Free - Beyond Collapse

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Great Revolutionary Wave

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen – is America and Europe next?

by Justin Raimondo

It started, of all places, in Tunisia, a land of sunny beaches and sleepy walled cities – the first stirrings of a revolutionary wave that, before it’s crested, may reach American shores.

The spark flared first in the small town of Sidi Bouzid, in central Tunisia, where Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old graduate student, was accosted by the authorities for selling produce in the souk – the equivalent of a farmer’s market – without a license. Bouazizi, like many in emerging economies, could not find a job in his field – or any other field – and so was forced to resort to hawking olives and oranges to support his family of eight. The officials reportedly humiliated him, and when he went to city hall to try to go "legal," they wouldn’t even let him in the door. These are the circumstances that led to his now famous act of self immolation: in protest, and in full view of passersby, he stood in front of city hall, poured lighter fluid on himself – and struck a match.

This spark set off a prairie fire still burning its way across the Middle East, a conflagration born of boiling resentment and red-hot anger directed at the authorities that has already spread to Egypt and Yemen, and shows every sign of flaring up well beyond the region. As a global economic downturn punctures the delusions of economic planners and technocrats worldwide, the bursting of the bubble brought on by unrestrained bank credit expansion is generating a political tsunami that promises to topple governments from North Africa to North America.

Egypt is the perfect candidate for what we might call the Bouazizian revolution – a US-supported kleptocracy ruled by a coalition of the military, the technocrats, and Washington, with the overarching figure of Hosni Mubarak – now 82 – presiding over it all. As in Tunisia, one of the key issues is the succession: rumors that the Egyptian dictator was planning to pass power on to his son, Gamal, fueled popular fury against this latter-day Pharaoh. In both cases, the state is controlled by a single party – in Egypt, it is the National Democratic Party — still resting on the long-ago laurels of an anti-colonialist uprising, and since reified into a bureaucratic incrustation on the body politic.

Another similarity – which, somehow, most commentators have failed to note – is that all these upsurges are against regimes that have enjoyed practically unqualified US military and political support. Tunisia’s Ben Ali was a favorite of George W. Bush’s, and the Tunisian tyrant continued to enjoy support from the Obama administration. US aid to the regime hovered in the $20 million range, all of it in military, "anti-terrorist," and anti-narcotics detection sectors, and was slated for an increase in FY 2010. Egypt, of course, is the linchpin of US-friendly countries in the region, and Yemen is the latest battleground in our never-ending "war on terrorism.

Just follow the money. The American taxpayers have shelled out an average $2 billion-plus per year to our Egyptian sock puppets since 1979. As for Yemen, as Warren Strobel points out, "U.S. aid to Yemen increased significantly in fiscal year 2010 to about $67 million, and is due to increase in the current fiscal year to $106 million." That’s not counting $170 million in military aid. This gravy train is undoubtedly the single largest income stream flowing into the country: Yemen, in short, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US government. The same can fairly be said about Egypt.

On her January surprise visit to Yemen, Hillary Clinton is said to have "gently chided" Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to loosen his tenacious grip on the country’s political life, but as she got on the plane to depart she stumbled and took quite a fall – prefiguring the probable fate of Saleh, and, indeed, the various US puppet regimes in the region. The US is taking the same approach to Egypt, where demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Mubarak and being murdered in the streets: oh, but don’t worry, says White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, the Mubarak regime is "stable" in spite of it all.

This is arrant nonsense: Mubarak will follow Ben Ali into exile soon enough. Gamal has already packed up and fled to London with his family – and, reportedly, 100 pieces of luggage! The Egyptian authorities deny it, and the Guardian reports news of the son’s flight "appears to be wishful thinking."

In any case, the geniuses in charge of the US government are quite wrong if they think Mubarak can withstand the rising tide of protest, and the reason for their blindness isn’t hard to see. This administration seems to have forgotten the catchphrase popularized by its Clintonian predecessor: "It’s the economy, stupid." In this case, it’s the world economy, stupid: the global economic downturn that economist Nouriel Roubini – who predicted the 2008 implosion of the financial markets – says "can topple regimes." Commodity inflation means skyrocketing food prices – around two thirds of the consumer price index for emerging economies, as Roubini points out.

Roubini – and nearly every libertarian economist of the "Austrian" school – has long warned about the coming financial crisis of the West, the first seismic tremors of which we have been experiencing here in America since November 2008. But this is just the beginning: in the short term, unfunded liabilities and the interest on the national debt will account for a whopping 60 percent of GDP, and it won’t be long before it’s 100 percent. When that day comes – or, perhaps, long before it – the worldwide economic meltdown will be paying us a rather unwelcome visit, with consequences that are likely to make Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Greece look like romps in the park.

Our rulers can’t see the locomotive coming down the tracks, even though they’re standing right in its way: they still insist on the myth of "American exceptionalism," which supposedly anoints us with a special destiny and gives us the right to order the world according to our uniquely acquired position of preeminence. Yet that preeminence is increasingly being called into question by the economic facts of reality – and our own refusal to get our financial house in order. Blinded by hubris, and the habit of authority, the political class in America is no different, in essence, from its counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt: corrupt, arrogant, and used to commanding obedience, the Best and the Brightest are prisoners of their own complacency. Unable to comprehend, or sympathize with, the plight of the world’s miserable masses, encased in a bubble where the worst crisis they have to personally face is a broken chair lift at Davos, these preening Louis XIVs and Marie Antoinettes are in for a rude shock.

The nature of these populist revolts against authority will take on a different character according to where and when they occur, naturally enough: in Tunisia and Egypt, we see protests sparked by petty humiliations such as Mr. Bouazizi had to endure. In Greece and Great Britain, mass upsurges are the result of austerity budgets that cut ordinary people off at the knees while the banksters get bailed out. In America, we see the Tea Party rising against the tyranny of indebtedness and economic strangulation of the ordinary citizen – but this is just a prelude to the rising chorus of discontent and outright rebellion that will threaten American society in the years to come.

The revolutionary wave now sweeping the world will not exempt America, in spite of the myth of "American exceptionalism." We cannot and will not be excepted from the iron laws of economics, which mandate that you can’t consume more than you produce – no matter how many Federal Reserve notes (otherwise known as "money") you print.

The implications for US foreign policy are radical, and unsettling. While the decline and fall of the Roman Empire occurred over centuries of decay and degeneration, the process as it unfolds in America is likely to occur with what, in terms of human history, appears to be lightning speed. As our allies and satraps fall, one by one, across the Middle East and Europe, their fate prefigures our own.

Before we start cheering this world revolution as the salvation of us all, however, it ought to be remembered that revolutionary regimes often turn out to be worse than the tyrannies they’ve overthrown. There’s no telling what direction these political insurgencies will take, either in the Middle East or in America. As a negative example, recall the ideologies that arose in the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression — German National Socialism, Italian Fascism, and Eurasian Bolshevism – and be forewarned. On a more positive note, here in the United States, at least, the possibilities are more balanced, although the dangers should not be underestimated.

What we are in for, finally, is a radical realignment of power, a vast shift that will break up the political landscape of every country on earth and shatter all the old assumptions. That old Chinese fortune-cookie curse, "May you live in interesting times," is about to come true.

We must remember what separates us from each other is fear. It is time to take a stand for Humanity.

America Needs Community, Not Collectivism

By Giordano Bruno

Tyranny thrives by feeding on human necessity. It examines what sustains us, what we hope for, what we desire, what we love, and uses those needs as leverage against us. If you want safety, they will take it away and barter it back to you at a steep price. If you want success or respect, then you must bow to the existing arbitrary pecking order and play the game nicely. If you want to raise a family, then you must accept the state as a part-time parent. If you want kinship, then you must settle for a thin veneer of empty pleasantries and insincere associations. If you want independence, then you are simply labeled as a threat and done away with altogether. Autocratic rulers are first and foremost salesmen; they convince us that life itself has a “cost”, that we are born indebted, and all bills must be made payable to the establishment. First and foremost, we are sold on the idea that in all of this, we are ultimately alone…

It is within these manipulated concepts of cost and isolation that we discover the foundation of all totalitarian cultures: Collectivism.

Collectivism is not a space age invention or a product of the abstract musings of Marxists, though many seem to think that their version of a hive society is “new” and certainly better than anything ever attempted in the past. No, collectivism is a psychological prison derived from a beneficial instinct as old as humanity itself; the instinct to connect with others, to share experiences and knowledge, to build and create together. It is an instinct as essential to our survival as breathing. Collectivism uses this instinct as a weapon. It is a corrupted and poisoned harnessing of our intuitive nature. It is an inadequate and cancerous substitute for something which normally invigorates and supports healthy culture: true community.

In this age, our ideas of what constitutes “community” have been tainted and confused with the propaganda of collectivists. Our instincts tell us that the world we have been presented is hollow, while our controlled environment tells us that the world is just as it should be (or the best we’re going to get, anyway). How then, are we to tell the difference between natural community, and destabilizing and destructive collectivism? Let’s examine some of the root conflicts between these two social systems, as well as the philosophical shortcomings of collectivism itself…

Common Aspects Of Collectivism

Looking back at the single minded and highly dominating collectivist experiments of the past, it is easy to see the common threads between them. Certain methods are always present. Certain actions are always taken. Certain beliefs are always adopted. Here are just a few…

The Blank Slate: In order for the state to elevate itself in importance above the individual, it must first promote the idea that the individual does not exist, that your uniqueness or inherent character are only a byproduct of your environment. There are many methods to propagating this mindset. Junk science and establishment psychological theorists often treat the human mind as a mere bundle of chemicals and synapses. Emotions are pigeonholed as “hormonal reactions”. Conscience and even attachment a result of “conditioning” (i.e. H.F. Harlow’s ridiculous rhesus monkey experiments).

Existentialism attacks individualism from the philosophical end; suggesting that all actions and reactions are random results of a purely chaotic universe, while at the same time peddling moral relativism and apathy. If all is based on environment and chance, and there is no purpose or meaning to life, then why care about anything?

Religious organizations that choose to abuse their positions of trust also feed collectivism by standing in the way of personal awareness, or even making it taboo to value the individual over the collective (though people tend to wrongly blame the concept of religion itself, rather than the corrupt men who sometimes misuse it).

Each one of these tactics is a tool in the arsenal of collectivists meant to degrade our social admiration for individual thought. Of course, if one actually studies beyond mainstream sources for information (as we have in numerous articles) on the many biological mysteries of the human mind, the numerous inconsistencies of clinical psychiatry, the irrational assumptions of existentialism, that person would find that the blank slate assertion is filled with so many holes it is laughable. However, as long as groups of men strive for power over others, the attacks on individualism will continue. As desperate as elitists have been through the years to build an environment devoid of independent thought, they have met only with failure. Perhaps you just can’t remove from all people those values which are inborn and intuitive, no matter how monstrous the world is around us.

Centralization Instead Of Cooperation: Cooperation in society is often spontaneous and dependent on a number of underlying factors working together at the right place, and at the right time. It takes a noble endeavor and even more noble leadership indeed to inspire the masses to step onto the same path towards the same direction. This is why legitimate large scale cooperation is so venerated in the annals of history; such events are truly rare and miraculous. Tyrants and elitists have no endeavors that rank as “noble”. They serve only their own interests. So, instead of trying to encourage cooperation they won’t receive, they centralize various systems by coercion. If you can’t convince the public to abandon their own paths for yours, then forcefully remove all paths until the people have only one choice left.

Economic centralization is very indicative of this maneuver. While we in the Liberty Movement see a whole spectrum of possible options for markets and trade, many other people see only what is right in front of them; the same crooked fiat money system controlled by the same gaggle of fraudulent central bankers. A large portion of our populace has been convinced that there is only one way to participate in the economy, and thus they act collectively, and blindly.

Another obvious example is the false left/right political system. While there are as many political views as there are people, most tend to affiliate themselves with one of two; Republican or Democrat. Even if you were to believe that the two major parties are honestly opposed, you have still allowed the establishment to narrow your choices down to two. Add the fact that both major parties actually support nearly the same exact policies and goals, and now your choices have been narrowed to one. Millions of people jump on this one bandwagon every four years, thinking that they are cooperating voluntarily, when they have instead been centralized, and collectivized.

Constant Fear, Constant Threats: Fear and survival are powerful motivators. Without ample self awareness and strength of character, these base instincts can overwhelm rationality and conscience. Every collectivist feudalist system ever devised has used a “common enemy” or an iron hand, to quell dissent in the citizenry and to forcefully unify them not under the auspices of an honest cause, but a terror so profound as to drive them to malleable despair.

When life and death hang in the balance everyday, and people have no time to relax, they can in fact go literally mad. All logic flies out the window, panic ensues, and the masses turn to whoever is ready to offer them a way to sanity; “sanity” meaning “comfort”. After a period of constant danger and distress, even fascism can feel comfortable for a while. Collectivist systems are always clashing with the bubbling tides of individual freedom. Because of this, they must continuously qualify their usefulness. There must always be an imminent threat over the horizon, otherwise, the strangling regulations of the state serve no purpose.

Individualism Equated With “Selfishness”: One of the inevitable conditions of collectivism is the demonization of free thought. In a collective, every person becomes a cog in a great machine. The majority begins to see itself not as a group of individuals acting together, but as a single unit with a single purpose. Any person who chooses to step outside of the box and point out a different view becomes a danger to the whole. A machine cannot function if all the parts are not working in harmony. Disagreement in a collectivist system is not considered a civic duty; it is considered a crime that places everyone else at risk. As a dissenter, you are not a person, but a malfunction that must be dealt with.

It is easy to tell when your nation is turning towards collectivism; you only have to gauge how often you are accused of “selfishness” every time you question the needs of the state over the needs of the individual. This argument arises incessantly in countries on the verge of a despotic shift. Interestingly, it is selfishness that tends to drive collectivists, not individualists. As we discussed earlier, collectivists act out of base fear, and a personal desire to survive regardless of the expense. They may disguise it as duty, or “universal love”, but at bottom, they are driven by pure self-interested. They are willing to sacrifice anything, including their own souls, to hang onto what little they have. They are especially willing to sacrifice what YOU have, to maintain THEIR standard of living, or to see their personal world view enacted. Is there anything more self-centered than a man prepared to destroy the livelihood and freedoms of others just to feel temporarily secure?

Promises Of A Fantastic Future: “Innovation” and “progress” are alluring dreams, dreams which can easily be realized in a free society made up of intelligent individuals thinking in ways which go against the norm. The more unique insights present in a culture, the more likely it is to surpass itself and succeed. Strangely though, it always seems to be collectivists who throw around visions of high tech trains, floating cities, and sustainability as benefits to relinquishing certain freedoms. The insinuation is that if people set aside their individualism, their society becomes stronger, and more productive, like worker bees who only strive for one thing; the perfect hive.

Now, this has never been proven to be an advantage of collectivism. One could say given the evidence that a society flourishes less and contributes less the more centralized it becomes. Constructing immaculate castles, pyramids, magnetic highways, or space stations on the moon, does not necessarily make a culture great. It doesn’t even make a culture interesting. What is far more interesting is a society that seeks to enrich the lives of common men, rather than fabricating edifices and launching technologies while using people up as fuel for the collectivist fire. At any rate, I cannot think of a single extreme centralized system that actually delivered on the grand promises it made when in its initial stages of power. Whether this is because their pledges were impossible to fulfill, or because they never intended to fulfill them in the first place, is hard to say…

Common Aspects Of Community

Now that we have explored the intricacies of collectivism, let’s take a look at what it is designed to destroy. What makes real community? What are its benefits and its weaknesses? How does it begin? How does it end? Why is it such a threat to collectivists? Here are a few answers…

Real Purpose: Communities develop in light of meaningful exchange. Their purpose is natural and common. Their goals are not fixed, but evolve as the community progresses. The beneficiaries are the citizenry, sometimes even those who do not directly participate, rather than a select minority of elites. Because the actions of communities are decentralized, and based on a sense of honor and integrity instead of egomania, they tend to appear direction-less, while at the same time making vast and concrete achievements. Communities work best when purpose and destiny are self determined.

Voluntary Participation: There is no need to force people to participate in a system that operates on honesty, conscience, and individual will. In fact, many people today long for a system like this. When men and women apply their energies to something they believe in, instead of something they are manipulated into following, the results can be spectacular. Progress becomes second nature, an afterthought, instead of an unhealthy obsession.

Legitimate Respect: The purpose of a true community is not to keep tabs on the personal lives of its participants, nor to mold their notions. The rights of the individual are respected above all else. Again, the more varied the insights of a population, the stronger it becomes. For a community to attempt to stifle the viewpoints of its citizens would be to commit suicide. There is strength in numbers, but even greater strength in variety. Individualism takes effort, time, and dedication. A society made up of people who have made this journey cannot help but esteem each other.

Flexibility Leads To Stability: A wise man adopts that which works, and throws out that which fails. He does not dismiss methods out of hand, nor does he hang onto methods that disappoint simply because he cannot let go. He educates himself through experience. Adaptability, flexibility, agility in thought and in policy creates solid ground for a society to build. Communities survive by being able to admit when a mistake has been made, and by being open to new options. Rigid systems, like collectivist systems, cannot function unless the people conform to the establishment, and its deficiencies. Communities function best when the establishment conforms to the people, and the truth.

Mutual Aid: Collectivist systems are notorious for promoting the idea that “we are all one”, however, they usually end up becoming the most anti-social and uncaring cultures to grace the planet. You cannot centralize or enforce charity because then it is no longer charity, but slavery. Citizens of communities, on the other hand, actually seek to help each other, not because they expect immediate returns, or because it’s “good for the state”, but because they value an atmosphere of benevolence. The generosity of community helps individuals detach from dependence on government, or bureaucracy. The less dependence on centralized authority, the stronger and safer everyone becomes.

Mutual Defense: While collectivism sacrifices its participants for some undefined “greater good”, communities defend one another, knowing that if the fate of one’s neighbor is ignored, the fate of oneself may also be ignored by others. No one is “expendable” in a community. EVERYONE is expendable in a collective.

Building Community In A Modern World

The task of constructing meaningful community today is daunting, but crucial. In an increasingly centralized and desensitized world, the only recourse of the honorable is to decentralize, and to reintroduce the model of independence once again. This starts with self sufficient communities and solid principles. It starts with unabashed and unwavering pride in the values of sovereignty and liberty. It starts with a relentless pursuit of balance, and truth. It starts with an incredible amount of hard work.

The trappings of collectivism sometimes seem insurmountable. The mindless devotion of our friends and family to a system that harms them can cause us to lose hope, and to lose focus. We must remember how collectivism operates; by removing the power of choice from the equation. If we return that power, then many people who we may have once deemed “lost causes” might awaken as well. By exposing the masses to another option, a better option, we undo years of lies, and lengths of chain. If there was ever a perfect moment to begin this battle, now is the time; while Americans are still searching for solutions, and not too fearful to pursue them once they are found.

Original Artice

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Open letter to the Department of Justice

To Whom It May Concern

We are regretful of your actions to attempt to retrieve information from Twitter about the account belonging to "Wikileaks", as by doing so you are attempting to remove the anonymity of the poster and by extension, their right to speech. We are confused as to why you have brought such a subpoena against Twitter, as there is little information you will gain from these details, leaving comments and observations on the world are to our understanding; not a criminal offence

Is this not the same type of action that you, DOJ, find reprehensible in other countries? How do you justify the same action in the US? No crime has been committed yet you assume that the populace at large will just "roll over" as always and allow this intrusion.

The time has come for the people of the world to take an active part in governing their own lives and freedoms. The world must become aware that its freedoms are in jeopardy. Today, Twitter, tomorrow, what? Recent events have shown that people are becoming tired of being treated this way. Why push an unwinnable confrontation when working for the same goal is always more productive (learn from history).

The US Government expressed concern over the Tunisian Government's actions when they attacked protesters' Facebook accounts. Is there a difference here? They attack and you use the "law" (loosely defined) to in essence do the same thing. What's the possible difference? Your motives are the same.

Yours Faithfully

We do not forgive. We do not forget.

Link to Letter

Twitter Is Hero as Feds Attempt to Trample WikiLeaks' Free Speech

Twitter was willing to challenge a grand jury subpoena, but it is unlikely the same can be said about Google and Facebook.

Today is a global day to defend freedom of speech, according to the call for action from Anonymous, an online protest group dedicated to internet freedom. The group feels threatened by government interference and the failure of corporate media to fulfill their vital role in checking the abuse of authority. The outcry is sparked by the intensified government crackdown on WikiLeaks. In an open letter to the Department of Justice, posted to its blog, Anonymous writes:

“We are regretful of your actions to attempt to retrieve information from Twitter about the account belonging to Wikileaks, as by doing so you are attempting to remove the anonymity of the poster and by extension, their right to speech.”

The letter was posted last week as it came to light that the Department of Justice had issued a secret subpoena on Twitter to obtain the accounts and private messages of former WikiLeaks volunteer and member of the Icelandic Parliament, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Dutch hacker Rop Gongrijp in addition to Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. The subpoena came with a gag order preventing Twitter from notifying the interrogated and was meet by hard criticism. The Icelandic interior minister Ogmundur Jonasson told Icelandic broadcaster RUV that:

"[It is] very serious that a foreign state, the United States, demands such personal information of an Icelandic person, an elected official....This is even more serious when put [in] perspective and concerns freedom of speech and people's freedom in general.”

And the subpoena is indeed very general. It targets not only the investigated individuals, but also requests all records and other information relating to Twitter accounts associated with WikiLeaks "including non-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account(s).” This includes WikiLeaks followers on Twitter. A recent article on Bloomsberg News cites Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens as saying:

“The agency’s subpoena of Twitter is “grossly overbroad” and would give prosecutors access to data on a member of Iceland’s parliament and more than 634,000 people who follow WikiLeaks’ so-called tweets on the site.”

Sadly, the request for private information is not unique. According to the New York Times, the subpoena issued on Twitter is noteworthy, not because of its content, but because it has been unsealed. In fact more than 50,000 of these orders, known as national security letters, are sent every year, but they come with a seal of secrecy that prevents the company from revealing its existence to the investigated. By challenging the order legally, Twitter shines as a positive example of a private company that sticks to its ethical policies and stands up for the rights of its users.

It leaves one question lingering in the air: What happens to the remaining unsealed national security letters? Do the recipients simply succumb to government pressure and abide by the requests? WikiLeaks, suspecting the subpoena is a tactic in a larger effort by the Department of Justice to prosecute the organization, speculates that similar subpoenas have been filed to Facebook and Google. Both have refused to comment on the case.

One might ask what legitimizes the national security letters in the first place?

Interviewed by Bloomsberg News, Mark Stephens said that WikiLeaks is nothing but an organization that publishes leaked documents on its Web site and that the subpoena violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable government searches. FBI, however, holds that the subpoenas, issued on the basis of a clause in the U.S. Patriot Act, are necessary for "obtaining such records [that] will make the process of identifying computer criminals and tracing their internet communications faster and easier."

Former Senator Russ Feingold has been critical of the law, according to the New York Times, saying it was long past time for Congress “to rein in the use of national security letters,” and that the law was just “about the legislative branch providing an adequate check on the executive branch.” In 2007 criticism was raised from within the FBI, as the inspector general found the agency had abused the guidelines for requiring secret letters by including too many peripheral people in its searches. Adding to the law's questionable legitimacy, a federal court recently ruled the national security letters insufficient to order disclosure of contents of communication. The ruling, however, is binding neither in Virginia, where the subpoena was issued, nor in San Francisco, where Twitter is based along with Facebook and Google. Thus it is in the hands of these companies to challenge the secrecy of the letters.

Nicholas Merrill, founder of the small internet company Calyx Internet Access Corporation, was the first person to file a constitutional challenge against a subpoena issued under the U.S. Patriot Act in 2004. He told the New York Times,"I commend Twitter’s policy of notifying their customers of government requests for their private data and for their challenging and subsequently removing the gag order.”

But Merrill’s lawyer, Jameel Jaffer, does not place much confidence that other companies will show the same spine as Twitter. He argues that the problem of the system is that the privacy rights at stake are not those of the companies holding the information, but of the people whose records are held.

"People used to be the custodians of their own records, their own diaries. Now third parties are custodians of all that,” he said. "Everything you do online is entrusted to someone else — unless you want to go completely off the grid, and I’m not even sure that is possible,” he told the New York Times.

At the biggest hacking conference in Europe, Gonggrijp, now subject to interrogation, raised a similar question: How is it possible to assure confidentiality when private companies vulnerable to political pressure control the infrastructure of the Internet? In his opening speech, he warned about the blind trust many people have in these companies:

“Apple, Google, Facebook...will try to make all of humanity enter their remaining secrets...they’ll further lock us out of our own hardware and they’ll eventually attempt to kill privacy and anonymity altogether. ...We still have to tell most of the people out there, but privacy is not in fact brought about by some magic combination on the intentionally confusing privacy radiobutton page on Facebook.”

The five targeted now feel the consequences of entrusting private companies with personal information. On Jan. 7 Gongrijp and Jonsdottir received emails from Twitter stating that, “Twitter will respond to this request in 10 days from the date of this notice unless we receive notice from you that a motion to quash the legal process has been filed or that this matter has been otherwise resolved."

Even if Twitter challenged the secrecy, the subpoena remains. The investigated have until Monday to stop the information from being handed over. In Iceland the U.S. Ambassador, Luis E. Arreaga, has been called to a meeting and Jonsdottir is currently in contact with U.S.-based lawyers at the Electronic Freedom Foundation. But even if the five win the right to keep their information confidential, many other companies might already have responded to similar requests. Anonymous warns that censorship and journalistic abdication have left us unaware and unable to hold our governments accountable. They call us to join forces Saturday:

“The time has come for the people of the world to take an active part in governing their own lives and freedoms. The world must become aware that its freedoms are in jeopardy. Today, Twitter, tomorrow, what?”

Original Article

Homeland Security At War With The American People

For those who regularly write and read about civil liberties abuses, it's sometimes easy to lose perspective of just how extreme and outrageous certain erosions are. One becomes inured to them, and even severe incursions start to seem ordinary. Such was the case, at least for me, with Homeland Security's practice of detaining American citizens upon their re-entry into the country, and as part of that detention, literally seizing their electronic products -- laptops, cellphones, Blackberries and the like -- copying and storing the data, and keeping that property for months on end, sometimes never returning it. Worse, all of this is done not only without a warrant, probable cause or any oversight, but even without reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in any crime. It's completely standard-less, arbitrary, and unconstrained. There's no law authorizing this power nor any judicial or Congressional body overseeing or regulating what DHS is doing. And the citizens to whom this is done have no recourse -- not even to have their property returned to them.

When you really think about it, it's simply inconceivable that the U.S. Government gets away with doing this. Seizing someone's laptop, digging through it, recording it all, storing the data somewhere, and then distributing it to various agencies is about the most invasive, privacy-destroying measure imaginable. A laptop and its equivalents reveal whom you talk to, what you say, what you read, what you write, what you view, what you think, and virtually everything else about your life. It can -- and often does -- contain not only the most private and intimate information about you, but also information which the government is legally barred from accessing (attorney/client or clergy/penitent communications, private medical and psychiatric information and the like). But these border seizures result in all of that being limitlessly invaded. This is infinitely more invasive than the TSA patdowns that caused so much controversy just two months ago. What kind of society allows government agents -- without any cause -- to seize all of that whenever they want, without limits on whom they can do this to, what they access, how they can use it: even without anyone knowing what they're doing?

This Homeland Security conduct has finally received some long-overdue attention over the past several months as a result of people associated with WikiLeaks or Bradley Manning being subjected to it. In July, Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer, was detained for hours at Newark Airport, had his laptop and cellphones seized (the cellphones still have not been returned), and was told that the same thing would happen to him every time he tried to re-enter the country; last week, it indeed occurred again when he arrived in Seattle after a trip to Iceland, only this time he was afraid to travel with a laptop or cellphone and they were thus unable to seize them (they did seize his memory sticks, onto which he had saved a copy of the Bill of Rights). The same thing happened to 23-year-old American David House after he visited Bradley Manning in the Quantico brig and worked for Manning's legal defense fund: in November, House returned to the U.S. from a vacation in Mexico with his girlfriend and her family, was detained, and had his laptop and memory sticks seized (they were returned only after he retained the ACLU of Massachusetts to demand their return).

But this is happening to far more than people associated with WikiLeaks. As a result of writing about this, I've spoken with several writers, filmmakers, and activists who are critics of the government and who have been subjected to similar seizures -- some every time they re-enter the country. In September, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of these suspicionless searches; one of the plaintiffs on whose behalf they sued is Pascal Abidor, a 26-year-old dual French-American citizen who had his laptop seized at the border when returning to the U.S. last year:

Abidor was traveling from Montreal to New York on an Amtrak train in May when he had his laptop searched and confiscated by Custom and Border Patrol officers. Abidor, an Islamic Studies Ph.D. student, was questioned, handcuffed, taken off the train and kept in a holding cell for several hours before being released without charge. When his laptop was returned 11 days later, there was evidence that many of his personal files, including research, photos and chats with his girlfriend, had been searched.

A FOIA request from the ACLU revealed that in the 18-month period beginning October 1, 2008, more than 6,600 people -- roughly half of whom are American citizens -- were subjected to electronic device searches at the border by DHS, all without a search warrant. But the willingness of courts to act is unclear at best. The judiciary, with a few exceptions, has been shamelessly deferential in the post-9/11 era to even the most egregious assertions of Executive Branch power in the name of security. Combine that with the stunning ignorance of technology on the part of many judges -- many of whom have been on the bench a long time and are insulated by their office from everyday life -- and it's not hard to envision these practices being endorsed. Indeed, two appellate courts have thus far held -- reversing the rulings of lower courts -- that Homeland Security agents do not even need to show "reasonable suspicion" to search and seize a citizens' electronic products when re-entering their country. Some lower court judges, however, continue to rule the practice unconstitutional: see here for one federal judge's emphatic rejection of the Obama DOJ's arguments as to why such searches fall outside of the Bill of Rights.

In a July, 2008 Senate hearing, then-Sen. Russ Feingold hosted the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, which vehemently opposes this practice, and Feingold said this:

Over the last two years, reports have surfaced that customs agents have been asking U.S. citizens to turn over their cell phones or give them the passwords to their laptops. The travelers have been given a choice between complying with the request or being kept out of their own country. They have been forced to wait for hours while customs agents reviewed and sometimes copied the contents of the electronic devices. In some cases, the laptops or cell phones were confiscated and returned weeks or even months later, with no explanation.

Back then, this was painted as yet another Bush/Cheney assault on civil liberties, so one frequently heard denunciations like this from leading Democrats such as Sen. Pat Leahy: "It may surprise many Americans that their basic constitutional rights do not exist at our ports of entry even to protect private information contained on a computer. It concerns me, and I believe that actions taken under the cover of these decisions have the potential to turn the Constitution on its head." But now that this practice has continued -- and seemingly expanded -- under the Obama presidency, few in Congress seem to care.

Indeed, even in the wake of increasing complaints, Congress has done nothing to curb these abuses or even regulate them. But at least one member of the House, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, is attempting to do something. Rep. Sanchez has introduced a very modest bill -- H.R. 216 -- requiring Homeland Security to issue rules governing these searches and seizures so that they are no longer able to operate completely in the dark and without standards. The bill would also impose some reporting requirements on DHS (Section 4); provide some very modest rights to those subjected to these seizures as well as some minor procedural limits on DHS agents (Sec. 2); and would compel "a civil liberties impact assessment of the rule, as prepared by the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the Department of Homeland Security" (Sec. 2(b)(9)).

Yesterday, I spoke with Rep. Sanchez about her bill, and the 8-minute interview can be heard on the player below. I actually anticipated this interview would be somewhat confrontational because I think this bill -- though well-intentioned -- is woefully inadequate and potentially even counter-productive. The bill does not in any way curb the central abuse: Homeland Security's seizure of people's property without any probable cause or even reasonable suspicion (a bill introduced by then-Sen. Feingold would have barred all such searches in the absence of reasonable suspicion). Rep. Sanchez's bill also leaves it up to DHS to promulgate its own rules rather than having Congress fulfill its oversight duties by imposing rules on the agency. And worst of all, the bill could be seen as codifying -- granting the Congressional stamp of approval and thus strengthening -- Homeland Security's power to conduct these suspicionless seizures.

But the more I listened to her, the more I thought that perhaps this is a good first step -- at least arguably better than nothing (I'm still ambivalent on that question). At the very least, this bill would force into the sunlight information about what DHS is actually doing, perhaps generating some controversy and enabling more stringent restrictions. It would provide some formal mechanism for citizens to complain about abuse and try to have their laptops returned (though, as computer expert Jacob Appelbaum told me, he would never trust a laptop hard drive that had been in the custody of government agents, as it could easily be fixed, without detection, to surveil all future use). And it would impose at least some guidelines against invading attorney/client communications, medical information, and other sensitive data (though without any enforcement mechanism, it'd be less like a requirement and more like a suggestion that would likely be ignored).

One point Rep. Sanchez emphasized is that even if she wanted a stronger bill (and it seems clear she does), the chance of enacting it in the GOP House is very small. After all, the Democratic Congress did nothing about this problem. But that underscores one amazing point: the right-wing of the Republican Party and its "Tea Party" faction endlessly tout their devotion to limited federal government powers, individual rights, property rights, and the Constitution. If they were even minimally genuine in those claims, few things would offend and anger them more than federal agents singling out and detaining whichever citizens they want, and then taking their property, digging through and recording their most personal and private data -- all without any oversight or probable cause. Yet with very few exceptions (a few groups on the Right, including religious conservatives, opposed some excesses of the Patriot Act, while the small libertarian faction of the GOP oppose many of these abuses), they seem indifferent to, even supportive of, the very policies that most violently injure their ostensible principles.

Note: The Constitution and Bill of Rights are only pieces of old paper, If you want your rights you must stand up and defend them. - NewAmericaNow

People should not fear their government, government should fear the people.

Original Article

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Disinformation Fog Intensifies As Economic Turmoil Develops

By Giordano Bruno

In the past few years, the concept of economic globalism has revealed itself as quite the Trojan horse; once posing as the next step in the evolution of “free market” capitalism and the savior of third world nations striving for development status, now revealed as a fiscal plague spreading delirium and destruction wherever it touches ground. There is no denying that the economies of the world are irrevocably tied to one another, but until recently, this was always thought of as a “good thing” in mainstream financial circles. Today, the great failings of engineered interdependency are painfully apparent. The EU’s many peripheral nations are dropping one after another like flies in a fog of DDT, rising economies in Asia are bloated with investment capital escaping from debt default in the West, causing impressive levels of inflation, and the U.S. is on the verge of a currency implosion as the Federal Reserve opens the floodgates of fiat in a bid to hide our system’s extreme destabilization and maintain what little international faith is left in our ability to service our rampant liabilities. Globalism has led us to disaster…

Of course, this disaster is not quite so obvious if you only follow the MSM’s version of events, or the pithy, watered down observations of mainstream economists, central bank officials, and puppet politicians. In fact, it’s difficult for the average person only mildly versed in economics to understand just what is going on! The closer we get to the edge of the ravine, the deeper the deception becomes. Most Americans feel the danger intuitively, and see the warning signs in their local communities, but clear, concise information in the midst of this ‘Gordian Knot’ of lies is difficult to come by.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claims that the Fed’s quantitative easing programs are no threat to the dollar and that our country “will not engage in devaluation”, all while commodity and energy prices skyrocket to record levels and numerous nations threaten to dump the Greenback as the world reserve currency. China claims that their inflation is manageable, releasing CPI data that is even more arbitrary and skewed as our own, while the Chinese masses grow louder in their anger over a lack of purchasing power to match exploding housing and food prices. The U.S. blames the lack of global recovery on China’s undervalued Yuan and its unfair trade imbalance. China blames the lack of global recovery on the overprinting of the dollar. Europe sits across the Atlantic hoping both China and the U.S. will keep printing and sending currency care packages to keep the EU afloat, all while claiming every three months or so that the “crisis has passed”.

So, what’s the truth in all of this?

In the following, I will attempt to dismantle the latest disinformation campaigns, explaining the most important factors surrounding the developing calamity between the world’s major economic powers in the easiest terms possible; including how these factors will directly and indirectly affect you…

Truth: Dollar Devaluation Is Occurring, Inflation Is Here

As we have covered in recent articles, widely visible inflation in the U.S. has been steadily developing for at least one and a half years. Food, energy, and metals prices across the board are soaring, and commodities actually outperformed stocks, bonds, and the dollar in 2010:

Wholesale prices (according to “official” numbers) rose 1.1% in December, following a 1.5% gain in November. These figures are diluted, to be sure, but the fact that inflation is being reported at all signals probable danger for the coming year:

Grain prices surged in 2010. Corn gained nearly 60%, while soy and wheat gained around 40%. Cooking oil prices jumped 62%:

Anyone today who denies inflation is evident in our economy is either blind, dishonest, or mentally deranged. In any case, they are not to be trusted. The question now is, is this inflation being caused by devaluing world currencies like the dollar, or a myriad of random chaotic “coincidences”…

Lie: Current Inflation Is Caused By “Global Recovery”, And “Rising Demand”

The great lie surrounding these inflationary warning signs is that they are a product of “recovery”, and increasing demand in the U.S. and developing countries. While the “demand” argument may be partly true for gold and silver’s rise, it is certainly not true for oil and grains. Global demand for goods overall is dropping off a cliff, as is evident in the Baltic Dry Index, which measures shipping and freight rates around the world. The BDI has suffered a 20% decline in the past three weeks alone:

If shipping demand is falling around the world, then demand for goods is falling around the world. If demand for most base goods is falling, then demand is not the cause of our current price spikes. Period.

More Americans filed for consumer bankruptcy in 2010 than in any year since 2005. Keep in mind that the government’s new rules making bankruptcy filing far more difficult took effect after 2005. This means that even with harsher bankruptcy guidelines, we still saw a massive wave of filings last year. If demand is actually a substantial factor, then U.S. consumers are burying themselves in red ink in order to support it:

Considering that over 8 million Americans have stopped using credit cards just since Christmas 2009, I think it much more likely that consumer demand in the U.S. is flat, or, still falling, despite the claims of the MSM:

Mainstream analysts are often quick to point out that annual retail sales for 2010 were up over 6%, claiming this is a sure sign of recovery. Unfortunately, in their effort to ignore inflationary factors in 2010, they forgot to consider that perhaps rising retail sales were not due to increased consumption, but INCREASING PRICES on goods we already buy daily. Black Friday and Christmas season sales were generally unimpressive compared to 2009. Black Friday sales were flat and December sales were up only 0.6%. Are Americans really buying more, or are they forced to spend more on goods they need due to inflation?

Lie: The BDI Is Falling Because Of An Expanding Shipping Fleet

A new disinfo tactic I’ve noticed in the past two weeks is the suggestion that the BDI is not falling because of decreasing demand for raw goods, but a growing fleet of idle freight vessels in an already tight market. That is to say, some analysts are suggesting that it is not demand that is falling, but the supply of ships that is growing.

While it is true that world freight fleets are to add 200 new ships, this is not to occur for another year and a half:

The BDI plummeted in 2008, and has not shown any signs of recovery since. This was not due to a new supply of ships, but directly tied to the global economic collapse. The “growing fleet” argument seems to be a distraction designed specifically because of the public’s growing awareness of the Baltic Dry Index and its implications.

Another poorly conceived argument is that the BDI is inaccurate because it does not take into account that smaller fleet vessels are seeing increased freight rates while larger ships are falling out of favor. It’s true, that if you only count the shipping frequency of smaller boats, demand appears to be rising (barely). However, I hardly see how this is a good thing. Increased demand for smaller boats means no one is shipping enough volume to make leasing a large vessel worthwhile. Smaller volume still equals smaller demand.

Lie: Food Inflation Caused By “Bad Growing Season”

It would appear that the “mystery” of exploding food prices has been solved, and according to a USDA report released this month, the culprit is “weak agricultural output” causing a diminished supply of staple grains in the U.S.:

This release was so shocking to markets because the report’s figures were so far below the USDA’s original estimates for harvest at the middle of this year, but why should we care about the USDA’s estimates? Are they not arbitrary? Why not look at the actual output for previous years compared to 2010 and get a real sense of what is happening?

If we are going to compare the crop outputs of 2010 to 2009, we should also keep in mind that 2009 was a record year for agricultural production. Did the USDA really assume that 2010 would meet or surpass such a bumper crop?

Corn harvests reportedly dropped 5% compared to last year, however, 2010 was still the third largest crop on record. Soybean production was down only 1% from 2009. Cotton (not edible, but still important) was up 50% from 2009. Wheat was down less than 1% from 2009. One of the only grains affected in a substantial way in 2010 was Sorghum. The crop yield for Sorghum dropped 10% compared to 2009, but the planting area used in 2010 was 19% less than a year before, so this drop was to be expected:

What does this mean? The U.S. had a GOOD year for crop output, not a bad one. And what about Russia’s summer disaster wheat crop? Are our exports picking up the slack of bad harvests overseas, causing prices to rise? Actually, warmer Russian weather in November spurred wheat production, helping alleviate the weaker summer yields:

Are there dangers in world grain output due to weather? Yes, but not enough to warrant a doubling of commodity prices. The REAL concern of agriculturalists, not just in Russia but in many nations, has not been the weather, but the ever expanding costs of production itself! From fuels to fertilizers, the process of growing food is becoming more and more expensive. What is facilitating this surging cost of production? How about the one factor that no one seems to want to discuss; the devaluation of major currencies, most especially the dollar? I find it interesting that so much disinformation on supply and demand in commodities is hitting the news streams just as the Dollar and the Euro begin to unhinge. In my view, this engineered hysteria is meant to distract us from the collapse of our currency, and to create plausible scapegoats for the inevitable ill effects that devaluation will bring.

Lie: Oil Inflation Caused By Rising Demand

Same argument, different commodity. Oil output has been more than ample in light of the fact that oil consumption in almost every nation has fallen substantially in the past three years:

What about the surprise shutdown of the Alaskan pipeline this month? Is our supply in danger? No. According to the EIA (Energy Information Administration), the U.S. exports (that’s right, exports!) over 2 million barrels (2009 figures) of petroleum and petroleum byproducts a day, most of it from the Alaskan fields!

Apparently, Americans didn’t need that oil when the pipeline was working, so shutting it down certainly wouldn’t diminish supply here at home.

Oil is pegged to and traded in the world reserve currency; the dollar. Any devaluation in the dollar will have immediate effects on the value of oil. OPEC nations can and have been absorbing the inflationary costs, but they can only succeed in this for a short time. Eventually, the fundamental expenses will overwhelm them, and they will be forced to allow the price per barrel to take flight. That time has essentially come. Prices are likely to climb at breakneck speed in 2011, not because of demand, but because of the crumbling Greenback.

Truth: China Is Preparing To Dump The Dollar

Most economists should have seen the Chinese problem back in 2005, when their central bank started issuing Yuan denominated treasury securities called “Panda Bonds”:

Maybe the cute name threw mainstream pundits for a loop, or maybe they just couldn’t see the true purpose behind such a move.

China is the largest holder of U.S. debt and dollars. It is also the largest holder of forex reserves in the world. China’s coffers are bloated with savings. So then, why would the Chinese government introduce a plan to sell their own debt securities? They don’t need constant inflows of foreign cash to stay afloat like we do here. Their currency was pegged to the dollar so issuing a Yuan denominated security would have been pointless, at least in the eyes of the common investor. What did the Chinese central bank know that we didn’t?

It took some connecting of dots, but in 2008, when the ASEAN trading bloc took shape and they began to allow Yuan bonds for cross border trades, the reason was clear; China was planning to de-peg from the dollar. China was going to allow their currency to valuate. China was going to move towards a consumer based economy. China was going to drop the dollar as its reserve currency for international trade. And, eventually, China was going to dump their U.S. Treasury holdings altogether.

Why would China start preparations for this all the way back in 2005? It seems like a serious gamble, unless they KNEW what was coming in 2008. Unless they knew that the credit crisis would strike hard, that U.S. consumption would falter for years, not months, damaging Chinese exports. Unless they knew that the Federal Reserve would recklessly pour fiat into the system. Looking back at China’s actions, one can only conclude that their central bank was made aware of coming events by others, or, they are all Jedi, and deserve some kind of award for their incredible powers of foresight.

So far, the Chinese have de-pegged from the dollar, Yuan bonds are now being issued by the World Bank, and China has dropped the dollar in bilateral trades with Russia. We are only a step or two away from a global shunning of the dollar and a treasury dump by our biggest creditor.

Truth: China Is Suffering From Inflation

Concise data on Chinese inflation is even more impossible to obtain than it is here in the U.S. The “official” inflation rate in China increased by 5.1% last year, however, some estimates double that figure:

Chinese property prices rose for the 19th month in a row last December, while Chinese demand for housing remained low. Government subsidization of residential construction has created modern day “ghost towns”; entire complexes of apartments and retail spaces devoid of inhabitants:

China has introduced its own stimulus measures in the face of the global credit crunch. While our fiat dollars have all been stuffed into the pockets of corporate banks and foreign entities, their fiat Yuan is going directly into their real economy. This is why China’s inflation is so immediate, while ours is still partly subdued.

Does this mean China is in the midst of its own bubble, ready to pop and rain down financial havoc? Not necessarily…

Lie: China Can Counter Inflation Without Boosting The Yuan

China has one option; extreme Yuan appreciation boosting the buying power of their populace in order to counter rising prices. China denies this possibility in public forums, but their central bank’s actions tell a different story.

Reserve requirements (the amount of money Chinese banks must hold as a safety net) have been upped several times, mushrooming to 19%. This is meant to remove excess liquidity from the economy, but so far the move has failed miserably. China has also raised interest rates to curb lending several times to no avail. As noted above, inflation continues.

I believe Chinese as well as Western central bankers are well aware that the Yuan will have to spike considerably if inflation is going to be halted, but currency valuation is not something that can be enacted without consequence. Generally, for one currency to rise quickly, another currency tends to fall. In this case, that currency will be the dollar.

Forget about all the empty rhetoric you hear in the MSM or are liable to hear during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit this week in Washington. Already, Hu has called for greater cooperation between the U.S. and China while at the same time stating that the dollar based system is a “product of the past”:

The U.S. government has called for greater cooperation with China while the Senate has issued a statement demanding Congress institute a bill that would label China as a “currency manipulator” on the eve of Hu’s visit:

The meeting between Hu and Obama will generate nothing, because neither Hu nor Obama actually have any say in the financial decisions they will discuss. Those decisions are made by the central bankers of our respective nations, and the central banks want an end to the dollar. When it comes down to it, the banking elites of China and the U.S. are both working towards this goal, while the masses are led to believe that they stand opposed.

Most revealing has been China’s support of the EU. Why are the Chinese suddenly so interested in propping up European economies that are destined to default? It’s definitely not out of the kindness of their hearts. First, China gains greater proliferation of the Yuan by tying itself closer to Europe, Africa, and the rest of Asia. Greater Chinese investment in the EU makes a switch to the Yuan (or a basket of currencies) and a move away from the dollar more acceptable to the citizenry of Europe. (Notice that all the American taxpayer dollars that were sent to tide over the EU were made secret, while all that Chinese money sent to the EU is loudly paraded for all to see. China: good guy. America: bad guy). Second, the greater the proliferation of Yuan bonds, the faster the Chinese can begin to dump their U.S. Treasuries. This is the key!

China must shrink its forex and T-bill reserves in order to drive an appreciation of the Yuan able to cut off inflation concerns. Timothy Geithner claims this will be good for the U.S. Hu claims it would be bad for China. They are both liars. Ultimately, inflation will be used by China as the excuse to drop the dollar completely, which is what they have been planning to do since at least 2005. The private Federal Reserve and our government will announce victory and a “managed” devaluation of the dollar, only to have the treasury bubble snap and bury us in hyperinflation, which is what they wanted all along, for many reasons, but most importantly to allow for the birth of the IMF’s SDR as the new global currency (amply supported by the new improved Yuan).

The Saga Of Disinformation Continues

I thought the economic situation was confusing two years ago. I never dreamed the pretzel could become so twisted so fast. The reason it is vital to stay on top of the fog and misdirection should be evident; deception in the economy can be used to steer the public and our country towards terrible ends. While many of us might become exhausted with the constant reminders of the dark road ahead, we cannot take for granted that the battle for the truth is far from over. We have made great headway over the years, far more than I dared imagine possible, but this is a beginning, one that must be cradled carefully, like the embers of the first fire.

The nature of propaganda is to strut, to pound its chest and wail the closer we get to reality. The more Americans stumble upon the facts behind the false statistics and false smiles of establishment pundits, the more we will be subjected to globalist think-tank fancies and elaborate insanities. In this, we find our most reliable gauge of impending jeopardy, and salvation. Bigger grifts signal precarious times, but also desperation amongst the perpetrators and con men. There does come a time when people become weary of being fooled, and they turn their blunderings from a hindrance into an education. Ironically, lies very often destroy themselves, by frustrating their intended victims into action.

Original Article

Monday, January 17, 2011

01/22/2011-Max Igan Appearing On The NewAmericaNow Radio Show

The Watchmen Radio Network

On Saturday, January 22, 2011 world renowned Max Igan shall be a guest and speak his message to the world on The NewAmericaNow Radio Show.

Mr. Igan will be speaking on issues like Government control and corruption, the Police State, global economic collapse, food shortages worldwide, the need to break from the matrix and becoming self sufficient spiritually as well as physically.

This will be a historic event with great significance for a worlwide audience.

Join us this Saturday January 22, 2011 a numerologically significant date for the awakening of mankind.

Show is 4-6pm Eastern / 1-3pm Pacific.

On one of the last bastions of media truth, WRN (The Watchmen Radio Network) at

See you there.

Max Igan's website

below is Max Igan's latest work, The Four Part - Lifting the Veil...Enjoy and be enlightened.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

We hope to see you all there for this important opportunity to gain insight in what is about to happen to our world and to our species.

5 Simple Ways To Prepare For The Coming Food Crisis

by Alex

Recently there has been an incredible flurry of news reporting about food shortages and the pending global food crisis. Everyone who looks at the indicators would agree that this crisis is only likely to worsen. It is estimated that the Australia floods alone could cause a 30% jump in food prices. Although the average shopper already can feel the food inflation, it is difficult to recognize the severity of the looming food shortages. After all, there are still 15 types of colorfully-boxed Cheerios packing the isles, which gives us the illusion of abundance.

The truth is that we are headed for large food production shortfalls, manipulated or not, while middle-class food demand grows massively in the developing world. For decades the world’s agriculture community produced more than enough food to feed the planet, yet some now believe we are reaching “Peak Food” production levels. In turn, other experts believe the “food bubble” is about to burst, and not even the biotech companies can save us.

However, there are still vast unused stretches of fertile land that can be used around the globe, and the U.S. ethanol mandates that reportedly consume at least 25% of the corn harvest could be reduced to ease the burden. Therefore, it seems that despite the extreme weather and dwindling harvests, food production still has room to increase, but not without foresight and planning. 

Additionally, the current systems for growing food are fully dependent on oil to achieve high levels of production, while livestock production is running at full concentration-camp capacity; the end product must then travel thousands of miles to get to store shelves. Clearly we can see the fragile nature of this system, especially on human health and the environment. Consequently, solving the so-called “food crisis” is far more complex than simply fixing statistical supply and demand issues.

Indeed, these are turbulent times where humanity appears to be nearing Peak Everything. Ultimately, solutions to the food crisis will begin at the local level. There are cutting-edge farming techniques gaining popularity that produce a large variety of crops by mimicking nature, as well as innovative techniques for small-scale food production at home or in urban buildings. These hold promise for easing local hunger.

Personal ways to protect yourself from food shortages may seem obvious to some, but many feel the task can be insurmountable. To the contrary, here are 5 simple ways to protect yourself from the coming food crisis:

1. Create a Food Bank: Everyone should have a back-up to the everyday food pantry. In this environment, you should consider your personal food bank far more valuable than a dollar savings account. Start by picking up extra canned goods, dried foods, and other essentials for storage each time you go to the store. Also, hunt for coupons and shop for deals when they come up. Devise a plan for FIFO (first in, first out) rotation for your food bank. It is advisable to acquire food-grade bins to store your bulk dried foods, and be sure to label and date everything. Besides the obvious store-able foods like rice and beans, or canned goods, some other important items to hoard are salt, peanut butter, cooking oils, sugar, coffee, and powdered milk. If you don’t believe the food crisis will be too severe, then buy items that you would eat on a normal daily basis. But if you believe the crisis will be sustained for some time, purchasing a grain mill to refine bulk wheat or corn may prove to be the most economical way to stretch your food bank. Some emergency MREs are also something to consider because they have a long shelf life.
2. Produce Your Own Food: Having some capacity to produce your own food will simply become a necessity as the food system crumbles. If you don’t know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouting and keep expanding to the limits of your garden. And for goodness sakes, get some chickens. They are a supremely easy animal to maintain and come with endless benefits from providing eggs and meat, to eating bugs and producing rich manure. Five laying hens will ensure good cheap protein for the whole family. If you have limited growing space, there are brilliant aquaculture systems that can produce an abundance of fish and vegetables in a small area. Aquaculture is a contained organic hydroponic system where the fertilized waste water from the fish tank is pumped through the vegetable growing trays which absorb the nutrients before returning clean water to the fish tank. Set high goals for independent food production, but start with what’s manageable.

3. Learn Food Preservation: Food preservation comes in many forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating. In every case some tools and materials are required along with a good deal of knowledge. If you can afford a dehydrator, they all usually come with a preparation guide for most foods. You can also purchase a vacuum sealer if you have the means. A good vacuum sealer should come with thorough instructions and storage tips, and will add months if not years to many food items. If you’re a beginner at canning, start with tomatoes first. It’s easy and very valuable when all your tomatoes ripen at the same time and you want fresh pasta sauce in the winter. A bigger ticket item that is nice to have for food preservation is a DC solar powered chest freezer. It is the ultimate treasure chest.

4. Store Seeds: The government and the elite have seed banks and so should you. Seeds have been a viable currency in many civilizations past and present. They represent food when scarcity hits. Before the rise of commercial seed giants like Monsanto, local gardeners were adept at selecting seeds from the healthiest plants, saving them, and introducing them to the harvest for the following year, thus strengthening the species. Through local adaptation to pests, genetic diversity was further ensured; it was long-term thinking at its finest. That is why it is important to find heirloom seed banks and learn to save seeds from each harvest.

5. Join or Start a Local Co-Op: Joining local cooperatives is very important, especially when food shortages occur. You may not be able to provide for yourself completely, especially in terms of variety, so having a community mechanism to spread the burden and share the spoils will be critical. If you don’t know if you have a local food cooperative in your area you can search the directory at You may also be able to get information from your local farmers market. If your area doesn’t have a co-op, then start one. These co-ops don’t have to be big or elaborate. In fact, it may be more optimal to organize it with friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Whether you join or start a cooperative, work to expand the participants and products.

Are you ready to evacuate?

Original Article

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Are Ammunition Restrictions Coming to your Town?

Do you live in California or know someone who does?

As everyone probably knows by now, the legislature of the People's Republic of California passed a restrictive bill in October of 2009 called AB 962. AB 962 attacks the heart of 2nd Amendment rights by cutting off or severely restricting the circulation of ammunition to the freedom loving people of California. Unfortunately, the Governator signed it into law!

What does this mean to you? If you live in California, it means that in 27 days:

•You will not be permitted to directly receive shipments of certain ammunition by common carrier (UPS/FedEx). This means no more internet orders!

•If you want to purchase certain ammunition, you will have to provide a thumbprint and description of the ammunition purchased as well as present a photo ID.

•The restricted ammunition (including popular calibers like 9mm, 45 ACP, 40 S&W, 380 Auto, 38 Special, 357 Mag, etc) will most likely be very hard to find or more expensive.

If you don't live in California, be thankful..... for now. But forward this post to everyone you know in California.

Can You Hear the Drumbeat of War in the distance...I do.

ammo for sale

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fertile Ground for Freedom - Say No To Govs

by Michael Maharrey

In 21st century America, the idea of states declaring unconstitutional laws null and void, and resisting unconstitutional overreach of federal power, seems radical and even extremist to many citizens. But in fact, the idea of states nullifying unconstitutional federal acts rests on a philosophical foundation squarely in the mainstream of political thought for our nation’s founders.

And the Commonwealth of Kentucky sinks its roots deep into the soil of liberty.

In November 1798, the Kentucky legislature passed a series of resolutions known as the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, declaring the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Congress “altogether void, and of no force.”

Who authored this radical resolution?

Thomas Jefferson.

Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, actually four separate laws, in the summer of 1798. With winds of war with France blowing strongly, Congress passed the laws to expand federal power to prevent “seditious” acts from weakening the U.S. government.

The first law required aliens to remain residents in the U.S. for 14 years instead of five before becoming citizens. The second authorized the president to deport aliens “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States” during peacetime. The third allowed for the arrest, imprisonment and deportation of any alien who was a citizen of an enemy nation during wartime. The final law declared any treasonable activity a high misdemeanor punishable by fine and imprisonment. Treasonable activity included “any false, scandalous and malicious writing.”

Based on this law, federal officials arrested 25 men, most editors of Republican newspapers. The law also effectively shut down their presses. Benjamin Franklin’s grandson was among those arrested. Benjamin Franklin Bache, editor of the Philadelphia Democrat-Republican Aurora, was charged with libeling President John Adams. Matthew Lyon was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four months in prison. He was a congressman from Vermont and the editor of the Republican paper known as The Scourge of Aristocracy. And a prominent Pennsylvania lawyer, physician and editor of the Northumberland Gazette served six months in prison for criticizing the Alien and Sedition Acts.

It doesn’t take a constitutional lawyer to see the violation of the First Amendment posed by this fourth law, known as the Sedition Act. Other provisions in the laws proved equally constitutionally problematic, including granting judiciary power to the executive branch.

Kentucky acted quickly.

Governor James Garrard addressed the legislature on Nov. 7, 1798, saying the state, “being deeply interested in the conduct of the national government, must have a right to applaud or to censure that government, when applause or censure becomes its due.” He urged the legislature to declare its support for the U.S. Constitution, while “entering your protest against all unconstitutional laws and impolitic proceedings.”

Rep. John Breckinridge, of Fayette County, proposed the Kentucky Resolutions in the House of Representatives on Nov. 8, 1798. They passed on Nov. 10 and won unanimous concurrence in the Senate. Gov. Garrard approved the resolution on Nov. 16.

It wasn’t learned until some years later that Jefferson penned the resolutions. Virginia passed similar resolutions, authored by James Madison and the two likely collaborated to some degree.

The Kentucky Resolutions built their case against the constitutionality of the Alien and Sedition Acts on the 10th Amendment. In fact, Jefferson restates the amendment verbatim three times. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Jefferson lays out the philosophical grounds for declaring the laws void in the first section.

Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

In section eight, Jefferson forcefully asserts the state’s right to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

…that to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States; and that therefore this commonwealth is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the general government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non fÅ“deris) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.

Jefferson, and the legislators of Kentucky, feared the unfettered power of the federal government. That fear proved justified in light of the arrest of 25 men for merely expressing political opinion deemed inappropriate by the powers that be.

We live in a time of ever expanding federal power, and the threat to our liberties from an overreaching government is no less real today than it was in 1798. We have a federal government that would demand individuals purchase a service in health insurance; a federal government spending money with no oversight, spiraling the nation into ever deepening debt; a federal government creating rules and regulation through non-legislative and virtually unaccountable bureaucratic agencies. Our only remedy lies in standing up against this unconstitutional and dangerous intrusion into the affairs of the states and the people – standing up and telling the feds that we reject their unconstitutional acts.

And we must stop cowering in fear at the mere mention of federal power, as if the United States government were some omnipotent god to whom we must bow down and serve. We the people have forgotten that government operates by our will. We are not slaves, servants and serfs of the government. Government serves the people and exists only by the consent of the governed.

Those who would stand against the unconstitutional expansion of power are not the radicals. We stand firmly within the philosophical foundation upon which the United States was built. We are not the extremists. The Statists and progressives hold that honor. Let them take that mantel upon their shoulders. I reject it.

I will stand with Thomas Jefferson, who wrote:

“In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.“

Note: Take the time to click on the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 link and read the entire Kentucky Resolution of 1798. It provides a brilliant look into the mind of one of our nation’s founders and his understanding of the Constitution. I will be writing more in the coming days on the philosophical underpinnings of the resolution, the effect of the resolutions, as well as the Kentucky Resolution of 1799.

Original Article