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Like Freedom? Then You Won’t Like the FREEDOM Act

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Last Monday, a bipartisan group of Senators and a coalition including libertarian and progressive activists thwarted a scheme to ram through the Senate legislation renewing three provisions of the USA FREEDOM Act (previously known as the USA PATRIOT Act).
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An Analysis of the Covid-19 Response: Weighing up the Threat From the Virus, and the Threat From the Reaction

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Would you consider the shutting down of an entire national economy for a disease such as the Black Death, which between 1347-1351 killed an estimated 60 percent of the population in the areas where it spread, to be a proportionate response? What about for a virus which carries — at the very most (see below) — a mortality rate of 1.4 percent for those who contract it?

Such decisions should be weighed in the balances. In the left-hand side, there is the number of people who could die from the illness, the burden this will place on the health care system and other vital services, and the consequent misery and devastation this will cause to individuals, to families, to businesses, and to society at large. In the right-hand side, there is the possibility of economic collapse, with the mass job losses, destruction of businesses, and extreme poverty this would bring for many.

For something like the Black Death, it is something of a no-brainer. If you don’t shut down everything very quickly, not only will people start dropping dead like flies, but the economy you are attempting to save will soon have nobody to work in it. If you were foolish enough to try to keep your economy running during such a situation, you’d end up with the worst of both worlds: almost no people and almost no economy.
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Lockdowns, curfews. Troops on the streets. Governments handing out free cash. This utter madness was entirely avoidable

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What happens when governments confuse worst-case scenarios with reality? They transform a health crisis into a social crisis and an economic tsunami, with consequences more severe than the virus could produce in the first place.

As I write, hundreds of thousands of people across Europe and the world have already lost their jobs, in the leisure and entertainment sectors in particular. As sector after sector is impacted by global lockdowns, mass unemployment is not a possibility, it is definite. And the social costs are going to be severe. How severe no one really knows. But past experiences show that when people lose jobs, they can also lose homes, their marriages, their health – and our social fabric is pulled apart.

However, we should be careful not to obsess with trying to second-guess what the huge costs to society will be of the panic. Otherwise there is a danger of one form of apocalyptic scaremongering being replaced by another.

There are two related problems. The first is that the global economy was already in the emergency ward before the impact of Covid-19. Whether the economic actions being taken across the world – from unprecedented interest-rate cuts through to eye-watering trillions of dollar state spending – will stem the flow or not remains to be seen. Perversely, it could help to shake out many non- or under-performing sections of the economy, which could be a good thing in the long-term.
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The End of Civilization?

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Governments all over the world are using the alleged threat of a COVID-19 pandemic to shut down the world’s economy. Daniel Lacalle, an authority on energy economics, writes: “The decision to shut down air travel and close all nonessential businesses is now a reality in major global economies.
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Pompeo and Netanyahu paved a path to war with Iran, and they’re pushing Trump again

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The administration of President Donald Trump may escape the most recent conflict with Iran without war, however, a dangerous escalation is just over the horizon. And as before, the key factors driving the belligerence are not outraged Iraqi militia leaders or their allies in Iran, but Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long sought to draw the US into a military confrontation with Iran. 

Throughout the fall of 2019, Netanyahu ordered a series of Israeli strikes against Iranian allies in Iraq and against Lebanese Hezbollah units. He and Pompeo hoped the attacks would provoke a reaction from their targets that could provide a tripwire outright war with Iran. As could have been expected, corporate US media missed the story, perhaps because it failed to reinforce the universally accepted narrative of a hyper-aggressive Iran emboldened by Trump’s failure to “deter” it following Iran’s shoot-down of a US drone in June, and an alleged Iranian attack on Saudi oil facility in September.

Pompeo and John Bolton set the stage for the tripwire strategy in May 2019 with a statement by national security adviser John Bolton citing “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” implying an Iranian threat without providing concrete details. That vague language echoed a previous vow by Bolton that “any attack” by Iran or “proxy” forces “on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”
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The Lesson of Covid-19

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The COVID-19 “pandemic” is primarily designed to empower the ruling elite and further its authoritarian reach. The primary tool is the innate human fear of death and this fear has been greatly magnified by the corporate propaganda media.
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Rep. Thomas Massie On Coronavirus And PATRIOT Act Suspension

As with everything else, the government is making the coronavirus outbreak much worse. Rep. Thomas Massie, one of the few original thinkers in the US House believes government should step out of the way and let the free market address demands for things like testing kits. Plus, Massie briefs the Liberty Report on the ongoing threat to our civil liberties posed by the PATRIOT Act as it has been temporarily renewed. Don't miss today's Liberty Report!
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Facebook Censoring Ron Paul Based on Bogus Politifact 'Fact-Check'

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Social media behemoth Facebook has just acted to censor and suppress Ron Paul's latest weekly column, "The Coronavirus Hoax," based on a hatchet job "fact check" by the notoriously biased "Politifact" organization.

At issue is Dr. Paul's statement that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci's claim that the coronavirus is ten times more deadly is “a claim without any scientific basis." Fauci made the claim recently in testimony before the US Congress in a move that significantly ramped up the fear factor in the US over the virus.

The "Politifact" hit piece is literally drenched in the biases of the writer, with Ron Paul being described as "a sometimes conspiracy-minded Texas doctor..." and Fauci described as a "universally trusted person." For a "just the facts" analysis, that's a lot of editorializing.

The Politifact hit piece admits that "It’s not yet known what the death rate from the current coronavirus, COVID-19, will be" but concludes that nevertheless, "early data indicate it is more than 10 times higher than the death rate for the flu."

So if you don't know how can you know?
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The Coronavirus Distraction...And The Continuing War On Iran

Neocons never like to allow a good crisis to go to waste. While Americans are increasingly threatened by authoritarian politicians if they dare leave their homes to protect against the spread of a virus that may end up being less deadly than the flu, the neocons are hard at work stirring up war on Iran. More sanctions, bombing "Iran-backed" militias in Iraq. And more. Panic is good for the war business. Don't miss today's Liberty Report...
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