Archive for the ‘OUR Republic’ Category

via Is John Brennan the Mastermind Behind Russiagate?

Is John Brennan the Mastermind Behind Russiagate?
Posted By Luther Blissett 02/21/18
https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/02/21/is-john-brennan-the-mastermind-behind-russiagate/; https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3554
By Mike Whitney: The Unz Review

The report (“The Dossier”) that claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The company that claims that Russia hacked DNC computer servers, was paid by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Trump’s alleged connections to Russia was launched on the basis of information gathered from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The surveillance of a Trump campaign member (Carter Page) was approved by a FISA court on the basis of information from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The Intelligence Community Analysis or ICA was (largely or partially) based on information from a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign. (more on this below)

The information that was leaked to the media alleging Russia hacking or collusion can be traced back to claims that were made in a report that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The entire Russia-gate investigation rests on the “unverified and salacious” information from a dossier that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton Campaign. Here’s how Stephen Cohen sums it up in a recent article at The Nation:

“Steele’s dossier… was the foundational document of the Russiagate narrative…from the time its installments began to be leaked to the American media in the summer of 2016, to the US “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 2017….the dossier and subsequent ICA report remain the underlying sources for proponents of the Russiagate narrative of “Trump-Putin collision.” (“Russia gate or Intel-gate?”, The Nation)

There’s just one problem with Cohen’s statement, we don’t really know the extent to which the dossier was used in the creation of the Intelligence Community Assessment. (The ICA was the IC’s flagship analysis that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.)

According to some reports, the contribution was significant. Check out this excerpt from an article at Business Insider:

“Intelligence officials purposefully omitted the dossier from the public intelligence report they released in January about Russia’s election interference because they didn’t want to reveal which details they had corroborated, according to CNN.” (“Mueller reportedly interviewed the author of the Trump-Russia dossier — here’s what it alleges, and how it aligned with reality”, Business Insider)

Bottom line: Despite the denials of former-CIA Director John Brennan, the dossier may have been used in the ICA.

In the last two weeks, documents have been released that have exposed the weak underpinnings of the Russia investigation while at the same time revealing serious abuses by senior-level officials at the DOJ and FBI.

The so called Nunes memo was the first to point out these abuses, but it was the 8-page “criminal referral” authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham that gave credence to the claims. Here’s a blurb from the document:

“It appears the FBI relied on admittedly uncorroborated information, funded by and obtained for Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to conduct surveillance of an associate of the opposing presidential candidate. It did so based on Mr. Steele’s personal credibility and presumably having faith in his process of obtaining the information. But there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility.”

There it is. The FBI made a “concerted effort to conceal information from the court” in order to get a warrant to spy on a member of a rival political campaign. So –at the very least– there was an effort, on the part of the FBI and high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice, to improperly spy on members of the Trump team.

And there’s more.

The FBI failed to mention that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary campaign and the DNC, or that the dossier’s author Christopher Steele had seeded articles in the media that were being used to support the dossier’s credibility (before the FISA court), or that, according to the FBI’s own analysts, the dossier was “only minimally corroborated”, or that Steele was a ferocious partisan who harbored a strong animus towards Trump.

All of these were omitted in the FISA application which is why the FBI was able to deceive the judge. It’s worth noting that intentionally deceiving a federal judge is a felony.

Most disturbing is the fact that Steele reportedly received information from friends of Hillary Clinton. (supposedly, Sidney Blumenthal and others) Here’s one suggestive tidbit that appeared in the Graham-Grassley” referral:

“…Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company “received this report from REDACTED US State Department,” that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who “is in touch with REDACTED, a contact of REDACTED, a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to REDACTED.”

It is troubling enough that the Clinton campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.” (Lifted from The Federalist)

What are we to make of this?

Was Steele shaping the dossier’s narrative to the specifications of his employers?

Was he being coached by members of the Hillary team?

How did that impact the contents of the dossier and the subsequent Russia investigation?

These are just a few of the questions Steele will undoubtedly be asked if he ever faces prosecution for lying to the FBI.

But, so far, we know very little about man except that he was a former MI6 agent who was paid $160,000 for composing the dubious set of reports that make up the dossier.

We don’t even know if Steele’s alleged contacts or intermediaries in Russia actually exist or not.

Some analysts think the whole thing is a fabrication based on the fact that he hasn’t worked the Russia-scene since the FSB (The Russian state-security organization that replaced the KGB) was completely overhauled.

Besides, it would be extremely dangerous for a Russian to provide an M16 agent with sensitive intelligence.

And what would the contact get in return?

According to most accounts, Steele’s sources weren’t even paid, so there was little incentive for them to put themselves at risk?

All of this casts more doubt on the contents of the dossier.

What is known about Steele is that he has a very active imagination and knows how to command a six-figure payoff for his unique services.

We also know that the FBI continued to use him long after they knew he couldn’t be trusted which suggests that he served some other purpose, like providing the agency with plausible deniability, a ‘get out of jail free’ card if they ever got caught surveilling US citizens without probable cause.

But that brings us to the strange case of Carter Page, a bit-player whose role in the Trump campaign was trivial at best.

Page was what most people would call a “small fish”, an insignificant foreign policy advisor who had minimal impact on the campaign.

Congressional investigators, like Nunes, must be wondering why the FBI and DOJ devoted so much attention to someone like Page instead of going after the “big fish” like Bannon, Flynn, Kushner, Ivanka and Trump Jr., all of whom might have been able to provide damaging information on the real target, Donald Trump.

Wasn’t that the idea?

So why waste time on Page?

It doesn’t make any sense, unless, of course, the others were already being surveilled by other agencies?

Is that it, did the NSA and the CIA have a hand in the surveillance too?

It’s a moot point, isn’t it? Because now that there’s evidence that senior-level officials at the DOJ and the FBI were involved in improperly obtaining warrants to spy on members of the opposite party, the investigation is going to go wherever it goes.

Whatever restrictions existed before, will now be lifted.

For example, this popped up in Saturday’s The Hill:

“House Intelligence Committee lawmakers are in the dark about an investigation into wrongdoing at the State Department announced by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Friday. …Nunes told Fox News on Friday that, “we are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation. That investigation is ongoing and we continue work toward finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russia investigation.”…

Since then, GOP lawmakers have been quietly buzzing about allegations that an Obama-era State Department official passed along information from allies of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that may have been used by the FBI to launch an investigation into whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with Russia.

“I’m pretty troubled by what I read in the documents with respect to the role the State Department played in the fall of 2016, including information that was used in a court proceeding. I am troubled by it,” Gowdy told Fox News on Tuesday.” (“Lawmakers in dark about ‘phase two’ of Nunes investigation”, The Hill)

So the State Department is next in line followed by the NSA and, finally, the Russia-gate point of origin, John Brennan’s CIA.

Here’s more background on that from Stephen Cohen’s illuminating article at The Nation:

“….when, and by whom, was this Intel operation against Trump started?

In testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017, John Brennan, formerly Obama’s head of the CIA, strongly suggested that he and his agency were the first, as The Washington Post put it at the time, “in triggering an FBI probe.”

Certainly both the Post and The New York Times interpreted his remarks in this way. Equally certain, Brennan played a central role in promoting the Russiagate narrative thereafter, briefing members of Congress privately and giving President Obama himself a top-secret envelope in early August 2016 that almost certainly contained Steele’s dossier.

Early on, Brennan presumably would have shared his “suspicions” and initiatives with James Clapper, director of national intelligence. FBI Director Comey… may have joined them actively somewhat later….

When did Brennan begin his “investigation” of Trump?

His House testimony leaves this somewhat unclear, but, according to a subsequent Guardian article, by late 2015 or early 2016 he was receiving, or soliciting, reports from foreign intelligence agencies regarding “suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents.”

In short, if these reports and Brennan’s own testimony are to be believed, he, not the FBI, was the instigator and godfather of Russiagate.” (“Russiagate or Intelgate?”, Stephen Cohen, The Nation)

Regular readers of this column know that we have always believed that the Russiagate psyops originated with Brennan.

Just as the CIA launched its disinformation campaigns against Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi, so too, Russia has emerged as Washington’s foremost rival requiring a massive propaganda campaign to persuade the public that America faces a serious external threat.

In any event, the demonizing of Russia had already begun by the time Hillary and Co. decided to hop on the bandwagon by blaming Moscow for hacking John Podesta’s emails.

The allegations were never persuasive, but they did provide Brennan with some cover for the massive Information Operation (IO) that began with him.

According to the Washington Times:

“It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer….Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians.”

It all started with Brennan. After Putin blocked Brennan’s operations in both Ukraine and Syria, Brennan had every reason to retaliate and to use the tools at his disposal to demonize Putin and try to isolate Russia.

The “election meddling” charges (promoted by the Hillary people) fit perfectly with Brennan’s overall strategy to manipulate perceptions and prepare the country for an eventual confrontation.

It provided him the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, to deliver a withering blow to Putin and Trump at the very same time.

The temptation must have been irresistible.

But now the plan has backfired and the investigations are gaining pace.

Trump’s allies in the House smell the blood in the water and they want answers.

Did the CIA surveil members of the Trump campaign on the basis of information they gathered in the dossier?

Who saw the information?

Was the information passed along to members of the press and other government agencies?

Was the White House involved?

What role did Obama play?

What about the Intelligence Community Assessment?

Was it based on the contents of the Steele report?

Will the “hand-picked” analysts who worked on the report vouch for its conclusions in or were they coached about what to write?

How did Brennan persuade the reluctant Comey into opening a counterintelligence investigation on members in the Trump campaign when he knew it would be perceived as a partisan attempt to sabotage the elections by giving Hillary an edge?

Soon the investigative crosshairs will settle on Brennan.

He’d better have the right answers.

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via Freedom Is a Myth: We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village

Freedom Is a Myth: We Are All Prisoners of the Police State’s Panopticon Village [https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/02/16/freedom-is-a-myth-we-are-all-prisoners-of-the-police-states-panopticon-village/]
Posted By Luther Blissett By John W. Whitehead: The Rutherford Institute 02/16/18

“We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.”— Patrick McGoohan

First broadcast in Great Britain 50 years ago, The Prisoner—a dystopian television series described as “James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka”—confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the freedom of the individual, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of humankind to meekly accept their lot in life as a prisoner in a prison of their own making.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly tranquil retirement community known only as the Village.

The Village is an idyllic setting with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.

While luxurious and resort-like, the Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, their movements are tracked by surveillance drones, and they are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

The series’ protagonist, played by Patrick McGoohan, is Number Six.

Number Two, the Village administrator, acts as an agent for the unseen and all-powerful Number One, whose identity is not revealed until the final episode.

“I am not a number. I am a free man,” was the mantra chanted on each episode of The Prisoner, which was largely written and directed by McGoohan.

In the opening episode (“The Arrival”), Number Six meets Number Two, who explains to him that he is in The Village because information stored “inside” his head has made him too valuable to be allowed to roam free “outside.”

Throughout the series, Number Six is subjected to interrogation tactics, torture, hallucinogenic drugs, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination and physical coercion in order to “persuade” him to comply, give up, give in and subjugate himself to the will of the powers-that-be.

Number Six refuses to comply.

In every episode, Number Six resists the Village’s indoctrination methods, struggles to maintain his own identity, and attempts to escape his captors. “I will not make any deals with you,” he pointedly remarks to Number Two.

“I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

Yet no matter how far Number Six manages to get in his efforts to escape, it’s never far enough.

Watched by surveillance cameras and other devices, Number Six’s getaways are continuously thwarted by ominous white balloon-like spheres known as “rovers.”

Still, he refuses to give up.

“Unlike me,” he says to his fellow prisoners, “many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment, and will die here like rotten cabbages.”

Number Six’s escapes become a surreal exercise in futility, each episode an unfunny, unsettling Groundhog’s Day that builds to the same frustrating denouement: there is no escape.

As journalist Scott Thill concludes for Wired, “Rebellion always comes at a price. During the acclaimed run of The Prisoner, Number Six is tortured, battered and even body-snatched: In the episode ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ his mind is transplanted to another man’s body.

Number Six repeatedly escapes The Village only to be returned to it in the end, trapped like an animal, overcome by a restless energy he cannot expend, and betrayed by nearly everyone around him.”

The series is a chilling lesson about how difficult it is to gain one’s freedom in a society in which prison walls are disguised within the trappings of technological and scientific progress, national security and so-called democracy.

As Thill noted when McGoohan died in 2009, “The Prisoner was an allegory of the individual, aiming to find peace and freedom in a dystopia masquerading as a utopia.”

The Prisoner’s Village is also an apt allegory for the American Police State: it gives the illusion of freedom while functioning all the while like a prison: controlled, watchful, inflexible, punitive, deadly and inescapable.

The American Police State, much like The Prisoner’s Village, is a metaphorical panopticon, a circular prison in which the inmates are monitored by a single watchman situated in a central tower.

Because the inmates cannot see the watchman, they are unable to tell whether or not they are being watched at any given time and must proceed under the assumption that they are always being watched.

Eighteenth century social theorist Jeremy Bentham envisioned the panopticon prison to be a cheaper and more effective means of “obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”

Bentham’s panopticon, in which the prisoners are used as a source of cheap, menial labor, has become a model for the modern surveillance state in which the populace is constantly being watched, controlled and managed by the powers-that-be and funding its existence.

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide: this is the new mantra of the architects of the police state and their corporate collaborators (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Instagram, etc.).

Government eyes are watching you.

They see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet.

Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to form a picture of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line.

When the government sees all and knows all and has an abundance of laws to render even the most seemingly upstanding citizen a criminal and lawbreaker, then the old adage that you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’ve got nothing to hide no longer applies.

Apart from the obvious dangers posed by a government that feels justified and empowered to spy on its people and use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technology to monitor and control them, we’re approaching a time in which we will be forced to choose between obeying the dictates of the government—i.e., the law, or whatever a government official deems the law to be—and maintaining our individuality, integrity and independence.

When people talk about privacy, they mistakenly assume it protects only that which is hidden behind a wall or under one’s clothing.

The courts have fostered this misunderstanding with their constantly shifting delineation of what constitutes an “expectation of privacy.”

And technology has furthered muddied the waters.

However, privacy is so much more than what you do or say behind locked doors.

It is a way of living one’s life firm in the belief that you are the master of your life, and barring any immediate danger to another person (which is far different from the carefully crafted threats to national security the government uses to justify its actions), it’s no one’s business what you read, what you say, where you go, whom you spend your time with, and how you spend your money.

Unfortunately, George Orwell’s 1984—where “you had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized”—has now become our reality.

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

Stingray devices mounted on police cars to warrantlessly track cell phones, Doppler radar devices that can detect human breathing and movement within in a home, license plate readers that can record up to 1800 license plates per minute, sidewalk and “public space” cameras coupled with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology that lay the groundwork for police “pre-crime” programs, police body cameras that turn police officers into roving surveillance cameras, the internet of things: all of these technologies add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence—especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home.

As French philosopher Michel Foucault concluded in his 1975 book Discipline and Punish, “Visibility is a trap.”

This is the electronic concentration camp—the panopticon prison—the Village—in which we are now caged.

It is a prison from which there will be no escape if the government gets it way.

As Glenn Greenwald notes:

“The way things are supposed to work is that we’re supposed to know virtually everything about what [government officials] do: that’s why they’re called public servants.

They’re supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that’s why we’re called private individuals.

This dynamic – the hallmark of a healthy and free society – has been radically reversed.

Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more.

Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function.

That’s the imbalance that needs to come to an end.

No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable.”

Even now, the Trump Administration is working to make some of the National Security Agency’s vast spying powers permanent.

In fact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pushing for Congress to permanently renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows government snoops to warrantlessly comb through and harvest vast quantities of our communications.

And just like that, we’re back in the Village, our escape plans foiled, our future bleak.

Except this is no surprise ending: for those who haven’t been taking the escapist blue pill, who haven’t fallen for the Deep State’s phony rhetoric, who haven’t been lured in by the promise of a political savior, we never stopped being prisoners.

So how do we break out?

For starters, wake up.

Resist the urge to comply.

The struggle to remain “oneself in a society increasingly obsessed with conformity to mass consumerism,” writes Steven Paul Davies, means that superficiality and image trump truth and the individual.

The result is the group mind and the tyranny of mob-think.

Think for yourself.

Be an individual.

As McGoohan commented in 1968:

“At this moment individuals are being drained of their personalities and being brainwashed into slaves… As long as people feel something, that’s the great thing. It’s when they are walking around not thinking and not feeling, that’s tough. When you get a mob like that, you can turn them into the sort of gang that Hitler had.”

In a media-dominated age in which the lines between entertainment, politics and news reporting are blurred, it is extremely difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

We are so bombarded with images, dictates, rules and punishments and stamped with numbers from the day we are born that it is a wonder we ever ponder a concept such as freedom.

As McGoohan declared, “Freedom is a myth.”

In the end, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are all prisoners of our own mind.

In fact, it is in the mind that prisons are created for us.

And in the lockdown of political correctness, it becomes extremely difficult to speak or act individually without being ostracized.

Thus, so often we are forced to retreat inwardly into our minds, a prison without bars from which we cannot escape, and into the world of video games and television and the Internet.

We have come full circle from Bentham’s Panopticon to McGoohan’s Village to Huxley’s Brave New World.

As cultural theorist Neil Postman observed:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.

What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.

Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.

Orwell feared we would become a captive audience.

Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture.

Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble-puppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.

In short, Orwell feared that what we hate would ruin us.

Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

You want to be free?

Break out of the circle.

via Corporate giant Unilever demands crackdown on oppositional Internet content

Corporate Giant Unilever Demands Crackdown On Oppositional Internet Content
Posted 02/15/18 By Luther Blissett By Will Morrow: WSWS.org [https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/02/15/corporate-giant-unilever-demands-crackdown-on-oppositional-internet-content/; https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3541%5D

The drive to censor the Internet took another step this week with a public statement by Keith Weed, the chief marketing officer for the London-based multinational Unilever, threatening to withdraw advertising from social media platforms if they fail to suppress “toxic content.”

Weed reportedly told an annual leadership meeting of the Interactive Advertising Bureau in Palm Desert, California that the company “will not invest in platforms or environments” that “create divisions in society, and promote anger or hate.”

He added, “We will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society.”

Excerpts of Weed’s remarks—the most explicit of their kind from a major corporate executive—were leaked to several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian.

They were immediately featured on NBC News and other major American news outlets on Sunday.

The Journal’s report was accompanied by an interview with Weed.

The coordinated release was designed to escalate the propaganda offensive by the Democratic Party and US intelligence agencies, together with the corporate media, for Internet censorship.

The fraudulent premise for this assault on freedom of speech, both in the US and across Europe, is the claim that political opposition and social tensions are the product not of poverty, inequality and policies of austerity and militarism, but of “fake news” spread by Russia through social media.

Weed’s statements preceded yesterday’s US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, which witnessed a series of hysterical denunciations of Russia by politicians and intelligence agents.

The Democratic vice-chairman of the committee, Mark Warner of Virginia, declared that Russia “utilized our social media platforms to push and spread misinformation at an unprecedented scale.”

Facebook responded to Weed’s threats by declaring, “We fully support Unilever’s commitments and are working closely with them.”

The Journal stated that Unilever “has already held discussions” with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snap and Amazon “to share ideas about what each can do to improve.”

Weed absurdly framed his demand for censorship, made on behalf of a multibillion-dollar global corporation, as the expression of popular anger over the supposed spread of “fake news.”

He referred to research showing a decline in trust in social media and a “perceived lack of focus” in the form of “illegal, unethical and extremist behavior and material on” social media platforms.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he claimed to be articulating the concerns of consumers over “fake news” and “Russians influencing the US election.”

In reality, the intervention by Unilever—a consumer products behemoth with a market capitalization of $157 billion and annual revenues of $65 billion, more than the gross domestic product of many countries—only highlights the economic and political forces driving the censorship campaign: an alliance of the military/intelligence apparatus, giant technology firms and the corporate-financial oligarchy.

Unilever’s annual marketing outlays of nearly $9 billion place it in the top five companies in that category globally.

It owns dozens of brands used by some 2.5 billion people around the world, including Dove soap, Rexona deodorant and food products Cornetto, Magnum and Lipton.

Weed’s statements amount to a declaration that Unilever will use this economic power to filter what the world’s population can and cannot read online.

This is in line with a long and reactionary tradition.

Large advertisers played a significant role in enforcing the McCarthyite witch hunt of socialist and left-wing figures in the US during the late 1940s and 1950s. General Motors, DuPont, Reynolds Tobacco and other major companies were backers of the notorious anticommunist periodical Counterattack, which published names of suspected communist sympathizers and forced the removal of targeted performers and critical content from programs they sponsored.

In one of many such cases, the blacklisted Jean Muir was dropped from the television show “The Aldrich Family” after General Foods, the program’s sponsor, told NBC it would not sponsor programs featuring “controversial persons.”

In another development, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube (owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet), told a Code Media conference in Los Angeles that Facebook “should get back to baby pictures and sharing.”

The statement is a reference to Facebook’s announcement last month that it is deprioritizing news content on its News Feed in favor of “personal moments.”

The change is one of a number of recent measures to prevent Facebook users from accessing news and analysis outside of officially sanctioned corporate outlets.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Tuesday released a government-developed application that uses machine-learning algorithms to automatically detect ISIS-related content in videos so that it can be censored.

The BBC wrote that the tool was seen by the government as a way to demonstrate that its “demand for a clampdown on extremist activity was not unreasonable.”

Rudd stated, “The technology is there. There are tools out there that can do exactly what we’re asking for,” i.e., identifying and censoring video content. The new application will be provided free of charge to smaller video hosting companies, and the government will consider making its use legally mandatory.

The Washington Post, which along with the New York Times has been at the forefront of the censorship campaign, linked the UK government’s announcement to the intervention of Unilever, writing that it came “amid mounting pressure on social media companies to do more to remove extremist content from their platforms.”

via Trilateral conspirators out in the open—and Donald Trump

Trilateral Conspirators Out In The Open-And Donald Trump-An Interview That Will Live In Infamy: https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/trilateral-conspirators-out-in-the-open-and-donald-trump/ And: https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3538
By Jon Rappoport 02/13/18

Note: I wrote this article long before Donald Trump appeared on the scene.

Love him, hate him, trust him, don’t trust him, he has spoken against Globalism and for Nationalism.

Those sentiments have taken hold and reverberated across the planet, crossing swords with Elites who are bent on destroying separate nations and ruling one collectivist world from above.

Therefore, whether or not Trump means what he says, he must be taken down.

The genie must be put back in the bottle.

Who is in charge of destroying economies?

One group has been virtually forgotten.

Its influence is enormous.

It has existed since 1973.

It’s called the Trilateral Commission (TC).

Keep in mind that the original stated goal of the TC was to create “a new international economic order.”

In the run-up to his inauguration after the 2008 presidential election, Obama was tutored by the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In 1969, four years before birthing the TC with David Rockefeller, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote:

“[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”

Goodbye, separate nations.

Any doubt on the question of TC goals is answered by David Rockefeller himself, the founder of the TC, in his Memoirs (2003):

“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

Patrick Wood, author of Trilaterals Over Washington, points out there are only 87 members of the Trilateral Commission who live in America.

Obama appointed eleven of them to posts in his administration.

For example:
* Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary;
* James Jones, National Security Advisor;
* Paul Volker, Chairman, Economic Recovery Committee;
* Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence.

Here is a stunning piece of forgotten history, a 1978 conversation between a US reporter and two members of the Trilateral Commission. (Source: Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management; ed. by Holly Sklar, 1980, South End Press, Pages 192-3).

The conversation was public knowledge at the time.

Anyone who was anyone in Washington politics, in media, in think-tanks, had access to it.

Understood its meaning.

But no one shouted from the rooftops.

No one used the conversation to force a scandal.

No one protested loudly.

The conversation revealed that the entire basis of the US Constitution had been torpedoed, that the people who were running US national policy (which includes trade treaties) were agents of an elite shadow group.

No question about it.

And yet: official silence.

Media silence.

The Dept. of Justice made no moves, Congress undertook no serious inquiries, and the President, Jimmy Carter, issued no statements.

Carter was himself an agent of the Trilateral Commission in the White House.

He had been plucked from obscurity by David Rockefeller, and through elite TC press connections, vaulted into the spotlight as a pre-eminent choice for the Presidency.

The following 1978 conversation featured reporter, Jeremiah Novak, and two Trilateral Commission members, Karl Kaiser and Richard Cooper.

The interview took up the issue of who exactly, during President Carter’s administration, was formulating US economic and political policy.

The careless and off-hand attitude of Trilateralists Kaiser and Cooper is astonishing. It’s as if they’re saying, “What we’re revealing is already out in the open, it’s too late to do anything about it, why are you so worked up, we’ve already won…”

NOVAK (the reporter): Is it true that a private [Trilateral committee] led by Henry Owen of the US and made up of [Trilateral] representatives of the US, UK, West Germany, Japan, France and the EEC is coordinating the economic and political policies of the Trilateral countries [which would include the US]?

COOPER: Yes, they have met three times.

NOVAK: Yet, in your recent paper you state that this committee should remain informal because to formalize ‘this function might well prove offensive to some of the Trilateral and other countries which do not take part.’ Who are you afraid of?

KAISER: Many countries in Europe would resent the dominant role that West Germany plays at these [Trilateral] meetings.

COOPER: Many people still live in a world of separate nations, and they would resent such coordination [of policy].

NOVAK: But this [Trilateral] committee is essential to your whole policy. How can you keep it a secret or fail to try to get popular support [for its decisions on how Trilateral member nations will conduct their economic and political policies]?

COOPER: Well, I guess it’s the press’ job to publicize it.

NOVAK: Yes, but why doesn’t President Carter come out with it and tell the American people that [US] economic and political power is being coordinated by a [Trilateral] committee made up of Henry Owen and six others? After all, if [US] policy is being made on a multinational level, the people should know.

COOPER: President Carter and Secretary of State Vance have constantly alluded to this in their speeches. [a lie]

KAISER: It just hasn’t become an issue.

This interview slipped under the mainstream media radar, which is to say, it was buried.

US economic and political policy run by a committee of the Trilateral Commission—the Commission had been created in 1973 by David Rockefeller and his sidekick, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

When Carter won the presidential election (1976), his aide, Hamilton Jordan, said that if after the inauguration, Cy Vance and Brzezinski came on board as secretary of state and national security adviser, “We’ve lost. And I’ll quit.”

Lost—because both men were powerful members of the Trilateral Commission and their appointment to key positions would signal a surrender of White House control to the Commission.

Vance and Brzezinski were appointed secretary of state and national security adviser, as Jordan feared.

But he didn’t quit.

He became Carter’s chief of staff.

Now consider the vast propaganda efforts of the past 40 years, on so many levels, to install the idea that all nations and peoples of the world are a single Collective.

From a very high level of political and economic power, this propaganda op has had the objective of grooming the population for a planet that is one coagulated mass, run and managed by one force.

A central engine of that force is the Trilateral Commission.

How does a shadowy group like the TC accomplish its goal?

One basic strategy is: destabilize nations; ruin their economies; send millions and millions of manufacturing jobs off to places where virtual slave labor does the work; adding insult to injury, export the cheap products of those slave-factories back to the nations who lost the jobs and further undercut domestic manufacturers, forcing them to close their doors and fire still more employees.

And then solve that economic chaos by bringing order.

What kind of order?

Eventually, one planet, with national borders erased, under one management system, with a planned global economy, “to restore stability,” “for the good of all, for lasting harmony.”

The top Trilateral players, in 2008, had their man in the White House, another formerly obscure individual like Jimmy Carter: Barack Obama.

They had new trade treaties on the planning table.

After Obama was inaugurated for his first term, he shocked and astonished his own advisors, who expected him, as the first order of business, to address the unemployment issue in America.

He shocked them by ignoring the number-one concern of Americans, and instead decided to opt for his disastrous national health insurance policy—Obamacare.

Obama never had any intention of trying to dig America out of the crash of 2008.

That wasn’t why he was put in the Oval Office.

He could, and would, pretend to bring back the economy, with fudged numbers and distorted standards.

But really and truly, create good-paying jobs for many, many Americans? Not on the TC agenda.

Not in the cards.

It was counter-productive to the TC plan: torpedo the economy further.

Eight years later, along came Trump.

Judge him in any way you want to.

At the very least, he became a symbol for dismantling Globalism.

And that was enough to trigger alarm bells in Elite circles and centers.

And the word went out: destroy Trump by any means necessary.

Put the Trilateral Plan back on track—make the whole world One Nation, and erase the memory of America…

So that, one day, a student will ask his teacher, “What happened to the United States?”

And the teacher will say, “It was a criminal enterprise based on individual freedom. Fortunately, our leaders rescued the people and taught them the superior nature of HARMONY.”

By Jon Jeter 02/02/18 [https://www.mintpressnews.com/its-not-the-dow-stupid-underpaid-workforce-imperils-us-and-global-economies/237090/]  https://wordpress.com/post/randrewohge.wordpress.com/3530

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe — all but eradicating inflation, and radically devaluing work relative to capital.

NEW YORK — “It’s Not a Roar,” read the first-edition headline for the New York Times business article published January 27, “but the Global Economy is Finally Making Noise.”

A death rattle, perhaps?

Try as they may, the mainstream media simply cannot prepare for public viewing the gaping wound to the head that murdered the U.S. economy.

Never mind the Dow, the Fed Funds rate, or Apple’s latest earnings report, the cause of death is really quite simple: work is underpaid.

If we are to raise the economy from the dead, the American worker needs a raise.

For all intents and purposes, when adjustment is made for inflation, workers in the private sector haven’t had a pay increase in nearly 30 years.

That’s not just a problem for wage-earners who find they have too much month left at the end of their paycheck, but for an entire global economy that depends on consumer demand in the U.S.

With our paychecks shrinking, the workforce in the U.S. has resorted to borrowing more and more money — to buy a new car, fix a broken tooth, or finance the kids’ college education — to make up for the loss in buying power. Such forced borrowing, at the interest rates typically charged by lenders, only deepens the consumer cash crunch.

Poor & Getting Poorer

Said Jane, who raises chickens with her husband at their central Texas ranch: “Everyone I know is poor and getting poorer.”

As we struggle to pay down the mountains of credit-card debt, monthly insurance premiums, car loans, or skyrocketing utility bills, we spend less and less on new stuff.

Rosa Luxemburg called this cycle “underconsumption;” more modern economists call it debt deflation.

What it all means is that Laura of New Jersey makes very few new purchases these days.

The monthly premiums on the state exchange she, her husband and two sons enrolled in increased last month from $1,750 to $2,350.

Well actually, that’s not quite true. It would’ve cost that much had she and her husband continued with the same plan but, with college tuition for their second son bearing down on them, they decided to downgrade to a less expensive plan, which costs only $2,000 a month.

And that’s only for catastrophic coverage; they have a $6,000 deductible — and, even when coverage does kick in, it only pays for half their health care costs.

“So we send our kids to the doctor,” Laura told MintPress. But she and her husband “do not go.”

When her oldest son went off to college four years ago, he was fortunate enough to receive scholarships that paid about half of the $50,000 annual bill, leaving Laura and her husband to foot the rest.

Her youngest son starts college in the fall, and they are looking at adding possibly another $60,000 in annual expenses.

“Most of our woes came from the economic crash of 2008,” she said, when her husband lost his job in publishing.

“We just never recovered.”

Only creditors have. Since onerous debts triggered the 2008 meltdown, households, businesses and governments have merely borrowed 43.8 trillion more dollars, Sonja Gibbs, Senior Director of Global Capital Markets for the Institute for International Finance, told MintPress.

Happy Days Are Here Again-For Whom?

The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have joined President Trump in his State of the Union Speech in cuing up “Happy Days are Here Again” because their high-rolling advertisers and constituents are heavily invested in restoring consumer confidence — if not income levels — and encouraging more shopping sprees to grease the wheels of a dried-up demand economy.

The contradiction is that the mainstream media have consistently been a cheerleader of the very policies that have robbed American consumers of their buying power.

Despite their proclamations to the contrary, the country has never recovered from the financial ruin of 2008 that was triggered by the collapse of an overpriced real estate market.

It is true, as the Obama Administration claimed, that many banks had become “too big to fail,” although he failed to mention that that development was the result of laissez-faire government enforcement of antitrust and anti-monopoly regulations.

But rather than force banks to accept a “haircut” or write down the loans on their balance sheets to help jumpstart consumer spending, Obama’s Treasury department did just the opposite — effectively pouring gasoline on a fire by loaning the banks billions in low-interest loans to re-inflate the asset bubble that popped in 2008.

The result is the best-of-times, worst-of-times quality that characterizes the relationship between the country’s wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else, with stock market indexes — and poverty rates — at or near historic highs.

The Plutocrats Rearrange The Financial Universe

What’s important to note is that the dispossession of workers in the U.S. is a man-made catastrophe, and is the culmination of the plutocrats’ concerted 45-year effort to undo the stagflation crisis of 1973, and, if possible, ensure that it never happened again.

At the heart of the crisis was inflation, caused by pay hikes for the U.S. workforce, that was running as high as nine percent year-over-year at that time.

Workers, generally, don’t mind moderate levels of inflation because they have more cash in their pockets — and indeed, poverty levels in 1973 were at an all-time low.

Conversely, creditors consider inflation a type of financial fraud in which they loan a borrower $100 but get only $95 back.

“It is clear to me,” David Rockefeller wrote in 1971 to his fellow Chase Manhattan board members, “that the entire structure of our society is being challenged.”

As many labor historians — most notably, Kim Phillips-Fein – have documented, today’s savage inequalities are rooted in that epoch when labor unions were strong, factories were humming, oil prices high, and wages were causing inflation to climb.

Over a period of 40 years, capitalists like Rockefeller, Walmart, the Koch Brothers, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have completely rearranged the financial universe, all but eradicating inflation, which hasn’t increased by more than 3 percent annually in nearly 30 years.

But, as theorists as diverse as Hegel and Luxemburg have noted, this reversal of fortune is a case of Wall Street biting its nose to spite its face.

As the Marxist economist Richard Wolff notes in describing Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, an employer reflexively moves to pay his workers as little as possible, and yet his prosperity is wholly dependent on workers earning enough money to buy his products and services.

With workers’ buying-power in decline, big business has had to resort to smoke-and-mirrors to generate profits.

Stock prices for companies such as Apple, for example, aren’t skyrocketing because of robust sales, but because the company is borrowing money at low-interest rates to repurchase its own stock and drive up the price.

One Great Economic House Of Cards

In his latest book, The End of Normal, University of Texas Economics Professor James Galbraith — the son of the great Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith — asserts that the 2008 crisis wasn’t just part of a normal macroeconomic cycle but the culmination of a political economy that lost its way beginning in the 1980s. Galbraith told MarketWatch last month:

I think there are really major changes in the structure of the economy going forward.

The share of business investment has been quite low, share of construction has been very low, and that means the economy is being driven increasingly by the consumer.

The consumer is dependent upon the access to debt, auto loans, consumer loans and student loans.

Those things will build up over time until such time as there is a crack and households decide that they no longer wish to access the credit — at which point this phase of the expansion will end.”

It might, in fact, be time to ask the New York Times the question that a reporter for Fortune Magazine, Bethany McClean asked Enron’s Chief Financial Officer in March of 2001.

Suspecting that the now-discredited energy-services firm was cooking its books, McClean — according to the 2005 documentary on Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room — asked the chief financial officer in a telephone call a question he could not answer, setting in motion a chain of events that revealed that the whole enterprise was a house of cards:

“How exactly does Enron make its money?”

via Financial Tyranny: ‘We the People’ Are the New Permanent Underclass in America

Posted By Luther Blissett 01/22/18 [https://desultoryheroics.com/2018/01/22/financial-tyranny-we-the-people-are-the-new-permanent-underclass-in-america/]

By John W. Whitehead-The Rutherford Institute

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat, French Economist

Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why.

That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them. [https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/medical-bills/530679/]

This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny.

Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills.

They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills.

They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.
[https://www.thenation.com/article/the-devastating-process-of-dying-in-america-without-insurance/]

To be clear, my definition of “affordable healthcare” is different from the government’s.

To the government, you can “afford” to pay for healthcare if your income falls above the poverty line.
That takes no account of rising taxes, the cost of living, the cost to clothe and feed a household, the cost of transportation and communication and education, or any of the other line items that add up to a life worth living.

As Helaine Olen points out in The Atlantic [https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/medical-bills/530679/]:

“Just because a person is insured, it doesn’t mean he or she can actually afford their doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, and other medical bills. The point of insurance is to protect patients’ finances from the costs of everything from hospitalizations to prescription drugs, but out-of-pocket spending for people even with employer-provided health insurance has increased by more than 50 percent since 2010.”

For too many Americans, achieving any kind of quality of life has become a choice between putting food on the table and paying one’s bills or health care coverage.
It’s a gamble any way you look at it, and the medical community is not helping.

Healthcare costs are rising, driven by a medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industry that are getting rich off the sick and dying.
[https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/us/health-insurance-affordable-care-act.html]

Indeed, Americans currently pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html]

We spent more than $10,000 per person on health care in 2016.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html]

Those attempting to shop for health insurance coverage right now are understandably experiencing sticker shock with premiums set to rise 34% in 2018.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/25/most-popular-obamacare-plans-cost-average-of-34-percent-more-for-2018.html]

It’s estimated that costs may rise as high as $15,000 by 2023.

As Bloomberg reports [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/rising-health-insurance-costs-blunt-employees-paycheck-gains]:

“Rising health-care costs are eating up the wage gains won by American workers, who are being asked by their employers to pick up more of the heftier tab… The cost of buying health coverage at work has increased faster than wages and inflation for years, pressuring household budgets.”

Appallingly, Americans spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it.
[https://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/08/us-health-care-spending-is-high-results-arenot-so-good.html]

We don’t live as long, we have higher infant mortality rates, we have fewer hospital and physician visits, and the quality of our healthcare is generally worse.

We also pay astronomical amounts for prescription drugs, compared to other countries.

Whether or not you’re insured through an employer, the healthcare marketplace, a government-subsidized program such as Medicare or Medicaid, or have no health coverage whatsoever, it’s still “we the consumers” who have to pay to subsidize the bill whenever anyone gets sick in this country.

And that bill is a whopper.

While Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) may have made health insurance more accessible to greater numbers of individuals, it has failed to make healthcare any more affordable.

Why?

As journalist Laurie Meisler concludes: “One big reason U.S. health care costs are so high: pharmaceutical spending. The U.S. spends more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country.” [https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-health-care-spending/]

One investigative journalist spent seven months analyzing hundreds of bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical equipment manufacturers.

His findings confirmed what we’ve known all along: health care in America is just another way of making corporations rich at consumer expense. [https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/wildly-overinflated-hospital-costs/]

An examination of an itemized hospital bill (only available upon request) revealed an amazing amount of price gouging. [https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/wildly-overinflated-hospital-costs/]

Tylenol, which you can buy for less than $10 for a bottle, was charged to the patient at a rate of $15 per pill, for a total of $345 for a hospital stay.

$8 for a plastic bag to hold the patient’s personal items and another $8 for a box of Kleenex.

$23 for a single alcohol swab.

$53 per pair for non-sterile gloves (adding up to $5,141 for the entire hospital stay).

$10 for plastic cup in which to take one’s medicine.

$93 for the use of an overhead light during a surgical procedure.

$39 each time you want to hold your newborn baby.
[http://mbamedical.com/10-rediculously-overpriced-hospital-charges/]

And $800 for a sterile water IV bag that costs about a dollar to make.

This is clearly not a problem that can be remedied by partisan politics.

The so-called Affordable Care Act pushed through by the Obama administration is proving to be anything but affordable for anyone over the poverty line. [https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/09/feds-obamacare-site-does-biggest-business-yet-while-half-people-can-pay-0/847903001/]

And the Trump administration’s “fixes” promise to be no better.

Indeed, for too many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle just to get by, the tax penalty for not having health insurance will actually be cheaper than trying to find affordable coverage that actually pays for care. [https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/us/obamacare-affordable-care-act-tax-penalties.html]

This is how the middle classes, who fuel the nation’s economy and fund the government’s programs, get screwed repeatedly.

When almost 60% of Americans are so financially strapped that they don’t have even $500 in savings [http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/12/pf/americans-lack-of-savings/index.html] and nothing whatsoever put away for retirement, and yet they are being forced to pay for government programs that do little to enhance their lives, we’re not living the American dream. [https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/13/heres-how-many-americans-have-nothing-at-all-saved-for-retirement.html]

We’re living a financial nightmare.

We have no real say in how the government runs, or how our taxpayer funds are used, but that doesn’t prevent the government from fleecing us at every turn and forcing us to pay for endless wars that do more to fund the military industrial complex than protect us, pork barrel projects that produce little to nothing, and a police state that serves only to imprison us within its walls.

We have no real say, but we’re being forced to pay through the nose, anyhow.

George Harrison, who died 16 years ago this month, summed up this outrageous state of affairs in his song Taxman:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

In other words, in the eyes of the government, “we the people, the voters, the consumers, and the taxpayers” are little more than indentured servants and sources of revenue.

If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property and your money, you’re not free.

Consider:

The government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.

Government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.

And the IRS insists on getting the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.

It wasn’t always this way, of course.

Early Americans went to war over the inalienable rights described by philosopher John Locke as the natural rights of life, liberty and property. [https://fee.org/articles/john-locke-natural-rights-to-life-liberty-and-property/]

It didn’t take long, however—a hundred years, in fact—before the American government was laying claim to the citizenry’s property by levying taxes to pay for the Civil War.

As the New York Times reports, “Widespread resistance led to its repeal in 1872.” [https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/yourtaxes/irwin-schiff-fervent-opponent-of-federal-income-taxes-dies-at-87.html]

Determined to claim some of the citizenry’s wealth for its own uses, the government reinstituted the income tax in 1894.

Charles Pollock challenged the tax as unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

Pollock’s victory was relatively short-lived.

Members of Congress—united in their determination to tax the American people’s income—worked together to adopt a constitutional amendment to overrule the Pollock decision.

On the eve of World War I, in 1913, Congress instituted a permanent income tax by way of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution and the Revenue Act of 1913. [https://www.npr.org/2010/12/08/131913228/A-History-Of-Income-Tax]

Under the Revenue Act, individuals with income exceeding $3,000 could be taxed starting at 1% up to 7% for incomes exceeding $500,000.

It’s all gone downhill from there.

Unsurprisingly, the government has used its tax powers to advance its own imperialistic agendas and the courts have repeatedly upheld the government’s power to penalize or jail those who refused to pay their taxes.
[http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/09/business/supreme-court-ruling-supports-tax-protester.html]

Irwin A. Schiff was one of the nation’s most vocal tax protesters.

He spent a good portion of his life arguing that the income tax was unconstitutional.

He paid the price for his resistance, too:

Schiff served three separate prison terms (more than 10 years in all) over his refusal to pay taxes.

He died at the age of 87 serving a 14-year prison term.

As constitutional activist Robert L. Schulz noted in Schiff’s obituary [https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/yourtaxes/irwin-schiff-fervent-opponent-of-federal-income-taxes-dies-at-87.html]:

“In a society where there is so much fear of government, and in particular of the I.R.S., [Schiff] was probably the most influential educator regarding the illegal and unconstitutional operation and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. It’s very hard to speak to power, but he did, and he paid a very heavy price.”

It’s still hard to speak to power, and those who do are still paying a very heavy price.

All the while the government continues to do whatever it likes—levy taxes, rack up debt, spend outrageously and irresponsibly—with little thought for the plight of its citizens.

The national debt is $20 trillion and growing.
[http://www.usdebtclock.org/]

The amount this country owes is now greater than its gross national product (all the products and services produced in one year by labor and property supplied by the citizens). [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/17/5-facts-about-the-national-debt-what-you-should-know/]

We’re paying more than $270 billion just in interest on that debt annually. [http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/17/5-facts-about-the-national-debt-what-you-should-know/]

And the top two foreign countries who “own” our debt are China and Japan.

To top it all off, all of those wars the U.S. is so eager to fight abroad are being waged with borrowed funds.

As The Atlantic reports: [https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/09/cost-wars-iraq-afghanistan/499007/]:

“For 15 years now, the United States has been putting these wars on a credit card… U.S. leaders are essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

If Americans managed their personal finances the way the government mismanages the nation’s finances, we’d all be in debtors’ prison by now.

Still, the government remains unrepentant, unfazed and undeterred in its money grabs.

While we’re struggling to get by, and making tough decisions about how to spend what little money actually makes it into our pockets after the federal, state and local governments take their share (this doesn’t include the stealth taxes imposed through tolls, fines and other fiscal penalties), the police state is spending our hard-earned tax dollars to further entrench its powers and entrap its citizens.

For instance, American taxpayers have been forced to shell out $5.6 trillion since 9/11 for the military industrial complex’s costly, endless so-called “war on terrorism.” [http://www.newsweek.com/how-many-trillions-war-has-cost-us-taxpayer-911-attacks-705041]

That translates to roughly $23,000 per taxpayer to wage wars abroad, occupy foreign countries, provide financial aid to foreign allies, and fill the pockets of defense contractors and grease the hands of corrupt foreign dignitaries.

Mind you, that staggering $6 trillion is only a portion of what the Pentagon spends on America’s military empire.

That price tag keeps growing, too. [http://www.futurity.org/post-911-costs-of-war-1602682/]

The 16-year war in Afghanistan, which now stands as the longest [http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/21/news/economy/war-costs-afghanistan/index.html]and one of the most expensive [https://theconversation.com/iraq-and-afghanistan-the-us-6-trillion-bill-for-americas-longest-war-is-unpaid-78241]wars in U.S. history, is about to get even longer and more costly, thanks to President Trump’s promise to send more troops over. [https://www.vox.com/world/2017/9/19/16227730/trump-afghanistan-3000-troops-mattis]

In this way, the military industrial complex will get even richer, and the American taxpayer will be forced to shell out even more funds for programs that do little to enhance our lives, ensure our happiness and well-being, or secure our freedoms.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in a 1953 speech:
[http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/ike_chance_for_peace.html]:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.
[http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/ike_chance_for_peace.html]

Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. […] Is there no other way the world may live?

This is still no way of life.

Yet it’s not just the government’s endless wars that are bleeding us dry.

We’re also being forced to shell out money for surveillance systems to track our movements, money to further militarize our already militarized police, money to allow the government to raid our homes and bank accounts, money to fund schools where our kids learn nothing about freedom and everything about how to comply, and on and on.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The government isn’t taking our money to make our lives better.

Just take a look at the nation’s failing infrastructure, and you’ll see how little is being spent on programs that advance the common good.

We’re being robbed blind so the governmental elite can get richer.

This is nothing less than financial tyranny.

“We the people” have become the new, permanent underclass in America.

It’s tempting to say that there’s little we can do about it, except that’s not quite accurate.

There are a few things we can do (demand transparency, reject cronyism and graft, insist on fair pricing and honest accounting methods, call a halt to incentive-driven government programs that prioritize profits over people), but it will require that “we the people” stop playing politics and stand united against the politicians and corporate interests who have turned our government and economy into a pay-to-play exercise in fascism.

We’ve become so invested in identity politics that label us based on our political leanings that we’ve lost sight of the one label that unites us: we’re all Americans.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the powers-that-be want to pit us against one another. [https://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-America-War-American-People/dp/1590793099]

They want us to adopt an “us versus them” mindset that keeps us powerless and divided.

Trust me, the only “us versus them” that matters anymore is “we the people” against the police state.
We’re all in the same boat, folks, and there’s only one real life preserver: that’s the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution starts with those three powerful words:

“We the people.”
The message is this: there is power in our numbers.

That remains our greatest strength in the face of a governmental elite that continues to ride roughshod over the populace.

It remains our greatest defense against a government that has claimed for itself unlimited power over the purse (taxpayer funds) and the sword (military might).

As Patrick Henry declared in the last speech before his death:

“United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions … or … exhaust [our strength] in civil commotions and intestine wars.”

This holds true whether you’re talking about health care, war spending, or the American police state.

via John Galt, Ayn Rand, mega-corporations, mega-government

[https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/john-galt-ayn-rand-mega-corporations-mega-government/] By Jon Rappoport 01/17/18

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.

Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach.

Check your road and the nature of your battle.

The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.” (John Galt, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)

Ayn Rand, the most hated and adored novelist of the 20th century.

Her 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged, proposes a radical effort by inventor John Galt, and his assembled creative colleagues, to withdraw from society and take their inventions with them.

Civilization is already crumbling, owing to the federal government and its cronies installing a socialism based on top-down domination and the theft of material and intellectual private property.

Galt decides that a head-on struggle with the government would be futile.

Instead, he wants to apply the coup de grace: remove the authentic creators from the scene and let the system implode.

Here are key Galt quotes from the novel:

“You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others—that you’re unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler…”

“Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away?”

“The doctrine that ‘human rights’ are superior to ‘property rights’ simply means that some human beings have the right to make property out of others…”

“You called it selfish and cruel that men should trade value for value—you have now established an unselfish society where they trade extortion for extortion.

Your system is a legal civil war, where men gang up on one another and struggle for possession of the law, which they use as a club over rivals, till another gang wrests it from their clutch and clubs them with it in their turn, all of them clamoring protestations of service to an unnamed public’s unspecified good…”

Galt is the inventor of a revolutionary engine that can provide energy to the whole planet.

He created the engine.

He owns it.

The government, on the verge of an economic collapse, wants to take Galt’s engine from him and use it for “the greater good.”

Galt refuses.

The engine is his.

He knows, of course, that the government could do unpredictable things with that engine—they could, in fact, put it in a vault and bury it.

On the other hand, he could maintain control over his invention and sell the abundant energy—not with the objective of becoming a king or an oligarch—at a price he sets. And eventually, the world would be swimming in energy.

Agents of the government (who resemble CIA types) kidnap him and prepare to torture him, MKULTRA style, to get their hands on his engine—but at the last minute his friends rescue him, and they vanish to Galt Gulch, a hidden valley, where they wait for the government to cave in, collapse, thereby ushering in, by necessity, a truly free market.

Rand focuses on the creative individual and his private property, his own inventions.

This is one reason why leaders of collectivism and their addled followers hate her and her work.

They scream that every good thing in this world must be given away, which means that every good thing will be taken over by men who hate life and freedom and the individual, while pretending to be messianic altruists.

Among the addled followers of collectivism are people who believe they themselves are unable to earn a living, and therefore insist that “everything should be free.”

For decades now, an operation has been underway to convince more and more people (especially the young) to see themselves as dependent. As if that status were righteous, as if that status were a badge of honor.

This is an intense rejection of the free and independent individual.

“You didn’t build that” and “we’re all in this together” and other such inanities are sparks shot by weapons of degraded thought.

They intend to encircle humanity in a wretched fume of pretended helplessness.

Indeed, there is no intention to raise up the individual. Instead, there is a goal of sinking to the lowest common denominator—as if at the bottom of a stagnant lake lies some magic clue to the resurrection of the human species.

There, at last, beyond desperation, is the “sharing and caring” everyone has been seeking.

This is the core of a Church of Failure.

Because at the bottom, there is nothing but sludge.

And in this case, the fishermen of souls are casting their nets for participants in a half-light dystopia of abject need.

Endless need, never to be satisfied—the ultimate spiritual drug.

In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt wins.

Rand wrote about the ultimate victory of the individual, and that is why she is a silver bullet aimed at vampires.

She is called an extreme fantasist, because now we know that society is composed of groups, and each group has special needs and demands, and government exists to satisfy them.

Now we know that the individual is a delusional construction, an outmoded prop in a drama that was played out a long time ago.

The bright new world is collective.

Yes, isn’t it pleasant?

The present-day oligarchs are actually messiahs, and they head up huge organizations.

They no longer wander in the desert.

They own castles.

They collude with each other to manufacture rainbows for the masses.

Behind their masks, they plot greater and greater control of the population.

They even finance and stage protests against…whom?

Against any power that isn’t their own.

Against any power that isn’t the machine of government.

Because the government, you see, is the bringer of help for all who are suffering.

How does that work?

It doesn’t.

It promotes the most profound dependence ever seen on the face of the planet.

Control through “satisfying needs.”

And it’s “free.”

In your dreams.

This “free” is where the individual goes to surrender.

And because she saw that and so much more, and because she wrote about it in incendiary novels, she was hated.

Ayn Rand, 1905-1982.

Atlas Shrugged; The Fountainhead.

And now, as a backgrounder, I want to describe a point that Rand didn’t make with any force—a prime reason for the collapse of the free market she championed.

Government power and corporate power—the false dichotomy

For decades, people on the Left and Right have been arguing about where the real power is.

Corporations?

Government?

Some of these people even cite President’s Eisenhower’s famous warning about the excesses of the “military-industrial complex.”

Well, let’s see. “Industrial” means corporations.

“Military” means government, since the last time I looked the Pentagon was part of the Executive Branch.

So Eisenhower was talking about an ongoing partnership between the public and private sectors.

The federal government isn’t the helpless victim of corporations.

And corporations aren’t wilting under the dominating government.

They’re in it together.

When people on the Left promote their programs for “a better world,” they invoke a convenient case of amnesia about central government and its chronic collusion with mega-corporations.

It is the government, these Lefties believe, that will carry us forward into a more equitable future.

Really?

The same government that has been willingly carving up the country with corporations at its side?

The same government which, for decades, has been signing Globalist treaties and looking the other way, as millions of jobs have gone overseas?

That is the kinder, gentler force that wants only good things for the American people?

Perhaps that means good things for expanding Welfare recipients—but not for Americans who are looking for work and want to work.

Here is just one example of collusion, which occurred under a president many people believed finally understood the “helper” and “better world” role of government.

Barack Obama.

Who makes the huge number of drones and bombs and planes and supplies them to the military (government)?

Defense contractors, otherwise known as corporations.

It’s a comfortable marriage.

Buckle up.

The leftist Guardian (1/9/17):

“In 2016 [under Obama], US special [military] operators could be found in 70% of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130% since the days of the Bush administration.”

“…in 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped at least 26,171 bombs.

This means that every day last year, the US military blasted combatants or civilians overseas with 72 bombs; that’s three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.”

“As drone-warrior-in-chief, he [Obama] spread the use of drones outside the declared battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, mainly to Pakistan and Yemen. Obama authorized over 10 times more drone strikes than George W Bush, and automatically painted all males of military age in these regions as combatants, making them fair game for remote controlled killing.”

Obama.

The champ of bombing.

But of course he was the prophet of a better world, a coming glorious revolution in which the downtrodden would be given their due, and past crimes and offenses would be healed.

Sure.

And if Trump had lost and Hillary had ascended to the Oval Office, we would be closer to that “good revolution.”

Hillary, who along with Obama, destroyed the nation of Libya and turned it into a hellhole of chaos.

The weapons of that mass killing were manufactured by corporations.

Vast profits ensued.

Let’s look at one more example of government-corporate collusion, under that same president who best personified “a prophet for a better world and a new age.”

“Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.” (Barack Obama, 2007, on the campaign trail)

Really?

In the last eight years, the global outcry against toxic Monsanto and the other biotech giants has accelerated—but not a significant peep emerged from the Obama White House.

And then Obama signed the bill dubbed The Dark Act.

It made GMO labels on food an exclusively federal matter—and those labels will be confusing, weak, and therefore meaningless for the majority of Americans.

The Dark Act is basically a free pass for the Monsanto Corporation and the other biotech giants.

After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in GMO food/pesticide issues—the USDA and the FDA:

At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.

As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto.

Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.

As the Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.

As the counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.

As the head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture.

We should also remember that Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm.

That firm was counsel to Monsanto.

Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.

The deck was stacked.

Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes.

Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees.

He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.

And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true partners.

Let’s see what GMO crops walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.

* Monsanto GMO alfalfa.

* Monsanto GMO sugar beets.

* Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.

* Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.

* Syngenta GMO stacked corn.

* Pioneer GMO soybean.

* Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.

* Bayer GMO cotton.

* ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.

* A GMO papaya strain.

* Genetically engineered salmon.

This is an extraordinary parade.

Obama was, all along, a stealth operative working with Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, for corporate control of the future of agriculture.

He didn’t make that many key political appointments and allow that many new GMO crops to enter the food chain through a lack of oversight.

Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

Obama had been a covert Monsanto partner since the beginning.

Imposter.

Charlatan.

These words fit Obama.

He doesn’t care that GMO food, with their rivers of toxic pesticides, are taking over the country and the world.

He obviously wants it to happen.

Government-corporate collusion and partnership.

Not one.

Not the other.

Both.

Together.

The dichotomy of government vs. mega-corporation is false.

Free market?

In your dreams.