MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Police State’

Keeping It Unreal | The Medically Induced Police State

Posted by M. C. on April 3, 2020

The Coronavirus has been around for decades. Just look at the back of
your can of Lysol. It informs you that their product protects you from
“Human Coronavirus,” among other things. Many of us strongly suspect
that cases of simple Coronavirus have been lumped in with those
purporting to be COVID-19, the dastardly strain in question, which all
the best and brightest “experts” inform us could spread across the world
like wildfire.

https://donaldjeffries.wordpress.com/

 

I have long feared a police state. Not the figurative one we’ve been letting develop for years now. I mean a literal one. Where they can stop you for any reason and ask you for your “papers.” Where they can restrict your movements, and your associations. Where they can confine you to your homes.

Yesterday, this became an unfortunate reality for me and all other Virginians. Mayor Ralph “Blackface” Northam signed an Executive Order that essentially locks my state down. Police can stop any motorist and ask where they are going. If they aren’t going to a doctor or the store, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. For now. And those essential personnel who are still working have been given papers. Yes, “show me your papers” is finally here in the land of the free.

Over the course of just a few weeks, America and most of the world has been subjected to a power play that rivals anything that George Orwell could have dreamed up. Whole countries locked down. People quarantined who have no illness. People restricted to their houses. “Social distancing” mandating that people stay six feet apart from one another. The closing down of virtually all businesses. No more going to the movies, or restaurants, or casinos, or concerts. Professional sports leagues and even the NCAA’s lucrative March Madness basketball tournament have been cancelled. All schools have been closed indefinitely.

So, surely all these draconian, unprecedented moves indicate that something really dangerous is going on? Instead, the world has basically come to a standstill over a virus strain, which has not even conclusively been proven to exist, that has killed a fraction of what the common flu kills every year, in this country and around the world.

The Coronavirus has been around for decades. Just look at the back of your can of Lysol. It informs you that their product protects you from “Human Coronavirus,” among other things. Many of us strongly suspect that cases of simple Coronavirus have been lumped in with those purporting to be COVID-19, the dastardly strain in question, which all the best and brightest “experts” inform us could spread across the world like wildfire.

The primary source for all the fear porn which has been emanating from our putrid state-run media for weeks, came from United Kingdom epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who issued a dire warning that 2.2 million could die from COVID-19 in the United States alone. Without quite the attention given his initial predictions by the hysterical media, Ferguson quietly acknowledged last week that his numbers were wrong. Very, very wrong. His weak admission that perhaps 20,000 could die was not very convincing. And a pair of Stanford professors of medicine followed that up by saying the predictions of fatalities “may be too high by orders of magnitude.”

Instead of responding reasonably to these indications that those who initiated the alarmist talk from our journalists and politicians were utterly wrong, our leaders have doubled down on the heavy-handed, unwarranted response. More states like mine have gone into lock down mode. It is akin to Martial Law, without any visible troops in the streets. Given the lack of opposition to this authoritarianism, they haven’t needed any. Without firing a shot, as the saying goes.

Citizen journalists have posted a myriad of videos on You Tube, which depict not the “overwhelmed” hospitals that are literally bursting at the seams with corpses, but instead largely empty facilities. Jason Goodman has been filming around hospitals in New York City, the alleged epicenter of the alleged epidemic, and it has to be seen to be believed. Idle ambulances everywhere. Disinterested EMT workers and hospital employees. Many, if not most of them not wearing masks. Police harassing him from filming on a public street. I have a friend who lives in New York City, and he just called me this morning to report how non-busy the biggest hospital in Brooklyn looked. Something very strange is going on here.

Meanwhile, Dr. Colleen Smith, a doctor who specializes in “medical simulation,” whatever that is, violated every HIPAA regulation imaginable when she filmed inside an ICU at New York City’s Elmhurst Hospital. Dr. Smith complained about a lack of equipment and resources, the same establishment mantra we’ve heard time and time again from establishment sources, which is invariably blamed on hapless Donald Trump. Her video was published by the New York Times. The same day she was filming inside, Elmhurst Hospital was videotaped outside by a citizen journalist. You guessed it- it resembled a ghost town.

As I’ve made clear to so many who are parroting the mainstream line, “people are dying!,” yes, people are dying. They do everyday. As Bob Dylan, also back in the news this week with a better late than never song about JFK assassination truth, once said, “he not busy being born is busy dying.” The question is, what are the people whose deaths the state-controlled media is fixated upon dying from? How many of these deaths are actually from underlying causes like diabetes or pneumonia, or less frightening strains of virus, like the regular flu or the generic Coronavirus?

There are many disquieting indications that the wild overreaction to this is a hoax, even if the virus is not. The photograph of ominous rows of coffins supposedly emanating out of Italy, which has been allegedly hit so hard by COVID-19, which was proven to be from another country, taken years earlier. The Italian reports indicating that 99% of the fatalities attributed to this virus came from “other pathologies.” The story in early February out of China, that the Chinese were including deaths from pneumonia along with the scary COVID-19 cases. It is no exaggeration to say that, considering the draconian response, those in charge have a tremendous vested interest in significantly increasing the numbers.

Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control were caught lying about the same thing in 2009; they falsely inflated the Swine Flu figures. Sharyl Attkisson lost her job with CBS for exposing the CDC. No investigative journalism is allowed in this country, outside of amateurs on the internet. The CDC and WHO are front and center here, along with our perpetually dishonest politicians and laughable, lapdog establishment press. They are the ones selling this narrative. Why would any intelligent person believe them?

I have been lied to my entire life by the most powerful authority figures. I worked for the Medical Industrial Complex for 44 years, until being fired two years ago for helping a handicapped co-worker. You read that right. That’s the chance you take in a “right to work” state. It gives them a right to fire you for no reason. Our healthcare system is hopelessly inefficient and just as corrupt as any other part of America 2.0. The medical profession itself is the third leading cause of death in this country. When you enter a hospital, you take your life in your hands. So excuse me for not trusting in all the white coats issuing their dire pronouncements.

In Virginia, our unofficial Martial Law is in effect until June 10. Just imagine how many businesses will never reopen after being closed for nearly three months. How many employees will be laid off, and be left to deal with the ever-increasing cost of living with their $1200 checks that constituted the trickle-down droppings from the $5.5 trillion dollar “stimulus” package, which Ron Paul called “a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the elite?” Picture the massive unemployment claims, somehow paid for by payroll taxes which are not going to be collected from all those unemployed workers who are no longer paying them.

And we still haven’t heard a peep of protest from anyone with a large public platform. Not a single corporate leader whose dedication to capitalism compels him to protest the literal shutdown of almost all commerce. There is a stunning uniformity of opinion on this massive overhaul of our society, which happened in the blink of an eye. Only naysayers like me, with the voices we have on the internet, are pointing out how shockingly wrong all of this is.

America, even as it existed in its watered-down, often embarrassing form a month ago, is forever gone. Once our leaders have demonstrated they can institute such authoritarian restrictions on the populace, with virtually no resistance, it is a certainty they will do it again. Expect to see the kind of ridiculous color-coded “terror threat” warnings we saw after 9/11. When the unquestioned authorities declare that we are at “code red” in terms of a new viral threat, America will just go back into lock down mode. Americans will be used to it.

Helping to sell this narrative has been an astonishing number of celebrities. This virus evidently is predisposed to attack famous people who have shown unswerving devotion to the Deep State. It was entirely predictable that the likes of Tom Hanks, Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, and Chris Cuomo would test positive. For the Coronavirus, as it is worded in all the celebrity cases, not for COVID-19. This could be the lazy, unintentional intermingling of a generic term for the deadly strain that has stopped the world. Or it could be an admission that technically they are telling the truth- the tests can only determine whether one has Coronavirus, not any particular strain of it.

But there is a huge difference between the two terms; testing positive for the generic Coronavirus is no big deal. It could just be a common cold, or an indication someone is a carrier, with no symptoms at all. If everyone in past years had been frightened by fear porn into getting tested for any sniffle, who knows how many might have been positive? They have somehow convinced most of the public that this virus strain is potentially far more deadly than anything since the Bubonic Plague, despite numbers that remain a fraction of what we see every flu season. With even the most severe flu seasons, nothing has ever been closed or cancelled. Certainly there was never any kind of lock down.

This has all been sold to the public on the basis of protecting us. After all, our leaders care about us. They have only our best interests at heart. And what is more terrifying to anyone than the state of their health? None of us want to put our loved ones’ lives in danger. And so we become even more compliant than normal.

Benjamin Franklin wisely warned, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Considering the continuous fear porn coming from our leaders, few of us probably feel safe. And their totalitarian response to an invisible enemy should make all of us feel demonstrably less free.

 

 

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The Rutherford Institute :: Suspending the Constitution: Police State Uses Crises to Expand Its Lockdown Powers | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on March 26, 2020

The America metamorphosing before our eyes is almost unrecognizable from the country I grew up in, and that’s not just tragic—it’s downright terrifying.

This is how freedom dies.

We erect our own prison walls, and as our rights dwindle away, we forge our own chains of servitude to the police state.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/suspending_the_constitution_police_state_uses_crises_to_expand_its_lockdown_powers

By John W. Whitehead

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

You can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured.

This coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Not only are the federal and state governments unraveling the constitutional fabric of the nation with lockdown mandates that are sending the economy into a tailspin and wreaking havoc with our liberties, but they are also rendering the citizenry fully dependent on the government for financial handouts, medical intervention, protection and sustenance.

Unless we find some way to rein in the government’s power grabs, the fall-out will be epic.

Everything I have warned about for years—government overreach, invasive surveillance, martial law, abuse of powers, militarized police, weaponized technology used to track and control the citizenry, and so on—has coalesced into this present moment.

The government’s shameless exploitation of past national emergencies for its own nefarious purposes pales in comparison to what is presently unfolding.

It’s downright Machiavellian.

Deploying the same strategy it used with 9/11 to acquire greater powers under the USA Patriot Act, the police state—a.k.a. the shadow government, a.k.a. the Deep State—has been anticipating this moment for years, quietly assembling a wish list of lockdown powers that could be trotted out and approved at a moment’s notice.

It should surprise no one, then, that the Trump Administration has asked Congress to allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution whenever it deems it necessary during this coronavirus pandemic and “other” emergencies.

It’s that “other” emergencies part that should particularly give you pause, if not spur you to immediate action (by action, I mean a loud and vocal, apolitical, nonpartisan outcry and sustained, apolitical, nonpartisan resistance).

In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been quietly trotting out and testing a long laundry list of terrifying powers that override the Constitution.

We’re talking about lockdown powers (at both the federal and state level): the ability to suspend the Constitution, indefinitely detain American citizens, bypass the courts, quarantine whole communities or segments of the population, override the First Amendment by outlawing religious gatherings and assemblies of more than a few people, shut down entire industries and manipulate the economy, muzzle dissidents, “stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease,” reshape financial markets, create a digital currency (and thus further restrict the use of cash), determine who should live or die…

You’re getting the picture now, right?

These are powers the police state would desperately like to make permanent.

Specifically, the DOJ wants to be able to indefinitely detain American citizens without trial. The DOJ also wants to be able to pause court proceedings and suspend the statute of limitations on criminal and civil cases.

Both signify a clear violation of every right espoused in the Constitution, including habeas corpus.

Habeas corpus, a fundamental tenet of English common law that guards against arbitrary and lawless state action, does not appear anywhere in the Bill of Rights. Its importance was such that it was enshrined in the Constitution itself. And it is of such magnitude that all other rights, including those in the Bill of Rights, are dependent upon it. Without habeas corpus, the significance of all other rights crumbles.

The right of habeas corpus was important to the Framers of the Constitution because they knew from personal experience what it was like to be labeled enemy combatants, imprisoned indefinitely and not given the opportunity to appear before a neutral judge. Believing that such arbitrary imprisonment is “in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instrument of tyranny,” the Founders were all the more determined to protect Americans from such government abuses.

Translated as “you should have the body,” habeas corpus is a legal action, or writ, by which those imprisoned unlawfully can seek relief from their imprisonment. Derived from English common law, habeas corpus first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is the oldest human right in the history of English-speaking civilization. The doctrine of habeas corpus stems from the requirement that a government must either charge a person or let him go free.

While serving as President, Thomas Jefferson addressed the essential necessity of habeas corpus. In his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801, Jefferson said, “I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong; that this government is not strong enough.” But, said Jefferson, our nation was “the world’s best hope” and, because of our strong commitment to democracy, “the strongest government on earth.” Jefferson said that the sum of this basic belief was found in the “freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation.”

Throughout the twentieth century, the importance of the right of habeas corpus has repeatedly been confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet 200-plus years after America’s founders risked their lives to secure their freedoms, we find ourselves right back where we started, with a government determined to strip us of every vestige of our freedoms.

The DOJ’s latest request to Congress is merely a signal that the police state is ready to step out of the shadows, with the current national emergency being a convenient cover for their dastardly deeds.

Bear in mind, however, that these powers the Trump Administration, acting on orders from the police state, are officially asking Congress to recognize and authorize barely scratch the surface of the far-reaching powers the government has already unilaterally claimed for itself.

Unofficially, the police state has been riding roughshod over the rule of law for years now without any pretense of being reined in or restricted in its power grabs by Congress, the courts or the citizenry.

As David C. Unger, observes in The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs:

“For seven decades we have been yielding our most basic liberties to a secretive, unaccountable emergency state – a vast but increasingly misdirected complex of national security institutions, reflexes, and beliefs that so define our present world that we forget that there was ever a different America. … Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly designed to prevent.”

This rise of an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny in the so-called name of national security is all happening according to schedule. Read the rest of this entry »

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Calling those who oppose totalitarian Covid-19 measures #COVIDIOTS is just another tactic by our sheepherders to shut down debate — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2020

I could not believe what I was reading! The headline implored, ‘Lock Us Down: Suspend Habeas; Save the Nation’. The author Michael Dorf, a Cornell University Professor, was urging the US Government to suspend the rule of law.

Predictably, in a climate of insecurity brought on by COVID-19 many people become scared and their anxiety can be easily exploited by groups of fear entrepreneurs.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/483891-covidiots-coronavirus-debate-totalitarian/

Frank Furedi

People who raise doubts about the set up of a police state in response to Covid-19 are denounced as irresponsible idiots. But those who want to be locked down have no monopoly on wisdom, we must resist the locking down of debate.

At first, I could not believe what I was reading! The headline implored, ‘Lock Us Down: Suspend Habeas; Save the Nation’. The author Michael Dorf, a Cornell University Professor, was urging the US Government to suspend the rule of law.

Dorf acknowledged that suspending habeas corpus — which has been recognised as a fundamental feature of a free society — is an ‘extreme measure’, but he believes that it is a small price to pay for making people feel safe.

Unfortunately, the demand to close down society is not confined to a small number of authoritarian minded law professors. The entire Anglo-American media has become wedded to the idea that unless governments adopt extreme measures, humanity will face extinction. Anyone listening to the media or reading the press is left in no doubt that if the British Prime Minister doesn’t impose a harsh regime social control, he will be dumped by either his ministers or by popular pressure.

 

At recent press conferences with Boris Johnson, one journo after another called on him to shut down UK Plc. Larisa Brown of the Daily Mail could barely contain her anger, when she blurted out: “people aren’t acting responsibly so when are you going to get tougher and bring in the police?

Regrettably, the herd like demand to give up hard fought liberties, is coupled with an intense level of hostility towards anyone who disagrees with the call for establishing, what would be in effect a police state. Those of us who raise doubts about the call to close down the nation are denounced as irresponsible idiots, who are prepared to play with other people’s lives. They are, in the words of panic-in-chief Piers Morgan, covidiots, who need to be kept at a distance from other members of the community.

The public health emergency facing the world has allowed those who are in any case disposed towards intolerance to let rip at anyone who questions the wisdom of some of the measures put in place by the government. Anyone reading the twitterstorm directed at journalists such as Peter Hitchens or Brendan O’Neill would imagine that instead of raising questions about the shutting down of pubs, they were calling for the institutionalization of child murder.

Predictably, in a climate of insecurity brought on by COVID-19 many people become scared and their anxiety can be easily exploited by groups of fear entrepreneurs. In recent days, the media has gone out its way to highlight every example of anti-social behaviour at supermarkets. It has let rip at parents who decided to take their children to parks or to the seaside on a sunny Sunday. Pictures of people enjoying a day out in the open air have been portrayed as the behaviour of irresponsible COVID zombies that threaten our very existence.

Despite the fact that in reality there has been very little irresponsible behaviour by members of the public, in a febrile atmosphere of blame and recrimination many people have become influenced by the rhetoric of fear. In local community websites and conversations there is far too much finger pointing at people who behave in ways not approved by so called opinion-makers. In these circumstances even people who know that there is something deeply wrong with the demagogic rhetoric of people like Piers Morgan, find it difficult to voice their dissent.

Yet, we must raise our concerns and questions when we feel that society is going in the wrong direction. Instead of closing down dissent, we need a mature and grown-up attitude towards those with whom we disagree. Precisely because no one has the answer to all of the problems thrown up in this pandemic, we need to hear all points of view. Those who want to be locked down do not possess a monopoly on wisdom. We must resist the locking down of debate and discussion. On the contrary, it is precisely in an emergency that we need to open up all channels of communication, so that every member of the public feels that their voice still counts.

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The Rutherford Institute :: Detect, Deter and Annihilate: How the Police State Will Deal with a Coronavirus Outbreak | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on March 17, 2020

Indeed, zombie fiction perfectly embodies the government’s paranoia
about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored,
tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered
impotent.

Why else would the government feel the need to monitor our
communications, track our movements, criminalize our every action, treat
us like suspects, and strip us of any means of defense while equipping
its own personnel with an amazing arsenal of weapons?

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/detect_deter_and_annihilate_how_the_police_state_will_deal_with_a_coronavirus_outbreak

“Fear is a primitive impulse, brainless as hunger, and because the aim of horror fiction is the production of the deepest kinds of fears, the genre tends to reinforce some remarkably uncivilized ideas about self-protection. In the current crop of zombie stories, the prevailing value for the beleaguered survivors is a sort of siege mentality, a vigilance so constant and unremitting that it’s indistinguishable from the purest paranoia.”— Terrence Rafferty, New York Times

What do zombies have to do with the U.S. government’s plans for dealing with a coronavirus outbreak?

Read on, and I’ll tell you.

The zombie narrative was popularized by the hit television series The Walking Dead, in which a small group of Americans attempt to survive in a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world where they’re not only fighting off flesh-eating ghouls but cannibalistic humans.

For a while there, zombies could be found lurking around every corner: wreaking havoc at gun shows, battling corsets in movies such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and running for their lives in 5K charity races.

Understandably, zombie fiction plays to our fears and paranoia, while allowing us to “envision how we and our own would thrive if everything went to hell and we lost all our societal supports.” Yet as journalist Syreeta McFadden points out, while dystopian stories used to reflect our anxieties, now they reflect our reality, mirroring how we as a nation view the world around us, how we as citizens view each other, and most of all how our government views us.

Indeed, the U.S. government has spent a lot of time and energy in recent years using zombies as the models for a variety of crisis scenarios not too dissimilar from what we are currently experiencing.

For instance, back in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put together a zombie apocalypse preparation kit “that details everything you would need to have on hand in the event the living dead showed up at your front door.” The CDC, in conjunction with the Dept. of Defense, even used zombies to put government agents through their paces in mock military drills.

Fear the Walking Dead—AMC’s spinoff of its popular Walking Dead series—drove this point home by dialing back the clock to when the zombie outbreak first appears and setting viewers down in the midst of societal unrest not unlike our own experiences of recent years (“a bunch of weird incidents, police protests, riots, and … rapid social entropy”). Then, as Forbes reports, “the military showed up and we fast-forwarded into an ad hoc police state with no glimpse at what was happening in the world around our main cast of hapless survivors.”

Forbes found Fear’s quick shift into a police state to be far-fetched, but anyone who has been paying attention in recent years knows that the groundwork was laid long ago for the government—i.e., the military—to intervene and lock down the nation in the event of a national disaster.

We’re seeing this play out now as the coronavirus contagion spreads.

What we have yet to experience (although it may only be a matter of time) is that the government through the imposition of martial law could pose a greater threat to our safety (and our freedoms) than any virus.

As the Atlantic noted about Fear the Walking Dead: “The villains aren’t the zombies, who rarely appear, but the U.S. military, who sweep into an L.A. suburb to quarantine the survivors. Zombies are, after all, a recognizable threat—but Fear plumbs drama and horror from the betrayal by institutions designed to keep people safe.”

Indeed, zombie fiction perfectly embodies the government’s paranoia about the citizenry as potential threats that need to be monitored, tracked, surveilled, sequestered, deterred, vanquished and rendered impotent.

Why else would the government feel the need to monitor our communications, track our movements, criminalize our every action, treat us like suspects, and strip us of any means of defense while equipping its own personnel with an amazing arsenal of weapons?

For years now, the government has been carrying out military training drills with zombies as the enemy. In 2011, the DOD created a 31-page instruction manual for how to protect America from a terrorist attack carried out by zombie forces. In 2012, the CDC released a guide for surviving a zombie plague. That was followed by training drills for members of the military, police officers and first responders.

As journalist Andrea Peyser reports:

Coinciding with Halloween 2012, a five-day national conference was put on by the HALO Corp. in San Diego for more than 1,000 first responders, military personnel and law enforcement types. It included workshops produced by a Hollywood-affiliated firm in…overcoming a zombie invasion. Actors were made up to look like flesh-chomping monsters. The Department of Homeland Security even paid the $1,000 entry fees for an unknown number of participants…

“Zombie disaster” drills were held in October 2012 and ’13 at California’s Sutter Roseville Medical Center. The exercises allowed medical center staff “to test response to a deadly infectious disease, a mass-casualty event, terrorism event and security procedures”…

[In October 2014], REI outdoor-gear stores in Soho and around the country are to hold free classes in zombie preparedness, which the stores have been providing for about three years.

The zombie exercises appeared to be kitschy and fun—government agents running around trying to put down a zombie rebellion—but what if the zombies in the exercises were us, the citizenry, viewed by those in power as mindless, voracious, zombie hordes?

Consider this: the government started playing around with the idea of using zombies as stand-ins for enemy combatants in its training drills right around the time the Army War College issued its 2008 report, warning that an economic crisis in the U.S. could lead to massive civil unrest that would require the military to intervene and restore order.

That same year, it was revealed that the government had amassed more than 8 million names of Americans considered a threat to national security, to be used “by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.” The program’s name, Main Core, refers to the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”

Also in 2008, the Pentagon launched the Minerva Initiative, a $75 million military-driven research project focused on studying social behavior in order to determine how best to cope with mass civil disobedience or uprisings. The Minerva Initiative has funded projects such as “Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?” which “conflates peaceful activists with ‘supporters of political violence’ who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on ‘armed militancy’ themselves.”

In 2009, the Dept. of Homeland Security issued its reports on Rightwing and Leftwing Extremism, in which the terms “extremist” and “terrorist” were used interchangeably to describe citizens they perceived to be disgruntled or anti-government.

Meanwhile, a government campaign was underway to spy on Americans’ mail, email and cell phone communications. News reports indicate that the U.S. Postal Service has handled more than 150,000 requests by federal and state law enforcement agencies to monitor Americans’ mail, in addition to photographing every piece of mail sent through the postal system.

Fast forward a few years more and local police were being transformed into extensions of the military, taught to view members of their community as suspects, trained to shoot first and ask questions later, and equipped with all of the technology and weaponry of a soldier on a battlefield.

The Obama administration then hired a domestic terrorism czar whose job is to focus on anti-government American “extremists” who have been designated a greater threat to America than ISIS or al Qaeda. As part of the government’s so-called war on right-wing extremism, the Obama administration agreed to partner with the United Nations to take part in its Strong Cities Network program, which is training local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism.

Nothing has changed for the better under the Trump Administration.

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

“We the people” or, more appropriately, “we the zombies” are the enemy in the eyes of the government. This coronavirus merely ups the ante.

So when presented with the Defense Department’s battle plan for defeating an army of the walking dead, you might find yourself tempted to giggle over the fact that a taxpayer-funded government bureaucrat actually took the time to research and write about vegetarian zombies, evil magic zombies, chicken zombies, space zombies, bio-engineered weaponized zombies, radiation zombies, symbiant-induced zombies, and pathogenic zombies.

However, in an age of extreme government paranoia, this is no laughing matter.

The DOD’s strategy for dealing with a zombie uprising, outlined in “CONOP 8888,” is for all intents and purposes a training manual for the government in how to put down a citizen uprising or at least an uprising of individuals “infected” with a dangerous disease or dangerous ideas about freedom. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Rutherford Institute :: Compliance 101: Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn the Schools into Prisons | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on February 19, 2020

For example, in Florida, a cop assigned to River Ridge High School as a school resource officer, threatened to shoot a student attempting to leave school for a morning orthodontist appointment.

In Pennsylvania, school officials called in the cops after a 6-year-old with Down syndrome pointed a finger gun at her teacher.

Welcome to Compliance 101: the police state’s primer in how to churn out compliant citizens and transform the nation’s school’s into quasi-prisons through the use of surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs, strip searches and active shooter drills.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/compliance_101_gun_toting_cops_endanger_students_and_turn_the_schools_into_prisons

By John W. Whitehead

“Every day in communities across the United States, children and adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in schools that have increasingly come to resemble places of detention more than places of learning.”—Investigative journalist Annette Fuentes

Just when you thought the government couldn’t get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect “we the people” against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

The fallout has been what you’d expect, with the nation’s young people treated like hardened criminals: handcuffed, arrested, tasered, tackled and taught the painful lesson that the Constitution (especially the Fourth Amendment) doesn’t mean much in the American police state.

For example, in Florida, a cop assigned to River Ridge High School as a school resource officer, threatened to shoot a student attempting to leave school for a morning orthodontist appointment.

In Pennsylvania, school officials called in the cops after a 6-year-old with Down syndrome pointed a finger gun at her teacher.

In Kentucky, a school resource officer with the sheriff’s office handcuffed two elementary school children with disabilities, ages 8 and 9. A federal judge made the sheriff’s office pay more than $300,000 (of taxpayer money) to the families, ruling that the handcuffing of  the students “was an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force.”

Welcome to Compliance 101: the police state’s primer in how to churn out compliant citizens and transform the nation’s school’s into quasi-prisons through the use of surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs, strip searches and active shooter drills.

If you were wondering, these police state tactics have not made the schools any safer.

Rather, they’ve turned the schools into authoritarian microcosms of the police state, containing almost every aspect of the militarized, intolerant, senseless, overcriminalized, legalistic, surveillance-riddled, totalitarian landscape that plagues those of us on the “outside.”

Two years after President Trump announced his intention to “harden” the schools, our nation’s children are reaping the ill effects of gun-toting, taser-wielding cops in government-run schools that bear an uncomfortable resemblance to prisons.

America’s schools are about as authoritarian as they come.

From the moment a child enters one of the nation’s 98,000 public schools to the moment he or she graduates, they will be exposed to a steady diet of:

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

Young people in America are now first in line to be searched, surveilled, spied on, threatened, tied up, locked down, treated like criminals for non-criminal behavior, tasered and in some cases shot.

In my day, if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school.

That is no longer the case.

Nowadays, students are not only punished for minor transgressions such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing LEGOs to school, or having a food fight, but the punishments have become far more severe, shifting from detention and visits to the principal’s office into misdemeanor tickets, juvenile court, handcuffs, tasers and even prison terms.

Students have been suspended under school zero tolerance policies for bringing to school “look alike substances” such as oregano, breath mints, birth control pills and powdered sugar.

Look-alike weapons (toy guns—even Lego-sized ones, hand-drawn pictures of guns, pencils twirled in a “threatening” manner, imaginary bows and arrows, even fingers positioned like guns) can also land a student in hot water.

Even good deeds do not go unpunished.

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

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

These outrageous incidents are exactly what you’ll see more of if the Trump Administration gets its way.

Increasing the number of cops in the schools only adds to the problem.

Thanks to a combination of media hype, political pandering and financial incentives, the use of armed police officers (a.k.a. school resource officers) to patrol school hallways has risen dramatically in the years since the Columbine school shooting.

Indeed, the growing presence of police in the nation’s schools is resulting in greater police “involvement in routine discipline matters that principals and parents used to address without involvement from law enforcement officers.”

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

In the absence of school-appropriate guidelines, police are more and more “stepping in to deal with minor rulebreaking: sagging pants, disrespectful comments, brief physical skirmishes. What previously might have resulted in a detention or a visit to the principal’s office was replaced with excruciating pain and temporary blindness, often followed by a trip to the courthouse.”

The horror stories are legion.

One SRO was accused of punching a 13-year-old student in the face for cutting the cafeteria line.

That same cop put another student in a chokehold a week later, allegedly knocking the student unconscious and causing a brain injury.

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

When 13-year-old Kevens Jean Baptiste failed to follow a school bus driver’s direction to keep the bus windows closed (Kevens, who suffers from asthma, opened the window after a fellow student sprayed perfume, causing him to cough and wheeze), he was handcuffed by police, removed from the bus, and while still handcuffed, had his legs swept out from under him by an officer, causing him to crash to the ground.

Young Alex Stone didn’t even make it past the first week of school before he became a victim of the police state. Directed by his teacher to do a creative writing assignment involving a series of fictional Facebook statuses, Stone wrote, “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.” Despite the fact that dinosaurs are extinct, the status fabricated, and the South Carolina student was merely following orders, his teacher reported him to school administrators, who in turn called the police.

What followed is par for the course in schools today: students were locked down in their classrooms while armed police searched the 16-year-old’s locker and bookbag, handcuffed him, charged him with disorderly conduct disturbing the school, arrested him, detained him, and then he was suspended from school.

Not even the younger, elementary school-aged kids are being spared these “hardening” tactics.

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

In almost every case, these undeniably harsh methods are used to punish kids—some as young as 4 and 5 years old—for simply failing to follow directions or throwing tantrums.

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

Unbelievably, these tactics are all legal, at least when employed by school officials or school resource officers in the nation’s public schools.

This is what happens when you introduce police and police tactics into the schools.

Paradoxically, by the time you add in the lockdowns and active shooter drills, instead of making the schools safer, school officials have succeeded in creating an environment in which children are so traumatized that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, anxiety, mistrust of adults in authority, as well as feelings of anger, depression, humiliation, despair and delusion.

For example, a middle school in Washington State went on lockdown after a student brought a toy gun to class. A Boston high school went into lockdown for four hours after a bullet was discovered in a classroom. A North Carolina elementary school locked down and called in police after a fifth grader reported seeing an unfamiliar man in the school (it turned out to be a parent).

Police officers at a Florida middle school carried out an active shooter drill in an effort to educate students about how to respond in the event of an actual shooting crisis. Two armed officers, guns loaded and drawn, burst into classrooms, terrorizing the students and placing the school into lockdown mode.

If these exercises are intended to instill fear and compliance into young people, they’re working.

As journalist Dahlia Lithwick points out: “I don’t recall any serious national public dialogue about lockdown protocols or how they became the norm. It seems simply to have begun, modeling itself on the lockdowns that occur during prison riots, and then spread until school lockdowns and lockdown drills are as common for our children as fire drills, and as routine as duck-and-cover drills were in the 1950s.”

The toll such incidents take on adults can be life-altering, but when such police brutality is perpetrated on young people, the end result is nothing less than complete indoctrination into becoming compliant citizens of a totalitarian state.

Schools acting like prisons.

School officials acting like wardens.

Students treated like inmates and punished like hardened criminals.

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

Unfortunately, advocates for such harsh police tactics and weaponry like to trot out the line that school safety should be our first priority lest we find ourselves with another Sandy Hook.

What they will not tell you is that such shootings are rare.

As one congressional report found, the schools are, generally speaking, safe places for children.

In their zeal to crack down on guns and lock down the schools, these cheerleaders for police state tactics in the schools might also fail to mention the lucrative, multi-million dollar deals being cut with military contractors such as Taser International to equip these school cops with tasers, tanks, rifles and $100,000 shooting detection systems.

Indeed, the transformation of hometown police departments into extensions of the military has been mirrored in the public schools, where school police have been gifted with high-powered M16 rifles, MRAP armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and other military gear. One Texas school district even boasts its own 12-member SWAT team.

According to one law review article on the school-to-prison pipeline, “Many school districts have formed their own police departments, some so large they rival the forces of major United States cities in size. For example, the safety division in New York City’s public schools is so large that if it were a local police department, it would be the fifth-largest police force in the country.”

The ramifications are far-reaching.

There can be no avoiding the hands-on lessons being taught in the schools about the role of police in our lives, ranging from active shooter drills and school-wide lockdowns to incidents in which children engaging in typically childlike behavior are suspended (for shooting an imaginary “arrow” at a fellow classmate), handcuffed (for being disruptive at school), arrested (for throwing water balloons as part of a school prank), and even tasered (for not obeying instructions).

Instead of raising up a generation of freedom fighters—which one would hope would be the objective of the schools—government officials seem determined to churn out newly minted citizens of the American police state who are being taught the hard way what it means to comply, fear and march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

So what’s the answer, not only for the here-and-now—the children growing up in these quasi-prisons—but for the future of this country?

How do you convince a child who has been routinely handcuffed, shackled, tied down, locked up, and immobilized by government officials—all before he reaches the age of adulthood—that he has any rights at all, let alone the right to challenge wrongdoing, resist oppression and defend himself against injustice?

Most of all, how do you persuade a fellow American that the government works for him when, for most of his young life, he has been incarcerated in an institution that teaches young people to be obedient and compliant citizens who don’t talk back, don’t question and don’t challenge authority?

Peter Gray, a professor of psychology at Boston College, believes that school is a prison that is damaging our kids, and it’s hard to disagree, especially with the numbers of police officers being assigned to schools on the rise.

Students, in turn, are not only finding themselves subjected to police tactics such as handcuffs, leg shackles, tasers and excessive force for “acting up” but are also being ticketed, fined and sent to court for behavior perceived as defiant, disruptive or disorderly such as spraying perfume and writing on a desk.

Clearly, the pathology that characterizes the American police state has passed down to the schools.

Now in addition to the government and its agents viewing the citizenry as suspects to be probed, poked, pinched, tasered, searched, seized, stripped and generally manhandled, all with the general blessing of the courts, our children in the public schools are also fair game for school resource officers who taser teenagers and handcuff kindergartners, school officials who have criminalized childhood behavior, school lockdowns and terror drills that teach your children to fear and comply, and a police state mindset that has transformed the schools into quasi-prisons.

Don’t even get me started on the “school-to-prison pipeline,” the phenomenon in which children who are suspended or expelled from school have a greater likelihood of ending up in jail. One study found that “being suspended or expelled made a student nearly three times more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system within the next year.”

By the time the average young person in America finishes their public school education, nearly one out of every three of them will have been arrested. Nearly 40 percent of those young people who are arrested will serve time in a private prison, where the emphasis is on making profits for large megacorporations above all else.

Indeed, this profit-driven system of incarceration has also given rise to a growth in juvenile prisons and financial incentives for jailing young people. In this way, young people have become easy targets for the private prison industry, which profits from criminalizing childish behavior and jailing young people.

None of these tactics are making our communities or schools any safer, and they’re certainly not contributing to environments in which learning flourishes. Incredibly, despite the fact that the U.S. invests more money in public education (roughly $13,000 per child per year) than many other developed countries, we rank around the middle of the pack in science, math and reading, and behind many other advanced industrial nations.

Without a doubt, change is needed, but that will mean taking on the teachers’ unions, the school unions, the educators’ associations, and the police unions, not to mention the politicians dependent on their votes and all of the corporations that profit mightily from an industrial school complex.

As we’ve seen with other issues, any significant reforms will have to start locally and trickle upwards.

For starters, parents need to be vocal, visible and organized and demand that school officials 1) adopt a policy of positive reinforcement in dealing with behavior issues; 2) minimize the presence in the schools of police officers and cease involving them in student discipline; and 3) insist that all behavioral issues be addressed first and foremost with a child’s parents, before any other disciplinary tactics are attempted.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if you want a nation of criminals, treat the citizenry like criminals.

If you want young people who grow up seeing themselves as prisoners, run the schools like prisons.

If, on the other hand, you want to raise up a generation of freedom fighters, who will actually operate with justice, fairness, accountability and equality towards each other and their government, then run the schools like freedom forums.

Remove the metal detectors and surveillance cameras, re-assign the cops elsewhere, and start treating our nation’s young people like citizens of a republic and not inmates in a police state penitentiary.

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The school-to-prison pipeline, explained - YouTube

 

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Candidate Pete Buttigieg: Israel’s Security Policy Offers “Important Lessons” for the US

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2020

…yet does not mention their human costs, such as Israel’s regular imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or its arrest of children for allegedly “throwing stones.” Third, his claim that Israel’s security policy offers a “very important lesson” to the United States suggests that Israel’s apartheid, police-state security policies are a model for homeland security policy in the U.S., a suggestion that concerns the “progressive” voters to whom Buttigieg is currently attempting to appeal.

Post should have been titled “bought and pad for” but then that would apply to most of congress.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/candidate-pete-buttigieg-israel-security-policy-offers-important-lessons-for-the-us/256882/

By Whitney Webb Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON — Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, whose candidacy is currently being heavily promoted by corporate media, was one of the many 2020 contenders for the Democratic Party who declined to attend the recent annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in apparent response to calls from prominent “progressive” organizations to boycott the event and a growing shift among Democratic voters in favor of Palestinian rights.

However, despite his absence from the AIPAC conference, Buttigieg’s past public statements on the Israel/Palestine conflict echo those of pro-Israel stalwarts in the Democratic Party. Indeed, Buttigieg, in a trip to Israel last year that was funded by the pro-Israel lobby, praised Israel’s security response to protests by Palestinians on the Gaza-Israel border just four days after the slaughter of Gazan protesters by Israeli military snipers — repeating many of the same one-sided talking points about the conflict that define centrists in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Impressed by Israeli security policy

Last May, Buttigieg traveled to Israel as part of a trip for U.S. mayors organized by Project Interchange, an affiliate of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the oldest and most influential Israel lobby organizations in the United States. The AJC regularly conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and has even accused progressive American Jews of anti-Semitism for their critiques of Israeli government policy.

Soon after the Israel lobby-sponsored trip, which the Times of Israel referred to as a “learning experience trip,” Buttigieg appeared on AJC’s Passport podcast, hosted by Seffi Kogen. Buttigieg, during the 22-minute discussion, stated that Israel’s security policy is “on the one hand very intentional, very serious and very effective when it comes to security and on the other hand not allowing concerns about security to dominate your consciousness.” He then added that his trip to Israel showed him that Israel’s security policy offers “a very important lesson that hopefully, Americans can look to [when] we think about how to navigate a world that unfortunately has become smaller and more dangerous for all of us.”

This statement is troubling for several reasons. First, it suggests that Israel’s security policy does not “dominate” Israeli political consciousness even though nearly every discriminatory policy targeting Palestinians — from the blockade of Gaza to the military occupation of the West Bank to the separation barrier — are all justified by the Israeli state’s claim that it is responding to “existential threats” relating to Israel’s security. Second, Buttigieg calls Israel’s draconian security policies “very effective,” yet does not mention their human costs, such as Israel’s regular imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or its arrest of children for allegedly “throwing stones.” Third, his claim that Israel’s security policy offers a “very important lesson” to the United States suggests that Israel’s apartheid, police-state security policies are a model for homeland security policy in the U.S., a suggestion that concerns the “progressive” voters to whom Buttigieg is currently attempting to appeal.

During the podcast, Buttigieg also claimed that support for Israel “is not a left vs. right issue — at least it shouldn’t be” and stated that “the security and intelligence cooperation [between the U.S. and Israel] is obviously vital, certainly something that is as important for American interests as much as Israeli interests.” This is a drastic over-simplification of the U.S.-Israel relationship and makes no mention of the fact that the U.S. now provides $3.8 billion to Israel annually as part of this “security and intelligence cooperation” and also ignores Israel’s documented espionage efforts targeting U.S. state secrets that have occurred under the guise of this “cooperation.” Notably, former U.S. intelligence officials have claimed that the CIA considers Israel “the Mideast’s biggest spy threat.”

Buttigieg also blamed Hamas, the Islamist group that won Gaza’s elections in 2007 and still governs the enclave, for the “misery” present in the strip. At no point does he mention the air, land and sea blockade — imposed by Israel and Egypt — as having a role in creating “misery” for Gazan residents. Particularly telling is the fact that he blamed Hamas for the situation in the Strip during the Great Return March, when Israeli forces massacred scores of unarmed protestors. Just days after Buttigieg’s visit to Israel and not long before his appearance on the AJC podcast, the IDF shot and killed 60 unarmed Gazans, among them seven minors and a paramedic. During his 22-minute discussion with AJC, Buttigieg never spoke of the Gaza protests directly.

Pete Buttigieg | Israel

A separate point Buttigieg made in the podcast is related to the exchange of fire between Syrian/Iranian forces and Israeli forces in the contested Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981 but is internationally considered (aside from by the United States) as Syrian territory. In speaking of the attack by allegedly Iranian forces on the Golan Heights and the exchange of fire between Israel and Syria that followed, Buttigieg stated:

It didn’t stop people from living their lives and I actually think there’s a lesson to be learned from that for America … to prevent terrorists from succeeding in their goal of becoming our top priority.”

It is notable that Buttigieg chose the word “terrorist” to describe the attack, given that it had been launched by a foreign government, not a terrorist group, and also given the fact that the area had long been overrun by actual terrorist groups that were supported by the state of Israel.

McKinsey and Israel

While Buttigieg’s admiration for Israeli security policy and support for continued U.S.-Israel “security and intelligence cooperation” may simply be an indication of his support for Democratic centrist policies, there may be other reasons for Buttigieg’s apparent support of Israel’s apartheid-like policies. For instance, Buttigieg’s past position as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. — recently called “the world’s most prestigious consulting firm” by the New York Times — may have also informed his views.

Buttigieg worked at McKinsey prior to enlisting in the military and jumpstarting his political career. Buttigieg has called his time at the firm his most “intellectually informing experience” and described it neutrally as simply “a place to learn.” Other previous McKinsey consultants have come away with a very different view of the controversial company, with one recently writing:

Working for all sides, McKinsey’s only allegiance is to capital. As capital’s most effective messenger, McKinsey has done direct harm to the world in ways that, thanks to its lack of final decision-making power, are hard to measure and, thanks to its intense secrecy, are hard to know.

The firm’s willingness to work with despotic governments and corrupt business empires is the logical conclusion of seeking profit at all costs. Its advocacy of the primacy of the market has made governments more like businesses and businesses more like vampires. By claiming that they solve the world’s hardest problems, McKinsey shrinks the solution space to only those that preserve the status quo.”

In addition to working with “despotic governments” like Saudi Arabia, McKinsey also regularly works for Israel’s government and military. For instance, McKinsey was given $27 million in 2011 to help “streamline” the Israeli military. McKinsey claimed that it had offered its services to Israel at a steep 36 percent discount. Then, a year later, McKinsey was tasked with reviewing Israel’s police force and determined that Israel did not have enough police patrolling its streets and “lagged” behind other countries in terms of police deployment. Furthermore, the company itself has a large presence in Israel, where it “works across all major sectors of Israel’s economy.”

Buttigieg’s connection to McKinsey, and his decidedly neutral view of the firm, have been largely glossed over in the coverage of his candidacy, despite the controversial nature of the company, which was recently revealed to have advised a leading pharmaceutical company on how to “turbocharge” the sales of opioids to Americans, despite the country’s severe opioid addiction and overdose crisis.

More “hope” and “change”

Buttigieg, like several other 2020 contenders for the Democratic nomination, has thus far built his campaign on platitudes and progressive “values” without providing policy plans that back them up. Indeed, Buttigieg is routinely evasive when pressed on any specific policies he champions. When recently asked to specify policies he supports by VICE, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor stated that “Right now I think we need to articulate the values, lay out our philosophical commitments and then develop policies off of that. And I’m working very hard not to put the cart before the horse.”

This same tactic, of promoting “values” and platitudes and failing to run on any policy, has become common in the 2020 field as other candidates who have received fawning media coverage — like Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke — have also built their campaign on platitudes and varying degrees of identity politics. It should come as no surprise, then, that Buttigieg has recently been compared to Barack Obama in several mainstream profiles. After all, Obama built much of his campaign on platitudes (i.e., “hope” and “change”) and vague policy positions as opposed to specific, detailed policy proposals.

Buttigieg’s decision to not promote any specific policy has allowed him to become a policy chameleon, and his stance on foreign policy, including Israel and Palestine, is no exception. As an example, Buttigieg has claimed that the Trump administration’s minimal efforts to reduce the number and intensity of “forever wars” has been “largely good,” even though he opposes Trump’s recent calls for a withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria. Yet the epitome of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce “forever wars” has been its calls for a U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.

Buttigieg’s evasiveness and contradictory statements on foreign policy are all the more telling because such evasiveness is not due to a lack of knowledge on the subject. Indeed, Buttigieg wrote his undergraduate thesis on U.S. foreign policy. This suggests that his evasiveness on these issues since becoming a candidate for the presidency is instead based on political expediency.

Buttigieg’s past comments on Israel and Syria are compounded by a recent statement he made via Twitter that reads: “I did not carry an assault weapon around a foreign country so I could come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” The tweet was heavily criticized by anti-war voices on social media for its implication that it is perfectly fine to carry assault weapons as part of an occupying force in a foreign country, but not OK to carry those assault weapons domestically.

This troubling double standard suggests that Buttigieg, despite being a veteran, supports U.S. military adventurism abroad. This is further supported by his past position at the Cohen Group, a consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, a “moderate Republican” who oversaw the U.S.’ role in the NATO bombing of Kosovo.

In a crowded 2020 field and with mainstream media heavily promoting his candidacy, it is essential that all Americans take the time to research the past statements and positions of a candidate like Buttigieg, as opposed to merely relying on media-generated hype and statements made only after the establishment of one’s candidacy. The U.S., a country undeniably at a crossroads, cannot afford any candidate who cloaks his or her actual opinions and policies in platitudes and evasive or even contradictory language. Thus, a candidate’s past and track record are increasingly important, yet overlooked, aspects in a 2020 race that will have important implications for the country moving forward.

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New Bill to Allow Cops to Detain Citizens, Force Them to Explain Who They Are, What They’re Doing

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2020

https://thefreethoughtproject.com/bill-grants-police-state-powers-to-cops/

Kentucky — An ominous bill that is currently making its way through the Kentucky Senate aims to give police unprecedented unconstitutional powers. These new powers will allow cops to stop anyone they want and demand that person tell them who they are, where they are going, and explain their actions. Naturally, it has civil rights advocates up in arms, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down the bill’s momentum.

Police merely need to make an unsubstantiated claim that a person is involved in criminal activity which gives them free reign to stop that person, demand his name, home address and age — as well as ask to see his driver’s license, if he has one — and tell him to explain what he is presently doing “to the satisfaction of the officer.”

If you invoke your constitutional right not to answer the officer’s questions, this new bill grants cops the right to detain you for two hours. Even more ominous is the fact that this detainment is not considered an arrest so you have no right to an attorney and police don’t even have to record it. This non-arrest grey area detention will undoubtedly be rife for abuse.

Nevertheless, advocates for the police state tyranny say cops must have this new ability—to keep us safe. As Kentucky.com reports, Sen. Stephen Meredith, R-Leitchfield, said Grayson County law enforcement officials asked him for the bill after a number of local incidents showed the need for it.

“If a man acts suspicious, then why wouldn’t you want to know what his name is?” Meredith said in an interview. “I can’t imagine any legitimate reason in the world why a person would refuse to give their name and photo identification to a police officer if they were asked.”

In other words, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear…or, in other words, submit to the police state. Wrong!…

“The ‘crime’ in this case is basically that you’re here and we don’t think, from looking at you, that you should be here,” she added. “The potential for abuse in that seems obvious.”

DiLoreta also pointed out the menacing nature of cops being able to essentially kidnap anyone they want for hours and keep it off the record. Nobody ever should be taken into police custody without a record being made of it, she said.

“That’s starting to approach what you see in a police state or Soviet Russia,” DiLoreta said.

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The Rutherford Institute :: Deadly Distractions: Laying the Groundwork for the Next Civil War | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2020

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a totalitarian state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/deadly_distractions_laying_the_groundwork_for_the_next_civil_war

By John W. Whitehead

And so it continues.

This impeachment fiasco is merely the latest in a never-ending series of distractions, distortions, and political theater aimed at diverting the public’s attention from the sinister advances of the American Police State.

Don’t allow yourselves to be distracted, diverted or mesmerized by the cheap theater tricks.

This impeachment spectacle is Shakespearean in its scope: full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Nothing is the key word here.

Despite the wall-to-wall media coverage, nothing will change.

Mark my words: the government will remain as corrupt and self-serving as ever, dominated by two political factions that pretend to be at odds with each other all the while moving in lockstep to maintain the status quo.

So President Trump’s legal team can grandstand all they want about the impeachment trial being “an affront to the Constitution” and “a dangerous perversion of the Constitution,” but that’s just smoke and mirrors.

You know what is really “an affront to the Constitution”? The U.S. government.

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

The republic has fallen.

The Deep State’s plot to take over America has succeeded.

The American system of representative government has been overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic, corporate oligarchy bent on total control and global domination through the imposition of martial law here at home and by fomenting wars abroad.

Even now, we are being pushed and prodded towards a civil war, not because the American people are so divided but because that’s how corrupt governments control a populace (i.e., divide and conquer).

These are dangerous times.

These are indeed dangerous times but not because of violent crime, which remains at an all-time low, or because of terrorism, which is statistically rare, or because the borders are being invaded by foreign armies, which data reports from the Department of Homeland Security refute.

No, the real danger that we face comes from none other than the U.S. government and the powers it has granted to its standing armies to rob, steal, cheat, harass, detain, brutalize, terrorize, torture and kill American citizens with immunity.

The danger “we the people” face comes from masked invaders on the government payroll who crash through our doors in the dark of night, shoot our dogs, and terrorize our families.

This danger comes from militarized henchmen on the government payroll who demand absolute obedience, instill abject fear, and shoot first and ask questions later.

This danger comes from greedy, power-hungry bureaucrats on the government payroll who have little to no understanding of their constitutional limits.

This danger comes from greedy politicians and corporations for whom profit trumps principle.

You want to know about the state of our union? It’s downright scary.

Consider, if you will, all of the dastardly, devious, diabolical, dangerous, debilitating, deceitful, dehumanizing, demonic, depraved, dishonorable, disillusioning, discriminatory, dictatorial schemes inflicted on “we the people” by a bureaucratic, totalitarian regime that has long since ceased to be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Americans have no protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, such as the 16-year-old teenager who skipped school only to be shot by police after they mistook him for a fleeing burglar. Then there was the unarmed black man in Texas “who was pursued and shot in the back of the neck by Austin Police… after failing to properly identify himself and leaving the scene of an unrelated incident.” And who could forget the 19-year-old Seattle woman who was accidentally shot in the leg by police after she refused to show her hands? What is increasingly common, however, is the news that the officers involved in these incidents get off with little more than a slap on the hands.

Americans are little more than pocketbooks to fund the police state. If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off. This is true, whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

Americans are no longer innocent until proven guilty. We once operated under the assumption that you were innocent until proven guilty. Due in large part to rapid advances in technology and a heightened surveillance culture, the burden of proof has been shifted so that the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty has been usurped by a new norm in which all citizens are suspects. This is exemplified by police practices of stopping and frisking people who are merely walking down the street and where there is no evidence of wrongdoing. Likewise, by subjecting Americans to full-body scans and license-plate readers without their knowledge or compliance and then storing the scans for later use, the government—in cahoots with the corporate state—has erected the ultimate suspect society. In such an environment, we are all potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Americans no longer have a right to self-defense. In the wake of various shootings in recent years, “gun control” has become a resounding theme. Those advocating gun reform see the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms as applying only to government officials. As a result, even Americans who legally own firearms are being treated with suspicion and, in some cases, undue violence. In one case, a Texas man had his home subjected to a no-knock raid and was shot in his bed after police, attempting to deliver a routine search warrant, learned that he was in legal possession of a firearm. In another incident, a Florida man who was licensed to carry a concealed firearm found himself detained for two hours during a routine traffic stop in Maryland while the arresting officer searched his vehicle in vain for the man’s gun, which he had left at home. Incidentally, the Trump Administration has done more to crack down on Second Amendment rights than anything the Obama Administration ever managed.

Americans no longer have a right to private property. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Americans no longer have a say about what their children are exposed to in school. Incredibly, the government continues to insist that parents essentially forfeit their rights when they send their children to a public school. This growing tension over whether young people, especially those in the public schools, are essentially wards of the state, to do with as government officials deem appropriate, in defiance of the children’s constitutional rights and those of their parents, is reflected in the debate over sex education programs that expose young people to all manner of sexual practices and terminology, zero tolerance policies that strip students of any due process rights, let alone parental involvement in school discipline, and Common Core programs that teach students to be test-takers rather than critical thinkers.

Americans are powerless in the face of militarized police. In early America, citizens were considered equals with law enforcement officials. Authorities were rarely permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And it was not uncommon for police officers to be held personally liable for trespass when they wrongfully invaded a citizen’s home. Unlike today, early Americans could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant—which the police had to allow citizens to read before arresting them. (Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons and tasers would be nothing short of suicidal.) As police forces across the country continue to be transformed into outposts of the military, with police agencies acquiring military-grade hardware in droves, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield.

Americans no longer have a right to bodily integrity. Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops. Remember the New Mexico man who was subjected to a 12-hour ordeal of anal probes, X-rays, enemas, and finally a colonoscopy—all because he allegedly rolled through a stop sign?

Americans no longer have a right to the expectation of privacy. Despite the staggering number of revelations about government spying on Americans’ phone calls, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Google searches, emails, bookstore and grocery purchases, bank statements, commuter toll records, etc., Congress, the president and the courts have done little to nothing to counteract these abuses. Instead, they seem determined to accustom us to life in this electronic concentration camp.

Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. The U.S. Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet through their deference to police power, preference for security over freedom, and evisceration of our most basic rights for the sake of order and expediency, the justices of the Supreme Court have become the architects of the American police state in which we now live, while the lower courts have appointed themselves courts of order, concerned primarily with advancing the government’s agenda, no matter how unjust or illegal.

Americans no longer have a representative government. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age, let’s call it the age of authoritarianism. In fact, a study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups. It is not overstating matters to say that Congress, which has done its best to keep their unhappy constituents at a distance, may well be the most self-serving, semi-corrupt institution in America.

In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism: a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere subjects to be controlled. Rest assured that when and if fascism finally takes hold in America, the basic forms of government will remain: Fascism will appear to be friendly. The legislators will be in session. There will be elections, and the news media will continue to cover the entertainment and political trivia. Consent of the governed, however, will no longer apply. Actual control will have finally passed to the oligarchic elite controlling the government behind the scenes. Sound familiar? Clearly, we are now ruled by an oligarchic elite of governmental and corporate interests. We have moved into “corporatism” (favored by Benito Mussolini), which is a halfway point on the road to full-blown fascism. Corporatism is where the few moneyed interests—not elected by the citizenry—rule over the many.

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a totalitarian state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom. Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal. From Clinton to Bush, then Obama and now Trump, it’s as if we’ve been caught in a time loop, forced to re-live the same thing over and over again: the same assaults on our freedoms, the same disregard for the rule of law, the same subservience to the Deep State, and the same corrupt, self-serving government that exists only to amass power, enrich its shareholders and ensure its continued domination.

Elections will not save us.

I haven’t even touched on the corporate state, the military industrial complex, SWAT team raids, invasive surveillance technology, zero tolerance policies in the schools, overcriminalization, or privatized prisons, to name just a few, but what I have touched on should be enough to show that the landscape of our freedoms has already changed dramatically from what it once was and will no doubt continue to deteriorate unless Americans can find a way to wrest back control of their government and reclaim their freedoms.

There can be no denying that the world is indeed a dangerous place, but what the president and his cohorts fail to acknowledge is that it’s the government that poses the gravest threat to our freedoms and way of life, and no amount of politicking, parsing or pandering will change that.

It is easy to be diverted, distracted and amused by the antics of politicians, the pomp and circumstance of awards shows, athletic events, and entertainment news, and the feel-good, wrapped-in-the-flag evangelism that passes for religion today.

What is far more difficult to face up to is the reality of life in America, where unemployment, poverty, inequality, injustice and violence by government agents are increasingly norms, and where “we the people” are at a distinct disadvantage in the face of the government elite’s power grabs, greed and firepower.

The Constitution doesn’t stand a chance against a federalized, globalized standing army protected by legislative, judicial and executive branches that are all on the same side, no matter what political views they subscribe to: suffice it to say, they are not on our side or the side of freedom.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the powers-that-be want us to remain distracted, divided, alienated from each other based on our politics, our bank accounts, our religion, our race and our value systems. Yet as George Orwell observed, “The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.”

You either believe in freedom or you don’t. It’s that simple.

Everything else is just a deadly distraction. As Orwell observed in 1984:

“All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.”

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POLICE STATE: Cops Used A Loophole To STEAL Millions From People Who Committed NO Crime

Posted by M. C. on January 3, 2020

In all 39 stops, not a single charge was filed, yet the private property was still stolen.

Asset Forfeiture and the drug war – a win for government and a loss for you.

More legalized theft.

https://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/police-state-cops-used-a-loophole-to-steal-millions-from-people-who-committed-no-crime_01022020

Mac Slavo

Police officers in Missouri stole $2.6 million from drivers they knew had committed no crime.  The cops used a loophole in the Federal government’s law to get away the theft.

As part of a larger series on national asset forfeiture cases organized by the Pulitzer CenterSt. Louis Public Radio reported that St. Charles County law enforcement coerced at least 39 unsuspecting motorists into signing over their assets in 2018. This won’t be widely reported on, however, you can bet we Americans live in an oppressive police state.  The laws protect the ruling class from us and allow them to steal from us.

Martial Law Masquerading as Law and Order: The Police State’s Language of Force

According to the report, officers would lie in wait for a car committing a minor traffic violation. Upon seeing the minor violation, officers would then pull the car over, question the motorist, and then direct them to a private towing lot owned by Superior Towing. While in the lot, officers would ask more questions and search the vehicle, all in the hopes of finding large amounts of cash or connections to drugs.

If a trained police dog smelled marijuana on the cash, officers then gave the motorists two options: they could go to jail, or sign their possessions away to the department and leave with a traffic ticket. –Reason

This is corruption and immorality of the highest degree. In all 39 stops, not a single charge was filed, yet the private property was still stolen. Like taxation, this is legalized theft. It doesn’t matter if it’s called “civil asset forfeiture” or not, theft by any other name is still theft. The ruling class can take whatever they want from anyone else. 

Terrorized, Traumatized and Killed: The Police State’s Deadly Toll on America’s Children

According to a report by Reason, Missouri state law requires a criminal conviction or a guilty plea before forfeiture, and the assets are supposed to go towards schools, not law enforcement. However, according to the Pulitzer Center’s report, the federal Equitable Sharing program allowed the corruption of the police officers.  Once the stolen money was seized, it was supposed to go to the schools. But the Department of Justice provides a guide to the program, which allows for the “potential to share federal forfeiture proceeds with cooperating state and local law enforcement agencies.” By turning over their convictionless assets to the federal government, St. Charles law enforcement can split the funds 80-20.

A legislative effort to close this loophole and force law enforcement to comply with state law was defeated this year after the local police lobby quietly campaigned against it, calling it “anti-police.”  Nothing about this is “anti-police.”  This is straight-up anti-human rights.

H/T [Reason]

For more information on the police state, read constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead’s book Battlefield America: The War On The American People.  Police forces across the United States have been transformed into extensions of the military. Our towns and cities have become battlefields, and we the American people are now the enemy combatants to be spied on, tracked, frisked, and searched. For those who resist, the consequences can be a one-way trip to jail or even death.

Battlefield America: The War on the American People is Whitehead’s terrifying portrait of a nation at war with itself. In exchange for safe schools and lower crime rates, we have opened the doors to militarized police, zero-tolerance policies in schools, and SWAT team raids. The insidious shift was so subtle that most of us had no idea it was happening. This follow-up to Whitehead’s award-winning A Government of Wolves is a brutal critique of an America on the verge of destroying the very freedoms that define it. Hands up!―the police state has arrived.

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The war over words – spiked

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2020

Those who take their freedom seriously must refuse to yield to the policing of language.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/10/18/the-war-over-words/

Frank Furedi

…However, the key motivation behind today’s controversies over political language is not a concern with the quality of the language – it is a desire to limit what may be said in public debate. Recent controversies in the UK illustrate this well. Attacks on the ‘toxic’ or ‘vitriolic’ language used by politicians are often accompanied by a censorious demand that certain words should not be used, and certain ideas should not be expressed.

Last month, former prime minister John Major laid into pro-Brexit members of parliament and current prime minister Boris Johnson for using the language of ‘hate’. Major was very precise in his outline of what words should not be used in public debate. He said that words like ‘saboteur’, ‘traitor’, ‘enemy’, ‘surrender’ and betrayal’, had ‘no place’ in the Conservative Party, in ‘our politics’, or in ‘our society’…

It is a sign of the times that the intervention of the police in the debate about political language was not viewed as unusual by media commentators. Thankfully, Britain is not a police state, so it is still rare for the police to lecture parliamentarians about the language they use and the ideas they express. And yet no one asked the question, ‘When did the police assume responsibility for telling politicians what they should and should not say?’…

The principal objective of the new policing of words is not to moderate political language but to control what can be said. Because if words like traitor, surrender or betrayal cannot be used in political discourse, then it actually becomes very difficult to express a particular idea — that certain forms of behaviour seem, to some people, to contradict Britain’s national and democratic interests. The elimination of these words would diminish the ideas that could be expressed in public life, especially in relation to Brexit. The call to modify public language is motivated by a desire to achieve a political aim…

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