Category Archives: Opinion

General Flynn OpEd: “Here’s How We Can End The Ukraine Crisis Today”

Michael T Flynn
March 3rd, 2022

If you are not upset about what is happening in Eastern Europe, you are not paying enough attention to what is happening right here at home.

Everything is changing before our eyes. A war on our own soil is a very real possibility. Should this occur, what will you have done to try to prevent the war? Everyone talks about problems; what we need right now is solutions.

Like many across America, I am troubled by the Ukraine debacle — a totally avoidable situation, as I have already stated in a prior Op-Ed.

Think back in recent history to October and examine the Biden administration’s visit to Ukraine. Never mind researching the 1939 European borders or understanding the results of America’s war to defeat Naziism.

While you’re at it, consider the history of the Budapest Agreement, three identical political agreements signed at a conference of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Budapest, Hungary, on Dec. 5, 1994. It provided security assurances from its signatories related to the accession of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (Look it up — we are all in violation of it.)

And let’s stop with the hypothetical question of what former President Donald Trump would do in this situation. The reality is that this crisis did not occur during his administration because of a variety of factors. Topping the list is demonstrated and strong leadership, so stop with the backward-looking questions and start with where we are right now.

In this piece, I want to offer an option. There are many — most are not good, and all will come with compromise and cost. However, without these, the real advent of a nuclear standoff — or worse, a nuclear exchange — is on the horizon. We can no longer kid ourselves about this reality. We have allowed ourselves to get to this avoidable point in history.

Background: It was a horrible mistake that Russian President Vladimir Putin made. He overestimated his popularity. While it is true that in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk he has about 51 percent support, in my assessment, he expected that level of support across the entire country of Ukraine. Clearly, that support never materialized.

Now Putin needs a safe way out. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being destroyed every day this continues. Something must be done to stop the death and ruination on both sides. Russians are dying by the scores as well, causing Putin more problems if he can’t get it under control quickly. There is an old saying: Better to deal with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

First, let’s try to understand Vladimir Putin. He is not crazy, as the propaganda media is trying to portray him as now. He is behaving as he always does. The best example of Putin’s personality is the story of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his Super Bowl ring.

If you aren’t aware of the story, here goes: In 2005, Kraft met Putin. He took off the ring to show it to Putin, Putin admired it, and Kraft held out his hand to take it back. Putin put the ring in his own pocket and walked out, essentially stealing it. The White House insisted that Kraft said it was a gift, but many years later he told the true story of the theft of his ring.

Putin will do anything he can if he thinks he can get away with it. He will stop only when he thinks he cannot get away with it. It was why nothing ever happened when Trump was in power. He respected Trump and knew he couldn’t get away with anything. Now, under this feckless U.S. administration, Putin has seized his opportunity. He knows well what he can get away with.

He also believed (wrongly) that Ukraine would at least moderately support the invasion. If Ukraine did not welcome the Russians as heroes, Putin believed they would at least be tolerated. He and his advisers and generals have miscalculated badly.

There is an option that would give Putin an out. This option needs to be thoroughly analyzed and discussed. It gets Putin what he wants, affords Ukraine a unique and long-term security opportunity, allows Europe and the world to take a deep breath, and can stop this madness along with the horrible killing taking place on both sides (and this may only be the beginning).

I believe the key to unlocking this crisis is the Budapest Agreement.

As smart readers will remember, when the Soviet Union broke up after decades of the now-distant Cold War, Ukraine had more nuclear weapons than China and was the third-biggest nuclear power in the world.

Among other critical issues, the Budapest Agreement stipulated that Ukraine would give up its nuclear weapons if both Russia and the U.S. agreed not to invade it. That is the basic agreement. Putin is in gross violation of this agreement, which affords the U.S. (and select European nations) the opportunity to enforce it. But this is only a starting point to a broader conversation about a peaceful solution.

The real conversation goes like this.

Part One: Russia wants a neutral Ukraine. The Budapest Agreement can be considered an agreement of neutrality. Obviously, if Russia adheres to the agreement, then Ukraine doesn’t need to join NATO. And NATO can agree that having Ukraine join would be a violation of the Budapest accord. This is something that I believe Putin would seriously consider (and possibly accept), and it meets half of his demands. This gives him a way out without killing more people.

Part Two: Putin wants Ukraine to renounce any claim to Crimea. Ukraine should agree, with a major caveat.

Putin argues that Crimea was unlawfully given to Ukraine in the 1950s and, true or not, he wants it back. Well, Ukraine will never get Crimea back under any conditions without a major war. Most don’t realize it, but Putin is popular in Crimea and there is a strong attachment to Russia in the region, so it is a loss to Ukraine, but not a substantial loss. (That is the reality of global geopolitics.)

The major caveat should be that Ukraine has made a lot of improvements in Crimea since the ’50s. A large price should be put on that. Russia is not just taking Crimea; it is paying for all the care that Ukraine has given Crimea since the ’50s. It should be a significant and long-term repayment.

Part Three: Finally, Putin must emphasize that the targeting of civilians was against his orders and that he will help to rebuild some of Ukraine. He can claim that senior generals or other Russian defense officials failed to follow his orders and publicly fire them. (Maybe those fired will be allowed to come to the U.S. and work at a Washington, D.C., think tank). However, the provision may be described, it gives Putin the chance to call this insane war off.

In the end, America has always stood for self-determination and the right to choose one’s government. Whatever claim Putin may try to make on Ukraine, either based on reality or his own fiction, it will never outweigh the people’s right to a free and fair election for a government that represents them.

As another famous president said about a voting bloc in our country, what do you have to lose? I do think this would be agreeable to Putin if the alternative is brutal sanctions and a reputation as a pariah.

What I don’t know is whether Ukraine would be agreeable. I do believe that if Ukraine can forgo NATO, it should be given immediate consideration for European Union membership. Obviously, Crimea would be a bigger pill to swallow, but Ukraine isn’t getting it back anyway. Bite the bullet for the good of humanity and the reality that you stand to lose your entire nation or worse if the situation continues. Push for a large payment from Russia and it will likely give it.

On this latter note, which I’m certain will get the most attention, Russia will lose the money in any case, either to economy-crushing sanctions or in paying back Ukraine. Better the money goes to Ukraine than just disappears due to sanctions. Russia doesn’t lose too much, and Ukraine gains a lot.

This option is sound. I believe it would be acceptable to both sides, and it gives Putin an off-ramp, something he desperately needs.

The bigger problem is that our current administration is not strong enough to deal with Putin. He likely has other cards to play against us. Maybe this option is one the U.S. should stay away from and instead can be pushed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the U.K. or President Emmanuel Macron in France.

A final point to be highlighted regarding the Budapest Agreement is nuclear weapons on a sovereign nation’s soil. The accord encouraged certain countries to give up nuclear weapons. With other nations now contemplating joining the nuclear club (like it or not), one lesson in all of this is to never give up your nuclear weapons. If a nation-state cannot rely on other countries to honor its borders, possessing nuclear weapons acts as a guarantor of security.

Like all options, this one is worthy of consideration. As I asked above, what do we have to lose (except everything)?

A Large-Scale False Flag Cyber Attack Is Now Imminent

Op-Ed by Brandon Smith
March 4th, 2022

In early 2021 at the height of media-generated covid fear the World Economic Forum released a series of panel discussions and white papers outlining a “pandemic” of a completely different nature; what they referred to as an impending “cyber-attack with covid like characteristics.” The program agenda at the WEF was titled “Cyber Polygon” and headed with unsettling zeal by globalist Klaus Schwab.

The WEF and Schwab are best known for two things:

1) Their involvement in a war game called Event 201 which simulated the global spread of a coronavirus pandemic. This simulation was held two months BEFORE the real thing happened in early 2020 and a majority of the measures played out in the game were in fact implemented almost immediately following the outbreak.

2) Klaus Schwab’s excited announcement that the pandemic was the perfect “opportunity” to institute what he calls the “Great Reset” of the global economy along with the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is the complete centralization of world trade and governance into a global socialist empire where you will “own nothing, have no privacy, and like it.”

The fact that the WEF was so prescient when it came to the covid pandemic was quite a miracle. It was almost as if they knew it was going to happen, and their political friends in various nations wasted no time carrying out their draconian mandate policies around the world. But something happened that seemed to throw a monkey wrench into the plan – Event 201 predicted and initial death toll of around 65 million people, but this didn’t happen. In fact, the median Infection Fatality Rate of covid was only 0.27%. Covid wasn’t killing enough people, and the public was starting to question the efficacy of the lockdowns, the useless mask rules and the need to take an experimental mRNA vaccine with no long-term testing to prove its safety.

In the US specifically conservative states began to rise up and block the covid agenda. Today, the CDC and the Federal Government have declared the removal of most mandates and even leftist blue states are beginning to relent. However, most conservative red states have been without mandates for well over a year to a year-and-a-half. We’ve been without restrictions this whole time, and the government is acting as if they have just “allowed us” to be free again.

The truth is, the globalists at the WEF and their partners abroad FAILED in their efforts to institute medical tyranny, at least in the US and in certain parts of Europe. The agenda collapsed because the science was against them in every respect. They had nothing. With 99.7% of people safe from covid, it was impossible to engineer enough fear in enough of the population to get them to relinquish their freedoms.

So, for those of us that have been tracking these events carefully, the alarm bells really started ringing when the WEF switched gears and suddenly shifted focus to a cyber-attack narrative. Was this Plan-B?

In April of 2021 I published an article titled “The Globalists Will Need Another Crisis In America As Their Reset Agenda Fails.” In that article I outlined the most likely scenarios for the next disaster event, which included war in Ukraine as well as a global cyber-attack that disrupts the supply chain. In that article I stated:

The media and the Biden Administration are very busy trying to create tensions with Russia over Ukraine. There are renewed tensions between Iran and Israel and continued destabilization by the West in Syria. And, a rising danger of confrontation with China over Taiwan…

There is … a narrative advantage to global tensions; when presented with a foreign threat, are Americans more likely to reject notions of rebellion against government trespasses? I have no doubt that the establishment will try to claim the liberty movement is not a movement for freedom, but an “astro-turf” movement created by the Russians to destabilize America. This has been the leftist media propaganda strategy for years now; so why would they stop?”

In June of 2021 I wrote more specifically on the suspicious nature of Cyber Polygon in my article “Cyber Polygon: Will The Next Globalist War Game Lead To Another Convenient Catastrophe?” Then in July of 2021 I wrote an article titled “What If The Next Major Cyber Attack Targeted The Internet?’” In it I made this observation:

“In June of this year there was an internet outage event that led to large swaths of the web going dark, including a number of mainstream news sites, Amazon, eBay, Twitch, Reddit and a host of government websites went down. All this happened when content delivery network (CDN) company Fastly experienced a bug. Although Amazon had its website back online within 20 minutes, the brief outage cost the company over $5.5 million in sales (and that’s just one website!).

Fastly identified and fixed the problem within two hours, and continues to claim the outage had nothing to do with a cyberattack. However, it did reveal a huge vulnerability for the internet (what von Clausewitz would’ve called a schwerpunkt). A large portion of the web is dependent on only three CDN companies, including Fastly.

Here is what concerns me: If there was a cyberattack on such weak points in the web, and the attack involved a malicious worm or other highly infectious weapon, then Klaus Schwab could very well get his cyber pandemic.”

Today, the war tensions with Russia are now about to overflow and I suspect it’s only a matter of time before China also begins operations against Taiwan. But there is a much bigger threat on the horizon. I have little doubt at this stage that a false flag attack on the US or Europe (or both) is now imminent, and what I mean by “false flag” is that the attack will be designed to benefit the globalists and not necessarily the country that is blamed for it.

As I have noted in the past, Vladimir Putin is a long-time associate of numerous globalists. His friendship with New World Order ghoul Henry Kissinger started decades ago and they continue to meet for regular lunches as Kissinger acts as an adviser to multiple branches of the Kremlin. Putin has also maintained a steady relationship to the WEF, and Russia even joined Klaus Schwab’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Network just last year. The claim the Putin is anti-globalist is a lie, he is deeply involved in the globalist system and always has been.

The globalists are playing BOTH SIDES of the Ukraine conflict. This is reality. It’s very important to understand and accept this fact, otherwise you will not be able to grasp the events that happen next.

Putin recently threatened Western governments with a reprisal the likes of which they have never seen before if they try to interfere in Ukraine. The problem is that many in the mainstream and alternative media automatically assumed this was a threat of nuclear war. I don’t think this is what Putin was referring to. I have another theory…

The globalists are unlikely to spend the past several decades building up one of the most complex technocratic control grids in history to track and dominate the public only to then annihilate it all in the blink of an eye with nukes. A post-nuke environment would be impossible for them to control.  What is more likely, in my view, is a massive cyber-attack that targets the functionality of the internet itself, and it would have to happen relatively soon.

The amount of economic and business operations tied to the Web is staggering. Even if the Internet was to go down for a mere two weeks, the repercussions to our markets and to our supply chain would be devastating. By extension, the benefits to the globalists would be immense. They could implement filters and firewalls on any part of the Web they don’t like (including the alternative media) and claim that this is to protect the Internet from possible sources of viral spread. They could whittle the Web down to only a handful of approved corporate and government sites all in the name of protecting the integrity of the Net.

Furthermore, such an attack would be a perfect scapegoat for the already crashing economy and rising inflation. At that point, the central banks that are truly responsible for our financial instability could simply say that everything was “about to go back to normal” until (Russia or China) spread the cyber-virus. And, maybe Russia will be involved, but it will not be Putin that gives the order, it will be his globalist partners behind the curtain.

The hype machine surrounding Ukraine is in overdrive right now. It’s a little bizarre to me how much panic and indignance is being drummed up. It’s as if people have forgotten that the US government just spent well over a decade devastating a country like Iraq for no good reason. No one seems to be mentioning the hypocrisy of demanding all out war against Russia when US campaigns in Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and very few countries batted an eye about it.

Clearly, the controlled media is trying to convince the Western people to support direct military confrontation with Russia over a conflict that has nothing to do with us. There are even numerous GOP neo-cons out there (Lindsay Graham, I’m looking at you) campaigning for true conservatives to go along with a war footing. I don’t think it’s gaining much traction, but what has worked as an effective manipulation against conservatives in the past?

The globalists need another Pearl Harbor – A 9/11 attack or something even bigger. They need something that will enrage the American population, specifically conservatives. They need a disaster of epic proportions to lure us into an emotional response and the abandonment of logic. They also need a scapegoat disaster that they can use to lay the blame for the impending economic crisis.

I predict this event will come in the form of a large-scale cyber-attack, and the escalation of events suggests to me that they will try to implement such an attack in the near term. Perhaps within the next couple of months and certainly before the year is over.

This is not about Russia. It’s not about Ukraine. The real war is between free peoples and the globalists. When they are removed and their puppets are removed, the majority of these disasters will stop. As long as they remain in power, the crisis events will only accelerate and increase in frequency until they find something that works; something that makes most people willing to give up their liberties in exchange for the false promise of security.

Order Out Of Chaos: How The Ukraine Conflict Is Designed To Benefit Globalists

Op-Ed by Brandon Smith

Within the next couple of months, it is likely that there will be direct US military involvement in Ukraine, with Russia now openly supporting and recognizing separatist groups in the Donbass region on the eastern edge of the country and apparently moving to aid them militarily in separation. This is not the first time Russia has sent military units into Ukraine, but it is the first time since 2014 and the annexation of Crimea that the threat of military action has been overt rather than covert.

When conflict erupts, you are going to see a swarm of media stories in Western nations trying to outline the complexity of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union, while ignoring certain inconvenient truths. You will see many of these stories construct a narrative which then oversimplifies the situation and paints Russia as the monstrous aggressor. The goal will be to convince the public that our involvement in Ukraine is a moral and geopolitical necessity. There will be attempts to gain American favor and a call for US boots on the ground. Joe Biden will be at the forefront of this push.

The surface trigger for the confrontation is obviously rooted in the 2009 decision by Western powers and Ukrainian officials to consider the country for membership in NATO. Most of Russia’s actions when dealing with Ukraine can be owed to NATO involvement in the region, including the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. Strategically, it makes sense. Imagine if Mexico suddenly announced it was joining a military alliance with China and that Chinese military assets were going to be transferred near the US southern border? It probably would not end well.

To be sure, Russia has a history of hypocritical behavior when it comes to its involvement in the affairs of its neighbors. For example, only a few months ago, Kazakhstan was facing mass protests which the government claimed were caused by “foreign manipulation.” Zero proof was presented to justify this assertion. However, the claim was enough to rationalize the deployment of 2300 Russian troops over the border to shut down the protests.

In reality, citizens of Kazakhstan were angry over a spike in inflation and high gas prices which continue to grind down the middle class and those in poverty (sound familiar?). In 2019, only 4% of the population lived under the official poverty line. In 2020, that number exploded to 14% of the population. Accurate numbers are difficult to find for 2021, but it is likely that poverty levels are now closer to 16%-20%. The reasons for civil unrest were obvious and justified, but the protesting Kazakhs were accused of being pawns of foreign enemies. As I have noted in many articles lately, this is a typical strategy of corrupt governments trying to retain power when the people rise up and rebel for legitimate reasons.

Again, imagine if the Canadian government under Trudeau asked for US military assistance in scattering the trucker protests against his draconian vaccine mandates? We need to look at these decisions in context in order to grasp how insane they really are.

Ironically, Russia is happy to support the unrest of separatists in Ukraine while also helping to silence unrest in Kazakhstan. Keep this pattern in mind because it will help in understanding how events surrounding Russia reflect a global trend that might affect Americans in the future.

The diplomatic mess between Ukraine and Russia can be blamed in part on both sides, and it’s this kind of historical ambiguity where globalists tend to thrive. The fog of war helps to obscure establishment activities and often it is hard for people to see who is truly benefiting from the chaos until it’s too late. It is my belief that the Ukraine problem is at least partially engineered and that it is designed as a first domino in a chain of intended crises.

I don’t think there is anything unique to the Ukraine conflict for the globalists; they could have just as easily tried to initiate a regional war in Taiwan, North Korea, Iran, etc. There are numerous powder-keg countries that they have been cultivating for a couple of decades. We should not hyperfocus on who is to blame between Ukraine or Russia: we should focus on the effects that will result from any major regional disaster and how the globalists exploit such catastrophes to further the agenda of total centralization of power.

The Ukraine scenario could be easily defused if both sides took some basic diplomatic measures, but this is not going to happen. NATO officials could take a step back from their pursuit of adding Ukraine to the ranks. The US could stop pouring cash and weaponry into Ukraine to the tune of $5.4 billion since 2014. Over 90 tons of military equipment have been sent to the country in 2022 alone. Russia could stop sending covert special operations units into the Donbass and be more willing to come to the table to discuss diplomatic solutions. The reason these things do not happen is because they are not allowed to happen by the power brokers behind the curtain.

We are all aware of the globalist influences behind US and NATO leaders; we present the undeniable evidence of this on a regular basis. Biden’s penchant for globalist institutions is well known. But what about Russia?

There are some in the alternative media and the liberty movement who falsely believe that Russia is anti-globalist. Nothing could be further from the truth. As with many political leaders, Putin will sometimes use anti-globalist rhetoric, but his relationships tell another story. In Putin’s first autobiography, titled First Person, he discusses with fondness his first encounter with New World Order globalist Henry Kissinger as a member of the FSB (formerly the KGB). As Putin rose through the political ranks he maintained a steady friendship with Kissinger, and to this day they have regular lunches and Kissinger has been an adviser to multiple branches of the Kremlin.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Putin and the Kremlin have also kept a steady dialogue with the World Economic Forum, the project of the now-notorious globalist Klaus Schwab. In fact, only last year Russia announced it was joining the WEF’s “Fourth Industrial Revolution Network” which focuses on economic socialization, artificial intelligence, the “Internet of Things” and a host of other globalist interests which will all lead to worldwide technocracy and tyranny.

Again, the Russian government is NOT anti-globalist. This claim is nonsense and always has been. I would attribute the fantasy of Russian opposition to a steady stream of propaganda and what I call the False East/West Paradigm – The fraudulent notion that the globalist agenda is a purely Western or American agenda and that countries like China and Russia are opposed to it. If you look at the close interactions between the East and the globalists, this idea completely falls apart.

It’s important to understand that most conflicts between the East and the West are engineered conflicts and the leaders of BOTH SIDES are not really at odds with each other. Rather, these wars are kabuki theater; they are wars of convenience to achieve covert ends while mesmerizing the masses with moments of terror and calamity. For anyone who has doubts about this, I highly recommend they read the thoroughly researched and evidenced works of professional historian and economist Antony Sutton, who quite accidentally stumbled onto the facts surrounding the globalist conspiracy and went on to expose their habit of playing both sides of nearly every war over the past century from the Bolshevik Revolution to WWII and onward.

The strategy of order out of chaos is nothing new: it’s something the globalists have been doing for a very long time. The number of open revelations post-Covid about the ‘Great Reset’ that globalists have publicly admitted to is so staggering that their plans can no longer be denied. Any skeptics at this point should be suspected of having a single digit IQ.

So, now that we have established the reality of globalist involvement in both the West and in Russia, we need to ask ourselves how they benefit from initiating a crisis between these powers over Ukraine? What do they get out of it?

As I have noted in recent articles, it appears to me that Ukraine is a Plan B attempt to conjure more smoke and mirrors where the covid pandemic failed to satisfy the Great Reset plan. As Klaus Schwab and the WEF have constantly asserted, they saw the pandemic as the perfect “opportunity” to force the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the world. As globalist Rahm Emanual once opined in the wake of the 2008 economic crash:

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

The WEF is an old hand at this tactic. Klaus Schwab also used the same exact language right after the credit crash of 2008 as he has used after the spread of covid, always trying to sell global governance as the solution to every disaster:

What we are experiencing is the birth of a new era, a wake-up call to overhaul our institutions, our systems and, above all, our thinking, and to adjust our attitudes and values to the needs of a world which rightly expects a much higher degree of responsibility and accountability,” he explained. “If we recognize this crisis as being really transformational, we can lay the fundaments for a more stable, more sustainable and even more prosperous world.” – Klaus Schwab on the Global Redesign Initiative, 2009

Schwab jumped the gun back then just as he jumped the gun in 2020 when he declared the Great Reset an inevitability in the face of covid. The globalists must have expected a much higher death rate from the virus because they were practically dancing in the streets, elated over the amount of power they could steal in the name of “protecting the public from a global health threat.” If you look at the WEF and Gates Foundation simulation of a covid pandemic, Event 201, which was held only two months before the REAL THING happened, they clearly expected covid to do way more damage, predicting an initial death tally of 65 million. This never happened; it isn’t even close.

It’s hard to say why an obvious bioweapon like covid failed to do the job. Viruses tend to mutate rapidly in the wild and behave differently than they do in a lab setting. I would even consider the possibility of divine intervention. Whatever the reason, the globalists did not get what they wanted and now they need yet another crisis to oil the gears of the Reset machine. With the already tiny death rate of covid now dropping even further with the Omicron variant and half the states of the US in full defiance of the vax mandates, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world asks why they are still under medical authoritarianism.

War in Ukraine and the mere threat of that war expanding beyond the region could accomplish a number of things covid has not. It provides an ongoing cover for the stagflationary collapse which is now in full swing in the US, the supply chain problems that continue globally as well as the destabilization of the European economy. In particular, the EU is strongly reliant on Russian natural gas in order to heat homes and maintain its economy. Russia has strangled natural gas supplies to Europe in the past and they will do it again. Russian oil exports also fill demand gaps globally, and these exports will be strangled by sanctions or by the Kremlin deliberately cutting supplies to certain nations.

War is always a distraction from economic sabotage. Even though the seeds of financial crashes are often planted and watered well in advance by central banks, the banks never get the blame because international conflicts conveniently take center stage. By extension, economic crisis causes mass poverty, mass desperation, and mass hysteria, and globalists will say that these dangers require an international solution that they will happily provide in the form of centralization.

In the US and in many other Western nations which have a large number of people still defending individual freedom, the globalists clearly want to use tensions with Russia as a means to silence public dissent over authoritarian policies. Already I am seeing numerous instances of establishment officials and leftists on social media suggesting that liberty activists are “pawns of the Russians” and that we are being used to “divide and conquer.” This is nonsense backed by nothing, but they are trying out the narrative anyway to see if it sticks.

I have no doubt that any rebellion in the US against the globalists will be blamed on foreign interference. As mentioned earlier, the last thing the elites want is movements of free people obstructing the Reset in the name of liberty. We witnessed this in Canada where Trudeau announced unilateral emergency powers against the trucker protests, giving himself totalitarian levels of control. Even the Russian government has intervened in such public actions to prevent any kind of activist momentum. Biden will try to do the same thing; and war, even a smaller regional war, gives him a rationale to oppress dissent in the name of public security.

Interestingly, martial law in the US is also much easier to legally and historically justify for the government as long as it is done in response to the invasion of a foreign enemy. The Russian-influence narrative may very well be in preparation for martial law within America. Whether or not this actually succeeds is another matter.

The consequences of a shooting event in Ukraine will be far-reaching well beyond a distraction for the American public; my intent here is not to suggest only Americans will be affected. My point is that there are certain places in the world that are naturally resistant to the globalist scheme, and freedom-minded Americans are a primary obstacle. If there is a large-scale rebellion against the Great Reset, it’s going to start here. The globalists know this as well, which is why the US will undoubtedly be centrally involved in the Ukraine quagmire.

While the event would be disastrous for Ukrainians and probably many Russians, there are deeper and more dangerous underlying threats intended for the US, and a war in Ukraine acts as an effective scapegoat for many of them.

The Fed Has Triggered A Stagflationary Disaster That Will Hit Hard This Year

By Brandon Smith

I don’t think I can overstate the danger that the U.S. economy is in right now as we enter 2022. While most people are caught up in the ongoing drama of Covid-19, a REAL threat looms over the nation in the form of a stagflationary tidal wave. The mainstream media is attempting to place the blame on “supply chain disruptions,” but this is a misrepresentation of the issue.

The two factors are indeed intertwined, but the reality is that inflation is the cause of supply chain disruptions, not the result of supply chain disruptions. If we look at the underlying stats for price rises in essential products we can get a clearer picture.

Before I get into my argument, I really want to stress that this is a precarious time and I suggest that people prepare accordingly. In just the past few months I have seen personal expenses rise at least 20% overall, and I’m sure it’s the same or worse for most of you. Stocking necessities and safe-haven investments with intrinsic value like physical precious metals are a good choice for protecting whatever buying power your dollars have left…

Higher prices everywhere

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is officially at the highest levels in 40 years. CPI measurements often diminish the scale of the problem because they do not include things like food, energy and housing which are core expenses for the public. CPI calculations have also been “adjusted” over the past few decades by the government to express a more positive view on inflation. If we look at the inflation numbers at Shadowstats, calculated according to the same methods they used in the 1980s, we see a dramatic increase in CPI which paints a more dire (but more accurate) picture.

U.S. food prices have spiked to levels not seen since 2008 at the onset of the credit and derivatives collapse that brought about tens of trillions of dollars in Federal Reserve bailouts.

If we look beyond the 2008 crisis, food costs do not see a similar jump until the 1980s. Rising food prices in the US are often obscured by creative accounting and “shrinkflation” (shrinking packages and rising prices), but if we look at global food prices the average is a 30% jump in the past year.

Rental and home prices have also gone into the stratosphere. Rental costs went up around 18% in 2021, and this is an extension of a trend that has been prevalent for the past decade. Prices have been rising for a while, it’s just that now the avalanche has accelerated.

Home prices are currently out of the range of most new potential home buyers. Values jumped 16% in the past year alone, with the average property costing $408,000. Home sales continue to remain elevated compared to two years ago despite inflating prices for one reason and one reason only – the mass migration of Americans away from the draconian mandates and bureaucracy of blue states into more conservative states.

I live in Montana, a primary destination for people relocating, and from my experience the majority of these people are conservatives seeking to escape the vaccine and lockdown mandates in places like California, New York and Illinois. They see the writing on the wall and they are trying to get ahead of the economic and social calamity that will surely befall such states.

I would also note that home sales have finally begun to flatten in the past six months but prices are not dropping, which is a trend that I think needs to be explored further because it illustrates the larger issue of stagflation.

When inflation becomes stagflation

Understand that prices are not just rising because of increased demand (demand is starting to fall in many sectors), prices are rising because of increased money supply and dollar devaluation which is not yet being reflected in the Dollar Index.

Take a look at U.S. GDP and you will see that for the past several years it has tracked in tandem with price inflation. Obviously, if prices inflate then this means people are spending more, which then leads to higher U.S. GDP; it’s like magic, right? In other words, inflation makes it seem as though U.S. GDP is always improving.

However, this has not been the case in the past couple of years.

Official GDP has flattened despite the fact that U.S. money supply and inflation have rocketed higher. What does this mean? I believe it is a sign of stagflation and a reckoning in 2022. If we examine inflation adjusted GDP numbers from Shadowstats we see that GDP has declined rather aggressively in the past couple of years.

We can also see odd tendencies in oil and gasoline prices. While it’s true that gas prices have been higher in the past, this does not address the full context of the situation. U.S. travel spending has declined 12% since 2019 and airline travel has dropped at least 21% in the past year. Average gasoline usage dropped after 2019 and still has not recovered. Yet, gas prices continue to rise? In other words, travel demand is stagnant but prices are INCREASING – this is another signal of inflationary pressures and dollar devaluation. Oil is priced in dollars globally, and therefore any inflation in the dollar will be readily visible in oil. This would help explain why pandemic paranoia and reduced travel have not caused gas prices to drop.

If the current momentum continues the majority of necessities in the U.S. will not be affordable for most people by next year. We are looking at a fast-moving decline in production along with a swift explosion in prices. In other words, a stagflationary disaster.

This is the Federal Reserve’s fault

I and many other alternative economists have been warning about the inevitable inflation/stagflation crisis for years, but the most important factor to understand is WHO is responsible this event?

The mainstream financial media is going to protect the government and the Federal Reserve at all costs during this breakdown. They are going to blame Covid, the lockdowns here and overseas as well as the supply chain bottleneck.

The Fed is the true culprit, though.

While there have been many American presidents and other politicians who have supported the Fed in its inflationary activities, the central bank itself needs to be held accountable for the downturn that is about to occur. This is a process that started back at the founding of the Fed, but spread like cancer after the crash of 2008 and the introduction of 12+ years of stimulus and bailout measures along with near-zero interest rates.

The inflationary end-game

The pandemic is the perfect cover for the inflationary end-game. In 2008 the response to the crisis was to print and pump dollars into banks and corporations in the U.S. and around the globe. This money supply was held in corporate coffers and in central banks overseas, which slowed the effects of inflation. This set the precedent for subversive stimulus policies by giving the Fed a blank check to do whatever it wanted.

In 2020, the Fed created trillions more but this time the money was injected directly into the U.S. economy through Covid stimulus checks, PPP loans and other measures. In the alternative economic field we call this “helicopter money.” These dollars triggered a massive retail buying spree in 2020, but with more dollars in the economy chasing less goods prices are now spiking much higher.

The big discussion today is whether or not the Fed will taper their asset purchases, reduce their balance sheet and raise interest rates to counter inflation?

The fact is it won’t matter; inflation/stagflation will continue or even accelerate as the Fed tapers. With a taper comes the threat of a flattening yield curve in Treasury bonds as well as the danger of bonds and dollars being dumped by foreign investors and central banks. If the trillions upon trillions of dollars being held overseas come flooding back into the U.S., inflation will continue at its current pace or erupt even higher. In fact, the world’s ownership of dollars reached a 26-year low recently. The global transition away from the dollar, toward inflation-resistant investments, has already begun.

This is not a policy error

I explained this Catch-22 threat in my recent article The Fed’s Catch-22 Taper Is a Weapon, Not a Policy Error. In that essay I outline the Fed’s documented history of creating economic disasters that conveniently end up benefiting their friends in the international banks.

I also explained (with evidence) how the Federal Reserve actually takes its marching orders from the Bank for International Settlements, a globalist institution which along with the International Monetary Fund and World Economic Forum is openly seeking a one-world economic system and one-world currency system.

I do not believe that the Fed’s actions are a product of ignorance or stupidity or basic greed. I do not believe the Fed is scrambling to keep the U.S. economy afloat. I believe according to the evidence that the Fed knows exactly what it is doing. The pandemic offers a perfect scapegoat for an engineered crash of the U.S. economy which the Fed is trying to facilitate.

Why? Because the more desperate people are financially, the easier they are to buy off with false promises and a loaf of bread. They are easier to control. On top of that, with the U.S. economy reduced to second- or third-world status, it is easier to sell the public on the predetermined solution – total global centralization and far less freedom.

As the stagflationary crash plays out, never forget who was really the cause of the public’s suffering. In the fog of national crisis it is easy for the establishment to shift blame and responsibility and to cloud the truth. The inflation calamity is about to get much worse, and as it does we need to rally newly awakened people to take action against the central bankers and globalists behind it.

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GREAT QUESTION: Is There A Way To Prevent Psychopaths From Getting Into Positions Of Power?

Op-Ed by Brandon Smith

Despite a growing resurgence of interest in the science and psychology of narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths it seems as though society today has lost track of how these people can sabotage the core fabric of a civilization or nation. It is very easy to hyper-focus on collectivist ideologies as the source of our problems and forget that these ideologies do not function in a vacuum; they cannot wreak havoc by themselves, they need psychopathic people directing them to do real damage.

There is something about collectivism that lends itself to projection and hypocrisy (collectivism is organization by FORCE instead of being voluntary). I suppose when your political ideology becomes your religion it’s easy to turn into a zealot. And while zealots find power in their single-mindedness and their cultism they also tend to lack any self-awareness. They literally go insane with devotion to their cause to the point that they lose track of whether or not their cause is fair and just. Their behavior becomes increasingly erratic and disjointed and every person they run into that does not share their views is immediately seen as a heretical enemy that needs to be exposed or destroyed.

To outsiders looking in, zealots are an endless source of comedy. You can’t help but laugh because their ticks and cricks and outbursts are nonsensical and absurd (just check out “Libs Of Tik Tok” for a mountain of examples). As long as they don’t have any real power these people act as a reminder of what happens when human beings abandon reason for madness. They can be frightening but they serve the purposes of entertainment as well as keeping the rest of us grounded. When they do gain power, however, that’s when things stop being funny.

Civilizations throughout history have consistently dealt with the problem of zealots, but the greater threat is the existence of narcissists and psychopaths sneaking into positions of authority and encouraging zealotry among the masses. Generally, psychopaths are seen as an anomaly which is quickly identified and shunned in order to prevent them from climbing too high up the ladder of social influence. The problem is they are not as rare as one might hope and many of them have the ability to hide among the herd.

Around 1% of any given population is made up of psychopaths while another 1% are sociopaths. Around 5% of people are identified as having narcissistic traits. Narcissists are self-absorbed and view themselves as superior to everyone else – They believe they are entitled to adoration and authority. Sociopaths have an inability to feel empathy for others and this makes them impractical as leaders. Psychopaths also exhibit a lack of empathy but also have a propensity for emotional or physical violence. They take joy in the suffering of others and perpetrate a large number of violent crimes.

Even though psychopaths are 1% of the population, they make up 15% to 25% of those incarcerated in prisons. The drag they exert on society cannot be overstated.

There is definitely some overlap among the various types, but in general close to 10% of human beings exhibit dangerous and mostly inherent psychological malfunctions that are often not treatable. Think about that for a moment – 10 out of every 100 people are ticking time bombs waiting to make life miserable for the rest of us.

To be sure, some of them are still able to function in society. Sociopaths in particular can become valuable in fields where less empathy is required in order to accomplish certain tasks. They are particularly well suited as surgeons, EMTs, soldiers, firefighters, and any other job where seeing people in pain is not going to stop them from accomplishing their task. They don’t necessarily take joy in seeing others harmed, but they aren’t emotionally fazed by it either. As long as they are never allowed into positions of influence over large groups of people they can serve some good for the public.

History shows us that vetting and preventing psychologically broken individuals from slipping into institutions that offer power is not so easy. In fact, many monarchies and empires were built on systems that allowed psychopaths and narcissists to flourish because they relied on genetic succession. If a monarch had a son who was predisposed to psychopathy it did not matter, that crazed prince would one day become a king and there was little that could be done about it. There was no vetting process. Also, many such traits are passed on genetically, which means a power structure built on heredity could become progressively more destructive as psychopaths in royalty intermarry. This would help explain why psychopathic behavior is over-represented among monarchs of the past.

The creation of democracy and democratic republics was in part designed to help weed out aberrant individuals by using open elections and the voting process. In other words, let the people scrutinize candidates and remove the crazies from circles of power. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work too well if ALL the candidates are psychopaths and the public has no real choice. By extension, psychopaths have also found ways to circumvent the political process and control it without directly participating in it.

The corporate world and financial institutions allow psychopaths to influence politics from behind the curtain, buying off candidates and their loyalty or vetting candidates and ONLY allowing those with similar sociopathic, narcissistic and psychopathic habits through the selection process and into the political arena.

In tribal societies and in smaller low-tech societies the ability to identify and root out psychologically broken individuals and prevent them from becoming leaders was easier. In the midst of vast empires and technocracy it is much simpler for psychopaths to hide among normal people and blend in. I usually compare invasive psychopaths to mythological stories of vampires for this reason. I really can’t think of a better analogy. They insinuate themselves into a population, take up positions of influence which protect them from suspicion and then systematically bleed the town dry. This is what they do. It is in their nature and they cannot be fixed, they can only be removed as a parasite is removed from host.

These people are the top threats to any given civilization. They are moderators of chaos and they actively conspire to supplant free society. They are what I would call primary organized psychopaths and they do indeed work together for mutual gain, much like a pack of wolves. They represent the 1% of the 1% (i.e. the globalists).

Psychopaths at the top of the pyramid have been organized for a long time, but what about the millions of other people out there with such traits? What happens when they are given a way to congregate?

Modern society and Big Tech social media have created even worse circumstances because now the greater psychopathic community is no longer isolated. The 1% that used to be mostly relegated to quiet corners and the fringes of humanity are now able to organize into aggressive mobs of hundreds of thousands, leading millions of lesser sociopaths and narcissists. This is creating a subculture of what I would call communal insanity – As the old saying goes, the patients are taking over the asylum.

We see this specifically with the political left and the open promotion of narcissism as an acceptable way of life.  This is not to say that psychopaths don’t try to infiltrate conservative circles as well, only that leftists are much more welcoming to their kind. These are people who once felt powerless because they were shunned and now they want revenge.

The thing is, they were originally shunned from influence for a very good reason; they are not psychologically equipped to handle any measure of power. Now they are being handed institutional control and they are being whipped into a frothing frenzy. They see themselves as the underdogs and the “revolutionaries”, but really they are just emotionally stunted and handicapped and they were put in permanent time-out to protect the rest of humanity.

But how is this danger dealt with, not just in the short term but the longer term?

Our culture has to be fundamentally changed with psychopathy and other aberrant traits in mind. We can no longer ignore the effect these people have on humanity as a whole. The first step would require separation from movements and institutions that promote psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors. In other words, we need to return to a model of isolation for the psychopathically inclined instead of treating them as if they are some kind of victim status group that needs special attention and “nurturing.”

As noted, in many cases these characteristics are inherent (inborn) and cannot be treated. There is no fixing the problem because it is not so much an illness as it is a completely different psychological structure. They might as well be a different species, and a predatory one at that. There is no mutual coexistence with them. They see us as food.

Candidates for positions of authority would have to be screened for psychopathy, narcissism and sociopathy. If they have too many of the warning signs then they should not be allowed to pursue those jobs. This is the only answer beyond fundamentally changing the way our election system functions, which I’m not necessarily opposed to either. A random lottery system for government jobs along with strict term limits (not just for normal political positions but also in bureaucratic positions) would at least be better than what we have now. I would rather risk the possibility of less qualified people being randomly chosen for government than have a system that attracts a concentrated culture of malicious parasites.

What better way to discourage psychopaths than to take away any long-term benefits of working in government? What better way to disrupt the influence of corporate elitists than to take away their ability to finance or choose the candidates that end up in office? And even if they were able to buy off some officials, with term limits they would have to start over and over again with the latest crop of new officials.

Some will of course point out that changing the system tomorrow will require getting rid of the psychopaths that run it today. I agree, it’s a dilemma. Sadly, once psychopaths become organized and entrenched history tells us they will not be moved without the force of violence. They don’t care about protests, they are not moved by reason or logic, they don’t care about the suffering of the masses and they will always see themselves as the rightful rulers of us “lesser” peasants.

They derive supremacy from the mobs of the stunted that they lead and exploit; the nearly 10% of the population that when organized becomes an army of raging mad hatters hungry for scraps from the table of power. We can and should continue to separate from the collectivist mob and the zealots, but all psychopaths view separation as defiance and will try to interfere. Eventually there’s going to be a fight, and maybe that’s for the best.

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New Year, New Hope for Gold and Silver Investors

By Clint Siegner

Silver and gold prices way underperformed investor expectations in 2021. Perhaps most frustrating of all, the fundamentals were there, driving unprecedented retail demand for physical bullion.

Inflation fears crept into markets. The Fed maintained ultra-accommodative monetary policy including zero interest rates and massive debt monetization. 2021 was also a nasty year for confidence in major institutions.

Nervous buyers switched paper assets into physical metal at a record pace.

Seasoned metals investors know great fundamentals don’t necessarily mean rising prices. Price discovery in the paper markets is broken. In the short run, it can be totally disconnected from the factors driving supply and demand for physical.

One of the big questions for 2022 is whether we will see better price performance.

In the longer run, fundamentals do matter. That is why gold and silver prices are multiples of what they were twenty years ago. This year the case for owning physical gold and silver promises to get even stronger in the months just ahead.

Price inflation will continue to rage. Higher wages, supply chain troubles, and labor shortages are not going to disappear any time soon. Deliberate government and central bank actions are responsible for the turmoil.

Americans can expect more economic interventions, restrictions, mandates, and artificial stimulus. Officials in Washington DC show little interest in changing their approach.

The moment of reckoning cannot be far off for the Fed. The central bank is caught between spiraling price inflation and markets hopelessly addicted to never ending stimulus.

Fed bankers are trying to maintain the illusion they can quickly step in and control the erosion in the Federal Reserve Note’s purchasing power without putting the US economy into the ditch. They are telegraphing rate hikes starting by midyear.

The central planners at the Fed can’t make a compelling case as to why markets will tolerate higher rates this time. They would like people to forget they have tried, and failed, before. The last attempt ended almost before it began when the stock market puked all over rate hikes in the fall of 2018.

A collapse in confidence in the Federal Reserve Note is not likely in 2022. But that event will draw nearer when Fed bankers once again demonstrate there is no way out of the stimulus trap.

Monetary and political turmoil will drive more Americans to acquire gold and silver.

Futures traders employed by large banks will continue to release massive quantities of paper gold and silver contracts into the market. They will also keep taking the short side of those contracts and pushing paper prices in their favor whenever they see the opportunity.

If global demand to take delivery of physical rises, the paper price of metal will eventually follow.

A breakout is coming. It may be a question of whether it happens in the futures market or after all trust in the futures market evaporates.

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, Siegner puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals’ brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.

The Hounding of Julian Assange Leaves Honest Journalism With No Refuge

By Jonathan Cook

It is no accident that Julian Assange, the digital transparency activist and journalist who founded WikiLeaks to help whistleblowers tell us what Western governments are really up to in the shadows, has spent 10 years being progressively disappeared into those very same shadows.

His treatment is a crime similar to those WikiLeaks exposed when it published just over a decade ago hundreds of thousands of leaked materials – documents we were never supposed to see – detailing war crimes committed by the United States and Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These two Western countries killed non-combatants and carried our torture not, as they claimed, in the pursuit of self-defense or in the promotion of democracy, but to impose control over a strategic, resource-rich region.

It is the ultimate, ugly paradox that Assange’s legal and physical fate rests in the hands of two states that have the most to lose by allowing him to regain his freedom and publish more of the truths they want to keep concealed. By redefining his journalism as “espionage”– the basis for the US extradition claim – they are determined to keep the genie stuffed in the bottle.

Eyes off the ball

Last week, in overturning a lower court decision that should have allowed Assange to walk free, the English High Court consented to effectively keep Assange locked up indefinitely. He is a remand prisoner – found guilty of no crime – and yet he will continue rotting in solitary confinement for the foreseeable future, barely seeing daylight or other human beings, in Belmarsh high-security prison alongside Britain’s most dangerous criminals.

The High Court decision forces our eyes off the ball once again. Assange and his supposed “crime” of seeking transparency and accountability has become the story rather than the crimes he exposed that were carried out by the US to lay waste to whole regions and devastate the lives of millions.

The goal is to stop the public conducting the debate Assange wanted to initiate through his journalism: about Western state crimes. Instead the public is being deflected into a debate his persecutors want: whether Assange can ever safely be allowed out of his cell.

Assange’s lawyers are being diverted from the real issues, too. They will now be tied up for years fighting endless rearguard actions, caught up in the search for legal technicalities, battling to win a hearing in any court they can, to prevent his extradition to the United States to stand trial.

The process itself has taken over. And while the legal minutiae are endlessly raked over, the substance of the case – that it is US and British officials who ought to be held responsible for committing war crimes – will be glossed over.

Permanently silenced

But it is worse than the legal injustice of Assange’s case. There may be no hacksaws needed this time, but this is as visceral a crime against journalism as the dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi officials back in 2018.

And the outcome for Assange is only slightly less preordained than it was for Khashoggi when he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The goal for US officials has always been about permanently disappearing Assange. They are indifferent about how that is achieved.

If the legal avenue is a success, he will eventually head to the US where he can be locked away for up to 175 years in severe solitary confinement in a supermax jail – that is, till long past his death from natural causes. But there is every chance he will not survive that long. Last January, a British judge rejected extraditing Julian Assange to the US over his “suicide risk“, and medical experts have warned that it will be only a matter of time before he succeeds.

That was why the district court blocked extradition – on humanitarian grounds. Those grounds were overturned by the High Court last week only because the US offered “assurances” that measures would be in place to ensure Assange did not commit suicide. But Assange’s lawyers pointed out: those assurances “were not enough to address concerns about his fragile mental health and high risk of suicide”. These concerns should have been apparent to the High Court justices.

There is no need to speculate about the Americans’ bad faith. It is only too apparent in the myriad get-out clauses in the “assurances” they provided. Those assurances can be dropped, for example, if US officials decide Assange is not being cooperative. The promises can and will be disregarded the moment they become an encumbrance on Washington’s ability to keep Assange permanently silenced.

‘Trapped in a cage’

But if losing the extradition battle is high stakes, so is the legal process itself. That could finish Assange off long before a decision is reached, as his fiancee Stella Moris indicated at the weekend. She confirmed that Assange suffered a small stroke during a hearing in October in the endless extradition proceedings. There are indications he suffered neurological damage, and is now on anti-stroke medication to try to stop a recurrence.

Assange and his friends believe the stroke was brought on by the constant double strain of his solitary confinement in Belmarsh and a legal process being conducted over his head, in which he is barely allowed to participate.

Nils Melzer, the United Nations expert on torture, has repeatedly warned that Assange has been subjected to prolonged psychological torture in the nine years since he fled into Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking asylum from US efforts to persecute him.

That form of torture, Melzer has pointed out, was refined by the Nazis because it was found to be far more effective at breaking people than physical torture. Moris told the Daily Mail:

“[The stroke] compounds our fears about [Assange’s] ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. … Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian.”

And that indeed looks to be the prize for US officials that wanted him assassinated anyway. Whatever happens to Assange, the lawless US security state wins: it either gets him behind bars forever, or it kills him quietly and quite lawfully, while everyone is distracted, arguing about who Assange is rather what he exposed.

Political prisoner

In fact, with each twist and turn of the proceedings against Assange we move further from the realities at the heart of the case towards narrative distractions.

Who remembers now the first extradition hearings, nearly two years ago, at which the court was reminded that the very treaty signed by Britain and the US that is the basis for Assange’s extradition explicitly excludes political cases of the kind being pursued by the US against Assange?

It is a victory for state criminality that the discussion has devolved to Assange’s mental health rather than a substantive discussion of the treaty’s misapplication to serve political ends.

And similarly the focus on US assurances regarding Assange’s well-being is intended to obscure the fact that a journalist’s work is being criminalized as “espionage” for the first time under a hurriedly drafted, draconian and discredited piece of First World War legislation, the 1917 Espionage Act. Because Assange is a political prisoner suffering political persecution, legal arguments are apparently powerless to save him. It is only a political campaign that can keep underscoring the sham nature of the charges he faces.

The lies of power

What Assange bequeathed us through WikiLeaks was a harsh light capable of cutting through the lies of power and power of lies. He showed that western governments claiming the moral high ground were actually committing crimes in our name out of sight in far-off lands. He tore the mask off their hypocrisy.

He showed that the many millions who took to the streets in cities around the world in 2003 because they knew the US and UK would commit war crimes in Iraq were right to march. But he also confirmed something worse: that their opposition to the war was treated with utter contempt.

The US and UK did not operate more carefully, they were not more respectful of human rights, they did not tread more lightly in Iraq because of those marches, because of the criticism beforehand. The western war machine carried on regardless, crushing the lives of anyone who got caught up in its maw.

Now with Assange locked up and silenced, western foreign policy can return comfortably to the era of zero accountability that existed before Assange shook up the whole system with his revelations. No journalist will dare to repeat what Assange did – not unless they are ready to spend the rest of their days behind bars.

The message his abuse sends to others could not be clearer or more chilling: what happened to Assange could happen to you too.

The truth is journalism is already reeling from the combined assaults against Khashoggi and Assange. But the hounding of Assange strikes the bigger blow. It leaves honest journalism with no refuge, no sanctuary anywhere in the world.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. This originally appeared in the Middle East Eye.

Source: Antiwar.com

OpEd: Scientific Materialism Is A Busted Philosophy

by Daniel Pinchbeck
Edited by Ryan DeLarme

Scientific materialism posits that the physical universe exists independently of consciousness, and that minds emerge through an accidental process of physical and biological evolution. Materialism — or physicalism — has been the dominant ideology of the last two centuries, pervasively inflecting every aspect of our society.

Idealism proposes, instead, that consciousness is the fundamental reality or the “ontological primitive.” The apparition of the physical universe arises out of this foundational ground of consciousness, like a vast turbulent dream.

In Why Materialism is Baloney and The Idea of the World, philosopher Bernardo Kastrup makes a great case for idealism.

“The physical properties of the world exist only insofar as they are perceptually experienced,” he writes. “There is no ontological ground outside mind where these properties could otherwise reside before being represented in mind.”

As individuals, we are dissociated “alters” of this unbounded, instinctive consciousness.

materialism, philosophy,

Physics experiments have, he notes, “confirmed that, unlike what one would expect if the world were separate or distinct from mind, the observed properties of the world indeed cannot be said to exist prior to being observed.”

He quotes the physicist Anton Zeilinger:

“There is no sense in assuming that what we do not measure [that is, observe] about a system has [an independent] reality.”

In The Idea of the World, Kastrup surveys various counter-arguments against idealism, one by one, and refutes them. He considers the means by which ideologies take root in society and become entrenched as the norm, despite their fallacies, and how to supersede them:

“We are all immersed in myriad unexamined cultural assumptions and conventional patterns of thought. It is the unavoidable task of the idealist to patiently identify and expose these hidden assumptions and faulty thought patterns, one by one, whilst persisting in repeated elucidations of his or her argument. Only in this manner can the logic behind the idealist’s argument eventually pierce through the cultural shield.”

I completely agree with Kastrup. I feel we need something like an army of intellectually rigorous idealists, attacking this from many angles.

I know this still seems far-fetched to many, but I believe that the paradigm shift from materialism to idealism is both crucial and inevitable. The question, for me, is how and when we get there.

It is inevitable because idealism is true while materialism is false (or, as Kastrup puts it, “baloney”). This has been demonstrated again and again, scientifically, and it becomes increasingly sensible as we develop better ways to talk and think about it.

Many other thinkers and scientists have reached this perspective, including the physicist Amit Goswami, author of Physics of the Soul, and biologist Robert Lanza, who coined the term, “biocentrism.”

Investigating the nature of reality, many of the great physicists of the 20th Century discovered that the universe to be a “great thought,” made from “mind stuff” rather than matter. Their discoveries accorded with the basic tenets of Eastern mysticism.

However, it must be said that, in the past, false ideologies and bad ideas often prevailed over true ones. The triumph of idealism is, therefore, not completely certain.

The paradigm shift from materialism to idealism has tremendous implications, on many levels. It is profoundly important for the future of our world. I consider it a necessary evolutionary leap. It is the paradigm shift we have been waiting for. It is the game-changer.

In upcoming essays, I will paraphrase parts of Kastrup’s philosophical argument for idealism. I will then consider the implications of idealism in a number of different areas, ranging from the personal quandary of what it means to live a meaningful life to the collective — social and political — the question of how we reinvent civilization to address wealth inequality, technological control, and ecological catastrophe.

Analytic Idealism gives us the answer to Capitalist Realism, Neoliberalism, and Transhumanism. It has the potential to reshape our relationships with each other and with the world as a whole.

As idealism becomes our interpretive framework, humanity’s attention will turn in a new direction, rescuing us from the abyss of quantification, control, and nihilism in which the vast mass of humanity is currently lost.

Idealism also allows us to fully understand indigenous animism and other ancient cosmologies, integrating them into a comprehensive, integral worldview.

The shift to idealism restores meaning and purpose to the world. Under materialism, the world has no intrinsic meaning. Humanity wanders hopelessly in a wasteland:

“Our culture believes that the semantic value of the world is simply an artifact of human minds. The world doesn’t have a story to tell, a suggestion to make or an insight to convey. It isn’t saying anything. There is nothing meaningful to be gleaned from the world, just utilitarian predictions to be made about its behavior,” Kastrup writes.

But if the world is actually the projection of a universal, instinctive consciousness, then it begs for interpretation and analysis:

“If the world is mental, it points to something beyond its face-value appearances and is amenable to interpretation, just as ordinary dreams. In this case, the project of a Hermeneutic of Everything is metaphysically justifiable.”

If consciousness is the fundamental reality, then, as conscious beings, our ongoing activity of interpreting, understanding, and giving creative expression to the world is not contingent, accidental, or meaningless.

It must be seen as an essential aspect of the world-process, of reality in its unfolding, of the “worlding” of the world. William Blake turns out to be phenomenologically precise when he wrote, “The imagination is not a state: It is the human existence itself.”

I Went To A Socially Distanced Drive-In Rave, And It Was A Depressing Dystopian Nightmare

Tristan Justice
November 2nd, 2020

I went to my first drive-in rave last weekend. After eight months of lockdowns with no live music, no live shows, and no camaraderie of the annual festival season, I expected the event to be a refreshing escape from the pandemic suppression of nearly everything that made life exciting in my early 20s.

I wanted a one-night departure from the drudgery of a fundamentally different world stricken with death, disease, and division driven worse under draconian lockdowns stripping freedoms from a public all-too-eager to hand them over under the guise of safety. A one-night celebration of what things were like in our pre-pandemic lives before being wrecked by a foreign virus bringing the world to its knees. A one-night return to “normalcy.”

There were a lot of reasons why the show failed to meet the expectations I just outlined. The stage was small, the music wasn’t as loud as before, the staff was rude, and the energy present featured a bizarre mix of nostalgia and paranoia complemented by an underlying frustration of what used to be.

In the end however, it was the penetrating reminder that things aren’t normal, and won’t be for quite some time. 

The night started with all the fanfare of a typical evening preparing for the main event. I hopped in the car of some people I met on the Radiate app in Denver, a social media platform that combines the likes of Tinder and Facebook for festival-goers. We left by 6 p.m., and arrived at the racetrack near Colorado Springs soon after 8 p.m. where we then joined a seemingly endless line of cars waiting to get in moving at a snail’s pace. Each time we got out of the car to stretch out legs in line, event staff driving up and down the cars screamed at people get back in. It ultimately took our car two hours to reach the entrance, which at that point gave us merely two hours until the entire show was over.

When we finally got inside, the group wanted to meet up with people from two other cars we traveled with who were mistakenly taken to the VIP section of the parking lot closest to the stage. We snuck in fine even though we weren’t supposed to when several people with loose wristbands handed them off by the general concessions.

Once we got inside however, security was even tighter than it was in the general car lot checking wristbands and yelling at individuals who were dancing too close to other cars. I was eventually kicked out with another person who was in the group since we had given our wristbands back to the people who passed them to us. Other entire groups were bumped from their front-row spot because they weren’t distancing to security’s standards.

On our way to the back of the car lot, people who had been dancing in the open spaces had been cleared out back to their cars. Security in flood lights on the perimeters of the infield were also ensuring there was no crowding anywhere in the entire site. It’s hard to “let go” when big brother is over your shoulder the entire time. Yet no one seemed to care about lines at the concession stands, begging one to ask, what’s even the point? And masks? Mandatory, no matter how many people puffed on one of the same same joints, Juuls, or cigarettes being passed around.

Under all the circumstances, there were still a few moments of a deceptive bliss. Deceptive because each moment left me feeling emptier than before, as if I had been teased with a window into what things used to be.

I spent the whole show not embracing what little was in front of me, but rather pretending I was somewhere else, imagining all the shows I had gone to in the past reminding me of just how important the festivals had become in coping with the challenges of the last two years, especially the Bassnectar shows, because nothing ever compared to a Bassnectar show. There were times this weekend that I found myself just staring at the lights when a certain beat would trigger flashbacks of serotonin flooding my brain at the right drop transporting me into an intimate multi-dimensional experience. Because that’s the cliché open secret about festivals. You’re not paying for three nights of music. You’re buying a lifetime of memories, memories that don’t remind you of what you saw but remind you of exactly, and I mean exactly how you felt. 

I was warned about this predicament. In fact, I played a role in warning others about this predicament.

When reporting on the mental health impact of lockdowns in April, I interviewed East Tennessee therapist Allysen Efferson on the consequences they may have in exacerbating an already existing crisis:

Efferson warned that Americans need to be prepared for life to be different even after states begin to reopen.

‘There is a whole new level of reality out there that’s about to hit people,’ Efferson told The Federalist, pointing out that since we’ve been sheltered in our homes, most people haven’t seen the outside damage that has been done and things won’t return to normal even once stay-home orders are lifted. Their favorite restaurants might be closed for good. Big events such as concerts and sports won’t come back for quite some time, and people’s behavior might remain distant.

‘We don’t know what we’re going to see.’

I’m not sure I should have attended Friday’s drive-in, because I wasn’t prepared.

For all that’s been lost amid the pandemic, it’s these fundamental years that can’t be replaced which have cut deeper than anything else. I turned 23 in June, who knows if we have a vaccine by 24. Even then, I woke up Sunday morning to find a piece in the Washington Examiner quoting health experts saying the U.S. won’t return to “normal” until late 2021 or early 2022.

“Some experts won’t put an actual date to their predictions,” the Examiner reported. “In September, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine, said, “The old normal? I don’t know when that day will be, but it will be in the great and distant future.”

A second wave of lockdowns is already on its way, which runs the risk of being even tighter pending the results of Tuesday’s election. Even if we do get a vaccine by the year’s end, we’ll still be locked down given its likely failure to achieve all that we hope. Americans can still party for sure, if they shell out $1,000 on a trip to Mexico, which is exactly what many of my friends on the East Coast plan to do for New Years. That’s lost cash that could go to desperately struggling businesses here at home.

I’m not blind to the fact tht more than 230,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. I’m also not blind to the fact that we still don’t have a vaccine for many other viruses, and the CDC’s “current best-estimate” for the COVID survival rate is at least 99.98 percent for a majority of the population, while lockdowns and hysteria destroy the nation’s psyche and wreak havoc on immunization rates against diseases we do have vaccines against.

Surely there are better ways to handle the coronavirus, and maybe I’ll spend 24 being 24, but probably not.Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

MILE MARKERS OF TYRANNY: LOSING OUR FREEDOMS ON THE ROAD FROM 9/11 TO COVID-19

John W. Whitehead
September 08, 2020

“No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.”—George Orwell

You can map the nearly 20-year journey from the 9/11 attacks to the COVID-19 pandemic by the freedoms we’ve lost along the way.

The road we have been traveling has been littered with the wreckage of our once-vaunted liberties, especially those enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

The assaults on our freedoms that began with the post-9/11 passage of the USA Patriot Act laid the groundwork for the eradication of every vital constitutional safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The COVID-19 pandemic with its lockdowns, mask mandates, surveillance, snitch lines for Americans to report their fellow citizens for engaging in risky behavior, and veiled threats of forced vaccinations has merely provided the architects of the American police state with an opportunity to flex their muscles.

These have become mile markers on the road to tyranny.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s ongoing war on the American people. In the process, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed.

What the past 20 years have proven is that the U.S. government poses a greater threat to our individual and collective freedoms and national security than any terrorist, foreign threat or pandemic.

In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, partisan politics, pandemic scares, and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the U.S. government—the government that was supposed to be a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”—has become the enemy of the people.

Indeed, the U.S. government has grown so corrupt, greedy, power-hungry and tyrannical over the course of the past 240-plus years that our constitutional republic has since given way to an idiocracy, and representative government has given way to a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) and a kakistocracy (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens).

Although the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—was adopted as a means of protecting the people against government tyranny, in America today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

“We the people” have been terrorized, traumatized, and tricked into a semi-permanent state of compliance by a government that cares nothing for our lives or our liberties.

The bogeyman’s names and faces have changed over time (terrorism, the war on drugs, illegal immigration, a viral pandemic), but the end result remains the same: in the so-called name of national security, the Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded with the support of Congress, the White House, and the courts.

What we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago. Sadly, most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights.

Here is what it means to live under the Constitution, post-9/11 and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic.

The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind, assemble and protest nonviolently without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans should not be silenced by the government. To the founders, all of America was a free speech zone.

Despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Increasingly, Americans are being arrested and charged with bogus “contempt of cop” charges such as “disrupting the peace” or “resisting arrest” for daring to film police officers engaged in harassment or abusive practices. Journalists are being prosecuted for reporting on whistleblowers. States are passing legislation to muzzle reporting on cruel and abusive corporate practices. Religious ministries are being fined for attempting to feed and house the homeless. Protesters are being tear-gassed, beaten, arrested and forced into “free speech zones.” And under the guise of “government speech,” the courts have reasoned that the government can discriminate freely against any First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum.

The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Essentially, this amendment was intended to give the citizenry the means to resist tyrannical government. Yet while gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against SWAT team raids and government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons better suited to the battlefield. As such, this amendment has been rendered null and void.

The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” With the police increasingly training like the military, acting like the military, and posing as military forces—complete with heavily armed SWAT teams, military weapons, assault vehicles, etc.—it is clear that we now have what the founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from conducting surveillance on you or touching you or invading you, unless they have some evidence that you’re up to something criminal. In other words, the Fourth Amendment ensures privacy and bodily integrity. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has suffered the greatest damage in recent years and has been all but eviscerated by an unwarranted expansion of police powers that include strip searches and even anal and vaginal searches of citizens, surveillance (corporate and otherwise) and intrusions justified in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the outsourcing of otherwise illegal activities to private contractors.

The Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment work in tandem. These amendments supposedly ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without the right to an attorney and a fair trial before a civilian judge. However, in the new suspect society in which we live, where surveillance is the norm, these fundamental principles have been upended. Certainly, if the government can arbitrarily freeze, seize or lay claim to your property (money, land or possessions) under government asset forfeiture schemes, you have no true rights.

The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. Yet when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears. However, as a growing number of citizens are coming to realize, the power of the jury to nullify the government’s actions—and thereby help balance the scales of justice—is not to be underestimated. Jury nullification reminds the government that “we the people” retain the power to ultimately determine what laws are just.

The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether.

The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so.

As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC, power elite—the president, Congress and the courts.

If there is any sense to be made from this recitation of freedoms lost, it is simply this: our individual freedoms have been eviscerated so that the government’s powers could be expanded.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats. Rather, I’m referring to the Deep State—the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that has set itself beyond the reach of the law and is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is a government that, in conjunction with its corporate partners, views the citizenry as consumers and bits of data to be bought, sold and traded.

This is a government that spies on and treats its citizens as if they have no right to privacy, especially in their own homes.

This is a government that is laying the groundwork to weaponize the public’s biomedical data as a convenient means by which to penalize certain “unacceptable” social behaviors.

This is a government that subjects its people to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA and VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes.

This is a government that uses fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, to track the citizenry’s movements, record their conversations, and catalogue their transactions.

This is a government whose wall-to-wall surveillance has given rise to a suspect society in which the burden of proof has been reversed such that Americans are now assumed guilty until or unless they can prove their innocence.

This is a government that treats its people like second-class citizens who have no rights, and is working overtime to stigmatize and dehumanize any and all who do not fit with the government’s plans for this country.

This is a government that uses free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws to silence, censor and marginalize Americans and restrict their First Amendment right to speak truth to power. The kinds of speech the government considers dangerous enough to red flag and subject to censorship, surveillance, investigation, prosecution and outright elimination include: hate speech, bullying speech, intolerant speech, conspiratorial speech, treasonous speech, threatening speech, incendiary speech, inflammatory speech, radical speech, anti-government speech, right-wing speech, left-wing speech, extremist speech, politically incorrect speech, etc.

This is a government that adopts laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at homegrowing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater.

This is a government that persists in renewing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.

This is a government that saddled us with the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

This is a government that, in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country, has allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a standing army by way of programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police.

This is a government that has militarized American’s domestic police, equipping them with military weapons such as “tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft,” in addition to armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like.

This is a government that has provided cover to police when they shoot and kill unarmed individuals just for standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

This is a government that has allowed private corporations to get rich at taxpayer expense by locking people up in private prisons for non-violent crimes, while providing Corporate America with a source of cheap labor.

This is a government that has created a Constitution-free zone within 100 miles inland of the border around the United States, paving the way for Border Patrol agents to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. Incredibly, nearly 66% of Americans (2/3 of the U.S. population, 197.4 million people) now live within that 100-mile-deep, Constitution-free zone.

This is a government that treats public school students as if they were prison inmates, enforcing zero tolerance policies that criminalize childish behavior, failing to teach them their rights under the Constitution, and indoctrinating them with teaching that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

This is a government that is operating in the negative on every front: it’s spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily (from foreign governments and Social Security) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad. Meanwhile, the nation’s sorely neglected infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—is rapidly deteriorating.

This is a government whose gun violence—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—poses a greater threat to the safety and security of the nation than any mass shooter. There are now reportedly more bureaucratic (non-military) government agents armed with high-tech, deadly weapons than U.S. Marines.

This is a government that has allowed the presidency to become a dictatorship operating above and beyond the law, regardless of which party is in power.

This is a government that treats dissidents, whistleblowers and freedom fighters as enemies of the state.

This is a government—a warring empire—that forces its taxpayers to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

This is a government that has in recent decades unleashed untold horrors upon the world—including its own citizenry—in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

This is a government that allows its agents to break laws with immunity while average Americans get the book thrown at them.

This is a government that speaks in a language of force. What is this language of force? Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality. Contempt of cop charges.

This is a government that justifies all manner of government tyranny and power grabs in the so-called name of national security, national crises and national emergencies.

This is a government that exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons. Indeed, the United States, the world’s largest exporter of arms, has been selling violence to the world in order to prop up the military industrial complex and maintain its endless wars abroad.

This is a government that is consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population and seemingly unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.

This is a government that believes it has the authority to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation, the Constitution be damned.

In sum, this is a government that routinely undermines the Constitution and rides roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

This is not a government that believes in, let alone upholds, freedom.

So where does that leave us?

As always, the first step begins with “we the people.”

Those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that the government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them. Our power as a citizenry comes from our ability to agree and stand united on certain freedom principles that should be non-negotiable.

It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words: “We the people.” In other words, we have the power to make and break the government. We are the masters and they are the servants. We the American people—the citizenry—are the arbiters and ultimate guardians of America’s welfare, defense, liberty, laws and prosperity.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have managed to keep the wolf at bay so far. Barely.

Our national priorities need to be re-prioritized. For instance, some argue that we need to make America great again. I, for one, would prefer to make America free again.