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How soon will the Left eat their own? « Jon Rappoport’s Blog

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2021

The Organic Consumers Association writes [1] (see also [2], [3], [4]): “If, like us, you dream of an organic, regenerative food system led by independent family farmers, then news that Joe Biden has asked Tom Vilsack to return to his Obama Era post as Secretary of Agriculture should be a real cause for concern.”

“…when you look behind the curtains to see what Vilsack was really doing at USDA from 2009 through 2017, it’s not pretty.”

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

https://blog.nomorefakenews.com/2021/01/18/how-soon-will-the-left-eat-their-own/

by Jon Rappoport

Hey. I’m always here to offer advice to the Left, to make their road smoother, to point them in the direction of fellow travelers they should cancel for deficiencies of “wokeness.”

Let’s start with the issue of GMOs, poisonous Roundup, and Monsanto (now swallowed up by Bayer).

Joe Biden is going to appoint Mr. Monsanto, Tom Vilsack, as his Secretary of Agriculture. Tommy boy held that post under Obama.

The Organic Consumers Association writes [1] (see also [2], [3], [4]): “If, like us, you dream of an organic, regenerative food system led by independent family farmers, then news that Joe Biden has asked Tom Vilsack to return to his Obama Era post as Secretary of Agriculture should be a real cause for concern.”

“…when you look behind the curtains to see what Vilsack was really doing at USDA from 2009 through 2017, it’s not pretty.”

“He pushed through a corporate agribusiness agenda that began with his approval of more new genetically modified crops than any other Secretary, culminated in his shepherding of a bill to kill GMO labels through Congress, and included his racist firing of African American land trust hero Shirley Sherrod and his distortion of data to conceal decades of discrimination against black farmers. Between 2006 and 2016, the USDA [US Dept. of Agriculture] was six times more likely to foreclose on a black farmer than a white farmer.”

“But, Biden doesn’t care about any of this. Vilsack is Biden’s buddy and that’s all that matters to him. As the American Prospect reports, Vilsack has had ‘a decades-long relationship with Joe Biden, going back to when he endorsed him for president while mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 1988’.”

“Vilsack has remained very loyal to Biden. In the last year, he gave Biden more than $8,000 in campaign contributions (excluding money from his wife or to Democratic Party committees).”

“This support didn’t just get him a job in the cabinet, he wrote Biden’s campaign platform on agriculture issues, stuffing it full of false solutions like corn ethanol and methane digesters run on factory farm dairy waste.”

“We need a USDA Secretary of Agriculture who will be a hero, steering our food and farming system toward a brighter, regenerative future—not a Secretary who will continue to be a pawn for the same corporate interests that are causing, and profiting from, the mess we are in.”

Good luck with that dream under Biden.

Let’s go further. Here’s a piece I wrote during the Obama years—you know, when we were all living in paradise—about the president’s GMO program.

Keep in mind that Biden’s new secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, was on board every step of the way, with Obama. Vilsack was enabler, expert, political operative, cheerleader—

MEET MONSANTO’S MAN IN WASHINGTON, BARACK OBAMA

Obama? A warrior against corporations on behalf of the people? It’s long past the time for ripping that false mask away.

During his 2008 campaign for president, Barack Obama transmitted signals that he understood the GMO/Roundup issue. Several key anti-GMO activists were impressed. They thought Obama, once in the White House, would listen to their concerns and act on them.

These activists weren’t just reading tea leaves. On the campaign trail, Obama said: “Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.”

Making the distinction between GMO and non-GMO was certainly an indication that Obama, unlike the FDA and USDA, saw there was an important line to draw in the sand.

Beyond that, Obama was promising a new era of transparency in government. He was adamant in assuring that, if elected, his administration wouldn’t do business “the old way.” He would be “responsive to people’s needs.”

Then came the reality.

After the election, people who had been working to label GMO food and warn the public of its huge dangers were shocked to the core. They saw Obama had been pulling a bait and switch.

After the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

As the new counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.

As the new head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture research.

We should also remember that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm. That firm was counsel to Monsanto.

Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.

The deck was stacked. Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes. Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees. He wasn’t just experiencing a failure of short-term memory. He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.

And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true bosses. Let’s see what GMO crops have walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.

Monsanto GMO alfalfa.

Monsanto GMO sugar beets.

Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.

Coming soon: Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn.

Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.

Syngenta GMO stacked corn.

Pioneer GMO soybean.

Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.

Bayer GMO cotton.

ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.

A GMO papaya strain.

And perhaps, soon, genetically engineered salmon and apples.

This is an extraordinary parade. It, in fact, makes Barack Obama the most GMO-dedicated politician in America.

You don’t attain that position through errors or oversights. Obama was, all along, a stealth operative on behalf of Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, and corporate control of the future of agriculture.

From this perspective, Michelle Obama’s campaign for gardens and clean, organic, nutritious food is nothing more than a diversion, a cover story floated to obscure what her husband has actually been doing.

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

We are talking about a president who presented himself, and was believed by many to be, an extraordinary departure from politics as usual.

Not only was that a wrong assessment, Obama was lying all along. He was, and he still is, Monsanto’s man in Washington.

To those people who fight for GMO labeling and the outlawing of GMO crops, and against the decimation of the food supply and the destruction of human health, but still believe Obama is a beacon in bleak times:

Wake up.

—end of 2014 article—

Well, well. Tom Vilsack is back. Biden is about to betray the Left on a key issue.

Dear Lefties: Are you going to sit still for this?

Start tweeting and FBing.

I wonder whether you’ll get censored by your comrades in Big Tech…


SOURCES:

[1] https://advocacy.organicconsumers.org/page/25412/action/1

[2] https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/tom-vilsack-agriculture-secretary-everything-thats-wrong-democratic-party

[3] https://www.organicconsumers.org/blog/back-future-tom-mr-monsanto-vilsack-part-i

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/21/joe-biden-tom-vilsack-agriculture-secretary

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

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The Trump Ban: The Only Free Speech Zone for American Conservatives Is Russia — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2021

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/01/18/trump-ban-only-free-speech-zone-for-american-conservatives-russia/

Tim Kirby

This is the moment Russia has been waiting for but it is unknown if those in the halls of the Kremlin even know that it is happening.

The only side that is going to really benefit from Big Tech’s war on free speech will be the Russians. In fact, it is really the Western elite’s deep hubris that has given Russia so many opportunities to become “russurgeant” after being crushed in the Cold War. Decades of questionable wars of “convenience” along with unending threats of destruction for anyone who dares question Washington have created a diverse group of scorned nations all willing to shake hands with Moscow. Making international agreements is a lot easier when no ideological strings are attached and no submission demanded. Thanks to incremental anti-Russian sanctions imposed because the pro-Washington Maidan didn’t take 100% of the territory of Ukraine, 1990s import addict Russia is now living a sober West-free lifestyle actually producing the things it needs to survive under Capitalism. And now, the blanket ban of Right Wing/Conservative figures over Social Media including the President of the United States himself is opening the door for Russian Social Media to explode onto the English-language online space. Without pettiness from within the American elite itself Russia could have never create this #migration of non-Russian speaking users to their sphere of electronic influence. But the big question is will the Russians actually understand this and jump on this truly unique opportunity?

Image: A now iconic screenshot about the state of the 1st Amendment.

It seems impossible to believe but the present “leader of the free world” Donald Trump has been completely banned from the big Social Media giants for his role in the recent storming of Capitol Hill by the MAGAmen. It is important to note that Trump has never admitted to organizing the aggressive protest nor has he been convicted of inciting a riot in a court of law. Twitter, Facebook and others believe he did this and that is good enough evidence for them. For the morally self-righteous accusation is now as good as guilt. Furthermore, this ban extends to “allies of Trump” which could be anyone of the ~80 million who voted for him and foreign people who like his memes. Noted Conservative speaker Ron Paul was temporarily and inexplicably blocked for “violating community standards” which has become coded language for “we don’t like what you have to say on our platform”. Long story short, anyone for any reason at all, real or fake, can be completely and totally banned from the largest public spaces on the internet and the key victims of these purgings will be those with morals that conflict with Big Tech and the Beltway.

Image: Flagrant hypocrisy is the new normal.

The obvious quick fix for Trump, who feels he is battling to save Democracy from a rigged 2020 electoral “loss”, would be to jump to alternative Social Media platforms across the “free market”. No one is stopping famous rich individuals like him from creating competitors to the big dogs right? Sadly for him, growing FB alternative Parler has been removed from the App Store because some people have used it to incite violence or something. The obvious irony of this is that on every platform there are people who say horrible things and call for the deaths of their enemies. But if a platform is big enough, and they agree with the given fatwa then it’s A-okay.

This complete lack of opportunity on America’s diverse free market has given the Russians the chance of a lifetime to pull every English-speaking conservative into their Social Media space. In fact within just 72 hours of this ban madness starting, Russian Social Media/Messenger Platform “Telegram” gained 25 million new users. This is unlikely to be a fluke or coincidence. Furthermore, this new member surge brings the total user base to healthy 500 million. It is important to note that there are only some 250 million+ Russian speakers on the planet and not all of them like to follow intellectual feeds and memes on Telegram. This means that the majority of Telegram’s audience are now not connected to Russia in any way. The platform has reached the critical mass needed to become a mainstay of daily life across the globe.

Image: Telegram needs to add “freedom from woke political repression” as their 4th selling point.

The Telegram product combines the ability to make feeds of content like a Facebook group, make big statements like Twitter and message easily like on Whatsapp. It is a program that stands on its own merits, but it’s promise of complete privacy and offer of freedom of speech to 21st century dissidents on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall Museum is what made it explode. It is the absurd hypocritical policies and witch hunts of Western elites that are handing Russia the hearts and minds of the EU/USA on a platter. If you want privacy, and the right to share the opinions of the American President online, as of today you can only go through Russia.

This is similar to the rise of RT. Most people want to hear their own news from within their own culture, but when the Mainstream Media preaches utter madness that even children find mental in it is not surprising that Russian news media became such a hit. People want high quality, professional, reasonable news media and you are 100 times more likely to see that on a given day on RT than CNN, the BBC or the other big boys. Those media giants had the ball in their hands, and they somehow managed to drop it right into their own end zone for the Russians to just fall on.

Image: Ron Paul shutdown: accident or warning?

During the Cold War, thanks to the dismal state of Soviet media, the youth of the USSR was listening to Radio Freedom and doing anything that it could to jump into the Western media sphere of influence. It was simply the better alternative that gave them breathing room to think about life without a framed Lenin picture in the background. Now it looks like Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and Donald Trump will be forced onto an expanding Russian side of a social media geopolitical space. This will act like the same type of media “beachhead” that America had in the Soviet Union during the Reagan years.

Telegram is a massive messenger that can replace WhatsApp and Twitter for many users. The Russian equivalent of Facebook, VK.com has been more reluctant to accept its destiny. I have approached their management personally bringing to their attention the fact that a massive Western Convservative audience is being repressed and will jump to a new platform for freedom of speech given the knowledge that such a platform exists. Especially when that platform can and does do everything that Facebook is capable of. My words were met with the usual hopeless pessimism that defines the Russian nation. In America we say “if you build it they will come” in Russia the logic is “if it has not been built, it can’t be and we shouldn’t think about it”. Perhaps with this new development they will reconsider my offer. I could use a percentage of a massive advertising campaign to attract the hordes of Conservative shows and blogs that have been deplatformed. VK, now is your time, they are giving you millions of English-speaking subscribers, just fall on the damn ball.

In terms of YouTube Russia does have an equivalent called RuTube (and some Netflix-like services) but it is not even that popular inside of the country itself. This would really be a good time for gents in the Kremlin to invest in a free speech video platform to win hearts and minds in the countries that threaten to kill them most often. As someone who has been deplatformed I would much appreciate the opportunity to make some fair and square ad revenue without the fear of using YouTube no-no words like “Depression”, “Brazil” and “Idaho”.

This is the moment Russia has been waiting for but it is unknown if those in the halls of the Kremlin even know that it is happening. The powers that be are not exactly filled with people from the media. Hopefully some of them will read this and realize just what a glorious opportunity Big Tech and the Democrats have given them. And since everything I write is banned anyways I’d be more than happy to run any attempts to absorb Western dissidents. It is not like these words are allowed to be posted on FB anyways.

© 2010 – 2021 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Biden’s COVID-19 ‘Rescue’ Plan Is Based On 5 Big Lies – Issues & Insights

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2021

So why is Biden claiming the rollout has been a dismal failure? One reason is to bash President Donald Trump, but the bigger reason is to justify a massive new spending program to “fix” the problem.

https://issuesinsights.com/2021/01/18/bidens-covid-rescue-plan-is-based-on-5-big-lies/

By I & I Editorial Board

Joe Biden went on prime time this week to promote his COVID-19 plans. For a guy who promises to be honest with the public, he’s off to a terrible start. Since mainstream media fact-checkers are now on their four-year vacation, we’ll set the record straight on several key claims he made.

1) “You will see it very clearly if you examine what the twin crises of pandemic and this sinking economy have laid bare.”

Sinking economy? Where has Biden been for the past six months? As the Bureau of Economic Analysis has already reported, the economy grew at a stunning 33.4% in the third quarter of this year – well above anyone’s expectations. The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow pegs growth in the fourth quarter at a very strong 7.4%. (The last time GDP grew that much in a quarter was during the Reagan boom.) Unemployment, which was supposed to be close to 10% now, according to mainstream economists, is down to 6.7%. What’s more, as of November, 17 states had unemployment levels at 5% or lower. That’s not to say we are out of the woods, but the idea that the economy is “sinking” is a figment of Biden’s imagination. Either that, or he’s purposely misleading the country to justify another $1.9 trillion in stimulus spending.

Over the weekend, a Biden aid claimed the economy was “spiraling downward.”

2) “Moody’s, an independent Wall Street firm, said my approach will create more than 18 million good-paying jobs.”

It is true that Moody’s economist Mark Zandi claimed in a report that Biden’s economic plan would create millions of jobs. But as we noted in this space earlier, Zandi is a partisan with a poor track record.

 It was the same Mark Zandi who predicted that if Trump won the election in 2016, he’d cause “a lot of lost jobs, higher unemployment, higher interest rates, lower stock prices.”

Zandi predicted that in Trump’s first term the unemployment rate would be 5.7% in 2019, and climb from there. Actual result: Unemployment was 3.5% at the end of 2019, and falling.

He said there’d be 146 million jobs in 2019. Actual result: 152 million.

Zandi said the economy would eke out just 2.8% real GDP growth from 2016 through 2019. Actual number: 7.7%.

Referring to this figure without providing context is highly misleading.

3) “ But, the vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far.”

This is another Big Biden Lie that we exposed on these pages a while ago. Currently, the U.S. leads the world in the number of vaccinations administered and the number who’ve been fully vaccinated, and ranks behind only the United Kingdom among western nations on a per capita basis. What’s more, daily vaccination rates continue to skyrocket in the U.S., topping 747,000 on the day Biden made his speech.

So why is Biden claiming the rollout has been a dismal failure? One reason is to bash President Donald Trump, but the bigger reason is to justify a massive new spending program to “fix” the problem.

4) “This gets money quickly into the pockets of millions of Americans who will spend it immediately on food and rent and other basic needs. As the economists tell us, that helps the whole economy grow.”

Biden was talking about his plans to cut another stimulus check of $1,400 to Americans, which would be on top of the $600 checks people are getting right now, thanks to the last $900 billion COVID-19 bill, as well as the $400 boost in weekly unemployment checks.

But “economists” are hardly all in favor of these measures. CBS News reported that “economists are split over whether increasing the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person is a good idea.”

Liberal economist Larry Summers called the $2,000 payments a “big mistake,” saying that “there is no good economic argument for the $2,000 checks” and that, in fact, they risk overheating the economy.

As for the unemployment bonus, some economists have noted that making unemployment nearly as, if not more, lucrative than holding a job will – not surprisingly – discourage people from finding work. No matter what Biden thinks, that’s not how you grow the economy.

Finally, it’s far from clear that people will “spend it immediately.” Some 60% of the money sent out through the CARES Act was either saved or used to pay down debt, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Analysis.

5) “A growing number of top economists has shown, even our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable if we seize this moment with vision and purpose.”

There are some economists on the left who figure that, with interest rates so low, why not borrow trillions more to “invest” in liberal wish-list items.

But it’s hardly a consensus, and we seriously doubt that it’s “growing.”

Manhattan Institute economist Brian Riedl explained the folly of this thinking:

“First, the debt is already set to soar in the absence of any new spending. And second, these bloated debt levels will mean that any future rise in interest rates could bring a full-scale debt crisis.”

Meanwhile, Forbes reported earlier this month that “the debt load governments like the U.S. are taking on to fund such stimulus measures could stall economic growth for years to come, the World Bank warned Tuesday, echoing concerns among experts worried inflation could trigger another recession.”

As the Committee to Unleash Prosperity notes, Biden’s would be the fifth – or it is sixth? – virus-relief bill enacted in less than a year, and would bring the total to almost $5.5 trillion.

And Biden’s plan is stuffed full of liberal wish-list items that have nothing to do with COVID. A Biden adviser tried over the weekend to defend the plan’s inclusion of things like $20 billion for public transit, $9 billion for cybersecurity, and a federal $15 minimum wage.

“Only a half-wit would ever support this monstrosity,” the Committee wryly observes, “which means it is likely to romp through the House and Senate.”

So there you have it. A $1.9 trillion stimulus plan built on lies and misinformation. Joe “No Malarkey” Biden is not off to a good start.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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Why the Covid Shutdowns of Public Schools Are Driving So Many to Homeschooling | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2021

The public school system was established less than two hundred years ago, and over the last hundred years, the state has increasingly inserted itself into the realm of raising children. States do not generate anything, merely redistribute it; and when they began to offer “free” childcare and education it came at the price of buying into a system increasingly difficult to opt out of. 

https://mises.org/wire/why-covid-shutdowns-public-schools-are-driving-so-many-homeschooling

Joanna Miller

The American public school system fell apart this year. The overwhelming majority of American parents found themselves remote schooling from home. No consensus exists on whether or not schools should reopen, or whether they should reopen only after everyone attending gets vaccinated. Because teachers still get paid no matter what happens, anger and vitriol between parents, teachers, and other parents has increased to a point where the social fabric children lived in a year ago is ripping apart. 

A Broken Model

We can only solve these problems by returning to a true marketplace for schooling. We need to admit that the public school system model has failed. It only marginally worked under the assumption that enough parents worked the same hours and paid enough money in property taxes to keep the system up and running. However, without a societal norm in terms of who can work from home, who needs to work on-site and therefore needs in-person childcare, and who even has a job, only a relatively free market can possibly match the many different needs parents have right now.

The public school system was established less than two hundred years ago, and over the last hundred years, the state has increasingly inserted itself into the realm of raising children. States do not generate anything, merely redistribute it; and when they began to offer “free” childcare and education it came at the price of buying into a system increasingly difficult to opt out of. 

Nationally, the United States spends an average of about $12,000 per year per student in the K–12 public school system.  The average tuition for private schools nationwide is also about $12,000. Meanwhile, the parents who choose to pay for private schools pay twice. They pay tuition for their own children to attend the schools of their choice, and then they pay taxes for everyone else’s children to be educated as well. 

Many people cannot afford this, so without a functional public school system, where does this leave them? 

Public Schools Are AWOL, So Many Must Turn to Homeschooling

Homeschooling needs to be presented as a viable alternative for low-income families. I am currently in my ninth year of homeschooling. I spend between $500 and $700 a year on materials for three children. Of course, I have lost a lot of income by leaving my job in order to homeschool. When I quit my job to care for my children full time, I had been making about $40,000 a year. So, one could say it costs me approximately $16,700 a year in lost wages, per child, to homeschool.

However, it gets more complicated than that. I do not have to buy work clothes. I do not commute. My kids can wear thrift store clothes. I spend a fraction of what my former coworkers do on food, because I can cook from scratch. When my children were little, I had no time for anything besides childcare; now that they are older, we have a little hobby farm which produces much of the food we eat, as well as providing entertainment. Homeschooling can make it easier for parents to work part time. If I need to do school later in the day to take a lamb to a processing plant, or squeeze in our schoolwork earlier so my children and I can process chickens in the afternoon, I can do that.

Household finances consist of ins and outs. When you choose to homeschool, you may bring in far less in terms of lost wages, but you will also send far less out the door in expenses. If your wages have gone to zero due to lockdowns—and resulting involuntary job loss—then it costs you nothing in terms of lost wages to homeschool. 

Women Are Heavily Impacted by Lockdowns

Millions of people lost income in 2020. There were 2.2 million fewer women in the workforce in October 2020 than in October 2019. Much of this has to do with the nature of jobs crushed by the covid-19 response. Women tend to work more in service positions. For example, in restaurants, as of 2017, while 52 percent of restaurant employees overall were women, 71 percent of the servers were women. Servers are some of the first people let go when restaurants have to shift to curbside pickup and takeout. Many of these jobs may not come back.

In our chaotic political environment it’s hard to predict which businesses will be allowed to bounce back and which will not. In addition to market uncertainty, there is also uncertainty over whether or not school will even be open for children who have not received the experimental covid vaccine. This would necessarily exclude many children whose parents are understandably not convinced of the vaccine’s safety.

The only certainty is that children grow up regardless of whether or not their parents have a plan. Homeschooling allows parents to exert control over the family’s schedule, finances, and medical decisions. 

The American government grew dramatically in 2020. The Biden/Harris administration has never feigned interest in shrinking the size of the government; we can probably assume most of last year’s destruction of small business will continue. With the destruction of small business, so goes much of the control individuals have over how they bring money into the household. However, we can still control what goes out, and choosing to homeschool can help families save money and provide children an education that aligns with their values. More importantly, it sends the message to government bureaucrats that we do not need them to raise our children. Author:

Joanna Miller

Joanna Miller writes from Colorado.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : The Unwelcome Return of the Real Purveyors of Violence

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/january/18/the-unwelcome-return-of-the-real-purveyors-of-violence/?mc_cid=3bb95bc451

Written by Ron Paul

With the mainstream media still obsessing about the January 6th “violent coup attempt” at the US Capitol Building, the incoming Biden Administration looks to be chock full of actual purveyors of violent coups. Don’t look to the mainstream media to report on this, however. Some of the same politicians and bureaucrats denouncing the ridiculous farce at the Capitol as if it were the equivalent of 9/11 have been involved for decades in planning and executing real coups overseas. In their real coups, many thousands of civilians have died.

Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared.

Unlike the fake Capitol “coup,” this was a real overthrow. Unlike the buffalo horn-wearing joke who desecrated the “sacred” Senate chamber, the Ukraine coup had real armed insurrectionists with a real plan to overthrow the government. Eventually, with the help of incoming Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, they succeeded – after thousands of civilians were killed.

As we were unfortunately reminded during the last four years of the Trump Administration, the personnel is the policy. So while President Trump railed against the “stupid wars” and promised to bring the troops home, he hired people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to get the job done. They spent their time “clarifying” Trump’s call for ending wars to mean he wanted to actually continue the wars. It was a colossal failure.

So it’s hard to be optimistic about a Biden Administration with so many hyper-interventionist Obama retreads.

While the US Agency for International Development (USAID) likes to sell itself as the compassionate arm of the US foreign policy, in fact USAID is one of the main US “regime change” agencies. Biden has announced that a top “humanitarian interventionist” – Samantha Power – would head that Agency in his Administration.

Power, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council staff and as US Ambassador to the UN, argued passionately and successfully that a US attack on the Gaddafi government in Libya would result in a liberation of the people and the outbreak of democracy in the country. In reality, her justification was all based on lies and the US assault has left nothing but murder and mayhem. Gaddafi’s relatively peaceful, if authoritarian, government has been replaced by radical terrorists and even slave markets.

At the end of the day, the Bush Republicans – like Rep. Liz Cheney – will join hands with the Biden Democrats to reinstate “American leadership.” This of course means more US overt and covert wars overseas. The unholy alliance between Big Tech and the US government will happily assist the US State Department under Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Assistant Secretary of State Nuland with the technology to foment more “regime change” operations wherever the Biden Administration sees fit. Finish destroying Syria and the secular Assad? Sure! Go back into Iraq? Why not? Afghanistan? That’s the good war! And Russia and China must be punished as well.

These are grave moments for we non-interventionists. But also we have a unique opportunity, informed by history, to denounce the warmongers and push for a peaceful and non-interventionist foreign policy.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/no_author/afghanistan-and-the-cia-heroin-ratline/

By Pepe Escobar
Sputnik News

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.

Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

Have a SIGAR

An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints — discreetly — at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America’s heroin epidemic.

Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline — in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress. 

A Gulf-based intel source with vast experience across the Pentagon-designated “arc of instability” tells the story of his interaction with an Australian intel operative who served in Afghanistan; “This was about 2011. He said he gave US Army Intelligence and the CIA reports on the Afghan heroin trade — that US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan — much of it was raw opium — for distribution as their backhaul.

No one answered.

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

And that brings us to a key motive behind President Trump‘s going against his instincts and accepting a new Afghan surge; “In the tradition of the opium wars of perfidious Albion in the 19th century, in which opium paid for tea and silk from India, and the taxes on these silk and tea imports financed the construction of the mighty British Navy which ruled the seas, the CIA has built itself up into a most powerful agent based on the trillion dollar heroin trade. It is impossible for Trump to overcome it as he has no allies to tap. The military are working together with the CIA, and therefore the officers that surround Trump are worthless.”

None of this deviates from the CIA’s modus operandi.

Past examples abound. The most notorious concerns the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set up of nefarious Air America to export the opium.

The whole story was exposed on Prof. Alfred McCoy’s seminal The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia — which drove Langley nuts.

A contemporary counterpart would be a recent book by Italian journalist Enrico Piovesana detailing the New Opium War in Afghanistan.

The return of Air America

A Pakistani intel source with vast Pashtun/ tribal area contacts delves into even more incendiary territory; “According to our best information the CIA has brought in their al-Qaeda-Daesh proxies into Afghanistan to justify the additional American troops”. That would neatly tie in with Trump being cornered by his generals.

And then, there’s Moscow. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry was adamantly denouncing “foreign fighters” transferred by “unknown helicopters” as the perpetrators of a massacre of Hazara Shi’ites in a northern Afghanistan province; “It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.”

It does not get more serious than that; Moscow denouncing sectors of the US-trained Afghan Armed Forces side by side with NATO engaged in covert ops supporting jihadis.  Russian intel has hinted — discreetly — for quite some time that US intel is covertly sponsoring Daesh — a.k.a. “ISIS Khorasan” — in Afghanistan.

Russian intel is very much aware of the Afghan chapter in the New Great Game. Russian citizens are “collateral damage” of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, “Italy, France and the Netherlands”, and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.

Well, Air America, after all, never died. It just relocated from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the arid crossroads of Central and South Asia.

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Despair, depression, and the inevitable rise of Trump 2.0: Glenn Greenwald tells RT his Biden administration predictions — RT USA News

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

Biden is “somebody who has repeatedly supported militarism and imperialism” and “one of the crucial leading advocates of the invasion of Iraq,” he said. On the domestic front, Biden is “a loyal servant of the credit card and banking industry” and the “architect of the 1994 crime bill,” the latter of which has been blamed for dramatically upping the incarceration rate of black men in the US.

That leftists involved in Black Lives Matter protests rallied around Biden, given his involvement in passing the crime bill (he was one of 61 senators who voted for it) is “ironic,” Greenwald told Hedges, but also serves as an example of how the Democratic Party operates.

https://www.rt.com/usa/512749-greenwald-biden-elections-prediction/

America, Joe Biden says, “is back.” Beyond the sloganeering, journalist Glenn Greenwald reckons that means “militarism, imperialism, and corporatism,” he told RT’s Chris Hedges.

Glenn Greenwald is a lawyer who turned to journalism in 2005 to protest the suppression of Americans’ civil liberties under the Bush-Cheney ‘war on terror’. Greenwald came to international fame by breaking the Edward Snowden NSA whistleblower story in 2013. He later co-founded the Intercept, but quit the outlet in October after saying editors there suppressed his coverage of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“I don’t think it’s particularly difficult… to know what to expect from the Biden administration,” the acclaimed American journalist told Chris Hedges, host of RT’s On Contact, on Sunday. Biden, Greenwald continued, has enjoyed a five-decade career in Washington and made his policy priorities well known over these years.

Biden is “somebody who has repeatedly supported militarism and imperialism” and “one of the crucial leading advocates of the invasion of Iraq,” he said. On the domestic front, Biden is “a loyal servant of the credit card and banking industry” and the “architect of the 1994 crime bill,” the latter of which has been blamed for dramatically upping the incarceration rate of black men in the US. 

That leftists involved in Black Lives Matter protests rallied around Biden, given his involvement in passing the crime bill (he was one of 61 senators who voted for it) is “ironic,” Greenwald told Hedges, but also serves as an example of how the Democratic Party operates.

“Democrats are very good at creating a brand that is radically different than the reality, but essentially the Democratic party serves militarism, imperialism, and corporatism,” he said. “That’s who funds them, that’s what they believe in. It’s why you see neocons migrating so comfortably back to the Democratic Party, why you see Bush and Cheney operatives cheering for Joe Biden, why Wall Street celebrated when he picked Kamala Harris.”

Biden’s campaign didn’t only draw support from the left – who Biden then spurned by packing his cabinet with Obama administration alumni while giving progressives like Bernie Sanders the cold shoulder. The former vice president was also supported by Republican hawks like Bill Kristol and Max Boot, as well as the much-maligned ‘Lincoln Project’ Republicans, who fundraised $67 million to shoot attack ads against Trump in the runup to November’s election.

The rallying of the establishment – Democrat and Republican alike – behind Biden could have far-reaching consequences, Greenwald warned.

“It’s not a coincidence that after eight years of Obama and Biden, we got Donald Trump,” he said. “Obviously, if you go back and do exactly the same thing that the ‘Obiden’ administration did for 8 years, which is what Biden’s preparing to do, any rational person has to expect the same outcome.”

The American middle class, Greenwald predicted, will “continue to be destroyed,” while companies “that have no allegiance to the US” will continue to outsource jobs. “Communities will continue to be ravaged with unemployment crises, drug addiction, suicide, depression, all the things that are dominating small American towns.” 

After what Hedges called a “third term of the Obama administration,” Greenwald warned that Biden could set the stage for a “smarter, more stable version” of Trump to take power.

Americans looking for in-depth coverage of the Biden administration will likely be short-changed. Four years of Donald Trump have birthed left-leaning journalists that cheer on the censorship of conservatives and deplatforming of “dangerous” voices, Greenwald believes. 

The left, he said, shows little objection to Biden because they “bought into the overarching narrative that there are only two choices – unite behind the Democratic Party and fight fascism and Hitler, or succumb to fascism.”

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MSM calls for “new definition of free speech” – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

Ives clearly thinks he’s enlightened and liberal and educated, after all he drops references to Kant AND Mills (that’s right TWO famous philosophers), but he’s really not. He’s just an elitist arguing working class people are too dumb to be allowed to speak, or even hear ideas that might get them all riled-up and distract them from their menial labour.

https://off-guardian.org/2021/01/16/a-new-definition-of-free-speech/

Kit Knightly

Part of the main duty of OffGuardian is to troll through the masses of media output and try and pick up patterns. Sometimes the patterns are subtle, a gentle urging behind the paragraphs. Sometimes they’re more like a sledgehammer to the face.

This has been face-hammer week. In fact, it’s been a face-hammer year.

From “flatten the curve” to “the new normal” to “the great reset”, it’s not been hard to spot the messaging going on since the start of the “pandemic”. And that distinct lack of disguise has carried over into other topics, too.

We pointed out, a few days ago, the sudden over-use of the phrase “domestic terrorism” preparing us for what is, almost certainly, going to be a truly horrendous piece of new legislation once Biden is in office.

Well, the buzz-phrase doing the rounds in the wake of Donald Trump being banned from the internet is “the new definition of free speech”…and variations on that theme.

Firstly, and papers on both sides of the Atlantic want to be very clear about this, Donald Trump being banned simultaneously from every major social network is not in any way inhibiting his free speech.

Indeed none of the tens of thousands of people banned from twitter et al. have had their free speech infringed either. Neither have any of the proprietors – or users – of the Parler app which the tech giants bullied out of existence.

Free Speech is totally intact no matter how many people are banned or deplatformed, the media all agree on that (even the allegedly pro-free speech think tanks).

They also agree that maybe…it shouldn’t be. Maybe “free speech” is too dangerous in our modern era, and needs a “new definition”.

That’s what Ian Dunt writing in Politics.co.uk thinks, anyway, arguing it’s time to have a “grown-up debate” about free speech.

The Financial Times agrees, asking about the “limits of free-speech in the internet era”.

Thomas Edsall, in the New York Times, wonders aloud if Trump’s “lies” have made free speech a “threat to democracy”.

The Conversation, a UK-based journal often at the cutting edge of the truly terrifying ideas, has three different articles about redefining or limiting free speech, all published within 4 days of each other.

There’s Free speech is not guaranteed if it harms others, a drab piece of dishonest apologia which argues Trump wasn’t silenced, because he could make a speech which the media would cover…without also mentioning that the media has, en masse, literally refused to broadcast several of Trump’s speeches in the last couple of months.

The conclusion could have been written by an algorithm analysing The Guardian’s twitter feed:

the suggestion Trump has been censored is simply wrong. It misleads the public into believing all “free speech” claims have equal merit. They do not. We must work to ensure harmful speech is regulated in order to ensure broad participation in the public discourse that is essential to our lives — and to our democracy.

Then there’s Free speech in America: is the US approach fit for purpose in the age of social media?, a virtual carbon copy of the first, which states:

The attack on the Capitol exposed, in stark terms, the dangers of disinformation in the digital age. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which certain elements of America’s free speech tradition may no longer be fit for purpose.

And finally, my personal favourite, Why ‘free speech’ needs a new definition in the age of the internet and Trump tweets in which author Peter Ives warns of the “weaponising of free speech” and concludes:

Trump’s angry mob was not just incited by his single speech on Jan. 6, but had been fomenting for a long time online. The faith in reason held by Mill and Kant was premised on the printing press; free speech should be re-examined in the context of the internet and social media.

Ives clearly thinks he’s enlightened and liberal and educated, after all he drops references to Kant AND Mills (that’s right TWO famous philosophers), but he’s really not. He’s just an elitist arguing working class people are too dumb to be allowed to speak, or even hear ideas that might get them all riled-up and distract them from their menial labour.

To season these stale ideas with a sprinkling of fear-porn, NBC News is reporting that the FBI didn’t report their “concerns” over possible violence at the Capitol, because they were worried about free speech. (See, if the FBI hadn’t been protecting people’s free speech, that riot may not have happened!)

And on top of all of that, there’s the emotional manipulation angle, where authors pretend to be sad or exasperated or any of the emotions they used to have.

In the Irish Independent, Emma Kelly says that “free speech” doesn’t include “hate speech” (she’s never exactly clear what part of “go home in peace love” was hate speech though).

In The Hill, Joe Ferullo is almost in tears that the first amendment has been ruined by the right-wing press continuously “shouting fire in a crowded theatre”, citing the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, which so many use to “qualify” the idea of free speech, without realising it hands over power to destroy it completely.

Up until you can show me the hard-and-fast legal definitions of “shout”, “fire”, “crowded” and “theatre”, this open-ended qualification is nothing but a blank canvas, free to be interpreted as loosely – or stringently – as any lawmaker or judiciary feels is necessary.

As an example:

Twitter is certainly bigger and more populated than a theatre, and spreading anti-vaccination/anti-war/pro-Russia/”Covid denial” news [delete as appropriate] is certainly going to cause more panic than one single building being on fire. Isn’t it?

It’s this potential abuse of incredibly loose terminologies which will be used to “redefine” free speech.

“Offensive”, “misinformation”, “hate speech” and others will be repeated. A lot.

Expressions which have no solid definition under law, and are already being shown to mean nothing to the media talking heads who repeat them ad nauseum.

If “go home in peace and love”, can become “inciting violence”, absolutely everything can be made to mean absolutely anything.

The more they “redefine” words, the further we move into an Orwellian world where all meaning is entirely lost.

And what would our newly defined “free speech” really mean in such a world?

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Julian Assange – Google Is Not What It Seems

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

Caught red-handed last year making petabytes of personal data available to the US intelligence community through the PRISM program, Google nevertheless continues to coast on the goodwill generated by its “don’t be evil” doublespeak. 

https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems/

by Julian Assange

In this extract from his new book When Google Met Wikileaks, WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange describes the special relationship between Google, Hillary Clinton and the State Department — and what that means for the future of the internet. WikiLeaks readers can obtain a 20 percent discount on the cover price when ordering from the OR Books website by using the coupon code “WIKILEAKS”.

* * * Eric Schmidt is an influential figure, even among the parade of powerful characters with whom I have had to cross paths since I founded WikiLeaks. In mid-May 2011 I was under house arrest in rural Norfolk, about three hours’ drive northeast of London. The crackdown against our work was in full swing and every wasted moment seemed like an eternity. It was hard to get my attention. But when my colleague Joseph Farrell told me the executive chairman of Google wanted to make an appointment with me, I was listening.         In some ways the higher echelons of Google seemed more distant and obscure to me than the halls of Washington. We had been locking horns with senior US officials for years by that point. The mystique had worn off. But the power centers growing up in Silicon Valley were still opaque and I was suddenly conscious of an opportunity to understand and influence what was becoming the most influential company on earth. Schmidt had taken over as CEO of Google in 2001 and built it into an empire.1

        I was intrigued that the mountain would come to Muhammad. But it was not until well after Schmidt and his companions had been and gone that I came to understand who had really visited me.

* * *
        The stated reason for the visit was a book. Schmidt was penning a treatise with Jared Cohen, the director of Google Ideas, an outfit that describes itself as Google’s in-house “think/do tank.” I knew little else about Cohen at the time. In fact, Cohen had moved to Google from the US State Department in 2010. He had been a fast-talking “Generation Y” ideas man at State under two US administrations, a courtier from the world of policy think tanks and institutes, poached in his early twenties. He became a senior advisor for Secretaries of State Rice and Clinton. At State, on the Policy Planning Staff, Cohen was soon christened “Condi’s party-starter,” channeling buzzwords from Silicon Valley into US policy circles and producing delightful rhetorical concoctions such as “Public Diplomacy 2.0.”2 On his Council on Foreign Relations adjunct staff page he listed his expertise as “terrorism; radicalization; impact of connection technologies on 21st century statecraft; Iran.”3 Director of Google Ideas, and “geopolitical visionary” Jared Cohen shares his vision with US Army recruits in a lecture theatre at West Point Military Academy on 26 Feb 2014 (Instagram by Eric Schmidt)         It was Cohen who, while he was still at the Department of State, was said to have emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to delay scheduled maintenance in order to assist the aborted 2009 uprising in Iran.4 His documented love affair with Google began the same year, when he befriended Eric Schmidt as they together surveyed the post-occupation wreckage of Baghdad. Just months later, Schmidt re-created Cohen’s natural habitat within Google itself by engineering a “think/do tank” based in New York and appointing Cohen as its head. Google Ideas was born.        Later that year the two co-wrote a policy piece for the Council on Foreign Relations’ journal Foreign Affairs, praising the reformative potential of Silicon Valley technologies as an instrument of US foreign policy.5 Describing what they called “coalitions of the connected,”6 Schmidt and Cohen claimed that Democratic states that have built coalitions of their militaries have the capacity to do the same with their connection technologies. . . . They offer a new way to exercise the duty to protect citizens around the world [emphasis added].7

        In the same piece they argued that “this technology is overwhelmingly provided by the private sector.” Shortly afterwards, Tunisia. then Egypt, and then the rest of the Middle East, erupted in revolution. The echoes of these events on online social media became a spectacle for Western internet users. The professional commentariat, keen to rationalize uprisings against US-backed dictatorships, branded them “Twitter revolutions.” Suddenly everyone wanted to be at the intersection point between US global power and social media, and Schmidt and Cohen had already staked out the territory. With the working title “The Empire of the Mind,” they began expanding their article to book length, and sought audiences with the big names of global tech and global power as part of their research.

        They said they wanted to interview me. I agreed. A date was set for June. Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, at the “Pulse of Today’s Global Economy” panel talk at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, 26 Sept. 2013 in New York. Eric Schmidt first attended the CGI annual meeting at its opening plenary in 2010. (Photo: Mark Lennihan)

        By the time June came around there was already a lot to talk about. That summer WikiLeaks was still grinding through the release of US diplomatic cables, publishing thousands of them every week. When, seven months earlier, we had first started releasing the cables, Hillary Clinton had denounced the publication as “an attack on the international community” that would “tear at the fabric” of government.

        It was into this ferment that Google projected itself that June, touching down in a London airport and making the long drive up into East Anglia to Norfolk and Beccles. Schmidt arrived first, accompanied by his then partner, Lisa Shields. When he introduced her as a vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations—a US foreign-policy think tank with close ties to the State Department—I thought little more of it. Shields herself was straight out of Camelot, having been spotted by John Kennedy Jr.’s side back in the early 1990s. They sat with me and we exchanged pleasantries. They said they had forgotten their dictaphone, so we used mine. We made an agreement that I would forward them the recording and in exchange they would forward me the transcript, to be corrected for accuracy and clarity. We began. Schmidt plunged in at the deep end, straightaway quizzing me on the organizational and technological underpinnings of WikiLeaks.         Some time later Jared Cohen arrived. With him was Scott Malcomson, introduced as the book’s editor. Three months after the meeting Malcomson would enter the State Department as the lead speechwriter and principal advisor to Susan Rice (then US ambassador to the United Nations, now national security advisor). He had previously served as a senior advisor at the United Nations, and is a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. At the time of writing, he is the director of communications at the International Crisis Group.8

        At this point, the delegation was one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment, but I was still none the wiser. Handshakes out of the way, we got down to business. Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt, photographed in a New York elevator, carrying Henry Kissinger’s new book, “World Order”, 25 Sep 2014

        Schmidt was a good foil. A late-fiftysomething, squint-eyed behind owlish spectacles, managerially dressed—Schmidt’s dour appearance concealed a machinelike analyticity. His questions often skipped to the heart of the matter, betraying a powerful nonverbal structural intelligence. It was the same intellect that had abstracted software-engineering principles to scale Google into a megacorp, ensuring that the corporate infrastructure always met the rate of growth. This was a person who understood how to build and maintain systems: systems of information and systems of people. My world was new to him, but it was also a world of unfolding human processes, scale, and information flows.         For a man of systematic intelligence, Schmidt’s politics—such as I could hear from our discussion—were surprisingly conventional, even banal. He grasped structural relationships quickly, but struggled to verbalize many of them, often shoehorning geopolitical subtleties into Silicon Valley marketese or the ossified State Department microlanguage of his companions.9 He was at his best when he was speaking (perhaps without realizing it) as an engineer, breaking down complexities into their orthogonal components.

        I found Cohen a good listener, but a less interesting thinker, possessed of that relentless conviviality that routinely afflicts career generalists and Rhodes scholars. As you would expect from his foreign-policy background, Cohen had a knowledge of international flash points and conflicts and moved rapidly between them, detailing different scenarios to test my assertions. But it sometimes felt as if he was riffing on orthodoxies in a way that was designed to impress his former colleagues in official Washington. Malcomson, older, was more pensive, his input thoughtful and generous. Shields was quiet for much of the conversation, taking notes, humoring the bigger egos around the table while she got on with the real work.

        As the interviewee I was expected to do most of the talking. I sought to guide them into my worldview. To their credit, I consider the interview perhaps the best I have given. I was out of my comfort zone and I liked it. We ate and then took a walk in the grounds, all the while on the record. I asked Eric Schmidt to leak US government information requests to WikiLeaks, and he refused, suddenly nervous, citing the illegality of disclosing Patriot Act requests. And then as the evening came on it was done and they were gone, back to the unreal, remote halls of information empire, and I was left to get back to my work. That was the end of it, or so I thought.

* * *

        Two months later, WikiLeaks’ release of State Department cables was coming to an abrupt end. For three-quarters of a year we had painstakingly managed the publication, pulling in over a hundred global media partners, distributing documents in their regions of influence, and overseeing a worldwide, systematic publication and redaction system, fighting for maximum impact for our sources.         But in an act of gross negligence the Guardian newspaper—our former partner—had published the confidential decryption password to all 251,000 cables in a chapter heading in its book, rushed out hastily in February 2011.10 By mid-August we discovered that a former German employee—whom I had suspended in 2010—was cultivating business relationships with a variety of organizations and individuals by shopping around the location of the encrypted file, paired with the password’s whereabouts in the book. At the rate the information was spreading, we estimated that within two weeks most intelligence agencies, contractors, and middlemen would have all the cables, but the public would not.

I decided it was necessary to bring forward our publication schedule by four months and contact the State Department to get it on record that we had given them advance warning. The situation would then be harder to spin into another legal or political assault. Unable to raise Louis Susman, then US ambassador to the UK, we tried the front door. WikiLeaks investigations editor Sarah Harrison called the State Department front desk and informed the operator that “Julian Assange” wanted to have a conversation with Hillary Clinton. Predictably, this statement was initially greeted with bureaucratic disbelief. We soon found ourselves in a reenactment of that scene in Dr. Strangelove, where Peter Sellers cold-calls the White House to warn of an impending nuclear war and is immediately put on hold. As in the film, we climbed the hierarchy, speaking to incrementally more superior officials until we reached Clinton’s senior legal advisor. He told us he would call us back. We hung up, and waited. Sarah Harrison and Julian Assange call the U.S. State Department in September 2011.

          When the phone rang half an hour later, it was not the State Department on the other end of the line. Instead, it was Joseph Farrell, the WikiLeaks staffer who had set up the meeting with Google. He had just received an email from Lisa Shields seeking to confirm that it was indeed WikiLeaks calling the State Department.         It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, DC, including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel. While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the US State Department, the US State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea, and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.11 Eric Schmidt’s Instagram of Hillary Clinton and David Rubinstein, taken at the Holbrooke Forum Gala, 5 Dec 2013. Richard Holbrooke (who died in 2010) was a high-profile US diplomat, managing director of Lehman brothers, a board member of NED, CFR, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg steering group and an advisor to Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Schmidt donated over $100k to the the Holbrooke Forum

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-restaurant inspections

Posted by M. C. on January 16, 2021

Subheading in E-Edition “COVID-19 Inspections!!!” OK, I added the scare exclamations.

“Restaurant inspections” are now “COVID Inspections”.

Keeping the fear alive.

Here is a good one: “XXXX XXXXX St., Summit Township. (No state DEP number on gallon containers of spring water.) Tuesday.” No way am I going there!

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=4f1b0b6f5

restaurant inspections

At least once a year, Erie County Department of Health officials inspect all restaurants and stores that sell unpackaged food, and they also inspect these facilities to ensure they follow COVID-19 regulations. Here is a list of inspections recorded Jan. 5-14:

etc, etc , etc…

Be seeing you

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