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Blood in the Streets, in Businesses, in Religious Sanctuaries, in Homes

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Over the last few weeks, politicians at the local, state, and national levels of government have been increasingly asserting extraordinary power in the name of fighting coronavirus. As the power exercise continues to ramp up, and as the time people suffer lost liberty and lost income runs on, expect the crackdown to increasingly involve physical violence.

The longer the crackdown continues at its present or an increased intensity, the more the situation will look like a war between the enforcers of the mandates and the people who refuse to give up for so long so much of what gives life meaning.

Here is how I put it in my March 25 article concerning the drastic steps then being ordered by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to shut down businesses the city government terms “nonessential”:
Garcetti and other government officials across America are ramping up the threats against people who are attempting to do no more than proceed with living their lives. In the short term, the harsh tactics the government officials pursue may rather easily yield success for their goals of massively suppressing the expression of human freedom. But, with time, the resistance to the oppressive restraints will grow. Many people will not take well to being caged for a long time. Governments will need to exercise greater and greater force to try to keep the people down. There will be blood in the streets and blood in the businesses.
It is now approaching two weeks later, and the tyrannical actions in the name of countering coronavirus continue to expand across America.
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Local Scolds Are Using this Crisis to Grow the Police State

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My posts on social media lately have focused on national and international issues related to COVID-19. I occasionally cruise through posts from my neighborhood's Facebook page and Nextdoor.com and just throw up my hands. The local "Karens" are condemning people for traveling, looking for offending groups of >3 people they can narc on to the local hotline, and calling for increased police patrols of the neighborhood, etc. The most fundamental of civil rights mean nothing to these people.

We are being careful in my household. We don't go out much. Fortunately, we have jobs that allow us to work from home. When we go out, we take precautions as recommended.

But the mostly upper middle class residents of my neighborhood and others—at least the ones who have time for social media—are worked up into such a lather about this that they've forgotten that there are important things about our society other than avoiding getting sick.

We will all have to live in this society after the pandemic has passed. On a national scale, we will have to live with the powers government obtains during this crisis. Whatever powers they take won't all be given back (see Robert Higgs' "ratchet effect" and his book Crisis and Leviathan). And whatever powers government obtains won't all be used to effectively fight a pandemic—they will end up being used for political purposes, as the "stimulus" act should have amply indicated.
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We Will Not Comply

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We’re told by government and media talking heads that we’re in a war with the Covid-19 virus. The threat from said virus is supposedly so potent that famine, poverty, suicide and utter dependence on government is preferable to contracting the illness. We’re told to huddle in our homes and social distance ourselves from other humans at least six feet. Now we’re told it’s advisable to wear a mask when one is shopping for necessities like food and medicine.
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Coronavirus Aid for Regime Change: Washington’s 13 Point Plan for Venezuela

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The State Department released what it called its “democratic transition framework for Venezuela” this week; a 13-point plan for the removal of Nicolas Maduro and a radical overhaul of the country’s political system. The principal and most fundamental change Washington proposes is to “restore all powers to the National Assembly,” the one branch of government the right-wing pro-US opposition coalition currently holds. This would place the entire country under the control of political groups that have not won a general election in Venezuela since 1993.

In point number three, the US also demands that “all foreign security forces depart immediately.” Here, they are presumably not speaking about the US-linked far-right Colombian death squads that have been known to penetrate the countries’ long and porous border, but about Cuban security advisors and medical personnel. The United States is currently waging a silent war against the Caribbean island, pressuring countries to refuse its medical aid during the coronavirus pandemic. US-backed regimes in Brazil and Bolivia both expelled Cuban doctors from their countries upon coming to power, with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro claiming that they were “costumed doctors” who were there to “create guerilla cells and indoctrinate people.” Brazil’s Health Ministry is now asking them to return even as its president continues to deny COVID-19 is a serious problem.

According to the State Department’s transition plan, all political offices in Venezuela will be liquidated and their positions filled with people chosen by the National Assembly – i.e. the Venezuelan opposition. This includes the National Electoral Council, the Supreme Court, the Council of State and the presidency. The National Assembly has been in limbo ever since 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled it was in contempt of court. During the previous elections, a few new members of the National Assembly were tried for vote buying, but the institution refused to recognize the Supreme Court, instead demanding all power be given to it, hence the three-year-long constitutional crisis.
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Distraction? Trump Sends Warships To Venezuela

In a shocking press conference yesterday, President Trump and his advisors announced that the US military would begin conducting a "counter-narcotics operation" in the eastern Pacific and Caribbean. Perhaps not coincidentally, Trump's Justice Department indicted Venezuelan president Maduro on drug trafficking charges. Is the US about to "do a Noriega" on Maduro based on half-baked charged that the Venezuelan leader is some kind of drug kingpin? Have the president's war-braying neocons convinced him that the best thing to get our minds off of coronavirus is a "nice little war"? Today on the Liberty Report...
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Regime Change through the Drug War

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The Justice Department’s securing of a criminal indictment of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro reminds us that when it comes to the US government’s regime-change operations, coups, invasions, sanctions, embargoes, and state-sponsored assassinations are not the only ways to achieve regime change. Another way is through a criminal indictment issued by a federal grand jury that deferentially accedes to the wishes of federal prosecutors.

The best example of this regime change method involved the president of Panama, Manuel Noriega.

Like many corrupt and brutal dictators around the world, Noriega was a partner and ally of the US government. In fact, he was actually trained at the Pentagon’s School of the Americas, which is referred to in Latin America as the School of Assassins. He later served as a paid asset of the CIA. He also served as a conduit for the US government’s illegal war in Nicaragua, where US officials were using the Contra rebels to effect a regime change in that country.

But like other loyal pro-US dictators, Noriega fell out of favor with US officials, who decided they wanted him out of office and replaced with someone more to their liking.

The big problem, of course, is the one that always afflicts US regime-change aspirations: Noriega refused to go voluntarily.
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Is It Time To End The Shutdown?

Yesterday the Mises Institute published a brilliant article titled "End the Shutdown," making the point that continuing the "house arrest" of Americans and the shutdown of the economy will have much worse consequences than the coronavirus itself. With the infection to fatality ratio at about the rate of the seasonal flu (as per a new Lancet study), is the continued destruction of American economic and social life worth it? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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Does the Church Belong to Caesar?

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I'm not sure which is more sad, that American pastors are being arrested for having public worship services or that most Christians seem to be perfectly fine with that travesty. While I always assumed the American “church” would fold at the first sign of persecution, it turns out that many have folded far easier than that. 

They didn't have to be beaten, shot, or tortured; they merely had to be commanded by the government to stop meeting; and most squeamishly complied. 

The First Amendment has been discarded as nothing more than a quaint footnote to a bygone era. To a time when “patriots” valued their freedom to assemble and worship as they pleased. To a time when they would rather die than give up this freedom. And to a time when a nation was formed with the idea of enshrining this freedom as the law of the land. Sadly, today we are told it is our “patriotic duty” to cancel church services for the sake of the greater good. 

Cable news anchors are exempt from such decrees because they're considered to provide an “essential service.” Yet pastors are deemed “non-essential” and most Christians seem fine with that. And while it is not surprising to see a secular government make such dictatorial decrees, it is astounding to see how quickly the churches have submitted. Things used to be different in Christian circles. They were certainly different in New Testament times.
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End the Shutdown

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The shutdown of the American economy by government decree should end. The lasting and far-reaching harms caused by this authoritarian precedent far outweigh those caused by the COVID-19 virus. The American people—individuals, families, businesses—must decide for themselves how and when to reopen society and return to their daily lives.
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