Thu, 09 Jul 2020 17:23:49 GMT Thu, 09 Jul 2020 17:23:49 GMT Social Justice in Response to a Predatory Ruling Elite Kurt Nimmo

It’s true. America has a systemic problem.

I’m not talking about racism. I am talking about social justice.

No, not the identity and group-centric justice demanded by the foundation and corporate funded so-called left.

I’m talking about social justice for a population subject to the abuse of a ruling financial elite.

Point is, there will never be true liberty and justice, not until the corporate crony state and its bankster owned Federal Reserve — now with a branch office in the US Treasury — is thrown out and the billionaire perpetrators of the massive economic fraud imposed on the American people are rounded up, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

This is not going to happen. It’s not going to happen with crony capitalist Donald Trump and it certainly will not happen with a semi-demented Joe Biden.

In November, after the Summer of Hate, it is entirely possible Democrats will take both the White House and the Senate, they already own the House. It all depends on how the corporate media spins the riots, the escalating murder, arson, looting, and other property crimes.

If open warfare breaks out between opposing factions — as could have happened last week at Stone Mountain, Georgia — this will play into Trump’s law and order spiel.

2020 is by far the most bizarre and dangerous election season I’ve lived through.

It doesn’t matter who the president is in January.

The winner will be beholden to the financial class. All the candidates put forward by the Republican and Democratic parties are owned by the mega-rich class, be they “liberal” or “conservative.” It really does not matter who “wins” the election, so long as that winner follows neoliberal directives. As Hillary Clinton famously quipped, she was right down the street from the Council on Foreign Relations when she was Secretary of State under the corporate media manufactured dream team of Obama and Biden.

It became impossible for Trump to do anything, so aggressive and unrelenting were the baseless investigations, fraudulent and often ludicrous evidence, and character assassination on an epic scale. In short, Democrats have engaged in treason against a duly elected president, voted into office by the very same system that put Obama, Clinton, Bush, and all the others in office.

So, either one of two things will happen. The corporate media will manage to inflate Trump’s narcissistic and combative personality, continue to portray him as a lunatic (as he mostly is), and dwell on everything from his fumbling Covid response to stumbling missteps on foreign policy, largely directed by his son-in-law and the neocons, and including the input of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate that has one political interest: Israel.

If Trump wins, we’re in for more of what we are experiencing now — escalating violence, armed confrontation, protesters mowed down by speeding cars, cops beating and pepper spraying peaceful protesters. It’s the identity crowd, the refashioned cultural Marxists, and their politique obversion, the “new right,” alt-du-jour, nationalists, Hillary Clinton’s deplorables — these warring tribes of zealots and radicals are making life almost unbearable in America. The demonstrations and accompanying violence will continue and ultimately break out in open warfare if Trump is reelected.

If Biden wins, conservatives and those on the political right — including the establishment political right — will come under intense and withering fire. It will be a remarkable experience, something like Senator Joe McCarthy meets Spanish Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada.

I’m exaggerating, but not much.

Now that the outlier political right, conservatives, libertarians, and other deplorables are considered terrorists — as specified by the establishment’s political police, the FBI — the Democrats will hold investigations and conduct show trials. Social media will be throughly sanitized, websites shut down, internet providers fined if they dare host alt-right or conservative sites deemed by the state and its corporate media to be irredeemably hate-filled and white nationalist or supremacist.

A note for the wokesters: the state will turn on you as well after the Democrats consolidate power. Antifa and other “anarchists” are presently useful in creating an atmosphere of faux revolutionary violence directed against Trump and and his dwindling MAGAites. Establishment Democrats are exploiting the outrageous claims of Black Lives Matter (all white people are blue-eyed devils) and its Marxist leadership. A reformatted and acceptable alternative will stand in its stead and obediently take its place in the bleachers with all the other cheerleaders of the state. There is no room at the top for communists. Marxists are only courted when they are useful and oblivious to being played.

Systemic crony capitalism, a corrupted political process, and the predatory rule of the financial and corporate elite will continue unabated after the election.

Finally, a prediction: Joe Biden will select Hillary Clinton as his running mate. I could be wrong about this, however it is more than obvious basement Biden is a creature of the Clinton-dominated DNC. Joe’s dementia will result in him stepping down, probably within the first year of his administration.

Hillary Clinton possesses the sort of psychopathic character attributes preferred by the elite — ruthless, able to order the murder of thousands of innocents without flinching, and trusted to resume the neoliberal game plan after the interloper in the White House is gone.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2020 17:23:49 GMT
Virus...Or Politics? Houston Democrat Mayor Cancels Texas GOP Convention Daniel McAdams
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As Long As Mass Media Propaganda Exists, Democracy Is A Sham Caitlin Johnstone

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll has reportedly found that a majority of Americans believe the completely discredited narrative that the Russian government paid Taliban-linked fighters to kill the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

“A majority of Americans believe that Russia paid the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan last year amid negotiations to end the war, and more than half want to respond with new economic sanctions against Moscow, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday,” Reuters reports.

“Overall, 60% of Americans said they found reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers to be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ believable, while 21% said they were not credible and the rest were unsure,” says Reuters.
Those 21 percent are objectively correct: the story is not credible, and it’s not even close. Gareth Porter shows in The Grayzone how the “Bountygate” narrative is so utterly baseless that even US intelligence agencies have dismissed it, Joe Lauria of Consortium News explains how it doesn’t make any sense on its face, and FAIR’s Alan MacLeod breaks down the appalling journalistic malpractice that went into circulating this incredibly thinly sourced story to the mainstream public.

The story advances no solid facts or verified information. What it does advance is pre-existing imperialist agendas like remaining in Afghanistan, killing the last of the remaining nuclear deals with Moscow, and manufacturing public support for new Russia sanctions.

And yet a majority of people believed it, and still believe it. The narrative that Russia paid Taliban fighters to kill occupying forces is now regarded as an established fact in many key circles, despite being backed by literally zero facts.

If people were as objective and adept at critical thinking as we tend to believe we are, the mass media’s unconscionable facilitation of a brazen cold war psyop would by itself have killed off all public trust in the institution of mass news reporting. But people are not as objective and adept at critical thinking as we tend to believe we are. People have many cognitive biases which distort our ability to objectively process information and understand events, including one which causes us to believe something is true just because they’ve heard it said multiple times. This makes us easily susceptible to mass media propaganda, where our encounters with daily news headlines can shape our perception of what’s going on in the world regardless of whether or not those headlines are backed by actual facts.
This latest poll is a perfect example of how the plutocrat-owned media manipulate public opinion in the interest of establishment agendas with brazen propaganda campaigns, but it is just the most recent example. Over and over and over again we see public perception of what’s going on distorted by lies inserted into their minds by the corporate news media, like when half a year after the invasion of Iraq seven in ten Americans believed Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. All it took to trick them into believing this and supporting the invasion was repeatedly mentioning 9/11 and Saddam in the same breath, despite there never being any evidence whatsoever for any such thing.

This kind of manipulation is not rare, it is ubiquitous and ongoing. Every single day the plutocratic media are putting ideas in people’s minds which favor the establishment upon which said plutocrats have built their kingdoms, normalizing the insane status quo and manufacturing support for agendas which bolster it. This is not some delusional conspiracy theory, it’s a well-documented fact to which many mainstream journalists have testified.

As long as this remains the case in our society, democracy cannot exist in any meaningful way. As long as a loose alliance of plutocrats and government operatives are able to consistently manipulate the way a critical mass of people think and vote, then you cannot rightly say that the people are in charge of the fate of their nation. If the majority is consistently in alignment with the plutocrats whose outsized media influence enables them to dominate the public narrative, then voting necessarily reflects the will of those plutocrats, not the people.

Even if you changed everything else that is wrong with the current system, nothing would change if the plutocratic class retained its ability to manipulate the way people think and vote. You can fix America’s garbage election integrity, end gerrymandering, even get money out of politics, but as long as the plutocratic class is still using its wealth to manipulate public thought in support of its interests, people would keep voting the way they’re manipulated to vote.

Manipulation is a key ingredient in any long-term abusive relationship, because people don’t tend to stay in abusive situations unless they are manipulated into doing so. This is true whether you’re talking about romantic partnerships, governments, or globe-spanning power structures. We don’t use the power of our numbers to end this abusive relationship where we are at the whim of crushing austerity, exploitative neoliberalism, endless war and rapacious ecocide, because we’re being manipulated into staying.

And, just like with any other abusive relationship, there comes a time to leave before it’s too late. That time is now. We can begin by expanding awareness of what’s really going on, both inwardly in ourselves and outwardly by sharing truthful information with others. In so doing, we stand a chance at making ourselves impossible to propagandize effectively and using our strength in numbers to force real change.

Reprinted with author's permission from
Support Ms. Johnstone's work on Patreon or Paypal.]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2020 14:14:39 GMT
Tyranny Without a Tyrant: The Deep State’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Is Working John W. Whitehead

“In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.” ― Hannah Arendt, On Violence

What exactly is going on?

Is this revolution? Is this anarchy? Is this a spectacle engineered to distract us from the machinations of the police state? Is this a sociological means of re-setting our national equilibrium? Is this a Machiavellian scheme designed to further polarize the populace and undermine our efforts to stand unified against government tyranny? Is this so-called populist uprising actually a manufactured race war and election-year referendum on who should occupy the White House?

Whatever it is, this—the racial hypersensitivity without racial justice, the kowtowing to politically correct bullies with no regard for anyone else’s free speech rights, the violent blowback after years of government-sanctioned brutality, the mob mindset that is overwhelming the rights of the individual, the oppressive glowering of the Nanny State, the seemingly righteous indignation full of sound and fury that in the end signifies nothing, the partisan divide that grows more impassable with every passing day—is not leading us anywhere good.

Certainly it’s not leading to more freedom.

This draconian exercise in how to divide, conquer and subdue a nation is succeeding.

It must be said: the Black Lives Matter protests have not helped. Inadvertently or intentionally, these protests—tinged with mob violence, rampant incivility, intolerance, and an arrogant disdain for how an open marketplace of ideas can advance freedom—have politicized what should never have been politicized: police brutality and the government’s ongoing assaults on our freedoms.

For one brief moment in the wake of George Floyd’s death, it seemed as if finally “we the people” might put aside our differences long enough to stand united in outrage over the government’s brutality.

That sliver of unity didn’t last.

We may be worse off now than we were before.

Suddenly, no one seems to be talking about any of the egregious governmental abuses that are still wreaking havoc on our freedoms: police shootings of unarmed individuals, invasive surveillance, roadside blood draws, roadside strip searches, SWAT team raids gone awry, the military industrial complex’s costly wars, pork barrel spending, pre-crime laws, civil asset forfeiture, fusion centers, militarization, armed drones, smart policing carried out by AI robots, courts that march in lockstep with the police state, schools that function as indoctrination centers, bureaucrats that keep the Deep State in power.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

How do you persuade a populace to embrace totalitarianism, that goose-stepping form of tyranny in which the government has all of the power and “we the people” have none?

You persuade the people that the menace they face (imaginary or not) is so sinister, so overwhelming, so fearsome that the only way to surmount the danger is by empowering the government to take all necessary steps to quash it, even if that means allowing government jackboots to trample all over the Constitution.

This is how you use the politics of fear to persuade a freedom-endowed people to shackle themselves to a dictatorship.

It works the same way every time.

The government’s overblown, extended wars on terrorism, drugs, violence, illegal immigration, and so-called domestic extremism have been convenient ruses used to terrorize the populace into relinquishing more of their freedoms in exchange for elusive promises of security.

Having allowed our fears to be codified and our actions criminalized, we now find ourselves in a strange new world where just about everything we do is criminalized, even our ability to choose whether or not to wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strangely enough, in the face of outright corruption and incompetency on the part of our elected officials, Americans in general remain relatively gullible, eager to be persuaded that the government can solve the problems that plague us, whether it be terrorism, an economic depression, an environmental disaster, or a global pandemic.

We have relinquished control over the most intimate aspects of our lives to government officials who, while they may occupy seats of authority, are neither wiser, smarter, more in tune with our needs, more knowledgeable about our problems, nor more aware of what is really in our best interests. Yet having bought into the false notion that the government does indeed know what’s best for us and can ensure not only our safety but our happiness and will take care of us from cradle to grave—that is, from daycare centers to nursing homes—we have in actuality allowed ourselves to be bridled and turned into slaves at the bidding of a government that cares little for our freedoms or our happiness.

The lesson is this: once a free people allows the government inroads into their freedoms or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny.

Nor does it seem to matter whether it's a Democrat or a Republican at the helm anymore. Indeed, the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government, whose priorities are to milk “we the people” of our hard-earned money (by way of taxes, fines and fees) and remain in control and in power.

Modern government in general—ranging from the militarized police in SWAT team gear crashing through our doors to the rash of innocent citizens being gunned down by police to the invasive spying on everything we do—is acting illogically, even psychopathically. (The characteristics of a psychopath include a “lack of remorse and empathy, a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, conning and manipulative behavior, and refusal to take responsibility for one's actions, among others.”)

When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, and then jails us if we dare step out of line, punishes us unjustly without remorse, and refuses to own up to its failings, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic. Instead, 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.”

So where does that leave us?

Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives. And for as long as we let them, government officials will continue to trample on our rights, always justifying their actions as being for the good of the people.

Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow. Therein lies the problem.

The pickle we find ourselves in speaks volumes about the nature of the government beast we have been saddled with and how it views the rights and sovereignty of “we the people.”

Now you don’t hear a lot about sovereignty anymore. Sovereignty is a dusty, antiquated term that harkens back to an age when kings and emperors ruled with absolute power over a populace that had no rights. Americans turned the idea of sovereignty on its head when they declared their independence from Great Britain and rejected the absolute authority of King George III. In doing so, Americans claimed for themselves the right to self-government and established themselves as the ultimate authority and power.

In other words, in America, “we the people”— sovereign citizens—call the shots.

So when the government acts, it is supposed to do so at our bidding and on our behalf, because we are the rulers.

That’s not exactly how it turned out, though, is it?

In the 200-plus years since we boldly embarked on this experiment in self-government, we have been steadily losing ground to the government’s brazen power grabs, foisted upon us in the so-called name of national security.

The government has knocked us off our rightful throne. It has usurped our rightful authority. It has staged the ultimate coup. Its agents no longer even pretend that they answer to “we the people.” Worst of all, “we the people” have become desensitized to this constant undermining of our freedoms.

How do we reconcile the Founders’ vision of the government as an entity whose only purpose is to serve the people with the police state’s insistence that the government is the supreme authority, that its power trumps that of the people themselves, and that it may exercise that power in any way it sees fit (that includes government agents crashing through doors, mass arrests, ethnic cleansing, racial profiling, indefinite detentions without due process, and internment camps)?

They cannot be reconciled. They are polar opposites.

We are fast approaching a moment of reckoning where we will be forced to choose between the vision of what America was intended to be (a model for self-governance where power is vested in the people) and the reality of what it has become (a police state where power is vested in the government).

This slide into totalitarianism—helped along by overcriminalization, government surveillance, militarized police, neighbors turning in neighbors, privatized prisons, and forced labor camps, to name just a few similarities—is tracking very closely with what happened in Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

We are walking a dangerous path right now.

No matter who wins the presidential election come November, it’s a sure bet that the losers will be the American people.

Despite what is taught in school and the propaganda that is peddled by the media, the 2020 presidential election is not a populist election for a representative. Rather, it’s a gathering of shareholders to select the next CEO, a fact reinforced by the nation’s archaic electoral college system.

Anyone who believes that this election will bring about any real change in how the American government does business is either incredibly naïve, woefully out-of-touch, or oblivious to the fact that as an in-depth Princeton University study shows, we now live in an oligarchy that is “of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”

When a country spends close to $10 billion on elections to select what is, for all intents and purposes, a glorified homecoming king or queen to occupy the White House and fill other government seats, while more than 40 million of its people live in povertymore than 40 million Americans are on unemployment, more than 500,000 Americans are homeless, and analysts forecast it will take a decade to work our way out of the current COVID-induced recession, that’s a country whose priorities are out of step with the needs of its people.

Be warned, however: the Establishment—the Deep State and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—is not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.

Voting sustains the illusion that we have a democratic republic, but it is merely a dictatorship in disguise, or what political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately refer to as an “economic élite domination.”

In such an environment, the economic elite (lobbyists, corporations, monied special interest groups) dictate national policy. As the Princeton University oligarchy study indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. As such, the citizenry has little if any impact on the policies of government.

We have been saddled with a two-party system and fooled into believing that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, when in fact, the two parties are exactly the same. As one commentator noted, both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty

We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government run by a corporate elite, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

The powers-that-be want us to believe that our job as citizens begins and ends on Election Day. They want us to believe that we have no right to complain about the state of the nation unless we’ve cast our vote one way or the other. They want us to remain divided over politics, hostile to those with whom we disagree politically, and intolerant of anyone or anything whose solutions to what ails this country differ from our own.

What they don’t want us talking about is the fact that the government is corrupt, the system is rigged, the politicians don’t represent us, the electoral college is a joke, most of the candidates are frauds, and, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we as a nation are repeating the mistakes of history—namely, allowing a totalitarian state to reign over us.

Former concentration camp inmate Hannah Arendt warned against this when she wrote, “Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.”

As we once again find ourselves faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils, “we the people” have a decision to make: do we simply participate in the collapse of the American republic as it degenerates toward a totalitarian regime, or do we take a stand and reject the pathetic excuse for government that is being fobbed off on us?

Never forget that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Reprinted with permission from Rutherford Institute.]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2020 13:48:32 GMT
Should We Trust The Covid Tests? Daniel McAdams
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The Dangers Posed by State-Controlled Digital Currency Claudio Grass

It doesn’t require too dark an imagination to realize the gravity of the concerns over the digital yuan. China is a true pioneer when it comes to surveillance, censorship, and political oppression, and the digital age has given the state an incredibly efficient and effective arsenal. Adding money to that toolkit was a move that was planned for many years and it is abundantly clear how useful a tool it can be for any totalitarian regime. The ability to track citizens’ transactions, access their financial data, control and freeze the account of anyone that presents a potential threat, it all opens the door to the ultimate oppression: total control over private resources, over people’s livelihoods and their capacity to cover their basic needs.

But we don’t even have to wait for the first signs of abuse of the system. As part of the government’s COVID relief spending packages, digital vouchers were loaded to Chinese citizens’ smartphones to encourage them to spend in their local stores. According to Dr. Shirley Yu, visiting fellow at the London School of Economics: “Digital coupons allow the Chinese government to trace the usage of these coupons,” and they “allow the government to know which sector is most helped, who uses it and where money is actually spent.” Of course, if the government has access to data that allows them to check if their policies were well transmitted and if the money was spent as they intended, they can also use that data to check and trace any transactions for any other purpose.

Xu Yuan, a senior researcher with Peking University’s Digital Finance Research Cen­tre, highlighted the regulatory benefits of making all cashflow in society traceable. “In theory, following the launch of the digital yuan, there will be no transaction that regulatory authorities will not be able to see – cash flows will be completely traceable,” Xu said in an interview. Of course, this thought is scary enough on its own, but it becomes infinitely more terrifying when those who control the system have a very long track record of abuse and blatant disregard for basic rights and liberties.

'It Could Never Happen Here'

That’s probably the most repeated argument in our “civilized” Western democracies, right before some terrible governmental abuse of power takes place, or before some new restrictive law or overarching regulation gets passed that limits individual citizens’ rights. A lot of people thought that the PATRIOT Act could never get passed, that banking secrecy would always be respected, and that there was no way we’d ever see a global economic shutdown by decree. By comparison, a digital fiat currency is not really that farfetched. In fact, about twenty central banks apart from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) are already actively working on it. As for the possibility of digital currencies and payment systems being enforced, most central bank officials and politicians in the West seem to be quite confident.

In a recent interview, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank president Patrick Harker said that a real-time digital payment option was “inevitable,” while the chief of the Bank for International Settlements also recognized that central banks will need to issue their own digital currencies soon. During the corona relief debates in the US, Democratic senator Sherrod Brown advocated for the stimulus payments to be distributed thought a digital dollar wallet. The so-called FedAccount program, which the Federal Reserve would be responsible for overseeing, would offer free bank accounts to receive money and make payments.

As for the EU, for many years there has been very strong support for the development of a digital single market. According to a recent European Parliament briefing, “There is no pan-EU retail payment method to date (other than cash in euros), as there is no European card scheme. This is a source of concern for the European Central Bank (ECB)….Thus, the ECB is calling for a European payment strategy to change this situation.” This is by all accounts the next step in the centralization and integration plan of the European Union, and this couldn’t be a better time for it to materialize. Given the decline in public trust after the EU’s handling of the corona crisis, financial “integration” could be a valuable tool to tie the members tighter together and to force all citizens into a common digital economy, centrally planned and managed.

A Fork in the Road

So, if we accept that digital currencies are inevitable and that arguably their emergence has been accelerated by the corona crisis, the real question is, Who controls them? Who issues and distributes them? Who determines their value? We stand at a historic crossroads and the answer to these questions can determine the kind of future we’ll wake up to. It could be a very bleak one, if the power remains with governments and centralized institutions. In this scenario, money will retain all the flaws and vulnerabilities of today’s fiat currencies, only its digital nature will amplify them to an unimaginable extent. The privacy violations of today will become simply unstoppable, a mere fact of life, while disastrous monetary policies, like negative rates, so far only cushioned by individuals’ ability to sidestep them through physical cash, will be forcibly and uniformly transmitted throughout the economy.

On the other hand, the future could instead be bright, if we take the other path, toward decentralization, free competition, and individual financial sovereignty. If we instead choose to break the state monopoly of money and allow private digital currencies to compete, a myriad of different solutions will emerge to serve a myriad of different needs. Savings can be accommodated though physical gold-backed digital currencies, real assets can be tokenized to facilitate and secure physical property sales, specialized cryptocurrencies can offer privacy and untraceable transactions. Far from being a pipe dream, many solutions like these already exist, while others are in the making. There is therefore a choice about what kind of future we want, and it is we, as individuals, who must make it.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2020 14:37:49 GMT
UN Investigation Finds US Soleimani Killing 'Unlawful' As There Was 'No Evidence' Of Imminent Threat Tyler Durden

The United Nations released the results of an investigation into the January 3rd US drone strike on Iran's top IRGC general Qasem Soleimani calling the killing "unlawful" on Tuesday.

The report by Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, further concluded it violated the UN charter and deemed it an "arbitrary killing" — especially given, according to her findings, there exists no evidence that Soleimani was planning an imminent attack on the United States or its personnel. 

In the days and weeks after the targeted assassination which set the region on war footing, and which shocked the world, the Trump administration and especially Mike Pompeo and Pentagon leadership cited precisely that US soldiers in the Middle East were facing "imminent" attack under orders from Gen. Soleimani.

The UN report highlighted that never before has a member nation claimed 'right to self-defense' as rationale for killing a state official in a third country.

Some of the UN report highlights, which will be presented before a UN Human Rights session (a UN body that the US pulled out of two years ago) on Thursday, are as follows

Arbitrary killing: 
In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL (international human rights law), the US is responsible.
Violated UN charter, given there was— 
'insufficient evidence provided of an ongoing or imminent attack,' Callamard wrote.
No evidence of imminent attack plotted on the US:
No evidence has been provided that General Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against US interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified.
Strike "unnecessary" and "unlawful":
No evidence has been provided that a drone strike in a third country was necessary or that the harm caused to that country was proportionate to the harm allegedly averted.

Soleimani was in charge of Iran's military strategy, and actions, in Syria and Iraq. But absent an actual imminent threat to life, the course of action taken by the US was unlawful.
Of course, any potential punitive recommendations against Washington will only ever be merely symbolic. Iran will, however, make much of it in its media as well as in any potential unlawful killing international lawsuit against the US and decision-makers in the Trump administration. Tehran has already demanded massive compensationfor the killing from the US.

The US has taken issue from the start over Soleimani being considered by many European countries as a 'state official'. Washington has instead deemed he and the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as terrorists, and thus legitimate targets of US military action.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2020 12:44:36 GMT
Covid Lockdowns Killing 29 Times More People Than Covid? Daniel McAdams
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Remember The Red Guards Before You Cheer The Woke Mobs Peter Van Buren

I’m ambivalent about statues and J.K. Rowling being torn down, but terrified of the thought process behind the destruction. Decisions should never be made by mobs. 

Is America on the edge of a cultural revolution?

The historical namesake and obvious parallel is the Cultural Revolution in China, which lasted from 1966 to 1976. Its stated goal was to purge capitalist and traditional elements from society, and to substitute a new way of thinking based on Mao’s own beliefs. The epic struggle for control and power waged war against anybody on the wrong side of an idea.

To set the mobs on somebody, one needed only to tie him to an official blacklist like the Four Olds (old customs, culture, habits, and ideas). China’s young people and urban workers formed Red Guard units to go after whomever was outed. Violence? Yes, please. When Mao launched the movement in May 1966, he told his mobs to “bombard the headquarters” and made clear that “to rebel is justified.” He said “revisionists should be removed through violent class struggle.” The old thinkers were everywhere and were systematically trying to preserve their power and subjugate the people.

Whetted, the mobs took the task to heart: Red Guards destroyed historical relics, statues, and artifacts, and ransacked cultural and religious sites. Libraries were burned. Religion was considered a tool of capitalists and so churches were destroyed—even the Temple of Confucius was wrecked. Eventually the Red Guards moved on to openly killing people who did not think as they did. Where were the police? The cops were told not to intervene in Red Guard activities, and if they did, the national police chief pardoned the Guards for any crimes.

Education was singled out, as it was the way the old values were preserved and transmitted. Teachers, particularly those at universities, were considered the “Stinking Old Ninth” and were widely persecuted. The lucky ones just suffered the public humiliation of shaved heads, while others were tortured. Many were slaughtered or harassed into suicide. Schools and universities eventually closed down and over 10 million former students were sent to the countryside to labor under the Down to the Countryside Movement. A lost generation was abandoned to fester, uneducated. Red Guard pogroms eventually came to include the cannibalization of revisionists. After all, as Mao said, a revolution is not a dinner party.

The Cultural Revolution destroyed China’s economy and traditional culture, leaving behind a possible death toll ranging from one to 20 million. Nobody really knows. It was a war on the way people think. And it failed. One immediate consequence of the Revolution’s failure was the rise in power of the military after regular people decided they’d had enough and wanted order restored. China then became even more of a capitalist society than it had ever imagined in pre-Revolution days. Oh well.

I spoke with an elderly Chinese academic who had been forced from her classroom and made to sleep outside with the animals during the Revolution. She recalled forced self-criticism sessions that required her to guess at her crimes, as she’d done nothing more than teach literature, a kind of systematic revisionism in that it espoused beliefs her tormentors thought contributed to the rotten society. She also had to write out long apologies for being who she was. She was personally held responsible for 4,000 years of oppression of the masses. Our meeting was last year, before white guilt became a whole category on Netflix, but I wonder if she’d see now how similar it all is.

That’s probably a longer version of events than a column like this would usually feature. A tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust in terms of human lives, an attempt to destroy culture on a level that would embarrass the Taliban—this topic is not widely taught in American colleges, never mind in China.

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here.]]> Tue, 07 Jul 2020 12:13:16 GMT
Refusal to Talk with Contact Tracers a Crime? Michael S. Rozeff

Prior to arrest of a suspect of a crime, “The officer is free to ask questions before an arrest, but must inform the suspect that the questioning is voluntary and that he or she is free to leave at any time.”

“After placing the suspect under arrest, the officer will say something similar to, ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.'”

If a crime suspect need not say a word, having a right to remain silent, doesn’t a person allegedly in contact with a coronavirus-infected person, have the same right to remain silent? The person thought to be in contact is not a suspect in a crime, after all. Doesn’t freedom of speech include this right to remain silent?

Officials in New York’s Rockland County announced on Wednesday that they had issued subpoenas to eight people allegedly infected by the coronavirus for refusing to speak with contact tracers voluntarily.

‘The health of our county’ will not be ‘compromised because of ignorance, stupidity, or obstinance,’ Ed Day, the county executive, told reporters.

‘Failure to comply will be costly: $2,000 per day,’ Patricia Rupert, the county’s health commissioner, added, referring to the subpoenas, according to the Hill.
There are sound reasons to refuse to talk. One might be forced to be tested. The result might be a two-week quarantine. A test might be a false positive. One might be snitching on other people and not want to live with such behavior. One might not want to submit to an unconstitutional search of one’s mind. One might not want to submit to a police state measure. Mr. Day is way off base in his remark about “ignorance, stupidity, or obstinance” being the cause of evading the contact tracers.

Who owns the contents of your mind? Do you own them, or does Rockland County and its contact tracers?

This news item is infuriating. Looting a person’s mind under threat of excessive fines for no crime, also violating the Fifth Amendment, is on a par with smashing a window and looting a pair of sneakers. It actually is worse. The notion of a thoughtcrime is worse, because it invades your being.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2020 18:41:34 GMT
They're Lying About Covid...Yet The Fear-Filled Public Still Believes Daniel McAdams
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Is the Texas Covid ‘Spike’ Fake News? Ron Paul

On July 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating the wearing of face masks across the state, whether indoors or outdoors, when six feet cannot be maintained between people. In the governor’s decree, he cited a rise in Covid cases, a rise in test positivity, and a rise in hospitalizations as justification to force people to cover their faces in public.

The move is not only a violation of the civil liberties of all Texans. Abbott may have based his executive order on inaccurate information about a “rise” in Covid cases due to the Texas State Department of Health Services changing the definition of what constitutes a “Covid case.”

Thanks goes to Collin County Judge Chris Hill for blowing the whistle on what appears to be a move in mid-May to redefine what was a “Covid” case to open the door to a massive increase – all to match the mainstream media line that a “second wave” was on the way.

In a Commissioners Court hearing for Collin County on May 18th, it was revealed that while previously the determination of a Covid “case” was a confirmed test result, the definition was suddenly changed to count “probable” cases as “cases.” At the same time, the threshold for determining “probable” was lowered to a ridiculous level.

As Judge Hill said at that May 18th meeting, “If you have a subjective fever and you have a headache and you live in Collin County, you now meet the qualifications to be a probable COVID patient. It is remarkable how low the standard is now.”

Even worse, once a “probable” case was determined based on possibly unrelated subjective criteria, up to 15 people in possible contact with that “probable” case were also listed as “probable cases.” And “probable cases” were considered cases.

Repeat that farce across Texas and is it any wonder there was a “spike” in “cases”?

Also, Governor Abbott’s claim that hospitals were being over-run by Covid patients was refuted by the Houston hospital directors themselves, who said they were nowhere near actual capacity and in fact were about the same level as they were last year.

The basis for Abbott’s unconstitutional “executive order” has been shown to be false. Will he admit his mistake?

It is encouraging to see so many local and county officials across Texas announcing they will refuse to enforce Governor Abbott’s unconstitutional face mask order. Thankfully the spirit of freedom and love of liberty is still alive in Texas.

The “second wave” is driven by propaganda. Across the country, Covid testing increased from about 150,000 to more than 700,000 per day. You can’t drive through Houston without seeing a flurry of signs advertising “Free Covid test! Results in 15 minutes!” Last week Reuters reported that tests shipped around the country by the federal government were contaminated.

Deaths from coronavirus – even the deaths “with” coronavirus rather than deaths “from” coronavirus – are down more than 90 percent since the peak in April. The decline in deaths continues. That means we are closer to the “herd immunity” that will finally kill this virus. Yet Governor Abbott and others across the country see this as a reason to lock the country back down.]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2020 13:35:37 GMT
The Prosecution of Washington’s Kosovo Clients for War Crimes Ted Galen Carpenter

The United States and its NATO allies launched a military intervention in 1999 that helped the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) win its secessionist campaign against Serbia. US officials justified that intervention on the grounds that Serbian security forces were committing pervasive war crimes against the Kosovar insurgents. American supporters of the KLA also asserted that the secessionists were staunch Western‐​style democrats mounting a noble resistance against Slobodan Milosevic’s corrupt, brutal regime, and that America had a moral obligation to support them. Speaking at a pro‐​Kosovo march in Washington D. C., Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) stated that the “United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles.… Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.”

There was abundant evidence at the time that KLA leaders did not embody such values. Shortly after Kosovo became independent, KLA‐​supported mobs destroyed Serbian religious sites and waged a campaign of ethnic cleansing that expelled thousands of Serbs, as well as Roma and other minorities. Years later, evidence of utterly barbaric behavior during and after the war emerged. In 2010, an investigative report for the Council of Europe confirmed long‐​standing rumors that the KLA was involved in the trafficking of human organs, including killing Serb prisoners of war to harvest their kidneys and other organs. The lead investigator and author of the report was Swiss Senator Dick Marty, a highly respected champion of human rights. One of the suspects specifically named was Kosovo prime minister (currently president) Hashim Thaci. Yet US leaders in the Bush, Obama, and Trump administration continued to back the KLA alumni who dominated Kosovo’s politics. The flow of foreign aid money from Washington continued unabated.

It now will—or at least should—be very difficult for Washington to persist in that policy. On June 24, Thaci and nine other former separatist military leaders were indicted on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges by an international prosecutor probing their actions against ethnic Serbs and others during and after Kosovo’s 1998–99 war for independence against Serbia. The prosecutor for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a court based in The Hague, said Thaci and the nine others “are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” involving hundreds of Serb and Roma victims, as well as Kosovo Albanian political opponents. At the time of his indictment, Thaci was about to depart on one of his many trips to Washington to consult with US officials on Balkan affairs.

This case is yet another shameful episode in which US leaders have embraced thuggish geopolitical clients and portrayed them as committed democrats. At times, the United States has even gone to war on behalf of such odious clients. Washington’s support for Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress played a major role in America’s decision to wage the ill‐​advised military crusade in that country. More recently, Obama administration officials and many of their allies in the media have portrayed Islamic jihadists in Syria as freedom fighters seeking to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and, therefore, are worthy of US backing.

Such chronic misrepresentations should not only cause US leaders acute embarrassment, there needs to be a fundamental reexamination of America’s foreign policy to prevent such fiascos in the future. A good place to start is with a repudiation of the leaders Washington helped bring to power in Kosovo.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2020 14:22:52 GMT
US Files Suit to Seize Iranian Tankers Headed for Venezuela RT
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House Democrats, Working With Liz Cheney, Restrict Trump’s Planned Withdrawal of Troops From Afghanistan and Germany Glenn Greenwald

The US military has been fighting in Afghanistan for almost nineteen years. House Democrats, working in tandem with key pro-war GOP lawmakers such as Rep. Liz Cheney, are ensuring that continues.

Last night, the House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment — jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming — prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of US troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met.

The imposed conditions are by no means trivial: for these troop reductions from Afghanistan to be allowed, the Defense Department must be able to certify, among other things, that leaving Afghanistan “will not increase the risk for the expansion of existing or formation of new terrorist safe havens inside Afghanistan” and “will not compromise or otherwise negatively affect the ongoing United States counter terrorism mission against the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and associated forces.”

The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last night passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending — roughly three times more than the world’s second-highest spender, China.

President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Last week, reports indicated that “the Trump administration is close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the fall.” Trump’s plan “would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and would be the lowest number since the very earliest days of the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001.” In February, Trump announced an agreement with the Taliban to end the war completely.

Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding “bounties” allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill US troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous:

“After today’s briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted US forces. It has been clear for some time that Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan. We believe it is important to vigorously pursue any information related to Russia or any other country targeting our forces. Congress has no more important obligation than providing for the security of our nation and ensuring our forces have the resources they need. We anticipate further briefings on this issue in the coming days.”

The Crow/Cheney amendment impeding Trump’s withdrawal plan asserted that “a rapid military drawdown and a lack of United States commitment to the security and stability of Afghanistan would undermine diplomatic efforts for peace” (only the US could malign a troop withdrawal plan after a 19 year-old war as “rapid”). Their amendment also claims that “the current agreement between the United States and the Taliban does not provide for the appropriate protections for vulnerable populations, does not create conditions for the rejection of violence and prevention of terrorist safe havens, and does not represent a realistic diplomatic solution, based on verifiable facts and conditions on the ground, that provides for long-term stability”

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here.]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2020 14:51:23 GMT
Independence Day in the Midst of Dictatorship James Bovard

How many Americans will greet July 4th Day with gratitude that their governor is no longer compelling them to “shelter in place” or “stay at home” so they can celebrate their freedom? Most of the media is ignoring the fact that this Independence Day is occurring under the most dictatorial restrictions of the modern era. But anyone who values their liberty must recognize the Great Political Unleashing that has occurred this year makes a mockery of the Founding Fathers’ intentions.

Earlier this year, more than 300 million Americans were constrained by “stay-at-home” decrees by governors and mayors. These restrictions were justified by mortality predictions from COVID-19 that turned out to be wildly exaggerated. But most of the media has presumed that the dictates were legitimate because they were supposedly based on “science and data” – regardless of pervasive wrongheaded forecasts.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated last week that 24 million Americans may have been infected with COVID – making a mockery of lockdowns designed to force citizens to pay any price for the slightest potential reduction in infections. 

Do America’s politicians and media have any special suggestions on how the tens of millions of people who lost their jobs due to the shutdowns should celebrate Independence Day? How should small business owners who have been bankrupted mark July 4th? 

Governors across the nation earlier this year proved that the Bill of Rights is a parchment barrier that can be easily shredded by invoking their emergency powers. Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited “all public and private gatherings of any size” (prohibiting people from visiting friends) and also prohibited purchasing seeds for spring planting in stores after she decreed that a “nonessential” activity.

Many Michigan counties have less than a handful of COVID cases and few if any fatalities. But their economies have been obliterated by Whitmer’s statewide decrees, which have driven unemployment up to 24 percent. Two weeks ago, Whitmer railed that legislators’ “attempts to take away my authority” were “irresponsible, dangerous and foolish.”

Maryland politicians’ COVID crackdown destroyed more than 400,000 jobs, leading almost one-fifth of the state’s workforce to file for unemployment. Even the Washington Post recognized that Maryland’s COVID “restrictions have crippled the economy and paralyzed daily life since mid-March.” At the time that Gov. Larry Hogan imposed a mandatory “stay-at-home” order for all Marylanders, roughly a thousand Marylanders had tested positive for COVID and eighteen had died from the virus.

Despite the shutdown, the number of people testing positive soared to 68,000 along with more than 3,100 deaths. Ravaging Maryland’s economy failed to stop COVID’s spread but inflicted collateral damage that will hobble the state for many years and probably permanently blight thousands of lives.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown banned the state’s four million residents from leaving their homes except for essential work, buying food, and other narrow exemptions, and also banned all recreational travel. Six Oregon counties had only one confirmed COVID case as of last month, and most of the state has minimal infections. But schools, businesses, and other activities were slammed shut by government edict. Almost 400,000 Oregonians have lost their jobs after Brown’s shutdown.

In May, a circuit judge ruled that Brown’s pervasive restrictions were “not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols.” But the Oregon Supreme Court, stacked with the governor’s appointees, quickly overturned that ruling. 

The media and many politicians heaped derision on people who publicly protested against the lockdowns that were destroying their livelihoods. But after a Minneapolis policeman brutally killed George Floyd, politicians cheered as mass protests exploded in cities across the nation. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent police to disperse attendees at an Orthodox Jewish funeral for violating his restrictions on public gatherings but endorsed mass protests against police brutality.

Twelve hundred health professionals signed a letter declaring, “We do not condemn these gatherings as risky for covid-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health.” Any tattered remnant of credibility retained by public health officialdom was shattered when they declared that supporting protests against police brutality “should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.”

Who knew that COVID-19 only infects “deplorables” and reactionaries?

At the same time that politicians joined and cheered mass protests against the police, many states continue effectively outlawing religious services. Would church services be permitted to resume if parishioners promised to cuss the police? The “experts” might also permit a vast rally to confer sainthood upon Anthony Fauci, the media’s favorite lockdown hysteria monger. 

The pandemic pried open authoritarian Pandora’s Boxes at all levels of government. Trump’s Justice Department asked Congress to approve suspending habeas corpus for the duration of the pandemic. Norman Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, warned, “You could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over.” The same type of pre-arrest power could be exercised to detain anyone suspected of being infected or failing to obey lockdown orders. Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, one of the most principled members of the Senate, tweeted in response to the news of the power grab: “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”

Attorney General Ramsey Clark warned in 1967, “Nothing so diminishes democracy as secrecy.” But the pandemic response by federal, state, and local officials remains shrouded in secrecy. We may have seen only the tip of the iceberg of boondoggles and blunders in government responses to the pandemic. 

What did federal, state, and local politicians and health officials know, and when did they know that many of the restrictions they imposed were unnecessary, if not counterproductive? How many states covertly adjusted their formulas or data standards to justify perpetuating lockdowns? How many states have lied or covered up their policies on sending COVID patients to nursing homes, a catastrophe that killed thousands of elderly? 

Many locales have canceled their fireworks in order to avoid tempting people from gathering to enjoy the show. The Maryland Office of Tourism offered residents consolation prizes – the opportunity to tune in online and watch a “virtual pet parade” or see a “virtual Independence Day Tour” of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. Maybe the National Endowment for Humanities could supplement those performances by posting on YouTube some videos of 1960s children celebrating the Fourth of July by waving sparklers in the air – behavior which might provoke a SWAT raid nowadays. 

All that was necessary to raze limits on political power was wild-eyed extrapolations of potential infection rates. The last few months have established the prerogative of governors and other officials to slap on a tourniquet and cut off the economic blood supply for as long as they claim necessary. The ease with which politicians have captured boundless power should be chilling to anyone who is not a fan of Mussolini. And many governors appear itching to reimpose restrictions based on any uptick in infections elsewhere in the nation. 

The Great Pandemic Follies of 2020 have been based on the illusion that government could make life risk-free. But the advocates of shutdowns, lockdowns, and endless prohibitions ignore the risk of dictatorship. That was what our forefathers fought against almost 250 years ago, and their sacrifices and courage should inspire today’s Americans to take far less guff from their rulers.

Reprinted with permission from American Institute for Economic Research.]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2020 14:00:48 GMT
Herd Immunity Here? So Why Are They Feeding The Panic? Daniel McAdams
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When Spouting Coronavirus Idiocy Helps the Bottom Line Adam Dick

Here we are months into the coronavirus scare when it has become obvious that coronavirus for most people poses little to no threat. Yet, we see businesses and other entities repeatedly trumpeting the danger of coronavirus as if each and every person should view the disease as the Grim Reaper hovering over one’s shoulder.

Of course, these entities will also trumpet their responses to coronavirus, including in many instances requiring people to wear masks that have no clear net benefit in protecting against coronavirus transmission but do have clear negative health consequences.

It is coronavirus idiocy on display.

For an example of such coronavirus idiocy, check out a Monday press release from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, a couple museums in Dallas, Texas. It notes “the spike in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County” as a reason for deciding “to pause plans to reopen in early July” the museums that, supposedly due to concern about coronavirus, have been long closed.

Of course, a spike in cases by itself is no reason for concern. This is especially so when the spike in cases accompanies a spike in testing, as has been the situation in Dallas County. An increase in cases (people who test positive for coronavirus or are presumed to have coronavirus) can be expected to accompany a testing increase. Such a cases spike says nothing about the spread of or danger from coronavirus.

The recent shift in media and government to talking about the number of coronavirus cases instead of the number of deaths attributed to coronavirus — itself an inflated number — happened when deaths attributed to coronavirus came way down. Death numbers having dropped too low to be used to scare people as well as they had, new higher case numbers have become the focus for instilling and maintaining fear. While cases of coronavirus are nothing to be afraid of, many people do not understand that. They imagine that each case is someone at death’s door hooked up to a ventilator in a hospital. Instead, a case is often a person who is slightly sick or has no symptoms.

Statements such as this in the museums’ press release help cement unfounded fear in regard to cases. People hear that a spike in cases caused a group of museums to stay closed longer, and they conclude that the spike must be something to really worry about — a propaganda success.

The museums’ press release then proceeds to state: “We believe it is important to support Governor Abbott’s, Mayor Johnson’s and Judge Jenkins’ appeals for Texans to stay home, if at all possible, to be good community partners and neighbors.” Not content with just spouting idiocy to explain keeping museums closed, the museums echo and praise extreme hectoring of politicians at the local and state level (Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins) that people should hide at home for the indeterminate future.

Why have so many businesses and other entities, including museums, not fought back strongly against governments’ shut down and operations limitation orders, as well as governments’ absurd exaggeration of the coronavirus threat? One big reason is that many of these entities, and especially those with strong political connections, are receiving or are hoping to receive money, tax relief, and other benefits from government via special coronavirus aid. They can see it as advancing their pursuit of these benefits to play along with the coronavirus crackdown and amplify its supporting propaganda.

Museums, along with other entities including professional sports teams and preforming arts organizations such as theater companies, symphonies, and operas, are often significantly dependent on governments for funding, including often for the creation of their venues. On top of all that, many of them also can benefit from governments’ special coronavirus aid. All this weighs in favor of these entities being sycophantic concerning governments’ coronavirus crackdowns.

Next time you hear some private entity spouting coronavirus idiocy, consider that it may be doing so for a smart reason — ensuring it receives a good share of government aid.]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2020 04:26:45 GMT
Cancel Freedom! Half The US Returning To Shutdown Daniel McAdams
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Orange Man Bad David Stockman

As the Impeachment Farce neared its pathetic denouement, an optimist might have expected that the virulent Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting the MSM, the Dems and the Washington ruling class would finally die out.

Not at all. It’s back with a vengeance, lurking in the subtext and sotto voce of virtually every headline and utterance from the above precincts with respect to the Covid-19.

Indeed, the entire Covid narrative is so hideously distorted, exaggerated, mendacious and risible as to finally confirm what’s actually been at bottom of the successive waves of RussiaGate, UkraineGate, the Impeachment Farce, the Covid-Hysteria and now the Summer of Race Huckstering, too.

Namely: Orange Man Bad!

It’s as simple and primitive as that. In the present instance, only the filter of Orange Man Bad can possibly explain each new twist and turn of the MSM’s Covid narrative, which has essentially degenerated into a running show trial-like prosecution.

But finally they have gotten so desperate and hysterical that they are just flat-out fabricating, censoring and falsifying the evidence with respect to the so-called second wave allegedly hitting the Sun Belt states.

Their true purpose however, is nakedly evident. They are so infuriated about the Donald’s claims that the virus is abating (it is) and that it’s time to reopen America and get back to business (it really is!) that they are literally attempting to tag him with de facto genocide.

Needless to say, whatever is going on in Texas, Florida and Arizona, it isn’t an eruption of the Black Plague, even if you extrapolate the current elevated level of “positives” for several months into the future.

So let us go back to the basics. Even in the worst hit precincts of New York City, there never was a random sample Grim Reaper marauding through the general population. The very bad numbers of cases and deaths coming from the five boroughs were overwhelmingly the product of a catastrophic mismanagement of nursing and other long-term care homes and other abandoned elderly already afflicted with life-threatening morbidities.

But even then, when you compare the case and death rates per 100,000 for NYC’s three most rotten boroughs – the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn – with what is happening in the major Texas cities, for instance, it’s not the same zip code or even the same planet.

Covid Cases/Deaths Per 100,000 Persons as of June 27:

Bronx: 3,346/234;
Queens: 2,867/222;
Brooklyn: 2,345/198;

Houston: 567/7.;
Dallas: 696/13;
Fort Worth: 500/10;
San Antonio: 423/5;
Austin: 549/9;

The media drumbeat in recent days has especially focused on the alleged surge of new cases in Houston/Harris County, featuring the same old hoary prediction of overflowing hospitals and ICUs that turned out not to be true even in NYC – except for a few hospitals at the epicenter of the pandemic in the Bronx for a few peak weeks in March/April.

Yet just like in the case of the flooded NYC hospitals myth, the readily accessible facts with respect to Texas and Houston refute this weekend’s media blitz entirely.

And they also underscore the everlasting laziness and servility of the MSM. After all, if you start with a positive case rate per 100,000 in Houston that is currently only 17 percent of that recorded for the Bronx and a death rate that is only 3 percent of what occurred in the Bronx, why in the world would you even think that Houston is teetering on the edge of a medical calamity?

That’s especially the case if you happen to have the basic knowledge that Houston sports one of the great medical complexes of the entire world. That is, it’s a health care rich community experiencing only a tiny fraction of the Covid case load that happened in NYC.

Beyond that, we are no longer in the horse and buggy age, obviously. Given that patients can be reallocated to other communities if need be, the relevant hospital capacity is not just Houston’s, but capacity in other places around the state that are not experiencing the same level of Covid case increases now occurring in Houston.

So here are the statewide facts: As of June 25, Texas had 54,700 staffed acute care hospital beds, but only 41,950 were being used, implying a occupancy rate of just 76.7 percent and 12,750 empty beds still available.

Moreover, only about 5,000 beds representing 12 percent of the current census were occupied by confirmed or suspected Covid patients. So as of June 25 the state had nearly 2.5X more empty hospital beds than it had Covid patients, notwithstanding the surge of new cases and hospitalizations during the month of June.

In fact, that’s not the half of it. Owing to seasonal factors, the number of empty hospital beds has actually been rising during the spring months even in the face of the soaring Covid caseload.

That’s right. On March 18, Texas had 46,550 occupied hospital beds, reflecting an occupancy rate of 85 percent or well above the 76.7 percent level as of June 25.

But back in March virtually none of these occupied beds were attributable to Covid patients. That’s because at that point there had been only be 83 confirmed Covid cases and 2 deaths reported for the entire state!

By then what happened over the next three months, as the Covid caseload built up from zero to the present 5,000, is that even more beds emptied out due to:

- state orders prohibiting elective surgeries and other treatments;

- normal seasonal declines in occupancy; and

- aggressive reclassification of patients admitted for other reasons as Covid patients.

As to the latter point, it seems that Texas health officials started logging every single COVID-19-positive patient in the state as a COVID-19 hospitalization, even if the patients themselves were admitted seeking treatment for something other than the coronavirus.

As Lindsey Rosales, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Health Services, confirmed recently to an independent investigator:
'The number of hospitalized patients includes patients with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 even if the person is admitted to the hospital for a different reason,' Rosales said.

Moreover, nearly everyone admitted for some other medical condition – and presumably asymptomatic for Covid – gets tested for Covid-19 before other treatments or surgeries are permitted:

Texas Health Resources, one of the state’s largest hospital systems, says on its website that its 'patients [are] tested before most procedures.' Elective surgeries and other medical procedures in Texas have gone up in recent weeks as the state has gradually re-opened following its lockdown.
In other words, the first wave of Lockdowns created a huge backlog of demand for elective surgeries and other discretionary treatments, which were banned by state authorities. But once those bans were lifted and people got in the hospital for deferred treatments, they were tested for Covid and became the statistical gruel for the so-called second wave.

But even then, the Texas hospital statistics over the last three months make mincemeat out of the national media’s weekend narrative that Texas hospitals will soon be overflowing into the hallways. To wit, here is the trend of unused acute care beds in the Texas hospital system:

- 3/18: 8,155;

- 4/1: 18,411;

- 4/15: 21,489;

- 4/29: 19,432;

- 5/20: 16,035;

- 5/27: 15,315;

- 6/3: 15,219;

- 6/10: 13,271;

- 6/17: 14,993;

- 6/25: 12,571

In short, Texas had gone from virtually no Covid cases or deaths on March 18 to 131,917 cases and 2,296 deaths by June 25, but it actually had 56 percent more empty hospital beds on the latter date!

You can’t make this stuff up. The MSM is so intoxicated by Orange Man Bad that it has essentially turned journalism into a kangaroo court of juvenile imprecations.

Nor are we attempting to deceptively drown the case in statewide averages. As of last week, the Houston area alone had 12,458 staffed acute care beds (23 percent of the statewide total), but 2,675 or 21 percent of these were empty; and on top of that they had an additional surge capacity of another 925 beds.

That’s especially salient because the rise in cases in Texas and Houston has generally been among a much younger population than earlier in the pandemic, and the need has been for exactly these kinds of general beds, not ICU beds.

So the fact is, as of last week the Houston area hospitals had just 795 lab confirmed Covid patients, representing just 8 percent of their 9,785 daily census. That also means that given Houston’s 3,600 beds of remaining surge capacity, they could actually accommodate a 4X increase in their current Covid caseload.

As it happened, even the leadership of the Houston health care community finally had enough from CNN, NBC, and the rest of the Covid Calamity Howlers, and struck back this weekend with a resounding denial of this spurious crisis narrative.

For instance, the CEO of one Houston’s leading hospitals, Memorial Hermann, pulled no punches:
We actually still think we have plenty of capacity to meet the demand for Covid, as well as non-Covid patients. We’re always busy in the summertime, and what we’re seeing now is a typical summer for us.

Callender, whose not-for-profit health system has 17 hospitals in the Houston area, stressed that the medical network’s capacity is 'constantly in flux' and needing to be managed. 'But right now, we’re able to do that very well,' he said.

'Across our system, we have about 4,000 beds that we can bring into play' for intensive care, he said. 'Right now, only about 30 percent are being utilized for Covid care, so we still have plenty of capacity for Covid patients as well as patients who need hospitalization for other illnesses.'

Doctors and nurses also have learned how to better treat Covid-19 patients after three months of its presence, said Callender, who joined Memorial Hermann in 2019.

'We’re seeing a slightly lower rate in terms of the number of typical hospital bed patients who convert to a need for ICU hospitalization. We’re also using ventilators less frequently,' he said. 'We have more drugs at our disposable that we know help limit the severity and duration of the illness. So overall we’re faring better than we did just a couple months ago.'
Likewise, chimed in Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of another leading institution, Houston Methodist:
The number of hospitalizations are 'being misinterpreted,' said Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, 'and, quite frankly, we’re concerned that there is a level of alarm in the community that is unwarranted right now.'

'We do have the capacity to care for many more patients, and have lots of fluidity and ability to manage,' Boom said.
Boom pointed out that his hospital one year ago was also at 95 percent ICU capacity – long before Covid was a thing!

That’s right. Apparently, 95 percent utilization of the ICU is a typical June condition, not the sign of the Covid Apocalypse. And contrary to the heated headlines on the MSM, only about 25 percent of Houston’s fully occupied ICU’s are accounted for by Covid patients.

Again from Boom:
'It is completely normal for us to have ICU capacities that run in the 80s and 90s,' he said. 'That’s how all hospitals operate.'

…..the hospital '[has] many levers in our ability to adjust our ICU,' he said, claiming that the hospital capacity regularly reported by the media is 'base' capacity rather than surge capacity.

Boom also alluded to hospitals’ ability to turn regular beds into ICU beds as well as to turn recovery, and pre- and post surgical areas into ICU areas if needed as a kind of coronavirus 'flex area.'
Specifically, there are about 2,200 ICU beds in the Houston service area, but another 500 beds could be added to this after such planned for conversions and re-purposings. And Boom also pointed out an even more salient point:
Boom said overall, hospitals are seeing younger COVID-19 patients, who stay for a shorter period of time, and fewer deaths. Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom told CNBC on Monday that the demographics of the outbreak have 'flipped' and that the mostly-younger people arriving in the state’s hospitals often don’t require ICU beds, even though many do get very sick.
Finally, there was this rebuke to the smirking CNN anchor, who on Saturday had been bemoaning that the situation was allegedly so desperate that a Houston children’s hospital had been drafted into Covid service at great risk to the children.

Not at all, according to Mark Wallace, Texas Children’s Hospital president and CEO. Actually, this was just part of the systems’ surge plan:
Texas Children’s started accepting adult COVID-19 positive patients this week and is currently operating at a 74 percent ICU occupancy, Wallace said.

'We have the ability to take care of all of the Houstonians that need a critical care environment, that need to be operated on, or acute care,' Wallace said.
As we said, the MSM, the Dems and the Washington ruling class are literally rabid with Orange Mad Bad.

The recent ballyhooed Covid surge and hospital capacity crisis in Texas is just one more case in point.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2020 14:40:25 GMT