The ball to keep one’s eye on is the steady and ongoing expansion of government power and the consequent erosion of individual liberties and freedoms. The impeachment is a distraction. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:
“Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away…”
—Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet
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.
Ron Paul’s title question is a good one, but we doubt the public will ever get the answer. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Cato Institute Research Fellow Patrick Eddington recently filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out if the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever conducted surveillance of several organizations dealing with government policy, including my Campaign for Liberty. Based on the FBI’s response, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations, including the Cato institute and the Reason Foundation, may have been subjected to FBI surveillance or other data collection.
I say “may have been” because the FBI gave Mr. Eddington a “Glomar response” to his FOIA requests pertaining to these organizations. A Glomar response is where an agency says it can “neither confirm nor deny” involvement in a particular activity. Glomar was a salvage ship the Central Intelligence Agency used to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the 1970s. In response to a FOIA request by Rolling Stone magazine, the CIA claimed that just confirming or denying the Glomar’s involvement in the salvage operation would somehow damage national security. A federal court agreed with the agency, giving federal bureaucrats, and even local police departments, a new way to avoid giving direct answers.
The advances in facial recognition technology get creepier and creepier. From Kashmir Hill at nytimes.com:
A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says.
Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos.
Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.
His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.
What we have now is the exact opposite of what the founders had in mind. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
The worst mistake that the American people have made in the entire history of the United States was to permit the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state. That conversion has played a major role in the destruction of our liberty, privacy, and economic well-being.
What is a national-security state? It is a totalitarian-like governmental structure that consists of an enormous military-intelligence establishment with extraordinary powers, such as indefinite detention, torture, secret surveillance, and even assassination of both citizens and foreigners.
To put the matter into a larger context, North Korea is a national-security state. So are Egypt, China, Cuba, and Russia. And the United States. All of the regimes in those countries wield totalitarian-like powers.
It wasn’t always that way in the United States. Our nation was founded as a limited-government republic and remained that way for nearly 150 years. No Pentagon, no CIA, and no NSA. There was an army but it was relatively small — big enough to win battles against Indian tribes or a neighboring weak and impoverished country such as Mexico, but nowhere big enough to engage in wars around the world.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Collapse, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Government, History, Intelligence, Law, Military, Morality, Philosophy, Privacy, Surveillance, War
Tagged Bill of Rights, Constitution, Founding Fathers, National-security state
Payback is hell, as they say, and it looks like the Twenties are going to be a decade of payback. From Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:
In terms of ignoring reality, FOMO -YOLO’ing and flimflamming our collective way into the future, I think not. Those times have passed. Certainly they have for the US government and its extensive population of dependents.
This may be cause to celebrate for the 10% of the population who won’t notice, and will likely celebrate, the end of government jobs, government pensions or social security, deprivation of a government-subsidized health care service, lack of a government-income supplements, collapsed government contractors, or the elimination of a regulatory and counterfeiting state that has created whole industries out of nothing, industries that currently support millions of American families.
The leftward momentum of the entire cadre of Democrat candidates seeking the US Presidency this year doesn’t reflect a mass desire to make the US a socialist country. The US is already a socialist country. Friendly fascism is the name of the game, if we can believe Bertram Gross, Sinclair Lewis, or our own eyes. The 2020 candidates, announced and unannounced, aim primarily to hold these socialist gains in the face of what promises to be a very frightening decade for the 90 Percenters.
Donald Trump, in 2016 and presumably in 2020, speaks to the same sentiments the anti-Trump field emotes today, sentiments of maintaining life and economics largely as they are. Rather than politicians reaching for the stars, asking that the ship of state be guided into a brighter future, we see a display of white knuckles angrily gripping the present, with a few bones thrown to restoring some of the better memories of the past. There is no imaginable future for the US that does not contain short-term tragedy for the majority of the population, and all the candidates all know this.
Posted in Collapse, Crime, Cronyism, Culture, Debt, Economy, Government, Intelligence, Military, Politics, Privacy, Surveillance, War
Tagged Deep State, welfare state
Silicon Valley has become a bastion of left-wing politics and politically correct ideology. From Ian Miles Cheong at humanevents.com:
Big Tech amplified the culture war: now it is putting its thumb on the scale.
The early days of the internet were rife with optimism about the future of the technological society. Techno-utopians naively hoped that a society running on the so-called “Information SuperHighway” would be armed with facts, and civic life would evolve past the tired dialectic of partisan politics.
Of course what they predicted, and what ended up happening, are two very different things. Far from enlightenment, we’re confronting a world of conspiracy theories and alternative narratives produced within echo chambers and widely disseminated through social media—some of which are downright dangerous.
Before we can understand why things are the way they are, it is necessary to recall what happened in the first two decades of the 21st century. That’s likely what motivated Joe Bernstein’s recent retrospective on BuzzFeed. For all the utopianism and hope that defined the end of the 20th century, we still haven’t ended starvation and inequality, accomplished world peace, or established a colony on Mars. Instead, we have the culture war and a myriad of trivialities that threaten to ensconce the human race in low-stakes concerns like preferred pronouns and microaggressions.
Bernstein, who’s very much a “normie,” laments the ways in which the new age of enlightenment, driven by technological progress, failed to deliver. But the utopia he grieves for is very much a product of Big Tech’s monocultural hegemony. Big Tech, which has engineered the current state of political discourse, has been subsumed by leftist beliefs—both from within and without.
Your smart phone data is not anonymous, and you are being tracked. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional “surveillance states” to ever exist.
A explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think, despite the ongoing claims by companies that people’s data is “anonymous”.
Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is “a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies.”
He added: “Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that’s harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information.”