Category Archives: Civil Liberties

The Friendly Faces of Fascism, by Robert Gore

Like flies drawn to steaming manure, tycoons are drawn to politics and government, all in the interests of a better world, of course.

There are two modes of human interaction: voluntary and involuntary. The symbol of the former is the market; the symbol of the latter is government. Historically, the pendulum has swung back and forth. Since the early 1900s the pendulum has swung towards government and the involuntary. Humanity’s future hinges on whether or not it will swing back. Ominously, many of the biggest beneficiaries of voluntary free choice are ideologically opposed to it.

It may seem paradoxical that Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Tim Cook, among others, build fortunes on the voluntary choices of billions of customers, then join forces with those aligned against voluntary choice. Silicon Valley used to be almost a libertarian outpost, now it’s a bastion of statism. However, there are skewed rationales for it, lodged in the nature of government and business in the 21st century, psychology, and historical precedent.

Government has become so big and all-pervasive that once a business reaches a certain size, it’s going to run into the behemoth blob. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are huge, and aside from Apple, they dominate their markets. (Apple had a little under 15 percent of the smart phone market in the first quarter of 2017). Computers and the internet are at the heart of the national security state, and Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are the heart of social media, search, smartphones, communications, and business computing. Along with Amazon, they all have significant roles in cloud data storage. In its voracious quest for information with which to track, blackmail, and subjugate the citizenry, it was inevitable the government would turn to these treasure troves.

How does a company say no to the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Defense, the NSA, and other intrusive government agencies? With difficulty. The “war on terrorism and drugs” rhetoric probably doesn’t cut any mustard, but as Senator Chuck Schumer said, the agencies, “have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” You get along by going along. Large shareholders—hedge, pension, and mutual funds—and the corporate collections of cowards known as boards of directors would take a dim view of a CEO who for ideological reasons fought a quixotic and ultimately unprofitable battle with the federal government over something as trivial as a principle.

Let’s not forget that the government has $4 trillion a year to throw around. Amazon received a $600 million dollar contract from the CIA in 2013. Tucked into the latest National Defense Authorization Act is an amendment authorizing $54 billion in online purchases by the government. Amazon will undoubtedly get the lion’s share. The government buys billions of dollars worth of computer and smart phone hardware and software every year. It also buys a lot of advertising, and Facebook and Google are the dominant online advertising platforms. You have to keep a customer that large satisfied.

Beyond payola, there’s publicity, prestige, pride, politics, and power. The first thing you do once you’ve acquired your tens of billions is set up a tax-exempt foundation. Founder and foundation then dive head first into the pool of altruistic goop into which anyone who acquires any measure of fame and fortune in contemporary America dives. It simply won’t do to say you’ve accomplished all you’ve accomplished for yourself. You must find a cause greater than yourself and proclaim your devotion to it.

That incantation serves several purposes. Bill Gates transformed from evil monopolist to philanthropic saint after he established his foundation and retired from Microsoft to devote his efforts full-time to it. Once you’ve acquired the halo, you’re ready to grab the power to which you’re wealth and superior intellect entitle you. Like flies drawn to steaming manure, tycoons are drawn to politics and government, all in the interests of a better world, of course.

There’s nothing new about this. In America, the prototype is John D. Rockefeller. He used state of the art refining technology, ruthless negotiating tactics, industrial consolidation, bribery, and governmental suppression of competitors to become the nation’s first billionaire. Rockefeller was a charter member of the oligarchy that guided the US into central banking, the income tax, foreign interventionism, and its nascent empire in the first few decades of the 1900s. His foundation sheltered his fortune from taxes, gave a bunch of money to worthy causes, burnished his image, augmented his power, and promoted world government organs like the Council on Foreign Relations and, after his death, the Trilateral Commission.

Anyone who gets involved with the behemoth blob wants power, the ability to use force to direct the actions of others. Any shred of a morality that recoils at coercively exacting involuntary compliance is abandoned. Involvement with the corrupt obscenity that is our government means either a conscious or unconscious surrender to the Dark Side paradigm: might makes the only wrong and right.

At the heart of it lies a simple truth: governments can anything they want to you if they claim they’re doing it for you. The altruistic veneer conceals every horror, from history’s bloodthirstiest regimes down to nanny state bureaucrats dictating toilets’ flush capacity. A warm place in hell is reserved for those who covet power under cover of professed good intentions. The hottest fires are reserved for those give it to them, surrendering without protest control of their own lives.

Once the government has assumed control, the entrepreneurs and executives of ostensibly private businesses toe the government’s line. It’s the only way to survive and indeed thrive under fascism, the correct label for the current system. All under cover of noble aims and approved good causes, of course. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand drew a sharp distinction between her competent champions of freedom and the incompetent toadies of soul-crushing altruism, collectivism, and statism. In real life freedom’s biggest beneficiaries have become some of its biggest—because of their competence and gargantuan fortunes— enemies.

The gravest threats to the most basic civil liberties—freedom of thought, expression, and transaction—come from the technology giants. Not simply because they’re the dominant commercial, communications and computing platforms, but because they’ve aligned themselves with the government. They’re engaging in creeping censorship, gathering massive amounts of data, cooperating with the surveillance state, and propagating propaganda. Call it the Orwellian or Panopticon state: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft will be invaluable in establishing it. We’re at least halfway there. No surprise that these companies have been stock market leaders. It’s the first rule of fascist investing: buy the companies the government favors.

Italian economist and philosopher Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) argued that regardless of the label given to a system of government, a ruling class always emerges and enriches itself. There are no historical counterexamples, certainly not 2017 America. What’s historically unprecedented, however, is the power and control America’s technological oligarchy can potentially exercise, and the relative weakness of those who champion freedom and warn of impending involuntary servitude. The louder the oligarchs proclaim their good intentions and hail tomorrow’s better world, the graver the threat becomes.

The Story of a Man Who

Did It For Himself

AMAZON

KINDLE

NOOK

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America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship, by Robert Parry

Russia is being used as the excuse for censorship. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: Arriving behind the anti-Trump “resistance” and the Russia-gate “scandal” is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives, writes Robert Parry.

A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.

Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at Consortiumnews.com before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]

To continue reading: America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

I’ve Been Banned From Facebook For Sharing An Article About False Flags, by Caitlin Johnstone

Facebook does what the powers that be want it to do. The next SLL post will be the article that got Ms. Johnstone booted. Let’s see if SLL gets the boot, too. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

My personal Facebook account, which has the maximum 5,000 friends and an additional 5,000+ followers, has been blocked from posting for three days. My page hasn’t been blocked yet, but we’ll see; I shared the article there, too.

The reason given for this ban by the little pop-up boxes when I logged on just now was that a couple months ago I had shared an article about admitted false flag operations perpetrated by governments around the world. I don’t know what happened that made Facebook’s system decide to crack down on me now all of a sudden, but I do know I’ve been a bit naughtier than usual in my last couple of articles.

The article I got the banhammer for sharing is titled For Those Who Don’t ‘Believe’ In ‘Conspiracies’ Here Are 58 Admitted False Flag Attacks. According to the site’s ticker it has 50,667 shares as of this writing. It’s laden with hyperlinks for further reading, and lists only instances of false flag operations that insiders are on the record as having admitted to themselves. It’s a good compilation of important information. People should be allowed to share it.

The notifications say I can be permanently banned if I continue posting that sort of material. I’ve had that account since 2007.

So. Who wants to see my Barbra Streisand impression?

In a corporatist system of government, corporate censorship is state censorship. When there’s no meaningful space between corporate power and government power, it doesn’t make much difference whether the guy silencing your dissent is Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Sessions. America most definitely has such a system.

To continue reading: I’ve Been Banned From Facebook For Sharing An Article About False Flags

With Bloomberg And Democrats At Bay, Now Is The Best Time To Flex Your 2A Rights, by Duane Norman

It’s a great time to stock up on firearms and ammo. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

President Trump‘s election has done little to mollify the appetite of gun control advocates.  In spite of the losses incurred by politicians who have supported gun control over the years, recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas have emboldened gun grabbers to continue their quest to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was brazen enough to appear on NBC’s Today Show and state that the man who stopped the Texas massacre never should have been legally permitted to own the weapon:

The only thing that was surprising about Biden’s commentary is that it didn’t occur sooner; as Free Market Shooter has recently covered, the gun control playbook has been to call for gun control in the wake of any mass shooting, long before the facts have been determined:

Leading the charge was former President Obama… joining in his chorus were New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NBA basketball coach Steve Kerr, and a slew of Congressional Democrats, none of whom bothered to wait until more facts on the incident were available.

But wait a second… wasn’t Trump’s win supposed to be good for gun rights?  

Indeed, gun rights advocates hoped to advance legislation to both remove suppressors from NFA regulation, and implement national concealed carry (CCW) reciprocityAnd in spite of the fact that gun control groups have all but lost the fight against suppressors, House Speaker Paul Ryan refuses to bring either bill to the House floor for a vote:

It is October 31 and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is ignoring national reciprocity legislation for the 43rd consecutive week.

National reciprocity was introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) on January 3, 2017, and law-abiding citizens have been waiting for Congress to take up the measure ever since.

The wait is fast-approaching a year, yet Ryan remains mum on the legislation. President Trump signaled that he wanted national reciprocity early in his campaign.

And even though Ryan is facing down a Republican challenger within his own district that wants to advance CCW reciprocity

 

To continue reading: With Bloomberg And Democrats At Bay, Now Is The Best Time To Flex Your 2A Rights

A Luddite’s Guide to the Future, by Bill Bonner

We have so many laws and regulations meant for our own good, our own protection, that it’s impossible to see how anything can go wrong. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:

BALTIMORE – We were disappointed to see the pedestal… naked… forlorn… its statue gone… its purpose defunct.

For more than a century, the bronze statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney – gravely pondering the weighty issues of the mid-19th century – graced the park.

Now he is gone.

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Justice Taney’s statue in Baltimore has been hauled off

No Decisions Necessary

Now, we are so much better people.

Because now we have so many rules, regulations, and protocols, we have no choice in the matter. We no longer have to be wise, clever, or good. No pondering necessary. We just have to obey!

For example, you have thousands of choices about which drugs to take.

Many of them will kill you, but you don’t want to go to the grave after taking an “illegal” drug. Better to take a doctor’s prescription; then your grieving spouse can sue somebody.

No fanny pinching without prior consent! If your wife tells you it’s okay, tell her to put it in writing. And consult a lawyer.

Unless, of course, you are famous or powerful; then, the President of the United States of America says you can do whatever you want.

And no tax avoidance… unless it is specifically authorized in one of the 71,689 pages of the U.S. tax code. Or perhaps in the 459-page Senate tax reform proposal.

That is progress! Everything is carefully laid out for us.

“Take off your shoes… take out your laptops…” The SEC gives us 80 years of rulings to guide our investment morality.

And if the impulse to say something hateful to your neighbor comes over you, you’re saved: It’s against the law. Discrimination is unlawful, too.

And according to a full-page warning in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, it is against the law even to “steer” people to neighborhoods where you think they will be more at home (that is, where other people like them live).

To continue reading: A Luddite’s Guide to the Future

Bob Lutz is Senile . . . Let’s Hope, by Eric Peters

Remember when visions of the future were optimistic, even utopian, filled with projections of progress? No more. Bob Lutz’s vision of the future sounds unintentionally Orwellian (most visions of the future these days are intentionally Orwellian). From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

The only rational explanation for Bob Lutz’ recent column predicting the imminent doom of autonomous cars – and of autonomous driving – is senile dementia.

Or something much worse.

See the picture above – of him with Elon Musk.

Lutz writes that within 20 years, at the most, every autonomous car will be scrapped or taken off the road – and that everyone will be herded, like cattle, into automated “modules,” as he describes them – to be summoned by app and paid for via debt/credit card.

These “modules” will, of course, be electric.

Here’s Bob . . .

“The end state,” according to Lutz, will be the fully automated modules (he uses autonomous, which is the acme of illiteracy; I have made the appropriate substitution) with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.”

Human-driven vehicles “will be legislated off the highways.”

Whisk! Just like that.

No more car companies. Or dealers. No car lots – new or used.

No motorcycles, either.

Just transportation service providers dunning us per ride, like Uber and Lyft – except without the option to opt out.

Car brands – especially performance car brands like BMW and Audi and Porsche – will become irrelevant and go away because the “modules” will all be the same. One electric motor being just like the next one.

And they will go the same, too.

No more autonomous movement. Just queuing up. One “module” among many, all moving at the same pace – and not your pace.

“Nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway,” Lutz explains. Everyone will be driven at the same speed, that speed to be determined by the central government-corporate hive.

To continue reading: Bob Lutz is Senile . . . Let’s Hope

The Unbearable Slowness of Fourth Turnings, Part Two, by Jim Quinn

The second of Jim Quinn’s two-part article on waiting for the Fourth Turning. From Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

In Part 1 of this article I provided the background regarding the phases of Fourth Turnings and where we stand nine years into this period of crisis. I will now ponder what could happen during the remainder of this Fourth Turning.

“History offers no guarantees. Obviously, things could go horribly wrong – the possibilities ranging from a nuclear exchange to incurable plagues, from terrorist anarchy to high-tech dictatorship. We should not assume that Providence will always exempt our nation from the irreversible tragedies that have overtaken so many others: not just temporary hardship, but debasement and total ruin. Losing in the next Fourth Turning could mean something incomparably worse. It could mean a lasting defeat from which our national innocence – perhaps even our nation – might never recover.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

The most important point to comprehend is the death of the existing social order always occurs during the course of a Fourth Turning. Thus far, those constituting the Deep State hierarchy have fended off their demise. They are utilizing every tool at their disposal to retain their wealth, power and control. As their mass media propaganda machine falters, they have redoubled their rigging of financial markets to promote a narrative of economic recovery, while further enriching themselves and their cronies.

It is clear they have reached the peak of financial manipulation, money printing, and artificial interest rate suppression. The narrative is faltering. Their last and final option to retain power is war. As their “everything bubble” (stocks, bonds, real estate) inevitably implodes, civil and/or global military conflict will be utilized to distract the populace from their Deep State domestic disasters.

The time for compromise is long past. There are no moderates left in the political spectrum. The mood of the country is clearly trending towards conflict. Trump, as the grey champion of this Fourth Turning, has proven to be a lightning rod of hate. He infuriates his political opponents, the left wing media, many in his own party, foreign leaders, billionaires and most worrisome to his well-being – the shadowy surveillance state intel operatives.

To continue reading: The Unbearable Slowness of Fourth Turnings, Part Two