiers stationed per person injured and killed or millions of dollars in property damaged. Otherwise, why the inordinate military build-up around the Capitol?

In truth, our woke officials pay little attention to science. If the point is to vaccinate first all Americans most likely to die or become seriously ill by COVID-19, then age and proven comorbidities might have been the most effective scientific criteria to schedule vaccinations. Yet for weeks in many states instead we floundered by ignoring science as scientists haggled over which particular marginalized or essential community should gain precedence over another.

In the Russian collusion hoax, to this hour, we have ignored the findings of Robert Mueller’s failed $35 million, 22 month investigation. Christopher Steele testified that he had no data to present to back up his mythical, now biblical dossier. James Comey pleaded amnesia 245 times as in “I don’t recall” when asked under oath about his own investigation. Robert Muller himself testified that he knew almost nothing about Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier, the catalysts for his own investigation. James Clapper had no evidence, he testified under oath, to substantiate his public charges that the president of the United States may be a “Russian asset.” No matter, in “learning-nothing-forgetting-nothing” fashion, we are now returning to the theme of Trump as a Russian asset and colluder on the basis of “new” evidence from the “intelligence community.”

Such is the “science” of Russian collusion.

As a general rule, the next time an official, a politician, or an expert lectures us on the “science,” make sure that he is not projecting his own unscientific biases onto others.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/24/2021 - 21:10
Published:3/24/2021 8:14:17 PM
[NEWS & ANALYSIS] FBI Data Shows Knives Kill More People Than Rifles

Two recent shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado are fueling team-left’s long desired ban on “assault-style” rifles like the AR-15.  But, according to data from the FBI, far more murders are committed with handguns, knives, or even bare hands. The most recent data from 2019 shows that although firearms do account for the majority […]

The post FBI Data Shows Knives Kill More People Than Rifles appeared first on Human Events.

Published:3/24/2021 6:13:57 PM
[Markets] US Intelligence Community Increasingly Involving Itself In Domestic Politics: Greenwald US Intelligence Community Increasingly Involving Itself In Domestic Politics: Greenwald

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via

Then-Vice President Joseph Biden (L) with former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta (R) at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs.

Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”

Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).

The U.S. security state apparatus regards the agenda of “domestic violent extremists” as “derived from anti-government or anti-authority sentiment,” which includes “opposition to perceived economic, racial or social hierarchies.” In sum, to the Department of Homeland Security, an “extremist” is anyone who opposes the current prevailing ruling class and system for distributing power. Anyone they believe is prepared to use violence, intimidation or coercion in pursuit of these causes then becomes a “domestic violent extremist,” subject to a vast array of surveillance, monitoring and other forms of legal restrictions:

Department of Homeland Security report, Mar.1, 2021

It goes without saying that violence of any kind — including that which is politically motivated — is a serious crime under U.S. law, and it is the proper role of the U.S. Government to investigate and prevent it. But there are real and important legal and institutional limits on the authority of the intelligence community to involve itself in domestic law enforcement, or other forms of domestic political activity, that seem threatened here, if not outright violated.

In particular, the Report’s acknowledgement that it was compiled by institutions including “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)” has alarmed numerous members of the House Intelligence Committee. On Thursday, all ten minority members of that Committee wrote a previously unreported letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines “to raise serious concerns about the production of this document by the Intelligence Community (IC) and to seek clarification of the facts related to its production.”

Among the issues raised was that the DHS Report was not subject to the standard rigors of an intelligence community finding, yet continually makes sweeping claims that it prefixes with the authoritative phrase “the IC assesses.” The Committee members found this “to be misleading,” adding: we “urge you to clarify which elements in the IC concurred with this judgement and the intelligence basis, if any, for that concurrence.” In other words, Haines claims that these dubious assertions about various threats faced by Americans are the findings of the intelligence community when that is not true: just like the originally false claim widely spread by the media that “all seventeen intelligence agencies” endorsed the 2016 election findings about Russian interference when, in fact, it was only a few which had done so. Haines’ claims have support only from a few agencies as well.

But the more substantive danger is the role played by the CIA and other intelligence agencies in the domestic politics of the U.S., all in the name of fighting “domestic terrorism” (similar dangers were previously created by the Bush and Obama administrations in the name of fighting “international terrorism”). As the committee members’ letter details:

The Intelligence Committee members, citing the fact that the intelligence community is “subject to longstanding prohibitions against domestic activities,” then demanded answers to a series of questions based on this substantive concern:

Involvement of the intelligence community in the domestic activities of U.S. citizens is one of the most dangerous breaches of civil liberties and democratic order the U.S. Government can perpetrate. It was after World War II when the CIA, the NSA and other security state agencies that wield immense and unlimited powers in the dark were created in the name of fighting the Cold War. Legal and institutional prohibitions on wielding that massive machinery against the American public were central to the always-dubious claim that this security behemoth that operates completely in the dark was compatible with democracy. As the ACLU noted, “in its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans, in part because President Truman was afraid that the agency would engage in political abuse.”

Since then, Truman’s fear has been realized over and over. Some of the worst post-WW2 civil liberties abuses have been the result of breaches by the CIA and other agencies of this prohibition. As the ACLU documents, the CIA in the 1960s was caught infiltrating and manipulating numerous domestic political activist groups. Under the auspices of the War on Terror, entire new bureaucracies (such as the Department of Homeland Security) and new legal regimes (such as the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act) were designed to erode these long-standing limitations by dramatically increasing surveillance powers aimed at U.S. citizens. And by design, the infiltration of these security state agencies in U.S. domestic politics has dramatically escalated.

As the first War on Terror was escalating, The Washington Post — under the headline “CIA Is Expanding Domestic Operations” — reported in October, 2002, that “The Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its domestic presence, placing agents with nearly all of the FBI's 56 terrorism task forces in U.S. cities.” The Post added that in the name of that War on Terror:

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III recently described the new arrangement as his answer to MI5, Britain's internal security service. Unlike the CIA, MI5 is empowered to collect intelligence within Britain and to act to disrupt domestic threats to British national security. "It goes some distance to accomplishing what the MI5 does," Mueller told a House-Senate intelligence panel last week in describing the new CIA role in the FBI task forces.

In the years following, two NSA whistleblowers — William Binney and Edward Snowden — both cited their horror over the turning of the surveillance machinery against American citizens as the reason for their decision to denounce their agency. One of the aspects that most disturbed me about the Russiagate conspiracy theory from the start was that it was created and disseminated by the CIA and related agencies with the intent, first, to alter the outcome of the 2016 election, and then to undermine the elected president with whom they were at war. Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) went on The Rachel Maddow Show to warn — or more accurately: threaten — Trump that the CIA would destroy his presidency if he continued to criticize or otherwise oppose them:

It is encouraging to see Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee starting to express serious concerns over the dangers of intelligence community involvement in domestic politics. That is underscored by their approving citation to the mild mid-1970s reforms of the intelligence community ushered in by the Senate’s Church Committee, once primarily a liberal cause. Indeed, many of the same House Republicans who wrote this important letter to the DNI have in the past supported laws that allow greater involvement of the CIA, NSA and other agencies in activities on U.S. soil — including the Patriot Act.

The head of the Church Committee, Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), made clear in his iconic quote on Meet the Press in 1975 that those reforms were primarily motivated by fears that the U.S. Government would one day turn its vast intelligence powers onto the American people, rendering core civil liberties an illusion:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. (...) We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left: such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

(That quote from Sen. Church was the first one that appeared in my 2014 book on the NSA reporting I did with Edward Snowden, and the title of that book, No Place to Hide, was a nod toward Church’s chilling warning, now come true).

As I have been repeatedly noting over the last two months, the Biden administration, along with leading Democrats such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), have been stating explicitly that one of their top priorities is the adoption of new laws designed to import the Bush/Cheney/Obama War on Terror onto U.S. soil for domestic purposes. As recently as February 14, The Washington Post — under the headline: “The agency founded because of 9/11 is shifting to face the threat of domestic terrorism” — noted that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is now demanding that homeland security resources be re-directed toward domestic extremists, and “lawmakers of both parties spoke favorably of new legislation to specifically address domestic terrorism.”

Nobody from the Biden administration or Congressional members demanding enactment of Schiff’s proposed new “domestic terrorism” law can identify any activities that are not now criminal that they believe ought to be. Unless it is to permit intelligence agencies to start policing constitutionally protected speech and associational activities among U.S. citizens, why are any new laws needed? Unless it is to empower them to escalate their already-aggressive use of War on Terror tactics against U.S. citizens, what do they want security state agencies to be able to do on U.S. soil that they cannot now do?

But just as the fear of international terrorism was constantly inflated to place such questions off limits when it came to the War on Terror, and just as critics of the excesses of the first War on Terror were constantly accused of downplaying the threat of Islamic extremism if not harboring outright sympathy for it, the same tactics are being used now. Anyone raising civil liberties concerns about what is being done in the name of combating “domestic extremism” is vilified as ignoring and even supporting such domestic extremism.

No matter: there are few dangers more acute than the weaponization of these security state instruments against U.S. citizens for political ends. The DNI should provide full, complete and truthful answers to the important questions posed by these Intelligence Committee members, and should do so promptly. The evidence of growing incursions by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic politics is already strong and ample, and further incursions would be both dangerous and illegal.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/24/2021 - 17:40
Published:3/24/2021 4:43:47 PM
[Politics] Series of Legislative Proposals Would Devastate Hawaii's Economy, Harm Public Health Published:3/24/2021 12:42:05 PM
[Markets] Boulder Shooter Known To FBI, Threatened Fake Hate-Crime Charges Against Classmates He Attacked Boulder Shooter Known To FBI, Threatened Fake Hate-Crime Charges Against Classmates He Attacked

Update (1030ET): The suspected gunman charged in the shooting at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store was previously known to the FBI, a New York Times report revealed.

SaraACarter's Annaliese Levy reports that, according to the report, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a 21-year-old from the Denver suburb of Arvada, was previously known to the FBI because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.

In 2018, Alissa was convicted of a misdemeanor assault against another student at Arvada West High School. Fellow classmates recall him as having a “fierce temper” that would flare in response to setbacks or slights, The Times report said.

Alissa’s brother described him as “mentally ill, paranoid and antisocial,” to the Daily Beast.

*  *  *

As Summit News' Paul Joseph Watson detailed earlier,

The gunman in Boulder who killed 10 people at a supermarket would routinely threaten his classmates with threats of filing fake hate crime charges after violently attacking them, eyewitnesses told the media.

As we highlighted yesterday, Ahmad Al-Issa would typically be described as an “anti-racist activist,” with his Facebook page having featured criticism of Donald Trump, advocacy for refugees and Muslim immigrants.

Despite the gunman’s family telling the Daily Beast that the reason for his rampage was as a result of him being the victim of “bullying” in high school, Al-Issa’s classmates say the opposite is true.

Fox 31 report reveals that Al-Issa once punched a classmate and continued to hit him as he lay on the ground.

Al-Issa tried to justify the attack by claiming the victim “had made fun of him and called him racial names weeks earlier,” although no other classmates could corroborate this.

The shooter’s wrestling team classmate Dayton Marvel also told the Denver Post that in Al Issa’s senior year, “during the wrestle-offs to see who makes varsity, he actually lost his match and quit the team and yelled out in the wrestling room that he was like going to kill everybody.”

“Nobody believed him. We were just all kind of freaked out by it, but nobody did anything about it,” said Marvel.

“He would talk about him being Muslim and how if anybody tried anything, he would file a hate crime and say they were making it up,” he added.

Given this history and the fact that Al-Issa was an avid reader of mainstream media, questions now must be asked about his real motivation given that all the gunman’s victims were white and whether he was radicalized by anti-white racism that has been institutionalized by the press.

*  *  *

In the age of mass Silicon Valley censorship It is crucial that we stay in touch. I need you to sign up for my free newsletter here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown. Also, I urgently need your financial support here.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/24/2021 - 11:22
Published:3/24/2021 10:42:37 AM
[] Candace Owens Schools Democrats for Sport - Check Out This Candidate Who Just Got His Lesson Published:3/23/2021 6:07:33 PM
[Baltimore] Feds investigate Marilyn and Nick Mosby (Paul Mirengoff) Marilyn and Nick Mosby are Baltimore’s leading power couple. She is the State’s Attorney in Baltimore — the one who indicted but failed to convict half a dozen police officers in the Freddy Gray matter. He’s the City Council President. Together, they are now the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The Washington Post reports: The U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI requested a range of financial records related Published:3/23/2021 6:07:33 PM
[Markets] Leaks Show CIA Pressured Yemen To Release Al-Qaeda Leader & Agency Asset Anwar al-Awlaki Leaks Show CIA Pressured Yemen To Release Al-Qaeda Leader & Agency Asset Anwar al-Awlaki

Authored by Alexander Rubinstein via,

Explosive new recordings released by the Houthi government of Yemen pile more earth atop mountains of existing evidence of the US government’s support for the very same terrorists it has claimed to be waging war against for nearly two decades.

The Moral Guidance Department, a branch of the Yemeni Armed Forces of the revolutionary Houthi government of Yemen published last week a number of secret documents and phone calls from the former regime of longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh

Two phone calls between former president Saleh and the former director of the CIA George Tenet were released. A Yemeni government official has confirmed to me that the calls took place in 2001.

In the calls, the former CIA director can be heard pressuring Saleh to release a detained individual involved in the bombing attacks on USS Cole in October of 2000, which left 17 dead and 37 injured.

In the call, Tenet is asked by Saleh’s translator about the name of the individual in question. "I don’t want to give his name over the phone,: Tenet tells him.

Saleh notes that the FBI team tasked with the USS Cole investigation had already arrived in Sana’a, and asks Tenet if the FBI personnel could meet with him to discuss the matter. Tenet refuses, saying "this is my person, this is my problem, this is my issue... The man must be released."

"I’ve talked to everybody in my government; I told them that I was going to make this call," Tenet says. As Saleh’s translator is delivering Tenet’s message to the president, the CIA director cuts him off and says that the man in question "must be released within 48 hours."

"After 50 days, this must stop," he says. Major General Abdul Qadir al-Shami, the deputy-head of the Yemeni Security and Intelligence Service, confirmed to Houthi media that the person in question was dual American-Yemeni citizen imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, a top leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who was killed in Yemen in 2011 by a CIA drone strike

Houthi media says al-Shami "pointed out that the Americans used to train their individuals in Yemen and send them abroad to carry out operations for them, and then affix the accusation to Yemen as an excuse to come under the cover of fighting those individuals."

Another document from the State Department dated 1998 highly suggests US interests in establishing a military presence in Yemen around the sea of Aden. Saudi-born Ali al-Ahmed of the Gulf Institute, a leading expert on Saudi politics and terrorism, told me that he is not at all surprised by the phone call between George Tenet and Yemen’s former president.

"I’ve been saying this for a long time," al-Ahmed told me. "People that think that these organizations; al-Qaeda, ISIS, are organic, non-state-backed organizations are either lying or are completely stupid. The fact that ISIS had all these American weapons, they didn’t come from thin air. This was part of a plan. The same thing with al-Qaeda; the fact that this organization which has been attacked all over the world continues to survive 20 years on, and spread, it’s not by accident. It’s done by security and intelligence organizations in Washington, D.C. and in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and by Ali Abdullah Saleh."

"This recording," he said, "fits the bill; that Anwar al-Awlaki and others, they were sometimes knowingly or unknown being used as a tool." 

The Tenets of Tenet

George Tenet is the second-longest serving director of the CIA. Originally brought in to the post by Bill Clinton, he oversaw the Bush administration’s response to the September 11 attacks.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, after Tenet asked for the Saudi’s help with Osama bin Laden prior to the attacks, the Saudi’s response was so encouraging that Clinton made Tenet "his informal personal representative to work with the Saudis on terrorism," which included at least two trips to Riyadh.

George Tenet is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush

Following the 9/11 attacks, Tenet authorized the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other torture methods.  Tenet told 9/11 investigators that he had not met with President Bush in the month prior to the attacks, but was later corrected by a CIA spokesman that same evening, who said he did.

A CIA Inspector General inquiry accused Tenet of failing to do enough to prevent the attacks, saying "by virtue of his position, [Tenet] bears ultimate responsibility for the fact that no such strategic plan was ever created" despite the CIA knowing of the dangers presented by al-Qaeda.

"Many of the difficulties that were listed in that report today - the inability to share information, the lack of people to support and run operations against Osama bin Laden - those were problems that were brought to Mr. Tenet's attention as early as 1996 and he never did anything about them," Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit, told the BBC.

Tenet was "too busy schmoozing with foreign leaders… that he forgot that his job was to manage the intelligence community," former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has said.

According to journalist Bob Woodward, who interviewed George Bush himself for his book "Plan of Attack," Tenet and his deputy presented the president with satellite footage purported to show weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Unimpressed, Bush asked whether "this is the best we’ve got?" Tenet then leapt from the couch, raised his arms, and told the president it was a “slam dunk!”

When Bush challenged him again, Tenet repeated "The case, it's a slam dunk."

According to Woodward: "I asked the president about this and he said it was very important to have the CIA director – 'Slam-dunk is as I interpreted is a sure thing, guaranteed. No possibility it won't go through the hoop.' Others present; Cheney, very impressed."

Hijinks with the Hijackers

Anwar al-Awlaki has been perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the so-called War on Terror; even after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, al-Awlaki enjoyed free travel between Western countries like the United States and the United Kingdom and Yemen. He was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in 2011, a likely-illegal targeted killing of an American citizen with little to no precedent.

Al-Awlaki’s name has appeared in connection with a plethora of terrorist attacks against Western targets and, in addition to the now apparent ties to US intelligence, had held relationships with suspected Saudi intelligence officers. 

Anwar al-Awlaki would, according to a fellow student at Colorado State, spend his off time in the summer training with the US-funded and equipped Mujahideen in Afghanistan, the precursor of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS. The Afghan militants were funnelled $20 billion by the CIA in Operation Cyclone, with Osama Bin Laden being a main benefactor, in order to fight off the Soviets defending the then-socialist government.

By 1996, al-Awlaki was recruiting Muslims in the United States to take up arms in foreign lands as he encouraged a young Saudi student to "to travel to Chechnya to join the jihad against the Russians." He did, and was killed in fighting in 1999.

Though the record holds many discrepancies, al-Awlaki’s place of birth is said to be in New Mexico. Conservative journalist Paul Sperry writes in his book, "federal law enforcement records I have obtained indicate that he was born in Aden, Yemen, on April 21, 1971, and first came to the U.S. as a Yemeni citizen on a J-1 research-scholar visa on June 5, 1990." Meanwhile, "a search of state vital records in New Mexico turns up no birth certificate."

Al-Awlaki’s now-revealed status as a CIA asset may help explain this discrepancy and how — if it’s true that al-Awlaki was not born in the U.S. — he wound up with citizenship. Nasser al-Awlaki, Anwar’s father, was a Fulbright Scholar who studied in New Mexico and later worked for the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Anwar Al-Awlaki moved from Denver to San Diego and became the Imam at the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque. There, he held court with Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar, and Hani Hanjour, all three of whom would go on to hijack the planes that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.

According to the 9/11 Commission report, Hanjour’s older brother claimed Hani had gone to Afghanistan "in the late 1980’s, as a teenager, to participate in the jihad and, because the Soviets had already withdrawn, worked for a relief agency there." Even Ali al-Ahmed, a leading critic of Saudi Arabia, says the propaganda campaign promoting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan deluded him when he was very young. "It was part of a plan," he said.

Meanwhile, Hazmi and Mihdhar had joined up with the Bosnian Mujahideen following the breakup of socialist Yugoslavia, a conflict which saw the Clinton administration and the Pentagon oversee clandestine foreign arms shipments Islamists fighting in the dirty war. Hazmi and Mihdhar were even granted Bosnian citizenship to fight there. Al-Qaeda operative and "principle architect of the 9/11 attacks" according to the 9/11 Comission Report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had "also spent time fighting alongside the mujahideen in Bosnia and supporting that effort with financial donations."

As I have previously reported, the Brooklyn-based Al-Kifah Afghan Refugee Center, "a front for Maktab al-Khidamat, an organization co-founded by Osama bin Laden" was used by the CIA in Operation Cyclone to send young American Muslims to fight in Afghanistan, and continued to be used by the Clinton administration to recruit young fighters to the war in Bosnia.

"The Bosnian War drew extremists of all types from all over the world. The El Mujahid, the unit of foreign mujahideen fighters in Bosnia, videotaped themselves committing war crimes against Serbs including beheadings and torture," Lily Lynch, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine, told me. "There are also reports that the mujahideen terrorized the local Bosniak population by making aid contingent upon radical conversion."

"Unfortunately, much of the discussion of the crimes committed by El Mujahid in Bosnia has been led by Islamophobes with a wider political agenda, usually anti-immigration," she continued. "This has prevented an honest and complete coming to terms with the crimes of the past, including those very real and documented crimes committed by the mujahideen."

Al-Awlaki was under investigation by the FBI in 1999 and 2000 after they learned he "may have been contacted by a possible procurement agent for Osama Bin Laden," according to the 9/11 Comission Report. Additionally, al-Awlaki had "been visited by Ziyad Khaleel, an al-Qaeda operative who purchased a battery for Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone, as well as by an associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called blind Shaykh."

Around this period of time, al-Awlaki was the vice-president of the Charitable Society for Social Welfare, a money-funneling front for al-Qaeda. One contact of al-Awlaki’s in San Diego was Omar al-Bayoumi, who introduced al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi to him. Al-Bayoumi was presented in the 9/11 Commission Report as a "good Samaritan," according to mainstream media reports, who wanted to help fellow Saudis al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, who had previously been surveilled by three governments at the request of the CIA before showing up in San Diego.

However, the "28 pages" of the congressional "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11" that had long been withheld from the U.S. public until they were declassified 13 years later following lobbying by victims of the terrorist attacks, strongly indicate that al-Bayoumi was a Saudi intelligence officer. Additionally, former US intelligence official Richard Clarke has speculated that he was also a CIA asset. The 28 pages note that the "FBI discovered that al-Bayoumi has ties to terrorist elements as well."

Al-Bayoumi, who was on the payroll of the Saudi monarchy via a third party company, set up al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi with an apartment. That very same day, four phone calls took place between al-Bayoumi and al-Awlaki.

Another "close associate" of al-Bayoumi and yet another suspected Saudi intelligence officer — and friend of al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi — Osama Basnan, had been investigated by the FBI in 1993 for his support for Osama Bin Laden, contacts with the Bin Laden family, and holding a party in 1992 for the Blind Shaykh, another Afghan Mujahideen figure who worked with the CIA and Osama Bin Laden. The Blind Shaykh died in prison in 2017 for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Money sent to Basnan from members of the Saudi Royal Family had made its way into al-Bayoumi’s pockets. The two had called each other "roughly 700 times" over the period of one year. Basnan would later brag that he did more to help the 9/11 hijackers than al-Bayoumi to an FBI asset.

News reports from 2003 note how "FBI officials continue to downplay any possible culpability on the part of Omar al-Bayoumi, Anwar Al-Awlaki or Osama Basnan." Al-Bayoumi and Basnan’s extremism wasn’t acknowledged by US authorities until the long-withheld 28 pages were released in 2016.

During al-Awlaki’s time in San Diego, when he wasn’t getting busted for trying to pick up prostitutes or starting failed business ventures, he held frequent, closed-door meetings with al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar until he went on what he told reporters was a "sabbatical" through "several countries" in 2000, the year that the USS Cole was bombed.

Some time the following year, al-Awlaki resettled just outside Falls Church, Virginia, and became the imam at a local mosque. He was followed by the three hijackers: Hanjour, al-Hazmi, and al-Mihdhar, and an associate of his set them up with an apartment in Alexandria. Additionally, one accused key planner of the 9/11 attacks, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the so-called "20th hijacker" currently held in Guantanamo Bay, had al-Awlaki’s phone number in his personal contact list when his apartment was raided in the days following the attacks.

Freedom of Information Act requests have furnished the public with under-reported documents showing when the FBI investigated al-Awlaki’s Visa transactions, an entry for "Atta, Mohammed -- American West Airlines, 08/13/2001, Washington, DC to Las Vegas to Miami" turned up. Mohammed Atta is widely described as the "ringleader” of the September 11 attacks.

The flight referenced was one of Atta’s so-called "surveillance flights." Logs for flights of two more hijackers — one of the al-Shehri brothers and Satam al-Squami, also appear in the disclosed Visa investigation documents. The FBI has denied having evidence of al-Awlaki purchasing plane tickets for the hijackers.

By this time, al-Awlaki was becoming a somewhat prominent figure, with up to 3,000 people regularly showing up for his Friday services, and with CD box set lectures becoming popular. He went back briefly to San Diego in August 2001 and reportedly told a neighbor "I don’t think you’ll be seeing me… Later on you’ll find out why."

One frequent attendee at al-Awlaki’s lectures was Gordon Snow, then-FBI Director of Counterintelligence for the Middle East. Snow had recently been "assigned to assessment, protection, and investigative support missions after the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen." Al-Awlaki was also around this time serving as the Muslim chaplain at D.C.’s George Washington University.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, "al-Awlaki was one of Washington DC’s go-to Muslim sources, considered a moderate Islamic voice with positive views of the United States and the West who did not shy away from publicly condemning Islamist terrorism and the 9/11 attacks" according to a research paper published by the Homeland Security Digital Library.  In highly-public remarks, he was condemning the attacks, but just days after he was giving comments to Islamic websites blaming Israel and claiming the FBI had placed the blame on any passenger on those flights with Muslim-sounding names.

Though it was then not known that al-Awlaki was the "spiritual leader" of some of the hijackers, the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the Washington Post among others, went to him as their default Muslim voice.

"I think that in general, Islam is presented in a negative way. I mean there’s always this association of Islam and terrorism when that is not true at all, I mean, Islam is a religion of peace" he told the Washington Post as they recorded him from the passenger seat of his car in November 2001. In a subsequent video, al-Awlaki downplays the crimes of the Taliban, saying "the US is kind of demonizing the Taliban, and it’s true, the Taliban have made a lot of mistakes in the past, but the Northern Alliance isn’t really any better."

Around this time, al-Awlaki would become the first imam in history to conduct a prayer service in the U.S. Capitol. Between September 15, 2001 and September 19th, 2001, the FBI interviewed al-Awlaki four times according to FBI documents.

Al-Awlaki being interviewed by the Washington Post

"The FBI told the 9/11 Commission and Congress that it did not have reason to detain Awlaki," according to a later article by the Washington Post.

Within months of the attacks and following a vetting process, al-Awlaki was invited to a luncheon with military brass at the Pentagon as a "moderate Muslim" to hold dialogue with as part of move to reach out to Muslim community members.

Despite his support in high places, al-Awlaki left the United States in 2002 with the Falls Church mosque citing a "climate of fear and intimidation." He would spend the next years in the United Kingdom before returning to Yemen. But he made a stop back in the U.S. in 2002, flying in on a Saudi Arabia Airlines flight with a Saudi agent accompanying him at the connecting airport on his way to JFK, according to law enforcement documents obtained by Paul Sperry.

With an arrest warrant out on him for passport fraud, federal agents detained al-Awlaki upon his return. But a federal judge had rescinded the arrest warrant that very same day, allowing al-Awlaki to walk free. He’d go back to northern Virginia and meet with Ali al-Timimi, a radical cleric who was later arrested for recruiting 11 Muslims to join the Taliban, to talk to him about getting young Muslims to take up jihad. 

Even al-Timimi thought something was suspect, reportedly wondering "if Mr. Awlaki might be trying to entrap him at the FBI’s instigation," according to his friends. Al-Awlaki left again on a Saudi flight without incident, however, Sperry claims, citing law enforcement documents, that he had another warrant out for his arrest based on an investigation against terrorism financing by the U.S. Treasury Department. That claim has been corroborated by government documents which reveal that FBI agent Wade Ammerman ordered that the warrant be bypassed.

By the time 9/11 Commission Investigators tried to interview al-Awlaki in 2003, they were unable to locate him, according to the report. And yet, documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act reveal that al-Awlaki was exchanging emails and voice messages with an FBI agent that year. One document has an FBI agent writing to another "Holy crap, [redacted] isn't this your guy? The [imam] with the prostitutes."

Another document has an FBI agent complaining of the 9/11 Commission’s "numerous and unrelenting" attempts to access al-Awlaki. Another memo dated within days of al-Awlaki’s return to the U.S. to meet with al-Timimi has al-Awlaki’s name in the subject line in addition to "Synopsis: Asset reporting."

The Candide of Jihad

When al-Awlaki started preaching in London, his rhetoric took a decidedly more extremist turn with frequent denunciations of non-Muslims and calls for martyrdom. He would relocate to Yemen where he would lecture at a university in Sana’a run by Sheik Abd-al-Majid al-Zindini, who was later designated a terrorist by the U.S. and fought with Osama bin Laden, with U.S. support during Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan. 

In 2006, al-Awlaki was arrested again in Yemen for participating in a al-Qaeda plot to kidnap a U.S. military attaché and a Shia teenager. FBI agents would interview him in prison about the 9/11 attacks. After a while, some U.S. officials were "disturbed at the imprisonment without charge of a United States citizen" and "signaled that they no longer insisted on Mr Awlaki’s incarceration, and he was released," according to the New York Times.

Following his release in Yemen, al-Awlaki started his own website and his far-reaching online rhetoric became even more extremist and supportive of attacks against the United States. He also started being featured in videos published by al-Qaeda itself and has been dubbed the "bin Laden of the internet."

His name would begin to increasingly surface in connection to high-profile terrorist attacks on Western targets: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the perpetrator of a drive-by shooting on a US military recruiting office in Arkansas, claimed to be dispatched by AQAP and carried al-Awlaki’s literature; Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and injured 30 at Fort Hood, had attended al-Awlaki’s lectures at the Falls Church mosque and exchanged up to 20 emails with him leading up to his attack (al-Awlaki later described Hasan as a "hero"); Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed "underwear bomber," is believed to have met with him weeks prior in Yemen; a New Jersey man by the name of Sharif Mobley who killed a Yemeni hospital guard after he was captured in a raid against al-Qaeda had made contact with al-Awlaki and went to Yemen to seek him out; and the 2010 attempted Times Square bomber had contact with him.

A full list of all the people arrested for trying to support al-Qaeda who had contact with al-Awlaki, or those who attempted to carry out terrorist attacks who were inspired by al-Awlaki, would be too long for this article. "Al-Awlaki's sermons and recordings have been found on the computers of at least a dozen of [sic] terror suspects in the U.S. and Britain," CNN reported in 2010. Al-Awlaki is considered to have helped inspire the Boston Marathon bombing, the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California, and the shooting at the Orlando Pulse Nightclub.

In 2010, al-Awlaki was placed on the U.S. kill list, he then made his way onto the Treasury Department's list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, and then the United Nation Security Council’s list of individuals associated with al-Qaeda.  

The following year, the CIA finally liquidated its own former asset with a drone strike.

"The death of Awlaki is a major blow to Al-Qaeda's most active operational affiliate. He took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans," President Obama said at the time. Two weeks after the killing of al-Awlaki, another drone strike ordered by Obama killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, Anwar’s American-born 16-year-old son. Six years later, President Trump ordered a raid that killed Nawar al-Awlaki, the eight-year-old daughter of Anwar.

Best Frenemies Forever

Yemen has suffered six years of devastating war since revolutionary Houthi forces took over the capital in September of 2014 from then-President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the former vice president of longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is widely considered to be a puppet of Saudi Arabia. The war was exacerbated by the introduction of foreign forces and foreign air power to the conflict, most notably by the Saudi-led coalition’s entry on March 25th, 2015. 

Six years on, the war has produced what experts have been calling the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world, with the United Nations estimating that 80 percent of the Yemeni population in severe need of humanitarian assistance including 12 million children. While the U.S. has repeatedly pounded AQAP in Yemen with bombs, they are not entirely enemies. The Saudi coalition, which the U.S. is a part of, is at war with the revolutionary Houthi government, and therefore shares a purpose in the country with al-Qaeda: expelling the Houthis from power.

"The coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaeda fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash," the Associated Press reported in 2018. "Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself."

"Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes," according to AP. In fact, the coalition actively recruits them because they are considered formidable on the battlefield, the outlet says before continuing to detail al-Qaeda figures playing key roles in major militias backed by the United Arab Emirates, another coalition partner. 

And since the U.S. has sent billions of dollars in weapons to the coalition to fight the Houthis, it should come as little shock that al-Qaeda militias are parading around Yemeni city streets in U.S.-made MRAP armored vehicles. Saudi expert Ali Al-Ahmed told me that the U.S. can justify its presence in Yemen by supporting al-Qaeda and then saying that AQAP is a great threat to America.

He said the "idea that Muslims are our enemies, we need to bring them down, take their wealth and keep them fighting each other" was started by Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the architect of Operation Cyclone, but was mainly supported in the beginning by Qatar.

He added: "they even had to overthrow the government of Pakistan to get this policy through. They made Pakistan into this arm to carry out this thing with Brzezinski."

"Al-Qaeda and ISIS would not survive without state support, including the U.S., and they do it because it serves their interests. Not the interests of the U.S., but of those in power and the companies that make money off this," he said.

Al-Ahmed describes al-Qaeda as a useful tool for U.S. intelligence and other actors to achieve their geopolitical goals. He tells me a story of a Jordanian carpenter who was pressured and bribed to join al-Qaeda in their effort in Syria against the government of Bashar Assad, with American, British, and Jordanian intelligence officers offering him whatever he wanted to go. 

He didn’t want to go, and so they threatened him. Eventually, al-Ahmed describes, he went, came back and was quickly "taken out" upon his return.

Anwar al-Awlaki pictured with the so-called "underwear bomber."
Tyler Durden Tue, 03/23/2021 - 18:50
Published:3/23/2021 6:07:33 PM
[Markets] Cuomo Accused Of Intimidating Witnesses As Lawmakers Warn Impeachment Probe Could Take Months Cuomo Accused Of Intimidating Witnesses As Lawmakers Warn Impeachment Probe Could Take Months

With the FBI hassling his office staff over whether they knowingly submitted false nursing home-death numbers to the DoJ, and AG Letitia James, his top political rival, overseeing an investigation into myriad allegations of sexual harassment against the governor (including at least one accusation that he groped a young woman in her 20s during a suspicious meeting at the executive residence), the world could be forgiven for assuming the Empire State governor and political scion's days are numbered.

But little by little, Cuomo, who has a reputation of being a bully who threatens and coerces political allies and opponents alike, has managed to stymie efforts to bring him down. Earlier this week, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine, a Long Island Democrat, told lawmakers in a preliminary hearing that an impeachment investigation e will take "months, rather than weeks."

"At this early stage, it's not possible to say precisely how long this investigation will take," Lavine said.

That investigation has already been marred by a scandal of its own: Several lawmakers have raised concerns that the law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, has a potential conflict of interest in the investigation given its ties to the Cuomo administration. Among them, Davis Polk's head of litigation is married to the chief judge Cuomo appointed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Lavine insisted that the governor deserves due process just like anybody else. "Due process is not just a preset. It's not just at the heart of what makes New Yorkers tick. It's at the heart of the American democracy as well," he said.

On a different note, President Biden has said New Yorkers should wait for the outcome of AG James's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, which have somehow eclipsed the fact that Cuomo deliberately underreported the number of nursing home residents who died due to outbreaks in the thousands of nursing homes strewn across the Empire State (many of which are managed by the state).

In yet further news, new allegations accusing Cuomo of playing hardball with his accusers emerged last night when Debra Katz, the high-profile attorney representing Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, told the press that Cuomo's decision to have government lawyers debrief staffers and accompany them to meetings has had "a chilling effect" on the investigations into the governor's conduct.

In a letter to AG Letitia James, Katz urged her to direct Cuomo to halt any meddling into the probe, which is being led by former MUS Attorney Joon Kim and employment lawyer Anne Clark so the inquiry will be "fair and untainted."

Katz's letter is apparently a response to Cuomo's decision to bring in an outside group of lawyers to help protect the governor from his own staff. The group, which includes a former top federal prosecutor from New Jersey, will advise members of Cuomo's executive chamber, including secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa (whose taped claims about Cuomo withholding nursing-home death numbers for fear they would be used as a "political football" by then-President Trump.

Katz suggested the true goal here is to discourage Cuomo staffers from sharing any information that could damage the governor. She previously insisted that the hiring of Davis, Polk and Wardwell represented an "unacceptable" conflict of interest, but those complaints did nothing to change state lawmakers' decision.

But how close is Cuomo to finally resigning? Polls suggest the governor has reason to hang on: Multiple polls, including a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, show Cuomo has retained support among a majority of New Yorkers (though a solid minority believe he should resign). Quinnipiac found that 55% of voters believe Cuomo shouldn't step down, compared with 40% who believe he should. That support is even stronger among Democratic voters, with 67% saying they believe he should stay in office.

With his political support insulating him from efforts by Democrats in his own state, the governor's biggest problem is the federal investigation. Though if prosecutors demand a scalp, he can always throw one of his staffers - perhaps DeRosa - under the bus, like Chris Christie did during "Bridgegate".

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/23/2021 - 15:00
Published:3/23/2021 2:09:13 PM
[2021 News] CAUGHT ON VIDEO: FBI and DHS Attempt To Recruit Former Green Beret to Infiltrate and Spy on Oath Keepers, Proud Boys – But He Recorded The Conversation!

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: FBI and DHS Attempt To Recruit Former Green Beret to Infiltrate and Spy on Oath Keepers, Proud Boys – But He Recorded The Conversation! The FBI and DHS rats were out looking for cheese. instead, they got the trap. In December FBI agents contact Jeremy Brown at his home for “posting some […]

The post CAUGHT ON VIDEO: FBI and DHS Attempt To Recruit Former Green Beret to Infiltrate and Spy on Oath Keepers, Proud Boys – But He Recorded The Conversation! appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/23/2021 11:04:19 AM
[Markets] Former Trump Intel Chief Reveals "Quite A Few More UFOs Detected Than Public Knows" Former Trump Intel Chief Reveals "Quite A Few More UFOs Detected Than Public Knows"

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe spoke with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo Friday about UFOs and unexplained sightings. 

"When we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain," Ratcliffe told Bartiromo. 

"Movements that are hard to replicate that we don't have the technology for. Or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom," he said.

In December, President Trump's COVID-19 relief and government funding bill began a 180-day countdown for the Pentagon and spy agencies to release what they knoq about UFOs. The complete report is expected to be published on June 1. 

Ratcliffe told the Fox News host that Americans would be surprised by the number of UFO sightings over the years. 

"When we talk about sightings, the other thing I will tell you is, it's not just a pilot or just a satellite, or some intelligence collection," he explained. "Usually, we have multiple sensors that are picking up these things, and some of these are unexplained phenomenon, and there is actually quite a few more than have been made public."

One of the latest sightings came from an American Airlines plane was en route to Phoenix, Arizona, from Cincinnati, Ohio. The pilots observed a missile-like object zooming above the commercial jet in the skies over Arizona last month. 

Investigative reporter Sara Carter spoke with Luis Elizondo, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program former director. This secretive Pentagon unit studied UFOs. He said Ratcliff's interview with Bartiromo "further illustrates the reality of what other senior members of our Executive and Legislative Branches are already aware of, in that the UAP/UFO issue is real, relevant, and a national security interest."

Here's Ratcliffe's full interview with Bartiromo: 

... and who knows why the federal government is in such a rush to release a UFO report during a pandemic and economy on fiscal and monetary life support. Could it be a big distraction for the public, as we first noted weeks ago?

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/22/2021 - 18:40
Published:3/22/2021 6:00:02 PM
[NEWS & ANALYSIS] Warnock Cries Racism in Atlanta Shootings for Personal Political Gain

Law enforcement officials, including the director of the FBI, have said that the shootings in Atlanta, which left eight people dead, do not appear to have been racially motivated.  But, despite no evidence, progressive preacher and Georgia senator Raphael Warnock cried racism.  “We all know hate when we see it,” he said Sunday.  Six Asian […]

The post Warnock Cries Racism in Atlanta Shootings for Personal Political Gain appeared first on Human Events.

Published:3/22/2021 9:57:29 AM
[Markets] China: What To Do About It? China: What To Do About It?

By Gordon G. Chang, via The Gatestone Institute,

What does China really want?

Well, China really wants to rule planet Earth. It also wants to possess and rule the near portions of the solar system. No, I am not exaggerating. No nation in history has been this ambitious.

With regard to our planet, Xi Jinping wants the world to reject the current Westphalian international system, in place since 1648. In its place, he wants China's imperial-era system, where Chinese emperors believed they not only had the right to rule tianxia, all under heaven, but also the heavens compelled them to do so.

Xi has been grabbing territory from his neighbors. In just the past few months, the Chinese have been encroaching on India's Sikkim as well as Nepalese territory.

With regard to Nepal, let us talk about how China actually moves against its neighbors. In January, Beijing's propagandists, as they have in the past, bragged about how Chinese scientists were able to come up with the exact measurement of a mountain in Nepal. Not in China, in Nepal.

Now, the Chinese, and only the Chinese, call this feature Mount Qomolangma. The rest of the world, all of us, know it as Mount Everest.

What is China doing by bragging about its measurement? It is establishing the basis for a territorial claim to this mountain, which happens to be close to China. They are eventually going to say, "Well, look, we named the place, we measured it, therefore, it's ours."

This is subtle, but that is the way Beijing has been working. Of course, sometimes Beijing is not so indirect. We have also seen in recent months China's encroachments into India's Ladakh, high in the Himalayas, and its killing of Indian soldiers.

Chinese planes have regularly been flying through Taiwan's air defense identification zone. China's armed ships have been intruding into Japanese waters in the East China Sea around those uninhabited islets, the Senkakus. Beijing has been trying to take territory from its neighbors. It is acting especially provocatively. We have got to be concerned.

Amendments to China's National Defense Law, effective the beginning of this year, take sweeping powers from the State Council, which leads China's civilian government, and give them to the Communist Party's Central Military Commission. These powers include the power to mobilize all of society for war.

Moreover, Xi Jinping himself in January told the troops of the People's Liberation Army that they must be prepared for conflict "at any second." Beijing could well start history's next great conflict.

Many people will tell you that China is just bluffing, but we know from history that countries that continually talk about war, that continually bluff about it, usually manage to start them. This is the situation in which we find ourselves.

On the topic of controlling the solar system, China will land a rover, its rover, on Mars in either May or June. Mere exploration for the good of humanity? China's officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as if they are sovereign Chinese territory -- part of the People's Republic.

They look at near heavenly bodies the same way they do the South China Sea, something that should be theirs. This means that if they get there, China believes it has the right to exclude other nations.

Everything they do, whether it is seemingly innocuous, such as measuring a mountain or putting a rover on Mars, is a means of claiming sovereignty, of enlarging the People's Republic.

Now, of course, there are, in addition to these acts, China's militant, hostile, belligerent actions. We see these all the time.

We all have heard about China's behavior, but today let's focus on three things that China is doing relating to genetics.

  • First, China is collecting the world's DNA.

  • Second, China is genetically engineering the Chinese to become a superhuman race, in other words, eugenics.

  • Third, Chinese researchers are working on pathogens, new pathogens, artificial ones, to create the world's next pandemic.

First, China is gobbling up the world's DNA. So far, it has amassed the world's largest collection of DNA profiles of humans. It claims about 80 million of them. Of course, it wants more. We need to be concerned about the way China is doing this.

Chinese hackers, for instance, are going after insurance and healthcare companies to get DNA profiles. We saw this in January 2015, when we learned that China had hacked Anthem, America's second-largest insurance company. It got health information on 80 million Americans who were either insured or Anthem employees.

Beijing is building this massive database also with its Phase 3 trials for its two vaccines, especially in Africa, both north and south of the Sahara. Think of Morocco as well as Nigeria.

China is also getting DNA by buying American businesses. For instance, China's BGI Group, the world's largest genomic sequencing company, collected the largest group of DNA profiles of Americans when it purchased Complete Genomics in 2013. In January, China's Harbin Pharmaceutical Group passed its last hurdle in purchasing GNC, which has health information of Americans as well.

Another way China is collecting DNA is by offering low-cost genetic sequencing services to ancestry companies and also to research laboratories and others. In 2019, there were 23 Chinese or Chinese-linked companies that were accredited in the US to provide DNA sequencing services.

We know, of course, that China has had a number of research partnerships and other ventures with American institutions, such as Johns Hopkins.

If you want to find the largest collection of genetic information of Americans, you do not go to America. You go to Beijing.

The story here is that we allowed the Chinese to plunder our society for data.

The second point, eugenics, is downright frightening because biological research in China is heading in very distressing directions.

Bing Su, a geneticist at the state-run Kunming Institute of Virology, recently engaged in a number of experiments putting human genes into monkeys, including the MCPH1 gene relating to brain development. That means these monkeys will have intelligence closer to humans than to lower primates.

Bing Su is not stopping there. His next experiments are going to be taking the SRGAP2C gene, which relates to human intelligence, and the FOXP2 gene, which permits language development, and also putting them into monkeys. It is as if nobody in China has seen the "Planet of the Apes.".

In China, there is an unrestrained ambition to experiment in weird ways. For instance, if you want to know what happens when you mix pig and monkey DNA, well, just ask the Chinese. They have been involved in other similar experiments as well.

This whole subject was brought to the attention of the American public by John Ratcliffe, then director of National Intelligence, when he wrote that China was trying to grow super-soldiers. Ratcliffe mentioned that China is already conducting experiments on people in the People's Liberation Army to enhance their abilities, to create, as he called it, "biologically enhanced capabilities."

The Communist Party is also experimenting with humans other than soldiers. It was, for instance, a Chinese researcher who was the first, and so far only, person to use gene-editing tools on human embryos to create live births.

A Chinese professor, He Jiankui, in Shenzhen in southern China, actually used CRISPR, a gene-editing tool, to remove the CCR5 gene to create live births of twins in late 2018.

He said he did this because he wanted to make the twins resistant to HIV, but there are also suggestions he was enhancing the intelligence of the twins. This, of course, evokes the eugenics experiments of the Third Reich to create a "master race."

He is not the only person to experiment on human embryos. We are seeing similar experiments across the Chinese research community. Chinese geneticists are now trying to use the CRISPR tool to fundamentally alter humans.

The Chinese regime does not have ethics or morality. It is not restrained by law. It does not have a sense of restraint. The regime is trying to create the perfect communist. China has the ability and the will to do this, which means that the world has got to prevent this experimentation.

As for the third topic, pathogens, a little background might help. China uses its doctrine of Comprehensive National Power, CNP, which they got from the Soviet Union. It is an empirical tool to rate the strength of countries. China is relentlessly seeking the Number One CNP ranking.

China can become number one in two ways. It can enhance its own CNP ranking by becoming stronger, or it can decrease the CNP rankings of other countries. That's where pathogens come in. This notion of decreasing CNP of others meant that China had no inhibitions about spreading the coronavirus around the world.

We don't know whether the pathogen causing COVID-19 naturally jumped from animals to humans, a zoonotic transfer, or whether it was cooked up in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That has yet to be determined.

We do know one thing. We know that China's leader, Xi Jinping, took steps deliberately to spread the pathogen beyond China's borders. He did that primarily in two ways. First of all, he lied about the contagiousness of the disease. He knew it was highly transmissible human-to-human. He told the world it was not.

Then he leaned on countries to not impose travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China while he was locking down Wuhan and other portions of China, which meant he thought that these travel restrictions and quarantines were effective in preventing the spread of disease. This means, of course, that he thought he was spreading disease by forcing other countries to take arrivals from China. That shows malicious intent.

Now, China's ranking of CNP will increase dramatically, of course, if the next disease leaves the Chinese alone and sickens only foreigners. This is where some particularly distressing information has come to light.

China's State Council which, as mentioned, is the civilian government, in May 2019 imposed new rules preventing the transfer of DNA profiles of Chinese out of the country. At the same time, Chinese officials started enforcing existing rules and the new rule more effectively.

That points to a sinister intention, but we do not really have to speculate because China's National Defense University, in its 2017 edition of The Science of Military Strategy, actually talked about a new form of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks."

Bill Gertz of The Washington Times recently quoted an unnamed American official, who said China was working on germ weapons capable of attacking only specific groups. Now, China denies it has the doctrine of "unrestricted warfare." That term comes from a 1999 book by two Chinese Air Force colonels: Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui.

The spreading of the coronavirus is indeed an application of unrestricted warfare. Many analysts have said that biological warfare does not work. I can understand why they say that, but unfortunately we have just seen a disease kill about 2.4 million people as well as hobble societies across the world. [Editor's note: The toll, since this talk was given, has increased to 2.7 million].

COVID-19 is the ultimate proof that biological weapons work. If Chinese scientists actually succeed in developing viruses that attack only foreigners, China could end up as the only viable society in the world. This is communist China's weapon against the world and against the United States as well.

About two decades ago, Chi Haotian, then China's defense minister, reportedly gave a secret speech about how China should use germ weapons to exterminate Americans so that the Chinese could then inhabit North America. "Living space." You have heard this concept, "Lebensraum," before.

Also, in October of last year, Dr. Li Yi, a Chinese sociologist, returned to the extermination theme, this time in public. "We are driving America to its death," Dr. Li approvingly said at a forum.

Before the Chinese actually succeed in exterminating Americans, we should start thinking about what we can do to block China.

I'm now going to give you my to-do list. Many of the items may sound pedestrian, but remember that American policy towards China had been devoid of common sense for decades, especially during the Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.

These presidents maintained policies that were the opposite of common sense. I'm afraid it looks as if that is where Biden is heading to. His administration right now is engaged in a top-to-bottom review of China policy, which will probably be finished sometime in April. We do not know how it will turn out.

Yet we know what Biden has done in his first month as president. He has issued a slew of executive orders dismantling protections the Trump administration built against a militant China.

Some of Biden's actions have been merely questionable, but some of them have been downright inexcusable and indefensible. For instance, on January 20 -- just hours after taking the oath of office -- Biden issued an executive order that repealed President Trump's executive order of May 1st, 2020, preventing grid operators in the US from buying Chinese equipment.

This means China is now free to sell sabotaged equipment to the US. This is not just a theoretical concern.

Every administration looks at the China policies of its predecessors. I'm not saying Biden shouldn't do that. What he should do is leave President Trump's protections in place while he engages in that review because he should not leave the United States vulnerable in the interim.

China's Communist Party, of course, has not been shy in attacking the United States. We should not be defenseless in the interim.

Moreover, whatever one thinks of Biden's executive orders, he has ordered big giveaways to China and gotten nothing in return. In other words, his giveaways have been unilateral, a unilateral taking down of America's protections.

There are a few things that we should be doing now to protect ourselves against China's genetic initiatives.

Here goes:

The first thing we should do is require everyone that maintains a computer network in the US, whether they are private or whether they are government, to harden them against espionage. The Chinese are villains, but we have allowed them to be villainous by leaving our networks undefended.

I am angry at the Chinese for stealing our stuff, but I'm much more angry at a series of presidents who decided to do nothing or do nothing effective. Let us impose a cost on China for stealing US intellectual property. That means we have got to go well beyond the Section 301 tariffs that President Trump imposed in 2018 for the theft of our IP.

Then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, in his December 3, 2021 Wall Street Journal op-ed, put the figure of China's theft at about $500 billion a year. This means the costs we impose are going to have to be greater than that amount if we are going to deter China.

Second, we should simply prevent China from buying any American company that possesses DNA profiles of Americans or is involved in biotechnology or genetic research. That's just common sense.

Third, we should prohibit any Chinese or Chinese-linked company from providing sequencing services for the DNA of Americans.

Fourth, we should end all research partnerships with Chinese institutions.

Fifth, we should withdraw from the biological weapons convention. China is almost certainly violating it at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other locations. The convention has no inspections regime. That means this is a unilateral obligation on our part.

Sixth, we should get out - again - of the World Health Organization. The WHO was complicit in Xi Jinping's spread of the disease. The WHO didn't make a mistake. It absolutely knew what it was doing.

Senior doctors at the WHO knew that the coronavirus was highly transmissible, yet on two occasions, January 9th and January 14th, 2020, the political leadership of WHO spread China's false proposition that the disease was not transmissible. I think the WHO is unreformable.

Seventh, we should impose costs on China for spreading COVID-19. Recently, we passed that grim milestone of more than 500,000 deaths. This pathogen is not finished with us yet. We have to impose these costs on China to convince Xi Jinping that he cannot spread the next disease beyond his borders.

The next virus, as mentioned, could leave the Chinese alone and sicken everyone else. It could be a civilization-killer, which means that China could be the only viable society left on earth.

When I talk about Xi Jinping believing that he should rule the entire world, people say, "Oh, that's ludicrous," or, "It's impossible."

No, it's not ludicrous. It's not impossible if China is the only functioning society on this planet.

We are far stronger than China. We can defend ourselves.

The Chinese unrelentingly attack us, and we do not have the political will to defend ourselves.

Let me end with one question. What are our children going to think when they realize that we had the means to protect them but chose not to do so?

*  *  *

Question: You mentioned that the CCP is collecting DNA. What are they utilizing this knowledge for?

Chang: There are two things. First of all, they want to be a leader in biotechnology. We know this because biotech was one of the 10 original areas in Xi Jinping's Made in China 2025 initiative, announced in 2015. That initiative is designed to make China both self-sufficient and a world leader in the enumerated areas.

The second thing is, as mentioned, they want to build a biological weapons capability. They have got a dual purpose here -- to lead biotech and, second, to be able to kill everybody else on the planet.

Question: What would you tell these American businesses who are eager to open up on China?

Chang: Business is business. Business will always want to make money. It will go anywhere, do anything. We have seen this, of course, with regard to China, but we also saw it in the run-up to World War II. IBM, for instance, was providing census-tabulating machines so that the Third Reich could count Jews.

They were doing this even after war in Europe started with the bombing of London. We know how bad and how free of morals business can be.

This is really up to the President of the United States to use his powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 or the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 because he can prohibit businesses from going to China. He can prohibit investment into China's markets. He can do all of the things we need as a society to do.

I know this sounds drastic to many people, but China uses all its points of contact with the United States to undermine us. Right now, the FBI and local law enforcement are just overwhelmed by what China is doing.

We do not have the capability to keep up. Until we can get a handle on this, the president, I believe, has the constitutional responsibility to end these contacts with China, business and otherwise. Yes, it is drastic, but our republic is at stake.

We know, for instance, that China does not really believe in capitalism. People say -- Bill Gates has said this a number of times -- that China is more capitalist than the United States. If we look at what China has been doing with regard to Jack Ma and others, we can see that no, they are not capitalists. They want to use capitalists to further their objectives, but they are not capitalists themselves. Until we come to that fundamental understanding, we are at risk.

Question: What are your thoughts about China hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022?

Chang: The International Olympic Committee should move the games to a country not tainted with crimes against humanity and other atrocities. Plus, there's something else the IOC must do. It must ban China's teams from athletic competition.

If we go back to 1963, the IOC banned the teams from South Africa because a large portion of the South African population was not permitted to participate in sport. That was because of apartheid.

We have the same situation in China today where Uyghurs, Tibetans, and others are not permitted to participate in sport. The IOC, I believe, has an obligation to ban China's teams until the regime stops committing those crimes against humanity, until others can participate in sport just as well as the majority Han athletes can.

If the IOC does not do both these things, move the games and ban China's teams from competition, we should boycott the 2022 games. I do not like the boycott idea because this punishes athletes, but ultimately, we have to do this if the IOC doesn't make the two moves.

Question: What is the state of play today between Iran and China, especially given that the Iran deal is apparently back on with the US?

Chang: About eight months ago, we learned Tehran and Beijing signed a 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal. That, of course, would cover business relations. Also, it is military-linked. A lot of analysts correctly say that this strategic partnership will not end up being as robust as it now appears. Nevertheless, Beijing's support of Iran will be crucial.

Indeed, what Iran has been doing in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon, almost certainly has Beijing's blessing, because Tehran knows China has its back—and will back it with money.

China, of course, has made sure that its nuclear weapons technology has found its way to the mullahs. It has done that a number of different ways, one of them through the A. Q. Khan black market network run by Pakistan and since rolled up by the United States. It was not rolled up before Pakistan was able to send enrichment technology to the Iranians.

Also, China has facilitated North Korea's sale of ballistic missiles and ballistic missile technology to Iran, which gives Iran the ability to deliver nuclear weapons.

You put all that together and it shows that the relationship between Beijing and Tehran is sinister, and it will continue to grow over time because Iran, right now, needs a backer and it has found it in Beijing.

Question: We are all frightened, of course, of China's strengths. What do you see as their weaknesses? Is it their internal oppression? What is happening in Hong Kong?

Chang: China is making great progress in imposing its system on Hong Kong. It did that with the June 30 imposition of the National Security Law, which has given Beijing the ability to do whatever it wants in the territory, including extraditing people to be prosecuted in China. As people have said, the National Security Law is the end of law in Hong Kong. That's about right.

Beijing's most recent initiatives, if reports are correct, will be to further restrict those people who can sit on the Election Committee, which is composed of 1,200 people who choose the chief executive, the top political officer. Beijing is also going to add, according to rumors, 20 members to the 70-seat Legislative Council.

As the war correspondent Michael Yon says, what we witnessed in Hong Kong in 2019 especially, was not a protest movement but an insurgency. Yon points out insurgencies rarely die out. They can disappear for a time. They can go into tactical retreat, but they almost always come back.

That is essentially what exists in Hong Kong right now. This is going to be a long-term struggle. It is not going to be easy, but we need to have the President of the United States impose costs on China for what it's doing in Hong Kong. President Trump started imposing costs but did not do enough.

I hope that Biden, who ran on a campaign of trying to help the people of Hong Kong, will do so.

With regard to the broader question of China's weaknesses, it is really a matter of overstretch. Paul Kennedy, the Yale professor, talked about this. It is a good way, a framework, of looking at it because China does not have the money to accomplish all its objectives.

Beijing spends an enormous amount of its resources on repressing the Chinese people. The government has been moving back to totalitarian controls with its social credit system, surveillance cameras, and Great Firewall. All of this is not cheap.

Also, the Belt and Road Initiative, which is to connect the world to China, means China is putting a lot of money into infrastructure that the private sector has not wanted to build. Indeed, a number of countries are not paying back China on their loans, which is a drain, certainly, on the Chinese treasury. Yes, China ends up owning infrastructure and assets, but the cost to it is exceedingly high.

This overcommitment is also evident in China's rapid expansion of its military, for a purpose that makes people in Asia realize the aggressiveness of China's regime.

We can see that Beijing does not really have the resources to accomplish all these outsized ambitions.

Right now, the Chinese economy may be growing, but it did not grow at the 2.3 percent that Beijing announced for 2020. It is probably just a smidgen over zero, if it is zero. We are seeing a lot of weakness in the Chinese economy, especially in the consumption area, which is a bad sign for Beijing.

Ultimately, it is a question of how productive their economy can be. It really cannot be that productive as Xi Jinping goes back to more of a state-dominated system, where state enterprises have a greater role in the economy. They are the least productive part of that economy. The private sector is far more important and far more productive, but it now being deemphasized.

We are approaching a point where -- this will be critical -- where Biden will have to decide whether to run to the rescue of China's regime. We know that Nixon in 1972, George H.W. Bush in 1989, and Bill Clinton in 1999 rescued Chinese communism. I hope Biden does not do that a fourth time.

Question: How do you think China will now be acting towards Taiwan?

Chang: China is especially aggressive with its aerial maneuvers. They have been doing two things. They have been flying through Taiwan's air defense identification zone, AZID, as mentioned.

An ADIZ includes international airspace, so China has every right to fly through it. Flying through another country's air defense identification zone is nonetheless considered to be hostile. China's been doing that regularly.

The other thing that China has been doing in the air is flying on Taiwan's side of the median line. The median line runs straight down the middle of the Taiwan Strait. For decades, there has been an understanding between Beijing and Taipei that Taiwan's planes stay to the east of that line and Beijing's planes stay to the west.

Over the last six months or so, Beijing has been violating that commitment and has been flying on Taiwan's side of the line.

The reason why all this is important to us is that on January 23 there was a very large incursion into Taiwan's air defense zone by nuclear-capable H-6K bombers.

Those bombers then, as part of this incursion, flew a simulated attack against our Theodore Roosevelt strike group, also in the South China Sea at the time. This is extremely dangerous.

Most people believe that China is not going to invade Taiwan. I agree, with one possible exception I'll talk about later. Generally, it is not going to invade Taiwan because it does not have the capability to do so.

All of this bluffing, however, does have consequences. China has been engaging in these hostile air maneuvers. One of these maneuvers could go wrong. A plane could hit the deck. That could create a dynamic that ends up in a conflict.

That that almost occurred on April 1st, 2001, when a Chinese fighter jet clipped our US Navy EP-3, an unarmed reconnaissance plane.

The Bush administration avoided conflict by offering to pay China a ransom, by allowing China to strip the plane, by allowing China to keep our aviators in custody, which was, in my mind, the most disgraceful incident in recent US diplomatic history. This is a stain that George W. Bush will never be able to erase, but put that aside for a moment.

I did say there was one exception where China might actually engage in aggression against Taiwan. Some of Taiwan's islands are only two miles off China's coast, Kinmen and Matsu.

China could grab one of those islands and then say to the world, "What are you going to do about it?" That is a real possibility. That is what I worry about, but I do not worry about an invasion of the main island of Taiwan. So far, we have been able to deter them.

The question is whether the Biden administration will act. So far, Biden has been really good on Taiwan. He has been better on Taiwan than anything else with regard to China. At least there is a little bit of comfort here. Nonetheless, this is something that could change day by day and change in a way that leads to the next great war.

Question: What do you think, in order, are the most serious, what would be your most urgent messages to the new US administration on China?

Chang: China has done so many awful things that it is really hard to put them in order.

The most important thing that Biden needs to understand is that China's regime is not legitimate. We have to understand the fundamental nature of China's challenge. Last year, China engaged in a series of acts of war against the US.

They were actively trying to foment violence on American streets, which is more than just subversion. They fomented violence this year in connection with the Capital Hill riots of January 6th. Both before and after that, they were openly urging Americans to engage in acts of insurrection.

I do not see how you can have a dialogue with a country like that. The first indication is that the Biden team -- and they have talked about this in public -- they say, "We will impose costs on China for those things which are unacceptable, we will criticize them on others, and we will cooperate where there are common interests."

I don't think we can do that because I do not see that we have common interests with a country that's trying to overthrow our government. My message is understand the fundamental nature, the hostility, and the maliciousness of China, and remember one other thing.

That is, China deliberately released the disease that has killed more than 500,000 Americans. That alone means there can be no cooperation with China.

Question: If indeed China is working with Iran, how do we warn Israel where every second biotech company start-up looks to a China exit?

Chang: This is a broader question of US relations with Jerusalem. So far, American presidents have been pretty tolerant of Israeli links with China. I generally believe that the United States -- and this is not just Israel -- we need to say this to France, to Germany, to everybody else, that this is a zero-sum game.

You either work with the US or we do not consider you to be our friend. I think Israel would choose the right side. I'm not so sure about some of the other countries I mentioned. The point is this is something American presidents have not communicated to our friends, allies, and partners, how we feel about China.

I say we should no longer support China's Communist regime. We consider it to be an enemy, and we will act to protect ourselves in an appropriate fashion. Remember, in May 2019 People's Daily ran a piece that declared a "people's war" on the US. That is all Biden needs to know.

Question: "What do they want all that DNA for?"

Chang: The more DNA you have, the better you will be able to develop, for instance, biotechnology products. The more DNA you have, the easier it will be to figure out how to create the next penicillin or whatever. The more DNA you have, the better you are able and the faster you are able to come out with drugs. Then, of course, there is their biological weapons program: the more DNA they have, the better they can figure out how to create a pathogen that attacks us and leaves them alone. The more you have, the more you can do.

Question: You mentioned that China saying that the US was not a legitimate state. Could you amplify on that a little bit more?

Chang: China is committing atrocities. Forget about what it is doing to its own people, the Han. It is committing atrocities in what it calls Xinjiang, what it considers to be the northwest part of its country and what the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others consider to be East Turkestan, conquered by Mao in 1950.

China's regime has not only been running concentration camps where they have held somewhere between 1.1 and 3.3 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others, but it has also institutionalized slavery, offering labor to both domestic and foreign companies, -- and not just in Xinjiang, but across China, as Uyghurs are being transported in cattle cars to provide labor in factories that look like concentration camps.

The regime has institutionalized rape, with Han Chinese officials in Uyghur homes, where the male has been sent off to a concentration camp. This is the BBC story of about a few weeks ago, plus other reporting, which is absolutely horrific. Rape is used as a policy of the government to subdue the Uyghurs.

There has been the violation of Uyghur girls, minors. There has been forced organ harvesting, in all probability. That is the tribunal led by Geoffrey Nice in London. They have put children into basically jails. Because the parents get sent off to "re-education" camps, the children are put into "orphanages" that look like prisons. The list goes on and on.

We know the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others are dying in these facilities. The only thing that separates the People's Republic of China from the Third Reich is that China has not gone to mass exterminations -- yet.

Its acts meet the definition of "genocide" in the Genocide Convention of 1948. If Biden needs another message, this is not just a policy choice for him. We are a party to that Genocide Convention, which requires signatories to "prevent and punish" acts of genocide.

Yes, China is committing genocide. Secretary of State Pompeo issued that formal determination on January 19th of this year. Candidate Biden, during the campaign in August of last year, said the Chinese were committing genocide. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his confirmation hearings, said China was committing genocide. China's regime is committing genocide. We have an obligation to do something about it.

Question: It appears we are dealing -- or not dealing with -- a Chinese Communist Party that is promoting "a superior race" and "a superior government," which has, as you say, horrible echoes of the 1930s. How would you suggest the Biden administration deal with it?

Chang: I would force every US company off Chinese soil. I'd force every Chinese company in the US, every Chinese bank, to leave. I would close every Chinese consulate. There are four remaining consulates. I would strip the embassy staff in Washington down to the ambassador, his family, his secretary, and maybe a few personal guards.

I would close all the Confucius Institutes on our college campuses. I would toss out every Confucius Classroom in our secondary schools. [Editor's note: China is rebranding Confucius Institutes "to avoid scrutiny."]

The list goes on. I would cut all these contacts with China. As mentioned, they are overwhelming us right now. We cannot deal with it. Until we can deal with it, as a practical matter, we need to cut these contacts.

China is committing atrocities. We should have nothing to do with it. It's not a legitimate state. It's a danger to humanity. China is a threat to humanity.

We have got to recognize the threat. We have got to defend our society. We have an obligation, if not to ourselves, to our children.

Question: Another important question: Does the popular DNA testing company 23andMe, where you send in a sample of your DNA for information on your ancestry, have any connection to China?

Chang: This is really murky, but China has tried to compromise 23andMe, to get a bigger ownership interest in it. I believe, but I am not positive, that some of the 23andMe sequencing is done by Chinese-linked companies. There is that link there.

The 23andMe chief executive mentioned recently about China's attempts to take over her company, and that she successfully resisted.

Question: A final question. Xi has said that he wants all tariffs lifted to repair the relations with the US. What would you advise the US do?

Chang: I would increase those additional tariffs, which are at 10% or 25% percent, to 1000% or 5000%. I would prevent China from selling stuff to us. Even if you put aside all the things we talked about, just if you look at this as a trade matter, those Section 301 tariffs were put in place to stop China's theft of US intellectual property.

Whatever figure you take, whether it is $125 billion at the low end or $600 billion at the high end, China is stealing our intellectual property. Obviously, what we have been doing so far has not been sufficient to stop them. We cannot do what China wants.

Wang Yi, the foreign minister, a couple weeks ago -- and this is a continuation of things that Chinese officials have said for several months – he is saying, "Look, you have to get rid of the tariffs, you have got to do X, you have got to do Y, and you have got to Z in order to create a favorable relationship." In other words, we have to make a lot of unilateral concessions and then China will think about reciprocating.

Of course, they never will reciprocate. My sense is if you look at this as just a tariff matter, our tariffs should go to the sky. In other words, no trade until China stops stealing our tech and know-how and IP. When China stops stealing, then we can talk about reducing tariffs.

You have asked, "What should Biden do?" One of the things Secretary Pompeo said that really unnerved the Chinese was talking about in-person diplomacy, talking to the Chinese people directly.

He also mentioned this at his Nixon Center speech in July of last year. Biden needs to do the same thing. Not every solution is military. As a matter of fact, our solutions with China are not military. They really start with talking to the Chinese people.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/21/2021 - 23:30
Published:3/21/2021 10:55:28 PM
[Markets] Americans Are Losing Billions Due To Internet Crime Americans Are Losing Billions Due To Internet Crime

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its 2020 Internet Crime Report which found that 2020 was a record year for both victims of internet crime and dollar losses in the United States.

791,790 complaints were logged by IC3 in the last calendar year with total losses amounting to $4.2 billion. Statista's Niall McCarthy notes that the most frequent internet crimes recorded in 2020 were phishing, non-payment/non-delivery scams and extortionBusiness Email Compromise schemes were the costliest internet crimes last year with adjusted losses of $1.8 billion.

Infographic: Americans Are Losing Billions Due To Internet Crime | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

2020 was notable for the emergence of schemes exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic with both individuals and businesses targeted. Some 28,500 complaints were received relating to Covid-19 scams with most of them aimed at the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). They mainly involved grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing for Personally Identifiable Information. In many cases, victims did not realize they had been targeted until they attempted to file their own legitimate claims for unemployment insurance benefits.

Another growing problem throughout the pandemic has been criminals impersonating government representatives over the phone, via email and through social media. Through charades and threats, they managed to gain both money and personal information. Scams have also emerged as the pace of vaccinations accelerated where people have been asked to pay for jabs out of pocket or to provide personal information in exchange for appointments.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/21/2021 - 22:00
Published:3/21/2021 9:24:30 PM
[Uncategorized] Feds Closing in on Andrew Cuomo Over Nursing Home Deaths

"The FBI and Brooklyn federal prosecutors are circling closer to Gov. Andrew Cuomo"

The post Feds Closing in on Andrew Cuomo Over Nursing Home Deaths first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/21/2021 7:27:49 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Sees No Racism Motive In Atlanta Spa Shootings, Despite Media/Democrat Claims Otherwise

The FBI statement is consistent with the Atlanta Police initial statement, yet claims that the incident is an anti-Asian hate crime are being pushed by the media and Democrats for political gain.

The post FBI Sees No Racism Motive In Atlanta Spa Shootings, Despite Media/Democrat Claims Otherwise first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/20/2021 6:07:11 PM
[NEWS & ANALYSIS] FBI Director Wray Intends to Help Dems Keep Jan. 6 Narrative Alive

FBI Director Christopher Wray participated in a question and answer with NPR on Thursday afternoon to discuss the investigation into the Capitol riot on January 6.  He made it clear what his intentions are: to help keep the team-left narrative and fear alive and flourishing. In terms of the ongoing investigation, Wray urged that the […]

The post FBI Director Wray Intends to Help Dems Keep Jan. 6 Narrative Alive appeared first on Human Events.

Published:3/19/2021 12:08:07 PM
[2021 News] SF poop patrol boss made $380K did not do crap

SF’s poop-patrol boss made $380K, didn’t do crap. And now that he’s been arrested by the FBI, his career is down the toilet.

The post SF poop patrol boss made $380K did not do crap appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/19/2021 11:38:18 AM
[] The Deep State Is the Progressives' Fatal Conceit Published:3/18/2021 9:09:16 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Journalists, Illustrating How They Operate, Spread A Significant Lie All Over Twitter Greenwald: Journalists, Illustrating How They Operate, Spread A Significant Lie All Over Twitter

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via

Hunter Biden (L) and then-Vice President Joe Biden speak on stage at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)

Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted.

The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting.

The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump. Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.

This was a topic I discussed extensively in October when I announced my resignation from The Intercept after senior editors — for the first time in seven years — violated the contractual prohibition on editorial interference in my journalism by demanding I significantly alter my reporting about these documents by removing the sections that reflected negatively on Biden. What I found particularly galling about their pretense that they have such high-level and rigorous editorial standards — standards they claimed, for the first time ever, that my article failed to meet — was that a mere week prior to their censorship of my article, they published an article by a different journalist which, at a media outlet we created with the explicit purpose of treating government claims with skepticism, instead treated the CIA’s claims of “Russian disinformation” as fact. Even worse, when they quoted the CIA’s letter, they omitted the part where even those intelligence agents acknowledged that they had no evidence for their assertion. From The Intercept on October 21:

Their latest falsehood once again involves Biden, Ukraine, and a laptop mysteriously discovered in a computer repair shop and passed to the New York Post, thanks to Trump crony Rudy Giuliani….. The U.S. intelligence community had previously warned the White House that Giuliani has been the target of a Russian intelligence operation to disseminate disinformation about Biden, and the FBI has been investigating whether the strange story about the Biden laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. This week, a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.

Oh my, marvel at those extremely rigorous editorial standards: regurgitating serious accusations from ex-CIA operatives without bothering to note that they were unaccompanied by evidence and that even those agents admitted they had none. But, as they usually do these days, The Intercept had plenty of company in the corporate media.

That those materials were “Russian disinformation” became so reflexively accepted by the U.S. media that it became the principal excuse to ignore and even censor the reporting, and it also helpfully handed the Biden campaign an easy excuse to avoid answering any questions about what the documents revealed. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he's doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation," said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield when asked about the prospect that Trump would raise the Biden emails at the debate. From the CIA’s lips to the mouths of corporate journalists into the hands of the Biden campaign.

As the U.S. media disseminated this “disinformation” tale, nobody — including the Bidens — has ever claimed let alone demonstrated that a single document was anything other than genuine — something that would be exceedingly easy to do if the documents were fraudulent. "The Biden team has rejected some of the claims made in the NY Post articles, but has not disputed the authenticity of the [laptop] files upon which they were based,” acknowledged The New York Times. Ample evidence corroborates that the documents are genuine.

As for the claims of Russian involvement in the laptop story, there was never any evidence for it: none. The CIA operatives who invented that storyline acknowledged that. The week that tale emerged, The New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.” The Washington Post published an op-ed by Russia fanatic Thomas Rid who candidly pronounced: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't." And the only time the U.S. Government has ever spoken on this question was when the Director of National Intelligence stated: “Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign."

These documents raised important questions about the presidential frontrunner’s knowledge of or participation in his family members’ attempt to profit off of their association with him, questions implicating his integrity, ethics and honesty. Yet those documents were suppressed by a gigantic fraud, perpetrated by the CIA and their media allies, which claimed that the documents were forged and that they came from Russia.

That is the critical context for the lie spread yesterday by numerous mainstream journalists. On Tuesday morning, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified a short 12-page report entitled “Foreign Threats to the U.S. 2020 Elections.”

It reviewed the actions of numerous countries with regard to the 2020 election. The intelligence community claimed — without presenting any evidence whatsoever — that “Russian President Putin authorized…influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S.” The New York Times’ largely credulous article about this report contained this admission, one you would think (or, rather, hope) would matter to journalists: “The declassified report did not explain how the intelligence community had reached its conclusions about Russian operations during the 2020 election.”

Despite that glaring omission, media outlets predictably treated the evidence-free assertions from the security state as fact. “Vladimir Putin did it again,” trumpeted Mother Jones’ David Corn without an iota of skepticism. CNN’s Marshall Cohen actually said this:

Think about that: to a CNN reporter, evidence-free assertions from the U.S. security state are tantamount to “confirmation.” That they really do think this way is nothing short of chilling. But that is the standard liberal media posture of harboring reverence for the U.S. intelligence community and treating its every utterance as Truth without the need for any corroborating evidence. It is one of their defining attributes.

But in this case, many of them went far beyond mere regurgitation of CIA claims. Well beyond it: here, they fabricated a claim that report also demonstrated that the Hunter Biden laptop materials were — as they claimed before the election — engineered by Russia. In reality, the report did not even mention the Hunter Biden laptop materials or allude to it, let alone claim that it was produced by the Kremlin, let alone supply evidence that it constituted “Russian disinformation.” But no matter: numerous journalists united to spread the false claim far and wide that the report confirmed this storyline.

The first journalist to publish the falsehood was Patrick Tucker, an editor at the journal Defense One. The tweet quickly went viral as liberals clicked “retweet” and “like” so fast that at least several of them likely suffered digital cartilage damage or at least a mild sprain:

The claim that this report corroborated Russian involvement in the Hunter laptop story picked up significant steam when MSNBC host Chris Hayes endorsed it to his 2.3 million followers:

From there, the claim was further spread by Hayes’ NBC News colleague Ben Collins, who — ironically — works in what the network calls the “disinformation unit,” combatting the spread of disinformation (by which Collins means tattling on 4Chan teenagers and Facebook boomers, while never challenging the lies of real power centers such as those from the intelligence community; those lies are ones he amplifies):

With this MSNBC host and the NBC disinformation agent on board, it was off to the races. Journalists from across the corporate media sphere spread this lie over and over. Here was CNN’s Asha Rangappa:

Perhaps the most embarrassing example was from S.V. Daté, the White House correspondent of HuffPost which, just last week, had dozens of its reporters laid off perhaps because, while they have numerous talented reporters, this is the sort of thing they routinely do, causing them to lose trust among the public. Daté did not just repeat the lie but used it to mock those who actually did the reporting on these documents (note that the section he underlined in red says nothing about the Hunter Biden documents, nor does it say anything about Russia other than it “amplified” various news stories):

As this false claim went massively viral, conservative journalists — and only they — began vocally objecting that the report made no mention whatsoever of the Hunter Biden laptop, let alone supplied proof for this claim. That is because, with a few noble exceptions (such as The Washington Post’s media critic Erik Wemple), liberal journalists at corporate outlets will eagerly endorse but never denounce or correct each other’s falsehoods. For that reason, if you confine yourself to the liberal corporate media bubble, and refuse to follow conservative journalists as well, you will be propagandized and deceived.

Hayes, to his credit, was one of the only journalists who helped spread this falsehood and then quickly retracted it. He first acknowledged that, upon reading the report, it did not appear that it actually made any reference to the Hunter laptop, and then announced he would delete his original tweet, conceding that the original claim was false. Note how the original false claims go mega-viral, while the tweets which subsequently acknowledge their falsity are seen by very few people:

With one of his earliest boosters having jumped ship, Tucker himself, the originator of this lie, first began backtracking while vowing he would never delete the tweet, only to then relent and delete it, acknowledging its falsity. Again compare the meager audience that learns of the backtracking and acknowledgment of falsity compared to the huge number exposed to the original false claim:

Thanks to multiple journalists with large platforms spreading Tucker’s original false tweet, it received thousands upon thousands of likes and re-tweets. So, too, did the tweets of other journalists promoting that false claim, such as the one from HuffPost’s White House Correspondent, and this one from one of David Brock’s goons specifically claiming that the security state’s evidence-free report somehow proves that my pre-election reporting on it was wrong. Yet Tucker’s announcement that he was deleting his tweet on the ground that the report does not make “explicit reference to the Hunter Biden laptop story” has a grand total of three retweets.

Indeed, other than Hayes, it is difficult to find a journalist who acknowledged that what they spread was a lie. Both CNN’s Rangappa and NBC News’ Collins simply allowed the tweet to quietly disappear from their timeline when Tucker finally deleted his, saying nothing to the thousands or tens of thousands of people they misled. Meanwhile, the tweet from HuffPost’s Daté is still up a full twenty-four hours after the key journalists who spread this have acknowledged it was false.

Do you see how they behave? Take a look. Prior to the election, out of desperation to ensure that Biden won, they censored and maligned this reporting by mindlessly endorsing an assertion from life-long CIA operatives that never had any evidence: ignore these documents; they are Russian disinformation. They not only invoked that claim to justify ignoring the story but also to successfully agitate for its censorship by Twitter and Facebook. So they spent weeks spreading an utter lie in order to help the candidate that they favored win the election. Remember, these are journalists doing that.

Then, yesterday, the intelligence community issued a report that does not even purport to contain any evidence: just assertions. And they all jumped to treat it as gospel: no questioning of it, no skepticism, no demands to see evidence for it, not even any notation that no evidence was provided. They just instantly enshrined claims from the CIA and NSA as Truth. How can you possibly be a journalist with even minimal knowledge of what these agencies do and look in the mirror as you do this?

But so much worse, in this case, they just outright lied about what the report said — just fabricated assertions that the report did not even allude to, in order to declare their lies from last October to be vindicated. Even if this report had asserted that the Hunter Biden laptop materials were manufactured by the Kremlin, that would prove nothing. Evidence-free assertions from the U.S. intelligence community merit skepticism, not blind faith — especially from people calling themselves journalists.

But the report did not even claim that. And when some of them realized this, they did virtually nothing to rectify the severe disinformation they had spent the day spreading. These are the people who claim to be so profoundly opposed to conspiracy theories and devoted to combating “disinformation”; as usual, they are the ones who spread disinformation most recklessly and frequently.

The fact that the false tweet from HuffPost’s White House correspondent is still up is quite revealing, given that that outlet just had to lay off a significant portion of its staff. As newly arrived Substack writer Michael Tracey wrote in his first article on this platform (headlined: “Why Journalists Hate Substack”), journalists are very good at lamenting when their outlets are forced to lay off journalists but very poor at examining whether the content their outlet is producing may be part of why it is failing:

So when you see another round of layoffs, followed by another round of exasperated Twitter lamentation about how horrible the industry is, you have to wonder if these rituals ultimately function as an excuse for journalists to forgo any kind of real self-examination. For instance, why it is that the media organizations they inhabit always seem to be in a constant state of free-fall? Sure, there are economic factors at play that the journalists themselves cannot control. But it would seem to behoove these journalists to maybe spend a little bit less time complaining in the abstract about the depredations of “the industry”—as though they are its hapless, beleaguered casualties—and a little bit more time analyzing whether they have contributed to the indisputable reality that huge cross-sections of the public distrust and despise the media.

There are multiple potential explanations for this dynamic worth considering. Maybe it’s the tedious hyper-partisanship and weirdly outdated content aggregation tactics that much of the online media still employs. Maybe it’s the constant five-alarm-fire tone and incessant hyping of overblown threats that was characteristic of the Trump years. Maybe it’s some combination of all these and more—but you won’t see many axed journalists offering up any kind of critical introspection, because when the layoffs arrive it can never have anything to do with their own ideological myopia or other shortcomings.

Indeed, when anyone, including journalists, loses their job, it is lamentable. But when one witnesses behavior like what these journalists did yesterday, the only confounding part of the collapse of this part of the media industry is that it is not happening even more quickly and severely.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/18/2021 - 19:20
Published:3/18/2021 6:33:31 PM
[] Four on Terror Watchlist Caught at U.S./Mexico Border Published:3/17/2021 2:29:32 PM
[] Sasse to Sen. Boof Truther: We've had enough of your "sinister ...paranoid obsession" with Kavanaugh Published:3/17/2021 10:57:22 AM
[Uncategorized] Kevin McCarthy Vindicated: Four Arrested at Border Since October on FBI Terrorist Watchlist

Authorities nabbed three men from Yemen and one from Serbia.

The post Kevin McCarthy Vindicated: Four Arrested at Border Since October on FBI Terrorist Watchlist first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/17/2021 8:55:49 AM
[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Democrats Accused Kevin McCarthy Of Lying About Terrorists Crossing The Border. Then Axios Confirmed The Story

By Andrew Kerr -

Four people on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database have been arrested at the southern border since the beginning of October, the Customs and Border Protection agency told Congress on Tuesday, according to Axios. The report comes one day after congressional Democrats accused House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of lying when he said during a press …

Democrats Accused Kevin McCarthy Of Lying About Terrorists Crossing The Border. Then Axios Confirmed The Story is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:3/17/2021 3:53:46 AM
[] Sen. Boof Truther to Garland: I think the FBI faked its Kavanaugh background check Published:3/16/2021 12:50:07 PM
[Markets] Anti-2nd Amendment Groups Swarm Senate Amid Push To Restrict Gun Rights Anti-2nd Amendment Groups Swarm Senate Amid Push To Restrict Gun Rights

As Congressional Democrats turn their attention from stimulus to gun control, anti-2nd Amendment groups are focusing their lobbying efforts on the Senate after two major bills cleared the House last week.

The bills - one of which could indefinitely delay background checks (H.R. 1446), and the other which would require a federal background check for private gun sales (H.R. 8) - made it through the House last week and are on to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has promised to take quick action as Democrats hope to garner enough GOP support for them to pass, according to The Hill.

Eight House Republicans voted for the background check legislation which would affect private transfers, however it would take at least 60 votes for the bills to make it through the Senate.

"We have a slim gun violence prevention majority, but we have the majority, which we know includes eight Republicans," said Brian Lemek, executive director at the Brady PAC.

Also supporting the legislation are Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Law Center.

Some Senate Democrats say they’re already holding conversations with Republicans.

“I’m talking to senators across the aisle, but the real difference-makers in this debate are the survivors, students, and family members who have made this issue a movement,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Hill about his plan for getting Republican support.

“The most powerful advocates for change are the people who have personal stories to share about how a background check could have saved someone they love -- that’s who my Republican colleagues have to answer to,” he added.

-The Hill

Gun rights advocates say the bills are a stupid idea.

"The idea that this is going to make us safer is laughable," said Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL). "Criminals looking to get their hands on firearms to use in crimes are not going to submit to background checks. Only law-abiding citizens will follow the law. This is a back door means of setting up a national registry of firearms – something I completely oppose."

Meanwhile North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson (R) ripped Democrats for 'capitalizing on half-truths to rob Americans of their Second Amendment rights," according to The Truth About Guns.

"Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress are not serious about ending gun violence," said Hudson. "And it’s obvious by the bills – they’re bringing up four this week – which would do nothing to have stopped a single mass shooting in this country, yet, they threaten the rights of law-abiding citizens."

"The Democrats have rushed two bills to the floor, no regular order, no hearing time," Hudson continued. "They have allowed no meaningful input from Republicans and – and these bills, again, would have not stopped a single mass shooting, not Newtown, not Charleston, not Parkland, not Las Vegas, not Sutherland Springs, would not have stopped the shooting of our former colleague, Gabrielle Giffords because her shooter passed a background check."

“H.R. 8 fails to recognize the fact that every commercial gun sale in America requires a background check today,” Rep. Hudson explained. “And H.R. 1446 creates delays for law-abiding citizens, could be indefinite to acquire a weapon and would have not closed the Charleston loophole.”

Rep. Hudson explained that the failure that led to the murders in Charleston, South Carolina’s Emmanuel AME Church was a matter of law enforcement not sharing disqualifying criminal information with the FBI. He said that a fix would be Rep. Tom Rice’s H.R. 1518, a bill which codifies current NICS practices. The Truth About Guns

These surely law abiding citizens are going to be super bummed about the private sale background check thing:

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/14/2021 - 22:00
Published:3/14/2021 9:10:12 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: The Leading Activists For Online Censorship Are Corporate Journalists Greenwald: The Leading Activists For Online Censorship Are Corporate Journalists

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack,

There are not many Congressional committees regularly engaged in substantive and serious work — most are performative — but the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law is an exception. Led by its chairman Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and ranking member Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), it is, with a few exceptions, composed of lawmakers whose knowledge of tech monopolies and anti-trust law is impressive.

In October, the Committee, after a sixteen-month investigation, produced one of those most comprehensive and informative reports by any government body anywhere in the world about the multi-pronged threats to democracy posed by four Silicon Valley monopolies: Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. The 450-page report also proposed sweeping solutions, including ways to break up these companies and/or constrain them from controlling our political discourse and political life. That report merits much greater attention and consideration than it has thus far received.

The Subcommittee held a hearing on Friday and I was invited to testify along with Microsoft President Brad Smith; President of the News Guild-Communications Workers of America Jonathan Schleuss, the Outkick’s Clay Travis, CEO of the Graham Media Group Emily Barr, and CEO of the News Media Alliance David Chavern. The ostensible purpose the hearing was a narrow one: to consider a bill that would vest media outlets with an exemption from anti-trust laws to collectively bargain with tech companies such as Facebook and Google so that they can obtain a greater share of the ad revenue. The representatives of the news industry and Microsoft who testified were naturally in favor of this bill (they have been heavily lobbying for it) because it would benefit them commercially in numerous way (the Microsoft President maintained the conceit that the Bill-Gates-founded company was engaging in self-sacrifice for the good of Democracy by supporting the bill but the reality is the Bing search engine owners are in favor of anything that weakens Google).

While I share the ostensible motive behind the bill — to stem the serious crisis of bankruptcies and closings of local news outlets — I do not believe that this bill will end up doing that, particularly because it empowers the largest media outlets such as The New York Times and MSNBC to dominate the process and because it does not even acknowledge, let alone address, the broader problems plaguing the news industry, including collapsing trust by the public (a bill that limited this anti-trust exemption to small local news outlets so as to allow them to bargain collectively with tech companies in their own interest would seem to me to serve the claimed purpose much better than one which empowers media giants to form a negotiating cartel).

But the broader context for the bill is the one most interesting and the one on which I focused in my opening statement and testimony: namely, the relationship between social media and tech giants on the one hand, and the news media industry on the other. Contrary to the popular narrative propagated by news outlets — in which they are cast as the victims of the supremely powerful Silicon Valley giants — that narrative is sometimes (not always, but sometimes) the opposite of reality: much if not most Silicon Valley censorship of political speech emanates from pressure campaigns led by corporate media outlets and their journalists, demanding that more and more of their competitors and ideological adversaries be silenced. Big media, in other words, is coopting the power of Big Tech for their own purposes.

My written opening testimony, which is on the Committee’s site, is also printed below. The video of the full hearing can be seen here. Here is the video of my opening five-minute statement:

My full written statement, which focused on the key role played by corporate news outlets in agitating for online censorship against their competitors and ideological adversaries and the threat that poses to democracy, is printed below:

Opening Statement of Glenn Greenwald

March 12, 2021

Before the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to testify. 

I am a constitutional lawyer, a journalist, and the author of six books on civil liberties, media and politics. After graduating New York University School of Law in 1994, I worked as a constitutional and media law litigator for more than a decade, first at the firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and then at a firm I co-founded in 1997. During my work as a lawyer, I represented numerous clients in First Amendment free speech and press freedom cases, including individuals with highly controversial views who were targeted for punishment by state and non-state actors alike, as well as media outlets subjected to repressive state limitations on their rights of expression and reporting. 

Since 2005, I have worked primarily as a journalist and author, reporting extensively on civil liberties debates, assaults on free speech and a free press, the value of a free and open internet, the implications of growing Silicon Valley monopolistic power, and the complex relationship between corporate media outlets and social media companies. That reporting has received the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. In 2013, I co-founded the online news outlet The Intercept, and in 2016 co-founded its Brazilian branch, The Intercept Brazil

Over the last several years, my journalistic interest in and concern about the dangers of Silicon Valley’s monopoly power has greatly intensified -- particularly as wielded by Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. The dangers posed by their growing power manifest in multiple ways. But I am principally alarmed by the repressive effect on free discourse, a free press, and a free internet, all culminating in increasingly intrusive effects on the flow of information and ideas and an increasingly intolerable strain on a healthy democracy.

Three specific incidents over the last four months represent a serious escalation in the willingness of tech monopolies to intrude into and exert control over our domestic politics through censorship and other forms of information manipulation: 

1. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, The New York Post, the nation’s oldest newspaper, broke a major story based on documents and emails obtained from the laptop of Hunter Biden, son of the front-running presidential candidate Joe Biden. Those documents shed substantial light not only on the efforts of Hunter and other family members of President Biden to trade on his name and their influence on him for lucrative business deals around the world, but also raised serious questions about the extent to which President Biden himself was aware of and involved in those efforts.

But Americans were barred from discussing that reporting on Twitter, and were actively impeded from reading about it by Facebook. 

That is because Twitter imposed a full ban on its users’ ability to link to the story: not just on their public Twitter pages but even in private Twitter chats. Twitter even locked the account of The New York Post, preventing the newspaper from using that platform for almost two weeks unless they agreed to voluntarily delete any references to their reporting about the Hunter Biden materials (the paper, rightfully, refused).

Facebook’s censorship of this reporting was more subtle and therefore more insidious: a life-long Democratic Party operative who is now a Facebook official, Andy Stone, announced (on Twitter) that Facebook would be “reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform” pending a review “by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners.” In other words, Facebook tinkered with its algorithms to prevent the dissemination of this reporting about a long-time politician who was leading the political party for which this Facebook official spent years working (See The Intercept, “Facebook and Twitter Cross a Far More Dangerous Line Than What They Censor,” Oct. 15, 2020).

This “fact-check” promised by Facebook never came. That is likely because it was not the New York Post’s reporting which turned out to be false but rather the claims made by these two social media giants to justify its suppression. The censorship justification was that the documents on which the reporting was based constituted either “hacked materials” and/or “Russian disinformation.” 

Neither of those claims is true. Even the FBI has acknowledged that there is no evidence whatsoever of any involvement by the Russian government in the procurement of that laptop, and not even the Biden family, to this very day, has claimed that a single word contained in the published documents is fabricated or otherwise inauthentic. Ample evidence -- including the testimony of others involved in the original creation and circulation of those documents -- demonstrates that they were fully genuine.

This means that two of the largest and most powerful Silicon Valley giants suppressed crucial information about a leading presidential candidate -- the one which employees at their companies overwhelmingly supported -- shortly before voting commenced. While Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for this banning and acknowledged that it may have been wrong, Facebook has never done so. 

While we will never know whether this censorship altered the outcome of the election, it is clear that this was one of the most direct acts of information repression about an American presidential election in decades. That was possible only because of the vast power wielded by these platforms over our political discourse and our political lives.

2. In the wake of the January 6 riot at the Capitol, Facebook, Google, Twitter and numerous other Silicon Valley giants united to remove the democratically elected sitting President of the United States from their platforms.

While many defenders of this corporate censorship tried to minimize it by claiming the President could still be heard by giving speeches and holding press conferences, several leading news outlets followed suit by announcing that they would not carry his speeches live and would only allow to be heard the excerpts they deemed to be safe and responsible.

In response, numerous world leaders -- including several who had clashed in the past with President Trump -- expressed grave concerns about the dangers posed to democracy by the ability of tech monopolies to effectively remove even democratically elected leaders from the internet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued through her spokesperson that “it is problematic that the president’s accounts have been permanently suspended,” adding that “the right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance.” Attempts to regulate speech, the Chancellor said, “can be interfered with, but by law and within the framework defined by the legislature -- not according to a corporate decision.”

The European Union’s Commissioner for Internal Markets Thierry Breton warned: “The fact that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker without any checks and balances is perplexing.” Commissioner Breton noted that this collective Silicon Valley ban “is not only confirmation of the power of these platforms, but it also displays deep weaknesses in the way our society is organized in the digital space.” (CNBC, “Germany’s Merkel hits out at Twitter over ‘problematic’ Trump ban,” Jan. 21, 2021).

The Health Secretary for the United Kingdom, Matt Hanckock, sounded similar alarms. Speaking to the BBC, he said “‘tech giants are ‘taking editorial decisions’ that raise a ‘very big question’ about how social media is regulated,” adding: “That’s clear because they’re choosing who should and shouldn’t have a voice on their platform” (CNBC, “Trump’s social media bans are raising new questions on tech regulation,” Jan. 11, 2021). 

Objections to Silicon Valley’s removal of President Trump from their platforms were even more severe from officials with the government of French President Emmanuel Macron. The French Minister for European Union Affairs Clement Beaune pronounced himself “shocked” by the news of President Trump’s banning, arguing: “This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO.” And France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms,” calling big tech “one of the threats” to democracy (Bloomberg News, “Germany and France Oppose Trump’s Twitter Exile,” Jan. 11, 2021).

Perhaps the most fervent and eloquent warnings about the dangers posed by this episode came from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In a press conference held the day after the announcement, he said:

It’s a bad omen that private companies decide to silence, to censor. That is an attack on freedom. Let’s not be creating a world government with the power to control social networks, a world media power. And also a censorship court, like the Holy Inquisition, but in order to shape public opinion. This is really serious.

The Associated Press further quoted President López Obrador as asking: “How can a company act as if it was all powerful, omnipotent, as a sort of Spanish Inquisition on what is expressed?.” And AP confirmed that “ Mexico’s president vowed to lead an international effort to combat what he considers censorship by social media companies that have blocked or suspended the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump,” and is “reaching out to other governments to form a common front on the issue” (Associated Press, “Mexican President Mounts Campaign Against Social Media Bans,” Jan. 14, 2021).

Please listen to the Mexican President's warnings about Silicon Valley censorship when asked about the Trump ban. Following the center-right Chancellor Merkel, the leftist AMLO said they were becoming “a world media power" anointing themselves "judges of the Holy Inquisition":

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 11, 2021

These world leaders are expressing the same grave concern: that Silicon Valley giants wield power that is, in many instances, greater than that of any sovereign nation-state. But unlike the governments which govern those countries, tech monopolies apply these powers arbitrarily, without checks and without transparency. When doing so, they threaten not only American democracy but democracies around the world.

3. Critics of Silicon Valley power over political discourse for years have heard the same refrain: if you don’t like how they are moderating content and policing discourse, you can go start your own social media platform that is more permissive. Leaving aside the centuries-old recognition that it is impossible, by definition, to effectively compete with monopolies, we now have an incident vividly proving how inadequate that alternative is. 

Several individuals who primarily identify as libertarians heard this argument from Silicon Valley’s defenders and took it seriously. They set out to create a social media competitor to Twitter and Facebook -- one which would provide far broader free expression rights for users and, more importantly, would offer greater privacy protections than other Silicon Valley giants by refusing to track those users and commoditize them for advertisers. They called it Parler, and in early January, 2021, it was the single most-downloaded app in the Apple Play Store. This success story seemed to be a vindication for the claim that it was possible to create competitors to existing social media monopolies.

But now, a mere two months after it ascended to the top of the charts, Parler barely exists. That is because several members of Congress with the largest and most influential social media platforms demanded that Apple and Google remove Parler from their stores and ban any further downloading of the app, and further demanded that Amazon, the dominant provider of web hosting services, cease hosting the site. Within forty-eight hours, those three Silicon Valley monopolies complied with those demands, rendering Parler inoperable and effectively removing it from the internet (See “How Silicon Valley, in a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler,” Glenn Greenwald, Jan. 12, 2021).

The justification of this collective banning was that Parler had hosted numerous advocates of and participants in the January 6 Capitol riot. But even if that were a justification for removing an entire platform from the internet, subsequent reporting demonstrated that far more planning and advocacy of that riot was done on other platforms, including Facebook, Google-owned YouTube, Instagram and Twitter (See The Washington Post, “Facebook’s Sandberg deflected blame for Capitol riot, but new evidence shows how platform played role,“ Jan. 13, 2021; Forbes, “Sheryl Sandberg Downplayed Facebook’s Role In The Capitol Hill Siege—Justice Department Files Tell A Very Different Story,” Feb. 7, 2021).

Whatever else one might want to say about the destruction of Parler, it was a stark illustration of how these Silicon Valley giants could obliterate even a highly successful competitor overnight, with little effort, by uniting to do so. And it laid bare how inadequate is the claim that Silicon Valley’s monopolies can be challenged through competition.

How Congress sets out to address Silicon Valley’s immense and undemocratic power is a complicated question, posing complex challenges. The proposal to vest media companies with an antitrust exemption in order to allow them to negotiate as a consortium or cartel seeks to rectify a real and serious problem -- the vacuuming up of advertising revenue by Google and Facebook at the expense of the journalistic outlets which create the news content being monetized -- but empowering large media companies could easily end up creating more problems than it solves.

That is particularly so given that it is often media companies that are the cause of Silicon Valley censorship of and interference in political speech of the kind outlined above. When these social media companies were first created and in the years after, they wanted to avoid being in the business of content moderation and political censorship. This was an obligation foisted upon them, often by the most powerful media outlets using their large platforms to shame these companies and their executives for failing to censor robustly enough. 

Sometimes this pressure was politically motivated -- demanding the banning of people whose ideologies sharply differs from those who own and control these media outlets -- but more often it was motivated by competitive objectives: a desire to prevent others from creating independent platforms and thus diluting the monopolistic stranglehold that corporate media outlets exert over our political discourse. Further empowering this already-powerful media industry -- which has demonstrated it will use its force to silence competitors under the guise of “quality control” -- runs the real risk of transferring the abusive monopoly power from Silicon Valley to corporate media companies or, even worse, encouraging some sort of de facto merger in which these two industries pool their power to the mutual benefit of each.

This Subcommittee produced one of the most impressive and comprehensive reports last October detailing the dangers of the classic monopoly power wielded by Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. That report set forth numerous legislative and regulatory solutions to comply with the law and a consensus of economic and political science experts about the need to break up monopolies wherever they arise. 

Until that is done, none of these problems can be addressed in ways other than the most superficial, piecemeal and marginal. Virtually every concern that Americans across the political spectrum express about the dangers of Silicon Valley power emanates from the fact that they have been permitted to flout antitrust laws and acquire monopoly power. None of those problems -- including their ability to police and control our political discourse and the flow of information -- can be addressed until that core problem is resolved. 

What is most striking is that while Silicon Valley censorship of online speech and interference in political discourse is recognized as a grave menace to a healthy democracy around the democratic world, it is often dismissed in the U.S. — especially by journalists — as some sort of trivial “culture war” question when they are not actively cheering and even demanding more of it. Even more bizarre is that opposition to oligarchical censorship and monopoly power is often depicted by the liberal-left as a right-wing cause, largely because they perceive (inaccurately) that such oligarchical discourse policing will operate in their favor.

Whatever labels one wants to apply to it, it should not require much work to recognize that vesting this magnitude of power in the hands of unaccountable billionaires, who operate outside the democratic process yet are highly influenced by public media-led pressure campaigns, is unsustainable.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/14/2021 - 19:00
Published:3/14/2021 6:16:01 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Criticizing Public Figures, Including Influential Journalists, Is Not Harassment Or Abuse Greenwald: Criticizing Public Figures, Including Influential Journalists, Is Not Harassment Or Abuse

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via,

The most powerful and influential newspaper in the U.S., arguably the West, is The New York Times. Journalists who write for it, especially those whose work is featured on its front page or in its op-ed section, wield immense power to shape public discourse, influence thought, set the political agenda for the planet’s most powerful nation, expose injustices, or ruin the lives of public figures and private citizens alike. That is an enormous amount of power in the hands of one media institution and its employees. That’s why it calls itself the Paper of Record.

A view of The New York Times Building Headquarters. (Photo by John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

One of the Paper of Record’s star reporters, Taylor Lorenz, has been much discussed of late. That is so for three reasons. The first is that the thirty-six-year-old tech and culture reporter has helped innovate a new kind of reportorial beat that seems to have a couple of purposes. She publishes articles exploring in great detail the online culture of teenagers and very young adults, which, as a father of two young Tik-Tok-using children, I have found occasionally and mildly interesting. She also seeks to catch famous and non-famous people alike using bad words or being in close digital proximity to bad people so that she can alert the rest of the world to these important findings. It is natural that journalists who pioneer a new form of reporting this way are going to be discussed.

The second reason Lorenz is the topic of recent discussion is that she has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about influential people, and attempting to ruin the reputations and lives of decidedly non-famous people. In the last six weeks alone, she twice publicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room in which she was lurking (he had not) and then accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist in a different Clubhouse room to attack her (he, in fact, had said nothing).

She also often uses her large, powerful public platform to malign private citizens without any power or public standing by accusing them of harboring bad beliefs and/or associating with others who do. (She is currently being sued by a citizen named Arya Toufanian, who claims Lorenz has used her private Twitter account to destroy her reputation and business, particularly with a tweet that Lorenz kept pinned at the top of her Twitter page for eight months, while several other non-public figures complain that Lorenz has “reported” on their non-public activities). It is to be expected that a New York Times journalist who gets caught lying as she did against Andreessen and trying to destroy the reputations of non-public figures will be a topic of conversation.

The third reason this New York Times reporter is receiving attention is because she has become a leading advocate and symbol for a toxic tactic now frequently used by wealthy and influential public figures (like her) to delegitimize criticisms and even render off-limits any attempt to hold them accountable. Specifically, she and her media allies constantly conflate criticisms of people like them with “harassment,” “abuse” and even “violence.”

That is what Lorenz did on Tuesday when she co-opted International Women’s Day to announce that “it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life.” She began her story by proclaiming: “For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment.” She finished it with this: “No one should have to go through this.” Notably, there was no mention, by her or her many media defenders, of the lives she has harmed or otherwise deleteriously affected with her massive journalistic platform.

That is deliberate. Under this formulation, if you criticize the ways Lorenz uses her very influential media perch — including by pointing out that she probably should stop fabricating accusations against people and monitoring the private acts of non-public people — then you are guilty of harassing a “young woman” and inflicting emotional pain and violence on her (it’s quite a bizarre dynamic, best left to psychologists, how her supporters insist on infantilizing this fully grown, close-to-middle-aged successful journalist by talking about her as if she’s a fragile high school junior; it’s particularly creepy when her good male Allies speak of her this way).

This is worth focusing on precisely because it is now so common among the nation’s political and media elite. By no means is this tactic unique to Lorenz. She did not pioneer it. She is just latching onto it, exploiting it, in order to immunize herself from criticisms of her destructive journalistic misconduct and to depict her critics as violent harassers and abusers. With this framework implanted, there is no way to express criticisms of Taylor Lorenz’s work and the use and abuse of her journalistic platform without standing widely accused of maliciously inciting a mob of violent misogynists to ruin her life — that’s quite a potent shield from accountability for someone this influential in public life.

But this is now a commonplace tactic among the society’s richest, most powerful and most influential public figures. The advent of the internet has empowered the riff-raff, the peasants, the unlicensed and the uncredentialed — those who in the past were blissfully silent and invisible — to be heard, often with irreverence and even contempt for those who wield the greatest societal privileges, such as a star New York Times reporter. By recasting themselves as oppressed, abused and powerless rather than what they are (powerful oppressors who sometimes abuse their power), elite political and media luminaries seek to completely reverse the dynamic.

During Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated 2016 presidential campaign, one of the most common tactics used by her political and media supporters was to cast criticisms of her (largely from supporters of Bernie Sanders) not as ideological or political but as misogynistic, thus converting one of the world’s richest and most powerful political figures into some kind of a victim, exactly when she was seeking to obtain for herself the planet’s most powerful political office. There was no way to criticize Hillary Clinton — there still is not — without being branded a misogynist.

A very similar tactic was used four years later to vilify anyone criticizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — also one of the world’s richest and most powerful figures — as she sought the power of the Oval Office. A major media theme was that she was being brutally assaulted by Sanders supporters who were using snake emojis to express dissatisfaction with what they believed was her less-than-scrupulous campaign, such as relying on millions of dollars in dark money from an anonymous Silicon Valley billionaire to stay in the race long after the immense failure of her campaign was manifest, and attempting to depict Sanders as a woman-hating cretin. When Warren finally withdrew from the race after having placed no better than third in any state including her own, Rachel Maddow devoted a good chunk of her interview with the Senator and best-selling author to exploring the deep trauma she experienced from the snake emojis.

When Joe Biden announced his choice of Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary and various news outlets reported that she had spent the last several years collecting many millions of dollars in speaking fees from the very Wall Street banks over whom she would now exercise immense power, the reporters who disclosed these facts and those expressing concern about them were accused of sexism. Somehow, a narrative was peddled under which one of the multi-millionaire titans of the global neoliberal order was reduced to a helpless victim, while the far less powerful people questioning the ethics and integrity of her conduct became her persecutors.

One of the many ironies of these tawdry attempts to shield the world’s most powerful people from criticism is that they fundamentally rely upon the exact stereotypes which, in prior generations, had been deployed to deny women, racial minorities and LGBTs fair and equal opportunities to ascend to powerful positions. Those who purport to be supporters of Lorenz speak of her not as what she is — a successful and wealthy professional woman in her mid-30s who has amassed a large amount of influence and chose a career whose purpose is supposed to be confronting powerful people — but instead as a delicate, young flower, incapable of withstanding criticisms:

In the paradigm peddled by Maddow, Elizabeth Warren was instantly transformed from an outspoken, intrepid Harvard Law Professor, consumer advocate, and influential lawmaker into a vulnerable abuse victim. Anonymous Sanders supporters were the ones wielding the real power and strength in this warped and self-serving framework. In order to shield themselves from the same scrutiny and accountability every other powerful public figure receives, they’re resuscitating the most discredited and antiquated myths about who is strong and weak, who requires protection and special considerations and who does not.

No discussion of this tactic would be complete without noting its strong ideological component: its weaponization for partisan aims. Say whatever you’d like about journalists like Laura Ingraham or Mollie Hemingway or Briahna Joy Gray or political figures such as Kellyanne Conway, Susan Collins or Kirstjen Nielsen. Have at it: the sky’s the limit. Let it all fly without the slightest concern for accusations of misogyny, which, rest easy, will not be forthcoming no matter how crude or misogynistic the attacks are.

One also need not worry about accusations of anti-Semitism if one opposes the landmark quest of Bernie Sanders to become the first Jewish president or even expresses bitter contempt for him. No bigotry allegations will be applied to critics of Clarence Thomas, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Richard Grenell, or Ben Carson.

This transparent tactic is part-and-parcel of the increasingly ideological exploitation of identity politics to shield the neoliberal order and its guardians from popular critique. Step lightly if you want to criticize the bombing of Syria because the Pentagon is now led by an African-American Defense Secretary and Biden just promoted two female generals. No objecting to the closeness between the Treasury Secretary and Wall Street banks because doing so is a misogynistic attempt to limit how women can be paid. Transportation policy should be questioned only in the most polite tones lest one stand accused of harboring anti-gay animus for the department’s Secretary.

The CIA and FBI celebrate its diverse workforce in the same way and for the same reason that gigantic corporations do: to place a pretty but very thin veneer on the harmful role they play in the world. The beneficiaries of this tactic are virtually always the powerful, while the villains are their critics, especially when those critics are marginalized. It is a majestic reversal of the power dynamic.

Those who invoke this shield on their own behalf do so by claiming that they receive abusive and bigoted messages and even threats online. I have no doubt that they are telling the truth. In the age of social media, anyone with a significant public platform will inevitably be subjected to ugly vitriol. Often the verbal assaults are designed for the person’s gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and other aspects of their demographic identity in order to be as hurtful as possible.

In response to Lorenz’s use of International Women’s Day to elevate her suffering to center stage, Guardian reporter Julia Carrie Wong described her own personal experience to argue that verbal condemnations from angry readers can cause “serious mental anguish and made me fear for my own safety and that of my family.” She acknowledged that “it’s not physical or material harm” and is “not legal persecution,” but, she said, it is nonetheless “a very real, constant, negative force in my life, something I have to think about all the time, and that sucks.”

It is hard to dispute Wong’s claims. Not only do studies demonstrate that a barrage of online criticism can adversely affect one’s mental health, I can speak from personal experience — vast, sustained, and intense personal experience — about what it is like to be the target of coordinated, bigoted and threatening attacks because of one’s reporting.

When Jair Bolsonaro was in the middle of his successful presidential candidate in 2017, he hurled an anti-gay slur at me using his Twitter account to his millions of followers. In 2019, he publicly claimed my marriage to my husband and our adoption of two Brazilian children were fraudulent, done only to prevent my deportation. Does it take any imagination to envision what my email inbox and online messages were like for months after each of those episodes?

From the time my colleagues and I at The Intercept Brazil began our multi-part exposé about corruption on the part of high-level Bolsonaro officials in mid-2019, my name trended on Brazilian Twitter on a virtually daily basis for weeks if not longer, accompanied by demands for my deportation and arrest. Much of the vitriol was anti-gay in theme, to put that mildly. My husband, one of the only openly gay members of Congress in the history of Brazil, and I have received a non-stop deluge of very specific death threats aimed at our family and our children. As a result of that, none of us — him, me or our two children — have left our home in almost two years without armed security and an armored vehicle. And it all culminated in the attempt to criminally prosecute me last year on over 100 felony counts.

That is most definitely not the first time I’ve encountered such criticisms and attacks, nor, I say with confidence, will it be the last. I was unable to leave Brazil for almost a year after returning from Hong Kong where I met Edward Snowden and published our first reports on the NSA due to publicly and privately expressed threats from U.S. officials of criminal prosecution.

I’m so far from unique in any of this. These kinds of recriminations are inherent to journalism (when done well), to confronting those in power, to insinuating yourself into controversial and polarizing political debates and controversies. Journalists love to laud themselves for “speaking truth to power” but rarely think about what that actually means.

If you do journalism well, then you’re going to make people angry, and if you’re making people angry, then they are going to say unpleasant and hurtful things about you. If you’re lucky, that is all that will happen. The bigger your platform, the more angry people there will be, and the angrier they will be. The more powerful the people angered by your work, the more intense the retaliation. That is what it means to call someone “powerful”: they have the capacity to inflict punishment on those who impede them.

Death threats like this one arrive in my inbox every week at least. When a news event related to our work transpires that angers large numbers of people — such as this week’s news that the criminal convictions of former President Lula da Silva have been invalidated and his political rights restored, thus rendering him eligible to run against Bolsonaro in 2022 — those threats and vituperative messages intensify greatly and we are forced to enhance our security measures.

Anyone who cannot endure that, or who does not want to, is well-advised not to seek out a public platform and try to become an influential figure who helps shape discourse, debate and political outcomes, and especially not to become a reporter devoted to exposing secret corruption by powerful factions. It would obviously be better if all of that did not happen, but wishing that it would stop is like hoping it never rains again: not only is it futile, but — like rain — there are cleansing and healthy aspects to having those who wield influence and power have to hear from those they affect, and anger.

But with that cost, which can be substantial, comes an enormous benefit. It is an immense privilege to have a large platform that you can utilize to shape the society around you, reach large numbers of people, and highlight injustices you believe are being neglected. Those who have that, and who earn a living by pursuing their passion to use it, are incredibly fortunate. Journalists who are murdered or imprisoned or prosecuted for their work are victims of real persecution. Journalists who are maligned with words are not, especially when those words come not from powerful state officials but from random people on the internet.

And even when such criticisms do emanate from powerful officials, it still does not rise to the level of persecution: when Jair Bolsonaro hurled an anti-gay slur at me online and then maligned our family at a press conference, it was not even in the same universe of difficulty as being threatened with prosecution by the U.S. or Brazil governments or receiving credible death threats. I’ve said plenty of critical things about him as well. That is why I always found it so preposterous to treat Trump’s mean tweets about Chuck Todd or Jim Acosta like some grave threat to press freedom. Imprisoning Julian Assange for publishing documents is a dangerous press freedom attack; mocking Wolf Blitzer’s intellect is not. And if the U.S. President’s mean words about journalists do not constitute an attack on press freedom — and they do not — then surely the same is true of random, powerless people online.

That is why I do not consider myself remotely victimized: I chose to do this work knowing what it would entail if I did it well, and I continue to do it, rather than do something else, because it is a price worth paying. It is fulfilling and gratifying work to me, and I see the recriminations as proof of its efficacy. Not everyone will have that same calculus, which is why different people make different choices for their lives based on their assessments of the costs and benefits inherent in them, but the framework is essentially the same for everyone.

What I ultimately find most repellent and offensive about this incessant self-victimization from society’s most powerful and privileged actors is the conceit that they are somehow unique or special in the treatment they receive, as if it only happens to people like them. That is the exact opposite of reality: everyone with a public platform receives abuse and ugly attacks, and there are members of every faction who launch them. If you have any doubts about that, go criticize Kamala Harris and see what kind of staggeringly bigoted and hateful abuse you get back in return.

Whenever this tactic is hauled out in defense of neoliberal leaders — to claim that Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive, or that Corbyn supporters are, or that Trump supporters are: basically that everyone is guilty of abusive behavior except neoliberals and their loyal followers — the real purpose of it becomes clear. It is a crowd-control technique, one designed to build a gigantic moat and drawbridge to protect those inside the royal court from the angry hordes outside of it.

Last week, I participated in a debate on Al Jazeera about online censorship with the liberal British journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. She was quite a reasonable and candid advocate of the need for online censorship and I found the discussion consequently illuminating, particularly because she was so blunt about what she believes is the real problem that online censorship needs to solve. Listen to what she said:

Precisely. “It’s not like it used to be.” The problem is that “this is not civilized discourse” to them because “it’s often coming from some of the least educated and most angry.” That’s why online censorship is needed. That’s why media figures need to unite to demonize and discredit their critics. It is because people like Taylor Lorenz — raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, educated in a Swiss boarding school, writing on the front page of The New York Times — now hears from “the least educated and most angry.” This is the societal crisis — one of caste — that they are determined to stop.

Taylor Lorenz and her media allies know that she is more privileged and influential than you are. That is precisely why they feel justified in creating paradigms that make it illegitimate to criticize her. They think only themselves and those like them deserve to participate in the public discourse. Since they cannot fully control the technology that allows everyone to be heard (they partially control it by pressuring tech monopolies to censor their adversaries), they need to create storylines and scripts designed to coerce their critics into silence.

Knowing that you will be vilified as some kind of brute abuser if you criticize a New York Times reporter is, for many people, too high of a price to pay for doing it. So people instead refrain, stay quiet, and that is the obvious objective of this lowly strategy.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/12/2021 - 20:20
Published:3/12/2021 7:24:45 PM
[] Antifa Attacks Cops As It Tries to Smash Through Barricades to Destroy Federal Courthouse Meanwhile, the media provides the cover of silence for its thug paramilitaries. And the FBI will continue to claim that antifa violence is "mostly caused by the right wing."... Published:3/12/2021 11:53:07 AM
[Markets] Glenn Greenwald Eviscerates Ex-BuzzFeed 'Serial Plagiarist' For Leading Call To Censor Substack Glenn Greenwald Eviscerates Ex-BuzzFeed 'Serial Plagiarist' For Leading Call To Censor Substack

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via,

On Wednesday, I wrote about how corporate journalists, realizing that the public’s increasing contempt for what they do is causing people to turn away in droves, are desperately inventing new tactics to maintain their stranglehold over the dissemination of information and generate captive audiences. That is why journalists have bizarrely transformed from their traditional role as leading free expression defenders into the the most vocal censorship advocates, using their platforms to demand that tech monopolies ban and silence others.

Supporters of Mark Meechan aka Count Dankula gather in central London to protest against his conviction under the Communications Act in March 2018 (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

That same motive of self-preservation is driving them to equate any criticisms of their work with “harassment,” “abuse” and “violence” — so that it is not just culturally stigmatized but a banning offense, perhaps even literally criminal, to critique their journalism on the ground that any criticism of them places them “in danger.” Under this rubric they want to construct, they can malign anyone they want, ruin people’s reputations, and unite to generate hatred against their chosen targets, but nobody can even criticize them.

Any independent platform or venue that empowers other journalists or just ordinary citizens to do reporting or provide commentary outside of their repressive constraints is viewed by them as threats to be censored and destroyed. Every platform that enables any questioning of their pieties or any irreverent critiques of mainstream journalism — social media sites, YouTube, Patreon, Joe Rogan’s Spotify program — has already been systematically targeted by corporate journalists with censorship demands, often successfully.

Back in November, the media critic Stephen Miller warned: “It’s only a matter of time before the media tech hall monitors turn their attention to Substack.” And ever since, in every interview I have given about the success of Substack and every time I have written about journalist-led censorship campaigns, I have echoed that warning that they would soon turn their united guns on this platform. Miller’s prediction was prompted by a Columbia Journalism Review article entitled “The Substackerati” which claimed that Substack was structurally unfair because “most” of “the most successful people on Substack” are “white and male; several are conservative” and “have already been well-served by existing media power structures.”

All of that was false. The most-read and highest-earning writer on Substack is Heather Cox Richardson, a previously obscure Boston College History Professor who built her own massive readership without ever working at a corporate media outlet. And the writers that article identified in support of its claim — Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan, Matt Yglesias and myself — do not remotely owe our large readerships to “existing media power structures.” The opposite is true, as The Washington Post’s Megan McCardle explained:

[These Substack writers] got so big by starting blogs that they could sell to traditional publications. They are not monetizing an audience they acquired through larger institutions, but reclaiming one they created themselves…. [O]bviously, one major characteristic of the successful one (wo)man show is the ability to swim against a crowd. Given that, it seems almost obvious that Substack would select people who are not in tune with the dominant views of the establishment media. And that the biggest audience numbers will come from folks who are not in tune with the establishment media….

That is precisely why they are so furious. They cannot stand the fact that journalists can break major stories and find an audience while maintaining an independent voice, critically questioning rather than obediently reciting the orthodoxies that bind them and, most of all, without playing their infantile in-group games and submitting to their hive-mind decrees. In fact, the more big stories you break while maintaining your independence from them, the more intense is the contempt they harbor for you: that explains, among other things, their willingness to watch Julian Assange (who has broken more major stories than all of them combined) be imprisoned for publishing documents.

That they are angry and upset is irrelevant. It only matters because these resentments and fears that they are losing their monopolistic power over public thought are translating into increasingly concerted and effective censorship campaigns.

As it turns out, we did not have to wait long for the initiation of the censorship campaign aimed at Substack. It has arrived. And amazingly, the trigger for it was my criticism of the work of a front-page New York Times reporter which, as I wrote yesterday, is — like all criticisms of journalists in Good Standing and Decent Liberal Society — being recast as “abuse” and “harassment” and “violence” in order to justify the banning and outlawing of that criticism.

A long-time tech reporter at BuzzFeed who was fired by that outlet in June for serial plagiarism, Ryan Broderick, wrote an article on Wednesday night warning that Substack is now dangerously providing a platform to a “cadre of writers” which, in addition to me, includes such societal menaces as “Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, Jesse Singal, and, I’d argue, Slate Star Codex writer Scott Alexander Siskind.” He darkly notes: “There are more.” This group of writers, he says, is “focusing on culture war Twitter drama about being ‘canceled’ and trans people in bathrooms and woke college students.”

Broderick detailed how he had carefully reviewed a prior article of mine, one that examined the emergence of “tattletale culture” in the country’s largest corporate media outlets, to determine — like the good little diligent junior-high hall monitor that he is — whether it ran afoul of Substack’s terms of service rules against “doxing” and “harassment.”

That article of mine was devoted to a critique of the prevailing journalistic practices at the most powerful and influential media corporations on the planet: The New York Times, CNN, and NBC News. But to Broderick, whether that article should be banned on the grounds of harassment is a close call. While reluctantly conceding that I did not “dox” anyone, he called the article “a vicious screed” and said that the danger signs from my critiques of corporate journalists are clear: “online harassment is a constantly evolving process of boundary testing.” He lamented that Substack’s terms of service are too permissive (“One thing that worried me was how simplistic their definition of harassment was”) and insisted that Substack is soon going to have to step in and put a stop to this:

Right now most of the abuse being carried out by this group is confined to Twitter, but it stands to reason that it will eventually spill over to Substack. And dealing with people like Greenwald is going to be much harder to moderate than your average troll.

[Please permit me to pause here just a moment and marvel at the towering irony that a journalist who spent years at BuzzFeed doing absolutely nothing of value and then got fired for serial plagiarism (again: he got fired for ethical breaches by BuzzFeed) is now, with a straight face, holding himself out as the Guardian and Defender of Real Journalism. Even more amazingly, he believes he is fulfilling that role by demanding that I — not a journalist but just a “troll” who is the enemy of Real Journalism despite having more impactful scoops and journalism awards and, as I detailed yesterday, resulting persecution campaigns from governments than all of these petulant fragile babies combined — be silenced in the name of saving journalism and protecting real reporters like him and his friends from harassment].

In case Broderick’s article was not explicit enough in his demand that Substack start censoring me and others, he took to Twitter to promote his article, where he made that even clearer. He described his article this way: “I wrote about the attacks against @TaylorLorenz and the growing community of right-wing culture warriors and TERFs that are using Substack to network and organize.”

Multiple other journalists, professors and even a Google Vice President applauded his censorship calls. Here, for instance, is journalist Mike Masnick of Techdirt adding his own censorship calls to Broderick’s:

And here is Google’s Vice President of Privacy Product Management, Rob Leathern, who previously was a Facebook official, sternly decreeing that any “serious” business needs to silence voices that are disruptive or upsetting:

And here is UCLA Professor of Information Studies Dr. Sarah Roberts, who last month posted an unbelievably deranged rant urging people not to subscribe to or write for Substack because it is, in her words, “dangerous,” adding her voice to this orgy of censorship calls for Substack writers:

Before briefly discussing the censorship aspects of all this — I basically do not need to do much since I peremptorily described it all in yesterday’s article that prompted all this upset — I do feel compelled to note two points.

First, look how they grant themselves license to use their platforms to attack the journalists they dislike and generate hatred and harassment toward us. I really need someone to explain this to me: why is it permissible for Ryan Broderick to write articles attacking me and maligning my work, and for New York Times front-page reporter Taylor Lorenz to use her large Twitter platform and recruit all her media friends to attack me as well (or Taibbi, Weiss, Singal, Sullivan, etc.), but we are not allowed to write critiques of their work because doing so constitutes dangerous harassment that must be silenced?

Do you see how these online journalists have been taught to think about themselves and the world? Do you see the bottomless sense of entitlement and self-regard and fragility that defines who they are and how they behave? They specialize in trying to ruin people’s reputations and wreck their lives — not just other journalists but private citizens — but the minute someone objects to their journalism or what they say or do, they summon a team of teachers, psychologists, therapy dogs, digital police officers and tech executives to demand that their critics be silenced and their anguish be treated. They really do believe that the world should be organized so as to authorize them to attack whoever they want, while banning anyone who criticizes them when they do it.

In the last three weeks alone, my name has trended three times on Twitter because a bunch of journalists and other activists were sufficiently angry with views I expressed that they united and maligned me enough to make Twitter’s algorithms put my name on the trending list. And that is completely fine. I know that I have sought out a public platform. I know I do reporting and express views and analysis that makes others angry and generates intense disagreement. The result is that many journalists use their social media platforms and columns to attack me — and that’s how it should be. It would never occur to me to crawl to authorities and beg them to be silenced so that I am protected from the bile and threats that I receive as a result (the most I do is write things like this to mock their censorious mindset and satirically apply their own warped standards to them; but because this kind of outlandish whining is so common in their world — indeed, it is honored — they cannot even recognize it as satire).

And that’s to say nothing of the actual recriminations, state-sponsored attacks, and credible threats of violence that have been and still are directed at me and my family by actually repressive governments and their followers for the reporting I have done. That’s one reason I have nothing but contempt for the pathetic efforts of these influential journalists to cast themselves as victims of harassment campaigns — by which they mean being criticized — when I and so many other real journalists have endured and continue to endure retaliation greater than what their coddled, fragile brains could even ponder let alone have to endure.

Second, the way Broderick lies about my work — “focusing on culture war Twitter drama about being ‘canceled’ and trans people in bathrooms and woke college students” — is worthy of a quick response. That is because journalistic lies should always be refuted (which is why people write about Taylor Lorenz and others like her) but also because it reveals what they think “journalism” is and is not.

Any even casual reader of mine knows that I have rarely if ever even mentioned let alone focused on “trans people in bathrooms” or “woke college students” in the reporting and analysis I do here. Here are the last four articles I wrote prior to yesterday’s:

Again, these are not four aberrational articles I cherry-picked to make a point. They just happen to be the last four articles I wrote here. I could have chosen — in the four months I’ve been writing here — my reporting on efforts in Congress and security state agencies to institute a new Domestic War on Terror, an interview with a French Muslim civil liberties activist warning of French President Marcon’s increasing repression, the ongoing militarization of the American capital, the abuse of tech monopoly power and political influence to destroy a new social media platform, the case for pardoning NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the threats to press freedom posed by Julian Assange’s prosecution, growing U.S./Russia tensions, the dangers of military rather than civilian control over the Pentagon, the noble challenge posed to hedge funds by GameStop Redditors, how and why the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan is being blocked, systemic flaws in the U.S. vote-counting process, and on and on and on. And that’s to say nothing of the years of reporting and investigation I have been doing and still am doing on the various abuses of the industrial agriculture and factory farm industry.

Does my actual work bear any remote resemblance to the way The Serial Plagiarist characterized what I do? Of course not. So many of these journalists are completely unmoored from any ethical constraints or obligations of truth. When they are writing about the enemies of their media clique, they feel completely free to outright lie about people in order to malign them (in between demanding censorship of those they claim spread “disinformation”).

As for Broderick’s claim that I am now a “right-wing culture warrior,” that would come as quite a surprise to many people, including The New York Times’ Brazil reporters in 2020 (“Mr. Greenwald, an ardent critic of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a deeply polarizing figure in Brazil, where his work is lionized by leftists and condemned as partisan and heavy handed by officials in the Bolsonaro administration”); former Brazilian center-left Presidents Lula da Silva (“Greenwald’s investigation was key to demonstrating how Operation Car Wash violated my legal and human rights”) and Dilma Rousseff (“Glenn Greenwald has helped secure Brazilian democracy by revealing the truth about our country's recent history, which makes this book indispensable”); Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose 2018 candidacy I vocally supported when few in media even knew who she was, along with former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and deposed Bolivian president Evo Morales, both of whom I have interviewed, defended and supported in various ways. What strange things for a “right-wing cultural warrior” to do.

But that is what is so revealing about this. The reason these little hall monitors do not consider this to be “real reporting” is because they do not care about — except when they venerate — real power centers like security state agencies (CIA/FBI/NSA/DHS) or the Pentagon, Wall Street hedge funds, Silicon Valley monopolies, repressive regimes. They think “reporting” means writing what those agencies and power centers tell them to say, or ruining the reputations of people for saying bad words on 4Chan and expressing prohibited thoughts with Facebook memes and Clubhouse chats. That is all they recognize as journalism; everything else is “harassment” because real reporting makes the lives of elites and people who wield real influence more difficult (and in those rare cases when they do focus on people with real power, it’s to expose them for trivial transgressions like saying the word “retarded” in the context of discussing Redditors’ attacks on hedge fund power).

This use of “right v. left” here is also quite important. In the war of information they have launched — to ensure that control over discourse rests solely in their hands and that everyone who dissents from their pieties be silenced or “moderated” — those traditional left/right labels have no real currency or cogency. That is why this Serial Plagiarist can refer to me as a “right-wing culture warrior” despite everything I have done and believe and have it not be regarded as bizarre by his media comrades. That is the stunted, blinkered prism on which they rely to make sense of the world.

But it has no applicability to the world they are creating, the information battle they are waging. The real division here is between those who believe in a free internet, free discourse, free thought, and those who do not — between those who want corporate journalistic elites to control what people can say and think and those who do not. Some of those who support that authoritarian vision of centralized information control are on what used to be called the left and some are found on the establishment right. But that is not the relevant breakdown. It is really a war between liberty and authoritarianism, and amazingly, it is journalists who have become the leading proponents of repression.

That is why platforms like this one that empower independent thinkers and critically-minded dissidents from their in-group repression are so vital: it is what enables a challenge to their hegemony. And they know that it is this important, a threat to their hegemony, or, in the words of Dr. Roberts, “so dangerous.” That is why they are waging war on these platforms and those of us who use them. The way to fight against them and their campaign to stifle dissent is to support these platforms and the independent journalists and commentators who use them.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/11/2021 - 17:40
Published:3/11/2021 4:49:03 PM
[Markets] 'No More Thoughts And Prayers': Schumer, Pelosi Target Gun Owners With New Reforms 'No More Thoughts And Prayers': Schumer, Pelosi Target Gun Owners With New Reforms

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) vowed on Thursday to reintroduce gun reform legislation, while the House passed a second bill aimed at background checks within the last hour.

"No more hopes and prayers, thoughts and prayers—a vote is what we need," said Schumer, vowing to bring a bill, H.R. 8, out of former Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's 'legislative graveyard' after it stalled in the Senate in early 2019 after passing through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

H.R.8 is the latest version of Democrats' so-called "Universal Background Checks."

Currently, any gun purchased at a retail store, or online, must go through a background check and involved a licensed firearms dealer (FFL). H.R.8 requires background checks for private sales.

"The idea that this is going to make us safer is laughable," said Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL). "Criminals looking to get their hands on firearms to use in crimes are not going to submit to background checks. Only law-abiding citizens will follow the law. This is a back door means of setting up a national registry of firearms – something I completely oppose."

"The problem with gun violence is not that we don’t have enough gun laws," Miller continued. "We have enough gun laws. What we need is to make sure the laws we have are enforced. Look at what happened in 2019 in Aurora when five people were shot and killed. The shooter had moved to Illinois from another state and because his background information was not updated – he was allowed to get a FOID card in Illinois and purchase firearms. Then when he applied for a conceal carry permit, his criminal background was discovered and his FOID card was revoked but his guns were never surrendered as required by law. If the gun laws had been enforced – a terrible tragedy could have been avoided. We need better enforcement – not more laws. Instead of passing terrible legislation like H.R. 8, we need to do a better job of providing law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to enforce existing gun laws."

The reintroduction of H.R.8 was spearheaded by Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson, who chairs the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He was joined by House Democrats Jerry Nadler (NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Robin Kelly (IL) and Lucy McBath (GA), and were joined by Republican Reps. Fred Upton (MI), Christopher Smith (NJ) ad Brian Fitzpatrick (PA).

According to a summary of the bill, its goal is to "utilize the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms."

Meanwhile, the House just passed H.R. 1446, which would allow for indefinite delays for FBI background checks, as opposed to the three-day default transfer window. Introduced by Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC), the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close down the so-called "Charleston Loophole" which allowed some gun sales to go through before the required background check is complete.

Of note, there's been a 22.8% increase in FBI background checks y/y.

Back alley gun buyers win again...

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/11/2021 - 11:10
Published:3/11/2021 10:17:17 AM
[Markets] "The System Is Compromised" - Baltimore Man Receives 18 Unemployment Debit Cards "The System Is Compromised" - Baltimore Man Receives 18 Unemployment Debit Cards

Maryland's Department of Labor is investigating a bizarre unemployment insurance scam. A Baltimore-area man claims to have received at least 18 fraudulent unemployment insurance debit cards from "investors," according to local news station WMAR-2 News

"That's one, that's two, three, four. That's five, that's six, seven, eight. That's a total of nine cards," said Dr. Keenan Cofield, who is a state lobbyist, a taxpayer - he said stuff like this makes him "cringe." 

He told WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii that a total of 18 unemployment debit cards were mailed to his address. He said the debit cards were individually sent to him but addressed to other people.

"Each one of them has a Visa card, each one of them has a name," Cofield said.

He was communicating with some people inline about the need for investors in a few of his projects. The Baltimore-area man said at least two people through a messenger app offered to invest with him.

"And things were moving on, and they said that the funding would be coming by cards. So, next thing I know, I see these strange-looking Maryland Department of Labor and Regulation unemployment. [There's] nobody at this house with these names," said Cofield.

Cofield communicated with the investors through Google Hangouts. He shared 30 pages of the conversations with Sofastaii: 

The sender wrote:

"Once cards are activated All you have to do is drive to an ATM machine and make withdraw sir"

The sender instructs Cofield to keep 60 percent of the balance on the various cards and send the other 40 percent back, which will be split between the sender and someone named Bryan.

Cofield asked whether this was fraud.

The sender replied:

"Sir believe me sir. this is not fraud sir ok. … Trust me It not a fraud sir"

Here's more of the convo: 

"They have not said which ones were which, but they said the minimum was $500 and at least two or three of those cards are $10,000," Cofield said.

Cofield said nobody in his household is unemployed and became suspicious of how the unemployment debit cards, loaded with a lot of taxpayers' money, and in envelopes under the seal of "Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. 

What this is, as Cofield discovers, is a "money mule operation." In an operation like this, Cofield is the "go-between" entity that hands the dirty money then sends a certain portion back to the fraudsters. 

"When I saw the Department of Labor and Licensing and Regulation unemployment, oh no, this is a scam. This is a big scam and this is a huge problem," he said.

Cofield has since contacted law enforcement about the money mule operation. 

"It's sad. Nobody knows where to go, so this is why I say guess what, Mallory is on this thing about unemployment, and that's why I picked up, and that's why we're at Channel 2 now," said Cofield.

During the pandemic, State Police and the FBI have warned about increasing unemployment scams. The FBI ranks Maryland 5th in the country for "money mules" in 2019 despite being a highly prosperous state. 

"The system is still messed up. There are people who have still not got their legitimate benefits. This lets you know not only somebody in that pile probably is missing their card, but the system is compromised," said Cofield.

Maryland's Department of Labor expects to eliminate debit cards by April and switch to direct deposits. 

On a national level, federal officials admitted that tens of billions of dollars in unemployment benefits were disbursed and squandered by fraudsters during the pandemic. 

One fraudster, who made a million dollars in an elaborate unemployment scam in California, released a rap video about it. 

As the plot thickens in the search for who the fraudsters are in Cofield's case - he said one of the "investors" had a family member working at the Tennessee Bank of American Maryland Unemployment debit card processing center, according to Fox 5. 

Fox 5 reports on the fraud:

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/08/2021 - 21:45
Published:3/8/2021 8:59:05 PM
[Markets] Solomon: New Declassified Texts Expose FBI's "Media Leak Strategy" Used To Influence Election, Trump Presidency Solomon: New Declassified Texts Expose FBI's "Media Leak Strategy" Used To Influence Election, Trump Presidency

Watch as investigative reporter John Solomon explains in detail how newly declassified text shows the FBI “media leak strategy that was used to influence the outcome of the election, and the Trump presidency.

“The text messages make clear that the senior executives and the Comey-McCabe FBI, those who had political bias were on first-name basis with reporters.

They had according to their own text messages a leak strategy and oftentimes they learned whether it was them leaking or someone else, they were creating a false Russia narrative, a narrative that they knew was blatantly false.

They knew they didn’t have a connection between Trump and Russia and they knew the Steele dossier was garbage and yet they continue today let the stories sit in public realm and create perception that for two and a half years hampered the early presidency of Donald Trump.”

Conspiracy theory?

Source: Steve Straub via The Federalist Papers

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/08/2021 - 15:42
Published:3/8/2021 2:59:05 PM
[Markets] Hedge Fund CIO: The 1929 Crash Sparked A Chain Reaction That Led To WWII In 1939 Hedge Fund CIO: The 1929 Crash Sparked A Chain Reaction That Led To WWII In 1939

By Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management

Lost Arks

"Illiquidity is creeping into credit markets," said Indiana, the industry’s leading archaeologist, explorer. “Credit risks of the type Minsky identified have migrated from the banking system into capital markets.”

Corporate borrowings through bond issuance, in turn captured in exchange traded funds, are an important part of that risk migration. “Even with the stability of credit spreads, this rate rise battered credit funds.” LQD is -6% YTD. “Fund outflows are $6.8bln YTD – the pandemic outflow from mid-Feb to mid-Mar 2020 was just $4.5bln.”

“This week saw the return of credit ETFs trading at a discount to net asset values,” continued Indiana. “Small for now, averaging less than 20 basis points in the past three days.” As liquidity in underlying assets lessens, so too does the ability of participants to provide that liquidity through ETFs. “The discounts are capturing a marginal fray in liquidity conditions, an early warning,” said Indy.

“And the crown jewels of global financial markets - Treasuries - saw a surge in the cost of borrowing securities this week. Illiquidity in Treasuries rose sharply.”

Rapid Unplanned Disassembly (RUD)

The 1929 market crash sparked a chain reaction that lasted a decade, a rapid unplanned disassembly, leading humanity to WWII in 1939. US unemployment averaged 18.2% in the 1930s, CPI averaged -2.0%. The S&P 500 lost 42% in the decade (real return was -29%). The 1970s RUD produced two brutal recessions, US unemployment averaged 6.4% and CPI averaged +7.25%. The S&P 500 gave the illusion of health with a 17% gain. The real return was worse than the 1930s, with a 42% decline.

  • In 1930, the US CPI was -2.7%, the S&P 500 inflation-adjusted return was -23% (the inflation adjusted 10yr Treasury note return was +7.4%). In 1931, CPI was -8.9%, S&P 500 real return -38%, 10yr note real return 7.0%. In 1932 (CPI -10.3%, S&P 2%, 10yr 21.3%). 1933 (CPI -5.2%, S&P 58%, 10yr 7.4%). 1934 (CPI 3.5%, S&P -5%, 10yr 4.3%). 1935 (CPI 2.6%, S&P 43%, 10yr 1.9%). 1936 (CPI 1.0%, S&P 31%, 10yr 3.9%). 1937 (CPI 3.7%, S&P -38%, 10yr -2.3). 1938 (CPI -2.0%, S&P 32%, 10yr 6.4%). 1939 (CPI -1.3%, S&P flat, 10yr 5.8%).
  •  In 1970, the US CPI was +5.8%, the S&P 500 inflation-adjusted return was -2% (the inflation adjusted 10yr Treasury note return was +10.3%). In 1971, CPI was 4.3%, S&P 500 real return 10%, 10yr note real return 5.3%. In 1972 (CPI 3.3%, S&P 15%, 10yr -0.4%). 1973 (CPI 6.8%, S&P -19%, 10y -2.4%). 1974 (CPI 11.1%, S&P -33%, 10yr -8.2%). 1975 (CPI 9.1%, S&P 25%, 10yr -5.0%). 1976 (CPI 5.7%, S&P 17%, 10yr 9.7%). 1977 (CPI 6.5%, S&P -13%, 10yr -4.9). 1978 (CPI 7.6%, S&P -1%, 10yr -7.8%). 1979 (CPI 11.3%, S&P +6.5, 10yr -9.5%).

In both the 1940s and 1980s, investors who had emerged from the preceding decade with their capital intact made vast fortunes, equity markets boomed.


“The 19th century was defined by the formation of nation states. The US had just emerged from its UK ties, the treaty of Vienna created countries such as the Netherlands, France just had its revolution and rid itself of Napoleon, Germany unified and Italy became a nation state,” said the Dutchman, a private investor, his fortune built in the markets, trade, finance.

“The 20th century was the era of the establishment of institutions, alliances, internal, global, the US Federal Reserve, the United Nations, many others in between.” International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organization, NATO, the list goes on. Programs too: Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, state pensions. Countless agencies: CIA, FBI, NSA, NASA, EPA, FDA and so on.

“A number of those institutions have come under siege in recent times and the level of trust embedded in them has eroded,” said the Dutchman, images of America’s horned Shaman seared in the global consciousness.

History moves slowly, then fast, all at once. We read books, watch movies, and they compress years, even decades, into tight chapters, creating the illusion that periods of great change are apparent as they unfold, obvious to those living through them. And this then allows us to ignore today’s seismic shifts even as the ground beneath our feet trembles.

“This erosion of trust can also be said about the Fed at a time when the need for credibility is perhaps greater than it has ever been, which makes the trajectory for financial markets going forward particularly difficult and potentially very volatile,” he said.

“And it appears that forces are now in motion that will redistribute wealth, shifting it from capitalists to the workers,” said the Dutchman, taking a moment to consider it all.

“There tend to be couple decades each century when it is a victory to have preserved your real wealth. This looks to be one of them.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/07/2021 - 20:00
Published:3/7/2021 7:22:28 PM
[Markets] Global Social Media In The Era Of Great Power Conflict Global Social Media In The Era Of Great Power Conflict

Submitted by,

Loose Tweets Sink Reputations

While on the one hand Twitter flexed its muscles when it permanently de-platformed a sitting US president and deactivated tens of thousands of other accounts, with Facebook closely following suit against accounts the two social media giants claimed were “disinformation” concerning the 2020 election results, in practice it was a pyrrhic victory at best. The real power of Facebook, Twitter, other social media lay in their reputation as essentially neutral, impartial platforms where free speech was triumphant and the invisible hand of the marketplace of ideas dictated which accounts would get millions of followers and which would languish in obscurity.

That, of course, was never really true. Twitter and Facebook were no strangers to muting, banning, or at least stealth-banning accounts that promoted ideas inconsistent with whatever dogma, social or political, prevailed in Washington D.C. at the moment. However, this tended to be done in dribs and drabs, not in avalanches which moreover explicitly targeted specific political candidates or parties. Twitter’s knee-jerk panic-induced purge of Trump and Trump-supporting accounts that followed the events of January 6, 2020 on the flimsy pretense that there was a “risk of violence” created by the mere existence of these accounts, showed that @Jack and indeed the entire @TwitterSupport team are not impartial at all, for all the world to see. Naturally, as Twitter and Biden apologists were quick to point out, the First Amendment does not extent to private entities, which means that, legally, US social media giants were in the clear. Unironically defending a mega-corporation’s inherent right to censor speech in a way that US government institutions are prohibited from doing was not exactly a very good position to be in. That is a blow to the foundations of Twitter’s free-speech reputation from which it can never recover. That toothpaste can never be put back in the tube again. Banning accounts, rather than suspending until “offending” material is deleted, is a form of “prior restraint” of free speech that is explicitly prohibited by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Even such Donald Trump non-fans as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron found themselves decrying Twitter’s decision to muzzle the US president, on the basis of it being a corporate abuse of power that should be reserved only to national governments.

Twitter’s epic self-own became evident within days, in the context of elections in Uganda in which Twitter, no doubt at the behest of US intelligence failure community and/or other political and economic interests, attempted to meddle by locking accounts favoring candidates the US government clearly didn’t favor. Uganda’s retaliation in the form of shutting down Twitter in all of the country led to a predictable Twitter boilerplate reaction concerning the sanctity of free speech that was equally predictably jeered by US Trump supporters who by now were less than impressed with Twitter’s commitment to open political discourse. It seems rather inevitable that other countries will follow suit whenever Twitter-based political meddling becomes too much to tolerate, without exposing themselves to the usual tut-tutting by pearl-clutching Western liberals who praised Twitter’s shut-down of Trump. US social media networks rapidly won reputation as US propaganda and influence instruments will facilitate effective action against them in the future by countries interested in defending their sovereignty and integrity of political institutions.

Ne Parler Pas

Twitter’s and Facebook’s blowing of own cover, as it were, was quickly followed by the saga of the Parler social media network which revealed a far deeper behind-the-scenes collusion among information technology firms in support of Bide and the Democrats. Parler was a low-budget, low-quality operation set up to cash in on Twitter’s banning and shadow-banning policies. Its sole advantage was that the absence of literally any restrictions on political expression, which meant that it quickly became a network with a pronounced GOP lean. The low-budget aspect of the company meant that instead of setting up its own “server farm”, with mirroring and denial of service protections against the inevitable hacking attempts that incidentally also cost real money, it opted to have its operations hosted on servers own by none other than Amazon, which has extensive dealings with and contracts from many US intelligence agencies, including secret services. A rumor that Donald Trump might react to Twitter ban by holding court on Parler was enough for Amazon to peremptorily kick Parler off its servers. Other Parler vendors, down to law firms, similarly refused services, all of it happening to a company against which no government investigation or other action has even been initiated. Another piece of evidence, as if one were needed, of the existence of a “deep state” in the US operating outside the official legal framework.

It turns out, however, that Parler is run not only by cheapskates but experts at trolling because in their search for an alternative hosting platform they settled on a provider with servers based in…Russia, where their operations evidently do not break any laws, written or unwritten, and therefore can proceed unimpeded, in stark contrast with the United States. That revelation prompted a furious response from Congress Democrats who are now demanding an FBI investigation into Parler’s Russia ties and Russia’s involvement in the events of January 6. Again, a panicky knee-jerk reaction that will set up a precedent not only for the United States but also for the rest of the world, that social media networks on servers outside one’s country are automatically to be viewed as foreign agents.

War of Words

One way or the other, things will never be the same for social media, in the United States or elsewhere. The idea of a global free speech commons conveniently hosted by US social media networks in cozy collaboration with US intelligence services has been revealed to be a pernicious myth and is now irretrievably dead. Going forward, no self-respecting country will allow its political discourse space to be in the hands of unknown, shadowy, and unaccountable US actors. In practical terms it means demands for transparency and regulation of social media, even in the United States where the Republicans will eventually return to power and settle scores with @Jack and @Zuck. Elsewhere in the world, we are likely to see the creation of social media alternatives, as well as the growth in popularity of existing ones such as Telegram or even VKontakte. Russia’s newly adopted legal framework for hefty fines to be leveled against social media firms for allowing disinformation and other socially undesirable activities will become the norm all over the world.

This may lead to a situation in which the world’s polarization into hostile economic and military blocs is mirrored by the fragmentation of the Internet, including of social media, into national or regional networks, to the detriment of the currently existing global one. China’s early banning of US social media networks from its country, a decision whose wisdom is now plainly evident, may become the global norm. The deepening US political crisis that has not ended with Biden’s inauguration means that the United States is liable to lead the world in restricting the activities of foreign social media firms on its territory, under the guise of “combating domestic terrorism” that is Biden’s actual top priority, thus providing further ammunition for advocates of doing the same in their own countries. Twitter’s continued suppression of speech, such as suspension of a Chinese official government account for supposedly “dehumanizing” the Uyghurs, again ostensibly on the basis of the company’s terms of service rather than US official guidance, will only accelerate process.

Whether matters will deteriorate to such an extent remains to be seen. If US continues to escalate its aggression against countries unwilling to become its client states, social media will not remain unaffected by it. However, Twitter’s and Facebook’s panicky reaction to the January 6 “insurrection” had greatly weakened one of crucial tools of US “hybrid warfare”.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/07/2021 - 08:10
Published:3/7/2021 7:19:54 AM
[Markets] How Democracy Dies: Big Tech Becomes Big Brother How Democracy Dies: Big Tech Becomes Big Brother

Authored by Leni Friedman Valenta with Dr. Jiri Valenta via The Gatestone Institute,

"Digital giants have been playing an increasingly significant role in wider society... how well does this monopolism correlate with the public interest?," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on January 27, 2021.

"Where is the distinction between successful global businesses, sought-after services and big data consolidation on the one hand, and the efforts to rule society[...] by substituting legitimate democratic institutions, by restricting the natural right for people to decide how to live and what view to express freely on the other hand?"

Was Mr. Putin defending democracy? Hardly. What apparently worries him is that the Big Tech might gain the power to control society at the expense of his government.

What must be a nightmare for him -- as for many Americans -- is that the Tech giants were able to censor news favorable to Trump and then censor Trump himself. How could the U.S. do this to the president of a great and free country?

Putin made these comments at the Davos World Economic Forum, in which he and Chinese President Xi Jinping, sped on by the "Great Reset" of a fourth industrial revolution, used enlightened phrases to mask dark plans for nation states in a globalist New World Order. Thus did Xi caution attendees "to adapt to and guide globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations."

In March 2019, Putin signed a law "imposing penalties for Russian internet users caught spread 'fake news' and information that presents 'clear disrespect for society, government, state symbols the constitution and government institutions.'" Punishments got even heavier with new laws in December.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to prison for more than three years (with a year off for time served), in part because he revealed photos of a lavish Russian palace allegedly belonging to Putin on the coast of the Black Sea. Its accouterments supposedly include an $824 toilet brush. Many of the thousands of people protesting Navalny's imprisonment have since been protesting Putin by waving gold-painted toilet brushes.

How nice that American Big Tech companies is pushing democracy in Russia -- even while it is denying it at home. Do you notice how many leaders in Europe have risen to condemn censorship in America even though many in Europe are censoring their citizens as well, and are not exactly fans of the person who was being censored, former President Donald J. Trump? Like Putin, they probably do not want Big Tech competing with their governments, either.

The power-sharing of the U.S. Federal government with Big Tech appears a recipe for unharnessed power and corruption. Navalny caught on right away, saying:

"This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: 'this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter.'"

What watchdog, if any, is now restraining Big Tech in America? It has become quite clear that Big Tech's censorship may well have cost Trump the election, even if one ultimately finds that election fraud did not.

Big Tech took it upon itself to censor an exposé -- published by the New York Post on October 24, 2020, as well as follow-up exposés -- reporting that Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, had sold his influence to China and Ukraine, and had raked in millions for the family.

The Media Research Center (MRC) found that "One of every six Biden voters we surveyed (17%) said they would have abandoned the Democratic candidate had they known the facts about one or more of these news stories". That information might well have changed the outcome in all six of the swing states Biden reportedly won.

Last August, Twitter also undertook censoring the trailer of an explosive documentary entitled "The Plot Against the President." The film, narrated by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) with commentary by leading members of the Republican Party, exposes leading members of the Democratic Party and their deep state allies, many of whom knowingly used phony evidence to frame President Trump and some in his circle to try convince Americans that he and his campaign had colluded with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.

The film claims, using with recently declassified information, that President Barack Obama, as well Hillary Clinton, were involved in an almost four-year attempted coup incomparably more undemocratic than any riot at the Capital Building on January 6.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, claimed in August 2020 that Biden also knew of the ongoing efforts to unseat Trump. Nevertheless, Trump did not target them, perhaps to avoid dividing the country even further.

According to the Washington Times, the Twitter account of the movie, which debuted in October 2020, attracted 30,000 followers. Twitter blacklisted it for a day, but after a public uproar, put the popular documentary back. Our question is: How many blacklistings did Twitter not put back?

The January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was a pivotal event for Trump and the Republican Party. Prior to January 6, President Trump had offered to deploy 10,000 troops to the capitol, according to his former Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows. The Pentagon and the Department of Justice had also offered help but were also reportedly turned down by the US Capitol Police The problem, apparently, was "optics" -- about a Capitol now surrounded by barbed wire and thousands of troops, which the current Administration now seems to like.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for further details about the event were also rejected -- it is not clear by whom. It is ridiculous, therefore, for anyone to frame the riots, ugly as they were, as a seditious "insurrection," particularly in light of what appears to be a massive security failure that could have averted the violence. One thing is certain: the timing of the event could not have been more perfect for opposition groups, which is probably why it had been planned for weeks before January 6.

What these efforts and the media did achieve was an end to all attempts to ascertain election fraud at a time when Vice President Mike Pence was counting Electoral College ballots, and allowing speeches from those supporting that claim. Some politicians even called for the resignation of Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, and referred them to the ethics committee for even suggesting an election audit of battleground states, despite questions having been asked -- with no objections -- concerning the results of the 2000, 2004 and 2016 presidential elections.

Ultimately, the result of the latest "witch hunt" against President Trump, as it has been called, was a contrived impeachment attempt to bar Trump from a future presidential bid -- a kangaroo court devoid of due process, hearings, witnesses, and evidence. The prosecution, however, was undeniably eloquent in evoking "democracy" for a totally undemocratic procedure that justly resulted in Trump's acquittal.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter banned Trump and some of his supporters from their cyber domains. An alternative social media platform, Parler, was banned from the Apple and Google app stores, and then completely closed down by Amazon.

Meanwhile, mainstream social media platforms were reportedly used to rally and organize carry out riots in American cities last year. No one was penalized.

Do not, however, expect such slackness now. According to Fox News:

"People like Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have made various public statements labeling Republicans as extremists -- with Ocasio-Cortez claiming the GOP has 'white supremacist sympathizers' within its ranks, and Brennan claiming 'domestic violent extremists' in the form of far-right supporters of President Trump are more dangerous than Al Qaeda."

Columnist and radio host Jeffrey Kuhner warns that a new bill, H.R. 350, "is the liberals' equivalent of the Patriot Act redux. This time, however, it is not aimed at Islamic jihadists. Rather, it directly targets Trump patriots." Kuhner writes that the bill "has the full backing of the Democratic congressional leadership, the Biden administration... Big Media and Big Tech."

"The bill empowers the Deep State to monitor, surveil and spy on American citizens' social media accounts, phone calls, political meetings and even infiltrate pro-Trump or 'Stop the Steal' rallies.

"Conservatives who are deemed potentially 'seditious' or 'treasonous' can be arrested and jailed, fined and/or lose their employment. The goal is simple: to crush all dissent to the Biden regime."

Moreover, last month the new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, ordered a "stand down "of the entire military for 60 days, "so each service, each command and each unit can have a deeper conversation about this issue [extremism]." Normally stand downs last only a few hours or days and do not involve the entire military. Austin, in addition, has pledged to "rid our ranks of racists and extremists."

These are words that can be applied to anyone dreamed up, including Trump supporters, and based, of course, on nothing but propaganda.

Austin's plan is therefore needless, divisive and dangerous, considering the foreign dangers now circling their prey. This punishment of the regime's "foes" makes one wonder what is next. Are we already marching in lockstep with Russia and China? The way to unite and strengthen the United States is not through suppression and punishment but through political power with checks and balances, a free press and closer adherence to the Constitution.

But here, again, there seems to be. a problem. The Federalist wrote in July:

"According to a new Quillette survey released last month, 70 percent of self-identifying liberals want to rewrite the U.S. Constitution 'to a new Americans constitution that better reflects our diversity as a people.'"

Oh, so that is what we lack: diversity!

What can Americans Do? We are presently at a tipping point in America. Communist China is working hard and is focused on global domination; we are just messing around. In an increasingly digital world, the war against infringements on our freedoms most probably needs to be fought largely in the digital and cyber-space. That is why ending censorship in both the traditional and social media is such an important priority. First, break up the Big Tech companies. Let them become the utilities they originally claimed to be, or else be liable to lawsuits as other publishers are.

We do take some comfort that whereas dictatorships in authoritarian countries such as China and Russia is vertical -- from the top down -- in America, the central government shares power with the states from the bottom up, and with powers separated: the executive, the judiciary and the legislative. Fortunately, governors such as Ron DeSantis in Florida, Greg Abbott in Texas and Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma are now moving legislatively to counter federal laws that may have adverse effects on freedom of speech, jobs, election integrity, the energy industry, the first or second amendments and general constitutional rights.

This does not speak, however, to the major issue here -- that democracy cannot survive in a country where a few technocrats and oligarchs can choose to deny access to information or platforms to candidates running for office. It is simply unacceptable that they alone -- unelected, unappointed, untransparent and unaccountable -- can deem what is "harmful" to society. The job now for all of us is to prevent the United States from slowly becoming a full-blown tyranny.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/04/2021 - 23:40
Published:3/5/2021 12:07:50 AM
[Law] 7 Highlights From Oversight Hearing on FBI and Capitol Riot

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was a planned act of domestic terrorism, but didn’t have definitive... Read More

The post 7 Highlights From Oversight Hearing on FBI and Capitol Riot appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/2/2021 6:06:42 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Director Wray: Agency ‘Can’t Yet Disclose’ Sicknick’s Cause of Death

It won't shock me if Sicknick's family never learns how he died.

The post FBI Director Wray: Agency ‘Can’t Yet Disclose’ Sicknick’s Cause of Death first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/2/2021 6:06:41 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI is ‘Aware of’ American Airlines Possibly Seeing UFO

American Airlines pilot reported a mysterious object during Phoenix-bound flight.

The post FBI is ‘Aware of’ American Airlines Possibly Seeing UFO first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/2/2021 5:08:10 AM
[b856c9b7-baf7-5a08-90de-711221ad0a71] TV actor at Capitol riot facing assault, interference charges for using crutch as a weapon TV actor Luke Coffee has been identified by the FBI for using a crutch against police officers during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Published:2/27/2021 2:17:01 PM
[Markets] John Durham Resigns As US Attorney, Will Continue Role as Special Counsel John Durham Resigns As US Attorney, Will Continue Role as Special Counsel

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped by former Attorney General William Barr to lead a special counsel probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia inquiry, announced his resignation from his position as U.S. attorney of the District of Connecticut.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed to the Daily Caller and other news outlets that Durham is still special counsel. Fox News reporter Chad Pegram also reported that Durham will continue his work in probing the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation and whether there were any irregularities and wrongdoing.

A post on the DOJ’s website states that Durham’s office as special counsel was moved to the Main Justice department.

“My career has been as fulfilling as I could ever have imagined when I graduated from law school way back in 1975,” Durham said in a news release from the Justice Department on Friday.

“Much of that fulfillment has come from all the people with whom I’ve been blessed to share this workplace, and in our partner law enforcement agencies. My love and respect for this Office and the vitally important work done here have never diminished. It has been a tremendous honor to serve as U.S. Attorney, and as a career prosecutor before that, and I will sorely miss it.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the DOJ and White House to confirm whether Durham, who has not yet released his long-awaited report, will stay special counsel.

Several weeks ago, President Joe Biden’s administration had asked U.S. attorneys to resign by the end of February.

A justice department spokesman told news outlets in early February that “continuing the practice of new administrations, President Biden and the Department of Justice have begun the transition process for the U.S. Attorneys.”

In his probe, Durham has issued few public statements but in December 2019, he disputed some of the findings of the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who had concluded that the FBI was justified in opening its probe as to whether former President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in a DOJ statement at the time.

So far, Durham netted a single charge and guilty plea in August after former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was accused of altering an email about Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Barr in December told the Wall Street Journal that Durham was making “significant progress” in his investigation, but Trump said weeks before that that Durham did not want to investigate top FBI officials, including former Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe.

“We’re still waiting for a report from a man named Durham, who I have never spoken to, and I have never met. They can go after me before the election as much as they want, but unfortunately Mr. Durham didn’t want to go after these people, or have anything to do with going after them before the election. So who knows if he is ever going to even do a report,” said Trump.

The former commander-in-chief has long asserted that the Obama administration weaponized the FBI and DOJ to carry out allegedly unjust investigations into his 2016 campaign, often describing it as the “greatest witch hunt” in U.S. history.

Barr also told the WSJ that the most revealing documents pertaining to the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, known as Crossfire Hurricane, have already been made public—although Barr’s assertion has been disputed by independent researchers.

According to the DOJ’s news release on Friday, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonard C Boyle will serve as acting U.S. attorney after Durham leaves by Feb. 28.

“The Office will be in the extraordinarily capable hands of Len and our superb supervisory team who, together, guarantee that the proper administration of justice will continue uninterrupted in our District,” Durham said in the news release.

Tyler Durden Sat, 02/27/2021 - 11:00
Published:2/27/2021 10:14:25 AM
[Markets] FBI said to have pinpointed possible suspect in death of Capitol Police officer FBI said to have pinpointed possible suspect in death of Capitol Police officer Published:2/26/2021 10:12:21 PM
[Markets] Biden Gun Control Plan Would "Criminalize" Up To 105 Million People: Gun-Rights Group Biden Gun Control Plan Would "Criminalize" Up To 105 Million People: Gun-Rights Group

Authored by Jack Cardillo via The Epoch Times,

A gun-rights organization said that President Joe Biden’s gun control proposal would potentially make about 105 million law-abiding gun owners into criminals.

“While we can agree that there are several ‘common sense’ and long overdue changes needed to our nation’s gun laws, we firmly believe that the path forward should be focused on supporting and protecting responsible, law-abiding Americans - not criminalizing and punishing them,” the U.S. Concealed Carry Association said in a letter to Biden this week.

The group - which, according to the group’s website, has about 556,000 members - said the president’s push for gun control on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting was needless.

“The U.S. Concealed Carry Association exists to help responsible Americans avoid danger, save lives, and keep their families safe, and we believe that our elected leaders in Washington have an incredible obligation to pursue these same goals,” the group added.

The group noted that in 2020, a significant number of people purchased firearms in the midst of historic riots and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FBI stated last month that it processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks in 2020, which bested the previous high of 10 million. Reports said that as many as 8.5 million purchased their first firearm in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Meanwhile, a number of gun and ammunition manufacturers reported shortages amid the surge in demand.

Biden earlier this month said that he would push Congress to enact more gun control measures, including allowing gun manufacturers to face lawsuits, banning “assault weapons,” and placing bans on high-capacity magazines. His pick for Attorney General, Merrick Garland, told lawmakers on Monday that he would support the White House’s stance on gun control.

“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” Biden said earlier this month.

Pro-Second Amendment groups have noted that the term “assault weapon” has a nebulous meaning, with some saying that it is a made-up term that was invented by the anti-gun lobby in the 1980s. “Assault rifle” is a term sometimes used by the military to define a rifle that has select-fire capabilities, or the ability to switch between semi-automatic or fully automatic. For example, the much-derided AR-15 doesn’t have select-fire capability and only operates as a semi-automatic rifle.

The U.S. Concealed Carry Association further added that “record numbers of Americans have been purchasing firearms to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” adding that “women and minorities are now leading the way as the fastest-growing groups of concealed carry permit holders in the country.”

White House officials, furthermore, have said Biden would take on the largest gun-rights group, the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“But I will say that the president is somebody, throughout his career, who has advocated for smart gun, smart gun safety measures,” press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier this month. “He is not afraid of standing up to the NRA – he has done it multiple times.”

The letter was first obtained by the Washington Examiner. The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/26/2021 - 21:40
Published:2/26/2021 8:42:17 PM
[] FBI has pinpointed assailant in assault on Officer Sicknick Published:2/26/2021 6:40:43 PM
[] Lady GaGa's Dogs Dog-Napped; FBI Investigates Case To See If... TRUMP SUPPORTERS Kidnapped the Dog No, really: They've decided to take jurisdiction in a local dog-napping because of the possibility that MAGA Terrorists kidnapped the dog because this idiot sang (or warbled) at Joe Biden's (fake) inauguration. Incredible: FBI investigates whether the dognapping of Lady... Published:2/26/2021 2:10:01 PM
[In The News] FBI Puts Mueller Target On ‘Most Wanted’ List, Offers $250K Reward

By Chuck Ross -

Robert Mueller

The FBI is offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant who was charged during the special counsel’s investigation alongside former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Konstantin Kilimnik was indicted on June 8, 2018, on obstruction charges as part of the special counsel’s probe, led by former FBI …

FBI Puts Mueller Target On ‘Most Wanted’ List, Offers $250K Reward is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:2/26/2021 9:11:44 AM
[Markets] FBI "Aware Of" Possible UFO Spotting, Won't Confirm Investigation FBI "Aware Of" Possible UFO Spotting, Won't Confirm Investigation

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The FBI said Thursday it’s aware of a possible unidentified flying object (UFO) sighting, but would not confirm whether the bureau is probing the incident.

The FBI is aware of the reported incident. While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public,” a spokesperson for the bureau’s Albuquerque Field Office told The Epoch Times via email.

“Anyone who is aware of suspicious or criminal activity should contact their local law enforcement agency or the FBI,” the spokesperson added.

The incident in question reportedly took place as an American Airlines plane was en route to Phoenix, Arizona, from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chatter recorded by blogger Steve Douglass shows a pilot reporting that “we just had something go right over the top of us.”

“I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing – moving really fast right over the top of us,” he added, according to a transmission from a radio scanner.

American Airlines did not return a request for comment.

The airline told Fox News that the transmission was from its flight 2292, though it also told ABC 7 that it was not.

UFOs are periodically spotted by pilots and passengers but the mysterious vessels are sometimes confirmed to be everyday objects. In other cases, sightings are confirmed but no ready explanation is provided.

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense said in 2019 that officials investigate UFO reports.

“The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland,” the spokesperson said.

“The department will continue to investigate, through normal procedures, reports of unidentified aircraft encountered by US military aviators in order to ensure defense of the homeland and protection against strategic surprise by our nation’s adversaries.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/25/2021 - 23:00
Published:2/25/2021 10:06:10 PM
[Markets] In Final Days, Trump Gave Up On Forcing Release Of Russiagate Files, Nunes Investigator Says In Final Days, Trump Gave Up On Forcing Release Of Russiagate Files, Nunes Investigator Says

Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClear Investigations (emphasis ours),

After four years of railing against “deep state” actors who, he said, tried to undermine his presidency, Donald Trump relented to U.S. intelligence leaders in his final days in office, allowing them to block the release of critical material in the Russia investigation, according to a former senior congressional investigator who later joined the Trump administration.

Kash Patel, whose work on the House Intelligence Committee helped unearth U.S. intelligence malpractice during the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane probe, said he does not know why Trump did not force the release of documents that would expose further wrongdoing. But he said senior intelligence officials "continuously impeded" their release – usually by slow-walking their reviews of the material. Patel said Trump's CIA Director, Gina Haspel, was instrumental in blocking one of the most critical documents, he said.

CIA Director Gina Haspel was instrumental in blocking one of the most critical documents, says Kash Patel (top photo). It is a House report detailing "significant intelligence tradecraft failings" in the CIA’s assessment that Russia ordered  interference in the 2016 campaign to elect Trump.

Patel, who has seen the Russia probe's underlying intelligence and co-wrote critical reports that have yet to be declassified, said new disclosures would expose additional misconduct and evidentiary holes in the CIA and FBI's work.

"I think there were people within the IC [Intelligence Community], at the heads of certain intelligence agencies, who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn't look good on the agency itself," Patel told RealClearInvestigations in his first in-depth interview since leaving government at the end of Trump's term last month, having served in several intelligence and defense roles (full interview here).  

Trump did not respond to requests seeking comment sent to intermediaries.

Although a Department of Justice inspector general's report in December 2019 exposed significant intelligence failings and malpractice, Patel said more damning information is still being kept under wraps. And despite an ongoing investigation by Special Counsel John Durham into the conduct of the officials who carried out the Trump-Russia inquiry, it is unclear if key documents will ever see the light of day.

Patel did not suggest that a game-changing smoking gun is being kept from the public. Core intelligence failures have been exposed – especially regarding the FBI’s reliance on Christopher Steele’s now debunked dossier to secure FISA warrants used to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. But he said the withheld material would reveal more misconduct as well as major problems with the CIA’s assessment that Russia, on Vladimir Putin's orders, ordered a sweeping and systematic interference 2016 campaign to elect Trump. Patel was cautious about going into detail on any sensitive information that has not yet been declassified. 

‘Continuously Impeded’ in Public Disclosure 

Patel's work on the House Intelligence Committee, under the leadership of its former Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, is widely credited with exposing the FBI's reliance on Steele and misrepresentations to the FISA court. Yet congressional Democrats and major media outlets portrayed him as a behind-the-scenes saboteur who sought to "discredit" the Russia investigation. 

The media vitriol unnerved Patel, who had previously served as a national security official in the Obama-era Justice Department and Pentagon – a tenure that exceeds his time working under Trump. Patel says that ensuring public disclosure of critical information in such a consequential national security investigation motivated him to take the job in the first place.

Rep. Devin Nunes: Patel said he went to work for the California Republican with a condition: optimal disclosure.

"The agreement I made with Devin, I said, 'Okay, I don't really want to go to the Hill, but I'll do the job on one basis: accountability and disclosure," Patel said. "Everything we find, I don't care if it's good or bad or whatever, from your political perspective, we put it out.' So the American public can just read it themselves, with a few protections here and there for some certain national security measures, but those are minimal redactions."

That task proved difficult. The House Intelligence Committee's disclosure efforts, Patel said, "were continuously impeded by members of the intelligence community themselves, with the same singular epithets that you're going to harm sources and methods. …  And I just highlight that because, we didn't lose a single source. We didn't lose a single relationship, and no one died by the public disclosures we made because we did it in a systematic and professional fashion."

"But each time we forced them to produce [documents],” Patel added, “it only showed their coverup and embarrassment." These key revelations he helped expose include Justice official Bruce Ohr's admission that he acted as a liaison to Steele even after the FBI officially terminated him; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's false statements about leaks related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation; and the FBI's reliance on the Steele dossier to spy on Page. "There is actually a law that prevents the FBI and DOJ from failing to disclose material to a court just to hide an embarrassment or mistake, and it came up during our investigation. It helped us compel disclosure."

Assessing the ‘Intelligence Community Assessment’ 

For Patel, a key document that remains hidden from the public is the full report he helped prepare and which Trump chose not to declassify after pressure from the intelligence community: The House Intelligence Committee report about the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).

The ICA is a foundational Russiagate document. Released just two weeks before Trump's inauguration, it asserted that Russia waged an interference campaign to help defeat Hillary Clinton. Despite widespread media accounts that the ICA reflected the consensus view of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, it was a rushed job completed in a few weeks by a small group of CIA analysts led by then-CIA Director John Brennan, who merely consulted with FBI and NSA counterparts. The NSA even dissented from a key judgment that Russia and Putin specifically aimed to help install Trump, expressing only "moderate confidence."

John Brennan: A House report finding that his Intelligence Community Assessment “deviated from established CIA practice” remains classified.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The March 2018 House report found that the production of the ICA “deviated from established CIA practice.” And the core judgment that Putin sought to help Trump, the House report found, resulted from "significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the ICA judgments."

Along with that March 2018 report, Patel and his intelligence committee colleagues produced a still-classified document that fleshed out the ICA's "tradecraft failings" in greater detail.

"We went and looked at it [the ICA], and looked at the underlying evidence and cables, and talked to the people who did it," Patel says. According to Patel, the ICA's flaws begin with the unprecedentedly short window of time in which it was produced during the final days of the Obama White House. "In two to three weeks, you can't have a comprehensive investigation of anything, in terms of interference and cybersecurity matters."

Patel said that still classified information undermines another key claim – that Russia ordered a cyber-hacking campaign to help Trump. The March 2018 House report noted that the ICA's judgments, "particularly on the cyber intrusion sections, employed appropriate caveats on sources and identified assumptions," but those were drowned out by partisan insistence that Russia was the culprit.

Constrained from discussing the material, Patel said its release "would lend a lot of credence to" skepticism about the Mueller report's claim that Russia waged a "sweeping and systematic" interference campaign to install Trump.

That skepticism was bolstered in July 2019 when the Mueller team was reprimanded by a U.S. District judge for falsely suggesting in its final report that a Russian social media firm acted in concert with the Kremlin. (Mueller's prosecutors later dropped the case against the outfit.)

"We had multiple versions, with redactions, at different levels of classifications we were willing to release," Patel said."But that was unfortunately the one report, which speaks directly to [an absence of concrete evidence] that's still sitting in a safe, classified. And unfortunately, the American public – unless Biden acts – won't see it."

Confirming earlier media reports from late last year, Patel says it was Trump's CIA Director Gina Haspel who personally thwarted the House report's release. The report sits in a safe at CIA headquarters in Langley. "The CIA has possession of it, and POTUS chose not to put it out," Patel says. He does not know why.

'Outrageous' Reliance on CrowdStrike

Another key set of documents that the public has yet to see are reports by Democratic National Committee cyber-contractor CrowdStrike – reports the FBI relied on to accuse Russia of hacking the DNC. The FBI bowed to the DNC’s refusal to hand over its servers for analysis, a decision that Patel finds "outrageous."

"The FBI, who are the experts in looking at servers and exploiting this information so that the intelligence community can digest it and understand what happened, did not have access to the DNC servers in their entirety," Patel said. "For some outrageous reason the FBI agreed to having CrowdStrike be the referee as to what it could and could not exploit, and could and could not look at."

Richard Grenell: Until he came on as Director of National Intelligence, explosive CrowdStrike depositions were kept secret. AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

According Patel, Crowdstrike CEO Shawn Henry, a former top FBI official under Mueller, "totally took advantage of the situation to the unfortunate shortcoming of the American public."

CrowdStrike’s credibility suffered a major blow in May 2020 with the disclosure of an explosive admission from Henry that had been kept under wraps for nearly three years. In  December 2017 testimony before the House Intel Committee showed he had acknowledged that his firm "did not have concrete evidence" that Russian hackers removed any data, including private emails, from the DNC servers. 

"We wanted those depositions declassified immediately after we took them," Patel recalled. But the committee was "thwarted," he says, by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under Dan Coats, and later by Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff once Democrats took control of Congress in January 2018. According to Patel, Schiff "didn't want some of these transcripts to come out. And that was just extremely frustrating.” Working with Coats' successor, Richard Grenell, Patel ultimately forced the release of the Henry transcript and dozens of others last year. 

Still classified, however, are the full CrowdStrike reports relied on by the FBI, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee. Patel said their release would underscore Henry’s admission while raising new questions about why the government used reports from DNC contractors – the other being Fusion GPS' Steele dossier – for a consequential national security case involving a rival Republican campaign.

Doubting Reliability of CIA's Kremlin Mole

The CIA relied on another questionable source for its assertion that Putin personally ordered and orchestrated an interference campaign to elect Trump: a purported mole inside the Kremlin. The mole has been outed as Oleg Smolenkov, a mid-level Kremlin official who fled Russia in 2017 for the United States where he lives under his own name. According to the New York Times, some CIA officials harbored doubts about Smolenkov's "trustworthiness."

Patel said he could not comment on whether he believes Smolenkov relayed credible information to the CIA. "I'm sort of in a bind on this one, still, with all the classified information I looked at, and the declassifications we've requested, but have not yet been granted."

Patel did suggest, however, that those who have raised skepticism about the CIA's reliance on Smolenkov are "rightly" trying to "get to the bottom" of the story. "But until that ICA product that we created, and some of the other documents are finally revealed – if I start talking about them, then I'm probably going to get the FBI knocking at my door."

Will Key Documents Be Released?

On his last full day in office, President Trump ordered the declassification of an additional binder of material from the FBI’s initial Trump-Russia probe, Crossfire Hurricane. A source familiar with the documents covered under the declassification order confirmed to RealClearInvestigations that it does not contain the House committee’s assessment of the January 2017 that Patel wants released. Nor does it contain any of the CrowdStrike reports used by the FBI.

In addition to those closely guarded documents, Patel thinks that there is even more to learn about the fraudulent surveillance warrants on Carter Page. The public should see "the entire subject portion" of the final Carter Page FISA warrant, Patel said, as well as "the underlying source verification reporting" in which the FBI tried to justify it, despite relying on the Steele dossier. By reading what the FBI "used to prop up that FISA, the American public can see what a bunch of malarkey it was that they were relying on," Patel added. "The American public needs to know about and read for themselves and make their own determination as to why their government allowed this to happen. Knowingly.

"And that's not castigating an entire agency. We're not disparaging the entire FBI because of Peter Strzok [the FBI agent dismissed, in part, because of anti-Trump bias] and his crew of miscreants. Same thing goes for the intelligence community. If they did some shoddy tradecraft, the American public has a right to know about it in an investigation involving the presidential election."

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/25/2021 - 21:00
Published:2/25/2021 8:13:44 PM
[Markets] Was Trump 'The Mule'? Was Trump 'The Mule'?

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Bunring Platform blog,

“Excellence, he is known as the Mule. He is spoken of little, in a factual sense, but I have gathered the scraps and fragments of knowledge and winnowed out the most probable of them. He is apparently a man of neither birth nor standing. His father, unknown. His mother, dead in childbirth. His upbringing, that of a vagabond. His education, that of the tramp worlds, and the backwash alleys of space. He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical strength, and stubbornness of purpose.” 

- Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire

“The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop.” 

– Isaac Asimov, Foundation

In March 2017, a mere two months after the stunningly unexpected victory of Donald Trump over the Deep State hand picked representative of dark forces – Hillary Clinton, I wrote a three-part article based upon Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, attempting to connect Trump’s elevation as the Gray Champion of this Fourth Turning to the plot of Asimov’s masterpiece. The three articles: Foundation – Fall of the American Galactic EmpireFoundation and Empire: Is Donald Trump the Mule?; and Second Foundation: Empire Crumbling, landed with a dud, generating few views and not many comments.

I thought it was a creative look at the fledgling Trump presidency, a Deep State intent on destroying him, integrated within the context of Asimov’s story of galactic subterfuge, controlling populations through mathematical mechanisms, and the rise of an individual upending the plans of elitists. I chalked up the dis-interest to the fact many people had never read the books, therefore could not relate to the comparison between Trump, the Mule, and Hari Seldon’s plan.

The other possibility was the fact I was already pondering Trump failing in his effort to defeat the Deep State and drain the Swamp. Trump supporters were still ecstatic with their victory, believing he could defeat the dark forces aligned against him, and resistant to the thought he might lose. Four years later, with the perspective of what has happened, we can honestly assess the suppositions I made in that article.

For those not familiar with Asimov’s trilogy, The Mule was a powerful mentalic mutant, warlord, and conqueror who posed the greatest threat to the Seldon Plan.

The plan involves the two Foundations. The First Foundation is the bastion of physical science and political order while the Second Foundation is a covert group of people hidden away who are experts in mentalics and psychohistorical prediction. Seldon’s science of psychohistory was outstanding at predicting the behavior of large populations but worthless in trying to predict what an individual might do.

The emergence of the Mule, a mentalic mutant with an acute telepathic ability to modify the emotions of human beings, could not have been predicted by the Seldon Plan, focused as it was on the statistical movements of vast numbers of peoples and populations across the galaxy. The Mule’s acute telepathic ability to modify the emotions of human beings derailed one of the basic assumptions of Hari Seldon’s psychohistory – that, in general, the responses of human populations to given stimuli will remain the same.

The Mule was the unpredictable variable in the equations of history and the greatest threat to the Seldon Plan. He disrupts the inevitability of the continued evolution of the First Foundation and potential early ending of the Dark Age. The Mule, through telepathic manipulation, defeats and takes over the Foundation’s growing empire, which has become increasingly control-oriented and out-of-touch with the outer planets in its rapidly expanding realm of influence.

The term mule invokes feelings of strength, stubbornness, and the ability to power forward despite obstacles. That description fits Trump perfectly and his ability to inspire millions of Americans through emotional appeals to patriotism and demonizing his left wing political and media enemies. His powers of persuasion weren’t mentalic, but his appeal to flyover country Americans was baffling to the liberal elites on the coasts and the RINOs who pretended to be conservative but were nothing more than grifters and neo-con warmongers.

I did not associate Hari Seldon with any particular person on the scene today when I wrote my article in 2017. Hari Seldon was an intellectual who created the Foundation, made up of other academic intellectuals. Then he set up a Second Foundation of even more talented intellectuals as a backup plan in case the Foundation failed. I saw Seldon and his ensemble of elitist academics and intellectual snobs as pompous control freaks on par with the Washington DC and Wall Street elitists like Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, Yellen, Powell, Dimon and Buffet. They constitute the Foundation.

The Second Foundation was hidden in plain sight, operating in the shadows, unknown to the masses, and controlling the galaxy from behind the curtain. They were the Galactic Deep State.

I now see the Seldon character as Bill Gates, a college dropout geek who lucked into becoming a multi-billionaire with one decent idea, who now portrays himself as an expert in medical science, vaccines, farming, climate change, population right sizing, social media censorship and politics.

His billions entitle him to pontificate his psycho-babble propaganda on captured corporate media outlets, much like Seldon using his psychohistory to predict the future. Billionaire egos are immense. Gates flies on his private jet around the world spewing CO2 while preaching the gospel of lockdowns, drinking reprocessed piss, and forcing the masses to eat synthetic beef and bugs to save the planet.

I see the Second Foundation as representative of the Deep State. This amalgamation of the likes of Clapper, Comey, Brennan, Clinton, Soros, Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Dorsey, Cook, Schmidt, Schwab, and plethora of other sociopaths in the government, media, military, academia, and corporate world spent the last four years attempting to neutralize and neuter Donald Trump (aka The Mule). These affluent, highly educated, narcissistic, sanctimonious, malevolent scumbags, who believe they are the smartest men in the world, operate behind the scenes as the invisible government, manipulating the mechanisms of society and pulling the wires controlling the public mind.

There is virtually no difference between Seldon’s psychohistory and Bernays’ propaganda. These sociopaths believe they are entitled to run the world as they choose, with no input or resistance from the ignorant masses allowed. When the basket of deplorables rose up and elected Trump, the Deep State went into overdrive to nullify and defeat him. My prediction about his presidency came to be, with my ending question still up for debate:

His first two months in power will likely reflect his entire presidency. The Washington establishment and sinister Deep State players will attempt to thwart Trump’s every move. They have already impeded his immigration controls and attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, while using their illegal surveillance state techniques to undermine his administration. The surveillance agencies, who are supposed to act on his behalf, are clearly trying to subvert his presidency. Leaks and fake news designed to sabotage the credibility of Trump and his administration will continue. Will the fear of retribution from mysterious surveillance state operatives convince Trump to fall into line and become a submissive lackey, no longer making waves for the Deep State?

The level of Deep State interference to undermine the Trump presidency reached extreme levels after those first two months of relatively minor meddling. What followed was a three-year Russia-gate farce as the DOJ, FBI and CIA conspired with Obama to unseat Trump by creating a fake Russia interference narrative based on a bullshit dossier, using it to have Comey weaponize the FBI against a duly elected president. Then his AG swamp creature allowed Mueller and his Hillary supporting cronies to torture Trump for two years before calling it quits with absolutely no charges. All along, the left-wing media cackled and crowed, producing a prodigious amount of fake news, which was duly called out by Trump.

The unrelenting negative coverage, despite successes on many fronts by Trump, revealed the true nature of the Deep State coup to overthrow a sitting president. The never-ending coup was ramped up again in 2019 as Pelosi and her flying monkeys – Chinese spy-shagger, Swalwell (aka the farter) and the socialist squad of hate mongers, drummed up a fake impeachment against Trump based upon a phone call regarding actual provable Biden family corruption in the Ukraine. The impeachment was a dead-on arrival political stunt to disparage Trump going into the election year.

But the Deep State coup de grace for cancelling and castrating Trump (aka The Mule) was the Covid conspiracy, which fell into the laps of Trump’s enemies through the accidental or purposeful release of a highly contagious, highly non-lethal flu virus from a Chinese bio-weapon lab, funded by Fauci and other U.S. governmental entities. After the impeachment charade imploded in January, and the Democrat presidential field of dementia patients, communists, whores, and morons pathetically made their case to replace Trump, a November victory seemed assured for Trump, as the economy was OK and the stock market was booming.

But then they were presented with a faux crisis, and as everyone knows – you can never let a good crisis go to waste. The Deep State, democratic governors, democratic mayors, the left-wing loving media, the Silicon Valley social media billionaire censorship tyrants, and Big Pharma combined forces to turn the nation into quivering cowering masked sheep, begging to be corralled and sheered by traitorous lying authoritarians demanding their acquiescence.

Throwing in systematic racism, elevating violent felon scum to sainthood, encouraging BLM and ANTIFA terrorists to burn cities, assault police, storm the White House, and blaming it all on Trump was a genius move. By using the Covid hysteria as a cover for demanding unlimited and uncontrolled mail-in voting, with no signature verification or time limits on counting votes, the Democrats assured themselves of certain victory in the limited number of swing states.

And still, Trump was on his way to victory again as of midnight on election night. This is when a halt was called by the Deep State, Dominion voting machines were “re-programmed” and suitcases full of “newly discovered” mail-in ballots appeared, with 97% of the votes going to Dementia Joe. He truly had put together the best election fraud team in history. That is why he never needed to leave his basement during the campaign.

Despite hundreds of documented accounts of massive voter fraud, eye witness accounts of fraudulent mail-in ballots, statistical analysis proving what supposedly happened with voting machines could not possibly happen, and the absolute laughability of Basement Biden actually getting 80 million votes, the Deep State co-conspirators closed ranks and did not allow Trump and his team a fair day in court to make their case. They had successfully stolen the election and accomplished their four-year long coup.

In order to ensure Trump did not rise again, Pelosi and her compadres used Trump’s powers of persuasion against him, by exploiting his peaceful January 6 rally in DC, as a means to lure some of his useful idiot supporters into entering the Capitol (with the Capitol police opening the doors), enticed by a bunch of ANTIFA/BLM provocateurs and taking selfies, stealing podiums, and milling around, until one of them got shot.

This fake news “armed insurrection” (despite no firearms used or confiscated) was then weaponized by Pelosi and her useful idiot followers to conduct an even more farcical impeachment of a president who was already out of office, playing golf in Florida. This tempest in teapot clown show of idiocracy played out over a few days, breathlessly covered by the MSNBC dullards and CNN dimwits, until it died under its own weight of superficial lunacy, with the Chief Justice refusing to preside and Democrat prosecutors caught doctoring evidence.

This failure to drive a stake through the heart of mule-headed Trump and insure he does not rise from the dead in 2024 to assume power once again, will not stop his vast number of enemies from keeping him stuck in Florida to live out his days on this earth as a failed president. Soros funded attorney generals across the land will hound Trump and his family with legal entanglements unless he promises to be a non-participant in government forever. Will the fear of financial retribution and consequences from a legal system that is stacked in favor of his enemies convince Trump to stand down? In my four-year-old article I asked these questions:

Will Trump’s reign resemble the reign of The Mule? The Mule’s conquest was astonishingly fast. He defeated the Foundation and established the Union of Worlds after only five years. The unpredictability of his arrival and rare mental talents befuddled the Foundation. Then he inexplicably paused in his campaign of conquests. Instead, he launched repeated expeditions in search of the Second Foundation. The Second Foundation, through unyielding pressure and generating fear of the unknown into the mind of The Mule, was able undermine his plans of conquest and turn him into a non-disruptive, toothless, nonthreatening, passive figurehead. As Trump’s best laid plans are obstructed, agenda foiled, and legislation hindered, will his enthusiasm for governance wane?

Based on what I have seen since the January 6 staged event at the Capitol, it appears Trump’s will to fight has subsided, even though he will continue to do interviews and give speeches to burnish his image as an outsider, continuing to fight for his 75 million followers. His influence didn’t help win the two Georgia run-off elections. It is highly unlikely he runs for president again in 2024.

He will utilize his popularity to invigorate his real estate and potential media empire. It will be all about the Benjamin’s from here on out. He surprised himself with his unlikely victory in 2016 and will be busy writing his best- selling book about the adventure in the near future. Trump TV is practically a given, but he will not be anything more than a thorn in the side of the Deep State (Second Foundation) going forward. He will no longer be a legitimate threat to their Plan.

Trump was a disrupting factor, disturbing the best laid plans of the global elitist establishment and revealing the hidden agendas of the Deep State. He had no support from the GOP establishment. In most cases, they undermined his efforts. He hired them into his cabinet and they continuously stabbed him in the back. Having your supposed allies work against you, in cahoots with the Democrats, surveillance state apparatus, all the alphabet agencies, and 90% of the mainstream and social media propaganda machinery, and you come to the realization we are ruled by a Uni-party of globalist elite using their immense wealth to manipulate and control the masses.

Sociopaths like Gates, Soros, Schwab, and Obama believe they are the smartest men on the planet and can pull the strings, making the puppet masses do as they command. Based on the last year, it appears they are right. The neutralization of Trump has convinced themselves of their invincibility. Their hubris blinds them to the wisdom of the bible – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Not only is the Great Reset, green new deal, communist doctrine implementation not going to reverse the downward spiral of the American Empire, but the last year of horrific political and financial decisions and imminent execution of the left-wing agenda through their empty senile vessel will accelerate the unavoidable collapse. MMT plus QE to infinity will surely solve all our problems.

The national debt went from $20 trillion when Trump was elected to $28 trillion today, and $30 trillion within the next year. It took 219 years to accumulate the first $10 trillion of debt, 9 years to accumulate the next $10 trillion of debt, and now less than five years to accumulate the next $10 trillion. Meanwhile, GDP has barely grown by 2% per year and household income has been stagnant for decades. Anyone who thinks this is sustainable, economically healthy, or representative of free market capitalism is either delusional or lying to promote their agenda of you owning nothing and being happy about it, while eating bugs and drinking processed piss.

Asimov’s trilogy documents the fall of the Galactic Empire, based upon the Fall of the Roman Empire, and written during the fall of the Third Reich. Whether Trump delayed or accelerated the Fall of the American Empire is inconsequential, as no one can reverse the coming collapse at this point. Technology does not improve human nature, create wisdom, or provide understanding. Humanity is incapable of change. The same weaknesses and self- destructive traits which have plagued us throughout history are as prevalent today as they ever were.

Empires are created by corruptible men whose failings, flaws, and desire for power, control and wealth never change. Decades of blunders, awful decisions, incompetent leadership, dishonesty and unconcealed treachery have paved a pathway to ruin for the American Empire. The outward appearance of strength disguises the internal rot, which will be revealed when the coming storm arrives with suddenness and a surprising fierceness.

“Mr. Advocate, the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had. The storm-blast whistles through the branches of the Empire even now. Listen with the ears of psychohistory, and you will hear the creaking.” 

– Isaac AsimovFoundation

The American Empire is crumbling under the weight of military overreach; the totalitarian synergy between Big Tech and Big Gov.; destruction of the Constitution by traitorous surveillance state apparatchiks; the burden of unpayable debts; currency debasement; cultural decay; civic degeneration; diversity and deviancy trumping common culture and normality; pervasive corruption at every level of government; globalist agendas; and the failure of myopic leaders to deal with the real problems.

In the last year we have crossed our proverbial Rubi-covid, willingly trading our freedom and liberties for the perception of safety. We’ve past the point of no return. Asimov’s analogy of the wolf, horse and man has never been more apt than now. In our present- day version, the wolf is a China flu with a 99.7% survival rate that only kills the old and infirm. The horse is the American public (and most of the global population) living in constant fear of a non-lethal virus killing them at any moment. No matter how irrational, they desperately want to believe “experts” who authoritatively declare the steps necessary to save the world from this scourge.

The man is an amalgamation of Gates, Soros, Fauci, and the petty authoritarian politicians (Cuomo, Newsom, Whitmer, Wolf, Murphy) wielding power across the land. The man offered to save the horse from the wolf on condition of being given the power to disregard the Constitution, lockdown the country, destroy small businesses, create mass unemployment, mandate masks, crush free speech (except during BLM and ANTIFA riots), suspend the 4th Amendment, force experimental vaccinations upon the masses, and create $10 trillion of new debt, giving most of it to Wall Street, mega-corporations, and Big Pharma. And as an added benefit, get rid of a president who did not cooperate with their Global Reset agenda.

“A horse having a wolf as a powerful and dangerous enemy lived in constant fear of his life. Being driven to desperation, it occurred to him to seek a strong ally. Whereupon he approached a man, and offered an alliance, pointing out that the wolf was likewise an enemy of the man. The man accepted the partnership at once and offered to kill the wolf immediately, if his new partner would only co-operate by placing his greater speed at the man’s disposal. The horse was willing, and allowed the man to place bridle and saddle upon him.

The man mounted, hunted down the wolf, and killed him. “The horse, joyful and relieved, thanked the man, and said: ‘Now that our enemy is dead, remove your bridle and saddle and restore my freedom.’ “Whereupon the man laughed loudly and replied, ‘Never!’ and applied the spurs with a will.” – Isaac AsimovFoundation

So, today we find ourselves one year into “15 days to slow the spread” and millions of “horses” have asked the “man” to remove their bridle and saddle and restore our freedom. Miraculously, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have plunged since the insertion of Dementia Joe into the White House by his Deep State handlers. The vaccine and mask propaganda campaigns are being ratcheted up, emperor Gates is on TV every other day expounding on covid, climate, synthetic food, population control, and the need for more control by billionaires like himself.

As millions demand their freedoms back, Gates, Fauci, Soros and Schwab laugh loudly and proclaim we can never go back to the way it was. They will apply the spurs of the “New Normal” and “Great Reset”. We failed to heed the wisdom of Ben Franklin and will pay a heavy price for our cowardice and subservience to totalitarian global elitists. The Mule has been defeated.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin – 1775

*  *  *

The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/24/2021 - 17:40
Published:2/24/2021 4:52:03 PM
[Markets] Why Durham Report Is Becoming Highly Unlikely Why Durham Report Is Becoming Highly Unlikely

Authored by Lee Smith via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they want to know if President Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General Merrick Garland will allow Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane probe to continue. “I have no reason to think he should not remain in place,” Garland told Sen. Chuck Grassley Monday.

Attorney John Durham speaks to reporters on the steps of U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on April 25, 2006. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

In reality, if confirmed Garland will not allow Durham to stay in place, never mind issue a report. The prospect that Biden’s attorney general might allow Durham to indict former Barack Obama administration officials is ludicrous. Remember that documents released over the last year gave evidence that as vice-president Biden was not only aware of the spying operation against Trump officials but participated in it. Biden not only knew that the FBI was framing incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn but suggested that the Department of Justice might charge Flynn for violating the Logan Act.

In other words, the FBI officials that Durham is reportedly investigating are Biden’s co-conspirators. To allow them to be indicted would not only point to Biden’s guilt but also show that the most powerful man in the world is unable or unwilling to protect allies who have helped advance the cause of the party he now leads. That would show Biden to be weak. Garland understands that his primary duty as Biden’s chief law enforcement officer is not to oversee the fair and equal treatment of all Americans under the law, but to protect the president and the party he serves.

The Biden administration has already shown it is a very different animal than Trump’s. During his four years in office, Trump’s allies complained that his biggest problem was staffing. It’s true that key spots in his administration were filled with officials who opposed his America First agenda. There were problems with the personnel office, insiders explain. Further, sometimes Trump family members pressed for friends without the experience or commitment to implement Trump’s vision. But even those least experienced or most opposed to Trump’s vision would’ve fallen in line, if he’d given them cause to fear him.

In “The Prince,” Machiavelli writes that in deciding between earning the love and respect of his subjects, the successful prince must choose the public mood that he can control. Instead, the 45th president of the United States sought love. Perhaps the clearest record of that is to be found in former FBI director James Comey’s memos of his meetings and conversations with Trump. They are unintentionally moving documents, showing that Trump solicited the help and even friendship of experienced bureaucrats like Comey. But to him, Trump’s entreaties signaled weakness. Soon Comey saw that the new president had become frustrated when the director failed to publicly clear him of any ties to Russia. And Trump only asked him again to clear him. Instead of firing Comey in disgrace, he cut Flynn loose and then petitioned Comey to go easy on the retired general, the one man who was most loyal to the president. As a result, Trump got the Mueller investigation, which consumed two years of his presidency. But even then there was still time for Trump to elicit the respect that is engendered by fear.

William Barr may be a decent man, but he is a Washington man and thus subject to the winds of power that course through the capital. What makes a Washington man honorable is not any abstract sense of duty but the fear that if he doesn’t serve his boss, he will be destroyed. In Spring 2020, Barr counseled the president against firing FBI director Christopher Wray, warning it would be taken as evidence the White House was in chaos in the middle of an election year. Barr could have fired Wray himself, and had reason to do so, for withholding documents from DOJ prosecutors. But the attorney general was probing the president. By agreeing to Barr’s wishes, Trump indicated there would be no price to be paid for crossing him. Barr hedged his bets with the potential victory of a candidate who had shown that by spying on the Trump team there was no question he would, if victorious in November, retaliate against Trump’s attorney general for chasing him. With no pressure on him from Trump, Barr did not pressure his prosecutor to choose between issuing indictments by late summer, as had previously been promised, or being replaced by someone who would. For all practical purposes, the Durham investigation was over by April.

Biden’s attorney general has an additional incentive to shut down Durham for good. Let’s say the special counsel has the evidence to indict the senior FBI officials he has been investigating. That would confirm what Republicans have been saying about Crossfire Hurricane since 2017—the FBI wasn’t investigating Russian interference, it was spying on a presidential candidate and then the commander-in-chief. To show that Biden’s party was lying about that would suggest that maybe the Democrats were lying about other things, too, maybe lying about everything. They lied about the phone call that got Trump impeached; they lied about the “mostly peaceful” George Floyd riots; they lied about the Jan. 6 protests by calling them an armed insurrection; and most importantly, they lied about the transparency and legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Republicans could try to fight Garland’s nomination or at least use the hearings to advance a case about Democratic Party corruption, but they won’t because they fear the new administration.

Lee Smith is the author of the recently published book “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/24/2021 - 12:45
Published:2/24/2021 11:51:28 AM
[Markets] Saudi Arabia Sued By Families Of Pensacola Terror Attack Victims Saudi Arabia Sued By Families Of Pensacola Terror Attack Victims

Saudi Arabia is once again facing a major lawsuit in the US filed by the families of victims killed in a terror attack perpetrated by a Saudi citizen.

The attack in question occurred at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. on Dec. 6, 2019. On that morning, a 21-year-old member of the Saudi military opened fire on Americans staying at the Naval base, carrying out a shooting rampage that led to the deaths of 3 Americans with 13 others wounded. The perpetrator, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, is believed to have posted his justification to social media before the attack. He was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force staying in the US as part of a program whereby the US military offers training to military pilots from certain geopolitical 'partners'.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack weeks later, a claim that was corroborated by the FBI, which ruled the attack was motivated by Jihadist ideology. And while it had little discernible impact on US-Saudi relations at the time, that may soon change. Because family members of the deceased and wounded are now suing Saudi Arabia for civil damages.

The complaint filed in federal court in Pensacola on Monday alleged that the Saudi Arabian government had known about the gunman and his increasing radicalization, and could have prevented the killing.

According to Reuters, the Saudis didn't respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz condemned the attack as a “heinous crime” and said it “does not represent the Saudi people" during a statement made shortly after it happened.

Although several of Alshamrani's fellow Saudi Naval officers reported attending a dinner party thrown by Alshamrani shortly before the attack where they all watched videos of US mass shootings, it was determined that Alshamrani was the sole shooter, and that he acted alone.

President Joe Biden and his administration are already embracing a more distant approach to handling America's allies and adversaries in the Middle East, particularly when it comes to Saudi Arabia and Israel. Whether or not this lawsuit further sours relations between Washington and Riyadh remains to be seen.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/23/2021 - 23:45
Published:2/23/2021 10:47:46 PM
[Markets] Once Upon A Presidency - From Populist To Dissident Once Upon A Presidency - From Populist To Dissident

Authored by Joshua Hochschild via,

Let’s say you’ve long been disaffected with political parties. You don’t trust them. You care about politics, but you don’t see much promise in the standard candidates.

Let’s even say you have suspicions the two parties are more interested in their own power than in helping the country.

Occasionally you see promising people come forward, challenging the conventions. Maybe your interest is piqued by an Andrew Yang or Tulsi Gabbard, a Marianne Robinson or Bernie Sanders. Or perhaps by a Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ron Paul, or Herman Cain.

Whoever they are, interesting people with interesting ideas show up, and somehow they speak to you. They seem to share some of your interests. But they never get a foothold in the game of national politics.

Maybe you don’t understand politics, and these candidates always lose fairly on the merits. But you suspect the deck is stacked against them. They criticize Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, corruption in politics. You’ve heard them called “populists,” but they always end up getting labeled something like “fascist” or “socialist,” and cast aside.

Or maybe you do understand politics. You long for an outsider, populist candidate, not because you are naïve, but because you are well-read. You’ve studied history and political theory. You don’t care much for pundits or journalists; you read thoughtful, literate writers who provide historical and philosophical perspective—thinkers most pundits and journalists have never heard of and wouldn’t understand.

Or maybe you are a sincerely religious person and you know your beliefs are not, will never be, embodied in a political party. You know all politics is compromise. But you also feel an obligation to help improve the world through politics, and this only makes you all the more frustrated at the narrow range of options presented by the two parties.

For whatever reason—naïve disaffection, intellectual aloofness, religious detachment—you don’t feel at home in mainstream partisan politics, and you suspect that the system, the two parties themselves, are stacked against you.

There are economic and political explanations of why they might be stacked against you. Whether you are aware of these explanations or not, the evidence is clear: candidates who challenge them, candidates who are too “populist,” are always marginalized, ridiculed, suppressed.

Then along comes Trump.

The Renegade

Is his candidacy a joke? Is he worth paying attention to? Is this a publicity stunt?

He says things that seem to make sense to you, and moreover he says them effectively. He inspires followers. He beats opponents. He doesn’t put up with establishment bullshit. You don’t like him—almost everybody says this—but he shows an attractive charisma, a fighting spirit. Even his imperfections—“incivility,” strange mannerisms, shamelessness, a less than respectable past—seem to be part of his energy, his dynamism.

And his actual policies? The things he says he wants to do? Well, maybe you don’t agree with every single one, but there is actually a coherence to them, a sense of priority and pragmatism. Energy independence. Non-interventionism. Revitalizing manufacturing. In substance, as well as style, he seems, well, populist.

Sure he’s rich (maybe) and a celebrity (certainly), and so not what you expect as a populist. But unlike a lot of rich people, he’s not owned. He doesn’t seem to defer to anybody or anything. He doesn’t owe anything to anyone, least of all to the party whose nomination he seeks or the powerful interests that seem to pull the strings in Washington.

So you find yourself one of tens of millions willing to give him a chance. What’s the worst that can happen?

You notice he’s usually attacked not for his policies, but for his style. They say he is “dark.” They say he is “scary.” They say he’s a racist and misogynist. They even say he doesn’t have a sense of humor, or that he’s psychologically ill. You don’t see any of this—but you do see who is saying these things: his enemies in the two parties who would be threatened by his success. You don’t think the charges are fair—but even if they are, it’s what he’d do in office, not his style or his tweets, that matters.

Maybe you see a rally on TV, or maybe you attend one yourself. It doesn’t seem “dark.” The tone is cheerful, patriotic. He’s funny, and also substantive. And the crowd—it’s diverse and friendly. Normal people. Truckers and plumbers and builders. Lawyers and dentists and accountants. Teachers and engineers, restaurant owners and waitresses, moms and grandmothers, people who haven’t been inspired by politics before, all sorts.

The Unthinkable

And then: Trump wins.

Everybody is surprised. Some people even seem genuinely scared. You wonder if the media emphasis on how “scary” he is might be harming people’s mental health.

The opponents obviously overplay their hands. They are hearing “dog whistles” that aren’t there (and they would only signal “dogs” if they were there, anyway). Maybe some of your friends call you a racist for supporting Trump, but you know you aren’t a racist, and you don’t think he is either.

The racism charge is so common and people are so scared that a few smart liberals who opposed Trump beg for people not to lose perspective, to give him a chance, and to stop “crying wolf” about his racism.

You wonder, “Why aren’t people more interested in understanding why Trump won?” They assume that since Trump is “dark,” his widespread support must be “dark.” Trump is a racist, they say, so his supporters must be racist. Or his supporters are brainwashed, the victims of manipulation. Or maybe there was foreign interference. Maybe the election was rigged.

If you haven’t given up on the biggest media outlets by now, perhaps you find some traditional journalists that avoid this cheap, simplistic narrative—journalists doing serious work to explain the political landscape. Perhaps you find one of the honest, anti-Trump journalists, like Tim Carney or John Miller or Chris Arnade, covering Trump’s actual populist appeal, seeking to understand the kinds of people who voted for him, the real civic and economic conditions that Trump appealed to.

But these hardworking, gumshoe journalists seem the exception, not the rule. And their stories, the ones that have a ring of truth to you, are subtle, complicated, and under-the-radar. They don’t play well on social media. They don’t make good memes. It’s outrage that sells. People who are afraid don’t want to be told not to be afraid. They want to be told they have good reasons for their fear.

So cooler heads do not prevail. Trump is never given a chance. Though he evidently wants to work with Democrats—on major issues, like immigration, health care, and tax reform—the Democrats refuse to work with him.

Then, at one point, there is supposedly proof that Trump is a racist. In the wake of tragedy in Charlottesville, he said that white nationalists, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis were “fine people.” Shocking. Smoking gun.

But it’s not. You see it’s a lie, a lie started and propagated by journalists. Clever editing, willful misreadings, bad faith, outright dishonesty. You read the transcript, you watch the video, and it’s obvious: Trump said there were “fine people” on both sides of the debate about statues, but he clearly, unequivocally, and multiple times condemned white supremacists and neo-NazisThe “smoking gun”…isn’t.

The Lies

Half the country never heard about this though. They fell for a hoax. They believed they really had “evidence” that Trump was an unashamed racist. Crazy, huh? Why? Why would this hoax be perpetuated? Political gain? Outrage clicks? Have the journalists convinced themselves? Who knows the motive: in any case, it proved a useful myth for politicians, an easy talking point. Joe Biden believed the “fine people” lie (or claimed to). Eventually, he identifies it as the basis of his campaign against Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump’s very legitimacy as president has been challenged from the beginning. His opponents accused him of stealing the election. Foreign interference. “Russian collusion.”

These charges are leveled for years. No evidence. Just allegation. Conspiracy mongering. No proof. For years, they say the election was rigged, illegitimate. But no evidence.

Eventually the evidence that does come out is that the whole thing was made up. It’s not just a false allegation, but a contrived hoax, a political con-job. People high up in the FBI lied about it, fabricated evidence, entrapped people on false charges, testified falsely in Congress, hid evidence, and coordinated with the press to leak false information. It was an egregious abuse of surveillance powers. Maybe you see a popular documentary about it, or maybe you were able to put enough pieces together after seeing it argued about and dissected all over social media.

You’ve long known that the media manipulates and lies, and you’ve seen it exacerbated on social media. The media has become masterful at manipulating narrative, framing things, hiding things. Maybe you also watched a documentary about that too (one of the top documentaries of the year, even after being suppressed by Amazon).

You know your disaffection with “the establishment” isn’t partisan: Democrats and Republicans seem corrupt, liberals and conservatives are fed up with “the system.” The media seems systematically dishonest. These are basic civic and human rights you care about: the right to the rule of law, the right to a free press, the right to free and fair elections, the right not to be manipulated.

Big journalism itself seems to be part of the problem, coordinating with the established interests in the two parties to push their narrative. Did they help dispel the “Fine People” hoax? No, they magnified it. Did they properly cover the collusion allegation? No. Did any evidence ever emerge that Trump stole the election? No. But it made for clickable headlines for four years. 

“Trump stole the election”: it was literally a conspiracy theory, but it had traction because, of course, we all know about corruption and fraud in politics. We expect it. Heck, Kennedy’s theft of the election from Nixon was a plot-point in Mad Men.

Perhaps you’ve also done a little digging and you know that there are questions about voting machines and how trustworthy they are. This was even a major Democratic complaint following the 2004 election. You’ve always wondered how those machines worked, how they could be secure. Potential for fraud has been widely recognized. Maybe you saw one of numerous stories, or even caught the HBO documentary, about how these machines are not only vulnerable, but suspiciously, intentionally vulnerable.

You’ve also noticed that social media plays a role in manipulating people—not only bad actors on social media, but the social media companies themselves: they tweak their algorithms to manipulate your behavior. That’s not a bug, it’s a feature—it’s the business model.

Twitter and Facebook and Google knew they had power to influence elections. People from these companies promised to use it more “responsibly” in 2020. Anti-Trump and pro-Trump politicians and pundits pressured big tech to wield their power more “responsibly.” How much could they influence? How many votes could they swing? Who knows, but these are questions worthy of study and political consideration. They are certainly not “partisan.”

The Race

So by now you don’t trust establishment politicians or establishment media. You don’t trust Big Tech. All of these institutions have shown a willingness to manipulate information.

In September 2020, journalists lie about Trump’s executive order banning racial discrimination and scapegoating, saying (not only without evidence, but contrary to evidence) that it “bans diversity training” or “bans sensitivity training.” In October, right before the election, establishment media outlets cover up revelations about corruption in the Biden family. You are used to this now: the official press will hide truths if they’re embarrassing to Biden and make up lies to embarrass Trump.

As the election nears, Trump seems more popular than ever before. After four years, people aren’t just taking a risk on an unknown quantity, they are voting for someone who presided over a robust economy, created jobs, reduced minority unemployment, kept us out of wars, brought troops home, reduced energy prices, reframed diplomacy in the Middle East, and so on. His opponent (who typifies the establishment choice) is uncharismatic and frail.

Most polls say Trump doesn’t have a chance, but the polls were wrong last time, and most of them are connected to media sources you already don’t trust. The best poll (Rasmussen, the one that will turn out to be closest to the actual results, as in 2016) has it very tight.

But another thing you don’t trust by the time of the election is the electoral process itself. You are aware of an unprecedented opportunity to rig or steal an election, unprecedented vulnerabilities in an already complicated system, magnified by controversial rule changes allegedly intended to accommodate a national health scare.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the election, mainly by making it easy for Democratic ballots to get cast and counted. Changing rules about mail-in ballots, voting early, and collecting ballots are justified as promoting access to voting, but are all known for increasing the chances for fraud.

An early case about the constitutionality of rule changes even makes it to the Supreme Court, in response to which several justices acknowledge that there are serious constitutional questions which need to be resolved somehow. But you don’t need justices to tell you that you can’t change the rules in the middle of a game.

So leading up to the election, you are aware of issues with questionable rule changes, all of which magnify the problems endemic to ballot harvesting, signature matching, unclean voter rolls, vulnerabilities in voting machines, and disputes about when and how ballots have to be returned.

Still, you think Trump can win—that he could outperform the “margin of fraud.” That’s clearly his goal: not only to win by enough, but to win big.

The Steal

After the election, as news trickles in, you hear reports about:

  • Suspicious timing of ballots arriving.

  • Reports of suspicious ballots.

  • Suspicious treatment of election monitors.

  • “Software glitches” and “user errors” in voting machines.

  • Apparent anomalies in timing and distribution of vote tallies.

  • Anomalies in Trump’s performance relative to downballot Republicans.

  • Anomalies in swing counties.

There are so many allegations that keeping up with them would be too much even if it were a full-time job. Will journalists try? Their common response to anyone raising questions about election integrity is to insist that “experts” say there is “no evidence” of election fraud. It is hard to even find serious non-partisan coverage of the allegations. “Fact checks” appear glib, vaguely citing “experts” and “courts” and “no evidence.” But you know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

And even trying to find out information on your own, you notice Big Tech aggressively flagging any news that suggests irregularities. During the extended counting of ballots, for instance, any post on Twitter suggesting skepticism about election integrity triggers this warning:

Voter fraud of any kind is exceedingly rare in the US, election experts confirm. With ballot counting continuing and the presidential race being called for Joe Biden, experts and officials say there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US election. The election process is secure and voter fraud of any type is incredibly rare according to The Associated Press and Reuters. Officials and experts warn that the most interference in US elections, whether from foreign or domestic players, comes in the form of misinformation campaigns, many of which are intended to create distrust in the US’s electoral process.

You find the rhetoric conspicuously odd. Technically correct, but also evasive. “The election process is secure” (sounds confident!) “according to…” two newswires? The constan