Peace and Prosperity Ron Paul Institute's flagship blog Copyright Ron Paul Institute http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:36:43 GMT Fri, 07 Aug 2020 14:36:43 GMT The Pharmaceutical Narrative is Failing Bretigne Shaffer http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/07/the-pharmaceutical-narrative-is-failing/

So now we don’t have to listen to what those doctors said in front of the US Supreme Court, because it turns out that one of them has some whacky beliefs about sex with demons causing reproductive disorders. What a relief.

I’m not going to pretend that the things Dr. Stella Immanuel has said don’t sound just a little crazy to me. They do. But I’ve been observing this game long enough to have a pretty good idea of how this works:

Someone says something that contradicts the dominant narrative (in this case, the narrative about medical science), and the machine that supports that narrative goes into overdrive to discredit them, with whatever information they can dig up–as long as it doesn’t involve discussing the actual substance of what the person has said.

I understand that for some people, maybe even for a great many, that is the end of the conversation. So for everyone who is satisfied with the “fringe doctors promoting hydroxychloroquine also believe demon sex causes fybroids” narrative–please, stop here. Your ride is over, and you may go on believing that this group of doctors and other professionals has been thoroughly discredited by these statements.

For everyone else, if you are at all interested in why such a coordinated effort has been launched to silence and discredit this group, why–even before the sex demon stuff was uncovered–videos of the group’s press conference were quickly yanked from YouTube, and why their own website was taken down without warning by its host, SquareSpace, (their new website can now be found here) then please keep reading.

WHAT THE AMERICA’S FRONTLINE DOCTORS GROUP SAID:

What follows is a brief summary of the key points made by the group America’s Frontline Doctors at their press conference last week. I will not comment on the validity of their claims, however founder Dr. Simone Gold has provided support for much of what the group said, in a white paper that can be found here.

1. They believe that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19.

This is the claim made by several of the speakers, including Dr. Immanuel, based on their own clinical experience, as well as on multiple published studies. Many of those studies are listed here, and here.

2. State licensing boards are using their power to forcibly prevent people from having access to this drug.

According to Dr. Gold, many states have empowered their pharmacists to not honor prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine to be used in treating Covid-19. This, she says, is unprecedented: “It has never happened that a state has threatened a doctor for prescribing a universally accepted safe generic cheap drug off-label.”

Meanwhile, says Gold, the drug is available over the counter in many other countries, including Iran and Indonesia, where it can be found “in the vitamin section”.

3. There is a coordinated campaign to discredit and suppress information about the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for Covid-19:

“If it seems like there is an orchestrated attack going on against hydroxychloroquine,” said Dr. James Todaro, “it’s because there is.”

Dr. Todaro is speaking from experience. He was the co-author of a March 13 white paper arguing for the use of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. The paper was made public on Google Docs, received a lot of attention, and was then removed–without warning–by Google. (It has since been put back up.)

4. The World Health Organization (the authority upon which YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said she bases her company’s policy on “misinformation”) halted its trials of hydroxychloroquine based on a blatantly fraudulent study that relied on data that it appears never even existed. The WHO later resumed trials after independent investigators discovered the problems and the study’s authors retracted it.

5. We should be able to have a free and open discussion about this.

Dr. Dr. Joseph Lapado from UCLA, sums it up:
We’ve been using (hydroxychloroquine) for a long time. But all of a sudden it’s been escalated to this area of looking like some poisonous drug. That just doesn’t make sense… At the very least, we can live in a world where there are differences of opinion about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, but still allow more data to come, still allow physicians who feel they have expertise with it to use that medication, and still, you know, talk and learn and get better at helping people with Covid-19.
WHY THE ALL-OUT MEDIA ASSAULT ON THE FRONTLINE DOCTORS?:

The influence that the pharmaceutical industry wields over media outlets is no secret. As of 2018, an estimated 70% of all news advertising in the US came from pharmaceutical companies. I have written elsewhere about how “reporting” on medical issues can be difficult to distinguish from outright marketing for drug companies.

Social-media platforms are not immune to this influence, whether it comes via advertising dollars; “partnerships” such as that between the CDC Foundation and MailChimp (which like many other platforms, has an explicit policy of censoring content about vaccines that does not align with the positions of the CDC and the WHO); direct investment, such as that of Google’s parent company Alphabet; or indeed at the behest of politicians such as Congressman Adam Schiff, who last year wrote to the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook and Google, requesting that those companies censor information and products that did not conform to the officially sanctioned position on vaccines. All three complied.

So it should come as small surprise that both Google and YouTube have now taken to removing content supportive of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is no longer covered by patent, and can be made and sold by any generic producer, for a fraction of the price that Gilead, for example, might charge for its still-patented Remdesivir. Twitter and Facebook have likewise removed posts about the drug, most notably–and with no visible sense of irony–removing posts of the video in which the Frontline Doctors speak out about widespread media censorship of the topic. (You can now see those videos on Bitchute.)

One need not have an opinion on the merits of the drug hydroxychloroquine in order to recognize that something very odd is happening here. Something that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with free and open inquiry or honest scientific discourse.

Many argue that the politicization of this drug is founded in a desire to unseat President Trump, that the opposition to it is primarily because it was endorsed by Trump, and if it is deemed to be a failure (or even better, dangerous to patients) it will be a powerful strike against the president. That may well be part of what has motivated this. But there is another motivation, having to do with the desire to push a more expensive medication onto the market, and to push a new vaccine on the world’s population.

More broadly, it has to do with the narrative that those in the business of selling drugs demand we believe: that we are all in desperate need of their products (but only the ones still under patent) if we are to be healthy–or indeed, if we are to survive at all.

If it turns out that this “new” virus is easily treatable, with hydroxychloroquine or anything else, then the industry’s dreams go up in smoke. If hydroxychloroquine turns out to be a safe and effective way of treating Covid-19 (as multiple studies and the experience in many other countries outside of the US indicate it may be) then there is much less reason for anyone to receive a vaccine for it, let alone the entire world’s population. Likewise, there is no pressing need to develop a new, more expensive treatment.

But even more than that: If it turns out that hydroxychloroquine is after all a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19, then this whole episode–the silencing of dissenting voices, the “fact-checking” on social media, the campaigns against “misinformation”–will be revealed in plain sight, for what it has always been: Nothing more than a well-funded marketing campaign and damage-control effort on behalf of the industry that wants you to believe that you need to use its expensive products in order to go on living.

So when a group of doctors took to the steps of the US Supreme Court and told the world how they were having success using a cheap anti-malarial that had been in use for 65 years to treat the most deadly contagion of our generation, it was a massive blow to the narrative upon which the pharmaceutical purveyors’ success depends. And over the next few days, as viewers engaged in a race with the censors, quickly downloading videos before they were removed, to post them on other platforms… it became clear that the censors and the gatekeepers had lost control of the conversation.

This is not only about hydroxychloroquine. Every time media outlets or social-media platforms engage in outright censorship of content, in a way that happens to benefit pharmaceutical companies, both parties lose just a little more credibility. The actions we are witnessing now are not the actions of an industry confident in the value of what it provides to the world. They are the actions of a desperate, threatened creature. They are the actions of an entity that is not strengthened by the truth, but weakened by it. That is what these (increasingly obvious) acts of censorship tell us. What we are witnessing are the pangs of a lumbering, wounded, behemoth.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
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Truman’s War Crimes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki Jacob G. Hornberger http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/06/truman-s-war-crimes-at-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While proponents of the bombings have long justified them on the basis that they shortened World War II, the fact is that they were war crimes. The only reason why President Truman and the pilots who dropped the bombs were not prosecuted as war criminals is because the United States ended up winning the war.

It has long been pointed out that Japan had expressed a willingness to surrender. The only condition was that the Japanese emperor not be abused or executed.

President Truman refused to agree to that condition. Like his predecessor Franklin Roosevelt, Truman demanded “unconditional surrender.”

That was why Japan continued fighting. Japanese officials naturally assumed that US officials were going to do some very bad things to their emperor, including torture and execution. In the minds of Japanese officials, why else would the United States not be willing to agree to that one condition, especially given that it would have meant the end of the war?

The dark irony is that Truman ended up accepting the condition anyway, only after he pulverized the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs.

In an excellent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times today entitled “US Leaders Knew We Didn’t Have to Drop Atomic Bombs on Japan to Win the War. We Did It Anyway” the authors point out:
Seven of the United States’ eight five-star Army and Navy officers in 1945 agreed with the Navy’s vitriolic assessment. Generals Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and Henry 'Hap' Arnold and Admirals William Leahy, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King, and William Halsey are on record stating that the atomic bombs were either militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible, or both.
Keep in mind that there is nothing in the principles of warfare that required Truman and Roosevelt to demand the unconditional surrender of Japan (or Germany). Wars can be — and often are — ended with terms of surrender. Both presidents were willing to sacrifice countless people on both sides of the conflict to attain their demand for unconditional surrender.

But Truman’s unconditional surrender demand is not why his action constituted a war crime. This bombings constituted war crimes because they targeted non-combatants, including children, women, and seniors with death as a way to bring about an unconditional surrender of the Japanese government.

It has lone been considered a rule of warfare that armies fight armies in war. They don’t target non-combatants. The intentional killing of non-combatants is considered a war crime.

A good example of this principle involved the case of Lt. William Calley in the Vietnam War. Calley and his men shot and killed numerous non-combatants in a South Vietnamese village. The victims included women and children.

The U.S military prosecuted Calley as a war criminal — and rightly so. While the deaths of non-combatants oftentimes occurs incidentally to wartime operations, it is a war crime to specifically target them for death.

Truman justified his action by arguing that the bombings shortened the war and, therefore, saved the lives of thousands of American soldiers and Japanese people if an invasion had become necessary. It is a justification that has been repeated ever since by proponents of the bombings.

There are two big problems with that justification, however.

First, an invasion would not have been necessary. All that Truman had to do was to accept Japan’s only condition for surrender, and that would have meant the end of the war, without the deaths that would have come with an invasion and that did come with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

More important, the fact that lives of American soldiers would have been saved is not a moral or legal justification for targeting non-combatants. If Calley had maintained at his trial that his actions were intended to shorten the Vietnam War, his defense would have been rejected. He would have still be convicted for war crimes.

Soldiers die in war. That is the nature of war. To kill women, children, and seniors in the hopes of saving the lives of soldiers by shortening the war is not only a war crime, it is also an act of extreme cowardice. If an invasion of Japan would have become necessary to win the war, thereby resulting in the deaths of thousands of US soldiers, then that’s just the way that war works.

It’s also worth pointing out that Japan never had any intention of invading and conquering the United States. The only reason that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor was in the hope of knocking out the US Pacific fleet, not as a prelude to invading Hawaii or the continental United States but simply to prevent the US from interfering with Japan’s efforts to secure oil in the Dutch East Indies.

And why was Japan so desperate for oil as to initiate war against the United States? Because President Franklin Roosevelt had imposed a highly effective oil embargo on Japan as a way to maneuver the Japanese into attacking the United States.

FDR’s plan, of course, succeeded, which ended up costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Japanese citizens, including those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.]]>
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Why Antifa Is The Keyser Söze of Social Unrest Jonathan Turley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/06/why-antifa-is-the-keyser-soeze-of-social-unrest/

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on yesterday’s hearing in the Senate, which ended abruptly with Sen. Hirono walking out after a confrontation with Sen. Cruz over his objection that the Democrats were avoiding direct criticism of Antifa. In roughly 50 hearings as a witness in Congress, that was a first for me. I have been in a hearing with a lock down but I have never been in hearing with a walk out. I was not sure if I was expected to turn off the lights after both senators left.

The dramatic ending of the hearing however quickly supplanted the underlying issue. As I stated in my testimony, I am less concerned with Antifa’s role in the protests as its role in the growing anti-free speech movement in the United States.

Here is the column:

If you read the coverage online or watch the cable networks, the extremist movement known as Antifa is either the new Al Qaeda or the new Big Foot. President Trump wants to have Antifa classified as a terrorist organization, while various Democrats insist it is simply a conservative phantom. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler even insisted that violence by Antifa is a myth and called the accounts imaginary.

While I oppose designating Antifa as a terrorist organization, its existence is certainly not a myth. Indeed, it may be the most successful movement against free speech in modern history. However, its structure and tactics avoid easy detection, which is why so many people claim the group is an apparition. It is true that whenever such spontaneous and concentrated violence erupts, many people tend to believe it is Antifa.

Antifa is often the culprit on university campuses. In the film “The Usual Suspects,” the character Virgil described the invisible villain Keyser Söze. He is “the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” Antifa does exist and the last few weeks demonstrate how skilled it is as the Keyser Söze of social unrest in America.

Antifa was founded on a rejection of formal structures and leaders. Many associated groups are part of Anti-Racist Action and a loose coordinating organization known as the Torch Network. This lack of structure not only appeals to the anarchist elements for the movement but serves to evade both law enforcement and legal challenges. The threat of Antifa is not its role in civil unrest but its activities attacking free speech.

Both far left and far right groups have been identified in riots in various cities. These extremist groups use social media and the internet to sow disorder, hide their identities, and frame other groups for their activities. Notably in the last week, Richmond police identified both Antifa and the Boogaloo Boys in violent protests in that city. It is part of what Attorney General William Barr refers to as the “witches brew of violent groups on both sides” such as Antifa and some other similar groups.

Antifa members have been arrested and involved in violence in the cities. The president of the Portland National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wrote in the Washington Post to denounce the “white spectacle” of the recent violence. He asked, “What are antifa and other leftist agitators achieving for the cause of black equality?”

The answer is that Antifa is not an ally to Black Lives Matter. It is all about revolutionary change and using demonstrations to trigger greater social unrest. It follows the same purpose mistakenly spoken by former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley following those riots during the Democratic National Convention in 1968, “The police are not here to create disorder. They are here to preserve disorder.” Antifa causes such violence.

Antifa has found allies while the movement has grown. It primarily targets conservatives and the free speech community, so it has not been a major concern of liberals. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer.

That fact is that Antifa works to strike fear not in the heart of Trump but in the heart of anyone who will oppose the movement. The Antifa handbook states how the group has rejected the idea of free speech and has spent years organizing protests to prevent opposing views from getting heard. That practice has been adopted by other groups as well. Antifa violence can give colleges or politicians cover for barring conservative speakers. Nancy Pelosi has called for the revocation of a permit for a conservative prayer group viewed as a security matter in San Francisco.

George Washington University student Jason Charter has been charged as the alleged “ringleader” of efforts to take down statues across the capital. Charter has been an active Antifa member on campus for years. Following his arrest, he claimed the “movement is winning.” It is winning partly since local officials order police to stand down or drop criminal charges to avoid conflict. But it is winning mostly since people remain silent.

Silence kills free speech. Antifa knows that. It is the silence of professors who watch as their colleagues are harassed, investigated, or threatened. It is the silence of students who watch as others are attacked for dissenting ideas. It is the silence of reporters who watch as other journalists are fired or forcibly retired for challenging orthodox views. Finally, it is the silence of those politicians who dismiss the destruction of property as a case, in the words of Pelosi, that “people will do what people will do.”

Antifa will do a great deal of damage if allowed.

That is why, for academics and writers, Antifa’s presence is menacing, not mythological. As Virgil explained, Keyser Söze became the “spook story that criminals tell their kids at night.” Some politicians want to portray Antifa as a spook story that Republicans tell their kids at night. However, it is no illusion for those who have been the targets of Antifa and related groups.

Antifa has achieved the agenda against free speech to a degree that even critics like me never imagined possible. It simply took inaction from our government and silence from our citizens. Threats against free speech are reaching a critical mass in our schools and on our streets. We can either take action or remain passive bystanders to what inevitably comes next.

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.]]>
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Sad! Cuomo Begs The Rich To Return To State He Ruined! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/06/sad-cuomo-begs-the-rich-to-return-to-state-he-ruined/
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Virginia Leaps into Contact Tracing Technology Cheryl K. Chumley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/06/virginia-leaps-into-contact-tracing-technology/

Virginia has become the first state in the nation to offer for download a contact tracing Apple and Google API app aimed — according to government — at stopping and slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

And so it begins: One of modern government’s cleverest means of tracking and surveilling its people, and all for the good health of the people, to boot.

COVIDWISE, as it’s called, is being pushed by the state’s Department of Health with a promise of unrivaled privacy protections and the dangly diamond-in-the-rough whisper of saving citizens from this terrible virus and getting us all back to some semblance of societal normalcy.

The way it works is it “relies on the exchange of anonymous Bluetooth tokens between devices, with no location data or personal information collected or shared,” to alert when one smartphone carrier who’s tested positive for the coronavirus comes within a few feet of another smartphone carrier, Mac Rumors wrote.

It’s all anonymous. All private. Until it isn’t, that is.

“[Privacy’s] at the core of what we do as an agency,” said Jeff Stover, with the Virginia Department of Health, to WUSA 9.

That’s probably what the Department of Veteran Affairs maintained — before 26.5 million of its accounts were hacked in 2006. Same with the US voter database — before 191 accounts were hacked in 2015. Same with the US Office of Personnel Management — before 21 million or so accounts were hacked, beginning in 2013 through 2015. Same with the Virginia Department of Health Professions — before 8.3 million accounts were hacked in 2009. At least on that last, the governor refused to pay the $10 million ransom to the hackers.

The takeaway is this: Technology comes with no privacy guarantees. Even when it does — there are no guarantees. And those who try to guarantee, are either ignorant or outright lying.

But with contact tracing apps, the risks of hacks aren’t even the biggest privacy threats. The government is.

What starts as voluntary can quickly morph into mandatory. What begins as anonymous can quickly move into not-so-anonymous, and then shared, and then even more not-so-anonymous. It’s not a conspiracy that government collects data on citizens; it’s hardly a leap over logic to acknowledge that this government, during these chaotic coronavirus times, and already guilty of taking scores of unconstitutional crackdown steps under cover of protecting the health of the people — it’s not a leap to see how government could abuse these apps to obtain personal information on citizens. And then act on that information.

“What is disconcerting,” wrote information sciences professor Masooda Bashir and doctoral student Tanusree Sharma, of their analysis of 50 COVID-19 apps in the Google Play store that was published by Nature Medicine, “is that these apps are continuously collecting and processing highly sensitive and personally identifiable information, such as health information, location and direct identifiers (e.g., name, age, email address and voter/national identification). Governments’ use of such tracking technology — and the possibilities for how they might use it after the pandemic — is chilling to many. Notably, surveillance mapping through apps will allow governments to identify people’s travel paths and their entire social networks.”

Privacies protected now don’t guarantee privacies protected in the future. Just as the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was ever-changing, and still is, so, too, will be the government’s exploitation of contact tracing. Imagine a country where the app alerts not just the smartphone holder, but the nearest medical authorities, of pedestrian contact with a coronavirus case positive — so the medical authorities can spring into speedy high gear to make sure those who came into contact are properly self-quarantining.

Knock, knock. That’s the sound of government pounding on your door.

As Bashir and Sharma wrote — what of the post-COVID-19 era? What of the next virus, and the next, and the next? What of the next national emergency, or medical matter, or health threat, and the next?

All that technology, in the hands of government, surely won’t go to waste. Today’s COVID-19 app tracker is tomorrow’s — fill in the blank. That will change.

The theme, however, remains the same. Today’s COVID1-19 app tracker is government’s technological tool, today, tomorrow and beyond, to control citizens, curtail freedoms, clamp free association. That’s just the natural progression of government powers. And one need only look at the government’s response to COVID-19 to see that truth.

Reprinted with author's permission from Washington Times.]]>
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Think The Covid Vaccine Will End Lockdowns? Think Again! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/think-the-covid-vaccine-will-end-lockdowns-think-again/
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The Media Said Europe 'Beat Back' COVID. But Now Lockdowns Loom Again Ryan McMaken http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-media-said-europe-beat-back-covid-but-now-lockdowns-loom-again/

In recent days governments in Australia, Europe, and the US have moved toward imposing a new wave of forced lockdowns in the name of fighting the spread of COVID-19. Australia has imposed harsh new lockdown measures, including a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am. CNN reports:
Those restrictions include a curfew in Melbourne for the next six weeks, a ban on wedding gatherings, and schools must go back to online classes. ... Only one person per household is allowed to leave their homes once a day -- outside of curfew hours -- to pick up essential goods, and they must stay within a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) radius of their home.
Meanwhile in Europe, Belgium is threatening a "total lockdown" even as it tightens other measures, which now means "a family or those living together can meet only the same five people from outside their household over the next four weeks." (Belgium has been in a state of lockdown in all but name for months, since even until the most recent restrictions, an individual was allowed to meet in person with only 15 different people per week.)

Other regions of Europe are discussing similar measures. The Guardian reports:
Europe is bracing for a second wave of coronavirus as continuing outbreaks raise the prospect of reimposed restrictions ...

[T]he Spanish region of Catalonia may also have to reintroduce lockdown measures if outbreaks are not brought under control within 10 days.

In France, the health minister has called for greater vigilance after a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in young people, and Germany’s public health advisory body has said it is “deeply concerned” about the rise in cases over the past few weeks.
Serbia and surrounding countries are announcing new restrictions and regional shutdowns as cases reach new all-time highs.

With these new restrictions will come more economic devastation, more unemployment, more suicide, more drug overdoses, and more cancer death. This cycle is likely to repeat itself because lockdowns do not make diseases go away. They only— assuming the theory behind the lockdown is actually true— spread out infections into the future.

Consequently, it increasingly looks like the global public should expect regimes to keep locking down their citizens again and again. The only possible end to this cycle will be if (a) populations revolt against lockdowns, or (b) herd immunity is reached either through widespread transmission or through a vaccine.

The preferred course of action on the part of the experts and politicians is clear: lockdown forever, or until there's a vaccine.

The 'Successful' First Round of Lockdowns

Yet just a few weeks ago, though, we were hearing about what success stories lockdowns were in Europe and Australia. A commonly used phrase in the media has been that European regimes have "beat back" the virus.

The actual outcomes were apparently immaterial, so long as lockdowns are imposed. It seemed that by definition, a country that employed a lockdown strategy is successful. This is perhaps the only possible explanation for why some experts have ridiculously asserted Italy—among the worst countries in the world in terms of deaths attributed to COVID— "beat" the disease with lockdowns.

The implication of of all these declarations of "victory" was that if sufficiently harsh lockdowns were adopted, then COVID-19 would be under control.

Some even insisted that lockdowns could make the disease disappear. Australian health bureaucrats, for example, suggested that lockdowns could cause the disease to be eliminated entirely. This Australian report claims "it is expected that the virus would die out within Australia" if extreme social distancing mandates are maintained for "months." Another "expert" proclaimed in June: ""Having brought the case numbers right down [in Australia], we may not need lockdowns again."

But if we employ the logic of the advocates of lockdowns themselves, there has never been any reason to presume that lockdowns can "beat back" a disease or eliminate it.

The Logic of Lockdowns, As Stated by Advocates

The claim that forced lockdowns lead to fewer deaths has always been debatable. Some countries with harsh lockdowns, like Spain and the UK, have worse per capita death totals than countries and jurisdictions with no mandatory lockdowns, such as Sweden in Europe, and Utah and Iowa in the US.

But for the sake of argument, let's accept that lockdowns do help to slow—i.e., not prevent—the transmission of disease. (We'll ignore, for now, the deaths caused by lockdowns themselves.)

The logic therefore is this: a slowing of transmission prevents hospital resources from being overwhelmed. This, it is assumed a certain minimum level of quality can be maintained at medical institutions with the help of lockdowns. Thus, the best that can be hoped for is that some lives will be saved by ensuring hospital beds will continue to be available. But, over time, the total number of infections is the same because lockdowns do nothing to actually eliminate the disease.

Consequently, the number of lives saved is only the number of lives that would have been lost due to a lack of adequate hospital resources.

In the United States, this has, so far, been accomplished. No health system has yet been overwhelmed, and no hospital system has run out of ventilators. Any lives that might have been lost due to a lack of hospital beds have been preserved, whether through luck, lockdowns, or unknown circumstances.

But how many lives exactly have been saved, and exactly how many hospital systems would have been overwhelmed without mandated lockdowns? This is unknown and cannot be known because any number proffered for total "lives saved" requires counterfactuals. The idea that "millions of lives" have been saved by lockdowns in the US and Europe is pure theater. Moreover, any benefit that can be gained from lockdowns must be compared against increases of "deaths of despair," increased child abuse, and deaths due to neglected medical conditions as a result of lockdown policies. And then, of course, there is the fact lockdowns constitute human rights violations against the basic right to seek employment and income.

From 'Flatten the Curve' to 'Lockdowns Until Vaccine'

That lockdowns bring economic, social, and psychological devastation has long been obvious to more astute observers. This is why the lockdown strategy was at first sold to the public as a strictly temporary and limited option.

During the early days of the COVID-19 panic, politicians and technocrats justified the lockdowns on the rationale "15 days to slow the spread." But then the rationale changed. We saw this shift begin to take shape in early April when, for example, US health bureaucrat Anthony Fauci claimed it would be impossible to even "relax" mandatory social distancing until there were "essentially no new cases, no deaths for a period of time" Former presidential advisor Ezekiel Emanuel insisted "The truth is we have no choice." but to remain locked down for "for the next 18 months or more."

Since then, it has become increasingly clear the preferred policy of the health technocracy is one of permanent lockdown. Both inside the US and outside, we have repeatedly heard that, worldwide, "normalcy may not be possible before a vaccine is widely available."

What If There's No Vaccine Coming?

But what if there's no vaccine right around the corner?

Earlier this week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “However, there is no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.” British PM Boris Johnson has admitted a vaccine is “by no means guaranteed.” Given the history of failed attempts at creating vaccines for coronaviruses, there's no reason to assume this coronavirus will have a vaccine in 2020, or 2021, or even beyond.

One thing we can assume, though, is that politicians and health bureaucrats will seek to continue to keep the world in lockdown indefinitely. They want "immunity passports." They want a police apparatus capable of enforcing mask mandates, forced house arrest, and any other form of "lockdown" they deem necessary.

They want to maintain the fiction that the only two options available are: world-ending plague and endless lockdown. 

Unfortunately for the experts, we've already seen the likely scenario that results from a policy of no mandatory lockdown: The case of Sweden. Sweden's total per capita death toll is by no means presently among the lowest. But Sweden has always maintained that over the long term, the total per capital death toll of COVID-19 will be similar across countries regardless of their lockdown policies. Even now, Sweden's death toll is better than that of the UK, Belgium, Spain, and Italy, all of which have enacted draconian lockdowns. In fact, the Swedish model looks increasingly prescient as time goes on. While the rest of Europe is talking about surges in cases and new lockdowns, the number of Swedish case continues to decline, while total ICU hospitalizations have plummeted. Meanwhile, Sweden was the only "the only major economy to grow in the first quarter of the year" while most of Europe was in economic disarray.

Reprinted with permission from Mises.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-media-said-europe-beat-back-covid-but-now-lockdowns-loom-again/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-media-said-europe-beat-back-covid-but-now-lockdowns-loom-again/ Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:13:27 GMT
P Is for Predator State: The Building Blocks of Tyranny from A to Z John W. Whitehead http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/p-is-for-predator-state-the-building-blocks-of-tyranny-from-a-to-z/

While America continues to fixate on the drama-filled reality show scripted by the powers-that-be, directed from the nation’s capital, and played out in high definition across the country, the American Police State has moved steadily forward.

Nothing has changed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a convenient, traumatic, devastating distraction.

The American people, the permanent underclass in America, have allowed themselves to be so distracted and divided that they have failed to notice the building blocks of tyranny being laid down right under their noses by the architects of the Deep State.

It’s time to get educated on what’s really going on. Thus, in the interest of liberty and truth, here’s an A-to-Z primer that spells out the grim realities of life in the American Police State.

A is for the AMERICAN POLICE STATE. A police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

B is for our battered BILL OF RIGHTS. In the militarized police culture that is America today, you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is rarely held accountable for violating your rights.

C is for CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE, a governmental scheme to deprive Americans of their liberties, namely, the right to property.

D is for DRONES.

E is for EMERGENCY STATE. From 9/11 to COVID-19, we have been the subjected to an “emergency state” that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security.

F is for FASCISM, a form of government where private corporate interests rule, and money calls the shots.

G is for GRENADE LAUNCHERS. The federal government has distributed more than $18 billion worth of battlefield-appropriate military weapons, vehicles and equipment such as drones, tanks, and grenade launchers to domestic police departments across the country.

H is for HOLLOW-POINT BULLETS. The government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions.

I is for the INTERNET OF THINGS, in which internet-connected “things” monitor your home, your health and your habits, driverless cars populate the highways, and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance.

J is for JAILING FOR PROFIT. This profit-driven form of mass punishment has given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep their privately run prisons full by jailing large numbers of Americans for petty crimes.

K is for KENTUCKY V. KING. In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers can break into homes, without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home as long as they think they may have a reason to do so.

L is for LICENSE PLATE READERS, which enable law enforcement and private agencies to track the whereabouts of vehicles, and their occupants, all across the country.

M is for MAIN CORE. Since the 1980s, the US government has acquired and maintained, without warrant or court order, a database of at least 8 million names of Americans considered to be threats to the nation.

N is for NO-KNOCK RAIDS. Owing to the militarization of the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams are now increasingly being deployed for routine police matters. More than 80,000 SWAT team raids are carried out every year.

O is for OVERCRIMINALIZATION and OVERREGULATION. Thanks to an overabundance of 4500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it’s estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it.

P is for PATHOCRACY. What we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.”

Q is for QUALIFIED IMMUNITYQualified immunity allows police officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing.

R is for ROADSIDE STRIP SEARCHES. The courts have increasingly erred on the side of giving government officials—especially the police—vast discretion in carrying out strip searches, blood draws and even anal and vaginal probes for a broad range of violations, no matter how minor the offense.

S is for the SURVEILLANCE STATE. A byproduct of the electronic concentration camp in which we live, you can be sure that some government agency is listening in and tracking your behavior.

T is for TASERS. Nonlethal weapons have been increasingly used by police as weapons of compliance, enabling police to aggress with the push of a button.

U is for UNARMED CITIZENS SHOT BY POLICE. No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later.

V is for VIRUSES AND FORCED VACCINATIONS. With millions of dollars in stimulus funds being directed towards policing agencies across the country, the federal government plans to fight this COVID-19 virus with riot gear, gas masks, ballistic helmets, drones, and hi-tech surveillance technology. Now there’s talk of mobilizing the military to deliver forced vaccinations.

W is for WHOLE-BODY SCANNERS. Using either x-ray radiation or radio waves, scanning devices and government mobile units are being used not only to “see” through your clothes but to spy on you within the privacy of your home.

X is for X-KEYSCORE, one of the many spying programs carried out by the National Security Agency that targets every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone.

Y is for YOU-NESS. Using your face, mannerisms, social media and “you-ness” against you, facial recognition software promises to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business.

Z is for ZERO TOLERANCE. We have moved into a new paradigm in which young people are treated as criminals, often for engaging in little more than childish behavior or for saying the “wrong” word.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the post-9/11 America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age.

You can call it the age of authoritarianism. Or fascism. Or oligarchy. Or the American police state.

Whatever label you want to put on it, the end result is the same: tyranny.

Reprinted with permission from Rutherford Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/p-is-for-predator-state-the-building-blocks-of-tyranny-from-a-to-z/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/p-is-for-predator-state-the-building-blocks-of-tyranny-from-a-to-z/ Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:55:50 GMT
The Importance of Resistance to Government Ordered Mask-Wearing Robert Wenzel http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-importance-of-resistance-to-government-ordered-mask-wearing/

The United States was once thought of as the country with rugged individuals.

You left such individuals alone and they left you alone. The country was filled with such men and women.

They appear to be mostly gone from America now.

Stunningly few think or act for themselves.

Governments in many parts of the land have ordered mask-wearing to "battle" a virus that is about as deadly to the average American under 80 as hay fever.

The mask-wearing order has resulted in near 100% compliance in such areas as California.

It is a sign of cowering submission to the state. With an added bonus of neighbors, and other busybodies, backing up the state orders with rants and rages for the few of us who do not wear masks.

We are the Resistance. There does not appear to be many of us but it is important that, when we can, we signal to the world our defiance of this tyranny. The ember for freedom must not be allowed to die out. Let the state rest uneasy knowing there are at least a few of us and that we will agitate and they don't know when that agitation could blow up into thousands, maybe more.

Given the level of oppression, it is obvious we can't go into full resistance mode everywhere we go but we should resist to the degree we can unless it gets us into serious trouble.

But if it only causes trouble for them (some agent of the state or self-appointed agent of the state), then go for it. I am currently agitating a retail chain where the company, headquartered in Dallas, has admitted that their approach by local employees to me about a mask was "less than optimal" and that the chain will launch new training for all employees. Agitation success! (I am still in the agitation process with this chain so I will reveal more later).

But aside from these agitations which are unlikely to mean a lot given that we are way outnumbered, there is another very important reason to resist and agitate.

The mask-wearing edicts are a relatively minor burden for those of us who aren't required to wear masks all day, but we don't know what is coming down the road in terms of future tyranny. It is very important to learn now how to deal with different situations for the future when the stakes might be much higher.

The resistance to masks is a dry run for us.

We are learning who reacts to us and how easy or difficult it is to get what we want.

For some, it is only a couple of words that back them away, "I have a medical condition."

For others, they will go into a near panic attack if we rebuff their demand to put on a mask and some will just be obnoxiously difficult because they have a tiny bit of power.

I have held for a very long-time the view that in sales there is a response for every objection.

The same should apply to the mask edicts.

At times, I have thought for a very long-time about the right approach to different situations. Usually, something eventually comes to me. (I could tell you stories).

Right now, I am thinking about responses that can work against raving lunatics, difficult employees in stores, etc. I have some thoughts and will try them out and report back.

But these resistance exercises are not so much for the current mask order but what might come next. We will all need to be ready, but few will be.

A couple of observations: As I test and probe what happens in different situations, I have noticed this. While riding in my office elevator, I have occasionally been on with lawyers who are heavily masked. I don't know them personally, but they are dressed like lawyers and get off on floors which house law offices. Anyway, they sometimes do seem agitated that I don't have a mask on, judging by the way they stand, body language and such. But the lawyers never challenge me, I am not sure why exactly, because plenty of others do, but I suspect they know the legal consequences of challenging someone.

This is just an observation. It may never come in handy but then again someday it may come in very handy.

Here's another observation. This Sunday, I had brunch in the North Beach section of San Francisco.

Most of the restaurants are open for outside dining so I didn't come close to wearing a mask.

After the meal, the waiter brought over the check, and I gave him my debit card to pay with. He then came back to me and said that I had to go inside to enter my pin in the machine.

I knew this was going to be fun.

Toward the back of the restaurant was either the owner (or maybe manager), he told me I couldn't come in the restaurant without a mask. I told him I didn't have one.

This confused him for a minute and then he said, "I need your pin for the card. What is your pin?"

My response, "I am not going to give you my pin."

His response: "There is no risk. I can't use the pin without your card."

My response: "You think there is no risk for me from giving out my pin, I don't think there is any risk of me catching COVID from coming into an empty restaurant."

He tried a couple more times, but I had the upper hand. He let me in without the mask to enter the pin.

Lesson learned: It is the age-old law. Always try to position so you get what you want done first and then you can negotiate everything else on your terms.

If you wonder how bad things can get, listen to this excellent Jordan Peterson clip:



Practice resistance, practice dealing with mini-agents of the state as they try to oppress. Some day what you learn could be very valuable for a decent life or even your survival.

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-importance-of-resistance-to-government-ordered-mask-wearing/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/05/the-importance-of-resistance-to-government-ordered-mask-wearing/ Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:01:28 GMT
Waking Up? More Americans Skeptical Of Media's Covid Narrative Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/waking-up-more-americans-skeptical-of-medias-covid-narrative/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/waking-up-more-americans-skeptical-of-medias-covid-narrative/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/waking-up-more-americans-skeptical-of-medias-covid-narrative/ Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:14:52 GMT
US-German relations are beyond repair as result of decades-long clash of views & ideas. Troop pullout is only a symptom Scott Ritter http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/us-german-relations-are-beyond-repair-as-result-of-decades-long-clash-of-views-ideas-troop-pullout-is-only-a-symptom/

While the Trump administration sells the decision to withdraw US troops from Germany as a strengthening of NATO force alignment, the reality is it’s merely the latest manifestation of a relationship on the decline for decades.

The announcement by Secretary of Defense Mike Esper that the US has finalized plans for the withdrawal of some 12,000 troops from Germany came as a surprise to no one. This decision, minus the details concerning implementation, was originally announced back on June 30. At that time, President Donald Trump linked it to the failure of Germany to meet its obligation regarding meeting NATO goals of defense spending matching 2 percent GDP (German levels for 2019 were around 1.4 percent). However, in announcing that, of the 36,000 forces permanently stationed in Germany, 24,000 would remain while 11,900 will deploy elsewhere or return home, Esper did not mention Germany’s budgetary arrears, instead linking the decision to new US defense priorities driven by the need for better deterrence of Russia and China.

National security experts on both sides of the Atlantic will be debating the genesis of the US troop withdrawal for some time to come, trying to assign weight to the competing justifications offered by Trump and Esper. The reality, however, is that this decision was a long time in coming, with its roots not so founded in any personal animus on the part of President Trump or strategic force re-posturing by the US. The current crisis is derived from a larger US-German dysfunction that has been in place for decades, driven by inherently incompatible world visions and value systems, and the inevitable clash between American exceptionalism and German ideals based on the principle of European sovereignty.

The notion that US-German relations during the pre-Trump era were exclusively cordial and free of controversy or recrimination is belied by the facts. The Cold War was largely defined by the division of Germany into East and West, and the resulting debate about German reunification between the US and the Soviet Union. As a battleground state, West Germany struggled with the danger of US ambivalence, as witnessed during the Berlin crises of the late 1950s and early 1960s, plus US overreaction in the form of war plans involving the use of nuclear weapons on German soil. While West Germany was a staunch NATO ally during this time, its insistence on an effective forward defense of its territory created friction amongst its cohorts, who believed that a defense in depth, which traded German territory for time needed to reinforce, represented the best way of defeating a Soviet-led invasion of the West.

The Ostpolitik policies of Chancellor Willy Brandt likewise frustrated US and NATO leaders, who saw West Germany’s efforts at détente with the Soviet Union, East Germany and other East Bloc European nations as a symptom of greater German independence from the dictates of NATO and the West. West Germany was ground zero for the anti-nuclear movement that swept Europe in the early 1980s following the US’ effort to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles onto European soil. This came in response to the Soviet deployment of SS-20 missiles, which triggered the collapse of the government of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt due to a vote of no confidence.

While the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 1987, and the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent German reunification in 1989, helped repair US-West German relations, the US involvement in the Gulf War in 1990-91 did not receive German support. While Germany rallied behind the US in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this support did not extend to the US’ decision to invade Iraq in 2003; German recalcitrance prompted then-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld to belittle Germany as part of “Old Europe.” Gerhard Schroeder, who served as German chancellor from 1998-2005, worked towards closer relations with Russia, especially in the field of energy – an action that raised the hackles of the US government.

When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, many Germans believed that he would usher in an era of improved relations that coalesced around common ideals and values, only to be disappointed by the reality that the problems souring US-German relations were larger than one man. Successive spy scandals in 2013 and 2014 involving eavesdropping by the US on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, and the recruitment by the CIA of senior German officials, only confirmed to many Germans the reality that the US did not view their nation as a friend, but rather a potential adversary. The US’ use of military bases in Germany to conduct armed drone attacks against targets in the Middle East likewise drew the ire of many Germans, who believed their sovereignty was violated by such actions.

Seen in this light, the deterioration of US-German relations under President Trump is not a new phenomenon, but rather a continuation of a decades-long slide which finds the two nations at odds over critical policy issues involving international peace and security, European independence, and relations with Russia. While Germany continues to believe that its membership in the NATO alliance is essential for European security, this stance is strained by what it views as US unilateralism and exceptionalism at the expense of European values and interests. Given the current trajectory of relations, one has to wonder how long NATO can survive under such conditions.

The decision by Secretary Esper to begin the process of withdrawing US forces from Germany is not the last word on the subject. The task of moving major command elements, combat units, and combat service support units – along with their respective civilian and dependent infrastructure – is a daunting one that will take weeks, if not months, to implement. The reality is that if Trump fails to secure reelection in November 2020, a Biden administration would be able to reverse much, if not all, of the planned withdrawal. In doing so, however, the new leadership would be confronted with the reality that the damage to US-German relations is beyond repair. They would also realise any actions they might take to appease Germany would run afoul not only of Congress, which opposes the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, but also the former eastern-bloc nations of NATO, such as Poland, the Baltics, Romania and Bulgaria, which view the force restructuring ordered by Secretary Esper as essential to their individual national security interests – the rest of the NATO alliance be damned.

Trump’s actions in ordering the withdrawal of US troops from Germany are more the byproduct of a dysfunctional US-German relationship that has been devolving for decades than they are of any grand NATO realignment against Russia or personal animosity between Trump and Angela Merkel. The worsening relationship between the two countries is tied to a clash between American exceptionalism and German notions of European sovereignty, which no US or German leader can paper over with gestures and speeches. It is a manifestation of the geopolitical disharmony that has existed in Europe and the world in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the US’ decision to fill the resulting vacuum as the unilateral global superpower.

The gradual degradation of American military, diplomatic and economic power in the three decades that followed this event is the principal driving force behind the US-German split, and with it the decline in the relevance and authority of the NATO trans-Atlantic alliance. No amount of reshuffling of American military assets can undo this reality.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/us-german-relations-are-beyond-repair-as-result-of-decades-long-clash-of-views-ideas-troop-pullout-is-only-a-symptom/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/04/us-german-relations-are-beyond-repair-as-result-of-decades-long-clash-of-views-ideas-troop-pullout-is-only-a-symptom/ Tue, 04 Aug 2020 13:06:22 GMT
Empire is the Root of US-China Hostilities Jacob G. Hornberger http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/empire-is-the-root-of-us-china-hostilities/

The biggest factor that has led the US government to initiate a hostile relationship against China involves the concept of empire. An empire wants to be the only empire or at least the dominant empire. That is, it wants to control everyone and everybody within its realm, which ideally encompasses the entire world.

That was the way it is with the US Empire, whose core is the US national-security state, which encompasses the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

As the Soviet Union was dismantling with its unilateral decision to end the Cold War in 1989, the US empire found itself to be the only empire standing in the world. Given the scope, range, and money of the US national-security state, that meant putting countries all over the world under US control and dominion.

Throughout history, empires have hated the rise of other empires because they pose a threat to the control and dominion of the already-existing empire. Rising empires have long been considered by existing empires to be “rivals,” “opponents,” “competitors,” “adversaries,” and even “enemies.”

In a free market, when an existing business is confronted by a competitor, rival, opponent, or adversary, or enemy, to maintain its market share the business must continue offering a product or service that customers want more than the product or service being offered by competitors.

That’s not the way it works with empires. They will inevitably resort to force against rising competitors in order to keep their dominate position in world affairs.

Since 1990, the US Empire has been embroiled in wars, conflicts, and hostilities in various parts of the world as part of its imperial mission to maintain “order” and “stability” in the world. Most of the violence has centered around the Middle East and Afghanistan, but the Empire also has been wreaking death and destruction in other parts of the world with such policies as sanctions, which target the citizens of foreign countries as a way to induce their regimes to comply with the edicts of the Empire.

Meanwhile, China was doing things completely differently. A couple of decades ago, the Chinese communist regime began loosening its economic restrictions on the economic activity of the Chinese people. Consequently, there was tremendous amount of wealth accruing in society and also growing standards of living. That, in turn, increased tax revenues for the Chinese government.

Thus, while the US government was making friends around the world through force of arms and hostility, the Chinese government and Chinese citizens were making friends around the world through investments, grants, and loans. This included countries in Latin America, where the US Empire has left a dark legacy of military intervention.

Moreover, war weakens a nation from within. As the US Empire was now engaged in a policy of perpetual war, it knew that China, although still weighed down with a large amount of socialism, was gaining strength.

That’s when US officials knew that they had a problem on their hands — an empire problem. That’s when they, and their supporters in the mainstream press, began referring to China as a “rival,” an “opponent,” an “adversary,” a “competitor,” aand even an “enemy.”

At that point, the objective became to strike at China before it grew any stronger and threatened the worldwide dominion and hegemony of the US Empire.

That’s what President Trump’s trade war was all about — to bring China down a peg, even if it hurt American producers and consumers in the process. That’s also what US sanctions on China and Chinese enterprises, such as Huawei are all about. It’s what the criminal prosecution of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is all about. It’s why Trump is considering banning the Chinese social network TikTok from the United States.

Of course, the Covid-19 crisis did US officials a big favor by adding significantly to China’s economic woes.

If none of this works to the satisfaction of US officials, then another possibility is war, which is a most effective way to bring a rival or adversary or competitor down. After all, as Iraqis and Afghans have learned, what better way to destroy the productive capability of a nation than with bombs dropped on factories, businesses, and people?

When it comes to empire, US officials will stop at nothing to ensure that the US Empire maintains its sole dominion and power around the world.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/empire-is-the-root-of-us-china-hostilities/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/empire-is-the-root-of-us-china-hostilities/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 19:32:55 GMT
Democrats Use COVID-19 Unemployment to Buy Votes Cheryl K. Chumley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/democrats-use-covid-19-unemployment-to-buy-votes/

Democrats want the next round of coronavirus stimulus dollars to extend the $600 unemployment insurance enhancement for those who lost their jobs or who faced mandated furloughs because of economic shutdowns. Republicans say no. And that is the sticking point.

And stick we will stay. Democrats want that money to buy votes for their subpar candidate, Joe Biden, this fall.

It’s all politics. There’s little in the Democratic fight for $600 UI insurance that’s tied to genuine concern for the people. It’s about the lead-up to November, the race to the White House. The fact is, Democrats gain big by keeping Americans home from work — in essence, by paying Americans to stay home from work.

Why? The unemployment numbers remain high, effectively stripping President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign from running on a message of a chugging economy.

Second, the unemployed individuals who take the $600 check are oftentimes bringing home more than they would otherwise earn, on the job. And that builds brand loyalty for Biden. Why would these folk want the disruptor-in-chief to disrupt their feed wagon — particularly when it’s a feed wagon that comes absent any work demands at all?

Free money.

It’s the Democrats’ big election wedge.

It’s the Democrats’ dream campaign.

“Unemployment is supposed to be wage replacement,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on “This Week” on ABC. “So it should be tied to some percentage of wages. … We want to fix the issue where in some cases people are overpaid, and we want to make sure there’s the right incentives [to get them back to work]. In certain cases, where we’re paying people more to stay home than t work, that’s created issues in the entire economy.”

Yes. It has. And honestly, Republicans have themselves to blame for these issues, as well.

Republicans, after all, were on board with the first stimulus bill’s $600 unemployment tack-on — money that was added to the unemployment dollars paid by states, to offset the COVID-19 economic disasters to families. They rushed to hand out the hand-outs, agreeing that the coronavirus had created a no-fault unemployment crater and money in the hands of the people was the speedy way to fill it. But it wasn’t hard to read those tea leaves. Pay people more money to stay home than they earn at work and, umm, they’re going to stay home as long as possible.

The dole-outs are unsustainable, though.

They’re also hindering businesses that can’t compete with the government payroll. Who are these businesses going to hire, or rehire?

Fox News reported Republicans wanted to provide the comparatively lower $200 unemployment benefit, and for only a short set period of time. But Democrats, facing a desperate run for the White House, with a candidate who can barely string together a coherent sentence, have everything to gain and nothing to lose by dragging out this unemployment benefit fight.

They will emerge the good guys fighting for the little guys. And that will give them a campaign wedge against Trump.

Republicans should’ve seen this coming. But now they’re on the defensive. And now they’re facing a tough sell. Free money almost always carries the vote.

Reprinted with author's permission from Washington Times.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/democrats-use-covid-19-unemployment-to-buy-votes/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/democrats-use-covid-19-unemployment-to-buy-votes/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:43:02 GMT
Vaccine Tyranny - Will You Take Bill Gates' Shot? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/vaccine-tyranny-will-you-take-bill-gates-shot/
]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/vaccine-tyranny-will-you-take-bill-gates-shot/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/vaccine-tyranny-will-you-take-bill-gates-shot/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:38:43 GMT
Europeans Are Waking Up to Government Covid Tyranny. Why Are We Still Asleep? Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/europeans-are-waking-up-to-government-covid-tyranny-why-are-we-still-asleep/

Tens of thousands of Germans marched through Berlin on Saturday, proclaiming a “Day of Freedom” and demanding an end to government-mandated face masks and “social distancing.” The UK and Netherlands also saw large protests against their governments’ tyrannical actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

According to media accounts, the Berlin protesters held signs reading “We are being forced to wear a muzzle,” “Natural defense instead of vaccination,” and “We are making noise because you are stealing our freedom!”

Good for them!

The New York Times Tweeted that the masses of Berlin demonstrators were all “Nazis” and “conspiracy theorists.” Does the “paper of record” really want us to believe there were perhaps a million Nazis active in the streets of Berlin? Wouldn’t that be alarming?

The fact is, Europeans are realizing that their government-mandated lockdowns did little or nothing to protect them from the virus, while causing economic catastrophe and untold human suffering.

They likely looked around and noticed that Sweden, which never locked down its economy, rejected face masks, and kept its restaurants and other places of business open, did not fare any worse than the countries that have been turned into open air prisons for much of the year. In fact, Sweden had a lower death rate from the virus than strict lockdown states like the UK and France. No wonder people are starting to get angry.

Unfortunately, while the Europeans are waking up, Americans are still asleep as our freedoms continue to be trampled. While Europeans demand an end to government tyranny, here we see states with minuscule new deaths returning to lockdown. It is as if all the wannabe tyrants from mayors to governors are finally realizing their secret dreams of ruling by decree. Their dreams are our nightmares!

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy put citizens “on notice” that he will lock the state back down if people dare to go outside without a face mask or even to have guests inside their own homes! What kind of politician puts his own constituents “on notice”?

It is not as if the “experts” are even looking into treatments for the viral infection. Doctors who report their own successful experience treating Covid patients with hydroxychloroquine, for example, are ridiculed, censored, and even fired from their jobs. The rush to silence “America’s Frontline Doctors” last week and to disappear their video down the memory hole should terrify anybody who still believes in free speech.

No, they say, we must keep locked down and masked until we have a vaccine. The US government is dumping billions into a vaccine that may be less than 60 percent effective to prevent a virus that has something like a 99.8 percent survival rate. What kind of math is that?

How many may be harmed more by the vaccine than helped? We’ll probably never know because the US government has just granted big pharma immunity from liability claims if the vaccine produces damaging side effects.

They keep moving the goal posts to keep us terrified and isolated. First it was body counts and then “cases.” The numbers have been so wildly off that it’s hard to trust any reporting. People are getting angry. They are confused. They are facing an economic depression of historic proportions. But worst of all, they are watching as Leviathan government snatches every last bit of freedom.

Three cheers for the Europeans! Let’s hope America wakes up soon!]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/europeans-are-waking-up-to-government-covid-tyranny-why-are-we-still-asleep/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/03/europeans-are-waking-up-to-government-covid-tyranny-why-are-we-still-asleep/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 13:43:24 GMT
People have been so spooked by the state-sanctioned Project Fear that they believe TENS OF MILLIONS have died from Covid-19 Norman Lewis http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/02/people-have-been-so-spooked-by-the-state-sanctioned-project-fear-that-they-believe-tens-of-millions-have-died-from-covid-19/

The perception of the risks of the Covid-19 crisis are now so exaggerated that it demonstrates how fear has become the only true enduring reality of the pandemic.

The gap between the reality and perception around Covid risks – almost a factor of 100 – shows how state-sanctioned “fake news” – Project Fear – has come to dominate the public imagination and is negatively impacting how we manage the crisis.

A Research Report, “Covid-19 Opinion Tracker, edition”, published on 27 July 2020, by Kekst CNC, a global strategic communications company which is part of the Publicis Groupe, the world’s third largest communications group, has almost passed the world’s media by. Yet it contains one truly remarkable section on the perception versus the reality of impact of Covid-19 on the public.

The report shows that across the five countries in which the survey was conducted, people, without exception, think that the risks from Coronavirus are far more widespread and dangerous than official figures show.

The survey was conducted between 10-15 July 2020. In the perception versus reality section of the survey, 1000 adults were questioned in the UK, USA, Germany, Sweden, and France.

Two questions were posed which required people filling in percentages: How many people in your country have had coronavirus? How many people in your country have died from coronavirus?

The results are astonishing: to the first question relating to the numbers who have contracted C-19; people in the UK answered 22 per cent (4 times higher than official figures); in the USA, the answer was 20 per cent (20 times greater than confirmed cases); in Germany, the answer was 11 per cent (46 times greater than confirmed cases); in Sweden, the answer was 16 per cent (20 times confirmed cases) and in France, the answers was 12 per cent (46 times confirmed cases).

On the numbers of deaths, the figures are even more exaggerated: in the UK, the response was 7 per cent (100 times greater than confirmed deaths); in the US, the answer was 9 per cent (225 times greater than the confirmed deaths); in Germany, the answer was 3 per cent (300 times greater than confirmed deaths); in Sweden, the answer was 6 per cent (100 times greater than confirmed deaths); and in France, the answer was 5 per cent (100 times greater than confirmed deaths).

So in real terms, the public in the UK think 4.6 MILLION people have died of Covid there, rather than the actual 46,000. In the US, people believe 29.5m have died from it, rather than 155,000.

One might argue that these figures reveal people in these countries need some educating about statistics and percentages. But the truth is that the pattern is unmistakable – the perception of the risk and danger is far greater than reality.

This is the reality of society today. It is the outcome not of ‘fake news’ or an expression of that equally vacuous and fallacious invention, ‘post-truth’ society. This is an outcome of state-backed ‘fake news’, where the threat of the Coronavirus and steps taken to deal with it have institutionalised an exaggerated sense of uncertainty and fear among millions of citizens around the world.

On one level, many experts and governments, particularly behavioural ‘scientists’ will welcome this revelation. The idea that striking fear into people as a sure way to get them to change their behaviour (which I wrote about here recently), suggests for those who uphold this diminished view of the masses, that this is not only justified, but that it works.

But there is a huge price to pay for stoking such fears and misconceptions about the real threat posed by the Coronavirus. For example, the survey has another revealing insight: compulsory mask-wearing, despite having no scientific basis whatsoever, is now popular in almost all countries, and political and corporate leadership on masks has a big impact.This might increase political opportunism and have a short-term benefit for unpopular politicians, but what it is eroding is a longer-term nuanced ability to manage the risk posed by Covid-19. A manmade crisis is morphing into a “natural” disaster where fear now trumps truth; a reality from which we all stand to lose.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/02/people-have-been-so-spooked-by-the-state-sanctioned-project-fear-that-they-believe-tens-of-millions-have-died-from-covid-19/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/02/people-have-been-so-spooked-by-the-state-sanctioned-project-fear-that-they-believe-tens-of-millions-have-died-from-covid-19/ Sun, 02 Aug 2020 18:50:29 GMT
Lockdown Lunacy: Your Government Ordered Depression Has Arrived David Stockman http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/lockdown-lunacy-your-government-ordered-depression-has-arrived/

Well, the Virus Patrol sure has done it. In a fit of reckless overkill they have managed to vaporize six years of economic growth during the last 90 days. And that’s just by the mechanical reckoning of the GDP accounts, where total output in Q2 weighed in at essentially the same level as Q4 2014.

The real damage is far deeper, however, and is reflected in millions of small businesses permanently destroyed, tens of millions of households wiped-out financially and the vicious daisy chain of delinquencies, deferrals and defaults just beginning to rip through the $78 trillion edifice of debt which entombs the US economy.

Real GDP Level

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Of course, most of the Wall Street talking heads were nonplussed by this morning’s release because, well, Q2 results are claimed to be ancient history: Reality is purportedly the “V”-shaped recovery on their spreadsheets, which really can’t fail to happen because it’s always two quarters out regardless of conditions at the moment.

So let’s get something straight. What is happening is an economic catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen before, even during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In fact, the worst annual decline back then was a 14.8 percent drop in 1932, while the entire peak-to-trough real GDP decline between 1929 and the 1933 bottom was 30.5 percent.

So it would be fair to say that measured at an annualized rate, the idiotic Dr. Fauci and his Virus Patrol have now delivered a 32.9 percent GDP plunge, which single-handedly tops the entire contraction of the Great Depression.

Needless to say, the Q2 result also leaves the recessionary drops since 1950 way back in the dust. Even the auto industry induced plunge of Q1 1958 didn’t make the double-digit threshold. It clocked in at a 9.986 percent annualized decline or less than one-third of today’s cliff dive.

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What was especially notable, however, was the vaporization of personal consumption spending on services, which ordinarily accounts for upwards of 70 percent of total PCE; and which is also ballyhooed by the paint-by-the-numbers Wall Street economist as the ballast the keeps GDP moving ever higher.

Not this time!

Services spending literally fell through the trapdoor, contracting at a 43.4 percent annualized rate. That compares with the 11 recessions since 1950 where real spending on services never went negative, save for the pinprick decline of -1.6 percent annualized during the Q1 2009 bottom of the Great Recession.

By every account, the economic plunge in the winter of 2008-2009 was the worst since the 1930s, but today the Commerce Department reported a PCE-services drop that was 28X deeper!

Our purpose here is not to marshal scary numbers, even as they surely are. Rather, our point is that what is coursing through the Q2 numbers is not anything that resembles a normal chain-of-reactions macroeconomic cycle. For instance, where job losses cascade through to shrinking incomes, thereby causing consumer confidence and spending wherewithal to diminish and household spending to be curtailed.

To the contrary, what is depicted below is essentially economic martial law. Agencies of the state commanded airports, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms, movies, dentist offices, theme parks, sporting events etc. to close or operate at drastically reduced capacity, which meant, in turn, that day-in-and-day out commerce and economic output vanished instantly.

Stated differently, this 43 percent plunge in services spending didn’t happen for the ordinary reason that people were short on cash. As we show below, personal income during the quarter – thanks to the massive flow of free stuff from Washington (aka government transfer payments) – clocked in at a record level!

Consequently, there will be no rebound in the plunging red line below no matter how much fiscal and monetary “stimulus” Washington pumps into the main street economy.

The services sector accounts for nearly 66 percent of total PCE, which, in turn, accounts for 68 percent of measured GDP. So the latter will not recover until the Virus Patrol gets its foot off the neck of what we call the social congregation activities of daily economic life; and also until it and its MSM collaborationist desist from fanning the false claim that the Covid is the equivalent of the Black Plague, thereby causing people to voluntarily quarantine out of misplaced fear.

Of course, you don’t have to listen to Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady for long – yes, they have not yet been locked up in padded cells where they belong – to realize that the Virus Patrol is on a once-in-a lifetime power trip.

In ultra-busy body/Nanny State fashion they are virtually regimenting the comings and goings of a $20 trillion economy – even as they keep the US economy on indefinite idle waiting for the vaccines and antivirals from their allies in Big Pharma and the Gates Complex to ride to the (mandatory) rescue.

Annualized Change In Personal Consumption Expenditures, Services, 1950-2020

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We don’t expect the Virus Patrol to be put out of business any time soon because the Donald is too confused and weak to shut them down.

Moreover, if he keeps shooting himself in the kneecaps via tweets like today’s “lets-postpone-the-election” numbskullery, he will guarantee an even worse scenario: Namely, that while Sleepy Joe is being oxygenated and propped-up behind the Resolute Desk for daily Oval Office photo ops, the left-wing health Nazis who surround him will really go to town on Lockdown Nation.

Nor is that any kind of unhinged trashing of the camarilla of out-and-out statists who will form the core of the Biden Administration. The fact is, the Donald’s malpacticing doctors, the MSM and the Blue State mayors and governors have now unleashed a full-on public hysteria that is self-fueling.

It is now transforming ordinary sheeples into obedient and unquestioning brown-shirts. Even in the purportedly enlightened, socialist republic of Aspen, where we are sheltering for the duration, we see them “mask-up” even with no one in sight, while pumping strenuously up the mountain side on a fat-tired bike.

One manifestation of the Covid-Hysteria is the soaring level of “testing” going on as people either try to get a hall pass in order to return to work or just plain run to the nearest testing station every time the media sends off new alarm bells.

During April, for instance, which was the very worst month of the contagion in terms of serious illnesses and deaths, 5.2 million new tests were reported or 175,000 per day.

By contrast, in July to date (thru the 29th), there have been 21.5 million new tests reported or an average of 745,000 per day.

In a population that has been thoroughly exposed to the virus after five months, it is a given that with the number of tests soaring, the number of positive cases will rise proportionately. But that’s a misdirection because the real issue is the true medical severity of the new cases, and that has dropped precipitously.

The death rate has dropped from 1,800 per day in April to 780 in July; and whereas 15-20 percent of new cases were being hospitalized in most states during April, that figure has now fallen to 2-4 percent.

That is, after the Grim Reaper’s original romp through the most vulnerable populations – especially the nursing homes and long-term care facilities in March/April – the preponderant share of the remaining populations being infected and testing positive appear to have stronger immune defenses, and are mainly either asymptomatic or treating and recovering at home in the normal flu-season manner.

So on the facts, the Hysteria should be dying out, but, alas, the facts are of small moment in the context of a runaway public hysteria that is being turbocharged by a severely aggravated anti-Trump partisanship that has no modern precedent, or any at all.

We are constantly reminded that there are less than 100 days until the election, but probably of even more salience is that the next flu season will be arriving even sooner in October. And it won’t matter whether the obvious herd immunities building up against the SARS-Cov-2 cause the next flu season to be unusually mild or not.

That’s because the Virus Patrol will be at shrill alert for the “second wave” in the run-up to October, keeping the suffocated economy evident in today’s GDP report on its back foot for the balance of the year, at least. That means the ballyhooed V is now surely dead-as-a-door nail.

In this context, it needs be recalled that the services sector of the US economy is bearing the brunt of the Lockdown orders, but that it now counts for fully $8.7 trillion or 45 percent of GDP. That compares to a mere 26 percent back in the days of America’s industrial might in the mid-1950s.

In the big picture context, therefore, national policy – especially at the Eccles Building – caused the off-shoring and hollowing-out of the US industrial economy over the last three decades. In turn, that has left main street especially vulnerable to a state-orchestrated attack on its new services sector center of gravity such as outpatient surgery clinics, Pilates studios and tapas bars.

Again, an economic martial law attack on the new epicenter of the US economy means that the issue is not traditional stimulus, but clearing the decks and clearing the air of the Virus Patrol orders and Covid-Hysteria, which was the real culprit behind the Q2 GDP disaster.

Nominal GDP (light brown) Versus Service Sector PCE (dark brown), 1955-2020

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Perhaps nowhere is the impact of economic martial law more evident, ironically, than in the health care sub-sector of the services economy.

The former, of course, has been the workhorse of US GDP growth for decades. However, after peaking at $2.50 trillion in Q4 2019, it weighed in at just $1.89 trillion in Q2 2020. That’s a $608 billion decline, reflecting an astounding -24 percent contraction.

And this is supposed to be the worst medical crisis to hit America since the Spanish Flu of 1918!

But, actually, the government’s data mill is telling an absolutely opposite, nay crazy, story. Namely, that the single largest sector of the US economy plunged at a 61.6 percent annualized rate in Q2 – meaning that the figure gives the notion of being “off the charts” of history an altogether new definition.

Needless to say, health care spending is not now and never has been amenable to Washington’s vaunted stimulus machines. The overwhelming share of spending is government funded directly through Medicare/Medicaid et al or through the $300 billion per year tax shelter for employer health plans; and whether public or private, consumer health payments are overwhelming made by third-parties, thereby further limiting the efficacy of the cheap money from the Fed and free money from Uncle Sam.

The plunging red line below, therefore, is the doing of the Virus Patrol and its orders to shutdown most so-called discretionary healthy care services, such as cancer screenings. So until it is put out of business and the public Covid-Hysteria is substantially abated, the rebound of the health services sector is likely to the contained and protracted.

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In short, what we have is a government-ordered depression, not a macroeconomic recession that is purportedly remediable by a huge dose of monetary and fiscal stimulus. So the truth is, the Virus Patrol, not the Fed and Washington’s everything bailout brigade, is in charge of the recovery from the Q2 disaster, and they are not much interested in letting it happen.

To take another salient example, the go-to strategy of the Virus Patrol has been to shutdown large scale public gatherings entirely, but that’s obviously the venue of the recreation sector.

So it is not surprising that the PCE spending rate for this sector has given “cliff-diving” a run for its money. Compared to the $590 billion annualized rate of spending in Q4 2019, the current quarter clocked in at just $272 trillion.

The amounted to a 53.4 percent decline from Q4 and an out-of-this-world contraction of 61 percent annualized in the current quarter. Or alternatively, recreation spending in Lockdown Nation during Q2 reverted to the level first crossed in Q2 2002.

That’s 18 year’s worth of growth gone in a virtual economic heartbeat.

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Of course, there was one thing that was way up in Q2 – transfer payments and personal income. And every dime of the massive increase in transfer payments shown below was borrowed by Uncle Sam and monetized by the Fed.

Yet the only thing it accomplished was to further balloon the public debt because the current depression does not flow from the want of means or desire to spend: It’s the product of economic martial law ordered up by the Virus Patrol.

Still, it is worth noting that wage and salary income (brown line) was down by $680 billion at an annual rate in Q2, while the Washington spending machine boosted transfer payments at a $2.4 trillion annual rate, or by nearly four times more!

Once upon a time, that would have been considered insane overkill, and at least caused Republicans to screech at the top of their lungs about fiscal profligacy.

Alas, as they put up their $1.2 trillion Everything Bailout 5.0 against the House Dems’ $3.3 trillion alternative in the days just ahead, the chart below will be nowhere seen in the porkers’ lounges of Capitol Hill.

Change From Prior Quarter In Billions: Transfer Payments (purple line) Versus Wages and Salaries (brown line)

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Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/lockdown-lunacy-your-government-ordered-depression-has-arrived/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/lockdown-lunacy-your-government-ordered-depression-has-arrived/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 14:52:11 GMT
US Takes Unprecedented Step Of Imposing Sanctions On Assad's Teenage Son Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/us-takes-unprecedented-step-of-imposing-sanctions-on-assads-teenage-son/

This week the US imposed a new round of sanctions against the Syrian government, and while this is nothing new, what is gaining attention is the unprecedented step Washington has taken against Bashar al-Assad's teenage son.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited that the continued sanctions under the 'Caesar Act' were geared toward ending Assad's "brutal war against the Syrian people."
President Assad's oldest son, 18-year old Hafez Bashar al-Assad (named after his grandfather who previously ruled Syria), is not known to be politically active or connected, and holds no office or decision-making abilities, but now under the new sanctions he won't be allowed to travel to or have assets in the US, reports The Guardian.

When pressed US officials admitted that the action against Assad's children are preemptive. US deputy assistant secretary of state, Joel Rayburn, was cited in the following:
Asked why Assad’s teenage son had been added to the list – he was born in 2001 – Rayburn said: 'There has been a trend of senior Syrian regime actors and business people who have been active in the regime to do business through their adult family members to evade sanctions.'

'It seems very clear that the immediate family of Bashar al-Assad and their in-laws are attempting to consolidate economic power inside Syria so that they could use this to further consolidate political power.'

He said: 'Assad would only use such power to strengthen the killing machine against the Syrian people'. He denied that the sanctions would have any impact on humanitarian trade or on the economy of Lebanon.
However, many analysts have pointed out that the sanctions are designed to ensure that Syria never recovers from its crushed war-time economy, not to mention the billions in damage to buildings, homes, and infrastructure across the country.


Also interesting is the fact that the sanctions do not target al-Qaeda held Idlib province, nor the oil and gas rich northeast section of the country occupied by US forces in support of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The far-reaching US sanctions now essentially "blacklist" anyone doing business with Damascus for any reason. As geopolitical commentator Jason Ditz points out: "This would cover a lot of basic commerce Syria might engage in in the course of reconstruction, particularly importing goods and services, and may force Syria to delay such rebuilding for lack of willing contractors."

Thus it appears that the US war on Syria will grind on for many more years to come. 

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/us-takes-unprecedented-step-of-imposing-sanctions-on-assads-teenage-son/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/august/01/us-takes-unprecedented-step-of-imposing-sanctions-on-assads-teenage-son/ Sat, 01 Aug 2020 14:18:31 GMT
When Corporate Power Is Your Real Government, Corporate Media Is State Media Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/when-corporate-power-is-your-real-government-corporate-media-is-state-media/

The New York Times published an astonishingly horrible article the other day titled “Latin America Is Facing a ‘Decline of Democracy’ Under the Pandemic” accusing governments like Venezuela and Nicaragua of exploiting Covid-19 to quash opposition and oppress democracy.

The article sources its jarringly propagandistic claims in multiple US government-funded narrative management operations like the Wilson Center and the National Endowment for Democracy-sponsored Freedom House, the extensively plutocrat-funded Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the United States Naval Academy.

The crown jewel of this piece of State Department stenography reads as follows:
Adding to these challenges, democracy in Latin America has also lost a champion in the United States, which had played an important role in promoting democracy after the end of the Cold War by financing good governance programs and calling out authoritarian abuses.
Whoa, nelly.
The fact that America’s most widely regarded newspaper feels perfectly comfortable making such a spectacularly in-your-face lie on behalf of the US government tells you everything you need to know about what the mass media in America really are and what they do.

The United States has never at any time been a champion of democracy in Latin America, before or since the Cold War. It has intervened hundreds of times in the continent’s affairs throughout history with everything from murderous corporate colonialism to deadly CIA regime change operations to overt military invasions. It is currently trying to orchestrate a coup in Venezuela after failing to stage one during the Bush administration, it’s pushing regime change in Nicaragua, and The New York Times itself admitted this year that it was wrong to promote the false US government narrative of electoral shenanigans in Bolivia’s presidential race last year, a narrative which facilitated a bloody fascist coup.

This is propaganda. There is no other word for it. And yet the only time western politicians and news reporters use that word is to talk about nations like Russia and China.

Why is propaganda used in an ostensibly free democracy with an ostensibly free media? Why are its news media outlets so consistently in alignment with every foreign policy objective of US government agencies no matter how destructive and inexcusable? If the media and the government are two separate institutions, why do they so consistently function as though they are not separate?

Well, that’s easy. It’s because they aren’t separate. The only thing keeping this from being seen is the fact that America’s real government isn’t located where people think it is.

In a corporatist system of government, where no hard lines are drawn between corporate/financial power and state power, corporate media is state media. Since bribery is legal in the US political system in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations, America’s elected government is controlled by wealthy elites who have money to burn and who benefit from maintaining a specific status quo arrangement.

The fact that this same plutocratic class also owns America’s media, which is now so consolidated that it’s almost entirely run by just six corporations, means that the people who run the government also run the media. This allows America’s true rulers to set up a system which promotes narratives that are favorable to their desired status quo.

Which means that the US has state propaganda. They just don’t call it that themselves.

Strip away the phony two-handed sock puppet show of US electoral politics and look at how power actually moves in that country, and you just see one more tyrannical regime which propagandizes its citizens, brutally cracks down on protestersdeliberately keeps its populace impoverished so they don’t get powerful enough to change things, and attacks any nation which dares to disobey its dictates.

Beneath the thin layer of narrative overlay about freedom and democracy, the US is just one more despotic, bloodthirsty empire. It’s no better than any of the other despotic, bloodthirsty empires throughout history. It just has good PR.
Plutocrats not only exert control over America’s media and politics, they also form alliances with the secretive government agencies whose operators remain amid the comings and goings of the official elected government. We see examples of this in the way new money tech plutocrats like Jeff BezosPeter Thiel and Pierre Omidyar have direct relationships with the CIA and its proxies.

We also see it in the sexual blackmail operation which was facilitated by the late Jeffrey Epstein in connection with billionaire Leslie Wexner and Israeli intelligence, along with potentially the FBI and/or other US intelligence agencies. Today the internet is abuzz as newly unsealed court documents relating to Epstein and his co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell reveal witness testimony regarding underage sex trafficking, with such high-profile names appearing in the documents as Alan DershowitzBill Clinton, and Prince Andrew.

The Overton window of acceptable political discourse has been shrunk into such a narrow spectrum of debate that talking about even well-known and extensively documented facts involving the real nature of America’s government and media will get you laughingly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, which is itself a symptom of tight narrative control by a ruling class which much prefers Americans thinking they live in a free democracy whose government they control with their votes.

In the old days you used to be able to tell who your rulers were because they’d sit on thrones and wear golden crowns and make you bow before them. Human consciousness eventually evolved beyond the acceptability of such brazen indignities, so it became necessary for rulers to take on more of a background role while the citizenry clap and cheer for the illusory puppet show of electoral politics.

But the kings are still among us, just as cruel and tyrannical as ever. They’ve just figured out how to mask their tyranny behind the facade of freedom.

But 2020 has been a year of revelations, a trend which seems likely to continue accelerating. Truth cannot stay hidden forever.

Reprinted with permission from Medium.com.
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/when-corporate-power-is-your-real-government-corporate-media-is-state-media/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/when-corporate-power-is-your-real-government-corporate-media-is-state-media/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 15:47:14 GMT
Does Rep. Louie Gohmert Have Coronavirus because He Did Not Wear a Belt? Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/does-rep-louie-gohmert-have-coronavirus-because-he-did-not-wear-a-belt/

“Rep. Louie Gohmert, who often went without a mask, tests positive for the coronavirus.” That is the headline for a Wednesday NBC article regarding United States House of Representatives member Louie Gohmert (R-TX) having tested positive for coronavirus. Similar headlines seeking to make a connection between Gohmert’s test result and Gohmert not wearing a mask were used throughout much of the media. For example, headlines read “Louie Gohmert, who refused to wear a mask, tests positive for coronavirus” at Politico and “Texas Republican Rep. Gohmert Tests Positive For Coronavirus After Rebuffing Masks” at National Public Radio.

Suppose Gohmert often did not wear a belt when he went about his daily activities. Then, media could alternatively publish articles about his coronavirus test results with headlines like “Rep. Louie Gohmert, who often went without a belt, tests positive for the coronavirus.” Mentioning Gohmert’s belt-wearing tendency would be just as relevant to the matter as is mentioning his mask-wearing tendency. As with wearing masks, there is no clear evidence that wearing belts on net helps prevent people from being infected with coronavirus.

Even if you believe masks help protect against coronavirus, pointing to Gohmert to buttress that argument does not make sense given that he said in a new interview at KETK-TV that in the last week or two he had been wearing a mask more than before. Indeed, the US House member, who says he has had none of the symptoms associated with coronavirus infection, ponders in the interview if his recent mask wearing could have caused him to be infected. Gohmert states in the interview: “I can’t help but wonder if, by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some germs, some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in.” Given coronavirus tests often result in false positives, Gohmert should also wonder whether he in fact has coronavirus.

Further stated Gohmert in the interview:
There are an awful lot of people that think [wearing a mask is] the great thing to do all the time, but I can’t help but think that, if I hadn’t been wearing a mask so much in the last ten days or so, I really wonder if I would have gotten it. But, I know, moving the mask around, getting it just right, I’m bound to have put some virus on the mask that I sucked in. That’s most likely what happened.
Gohmert’s suggestion that wearing a mask may have caused him to be infected with coronavirus brings to mind a reason National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci offered in an early March 60 Minutes interview at CBS television when advising against people wearing masks while doing their daily activities away from home. Fauci mentioned the coronavirus transmission danger from people “fiddling” with their masks.

The next month Fauci, along with other US government officials, including Surgeon General Jerome Adams who had around the time of Fauci’s interview declared at Twitter “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” and masks “are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus,” turned on a dime to encourage people to wear masks while doing daily activities away from home.

At least in some parts of America, state and local governments have not jumped on the tyrant bandwagon by imposing mask mandates justified by nonexistent “science” supposedly establishing that everyone covering their faces when they work, shop, or visit with friends reduces the spread of coronavirus. Yet, in places that have mask mandates, things can become worse. If politicians and their cohorts in the media can be so brazen in their mandating and propagandizing regarding masks, what is next? Might governments impose belt mandates too, or even goggles mandates?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/does-rep-louie-gohmert-have-coronavirus-because-he-did-not-wear-a-belt/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/july/31/does-rep-louie-gohmert-have-coronavirus-because-he-did-not-wear-a-belt/ Fri, 31 Jul 2020 14:52:37 GMT