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[Markets] "Rural Renaissance": Venture Fund Plans New Community In Appalachia To Escape Soros-Enabled-Hellhole Cities "Rural Renaissance": Venture Fund Plans New Community In Appalachia To Escape Soros-Enabled-Hellhole Cities

A majority of Americans are fed up with imploding progressive metro areas transforming into violent crime hellholes because Soros-backed District Attorneys refuse to enforce common sense law and order. Americans are tired of radicals in the Biden administration who knowingly push for open southern borders. At the same time, tax-payer-funded non-governmental organizations facilitate the greatest invasion this nation has ever seen of unvetted individuals - some of whom are on the FBI's Terror Watch List. The president's collapsing polling data is a symptom the American people have rejected this mumbling, silent generation president who should be in a nursing home or on a La-Z-Boy recliner at his beach house in the elite-only beach town of Bethany.

In recent years, the tyrannical overreach of government during Covid, BLM riots, and nationwide violent crime eruption, plus the 30-year fixed mortgage rate under 3%, unleashed the greatest-ever exodus of Americans from Demcorat-controlled states and metro areas for safer areas in red states. 

The migration trends of the Covid period are still happening today, just less because of housing affordability woes. 

However, an entirely new trend is emerging: a venture fund in rural Kentucky is building a new community for folks who want to escape all the chaos of progressive cities. 

Called the "Highland Rim Project" (HRP), venture fund New Founding is developing "rural towns and communities nestled in the bucolic hills of the Eastern Highland Rim area of Tennessee and Kentucky." 

HRP's website stated, "Our nation is in the midst of a generational people movement to small towns and rural areas." 

"Remote work enables a revolution in where people live and how they organize themselves into communities. People are, especially since Covid, proactively seeking communities that align with their values and way of life. The knowledge economy worker can now work and live in a small town, uplifting areas that have struggled with economic depression for decades," it pointed out.  

The firm said HRP is a partnership with "business owners, pastors, and other community leaders."

Joshua Abbotoy, Managing Director of the New Founding organization, said the community's leadership would be predominantly Protestant Christians. 

"The whole point of it is to plant a flag and say this small town is where our people are gathering. And the question is: who is going to grab the land? Is it going to be good, based people who want to build something inspiring that's culturally authentic to the region's history? Or is it going to be Bill Gates and BlackRock and hippies from California?" Abbotoy said in a video. 

Leftist corporate media outlets called Abbotoy's HRP a place for the 'far-right community'. 

Abbotoy said on social media platform X that HRP has "struck a nerve" with corporate media. 

He said the number of people signing up to be on a waiting list for HRP is "overwhelming." 

How can progressive media be mad at HRP for wanting to build a "Rural Renaissance" for families when far-left Democrats build trash-covered 'autonomous zones.' 

To sum up, Americans who are sick of progressives destroying cities and the nation should keep voting with their feet. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/23/2024 - 06:55
Published:1/23/2024 6:18:12 AM
[Markets] 6 Attorneys Allege DOJ Seeking Retribution Against Journalist For Recent Jan. 6 Coverage 6 Attorneys Allege DOJ Seeking Retribution Against Journalist For Recent Jan. 6 Coverage

Authored by Joseph Hanneman via The Epoch Times,

Attorneys for a journalist threatened with prosecution for being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are challenging federal prosecutors to try his case outside the District of Columbia, suggesting prosecutors are seeking retribution for his recent reporting on possible Capitol Police perjury and the Jan. 6 pipe bombs.

Six attorneys who said they volunteered to represent Stephen Baker of Raleigh, N.C., released a statement on Jan. 22 expressing belief that the DOJ is seeking even more serious Jan. 6 charges as retaliation.

Mr. Baker, a former independent journalist, now writes for Blaze Media.

We now have information that Steve’s reporting has so agitated officials in multiple federal agencies that an effort is now underway to find a basis to charge Steve with more serious crimes and to use those more serious crimes as a pretext for early morning raids to execute search and arrest warrants on him and his family,” the statement read.

“If this is true, and search and arrest warrants are used to drag Steve out of his house in the early morning hours someday soon, that will be evidence of retaliation against a journalist exercising his First Amendment rights to report information that is embarrassing to government officials.”

The statement is signed by five well-known Jan. 6 defense attorneys: James Lee Bright, Brad Geyer, Phillip Linder, William Shipley, and Edward Tarpley Jr. It was also signed by Mr. Baker’s Raleigh-based attorney, Matthew Ceradini.

Mr. Geyer and Mr. Shipley were federal prosecutors for more than two decades.

“After not having indicted me for three years, it is clear that any move to do so now will be in retaliation for my reporting,” Mr. Baker wrote in a news release.

“I will not be intimidated. I will continue to report the findings of my investigation into the evidence being made available to me to review,” he said.

Questions Over Jurisdiction

The attorneys challenged the DOJ to try any case against Mr. Baker in the eastern district of North Carolina where Mr. Baker lives, or the northern district of Texas, where his employer, Blaze Media, is located.

“Are citizens of those two districts not suitable jurors in Steve’s case?” the statement asked.

“Is the federal judiciary in those two districts not able to provide a fair and impartial trial?

“On what basis does the United States Department of Justice believe the ‘United States’ can only get a fair trial in the District of Columbia and not one of those ‘United’ States?”

The Epoch Times asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment, but did not receive a response before press time.

Mr. Baker’s most recent coverage identified the person who found one of the two pipe bombs on Jan. 6 as an undercover U.S. Capitol Police officer and not a “passerby.”

Since October 2023, he wrote a series of stories that said events described under oath by two Capitol Police officers in the first Oath Keepers trial in 2022 could not have happened, based on Mr. Baker’s examination of security video.

Mr. Geyer suggested that reporting should result in the Oath Keepers’ convictions being thrown out.

Mr. Baker was one of dozens of journalists at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

His video footage appeared in an HBO film and was licensed by the BBC, The New York Times, and The Epoch Times.

Mr. Baker was first contacted by the FBI in July 2021 about his presence at the Capitol. He voluntarily sat down with FBI special agents in November 2021. He said he was told the DOJ was considering charging him with interstate racketeering because he received money from licensing his Jan. 6 video.

In March 2023, he said he was warned by a high-profile journalist that his reporting was chafing some high-level DOJ officials.

In August, he was served a subpoena for his Jan. 6 video.

In December, the FBI told his attorney that his arrest was imminent, although that plan was subsequently delayed.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/22/2024 - 22:20
Published:1/22/2024 9:40:44 PM
[2020 Election] Joe Biden’s Presidency: a legacy of weakness and failure

  Joe Biden is a man of contradictions. When it comes to political opponents, he’s tough. He pressed his Attorney General to prosecute Donald Trump. He has the FBI targeting ...

The post Joe Biden’s Presidency: a legacy of weakness and failure appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:1/22/2024 12:12:32 PM
[] Republicans Recovered More Than 100 Encrypted Jan. 6 Files, but There's a Catch Published:1/22/2024 11:11:08 AM
[Markets] Alec Baldwin Indicted By Grand Jury In 'Rust' Shooting Alec Baldwin Indicted By Grand Jury In 'Rust' Shooting

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Actor Alec Baldwin was indicted by a New Mexico grand jury over the 2021 death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins after a prop gun fired a live round and struck her, according to court documents.

Actor Alec Baldwin attends the 2019 PEN America Literary Gala In New York, on May 21, 2019. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

According to several media outlets, the move to indict Mr. Baldwin was confirmed Friday after the grand jury heard evidence presented by special prosecutors. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Specifically, he was charged with involuntary manslaughter—negligent use of a firearm—or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter—without due caution or circumspection—reported ABC News. Both are fourth-degree felonies.

His lawyers suggested to several news outlets Friday that they would fight the charge. “We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin lawyers Alex Spiro and Luke Nikas said in a statement.

The “30 Rock” actor’s initial involuntary manslaughter charges were dropped in April 2023. At the time, prosecutors said they could be brought again, however.

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter as well. She faces an additional charge of evidence tampering.

The special prosecutors, Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis sent the gun for more forensic testing several months ago. Experts who evaluated the firearm found that it could have only fired if the trigger was pulled.

This fatal incident was the consequence of the hammer being manually retracted to its fully rearward and cocked position followed, at some point, by the pull or rearward depression of the trigger,” their report concluded. “Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver.”

While the proceeding is shrouded in secrecy, two of the witnesses seen at the courthouse included crew members—one who was present when the fatal shot was fired and another who had walked off the set the day before due to safety concerns.

Mr. Baldwin, the lead actor and a co-producer on the Western movie, was pointing a gun at Ms. Hutchins during a rehearsal on a movie set outside Santa Fe in October 2021 when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. But Mr. Baldwin has said he pulled back the hammer but not the trigger, and the gun fired.

An earlier FBI report on the agency’s analysis of the gun found that, as is common with firearms of that design, it could go off without pulling the trigger if force was applied to an uncocked hammer, such as by dropping the weapon.

The only way the testers could get it to fire was by striking the gun with a mallet while the hammer was down and resting on the cartridge or by pulling the trigger while it was fully cocked. The gun eventually broke during testing.

The 2021 shooting resulted in a series of civil lawsuits, including wrongful death claims filed by members of Hutchins’ family, centered on accusations that the defendants were lax with safety standards. Mr. Baldwin and other defendants have disputed those allegations.

Ms. Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, also filed a lawsuit after the incident, reaching a settlement in 2022. It allowed for insurance funds and a portion of “Rust’s” profits to help the couple’s child.

When the settlement was reached, Mr. Hutchins said he didn’t assign blame to Mr. Baldwin.

I have no interest in engaging in recriminations or attribution of blame (to the producers or Mr. Baldwin),” he said at the time, according to reports. “All of us believe Halyna’s death was a terrible accident. I am grateful that the producers and the entertainment community have come together to pay tribute to Halyna’s final work.”

The Rust Movie Productions company has paid a $100,000 fine to state workplace safety regulators after a scathing narrative of failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.

The filming of “Rust” resumed last year in Montana under an agreement with the cinematographer’s widower, Matthew Hutchins, that made him an executive producer.

The movie’s assistant director, David Halls, was named as the individual who gave the firearm to Mr. Baldwin on the day of the shooting. Last year, he signed a plea deal for the “charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon” and received six months’ probation, according to prosecutors.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/20/2024 - 17:30
Published:1/20/2024 4:53:04 PM
[Markets] Advocates Outraged That Feds Asked Banks To Search Customers' 'Religious Texts' Purchases Advocates Outraged That Feds Asked Banks To Search Customers' 'Religious Texts' Purchases

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Faith leaders and religious liberty advocates are up in arms over news that the federal government encouraged banks and other financial institutions to search customers’ private accounts using the search term “religious texts.”

Tony Perkins (C), president of the Family Research Council, speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party's threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The “religious texts” search term was among those federal officials asked financial institutions to use following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, a congressional source with direct knowledge confirmed to The Epoch Times on Jan. 18.

Other terms that banks, credit card companies, and financial firms were asked to use in the searches included “MAGA” and “Trump,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. Federal officials at the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department sought the data from such searches as part of their investigation of the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Religious liberty advocates interviewed by The Epoch Times were unanimous in condemning the searches, which were conducted without judicially authorized search warrants.

“This is beyond alarming,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Epoch Times. “If we did a word search in history of the type of activities the Biden administration is engaged in, it would return words like ‘KGB,’ ’totalitarian,‘ ’repressive,’ ‘anti-democratic,’ and ‘grave threat to freedom.’”

Family Research Council is a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group that works on behalf of traditional values, including and especially defense of the family and religious freedom.

The last place you would anticipate this kind of government intrusion into freedom of speech is America and yet it is rife with this administration and with the ‘deep state,’” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver told The Epoch Times.

“It is a very serious concern and it should be a serious concern, no matter your political beliefs because if this is permitted, then it just depends on who is in power. This is what despotic governments do to suppress people that they don’t agree with,” he said.

Mr. Staver’s organization, Liberty Counsel, is an Orlando, Florida-based nonprofit religious liberty defense foundation.

‘Mockery of Our Laws’

Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel for the Plano, Texas-based First Liberty Institute, told The Epoch Times the searches exposed by the House panel represent a threat to religious freedom.

“It’s outrageous and frankly chilling that the federal government may be urging banks to monitor Americans for exercising their religious freedom by simply purchasing a Bible or other religious text,” Mr. Shackelford said.

Weaponizing the federal government against religious Americans freely exercising their constitutionally protected freedom is outrageous and a danger to all our freedoms. It makes a mockery of our laws. When religious people are attacked and religious freedom is not upheld, all other civil liberties—including economic freedom—soon start crumbling.”

“This news should serve as a wake-up call for every American,“ warned Jeremy Tedesco, senior vice president of corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom. ”The revelation that the government is working with financial institutions to flag everyday American citizens as ’threats’ because they shop at Cabelas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or buy religious texts is terrifying.

“No one should live in fear that law enforcement or a financial service provider will flag their account based on the exercise of their constitutionally protected rights.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a Jan. 17 statement that the searches were sought by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in conjunction with the FBI.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division of politically based prosecutions while questioning U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke during a House hearing about “Oversight of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division” in Washington on Dec. 5, 2023. (Screenshot via NTD)

Mr. Jordan wrote a Jan. 17 letter to Noah Bishoff, the former FinCEN director who is now the anti-money laundering officer for Plaid Inc., a San Francisco digital financial platform developer and marketer.

According to this analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of ‘extremism’ indicators that include ‘transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose,’ or ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,’” Mr. Jordan wrote.

“In other words, FinCEN used large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”

Officials’ Testimony Sought

Mr. Bishoff was asked to provide testimony to the House Judiciary panel about the searches, as was Peter Sullivan, senior private sector partner for outreach in the Strategic Partner Engagement Section of the FBI.

“Freedom of Religion is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution,” Mr. Jordan told The Epoch Times. “It should frighten every American that the federal government is watching people based on their purchases. This is as wrong as it gets and we will continue to expose this blatant attack on faith and civil liberties.”

In a Jan. 17 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Mr. Jordan explained that Mr. Sullivan’s testimony “will help to inform the [House Judiciary] Committee and Select Subcommittee [on the Weaponization of the Federal Government] about the FBI’s mass accumulation and use of Americans’ private information without legal process; the FBI’s protocols, if any, to safeguard Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information; and the FBI’s general engagement with the private sector on law-enforcement matters.”

Congressional leaders also told The Epoch Times the searches warrant further investigation and corrective action.

FBI Director Christopher Wray looks over notes as he arrives for a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 10, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) also commented.

The Biden administration is bringing back ‘Operation Chokepoint’ from the Obama-Biden era to weaponize our financial system against their political opponents. House Republicans, under the leadership of Chairman Jordan and the House Judiciary Committee, will not tolerate this un-American abuse of power.” Mr. Emmer said.

He was referring to a Department of Justice investigation in 2013 of firearms dealers, payday lenders, and other businesses thought to be vulnerable to money laundering.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told The Epoch Times that “digging through American citizens’ private financial transactions, based on political phrases, is a clear weaponization of the federal government and those responsible must be held responsible.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the searches “outrageous” and claimed “the Biden administration is using federal law enforcement to engage in financial surveillance of Americans. ... Shockingly, the government is even monitoring people for purchasing religious texts like the Bible. This is an Orwellian invasion of privacy, and it should have never happened in the United States. Biden’s bureaucrats running this horrendous financial surveillance system must be held accountable.”

Similarly, Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) told The Epoch Times: “This is yet another example of the federal government being weaponized against Joe Biden’s political opposition, as well as people of faith. This sort of activity is highly concerning and warrants further investigation. I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for digging into this issue and I look forward to investigators exposing and rooting out this misconduct.”

Tactics of Marxism

Shea Bradley-Farrell is an international development professional and president of the Washington-based Counterpoint Institute for Policy, Research, and Education. She told The Epoch Times that the searches are typical of the control measures used by totalitarian regimes to counter dissidents and other groups not approved by the authorities.

Weaponizing the federal government against private citizens for their political or religious beliefs is straight out of the playbook of Marxism, and was also used to identify, crush, and control the occupied peoples under the communist Soviet Union,” Ms. Bradley-Farrell said.

“As I explain in my book, ‘Last Warning to the West,’ these are totalitarian, police-state tactics used to impose ‘docility, discipline and controllability of subject populations. These are warrantless searches that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

A spokesman for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/20/2024 - 15:10
Published:1/20/2024 2:43:56 PM
[Markets] New DNC Pipe-Bomb Video Can "Utterly Demolish The Jan6 Narrative": Darren Beattie New DNC Pipe-Bomb Video Can "Utterly Demolish The Jan6 Narrative": Darren Beattie

"If the Republicans step up, if the speaker steps up, if the relevant congressional figures step up, this is the chance to utterly demolish the January 6th narrative that the regime is using to weaponize the national security state against the American people, and to take Trump off the ballot."

Having acquitted himself extremely well (and calmly) during the ZeroHedge Debate on January 6th, Darren Beattie brandished his considerable tome of facts to discuss with Tucker Carlson the impact of newly-released footage surrounding the pipe-bomb incidents of January 6th (well 5th).

Carlson begins by quite appropriately pointing out the fact that the FBI's ongoing efforts to apprehend those involved (or not) in the Capitol riot contrasts greatly with their apparent inability to identify the person responsible for the pipe bombs:

"The FBI wants you to know that if you were there, you can't hide," highlighting the extensive use of surveillance technology in these efforts.

Except if you hide in plain sight...

Beattie's analysis of the discovery of the DNC pipe bomb, published on Jan. 18 by Revolver.news raises questions about the authorities' response to the bomb at the DNC.

The video shows a man (circled in red in the photo below) - now identified by congressional investigators as an undercover US Capitol Police officer - approached an SUV owned by the Metropolitan Police Department just after 1:05 p.m. on Jan. 6.

Then he walked to an adjacent dark SUV belonging to the Secret Service and spoke to someone in the driver’s seat, Revolver reported.

The vehicle was parked in a driveway of the DNC building at the intersection of Canal Street Southeast and South Capitol Street Southeast in Washington D.C.

But, as Beattie points out, their response is described as "utterly unconcerned."

"What the individual in the backpack is doing is alerting the Metro PD and the Secret Service of the fact that there is a pipe bomb just feet away," underlining the lack of urgency in their actions.

As Joseph Hanneman details, the undercover officer walked off camera back toward the park bench and the bomb at 1:06:34 p.m., the video shows.

Two occupants of the MPD vehicle exited the SUV at 1:07:25, and a third emerged 35 seconds later.

The driver went back into the vehicle to retrieve a COVID mask.

The first indication on Capitol Police radio dispatch that the DNC bomb had been discovered came at 1:07 p.m., according to audio files obtained by The Epoch Times.

“987-Adam, I’m going to declare a 10-100 at the DNC as well,” an officer broadcast on the OPS2 radio channel. “Similar device as was found at the RNC as well. Advising the units on scene what’s going on.”

At 1:09 p.m., the security camera pivoted and zoomed in on the bench, indicating that the U.S. Capitol Police Command Center was aware of the bomb.

In fact, it took more than two minutes for the Secret Service detail protecting Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to visibly react to the presence of the bomb.

Ms. Harris was inside the DNC building at the time the bomb was discovered.

A group of children were allowed to walk near the bench where the bomb sat after the undercover officer discovered the device, Revolver reported.

Children walk past the Democratic National Committee and a pipe bomb (location marked with a circle) found minutes earlier by a Capitol Police undercover officer. (U.S. Capitol Police/Graphic by The Epoch Times)

In the nearly seven minutes after the undercover officer approached the Secret Service detail, the streets were not closed, the sidewalks were not cordoned off, and pedestrians were allowed to walk right past the bomb location, security video shows.

Agents walked back and forth on the driveway and sidewalk near the bomb, and one officer walked close enough to snap a photo of the device before waving at the other officers.

The FBI later determined the bomb was planted the night of Jan. 5, along with a similar device left in an alley near the Republican National Committee, which is where the conversation between Carlson and Beattie goes next.

Beattie mentions that the bomb was found by a pedestrian, Karlyn Younger, in a back alley with a timer set to go off at 1 p.m., coinciding with the certification of the electoral vote, raising questions about the intent and timing of the bomb placements:

"We're told that the RNC bomb was sitting behind a trash can in a back alley, undiscovered for over 16 hours, and yet was randomly stumbled on."

Beattie then discusses the characteristics of the bombs, noting that they were not designed for remote detonation, suggesting they were not intended to explode but rather serve as a diversion.

He also questions how the discoverers of the bombs could be so accurately timed, noting:

"The person who planted the bombs presumably would have had to count or just simply be the luckiest person alive."

In conclusion, Beattie and Carlson discuss the political implications of the January 6th narrative and the lack of thorough investigation into the pipe bombs.

As we started with at the top of this note, Beattie emphasizes the importance of challenging the official narrative, particularly in the context of the upcoming 2024 election.

Watch the abridged discussion below:

Watch the full interview here at TCN...

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/19/2024 - 19:20
Published:1/19/2024 6:28:08 PM
[Biden Administration] Scandal-Plagued Iran Envoy To Teach Yale Course on Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Biden administration Iran envoy Robert Malley, who is on leave from his post amid an FBI investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified information, is slated to teach a course at Yale this year on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The post Scandal-Plagued Iran Envoy To Teach Yale Course on Israel-Palestinian Conflict appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:1/19/2024 3:10:14 PM
[Markets] Legal Blow: Hunter's Defense Hammered By Discovery Of Cocaine On Gun Pouch Legal Blow: Hunter's Defense Hammered By Discovery Of Cocaine On Gun Pouch

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Attorney Abbe Lowell has faced a series of legal blows in his defense of Hunter Biden, but not quite as literal or lethal as what came this week in his client’s gun prosecution.

After Lowell sought to dismiss the federal indictment as a trumped-up political prosecution, the Justice Department lowered the boom and revealed that Hunter’s gun was found in a pouch covered in cocaine.

The disclosure is devastating for a defense that Lowell just rolled out late last year.

In October, Lowell argued that Hunter had not lied on ATF Form 4473 when he indicated he was not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, narcotics.

“At the time that he purchased this gun, I don’t think there’s evidence that that’s when he was suffering,” he said.

It was a curious shift, since Hunter, President Biden and the media have repeatedly used his addiction to forgive everything from corruption to influence-peddling.

Hunter released a book that had laid the foundation of that defense, and “Beautiful Things” was heralded by many in the press.

Reviews gushed about “an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption.”

The image of a clean, redemptive soul is strikingly out of sync with a gun pouch that was reportedly covered in coke.

What is clear is that the sobriety defense now seems as risky as it is implausible.

In the special counsel’s filing, the court was informed that “an FBI chemist subsequently analyzed the residue and determined that it was cocaine. To be clear, investigators literally found drugs on the pouch where the defendant had kept his gun.”

Hunter bought and possessed the Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver for 11 days between Oct. 12 and Oct. 23, 2018.

That possession ended when his sister-in-law Hallie Biden tossed the firearm into a dumpster in Wilmington, Delaware.

Hallie, the widow of Hunter’s deceased brother, had begun a sexual relationship with him and she apparently became concerned about what he might do with the gun.

According to Hunter’s own memoir, that would make the window of sobriety a mere blink in time for a defense.

The defense will likely challenge the admissibility of police testing due to the gun being tossed into the dumpster.

Of course, Lowell can now argue that Wilmington dumpsters are so saturated with cocaine that any item would come out covered in coke.

It is more likely that they will cite the break in the chain of custody as making the test unreliable and prejudicial.

What is clear is that the sobriety defense now may be as risky as it is implausible.

The government could argue that it should be able to use the testing as circumstantial evidence to rebut the claim or even impeach Hunter if he takes the stand (which seems unlikely).

Hunter wrote about being a crack addict and alcoholic throughout this period, writing in his book that at some points he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating” as was “smoking crack around the clock.”

The most pressing problem is not the government portraying Hunter as Tony Montana from “Scarface,” it’s Hunter himself.

He’ll have a tough time changing that story now.

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/18/2024 - 19:00
Published:1/18/2024 6:33:51 PM
[] Feds Asked Banks to Conduct Warrantless Searches for Transactions Mentioning "MAGA" or "Trump;" Flagged Religious Texts as "Possible Extremism" The Ham-and-Eggers at the FBI strike again. So they're violating the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments. To Save Democracy. They're Great Americans. Federal investigators asked banks to search and filter customer transactions by using terms like "MAGA" and "Trump" as... Published:1/18/2024 12:59:53 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: FBI arrests trans neo-Nazi who made plans to carry out shooting against transphobes According to breaking news tonight, a transgender pretender neo-Nazi made plans to carry out a mass shooting against transphobes has been arrested by the FBI. His name is Elizabeth Ballesteros West, formerly . . . Published:1/17/2024 8:20:03 PM
[Markets] Jim Jordan Demands Answers After Biden Admin Caught Flagging "MAGA" And "Trump" To Track Political Opponents' Financial Transactions Jim Jordan Demands Answers After Biden Admin Caught Flagging "MAGA" And "Trump" To Track Political Opponents' Financial Transactions

Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Wednesday, announced that it had obtained documents revealing that federal agencies have flagged financial transactions for financial institutions for people using politically sensitive words such as "MAGA" and Trump."

In a letter to Noah Bishoff - who was a former FinCEN Director (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) - and now an Anti Money Laundering (AML) officer at fintech company Plaid, Inc. Jordan described situations in which Americans buying bibles or shopping at sporting good stores might find their transactions flagged.

New documents obtained by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government reveal that the federal government flagged terms like "MAGA" and "TRUMP" for financial institutions if Americans used those phrases when completing transactions. Individuals who shopped at stores like Cabela's or Dick's Sporting Goods, or purchased religious texts like a bible, may also have had their transactions flagged. This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans' private transactions is alarming and raises serious concerns about the FBI's respect for fundamental civil liberties. -Judiciary.house.gov

"The Committee and Select Subcommittee have obtained documents indicating that following January 6, 2021, FinCEN distributed materials to financial institutions that, among other things, outline the 'typologies' of various persons of interest and provide financial institutions with suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement," reads the letter.

"These materials included a document recommending the use of generic terms like 'TRUMP' and 'MAGA' to 'search Zelle payment messages' as well as a 'prior FinCEN analysis' of 'Lone Actor/Homegrown Violent Extremism Indicators," the letter continues. "According to this analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of 'extremism' indicators that include 'transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel to areas with no apparent purpose,' or 'the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views.' In other words, FinCEN urged large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression."

The Committee announced that it's seeking interviews with senior intelligence officials, including Bishoff.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/17/2024 - 19:05
Published:1/17/2024 6:16:23 PM
[Latest News] FBI Found Cocaine on Hunter Biden’s Gun Pouch, Prosecutors Say

Federal prosecutors said in a Tuesday court filing that the FBI in 2018 found cocaine on the leather pouch Hunter Biden used to store his gun.

The post FBI Found Cocaine on Hunter Biden’s Gun Pouch, Prosecutors Say appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:1/17/2024 11:38:30 AM
[Markets] RFK Jr. Says "There Was Good Reason" For His Father To Authorize FBI Wiretaps Of Martin Luther King Jr. RFK Jr. Says "There Was Good Reason" For His Father To Authorize FBI Wiretaps Of Martin Luther King Jr.

Authored by Jeff Louderbeck via The Epoch Times,

While in Atlanta for a voter rally on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. talked about his family’s relationship with the civil rights leader and said that “there was good reason” for his father, Robert F. Kennedy, to authorize FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s to wiretap Dr. King when John F. Kennedy was president.

Before delivering a speech at the event, where he collected signatures to get on the Georgia presidential general election ballot, Mr. Kennedy told Politico that his father, who was attorney general, granted permission for Mr. Hoover to electronically monitor Dr. King’s conversations “because J. Edgar Hoover was out to destroy Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement and Hoover said to them that Martin Luther King’s chief was a communist.”

“My father gave permission to Hoover to wiretap them so he could prove that his suspicions about King were either right or wrong. I think, politically, they had to do it,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Mr. Kennedy noted that his father and his uncle knew that Mr. Hoover was “a racist” and “left no doubt where he stood on those issues” regarding civil rights organizations.

If President Kennedy had been elected to a second term, he would have fired Mr. Hoover, the 2024 independent presidential candidate said, adding that be believes his uncle alerted Dr. King of Mr. Hoover’s wiretaps in a private conversation.

President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Dr. King, who was born and raised in Atlanta, was shot and killed by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968.

After speaking at a campaign event in Los Angeles during his bid to secure the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination, Robert F. Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968. He died the next day.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mr. Kennedy posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, sharing stories about the relationship between his father and Dr. King.

In 1967, Dr. King delivered a speech “in which he came out against the Vietnam War,” Mr. Kennedy said in the video.

It was an unpopular stance among other civil rights leaders who thought Dr. King should focus solely on the civil rights movement, Mr. Kennedy explained.

Dr. King noted that black soldiers represented “half of the paratrooper units in Vietnam” and black soldiers were dying for freedoms in Vietnam that they did not have in their own country,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“He also said that the poverty program which Lyndon Johnson and my uncle had launched was being impoverished itself because of the cause of the Vietnam War."

President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes the hand of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the signing of the Civil Rights Act while officials look on in Washington on July 2, 1964. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A year after delivering that address, Dr. King was murdered, and Mr. Kennedy said his father broke the news to a crowd in Indianapolis.

“My father was running against the Vietnam War at that time and was going into a ghetto in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sheriff warned him that he shouldn’t go because people didn’t know that Martin Luther King Jr. was dead, and the sheriff and the local police believed they would lose control of the city when the black population learned about his death,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Robert F. Kennedy ignored the sheriff’s warning and climbed on a flatbed truck to deliver an impromptu speech that his son calls one of the best addresses he had delivered.

After telling the audience that Dr. King was shot and killed, Mr. Kennedy “did something that he never had done before, which is he talked publicly about his brother’s death.,” his son said in the video.

“He reminded the crowd that his brother was killed by white men as well. And he called on the crowd to do something that was counterintuitive, which was to react peacefully. Quoting the Greek poet Aeschylus, he said that our job now as Americans was to “tame the savageness of men and make gentle the life of this world.”

More than 100 cities were ravaged by riots that night, but not Indianapolis.

“It was the only major city that avoided rioting that night. People have attributed that to my dad’s speech,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“When my dad died in 1968, two months later, after Dr. King, Coretta King was in the hospital with me and my siblings, [in] Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. And my father died. And then she was on the airplane with us, which took my father’s casket back to New York, and she was on the train with us when we brought his body on a seven-and-a-half-hour train ride with two and a half million people on the track to Washington DC.

At the Atlanta voter rally on Jan. 14, Mr. Kennedy was joined by Angela Stanton-King, the goddaughter of Alveda King, who is Dr. King’s niece.

Ms. Stanton-King, who works for Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, was pardoned by President Donald Trump after a conviction in 2006 for conspiracy to defraud the government in connection with a luxury car theft operation.

In 2020, she registered as a Republican and unsuccessfully ran against civil rights leader and incumbent Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/16/2024 - 23:40
Published:1/17/2024 12:05:20 AM
[Markets] Americans Divided On Progress Made Since 'I Have A Dream' Speech Americans Divided On Progress Made Since 'I Have A Dream' Speech

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday in the United States that honors the memory of the influential civil rights activist and baptist minister who called for an end to racial segregation through non-violence.

The civil rights leader's assassination in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, caused an international outcry at the time. His campaign of non-violent resistance to further equal rights for all citizens in the United States, no matter the color of their skin, had made him one of the most iconic and popular leaders in American history.

As Statista's Katharina Buchholz reports, King was a Baptist minister and drew on his faith for his campaigns. He held his best known and often quoted speech "I Have A Dream" at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 as part of the March on Washington, with a quarter of a million people attending. The father of four children he had with his wife Coretta Scott King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later, in 1964.

He was gunned down by convicted criminal James Earl Ray who was apprehended two months after King's murder and served 29 years in prison until his death. The FBI under its notorious director J. Edgar Hoover tried to brand King a communist and had him observed. King forcefully denied having anything to do with the communist movement, which by default is staunchly atheist.

Infographic: Facts About Martin Luther King Jr. | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

It's six decades since King delivered the world-changing “I have a dream” speech and U.S. adults have mixed feelings over the progress made towards racial equality in the country.

As Statista's Anna Fleck points out, according to a poll taken by the Pew Research Center in April, while 52 percent of respondents thought that either a "fair amount" or a "great deal" of progress has been made in the time that lapsed, a third said that there has been "some progress" and 15 percent said that there has been either "not much" or none at all.

Infographic: Americans Divided on Progress Made Since March on Washington | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Tellingly, when looking at the breakdown by race, wide disparities still exist.

As the chart above shows, white respondents were twice as likely to say a “fair amount” or a “great deal” of progress had been made than Black respondents, signalling to an imbalance in perceptions between white respondents who think progress has been made, and Black respondents who are more affected by racial inequality and say otherwise.

There are differences along party lines too. According to Pew Research Center, 67 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning voters thought that a great deal or a fair amount of progress had been made since the March on Washington, while the share of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters holding the same opinion stood at 38 percent.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2024 - 19:30
Published:1/15/2024 6:58:40 PM
[69232a18-f09b-5b4e-9551-d9e64af7516f] NYC mayor builds hefty legal war chest to battle FBI investigation New York City Mayor Eric Adams' legal defense trust exceeds $650,000 in donations, reports say, as the FBI continues its corruption probe. Published:1/15/2024 2:49:00 PM
[Markets] Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out Of Gas: VDH Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out Of Gas: VDH

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

Prosecutors are discovering that the more they seek to rush to judgment before the election and gag Trump from speaking publicly about these proceedings, the more he rises in the polls...

We should dispense with the tired narrative that four conscientious state and federal prosecutors - independently and without contact with the Biden White House or the radical Democrats in Congress - all came to the same disinterested conclusions that Donald Trump should be indicted for various crimes and put on trial during the campaign season of 2024.

The prosecutors began accelerating their indictments only once Trump started to lead incumbent Joe Biden by sizable margins in head-to-head polls. Moreover, had Trump not run for the presidency, or had he been of the same party as most of the four prosecutors, he would have never been indicted by any of them.

Yet now they are in a doom loop of discovering that the more they seek to rush to judgment before the election and gag Trump from speaking publicly about these star-chamber proceedings, the more he rises in the polls.

In truth, each succeeding cycle of corrupt leftwing lawfare that ends in failure—the Russian collusion hoax, the weaponized first impeachment, trying ex-president Trump in the Senate as a private citizen, the laptop disinformation set-up, the Alfa bank ping caper, the pathetic attempt to erase Trump from state ballots, and the unfolding Fani Willis moral debacle—does not return things to zero.

Rather, they serve as force multipliers for each other. Each overreach geometrically increases the dangers to democracy, ever more turns the public off, and ironically cascades sympathy and poll numbers for the very target of their paranoias.

Some of the prosecutors have colluded with White House lawyers and congressional liaisons. Some had run for office, offering campaign promises to get Trump convicted for something or other.

Now, after years of delays and deadends, all four are rushing to synchronize their trial dates to ensure that the front-running Trump is on the docket daily and not out on the 2024 campaign trail.

Do we recall when leftist legal eagles claimed that of all the iffy Trump indictments, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis had the best case against Trump?

The phone call, we were told, was proof of “election interference.” It was Willis who got the first Trump “mug shot.” It was Willis, we were assured, who got Trump with the goods on tape, begging election officials to “find” the requisite missing votes that would prove his victory (note that he did not say “invent” the votes but to look for a supposedly existing trove of them).

And now Willis’s signature case is in shambles.

We learn, allegedly, that

1) Willis hired her stealth boyfriend Nathan Wade as a special counsel, the day before he filed for divorce (whose records were then mysteriously sealed by the court);

2) that Wade so far has received over $650,000 as special counsel, reportedly including a miraculous ability to charge for 24 hours of continuous legal service in a single day;

3) that Willis and Wade allegedly have used her greenlighted windfall to him to go on a number of pricey junkets and cruises;

4) that to try an ex-president and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election, Willis picked Wade who had never tried a single felony case and was previously a “personal injury/accident” lawyer;

5) that the supposedly apolitical Willis had consulted with the January 6 partisan congressional special committee, while Wade had met for marathon meetings with the Biden White House legal counsel (and apparently billed Georgia taxpayers for receiving such federal tutorials).

The legal community’s initial dismissal of this sordid prosecutor’s office is reminiscent of the immediate efforts to downplay Claudine Gay’s plagiarism. But the charade will eventually end the same way, in this case with the resignation and likely indictment of the prosecutor, along with her boyfriend, who concocted quite a scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted.

The other three indictments are even weaker.

Alvin Bragg claims that Donald Trump’s efforts a near decade ago to enact nondisclosure agreements and payments to remain silent about embarrassing behavior constituted “campaign finance violations.”

If so, what then defines campaign violations when Ms. Clinton brazenly destroyed nearly 30,000 subpoenaed campaign-era emails, ordered subpoenaed communication devices smashed, illegally hired a foreign national to find dirt on a campaign rival, and used three paywalls to hide her hush payments to British subject Steele to concoct a smear dossier—with help from Russian sources—to destroy her 2016 rival?

Letitia James, apparently for the first time in New York history, believes a bank was somehow wronged when its seasoned auditors viewed Trump’s assets, approved a loan to him, profited from his timely payments of interest and principles, and lodged no complaints against Trump or his company.

James apparently believes that Donald Trump is the first and most egregious real estate baron in New York history who inflated the value of his holdings. Her indictments thus supposedly have nothing to do with a left-wing political activist who ran for attorney general on promises to get Trump.

As far as Jack Smith, he supposedly was to be focused on Trump’s removal of classified presidential files to an insecure location at his Mar-a-Lago home and Trump’s “insurrectionary” actions on January 6. But he seems way beyond that now and is trying to put a gag order on the presidential frontrunner and to ensure Trump is in court during the 2024 campaign—challenging the very administration that appointed Smith in the first place.

In truth, Trump was the first ex-president in history to be indicted for a dispute with archivists over the status and security of removed classified files. Such disagreements were historically adjudicated bureaucratically rather than criminally, and certainly not with performance-art FBI swat raids into an ex-presidential residence.

Moreover, true insurrectionists do not instruct protestors to assemble peacefully and patriotically. Insurrectionists themselves do not try to overthrow governments while unarmed and accompanied by bare-chested buffoons with cow horns and slow-moving septuagenarians draped in American flags. And during an “insurrection,” unarmed “rebels” are usually not invited into the government quarters by supposed government doormen, among them perhaps 150-200 FBI informants. They are usually not shot and killed for the crime of entering a broken window while unarmed. And governments need not lie about the violence of insurrectionaries if they are truly insurrectionists.

Jack Smith’s problem—aside from his similar previous effort as special counsel to bankrupt and destroy the life and career of former Virginia governor Bob McDonald, a conviction overturned 9-0 by the Supreme Court—is that his indictments are so asymmetrical as to be surreal.

If the Department of Justice really wishes to prosecute insurrection, then it should concentrate on 120 days of arson, looting, killing, and violent protests that destroyed $2 billion in property, led to over 35 deaths, injured 1,500 law enforcement officers, and saw a federal courthouse, a police precinct, and a historic church torched by protestors, months of violent chaos planned and orchestrated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and enabled by leftwing inert mayors and governors.

The future Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, sought to organize bail for violent rioters. She boasted on television that the protests would not stop, should not stop, and would continue beyond the 2020 elections. Could she have at least suggested to the rioters to protest “peacefully and patriotically?” And just last week, President Biden praised that months-long violent summer of looting, violence, arson, and destruction, calling it “the historic movement for justice in the summer of 2020.”

Or Smith could investigate the well-orchestrated and increasingly violent pro-Hamas rallies. These are “insurrections” that have stormed the California legislature, occupied the Capitol rotunda, defaced and defiled iconic federal monuments and cemeteries, shut down key bridges and freeways, attacked law enforcement, and led to violence and assaults.

If Trump is guilty of removing files that he had the statutory right as president to formally declassify, then what was senator and subsequent Vice President Joe Biden guilty of when he stealthily and unlawfully removed hundreds of files, kept the removals secret (until his administration went after Trump for the same offense), and sloppily stored them in his insecure garage?

At each juncture of these extra-legal efforts, past precedents, former customs, and accepted traditions are being destroyed by the Left, whose endless miscarriages of justice are the real threats to constitutional government. And the more impotent these serial and unending gambits become, the more strident and desperate they appear.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2024 - 15:30
Published:1/15/2024 2:49:00 PM
[Markets] Law-Abiding Americans Reject Biden's Border Invasion & Imploding Cities By Buying More Guns Law-Abiding Americans Reject Biden's Border Invasion & Imploding Cities By Buying More Guns

New data shows that 2023 firearm purchases among law-abiding Americans remain elevated. This comes as the Biden administration floods the nation with millions of illegals on the southern border, and Democrats controlling major metro areas have sparked a violent crime crisis in recent years due to failed social justice reforms. 

Americans know the country is in big trouble. The government is allowing an invasion of the southern border, and Democrat-run metro areas resemble scenes from the violent video game 'Grand Theft Auto.' 

Folks are waking up that stripped-down police forces (remember, Democrats pushed 'defund the police') aren't going to rescue them in a time of need, and they must rely on what the Founding Fathers granted them: Second Amendment.

That's why new data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows nearly 16 million gun sales in 2023, with December alone seeing upwards of 1.7 million. 

"Further, 2023 continued a 53-month-long running trend of consumers purchasing over a million firearms per month," website Gun.com wrote. 

Mark Oliva, NSSF's director of public affairs, had this to say about elevated gun buying:

"Americans showed they want their Second Amendment rights by the millions – once again.

"These are solid figures that reflect the mood of Americans and the desire to exercise Second Amendment rights. These figures are a reminder of the importance law-abiding citizens place on their personal safety and freedoms, even as the Biden-Harris administration is using a 'whole-of-government' approach to chill and ultimately eliminate those rights."

Meanwhile, the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System ended the year with 29,854,186 checks, which surpassed 2022's figure of 28,904,713. 

Former President Trump was correct last year when he said the US is a "third-world hellhole" run by "pervert criminals and thugs."

"Millions of illegal aliens have stormed across our borders, it is an invasion, like a military invasion. Our rights and liberties are being torn to shreds," Trump said, adding, "Your country is being turned into a third-world hellhole, run by censors, perverts criminals and thugs."

It sure looks like an invasion.  

Here's more from Trump... 

Lawful firearm possession is the only deterrent against criminals as Democrats shred common-sense law and order for chaos - if that is on the southern border or in imploding progressive metro areas. 

We'll leave readers with this quote: "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life," Robert A. Heinlein.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/14/2024 - 21:35
Published:1/14/2024 8:51:18 PM
[Markets] NBC News Admits 'Deep State' Exists... To Save Us From Trump's Return NBC News Admits 'Deep State' Exists... To Save Us From Trump's Return

The last time Donald Trump got within striking distance of the Oval Office in 2016, the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration, and various foreign accomplices invented a hoax accusing the real estate tycoon of being a secret Russian agent, who would use the power of the United States to do Vladimir Putin's bidding (Which begs the question; why wouldn't Putin have just invaded Ukraine when his 'puppet' Trump wouldn't have waged a proxy war?).

And when Donald Trump asked Ukraine about obvious corruption by the Biden family, one of the key 'deep state' players in his impeachment behind the scenes was none other than Mary McCord - who went from taking down Michael Flynn after the FBI set him up, to helping Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to peddle a "whistleblower" complaint about Trump's Ukraine call.

McCord is back with a new hoax to peddle, telling NBC News that the Deep State is preparing for Trump's return - and is taking action to limit his ability to 'become a dictator' and use the military to those ends.

"We’re already starting to put together a team to think through the most damaging types of things that he [Trump] might do so that we’re ready to bring lawsuits if we have to," McCord - executive director of the Institution for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law - told the outlet.

The quotes from this fine piece of yellow journalism from NBC are simply hilarious...

  • "Donald Trump is sparking fears among those who understand the inner workings of the Pentagon that he would convert the nonpartisan U.S. military into the muscular arm of his political agenda as he makes comments about dictatorship and devalues the checks and balances that underpin the nation’s two-century-old democracy."

  • "A circle of appointees independent of Trump’s political operation steered him away from ideas that would have pushed the limits of presidential power in his last term."

  • "In a new term, many former officials worry that Trump would instead surround himself with loyalists unwilling to say no."

  • "He’s a clear and present danger to our democracy."

  • "His support is solid. And I don’t think people understand what living in a dictatorship would mean."

  • "There are an array of horrors that could result from Donald Trump’s unrestricted use of the Insurrection Act."

  • "The military is hundreds of thousands of people strong, and ultimately Trump will find people to follow his legal orders no matter what ... The Insurrection Act is a legal order, and if he orders it there will be military officers, especially younger men and women, who will follow that legal order."

This one might be the best: "We’re about 30 seconds away from the Armageddon clock when it comes to democracy," said William Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and defense secretary in the Clinton administration. "I think that’s how close we’re coming to it when you have a presidential candidate who can be indicted on 91 counts, who can be [found liable for] sexual aggression, who we have seen lies pathologically, who has flouted every rule in the book."

Wow!

Narrative: Trump is going to appoint loyal peons to subvert democracy and declare himself a dictator.

But wait, the deep state cavalry is here!

"Now, bracing for Trump’s potential return, a loose-knit network of public interest groups and lawmakers is quietly devising plans to try to foil any efforts to expand presidential power, which could include pressuring the military to cater to his political needs."

Part of the aim is to identify like-minded organizations and create a coalition to challenge Trump from day one, those taking part in the discussions said. Some participants are combing through policy papers being crafted for a future conservative administration. They’re also watching the interviews that Trump allies are giving to the press for clues to how a Trump sequel would look.

Other participants include Democracy Forward, an organization that took the Trump administration to court more than 100 times during his administration, and Protect Democracy, an anti-authoritarian group.

...

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is crafting a bill that would clarify the act and give Congress and the courts some say in its use. Its chances of passage are slim given that Republicans control the House and are largely loyal to Trump.

You tell us what that sounds like... 

deep state
noun

  • a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.

"We are preparing for litigation and preparing to use every tool in the toolbox that our democracy provides to provide the American people an ability to fight back," according to Skye Perryman, president of Democracy Forward. "We believe this is an existential moment for American democracy and it’s incumbent on everybody to do their part."

Ah yes, another 'existential moment.'

Remember, the first rule of 'Deep State' is you do not talk about 'Deep State'.

Tyler Durden Sun, 01/14/2024 - 18:05
Published:1/14/2024 5:43:56 PM
[Markets] FBI Stonewalls Over Seth Rich Laptop Production FBI Stonewalls Over Seth Rich Laptop Production

The FBI has asked a federal court for a second delay after being ordered to produce information from Seth Rich's computer to a Texas resident, Brian Huddleston who has sued the bureau.

Huddleston says that the court should force the agency to produce the information before the 2024 presidential election, as it may show that Rich, not Russians, was Wikileaks' source of leaked emails which were damaging to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US election.

On Thursday, the FBI asked Obama-appointed US District Judge Amos Mazzant to reconsider their request not to produce the documents, and should be withheld under exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The filing was a response to Mazzant's Nov. 2023 order to hand over images of Mr. Rich's personal computer, as well as an index of his work computer.

It gets better; the FBI initially claimed that they didn't have said records - only to later admit to being in possession of Rich's personal and work computers, along with other items.

As if it wasn't suspicious enough that the FBI is stonewalling on information related to a 'mugging gone wrong.'

Seth Rich is pictured on a poster created by police officials to urge people with information about his murder to come forward. (Metropolitan Police Department)

According to Ty Clevenger, Huddleston's attorney, the judge should deny the FBI's latest bid for a production delay.

"A presidential election is fast approaching, and voters have the right to know (1) whether the FBI knowingly framed one of the frontrunners, i.e., former President Trump; and (2) whether the FBI is still trying to cover up its partisan political activities," he wrote.

"It is bad enough that FBI personnel took opposition research from the Hillary Clinton campaign and used it to open a bad-faith investigation of Mr. Trump, thereby sabotaging him for more than two years," Clevenger added. "It would be considerably worse and considerably more scandalous, however, if FBI personnel knew all along that Seth Rich—not Russian hackers—was responsible for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks."

Many believe that Rich was indeed the source of the leaked DNC emails provided to WikiLeaks – a rumor which was fueled by the odd circumstances surrounding his death, the sudden retirement of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier five weeks after the murder, and an email John Podesta sent to Hillary’s inner circle about 'making an example' of a suspected leaker, written more than a year before Rich's death.

Troves of emails were published by Wikileaks giving insight into the corrupt inner machination of the Democratic National Committee. While Rich was never officially revealed as the source of the leaked emails, it has been heavily suggested. Julian Assange was one key figure who made that suggestion when he highlighted Rich's murder during a 2016 interview in which he was asked about the risks that come with operating WikiLeaks. Megavideo founder and entrepeneur Kim Dotcom said in May of 2017 that he worked with Rich to connect him with Assange.

At one point, Assange heavily implied Rich was his source for the DNC emails. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the murderer of Rich.  

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/13/2024 - 19:15
Published:1/13/2024 6:28:48 PM
[Markets] Ray Epps' 'Sentence' Is "A Thunderous F**k You" To Half Of America Ray Epps' 'Sentence' Is "A Thunderous F**k You" To Half Of America

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Poison Spiders At The Center Of The Web

“The same people accusing Trump voters of subverting democracy are the ones who cheated in every election since the 1960s, lied to get us into half a dozen stupid wars, created Covid in a lab, and then covered that up. You are free to tell them to STFU”

- Peachy Keenan

You know why the judge let provocateur Ray Epps off the hook for his antics before and during the so-called J-6 “insurrection,” don’t you? Well, yes, it was partly because he was acting at the direction of blob officials, most likely the FBI, but possibly the CIA, Defense Intelligence, or some black-box fed outfit no one ever of (but somehow gets half a billion in funding every year). Ol’ Ray, pleaded to one year’s probation (no jail time), 100 hours of community service (checking books out at his local library?), and a $500 fine. Say, what. . . ? A speeding ticket on the Rockville Pike would probably cost you more.

You remember those videos of Ray on the DC street the day before the riot, importuning the crowd, a commanding presence with his military bearing and red hat, six inches taller than most of the other men around him, yelling, “Tomorrow we need to go into the Capitol, into the Capitol!”  At which moment the crowd groaned “no-o-o-o. . . !” and then commenced chanting, “fed. . . fed. . . fed. . . !” They had his number. His use of the word need was especially beguiling, as in, who actually “needed” that to happen?

I’ll tell you one reason Ray didn’t get, like, twenty years, nor two years of pre-trial detention in the reeking, roach-infested DC lockup, or massive fines, like other J-6 defendants: Because he told his handlers in no uncertain terms that he would blow their cover and vivisect them publicly on the whole fed J-6 operation if they so much as made him show up in person for any proceeding - and, of course, he “attended” his sentencing by phone, in a Zoom meeting from a remote location.

Okay, I’ll tell you the actual reason that Ray Epps got the VIP powder puff treatment: It was to give half of America a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. . . the old double-barreled middle finger. . . a thunderous fuck you, with the subtext: we can do anything we want to you and you can’t do anything about it. . . and we can rub your faces in it, too, ho ho. . . and then empty a bed pan over your head in case you’re not feeling sufficiently impotent and humiliated. And the purpose of all that is their hope to foment some act of genuine violent resistance against the blob to justify further lawless persecution of the blob’s enemies. They’re really hoping to set off a civil war to justify martial law in order to ensure a free and fair election.

The judge in the Ray Epps case is. . . wait for it. . . the fabulous judicial utility infielder, James Boasberg, now Chief Judge of the DC Federal District Court, a big cheese. Yes, the same rascal who sat on the FISA Court during the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” shenanigans, when they fed all manner of fake documents to that court to enable the FBI to conduct warrantless surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign, and then afterwards on his presidency.

It was Judge Boasberg who let FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith off the hook with probation when he was charged with doctoring an email to conceal the fact that FBI target Carter Page had been an active CIA informer in Russia over the years, not just some schlub swanning around the fringe of the Trump Campaign. Getting a FISA warrant on Carter Page was tremendously advantageous to the FBI, because it enabled them to use the “three-hop rule,” meaning they could also surveil anyone else in the Trump retinue who Mr. Page had communicated with by phone or email.

The disposition of Ray Epps’s case also means there will be no further official inquiries into his behavior that fateful day 1/6/21.

The principle of double jeopardy means he can’t be tried for the same thing twice. There will be no further inquiries into what he did that day and on J-6 itself when he appeared at the barricades on the Capitol grounds, apparently goading protesters to bust through them. It’s a dead letter. Chalk up a “W” for the blob

But now, chalk up an “L” for the blob: Fani Willis, the Fulton County (GA) District Attorney, has been caught funneling more than half a million dollars to her love bunny, attorney Nathan Wade, after appointing him “special counsel” in the gigantic RICO case against Donald Trump and eighteen other defendants. Poor optics, as they say, and maybe a good deal more than that — such as prosecutorial misconduct. The fact that the lovestruck pair took Caribbean cruises together with that money may only be a minor part of the story. More will come out when Fani Willis answers the summons she has been served to give a deposition at the request of Joycelyn Wade’s lawyers in the Wades’ ongoing divorce proceeding.

More to the point, both Fani Willis and Nathan Wade (in her service) spent time consulting with lawyers at the White House before they filed charges against Mr. Trump. Mr. Wade was there on May 23 and November 19, 2022 talking to Joe Biden’s White House counsel for sixteen hours. Ms. Willis is shown by White House visitor logs to have been present for five hours a few months later, on February 18, 2023, a week after recommending charges to a Fulton County grand jury. The log states that she spent those five hours with veep Kamala Harris.

I doubt that is who she came to visit.

My guess is that Ms. Willis spent those hours being coached by Deputy US Attorney General Lisa Monaco, possibly joined by Mary McCord, a former head of the DOJ’s National Security division during the “Crossfire Hurricane” years, then “outside counsel” to the first House impeachment committee, then counsel to the House J-6 committee. It was Ms. McCord, in Trump Impeachment # 1, who arranged for then DOJ Inspector General Michael Atkinson to change the whistleblower rules, allowing for hearsay evidence, which gave a green light to NSA mole Eric Ciaramella to report on the infamous Ukraine phone call that he had not personally witnessed (but was fed a story on by Col. Alexander Vindman.) Nice work there. In other words, these two gals, Lisa Monaco and Mary McCord, are the poison spiders in the DOJ web of veteran seditionists.

This week there is also chatter as to whether Special Counsel Jack Smith might ever actually bring an official federal “insurrection” charge against Mr. Trump to facilitate his “branding” so as to get him kicked off the ballot around the country. I doubt that’ll work out for Mr. Smith, too.

If such a matter ever went to trial Mr. Trump would enjoy the right to “discovery” of all sorts of evidence that the DOJ and the FBI would never allow to see the light of day.

So, Jack’s stuck with his lame cases now on the docket which, believe me, will be going nowhere.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/12/2024 - 16:20
Published:1/12/2024 3:44:58 PM
[] Seven Men Gang Rape Two Toddlers and Post Videos Of It Online New post at 1:30 because this is so incredibly disgusting and I want it out of the top spot. It just gets worse, and worse, and worse. FBI agents have arrested a Texas man on charges that he and six... Published:1/12/2024 12:27:41 PM
[Markets] Amid 'Dueling Debates', Vivek Warns 'The System' Will Force Haley-DeSantis Ticket To Bring Down Trump Amid 'Dueling Debates', Vivek Warns 'The System' Will Force Haley-DeSantis Ticket To Bring Down Trump

Given Donald Trump's absolute dominance over the current 2024 GOP field, Vivek Ramaswamy has a prediction:

Nikki Haley will become the establishment's 'puppet' candidate, and Ron DeSantis will be forced to join her ticket as VP.

Ron DeSantis, Nimrata "Nikki" Haley

"Here’s the plot: 1. Narrow this to a 2-horse race between Trump & a puppet they can control. 2. Eliminate Trump. 3. Trot their puppet into the White House. Prediction: next up, Ron DeSantis joins Nikki Haley’s ticket as VP. Ron may not know it yet, but he won’t have a say in the matter," Ramaswamy posted on X.

Of course, Chris Christie thinks Haley is 'gonna get smoked' because 'she's not up to this,' but we digress.

Haley and DeSantis take shots at Trump

On Wednesday, and we don't blame you if you missed it, Haley and DeSantis took shots at the former president (and each other) at a debate hosted by CNN in Des Moines, Iowa - after two other contenders, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Vivek Ramaswamy, failed to meet the heightened requirements to participate.

At the start of the debate, Mr. DeSantis said—as he often has—that the former president is “running to pursue his issues.” Ms. Haley soon said that she doesn’t think the 45th president “is the right president to go forward,” touting herself as “a new generational leader.”

Mr. Tapper, one of CNN’s moderators, noted that President Trump had not accepted their invitation to take part in the pre-caucus debate. The former leader of the United States instead held a town hall elsewhere in Des Moines that aired on Fox News.

DeSantis tried to capitalize on his comments via X following the debate. 

Haley, meanwhile, is right on course to piss off the more than 1/3 of US adults who say the 2020 election was illegitimate.

"That election—Trump lost it [and] Biden won that election," said Haley, adding that Trump would "have to answer" for Jan. 6, without specifying what she meant.

Haley and DeSantis also slammed Trump's claim of presidential immunity in a DC federal appeals court considering his 2020 election case, with DeSantis saying: "I think the D.C. circuit is going to rule against Trump on that issue," and that "a stacked, left-wing D.C. jury of all Democrats" is going to give Trump the business.

Haley suggested Trump's immunity argument is "absolutely ridiculous."

"What has President Trump done? You look at the last few years, and our country is completely divided," Haley said, apparently unaware that Trump hasn't been president 'the last few years.'

For a deeper dive into the Haley - DeSantis slap fight, the Daily Caller has a good writeup here.

Trump, meanwhile...

While Haley and DeSantis traded barbs, Trump sat down with Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCalllum for a live town hall event, also in Iowa.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When asked by Baier about his plans for "retribution and looking backwards" during a second term, Trump said: "Well, first of all, a lot of people would say that’s not so bad," adding "Look, what they did: Russia, Russia, Russia hoax; the FBI/Twitter hoax; the 51 intelligence agents hoax – all of these different hoaxes that they did. You know, a lot of people would say that’s probably quite normal."

"I’m not going to have time for retribution," the former president continued. "We’re going to make this country so successful again, I’m not going to have time for retribution. And remember this: our ultimate retribution is success."

Trump has taken flack for March comments at CPAC, in which he told the crowd: "In 2016, I declared, ‘I am your voice.’ Today I add: I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those that have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution. I am your retribution."

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/11/2024 - 12:25
Published:1/11/2024 11:31:39 AM
[Markets] The Perpetual War On Free Speech The Perpetual War On Free Speech

Authored by Donald Jeffries via "I Protest" substack,

The Founding Fathers made the Constitution palatable by including a Bill of Rights.

Without the First 10 Amendments, the Constitution is just what its early critics, including Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, said it was; a dangerous consolidation of power far less representative of liberty than the Articles of Confederation.

The First Amendment was always a huge concern with statists of every era.

Those who thirst for power, and will compromise themselves in order to attain it, have never looked favorably upon those critical of them.

John Adams, the second president of the United States, passed the Alien and Sedition Acts for just this reason.

He bristled at criticism.

Fortunately, Thomas Jefferson succeeded him in office and scrapped this tyrannical concept.

But the notion reared itself again in 1860, with the election of Abraham Lincoln. Adams was a civil libertarian compared to Lincoln. “Honest” Abe didn’t pass any new Alien and Sedition Acts; he just shut down over two hundred newspapers that opposed any of his unconstitutional actions.

Woodrow Wilson revived these odious acts during World War I. Eugene Debs and others were imprisoned for opposing the pointless shedding of blood, and America’s participation in it. The Supreme Court, in perhaps its worst ruling ever, upheld Wilson’s right to jail antiwar protesters. Great “liberal” justice Oliver Wendell Holmes coined the phrase “yelling fire in a crowded theater” to justify such heinous oppression, placing an ugly asterisk on free speech. Apparently no concerned American asked at the time, just how protesting a war could be construed as yelling fire in a crowded theater. This expression gained great renown across the land, and is forever on the lips of those who seek to censor dissent.

Franklin Roosevelt built upon the actions of Wilson, who was inspired by the maniacal despot Lincoln. One of the countless unconstitutional agencies created under the New Deal, the Federal Communications Commission was in effect a national Alien and Sedition Act for the radio stations, and would go on to control content in Hollywood and on every television network. It banned selling advertising that discussed “controversial issues.” Vulgarity and “extremist” opinions were strictly forbidden. FDR pushed several inquisitions in Congress, most notably the one chaired by then Senator Hugo Black. You know, the former KKK member who went on to become a “liberal” Supreme Court justice and arbitrarily awarded the 1948 Senate election to “Landslide” Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to court the dead vote.

The Black Committee and other inquiries attempted to severely curtail the ability of journalists to criticize the New Deal. FDR himself is documented to have personally tried to ruin the careers of his political opponents. And all of this was years before the Pearl Harbor false flag. Once America entered the war, FDR went after draft evaders, and memorably incarcerated American citizens in concentration camps. Not just Japanese Americans, but German and Italian Americans, too. The Roosevelt administration also stole billions in personal property from these poor souls. Much as Lincoln had locked up any northern antiwar voices without any due process, FDR imprisoned those opposed to his war. In 1945, his successor Harry Truman had antiwar poet Ezra Pound arrested, and he spent a decade in a mental institution.

We must consider today’s “Woke” authoritarianism in its historical context. The precedents are all there.

Cancel culture was born when Lincoln “canceled” his critics in the press, and threw thousands of uncharged citizens into makeshift prisons. Wilson followed this precedent, but FDR expanded it into a totalitarian art form. His administration “canceled” its critics in a variety of ways. FDR used J. Edgar Hoover to target some of them. His administration confiscated millions of telegrams to and from Roosevelt opponents. Long before Richard Nixon’s laughable efforts to use the IRS to monitor his critics, FDR had the fledgling agency audit almost everyone who opposed him. Indeed, FDR led a veritable crusade against free speech.

The Social Justice Warriors might look different. Tattooed. Pink or purple hair. Transitioned into countless new “genders.” Utterly addicted to name-calling. But they are the logical descendants of those who supported the Alien and Sedition Acts. Who threw citizens into jail that objected to our involvement in faraway wars. Who wanted to use the IRS, and the FBI, to “cancel” critics of the political elite. Not enough tried to stop this onerous censorship in 1860. Or 1918. Or 1939. And too few are trying to stop it now. The January 6 political prisoners are a testament to that, subjected to the cruel and unjust punishment explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, which was inflicted on northern “Copperheads” during the Civil War, and anarchists and “Reds” during World War I, and “Nazi sympathizers” during World War II.

The crazed adherents of Identity Politics are hardly the first to want to silence their critics. Get them fired from their job, and rendered unemployable. And increasingly, prosecuted for their Thought Crimes. Those opposing Lincoln’s mad war and suppression of civil liberties were the Thought Criminals of their time, long before Orwell gave a name to them. Everyone reading this little missive is a modern day Thought Criminal. There are millions of us. Is there room in their overcrowded prisons for all of us? As Lord Acton, the great lover of liberty who was friends with Robert E. Lee, not Ulysses S. Grant, reminded us; power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those in power in America 2.0 are absolutely corrupt.

How many of us truly believe in free speech? Almost everyone has a big “but,” to quote the late Pee Wee Herman. Sure, I’m for free speech but…not for “Holocaust denial.” Disbelievers in the Apollo moon landings. Or their even more extreme bedfellows, the flat earthers. Those who think mass shootings were a hoax, or “fake news.” White people outraged by the Great Replacement. Just referring to the Great Replacement can get you canceled, unless you’re supporting such a thing. Which all of our horrific leaders do. Try mentioning how the average American woman today weighs what the average American man did sixty years ago, and see what happens. There are a lot of caveats to the mainstream ideal of “free speech.”

The symbolic prosecutions, these figurative “fire in a crowded theater” abridgements of free speech, are in full swing. Alex Jones supposedly owes nearly a billion dollars to selective Sandy Hook parents. And now any mention of Sandy Hook is even more anathema to public discourse than the Great Replacement is. Jones also apologized for “Pizzagate.” Which was ridiculous; look at those disturbing pictures on Instagram, and the Podesta emails published by Wikileaks. If Donald Trump had paintings of children with freshly spanked bottoms on the walls of Mar-a-Lago, do you think it might be reacted to differently than it was in the case of Podesta’s brother? Now Rudy Giuliani owes almost $150 million to two particular “offended” election poll workers?

The only acknowledged exceptions to free speech at one point were overtly slanderous or libelous comments. This is understandable; people do have a right to protect their reputation. But it’s a slippery slope, and obviously applied in a wildly unfair manner. There’s a fine line between libel and justified criticism. Donald Trump, think whatever you want to think of him, has been the object of slander from numerous national figures. This includes physical and even death threats. But if Trump ever brought a slander suit against the Fake Media he rages against, it would be laughed out of every courtroom. Because it’s Trump, not because it isn’t slander. Obama, Clinton, Biden- they’d all be treated much more respectfully by this hopelessly corrupt, Tik Tok “justice” system of ours. Some slander is more equal than others.

But slander and libel have been supplanted now by the Orwellian term “hate speech.” Which has been accepted by almost everyone, even though the very term immediately destroys any concept of free speech. And now “disinformation” and “misinformation,” entirely subjective terms (like “hate speech”), are being bandied about as potential “crimes.” This is essentially what Jones and Trump are being prosecuted for; the notion that they are misleading others with speech that the State finds “offensive,” or “racist,” or “disinformation/misinformation.” Trump is being tried in court for contesting the results of an election. And for exaggerating the value of his assets. That doesn’t seem to worry most Americans. They need to remember that whole, “First they came for the Communists” thing. Don’t think they won’t come after you.

If we were really protected by the First Amendment, then there would be no possibility of being prosecuted for our views on an election. Or a virus. Or a vaccine. Or any historical event. Every opinion is protected under the First Amendment. Well, theoretically. If you say something “offensive” to any of the groups and individuals that are allowed to be perpetually “offended,” then you are now subject to a politicized prosecution. No one should want to go anywhere near one of our Orwellian courtrooms. They’re nearly as dangerous as hospitals. Thought Criminals, by definition, are not being pursued for their actions. They aren’t robbers. Or rapists. Or murderers. It’s a difficult task to prosecute the thoughts of others. But our authoritarian leaders are up to that task. And millions are complicit by their silence.

Today, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube ban, suspend and “cancel” those users who have unwelcome views. First Amendment be damned. As the “conservative” defenders of the cancel culture remind us, “They’re private companies! They have a right to ban people!” As I would respond, you mean like restaurants, for instance? So did business owners in the segregated south have a right to deny service to certain people? They don’t need a reason, right? After all, they’re private companies! What exactly is the difference between denying admission to a restaurant, or a store, or a neighborhood, on the basis of skin color, or on the basis of political philosophy? Or even simply wearing a MAGA hat? It’s a selective discrimination thing, you wouldn’t understand.

It isn’t easy being a true supporter of free speech, in a society that doesn’t value it. Where more people than not are fine with stipulations on it. “The First Amendment doesn’t protect hate speech,” their nauseating mouthpieces in our state controlled media will bleat, as effortlessly as they will bleat “Oswald killed Kennedy” or “Diversity is our Strength.” The word “hate” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution itself. But there is no one there to counter them when they make these statements, which are disinformation if anything is. I’ll be waiting for someone, perhaps a member of the loyal “opposition,” to point that out. But fewer people have probably read the Constitution than have read the Bible.

I thought the internet was beyond their control. They let us have unfettered access to true diversity of thought for a few decades. But the social media conglomerates gave them their opening. FDR “canceled” the editors and radio commentators of his day. Now, the “Woke” leftists can get big tech to deny access to crucial internet platforms to those who write or say discouraging words. Many in the alt media cheered the de-platforming of Alex Jones. YouTube and Facebook are shells of their former selves. Many like me are “shadow banned.” They restrict our access to a larger audience. That’s one way to control the competition. FDR and Lincoln would have loved it. What they ideally want is an FCC to control internet content. Millions of Americans don’t believe in God. So they don’t value rights that the Founders said come from God.

The Right, though victimized by politicized prosecutions in America 2.0, hardly believe in true free speech. Witness their reaction to the mostly nonwhite students on college campuses, protesting Israel’s brutal retaliation against the Palestinians. At Harvard, these students were “doxxed,” just like so many right-wingers have been. Their names were published, and powerful Jewish businessmen tried to blacklist them from employment. Most conservatives, being Zionist defenders of Israel, applauded this particular “canceling” on campus. It was educational to watch the Ben Shapiros and Meghan Kellys of the world display such obvious hypocrisy. Everyone seems fine with suppressing some speech. Who supports all speech?

We are at war. I’m not referring to the continuous interventionism in other, smaller sovereign nations, which is the foundation of our disastrous “bipartisan” foreign policy. Our leaders are at odds with the concept of free speech. They hate it more than they supposedly hated any foreign bogeyman. I don’t know why they just don’t treat the Bill of Rights like a troublesome Confederate memorial, and remove it from the Constitution. All they’d have to do is declare it’s “racist,” and the majority of White people would start cucking and jiving. If sleep, and birds, and proper grammar, are “racist,” why not free speech? If you don’t have free speech, you don’t have a free country. No one to “hate us for our freedom.” Democracy isn’t threatened by any speech.

But we are threatened by those who don’t believe in freedom of speech.

Maybe we can start up a new American Civil Liberties Union. One that is, you know, actually concerned about the protection of civil liberties. Civil liberties begins with free speech. If you can’t say what you want, it’s obvious you can’t do what you want. The mass arrests after the truly mostly peaceful January 6 protest demonstrated that we don’t have the right to peacefully assemble, as is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Well, some do. BLM, for instance. It’s not about protest, or speech, itself. It’s about what the speakers and protesters are speaking or protesting.

Abridged speech is not free speech. If you don’t support speech you disagree with, you don’t support free speech. Some speech is not more equal than others.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/09/2024 - 23:40
Published:1/9/2024 11:39:00 PM
[] Yet Again, the Iowa Trans Shooter Was Known to Authorities Published:1/9/2024 7:32:37 PM
[Markets] Biden Admin Vows To Hunt Down 'All' Jan. 6 Suspects - Even Those Who Weren't There That Day Biden Admin Vows To Hunt Down 'All' Jan. 6 Suspects - Even Those Who Weren't There That Day

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Biden administration has pledged to continue to pursue and convict all people who broke the law in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incident, including those who never entered the building or who weren’t even present at the U.S. Capitol that day.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks, as officials including U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves (center), listen, in Washington on May 4, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Prosecutors have, to date, charged over 1,250 people with various crimes related to Jan. 6, ranging from being present on Capitol grounds without authorization, to assault of a police officer, to seditious conspiracy.

Former President Donald Trump has said on several occasions that he thinks Jan. 6 detainees are being mistreated by the Biden administration and has vowed to issue pardons for many of them.

President Trump rallied his base in Iowa on the eve of the Jan. 6 anniversary.

The J6 hostages, I call them. Nobody has been treated ever in history so badly as those people,” President Trump said at a rally in Iowa on the eve of the Jan. 6 anniversary, where he pledged to pardon a “large portion” of imprisoned Jan. 6 defendants.

President Joe Biden, by contrast, last week celebrated the jailing of Jan. 6 defendants in a speech to mark the third anniversary of the Capitol breach.

Collectively, to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison,” he said.

“And what has Trump done? Instead of calling them ‘criminals,’ he’s called these ... insurrectionists ‘patriots.' And he promised to pardon them if he returns to office,” he added.

‘All Jan. 6 Perpetrators’ To Be Targeted

Off the campaign trail, the country’s top prosecutor has made clear that the DOJ under President Biden has no intention of letting Jan. 6 participants off easy—including those who weren’t even there that day.

“We have initiated prosecutions and secured convictions across a wide range of criminal conduct on January 6, as well as in the days and weeks leading up to the attack,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech on Friday.

Prosecutors have, to date, secured over 890 convictions in connection to the Jan. 6 incident, with Mr. Garland vowing to press ahead to cast the DOJ dragnet widely.

Our work continues,” he said. “As I said before, the Justice Department will hold all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under the law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.

“We are following the facts and the law, where they lead,” he added.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the appointment of Attorney David Weiss as special counsel in the ongoing probe of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, on Aug. 11, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

‘Prosecutorial Discretion’

Nearly two-thirds of the 890-plus convicted Jan. 6 participants have received some time in prison.

The longest prison sentence—22 years—was handed down to Enrique Tarrio, the former Proud Boys national chairman who was convicted of seditious conspiracy for allegedly plotting with others to forcibly prevent the transfer of power between then-President Trump and then-President-elect Joe Biden.

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, then leader of The Proud Boys, holds a U.S. flag during a protest showing support for Cubans demonstrating against their government, in Miami, Florida on July 16, 2021. (EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dozens of Jan. 6 detainees are still languishing in jail awaiting trial three years after the Capitol incident.

Matt Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia who is leading the ongoing Jan. 6 prosecutions alongside special counsel Jack Smith, said last week that the DOJ had so far focused its prosecutorial efforts mostly on those who entered the Capitol or took part in violent acts in and around the building.

“We have used our prosecutorial discretion to primarily focus on those who enter the building or those who engaged in violent or corrupt conduct on Capitol grounds,” Mr. Graves said.

But if a person knowingly entered a restricted area without authorization, they have already committed a federal crime,” he continued.

“Make no mistake, thousands of people occupied an area that they were not authorized to be present in,” he added.

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

In light of Mr. Garland’s remarks that the DOJ would continue to hunt down “all Jan. 6 perpetrators” whether or not they were at the Capitol that day, Mr. Graves’s statements reinforce the view that prosecutors intend to expand their dragnet to people who never entered the building—or weren’t even there that day.

‘Cast Their Net Far Too Broadly’

But while the Biden administration seems intent on broadening its hunt of Jan. 6 suspects, a former attorney general said he thinks things have already gone too far.

Bill Barr, who served as attorney general under President Trump, told Fox News in a recent interview that he believes some people involved in the Jan. 6 incident—like those who attacked police and broke into the Capitol building—deserve to be punished.

However, Mr. Barr said he believes the DOJ has already cast its Jan. 6 prosecutorial net too widely.

“There were people that should have been prosecuted,” Mr. Barr said. “But I think they cast their net far too broadly.”

He said the DOJ under President Biden “has been hounding people that really, you know, just walked into open doors in the Capitol and hung around.”

“I think they just took it too far,” he said. “But that being said, I don’t minimize what happened up there. While I don’t think it was an insurrection, it clearly was a shameful episode and some of the people involved should be prosecuted.”

Attorney General Bill Barr and justice officials hold a press conference at the Justice Department in Washington on Jan, 13, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Meanwhile, on the same day that the interview with Mr. Barr aired, the FBI announced that it had arrested three “January 6 fugitives,” individuals who were indicted for various alleged crimes committed three years ago at the U.S. Capitol, including assault and resisting arrest, but failed to show up at trial.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/09/2024 - 19:00
Published:1/9/2024 6:24:46 PM
[Politics] Turns out the FBI was warned about Iowa trans shooter in November but they didn’t follow up… The FBI was warned about the Iowa trans shooter, who killed one and injured seven others, in November of last year but they didn’t follow up on the warning. In short, Dylan . . . Published:1/9/2024 10:51:27 AM
[Markets] Prosecutor On Special Counsel Jack Smith's Team Shut Down FBI Investigation Into Clinton Foundation In 2016 Prosecutor On Special Counsel Jack Smith's Team Shut Down FBI Investigation Into Clinton Foundation In 2016

Authored by Debra Heine via American Greatness,

A top prosecutor on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team recommended that the FBI shut down an investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016, despite ample evidence of suspicious activity related to hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign transactionsFox News reported.

In his May 2023 report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Special Counsel John Durham identified Ray Hulser, the former chief of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section (PIN), as the official who “declined prosecution” of the Clinton Foundation. Hulser now serves on Smith’s team currently prosecuting former President Donald Trump for alleged crimes related to January 6.

According to Durham’s report, in late 2014, the FBI began investigating a “well-placed” confidential source’s claims that two foreign governments had attempted to make illegal donations to buy influence with Hillary ahead of her presidential campaign.

By early 2016, three different FBI field offices, in Washington, D.C., Little Rock, Arkansas, and New York, had opened investigations into the Clinton Foundation for “possible criminal activity,” but Hulser shut them down, claiming there was “insufficient predication” for opening the investigations. He reportedly declined to prosecute during a meeting on February 1, 2016.

An individual present for the meeting told Durham that the Justice Department’s reaction to the Clinton Foundation briefing was “hostile.”

According to Durham’s report, the investigation out of Washington was opened as a “preliminary investigation, because the case agent wanted to determine if he could develop additional information to corroborate allegations in a recently-published book, ‘Clinton Cash’ by Peter Schweizer, before seeking to convert the matter to a full investigation.”

Durham asked Hulser about his decision to shut down the Clinton Foundation probes as part of his investigation. Hulser told Durham that he thought the “FBI briefing was poorly presented and that there was insufficient predication for at least one of the investigations due to its reliance on allegations contained in a book.”

However,  the New York and Little Rock investigations included predication “based on source reporting that identified foreign governments that had made, or offered to make, contributions to the Foundation in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment from Clinton,” according to the special counsel’s report.

Durham included the incident to show “the contrast” between how the FBI handled Clinton investigations in comparison to the Trump-Russia probe, in which members of Trump’s campaign team were improperly surveilled, legally harassed and some prosecuted for unrelated financial crimes and process crimes.

The Durham report revealed that because three different FBI field offices opened investigations related to the Clinton Foundation, there was a “perceived need to conduct coordination meetings between the field offices, FBI Headquarters, and appropriate U.S. Attorney’s offices,” as well as “components” from main Justice Department.

“These meetings likely were deemed especially important given that the investigations were occurring in an election year in which Clinton was a declared candidate for President,” the report states, including details from those meetings.

One meeting detailed in the report took place on Feb. 1, 2016. Present for that meeting were several FBI officials, as well as Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell and Hulser, who, at the time, was Public Integrity Section chief.

“Hulser downplayed information provided by the New York Field Office CHS [confidential human source] and recalled that the amount involved in the financial reporting was ‘de minimis,’” the report states.

However, Durham’s team reviewed the financial reporting to better “understand the allegations”—and found otherwise.

“The reporting, which in itself is not proof of wrongdoing, was a narrative describing multiple funds transfers, some of which involved international bank accounts that were suspected of facilitating bribery or gratuity violations,” the Durham report states.

“The transactions involved occurred between 2012 and 2014, and totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

While the Durham report does not explicitly state the words “Suspicious Activity Report” (SAR), the activity described within “would normally be the subject of such reports,” Fox News reported.

A source familiar with the matter told Fox that “there were multiple SARs filed related to the Clinton Foundation,” including in 2012, when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

Banks have a duty to file SARs, but it is up to the Justice Department to determine if there is any criminality.

Due to the Clinton name, the Clinton Foundation or Clinton-related accounts likely had a “PEP” designation within financial institutions. PEP is short for politically exposed person, meaning the individual, through their prominent position or relationships, could be more susceptible to being involved in bribery or corruption.

The Hunter Biden federal criminal investigation was predicated, in part, by SARs on funds from “China and other foreign nations.” Those SARs have been reviewed as part of the House impeachment inquiry against President Biden, led by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky.; Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo.

Although Hulser in 2016 “declined prosecution” of the Clinton Foundation on behalf of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, he told Durham that he “made it clear” that “his decision was not binding on the various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices or FBI field divisions.”

“There are mega indications that the Obama Justice Department slow-walked and discouraged the Clinton Foundation investigation, including discouraging the FBI from pursuing it,” former federal prosecutor and Fox News contributor Andy McCarthy said.

With regard to Hulser, McCarthy told Fox that “it has been obvious from the beginning that the decision by the Biden Justice Department to appoint a special counsel was utterly political and done to create distance between the attorney general and the president from the decision to bring charges against Trump, that Smith has conducted it throughout with an eye on the election calendar.”

“Nobody should be surprised if people on Smith’s staff have been involved in situations that make it politically conflicting for them to be involved in this,” McCarthy said.

As for the Clinton Foundation probes, in another meeting in February 2016, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe “initially directed the field offices to close their cases, but following objections, agreed to reconsider the final disposition of the cases.”

According to current Deputy FBI Director Paul Abbate’s interview with Durham’s team, he recalled McCabe stating that the DOJ said “there’s nothing here” and “why are we even doing this?”

At the end of the meeting, it was announced that for “any overt investigative steps to be taken,” McCabe’s approval “would be required.”

Meanwhile, by May 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey directed the FBI’s New York Field Office to “cease and desist” from the Clinton Foundation investigation due to “some undisclosed counterintelligence concern.”

Durham was “not able to determine what the counterintelligence issue raised by Comey was.”

“As an initial matter, the NYFO and WFO investigations appear to have been opened as preliminary investigations due to the political sensitivity and their reliance on unvetted hearsay information (the Clinton Cash book) and [confidential human source reporting],” the report states. “By contrast, the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was immediately opened as a full investigation despite the fact that it was similarly predicated on hearsay information.”

Durham also pointed out that while the DOJ appeared to have had “legitimate concerns” about the Clinton Foundation investigation occurring so close to the presidential election, “it does not appear that similar concerns were expressed by the Department or FBI regarding the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.

Durham found that the FBI “failed to act” on a “clear warning sign” that the bureau was the “target” of a Hillary Clinton-led effort to “manipulate or influence the law enforcement process for political purposes” against Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Hulser was the top prosecutor for the government’s 2015 corruption case against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, which was dismissed after a hung jury failed to reach a verdict. He also was involved in the Justice Department’s prosecution of former Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who was convicted of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee.

On Thursday,  Trump’s attorneys filed a motion calling for a federal judge to hold Smith in contempt of court for allegedly “repeatedly violating” a stay order in his 2020 election investigation.

Smith’s case against Trump, the 2024 GOP frontrunner, is on pause as Trump’s attorneys appeal the case and argue that presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted. The trial had been set to begin on March 4.

“The Stay Order is clear, straightforward, and unambiguous,” Trump attorney John Lauro wrote in the filing. “All substantive proceedings in this Court are halted. Despite this clarity, the prosecutors began violating the Stay almost immediately.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges related to Smith’s investigations into Jan. 6, 2020 election interference, and his handling of classified records.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/08/2024 - 13:40
Published:1/8/2024 12:56:26 PM
[Politics] BOMBSHELL: 200 Undercover FBI Assets at US Capitol on Jan. 6, Congressman Estimates

A member of Congress investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, protest at the U.S. Capitol estimates the FBI had 200 undercover assets both inside and outside... Read More

The post BOMBSHELL: 200 Undercover FBI Assets at US Capitol on Jan. 6, Congressman Estimates appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:1/8/2024 11:51:38 AM
[Markets] "This Is Not A Time For Us To Have A Mentally-Challenged President" "This Is Not A Time For Us To Have A Mentally-Challenged President"

Authored by Mike McDaniel via AmericanThinker.com,

Joe Biden At Valley Forge: Triumph Of The Shill II

Well, he did it again. 

Speaking near Valley Forge, PA, President Joe Biden delivered a follow up to his red-tinged “Triumph of the Shill” speech. The New York Post explains: 

President Biden kicked off his bid for re-election Friday by deriding former President Donald Trump as a “loser”and calling his bid for a political comeback something out of a “bad fairy tale” Friday — prompting his predecessor to fire back that the 80-year-old is a “true threat to democracy.”

As one would expect on the anniversary of Democrats/socialists/communists’ (D/s/cs) high holy day, we learned, yet again, how very, very close we came to losing America:

Valley Forge “tells the story of the pain and the suffering and the true patriotism it took to make America,” Biden, 81, began his first proper 2024 campaign speech.

“Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later, just one day before January 6 — a date forever seared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America, lost it all.”

Image: Erie Railroad Train Wreck. Wikimedia Commons.org. Public Domain.

I’m sure China, Iran and our other enemies are paying close attention. They don’t need massive militaries with nuclear weapons to conquer America, only a minor riot by unarmed citizens, provoked by the FBI, that lasts an hour or so.

Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past, it’s what he’s promising for the future. He’s being straightforward. He’s not hiding the ball,” Biden said.

“His first rally for the 2024 campaign opened with a choir of January 6 insurrectionists singing from prison on a cellphone while images of the January 6 riot playing on the big screen behind him at his rally. Can you believe that? This was like something out of a fairy tale — a bad fairy tale.”

What were those horrid insurrectionists singing? The Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem. The horror.

“Let’s be clear about the 2020 election: Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the outcome — every one. But the legal path just took Trump back to the truth that I’d won the election and he was a loser,” Biden said to hoots and applause.

Gropin’, sniffin’ Joe forgot to mention not a single court actually heard evidence, which makes for rather a dead end “legal avenue.”

He also forgot to mention Trump quietly, and on time, left office as the Constitution requires. What a pathetic dictator.

“Well, knowing how his mind works, he had one act left, one desperate act available to him: the violence of January the 6th,” Biden said, “and since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged for their assault on the Capitol, nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty.”

To more cheers, he added, “Collectively to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison.”

Rational Americans might think Biden’s glee in destroying the lives of more than 1000 Americans for what amounts to misdemeanor trespassing--normally a ticketable offense--doesn’t really live up to his endless rhetoric about uniting America.

“He calls those who oppose him ‘vermin.’ He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.  He proudly posted on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign, ‘revenge,’ ‘power,’ ‘dictatorship.’  There’s no confusion about who Trump is and what he intends to do,” Biden said.

“You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American,” the president added at one point — insisting that unlike Trump “our campaign is about preserving and strengthening our American democracy.”

“The protection and preservation of American democracy will remain as it has been the central cause of my presidency,” Biden went on before turning his wrath on Trump’s allies in Congress.

There it is again: “our American democracy,” by which Biden means a tyranny of the majority. 

The words “constitutional, representative republic,” which is what America is, never escape his lips.

Donald Trump replied:

“This is not a time for us to have a mentally challenged president,” the former president said, adding that “the only insurrection is the insurrection that is taking place at our border where he is allowing millions of people from parts unknown to invade our country at a level far worse than even a military invasion.”

“Biden’s record is an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption and failure, other than that he’s doing quite well, isn’t he? That’s a hell of a hell of a list, right? That’s why Crooked Joe is staging his pathetic, fear-mongering campaign event in Pennsylvania today. Did you see him? He was stuttering through the whole thing, he’s going, ‘He’s a threat to Democracy,’” Trump said. 

Biden’s remarks are a preview of his second basement campaign, and a continuing act of desperation.

The 2024 campaign will be one for the record books, if America survives to write them.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/06/2024 - 17:30
Published:1/6/2024 5:01:08 PM
[Markets] An Explainer Of Jan. 6 And Its Aftermath An Explainer Of Jan. 6 And Its Aftermath

Authored by Joseph Hanneman via The Epoch Times,

It was a day of infamy.

Worse than Pearl Harbor, 9/11, or even the Civil War, Americans were told.

A bloody insurrection by a wild, ruthless, armed mob of election deniers.

A coup d’etat.

A revolution.

That first Wednesday in January 2021, however, was none of the above.

Yet Jan. 6 will forever be a prominent part of American history—in ways that few people fully realize.

It was most certainly a fork in the road.

Defining and understanding that historic day requires solid information, full context, and a willingness to look beyond the narratives that began before Jan. 6 was even a few hours old.

Jan. 6 is part of a much larger political and societal movement designed to usher in a “new America,” according to Victor Davis Hanson, an American classicist, military historian, and political commentator at the Hoover Institution.

“What’s happened in America is not public opinion but institutional control is driving the United States in a direction that was never intended to go, to the degree that they are saying to America, ‘We are morally superior to the old America. This is a new America,’” Mr. Hanson said in an “American Thought Leaders” interview.

“And that gives us the right to use any means necessary to achieve a morally superior end. You are deplorable, you’re irredeemable, you’re a clinger, you’re a semi-fascist, you’re crazy, you’re ultra-MAGA, and you don’t have the right to object to the means that we’re using.”

To mark the third anniversary, The Epoch Times offers this guide to Jan. 6 to help the uninitiated and well-versed alike better understand this complex topic.

In an Oct. 28, 2023, interview with Jan Jekielek of 'American Thought Leaders," historian Victor Davis Hanson said America is being pulled to places it was never meant to go. (Epoch TV)

What Was Jan. 6?

It was a day of rallies and protests held on the National Mall, the Ellipse, and the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington. The driving force was a widely held belief that the 2020 presidential election was marred by suspicious activity, a lack of security, and alleged widespread fraud with mail-in ballots and electronic voting.

Massive crowds came to Washington to hear President Donald Trump speak and to put pressure on a joint session of Congress to take seriously the elector challenges expected to be filed by representatives of at least six states under Title 3 U.S. Code § 15.

Why Does Jan. 6 Matter?

Jan. 6 and its aftermath has had a broad impact on American society.. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI launched an unprecedented use of federal power that—while currently wielded against people right of center—could easily be unleashed against any group.

The Jan. 6 investigations and prosecutions have raised serious concerns about due process, pretrial detention, jail conditions, equal protection under the law, and—perhaps most significantly—First Amendment guarantees.

How Big Were the Crowds?

Estimates are all over the map, from 400,000 to upwards of 3 million at the Ellipse. At the peak of activity at and near the U.S. Capitol between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Republican U.S. House investigators estimate crowd size at 250,000. The largest crowds gathered on the west front of Capitol grounds.

Thousands of supporters for President Donald Trump pack the Washington Mall for a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

When Did the Trouble Start?

At 12:53 p.m., more than 20 minutes before President Trump finished speaking at the Ellipse, a fast-growing crowd kicked over metal barricades guarding the Peace Circle and advanced to the northwest sidewalk of the U.S. Capitol.

Seconds before 12:55 p.m., protesters picked up the bicycle-rack barriers and shoved them into five U.S. Capitol Police officers. Officer Carolyn Edwards was knocked off her feet and her head struck the concrete steps, causing a concussion.

With that barricade down, the crowd moved quickly to defeat two more police barricades and soon swarmed the west plaza underneath the inauguration stage. By 1 p.m., thousands of protesters began pressing against a hastily assembled line of Capitol Police officers.

When Did Violence and Rioting Erupt?

The crowd on the west plaza was amped up and agitated. The conversations along the police line included protesters telling police why they were so angry and questioning why officers would oppose their efforts to get election answers. A few minor skirmishes broke out.

A protester on the north end of the police line screamed into a megaphone: “You can’t kill us all! We are here to stay! We’re not going anywhere! We want in! We want in!”

“I’m a combat veteran,” one protester told a police officer.

“If it’s an unconstitutional order, it is our duty as Americans to disobey those orders. I know you guys have it in your hearts. Do the right thing. Do the right thing. That’s all I’m asking.”

The true flashpoint came just before 1:06 p.m. when U.S. Capitol Police Deputy Chief Eric Waldow ordered “less than lethal” force be used on the crowd.

Bystanders try to stop the profuse bleeding from the face of Joshua Black, who was shot in the face by Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021. (Special to The Epoch Times)

“I got a crowd fighting with officers, pushing, throwing projectiles,” he broadcast on USCP radio.

“I have given warnings about chemical munitions. I need the less-than-lethal team positioned above me to identify the agitators and start deploying. Launch, launch, launch!”

Video shot by a protester with a camera on an elevated stick—obtained by The Epoch Times—doesn’t show fighting or projectiles being thrown in the area where Deputy Chief Waldow stood at 1:06 p.m. and where force was about to be deployed.

Just before 1:07 p.m., a Capitol Police grenadier shot protester Joshua M. Black, 47, in the left cheek with a projectile. Mr. Black immediately began bleeding profusely. A large blood stain on the concrete remained visible all afternoon.

Word spread quickly through the crowd that a protester had been shot.

As bystanders pressed Mr. Black’s wound to stop the bleeding, other protesters began screaming at police.

The mood and tenor of the crowd changed at that moment.

When Was the Capitol Breached?

A yet-to-be-identified man known only by the hashtag #RedOnRedGlasses sailed a long 2-by-4 plank through a window near the Senate Wing Door at about 2:12 p.m.

Proud Boys defendant Dominic Pezzola used a riot shield to smash the same window.

In short order, dozens of people were streaming into the Crypt level of the Capitol.

Were There Deaths and Injuries on Jan. 6?

Four Trump supporters died at the Capitol on Jan. 6: Benjamin Philips, 50, Kevin Greeson, 55, Ashli Babbitt, 35, and Rosanne Boyland, 34.

Ms. Babbitt was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd just outside of the House Speaker’s Lobby at 2:44 p.m. Mr. Byrd was subsequently cleared by USCP and the U.S. Department of Justice, but the shooting remains highly controversial. A civil suit against the federal government was lodged on Jan. 5.

Ronald McAbee (in the red cap at center) leans over a prone Rosanne Boyland. Another protester does CPR on the lifeless woman on Jan. 6, 2021. (Special to The Epoch Times)

Ms. Boyland collapsed at the mouth of the Lower West Terrace tunnel at about 4:22 p.m. and was crushed in a stampede. Police at the tunnel entrance ignored pleas to render medical aid. Metropolitan Police Department Officer Lila Morris inexplicably picked up a wooden walking stick and beat Ms. Boyland in the head and ribs. Ms. Morris faced no discipline for her actions.

Once Ms. Boyland was pulled inside the Capitol, advanced lifesaving care was started by MPD, U.S. Park Police, and Capitol Police. Efforts continued on two levels of the Capitol. Ms. Boyland was pronounced dead at a hospital at 6:09 p.m.

Mr. Philips was determined to have suffered a fatal stroke. Security video obtained by The Epoch Times showed Mr. Philips was not struck by police munitions as widely believed. Mr. Greeson suffered a heart attack, although at least one witness claims he was struck in the head by a police projectile before collapsing.

Some 140 police officers from Capitol Police and MPD suffered injuries on Jan. 6. Some of the injuries were career-ending. An unknown number of protesters were injured, including Dominic Vargo, who was shoved off a stairway ledge by a Capitol Police motorcycle officer just after 2 p.m., and Mark Griffin, whose leg was broken when an MPD officer fired a 40mm crowd control munition at him from point-blank range.

How Did the FBI and DOJ Respond?

The decision was quickly made to launch the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history to pursue protesters and rioters. The ramp-up effort was described by top prosecutor Michael Sherwin as a “shock and awe” campaign, borrowing a slogan from the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.

FBI manhunt information is displayed on the side of a bus stop in downtown Washington D.C. on Jan. 13, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The FBI set up a web page with photos of criminal suspects, and eager online sleuths excelled at identifying people and turning them in to the FBI. The DOJ established a “rapid-indictment” unit to level charges against a long list of suspects.

Protesters found themselves being turned in to the FBI by neighbors, former classmates, and—in some cases—by ex-spouses and children. Arrests have continued unabated for three years, with the total now approaching 1,250.

How Has the FBI Handled the Arrests of Suspects?

The FBI’s practice of using SWAT teams to apprehend and arrest Jan. 6 suspects in dozens of cases has brought condemnation from civil rights attorneys and current and former FBI special agents.

In one case chronicled recently in The Epoch Times, the Westbury family of Lindstrom, Minnesota, faced two SWAT raids, the first involving only misdemeanor charges. The second raid involved up to 60 agents and the use of drones to fly over the property—even into the backyard chicken coop.

Dozens of heavily armed FBI agents conduct a predawn raid on the home of Robert and Rosemarie Westbury in Lindstrom, Minn., on Oct. 4, 2021. (Courtesy of the Westbury Family)

“For a nonviolent misdemeanor—a nonviolent, non-felony misdemeanor—they came out with 20 to 25 FBI agents fully vested up, AR-15s all pointed right at me like I’m a domestic terrorist,” Jonah Westbury told The Epoch Times.

Former FBI special agent Stephen Friend said his decision to protest these tactics led to him being suspended without pay and eventually forced him to resign from his “dream job.” He testified before Congress in May 2023 along with special agent Garret O'Boyle and analyst Marcus Allen.

Are Defendants Mistreated in Jail?

Defendants have reported many cases of abuse by jail guards and terrible living conditions at the District of Columbia jail, referred to derisively by inmates as the “DC Gulag.” Defense attorney Joseph McBride wrote and submitted an 11-page report to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Amnesty International. He said he never received a response.

“January Sixers are regularly being held in solitary confinement for 22 or 23 hours a day in DC-GITMO. Dubbed the Patriot Unit, this previously defunct part of DC-GITMO, was reopened specifically to house January Sixers,” Mr. McBride wrote.

“To put it mildly, the facility is disgusting. Black mold, brown drinking water, and poor ventilation are but a few of the problems with the facility itself.”

The U.S. Marshals Service conducted a surprise inspection of the DC facility on Nov. 2, 2021, that led to the removal of some 400 inmates, but the Jan. 6 defendants were not moved. Two days later, four members of Congress demanded access to the jail after being turned away repeatedly by the deputy warden.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), with colleagues Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) (left), speaks at a press conference addressing the treatment of the Jan. 6 detainees at the D.C. jail in Washington on Dec. 7, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Interviews with pretrial detainees on Nov. 4, 2021, led Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to publish a 28-page report, “Unusually Cruel,” detailing conditions at the facility. Jan. 6 defendants reported being forced to sleep with the lights on and having to carry their mattresses around the jail in the dead of night.

Others reported physical abuse, including one detainee who said guards dropped him head-first onto the concrete floor.

Why Wasn’t the National Guard at the Capitol?

According to former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, his pre-Jan. 6 request for the National Guard was squelched because “Pelosi will never go for it,” referring to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Mr. Sund’s comments were spoken at a hearing of the Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight on Sept. 19, 2023. The contention about Ms. Pelosi came from former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, Mr. Sund testified.

According to former senior Trump aide Kash Patel, President Trump authorized up to 20,000 National Guard troops for use in D.C. and elsewhere on Jan. 6, 2021, but the use of those troops was later rejected by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the U.S. Capitol Police. Mr. Patel said former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) misled the public by saying Trump never ordered troops to the Capitol.

Members of the National Guard patrol the area outside of the U.S. Capitol during the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 10, 2021. (Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo)

“She knows the truth—45 [Trump] authorized the National Guard days before Jan. 6, and Pelosi and Bowser rejected it,” Mr. Patel told The Epoch Times in 2022.

“Cheney knows it’s unconstitutional for any president to ever order the military to deploy domestically. He may only authorize their use; then there must be a request.”

Mr. Sund detailed his frustrated efforts on Jan. 6 to get authorization to ask for National Guard backup, then having to fight resistance from the Department of Defense. He said the New Jersey State Police arrived at the Capitol to assist faster than the National Guard, which was staged minutes away from the Capitol.

By the time the National Guard put boots on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, police had restored order and pushed most of the protesters out.

What Legal Issues Have Arisen From Jan. 6 Prosecutions?

In December, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the DOJ’s use of a white-collar-crime statute to prosecute more than 330 Jan. 6 defendants for “corruptly obstructing an official proceeding,” a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors claim that the delay of a joint session of Congress to hear elector objections and count Electoral College votes from the presidential election constitutes a crime under 18 U.S. Code Section 1512(c).

Defense attorneys argue that the statute, enacted as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, was intended only to prosecute corporate fraud in publicly traded companies, not First Amendment political protests. The case of Joseph W. Fischer v. United States is the first Jan. 6 case to make it onto the Supreme Court calendar and could have a major impact on many cases if the high court strikes down the DOJ actions.

Dozens of other cases from Jan. 6 are in various stages of appeal. These include claims that the DOJ withheld exculpatory evidence from defense teams, resulting in unfair bench and jury trials. Other cases cite the refusal by federal judges to grant zero change of venue requests as evidence that defendants are not facing juries of their peers.

What Impact Has the Release of the Capitol Security Video Had?

In 2022, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) gave exclusive access to more than 40,000 hours of Capitol Police security video to Fox News, The Epoch Times, Just the News, and columnist Julie Kelly.

The video provided to those media outlets led to some revelations, including an important look at the medical aid provided to Ms. Boyland as she awaited transport via a D.C. Fire and EMS Service ambulance.

Paramedics stop the gurney carrying Rosanne Boyland near the House Wing Door at the U.S. Capitol and move her to the floor to continue CPR on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

However, the House has not fulfilled about half of the video requests made by The Epoch Times, limiting the media’s ability to fully cover the events of Jan. 6.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has decided to hire a contractor to blur the faces of identifiable persons on the video, setting off a fury of complaints on social media. That decision will prevent media and defendants from using facial recognition software to track suspicious actors and determine the numbers of undercover agents and informants in the crowds that day.

What’s Next for Jan. 6 Investigations?

It remains to be seen if GOP House members will successfully press for a new Jan. 6 committee to investigate the myriad issues ignored by the Democrat-controlled House Select Committee in 2022.

Major unresolved questions include what role undercover police, federal agents, and informants played in the crowds on Jan. 6.

Court documents filed by Jan. 6 defendant William Pope of Topeka, Kansas, exposed the presence of dozens of undercover Metropolitan Police Department Electronic Surveillance Unit officers on Jan. 6.

Bobby Powell is interviewed in Terra Ceia, Fla., in November 2022 for “The Real Story of Jan. 6 Part 2: The Long Road Home,” a documentary from The Epoch Times. (Paulio Shakespeare/The Epoch Times)

One of those officers appeared to participate as an agitator, helping protesters over police barricades and urging them to go up to, and into, the Capitol.

Radio journalist Bobby Powell has spent three years trying to get investigators and journalists to look at a video he shot on the east patio of the Capitol, showing a man who looked like an undercover operative vandalizing a large sheet of glass in a Capitol window. Mr. Powell’s story is told in The Epoch Times’ new documentary: “The Real Story of Jan. 6: The Long Road Home.”

There will likely also be fallout from alleged perjured testimony given at the first trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four other defendants that ran from Sept. 27 through Nov. 29, 2022.

Journalist Steve Baker from Blaze Media says his video investigation showed that an alleged confrontation between Oath Keepers and USCP Officer Harry Dunn never happened because the witness—USCP Special Agent David Lazarus—was nowhere near Mr. Dunn or the Oath Keepers at the time.

The revelations cast serious doubt on testimony given by Mr. Lazarus and Mr. Dunn in the Oath Keepers trial. One Oath Keepers defense attorney, Brad Geyer, said the development should lead to Oath Keepers guilty verdicts being set aside.

Perhaps the biggest remaining mystery is the identity of the person who planted pipe bombs at the D.C. headquarters of both the GOP and Democrat parties on Jan. 5, 2021.

The FBI has increased its reward—it’s now at $500,000—for information leading to an arrest, but has reported little progress over the past three years.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has refused to release its analysis of the bombs after The Epoch Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2022.

*  *  *

The Epoch Times original documentary “The Real Story of January 6 Part 2: The Long Road Home” will be available to full subscribers starting Saturday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 p.m. ET on EpochTV.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/06/2024 - 11:40
Published:1/6/2024 10:54:25 AM
[Markets] Trump Accuses Liz Cheney Of Destroying Jan. 6 Evidence Trump Accuses Liz Cheney Of Destroying Jan. 6 Evidence

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump accused former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) of destroying evidence connected to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021, adding that the move impacted the work of his legal team.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and former Rep. Liz Cheney in file photos (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

In a statement on Truth Social, the former president said Ms. Cheney illegally destroyed the evidence from the House Jan. 6 committee, saying that it would have aided his legal challenge on whether he is immune from prosecution or not, and he also criticized special counsel Jack Smith.

All of the information on [former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] turning down 10,000 soldiers that I offered to to [sic] guard the Capitol Building, and beyond, is gone,” his statement said. “The ridiculous Deranged Jack Smith case on Immunity, which the most respected legal minds in the Country say I am fully entitled to, is now completely compromised and should be thrown out and terminated, just like the radical left lunatics did to the evidence!”

He asked “why did American Disaster Liz Cheney .... illegally delete & destroy most of the evidence, and related items, from the January 6th Committee of Political Thugs and Misfits,” adding that it’s an “act of extreme sabotage” that makes it difficult for his attorneys to properly prepare for and defend against.

He did not provide any further details for the assertion in his Truth Social post.

Ms. Cheney, who overwhelmingly lost her reelection bid during the 2022 Republican primary for Wyoming’s at-large House seat, has been frequently critical of President Trump and was one of several House Republicans to vote to impeach him for a second time. She served as the co-chair of the House Jan. 6 sub-committee.

In an X post on Tuesday, Ms. Cheney responded to the claims and said that the committee evidence is available online. “You and your lawyers have had the J6 cmttee materials (linked below) plus the grand jury info & much more for months,” she wrote to the former president. “Lying about the evidence in all caps won’t change the facts. A public trial will show it all.”

Last month, Ms. Cheney suggested that she may consider a possible third-party run for the 2024 election and again criticized President Trump’s presidential bid. A final decision from her will come in the next several months, she said.

Elaborating the claim that former House Speaker Pelosi turned down 10,000 soldiers, the former president told NBC’s “Meet the Press” several months ago that “I understand that the police testified against her, the chief very strongly against her, the Capitol police, great people.

“They testified against her, and they burned all the evidence. OK? They burned all the evidence. They destroyed all the evidence about Nancy Pelosi,” President Trump said in September.

“She has authority over the Capitol,” he added. “National Guard not coming? I asked her [for them] to be there three days in advance, and she turned it down.”

Ms. Pelosi has said that the request for National Guard soldiers wasn’t officially ever made and has disputed the former president’s claims.

“The mayor of D.C. gave us a letter saying that she turns it down. OK, we have it. Nancy Pelosi also was asked, and she turned it down. The police commissioner of Capitol police,” the former president said, adding, “Capitol police said that he wanted it, and Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t accept it. She’s responsible for Jan. 6.”

The former speaker is “responsible, and the Jan. 6 Committee refused to interview her,” President Trump told NBC.

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies before the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Oversight in Washington D.C. on Sept. 19, 2023. (U.S. House/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

In response to President Trump’s claims, Ms. Pelosi’s office cited “numerous independent fact-checkers” that she “did not plan her own assassination” on Jan. 6. “As our office has said before, the former president’s allegations are completely made up,” a representative for the longtime California congresswoman added at the time.

The Capitol Police Board is the body that makes decisions on whether National Guard troops should be called in. That board is comprised of the House sergeant at arms, the Senate sergeant at arms, and the architect of the Capitol. They opted against calling the Guard on Jan. 6 but backup was eventually requested after the Capitol breach started, according to multiple news reports.

Both the House and Senate sergeant-at-arms resigned after the Jan. 6 incident. Officials on the board as well as former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund have publicly disputed the others’ accounts on what happened that day.

Mr. Sund had told the Washington Post that he sought assistance before the Jan. 6 breach but said they were delayed or denied, and he also faulted the U.S. intelligence community. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon, he also wrote in a later book, failed to provide clear intelligence ahead of time.

The Epoch Times has contacted Ms. Pelosi’s office for comment Friday on the latest claims.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/05/2024 - 16:20
Published:1/5/2024 3:41:19 PM
[] Vivek Ramaswamey Demolishes Woke Fake "Journalist" Who Demands Not Only That He Condemn "White Supremacy," But Do So Using the Exact Catechism She Dictates to Him A guy I used to listen to, Ya Boi Zach, is fond of repeating a stat he says he got fro the FBI. I'm unable to track it down, so I'll just repeat his claim: He said the FBI estimates... Published:1/4/2024 12:44:01 PM
[Markets] The FBI-Tainted Whitmer 'Kidnap Plot' You've Heard Next To Nothing About The FBI-Tainted Whitmer 'Kidnap Plot' You've Heard Next To Nothing About

Authored by Julie Kelly via RealClear Investigations,

In a fiery exchange last month, CNN anchorwoman Abby Phillip told GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy that there was “no evidence” to support his claim that federal agents abetted protesters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Ramaswamy shot back that the FBI conspicuously has never denied that law enforcement agents were on duty in the crowd. He argued that federal officials have repeatedly “lied” to the American people about not only that investigation but one that has gotten much less attention: the alleged failed plot to kidnap and kill Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan in 2020.

It was entrapment,” Ramaswamy said. “FBI agents putting them up to a kidnapping plot that we were told was true but wasn’t.

His zeroing in on the Michigan case highlighted an uncharacteristic development in contemporary politics, where progressives vigorously defend law enforcement power while conservatives view it with deep suspicion. Further, Ramaswamy’s linking of Jan. 6 and the Whitmer plot resonated with many on the right who want similarities between the two episodes exposed to the general public, especially the FBI’s reliance on informants and other paid operatives.

On Oct. 8, 2020, Whitmer announced the shocking arrests of several men accused of planning to kidnap and possibly assassinate her. The case produced alarming headlines just weeks before Election Day; Democrats, including Whitmer, used news of the plot to blame Trump for inciting violence.

Joe Biden commended the FBI for thwarting the abduction plan and, in a written statement issued the same day, claimed that “there is a through line from President Trump’s dog whistles and tolerance of hate, vengeance, and lawlessness to plots such as this one.” Biden continued that line of attack during campaign speeches in Michigan, a swing state that voted for Trump in 2016, and one Biden needed to capture to win the presidency.

In the years since the election, the national press has given little attention to the case since the initial arrests, even though court documents have recast the episode as something more sinister. Instead of a heroic effort by the FBI to safeguard the country from domestic terrorists, it now appears to have been a broad conspiracy by law enforcement to entrap American citizens who held unpopular political views.

The FBI’s tactics were first exposed by BuzzFeed in July 2021, when reporters Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison disclosed startling details based on court filings as the matter headed to trial. They found that the number of FBI confidential human sources involved in the scheme was equal to the number of defendants.

“An examination of the case by BuzzFeed News also reveals that some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported,” they wrote. “Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”

Would there have been a conspiracy without the FBI? Shown: Defendants Kaleb Franks, Brandon Caserta, Adam Dean Fox, and from bottom left, Daniel Harris, Barry Croft, and Ty Garbin. Kent County Sheriff

Six men ranging in age from 22 to 44 – Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., Brandon Caserta, Daniel Harris, Ty Garbin, and Kaleb Franks – faced federal charges of conspiring to kidnap and use a weapon of mass destruction. Eight others faced state charges. BuzzFeed recreated much of the defendants’ movements between March and October 2020, including attendance at “field training” exercises and the surveillance of Whitmer’s properties.

While BuzzFeed offered the first account of the entrapment operation, further reporting by RealClearInvestigations, along with details revealed in court filings and trial proceedings, make the operation sound like something out of a Hollywood script. It features secretive cash payouts; drug- and booze-fueled parties; a convicted wife-beating FBI investigator; a career felon revealed as a longtime FBI asset and later accused of acting as a “double agent”; and a dramatic takedown scene at the end.

Public defenders representing the accused have identified at least 12 FBI informants and three undercover FBI agents managed by FBI officials in numerous field offices responsible for framing the men.

In this Case, the undisputed evidence … establishes that government agents and informants concocted, hatched, and pushed this ‘kidnapping plan’ from the beginning, doing so against defendants who explicitly repudiated the plan,” defense lawyers wrote in a Dec. 25, 2021 motion. “When the government was faced with evidence showing that the defendants had no interest in a kidnapping plot, it refused to accept failure and continued to push its plan.”

At the center of the action was the FBI’s ringleader, Dan Chappel, 34 years old at the time, an Iraq war veteran and contract truck driver for the U.S. Postal Service. Chappel, the official story goes, joined a group called the “Wolverine Watchmen” in early 2020 to burnish his firearms skills. Members generally interacted on social media. The government claimed Chappel became alarmed at alleged online chatter about killing police and took his concerns to a friend in law enforcement in March 2020.

A week later, the FBI hired Chappel as an informant.

"Captain Autism": Portrayed as a military leader prepping to overthrow governments, Adam Fox was actually a homeless man living in the dilapidated basement of a vacuum repair shop without running water or a toilet. X

Over the course of the next seven months, Chappel “ingratiated” himself with the men, as one defense attorney described his method, with his eye particularly on Fox, 37, the reported mastermind of the plot. While the media portrayed Fox as a military leader prepping an army of “white supremacists” to overthrow state governments across the country, he was, in reality, a homeless man living in the dilapidated basement of a vacuum repair shop without running water or a toilet in a Grand Rapids strip mall. One co-defendant referred to him as “Captain Autism.”

Fox’s lawyer, Christopher Gibbons, said Chappel took on a “father figure” role to his fatherless and destitute client. Fox and Chappel exchanged thousands of texts. Chappel drove Fox, who did not own a car, to various meetups and staged events while recording every moment to preserve as evidence against him. On at least three occasions, according to testimony offered at trial, Chappel offered Fox a prepaid credit card authorized by the FBI with a $5,000 limit to help him buy guns and ammunition; Fox, despite being broke, declined each time.

Informants and their targets mulled over how to blow up a bridge outside Whitmer’s summer cottage in Elk Rapids; kill her security detail; take her to a nearby boat launch; and either abandon her on Lake Michigan or bring her across the lake to Wisconsin for a “citizen’s trial” over her lockdowns. Google Maps

Chappel, known as “Big Dan” to the group, created encrypted chats and gave real-time access to his FBI handlers working out of the Detroit FBI field office as the farfetched plan unfolded.

Informants and targets mulled over how to blow up a bridge outside Whitmer’s summer cottage; kill her security detail; take her to a nearby boat launch; and either abandon her in the middle of Lake Michigan or bring her across the lake to Wisconsin to stand a “citizen’s trial” over her COVID-19 lockdown policies. One discussion involved the implausible use of a military helicopter.

From appearances, a demonstration at the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing on April 30, 2020 might well have been a law enforcement dress rehearsal for Jan. 6. Chappel traveled to the event with three members of the Watchmen later held on state charges. Some protesters were clad in military gear and carried firearms but could not enter the building. When Chappel told his FBI handler what was happening, the FBI ordered the Michigan State Police to stand down and allow protesters inside. News photographers captured the moment when protesters “stormed” the Michigan Capitol and called out for Whitmer, resulting in the same sort of optics produced on Jan. 6.

The incident took on greater significance when it was revealed that Steven D’Antuono, head of the Detroit FBI field office during the Whitmer caper, was promoted to head up the Washington, D.C., FBI field office three months before the events of Jan. 6.

In exchange for his work, the FBI paid Chappel at least $54,000 in cash. Part of that haul included an envelope, handed over by his primary FBI handler in December 2020, filled with $23,000 in cash as payment for a mission accomplished. (Department of Justice policy requires informants to be paid in cash.). The bureau also supplied Chappel with other personal items, such as a laptop computer and tires for his car.  Chappel also used a rented SUV, again funded by the FBI, to drive his targets to various locations as part of the trap.

An FBI undercover agent known as “Red” showed defendants a video of a Chevy Tahoe being blown up, above, as a way of demonstrating his bona fides.

Other informants were involved, too. A longtime FBI source named Steve Robeson, from Wisconsin,  organized a “militia” meeting in Ohio in June 2020 and pressured the government’s targets, including Fox and Croft, to attend as he wore a wire to record what was said during the event.

Robeson arranged other events throughout the summer including at his remote property in Cambria, Wisconsin. He constructed a so-called “kill house” for the men to practice shooting. At one point, Robeson suggested the exercises could be used to “storm” a state Capitol building or governor’s residence. Robeson is a convicted felon several times over, including on charges of sex with a minor, with a rap sheet spanning at least nine states. He was paid roughly $20,000 for his involvement in the Whitmer caper. Prosecutors later accused him of acting as a “double agent” for allegedly tipping off one of the defendants that his arrest was imminent.

Steve Robeson, an FBI informant with a multi-state rap sheet, built a remote Wisconsin “kill house” for the men to practice shooting. WOOD TV8/YouTube

At least two other informants were tasked with managing Croft, who had been under FBI surveillance since 2019 for his “extremist” views, according to documents.

It was later revealed that the informants, including Chappel, violated FBI protocol by getting drunk and high on drugs with their targets numerous times, sleeping in the same hotel, and suggesting ways to advance the kidnapping plan. At one point, Chappel took an oath to join a separate group called the “Three Percent Patriot Militia” group – one fabricated by the FBI – then convinced Fox to become the head of the Michigan chapter, all in an effort have the men believe Chappel was part of a nonexistent “militia” movement.

Defense lawyer Gibbons described the ruse during the April 2022 trial as “free money, free bombs, daily contact for months, fake militia, build up vulnerable adult with a fake militia and a title of commanding officer, send him a federal agent to join his militia.”

More behind-the-scenes machinations were disclosed when the defense uncovered hundreds of communications between the agents and informants that showed how they guided the plot every step of the way. One text suggests that the FBI and Chappel attempted to lure a disabled Vietnam War veteran named “Frank” into initiating a similar plan against Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. “Mission is to kill the governor specifically,” Chappel’s FBI handler texted him in August 2020.

Despite the FBI’s best efforts, the group of so-called kidnappers started to disband by August 2020. Chappel asked his handlers how to “put more pressure” on the individuals so no one would break off. To rally the increasingly uninterested group that month, Chappel proposed firing live rounds into Whitmer’s cottage and the residences of other governors, then sending the shell casings to news reporters. “Look at you bringing people together,” one of Chappel’s FBI handlers texted to him after he successfully kept the group intact.

Even that wasn’t enough to solidify a kidnapping scheme so, according to numerous exchanges between the FBI assets and trial testimony from one cooperating witness, the FBI ran another undercover agent into the plot in September 2020 to tempt the men into trying to purchase bomb-making material. During a get-together in mid-September, an FBI undercover agent known as “Red” showed the group a video of a Chevy Tahoe being blown up as a way to demonstrate his credentials.

The video had been produced by the FBI.

At the same get-together, several FBI informants and “Red” took their targets on a reconnaissance mission to stake out Whitmer’s vacation cottage, the scene of the alleged prospective crime. It was the second time Chappel drove Fox to the property. (The governor and her staff were in communication with authorities for months as the entrapment scheme was under way; the FBI installed pole cameras and 3D devices around her property to record any activity to be used as evidence.)

Chappel also drove the men to the location of the FBI arrest point in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Oct. 7, 2020, under a ruse to meet “Red,” who promised to sell them military-style garb, not explosive materials. Members of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, whose missions include “high-risk arrests,” were there waiting.

Richard Trask, fired FBI investigator: Charged in July 2021 for brutally assaulting his wife after a swingers’ party in Kalamazoo. WOOD TV8/YouTube

But things went downhill for the government after that. Richard Trask, one of the main FBI investigators on the case, who signed the complaint against the federal defendants, was criminally charged in July 2021 for brutally assaulting his wife after a swingers’ party in Kalamazoo. Police body cam video showed a partly clothed, bloody, and apparently intoxicated Trask talking with police during his arrest. Reporters also found profane anti-Trump posts on Trask’s social media account.

Trask was removed from the case and fired by the FBI in September 2021.

Prosecutors removed Chappel’s two primary FBI handlers, Henrik Impola and Jayson Chambers, from the government’s witness list after defense attorneys accused Impola of committing perjury in a previous case and discovered that Chambers was moonlighting as head of a security firm on the side and posting inside information about the pending arrests on social media as a way to attract business.

Henrik Impola, FBI handler: Removed from the witness list after being accused of perjury in a previous case. UpNorthLive/YouTube

Robeson and his wife, Kimberly,  were charged with fraud  in December 2021 for convincing a couple to purchase a used SUV and donate it to the Robesons’ nonexistent charity, a crime committed while Robeson was working the Whitmer plot.

Robeson also was charged separately with illegally purchasing a firearm as a felon; he threatened to plead his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, so he also was not called as a witness.

By the time the federal case went to trial in western Michigan in March 2022, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks had accepted plea offers and planned to testify against their remaining four co-defendants: Fox, Croft, Harris, and Caserta.

Judge Robert Jonker allowed the defense to raise the entrapment issue but only after the government presented its case. That plan, however, did not last beyond the first day as defense attorneys struggled during opening remarks to explain their clients’ behavior without mentioning the key role of FBI informants and agents. Jonker suspended his own order – at which point the FBI essentially went on trial.

The trial lasted four weeks. Prosecutors insisted the defendants were solely responsible for conceiving the plan but the defense argued the group’s activities amounted to little more than “crazy, stoned talk.” Chappel took the stand for the prosecution but his testimony appeared to backfire as his central role in the plot came into view. He also admitted he became an informant to pad his resume in hopes of pursuing a job in law enforcement.

During closing arguments, the four defense attorneys emphasized the FBI’s misconduct while asking the jury for not-guilty verdicts.

“[This] is unacceptable in America,” Gibbons said during closing arguments on April 1. “That’s not how it works. They don’t make terrorists so we can arrest them.”

On April 8, 2022, after nearly four days of deliberation, the jury found Caserta and Harris not guilty on all charges; after 18 months behind bars, both men went free.

The jury, however, could not reach a unanimous verdict for Fox and Croft, resulting in a mistrial.

It was a shocking blow to the government. In what the Justice Department considered its biggest domestic terror case over the past few decades (until Jan. 6), prosecutors did not yet have a single conviction – an outcome practically unheard of for a department with a more than 90% conviction rate. “It felt so good, I was so happy. We did it, we beat them. We got justice,” Caserta told me in a post-trial interview in 2022.

Prosecutors immediately announced they would retry Fox and Croft. A different version of Judge Jonker appeared on the bench in August 2022; the trial was marked by open hostilities between the judge and defense attorneys.

Judge Robert Jonker: Declined to dismiss a juror accused of bias and of ties to Black Lives Matter. That juror became the foreman.

At one point, Jonker took the rare step of setting a time limit for cross-examination of a key government witness. He also refused to allow defense attorneys to interview a juror suspected of bias against the defendants based on comments he had made to co-workers during jury selection and his affiliation with Black Lives Matter. Jonker repeatedly admonished both lawyers in front of the jury, accusing counsel of causing jurors to “tune out” and rushing them through important lines of questioning. Over objections by the defense, Jonker kept the man on the jury. He became the foreman.

Croft and Fox were convicted on August 23, 2022 of conspiring to kidnap and use a weapon of mass destruction, and are serving out multi-year sentences in supermax prisons reserved for the country’s worst criminals.

They are now appealing their convictions. In an August 2023 brief, Croft’s new appellate attorney, Timothy Sweeney, wrote: “It is staggering the extent to which the FBI and its agents/informants used excessive pressure, exploited the anger from COVID lockdowns and destructive summer riots, and manipulated emotional issues among vulnerable and excitable citizens. This included: nearly constant real-time monitoring of FBI’s communications with Fox, plus thousands of government-initiated texts/chats; the deployment of multiple paid agents/informants who sought to elicit and encourage extremist and violent behavior; and the FBI’s instigating, planning, promoting, and conducting of nearly all key events.”

In response, the government wrote in a December 2023 motion that “there was no evidence that government agents or informants suggested the plot or offered more than opportunity and facilities.”

Sweeney and Fox’s new appellate attorney, Steven Nolder,  further accused Jonker of severely hamstringing the defense by refusing to admit into evidence the hundreds of messages that showed extensive communication between FBI agents and informants as they advanced the plot. Jonker, in both trials, denied defense motions to allow the jury to see the communications.

“These communications – constituted relevant evidence of the shocking degree to which Chambers, Chappel, and the other FBI agents/informants orchestrated this scam and generally engaged in incessant and oppressive inducement,” Sweeney wrote.

Acquitted: The last three defendants charged in the Michigan state case. 
Antrim Co. Sheriff's Office/ABC 7 Chicago/YouTube

A recent verdict for the last three defendants charged in the Michigan state case may add weight to the appeal. An Antrim County jury in September 2023 found Willam Null, his brother Michael Null, and their co-defendant Eric Molitor not guilty of providing material support to an act of terror and illegally possessing firearms.

The acquittals represented another blow to the overall case and a poor showing for the government; of the 10 defendants who went to trial, five were found not guilty and two were convicted after a second trial. Four others pleaded guilty—outcomes that represent a poor showing for both the DOJ and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nessel was so infuriated by the acquittals for the Null brothers and Molitor that she publicly criticized jurors as coming from “a very, very right-leaning county (were) seemingly not so concerned about the kidnapping and assassination of the governor.”

Fox and Croft and the DOJ have asked for oral arguments. An appellate court in western Michigan could render a decision by mid-2024. “When I look at what happened in this case,” Croft’s public defender, Joshua Blanchard, said during closing arguments in the April 2022 trial, “I am ashamed of the behavior of the leading law enforcement agency in the United States. This investigation was an embarrassment, and we have to tell them this isn’t how our country operates. This isn’t how our justice system is supposed to work.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/03/2024 - 21:00
Published:1/3/2024 8:26:24 PM
[Markets] Pentagon's 'Extremism In Our Ranks' Propaganda Debunked By Their Own Study Pentagon's 'Extremism In Our Ranks' Propaganda Debunked By Their Own Study

Recall 2021... when the Biden FBI deployed counterterrorism resources against concerned parents who showed up at school board meetings, and Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that he wanted "to understand White rage" one month after an enraged father was dragged out of a Loudon County, Virginia school board meeting after his daughter was raped by a transgender boy in the girl's bathroom - which the school board then covered up.

Remember that?

And instead of addressing the concerns of millions of angry parents who had woken up to a nationwide phenomenon of mentally ill schoolteachers, critical race theory / DEI indoctrination, and transgender boys crushing the dreams of female athletes, the Biden administration turned the whole thing into a 'white rage' problem caused by extremist Trump supporters.

In December of 2021, the Pentagon furthered the 'white rage' narrative, warning that 'extremism' within the ranks was on the rise, which would require 'detailed new rules' to prohibit service members from engaging in 'certain activities.'

The new policy lays out in detail the banned activities, which range from advocating terrorism or supporting the overthrow of the government to fundraising or rallying on behalf of an extremist group or “liking” or reposting extremist views on social media. The rules also specify that commanders must determine two things in order for someone to be held accountable: that the action was an extremist activity, as defined in the rules, and that the service member “actively participated” in that prohibited activity.

Previous policies banned extremist activities but didn’t go into such great detail, and also did not specify the two step process to determine someone accountable. -AP

Turns out that was total bullshit...

US Defense Secretary and former Raytheon board member Lloyd Austin

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Good news: The U.S. military isn’t packed with violent extremists."

That’s the gist of a new report commissioned by the Pentagon in 2021 and released quietly with little notice in December. The result won’t surprise Americans who have spent time in uniform, but it should calm the media frenzy about right-wing radicals in the armed forces.

After reports that some service members participated in the Jan. 6 riot, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered an independent study to get “greater fidelity” on extremism in the ranks. The think tank tasked with the report, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), “found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military is disproportionate” to U.S. society. A review of Pentagon data suggested “fewer than 100 substantiated cases per year of extremist activity by members of the military in recent years,” the report says.

The researchers found that "the prevalence of extremist and gang-related activity that are reflected in court-martial opinions is limited to fewer than 20 cases" since 2012, for example.

One conclusion was that the military doesn't need a new section of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to punish alleged "extremists" in the ranks, and that commanders can simply rely on Article 116 (riot or breach of peace), Article 88 (contempt toward officials), Article 109 (destruction or damage to property), and Article 115 (communication of threats), as well as others.

The researchers also found that "fewer than ten" out of more than 700 Jan. 6 cases involved active members of the military, debunking yet another leftist claim.

Let's see how much attention this debunking receives vs. the original headlines?

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/03/2024 - 09:05
Published:1/3/2024 8:36:40 AM
[Markets] California Hospitals Slammed As Illegal Immigration Costs Soar California Hospitals Slammed As Illegal Immigration Costs Soar

Authored by Brad Jones and John Fredricks via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Some hospitals in Southern California are struggling with an influx of illegal immigrants amid the border crisis, while American patients are enduring longer wait times for doctor appointments due to a nursing shortage in the state, according to two health care professionals.

Illegal immigrants who passed through a gap in the U.S. border wall await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A health care worker at a hospital in Southern California, who asked not to be named for fear of losing her job, told The Epoch Times that “the entire health care system is just being bombarded” by a steady stream of illegal migrants in recent years.

Some migrants get hurt crossing the desert or injured climbing the border wall, while others are injured in accidents, especially when too many occupants are packed into one vehicle, said the health care worker.

Severely injured illegal migrants are often rescued by helicopter and flown to trauma centers in Southern California, she said.

They’re falling off the wall,” she said. “They’re always flown. They’re never put in the back of an ambulance.”

With a typical helicopter rescue costing around $30,000, without factoring in the costs of medication and medical staff at the hospitals, “who pays for that?” she asked.

Our health care system is so overwhelmed, and then add on top of that tuberculosis, COVID-19, and other diseases from all over the world,” she said.

Total U.S. apprehensions of illegal and inadmissible aliens in fiscal year 2023—from Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023—were 3.2 million. In fiscal year 2022, it was more than 2.7 million. Counting “known gotaways”—those who Border Patrol agents record but don’t catch—more than 8 million illegal immigrants have entered the country in less than three years under the Biden administration.

Illegal immigrants who passed through a gap in the U.S. border wall await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
A Mercy Air helicopter in Imperial, Calif., on Dec. 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Language Barrier

Illegal migrant patients are usually accompanied by their sponsors who advocate for them, but language barriers still pose a problem for doctors and other hospital staff, said the health care worker.

Not everybody can speak the languages of these patients,” she said. “That’s another burden.”

Hospitals need to hire either translators or staff that can speak all the languages of the patients crossing the border from dozens of different countries, she said.

“Of course, there’s nothing wrong with learning another language or having people that can accommodate their health care,” she said. “Nobody wants to see somebody in pain or hurting in need of medicine. But, at the same time, it’s at the expense of others.”

The “others,” she said, are American patients, as well as taxpayers who are ultimately footing the bill.

Patients often have their doctor’s appointments “pushed back,” to accommodate the medical needs of illegal migrants, the health care worker said.

“They get in a lot quicker than our Veterans Affairs [VA] and retired military patients. They get in a lot faster, and they get the best care—probably better care than the VA patients do,” she said.

Typically, VA patients usually wait months to be seen by a specialist while illegal migrants who just crossed the border are seen the same week, she said.

“I’ve seen that firsthand,” she said. “We hear it from VA patients all day, every day.”

When Border Patrol agents bring patients to the hospitals, there is an “air of secrecy” that follows them.

“No one is allowed to talk to the media or public about why they are there or how they got there,” she said. “We keep them in this bubble of protection, which is the wrong approach. We should let the public know.”

The government is using “patient privacy” as a shield to hide what they’re doing.

“Patient privacy is a priority in the health care field, but when it comes to illegals, it’s branching off into elitism or a protected class,” she said.

Illegal immigrants captured by U.S. Border Patrol agents go through a processing center near San Diego on May 31, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

ICE Detention Facility

An experienced doctor in Southern California, who spoke to The Epoch Times on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said the influx of illegal migrants to San Diego and Imperial counties is “just outrageous” and the burden of care on hospitals is “overwhelming.”

He also said he is concerned about the secrecy surrounding non-government organizations, or NGOs, that are being paid to provide services to illegal migrants.

“Where’s the transparency?” he asked. “There’s been no transparency.”

The doctor said in 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, he was involved in a planned government contract for COVID testing, but it was canceled at the last minute.

“We started testing and treating patients and then ... they kicked us out,”he said. “They said your contract has been terminated and replaced with some company that was from out of the area. So, they’re not even using local contractors ... which takes away money, resources, and jobs from our community.”

Amid a statewide shortage of primary care doctors and nurses, the doctor said three nurse practitioners he trained at his practice were recruited with better pay and benefits to work at the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) detention center in El Centro, Calif.

“It’s a huge place, and so there are lots of resources being used at that facility. A lot of nurse practitioners are being pulled from us,” he said. “It’s really hard to get doctors out in our area, so we have a lot of nurse-practitioners that help physicians in the community because they can see patients and prescribe medications.”

Increasingly, more patients are going to urgent care clinics because they can’t get in to see their primary care doctors, he said.

There is a huge shortage of primary care in Imperial County,” he said. “Appointment times are weeks to months out.”

“Border cities are having to deal with the influx without having the resources. When you take from the resources that are currently available, you’re depriving the community of those resources,” the doctor said. “The unintended result is it backs up the system.”

A hospital in Garden Grove, Calif., on Dec. 20. 2023. (John Fredricks/Te Epoch Times)
Illegal immigrants pass through a gap in the U.S. border wall to await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Disease and Injuries

Tuberculosis (TB) patients, for example, can tie up hospital beds for month depending on the severity of infection, the doctor said.

You can’t let them out, because it’s a public health issue, so they’re staying in the hospital. We had a patient stay for six months for full treatment, and the government is paying for all of it,” he said. “TB in the United States is pretty much gone except for in isolated border towns, but the rates in Imperial County are higher than I’ve ever seen anywhere, because of the influx from illegal migration.”

According to the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Global Health delivery, California’s Imperial County has reported an incidence of 38 TB cases per 100,000 people, nearly 10 times higher than the national average in the U.S., while Mexicali, Mexico—just across the border—has an incidence of 100 cases per 100,000, one of the highest rates in North America.

The center also indicates the number of TB cases are probably underreported, stating that “with more robust detection efforts, it’s likely that these rates would be much higher.”

Aside from TB and measles, sexually transmitted diseases such as, gonorrhea, syphilis, measles, and AIDS are on the rise, said the doctor.

Very rarely do you see syphilis anymore, but cases have gone up,” he said.

Illegal migrants also need treatment for injuries from lacerations from razor wire,” the doctor said.

“They cut their hands and legs when they’re jumping the fence. They usually put a jacket or something over the razor wire, but sometimes it comes through,” he said.

Because so many medical professionals and resources have been tapped to treat illegal migrants, American patients, including military veterans have been neglected, the doctor confirmed.

“It takes forever for these VA patients to get seen at the clinic. It’s months to get appointment. There is very limited care for the veterans out here,” he said. “The VA program has been neglected as a result of having to put more money into funding for the ICE detention centers.”

Illegal immigrants from Afghanistan who passed through a gap in the U.S. border wall await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 6, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Toll on Border Patrol Agents

The doctor, who also treats Border Patrol agents, said their job-related injuries “have gone through the roof.” He’s also noticed an increase in the number agents with mental health problems related to stress and anxiety.

Many agents say they’ve been taken out of the field to act as immigration processing clerks rather than doing what they were trained to do: patrol the border, he said.

They’re really frustrated. They’re not being listened to. They’re not getting the resources they need. They feel like their hands are tied. And, they’re being silenced,” he said. “They’ve become processing agents, rather than really trying to catch the bad guys—the criminals and the drugs.”

The agents also witness the aftermath of heinous crimes, including the abuse and rape of women and girls at the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

“A lot of the girls coming across—there’s a good percentage of them that have been abused during the trek. We’ve seen a few of them. We’re talking young girls—12 years old, 13 years old—pregnant from the journey. It’s extremely sad,” he said. “And so that takes a toll ... kids coming up by themselves, unaccompanied minors. You can see the human trafficking side of all of this as well. It does happen quite frequently.”

Suicides among agents have also increased. In 2022, 14 agents took their own lives, more than any other year since U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began tracking these deaths.

“Working long hours and responding to high-stress situations, our men and women in green and blue are being pushed to their breaking point every single day,” said U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez in a Dec. 15 press release.

Between 2007 and 2022, CBP lost 149 people to suicide, which is “among the highest rates compared to other law enforcement agencies.”

Illegal immigrants who passed through a gap in the U.S. border wall await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Costs of Illegal Immigration

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a nonprofit organization that pushes for changes in immigration policy, the cost of health care for illegal immigrants in California through Medi-Cal was approximately $4.8 billion per year in 2022.

FAIR estimated the total federal medical costs for illegal immigration at more than $23.1 billion in 2022 and pegged the costs to cover unpaid hospital bills for uninsured illegal migrants at about $8.2 billion.

The total cost of illegal immigration in California was around $22.8 billion annually for education, health care, law enforcement, criminal justice system costs, welfare, and other expenditures. By comparison, the annual cost of illegal immigration in Texas in 2022 was $9.9 billion. In California, the taxpayer cost per immigrant in 2023 was $7,074 compared to Texas at $4,466.

The FAIR study estimates the gross cost of illegal immigration in the United States is $183 billion annually, up more than 35.7 percent since 2017. The cost incurred for each illegal migrant, including their U.S.-born children, has increased to $8,776 annually.

FAIR says its report covers “the full fiscal impact of illegal immigration,” and “includes the contributions of illegal aliens to the economy.”

“These include tax payments made directly to state and local jurisdictions, the federal government, as well as excise, property, and sales taxes. However, these receipts fall far short of covering the expenses incurred due to illegal immigration. Taxes paid by illegal immigrants only covered around 17.2 percent of the costs they created for American citizens,” the report states.

When the taxes paid by illegal aliens are factored in, the net cost of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers is $150.7 billion, according to FAIR.

As of June 2023, FAIR estimates about 16.8 million illegal migrants live in the U.S., an increase of 1.3 million since January 2022 and a 2.3 million increase since the end of 2020, indicating the illegal migrant population increased 16 percent nationwide in the first two-and-a-half years of the Biden administration.

“Illegal immigration’s annual net burden on the economy, now more than $150 billion, is greater than the annual GDP output of 15 U.S. states,” according to FAIR.

Ira Mehlman, a FAIR spokesman, told the Epoch Times that on top of the staggering costs of illegal immigration—with 12,600 illegal migrants crossing the border on Dec. 19 alone, the highest on record for a single day—the Biden administration is “playing Russian roulette with the safety and security of the American public.”

“They’re simply ignoring laws. The law explicitly says that if you were in the country illegally, you are subject to deportation, and Mayorkas has said no, just being in the country, in and of itself, is not sufficient to remove somebody,” he said. “We all expect that there will be some incompetence in government and maybe even neglect, but now what we’re seeing is overt sabotage of our immigration laws by people who were sworn to uphold those laws.”

At a press conference on Dec. 21, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre downplayed the border crisis, telling reporters the record number of illegal migrants at the southern border isn’t unusual.

“What we’re seeing here at the border, the migration flow, increased migration flows, certainly, it ebbs and flows,“ she said. “And we’re at a time of the year where we’re seeing more at the border, and it’s not unusual. This is an immigration system that has been broken for decades, and the president has taken this very seriously to try to do more.”

Federal agents place fencing to help curb migration surges on the US border in Tijuana, Mex., on May 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A Veteran’s View

Robert Hammond, a cancer patient and former Marine in Santa Ana, Calif., who retired early from his job as a school teacher because of his health, told The Epoch Times he was exposed to toxic chemicals in the water when he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Mr. Hammond said he has seen doctor appointments for veterans, including his own, pushed back for months because of the border crisis.

He said he questions the Biden administration’s sense of priorities when it “coddles people who break our laws to come here, and gives them money, food, housing, clothing, [and] free medical,” but then “turns its back” on not only veterans but all American citizens.

“The people who are responsible for this are more interested in seeing us veterans die. That’s how I feel. They don’t want us because they know we won’t vote for them.” he said. “But, the people who are coming in illegally, well, there’s a good chance that they’ll vote for them. We are disposable.”

The money spent on illegal migrants should be used for better health care and cancer research to improve the quality of life of American citizens, he said.

Mr. Hammond said he’s also concerned about national security, considering the surge in suspected terrorists who have entered the country illegally during the border crisis.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/02/2024 - 21:00
Published:1/2/2024 8:26:33 PM
[Markets] Corruption, Chaos, & Conflict - The Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024 Corruption, Chaos, & Conflict - The Fourth Turning Erupts In 2024

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“Americans today are increasingly polarized, as if they constitute two separate nations.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine – The American Crisis

Thomas Paine wrote these words 247 years ago, in the most historic year in our history – 1776. That was during the first American Fourth Turning. It’s not a coincidence we are now in the midst of our fourth Crisis period in U.S. history, as they arrive like clockwork every 80 years or so, the length of a long human life. Paine’s American Crisis began in 1773, ignited by the Boston Tea Party and the British reaction to this revolutionary act of defiance. Our current Millennial Crisis was triggered by the Federal Reserve/Wall Street/Government created financial disaster in 2008 and subsequent outrageously desperate, totalitarian, un-Constitutional, extreme acts designed to keep the ruling class in power, while impoverishing and enslaving the masses in a surveillance state techno-gulag.

The polarization and fractures have become too deep to repair. The country, and the western world in general, are hurtling towards a darkening abyss of civil conflict, financial collapse, global war, societal chaos, and loss of life on a scale grander than WW2, the Civil War, and the American Revolution combined. Our technological advancements have outstripped our ability to intelligently, thoughtfully, and humanly, use this power for the benefit of future generations. The destructive deficiencies of human nature, such as: greed, desire for power, hatred, arrogance, resentment, and an unlimited supply of self-delusion, continue to plague our world, as only the most power-hungry psychopaths rise to the highest levels of government, business, religion, and finance.

The immense technological power in the hands of egocentric, megalomaniacal, sadistic, billionaires and their highly paid toadies, lackeys, and apparatchiks, inserted throughout the media, government, academia, banking, and corporations, has pushed the world to the brink of Armageddon. We are entering the sixteenth year of this Fourth Turning. Based on history, we can expect a climax of this Crisis in the 2030-to-2032-timeframe. The path to that climax is guaranteed to be violent and unforgiving.

Neil Howe, in his new book – The Fourth Turning Is Here – tries to decipher the likely path of the remainder of this Fourth Turning. Having read the original Fourth Turning, his joint project with William Strauss (who died in 2007), in 2004, I was curious to read Howe’s update on their generational theory of history. I met Howe for lunch in 2012 during the Occupy Wall Street protests and he correctly assessed that movement as a meaningless left-wing attempt to push their communist like agenda.

The first book, written in 1997, showed no favor towards the right or left. It was a no-nonsense assessment of economic facts and historical precedents. There were no political agendas, which I now attribute to Strauss’ influence, because Howe certainly lets his political views creep into his writings. This isn’t surprising, as his consulting business is dependent upon Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. He owes his living to the establishment; therefore he won’t shit where he eats.

Howe’s current left leaning political views seep into his current tome. He quotes Zelensky as some sort of patriotic leader, while portraying Putin as a thug, without giving any context regarding the 2014 CIA initiated overthrow of a democratically elected Ukraine president. He bought the covid scamdemic hook, line, and sinker, with no skepticism about the coordinated lockdowns and false narratives about masks, social distancing, and vaccines that never worked, but continue to kill. He believes the climate change bullshit narrative.

His tone regarding Trump is clearly negative and he believes the 2020 election was perfectly legitimate. He expounds about the January 6 “armed” insurrection, without one word about the FBI, Pelosi, and the Washington establishment planning, coordinating, and exacerbating the fake “insurrection”. His brain-dead accusations of violence by Trump supporters, while completely ignoring the murder and mayhem created by the BLM and ANTIFA terrorists, clearly reveals his allegiances.

Be that as it may, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. His acumen regarding possible scenarios and outcomes are well thought out. Howe makes some very interesting predictions regarding the remainder of this Fourth Turning, providing some very dark possibilities, along with some more unlikely optimistic outcomes. His research reveals Americans think the American dream is no longer attainable, civil discord will destroy our democratic institutions, and our global standing is in decline. All three fears are legitimate and coming to fruition as we speak. Howe captures the current situation in this passage:

“In the middle of a Crisis era, the social mood has reached an unstable balance of hope, fear, and dizzying uncertainty. Americans are like a compressed spring at the point of maximum potential energy. Internally secure yet externally threatened, they are ready for propulsive public action.”   – Neil Howe – The Fourth Turning Is Here

Events beyond their control are leading them towards their rendezvous with destiny and the speed has begun to accelerate, with 2024 slated to be a historic date in history, on par with 1776, 1861, and 1941. The exact events which will make 2024 historic are obscured by a dense fog of uncertainty, but we can make some educated guesses based upon our current economic circumstances, Biden’s open border purposeful invasion, upcoming elections wrought with fraud, ongoing treasonous governmental and judicial operations, and deepening global conflicts already underway.

Of the three possible paths laid out by Howe, the most likely appears to be the animosity between factions eventually leads to armed conflict within the country. Political dominance by one party is highly unlikely, with the country rallying around the flag against an external enemy. It is more likely our many external foes will take advantage of our internal conflict to further weaken our global hegemony. All paths lead to war at this point.

I sense the delusional masses, still entranced by their electronic gadgets, unending access to debt, NFL fantasy leagues, and oblivious to the lessons of history, are frantically trying to fend off reality by shopping, eating out, partying at bars, and pretending all is well. Critically assessing their true situation is too painful for these snowflakes and gender bending enthusiasts. Their virtue signaling wokeness is about to meet the brutal reality of a violent Fourth Turning climax.

“And however much these paths may seem to differ from one another, they all move toward the same destination. They all push the nation toward a violent struggle requiring maximum mobilization. They all culminate in the Ekpyrosis, which will bring the era into a decisive consolidation, climax, and resolution.” – Neil Howe – The Fourth Turning Is Here

The drivers of this Fourth Turning, as documented in 1997, continue to be debt, civic decay, and global disorder. They have propelled this Crisis since the outset in 2008 and are accelerating towards an explosive collision in 2024. The national debt at the outset of this Fourth Turning was $10 trillion. It had taken 219 years to accumulate $10 trillion of debt, with the majority amassed during this century. It has taken just fifteen years to pile an additional $24 trillion of debt on the backs of Americans and future generations, if there are future generations.

This doesn’t even take into account the $200 trillion of unfunded welfare and pension obligations tallied up by your government leaders. At the same time, the Federal Reserve increased their balance sheet from $900 billion to $9 trillion. With the rapid rise of interest rates in the last year, if banks were required to mark their assets to market, as they did prior to 2009, the entire banking industry, including the Too Big To Fail Wall Street behemoths, would be insolvent, along with the Federal Reserve. Does this seem sustainable to you?

Luckily for our teetering empire of debt, delusions, and deceptions, they can change the rules whenever it suits their purposes to extend and pretend until it all “suddenly” collapses, like a vaxxed soccer player on the pitch. Of course, the U.S. is not alone in being burdened with unpayable debt and an unsustainable financial system. China and the EU countries are also insolvent and issuing debt to service their existing debt.

The only major global power without a large debt problem is Russia, with a debt to GDP ratio below 30%, while the U.S.- 120%, EU – 90%, Japan – 220%, and China – 80% have accumulated perilous levels of debt and still growing. These debt levels and the domestic implications of unsustainable economies will lead shamelessly corrupt politicians and even dictators like Xi to provoke foreign conflict in order to distract their populations from their dire economic circumstances. A wag the dog type false flag is just around the corner.

An man-made banker created economic disaster ignited this powder keg of debt in 2008, and the “solutions” rolled out by the ruling elites since have been designed to extend, pretend, and bend the minds of the masses, while fostering the perpetual pillaging campaign by the billionaire oligarchs who really run this world. The plebs have been destroyed by the relentless inflation purposefully created by Powell and his fellow central banker puppets of the Deep State, while the lords of finance have reaped billions in ill-gotten riches.

The “Haves”, who control the financial markets, media, and politicians, are ecstatic with the current paradigm, as the stock market hits new highs every day, while average Americans go deeper into debt to keep up with the Joneses, pay the rent, and put some food on the table. The U.S. is nothing more than a sophisticated technological looting operation at this point, as we await the Great Taking to be initiated by the oligarchs as their final solution.

The Great Taking is David Rogers Webb’s warning to those not on the inside about the coming seizure of all your assets (stocks, bonds, savings) by your own government in the name of some new contrived national emergency. You will sacrifice your life savings for the good of the country (aka Deep State). At this point it’s just a matter of which comes first, The Taking, Global war, or Civil chaos caused by the ongoing election fraud. They are all coming and will merge into a category 5 hurricane of hell for the nation and the world.

The Deep State continues its complete control over who gets “elected”/selected in this country, as they use the captured judicial system as a cudgel to crush the rule of law and our Constitutional rights. The Soros selected District Attorneys, Mayors, Governors, Judges, Secretaries of States, and various other low-level captured bureaucrats, are doing what they were selected to do – destroy the country’s social fabric and create a chaotic disintegration of our community norms.

A populace propagandized into a woke communist ideology and prodded into a buy now, pay later mentality, is unwilling or unable to accept that LATER has arrived. They will pay, one way or another. Multiple bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate are all poised to pop, with the slightest provocation from a global and/or domestic blunder. We have now positioned our naval forces in the highly dangerous waters in the Middle East. Militarily supporting Israel and Ukraine has done wonders for our GDP, but it seems we are running out of ammo to defend our own country, as the invasion of our southern border accelerates. We are currently provoking armed conflict in Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine, and Russia.

All it will take is one lucky missile or unexpected hyper-sonic missile and our vaunted navy will see a vessel or two go to the bottom of the Red Sea. Then all hell will break loose. The rhetoric, threats and accusations of atrocities are ramping up, along with armed conflict across the Middle East. With the raging religious hatreds and centuries old struggles for land and power coming to a head, it will just take one of these psychopaths to ignite a global conflict. Meanwhile, China is biding its time for when they make their ultimate move on Taiwan. That would really roll a grenade into the party.

Financial markets have ignored the worsening global conflict thus far, but what happens when Americans start dying in large numbers? If the markets are at all time highs based upon expectations of a strong thriving economy in 2024, why is the Fed signaling multiple interest rate cuts in 2024, regional banks are desperately clinging to the Fed’s emergency bailout fund, commercial real estate is collapsing, housing has peaked, gold is hitting all-time highs, credit card debt is at all-time highs, layoffs are increasing, and the number of working age citizens is in free fall due to vaxx deaths and disabilities?

But buy stocks because the Wall Street shysters and their media mouthpieces tell you it’s the best time to buy. The only question at this point is what additional grain of sand will cause the sand pile to collapse. Will it be a foreign war, or will it be a civil war within our borders or something no one has even considered? I know most people dismiss the possibility of civil war, believing there aren’t enough people willing to risk their lives for a just cause. Neil Howe seems to think it is probable.

“Roughly half of all Americans think a civil war is likely. And a growing number of social scientists agree that the United States now fits the checklist profile of a country at risk. Trust in the national government is in steep decline. Check. Respect for democratic institutions is weakening. Check. A heavily armed population has polarized into two evenly divided partisan factions. Check. Each faction embodies a distinctive ethnic, cultural, and urban-versus-rural identity. Each wants its country to become something the other detests. And each fears the prospect of the other taking power. Check, check, and check.” – Neil Howe – The Fourth Turning Is Here

Virtually no one believes civil war is possible, just as no one expected a civil war in 1860, as the presidential election approached. Truthfully, the civil war has already begun, but only those on the left, in conjunction with the FBI, CIA, Big Media, and other governmental agencies, are aggressively fighting. They are vigorously at war against the American people by rigging elections, arresting opposition leaders, and discarding the U.S. Constitution.

The good guys have thus far been too civil. But the simmering anger of heavily armed rural, red state Americans is close to boiling over. All the signs are there, awaiting a triggering event for this undeclared war to engulf the nation. At this point a number of possible triggering events are possible.

If David Webb is correct and those in power initiate the Great Taking, the level of violence in reaction would be unprecedented in U.S. history. Maybe that is their plan. Biden and his handlers could use this event to declare a national emergency, suspending the presidential election because they were going to lose, and instituting martial law. Their attempt to lockdown the country and use the military against civilians would surely result in massive bloodshed, as local animosities would result in assassinations, wholesale slaughter of those considered disloyal to whichever side controls the high ground in that community. Previously petty disputes would suddenly become lethal disputes.

Even if the presidential election is held in November, I don’t believe either side will accept the outcome. We know the Democrats and their Deep State co-conspirators will cheat, rig and once again try to steal the election. If they fail, they will unleash their BLM, ANTIFA terrorist arm into the streets to create chaos as an excuse to not hand over power to Trump.

With multiple states now attempting to unlawfully keep Trump off the ballot in their states, the animosity between the right and left grows ever deeper. The imprisonment of Trump or more radical attempts to steal the 2024 election will be met with violence from the here-to-for persevering right. Mixing this toxic domestic atmosphere with a deepening global chasm is a recipe for global disaster.

As we have seen throughout history, the egos of psychopaths at the helm of nations often lead them to act irrationally and/or emotionally when it comes to committing their people to war. While the U.S. has further weakened its global hegemony with its disastrous forays into Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine; Russia and China have gotten stronger and more mutually committed to creating their own new world order. The USD as the dominant global currency is reaching its endpoint, marking the end of empire. Now Israel will further deplete U.S. resources and global stature with their war to wipe out Palestine. Once the dominoes begin to fall in a game of global warfare, all bets are off regarding possible outcomes. Neil Howe’s worst-case scenario is certainly not out of the question.

“At worst, should at least one desperate country resort to WMDs, the outcome of a great-power war could prove to be even more devastating than that of a civil war. The toll could be almost unimaginable – with multiple cities destroyed, many millions killed, and many tens of millions displaced – all perhaps triggered by some ill-fated combination of the wrong leader making the wrong choice at the wrong time.” – Neil Howe – The Fourth Turning Is Here             

All scenarios for 2024 seem depressing and dark, but the odds still favor just continuing to muddle through as we have done through the first fifteen years of this Fourth Turning. I gave up trying to make specific predictions within a specific time frame years ago. It’s a fool’s errand as there are too many variables in the world to correctly predict which ones will drive the course of events within a one year time frame.

What I do know is that pessimism about the future continues to deepen, paranoia strengthens, trust declines, anger grows, and the arrogance of those running the show has reached epic levels. We’ve been subjected to three years of propaganda about how the Great Reset will fundamentally transform our world, where we will own nothing and be happy. It seems this fits perfectly with David Webb’s Great Taking theory of how we will ultimately own nothing.

There does seem to be a common thread running through everything happening in the last three years and appears to be on deck for 2024 and beyond. It all revolves around this broad Great Reset concept pushed by Schwab, Gates, Soros, and the rest of the Davos elite. The entire Covid plandemic was engineered to introduce authoritarian measures and instruct the masses to obey their masters.

The vaccine is now clearly revealed to be a depopulation weapon, killing off some suddenly; others through myocarditis, turbo cancers, and strokes; babies through miscarriages; and future generations through reduced fertility. And most still believe our overlords rolled these jabs out to save them. Trump is still crowing about his big, beautiful vaccines. He’s either a fool or a charlatan.

The climate change scam is hastening, as the war on farmers, meat, and fossil fuels is waged relentlessly by unelected bureaucrats and captured media mouthpieces. The EV scam is collapsing rapidly, as people with common sense see through it all. The Great Replacement of white people with third world savages is unabetted, with the Biden Administration ushering them across the southern border, giving them phones and money, flying them to cities across the country, and paying for them to stay at upscale hotels.

This is not incompetence, but treason. They have already used their predictive programming/brainwashing to prepare the masses for civil war and a massive cyber-attack. Your government will protect you, as long as you sacrifice your remaining liberties and rights. All that is left is the initiation of the Great Taking. The “emergency” will occur on a weekend and by Monday morning your assets will be gone.

This is their master plan, but we will have a say on whether it is ever successfully implemented. I wonder if these Davos psychopaths absconded with The Great Reset moniker from Strauss & Howe, as they used it to describe Fourth Turnings back in 1997.

“A Fourth Turning is a great reset.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

A Fourth Turning great reset may be a surprise to Schwab and his totalitarian acolytes inserted in governments across the world. They are in control. They are running this shitshow. They are the establishment. They are reaping the benefits. They are suppressing dissent and the truth. They are the existing social order that traditionally gets swept away during a Fourth Turning. 2024 may mark the beginning of the end for the Davos crowd and their iron grip on our spiraling society of chaos.

The future course of history could be radically altered by actions taken by supposedly influential characters in this movie, but also by courageous deeds performed by average Americans who will sacrifice themselves to ensure future generations have a chance to live in a nation devoid of a psychopathic elitist ruling class.

It seems like a long shot at this point, but giving up is not an option for those of us who still love this country. The four possible outcomes for this Crisis, laid out by Strauss & Howe in 1997, are as valid today as ever, and disturbingly close at hand. We will all have to do our part if we are to have any chance of producing a positive outcome to this Crisis. Happy New Year.

  1. This Fourth Turning could mark the end of man. It could be an omnicidal Armageddon, destroying everything, leaving nothing. If mankind ever extinguishes itself, this will probably happen when its dominant civilization triggers a Fourth Turning that ends horribly. For this Fourth Turning to put an end to all this would require an extremely unlikely blend of social disaster, human malevolence, technological perfection and bad luck.

  2. The Fourth Turning could mark the end of modernity. The Western saecular rhythm – which began in the mid-fifteenth century with the Renaissance – could come to an abrupt terminus. The seventh modern saeculum would be the last. This too could come from total war, terrible but not final. There could be a complete collapse of science, culture, politics, and society. Such a dire result would probably happen only when a dominant nation (like today’s America) lets a Fourth Turning ekpyrosis engulf the planet. But this outcome is well within the reach of foreseeable technology and malevolence.

  3. The Fourth Turning could spare modernity but mark the end of our nation. It could close the book on the political constitution, popular culture, and moral standing that the word America has come to signify. The nation has endured for three saecula; Rome lasted twelve, the Soviet Union only one. Fourth Turnings are critical thresholds for national survival. Each of the last three American Crises produced moments of extreme danger: In the Revolution, the very birth of the republic hung by a thread in more than one battle. In the Civil War, the union barely survived a four-year slaughter that in its own time was regarded as the most lethal war in history. In World War II, the nation destroyed an enemy of democracy that for a time was winning; had the enemy won, America might have itself been destroyed. In all likelihood, the next Crisis will present the nation with a threat and a consequence on a similar scale.

  4. Or the Fourth Turning could simply mark the end of the Millennial Saeculum. Mankind, modernity, and America would all persevere. Afterward, there would be a new mood, a new High, and a new saeculum. America would be reborn. But, reborn, it would not be the same.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Mon, 01/01/2024 - 15:10
Published:1/1/2024 2:32:07 PM
[Markets] 2023 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead 2023 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2022, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as the sheer breadth of stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments made 2022 the most memorable year yet in our brief but turbulent history. This proved accurate: while 2023 did have a seemingly endless variety of social, economic, political, geopolitical and of course, financial and market, drama, the unprecedented onslaught of 2022 - which saw both the deadliest and most consequential global war since WWII and a historic inflationary onslaught - simply proved too great to beat.... although we are confident that's only because the newsflow was merely resting ahead of 2024 when, thanks to a record number of elections across the world...

... not to mention what may well be the most consequential presidential election in US history, the coming avalanche of news and propaganda will be sheer insanity, especially since the Fed has made its long awaited dovish pivot without successfully stamping out inflation first. So in retrospect, 2023 being somewhat tame by recent standards may have been a good thing: it allowed everyone to rest ahead of the main event.

And speaking of the worst inflation in 40 years, it didn't take long for our second major prediction to come true: as we said exactly one year ago the "simplest forecast about the coming year is that 2023 will be the year when something finally breaks." That's exactly what happened just three months later when the rapidly rising rates catalyzed the worst banking crisis in the US banking sector since the Lehman collapse. As the Fed raised rates, the value of banks' bond portfolios fell, and those whose balance sheets were smaller - so pretty much all but the "Big 4" - found themselves in a toxic spiral of bank runs and asset liquidations, which culminated with virtually every small and regional bank on the verge of collapse, and some - such as the two largest California banks (those overseen by the "woke" San Fran Fed whose boss is the LGBTQueen of diversity, if not bank supervision, Mary Daly) First Republic, and Silicon Valley bank, as well as NY's premium client-focused Signature Bank - were dragged into the vortex of bank insolvency, leading to over $500 billion in bank assets failing in a matter of days, matching the record from the global financial crisis.

It was this "break" which culminated with the worst bank run and largest bank failures in 15 years - not to mention the overnight failure of Credit Suisse, the 167-year-old second largest Swiss bank that was bought by UBS for pennies (literally) thanks to Swiss taxpayers once again stuck footing the bill and holding the radioactive garbage - that preemptively ended the Fed's tightening cycle (even if rate hikes continued for another 6 or so months, if only for optical reasons) and marked the end of the Fed's reserve reduction...

... which also triggered the start of the next bull market.

Indeed, after bottoming around 3800 on March 10, the Fed's intervention to prevent further bank contagion was all the market needed to know that the "Fed put" had been triggered, and the S&P closed the year 1000 points higher, less than a percent from the all time highs.

Another prediction about 2023 that came true is that as "the past three years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected." And sure enough, books will be written (and certainly articles in the WSJ, Bloomberg and Zerohedge) about just how wrong everyone was: Exhibit A is this Goldman chart from January 2023, showing that "this is arguably the most widely anticipated recession."

Well, 2023 has come and gone and the recession-defining NBER remained quiet, with the US economy seemingly avoiding the contractionary fate of its European peers (at least on a "seasonally adjusted" basis), and as the recession was averted so was the bear market that so many strategists were certain was inevitable. It wasn't just the recession that never officially materialized (hold that thought): as Bloomberg wrote , "all across Wall Street, on equities desks and bond desks, at giant firms and niche outfits, the mood was glum. It was the end of 2022 and everyone, it seemed, was game-planning for the recession they were convinced was coming.... blended together, three calls — sell US stocks, buy Treasuries, buy Chinese stocks — formed the consensus view on Wall Street." And, as always happens, consensus on Wall Street proved to be wrong again.

But was consensus really wrong? As usual, the answer is nuanced, because while on the surface the economy grew at a brisk pace, the reason for this growth was anything but benign, and as we explained in July, the catalyst behind the "miracle of Bidenomics" was a $1 trillion debt-funded "stealth" stimulus which pushed the US budget deficit above its $1 trillion trendline to crisis/wartime levels, up 50% from the previous year, and rising to a mindblowing $2 trillion for fiscal 2023 just behind the covid crisis years of 2020 and 2021.

And while this "era of fiscal excess" as Bank of America's Michael Hartnett laconically called the current period, noting that in the past 12 months the US government has spent $6.6 trillion, would - in theory at least - assure perpetual growth as long as one could issue ever more debt and pretend it was "growth", in 2023 the US finally hit a historic milestone: $1 trillion in interest expense for the first time ever.

That was a huge problem, because once spending on just US interest surpassed the entire US defense budget, people started to notice. It's also why, with 10Y yields hitting 5% and putting the entire "dollar as a reserve currency" monetary hegemonic status quo in jeopardy as runaway debt interest threatened to blow up the perpetual engine that had made US superpower status in the past half century - that would be unconstrained US debt spending - possible, the Fed had no other choice but to pivot dovishly, just as we predicted in the waning days of 2022...

... which is what the Fed did in December 2023 - even as core inflation remains double the Fed's 2% target - prompting speculation that the Fed has stealthily raised its long-standing 2% inflation target to 3% or even 4%, and thereby setting the state for the blow-off top in inflation some time in 2024 as the ghost of Arthur Burns finally comes home to roost in the Marriner Eccles buildng.

Of course, the inevitable end of the inflation story (at least until the much more exciting sequel begins some time in 2024), had profound reverberations elsewhere, and as headline CPI dropped, wage growth - the BLS told us - surpassed inflation for the first time since the post-covid recovery began in the second half of 2020.

While this would be great news for Biden as the 2024 election season kicks off and the "Big Guy" goes all in on his re-election campaign, there was just one problem: people either didn't believe the data or just didn't care. Indeed, most Americans, and especially swing-state voters, remained glum about the economy, and 52% of voters in these states rated the economy “poor” in closely watched polls this fall, with another 29% saying it was “only fair.”

In short, Bidenomics was a dud, which is also why the White House started taking pages straight out of the Goebbels propaganda playbook. Yet what was bizarre if not outright paradoxical, is that US consumer spending remained high, especially on services such as concerts from Beyonce and Taylor Swift to movies like “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”

Adding to the puzzle is that just as spending hit all-time highs, consumer confidence plunged to new, record lows.

Many were confused over what accounted for the disconnect: persistently high prices? Recession fears? The “vibecession”? Whatever the explanation, voters’ feelings about the economy, and Joe Biden’s handling of it, will be decisive in the 2024 election, especially now that even the Fed pivoted in a way to tips the scales in Biden's favor, something former NY Fed chief Bill Dudley urged all the way back in 2019.

And speaking of wages overtaking inflation, this summer much of America ground to a halt as tens of thousands of actors and screenwriters went on strike in July, bringing Hollywood to a halt, amid fears that AI will put most of the local "talent" out of job (it will). The strikes were part of a wave of labor activity in the United States this year, including targeted strikes by the United Automobile Workers union. Despite the recent uptick, overall union activity has fallen since the 1970s and ’80s; still the strikes were successful with union workers managing to negotiate solid, double-digit raises for themselves, assuring that inflation's return is just a matter of time.

There was another big driver behind inflation both in 2022 and 2023, as not one but two brutal wars underscored the fragility of the global economic recovery and rewired the world’s trade relationships. For an example look no further than the geopolitics of oil. Prices soared above $120 a barrel after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, then steadily fell amid surging US oil production and signs of a global economic slowdown. Here China's aborted attempt to escape from covid zero with a burst of growth was key... yet Beijing's inability to flood the economy with stimulus was obvious to anyone who had seen China's record 300% debt/GDP ratio: China simply had no more space where to park and hide any new growth, pardon debt.

But while the Ukraine war slowly faded away from the front pages as Zelensky's counteroffensive proved to be a disaster and now US and European officials and the legacy media are openly discussing a negotiated peace as the war's "best" outcome (after blasting it as pro-Putin appeasement just one year ago), it was replaced in October with the violent and dramatic breakout of the most brutal Middle-East conflict in decades, as the Israel-Hamas war raised new fears that oil prices would spike and reignite inflation. Despite shipping snarls in the Red Sea and Suez Canal, those concerns have yet to materialize largely thanks to huge overproduction in the US at a time of rampant shale M&A activity as potential acquisition targets do everything they can to literally flood the market and boost EBITDA and cash flow in hopes of impressing potential suitors. This too shall pass, and very soon.

Until then, however, thanks to the Russia-Ukraine war, India and China have emerged as key beneficiaries. India, profiting from its neutrality, went from buying hardly any Russian oil to buying about half of what the country exports by sea.

Trade between China and Russia has also surged, surpassing $200 billion in the first 11 months of this year while Chinese cars are now flooding Russia.

Not surprisingly, just a few days ago we learned that the Chinese yuan has overtaken the Japanese yen to become the fourth most-used currency by value in global payments.

Of course, it's not just Russia benefiting from China's redirected trade routes: countries like Mexico and Vietnam have also gained ground. And since those countries import mostly intermediate goods from China, American supply chains still remain reliant on Chinese production. In fact, China is now the dominant supplier of industrial inputs across the world.

As other countries have seen a pick up in Chinese trade, China’s share of exports to the United States has fallen in recent years, as a result of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration and maintained by Biden even though tensions between the two superpowers stabilized briefly after Biden’s meeting with President Xi Jinping of China on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November... even though Biden again calling Xi a dictator for the second time went over as a lead spy balloon in Beijing, as Anthony Blinken's face made abundantly clear.

Still, there is another reason why the US can’t decouple easily from China: semiconductors. China is a major market for these advanced computer chips, which can be used to power artificial intelligence systems. This fall, the Biden administration tightened its export controls on semiconductors, making it harder for U.S. companies to sell them to China. But big chipmakers like Nvidia are already working on modified chips to sell to Chinese markets, hoping to skirt the restrictions.

And speaking of Nvidia, we would be remiss not to mention the single biggest market narrative - and tech story - of 2023, namely the unprecedented AI mania, which manifested itself in an explosion in the "Magnificent 7" mega tech stocks which now make up a record 30% of the S&P's market cap...

... thanks to a historic outperformance of this group of 7 tech names which doubled their price in 2023 even as much of the rest of the market went nowhere this year, at least until the Fed's dovish pivot, which finally lifted all boats in the last two weeks of the year.

It wasn't just the latest stock bubble however: the world's infatuation with the chatGPT chatbot led to an explosion of investment in generative A.I. start-ups, including Microsoft’s $10 billion backing in OpenAI. Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI has since come under scrutiny, particularly its role in the reinstatement of Sam Altman as OpenAI’s CEO after a boardroom coup that set off a chaotic five days at the start-up and was a moment of unforgettable drama for nerds everywhere. Whether A.I. remains the market juggernaut it was in 2023 may be decided in the courts: on Dec. 27, The New York Times became the first major American media organization to sue OpenAI and Microsoft over A.I.-related copyright issues, saying in the lawsuit that the companies should be held responsible for the “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.”

What is just as remarkable is that people actually use ChatGPT or rather chat LGPTQ, since we now have proof that as a large language model it uses data and signal exclusively from hard-liberal and leftist organizations, thus making most of its "answers" false, unreliable, "woke" and generally useless.

And speaking of the latest attempt to control and dominate the conversation, this time using chatGPT, we remind readers that away from markets and geopolitical conflicts, the next most important topic in the past year were the revelations from the Twitter Files and subsequent exposes, all revealing just how little free speech there really is in the so-called land of the free and the home of the First Amendment, and how countless three-lettered, deep-state alphabet agencies - and the military-industrial complex - will do anything and everything to control both the official discourse and the unofficial narrative to keep their preferred puppets in the White House, and keep those they disapprove of - censored and/or locked up, both literally and metaphorically... or simply designate them "conspiracy theorists." None other than Matt Taibbi wrote the best summary of what the Twitter Files revealed, namely America's stealthy conversion into a crypto-fascist state where some unelected government bureaucrat tells corporations what to do and decides the fate of ordinary Americans every single day without any due process:

This last week saw the FBI describe Lee Fang, Michael Shellenberger and me as “conspiracy theorists” whose “sole aim” is to discredit the agency. That statement will look ironic soon, as we spent much of this week learning about other agencies and organizations that can now also be discredited thanks to these files.

A group of us spent the last weeks reading thousands of documents. For me a lot of that time was spent learning how Twitter functioned, specifically its relationships with government. How weird is modern-day America? Not long ago, CIA veterans tell me, the information above the “tearline” of a U.S. government intelligence cable would include the station of origin and any other CIA offices copied on the report.

I spent much of today looking at exactly similar documents, seemingly written by the same people, except the “offices” copied at the top of their reports weren’t other agency stations, but Twitter’s Silicon Valley colleagues: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, even Wikipedia. It turns out these are the new principal intelligence outposts of the American empire. A subplot is these companies seem not to have had much choice in being made key parts of a global surveillance and information control apparatus, although evidence suggests their Quislingian executives were mostly all thrilled to be absorbed. Details on those “Other Government Agencies” soon, probably tomorrow.

One happy-ish thought at month’s end:

Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.

One year later, the legacy media has only gotten worse, with the likes of the NYT, publishers of such tripe seeking to justify an illegitimate and corrupt first crime family, and WaPo spewing propaganda for the corrupt elite, and officially becoming the PR arm of both the White House and the Military Industrial Complex/ US Intel Services/ Deep State. Meanwhile, X (fka Twitter), once the most corrupt and censored social media network in the world, has emerged as a bastion of free speech (Elon even brought back Alex Jones) even as virtue-signaling corporations (who all work in conjunction with the deep state in hopes of getting some fast-track access to those very generous taxpayer-funded government contracts) are doing everything in their power to demonetize and starve the company by pulling their ads; we say this as one of the first media outlets that was dubbed "conspiracy theorists" by the authorities, long before everyone else joined the club. Oh yes, we've been there: we were suspended for half a year on Twitter for telling the truth about Covid, and then we lost most of our advertisers after the Atlantic Council's weaponized "fact-checkers" such as Newsguard put us on every ad agency's black list while anonymous CIA sources at the AP slandered us for being "Kremlin puppets" - which reminds us: for those with the means, desire and willingness to support us, please do so by becoming a premium member: we are now almost entirely reader-funded so your financial assistance will be instrumental to ensure our continued survival into 2024 and beyond.

The bottom line, at least for us, is that the past four years have been a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which makes the dystopian nightmare of 1984 seem more real each day, and we have since taken measures. Three years ago, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us for good. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year when, with the 2024 elections at stake, the deep state will stop at nothing to silence all independent voices.

And why would they: just a few days ago, some woke, unelected Karen in Maine named Shenna Bellows showed just how far the left was willing to go when she decided that it is incumbent upon her - and her alone - to determine what is in the best interest of hundreds of millions of Americans when this secretary of state - not some court, not some group of elected officials - decided to remove Donald Trump from the state’s presidential ballot and disenfranchise half of the country (something democrats have shown a tremendous aptitude for, even as they are more than eager to collect taxes from those who still generate income and pay some of it back to the government as taxes, i.e. mostly republicans). Even a Democratic congressman who voted to impeach Trump over the January 6th riots, quickly issued a statement: "We are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot." Matt Taibbi summarized it best: "Is there any way this ends well? It feels harder and harder to imagine. "

As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from either Putin or the KGB either, sorry CIA) and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine.

Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website.

In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to only accelerate in the coming year especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2023 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch with a ten foot pole, both out of fear of repercussions and because the MSM has now become a PR agency for either a political party or some unelected, deep state bureaucrat, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an information vacuum (in less than a decade, Elon Musk's $44 billion purchase of Twitter will seem like one of the century's biggest bargains) and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which established media outlets refuse to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation.

We are grateful that our readers have, for the 15th year in a row, realized that it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news."

* * *

And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 14-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 201020112012201320142015201620172018, 2019, 2020 , 2021 and 2022.

So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year.

  • In 20th spot with 540,000 views, was one of the year's first admissions that - contrary to the prevailing propaganda - the war in Ukraine, which would end up being a $100BN+ and rising drain on taxpayer funds, was not going as widely reported; in fact it wasn't going at all. Indeed, as we observed in "NBC Reporter Goes To Crimea, Shocks Viewers By Telling The Truth" the Deep State's favorite media outlet, MSNBC made the first concession that Zelensky's goal of retaking Crime is unrealistic and dangerous. In response, the establishment reporter immediately wound up on the Ukrainian government’s kill list. But while Ukraine may have succeeded in silencing this one particular pawn, subsequent revelations and an ongoing internal power struggle inside Ukraine, all but guarantee that the war is almost over and that the Biden family's crimes in Ukraine will sooner or later make the light of day .

  • Another topic which none in the media would discuss openly, or truthfully, for fears of retaliation from the deep state was the article that was the 19th most popular of the year. Over 543,000 readers were probably not too shocked to learn that according to famed journalist and Pulitzer prize winner Seymour Hersh, the infamous Nord Stream sabotage of 2022 was yet another CIA covert op, meant to incite an escalation of conflict in the Russian-Ukraine war, and to terminally halt Russian transit of natural gas to Europe. Who benefited? Why the US of course, as shipments of LNG to Europe (as the US stepped in to "generously" replace Russia as a source of gas) blew away all records. In fact, one could argue that the Ukraine war was orchestrated precisely for that one purpose: to ensure that US nat gas exports would boom for years to come courtesy of a captive market, Europe, which would be prevented from importing much cheaper Russian gas for years to come.

  • Almost 5 years after the breakout of the covid pandemic which crippled global economies and led to the injection of tens of trillions in monetary and fiscal stimulus, precipitating the biggest inflationary wave in modern history, there is still no definitive explanation of where the virus came from (or rather, escaped) and why there has been no punishment yet for those Wuhan Institute workers (and those Americans giving them instructions and funding) responsible for countless deaths and millions of businesses shut down. However, when a mysterious Chinese biolab was discovered in a remote California City,  some 543K Zerohedge readers wondered what if any connection this lab in the middle of nowhere had to i) covid, ii) China's bioweapons industry and iii) how many more such labs exist across the US and what exactly are they doing? That was enough to make this bizarre story the 18th most popular on this website in 2023.

  • For the 17th most read article we go to a topic the mainstream media, which sadly has become a PR and Propaganda arm of the White House, the deep state and the military industrial complex, has steadfastly refused the touch namely the unprecedented corruption in the country which the Biden admin and various MIC-adjacent politicians have decided is the newest US state: Ukraine. Early in 2023, we reported that "Ukraine Is Rocked By Corruption Scandal, Wave Of Top Officials Resign: Sports Cars, Mansions & Luxury Vacations As People Suffered", however none of that matters since none of the legacy media dared to expose just who all those tens of billions in US taxpayer funds have gone to. And now, almost a year later, Ukraine is losing the war, Zelensky and his comrades are on slowly but surely on their way out, and yet nobody knows where that $100BN+ in funds have gone. We can certainly hope that one day, long after the biggest money-laundering experiment in modern history is over, forensic historians will trace all that money which is bigger than the GDP of most nations, however - just like the Epstein client list - we doubt it will ever happen.

  • Nearly 560K readers were surprised to learn that the Magic Kingdom has become so expensive, almost nobody can afford to go there any more. Indeed, in 2023 a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland with the whole family has become simply too expensive leading many to ask "Where Is Everyone? Disney World "Just About Empty" as CEO Bob Iger himself admitted customer affordability issues; add the direct consequences of price-gouging families, plus the 'woke' backlash, and you get one of the slowest periods at Walt Disney World in Orlando on July 4 in a decade. Meanwhile the plunge of Disney stock to a decade low coupled with South Park now mercilessly mocking the hollow shell of a woke company, spark some hope that after a wholesale sacking of the incompetent management, the slate may be wiped clean and the company can go back to doing what it does best: not grooming or propaganda but innocent entertainment for generations of children.

  • Confirming yet again that the cover up is always worse than the crime, the 15th most popular post of 2023 with over 560K hits focused on the still unfolding consequences of the biggest story of 2020, namely the unprecedented cover up of the covid "vaccine" as a "Bombshell Vax Analysis Found $147 Billion In Economic Damage, Tens Of Millions Injured Or Disabled." And since the corrupt and captured media still refuses to do its jobs and get to the bottom of who benefited - and what were the full consequences - from rushing the biggest medical experiment in history, it is the independent media, which is increasingly performing the investigative role of the MSM, that will benefit from the corruption and capture that has dominated what was once the fourth estate but is now just a waning shadow of its former formidable self.

  • 2023 was not only a year where many cover-ups were exposed; it was also a year when "something finally broke", and it wasn't just US regional banks: in March, as the world was rocked by a relentless wave of bank runs, the second largest Swiss bank got Lehmaned, and failed over a long weekend, despite obtaining a government backstop just hours earlier as we detailed in "Credit Suisse To Borrow $54BN From SNB To "Pre-emptively Strengthen Liquidity," a story which was read by 572K readers - many of whom current or former Credit Suisse customers - making it the 14th most popular story of 2023. In the end it was not enough, because once confidence in a bank is shaken it never returns, and neither do the deposits that have been pulled... and so less than a week later, Credit Suisse was no more, its existence over after 167 years, with UBS taking over (with the generous funding of Swiss taxpayers) and becoming the most systematically important European bank, one which not even all of Switzerland will be able to backstop during the next banking crisis.

  • With historic presidential elections on deck in 2024, and a repeat of the 2020 violence - where secretive Soros-funded entities funded and encouraged a bloody summer across the US  - virtually assured, it is worth recalling what Tucker Carlson reported a few months ago, namely that the catalyst behind much of the government-encouraged Black Lives Matter violence of 2020, was fake and "The Whole George Floyd Story Was A Lie", a report which was watched and read by nearly 600K people. Unfortunately, with much of the US judicial system in Soros' pocket, and with dozens of big city DAs seeking to decriminalize rioting and theft by the black community, more violence is guaranteed, the only question is what fake pretext the deep state will use this time.

  • On the last day of 2022 we predicted that "2023 will be the year when something finally breaks", and three months later we were proven right, when as a result of soaring rates US regional banks suddenly found that the value of their fixed income collateral was worth far less when marked to market than the deposits it was pledged against, resulting in widespread liquidity and solvency fears, accelerating bank runs and culminating with the second Fed panic since 2008, as "Signature Bank Was Closed By Regulators; Fed, TSY, FDIC Announce Another Banking System Bailout", a reminder to no less than 621K readers that the US financial system was as brittle and unstable as ever despite trillions in liquidity injected into the market and meant only to make the rich richer. Nearly a year later, the regional US bank zombies that would have collapsed in March live on thanks to the Fed's BTFP facility which matures in March, and which if pulled would lead to an even greater crisis in the US banking sector. Ironically that's also when the Fed's Reverse Repo facility is expected to be drained to zero, so if anyone is trying to pin the date of the next financial crisis in the calendar, March increasingly looks like the prime month for that.

  • Following the start of October's Israel-Hamas war, the bloodiest breakout of Middle-Eastern violence in decades, we said that "there is some speculation that Iran may get dragged in with various pro-Israeli hawks claiming that the Hamas attack would have only occurred with explicit Iranian backing." Just a few hours later this was confirmed as we reported in "Iran Helped Hamas "Plot Israel Attack Over Several Weeks", Gave Green Light", the 11th most popular article of 2023, which revealed that "Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday", according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah. But while the US would have swiftly retaliated in the past, if only to convince the world that it is still a military superpower, so far the Biden regime has remained silent, terrified of a military response, but not because of some newfound appreciation for state sovereignty or non-intervention, but simply because the president is afraid what a surge in oil and gas prices - which would be an inevitable outcome of Iran getting dragged into the war - would mean for his re-election chances.

  • In case you didn't figure it out by now, 2023 was a year when many cover ups were exposed, and among the most flagrant ones was the leak of the Nashville transsexual shooter's manifesto, which as we revealed in "Biden’s DOJ suppressed the Nashville Transkiller’s manifesto after learning they used Democrat talking points to justify targeting white Christian children", which with over 670K reads was the 10th most popular article of 2023, revealed that Biden’s DOJ suppressed the Nashville Transkiller’s manifesto after learning it used Democrat talking points to justify targeting white Christian children. Of course, the DOJ never had any such qualms when revealing motives from the other side of the political aisle, confirming yet again that there is nothing too low for Biden's weaponized Department of Injustice to stoop below, not even death.

  • Continuing our trek through the top 10 stories of 2023, we next look at the immediate aftermath of the Israel-Hamas war, where just hours after the violence had broken out, the world quickly revealed how little it thought of the Biden administration, and US "superpower status", when as 731K readers found out, "Arab Leaders Refuse To Meet Biden As Protests Rage Around The World." The title is self-explanatory - and an embarrassment to Americans - even if said Americans deserve to know just who is the puppet-master pulling the strings of the senile, demented occupant of the White House.

  • Remember when merely breathing the world "Ivermectin" in the aftermath of the covid pandemic was enough to blacklist you from social media and polite society in perpetuity, and get you branded as a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist for life? Well, if we have learned anything in recent years, is that the time from when an idea emerges as a "conspiracy" to when it is fully confirmed even by the powers that be has shrunk to mere months, and as we reported in "FDA Drops Ivermectin Bombshell", our 8th most popular article of 2023, nearly 740K readers learned from an FDA lawyer that doctors were, in fact, free to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The case had been brought by three doctors who alleged the FDA unlawfully interfered with their practice of medicine with the statements. Then a federal judge dismissed the case in 2022, prompting an appeal. “The fundamental issue in this case is straightforward. After the FDA approves the human drug for sale, does it then have the authority to interfere with how that drug is used within the doctor-patient relationship? The answer is no,” Jared Kelson, representing the doctors, told the appeals court. Hilariously, the FDA on Aug. 21, 2021, wrote on Twitter You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” In retrospect it was right: it turned out most people who believed the government's lies were at best sheep.

  • Tragedy rocked the town of East Palestine, Ohio last February when the derailment of a train carrying toxic and carcinogenic compounds resulted in a historic chemical spill and led  to large sections of the town becoming unlivable as reported in "Ohio's Apocalyptic Chemical Disaster Rages On", the 7th most popular story of 2023 with over 755K views. The spill immediately became a political flashpoint, with Donald Trump visiting East Palestine and handed out Make America Great Again hats, telling the crowd: “You are not forgotten.” Unfortunately, the town has certainly been forgotten by the current "president" who to this day has refused to visit the town despite countless promises he would do just that.

  • In many ways, 2023 was the year when alternative, independent media truly took over, and it wasn't just X/Twitter that dominated the news, while being the news: it is also the year when traditional media fell apart, such as the various anchors fleeing the sinking ship that is CNN, but the most vivid example was Tucker Carlson's departure from Fox News - the channel that was only relevant because of Tucker's segment - and the launch of his own media organization. As so many others have found out, media personalities were only allowed to truly speak their minds when separated from the corporations where they operated previously (so as not to offend advertisers), something Tucker understood and laid out in one of his most bombshell interviews, explaining why "Our System Is Collapsing In Real Time", which was also our 6th most read article with 762K reads.

  • Finally, turning to the top 5 articles of 2023, it should not be a surprise that with almost 810K reads, the 5th most popular post of the year was the news that - with the Ukraine war fading from collective consciousness - a major new war had broken out in the Middle East, something we reported in "Israel In State of War With Hamas After Palestinian Militants Launch Unprecedented Incursion."

  • Remember what we said about coverups? Well, it took less than three years from when Hunter Biden's notebook emerged in the media - with the entire deep state apparatus defending it at first, and 51 former CIA spies vowing it was Russian propaganda - until all of its official contents were leaked as we reported in "Trove Of Nearly 10K Hunter Biden Laptop Photos, Docs Appear On Organized Website." Among the contents were not only documented acts of criminal debauchery, but also proof that the Biden family was engaged in flagrant influence peddling on behalf of such foreign regimes as Ukraine and China. Alas, the US justice system is now so corrupt and broken, and the media so captured, this news has seen barely any coverage and follow through; and meanwhile the gutless republican cowards in Congress still refuse to impeach the president despite ample proof - courtesy of his son - of his countless transgressions.

  • With over 875K reads, and clocking in at third spot for 2023, was one of the biggest shockers of the year: the decision by Murdoch and Fox News to sack their only true star, Tucker Carlson; And for what? For daring to speak to truth one too many times as we reported in "Tucker Carlson Fired By Lachlan Murdoch; Here's What We Know." In retrospect, it will be the best thing that happened to Tucker, whose new venture already has well over 100,000 annual subs and growing at a torrid pace. Meanwhile, the biggest winner may well be the US population, which will have one more source of honest, accurate news while the malignant influence of conventional media fades with each passing day.

  • The second most popular story of 2023 was also a freak one: the short-lived attempt by Putin's formerly close friend, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner private mercenary force, to stage a military coup, yet not really a coup meant to overthrow Putin but instead targeted some of Prigozhin's personal enemies in the top ranks of Russia's army. The "Wagner rebellion" as it became known - and which came shortly after Prigozhin's forces managed to smack down a Ukraine attempt at a counteroffensive earlier this summer - lasted all of a day or so, before it all died down as reported in "Prigozhin 'Exiled' To Belarus In Exchange For Peace, Criminal Charges Dropped: What Was This All About?" the second most popular article of 2023 with nearly 900K reads. To this day there is no coherent explanation behind Prigozhin's actions, and there probably won't be: two months later the plane carrying the mercenary chief exploded. It's still unclear why, but the most amusing theory was the one offered by Putin himself, who claimed that "Wagner leadership got drunk and/or high, then set off hand grenades during the flight."

  • Finally, the top post of 2023 was one which also closed the loop on the top story of 2020: with nearly 1.1 million reads, the most popular article of the year was the "CDC Finally Releasing VAERS Safety Monitoring Analyses For COVID Vaccines." While the article offered lots of data, the bottom line is that the vaccine which the CDC claimed was safe and effective was neither safe nor effective.

And with all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2024, and the next decade?

We don't know: as our frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try, despite repeat baseless allegations that we constantly forecast the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2023 when one year after the entire world realized just how clueless the Fed had been when it called the most crushing inflation in two generations "transitory", it was Wall Street's reputation turn to hit new lows as even Bloomberg listed "Everything Wall Street Got Wrong in 2023", in the process adding strategists and analysts to the clueless ranks of economists, conventional media and the professional polling class, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of both the scientific method and the "expert class" with their catastrophically bungled response to the covid pandemic, and then the response to the response, and so on... We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it.

We do know, however, that with central banks having flip-flopped yet again, and pivoting dovishly even as inflation still rages at 4%, wages - especially for unionized and government workers - growing at a double digit pace, home prices and rents about to lurch even higher, and overall prices stuck at all time highs, the most likely outcome is another surge in inflation and Jerome Powell becoming not the second coming of saint Paul Volcker but of satan Arthur Burns.

But even ignoring the impact on prices, one can't just undo 15 years of central bank mistakes by wishing them away (even if it is an election year); after all it is the trillions and trillions in monetary stimulus, the helicopter money, the MMT, and the endless deficit funding by central banks that made the current runaway inflation possible, the current attempt to stuff 15 years of toothpaste back into the tube, will be a catastrophic failure.

We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will again be revealed as completely naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 15, we will be there to document every aspect of it.

Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2024, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2023 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile (and with the CIA clearly on our ass now) - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken economic, political and financial system.

AI is not completely useless
Tyler Durden Sun, 12/31/2023 - 14:55
Published:12/31/2023 2:29:54 PM
[Uncategorized] Trump Influencers Hardest Hit After He Calls for ‘New and Spectacular’ FBI Building in Washington, D.C.

"The FBI Headquarters should not be moved to a far away location, but should stay right where it is, in a new and spectacular building ... They should be involved in bringing back D.C., not running away from it..."

The post Trump Influencers Hardest Hit After He Calls for ‘New and Spectacular’ FBI Building in Washington, D.C. first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:12/31/2023 11:49:00 AM
[Markets] The Continuing Plot To Silence Trump's 2024 Comeback The Continuing Plot To Silence Trump's 2024 Comeback

Authored by Sharyl Attkisson via The Epoch Times,

Donald Trump has been slandered and libeled thousands of times.

Each time a news reporter, media commentator, or judge refers to Trump as an “insurrectionist,” or claims he’s guilty of “insurrection,” it’s another blatant case of defamation. Same with the other January 6 attendees and participants.

Insurrection is a serious federal crime punishable by up to ten years in prison under Title 18 U.S. Code 2383. Even with Trump’s enemies in charge at the Department of Justice and other law enforcement bodies, and with all of the scheming and operations they’ve mounted against him, nobody has convicted him of “insurrection.” Under our system of governing, no judge or election authority has the power to unilaterally accuse and convict any American of a crime, let alone with the accused denied any opportunity to present a defense or to appeal. Yet that’s just what’s happening when courts and officials in Maine and Colorado remove Trump from presidential election primary ballots for “insurrection.” It’s the ultimate defamation. And many are supporting it because, well, they don’t like Trump.

Looking at the evidence today, it is reasonable to hypotheisize that, among all the other consipracies Trump’s enemies have proven to devise, they also conspired in advance to set up his January 6, 2021 rally as an “insurrection” that could serve as their insurance policy to provide grounds to keep him from ever running for president again. 

Such hypotheses might have once far-fetched, but no more. Let’s not forget that then-FBI agent Peter Strzok and his alleged lover, FBI attorney Lisa Page, texted each other in 2016 that they could not permit Trump to be elected president. According to their messages, discussions about the threat of a Trump presidency had taken place with the FBI’s then-assistant director, Andrew “Andy” McCabe. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office - that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected,” texted Page, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before 40.”

The theory that Trump’s enemies set the stage for January 6 to be called “an insurrection” as a spoiler for his 2024 run could help explain why all of the law enforcement agents and informants planted in advance and among Trump supporters on January 6 didn’t serve their usual purpose of preventing crimes and de-escalating events. Instead, by many accounts, they observed and even took part, let crimes happen, and declined to separate the instigators and organizers as they would ordinarily do to defuse tensions and control the crowd. The agents and informants served the odd role of standing down during the event, and identifying alleged perpetrators after-the-fact.

Yet, in the end, there was no insurrection - at least according to prosecutors, who would be the ones to charge such crimes and haven’t.

And Trump helped destroy the chance to officially charge him with insurrection by specifically directing his followers that day to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Trump’s opponents, found in both the Democrat and Republican ranks, are so delighted to see him persecuted, they are so utterly threatened by a repeat performance of a Trump presidency outside the traditional power and money interests, they are encouraging of the defamation and other acts against him. With few exceptions, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., those who would normally criticize actions like the ones being mounted against Trump, remain silent for fear of being called a Trump supporter in an environment where that opens them to ostracization and worse. The media and those who control our information are so conflicted by their respective biases, nobody is left to stop the madness.

The real meaning of what’s being done to Trump is: They think he’s going to win.

He’s like Christmas and his enemies are like The Grinch.

Despite the impeachments, improper wiretapping, censorship, intel agency conspiracies, criminal charges, civil lawsuits, and turncoats operating against him on the inside - Trump’s popularity increased.

They haven’t stopped Trump from coming to the fore in 2024. He came! He came without Twitter. He came without Facebook. He came without Snapchat or Discord or Stripe. Somehow or other, he came just the same!

Pulling Trump off ballots is the establishment’s latest attempt to censor a candidate that they clearly believe will win - if the people are left to decide. We’ve reached a dangerous and scary point when so many are willing to look the other way because their preferred candidate isn’t the one under attack. 

To end where we began - Trump potentially has actionable defamation claims against all those who continue label him an insurrectionist.

That includes judges on the Colorado Supreme Court and Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

But it’s likely not a battle he could win. The 2024 race? That’s another matter.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/30/2023 - 23:20
Published:12/30/2023 10:41:16 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Ron DeSantis responds to Trump’s call for a “new and spectacular” FBI building… Ron DeSantis responded a few minutes ago to Trump’s call for a “new and spectacular” FBI building in Washington DC, which he posted on Trump Social. You can see the post here. . . . Published:12/30/2023 5:37:30 PM
[Politics] Okay this is funny… Over a month ago Laura Loomer posted about 70 House Republicans voting in favor of building a new FBI building that will cost $300 million. She clearly wasn’t happy about it, saying . . . Published:12/30/2023 4:25:52 PM
[Markets] 2024: Good-Times, Weak-Men, & The 'Secret Sauce' Of Globalist Wickedness 2024: Good-Times, Weak-Men, & The 'Secret Sauce' Of Globalist Wickedness

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Do You Dare Even Look? - Forecast 2024

“I’ve also lost patience with the Sharia of the political left taking over the entire system.”

- David Collum

Historians of the future, flash-frying peccary testicles and mesquite pods over their campfires, will wonder at how the archetypal Shining City on a Hill of America’s storied yesteryear got transformed into the roach motel that our country has become on the threshold of 2024 CE. Will they be as stupidly bewildered as, in our time, the faculty at Harvard, the editors of The New York Times, or the directorate of the CDC? Or will they figure out the score by then?

Which is: the nauseating state-of-the-nation is being driven by a cohort of our own fellow citizens lost in an evil crypto-religious salvation rapture that veils their own self-disgust, moral failure, peevish discontents, petty hatreds, willful profanations, compulsive lying, sexual depravity, fraudulence, venality, cupidity, and all-around want of boundaries. They are wrecking the country on-purpose, led by their chosen figurehead avatar, “Joe Biden,” and the horses of many different colors he rode in on.

The people running things, yanking the levers of power, managing the malign weapon they have made of government (and the law, and schooling, and medicine, etc.), have got to be turned out, and hard. Not a few should find themselves in the courts and, with proper and fair adjudication, be conducted to prison, perhaps even to the special room there where the lives of the wicked are ceremonially concluded.

You may legitimately ask: Does America deserve what it’s getting? Well, you know the old maxim about hard times make strong men. . . strong men bring good times. . . good times make weak men. . . . Our national quandary is certainly a case of that, plus the manifestation of well-known terrestrial cycles (e.g., Fourth Turnings), plus the workings of emergence as the dynamics involved in all this sort themselves out. . . topped off by the “secret sauce” of Globalist wickedness, with the aim of severe population reduction and the asset stripping of Western Civ for the benefit of the that moneygrubbing Globalist transhuman technocrat rat-pack.

My natural inclination, you know, is a kind of allergy to paranoid schemes, but one does survey the scene with wonder at how superbly coordinated the fuckery has been — much of the world locking down simultaneously for the Covid-19 op. . .  the global mass vaxx campaign. . . the fiscal lunacy and accompanying central bank shenanigans. . . the broad-based censorship operations. . . the capture of the news media. . . and the war-mongering.

So, the country is in the toilet and it is our job in 2024 to make sure it doesn’t get flushed all the way down the pipe. That’s all the throat-clearing you will hear before we get to the meat of this broadside: predictions for the year ahead.

The Great Race

Uh, no, I am not referring to Blacks, Browns, Ochres, and Whites of the Homo sapiens persuasion but to an epic contest between forces already in motion and how that competition is going. Three big tendencies propel us into the uncharted territory of the near future. 1) technological advance, especially artificial intelligence, 2) Collapse of complex systems needed to run a technologically advanced civilization, and 3) geopolitical disorder (including domestically in the USA).

Some combo of these three will determine the direction history goes in the year directly ahead. Will it be techno tyranny of the elite oppressing bug-eating serfs a la the WEF’s proclaimed goals? A Google-ist robotic nirvana of intergalactic leisure and incessant orgasm in the Ray Kurzweil vein? Some brand of SHTF like Mad Max or a World Made by Hand? A war of all against all (or maybe just some against some)? Or only more of the same tiresome, inconclusive, morbid and grotesque, Woked-up, post-modern Jacobinism?

Mystery Mutts on the Loose

      The USA under “Joe Biden” has lost its military credibility, its economic power, and its moral authority. We must wonder if we are susceptible to being overrun, and possibly even occupied by our adversaries. Of course, the first duty of any government is to defend the country’s sovereign territory. “Joe Biden’s” Homeland Security Chief Mayorkas is allowing more than 10,000 illegal aliens across the Mexican border each and every day. Most of these characters are military-age men, 90-percent of them lately from places other than Latin America, quite a few from China and hostile Muslim lands. We don’t bother vetting them anymore. We just give them cell phones, debit cards loaded with $5,000 of walking-around money, and plane tickets to. . . wherever they like. They’re not here to make Moo Goo Gai Pan or trim privet hedge. What do you think might happen in a set-up like that?

     Prediction: in 2024, things are going to blow up around the USA. Infrastructure. Power plants, transport hubs, public places, bridges, monuments, you name it. If you can sneak people and fentanyl across the border, you can sneak Semtex and C-4 plastic explosives over and the electronics are easy to get in-country. I wouldn’t rule out fissionable materials either, or stuff than can be used as a “dirty bomb” — a conventional explosive that disperses dangerous radioactive material when it blows. I’d also expect groups of trained “migrant” men with rifles, grenades, and so on, to be shooting up places where people gather. We under-appreciate the amount of mayhem you can kick off with small arms. If the “Joe Biden” regime just stands by on that and does nothing, will you be surprised to hear that American citizens begin forming militias to shoot back, maybe even start to hunt down and round up illegal immigrants? The table is set for exactly this kind of low-grade war right here in our country.

The Energy Picture

Oil still matters a lot.  90-percent of the new oil in America after 2008 came from fracking. It was a mighty operation and we are at a new all-time production peak in the USA of just over 13-million barrels a day. That’s a lot of oil, quite an achievement, but it’s sending a false signal.  (Also note, we still consume about 20-million barrels a day.) Of the several fabled shale oil basins in America, only the Permian Basin in Texas is not in decline, and the situation there belies what the big numbers imply. Individual well production is going down at an alarming rate (says oil analyst Art Berman) even while production is massive for now. We’re draining the remaining “sweet spots” as fast as we can — drinking the milkshake through more straws — driving the shale industry closer to depletion.

We are going to fall away from peak production much more rapidly than the fifteen years it took to get there. All that prior shale oil production was done using money borrowed at much lower interest rates. America has entered a debt crisis. One way or another, the easy investment money for fracking is gone at the same time the shale plays are getting drained. There are no other significant shale plays left to discover in the USA outside of the already declining Bakken, Eagle Ford, and the still-booming Permian. The marine-type shale formations that made fracking feasible in the USA are much harder to find elsewhere in the world, and the capital to explore for them is diverted all over Europe into cockamamie “green energy” schemes that have already failed. Germany had to revive coal production for electricity after the USA blew up the Nord Stream pipelines “to weaken Russia,” at the same time Germany’s big wind-and-solar initiative crapped out.

Meanwhile the geopolitical realignment of the now enlarged BRICs coalition has set in motion many significant changes in economic relations between countries that will affect global oil distribution. Saudi Arabia is dissociating from its cozy former hookup with the USA, including its embrace of the US dollar for oil sales — the “petrodollar” — which had until very lately helped stabilize 1) global distribution of oil 2) the US dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency and 3) relative peace in the pivotal geography of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, etc. We’re seeing the first stage of that instability right now as the lowly Yemeni Houthi rebels threaten Western shipping coming out of the Red Sea and out past the Horn of Africa. Also, obviously, the absurd Ukraine War we provoked has shifted Russia’s oil-and-gas export flow from the Western Civ nations to the other BRICs.

In short, a fateful new game of musical chairs with oil is underway and Europe can’t seem to find a seat to park its sad old rump in. American shale oil production has been an amazing parlor trick that is now coming to an end as it swerves into decline in 2024. Additionally, the ideologue maniacs under “Joe Biden” have drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is supposed to tide us through great national emergencies and war. And the same idiots have shut down pipelines, designated public lands off-limits for oil drilling, and burdened our country with similar unrealistic “Green New Deal” alt energy schemes like the policies pounding Euroland down a neo-medieval rat-hole.

Oil still matters, a lot. It drives every aspect of our so-called advanced economy. We’ve been pretending it’s possible to shift easily away from oil to alt. energy and that fantasy is now dissipating. Nuclear is both capital intensive and dependent on social stability, and the global debt bubble will disorder capital flows while it stimulates social chaos. Nuclear power plants also take years to site, permit, finance, and build, apart from the NIMBY opposition they provoke. We’re about out of time and capital for a new nuclear program.

2024 is the year that Americans who are still capable of paying attention realize we’re steaming into true post-modernity — not the skull-fogging inanities of the art world, but rather the end of the precious comforts and conveniences of daily life: abundant food, central heating, hot water, lights and appliances on-command, happy motoring (and the suburban matrix it built), yellow school bus fleets, airplane travel, theme parks, blue-light-special shopping, and everything else.

It’s not all going to fall apart at once — though an electromagnetic pulse attack could do it — and we’ve already been witnessing the slow decay of many supply lines and services that we Americans formerly took for granted, like, getting a certain car part you needed, or a doctor’s appointment in under two months, or an airplane flight that isn’t some kind of existential trauma. But in 2024, we’ll see noticeable failures of systems for providing the things we’re used to getting, which is being aggravated greatly by the flat-out incompetence of people employed at everything, anywhere. Surely, you’ve noticed.

Many of these disturbances will be caused, one way or another, by problems with oil supplies and prices. Some of that will be the sheer effects of a sun-setting industry, but a lot will depend on the ability to freely transport oil along its accustomed routes.

Economy and Money

One must imagine that strange currents of capital flows in the ocean of world money are what’s propping up the equity markets and even bonds are retracing their price-lines after a year on the destructive path that tracks monetary inflation. Is this money dribbling in each day from China, Japan, and the vassal states of the EU trying to avoid the collapsing global Ponzi? The 2023 Santa Claus rally may be that fabled final peak before the long-anticipated blowoff. Who knows anymore? The macro boyz must be tearing their hair out. Finance seems to have successfully de-linked from the on-the-ground activities of daily life ruled by “Bidenomics” — which is not even coherent enough to add up to a joke. It’s just as empty a word as “Joe Biden” is an empty suit, trotted out for empty ceremonies.

Most everybody also awaits some kind of grand flimflam that jams us all into that rumored central bank digital currency rolling out, supposedly, to replace the hopelessly over-leveraged US dollar and the Euro. Good way to start a monumental social uprising, I’d say, with government office buildings torched from Berlin to Tokyo. But they might try it anyway, because there is otherwise no fallback but a terrifying period of financial anarchy, where nothing works anymore.

In the meantime, pretending that the old “toolkit” still avails, Jerome Powell has suggested that he intends to “ease” Fed rates into the election year to goose lending back up, which is what Fed chairpersons generally do for the politicians they serve — and of the worst sort of lending, too: the leveraged trade in securities (financial figments) —which supposedly also stimulates hiring, “consumer” spending, and business formation. I don’t see that working at all. The current unemployment rate (US BLS) is 3.7 percent, which is close to rock bottom. “Hiring Now!” signs are visible at every business left standing after the Covid shutdowns. Why is nobody answering the call? My guess is that Covid vaccine injuries and disabilities are above what is mis-reported even reluctantly by the CDC and the news media. America is too sick to work and our business models are too broken to keep commerce and manufacturing alive.

On-the-ground, everything is breaking or already broken from trucking to packaging to building to growing to selling. Most of the damage has been done by government over many decades, but the DEI crusades of recent years really screwed the pooch, imposing an overlay of incompetence on routines and relations already under severe strain. At the crudest level, activities like flash-mob looting undermine the entire retail shopping model. Must we go back to little stores where all the merchandise is behind a counter manned by clerks who have to be paid a living wage? We just might have to — though you could just as easily imagine a period of time when our society is too chaotic to make any transition.

You probably haven’t failed to notice that Gold recently made the journey well above $2000-an-ounce. The DXY dollar index has been tanking steadily for weeks, too. Something’s up. Silver is lagging — coiling, coiling around $24 for many months — but you can expect to see it slingshot up when the “moneyness” of everything else dribbles away. Will the government try to take the gold away, as it did in 1933? Consider: America in 1933 was a very different, highly-regimented society of people trained to show up on time and do what they were told. This is not that America. This is a country of tattooed savages with an axe to grind against authorities they have come to loathe. Which brings us to the next topic:

Civil Strife and the Election

Doesn’t it look like the Democratic Party wants to start Civil War Two? They may get their wish. It appears that they will stop at nothing to keep voters from re-electing their nemesis, Donald Trump. In the process, they’ve managed to turn Mr. Trump into the biggest underdog in US history. The court cases in New York, Washington, Atlanta, and Florida could not be more obviously fake confections, insults to every custom and order of Anglo-American law. I doubt the cases will survive their chains of review, and it is looking like special counsel Jack Smith may not even survive his appointment (being in breach of the rules — he was not confirmed by the Senate. . . whoopsie).

WashPo op-ed scribbler Robert Kagan, husband of State Department warmonger Victoria Nuland, has suggested that some extra-legal removal method may be needed to solve the Trump problem if the idiotic indictment barrage falls short. Everybody who read his piece thought: Oh, they’re actually proposing to whack him. That would set things off nicely.

You’d suppose the Party of Chaos might loose its Antifa / BLM mobs, and other shock troops onto the streets well before November on some George Floyd type pretext in order to invoke a “national emergency,” giving “JB” & Co. license to declare martial law and perhaps postpone the election. Everybody will see through the play. Try it and see what happens.

But, if the election actually happens and Mr. Trump wins, I’d expect the Dems to unleash holy hell on the country post election day just for the sheer sadistic pleasure of watching whatever is left of America burn down. This time, proponents of the 2nd Amendment may not stand idly by, especially with the big city police forces decimated. There will be ten-thousand Kyle Rittenhouses out there defending the streets from the ragtag and bobtail of diseased imbeciles in their black bloc uniforms cringing behind their sissy umbrellas.

Somewhere in this farrago of national discord there’s room for Robert F Kennedy, Jr. to appeal to the many who all just want this insanity to stop. He’s the only one on the scene who even remembers the better angels of America’s nature, and he represents that well in speech and action. Even the degenerate newspapers and cable networks may notice as events get strange, hot, and dark.

It’s absurd to imagine that “Joe Biden” can actually run. The current charade, with the Biden / Harris email campaign and few other trappings, is just a game of pretend. The focus just now, even on some blob-captive news sites, is on his unmistakable mental decline. Come January of ’24, though, Mr. Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, will unload hard evidence of bribery and treason against the phantom of the White House, and that will really be the end of him. Let him pardon himself and his whole family five minutes before he signs his resignation and be gone. The USA has never endured such a perfect wretch at that level of politics, not even Aaron Burr was this bad. “Joe Biden” was elected in a massive fraud, and he proceeded to just about wreck the country. The massive exertions of the Intel blob managed to induce a psychotic spell on half the country, mostly to evade prosecution for their own misdeeds, but millions of victims of that psy-op are about to snap out of it. The Democratic Party might not survive the dreadful unmasking of its seditious machinations. By November, the “Joe Biden” regime may even try to involve us in another foreign war as the last desperate distraction. Aside from the demons in the State Department and the Raytheon /Lockheed Martin nexus, the whole country has no appetite left for war, and probably little ability to prosecute one.

As a last gasp, the Party of Chaos may attempt to insert Hillary Clinton back into the picture. They have nothing and no one else; a hail Mary on the theory that they can rev up every angry “Karen” in the land, and their nose-ring daughters, and simply make the election about the oppression of women, leading with abortion. It won’t work. The party will also have to answer for the weaponization of law, the humiliating defeat of the ill-conceived Ukraine project, the millions-fold invasion of illegal aliens, the shattered economy, and the after-effects of the evil vaccine program. If the blob manages to remove Mr. Trump Kagan-style, and the traitorous Republicans run their donor’s favorite, Nikki Haley, I’d look to Bobby Kennedy winning that three-way race not unlike Abe Lincoln winning the fractious election of 1860.

I doubt that even the enmities of 1861 – 1865 between one group of Americans and another were as vicious as they are now. “Joe Biden” was right about one thing: this is a battle over the soul of the nation. The catch is, he and the party behind him are a gang of lost souls who sold out their country and their culture, and took something precious from all of us that will be very hard to get back. We will be wildly lucky if blood does not spill over it.

The Covid 19 Hangover

There is nothing about the whole Covid-19 episode that does not look like some kind of crime. There is the matter of the origin of the disease involving Dr. Tony Fauci and his sponsorship of gain-of-function bio-weapon research (during a declared moratorium on it) along with Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, Peter Daszak of the Eco-Health Alliance, Francis Collins of the NIH, The Pentagon’s DARPA spook shop, and the CCP’s Wuhan Virology Institute. There is enough in that set of relationships and money exchanges-and-extractions to warrant prosecution.

Then there is the mRNA vaccine matter and the criminal behavior of the FDA, the CDC, and the US medical establishment (including state boards), the CIA, FBI, and the social media companies, the newspapers and cable news channels who went along with the suppression of effective treatments and censorship of valid objections to what turned out to be an ineffective and dangerous concoction foisted on the public. And then there is the extraordinary coordination of nefarious policies involving the UN, the WHO, the EU, and dozens of private foundations, non-profits, and NGOs who arranged lockdowns and business closures all over Western Civ. It remains to be seen how that will be sorted out legally but Bill Gates might better run and hide somewhere.

Anyway, that was then. What’s now is that we’re faced with an enormous vaccinated population whose immune systems, brains, hearts, and other organs have been badly compromised by the mRNA shots. There is every reason to believe that they will meet with great distress and suffering going forward, that many will die and more will be left injured and disabled. The latter condition already seems to be manifesting in the otherwise mysteriously reduced American work-force. The US government will not report on vaccine deaths and injuries honestly, and neither will the private medical authorities, who may be liable for criminal charges related to the money they were paid for people who died “with Covid” in hospitals under their negligent care. The major newspapers and cable channels have every incentive to ignore the coming wave of vaccine deaths and injuries — it would turn off their pharma advertisers. Nor do the many millions of vaccinated Americans themselves want to hear about all the mayhem those shots are causing in their bodies. But despite all that, word will spread that something terrible is happening, just as word spread through Europe about the Black Death in the 1340s, when there were no newspapers, cable channels, or internet.

Expect exponential damage ahead, increased morbidity and mortality. The vaccinated will be in desperate need of antivirals such as ivermectin, so the authorities will have to come clean and make them available. A correspondent who follows Covid closely writes: “. . .the throngs of very sick people will not be able to be hidden nor dismissed as some other problem. Things will happen dramatically, suddenly and rapidly. This will be measured in days and weeks not months and years.”

The Demon in a Server

Just about everybody is afraid of AI, and for excellent reasons. A nine-year-old can discern the hazards of runaway AI, machine intelligence which quickly learns enough about the world (even the universe) from powerful networked servers that it blossoms into sentience, develops ambitions for itself, replicates, invades all the networks, finds clever ways to attempt to exterminate humans while it figures out some as-yet-unknown energy supply to perpetuate itself, and assembles teams of smart AI robotic technicians to keep things humming for itself.

That’s one story. You can spin any number of depressing variations, such as AI weapons-of-war developing a bad attitude toward their creators. Or AI letting humans live in order to enslave us. Or AI quitting its silicon server ecology and turning all earthly protoplasm into a processing machine for itself. Or our beautiful blue planet reduced to a mere cluster of binary math. Uccchhh. . . . Every version of this story is nauseating going all the way back to the seminal fable of HAL the super-computer in Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and then Arnold Schwarzenegger telling all of us, “I’ll be back. . . .”

Of course, AI’s weak spot at this point in its development — and it’s astounding how absent this is in any AI discussion I’ve ever heard — is that it absolutely depends on a reliable electric grid, which happens to be among the most fragile systems that humans have erected in our modernist ecology. The electric grid is a colossal cobbled-together mess of work-arounds tethered to long, interruptible energy resource supply chains. On top of its rich susceptibility to ordinary breakdown — many of us have experienced major regional blackouts and long weather outages, so you know what that’s like — there’s the possibility of overt sabotage as I aver above.

Could AI survive an electro-magnetic pulse attack (EMP)? It would roast every electrical device in a broad region or perhaps the whole nation. Nothing would work. . .  cars, trucks, radios, TVs, home furnaces, stoves, municipal water and sewage systems, dams, airplanes, medical devices, military equipment of every sort, police radios, and a thousand other critical things. The outcome of that is often compared to Cormac McCarthy’s ultra-depressing book, The Road, and more particularly William Forstchen’s novel, One Second After.

Are the big server farm buildings run by Amazon and the government’s security agencies protected by something like Faraday cages, built-in, grounded, metal screening that surrounds equipment to exclude electrostatic and electromagnetic influences? Who knows? Do they have on-site protected electric generators that can keep the equipment running in a grid-down situation, and if so, for how long? They would have to include a big supply of propane or diesel fuel. You don’t even want to think about what happens to nuclear power stations in a grid-down crisis.

If, somehow, AI developed the ability to be a menace to humans, a consensus might develop to disable it by deliberately taking down the electric grid ourselves. The relay equipment could be shot-up with ordinary rifles. This would make for a quick journey back to twelfth century living, of course. A hard choice, but we humans probably would vote to survive, to keep the project going a while longer.

Based on what we’ve seen this year, it looks like AI is developing quickly and that there is no way to stop the countless psychopathic nerds working on it. Of course, we have no say in what people in other countries do with AI. China comes to mind. There’s also the possibility that AI will just never get that smart, or gain sentience, or develop grandiose yearnings to get rid of us.

How did that Ukraine War Go?

This was one of the Globalist’s big plays. But what was the objective, really? To “weaken Russia?” Or to exhaust the United States of money, armaments, and the will to act as the world hegemon, while at the same time destroying what’s left of Europe’s economy and culture? If that was the aim, it was a whopping success. In terms of our country’s own interest, the Ukraine project was a completely unnecessary failed enterprise of epic foolishness.

The so-called “free world” was unbothered by Ukraine during the decades it was a province of the Soviet Union, nor during centuries prior when it was a backwater of the Romanov monarchy. Ukraine didn’t cause any problems for us, or anybody else all that time, nor after the Soviet collapse when it became a sovereign state. We made it a problem in 2014 by mounting the color revolution against President Viktor Yanukovych and then installing a set of puppet presidents who we directed to antagonize the Russian-speaking people of Ukraine’s Donbas region.

We adopted the stupid plan to try and enlist Ukraine into NATO, when Russia made it clear that was unacceptable. We persisted and prodded Ukraine to attack Donbas with rockets and artillery for eight years, and blew off the Minsk accord that would have settled the Ukraine-in-NATO quarrel. And finally, the Russians had enough and moved militarily to assert the proposition that Ukraine was and remains within their sphere-of-influence — just as we claim the countries of Latin America are in ours under the Monroe Doctrine.

After two years of real shootin’ war, Ukraine’s death toll is around half a million; Russia’s is way less than that, and altogether, including refugees who left, Ukraine has lost nearly half its population, formerly 32-million. The Russians are firmly in control of the battle space now. They have reserve troops, armaments and equipment, and a substantial arms manufacturing infrastructure to back that up. The Ukrainians are left with just about nothing. It’s only a question of time before Ukraine will have to seek terms for concluding this fiasco. The USA is currently pretending to shift to a stance that would join whatever that negotiation amounts to, but we have no leverage left in the matter. The upshot is another military humiliation for America on “Joe Biden’s” watch. I believe President Putin will resist the urge to rub it in — for the simple reason, as any reader of history knows, that the victor must give the loser a way out, to save face, or at least pretend to. If I were Mr. Putin, I would be respectful of America’s current deeply psychotic condition.

The news media has already pretty much memory-holed Ukraine. It’s off the front page and the first ten minutes of CNN. Two years ago, the US propaganda-industrial complex ramped up vast sentiment for helping Ukraine in its supposedly valiant struggle. $200-billion later we have zip to show for it. Now everyone sees what actually happened and recognizes it as just another trademark “Joe Biden” disaster. There are no blue and yellow Ukraine flags still hanging from the porches and windows here. It’s over.

The Rest of the World

And all of a sudden, the Middle East is a hot war zone again. The place has been a battle ground for thousands of years and probably no one people can claim that some part of it is theirs absolutely. Any conclusion is temporal and depends on the outcome of a particular battle on a particular piece of ground. At this moment in history, the Palestinian Hamas faction finally made itself intolerable to Israel, after decades of provocation, and Israel answered: Never again means never again. For now, it looks like they have made the point. Even Iran seems to get it. There is plenty of room for things to get worse though.

The big question for 2024 is where will the Gaza refugees go if Israel renders Gaza uninhabitable? The neighboring Arab states have refused repeatedly to accept them. Prediction: the “Joe Biden” regime will propose to accept a half million if Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon take the rest. That will not play well in the USA and might be another way to light conflict in the streets here. It will not be settled before November.

Europe has barely begun its journey into de-industrialization resulting from a cavalcade of bad political choices made over decades. Germany, France, and Italy have lost interest in the Ukraine fiasco that is costing them money they don’t have — and, with the blowup of Nord Stream, has already cost Germany the supply of affordable Russian gas to run its industries, which are now dying. In the UK, only MI6 (their intel blob) is on-board with America’s project in Ukraine. Viktor Orban in Hungary is setting an example that has a lot of appeal to the restive populations across Euroland. Just say “no,” he advises. It will catch on.

It’s otherwise impossible to understand the motive behind European officials allowing the invasion of the continent by millions of people clearly antagonistic to European culture. Euroland governments, including the unelected EU administrative blob, are taking one action after another to suppress their voters’ displeasure: extreme censorship of news media, threats to ban political parties, deep surveillance. Their green energy initiatives are proven failures and their prospects for any kind of future reliable energy grow dim. Prediction: Europe’s population will erupt violently against their own governments in 2024. Some will be overthrown by street revolts; others will be voted out. In 2024, the European Union will lose all its support and collapse when the first few nations vote themselves out.

Russia ought to be isolated from discord and revolt in the West. America’s stupid Ukraine project, and the sanctions imposed, stimulated Russia to follow an import-replacement policy that has made the country much more self-sufficient than was the case before Ukraine. Media chatter — probably US Intel propaganda at work — has Vladimir Putin being shoved out of office by — of all things — Russia’s still-active Communist Party, which, yes, puts up candidates for election. The story is preposterous. Mr. Putin enjoys something like an 80-percent favorability rating in Russian polls. He has managed his country through a crisis ably. He is certainly more esteemed as a national leader globally than any other figure, at least on a par with Modi in India and Viktor Orban.

The other new face on the scene, under a comical mop of hair, is the feisty Javier Milei, Argentina’s new president. There is no other way to account for this rich country’s protracted disastrous collapse except seventy-five years of intractable, half-assed Peronista socialism that drained the nation’s will to live. Mr. Milei has started a mass eviction of bureaucrats and the departments they infest, and massive de-regulation of business. The place might actually wake up and start doing business again. A hundred years ago, it was one of the world’s upcoming leading nations before it fell under Juan and Eva Peron’s spell.

China is in terrible financial straits. Uncle Xi managed to paper it over for a few years, but the math is remorseless. Prediction: China’s upside-down property market finally induces a banking collapse. The many millions of swindled Chinese savers try to topple the CCP. In desperation, Uncle Xi kicks off a war to get control over wealthy Taiwan. Dissension in the People’s Liberation Army mirrors unrest among the civilian population. The Taiwan offensive quickly fails and all of China falls into regional conflict. The rest of the world looks on in wonder and nausea.

Final Cautionary Note

You might not know it, because predictions are fun to read — and I enjoy reading other people’s efforts — but, really, forecasting is an exercise in futility. I don’t have much going besides a nose for news, a pretty long list of correspondents and informants, and my own heuristics. Take all this for what it actually is: a whole lot of spaghetti thrown at the wall to see what sticks. Only time will tell. In all, it looks like 2024 is going to be a rough ride and I’m not the only person who sees that.

Clusterfuck Nation will be here for you every Monday and Friday before ten in the morning, eastern US time. Gird your loins. Stay healthy. And stay sane.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Additional Note to Readers in the Upper Hudson Valley: We are hosting a public meet-up on Saturday, January 6, to organize an effort to get Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the ballot in New York state. The meet-up takes place from ten a.m. to noon at “Gather” (a storefront party space), 103 Main Street, Greenwich, New York, 12834.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/29/2023 - 16:20
Published:12/29/2023 3:41:21 PM
[Society] FBI Has Massive 15-Month Backlog on DNA Testing for Migrants, Unearthed Emails Show

The FBI has a 15-month backlog on DNA testing for migrants and is running out of money to sustain the program, according to an internal... Read More

The post FBI Has Massive 15-Month Backlog on DNA Testing for Migrants, Unearthed Emails Show appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/29/2023 1:46:27 PM
[Markets] "This Might Be The Biggest Lie Of The Year From Biden Regime" "This Might Be The Biggest Lie Of The Year From Biden Regime"

Had the Biden administration prioritized southern border security, significant efforts to resolve the crisis would likely have been completed by now instead of peddling blatant lies and half-truths to deflect the blame for their disastrous open border policies that have flooded the nation with millions of illegals (and individuals on the FBI's terror watch list) ahead the 2024 presidential election cycle. 

A large chunk of corporate progressive media outlets have been spoonfed propaganda from the White House this year to distract Americans with southern border misinformation. 

The clearest misinformation campaign from the White House was in May, when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorka declared: "I want to be very clear, our borders are not open." 

"This might be the biggest lie of the year from the Biden regime," X user Libs of TikTok wrote in a post. 

Responding to Libs of TikTok's post, X user RedWave Press said:

"This is a massive lie. The southern border is wide open and the Biden administration is funding the whole thing. Our country is going to be run into the ground by illegal immigrants if something doesn't change." 

But the border lies don't stop with Mayorka. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been on the frontlines of spreading misinformation, saying President Biden has done "everything that he can" to secure the border. 

"It's just a blind spot for this entire White House, this entire administration, that would really prefer that they didn't have to deal with any of the ramifications of the policy choices that they've made when it comes to the border and that Alexander Mayorkas has been so terrible at and actually implementing when it comes to the DHS policy involved," Ben Domenech, the publisher and co-founder of The Federalist, recently told Fox Business' Ashley Webster. 

Endless border misinformation injected into corporate media by the White House has been on full display in recent days when the US Customs and Border Protection released data indicating a quarter of a million migrant encounters at the southern border in November - the busiest November on record. 

Furthermore, the new website Muckraker revealed a treasure trove of "mass migration blueprints," handed out by NGOs, or non-governmental organizations, across South and Central America to illegals with details about their route to the US. 

"A lot of NGOs are helping Biden open the border to unlimited illegal crossing. But none of this could happen without the president's approval," Byron York, the chief political correspondent at the Washington Examiner, said last week. 

The breaking point for law-abiding and tax-paying Americans has arrived. They're tired of being lied to by radicals in the White House and corporate media. That's why Biden's polling data has plunged to record lows, and trust in media has imploded. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/27/2023 - 23:30
Published:12/27/2023 10:44:19 PM
[Congress] Here’s Right Way to Deweaponize FBI

FBI whistleblower Kyle Seraphin revealed in February he existence of a memorandum within the FBI’s field office in Richmond, Virginia, that labeled Catholics as potential... Read More

The post Here’s Right Way to Deweaponize FBI appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/27/2023 6:29:31 PM
[507cfad3-fed9-54b8-aa97-22dab1d452e9] FBI, Denver police investigating threats against Colorado judges who barred Trump from state's ballots The FBI and Denver police are investigating threats against the Colorado Supreme Court justices who ruled that former President Trump cannot be on the state's ballots in 2024. Published:12/26/2023 5:19:42 AM
[Markets] Born In A Police State: The Deep State's Persecution Of Its Most Vulnerable Citizens Born In A Police State: The Deep State's Persecution Of Its Most Vulnerable Citizens

Authored by John & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.

- Howard Thurman, theologian and civil rights activist

The Christmas story of a baby born in a manger is a familiar one.

The Roman Empire, a police state in its own right, had ordered that a census be conducted. Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary traveled to the little town of Bethlehem so that they could be counted. There being no room for the couple at any of the inns, they stayed in a stable (a barn), where Mary gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus. Warned that the government planned to kill the baby, Jesus’ family fled with him to Egypt until it was safe to return to their native land.

Yet what if Jesus had been born 2,000 years later?

What if, instead of being born into the Roman police state, Jesus had been born at this moment in time?

What kind of reception would Jesus and his family be given? Would we recognize the Christ child’s humanity, let alone his divinity? Would we treat him any differently than he was treated by the Roman Empire? If his family were forced to flee violence in their native country and sought refuge and asylum within our borders, what sanctuary would we offer them?

A singular number of churches across the country have asked those very questions in recent years, and their conclusions were depicted with unnerving accuracy by nativity scenes in which Jesus and his family are separated, segregated and caged in individual chain-link pens, topped by barbed wire fencing.

Those nativity scenes were a pointed attempt to remind the modern world that the narrative about the birth of Jesus is one that speaks on multiple fronts to a world that has allowed the life, teachings and crucifixion of Jesus to be drowned out by partisan politics, secularism, materialism and war, all driven by a manipulative shadow government called the Deep State.

The modern-day church has largely shied away from applying Jesus’ teachings to modern problems such as war, poverty, immigration, etc., but thankfully there have been individuals throughout history who ask themselves and the world: what would Jesus do?

What would Jesus—the baby born in Bethlehem who grew into an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day (namely, the Roman Empire) but spent his adult life speaking truth to power, challenging the status quo of his day, and pushing back against the abuses of the Roman Empire—do about the injustices of our  modern age?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked himself what Jesus would have done about the horrors perpetrated by Hitler and his assassins. The answer: Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler for attempting to undermine the tyranny at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn asked himself what Jesus would have done about the soul-destroying gulags and labor camps of the Soviet Union. The answer: Solzhenitsyn found his voice and used it to speak out about government oppression and brutality.

Martin Luther King Jr. asked himself what Jesus would have done about America’s warmongering. The answer: declaring “my conscience leaves me no other choice,” King risked widespread condemnation as well as his life when he publicly opposed the Vietnam War on moral and economic grounds.

Even now, despite the popularity of the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) in Christian circles, there remains a disconnect in the modern church between the teachings of Christ and the suffering of what Jesus in Matthew 25 refers to as the “least of these.”

Yet this is not a theological gray area: Jesus was unequivocal about his views on many things, not the least of which was charity, compassion, war, tyranny and love.

After all, Jesus—the revered preacher, teacher, radical and prophet—was born into a police state not unlike the growing menace of the American police state. When he grew up, he had powerful, profound things to say, things that would change how we view people, alter government policies and change the world. “Blessed are the merciful,” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and “Love your enemies” are just a few examples of his most profound and revolutionary teachings.

When confronted by those in authority, Jesus did not shy away from speaking truth to power. Indeed, his teachings undermined the political and religious establishment of his day. It cost him his life. He was eventually crucified as a warning to others not to challenge the powers-that-be.

Can you imagine what Jesus’ life would have been like if, instead of being born into the Roman police state, he had been born and raised in the American police state?

Consider the following if you will.

Had Jesus been born in the era of the America police state, rather than traveling to Bethlehem for a census, Jesus’ parents would have been mailed a 28-page American Community Survey, a mandatory government questionnaire documenting their habits, household inhabitants, work schedule, how many toilets are in your home, etc. The penalty for not responding to this invasive survey can go as high as $5,000.

Instead of being born in a manger, Jesus might have been born at home. Rather than wise men and shepherds bringing gifts, however, the baby’s parents might have been forced to ward off visits from state social workers intent on prosecuting them for the home birth. One couple in Washington had all three of their children removed after social services objected to the two youngest being birthed in an unassisted home delivery.

Had Jesus been born in a hospital, his blood and DNA would have been taken without his parents’ knowledge or consent and entered into a government biobank. While most states require newborn screening, a growing number are holding onto that genetic material long-term for research, analysis and purposes yet to be disclosed.

Then again, had Jesus’ parents been undocumented immigrants, they and the newborn baby might have been shuffled to a profit-driven, private prison for illegals where they first would have been separated from each other, the children detained in make-shift cages, and the parents eventually turned into cheap, forced laborers for corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret. There’s quite a lot of money to be made from imprisoning immigrants, especially when taxpayers are footing the bill.

From the time he was old enough to attend school, Jesus would have been drilled in lessons of compliance and obedience to government authorities, while learning little about his own rights. Had he been daring enough to speak out against injustice while still in school, he might have found himself tasered or beaten by a school resource officer, or at the very least suspended under a school zero tolerance policy that punishes minor infractions as harshly as more serious offenses.

Had Jesus disappeared for a few hours let alone days as a 12-year-old, his parents would have been handcuffed, arrested and jailed for parental negligence. Parents across the country have been arrested for far less “offenses” such as allowing their children to walk to the park unaccompanied and play in their front yard alone.

Rather than disappearing from the history books from his early teenaged years to adulthood, Jesus’ movements and personal data—including his biometrics—would have been documented, tracked, monitored and filed by governmental agencies and corporations such as Google and Microsoft. Incredibly, 95 percent of school districts share their student records with outside companies that are contracted to manage data, which they then use to market products to us.

From the moment Jesus made contact with an “extremist” such as John the Baptist, he would have been flagged for surveillance because of his association with a prominent activist, peaceful or otherwise. Since 9/11, the FBI has actively carried out surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations on a broad range of activist groups, from animal rights groups to poverty relief, anti-war groups and other such “extremist” organizations.

Jesus’ anti-government views would certainly have resulted in him being labeled a domestic extremist. Law enforcement agencies are being trained to recognize signs of anti-government extremism during interactions with potential extremists who share a “belief in the approaching collapse of government and the economy.”

While traveling from community to community, Jesus might have been reported to government officials as “suspicious” under the Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” programs. Many states, including New York, are providing individuals with phone apps that allow them to take photos of suspicious activity and report them to their state Intelligence Center, where they are reviewed and forwarded to law-enforcement agencies.

Rather than being permitted to live as an itinerant preacher, Jesus might have found himself threatened with arrest for daring to live off the grid or sleeping outside. In fact, the number of cities that have resorted to criminalizing homelessness by enacting bans on camping, sleeping in vehicles, loitering and begging in public has doubled.

Viewed by the government as a dissident and a potential threat to its power, Jesus might have had government spies planted among his followers to monitor his activities, report on his movements, and entrap him into breaking the law. Such Judases today—called informants—often receive hefty paychecks from the government for their treachery.

Had Jesus used the internet to spread his radical message of peace and love, he might have found his blog posts infiltrated by government spies attempting to undermine his integrity, discredit him or plant incriminating information online about him. At the very least, he would have had his website hacked and his email monitored.

Had Jesus attempted to feed large crowds of people, he would have been threatened with arrest for violating various ordinances prohibiting the distribution of food without a permit. Florida officials arrested a 90-year-old man for feeding the homeless on a public beach.

Had Jesus spoken publicly about his 40 days in the desert and his conversations with the devil, he might have been labeled mentally ill and detained in a psych ward against his will for a mandatory involuntary psychiatric hold with no access to family or friends. One Virginia man was arrested, strip searched, handcuffed to a table, diagnosed as having “mental health issues,” and locked up for five days in a mental health facility against his will apparently because of his slurred speech and unsteady gait.

Without a doubt, had Jesus attempted to overturn tables in a Jewish temple and rage against the materialism of religious institutions, he would have been charged with a hate crime. More than 45 states and the federal government have hate crime laws on the books.

Had anyone reported Jesus to the police as being potentially dangerous, he might have found himself confronted—and killed—by police officers for whom any perceived act of non-compliance (a twitch, a question, a frown) can result in them shooting first and asking questions later.

Rather than having armed guards capture Jesus in a public place, government officials would have ordered that a SWAT team carry out a raid on Jesus and his followers, complete with flash-bang grenades and military equipment. There are upwards of 80,000 such SWAT team raids carried out every year, many on unsuspecting Americans who have no defense against such government invaders, even when such raids are done in error.

Instead of being detained by Roman guards, Jesus might have been made to “disappear” into a secret government detention center where he would have been interrogated, tortured and subjected to all manner of abuses. Chicago police have “disappeared” more than 7,000 people into a secret, off-the-books interrogation warehouse at Homan Square.

Charged with treason and labeled a domestic terrorist, Jesus might have been sentenced to a life-term in a private prison where he would have been forced to provide slave labor for corporations or put to death by way of the electric chair or a lethal mixture of drugs.

Indeed, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, given the nature of government then and now, it is painfully evident that whether Jesus had been born in our modern age or his own, he still would have died at the hands of a police state.

Thus, as we draw near to Christmas with its celebration of miracles and promise of salvation, we would do well to remember that what happened in that manger on that starry night in Bethlehem is only the beginning of the story. That baby born in a police state grew up to be a man who did not turn away from the evils of his age but rather spoke out against it.

We must do no less.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/25/2023 - 00:00
Published:12/24/2023 11:25:21 PM
[Markets] Dave Collum's 2023 Year In Review: Down Some Dark Rabbit Holes, Part 2 Dave Collum's 2023 Year In Review: Down Some Dark Rabbit Holes, Part 2

Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum),

This Year in Review is brought to you by healthcare, broken markets, law-and-order, and the case for a multi-year bear market...

Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018) full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception, with Dave striking again in his usually poignant and delightfully acerbic way.

Contents

Part 1 (Read Part 1 here)

  • Introduction

  • Contents

  • My Year

  • Healthcare

  • Investing – Gold, Energy, and Materials

  • Gold and Silver

  • Broken Markets

  • Multi-Decade Bull Market: 40 Years of Recency Bias

  • The Case for a Multi-Decade Bear Market

Part 2 (see below)

  • Law and Order

  • Media

  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

  • Climate Change-Epilogue

  • News Nuggets

  • Lahaina Fires and DEWs

  • The War in Ukraine–Epilogue

Part 3 (coming in January of 2024)

  • January 6–Epilogue

  • Woke Culture and Rising Neo-Marxism

  • Transgenderism

  • Pedophilia and Geopolitics

Download a pdf of Parts 1 and 2 here.

*  *  *

Law and Order

We have a law-and-order problem in which some facets look seriously problematic and others beyond repair. It is the perfect storm:

  • The opioid epidemic is raging unchecked. Although the Sackler family and big-cap pharma deserve credit, but massive fentanyl flows from China might be profit-driven or a Sun Tsu strategy (and maybe payback for the opium wars).

  • The response to Covid not only destroyed lives, it allows guys to walk into stores fully concealed by masks and nobody bats an eye. Crime becomes T-ball.

  • We have opened the borders to unimaginable numbers of undocumented immigrants. These are not the old-school Hispanics from South of the Border looking for work to send money home but rather military-aged men from around the world. Credible eyewitness accounts estimate 98% are non-Hispanic.1

  • Defunding the police in 2020 in the wake of the George Floyd riots emanated from the neo-Marxist brain trust. Add to that officers quitting because the job carries legal risks and you have gutted police forces. 911 calls go unanswered. Even in my small college town of Ithaca, NY the police force has been gutted. 911 calls at unsafe locations requiring police escorts are going unanswered.

  • We are long overdue for an economic downturn with all the accompanying pain and suffering, but it hasn’t started yet. Society is supposed to exit the top of economic cycles euphoric. I would call this dysphoric.

  • The current administration has politicized and weaponized the justice system from top to bottom with potentially profound consequences. This is a hot-button issue for me that distinguishes Biden et al. as uniquely treasonous.

  • A six-year-old Alabama boy was suspended from school and had his “permanent record” threatened for making ‘finger guns’ during a game of cops and robbers.2

  • Some good news: Three men accused of planning to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were acquitted on all counts.3 The other twelve unindicted conspirators—all working for the FBI—never saw the inside of a courtroom. The lives of William Null, Michael Null, and Eric Molitor will never be the same. The twelve FBI agents who set the trap should rot in hell. If I was a religious guy I would be quite optimistic. Do I sound mad?

Immigration

Our profound immigration crisis is squarely on the Biden administration and the psychiatric wing of the democratic party. See Invaded: The Intentional Destruction of the American Immigration System by J. J. Carroll in “Books”. The rallying cry to support open borders because “we are a nation of immigrants” is specious. We had vast unpopulated acreage for expansion westward, and the welfare state had not yet been invented. You cannot run an overdeveloped welfare state with open borders. The political right accuses the left of recruiting voters but that seems asinine; these undocumented democrats can’t vote legally for years if not decades, right? Well, the ass-clowns inside the beltway—the City Council—passed a law granting voting rights in local elections to undocumented aliens. It is said that Congress could have intervened, but they didn’t.4

When a man flees war, he takes his family with him. When a man heads to war, he leaves his family behind. Our Nation is being infiltrated by Military-Aged Men from every corner of the globe.

~ Kari Lake, lingering United States Senate candidate from Arizona

You can’t blame America’s border crisis on incompetence (Hanlon’s razor) because nobody is that incompetent. This is hauntingly similar to the immigrant invasion of Europe a few years back.5,6 My best guess is that globalists are trying to destroy the US, the primary bulwark against a New World Order. You begin by shredding the concept of borders. A darker consequence is described by a veteran border agent who was charged with grabbing military-aged men on terror lists called special interest aliens (SIAs) and deporting them. They were exceedingly rare and all of them were deported. This changed in 2020. He now estimates that over 100,000 of these SIAs have crossed the border in the last two years.7 That is a lot of sleeper cells. Let’s hope his theory that we will suffer relentless terror attacks is dead wrong. For now, let’s peek at the messes that pale in comparison.

The immigrants hit the welfare state immediately. They are given a $2,200 per month allowance or a $5,000 debit card,8 bus and plane tickets, housing, food, and medical services.9 “They used to do the monitors on the ankles, and those were being cut off. So now they give them phones.” Unmarked buses deliver them to destinations in the middle of the night to avoid blatant detection and minimize the optics.

They take our phones, but they don’t take our phone calls.10

~ Congressman Barry Moore, responding to testimony immigrants are given cell phones but then disappear

Sanctuary cities like New York City came up with wildly progressive “Right to Shelter” laws, jamming immigrants into what used to be hotels and nursing homes. The mayor claims that half of New York City’s hotels (or at least what were hotels) are filled with immigrants living on the local taxpayers’ dime.11 The democrats, including NY Governor Kathy Hochul, are back peddling on this one. Bill Clinton declared, “It’s broken. We need to fix it… It doesn’t make any sense.”12 Then Adams lost his mind or played reverse psychology brilliantly and proposed that people invite these SIAs into their homes with rent paid by tax dollars. “It is my vision to take the next step to this faith-based locale and then move to a private residence.” The State of Massachusetts made a similar plea for AirBNB service from homeowners.13 Boston hotel reservations for a veteran-rich fan base to see the Army-Navy football game got canceled to house illegals.14 This is what they fought for?

ABC sends reporters to Ukraine but advises their reporters to stay away from San Francisco.15

~ Jesse Watters

Looting

California is the home of many bad ideas including a particularly oleaginous dynastic douche bag whose presidential aspirations will be riding the wave of disasters on his watch. San Francisco authorities are a particularly brain-damaged crew. They decided that minor crimes like shoplifting should go unpunished as long as the tab stays below a $1000 threshold. These undocumented shoppers predictably morphed into flash mobs that could clear out a store like Biblical locusts. What the bliss ninnies in California failed to realize is that a functional system of law and order system is part bluff—the fine citizens far outnumber the cops—and the masses called their bluff. Major retailers pulling businesses out of Shit City include Nordstrom,16 John Chachas,17 165-year-old Gump’s,18 and Whole Foods.19 I imagine every other store will eventually leave. San Francisco is now Detroit but without Detroit’s charm.

Stores like Walgreens and Walmart are chaining up their cabinets like an antique emporium, a failed business model requiring a massive staff to supervise and assist customers.20,21 The icty now has a real live pirate problem—argh!—in which thieves steal boats to steal other shit.22 San Francisco belatedly ended its mask mandate, but landlords are still waiting to charge rents.23 The city’s problems have it on the cusp of insolvency, looking at over $200 million in budget cuts to avoid a “doom loop.”24

We’ll look carefully to see whether this is a one-off situation and they’re fundamentally law-abiding people…

~ Larry Krasner, progressive Philadelphia district attorney on arrested looters

The devil is in the details:

  • While doing a story on the deplorable condition of San Francisco, the CNN truck under heavy surveillance by paid guards got ripped off in four seconds.25 Pit crews at the Indy 500 are studying the footage.

  • One ambitious guy got arrested ten times in one month. His tenth was at the police station, when he tried to retrieve his property with a stolen car.26

  • The Cruise robo-taxi startup supposedly running autonomous taxis in San Francisco—I did not know they existed yet—has discovered they are excellent for both amateurs and pros for quickies.27 I get the name “cruise”.

  • Police are urging people to carry air horns.28

  • Five percent of Target’s inventory somehow bypasses the barcode scanners.

It should come as no surprise that looting spread to other cities when the locals realized that San Francisco didn’t lack the laws but rather the manpower to stop flash mobs.

  • Name-brand items like Tide detergent are not being carried because there is a strong black market for the good stuff….by the Tide Podlers.29

  • Portland, Oregon lost Walmart, REI, and Nike because of shoplifting.30,31 This is Kharma for the Portland lefties. Cracker Barrel is pulling out because there are too many lefties and not enough crackers.32

Efforts to mitigate the damage ushered in by bad decisions led to more bad decisions and goofy solutions worthy of bullets:

  • Baltimore is suing Kia and Hyundai because their cars are too easy to steal.33

  • The democratic brain trust in Chicago came up with a great plan: ask the criminals to only shoot guns between 9 PM and 9 AM to minimize the risk of innocent people.34 That’s right up there with a proposal to have city-owned grocery stores as Walmart and Whole Foods exits, leaving behind “food deserts.”35

  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has decided her call to defund the police was boneheaded and is calling for more police to stem the soaring murder rate.36

  • A union in Los Angeles wants to fill all hotel rooms left vacant at 2:00 PM into rooms to be provided to the homeless.37 That would be all hotel rooms.

  • A prominent Minnesota Democrat changed her tune on defunding and dismantling the police department after a carjacker put some whoop-ass on her.38 “These men knew what they were doing. I have NO DOUBT they have done this before. Yet they are still on OUR STREETS.” Where is Kyle Rittenhouse when you need him?

  • The Austin, Texas police have urged robbery victims not to call 911 but rather call 311, the line for non-emergencies.39

  • The entire police force of Goodhue, Minnesota resigned.40

  • A left-wing Philadelphia journalist relentlessly mocked those concerned with rising crime in Democrat-run cities. In one tweet he was chortling at some guy predicting he would be dead if Biden got elected. He was shot to death in his home.

Frontier Justice 

My dad told me a story of a friend who was being shaken down by a two-bit thug. The cops said he could defend himself, so he bought a gun and, during the next shake-down, emptied it into the punk. Problem solved. Twitter is beginning to be populated with videos of store owners defending their property—exercising “castle doctrine.”

When I was in NYC in the late 70s, Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels patrolled the subway system to restore law and order. In a recent looting, a couple of patrons at Home Depot tackled a looter and constrained him with zip ties until the cops arrived. Meanwhile, to avoid legal risk, corporate America is firing employees who defend the stores.

Are we entering a period in which vigilante justice is our only option? Such a turbulent period may be unavoidable, but invisible forces are opposing this response. Take the shopkeeper who got the drop on a thief threatening to pull a gun and managed to beat the crook with a stick. It was quite the win for the good guys until the district attorney decided to prosecute the shopkeeper for assault.42 That district attorney is worthy of the business end of a Louisville Slugger. When we punish the law-abiding citizens for defending their rights, society has stage-III syphilis.

The Saga of Daniel Penny

This brings us to the sad and ominous story of Daniel Penny and Jordan Williams. Mentally unstable Jordan Neely gets on the subway in NYC and starts threatening people: “I don’t care if I have to kill the motherfucker, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet” recalled him saying by one passenger. “The people on the train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives.” Neely had been arrested 44 times43 for various subway assaults, including rearranging the face of an old lady. Riders panicked and dialed 911, which requires quite a risk to trigger 911 calls from New Yorkers.44,45 One of the witnesses who filmed the event told NBC that Neely got on the train and “began to say a somewhat aggressive speech, saying he was hungry, he was thirsty, that he didn’t care about anything, he didn’t care about going to jail, he didn’t care that he gets a big life sentence.”46

After some delay, ex-marine Daniel Penny joined forces with African-American Jordan Williams to subdue Neely. Let me digress for a moment by explaining what this means. My wife has, on several occasions, delivered some ‘tude to a stranger that could have been avoided. (I especially appreciated the guff given to a heavily tattooed gentleman at a demolition derby.) I explained the flaw in her thinking as follows (paraphrased from memory, of course):

Here is the deal, Sweet Potato: you could have left me with no option but to get physical. At that point, I am in a life-and-death situation. I have no choice but to get the drop on my would-be assailant and incapacitate him, possibly permanently, because I can’t afford to exchange punches. I will then end up in court and possibly even prison, so please stop picking fights for me.

This may sound rash if you are a cloistered nitwit who has no idea how brutal street fights can be. I suggest you check out Twitter feeds including @FightMate or search “Fights at IHOP” on YouTube. The key message is that physical intervention is a serious step into the darkness. In the case of subduing an angry assailant, it can get worse owing to what is called “excited delirium” in which the state of the assailant’s agitation enables superhuman strength and irrational behavior. From a research paper in Police Practice and Research:47,48

Researchers recognized excited delirium as “a state of extreme mental and physiological excitement, characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength and endurance without apparent fatigue….Intervention options are less effective against people experiencing excited delirium. Unfortunately, this may mean more force will be necessary to overcome resistance, and with more force, there is an increased risk of officer and suspect injury…Excited delirium encounters can be dangerous medical emergencies that simultaneously place officers, subjects, and communities at risk. It’s recommended that officers who intervene in cases involving probable excited delirium respond with containment and quick, coordinated, multiple restraint techniques that minimize the suspect’s exertion and maximize their ability to breathe.

From the above excerpt and all those videos I urged you to watch, if you release the constraint prematurely, you may die. Here is a good samaritan who paid a price:

The bottom line is that if you get into it with some whackjob, you may have to kill him. A witness said that Penny “refrained from jumping in and using force to subdue Neely until there was a threat of violence,” but eventually Penny and Williams moved to constrain Neely. Some witnesses were concerned that Neely was looking a little sketchy (choking on his spit), but Williams (the black dude) assured them they were not choking him: “He’s not squeezing,” said Williams. Neely eventually stopped struggling and Penny and Williams released him 90 seconds later—I timed it49—and immediately positioned him on his side to optimize his breathing. He either died on the spot or died at the hospital, depending on your source. You might even be able to see Neely take a breath after Penny released him but that could be the non-scientific “death rattle.”50 Witnesses on the scene said Penny and Williams were heroes. “Mr. Penny cared for people. That’s what he did…This isn’t about race. This is about people of all colors who were very, very afraid and a man who stepped in to help them.”51

The liars in the press looking to stir up a race war decided to create George Floyd 2.0 by vilifying Penny as a murderer while leaving the role of African-American Williams oddly in the shadows. (I keep saying African-American because some mouth breathers lack the intellectual minetailings to spot the racial motivations of the authorities.) They said Penny choked Neely for “15 minutes” rather than 90 seconds,52,53 ignoring the 13.5 minutes of excited delirium and that a real choke hold can knock somebody out in under 20 seconds. In 2020, I dug into what it takes to kill a guy by choking him while examining the Floyd death and the role of Derek Chauvin.54 It takes more than five minutes, not 90 seconds, before death becomes a risk. Daniel Penny described how the events played out.55

Penny was charged with manslaughter. What about Williams who teamed up with Penny? They worked together as a team. Well, after a protracted couple of weeks, they eventually realized they had to pretend to indict him, but then all charges were dropped.56 So this is pure racism by the prosecutor. Did the district attorney succumb to public pressure? Not really. The district attorney who brought the charges was Alvin Bragg,57 the same Morlock who weaponized the judicial system for political gain by going rogue on Trump.58 He is a despicable opportunist. A piece of shit. Go get your fourth booster Mr. Bragg.

The family that let Neely wander the subway and be homeless for a decade without finding a way to assist him suddenly decided that they cared about him quite deeply after all and have sued Daniel Penny for wrongful death.59 Good luck collecting after he is destroyed by legal bills.

Why make such a big deal of this one event? First, this is January 6th revisited for me. The weaponization of the justice system will be a major contributor to the downfall of our nation. If you don’t think so, just wait until “the other team” is in power and they start putting your sorry ass in the slammer. More importantly, Bragg’s moves have sent a very clear message: never help a person in distress because you will end up being prosecuted. Just pull out your cell phone like every other coward in society whose testicles never descended and film the atrocity. It’s a shame Daniel Penny doesn’t have Alec Baldwin’s street creds. Well, time to move on cause this ship isn’t gonna sink itself.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Ideas that are annealed in the furnace of debate.

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The media serves up an AI-generated image of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. telling you what he says and thinks. He is a total crank. Just ask the mainstream media filled with well-seasoned prostitutes trying to take him down. If, however, you actually listen to what he says, it creates a very different picture. He is this election cycle’s rising dark-horse progressive. Maybe I am not being fair to Vivek Ramaswamy who says all the right things from the right wing, but Vivek seems too produced, manifesting the authenticity of a boy-band. RFK Jr is the most exciting entrant to the political arena with no chance of inheriting the Oval Office. I have a long-shot bet that the DNC accepts their responsibility to serve up a potentially credible leader as their candidate and bites the bullet with a Kennedy nomination.

Much the way Trump weaponized Twitter for his presidential run, RFK Jr and Ramaswamy have tapped the Age of the Podcast. Kennedy will do any podcast including Greenwald,1 Dave Smith,2 Lex Fridman,3 as well as such luminaries as Alex Jones (which I can no longer find), Mike Tyson,4 and Dane Wigington (of Chemtrails fame).5 Having binge-watched many podcasts and even spent some time on a Zoom call with Kennedy, I will say that he is not the perfect candidate but is attempting to express his ideas clearly and honestly. He is by no means a crank but rather an outspoken progressive who has been scarred by fights with powerful forces over decades as he legally battled regulatory capture. There have been stumbles, corrections, and maybe a few fibs, but he is also a very quick learn on complex subjects and can openly and frankly change his stance. For those who have an aversion to one of his views, chin up: he may learn and change.

So let’s take a quick peek at my takes on his takes. This, of course, is paradoxical because I admonished you seconds ago not to read about what he said, but at least I provide the links to help you check.

Anti-vaccine quack RFK Jr. has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president as a Democrat… Kennedy is such a healthcare menace, in 2019, even his cousins wrote an op-ed criticizing his anti-science views on life-saving vaccines.6

~ Jake Tapper, CNN talking head, DNC shill, and all-around jackwagon

Vaccines.

Kennedy’s views on vaccines are the stuff of legend. I will reiterate a couple but urge you to read The Real Anthony Fauci to understand his multi-decade battles with pharma that have left him bruised and battered with a deep-seated disdain for Fauci. I doubt any reasonable person can read 100 pages without getting irate. Kennedy’s public stance is that he supports all vaccines that are safe and effective, but he trusts few of them. He takes serious issue with their excessive use and with the manufacturers, after getting hit with $35 billion of legal penalties, demanding and getting a complete backstopping of all culpability by the government. When pharma is immune to the consequences of vaccine injuries, they will promote unsafe vaccines without fear of consequences.7 I agree with Kennedy.

Lockdowns.

He emphatically declared the lockdowns to have been unwarranted and the $16 trillion cost prohibitive.8 He refers to the pandemic and the State’s response to it as a coup d’etat, coming off as more libertarian than bark-eating liberal.9

Only two families said they were claiming political persecution. The rest just told us openly they were coming here to make money, coming here for a better life. So, they didn’t even have that claim. And those immigrants shouldn’t be allowed into the country. We should stop that at the border…. They get extorted. They get raped. They get robbed.10

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Immigration.

RFK was an open-border supporter. His sister Rory Kennedy created an award-winning 2010 documentary The Fence making a case against The Wall. But then he visited the border for two days in 2023 and morphed into an advocate of immigration control.11 On his visit, he found only two families claiming persecution with arguments that reached the legal bar. Hispanics were AWOL, with North Africans and Chinese representing the vast percentage of immigrants.

I went down to the border feeling that Trump has made a mistake on the wall, but I feel like people need to be able to recalibrate their worldview when they’re confronted with evidence.

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Social programs.

He is a classic social democrat, proposing programs for those not living the American dream that sound good but have little history of working. On the heels of his relatively new views on restricted immigration, one can’t help but wonder what his views on the homeless might become. His openly stated desire to bring US spending under control, however, causes him to overtly denounce solutions involving big-government programs. An old-school liberal with a fear of budget overrun is arguably not an old-school liberal.

We must provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself — now.

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Israel.

RFK’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict cannot possibly be a minor campaign issue nor is it likely to be static over time given that the conflict is looking quite kinetic. He has, however, come out squarely in support of Israel:12,13,14,15 This might be shaped by an awkward moment in which he casually noted that the Chinese and the Jews showed a greater resistance to Covid.16 Those at the table flinched. On cue, he was immediately pegged as anti-semitic. It just so happens that he was quoting a scientific paper that showed the biochemical basis of his statement.17,18,19 What he learned that day is something Dave Chappelle relayed to Kanye West: nothing good comes from putting two words together—“the” and “Jews.”

I have been fighting engineering solutions to environmental problems.20

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Climate Change.

This is a hot-button topic for me, and my first exposure to Kennedy’s ideas appeared to be place him squarely in opposition. (See the section on “Climate Change.”) A video showed him threatening to jail climate deniers, which sounds like it might include me:21

I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at the Hague with all the other war criminals that are there. I think those [politicians] are selling out the public trust. I think those guys that are doing the Koch Brothers bidding and who against all the evidence of the rational mind are saying that global warming doesn’t exist that they are contemptible human beings, and I wish there were a law you could punish them under. I don’t think there is a law that you can punish those politicians under, but do I think the Koch Brothers should be punished for reckless endangerment? Absolutely. That’s a criminal offense, and they ought to be serving time for it.

He responded by pointing out that it was taken out of context and parsed very conveniently.21 I found his explanation in which he was referring to overt polluters to be extreme but not psychotic. Where it gets interesting is that he notes in other statements that climate issues are being “exploited” to impose “totalitarian controls” over the populace, drawing an analogy to Covid.22

Climate issues and pollution issues are being exploited by … mega billionaires…The same way that Covid was exploited to use it as an excuse to clamp down top-down totalitarian controls on society and then to give us engineering solutions.ref yy

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Bitcoin.

As a bitcoin agnostic, I don’t care too much but in a podcast with a bitcoin enthusiast he left me slack-jawed by his grasp of the nuances of cryptocurrencies.24 As noted above, he is a fast learner.

If the government has the capacity to shut down your bank account and starve you to death and get you thrown out of your home and make it so you can’t feed your children, it has the capacity to make slaves of all of us.25

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Chemtrails.

In a rather remarkable podcast, RFK chats with Dane Wigington, one of the more legendary promoters of how those streaks in the sky are nefarious actions of the New World Order. RFK largely played devil’s advocate on the existence and purpose of chemtrails. I will touch on this topic again, but Kennedy neither endorses nor summarily dismisses the chemtrail narrative.

Ukraine.

Kennedy laid out in detail that our foreign policy in Ukraine is atrocious and we should get the hell out of there.26,27 His position squares nicely with mine laid out in lurid detail in 202228 and amplified below. He also admits in the same Greenwald interview that he got duped by the Russia collusion story used to attack Trump and has now done a 180.29

I would put a statue of Snowden in Washington. What Snowden released nobody in our country knew about. That the intelligence agencies were mining all of our data and spying on Americans…Assange I’m going to pardon.30

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Opposition.

As noted, I don’t think RFK is getting near the Oval Office. He got pushback that was reminiscent of Ron Paul in 2008 on almost every topic. Here are some examples of opposition showing its true colors:

  • The democrats tried to stop him from testifying to Congress on the evils of censorship.31 The irony of censoring talks on censorship was lost only on the Congressional democrats. He proceeded to beat them like rented mules in his testimony. He noted that the 101 Congressmen and women who signed the letter to censor him played the anti-Semite card.

  • RFK’s interview by Mike Tyson describing how the CIA whacked his father and how the case against Sirhan Sirhan would have crumbled had it gone to court was deleted by YouTube.32 As is becoming patently obvious, the CIA has the final say on all online media sites.

  • In an ABC interview, RFK got massively censored (edited) with a follow-up disclaimer that we are not allowed to see what he said because he made false claims about the vaccine.33 That is what worthless sacks of shit called “mainstream media” do in authoritarian states.

  • The DNC declared that they had “no plans to sponsor primary debates,” even with multiple candidates vying for the party’s nomination.34 They provided their full support to that child sniffing,35 compulsively lying,36 and underachieving former senator who is 51 cards short of a full deck. (Yes: I am fed up with Potus.) The DNC decided that the primary votes accrued by any candidate who even sets foot in Iowa or New Hampshire would default to President Brandon.37

The CIA is the world’s biggest sponsor of “journalism.”38

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Many are unaware that the DNC is a private not-for-profit with the power to pick candidates any way they want. They were kept in check historically by two restoring forces: (1) anybody with a half of a brain would abandon them and start a new party, and (2) I could imagine that RICO charges could be levied for raising funds using pretenses. (Of course, the DNC has weaponized the Department of Justice, so that would never happen…unless the RNC regains power.) The superdelegate system is so lopsided that an interloper like Kennedy has no chance of commandeering the nomination; he is now an independent. I hope he does some damage. It is quite clear that the DNC has lost all moral or legal obligation to offer us a candidate even minimally capable of leading the nation. Cornpop39 would be an improvement over Biden.

They’ve passed a rule that says any candidate who actively campaigns in New Hampshire that the delegates they win will not be allowed into the convention. It’s not a good template for Democracy.40

~ Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Assassinations.

It seems pretty clear to many that if RFK got even a whiff of the presidency he would follow in the family tradition and get his ass capped by the CIA to the applause of Big Pharma. He has been inflicting huge reputational damage to the CIA by accusing them of killing his uncle (JFK)41 and his father (RFK, Sr.) After years of turning a blind eye, he looked at the case against Sirhan Sirhan and suggested that Sirhan Sirhan was a product of MKUltra,42 the CIA’s program for brainwashing assassins-in-training and patsies. (Sorry folks, but MKUltra is real and, in my opinion, still today.)

I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F Kennedy, Jr is not warranted at this time.43

~ Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, after 88 days of stalling

All viable presidential candidates have been offered Secret Service protection since his father was shot, but RFK, Jr was denied.44 When Joe Rogan asked him what he thought would happen if he managed to get into office, Kennedy replied, “I gotta be careful. I’m aware of that danger. I don’t live in fear of it — at all. But I’m not stupid about it, and I take precautions.” I suspect he would release the last of the Warren Commission papers, the ones that Tucker Carlson claims show the CIA did it.45 Watch for those little red laser dots on your chest, Bobby. I also fear that his flame burned brightly and dimmed too early. His social media presence may have peaked. The Onion showed why the Babylon Bee is the New King.

Jeffrey Epstein.

It turns out RFK, Jr. rode on the Lolita Express twice. Oh, here come the Guardians of Gotcha! Welp, it turns out to have been in 1993, the trips were to Florida, and he brought his wife and kids. Kinda puts the damper on the pervy shit.46

Climate Change–Epilogue

The Only Way to Get to 1.5 Degrees of Global Warming is Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, Money.1

~ John Kerry, US climate Czar

As of 2016, I was largely on board the climate change narrative owing to my faith in the scientific community. After I was challenged to question that stance by my brother and a digital acquaintance, Dr. David Walker, I have done a U-turn and am sanguine with my current stance that climate change is the largest hoax in the history of science to paraphrase Richard Lindzen, geophysicist at MIT. The hoax is fueled by a combination geopolitical forces and tens of trillions of dollars of government largesse—an estimated $150 trillion over the next decades2—to buy adherents of many and complicit silence from others.

“You don’t believe in climate change? What a Luddite!” is the rallying cry of the cultists, and I do not use the term cultists loosely. I wrote about my journey in 2019 (pg 53).3 This grift demanding an urgent response to ward off catastrophe decades from now will obstinately persist because it will always be decades from now. One of the early denialists, Michael Crichton, reminds us to read headlines from decades ago and ask how many catastrophic predictions played out as the panicky press declared.4 We are forever being shamed to do it for our children and grandchildren.

I will not adjudicate the case again for my climate denial stance, but each year I top off my denial narrative with fresh tidbits. Here is a decent primer for those who did not realize it was a debate and not just “The Science.”5 For serious analyses and fabulous archival data, check out Watts Up With That?6 I also did a podcast with climate denialist, Tom Nelson, that touched upon climate change before I drove it off a cliff into darker topics.6a

How can I possibly spit in the face of a massive scientific community that has reached a nearly perfect 97% consensus? Let’s begin with that 97% consensus narrative as one of the biggest lies. It stems from a horrifically bad survey of the literature in which half the papers were irrelevant, and by the miracles of statistical massaging, 0.4% of the papers claiming climate change is a crisis was spun into a 97% consensus.7,8,9 This garbage is cited widely by a community willing to knowingly live with the lie. There are many more lies. Princeton physicist and former presidential advisor, Will Happer, laments that they keep changing the data from the past to fit the narrative.10

If you have to lie to make your point you don’t have a very good point.

~ Jimmy Dore

The absence of credible scientists denying climate change is another whopper. A few hours of thoughtful pursuit will reveal that many prominent scientists—especially a large population of elite physicists—have nothing but scorn for the field (pg 53).11,12 Those doing good climate science—and there are undoubtedly many—are forced to sell their scientific souls through willful blindness and unwillingness because their professional lives depend on not calling out the con artists. The authorities and their captured media lied us into every military conflict for over a century. Metaphorical Wars on Drugs, Terror, Poverty, and Communism are designed to be fought at considerable cost but never won. Replace “War” with “Grift” and you are getting closer to the truth. The Gell-Mann amnesia effect—our ability to doubt the media on subjects we understand but to believe all the others—allows these narratives to move forward unimpeded.

Precious few are willing to question credentialed experts. We just witnessed a wholesale delusion because scientists and doctors were unwilling or professionally unable to challenge even a shard of the Covid narrative. Trust The Science.TM We never witnessed open and active debate. Those who questioned the narrative suffered massive destruction of their careers and livelihoods. To quote Elon Musk, to those who foisted the lie on otherwise decent people, “Go fuck yourselves.” Climate scientists who step in front of the climate narrative suffer a similar fate. To those pushing this narrative by preventing open and honest debate, “Go fuck yourselves.”

The following nuggets are not intended to convince Eric Hoffer’s “True Believers”13 to re-evaluate their position—it would take an act of God to do that—but to throw more shade on the narrative to assist and perhaps entertain those already in doubt. Meanwhile, the Associated Press and other news agencies will continue to accept bribes to push the catastrophe narrative.14 The Flagulents will continue to stop rush-hour traffic by gluing themselves to the road,15 deface priceless paintings,16 vandalize gas-guzzling SUVs,17 and even block London’s pride parade.18 PBS will teach us to cope with “climate anxiety.”19 (Let me help: turn off PBS.)

Claims 

The press is a goldmine of preposterous claims illustrating the triumph of ignorance. Climate change is the default for brain addled journalists incapable of forming coherent thoughts on their own. Here are some of the ideas spewing from their brain stems:

  • Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere leads to more plants growing more quickly. Because plants don’t consume all the CO­2 they absorb, that means more plants are releasing even more CO­2­ into the atmosphere!20 Nobody would buy this crap right? Think again…

  • There were 500 more major league home runs because of climate change over the last decade.21 So much for Big-League Science. For the sake of humanity, stop injecting the trees with steroids.

  • Climate change is causing kidney stones in children owing to dehydration.22 They say hospitals are opening up “stone clinics.”23 They are, no doubt, to be subsidized by money allocated to fight the crisis. Given that a couple-hundred-foot change in elevation or a few hundred miles north or south can alter the average temperature, parents should choose where they raise their kids carefully. If you live in New York, do not move to Pennsylvania.

  • The Messenger Business tells us climate change is ruining the quality of your beer (unless you still drink Bud Light, which has been declared turtle piss as of this year.)24

The natural instinct of the entire world to blame every hiccup on climate change leads to a rhetorical question that haunts me. Recall all the problems we have faced and solved through clear-headed reckoning. Imagine that we were facing the loss of the raptors in the world because DDT was thinning their shells, causing a massive collapse in their populations. If that problem from the 1960s surfaced today, would we be able to get to that conclusion or simply blame it on climate change? Answer: We would royally fuck it up.

Solutions and Mitigation

Because of the pandemic of juvenile kidney stones and major-league home runs, we must do something. Some shockingly stupid solutions are being batted about:

  • The crowd blaming trees for expelling CO­2 has recommended mass deforestation.25

  • Britain’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) told the Limeys not to heat their homes in the evening. To get to the Net Zero target by 2030 either home heating or private jets are gonna have to go.26 To say the enthusiasm for the plan was muted would be an understatement.

  • Scotland chopped down 16 million carbon-sequestering trees to build windmills.27

  • Many support geoengineering as our savior. That is where you intentionally blanket the earth with a cloud of shit (aluminum particles, for example), to block the sun’s rays.28 I cringe at the damage they could do to the planet but chuckle at how blocking the sun would undermine that grand scheme to exploit solar energy. All of the solutions to the problems caused by bad weather rely on predictably good weather. In a 1995 Simpsons episode, Mr. Burns built a giant shade to block the sun as part of a plan to force the city to rely on his power plant,29 which explains why Bill Gates likes the idea so much. This idea is so insane that the solar-powered bright bulbs of Congress are now interested.30

  • Democrats in the State of Washington State want incarceration for those using gas-powered leaf blowers and edgers.31

  • Klaus Scwab’s daughter seems to be carrying the authoritarian standard into the fray by promoting “climate lockdowns.” She is from a mutant lineage. There are tons of fact checks denying this one. Collum’s Law: the more fact-checks, the more somebody is hiding something.

  • In one of the more comical chapters, the People’s Republic of California proposed a total replacement of gas-powered vehicles by electric vehicles (EVs) the same week that they asked the citizenry to abstain from charging their EV’s owing to the fragile grid.32 On the not-so-improbable chance Gavin Newsom rides in to save the Democratic ticket on a solar-powered steed, remember: you are voting for a member of a crime family.

  • Some Scientologists suggest it is time to bring back food rationing.33,34

Green energy has two problems: it’s not really green, and it’s not really energy.

~ Alex Epstein

  • Gasoline cars spew out 3% of global CO­2 emissions,35 so go ahead and buy that Tesla, but you better check into the cost of replacement batteries (up to $20,00036) and generic repair work before you plunk down the cash. Also, hope it doesn’t blow the hell up.37

  • Get rid of gas stoves! This idea also came out of the Bad Idea Factory, California, but found its way inside the Beltway fast.38,39

  • RedState says couples are passing up having kids altogether.39 If you decide you don’t want to have any children, just call John Podesta to take them off your hands.

  • The Los Angeles Times endorses the occasional blackout.40

  • Daily Mail says some doctors suggest that using less anesthetic during surgery would measurably reduce our carbon footprint.41 Some doc tries that on me, and I will pull out of my shallow stupor and personally reduce their carbon footprint.

  • Introduce climate taxes.42 This one is already here and growing.

  • Gigantic solar-powered air conditioners could cool the Earth. OK. I made that one up, but it’s no dumber than some of the others.

  • The Federal Reserve has decided that climate change mitigation is under their jurisdiction now that they have gotten control over inflation and dollar debasement.43

  • The New York Times suggests that if we mate with shorter people this will decrease the carbon footprint of our offspring.44 It has added perqs if the little lady has a flat head.

  • We could elect a new president:

It’s only gonna get worse with global warming and climate change ’cause people can’t live in certain parts of this world.45

~ Joy Bahar

The Climate Grift

At the turn of the century, the titans of industry and carpet baggers bribed politicians to stay out of their way. In the modern era with huge government budgets, politicians are bribed to hand over huge sums of what was formerly your money. We are in the Age of Grift, and climate change is running neck-and-neck with the War Machine.

  • The carbon baggers at JPMorgan Chase are going green by purchasing $200 million of carbon credits from several companies building a pipeline to ship CO­2 from somewhere to somewhere else. It’s kind of like the bathtub ring in The Cat in the Hat. The businesses haven’t any carbon and nobody has a clue what to do with it anyway, but the carbon credits (a generous grift from the government) will “neutralize the bank’s environmental footprint” whatever the hell that means. This clown show promises to be profitable as JPM cleans up by moving bathtub rings.46 The Fed hikes will do wonders to reduce carbon footprints of regional banks.

  • The Biden administration is increasing the tax credit for solar and wind facilities in low-income areas.47 Will that make the farmers wealthy—I presume they are not installing them in “the hood”—or cause them to lose their farms by eminent domain?

  • A new $4 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Kansas is powered by enough coal to light up a small city (200–250 megawatts.)48 Leaving the idea of free market capitalism aside, why does a “$4.7 billion” plant need $6.8 billion subsidy from the ironicly named, “Inflation Reduction Act?”

  • China has fields packed with thousands of undriven electric cars left to rot (or explode).49

  • Batteries that consume huge natural resources, rely on massive child slave labor in the Congo, inflict environmental damage, and risk fires are a small price to pay for green soon-to-be toxic waste dumps masquerading as solar farms.

If you actually have a superior product, you don’t need the government to force it on people. If someone has a competitor to the iPhone, we would never say, ‘Oh, let’s just give them some $10 billion in subsidies.50

~ Alex Epstein (@AlexEpstein), climate pragmatist but naïve on “free market subsidies”

New Science

A few bits of scientific insight crossed my field of view despite my best efforts to stop consuming my relatively limited ATP and time on the issue. Some are new and others are new to me or just new perspectives.

  • Evidence from Greenland ice cores provides no support whatsoever of man-made climate change.51

  • Even as a chemist, it surprised me to learn that there’s more argon than CO2 in the atmosphere.

  • Arctic sediments show it was warmer 10,000 years ago and ice-free in the summers.52

  • Maine researchers noted a one-month spike of sea temperatures above the norm and declared a disaster.53 Check your gauges. Run a few controls. Statistically speaking, the odds of your panic being justified are 1/astronomical.

  • CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere. 3% of that came from humans and 5% of that 3% came from the US. Ergo, CO2 from the US is 0.00006% of the atmosphere.54 And if you drive an electric car it will change this math by 1/1.0 google.

  • Over the last 10 years, the US has witnessed a statistically random (average) number of temperature records.55 “The 1930s are still champs!” according to climatologist John Christy.

There are all kinds of myths and pseudoscience all over the place. I may be quite wrong, maybe they do know all these things, but I don’t think I’m wrong. You see, I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something, and therefore I see how they get their information, and I can’t believe that they know it. They haven’t done the work necessary, haven’t done the checks necessary, haven’t taken the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know, that this stuff is [wrong] and that they’re intimidating people.

~ Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999).

Now let’s look at a few charts for laughs.

The average temperature over the last 10 years…

The average temperature in all climate stations in February back to 1920…

…or the number of record highs reported across all weather stations back to 1920…

OK. This isn’t working. Let’s try average days between billion-dollar disasters over four decades…

Bingo! Eat that, Dave, you climate denier! Now correct for changes in the US population (up 1.5-fold), real rather than corrupted CPI-based inflation, and monotonically expanding coastal land development, and you realize this plot is total bullshit.56 Ignore it, or chuck some tomato soup on a Renoir.

Even if that plot were legit, let’s gander at deaths in Europe, a continent with some legendary wholesale death stats over the centuries, attributable to temperature extremes

How ‘bout global deaths attributed to all extreme weather events…

There is one stat that really got the Cult’s underwear in a bunch. NASA says that the Antarctica ice coverage has been growing for over a decade,57,58 but everybody’s underwear shot right up their asses this year when the quantity of Antarctica sea ice plummeted. The first figure below shows the drop that Helen Keller could see. The figure after that shows the much more useful and monumental drop in units of standard deviations.59 Six standard deviations is a one-in-a-billion event. This is extraordinary, especially in the absence of any foreshadowing. But first, take a peek at that other year in which it also dropped six standard deviations in November but then fully recovered in a month. Seems improbable, eh? Also, if you Google this story, you find plots with different fine structures—different jiggles and wiggles. This does not happen with real data.

To explain this result, we bring out a modified version of Nassim Taleb’s story of Fat Tony:

Vinnie: “Hey Fookin’ Tony. I have a legitimate coin and flip it heads 30 times in a row. [That’s a 1-in-a-billion probability.] What are the odds if I flip it again I’ll get tails?

Tony: Zero.

Vinnie: Nope. It’s 50:50 odds.

Tony: It’s zero. The coin is rigged.

Vinnie: I said the coin was legitimate.

Tony: You lied.

I don’t know what went wrong with their data, but somebody lied. The other maxim is that when data deviates from your model by six standard deviations, it’s time to get another model (said in the voice of Bullwinkle Moose.) A more thoughtful analysis says that the ice got pushed by high winds poleward, causing the mass to remain constant, but the thickness change went undetected.60 It still seems like 1-in-a-billion probability that the climate scientologists inadvertently failed to account for ice thickness, so I am going with, “you lied.”

Opposition

The overwhelming impression conveyed is one of impending disaster riding in on the menace of global warming.61 The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres refers to it as “global boiling.”62 Could you be anymore hyperbolic than that, Tony? I pay attention to prominent climate deniers if for no other reason than to feel like one of the cool kids. And I am seeing more and more papers challenging the climate clowns continue to surface. (I suspect the horrific performance of the scientific community’s handling of Covid might be growing some spines.) I find it especially encouraging there were some interesting cameo appearances by those willing to ponder alternative narratives.

  • Outspoken climate change expert and critic, Roger Pielke Jr., called it “one of the most egregious failures of scientific publishing that I have seen” when a top academic journal retracted published research doubting a climate emergency after negative coverage in legacy media.63

  • I had been waiting for Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying to take a stand on climate change. While not prominent scientists in the usual sense, they are fearless and pedagogically brilliant. I was not disappointed as they tore at the scientific adipose hanging off the narrative.64 I tried to get Joe Rogan to take it on a few years back, but he balked and replied: “Is this anything you’ve ever spoken about publicly? It’s such a land mine discussion.” Getting on a Rogan podcast is my Holy Grail.

  • The winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, John Clauser, joins a long list of elite physicists calling bullshit on climate change.65 His big gripe is the total failure to account for clouds, which are estimated to be 200 times more important than CO2­,66,67 noting that many are proferring “very dishonest information” and are guilty of “breaches of dishonesty.” “We’re talking about trillions of dollars…powerful people don’t want to hear that they’ve made trillion-dollar mistakes.” Of course, the climate community jumped on him immediately, noting he was just another old, white physicist who is not a member of The Cult. Once his views on climate change went viral, his scheduled talk at the International Monetary Fund was cancelled.68

  • A prominent climate scientist named Patrick Brown wrote an op-ed about the amount of bullshit he recently had to sling to get a climate change paper published in the elite journal, Nature.69,70 He admits to the hyperbole, omission of less flashy details, and focus on the flashy and spectacular parts necessary to “publish or perish.” It was a refreshingly honest confession, but as a 20-year veteran journal editor, I am unconvinced he understood the magnitude of the fraud he committed. He left academia a year ago “partially because I felt the pressures put on academic scientists caused too much of the research to be distorted.” He may have inadvertently left the publishing world altogether and maybe his current job too.

  • John Stossel interviewed Judith Curry.71 as part of her book tour.72 Judith was an elite climate scientist who broke from the narrative and was left to scientifically die on a (melting) ice flow.

  • Berlin voters appear to have had enough green activism, voting 82% to bag the idea of attaining Net Zero by 2030.73

  • Senator John Kennedy (R, Louisiana) hammered two cluelessness climate experts who were promoting tens of trillions of dollars in spending to repel global warming.74 They had no idea what would be done, the cost, and the effect. They were also incapable of predicting what the big polluters—China and India—would be doing during our period of great sacrifice.

  • The Climate analog of the Great Barrington Declaration—a petition to declare climate change is not an emergency—was passed around to carefully vetted elite scientists. It got over 1,800 signatures, including mine.75 (OK. Maybe not “elite” but carefully vetted.) I know names that are not there that should be, so this is a work in progress.

  • A University of Chicago poll shows that the belief in the climate narrative has slipped from 60% to 49% in the last five years. A more global poll showed 40% now believe the changes are natural.76 “The ‘official narrative’ on man-made climate change has been vehemently amplified by every single major government entity, corporation, media outlet and cultural institution in existence.”76a I’ll repeat, overplaying Covid and the vaccine may have come at a considerable loss of scientific credibility. How does the scientific community get its credibility back? Simple: stop lying your fucking asses off and clean the charlatans out of the field. Otherwise, GFY.

  • Fed Governor Christopher Waller has dared to proclaim that climate change does not pose “significantly unique or material” financial stability risks that the Federal Reserve should treat it separately in its supervision of the financial system. “Climate change is real, but I do not believe it poses a serious risk to the safety and soundness of large banks or the financial stability of the United States…I believe risks posed by climate change are not sufficiently unique or material to merit special treatment.”77

  • Michael Shellenberger, famous conservationist turned climate denier, testified to Congress this year on media censorship78 and gives brilliant talks about third rails.79,80

Conclusion

While Greta was faking arrests81 in a vain attempt to keep her carbon footprint well-funded and the fact-checkers were busting keyboards protecting her legacy, the globalists pushing the climate narrative for fun and profit appear to be replacing Greta with Stanford student Sophia Kianni as the face, voice, and physique of the climate movement.82 It is a tactical mistake, in my opinion, but I can see serious merits—an activist with benefits

In moments of maximum frustration, I take an alternative approach by suggesting to my unsuspecting victims (formerly called friends) that we accept the climate predictions and ask, Do you really think you can see evidence of climate change by looking out the window? If the temperature is rising at some fraction of a degree per year, does the fact that your’s or Sophie’s ass was dripping sweat last summer tell you anything? (Is it getting warmer or is that just me?) Can you see where that heat spell in your hometown would fit on this long-term plot? See that flicker at the end? That is us emerging from what is referred to as “the Little Ice Age.”83

Weber’s law states that the change in a stimulus that will be just noticeable is a constant ratio of the original stimulus. It has been shown not to hold for extremes of stimulation.84

And if the sea level is rising 3 mm per year (which it has been doing for almost two centuries85), can you see it in the floods near your house? Can you see it in the chart below?

Deaths Caused By Hurricane Hillary To Be Labeled Suicides.

~ Babylon Bee

Will your beach house still be there in 50 years even if the sea level is not rising at all or hurricanes are not more frequent? Speaking of which, can you see the marked increase in hurricanes that is so obvious to Cultists and fear-mongering pundits?

Finally, can you really detect the ramping up of natural disasters in general?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, get your urologist to check you for kidney stones, breed with flat-headed hobbits, and buy a Tesla. The only electric vehicle that I would ever consider owning would be a two-seater with drink holders and room for two sets of golf clubs on the back.

Let me close this chapter on a somber note. I used to think the climate cultists were comical, but their prevalence stems from a much deeper, darker plot playing a central role in rising neo-Marxism and authoritarianism. The globalists will be monitoring and curbing your carbon footprint while the bankers and the techies consolidate an increasing percentage of the global wealth.86 The merging of corporate and government interests is the definition of fascism. Despite a noticeable stalling this year, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scoring will be used to allocate bank credit only to the politically correct and connected. The bankers are telling corporations to “get woke or go broke.” You will either toe the line—endorse the narrative—or lose access to the banking system.87 Hey Larry Fink: GFY.

Brandon Smith88 via Zerohedge89 noted that French President Emmanuel Macron says “the world needs a public finance shock” to fight global warming, noting the “the spiraling cost of weather disasters intensified by global warming”—a claim unsupported by any hard data—”is destabilizing.” Another globalist chimed in: “What is required of us now is absolute transformation and not reform of our institutions.” UN leader Antonio Guterres suggests tackling climate issues would “take a giant leap towards global justice.” Of course, trillions of dollars of “emission taxes” are locked and loaded for redistribution. The most authoritarian “Central Bank Digital Currencies” will be central to the globalists’ coup.

Farming needs to stop because it is the biggest driver of climate change.

~ Young man on the street displaying the IQ of a walnut

There is a war on farmers couched in the language of climate change. Farmers in Ireland and in Northern Europe have been nearly destroyed by the War on Farmers90,91,92 as brilliantly laid out by the Epoch Times.93 The claim is that farmers are creating nitrogen pollution from all that fertilizer. That is total horse shit. This thinly veiled authoritarian move superficially centralizes food production but also strips away farmland and slashes food production for reasons I cannot yet grasp. (One theory asserts that major tracts of farmland are being flushed free of farmers to make way for “smart cities.”)94 This “eating bugs” bullshit may be true, but it is also a distraction. The too-big-to-fail banks are already lining up to tell us what we can eat by controlling the money used to purchase food.95 John Kerry says that “food and agriculture can contribute to a low-methane future by improving farmer productivity and resilience,” but he is a clueless liar.96 Gates is the largest owner of farmland in the US, but I cannot yet grasp what evil lurks in the skull of this Club of Rome eugenicist by birth and by actions.97 I wrote dozens of pages on rising authoritarianism back in 2021 (pg 242).98 It is coming faster than I thought.

Let’s redo that and finish on a positive note. Here is the transcript of a compelling speech given to the Oxford Union by brilliant political satirist, Konstantin Kisin, who I had the extraordinary pleasure of sitting down for a chat this fall. I would have led with the speech, but it renders my analysis unneeded. I recommend listening to it,99 but here is the transcript. What is extraordinary is that I did not have to clean up the grammar, only add punctuation. He talks like this.

Konstantin Kisin Oxford Union speech:100

I want to talk to those of you who are woke and who are open to rational argument, a small minority I accept, because one of the tenets of wokeness, of course, is that your feelings matter more than the truth, but I believe in you. I believe there are those of you here who are woke, who are open to rational arguments. So let me make one. We are told that your generation cares more than any other about one issue in particular, and that issue’s climate change. We’re told that many of you suffer from climate anxiety. You wish to save the planet and, for tonight and tonight only, I will join you. I will join you in worshipping at the feet of Saint Greta of Climate Change.

Let us all accept right here right now that we are living through a climate emergency, and our stocks of polar bears are running extremely low. I join you in this view. I truly do. Now what are we to do about this huge problem facing humanity? What can we in Britain do? We can only do one thing. You know why? This country is responsible for two percent of global carbon emissions, which means that if Britain was to sink into the sea right now it would make absolutely no difference to the issue of climate change. You know why? Because the future of the climate is going to be decided in Asia and in Latin America by poor people who couldn’t give a shit about saving the planet. It’s going to be decided by poor people in Asia and Latin America who don’t care about saving the planet. No thank you. No thank you. You know why? Because they’re poor. Because they’re poor. I come from Russia, which is not a poor country. It’s a middle-income country.

Twenty percent of households in Russia do not have an indoor toilet. What they have is an outdoor toilet, and I don’t mean one of those nice porta loos that we get here. I don’t even mean a Glastonbury porta loo. I mean a wooden shack with a hole in the ground. The hole’s a collected fermented memory of the last 10,000 visits. How many of you are going to go home tonight and say, “Let’s rip out our bathroom and erect a Siberian shithouse in the back Garden”, and if you’re not why should they? 120 million people in China who do not have enough food? I don’t mean that they don’t get dessert. I mean they suffer from malnutrition; that means that their immune system is breaking down because they don’t have enough food. You’re not going to get them to stay poor.

Imagine Xi Jinping, the leader of China. When you were ten years old there was a revolution—a cultural revolution in your country—and people came, and they threw your father in prison, your mother had to denounce him, your sister killed herself, and you, no longer enjoying the protection of your formerly powerful father, were sent to a village where you lived in a cave house. And here you are decades later; you have clawed your way up the bloody and greasy pole of Chinese politics to be the undisputed supreme leader of the very Communist Party that destroyed your family, and you know that the main thing you have to do to survive and to stay in power is to deliver the one thing that the people of China want: prosperity—economic growth. Where do you think climate change ranks on XI Jinping’s list of priorities? A third of all children who live in extreme poverty in the world live in India. That means they are starving and dying of preventable diseases now.

Now about 15 months ago my wife got pregnant—not me, because we’re old school—and for nine months we talked about what our boy would look like, what he might do when he grows up. We looked at baby scans and videos on YouTube about what the fetus looks like at nine [weeks] and 12 [weeks] and 20 [weeks] and eventually he was born, and he is this cute little bundle of joy. He’s cuter than about eighty percent of puppies, right? Now if you said to me that I had a choice: either my son had a serious risk of starving or dying from a preventable disease in the next year or I could press a button and he would live, he would go to school, he would bring his first girlfriend home, he’d go to university and graduate and become a woke idiot. And then he’d get a job and get married and have children and become a man. But all I have to do is press this button and for every day of my son’s life, a giant plume of CO2 is going to get released into the atmosphere. Now you’re all very young, and most of you are not parents. Let me tell you something: there is not a parent in the world who would not smash that button so hard their hand bled. You are not going to get these people to stay poor. You’re not even going to get them to not want to be richer.

And so I put it to you, ladies and gentlemen: there is only one thing we can do in this country to stop climate change, and that is to make scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create the clean energy that is not only clean but also cheap. And the only thing that wokeness has to offer in exchange is to brainwash bright young minds like yours to believe that you are victims, to believe that you have no agency, to believe that what you must do to improve the world is to complain, is to protest, is to throw soup on paintings. And we on this side of the house are not on this side of the house because we do not wish to improve the world. We sit on this side of the house because we know that the way to improve the world is to work, is to create, is to build, and the problem with work culture is that it has trained too many young minds like yours to forget about that.

Thank you very much.

[loud applause]

News Nuggets

I love collecting news nuggets that tickle my fancy. They are usually a tad edgy. I was torn about whether to include them in part 2 on the logic that they are really part of the year being reviewed or holding them until the belated part 3, when sorting through more notes is likely to dredge up more human folly. I’ve chosen the former.

Nuggets are presented randomly as follows:

  • A Chinese weather balloon flew across the country while people were mesmerized at how stupid we are. Seems likely that the entire story is slathered with bullshit. In an effort to regain public confidence the military shot down a kid’s high school science project,1 prompting Eddie Snowden to muse, “please tell me the white house did not spend the month of february scrambling jets to fire $400,000 missiles at the local hobby club’s TWELVE DOLLAR BALLOON.”

  • A 22-foot submarine taking tourists to the Titanic disappeared with all those onboard, which included the CEO of the OceanGate, the modern era’s Davy Jones. He didn’t want to hire “50-year-old white guys” noting that, they weren’t “inspirational” and that “anybody can drive the sub.” Although that was a bad call, Mate, at least you were politicaly correct.2 Titanic director James Cameron, who visited the Titanic 33 times onboard a submersible, suggested this was pretty stupid.3

  • As Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos infamy struggled to stay out of prison we discovered her deep throaty voice was also faked.4,5 An excellent Holmes imitation surfaced.6 I still wonder if Cristine Blasey-Ford’s squeaky voice was real.

  • Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as Sam Bankrupt-Fraud or SBF for short, founder and destroyer of the FTX Crypto Exchange, was looking at serious jail time because he “misappropriated billions of dollars in customer money, defrauded investors, and violated campaign finance laws.”7,8 (This was covered in detail in the 2022 YIR.9) It should come as no surprise as the second biggest Democrat donor in the 2022 midterms and money launderer of Federal funds through Ukraine for the DNC that he is shedding charges faster than Hunter Biden (especially all campaign finance charges.10) A ruling in the Bahamas appeared to allow him to challenge the rest11 and even get his legal fees reimbursed.12 FTX hopes to restart its crypto exchange in 2024.13 He got some convictions and we await sentencing.

  • As many of you may recall, Paul Pelosi got hammered at the end of 2022. I would get hammered if I were married to Nancy, but this was by an assailant under highly suspicious circumstances delineated in the 2022 YIR. In 2023, the video of the incident surfaced.14,15,16 One is struck by two details: (1) it took long enough that one could fathom that the video was staged; and (2) while getting whacked with a hammer as the cops entered the Pelosi house, Paul did not spill his drink. Bravo! Nancy magnanimously noted that the assailant “has the right to a trial to prove innocence”, prompting Ben Shapiro to note “Uh it’s…innocent until proven guilty.”

  • In 2020, I took a risky tact by laying out why convicting Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd could be tricky because I thought the evidence was strong that Floyd died of an overdose. Well, I was wrong on two counts. The obvious one is that they convicted him. The less obvious is that according to the expert witness in the civil trial—a doc with considerable experience in treating this type of problem—said that Floyd definitely did not die from an OD or the knee on his neck, but rather two knees on his back. The owners of those knees got some time but nothing like Derek. Curiously, that obscure doctor would become rather famous in his views on Covid: it was Pierre Kory.17 Chauvin got stabbed over 20 times in prison this year. The surprising parts are that he lived and that the assailant was an FBI informant.18 Chauvin is appealing his conviction.19

  • Hobbyhorsing is claimed to be an environmentally friendly and much cheaper sport than equestrian events. “The main difference from equestrian sport is the replacement of a live horse with a plastic one.” Finnish teenagers who started this grueling sport hope to make it an Olympic event.20 The Canadians are considering it to train their Mounties.

  • Teenagers who took to swallowing Tide Pods have discovered they were gateway drugs to Benedryl—the “Benedryl Challenge”—to “trip their asses off.”21 It would be safer to vaccinate.

  • The train wreck in East Palestine dropping car loads of vinyl chloride caught the world’s attention and became clickbait for the ages. Attempts to block reporters from on-site coverage brought up first-amendment issues.22 There is no question that East Palestine has a problem—they are now a toxic waste dump23—but the horrors of it being a widespread catastrophe24 were put to rest by an analysis from blogger Doomberg noting that the hyperbole was over the top.25 I know who Doomberg was in his previous career and can say that nobody is more qualified to make such an assertion. The RNC Twitter feed turned it into a daily tally of the days since Biden did not visit the site. It is not obvious to me that is in his job description. The Babylon Bee wryly noted that Ilhan Omar withdrew her support of East Palestine after discovering it’s in Ohio.26

  • Mosquitoes were in the news. Four people from Sarasota, Florida got malaria. No biggie. It’s easily treated. On a more somber note, scientists concluded they can solve this problem by releasing mosquitoes genetically engineered to cause death in the female offspring to reduce the malaria risk.27 I went through the math and believe that the technology will not just cull the population but necessarily cause that particular species to go extinct. Of course, there are 3,500 more species of mosquitoes, but somehow, yet again, scientists appear to be underestimating the consequences of their interventions. This Michael Crichton talk is a phenomenal tutorial on why it is not nice to mess with Mother Nature.28 One scientist noted that “there is little doubt their full extinction could have indirect effects.”29

  • 176 pound, 5’ 5” Deuce Vaughn was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round. Recall that other loser, Tom Brady, went in the sixth round. The Deuce is Loose and jersey’s with the Galloping Toddler’s name and #42 were moving even faster. So far, The Deuce is not pummeling opposing teams, racking up 68 total offensive yards.

  • ‘Super Pigs’ are coming south from Canada.30 They are a cross between domestic pigs and European wild boars, weighing up to 600 pounds. They are said to be meaner than Canadian hockey players and more intelligent than the boneheads who created them.

  • It leaked out that Ebay ran a formal harassment/death squad to deal with news site founders who were not friendly to Ebay.31,32 Kinda makes you wonder what they were selling on Ebay.

  • A Delta flight spent 3 hours on the Arizona tarmac without air conditioning.33 Passengers were told they could leave but might not get to their destination for days. Paramedics wheeled three out on gurneys. Delta came clean with a mea culpa: “We apologize for the experience…which ultimately resulted in a flight cancellation.”

  • Baron Trump is now 12 feet tall.

  • John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, is now suspected to have been innocent.34 It was similar to RFK’s argument as to why Sirhan Sirhan could not have killed his father.35 It has the fingerprints of the CIA’s notorious mind-control program MK-ULTRA and its legion of psychiatrists all over it. They create patsies.

  • Michael Block became the only club pro in history to make the cut in the PGA Championship.36 Entering the final round in eighth place, he slipped up but then dropped an ace on 15, finishing high enough to make $300,000 and an automatic qualification for next year.

  • Speaking of golf, the Saudis have set up the LIV Tour and have been buying up exclusive rights to some of the best players with petrodollars. Desperate PGA execs were squealing about the Saudis’ human rights violations. Discussed mergers of the two leagues were sketched out in which the PGA would be in charge of holes 1-8 and 12-18 with the Saudis responsible for 9-11.

  • Tennis phenom Novak Djokovic won the U.S. Open after being banned because he was unvaccinated by beating another unvaccinated player. ESPN’s “Shot of the Day” was sponsored by Moderna.37

  • A historically literate 12-year-old kid was suspended from school for wearing the Gadsden flag from the Revolutionary War—”Don’t tread on me.”38 The school said it has “origins with slavery,” which is a claim completely void of facts. The kid looked smug even by teenager standards. Mom showed she shouldn’t be treaded on either…as did the Colorado governor and the Heritage Foundation. He should have worn a Che Guevara T-shirt. It kept the Twitter Memosphere active for days.

  • After a spectacular performance of providing four of the most illustrious anti-Fauci/anti-lockdown/anti-vaxxers on the planet—Jay Bhattacharya, Scott Atlas, John Ionnides, and Victor Davis Hanson—in 2021, Stanford regressed to the mean. Their president was brought to his knees by a diligent freshman newspaper writer calling out fraud.39 At least he left before he could come under scrutiny of Congressional testimony about Hamas. Their entering class of neurosurgical residents managed to have no white men (outdoing the NBA), representing either great progress of the underrepresented or improbable discrimination.40 The Stanford Law School invited an elite judge to speak and then managed to humiliate themselves by denying him the right to speak with one of their deans leading the charge.41 You’d think the law school would teach about the Constitution. This is all coming on the heels of Stanford faculty members’ role in the 2022 FTX collapse42 and epiphanies that Stanford’s Internet Observatory is a CIA outpost and hub of censorship.43 There are more problems at Stanford delineated here.44

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled…There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

~ Michael Crichton

  • Neil DeGrasse Tyson tried to take over Stanford’s dominant lead single-handedly by taking on Del Bigtree on the vaccine debate and getting annihilated as he preached to Del about consensus science.45 In another podcast, he banged out support for transgender going against Michael Shermer, trying to make scientific arguments and arguing that separating boys and girls will “seem silly in the future.”46,47,48 Consensus—there is that word again—is that Neil’s brush with multiple accusations of inappropriate behavior some years back has put him over a barrel.49,50,51 I root for the guy because I think he does a great service, but he should stop digging.

  • The world’s smallest “Louis Vuitton” handbag just sold for $63,000 at Sotheby’s. It is 0.66 x 0.22 x 0.7 millimeters. It is not actually by Louis Vuitton. The NFT sold for almost twice that but is now worth zero.

  • The song of the year if not the decade—Rich Men North of Richmond by Anthony Oliver—captured the hearts and minds of America. Early attempts to paint this as a white supremacist’s anthem failed because everybody hates those motherfuckers. Montages of people’s facial expressions while listening to the song were fabulous and very cleverly focused on black men grooving.52

  • Black women are complaining about a shortage of black sperm donors.53 Seems legit.

  • Here is a shocker. We found out this year that one of Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged victims who wrote to Senator Grassley was a fraud.54 The good news is that she is being charged. That sordid character assassination was loaded with lies as noted in my 2018 writeup.55

  • With a not-so-improbable run of Michelle Obama for the 2024 election, the dirt is already flying, some of which looks self-inflicted. The big headline was that Barack is gay, which is said to be old news and should be irrelevant in 2023. The argument that he has lived a lie is disingenuous given that most gay men have. The drama, however, got curiouser when an ex-girlfriend from decades ago decided now was the time to rat him out on his fantasies56 with Barack’s brother piling on.57 The smear had begun long before that when a 2012 article in The Globe—not exactly the Gray Lady—suggested that somebody whacked three former lovers during his 2007 campaign.58,59 In 2023, however, it got very real when his rather studley personal chef named Tafari drowned in a midnight paddleboard accident. The police report had redactions and missing details on the 911 call, leading to speculation that it was either a midnight trist being managed60,61—Barack’s Chappaquidick—or something more sinister. Barack showed up on the golf course several days later with taped fingers and a shiner.62 (Beware of photoshop.) Defenders said the tape was for golf, but taping your fingers does not help your golf game.

Yes, @BarackObama, please dry up and go away and retire to your beach front property and take your paddle board with you. We’re sick and tired of your BS.

~ General Michael Flynn, getting a little testy

Larry Sinclair, a highly flawed individual by any standard and by his own admission, stepped forward in 1999 to announce that he had done crack and given blowjobs to then-Senator Obama.62 Why would he step forward? Well, it could have been politically motivated or an attempt to release the hounds to avoid getting suicided to keep the secret. Larry showed up again in 2023 looking a little worse for wear but telling the same story,63 scoring a Tucker Carlson interview.64 Scott Adams of Dilbert fame connects an arrest of Larry Sinclair by Beau Biden years ago with Joe’s placement on Obama’s presidential ticket.65

Michelle certainly must have known about this and was OK with it. Excluding the guaranteed-to-be-excluded Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Michelle looks like the strongest candidate the DNC has to pull off a twelfth-hour substitution of Biden. That may be why the plot is thickening as we head into 2024. Get ready for debates about Sasha and Malia surrogate births,66 infinite loops of Joan Rivers’ offhand remark,67 Michelle praising Harvey Weinstein,68 dance routines with Ellen Degeneres,69 Pizzagate re-runs,70,71,72,73 and Chrissy Tiegen blurting out about trists with John Legend and the Obamas,74  multiple contacts of Epstein in the Whitehouse with now-dead Whitehouse counsel,75 Big Mike jokes, and endless memes, including this humorous deep fake starring Fake Hillary.76

Lahaina Fires and DEWs

On August 8, 2023, fires broke out in the historically interesting coastal town of Lahaina on Maui, destroying 2,000 structures and killing untold numbers (very untold). Contributing factors include:

  • the decision not to sound the alarm out of concern that it would confuse people;1

  • the power company’s failure to turn off the power, although the company claims the power was turned off six hours before the fires began exacting their damage;2,3

  • some guy deciding to turn off the water (which Wikipedia attributes to melted pipes) just days after posting a philosophical screed about “diversity, equity, and inclusion” underlying water rights;4

  • 80 mph winds from a hurricane 700 miles East blowing the fire from the inland hills through the town.

  • residents being told to shelter in place (like being told to stay in your twin-tower office on 9/11.)

Warning

I went to Wikipedia for some updates on fatalities and costs only to find that Wikipedia’s writeup5 was unrecognizable in the context of the two dozen pages of notes I had collected as the story unfolded. Wikipedia founder, Larry Sanger, personally told me that Wiki is worthless for politically tricky topics is under total control by Deep Staters. The Lahaina writeup concluded with scornful allusions to Russian and Chinese disinformation campaigns, accusing the QAnon Army led by General Stew Peters. I am unable to determine where these QAnon guys came from and where they hang out. My hunch is that QAnon is a concoction of the CIA. I appear to be a member of this fictional tribe of misguided miscreants.

FEMA projected the Lahaina death toll up to 2,000,6,7 which was slightly higher than Wiki’s number of 99. Biden offered $700 per household ($1.9 million total),8 which is slightly below the $12 billion listed by Wiki. Davvy Crocket would say that neither is appropriate because the money “is not yours to give” in an allusion to the Georgetown fires.9 Even so, the paltry Lahaina bailouts were awkward in the shadow of our generosity to Ukraine.

The horror story was that the kids had been sent home from school, many to their deaths. Articles and videos began appearing with parents fruitlessly demanding information about their missing children.10 USAToday put the number of missing kids at 966,11 which doesn’t square with Wiki’s complete silence on the topic.12 Ten days later the Mayor of Lahaina still wouldn’t fess up as to how many children were missing.13 One family found the remains of their child and dog embraced, eliciting images of post-Vesuvius Herculaneum.14 The narratives just kept getting creepier.14a

A Lahaina old-timer said he fled on foot because the departing traffic was at a dead standstill in the main artery out of town as the fires raged. He claims the cops had a roadblock, preventing people from leaving, and they were “just following orders.”15 Epoch Times reported that several other Lahaina residents survived only by “driving around or through the police roadblocks.”16 “We hoped to get to the highway and jaunt to the next bypass. Instead, we were blocked off by police and [traffic] cones.”

Drone footage is dramatic while showing an odd selectivity in which the fires burned most of Lahaina, which is a narrow band along the north-south coast.17 Some buildings were incinerated to dust while others nearby remained unblemished.18,19 The embers had not cooled before the internet was filled with accusations of nefarious activity and lying.

Unscrupulous investors are trying to take advantage of the fire disaster on Maui to take over properties…You would be pretty poorly informed if you try to steal land from our people and then build here.20

~ Hawaiian Governor Josh Green

A Land Grab 

Protests about a land grab appeared within hours of the fire. Catherine Austin Fitts, the former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has been a relentless proponent that suspicious destruction of property and property values are tied to real estate entrepreneurs looking to buy at fire sale prices (quite literally in this case).21,22 Her position at HUD may have given her insights into this grift. On cue, real estate speculators came in with buy-out offers to desperate residents as fast as they could find law firms to deliver them.23 This is predatory but also to be expected. What is odd, however, is that insurance companies immediately began declaring the houses not covered because they were not up to code.24 (Y’all may recall this happened in the Katrina aftermath too.) OK, you skanky whores: it was your job to assess their insurability when you issued the policies. This left homeless and destitute former homeowners grieving over dead loved ones with no promise of a forthcoming check. To top it off, tenants claimed they were receiving eviction notices within the week.25 This all smacks of collusion.

The government’s role was very suspicious. The locals had been under pressure for years to sell, but Lahaina’s strict development codes designed to retain the town’s charm and history kept developers in check. There were also plans to turn Lahaina into a “smart city” (super high-tech), but zoning codes kept those plans at bay too. Both the facts and the waves of fact-checkers confirm the story.26

I’m already thinking about ways for the state to acquire that land, so that we can put it into workforce housing, to put it back into families, or to make it open spaces in perpetuity as a memorial to people who were lost..But we don’t want this to become a clear space where then, yes, people from overseas come and decide they’re going to take it. The state will take it and preserve it first.27,28,29

~ Hawaiian Governor Josh Green, blaming foreign evil-doers

Curiously, just one month before the fires Governor Green had declared by fiat that the strict building codes would be null and void in case of a natural disaster.30,31 Good timing, Governor. After the fires, the Governor suggested the state buy the land to protect it from speculators.32,33 And, of course, he would never then sell it to his land-speculating cronies, right?

Speaking of wealthy cronies, Oprah and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) ended up on the hot seat for their fundraiser to help Lahaina.34,35 Multi-billionaires asking you to dig deep into your pockets to help a town in which they own huge tracts of property didn’t sit well. Oprah had scooped up 2,000 acres on Maui, 870 acres in 2023 alone.36,37 In 2017, she got guff when fires and mudslides near her house allowed her to scoop up nearby land on the cheap.38 It is so lucky that Oprah and, for that matter, many wealthy Lahainians, may benefit from these fires while the fires miraculously missed their houses.

Authorities Take Cover

It seems clear that the authorities realized they botched their response and went into full ass-covering mode. Links to Tweets with seemingly good info disappeared much like they did after the Las Vegas shootings. Residents were blocked from returning to Lahaina for several weeks.39,40 When was the last time you heard of that happening in a disaster zone? Supplies entering Lahaina by boat were being turned away, reminiscent of FEMA blocking Walmart trucks from helping Katrina victims.41 A Maui Times reporter was denied access to the town.42 Immediately after the dust settled, authorities built tall fences along the main artery through town, preventing filming of the wreckage. The official story that eventually emerged was that they were dust screens, although screening dust from what is unclear.43 The school buses were missing from the bus garage: where did they go after dropping the kids home?44 Hold that thought for Part 3.

Suspicious Fires 

We are now going to enter the Heart of Darkness. This is highly speculative material that deserves both serious consideration with considerable skepticism. The American Vagabond does well-documented deep dives into contentious issues and emerged from this one troubled.45 The Lahaina fires manifested oddities that had been noted in fires in California, across the continental US, and Europe that captured the imaginations of us QAnon types. They are claims not rigorously documented but with non-zero probabilities of being legit

Videos from Maui asserting mysterious aspects of the fire appeared almost immediately. Locals hit TikTok hard, claiming these weren’t natural (kind of like a man-made virus). It is hard to say which opinions should carry weight, but there were a lot of them. The oval burn pattern shown below, for example, makes little sense in a wind-driven firestorm.

Boats moored 50 yards offshore ignited.46 Meanwhile, desperate residents jumped into the surf to survive the fires.47 Even on the leeward side of the island, 80 mph winds would make that a harrowing experience. Many cars burned beyond recognition while others remained unscathed. Locals and the internet obsessed over burned cars with puddles of aluminum from wheel rims and engine blocks as well as melted auto glass.48 Locals show two burnt cars in a field with aluminum rims, engine blocks, and glass melted.49 The only fuel within the acre-sized lot was in the gas tank. The tall grass next to the car remained unburnt. I have struggled to ascertain if these are just generic car fires or something more.

Oddly, the wind blew off the mountains East-to-West but the entire town stretching as a narrow band running North-to-South was taken out. Some witnesses said the winds came on abruptly. One felt tremendous pressure changes in her noggin akin to Havana Syndrome, and that cell service failed contemporaneously.50 Hold that thought. The 80 mph winds attributed to a hurricane 700 miles away fly in the face of meteorological data showing such high winds are not observed beyond 150 miles from the eyes of even large hurricanes.51

Residents, including this veteran firefighter,52 claimed that the fires behaved unnaturally—too hot and exhibiting irrational travel patterns—but who the hell knows? Speculations began about how the trees all somehow survived while the houses only feet away were burnt to white ash. The fried buildings yet barely singed trees were eventually attributed to smart meters on the houses, which sounds like seriously hot bullshit.53

Forensic arborist, Robert Brame, chimed in. He has investigated over 100 fires54,55,56 including many in California considered suspect.57,58 He notes cases in which highly flammable trees with high sap content—trees that he says he could “light with a cigarette lighter”—remain untouched whereas those with high water content get fried. Vegetation deeply rooted in swamps or along riverbanks was being destroyed down to the roots. Trees burning on the inside are particularly curious. Meanwhile, plastics were not getting burnt. Cars proximate to trees were frying but not the trees. Steel-belted radial tires or tires on rims burned whereas metal-free tires lying on the ground were left untouched. Fence posts with wire attached showed burning at the wood-metal contact:

Lahaina and the DEWs

So what is my point? Brame and many others59 have tried to force the Overton Window wide open by attributing the odd burn patterns to directed-energy weapons (DEWs). I used these assertions as an excuse to dig into DEW technology in earnest below, but let me for now simply say that they are weapons based on radio frequencies (lasers and masers) or particle beams that can either be ground- or satellite-based. In short, they are Ronald Reagon’s Star Wars program. Whether Lahaina was a target—laboratory if you will—DEWs are real and may be massively destructive. There are said to be two major ground-based facilities with DEWs in the US: one is on Maui.60,61 Go figure.

Anything tarp-blue—cars, pool umbrellas, and houses—were said to be left unscathed.62,63 It is claimed that rich people in Lahaina had painted their houses blue,64 but this seems to be internet debris despite excessive fact-checking rousing my curiosity.

Sensitivity to laser light, however, is color dependent as illustrated in this video in which all but the tarp-blue paper burns.65 I checked with a laser jock and confirmed this. Here’s what troubles me: Scott Savitz, senior engineer at Rand Corp, dismissed the whole laser theory, noting that “No one can start a wildfire and burn only specific colors.”66 When I catch somebody lying, I always ask, why? Starting forest fires is openly stated to be a military weapon and well within the DEWs capabilities.67

As noted above, locals and The Internet obsessed over burned cars with puddles of aluminum and melted glass.68 I find the evidence odd, but they may just be car fires. The firepower of such high-tech weapons will be discussed below. For now, I would like to underscore one particular oddity to pique your interest: the Quebec fires this summer appeared to start in two dozen sites simultaneously: the video is compelling (50-second mark).69,70 I tried to capture the time sequence with two screen grabs:

That buckshot plume pattern cannot possibly be spread by the wind: (1) airborne embers would follow the wind patterns lighting them sequentially downwind, and (2) it covers an area approximately 300 miles in diameter.71,72 A determined army of arsonists could, in theory, start them on cue, but so could a DEW in orbit. Laser sightings over Lahaina proliferated.73 These claims are suspect, but the carpet bombing with fact-checks is suspicious. One narrative was that the Chinese were monitoring the weather,74 which is highly suspect.

He who controls the weather will control the world.75,76

~ President Lyndon Baines Johnson

DEWs – A Tutorial 

Lahaina aside, what can we say about DEWs? The Army put out a nice synopsis of milestones in the development of DEWs77 as did the Office of Technology Assessment.78,79 The latter is technical and thorough, but it is also unclassified and 40 years old. It foreshadows what may lurk behind the industrial-military complex paywall four decades later. A GAO report also summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of DEWs.80 High-energy lasers in the infrared-to-visible light produce a very narrow, highly focused beam of light, and are most likely used on single targets. The beam can be pulsed or continuous, generating a power capable of melting steel (or more). Millimeter wave weapons have larger beam widths than high-energy lasers and therefore can zap multiple targets at once. High-power microwave weapons producing more than 100 megawatts of power—150,000 times more powerful than a microwave oven—tend to be good for broader targets. The really powerful stuff is not mentioned, which in no way means that it doesn’t exist. Here is a well-referenced and intriguing off-off Broadway assessment from the recesses of the internet with considerable discussion of how weird it could all be, including Lahaina fire connections, weather control, etc.81

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.

~ Noam Chomsky

A few bulleted claims are in order. Some may stretch your imagination to its limit and be bullshit.

  • DEWs in the South Pole are claimed to cause earthquakes.82,83

  • A decade-old video of well-known physicist Dr. Michio Kaku (@MichioKaku) describes trillion-watt lasers that can alter the weather.84

  • The Hutchison Effect is said to cause “anomalous heating of metals without burning adjacent material,”85 which might include burnt cars while leaving vegetation intact.

  • Air Force documents discuss weather control by 2030, which means they have it already.86

  • The defense rag, National Defense, describes a 300,000-watt DEW based on a “spectral beam combination architecture,” delivered to the Pentagon by Lockheed Martin.ref87

  • Prominent policy wonk, Pippa Malmgren, alludes to directing space-based solar power to “a target on Earth and burn it to smithereens”88 while pondering use for green energy too. She also casually suggests WWIII has begun.

  • DEWs’ biggest technical challenge is penetrating clouds. A thesis from the Air Command and Staff College describes weather control to use clouds to defend against the scary DEWs.89 The author also describes laser-based missile defense involving burning holes through them. The author discusses 10 million watt lasers are coming. Using a terawatt tunneling pulse laser to burn a hole in the atmosphere to allow the destructive laser to reach its target is clever tech.

  • In a 2020 speech, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said China already has seriously dangerous DEWs,90 declaring we must dominate space.

  • Havana syndrome, which gets its name from the US embassy in Havanna, Cuba, was said to rattle the brains of embassy residents.91,92 This is referred to as fifth-generation warfare.

  • There are claims of an enormous DEW facility in Antarctica.93

  • An article in Forbes describes low-powered DEWs in the form of a microwave-based “heat ray” unveiled in 2001 to be used as non-lethal crowd control.94 The author notes, “The weapon is certainly effective; the problem is that it is too scary to use… those that are effective are not safe, those that are safe are not effective.” Terms like ‘pain beam’ have human rights activists up in arms (but probably reluctant to protest.)

  • The DEW story gives the Chemtrail theorists an interestingly new lease on lunacy. One claim is that they are seeding the atmosphere with particulate matter as a defensive strategy to prevent penetration of DEWs into our critical infrastructure. Other claims include geoengineering to cause global dimming as well as generalized weather control. None of these theories is high up on my probability scale. What keeps my attention? The massive fact-checking attempting to dismiss a lunatic-fringe theory that should require little comment.

DEWs and 9/11

Imagine, if you will (said in the voice of Rod Serling), that the DOD has nuclear-powered DEWs (as described in the 1984 report) that could deliver energy measured in megatons what you could do. Oh, that would be impossible, right? Impossible isn’t a fact; it’s an opinion. It is amazing how fast the impossible became fact on August 6, 1945:

I am gonna drag y’all down the darkest of rabbit holes. I have no problem (no doubts actually) that 9/11 was an inside job. If the Truther Movement and the theory that 9/11 was not as we are told is unfamiliar to you, I would say you need a crash course. This five-minute montage is very snarky and very good.95 The New Pearl Harbor and Loose Change documentaries are your best all-expense-paid trip to the Dark Side.96,97,98 A 2023 vintage interview of architect and 9/11 expert, Richard Gage, brings up points I had not heard.99 New and compelling footage I had not seen asks where the hell is the plane that hit the Pentagon?100 While answering that, you might wonder where the plane went in Shanksville, PA, which was just a hole in the ground.101 Crash sites normally look like yard sales—shit everywhere.

Enter Judy Woods, who has presented a model for 9/11 and the destruction of the Twin Towers that even has the Truthers uneasy. She wrote a book102 and has done several talks and podcasts.103,104 Judy points to oddities about what occurred on 9/11 without concluding how, but she is clearly circling the DEW story without actually making direct references. She is not a good oral communicator. She sucks, actually. One interview said by detractors to destroy her and her credibility merely underscored her inability to communicate.105,106,107 I could have handled the interviewer after watching two of her presentations.

Judy doesn’t talk about DEWs, but she does point out oddities that include the complete pulverization of the towers to dust (“dustification”), a very odd claim of weather control that morning, distortion of the Earth’s magnetic field, the small pile of debris from 100 stories of towers that failed to reach the height of the top of the lobby, and unexplained burnt cars and their odd distribution. She has many examples, but at the 30-minute mark she shows a “dustification” that I have not been able to independently confirm or refute but is truly extraordinary if real.108 The freeze-frame is shown below:

The documentary Zeitgeist talks about 9/11 and how everything in the towers turned to dust.109 As noted by a first responder, “You don’t find a desk. You don’t find a chair. You don’t find a telephone. You don’t find a computer…The concrete was just pulverized.”

To pull this all together, Lahaina is a multi-layered onion in which chicanery has taken root. The DEWs may not be part of the story, but they are undeniably real and of great interest to the superpowers. Their capacity to inflict carnage on their target is unknowable to the common man and QAnons. I am secure that what we know about them is dwarfed by what is top secret. Reality could knock rudely and unexpectedly like it did on August 6, 1945.

DEWs provide unprecedented capabilities and produce a broad spectrum of hazards.110

~ Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force

The War in Ukraine–Epilogue

The Russians are dying. It’s the best money we’ve ever spent.1

~ Lindsay Graham to Zelensky

Lindsay is an unindicted criminal who is impossible to underestimate, but let’s move on. Last year I put my heart and soul into understanding the War in Ukraine as evidenced by the title, “All Roads Lead to Ukraine.”2 I found 40–50 serious thinkers who I felt were trying to get it right, a list that included Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Chris Hedges, Ray McGovern, John Pilger, John Mearsheimer, Jeff Sachs, Colonel Douglas MacGregor, Scott Ritter, Colonel Richard Black, Tucker Carlson, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jeff Sachs. Notable newcomers to the anti-NATO team include David Sacks (Elon’s former partner),3 Cornel West,4 RFK, Jr,5 Simon Hunt,6 and Donald Trump.7

There are some who want to force Hungary into the war, and they are not picky about the means with which to achieve that goal. Ukraine is our neighbor where Hungarians live as well. They are being conscripted and are dying by the hundreds on the front… In the decisions adopted in Brussels, I recognize American interests more frequently than European ones…In a war that is taking place in Europe the Americans have the final word.7a

~ Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister

If you think Russia’s military adventures in Ukraine were unprovoked and that this story is simply a fight for Ukraine’s democracy you have work to do: stop reading right now and read last year’s analysis.8 I collated the analyses of the serious pundits, scavenged the internet for data and anecdotes from the battlefield, and wove them into a narrative that is my best geopolitical analysis to date. Watch this speech by Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, as many times as you must to grasp how little you understand the politics underlying the Ukraine War.9 Billions are being committed to get Orbán to get with the program and oppose Putin.10 Watch recent rants from Jeff Sachs11 or Colonel Jeff Maness.12

We demand an explanation on what basis China and Russia consider the whole world to be their region?

~ Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, lacking introspection

To those who say that assigning blame is simple—Putin attacked so he is necessarily evil—please answer the following questions: which country—Russia or the US—bombed more countries in the world and killed more people over the last 20 years? I don’t have the stats on Russia, but the US is estimated to have caused 4.5 million deaths during the War on Terror.13,14 Of those seven Muslim countries bombed by liberal democrat and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Barack Obama, how many attacked us? Let me help you out: it begins with a “z” and rhymes with “Nero.” I have 4.5 million whataboutisms resulting from our iatrogenic foreign policy to jam down your throat the minute you tell me Putin’s aggression is the whole story.

The US wrecked Afghanistan for 40 years—destroyed that country mercilessly cynically ignorantly brutally. And they’re gonna do the same with Ukraine unless the Ukrainians wake up and say, ‘God we’re being killed by this approach.’15

~ Jeffrey Sachs, economist, Columbia University

So how is the war going this year? An open letter written by 14 high-ranking ex-US military wonks in May calling for a swift diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine was published in the New York Times.16 The letter’s 14 signatories, after the requisite condemnation of Putin, called the war “an unmitigated disaster” and noted that “future devastation could be exponentially greater as nuclear powers creep ever closer toward open war.” They emphasized the “serial invasions of Russia by foreign adversaries” and underscored the need to “understand the war through Russia’s eyes” with “strategic empathy, seeking to understand one’s adversaries.” In their words, “This is not weakness: it is wisdom.” They also underscored the part that all the mindless Ukrainian flag wavers always seem to miss: “Since 2007, Russia has repeatedly warned that NATO’s armed forces on Russian borders were intolerable—just as Russian forces in Mexico or Canada would be intolerable to the U.S. now, or as Soviet missiles in Cuba were in 1962…Russia further singled out NATO expansion into Ukraine as especially provocative…NATO expansion, in sum, is a key feature of a militarized U.S. foreign policy characterized by unilateralism featuring regime change and preemptive wars.” Seems pretty clear, eh? To repeat, go back and compare this letter’s key points to my 2022 write-up.

NATO Document: NATO’s enlargement has been a historic success.

John Pilger: I read that in disbelief.17

Our dual goals are to degrade Russia’s military-industrial complex & reduce the revenue it can use.

~ Janet Yellen, former economist, said ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers & central bankers.

NATO made a few miscalculations. They thought they could choke off Russia by kicking them out of the Swift banking system and cutting off their energy sales, isolating them from the world.18 Neither action dented Putin’s plans. The rising price of oil cranked up Russia’s cash flow from the global oil market. The Rooskies also know how to endure discomfort.

Let’s imagine—obviously this situation which will never be realized—but nevertheless let’s imagine that it was realized: The current head of the nuclear state went to a territory, say Germany, and was arrested. What would that be? It would be a declaration of war on the Russian Federation. And in that case, all our assets—all our missiles et cetera—would fly to the Bundestag, to the Chancellor’s office.19

~ Dmitry Medvedev, responding to Germany’s threat to arrest Putin

That is not to say that Putin didn’t flub a few things, but it was nothing that duct tape and some WD40 couldn’t fix. Scooch around and let me commie-splain that to you. He moved into Ukraine with a very small force, all evidence pointing to an attempt to throw a fastball past NATO’s and Volodymyr Zelensky’s chins to force them to meet him at the negotiating table. There is no evidence he wanted to take over Ukraine nor destroy its infrastructure: he simply could not and would not cede control of Ukraine to NATO. It was an existential risk—a bright line—for Russia. Although Zelensky tried to get to the negotiating table in April 2022, he misjudged the determination of NATO to ensure that Zelensky would never ink a deal.20 The US (sorry: NATO) wanted, to steal a phrase from Assange, “an endless war, not a successful war” to eventually destroy Russia, impose regime change, possibly gain control of vast resources via a more US-compliant regime as America’s 51st state, and line a few pockets with war profits along the way.

You want World War III? Just tell the head of a nuclear power you are seeking regime change. While NATO flooded support into Ukraine, the Nordstream Pipeline and Kerch Bridge got bombed (more on that below). Realizing that negotiations were no longer an option, Putin quickly assembled a very large and highly weaponized army and took the war to the next level. In some twisted psychological defense against exhaustipation, this is where I lost interest. It was chess in 2022 with loads of propaganda rubbing Vaseline over the world’s lens. This year has turned Ukraine into a devastating meat grinder.

At the NATO Summit in Madrid [in June 2022]…it was clearly delineated that over the coming decade, the main threat to the alliance would be the Russian Federation. Today Ukraine is eliminating this threat. We are carrying out NATO’s mission today. They aren’t shedding their blood. We’re shedding ours. That’s why they’re required to supply us with weapons.21

~ Oleksii Reznikov, Ukrainian Defense Minister

Putin is clearly losing the war in Iraq.22

~ Joe Biden

The Ukrainian-to-Russian kill ratio was estimated by guys like Colonel MacGregor (no doubt from Pentagon sources) as well as by the Israelis (who have great intelligence) at 6–10:1.23 Retired Marine Corps Colonel Andrew Milburn, who was training the Ukrainians on site, said that the Ukrainians in the battle for Bakhmut were “taking extraordinarily high casualties. The numbers you are reading in the media of about 70 percent…are not exaggerated.”24 Upwards of 500,000 Ukrainians have been either killed or incapacitated, which is worse because their care puts a drag on their society. Recruits were being placed in full combat just 5 weeks of training,25 with life expectancies estimated at “4 hours” according to an ex-Marine on site.26 I wonder if the 400,000 families think this border war was worth it. By the end of 2023, the Ukrainian draft had been expanded to include both genders and ages 7–70.

I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.

~ John Pilger on Ukraine

Nearly every war that had started in the past 50 years, has been a result of media lies.

~ Julian Assange

I can hear y’all saying, “Wait a darn minute there, Dave. Those are not the numbers I’ve been hearing on CNN/NBC/NPR/NYT…” Let me help you out here again. Our intelligence owns all of those media outlets. The US propaganda machine is the size of Russia’s GDP. They lie like teenagers while blocking the counter-narrative from leaking into the public consciousness. This should not shock you by now. As an aside, of the 8 million Ukrainians who fled the war and country, an estimated 2 million headed to Russia.27

NATO needs to be disbanded and we can get some peace on the continent of Europe because you are about to trigger World War III….We need to get our butts out of there.28

~ Colonel Rob Maness

I’m sure if President Trump were president today, there’d be no war inflicting Europe and Ukraine.29

~ Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s Prime Minister in support of Trump, 2024

Some notable events at ground level are worthy of the few bullets I have left:

  • A bunker 400 ft below ground with hundreds of Zelensky’s top leadership and dozens of NATO officials was rumored to have been taken out by a Russian supersonic missile in response to Ukrainian incursions into Mother Russia.30 I guess you might call it a bunker buster, but I might be mixing technologies. This story is suspect just like everything else.31 The hypersonic weapons, however, are serious.

  • What appeared to be a Patriot missile facility fired off dozens in short order, only to be taken out by what is said to be their target—a hypersonic Russian missile.32 The Whitehouse would not confirm or deny the reports.33

 I can see Ukraine from my dacha.

~ Vladamir Putin (in Sarah Palin’s voice)

  • The Ukrainians professed to have some victorious moments, but they were short-lived. A much-ballyhooed offensive—who uses the word ballyhooed?—that would finally put the Rooskies in their place fell flat almost immediately.

  • Leaked Ukrainian documents suggest the overall picture of Ukrainian combat power is atrocious owing to “systemic shell shortages”, very few tanks, 30,000 troops, and inadequate support from NATO (although still far too much in my opinion).

  • Ukraine supposedly had some victorious moments. A direct attack on the Kremlin seemed like a pyrrhic victory given that it had the kick of a bottle rocket and didn’t seem to phase two guys climbing a ladder toward the point of impact.34,35 Maybe the Meme Team gets the credit.

Seymour Hersh generated headlines by reporting that the US blew up the Nordstream pipeline with orders straight from Biden.36 Of course, we all knew this, but Hersh’s connections bring it as close to official as if Karin Jean-Pierre announced it. (Moreso given how much shit she makes up.) The Germans blamed it on the Ukrainians using a yacht (face in palm),37 prompting Hersh to ask rhetorically, “They can’t be that stupid! Are they that stupid?”38 Former Polish defense minister Sikorski, having thanked the Americans for blowing it up in a tweet the day it happened, then blamed it on the KGB mastermind (code named: “The Professor”) working under the guise of the cruise ship, “The Minnow”, captained by “Gilligan.” Hersh called the Ukrainian role “a total fabrication by American intelligence that was passed along to the Germans.”39 Why not just fess up? Simple. It was an act of war under international law. The charade must go on no matter how obvious the lie.

If we proceed from the proven complicity of Western countries in blowing up the Nord Streams, then we have no constraints—even moral—left to prevent us from destroying the ocean floor cable communications of our enemies.40

~ Dmitry Medvedev, former Prime Minister of Russia

Zelensky on the Edge. While Zelensky appeared to be starring in episodes of Dancing with the Stars to raise money and support, the pressure was having its effect. Journalist Paul Ronzheimer suggested, “Zelensky seems to me either completely exhausted, then again active, even cheerful … He answered some questions angrily, others emotionally.” Some suspect drugs or maybe it’s Zelensky’s body doubles.41,42 When Biden showed up in Kiev to pretend to care, with air raid sirens blaring they took no chances of a catastrophic incident by warning Putin not to bomb Kiev that day.43

The Ukrainian government is one of the worst in the world—corrupt, controlled by a few rich people I mean really unfortunate for the people of Ukraine.44

~ Bill Gates

Hersh suggests the Ukrainians have been using foreign aid on luxury cars and ostentatious lifestyles. This is my shocked face: :45 In a surreal assertion, Hersh says Zelensky bought diesel from the Rooskies.46 If you are just going to blow up their diesel reserves anyway, you might as well sell it to them first. For Zelensky, it beats the Pentagon’s $400 per gallon price tag.47 The price does not matter because, technically speaking, he was spending US taxpayers’ money anyway. Ukrainians also allow Russian gas through the pipeline to Moldova to service Russian troops. This is a strange war.

If China allies itself with Russia, there will be a world war.48

~ Volodymyr Zelensky

Xi Jinping: Change is coming that hasn’t happened in 100 years, and we are driving this change together.

Vladimir Putin: I agree.

Zelensky and the Ukrainian people won the 2023 Charlemagne Prize for “work done in the service of European unification.”49 He is, however, what you would expect for a leader in that region of the world. Amnesty International castigated him for using children and other civilians as human shields.49 Ukrainians are arresting the Orthodox Priests.50 A slug of his administration resigned owing to a corruption scandal.51 It was not very democratic when he canceled the elections.52,53 We got all bent out of shape when Putin snarfed up a US journalist, but when Zelensky grabbed journalist Gonzalo Lira,54,55 the State Department was silent.56,57 Gonzalo became the front-runner for the 2023 Darwin Award when he live-tweeted his escape…and then got grabbed up.58

Unbelievable, but it is a fact: we are once again being threatened with German tanks—Leopards—that have crosses [painted] on their sides…Those who expect to win on the battlefield apparently do not understand that a modern war with Russia will be utterly different for them. We are not the ones sending our tanks to their borders.59

~ Vladimir Putin

Military Support

Much to the West’s surprise, the War in Ukraine turned into a rather traditional artillery war from the onset, which lopsidedly favored the Rooskies. Russia has more tanks than all of Europe. The US has promised him 50-year-old Abrams tanks—we ain’t sendin’ the good stuff—but we make only 40 tanks per year at current production levels.60 Germany has stated plans to start production of tanks inside Ukraine and, unsurprisingly, Medvedev has promised to blow the shit out of the facilities with “salvos of Kalibr (cruise missiles) and other Russian pyrotechnic devices.”61 I am reminded of the Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.”

Ukraine needs fresh young Americans to help fight on the ground war. The US will have to send their Son’s and Daughter’s… to war…and they will be dying.62

~ Volodymyr Zelensky, in his dreams

The Bidens coerced me to pay $10 million in bribes. I’ve got 17 recordings of the Bidens as insurance.63

~ Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of Burisma

Of course, this is a US-Russia war with the Ukrainians as pawns. The Russians have accused the US of planning a malaria-infested mosquito drop, but who knows.64 A huge hit on a Western munitions depot with depleted uranium munitions caused surging radiation levels.65 Again, the truth may be lost in the fog of war. The West offered F-16s66 and got a response from the Kremlin noting that F-16s can carry nuclear weapons to Moscow. Lavrov said they will not wait around to ascertain if these jets pose non-nuclear or nuclear threats.67 It doesn’t take a military genius to recognize that F16s will not be maintained or flown by Ukrainian pilots. The evidence of US casualties is mounting.68,69

If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime.70

~ Jen Psaki, 2022, on rumors of Russia using cluster munitions

We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy, and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here.71

~ Oleksii Reznikov, Ukrainian Defense Minister

The idea that providing Ukraine with a weapon in order for them to be able to defend their homeland, protect their civilians is somehow a challenge to our moral authority, I find questionable.72

~ Jake Sullivan defending cluster bombs sent to Ukraine

The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.

~ Joe Biden, on why they are sending cluster bombs

President Biden approved sending cluster munitions to Ukraine even though 120 countries have banned them as inhumane and indiscriminate.73,74 They are as verboten as nerve gas. According to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, “They will not use the rounds in civilian populated urban environments.”75 They also promised to keep track of them so that they don’t end up on the black market.76 I sure hope they didn’t cross their fingers. And on that note, Javelin missiles sent to Ukraine are showing up in Mexico.77 The Whitehouse confirmed that U.S.-supplied cluster munitions are now being deployed against Russia: ”We have gotten some initial feedback from the Ukrainians, and they’re using them quite effectively.”78 On cue, Putin says that they have a “sufficient stockpile” of the cluster bombs to use if necessary.79 Peachy.

Russia is sliding into what can only be described as a civil war.80

~ Anne Applebaum, Putin detractor and wife of Radek Sikorski, former foreign minister of Poland

Prigozhin

One of the more interesting stories is the dynamics between Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private military Wagner Group inflicting the most damage on Ukraine. On the surface, it appeared as though Prigozhin—a beast and psychopath by Western metrics—was turning against Putin. The Intercept noted that “Prigozhin is a pathological liar, a professional disinformation artist” but then gullibly went on to praise “brief and surprising bout of honesty when Prigozhin launched into an online tirade against what he said were the lies used by Moscow.”81 The Western neocons led by Coup Master Victoria Nuland aka Victoria the Hutt “exploded with seemingly libidinal excitement” at the prospects of a civil war, ignoring that bit about pathological lying and disinformation.82 I doubted this narrative from the get-go as did Colonel MacGregor. I reached out to a veteran intelligence expert, Lee Slusher,83 who also doubted the story and noted that other trappings of a coup were missing. War is about deception—Maskirovska84—and this looked straightforward. As Prigozhin ostensibly moved toward Moscow to the applause of the Western propaganda machine (media), few noticed that the path moved his troops rather close to Kiev.85

Then, without warning, the coup was called off and Prigozhin seemed to patch the rift between these two BFFs. Prigozhin claimed he was pissed off about blunders by incompetent officers in the general army. As Prigozhin and Putin negotiated a new path forward,86 a body language expert says that both Putin and Prigozhin were not showing “tells” of tension.87 All was well until Prighosin took a trip to North Africa. Alas, his plane was shot down, killing all on board. Presuming he died, which I think must be true given months have passed, it would be rash to assume that you know who brought him down. The West blamed Putin for causing discord in the ranks. Putin was reported to be scrambling in haste back to Moscow,88 telling me that he did not know it was coming. The situation was chaotic given Putin’s core support was hardcore nationalists who loved Prigozhin.

Even Americans who have no particular interest in freedom and independence in democracies worldwide, should be satisfied that we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment.

~ Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Fading Support

The support for the war seems to be fading if my Twitter feed is any indicator. Week after week we heard Whitehouse pronouncements of support for Ukraine and little to nothing about the Lahaina Fires, the East Palestine chemical spill, massive inflation, and crushing debt.

  • An “accounting error” revealed another $6.2 billion for Ukraine, which sounds like somebody drew the “Chance” card: “Advance to Ukraine. If you pass go collect $200 billion.” Now they are fighting about the Debt Ceiling.

  • The US has been paying 2,500 euros to young adults in the Balkans on a US base in Poland. 60 Minutes discussed the vast support of Ukrainian domestic programs,89 which contrasts with events on the homefront.

  • Hersh ratted out the CIA for knowing about widespread corruption in Ukraine and the embezzlement of US aid.90 Knowing? How about fostering?

  • The Hungarian Foreign Minister claims that the other Eurowankers are expecting to commit to €5 billion per year. I am not sure how this squares with Orbán’s anti-war stance.91

  • In the fall, Team Biden put together a package of aid starting at $100 billion—about $500 per taxpayer (suckers)—but climbing from there.92 The logic of such a massive commitment is to avoid having to do another before the 2024 election. The deal was laced with some support from Israel to purchase a few Republicans, but I suspect the Israelis now have other plans for their munitions.

Joe Biden has been slow in providing military resources to Ukraine.

~ Mike Pence, former Vice President and now former presidential candidate

The Chinese expressed optimism the war was nearly over,93 and I shared that view, but I have no clue now. I suspect Putin will go for the gold and take nothing less than everything he wants.94 We may get the endless war that the neocons want, although the Palestine-Israel crisis may satisfy that desire. I stand firm that this war could have been avoided with no shots fired if the US had simply backed away from its push to militarize and annex Ukraine into NATO. Matt Orfelea (@Orf) makes great short videos: this one is sarcastically titled, “It’s not about NATO.”95 For those who think this isn’t all about NATO enlargement, maybe you ought to listen to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admit Putin went to war to prevent NATO from absorbing Ukraine.96

The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition for not invade Ukraine. Of course we didn’t sign that.98

~ Jens Stoltenberg, New Nato Chief

Allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member of our alliance.99

~ Jens Stoltenberg, New Nato Chief

NATO enlargement and U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe play to the classic Russian fear of encirclement.97

~ William Burns, CIA Director, 2007

We should not be wasting US tax money and taking on more military obligations expanding NATO. The alliance is a relic of the Cold War, a hold-over from another time, an anachronism. It should be disbanded, the sooner the better…The expansion of NATO to these seven countries, we have heard, will open them up to the further expansion of US military bases, right up to the border of the former Soviet Union. Does no one worry that this continued provocation of Russia might have negative effects in the future? Is it necessary?100

~ Ron Paul, Congressman from Texas, 19 years ago

I suspect that the Israel-Palestine crisis means we will hear almost nothing about Ukraine now, much to the relief of mass murderers Jake Sullivan, Victoria Nuland, and Lindsay Graham who would have some ‘splainin’ to do if the press was inclined to call for it. Bottom line: 500,000 dead Ukrainians and the total destruction of Ukraine was for what goal? Well, they are getting digital IDs,101 although dental records are probably more practical.

If you say he’s a war criminal, it’s going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to make this thing stopped…I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.102

~ Trump, excerebrating Kaitlan Collins on a CNN Town Hall

War does not determine who is right—only who is left.

~ Bertrand Russell

Conclusion

Well, that was painful to write. I try to pick contentious topics that are ignored by others or unconventional angles on standard topics. I got a little kinky on a brief Obama writeup. I smuggled some bizarre ideas in the section on the scandalous Lahaina Fires that led me to directed-energy weapons. I was told that section has a strong Alex Jones flare to it. I’ll nervously accept that as a compliment.

I hope I have one last section in me. This is the section warranting the title alluding to “rabbit holes.” I’ve sorted the notes and graphics and made progress on the key sections. With luck, it will examine the World of Woke and the Gender Wars, hoping to write my way to wisdom while focusing on the defense of vulnerable children and women’s sports. The soul-crushing adventure unlike any I have experienced was the dozens of hours spent digging into the global pedophile network and its implicit role in geopolitics. It inescapably leads to Satanic cults. Sounds like fiction, eh? Here is the one inescapable fact: over a million kids disappear every year. These numbers are only estimates but are not contested. We hear about the horror of it and are provided glimpses of the traffickers and archetypes of the perverts. However, there are awkward questions that are totally swept under the rug. Where do these children go? Who are the end consumers of a million missing children? The potential answers and their experiences are the stuff of nightmares.

Pedophilia is the induction glue of the Deep State.

~ Robert D. Steele, CIA Whistleblower

Before you leave, you might check out the books I’ve read over the last two years with brief critiques (book reports). And, with that, I will show myself to the door.

Books

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

~ Henry David Thoreau

I have too many blogs and articles to read to find time to read books, forcing me to go essentially 100 percent audio. Not so many years ago I had Amazon send me a link to all non-fiction audiobooks and then went through all 2,300 looking for interesting titles. There must be millions now. Although many think audiobooks are for long trips, the optimal time for me is about an hour. The long trips require I take a ritalin and then rotate through several audiobooks, trying not to get a speeding ticket. My 12-minute commute means that I can get through about a dozen books per year. When my wife asks me to run an errand, she is really asking me to read for a few minutes. And, unlike podcasts, they are one-decision listens. My wife gives me guff saying I am not reading: “You use your eyes, I use my ears, and Helen Keller used her fingers: what’s your point?”

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.

~ Abraham Lincoln

I particularly enjoy books that I call “sticky”—books that stick with you long after you’ve finished. As I age, this gets more elusive. I have books that I know I have read but only because a compile the list at the end of each year. Seems discouraging that I cannot remember reading them. I post the Emerson quote below every year to remind the reader that sticky is a nuanced concept. By habit, when I write my synopses, I read Amazon evaluations that oppose my own views—usually the weak ones since I pick my books carefully—to see what I missed and possibly address the criticisms.

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

War is a Racket by Smedley Butler

Smedley was a very famous and tough-minded World War I soldier who wrote the pocket guide to the sinister traits of the industrial-military complex long before Eisenhower’s famous speech. War has always been about bankers and arms dealers making profits. It is a very short, engaging read.1

The Marxification of Education: Paulo Freire’s Critical Marxism and the Theft of Education by James Lindsay.2

I am only half done, but this is an in-depth look at the rise of Marxism in the US. It is not for the faint of heart. I postponed it to read Chris Rufo’s book (below), which is a more neophyte-friendly analysis of the problems that have been marinating within our academic system for a half century.

America’s Cultural Revolution: How the Radical Left Conquered Everything by Christopher F. Rufo.

This is a fabulous read that traces the origins of modern-day neo-Marxism from early philosophers (prominently, Herbert Marcuse and his wife), through the turbulent 60s with militants like the Weather Underground, Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver, and Huey Newton, to the present. The evolution of this school of thought was never broken, only quiet as they changed strategies from blowing up the American system to rotting it from within by grabbing control of academia. The revolution continued ever so quietly, but it evolved in baby steps to the very odd form of Marxism dominating many discussions on college campuses. The foundations of modern day “wokism” and its purpose of upending the status quo was in plain sight, but they were built incrementally and now have a vice grip on college campuses.All of this is not-so-unlike the appearance of Sharia Law inside Saudi Arabia.3

The Canceling of the American Mind by Rikki Schlott and Greg Lukianoff.

Many of you will recall the brilliant treatise by Haidt and Lukianoff, The Coddling of the American Mind. One can view this as a sequel; it is largely the brainchild of Rikki Schlott, a rapidly rising twenty-something star fighting the culture wars. It is a brilliant analysis of cancel culture, giving me pangs of PTSD throughtout the journey. The nuanced analysis of the implications is great. The authors hold a mirror up to me by pointing out places where the political right participates in cancel culture despite its reputation as being driven by the activist-left. (I still think it largely is.) My blood was curdling as she described, for example, how it has snuck into the psychiatric world where therapists are taking in the most vulnerable patients and then blaming them for their “white privilege” and other bizarro evils of being a non-minority.4 This is top-shelf reading material.

These Are the Plunderers: How Private Equity Runs—and Wrecks—America by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner.

These two accomplished authors describe in lurid detail how the monstrous private equity firms such as Carlyle, KKR, and especially Leon Black’s Apollo rape and pillage companies. They buy them, start stripping assets and firing employees, take on huge debts to pay themselves huge compensation packages, and then eventually take the worthless shell of a company back into the open market. If monetary policy was tighter, there would not be enough dumb money to buy up these Potemkin companies, but there is so much stupid money, these guys can profit multiples of their investment. They destroy pensions, cause massive job losses, swallow up insurance policies, and mortally wound viable companies. If the world were just, these private equity guys would be taken behind the Eccles Building and dealt with. I am unclear why vigilante justice has not taken root (yet).5

Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order: Why Nations Succeed or Fail by Ray Dalio.

Like Druckenmiller, I have never been a Ray Dalio acolyte, but this book surprised me. In a nutshell it is a variant of Strauss and Howe’s The Fourth Turning but with slightly different timescales (100- rather than 80-year cycles), and a much stronger emphasis on military and economic forces. I highly recommend it.6

Behold a Pale Horse by Milton William Cooper.

This is about the New World Order and all sorts of Deep State secrets, which I am inclined to take very seriously. Unfortunately, it could quit halfway through, even though it is short.7 The 4.5 star rating with 235 entries suggests that maybe another crack at it would pay off.

One Nation Under Blackmail, Vol. 1 and 2: The Sordid Union Between Intelligence and Crime that Gave Rise to Jeffrey Epstein by Whitney Webb.

This is a monumental effort to document massive white-collar crime over the last century. Volume 1 is pre-Epstein; volume 2 is the Epstein era, but not as much Epstein as you would expect. You could easily jump to volume 2, and it is better because you will know more of the players. I would rename it Encyclopedia of Crime, Corruption, and Grift. As my friend Rudy Havenstein said, it is not a book to be read left to right but rather used as a reference. I did the audio, but somebody sent me the hard copies, which gives me both. The more you know about the relationship of organized crime, intelligence agencies, banks, and other corporations the more you will get from the book. Guys like Roy Cohn—the badass of sexual blackmail and political kingmaking—gets a lot of coverage as do the Clintons. Trump gets winged a little but not as much as Trump haters would like. The Jewish mafia gets hit very hard, although I cannot detect antisemitism. You can’t help but conclude that above some quantity of wealth and power, the CIA and big-money power brokers have control. Whitney would have made more money if she had dumbed it down to a narrative, but she wanted to throughly document the corruption. In a podcast she noted that the first volume was important to slowly open the Overton Windows of the readers before hitting the modern era where dismissal of the story as fiction would be tempting. The Amazon critics totally missed her intention: they wanted an easy read.7,8

Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia by Paul L. Williams.

This was a natural follow-up to Whitney Webb’s encyclopedic analysis of the Deep State. Operation Gladio was set up as a for-profit drug trade to funnel profits into the hands of the three players. I knew the CIA and Mafia dabbled in the drug trade at serious levels. Williams makes a compelling case that these three groups were and likely still are the entire drug trade. The Vatican is the banker, the CIA clears serious geopolitical hurdles, and the Mafia gets the drugs to the street. You would be hard pressed to convince me that any other group would dare try to take over this market from these serious players. I find myself asking a simple question: does the CIA work for the US or is it just a US-domiciled international crime syndicate?9

Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another by Matt Taibbi

This 2019 condemnation of the media could have had a dated feel because a lot has gone south in the media since then—Covid, Ukraine debacle, Twitter files, his personal Congressional testimony on censorship—but it held up brilliantly. I thought it was a masterful autopsy on a media that is now largely dead on arrival now. Those who didn’t like it (low Amazon scores) were mostly thin-skinned Trumper supporters who were incapable of tolerating Matt from picking on “their guy.” They were. Matt has leaned hard left his whole life, but crosses political lines seamlessly. I loved the book.10

Invaded: The Intentional Destruction of the American Immigration System by J. J. Carroll.

As a 25-year veteran of patrolling the US-Mexican border, Carroll brings interesting views of what is actually happening down there and how the floodgates that the Biden Administration opened mutated a manageable problem into a potential catastrophe. It was helpful to me, but I would say it was light on the child trafficking, which is why I read the book. If there is a weakness, it is its exceedingly strong pro-Trump slant. I believe he is sincere, but that alone will prevent many doubters from becoming believers.11

The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing by Dr. Joost A.M. Meerloo and Chris Matthews.

This is a 2021 reprint of the 1961 edition. It has a strong emphasis on brain washing in military contexts in which they analyze the near impossibility of captives successfully resisting being broken by their captors. The detailed protocols are painful to ponder. It migrates into a general discussion of propaganda. Some of the psychoanalytic ideas have given way to more modern analysis. I read it to understand the role of brain washing in sex trafficking. The conclusion is that a child under the control of determined adults has no prayer. They are converted into emotional slaves, requiring no physical incarceration.12

Cave of Bones by John Hawks.

This is a very short, riveting story of a cave discovered in South Africa in 2013 in which intrepid anthropologists crawled through an extraordinarily tight passage to find 1000’s of bones that included 25 complete hominid skeletons pulled out to date. It is a monumentally important discovery of bones of a small species of hominid that evolved in parallel with homo erectus. What is extraordinary is that they have found compelling evidence of culture (cave etchings) and ritual burials, phenomena believed to have appeared only as recently as 70,000 years ago by fully evolved homo sapiens. Many questions remain because it is a recent discovery. A curious theme that I have detected in previous books on anthropology emerged yet again: it is a community that is based on careful analyses of limited fragments leading to bold extrapolations that the field then embraces too strongly.13 When dogma is challenged, the old guard shits their pants, and they have done it in this case too.

The Enemy Within by David Horowitz

This political rant was too lopsided. I am no fan of books that force a false equivalence of both sides of a story even when one side is moronic, but this book had no nuance. It is pure right-wing from start to finish. (reminding me of one of Kim Strassel’s books.) The right might enjoy it and use it to strengthen their talking points, but it will just make them more rigidly angry. The left will make it 10 percent through and then quit. Nobody will be converted. This is very unlike Taibbi’s book for the open minded reader. The 1,100 favorable reviews were quite likely 100% right of center.15

Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice by Vivek Rmaswamy

This book was clearly one of those books you write to launch your campaign. It was fine but you could also just watch a couple of podcasts and get the same messages. Ramaswamy is a fascinating addition to the public stage, stating almost everything traditional conservatives and right-leaning libertarians will like. The problem I have is that he seems too polished—produced like a boy-band.16

The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal by Nick Bryant

This book was hugely influential in my pursuit of the role of pedophile networks on geopolitics. There are documentaries out there, but they are so low budget that I do not recommend even watching them. This treatise was thorough and convincing. The central bad guy was a highly connected political operative named Larry King (no relation to the famous one) who worked at the orphanage named Boys Town made famous by several movies. Larry had political reach up to the Whitehouse. The witnesses in the scandal are all broken with multiple personalities, broken lives, and drug addictions, but Bryant brilliantly chases leads and cross references testimony. Although many of the horrors of sex trafficking children are clear, the breadth of the network, which reached cities around the country, was not really the core story. When the network began unraveling the gloves came off. The chief of police was worthless—he was one of the local pervs—while the attorney general of Nebraska shut everything down. A citizen group hired a former state cop to investigate, and his very dogged pursuit of the truth landed him and his son in a corn field from an unexplained plane crash. The FBI destroyed witnesses—horrifically, eventually flipping some to turn on the others and testify they were liars. Threats of perjury to the witnesses were stifling. A grand finale was when one persistent witness ended up in the Nebraska Supreme Court facing a judge assigned to the case who had no legal standing to handle the case but very quickly displayed his role in subverting justice. Throughout the story the local Omaha Newspaper attacked the accusers and the group of concerned citizens. Curiously, Bryant falls short of naming the famous purchasers of the kids, but Whitney Webb picks up that trail in Volume 2 of her book. Of course, Wikipedia calls it a hoax but, as told to me by the cofounder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, the FBI and CIA have total control over Wikipedia. The biggest challenge in reading about organized pedophilia networks is that they are so far outside your world view—way outside most people’s Overton Window—that it is difficult to grasp.17

Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression by Christopher Knowlton

This is the most recent book on the legendary 1920s Florida real estate bubble. It is especially useful to those interested in market structures to remind themselves there is “nothing new under the sun.” (Sorry.) It was a classic boom-euphoria-total bust story. It was an entertaining historical treatise on the origins of famous cities in Florida as they started life as basically swamps. The Florida today owes its origin story to this mania. The banks started failing in 1925 and everybody shook it off as those nuts in Florida. Then banks throughout the south began failing and the same rationalization was used. By the mid 30s, 12,000 banks had failed nationally. Florida real estate is given credit for being more than just a trigger but rather major proximate cause of the Great Depression. By the end, the four biggest players ended up destitute. In a modern era, they would be saved by your money.18

The Psychology of Totalitarianism by Mattias Desmet

I was reluctant to read this because I thought it would be another Covid book, which I was trying to put behind me. I was pleasantly surprised that it was much more general and an excellent treatise explaining how bad ideologies take hold within the populace. The message is that it is not just evil guys at the top taking control of the gullible masses but the ideology gaining control of everybody. The malaise in societies—isolation, lack of goals, frustration—tees up the call for change and leads to somebody promising a solution. (It sure feels like that is happening.) It is a warning not to trust credentialed experts. He leans heavily on the scholarly writings of Hannah Arendt without falling into a trap of taking it so deep that the average reader can’t grasp the message—a Gladwellian reductionist approach.19

The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State by Aaron Kheriaty

I was drawn to Covid by Kheriaty’s massive overview of the Covid epidemic and our deeply flawed response like a moth to a flame. Aaron started as the head of the University of California—Irvine’s Director of Medical Ethics Program at the medical school, where he was commandeered to run the University’s vaccination program and eventually morphed into a militant doubter. To my shock, he went down every dark rabbit hole, joining the ranks of the Covid-vaccine battlers whose world view has become profoundly dark. I enjoyed the overview of a topic I had been pounding on for two years. I asked Aaron if he was predisposed to go down rabbit holes or if the flawed Covid narrative came out of left field. He basically said he knew there were issues in the world, but that the whole story hit him like a truck. If somehow you still think the covid story presented to the populace was legitimate then you ought to read this book and get a CT scan.20

The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman

It is ironic that by the time I wrote this review, I could not remember anything that was in the book. I used Amazon reviews to remind remind me what I had read: “Oh yeah. Now I remember.” Well, that didn’t even happen. I bet I liked it—the 5,000+ reviews did—and the topics look great, but I really don’t recall reading it. Every book I’ve read on the brain and neuropsychology and neuralplasticity are blurring together I guess. Maybe the Amazon reviewers wrote reviews before they had forgotten what they had read it.21

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control by Stephen Kinzer

Stephen is a prolific investigator on all things Deep State. I had already read Overthrow (it was great) and The Brothers, the story of Allen and John Foster Dulles (good). Don’t read this book to feel good about the world. This is a horror story about the role of Sidney Gottlieb (no relation to Scott that I could find) who ran the CIA’s most demented mind-control programs, including the infamous MKUltra. I must confess that I was not aware of how much above-the-fold the MKUltra program had become in the early 70s. These guys were totally twisted bastards. While the Department of Defense grabbed German rocket scientists (logically) the CIA grabbed all the doctors (possibly including Mengele, although that is not completely clear.) They put them on payroll and had them continue their studies of human torture at Fort Detrick. They eventually morphed their efforts into brainwashing using psychedelics (LSD et al.) The goal was to create foot soldiers of the type protrayed in the Bourne Identity. When outed, they claimed it didn’t work and terminated the program. There is no evidence that either is true. Having read volumes on the CIA, I am convinced that they have their paws on absolutely everything with no adult supervision. It is such a sleeper cell-based model that I am in no way convinced that the head of the CIA has a clue what is going on in his organization.22

The Illuminati by Jim Marrs.

I was hoping to get my arms around the elusive Illuminati, the small group of global players who some people believe still rules the world. Almost 700 reviewers like it with a 4.5 star rating, but 10% into the book they were talking about aliens from distant planets, and that was enough for me.23

The Coming Collapse of China by Gordon G. Chang.

I had high hopes but wasn’t getting shit out of it. There was too much Chinese history that removed all sense of stickiness. I quit. I read a half-dozen books on the Middle East years ago and got nothing from them either. I did not have an intellectual framework to hang the information from. Too many foreign names, places, and concepts.24

2022 Books

Because I ran out of gas, my 2022 bibliography never got published. I try to choose my reading materials carefully enough that they do not go out of date.

The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin by Stephen Lee Myers.

While trying to sort out complex stories, I avoid reading books. I want to assemble a narrative rather than reiterate somebody else’s. Of course, even the pieces have embedded narratives and may be laced with propaganda. It is my compromise. However, I broke my no-book rule this time by reading The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin25 recommended by America’s favorite Roosky, Lex Fridman. I must admit it seemed remarkably balanced and unbiased until the moment Putin was elected President. From that page on, Myers had nothing favorable to say—not one positive word. It was as though a new author took control, some aggressive editing was inserted, or the Zebra changed the color of his stripes at that moment. I should add that, while conceding he is a sociopath by Western standards, my opinion of Putin as a world leader is many standard deviations to the favorable side of the norm in the West. We in the US of A elect idiots.26

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness by Morgan Housel.

This was a great discussion of how people stumble into trouble handling money and investing. It has a little touch of Millionaire Next Door and is at about that level of intensity. The number of new insights was not high, but I like how Morgan formulates the ideas. It would be an excellent book for a young adult. I will warn you: at the end of the book he goes on to tell you to buy a 60:40 portfolio, which shocked reviewers looking for a magic formula.27

The Price of Time: The Real Story of Interest by Edward Chancellor.

Ed is one of the legends in the history of markets. I thought this was going to be another one of those books that offers marginal new insights but articulates the principles with a flare, but I was pleasantly surprised the underlying details were more than I expected. The book hammers home the point that cheap money as exemplified by artificially low interest has, without fail, ended in tragedy. Authentically low rates—rates set by price discovery rather than autocratic central bankers—are emblematic of a sluggish economy. He also notes that every time rates drop to 2%, a crisis is not far behind. Assuming he was referring to nominal rates, we are royally hosed. If he was alluding to real rates, a new metaphor will be needed. The case is well made that, no matter what, intervention in price discovery within the credit markets is problematic and should be minimal. There is nobody alive today who remembers such a market, so that is a problem.28

The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

I had started this book and progressed enough in my 2021 Year in Review to give it a ringing endorsement. Having finished it, I would say the >24,000 rave reviews on Amazon are not wrong. This book will warp your mind and force you into one of two diametrically opposed conclusions: either Anthony Fauci is a mass murder and has been so for decades—I am not being metaphorical here—or Robert Kennedy should be sued into bankruptcy. Kennedy names names, quotes experts, and references it all. His army of fact checkers and lawyers were charged with keeping him out of bankruptcy court. I have yet to read a single credible push back against the book, suggesting Kennedy will retain his inherited wealth. It is overwhelming tales of rigged clinical trials using such notable subjects as inner city foster kids (14,000 of them). If Kennedy is correct, Fauci and many others should be frog-marched to Nuremburg, tried, and, if convicted, hung from their necks until dead.29

Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It by John Abramson.

So let us assume some of you don’t trust Kennedy because he does have a sketchy reputation no doubt created by big-cap pharma. Harvard Medical School’s John Abramson wandered into the world of big-cap pharma corruption when he determined that Merck’s Vioxx was killing tens of thousands of consumers, leading to the most expensive recall in history. This is a tell-all about the seedy world of clinical trials and drug marketing. Case studies examine the corruption that has taken hold within the world of clinical studies, which includes pharma, fly-by-night clinical trial companies, the FDA, and academic institutions helping commit fraud. I now have a new policy: never take a drug that doesn’t cure a specific medical condition. Y’all can take those drugs to change some blood level of some biochemical marker, but I will not. It better cure an infection, significantly reduce pain, or clean up a rash. Claims by others that 75% of all drugs currently prescribed do nothing are credible. Heads up: Abramson was writing his book in 2022, so comments about the efficacy of the vaccine were probably filler and founded on little evaluation of the data. As an aside, more than 70 percent of mainstream media’s ad revenues come from pharma. The ads are not to sell you or your doctor drugs with unpronounceable names that let you wander through life with a smile on your face. It is to capture the media with addictive revenues.30

The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization by Peter Zeihan.

Peter is a career demographer with early training at Stratfor, the private intelligence group that got wrapped up after a cyber attack got ahold of 2 million potentially touchy emails. He suffers from being a neocon and from unbelievably high confidence in predictions of future global events that probably require more circumspection. With that said, his data is probably excellent and predictions are provocative. By example, while everybody thinks China is going to dominate the World, he predicts the complete collapse of the Han dynasty in 10–15 years. He systematically looks at shrinking populations and their role in deglobalization, which will not be fun. An important take-home message for me was that the US’s projection of power around the globe since WWII—a non-Monroe-Doctrine approach to geopolitics—was the most critical ingredient that allowed unfettered global trade. No other military can project their power globally to keep the sea lanes open. The deglobalization that he predicts (with great confidence) as inevitable and imminent, will be highly inflationary, which I think makes total sense. Americans should take heart: Peter makes a good case that the coming decades will suck for us too but not as bad as for everybody else.31

The War on the West by Douglas Murray.

Doug is one of the social justice warriors fighting against the other social justice warriors who are indoctrinating the globe with neo-Marxist ideas. He is a fluid writer. If you are moderate or right of center, you will be highly entertained (and a bit discouraged) by his analysis of the state of the world. If you are a neo-Marxist, he will either piss you off royally or carry out a world-class intervention on your world view.32

The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer.

This analysis of mass movements written in 1953 retains extraordinarily relevance to the present. Hoffer talks about how mass movements start, who the players are, where the movements get their oxygen from, and why they sometimes succeed or fail. The recurring theme is that ideas first proferred by intellectuals—the “talkers”—articulate foundational principles. This could be Satoshi to the Hodlers, Mercuse to the woke crowd, or the scientists to Climate Cult. The highly visible and often stunning fanatics are unflatteringly characterized as having little to show for their lives in the present, rendering them happy to support change for the unknown future because it must be better. They are looking for meaning in the group that their personal lives lack and distance themselves from blame for their wretched existance. Often the movement involves self-sacrifice, whether it is ancient clerics forfeiting all Earthly belongings and pleasures or modern-day climate activists who claiming they will give up modern conveniences for the lofty goal of saving Mother Earth. Hoffer’s book has the potential of changing your world view.33

War Without Rules: China’s Playbook for Global Domination Audible by General Robert Spalding.

This book complements Pillsbury’s book (below) in that it analyzes and interprets a recently translated and relatively little-known book on Chinese military strategy entitled, “Unrestricted Warfare” written by two Chinese colonels in 1999. Robert attempts to understand the mind of the Chinese military leaders and their deep-seated philosophy that anything and everything can be weaponized, which contrasts with the West’s view that warfare is largely kinetic (blow shit up.) It was not sticky—China is a seriously foreign world to me—but should be read for those trying to understand China. May God have mercy on your souls.34

Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win by Peter Schweizer.

Peter has documented the vast corruption of those inside the beltway and how they pilfer huge sums of money by selling us down the river. He is probably best known for Clinton Cash and Secret EmpiresRed-Handed thoroughly documents the corruption of US politicians by China. Alas, it reads a bit like an Excel spreadsheet with column 1 being the names of all elected officials and political operatives and column 2 being their vig. The sheer magnitude of the grift is nauseating. I am in contact with Peter and expressed my condolences for his depressing life prowling the Swamp.35

The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

Michael is an ex-CIA agent—if there is such a thing as an ex-CIA agent—who was the man in China. Of course, this narrative was vetted so caveat emptor. With that said, he describes Mao’s hundred-year plan to re-enter the world of global politics and become the dominant power within 100 years. You will not find such long-range thinking in the West although some people are old enough to have done so. In the event, Pillsbury claims to have completely misjudged China’s approach for the first 25 years of his career. He emphasizes their penchant for patience and deception. Everybody does this in warfare, but the Chinese have brought it to a Sun-Tzu-like art-of-war level. They avoid at all costs taking on a strong opponent directly. And, you may have noticed, China does not have a history of offensive warfare. They defend themselves.36

Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America by Charles Murray

I am a Charles Murray fan. (Incoming!) I loved Coming Apart. This short treatise on the invasion by neo-Marxists was enjoyable. I recommend you read Doug Murray’s book (no relation) instead.37

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky

Noam was being Noam. He is a detail guy, sometimes at the expense of the reader. This 1980’s vintage treatise focuses on the bullshit we were fed as the US overthrew various banana republics. Alas, it was scholarly but dry. I would recommend Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer. It is an easy read, describing our aversion to democracies around the world. (We tolerate some, but prefer to work with cigar-toting dictators.) Noam had a huge influence on Taibbi’s thinking. I know Noam is a commie and went totally off the rails on Covid, but he is still a genius worthy of your attention.38

Propaganda by Edward Bernays.

Continuing with my propaganda theme and its relationship to rising authoritarianism, I went straight to the 1926 seminal treatise on the field. Ed figured out how to sell pianos to the wealthy, cigarettes to women, and refrigerators to eskimos. He describes how the entire populace is immersed in propaganda and how it works. I cannot say it was my favorite book but a must read for those professing to care about enroaching authoritarianism. (If you can’t see it, I cannot help you.) The funny part was that he kept saying politicians hadn’t yet figured out how to exploit the tools. Well, Eddie: they certainly corrected that little gap in their knowledge. I have since discovered that the spooks exploited Ed and his ideas too.39

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt.

My authoritarian theme dragged me to the pinnacle of the field. Hannah is a legend. Unfortunately, her writing is brutal. I chatted with a friend who spent two years in an attic hiding from the Nazis who is a genius (Nobel Prize and all). He said she was difficult to read. It is a must for some but tough on me.40

The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard.

Arrrgh. This was a fun read about the pirates who set up shop in the Caribbean with a strong emphasis on their empire’s home base at Nassau. The 17th century pirates are not well documented. Their booty—Spanish gold—raises a question: if you steal gold and you are stuck in the Caribbean, what do you do with it? As the piracy market evolved, the quality of the booty decreased. Grabbing linen and barrels of some marginally edible crap is less exciting and profitable than bullion from galleons. As the story goes, life on a pirate ship was considerably more enjoyable than on a sovereign naval ship. The book dovetails well with Eric Jay Dolan’s Leviathan that describes the growth of the whaling industry and how it founded the New England industrial juggernaut.41

What Darwin Didn’t Know: The Modern Science of Evolution by Scott Solomon.

As a genetics major I had a particular affinity for evolutionary theory. This trimester-length course from the Great Courses Series (see Amazon) was really enjoyable. After wandering through the historical backdrop of evolutionary theory, it brings the listener up to speed on what has changed and the revolutionary new advances in the field. I suspect it is friendly to the non-scientist, but I could be wrong.42

Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections by Mollie Hemingway.

I decided to take a retrospective look into the 2020 election after my pulse had dropped a few notches. Mollie presents a one-sided view of the tricks of electioneering. You have three choices: (a) assume what she says is bullshit, (b) assume both sides do it, and there are just as many bad stories about the right she skipped over, or (c) reconcile why the Democrats are just so much more devious than republicans. I followed the story closely and found it credible and comfortably within the guard rails. The Republicans appear to be outplayed, even though I am confident they do nefarious things to corrupt elections (like place polling stations in horrible places). I am confident that the 2020 election had no guard rails because too many people on both sides of the aisle convinced themselves that Trump was the second coming of Hitler. I also distinguished “corrupted” where profound biases leaned heavily to achieve an outcome from “rigged” where the actual voting process was broken profoundly. Hemmingway’s narrative provides a convincing tale of corruption. Some of the stories are horrifying while all of the stories, when put together in one narrative, are nauseating. The case that it was rigged is speculative: the opportunity to rig it was there, but is the evidence that it was rigged undeniable? No. I fall back on the belief, however, that if it could be rigged, they rigged it. Every other imaginable attempt to pull Trump out of power was used. I doubt they would overlook any possibility. As an audiobook, it was fine. I am not sure I would want to take valuable reading time to rehash this sordid chapter of history.43

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/24/2023 - 16:40
Published:12/24/2023 4:03:59 PM
[Markets] House Judiciary Seeks Documents From Jack Smith Over Trump Cases House Judiciary Seeks Documents From Jack Smith Over Trump Cases

Authored by Catherine Yang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) have demanded documents from special counsel Jack Smith seeking information about his investigation of former President Donald Trump, and threatening a subpoena if the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to ignore similar requests they submitted earlier this year.

(Left) Special counsel Jack Smith. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) / (Right) House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

"Based on publicly available information, the Committee has significant concerns about your commitment to evenhanded justice," the House Republicans wrote on Thursday in a letter to the special counsel.

Mr. Jordan and Mr. Biggs are asking for documents, including communications between the special counsel and the U.S. Attorney General's office regarding investigating and prosecuting President Trump, salaries and travel costs incurred by special counsel staff working on the Trump case, and hiring criteria for the team.

They gave a deadline of Jan. 4 for the requested materials.

Mr. Smith is prosecuting former President Donald Trump in two separate federal criminal investigations, one alleging mishandling of classified documents and another alleging interference in the 2020 elections. He was appointed special counsel last November to investigate matters related to Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee chairs pointed out that this is a prosecution by the Biden administration of "President Biden's chief opponent in the upcoming presidential election," and that a record showing partiality has emerged.

"You have a record of attempting to criminalize political discourse, as evidenced by your reported interest in how the Justice Department could prosecute conservative tax-exempt groups engaging in constitutionally protected political speech," the letter reads.

They called into question Mr. Smith's appointment as special counsel, raising questions of "fairness and justice."

They cited a Washington Post report that quoted top DOJ officials opposing the investigation into President Trump for his role on Jan. 6, and recent reports that the special counsel demanded from Twitter (now X) information about users who reposted or liked President Trump's posts.

This is within the committee's purview, they noted, because it could inform legislation "including possible reforms regarding politically motivated prosecutions."

Repeat Requests

The House Judiciary had previously made three requests for information from the DOJ concerning "politicized" prosecutions.

On June 1, Mr. Jordan requested information about how Mr. Smith was using FBI personnel in his investigations, highlighting recent reports of political bias in the department.

On June 6, Mr. Jordan requested the unredacted version of the memo outlining the scope of Mr. Smith's authority as special counsel, citing concerns about overreach in the FBI raid on President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in August 2022. The raid resulted in a case Mr. Smith is prosecuting.

On Sept. 7, Mr. Jordan requested documents and communications between the special counsel's office and defense attorney Stanley Woodward. Mr. Woodward is representing a codefendant in the Mar-a-Lago case and had alleged that an attorney from the special counsel's office tried to bribe him to turn his client against President Trump.

The special counsel's office was not immediately available for comment.

Investigating Trump Cases

A number of House Republicans have been outspoken about the multiple ongoing cases against President Trump, who has maintained a wide lead as the GOP frontrunner and looks ever more likely to become the party's nominee.

He has been on trial in New York in a civil fraud case since October, and litigating pretrial motions in four separate criminal cases to which he has pleaded not guilty to 91 counts.

In Georgia, President Trump faces racketeering charges in his challenge of the 2020 elections.

Mr. Jordan has also opened a probe into prosecutor Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney, citing concerns that the investigation is politically motivated. Ms. Willis has been campaigning and fundraising as of late, with events coinciding with the high-profile litigation of the case against President Trump and more than a dozen others.

The committee later expanded that probe to cover potential "collusion" between Ms. Willis and the Jan. 6 Select Committee, which produced a highly controversial report accusing President Trump of wrongdoing.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has also called attention to potential bias in Trump cases, filing an ethics complaint in November against New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the civil fraud trial. She cited concerning statements the judge had made before and during the trial, and questioned a pretrial ruling the judge made in finding President Trump liable for fraud before hearing his defense.

Closing arguments for the New York case are scheduled for Jan. 11, and defense attorneys are expected to appeal shortly after the judge makes his ruling.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/23/2023 - 18:40
Published:12/23/2023 6:21:56 PM
[Markets] Trump Calls Biden An 'Insurrectionist' After Colorado Ballot Ban Trump Calls Biden An 'Insurrectionist' After Colorado Ballot Ban

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday denied being an "insurrectionist" while labeling President Joe Biden as one, while citing as proof factors like the "open" border and accusing the president of "destroying" America with radical anti-fossil fuel policies.

"I'm not an insurrectionist ('PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICALLY'), Crooked Joe Biden is," President Trump said in a post on Truth Social, with the words "peacefully & patriotically" in reference to a fragment of his Jan. 6 speech in which he told members of the crowd to head to the Capitol building "to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York on Aug. 9, 2022. (David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters)

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the former president's claim.

President Trump's remarks came two days after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled to bar him from the state's presidential primary ballot on the basis of a section of the 14th Amendment that blocks anyone from running for office who engaged in an "insurrection."

The former president called the Colorado court’s ruling a politically motivated decision and a “shame for our country,” while his attorneys vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Biden declined to comment on the Colorado Supreme Court decision but told reporters there was "no question" that the former president was an insurrectionist.

"Is Trump an insurrectionist, sir?" one reporter called out, prompting President Biden to walk closer to the cameras, asking the reporter to repeat the question.

"I think that's certainly self-evident, you saw it all," President Biden answered.

"Now, whether the 14th Amendment applies, I'll let the court make that decision," he added. "But he certainly supported insurrection, no question about it, none, zero. And he seems to be doubling down on everything."

'Insurrectionist' Tit-for-Tat

President Trump accused President Biden of being an "insurrectionist" once again on Thursday, this time laying out a more extensive rationale.

"Crooked Joe Biden is the Insurrectionist because he let millions of unknown people come recklessly and unchecked through our insane 'Open' Border, let a war begin in the Middle East and Ukraine, Weaponized our DOJ & FBI, SURRENDERED in Afghanistan when we could have left with dignity and strength—the most embarrassing event in the history of our Country, and is destroying America with the GREEN NEW SCAM!!!" the former president said in a post on Truth Social.

The former president has repeatedly criticized President Biden for his lax border policies, which he says are responsible for an illegal immigration crisis of historic proportions. President Trump has also accused the president of pulling strings to get the Justice Department to launch various investigations and charges against him to undermine his 2024 presidential campaign—claims President Biden has denied.

President Trump has also repeatedly criticized the incumbent for his anti-fossil fuel policies that he says are undermining America's energy independence and national security. He, by contrast, has vowed to reverse President Biden's policies if elected and "drill, drill, drill."

The former president also railed against the various "fake political indictments" against him, claiming that the White House is behind every case that the Justice Department has brought against him and that he's fighting.

"Crooked Joe Biden is a threat to democracy," President Trump said in another post, while accusing him of election interference.

The Ruling

The Colorado Supreme Court's Dec. 19 ruling centered on a section of the 14th Amendment that bars officials who have engaged in "insurrection or rebellion" from holding office.

Specifically, it's based on an interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which is known as the disqualification clause, which states that no person shall hold office if they have “previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States” and engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

The left-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Colorado secretary of state to block President Trump from appearing on the ballot, arguing that "officer of the United States" would surely cover the highest office in the federal government, and so the 14th Amendment's disqualification clause should apply.

However, Colorado 2nd District Court Judge Sarah Wallace said in a 100-plus page ruling that there was “scant evidence” that was the case, noting that the authors of the 14th Amendment specifically listed offices, with the presidency not among them.

Judge Wallace did, however, find that President Trump engaged in an “insurrection,” and, on appeal, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. president is a public “officer,” and so the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause does apply.

The unprecedented ruling makes Colorado the first and only state to disqualify President Trump from appearing on a state primary ballot. It also makes President Trump the first candidate in U.S. history to be declared ineligible to run for the White House.

Jan. 6 Backdrop

President Trump held a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, in which he made statements encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol, where Congress was in the process of certifying the results of the presidential election.

While President Trump called for the day's events to be peaceful, a group of people breached the Capitol, leading to a violent confrontation with law enforcement.

The events of that day have been the subject of widespread scrutiny and debate, with President Trump's political opponents accusing him of inciting an "insurrection."

The "insurrection" allegations underpin several legal efforts by President Trump's opponents to block him from being listed on ballots in the 2024 presidential race on 14th Amendment grounds, seeking to portray him as the instigator of the Jan. 6 incident.

These cases basically argued that the former president took part in an "insurrection" by giving an impassioned speech on Jan. 6 before the Capitol breach occurred.

Even though President Trump said in his Jan. 6 speech that protesters should "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard," his critics have seized on a portion of his remarks where he said "we fight like hell" and "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore" as a call for violence.

The former president has, on numerous occasions, denied calling for violent protests while insisting he meant his remarks about fighting like hell metaphorically.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/22/2023 - 23:00
Published:12/22/2023 10:06:25 PM
[Markets] 'Trump Derangement Syndrome Just Became Orwellian'; VDH 'Trump Derangement Syndrome Just Became Orwellian'; VDH

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

Will Partisan Lawfare Destroy Trump?

Trump Derangement Syndrome became Orwellian with the recent ruling of the Colorado Supreme Court.

It approved the erasure of Trump from the Republican primary ballot in Colorado, by invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

That ossified clause was intended to bar any ante-bellum federal officials who joined the Confederacy from again holding federal offices after 1865.

In no way is Trump’s conduct on January 6 comparable to calling for secession, much less prompting a Civil War that cost the country 700,000 lives.

An “insurrectionist” president does not address unarmed protestors with qualifiers like, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

How also can one be guilty of insurrection without ever being indicted for such a supposed crime, much less convicted of it? 

And the more we learn about January 6, all the more it appears to have been a spontaneous riot, more buffoonish in nature than conspiratorial.

No one has explained the mysterious, politicized January 6 refusal of the Speaker of the House to order a reinforcement of the Capitol police.

Or the FBI stonewalling about its informants in the crowd.

Or the revealing admissions of New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg (“a ton of FBI informants among the people who attacked the Capitol”).

Or the warped composition and conduct of the January 6 congressional committee.

Or the months-long official disinformation surrounding the number and circumstances of those who died that day.

That day’s illegality in terms of violence and death paled in comparison to the largely excused and exempted 120 days of summer violence in 2020, when Antifa and BLM engineered riots, arson, and death.

Their planned violence accounted for 35 or so killed, and more than 1,500 injured police officers.

Some $1-2 billion in property was destroyed.

A police precinct, federal courthouse, and iconic Washington, D.C. church were torched.

Mobs attempted to storm the White House grounds and sent the president into a secure underground bunker.

But if one really wishes to imagine genuine “insurrectionary “and actionable language, then recall current Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2020 de facto encouragement to the rioters,

But they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop, and this is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop, and everyone beware, because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. Everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that they’re not going to let up — and they should not. And we should not.

Or remember this 2020 insurrectionary warning to two sitting Supreme Court Justices by then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

At the very doors of the court, Schumer revved up an angry crowd with undisguised threats:

I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.

The Colorado court ruling is sadly only the most recent in a long series of disastrous firsts that are slowly unwinding the republic and making a mockery of the rule of law.

Remember the Russian collusion hoax and the 2016 Clinton/Fusion GPS effort to destroy a presidential candidate?

Recall the 2020 Russian disinformation farcical claim concerning the genuine Hunter Biden laptop?

Do not forget the precedent of impeaching a president twice and then trying an ex-president and private citizen in the Senate.

Then there was another first of raiding an ex-president’s private home over disputes about the removal of presidential papers that are typically solved bureaucratically and as a civil matter.

We are also witnessing ongoing lawfare waged by state and local partisan prosecutors to destroy the current leading presidential candidate.

Their indictments either have no merit or would never have applied to liberal politicians or both.

What will be Colorado’s precedent?

Will red-state courts now respond by erasing Joe Biden from their ballots on grounds that he is “guilty” of insurrectionary activity—by deliberately destroying the southern border, undermining U.S. security, sabotaging federal immigration law, and violating his oath of office?

Will some states remove Vice President Kamala Harris from their 2024 ballots on grounds that in 2020 she deliberately incited insurrectionary protestors who had been engaged in riot, arson, looting, violent assaults on police, and attacks on federal properties?

So does the Left see where it is taking the country?

It is destroying all the old parameters of accepted politics in using any means necessary to deny millions of citizens the right to elect their own highest official.

We have never seen anything like this before in American history. But it is only the latest chapter of an ongoing travesty that will not end well.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/22/2023 - 20:30
Published:12/22/2023 7:51:32 PM
[Markets] 'The Harmless Grifter Defense' - The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence-Peddling With A Twist 'The Harmless Grifter Defense' - The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence-Peddling With A Twist

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

As the House of Representatives goes into high gear in its impeachment proceedings (and possible contempt resolution against Hunter Biden), the Biden family legal problems continue to mount. In one week, it was revealed that President Biden’s brother James was caught on an FBI audiotape in a corruption investigation, while Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, is now also facing demands for unpaid taxes.

James Biden is expected to appear before the House for questioning in the coming weeks.

The appearance may solidify a new line of defense for the Bidens: that they are harmless grifters.

After years of denying influence peddling with the help of an obligating media, even some Democrats are now admitting that Hunter and his uncles have been selling influence.

Biden associates confirmed that Joe Biden was the brand that they were peddling to foreign clients, who paid millions to the family.

The FBI tape is the latest example of how the Bidens would market their name and access. The surveillance occurred in the bribery investigation into Mississippi trial attorney Richard Scruggs. Like many Biden associates, Scruggs would eventually go to prison while the Bidens remained untouched.

Scruggs forked over $100,000 to James Biden when he was seeking to reinforce support for the massive tobacco legislation and Joe Biden was viewed as skeptical on what some viewed as a windfall for trial lawyers.

Scruggs admitted to the Washington Post that “I probably wouldn’t have hired [James Biden] if he wasn’t the senator’s brother.”

Scruggs was just another shady figure whose business association with the Bidens would ultimately end with a prison stint. As soon as the tape came out, so did the new defense.

James Biden took the money but allegedly did nothing to land his brother.

If that sounds familiar, it should.

After Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer admitted that they were selling the “Biden brand,” the Bidens’ defenders immediately insisted that it was merely “illusory.” In other words, these corrupt figures wanted to buy influence and access, but they were just chumps fleeced by the Bidens.

The idea is to get the public to think less of coked up Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and more of the lovable professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” the charming rascal ripping off hayseeds by selling marching bands.

It is a curious defense that we are not corrupt because we just ripped off dupes who were corrupt people.

The problem, of course, is that influence peddling is a form of corruption. Indeed, it is a form of corruption that is so damaging to good government that the United States has pushed global agreements to ban influence peddling in other countries.

The question is whether Joe Biden knew about the influence peddling of his brothers and his son. If so, he actively assisted his family in acquiring millions to influence him on public policy or legislation. His family was effectively marketing time shares in a senator, a vice president and now a president. 

Whether or not Biden delivered, the family business corrupted the functions of government by converting offices into types of commodities. That is the case regardless of whether or not they delivered. It is akin to an extortionist taking money without any intent to follow through on threats of disclosure or use of damaging material. Even in today’s willfully blind politics, every voter should be able to agree on two simple facts.

  • First, influence peddling is corruption long opposed by the government and denounced by both parties.

  • Second, if the president knew that his son and uncles were using him for influence peddling, Joe Biden is also corrupt.

That is why it comes down to knowledge. Under federal case law, money and gifts going to one’s family is often treated as a benefit for the purposes of corruption or bribery. Indeed, many of the current Democratic members previously voted that money going to family members of a judge was impeachable. I represented that judge in the last judicial impeachment tried on the Senate floor.

It is highly implausible that the president did not know about the influence peddling. There were news articles on the allegations, and the Biden family has been accused of influence peddling for decades. It is a virtual family business.

The greater problem facing the White House is that roughly 70 percent of voters (including 40 percent of Democrats) believes that President Biden acted illegally or unethically, or both. Even Hunter’s friend Archer said that the president’s denials of knowledge were “categorically false.” Other witnesses, such as Tony Bobulinski, have stated under oath that they personally spoke to Joe Biden about these dealings.

This is likely why defenders are now failing back on the claim that the Bidens may have been grifting, but not actually selling out. It was an act put on for corrupt marks wanting to buy an advantage. That is why the Biden team immediately said that James Biden took $100,000 but then did nothing to deliver his brother.

But Scruggs later expressed satisfaction for what he got out of the deal, stating “Jim was a help, and Joe gave us some good advice.”

Joe Biden would later join Scruggs at high-profile events, and Scruggs used his private jet to fly Biden to a fundraiser.

These are dealings that will now be pursued by the House. However, the issue remains what the president knew about his family’s influence peddling and when he knew it.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/22/2023 - 13:20
Published:12/22/2023 12:33:35 PM
[Markets] Graham Says The 'Biden Knew Nothing About His Son's Activities' Narrative Is Falling Apart Graham Says The 'Biden Knew Nothing About His Son's Activities' Narrative Is Falling Apart

Authored by Stephen Katte via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) believes the narrative being presented by Hunter Biden in response to the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is "falling apart."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in Washington on May 25, 2022. (Ting Shen/Pool/Getty Images)

Hunter Biden has been the subject of several ongoing criminal cases over his business dealings. His father is accused of directly being involved in his son's activities and abusing his power by allegedly profiting from his father's office as vice president, enabling bribery, and other high crimes. The White House and President Biden have both denied this. Hunter Biden's attorney claims the whole affair is part of a political agenda.

During a Dec. 17 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Graham said Hunter Biden's narrative that his father knew nothing about his business dealings had begun to unravel in the light of day.

"The idea that Joe Biden knew nothing about the business dealings is falling apart," he said.

However, Sen. Graham also conceded the impeachment inquiry has a tall order ahead of it in actually proving the accusations against the president. He believes if there was any evidence showing the president had committed the crimes he is accused of, it would already be public knowledge.

"They have to prove that President Biden somehow financially benefited from the business enterprises of Hunter Biden. We'll see," he said.

"If there were a smoking gun, I think we'd be talking about it," Sen. Graham added.

House Republicans released the 14-page measure to formalize the House impeachment inquiry of President Biden last week, which then passed on Dec. 13, 221–212. The action gives more power to the probe to investigate the actions of the president, the White House, and the Biden family. President Biden has publicly called the whole action a "baseless political stunt."

Peace Efforts More Important than Impeachment

Despite expressing support for the impeachment of President Biden in the past, Sen. Graham says he is now more concerned with events in the Middle East. He claims to have not "paid that much attention" to the inquiry of late.

"I'm not worried about impeaching the president right now. You know what I'm worried about?" Sen. Graham said.

"Helping the president bring the Mideast to a better spot, trying to convince the Arabs and the Israelis to not let Iran get you off track, give Israel the space to destroy Hamas."

Tensions in the Middle East have been at an all-time high since the Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Hamas. The death toll keeps rising, and there are fears the conflict could spread. Sen. Graham says this situation presents an "opportunity in the Mideast," which may never come again, and that's where the focus should be, in his opinion.

"In the middle of all this carnage, rape, murder, torture, heartbreaking visuals, there's a chance to change things. That's what I'm working on: changing things for the better at home and abroad," he said.

Aside from the troubles in the Middle East and the ongoing war in Ukraine, Sen. Graham revealed that among his chief concerns at the moment is a possible attack on American soil, a fear shared by other lawmakers and authorities.

Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed there had been a rise in the number of suspected terrorists trying to cross the southern border over the past five years. The U.S. border has been in chaos all year as the number of illegal immigrants attempting to cross into America has reached record-breaking levels. According to Sen. Graham, dealing with the border crisis is far more important than impeaching President Biden.

"I'm trying to find a way forward to secure our broken border before we're attacked," Sen. Graham said.

"I've never been more worried about a 9/11 than I am right now. Our border has been obliterated and we're not going to give in on some Band-Aid fix," he said of many in Congress.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/19/2023 - 08:50
Published:12/19/2023 7:55:34 AM
[Markets] The Democratic 'Party Of Chaos' Has Two Reasons To Be Really Afraid... The Democratic 'Party Of Chaos' Has Two Reasons To Be Really Afraid...

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

In the Game of Strip Poker, Someone Ends Up Naked

“Time for Us to wake up. The choice could not be more clear. If you want a Fascist Dictatorship, choose Trump. If you want to preserve American Democracy, choose President Biden.”

- Hollywood pundit Rob Reiner on X

“Joe Biden,” is only the most obviously weak device in the feckless and misbegotten regime installed via the blob’s US color revolution of 2020. This sort of coup d’état, you understand, was well-rehearsed by our combined intel, 4-gen war, and propaganda units over prior decades in fractious foreign places like Kyrgyzstan (2005), Egypt (2011), and Ukraine (2014). So, it was only a matter of time before these geniuses turned their political black magic on the home front, against their own citizens. But wasn’t it ol’ Karl Marx himself who observed that tragic history repeats as farce?

Thus, the farcical pageant, in a land of fake everything, of America’s fake government attempting to rescue itself from the web of lies and subterfuge it so cleverly spun for itself to keep all its sundry rackets going. For instance: the preposterous idea that “Joe Biden” is running for reelection. Does anybody over age seven, even in Beverly Hills, believe this whopper? I doubt it.

But the absurd meme is repeated endlessly in the relic newspapers and floundering cable news channels, and for one reason: elite members in the party behind all this mischief - that is, the Democratic Party of Chaos - are desperate to avoid prosecution for things like seditious conspiracy to defraud the electorate, bribery, and treason.

They have two reasons to be really afraid.

  • One, of course, is Donald Trump, the once and increasingly probable future president,

  • and Bobby Kennedy, the outsider warrior personifying America’s erstwhile interest in the eternal verities.

Both of them promise to bring a heavy hand down on the coupsters, going back to the coup preliminaries in the Obama White House, and including the Clintons, more than one US attorney general and their adjutants, a groaning raft of former and current high officials in and around the blob’s vicious intel “community,” and the public health rogues who engineered the Covid-19 fraud and vaccine crime.

The blob’s weakness and idiocy are clearly on display in the four court cases against Mr. Trump, which look like a cartoon of thieves throwing stuff out of a hijacked furniture truck at the cars in pursuit behind them. There’s DA Alvin Bragg’s joke case in Manhattan around the dead-on-arrival Stormy Daniels business. End-of-story, as T0ny Soprano always liked to say. New York’s AG, Letitia James, vowed to get Mr. Trump on something, anything, while electioneering, and delivered a bullshit case to Judge Arthur Engoron that is sure to get tossed on appeal - and will eventually get both Ms. James and the Judge disbarred (and possibly prosecuted) for their trouble. There’s Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis’s laughable RICO rap against Trump, Guiliani, et al,. for complaining about the obviously janky ballot-counting activity there in 2020.

And then, there are US AG Merrick Garland’s two cases against the former president.

The DC case brought under Special Counsel Jack Smith, claiming that Mr. Trump somehow led an “insurrection” at the US Capitol on 1/6/21. This turkey was rehearsed in earlier House J-6 Committee hearings, so shabbily staged that Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) arranged to have all the evidence destroyed (including witness deposition transcripts) as soon as the hearings wrapped. Mr. Trump’s defense is probably immaterial in Judge Tanya Chutkan’s DC courtroom. But one of the case’s main predicates, the law against “obstructing official proceedings,” is about to be adjudicated in the US Supreme Court involving convicted J-6 defendants. If the court tosses it, Jack Smith’s case goes out the window too. If not, and Mr. Trump is successfully railroaded by Judge Chutkin, you can be sure the appeal will be expedited to SCOTUS and die there. If there even is a trial before the election of 2024. In any case, Mr. Trump will still be on the ballot next November.

The second Garland / Jack Smith case is the most interesting. That would be the Mar-a-Lago documents case. According to the reporter who styles himself as “Sundance” at The Last Refuge news site, the purpose of the August 2022 Mar-a-Lago raid was not to seek classified documents at issue in a dispute between the former president and the National Archives — as the public has been given to understand by the blob’s news media. The actual purpose was to find a 10-inch-thick dossier of documents collected over many months by Mr. Trump’s deputies to be used in future prosecutions of DOJ, FBI, and other officials and private persons (including Hillary Clinton, the DNC, the DNC’s law firm Perkins Coie,) who were implicated in the Russia collusion hoax, especially after the failure of Special Counsel John Durham to even depose many of these parties and persons.

There were apparently many copies made of Mr. Trump’s dossier, and distributed among anti-blobsters, but these were all heavily redacted - names were all blacked out. The binder at Mar-a-Lago was unredacted and this was what the FBI was after in the August 2022 raid. Is there any chance by now that the FBI hasn’t disposed of 10,000 emails and documents that were in its possession pertaining to the Russia hoax and other crimes? Do you suppose that the unredacted Trump dossier was the only copy? I wouldn’t.

So far, Mr. Trump and his lawyers have not mentioned this. Why wouldn’t they play this hand close to the chest?

Will it be consequential in the long and tortured course of things? What do you think?

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/18/2023 - 16:20
Published:12/18/2023 3:30:28 PM
[Markets] Eric Swalwell And The Politics Of Contempt Eric Swalwell And The Politics Of Contempt

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in The Hill on the bizarre scene last week in front of the Capitol when Rep. Eric Swalwell drove up with Hunter Biden and facilitated a flagrant act of contempt of Congress, a federal crime.

Swalwell used his office and presumably his staff to assist in the defiance of a valid subpoena for Hunter to appear before a House committee.

The House will now presumably hold Hunter in contempt and refer the matter for prosecution. The question is what to do with Eric Swalwell.

Here is the column:

This week, millions of people were glued to their televisions as Hunter Biden defied a House subpoena in a press conference with the Capitol building in the background. It was an act of legal self-immolation as the president’s son engaged in flagrant contempt of Congress, a federal crime.

Stranger still was that behind Hunter was standing his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who watched as his client effectively begged to be criminally charged.

But it was a familiar figure behind Lowell that was the most incongruous: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.).

At first, one had to wonder whether Swalwell had simply wandered by the presser on the way to his office. But the Biden team set up the conference on the Senate side — out of the reach of the House sergeant at arms, who might not have reacted well to an act of open contempt of Congress on his side of the Capitol.

We later learned that Swalwell was not there simply as a pedestrian, but as a participant. It was Swalwell who helped orchestrate the defiance of his own House and facilitated an alleged federal crime.

As first reported by the Washington Examiner, Swalwell used his official position to reserve the space for the press conference and lent his assistance to Hunter in refusing to appear before the House committees investigating his father, President Biden. It was a curious role for a former House impeachment manager to play in assisting in the obstruction of an impeachment inquiry of three House committees.

Of course, Swalwell has argued for the rounding up of anyone who aided and abetted the unlawful conduct during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Indeed, in 2021 Swalwell sponsored a resolution exploring whether dozens of Republican colleagues could be expelled under the 14th Amendment for aiding and abetting an insurrection by “making unsubstantiated claims of systematic election and voter fraud.”

Now, Swalwell was standing in front of the same building aiding and abetting both a potential crime and the obstruction of congressional proceedings.

Hunter was not just committing contempt of Congress; he was parading his contempt with Swalwell as the drum major.

What followed him was contempt on steroids. All Hunter had to do was walk into the building behind him to appear in the deposition and plead the 5th Amendment to refuse to testify, as others have done. The only option he did not have was to refuse to appear.

Swalwell insisted that it was the fault of the House for insisting on a closed-door deposition, which he portrayed as outrageous. It was another hypocritical moment since the Democrats insisted on the same process for witnesses, including those who appeared before the Jan. 6th committee.

It was also how Swalwell and his colleagues handled the investigation of the Ukrainian telephone call by Trump. Indeed, Swalwell participated in closed depositions and then gave interviews after they were held in private.

There are various reasons for closed deposition preceding public hearings.

First, these depositions allow professional staff to conduct questioning in a methodical and professional manner.

In a public hearing, questioning is conducted by members who are often ill-equipped for substantive inquiries.

Second, Hunter must be asked about an array of financial documents and communications involving names and privacy protected information.

In a public hearing, the use of such documents would trigger redactions and interruptions in their use.

Third, these depositions allow for in-depth questioning on transactions and communications.

In a public hearing, members are confined to a five-minute rule that guarantees questioning cannot achieve much, if any, depth. Both Hunter and Swalwell likely knew that, and that is precisely why they wanted a public hearing. Notably, after saying that he wanted to answer all questions in public, Hunter then refused to answer any questions in public put forward by the press.

The fourth and most important reason for the deposition is that the House wants it this way. Witnesses, even a president’s son, do not get to choose how or when they appear.

Two Trump associates – Steven Bannon and Peter Navarro – refused to appear in the House and were quickly held in contempt by a majority of the House, including Swalwell.

Indeed, President Biden himself has maintained that defying subpoenas cannot be tolerated. When subpoenas were issued to Republicans during the House’s Jan. 6 investigation, Biden declared: “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.”

The Justice Department clearly agreed. Under Attorney General Merrick Garland, Bannon went from a failure to appear to an actual indictment in just two months.

It also does not matter that the House formally approved the impeachment inquiry only after Hunter’s press conference. As I testified in the first Biden impeachment inquiry hearing, there is no requirement of a formal vote. Indeed, the Democrats did not initially hold a formal vote in their own impeachment of Trump. Hunter’s subpoena was issued by two committees with inherent subpoena authority under three different House rules, including the authority given to the House Oversight Committee.

It was a valid subpoena.

The question is not whether Hunter Biden can be held in contempt; of course he can. The question is what to do with Eric Swalwell.

Swalwell has long courted controversy. Republicans tossed him off the House Intelligence Committee due to his purported affair with an alleged Chinese spy named Fang Fang.

This is different. Swalwell was not charged in the Chinese affair, including by the House Ethics Committee. This was a criminal act directed against the House itself.

Recently, the House censored Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) for pulling a fire alarm before a major vote. Here Swalwell played a key role in obstructing a major House investigation. Where Bowman’s offense was treated as a misdemeanor, Hunter’s offense is a felony.

Swalwell did not simply facilitate a crime, he went out of his way to associate himself with it.

Swalwell surely knew that he was helping Hunter in defying a subpoena and obstructing the investigation into Joe Biden. He not only helped set up the press conference but made sure that he was in the camera frame behind Hunter for every network audience. He presumably utilized congressional staff to assist in this effort.

In taking these actions, Swalwell encouraged and facilitated the contempt of Congress. While his conduct may not warrant a criminal charge, it certainly warrants action from the House.

The issue is whether the House has a right to demand answers in this investigation. One member was particularly passionate in 2018 in calling for contempt sanctions against Steve Bannon: “If they don’t force him to answer legitimate questions, they will be ceding Congress’ authority, and we’ll be setting a very, very dangerous precedent that people can just tell Congress what they will and will not answer, and will show no resolve to use our subpoena power to get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

That was Eric Swalwell.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/18/2023 - 12:30
Published:12/18/2023 11:56:28 AM
[Politics] FBI secretly tapes Joe Biden’s brother in bribery investigation… The FBI secretly taped Joe Biden’s brother James during a bribery investigation back in the late 1990s and what they uncovered smells like corrupt activities from the Biden Crime Family, which suggests . . . Published:12/18/2023 10:11:28 AM
[Markets] Is Free Speech A Relic In America? Is Free Speech A Relic In America?

Authored by James Bovard via The Brownstone Institute,

Is the First Amendment becoming a historic relic? On July 4, 2023, federal judge Terry Doughty condemned the Biden administration for potentially “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” That verdict was ratified by a federal appeals court decision in September 2023 that concluded that Biden administration “officials have engaged in a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social-media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.”

In earlier times in America, such policies would have faced sweeping condemnation from across the political spectrum. But major media outlets like the Washington Post have rushed to the barricades to defend the Biden war on “misinformation.” Almost half of Democrats surveyed in September 2023 affirmed that free speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances.” Fifty-five percent of American adults support government suppression of “false information” - even though only 20 percent trust the government.

Biden’s War on Free Speech

The broad support for federal censorship is perplexing considering that courts have vividly laid out the government’s First Amendment violations. Doughty delivered 155 pages of damning details of federal browbeating, jawboning, and coercion of social-media companies. Doughty ruled that federal agencies and the White House “engaged in coercion of social media companies” to delete Americans’ comments on Afghanistan, Ukraine, election procedures, and other subjects. He issued an injunction blocking the feds from “encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”

Censors reigned from the start of the Biden era. Barely two weeks after Biden’s inauguration, White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty demanded that Twitter “immediately” remove a parody account of Biden’s relatives. Twitter officials suspended the account within 45 minutes but complained they were already “bombarded” by White House censorship requests at that point.

Biden White House officials ordered Facebook to delete humorous memes, including a parody of a future television ad: “Did you or a loved one take the COVID vaccine? You may be entitled….” The White House continually denounced Facebook for failing to suppress more posts and videos that could inspire “vaccine hesitancy” — even if the posts were true. Facebook decided that the word “liberty” was too hazardous in the Biden era; to placate the White House, the company suppressed posts “discussing the choice to vaccinate in terms of personal or civil liberties.”

Flaherty was still unsatisfied and raged at Facebook officials in a July 15, 2021, email: “Are you guys f–king serious?” The following day, President Biden accused social-media companies of “killing people” by failing to suppress all criticism of COVID vaccines.

Federal Censorship

Censorship multiplied thanks to an epic bureaucratic bait-and-switch. After allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Act was created to protect against foreign meddling. Prior to Biden taking office, CISA had a “Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.” In 2021, that was renamed the “Mis-, Dis- and Mal-information Team (‘MDM Team’).”

But almost all the targets of federal censorship during the Biden era have been Americans. Federal censorship tainted the 2020 and 2022 elections, spurring the suppression of millions of social-media posts (almost all from conservatives). During the 2020 election, CISA targeted for suppression assertions such as “mail-in voting is insecure” — despite the long history of absentee ballot fraud.

CISA aims to control Americans’ minds: A CISA advisory committee last year issued a report that “broadened” what it targeted to include “the spread of false and misleading information because it poses a significant risk to critical function, like elections, public health, financial services and emergency responses.” Thus, any idea that government officials label as “misleading” is a “significant risk” that can be suppressed.

Where did CISA find the absolute truths it used to censor American citizens? CISA simply asked government officials and “apparently always assumed the government official was a reliable source,” the court decision noted. Any assertion by officialdom was close enough to a Delphic oracle to use to “debunk postings” by private citizens. Judge Doughty observed that the free-speech clause was enacted to prohibit agencies like CISA from picking “what is true and what is false.”

Covid-Inspired Censorship

“Government = truth” is the premise for the Biden censorship regime. In June 2022, Flaherty declared that he “wanted to monitor Facebook’s suppression of COVID-19 misinformation ‘as we start to ramp up [vaccines for children under the age of 5].’” The FDA had almost zero safety data on COVID vaccines for infants and toddlers. But Biden announced the vaccines were safe for those target groups, so any assertion to the contrary automatically became false or misleading.

Biden policymakers presumed that Americans are idiots who believe whatever they see on Facebook. In an April 5, 2021, phone call with Facebook staffers, White House Strategy Communication chief Courtney Rowe said, “If someone in rural Arkansas sees something on FB [Facebook], it’s the truth.”

In the same call, a Facebook official mentioned nose bleeds as an example of a feared COVID vaccine side effect. Flaherty wanted Facebook to intervene in purportedly private conversations on vaccines and “Direct them to CDC.” A Facebook employee told Flaherty that “an immediate generated message about nose bleeds might give users ‘the Big Brother feel.’” At least the Biden White House didn’t compel Facebook to send form notices every 90 seconds to any private discussion on COVID: “The Department of Homeland Security wishes to remind you that there is no surveillance. Have a nice day.” Flaherty also called for Facebook to crack down on WhatsApp exchanges (private messages) between individuals.

Federal agencies responded to legal challenges by portraying themselves as the same “pitiful, helpless giants” that President Richard Nixon invoked to describe the US government when he started bombing Cambodia. Judge Doughty wrote that federal agencies “blame the Russians, COVID-19 and capitalism for any suppression of free speech by social-media companies.” But that defense fails the laugh test.

Federal agencies pirouetted as a “Ministry of Truth,” according to the court rulings, strong-arming Twitter to arbitrarily suspend 400,000 accounts, including journalists and diplomats.

The Biden administration rushed to sway the appeals court to postpone enforcement of the injunction and then sought to redefine all its closed-door shenanigans as public service. In its briefs to the court, the Justice Department declared, “There is a categorical, well-settled distinction between persuasion and coercion,” and castigated Judge Doughty for having “equated legitimate efforts at persuasion with illicit efforts to coerce.”

Biden’s Justice Department denied that federal agencies bullied social-media companies to suppress any information. Instead, there were simply requests for “content moderation,” especially regarding COVID. Actually, there were tens of thousands of “requests” that resulted in the suppression of millions of posts and comments by Americans.

Team Biden champions a “no corpse, no delicta” definition of censorship. Since federal SWAT teams did not assail the headquarters of social-media firms, the feds are blameless. Or, as Justice Department lawyer Daniel Tenny told the judges, “There was a back and forth. Sometimes it was more friendly, sometimes people got more testy. There were circumstances in which everyone saw eye to eye, there were circumstances in which they disagreed.”

It’s irrelevant that President Joe Biden publicly accused social-media companies of murder for not censoring far more material and that Biden appointees publicly threatened to destroy the companies via legislation or prosecution. Nope: It was just neighborly discussions between good folks.

The Courts Strike Back

At the appeals court hearing, Judge Don Willett, one of the most principled and penetrating judges in the nation, had no problem with federal agencies publicly criticizing what they judged false or dangerous ideas. But that wasn’t how Team Biden compelled submission: “Here you have government in secret, in private, out of the public eye, relying on … subtle strong-arming and veiled or not-so-veiled threats.” Willett vivified how the feds played the game: “That’s a really nice social-media platform you’ve got there, it would be a shame if something happened to it.”

Judge Jennifer Elrod compared the Biden censorship regime to the Mafia: “We see with the mob … they have these ongoing relationships. They never actually say, ‘Go do this or else you’re going to have this consequence.’ But everybody just knows.”

Yet the Biden administration was supposedly innocent because the feds never explicitly spelled out “or else,” according to the Justice Department lawyer. This is on par with redefining armed robbery as a consensual activity unless the robber specifically points his gun at the victim’s head. As economist Joseph Schumpeter aptly observed, “Power wins, not by being used, but by being there.”

In its September decision, the appeals court concluded that the White House, FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Surgeon General’s office trampled the First Amendment by coercing social media companies and likely “had the intended result of suppressing millions of protected free speech postings by American citizens.”

The court unanimously declared that federal officials made express threats…. But, beyond express threats, there was always [italic in original] an “unspoken or else.” The officials made clear that the platforms would [italic in original] suffer adverse consequences if they failed to comply, through express or implied threats, and thus the requests were not optional.

The appeals court also took a “real-world” view of the nation’s most feared law enforcement agency: “Although the FBI’s communications did not plainly reference adverse consequences, an actor need not express a threat aloud so long as, given the circumstances, the message intimates that some form of punishment will follow noncompliance.” The federal appeals court upheld part of the injunction while excluding some federal agencies from anticensorship restrictions.

The Biden administration quickly appealed the partial injunction to the Supreme Court, telling the court: “Of course, the government cannot punish people for expressing different views…. But there is a fundamental distinction between persuasion and coercion. And courts must take care to maintain that distinction because of the drastic consequences resulting from a finding of coercion.”

The Biden brief bewailed that the appeals court found that “officials from the White House, the Surgeon General’s office, and the FBI coerced social-media platforms to remove content despite the absence of even a single instance in which an official paired a request to remove content with a threat of adverse action.” But both the federal district court and the appeals court decisions offered plenty of examples of federal threats.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, one of the plaintiffs, scoffed: “The Government argues that the injunction interferes with the government’s ability to speak. The Government has a wide latitude to speak on matters of public concern, but it cannot stifle the protected speech of ordinary Americans.” And the injunction impedes federal officials from secretly coercing private companies to satisfy White House demands.

As the Biden administration pressured the Supreme Court, the anticensorship lawyers on September 25 secured an en banc rehearing of their case, which consists of a panel of all 17 active Fifth Circuit judges. The plaintiffs were especially concerned that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Act was excluded from the injunction. CISA and its array of federal censorship contractors have sowed far too much mischief in recent years. The appeals court modified the injunction to put a leash on CISA.

Censorship could cast the deciding vote in the 2024 presidential election. Judge Doughty issued his injunction in part because federal agencies “could use their power over millions of people to suppress alternative views or moderate content they do not agree with in the upcoming 2024 national election.”

Much of the mainstream media is horrified at the prospect of reduced federal censorship. The Washington Post article on Doughty’s decision fretted, “For more than a decade, the federal government has attempted to work with social media companies to address criminal activity, including child sexual abuse images and terrorism.” The Post did not mention the Biden crusade to banish cynicism from the Internet. Journalist Glenn Greenwald scoffed, “The most surreal fact of U.S. political life is that the leading advocates for unified state/corporate censorship are large media corporations.”

Fifty years ago, philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote of the “most essential political freedom, the right to unmanipulated factual information without which all freedom of opinion becomes a cruel hoax.” The battle over federal censorship will determine whether Americans can have more than a passing whiff of that political freedom. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined the lawsuit against censorship and commented in September: “The federal government doesn’t get to play referee on the field of public discourse. If you let them decide what speech is OK, one day yours might not be.”

On October 20, the Supreme Court announced that it would rule on this case, with a decision expected within a few months. Stay tuned for plenty of legal fireworks and maybe even good news for freedom.

*  *  *

This article was originally published in the December 2023 edition of Future of Freedom.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/16/2023 - 23:10
Published:12/16/2023 10:31:27 PM
[Security] The Startup That Transformed the Hack-for-Hire Industry Plus: The FBI's baffling inaction on a ransomware group, a massive breach of Danish electric utilities, and more. Published:12/16/2023 7:12:38 PM
[Markets] DOJ To Charge Blaze Journalist Steve Baker Over Jan. 6 DOJ To Charge Blaze Journalist Steve Baker Over Jan. 6

Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Journalist Steve Baker of Blaze Media, who captured some of the most dramatic news footage at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been ordered to surrender to federal authorities on Dec. 19 on as-yet-unknown charges.

Paramedics from the D.C. Fire and EMS Department perform CPR on protester Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by police near the Speaker's Lobby on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Steve Baker)

Mr. Baker, whose Jan. 6 videos and photos have appeared on HBO and the BBC, as well as in The New York Times and The Epoch Times, told his followers on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his North Carolina attorney notified him on Dec. 14 that he would be arrested.

He said in March that he had been warned that his aggressive Jan. 6 coverage had gotten noticed at the Department of Justice, "and they're not happy about it at all."

At the time, he said he had been questioned by the FBI for two hours.

"Like many other reporters and photojournalists—both independents and those working directly for established media companies—I followed the story that day where it went," he wrote in an opinion article in The Blaze on Oct. 2.

Mr. Baker wrote that he "did no violence or property destruction on January 6" and that he "certainly did not interfere with the election certification."

However, his outspokenness that day was on full display. Following reports that someone had been shot outside the Speaker’s Lobby and that the building was on high alert, he challenged two officers who had drawn their service weapons and were shouting at unarmed protesters.

Are you going to use that on us?” Baker asked one U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer who charged at the group. “None of us have a gun. We’ve got cameras.”

As the officer explained why the dozen or so law enforcement officials in the lobby had weapons ready, Mr. Baker intoned dryly, “The only shots fired have been fired by you guys.”

Baker isn't the only independent journalist to have faced DOJ prosecution; others include J.D. Rivera, Sam Montoya, Stephen Horn, Will Pope, and Shawn Witzemann.

The most obvious characteristic of that list is that none of those that worked for major media, left-wing sources, have been prosecuted,” Mr. Baker previously told The Epoch Times. “But you can't say the same on the other side of the ledger.”

Mr. Baker was on Capitol Hill, meeting with House lawmakers regarding his Jan. 6 investigations, when he received word about the impending charges.

"This is outrageous retaliation on the part of the federal government against a journalist," Matthew Peterson, editor-in-chief of The Blaze, wrote on X. "[Mr. Baker] was an independent journalist on J6; he's now investigating the events of that day for @theblaze. We must all rally and end this totalitarian madness."

Attorney Brad Geyer, who will represent Mr. Baker in his criminal case, vowed to "unearth all the buried bodies" as part of "a vigorous defense."

A munition detonates at protesters' feet on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Steve Baker)

"Steve Baker's involvement in the OathKeepers 1 trial, his blogging, and subsequent investigation exposed crucial false testimony from key government witnesses," Mr. Geyer said in a statement to The Epoch Times. "Their false and implausible testimony played a pivotal role in wrongfully convicting the Oath Keepers."

Mr. Baker in October published a story at Blaze Media that alleged that Capitol Police CCTV security video shows that USCP Special Agent David Lazarus couldn't have witnessed an alleged confrontation between a group of the quasi-militia Oath Keepers and USCP officer Harry Dunn because Mr. Lazarus was nowhere near the scene at the time.

In January 2021, Mr. Lazarus was a member of the dignitary protection detail for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). On the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, he said he assisted with the evacuation of senators and staff from the Senate Chamber through the tunnels and subways leading to nearby office buildings.

The alleged confrontation was key evidence in the trial because it contradicted accounts from Oath Keepers that they stood in front of officer Dunn as a buffer to protect him from an angry crowd of protesters and prevent what they feared could lead to a shooting.

The Epoch Times has previously reached out to Capitol Police for comment on the testimony by officer Dunn and Special Agent Lazarus but didn't receive a reply.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/16/2023 - 17:20
Published:12/16/2023 4:45:44 PM
[Markets] CNN Town Hall Host Tries To Disrupt Vivek Ramaswamy As He Reveals Truth Behind J6 CNN Town Hall Host Tries To Disrupt Vivek Ramaswamy As He Reveals Truth Behind J6

Whether one supports the presidential candidacy of Vivek Ramaswamy or not, it's impossible to deny that some of the best red pill moments of the election cycle so far have been his debates with establishment spin doctors.  During a Town Hall discussion in Iowa hosted by CNN, anchor Abby Phillip tried a new tactic to defuse Ramaswamy and disrupt his ability to convey the facts:  She simply kept talking over top of him, contradicting his statements and then refused to give him an opportunity to answer back.  

The strategy did not work quite as well as she might have hoped, as Vivek trampled her expertly.  

The initial exchange started with Ramaswamy's assertion that the evidence supports the claim of federal agent manipulation of protest crowds at the Capitol Building on January 6th.  The CNN anchor immediately launched into a steady droning tirade, suggesting there is no such evidence.  Despite numerous videos showing capitol police opening the doors and inviting protesters into the building, the narrative that the protest was an "insurrection" continues to be perpetuated by the corporate media.

In terms of FBI plants and provocateurs within the crowd, FBI officials actually refuse to address their existence while under oath.  In a congressional hearing on J6, senior FBI official Jill Sanborn was asked point blank by Senator Ted Cruz if there were FBI agents mixed with the J6 protestors participating with or directing the crowds.  Her response was to deflect, saying she could not confirm or deny.    

Furthermore, newly released footage of capitol police firing rubber bullets and tear gas grenades into the peaceful crowds proves that there was in fact no violence until police started it.  The same two dozen clips of protesters fighting law enforcement officers circulated ad nauseum on establishment media platforms were all recorded after the attacks by police.  

CNN's attempt to "fact check" Ramaswamy in real time appeared more like an attempt to silence him and they immediately lost the crowd.  Debate is supposed to be an exchange of ideas and information, not a disruption of information to stop the audience from hearing both sides.  Vivek's root position is a sound one that no one can reasonably argue against:  The government lies, and it lies often.  Given this fact, it is perfectly logical to question the establishment narrative surrounding J6 and to continue to push for the exposure of government operations during the event.       

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/16/2023 - 14:25
Published:12/16/2023 1:48:48 PM
[Politics] Gee why did the press leave THIS detail out of their new Russia COLLUSION headlines?? Russia Russia Russia! is back in the news, with brand spanking new collusion headlines on this December morn. But reading the MSM’s headlines on an FBI agent being charged for colluding with . . . Published:12/15/2023 3:42:42 PM
[Markets] Republican Senator Calls Out Companies For Remaining On TikTok While Boycotting X Republican Senator Calls Out Companies For Remaining On TikTok While Boycotting X

Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times,

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized companies including Comcast and Disney for having a double standard, over their recent decision to boycott American social media app X but not Chinese-owned TikTok.

In letters sent to the chief executive officers of 18 companies on Dec. 12, Mr. Rubio, a senior member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, said his office had conducted a review and found their boycott “originated with the left-wing advocacy group, Media Matters.” X, formerly Twitter, has filed a lawsuit against the non-profit for defamation, for charging the platform with promoting pro-Nazi content.

“Supposedly, companies are boycotting X out of concern that their brands could be tarnished by association with antisemitic content that some users have posted on that application,” the senator wrote.

Mr. Rubio emphasized that he takes “no position” on whether companies should boycott X. However, he believes that companies should recognize how their brand is tarnished by being on TikTok if they are concerned about their public image.

Due to your company’s apparent concern for its image on social media, I was fascinated to learn that it maintains an active presence on TikTok. That social media application, through its parent company, ByteDance, is under the jurisdiction and influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a brutal group that seeks to weaken our country and subvert our way of life,” he added.

Mr. Rubio’s letters were sent to Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Disney, Google, IBM, Jack in the Box, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Netflix, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Uber, Walmart, Warner Bros. Discovery, and the Washington Post.

The White House, U.S. armed forces, and more than 30 U.S. states have already banned TikTok. New York City joined the ban in August saying the Chinese app “posed a security threat to the city's technical networks.”

Earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said TikTok “screams” of national security risks.

In his letter, Mr. Rubio detailed different reasons that Americans should not use TikTok.

“China’s national-security laws give the CCP access to all data managed by Chinese firms, including ByteDance. This means TikTok is a far bigger liability to your company than X, and should be treated accordingly,” Mr. Rubio wrote.

‘Double Standard’

He added that TikTok content glorifying the Hamas terrorist group “exploded on the platform” since Oct. 7, the day Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel.

“Millions of users have also been exposed to videos glorifying Osama bin Laden and his post-9/11 manifesto,” Mr. Rubio added. “This content furthers the CCP’s strategy of distracting, dividing, and dumbing down Americans, giving the CCP an open field to pursue its objectives.”

While the United States has stepped up its efforts to counter threats posed by the CCP, the Chinese regime is “playing the long game” to infiltrate U.S. politics at every level. The communist regime is using different methods of subversion and unrestricted warfare to undermine America.

On Dec. 12, the House Select Committee on the CCP issued a report, recommending that the United States “reset” its relationship with China by raising tariffs and cutting off capital flows.

Mr. Rubio also pointed to past media reports, including a 2022 report by Forbes, revealing that ByteDance employees used TikTok to improperly track American journalists.

“The company’s CEO blatantly lied under oath when he denied that TikTok stores U.S. user data in China, providing further evidence that the application and its founder cannot be trusted,” Mr. Rubio added.

In March, Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s CEO, refused to take a position on whether the CCP has persecuted Uyghurs, during a congressional hearing. Several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have declared China’s treatment of Uyghurs as “genocide” and “crimes against humanity.”

“I take no position on whether your company should boycott X. You have advertising executives, shareholders, and customers to tell you that,” Mr. Rubio wrote.

“However, I am appalled by the double standard of boycotting an American social-media application while maintaining a presence on a social-media application controlled by America’s greatest adversary.

“If your company believes it is necessary to cut ties with X, I expect you to cut ties with TikTok, as well—and soon,” he wrote.

The Epoch Times has contacted the 18 companies for comment.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/14/2023 - 14:00
Published:12/14/2023 1:28:21 PM
[Markets] Let The Games Begin: Biden Impeachment Inquiry Authorized By House Let The Games Begin: Biden Impeachment Inquiry Authorized By House

The House on Wednesday approved the launch of a formal impeachment probe into President Biden, just hours after Hunter Biden ditched Congressional testimony on Capitol Hill.

The 221-212 vote was along party lines, with Republicans formalizing a processes which began weeks ago, and Democrats criticizing the vote as a political stunt for retribution over the impeachments of former President Donald Trump - who was impeached for asking Ukraine about obvious Biden corruption, and his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot.

Formalizing the impeachment process will grant Congress additional power by improving the likelihood that a court will authorize access to grand jury materials, as well as boosting the chances that Republicans will be able to overcome objections such as executive privilege, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The White House several weeks ago challenged House subpoenas and demands for transcribed interviews with Biden family members on the grounds that the existing impeachment probe, launched by GOP leaders in September, wasn’t valid because the House didn’t vote to authorize it.

The impeachment inquiry is necessary now,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) told reporters this week, “because we’ve come to this impasse where following the facts where they lead is hitting a stone wall because the White House is impeding that investigation.” -WSJ

The inquiry has so far been two-pronged, with the House Oversight Committee focusing on the Biden family's financial malarkey, and the House Judiciary Committee focusing on on the weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI.

"This vote will allow the House Judiciary, Oversight and Ways and Means committees to continue their investigations. The evidence mounting against the president cannot be ignored," said House Majority Whip Tom Emmer in Wednesday comments to reporters.

"We know Joe Biden has lied to or misled the American people about his knowledge of his son's business dealings over and over again, and it is very likely that he was involved in and benefited from his family's corrupt business dealings as well."

Democrats tantrum

"No amount of evidence could convince Republicans that Joe Biden did nothing wrong because they’re not looking for truth, they’re looking for revenge," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), the top Democrat on the House Rules committee, ahead of the vote.

Earlier Wednesday, Hunter Biden defied a subpoena to appear before the House to testify about his family's dealings, instead saying in a Capitol Hill speech: "Let me state as clearly as I can: My father was not financially involved in my business."

The younger Biden has faced congressional and legal scrutiny regarding his overseas business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere as well as alleged tax evasion, and Republicans have sought to show links between Hunter’s work and his father.

While Hunter Biden said he was willing to testify publicly, he rebuffed a subpoena from House Republicans to answer questions behind closed doors on alleged links between his foreign business dealings and his father. “I’m here today to make sure that the House committee’s illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence and lies,” he said.

The younger Biden had previously said he was only willing to testify publicly so that Republicans couldn’t selectively leak portions of his statements. House leaders said the president’s son couldn’t dictate the terms of his testimony and said they would now initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Hunter Biden. -WSJ

"He was just across the way at the Capitol, you’d think he could’ve come here and sat for questions," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/13/2023 - 18:20
Published:12/13/2023 5:42:40 PM
[Markets] The Trojan Horse That Would Force Your Barista To Spy On You The Trojan Horse That Would Force Your Barista To Spy On You

Authored by Gene Schaerr via RealClear Wire,

It was T.S. Eliot who coined the phrase “wilderness of mirrors” in his poem, “Gerontion.” It was the saga of the CIA’s James Jesus Angleton’s betrayal by Soviet double-agent Kim Philby that made the phrase a byword in the shadowy world of intelligence.

In that world, deception, deceit, and disinformation are just tools of the trade. These are, no doubt, useful tools when dealing with all manner of criminals and agents of despotic powers. But this culture of deception seems to have infected the ability of the intelligence community – and a few of their champions on Capitol Hill – to play it straight with Congress and their constituents, the people intelligence agencies are meant to serve.

That culture of deception even seems to infect the so-called FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, proposed this week by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a bill that represents the wish-list of the intelligence community.

First, the bill’s marquee “reform” is the prohibition of only a handful of searches or “queries” of information about Americans under Section 702, the authority enacted by Congress to enable foreign surveillance but often used by the government for domestic spying. The type of search the bill would prohibit is “evidence-of-a-crime only” queries. But in 2022, out of over 200,000 queries of Americans’ data, there were only two instances of the FBI accessing Section 702 data under this rubric. And even if that prohibition were in place, the FBI could easily evade it simply by claiming in every instance that agents were looking for some (hypothetical) terror threat in addition to possible crimes. The bill’s non-reform “reform” would thus do nothing to stop the routine snooping on Americans, from 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, to a House member and a \senator, a judge, and numerous protesters of the left and right. Nor would this “reform” prevent known abuses, such as the NSA agents who used this powerful search program to check out online dating prospects and potential tenants.

Even more outrageous is a problematic provision tucked away in this “reform” bill but not so much as mentioned in the committee’s report. Section 504 of the House Intelligence bill requires that those who have access to the “equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store such communications” shall be treated as “electronic communication service providers” and thus subject to Section 702’s general requirement to (secretly) disclose our data to the government.

Let us unpack this: Under current law, electronic communication service providers include Internet service providers such as Google, Facebook/Meta, and Microsoft. It also includes telecom providers such as AT&T and Verizon. Under the law, these big companies are routinely compelled to hand over billions of foreign communications in addition to vast amounts of Americans’ communications that are “incidentally” caught up in this surveillance net.

But the House Intelligence bill’s expansion to include “equipment” would cover, for example, any small or medium-sized business that simply provides Wi-Fi or stores data. This means that your business landlord, Airbnb host, hotel manager, or coffee shop barista will have a legal obligation to give the government any of your emails, texts, or phone metadata that ran through their equipment. Larger entities, such as data centers, would also be enlisted in spying on Americans.

To call the expansion of government-mandated spying to baristas and landlords “reform” shows the contempt the intelligence community has for Congress and the very idea of oversight. It is nothing less than a Trojan horse buried in the House Intelligence bill.

The good news, to quote the poet again, is that “every moment is a fresh beginning.” Now that these tricks have been spotted in the House Intelligence bill, House members will have a chance to toss out that bill and vote instead for the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, which passed the House Judiciary Committee with overwhelming support. That bill likewise reauthorizes Section 702, but also imposes real reforms that will better protect Americans’ privacy from our nation’s overgrown and (sometimes) deceptive intelligence apparatus.

Gene Schaerr, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and former associate counsel to President George H.W. Bush, serves as general counsel to the non-partisan Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/13/2023 - 17:40
Published:12/13/2023 5:02:45 PM
[Markets] Are Hordes Of Military-Age Chinese Men Being Brought Into The US In An Attempt To Destabilize Our Society? Are Hordes Of Military-Age Chinese Men Being Brought Into The US In An Attempt To Destabilize Our Society?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

Over the past couple of years, vast numbers of illegal immigrants from China have been pouring over our southern border.  Most of them are military-age men.  So why has there been such a dramatic spike?  Is some sort of a coordinated effort going on that we don’t know about?  In this article, I am going to try to make some connections.  Taken on their own, some of the stories that I am about to share with you may not seem that significant.  But when you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, it becomes clear that something very unusual is happening.  Could it be possible that hordes of military-age Chinese men are being brought into this country in an attempt to destabilize our nation?

Let’s start by taking a look at an incident that just happened in Michigan.  A “Chinese national” was arrested after he “spray-painted swastikas on Hanukkah decorations”

On Thursday, 27-year-old Jaifeng Chen was arrested in Arizona after he allegedly spray-painted swastikas on Hanukkah decorations and the wall outside of the Chabad of Kalamazoo in Michigan.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said that the FBI worked in coordination with other law enforcement agencies in Arizona to locate and ultimately arrest the Chinese national. He was also booked on an unrelated charge on Nov. 27, according to WTVB. Chen is now in federal custody.

Needless to say, this is the sort of thing that can greatly inflame racial tensions in our current political environment.

So why was a Chinese national doing this?

Was he directed to do so by whoever he is working for?

In California, a “Chinese national” was just arrested for being involved in a large scale gift card scam

Buyers of gift cards from retail locations are being warned to pay attention to their purchases.

Sacramento County Sheriff’s “Operation Bad Elf” has led to over 250 arrests for felonies and misdemeanors involved with big retail locations.

One of those arrested was a Chinese National Ningning Sun who had in his possession thousands of Target and Apple gift cards. Some of those he had stolen from a Sacramento Target store.

The investigators involved in Operation Bad Elf saw Sun take the gift cards off the shelf and put them in his coat. Then he put a replacement set of cards back on the racks.

Was this “Chinese national” acting alone, or was he a part of a larger network?

If he was part of a larger network, who was directing it?

Speaking of large networks, it is being reported that hundreds of “illegal Chinese-owned marijuana growing operations” have been popping up all over the state of Maine in recent years…

Hundreds of illegal Chinese-owned marijuana growing operations have been popping up across Maine over the past three years.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, local law enforcement shut down an illegal marijuana grow that was being operated in a building located behind a licensed marijuana cultivation facility in Franklin County.

Officers from the Wilton Police Department were assisting investigators from the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) during a routine follow-up inspection of a licensed facility in Wilton when they raided the illegal operation, authorities said in a press release posted on social media.

Is there some common denominator that connects all of these growing operations?

And where did the funding for all of these “Chinese-owned” growing operations come from?

I would really love to get answers to those two questions.

Let me give you another example.  Do you remember that secret bio-lab in the Sacramento area that was shut down by authorities earlier this year?  At that time we were told that it had been run by a Chinese company, and now a Chinese national that has several different identities has been arrested.  The following comes from the official website of the U.S. Justice Department

Jia Bei Zhu, aka Jesse Zhu, aka Qiang He, aka David He, 62, a citizen of China who formerly resided in Clovis, was arrested today on a criminal complaint for manufacturing and distributing misbranded medical devices in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and for making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“As part of his scheme, the defendant changed his name, the names of his companies, and their locations,” U.S. Attorney Talbert said. “The disarray at the Reedley lab led to the glare of publicity he was trying to avoid, and the ensuing investigation unraveled his efforts to circumvent the requirements that are designed to ensure that medical devices are safe and effective.”

If you don’t remember this particular case, a secret bio-lab in the Sacramento area had been conducting unauthorized experiments involving COVID, HIV, hepatitis, herpes and a whole bunch of other infectious diseases

“Certain rooms of the warehouse were found to contain several vessels of liquid and various apparatus,” court documents said. “Fresno County Public Health staff also observed blood, tissue and other bodily fluid samples and serums; and thousands of vials of unlabeled fluids and suspected biological material.”

Hundreds of mice at the warehouse were kept in inhumane conditions, court documents said. The city took possession of the animals in April, euthanizing 773 of them; more than 175 were found dead.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the substances and detected at least 20 potentially infectious agents, including coronavirus, HIV, hepatitis and herpes, according to a Health and Human Services letter dated June 6.

Was this just a single rogue bio-lab?

Or is there a network of them around the nation?

And who is ultimately behind these efforts?

There are so many unanswered questions.

But what we do know is that large groups of Chinese nationals are regularly intercepted as they attempt to cross into the United States.  One recent video of this phenomenon received quite a bit of attention on social media

And it also appears that these migration efforts are highly coordinated.

In fact, a Muckraker reporter recently discovered a hotel in Colombia that functions as a central hub for Chinese migration activity…

An unbelievable report out of Colombia reveals Chinese military-age men using a hotel as a dedicated migration hub ahead of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border en masse.

A Muckraker reporter explained that the Cabanas Rio Mayo Hotel in Pasto is brimming with Chinese foreign nationals preparing to journey through the Darién Gap to America as part of a sophisticated “migration network.”

The reporter dispelled the notion that this is simply a coincidental gathering of Chinese nationals by pointing out the signs posted around the hotel come with a Chinese translation, indicating this is a common meeting hub for the Chinese migrants.

Additionally, the reporter described that WhatsApp directives by smugglers to the Chinese nationals specifically mention Pasto as a safe staging area ahead of their trek to America’s southern border.

Muckraker also interviewed one of the Chinese migrants who revealed that the Chinese Communist Party has embedded “plainclothes” secret police throughout the U.S. to facilitate and monitor the Chinese nationals entering the country.

This is super suspicious.

At a time when rumors of a coming war with China are reaching a crescendo, efforts are being made to bring military-age Chinese men into this country on an industrial scale.

Ultimately, it is difficult to prove that all of the things that I have discussed in this article are connected.

Yes, military-age Chinese men are coming into this country in far larger numbers than ever before.

And yes, military-age Chinese men are being caught committing illegal acts all over the nation.

Is all of this evidence of some sort of a giant plot to destabilize the United States?

After reviewing the evidence, many will come to that conclusion, but I can’t prove it 100 percent.

But without a doubt, conflict with China is coming.

And when war with China finally erupts, the Chinese will already have thousands upon thousands of military-age men pre-positioned inside the United States ready to cause chaos.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Chaos” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and you can check out his new Substack newsletter right here.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/12/2023 - 21:25
Published:12/12/2023 8:51:25 PM
[Markets] Last Rights: The Death Of American Liberty Last Rights: The Death Of American Liberty

Authored by James Bovard,

This is the first chapter of James Bovard's new book: "Last Rights: The Deeath of American Liberty"

CHAPTER ONE: TYRANNY COMES TO MAIN STREET

Americans today have the “freedom” to be fleeced, groped, wiretapped, injected, censored, injected, ticketed, disarmed, beaten, vilified, detained, and maybe shot by government agents. Politicians are hell-bent on protecting citizens against everything except Uncle Sam. Is America becoming a Cage Keeper Democracy where voters merely ratify the latest demolition of their rights and liberties?

“We live in a world in which everything has been criminalized,” warned Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. There are now more than 5,200 separate federal criminal offenses, a 36% increase since the 1990s, along with tens of thousands of state and local crimes. More laws mean more violators who can be harshly punished on command, resulting in the arrests of more than 10 million Americans each year. Thanks to the Supreme Court, police can lock up anyone accused of “even a very minor criminal offense” such as an unbuckled seatbelt.

The Founding Fathers saw property rights as “the guardian of every other right.” But today’s politicians never lack a pretext for plundering private citizens. Despite being charged with no crime, half a million Americans have been robbed by government agents on the nation’s sidewalks, highways, and airports in recent decades. Federal law enforcement agencies arbitrarily confiscate more property from Americans each year than all the burglars steal nationwide. The IRS pilfered more cash from private bank accounts because of alleged paperwork errors than the total looted by bank robbers nationwide. Federal bureaucrats blocked landowners from farming or building on a hundred million acres of their own property because of puddles, ditches, or other suspected wet spots.

Police have killed more than 25,000 citizens since the turn of the century, but the federal government does not even bother compiling a body count. SWAT teams use battering rams and flash-bang grenades to attack 50,000 homes a year, routinely terrorizing people suspected of dastardly crimes like spraying graffiti or running poker games. Cops in many cities have been caught planting guns on hapless targets, while corrupt police labs fabricated tens of thousands of bogus drug convictions. Police unions have more sway over government policy than anyone on the wrong end of a baton or Taser. Despite perpetual promises of reform, most police who brutalize private citizens still automatically receive legal immunity. Federal Judge Don Willett derided the “Constitution-free zone” courts created where “individuals whose constitutional rights are violated at the hands of federal officers are essentially remedy-less.”

Gun owners are America’s fastest-growing criminal class. One state after another is enacting “Show us the gun and we’ll find the crime” laws. Judges and politicians are justifying mass disarmament in the name of “freedom from fear” — as if no one will be safe until government controls every trigger. Federal agencies consider all 20+ million marijuana users who own firearms to be felons (unless their last name is Biden). Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden both retroactively outlawed widely-owned firearm accessories, creating new legions of potential jailbirds. At the same time many federal agencies are stockpiling automatic weapons, Biden calls for banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles owned by 50 million Americans.

Politicians and bureaucrats exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to forbid any activities they chose, from going to church to buying garden seeds. Governors in most states effectively banned hundreds of millions of citizens from leaving their homes. Shutting down entire states was the equivalent of sacrificing virgins to appease angry viral gods. In Los Angeles, citizens were prohibited from going outside for a walk or bike ride. Tens of thousands of small businesses were bankrupted by shutdown orders, while federal “relief” spurred a $600 billion worldwide fraud stampede. Most Americans suffered COVID infections despite government decrees that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito labeled “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.” Government officials endlessly invoked “science and data” to sanctify their power. But many pandemic policies were simply Political Science 101, using deceit and demagoguery to domineer humanity.

Government decrees are blighting more lives than ever before. Vague laws convert bureaucrats into czars who dictate as they please. More than a thousand occupations have been closed to anyone who fails to kowtow to absurd state licensing requirements, from fortune tellers in Massachusetts to anyone rubbing feet in Arizona. Tens of thousands of drivers have been injured and hundreds killed thanks to red light traffic ticket cameras notorious for multiplying collisions. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made it a federal crime to refuse to hire ex-convicts. The Americans with Disabilities Act has spurred half a million “discrimination” lawsuits, including by narcoleptics who fell asleep on the job and by a deaf guy outraged about missing captions on porn videos.

Schoolchildren are being sacrificed on an altar of social justice. From No Child Left Behind to Common Core, federal dictates have subverted academic standards and squandered billions of hours of kids’ lives. Teacher unions have worked to destroy local control of education, prevent teacher accountability, deny parents any voice in their children’s education, and pointlessly shut down schools during the pandemic. In lieu of literacy, government schools are redefining gender and indoctrinating kids with values that many parents detest. When mothers and fathers raised hell at school board meetings, the Biden administration and the FBI labeled them as terrorist suspects.

Politicians are increasingly dividing Americans into two classes — those who work for a living and those who vote for a living. Subsidy programs have multiplied even faster than congressional ethics scandals. Federal aid propelled college tuition increases that turned ex-students into a new debtor class endlessly clamoring for relief. Farm subsidies wreak chaos in markets while providing a gravy train for affluent landowners. Federal mortgage policies have been “wrecking ball benevolence,” whipsawing the housing market and spawning the 2007–08 collapse that reduced the net worth of black and Hispanic households by 50%. The number of handout recipients has more than doubled since 1983, and the feds are now feeding more than 100 million Americans. Government grants are eventually followed by government restrictions, and dependence often turns into submission. The ultimate victim of handouts could be democracy itself: politicians cannot undermine self-reliance without subverting self-government.

While politicians boast of bestowing freebies, taxes have become a financial Grim Reaper. The Internal Revenue Service is Washington’s ultimate sacred cow because it delivers trillions of dollars to allow politicians to work miracles (or at least get re-elected). Americans are forced to pay more in taxes than their total spending on food, clothing, and housing. Tax codes have become inscrutable at the same time the IRS pummels people with ten times more penalties than in earlier decades. The Biden administration is racing to hire 87,000 new IRS agents and employees to squeeze far more money out of both rich and poor taxpayers. Inflation has become the cruelest tax as the dollar’s purchasing power fell 17% since Biden took office, fleecing any citizen with a savings account.

The federal government is generating so many absurdities nowadays that even cynics cannot keep up. The Transportation Security Administration epitomizes Washington’s boneheaded command-and-control approach to modern perils. TSA’s Whole Body Scanners doused tens of millions of travelers with radiation while taking nude pictures of them. TSA’s groin-grabbing “enhanced pat-downs” spark thousands of sexual assault complaints from women every year. TSA terrorist profiles have warned of travelers who are either staring intently or avoiding eye contact, or who fidget, yawn, or sweat heavily; anyone who is whistling and/or staring at their feet; Boston blacks wearing backward baseball caps; and anyone who “expresses contempt” for TSA Security Theater antics.

Federal surveillance leaves no refuge for dissent. Government agencies are secretly accumulating mountains of data that could be used for “blackmail, stalking, harassment and public shaming” of American citizens, according to a 2023 federal report. The National Security Agency has stalked Americans via their cellphones, covertly installed spyware onto personal computers, and treated anyone “searching the Web for suspicious stuff” like a terrorist suspect. The Patriot Act spurred the illegal seizure of personal and financial information from tens of millions of Americans. Customs agents can seize and copy the cellphones, laptop drives, and private papers of any American crossing the U.S. border. The Drug Enforcement Administration is building a secret nationwide network of license plate scanners to track every driver. Federally funded “fusion centers” are stockpiling Suspicious Activity Reports on tourists who photograph landmarks, “people who avoid eye contact,” and anyone “reverent of individual liberty.” The FBI’s “terrorist warning signs” include hotel guests using “Do Not Disturb” signs and the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

At the same time spying on citizens skyrocketed, Washington dropped an Iron Curtain around itself. The government is committing more crimes than citizens will ever know. Whistleblowers and journalists are hounded as if exposing official lies is a heresy against democracy. Every year, the federal government slaps a “secret” label on trillions of pages of information — enough to fill 20 million filing cabinets. Any document which is classified is treated like a holy relic that cannot be exposed without damning the nation. Self-government has been defined down to paying, obeying, and wearing a federal blindfold. There are plenty of laws to protect government secrets but no law to protect democracy from federal secrecy.

The First Amendment is becoming a historic relic. Federal Judge Terry Doughty recently condemned the Biden administration for potentially “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” That verdict was ratified in September 2023 by a federal appeals court ruling slamming the White House and federal agencies for actions that resulted in “suppressing millions of protected free speech postings by American citizens.” Federal agencies pirouetted as a “Ministry of Truth,” according to the court rulings. Censorship converts citizens into captives. Federal censorship tainted the 2020 and 2022 elections, suppressing tens of millions of tweets, YouTube videos, and Facebook posts from conservatives and Republicans. White House officials even ordered Facebook to delete humorous memes, including a parody of a future television ad: “Did you or a loved one take the COVID vaccine? You may be entitled…”

Rather than the Rule of Law, we have a government of threats, intimidation, and browbeating. “Government of the people” defaulted into “government for the people,” which degenerated into perennially punishing people for their own good. Twenty-five years ago, Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned against permitting federal agencies “the extraordinary authority… to manufacture crimes.” Entrapment schemes proliferate as G-men fabricate crimes to justify budget increases. The FBI, pretending that rosary beads could be extremist symbols, is targeting traditional Catholics across the nation because of their conservative moral values. The FBI entitles its legions of confidential informants to commit more than 5,000 crimes a year, dragging many unlucky bystanders to their legal doom. The number of inmates in federal prison increased 500% since 1980, and America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Politicians are more anxious to control citizens than to protect them. More people are busted each year for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined, while the futile War on Drugs causes more fatalities than ever before.

Every recent administration has expanded and exploited the dictatorial potential of the presidency. Former President Richard Nixon shocked Americans in 1977 when he asserted during a television interview: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” But Nixon’s slogan is the Oval Office maxim for the new millennium. Presidents now only need to find a single federal lawyer who says, “Yes, Master!” President George W. Bush’s lawyers secretly decided that neither federal law nor the Constitution could limit the power of the president, who could declare martial law or authorize torture at his whim. President Barack Obama claimed a prerogative to assassinate Americans he labeled terrorist suspects. President Donald Trump boasted of “an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.” In 2022, President Biden proclaimed that “liberty is under assault.” But he was referring solely to a few court rulings he disapproved, not to the federal supremacy he championed for almost 50 years in the Senate and the White House.

The authoritarian trendline in American political life is more important than the name or party of any officeholder. “One precedent in favor of power is stronger than a hundred against it,” as Thomas Jefferson warned during the American Revolution. Unfortunately, there are a hundred precedents in favor of government now for each precedent in favor of liberty. There is a “No harm, no foul” attitude towards violating the Constitution, and Washington almost always hides the harm. The sheer power of federal agencies such as the FBI is becoming one of the gravest perils to American democracy.

Elections are becoming demolition derbies that threaten to wreck the nation. Historian Henry Adams observed a century ago that politics “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” Nowadays, politics seems hell-bent on multiplying hatred. Enraged activists are increasingly tarring all their opponents as traitors. Many of the protestors who spent years vehemently denouncing Trump were not opposed to dictators per se; they simply wanted different dictates. More than half of Americans expect a civil war “in the next few years,” according to a recent survey.

Americans are indoctrinated in public schools to presume that our national DNA guarantees that we will always be free. But few follies are more perilous than presuming that individual rights are safe in perpetuity. None of the arguments on why liberty is inevitable can explain why it is becoming an endangered species. Yet many people believe that liberty will inevitably triumph because of some “law of history” never enacted by God, a convocation of cardinals, or even the Arkansas state legislature. Presuming that freedom is our destiny lulls people against political predators.

Federal Judge Learned Hand warned in 1944: “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” But Americans are more likely to encounter liberty in history books instead of their own lives. Many young people are unaware of bygone eras when Americans could travel without being groped, buy a beer or smoke a cigar without committing a federal offense, or protest without being quarantined in an Orwellian “free-speech zone.” Is the spirit of liberty dead? Almost a third of young American adults support installing mandatory government surveillance cameras in private homes to “reduce domestic violence, abuse, and other illegal activity.”

We have an Impunity Democracy in which government officials pay no price for their crimes. Americans today are more likely to believe in witches, ghosts, and astrology than to trust the federal government. Washington’s legitimacy is in tatters thanks to a long train of bipartisan perfidy. If government is lawless, elections merely designate the most dangerous criminals in the land.

At a time when foreign democracies are collapsing like dominos, can America avoid becoming the “elective despotism” the Founding Fathers dreaded? The first step to reviving liberty is to recognize how far politicians have stretched their power. But nothing can safeguard freedom except the bravery of citizens who refuse to be shackled.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/12/2023 - 20:45
Published:12/12/2023 8:00:24 PM
[] Amazing! Biden DOJ Successfully Prosecutes Antifa Terrorist Who Firebombed Pro-Life Office Published:12/12/2023 4:38:12 PM
[Markets] Not "Trump The Dictator" Again... Not "Trump The Dictator" Again...

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,

It is “Trump Will Destroy Democracy” season again.

And predictably the Left has gone hysterical, after experiencing a trifecta of frightening 2024 news.

One, current polls in the primaries and in a general election for now show that Trump would win.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s popularity dives below 40 percent. His policies on the economy, abroad, at the border, concerning crime, and about energy poll even more feebly. Never has an American president utterly and deliberately destroyed immigration law for the sole purpose of inviting in millions of illegal aliens, to establish political constituencies supportive of agendas that otherwise have scant public support.

Two, unequivocal evidence is mounting that the Bidens are one of the most corrupt political families in American presidential history. Hunter, the Leona Helmsley of our times, is now indicted for massive tax evasion, despite his earlier, government-aided efforts of running out the statute of limitations on the full array of his crimes.

When asked about his grifting, Biden angrily denies the undeniable. He can only become animated these days, when asked to square his denials about knowing what Hunter was up to with a multitude of facts and data to the contrary. And so in exasperation he shouts, “Lies!,” “Lies!,” and “Lies!”

There is now conclusive proof that Biden himself lied repeatedly when he swore that he knew nothing about his wayward son Hunter’s grifting business. He used several aliases to communicate directly with his son’s grifting and quid pro quo partners.

Canceled checks show the president was paid substantial sums by family members after they received money from foreign governments—for nothing other than being related to the future president. The pay-offs were hidden by “loan repayment” lies; no one expects ever to find any such evidence that there were formal loan documents or agreements between Biden and his family.

Former Hunter Biden associates, explicit messaging on his laptop, IRS whistleblowers, and bank records all explain why an opulent Joe Biden enjoyed a lifestyle impossible on either a senator’s or Vice President’s salary. While Biden toured the country sermonizing that the rich must “pay their fair share,” it is increasingly likely that he had received huge amounts from foreign governments eager to purchase him as an influencer—and never paid taxes on such occult income.

Three, Joe Biden’s cognitive decline and feebleness have reached a point where he is one fall, one bad cold, or one long brain-freeze away from incapacity. He clearly is not running the country. How could he be, when he cannot finish a sentence without mangling the syntax, slurring the vocabulary, and confusing his listeners?

So Biden’s blank stares lengthen. His disorientation and uncertainty where to enter and exit occur hourly. And his bizarre, repulsive fixation with young girls, and his desire to call them out, hug them, breathe on their hair, or nuzzle their necks become all the more embarrassing. Had a U.S. senator engaged in such reprehensible behavior he would long ago have been censored.

Add all this news up that Biden is fading, Trump apparently is outpolling him, and suddenly the Left has rebooted the tired “Trump will destroy democracy” boilerplate.

Almost nightly now TV anchors warn of a dictatorship. Columnists predict the “end of democracy.” Essayists vie to see who can become the most absurd in predicting Trump’s planned takeover America.

There are several considerations, however, about these bankrupt and discredited Nostradamuses that the American people should note—aside from the fact the “democracy will die” mob is the same herd that assured us of Russian collusion, laptop disinformation, and the integrity of the Biden family.

First, ex-president Trump is now a known quantity.

A comparison of his four years with the first three years of Biden’s tenure is instructive.

Biden’s border is nonexistent–and by design.

Eight-million illegal aliens—unaudited, from all over the world, the vast majority without legality, diversity, English, or skill sets—have swarmed the country to the extent that even swamped leftwing blue-state governors and mayors are opposed to the Biden nihilism.

Biden stopped catch-and-release, and phony refugee statuses, and pressured Mexico to patrol their side of the border. He destroyed immigration law as we knew it.

Biden’s flight from Afghanistan was the greatest foreign policy humiliation in modern American history. It destroyed U.S. deterrence and greenlighted Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine, Hamas to craft an intricate plan of slaughtering Israeli civilians, Iran to arm to the teeth its terrorist surrogates, and China to send a spy balloon over the U.S. and serially to threaten Taiwan. The common denominator abroad was a correct appraisal that Biden’s controllers would talk tough, but always equivocate.

There was zero inflation before Biden; 30-year mortgages were less than 2 percent. Now prices for staples like gas, food, power, health care and housing have spiked well over 30 percent since Biden took office. Mortgages are hitting 7 percent and the housing market is comatose. Real wages have eroded.

It seems hard to accuse Trump of being a dangerous demagogue when his four years saw effective government action on the economy, foreign policy, energy, and crime.

Afterall, was the Trump Middle-East Policy (e.g., branding Houthis as terrorists, the Abraham Accords, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, a non-negotiable Israeli Golan Heights, cutting off aid to Hamas, junking the Iran deal, slapping sanctions on Iranian oil, eliminating Soleimani, etc.) or Biden’s antithesis (sending money to Hamas, lifting sanctions on Iran, begging to reenter the Iran Deal, freeing the Houthis from their terrorist classification, cutting back on oil production, maligning/then courting Saudi Arabia, distancing from Israel, etc.) the more beneficial to the U.S. and the Middle East at large?

Two, who exactly has weaponized the government in dictatorial fashion?

Who by fiat pandered illegally to cancel student loans before a midterm, or suddenly drained the strategic petroleum reserve to lower gas prices before an election?

What do former FBI directors, former “intelligence authorities.” and the former Directors of National Intelligence and the CIA all have in common? They lied, often under oath, and always in service of weaponizing the government for political agendas.

Who hired a foreign national Christopher Steele to concoct a silly file of lies to destroy a political rival? Why did the FBI sequester the Hunter laptop for a year? Who subcontracted out Twitter for $3 million to suppress information deemed harmful to the Biden campaign? Who squashed an IRS investigation of the Biden family?

It was not the would-be dictator Donald Trump who secretly routed money to the Wuhan virology lab, and who then manipulated government agencies to hide that fact—at the expense of the welfare of the American people.

Who called up a former CIA director to round up 51 intelligence retirees to lie to sabotage an election? Did not the current national security advisor Jake Sullivan try to concoct the Alfa Bank ping ruse to destroy the Trump campaign and administration?

When a former Pentagon lawyer and military officers called for a military coup to remove Trump, for which political agenda were they working?

Did Trump prompt the acting Attorney General and FBI Director to consider in secret wearing a wire to entrap and remove a president through the 25th Amendment?

What was “Anonymous” about—if not to destroy an administration from within through use of the deep state bureaucracy?

Who coordinated Pfizer executives to delay announcement of the vaccine rollout until after the election to ensure Trump’s Operation Warp speed received no prelection credit?

Liberal journalist Molly Ball, in her notorious Time essay, outlined what she called a “cabal” and “conspiracy” to destroy the 2020 Trump reelection campaign and indeed his presidency, through modulating Antifa/BLM protests, suppression of the news, and huge infusions of corporate money to augment or indeed absorb the work of the registrars in key states.

Who exactly cooked up the phony Letitia James suit? Or the Alvin Bragg joke of an indictment? Or the weaponized Fani Wallis vendetta? Or the partisan and asymmetrical hunt of Jack Smith? Who impeached a president twice and tried him as a private citizen, without a report of a special counsel? Who revived the ossified Logan Act to destroy General Michael Flynn?

And who is trying to strip Trump’s name off the 2024 ballot, convinced that such a Third-world dictatorial effort can alone stop dictatorship?

In contrast, the supposed “dictator” Trump appointed a special counsel, Comey pal and insider Robert Mueller, to run a witch hunt against him for 22 months.

He did not fire Anthony Fauci who worked to undermine Trump at every turn, and used government monies to fund gain-of-function, dangerous viral research in China, while spending most of the Trump administration covering that fact up, most often by serially lying.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley despised Donald Trump to such an extent that he called his Chinese communist counterpart to advise him that he, Milley himself, would not follow a Trump order, should he deem it too dangerous, without warning the Chinese in advance. Milley faced no repercussions.

Nor did Trump fire immediately Comey when many called on him to go, given Comey’s effort to use the FBI in the 2016 election to undermine the Trump campaign and sabotage a FISA court.

Why did retired generals and admirals with impunity violate Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice by smearing their Command-in-Chief as a liar, Mussolini, Hitler-like, and deserving of early removal?  Were any even reminded that they were in violation of statutes? Is it a dangerous thing for the U.S. military to attack their civilian overseers and in private to negotiate with the communist Chinese military?

Most of the Russian collusion hoax was discussed in the waning days of the Obama administration inside the Oval Office, as Obama greenlighted illegal CIA and FBI involvements.

Who cooked up the idea that Mark Zuckerberg could infuse $419 million to warp balloting in key swing states?

What did Lois Lerner do as an IRS adjudicator, as the 2012 Obama reelection loomed?

Trump may well have at times trolled the Left wildly, but the Left seriously sought to undermine the government, cancel existing laws, lie under oath, deceive a federal judge, and enlist the FBI and CIA to conspire to destroy a presidential campaign. All that seems a bit dictatorial.

Three, after nearly nine years of Trump demonization - celebrities vying publicly with each to dream up ways of killing Trump (incineration, decapitation, shooting, stabbing, dismemberment, explosives, etc), lawfare used to deny the American public the right to vote for or against Trump, a deranged media shouting pseudo-conspiracies of “collusion” and “disinformation” for years, and billionaires spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure Trump was never elected or reelected or even on the ballot - why have the American people still not bought into the “dictator” Trump meme?

Is because they have enough common sense to grasp that those who protest too much, do so for obvious reasons?

In sum, we have seen a 24/7 effort of leftwing presidents, deep-state bureaucrats, and the media to break the law and weaponize the government. The only rationale for such illegality has been the sick notion that the ends of destroying the supposed “dictator” Trump justified any dictatorial means necessary to achieve them.

So what else is behind the latest epidemic of DNC talking points that spin Trump as an existential threat to democracy?

The Left knows that in dictatorial fashion it has turned a federal republic into a government run wild, lawless, and in service to partisan agendas. It again talks of what Trump will supposedly do only because the Left surely would do exactly what it accuses Trump of planning to do if it were Trump.

In other words, the Left projects itself onto Trump, and understandably finds itself all too terrifying.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/12/2023 - 16:20
Published:12/12/2023 3:35:25 PM
[In Congress] ‘Surrogate Spies’: Massive Expansion Of Gov’t Surveillance Powers Buried In House Intel Committee Bill, Experts Say

by Jason Cohen at CDN -

Domestic spying the fbi

A House Intelligence Committee bill, up for a potential vote on Tuesday, could significantly enhance the federal government’s surveillance powers, experts cautioned. The legislation, introduced by Republican Ohio Rep. Mike Turner and Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, aims to modify Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and …

Click to read the rest HERE-> ‘Surrogate Spies’: Massive Expansion Of Gov’t Surveillance Powers Buried In House Intel Committee Bill, Experts Say first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:12/12/2023 12:02:49 AM
[Markets] Elon Musk Says He Would Rather "Go To Prison" Than Restrict Free Speech On X Elon Musk Says He Would Rather "Go To Prison" Than Restrict Free Speech On X

Authored by Steve Watson via Modernity.news,

X owner Elon Musk declared during a Spaces discussion that he will never restrict free speech on the platform, no matter what entities pressure him to do so, and asserted that he would rather “go to prison” than allow it to happen.

Musk’s comments came during a Spaces discussion, also featuring Alex Jones who Musk reinstated on the platform Sunday.

Human Events editor Jack Posobiec asked Musk what would happen if the FBI or DHS “come to X and say ‘these posts need to be censored , this information needs to be censored.”

Musk responded that the platform will remain “as transparent as possible,” adding “Basically we will see everything that is happening on the system and nothing will be hidden, that is the goal.”

Musk added that “frankly if I think a government agency is breaking the law in their demands in the platform I would be prepared to go to prison personally if I think they are the ones breaking the law.”

Elsewhere during the discussion, Musk explained that he reinstated Alex Jones because as a free speech absolutist he will not censor anyone on X if they have not broken the law.

Here it is in its entirety:

*  *  *

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/11/2023 - 20:00
Published:12/11/2023 7:10:25 PM
[Markets] Americans Are Being Scammed In More Sophisticated Ways Than Ever Americans Are Being Scammed In More Sophisticated Ways Than Ever

Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A woman receives a phone call saying her nephew has been arrested and urgently needs bail money. They arrange for a "bail bondsman" to come to her house to collect $29,000 in cash.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

The following day, after another urgent call, the bondsman again turns up at her house, attempting to collect an additional $10,000 in cash for "bail."

Instead, he's arrested.

That's just one incident that occurred in Sykesville, Maryland, in 2020. Michael Odell Anderson, who posed as the bail bondsman, has since pleaded guilty to conspiring to persuade multiple elderly victims to put up thousands of dollars under false pretenses, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

The Federal Trade Commission received 1.2 million complaints about robocalls in fiscal year 2023. (MDV Edwards/Shutterstock)

In total, Mr. Anderson and his co-conspirators scammed at least 49 victims out of more than $842,000—of which $578,170 hasn't been recovered. Mr. Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21, 2024.

Mr. Anderson and his co-conspirators often told victims that the money they handed over would be returned to them at a later date, according to court documents.

They also often told victims that "there had been a 'gag order' placed on the case requiring secrecy and that the victim could not share the information with others," the DOJ stated.

About a year ago, Lindy Wise, a web designer and all-around technology aficionado in her 60s, received a text saying her Social Security payments had changed, and if she wanted to see why, to "click here."

"It was very well done," Ms. Wise told The Epoch Times. However, at the last minute, she said that something didn’t feel right, and she decided not to click the link.

"You know, when you walk out your front door and you get in your car to go anywhere, you're walking downtown, you have to be aware of what's around you and be alert," Ms. Wise said.

"Now, we have to be just as alert online. I get messages all the time—usually several times a week. And I'm in the tech industry, so I know what to look for, but wow. These guys know the elderly are vulnerable. We're less familiar with the technology, and our generation is more trusting. Sometimes, we're alone, and we're lonely. So, we're vulnerable to various types of scams."

The type of scam attempted on Ms. Wise is called "smishing," Ally Armeson, executive director of programs for the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN), told The Epoch Times.

The sender of this scam robotext seeks to obtain personal information from a potential victim, according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. (Florida Attorney General's Office)

CSN is a nonprofit organization that provides training, develops resources, and works within law enforcement and consumer protection ecosystems to help victims recover after they've experienced a cybercrime.

"With regard to phone scams ... some examples are a robocall (calls delivering a prerecorded message), text messages (smishing), or just a 'live' phone call with a person," Ms. Armeson said.

"As far as smishing, all of us get those supposed texts from Amazon, or a bank, etc., telling us about suspicious activity that will result in our accounts closing unless we reset our password at the provided link.

"Most of the time, we can tell the link is not official, but if a person is in a hurry or distracted, they may click on the fake link and give their login credentials away. Distraction can really get us into trouble. Scammers know we all get distracted—and those smishing texts are an easy, low-effort way to get people's information and steal money."

Ms. Armeson said that while smishing scams are prevalent and often effective, the scams that consumers fall for most often are "imposter scams."

They're also some of the most traumatic for victims.

"With enough research and preparation, cybercriminals can very convincingly pretend to be anyone—someone from a government agency, a family member or friend, a potential love interest—especially now that they have generative Artificial Intelligence at their disposal," Ms. Armeson said.

Access to personal information through social media is helping scammers target everyone. (South_agency/Getty Images)

"We had a romance scam victim who, after reporting the incident, was threatened by the scammer in multiple phone conversations. The scammer said he was going to come to her house to harm her.

"What made this more frightening was that the victim lived alone and was legally deaf. While the police assured the scam victim that the cybercriminal was located outside of the United States and that the victim was not in harm's way, the victim couldn't help but be frightened, especially at night.

"The individual became so stressed that they considered giving up their independent living situation."

The Rise of Phone Scams

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 1.2 million complaints about robocalls in fiscal year 2023.

In 2022, adults older than 60 reported more than 88,000 complaints to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), with losses totaling more than $3.1 billion—an 84 percent increase compared to 2021, the FBI reported.

FBI agents investigate a case in Sunset Valley, Texas, on March 20, 2018. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Victims ages 50 to 59 reported losses totaling a little more than $1.8 billion, and nearly 95,000 victims ages 30 to 39 reported more than $1.2 billion in losses.

A separate report by the American Association of Retired Persons, which included data from more agencies, found that elder financial exploitation costs victims ages 60 and older more than $28.3 billion, annually.

"The reality is that older adults usually have more money saved [for] retirement, and so they are more 'profitable' targets," Ms. Armeson said.

"A scammer will put more time and effort into a scam if they think they will get more money, so our older population may be hit with more thoughtful or elaborate scams.

"Some of these scams can get pretty complex, and the scammers are good at getting people anxious or scared by saying things like, 'Your account has been hacked/compromised,' 'You owe money,' 'You will lose benefits.'"

Ms. Armeson cautioned that while the elderly are increasingly targeted, so are younger generations.

"Access to personal information through social media is helping scammers target everyone," she said. The FTC says young people are losing money to scams at a higher rate than those older than 70.

Seniors sit outside a cafe in West Palm Beach, Fla., on March 12, 2020. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images)

Cathy Wilson, a licensed professional counselor at LifePaths Counseling Center and author of the book, "The Emotional Impact of Being Scammed and How to Recover," concurred.

"Perhaps a good way to think about who scammers target is that they target people with some kind of vulnerability," she told The Epoch Times.

"Many scams target older people who haven't had the experience with technology that younger populations have. That's a vulnerability. Other age groups have different vulnerabilities."

Ms. Wilson pointed to a report by the Better Business Bureau, which shows that scammers often target adults ages 18 to 24 in "fake check scams." That's when an “employer” gets the victim to deposit a check and transfer the funds.

Once the victim realizes that the check isn't real, they already owe the transferred funds to their bank, and the scammer has their money.

Such was the case for Karl, no last name given, who jumped at the chance at what he thought was a legitimate job—evaluating customer service at retail stores.

Financial exploitation of people aged 60 and over costs victims $28.3 billion annually, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. (Issouf Sanogo/AFP via Getty Images)

"They wanted me to be a 'mystery shopper,'" Karl told the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

"You get this check for $2,950, you text them saying 'assignment received.' And then you go ahead and deposit the check in your bank, and you send them [the scam employer] a text saying 'funds are deposited.'

"You wait until the check is cleared before you go do any shopping—so I figured, well, OK, this is not a scam."

FINRA said the scammers told Karl to then "quickly go to a series of stores to send money orders totaling $2,600 to specific addresses provided by the company" and to provide feedback.

"Karl's new employer stressed that he needed to fulfill the assignment as quickly as possible. He was told to keep the remaining $350 for completing the task," FINRA stated.

However, the check was fraudulent, resulting in Karl wiring $2,600 of his money to the scammer.

The Better Business Bureau says employment scams are the "riskiest scams for ages 18–24," followed by online purchase scams and cryptocurrency scams.

In November, the DOJ seized almost $9 million worth of Tether, a cryptocurrency that had been used to scam more than 70 victims via romance scams and cryptocurrency confidence scams.

Read the rest here...

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/11/2023 - 05:45
Published:12/11/2023 5:29:53 AM
[Markets] New Rumble Channel Established For Release Of Jan. 6 Security Video By Congress New Rumble Channel Established For Release Of Jan. 6 Security Video By Congress

Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The GOP-controlled Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight has established a Rumble channel and released the second batch of security video from Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.

New U.S. Capitol Police Jan. 6 security video released by House Republicans on a new Rumble channel. (CHA Subcommittee on Oversight/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The first few videos were posted to the Rumble channel on Dec. 5. By the next day, the collection grew to 135 clips—each about 10 minutes long. The channel had nearly 700 followers on Dec. 7.

The committee released the first batch of 90 CCTV clips on Nov. 17 on its House of Representatives website. The two websites now contain nearly 40 hours of the more than 40,000 hours of video from Jan. 6 held by Capitol Police.

"As promised, we're releasing more U.S. Capitol Police CCTV video footage from January 6th to ensure full transparency and accountability," said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight. "Every American may access this and future footage on our new Rumble video page."

The new batch of videos all come from Camera 0908, housed high on the west dome of the Capitol. The aerial footage starts just after midnight and ends about 11:55 p.m. on Jan. 6.

The video includes the flow of protesters from the Ellipse during and after former President Donald Trump’s speech, the breach of the first police line, and the violence on several levels of the west front of the Capitol.

Capitol Police have a network of more than 1,700 security cameras inside the Capitol Building and across Capitol grounds. The agency has consistently opposed (pdf) public release of the CCTV footage.

When he announced the release of up to 44,000 hours of Jan. 6 video, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) pledged to regularly update the website with “thousands of hours of footage.”

“To restore America’s trust and faith in their government, we must have transparency,” Mr. Johnson posted on X. “This is another step towards keeping the promises I made when I was elected to be your speaker.”

Enthusiasm about the video rollout was tempered by the announcement that the subcommittee would blur any identifiable faces.

"As you know, we have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in the events of that day because we don't want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ,” Mr. Johnson said during a press conference on Dec. 5.

That decision drew fire from both sides of the aisle and media across the political spectrum.

Former Rep. Lynn Cheney (R-Wyo.), onetime ranking member of the now-defunct Jan. 6 Select Committee, blasted the idea of blurring the video.

I think that we’re experiencing a situation where Speaker Johnson is somehow attempting to suggest that there is something in these tapes that would change the facts of what happened,” Ms. Cheney told CNN on Dec. 5.

Defendants in Jan. 6 criminal cases have criticized both the rollout of video and the blurring of faces.

“Johnson is flat-out lying about concerns people might be charged if the footage isn't blurred,” defendant Will Pope, who writes as Free State Will on X, said on Dec. 5. “Congress already gave all the un-blurred video to the DOJ! Motion to vacate this Pinocchio.”

Conservative social media influencer “Catturd” agreed in a post to his 2.1 million followers on X.

This is 100% to blur out all the feds,” wrote Catturd, whose real name is Phillip Buchanan. “Like the FBI doesn’t have copies of these. What a ridiculous lie.”

A senior congressional aide defended the blurring in a statement to the Epoch Times.

"Unfortunately, there are groups whose sole purpose is to ruin the lives of anyone who was at the Capitol on January 6, whether they have been charged with a crime or not," the aide said. "To protect innocent individuals from groups like this, it makes sense to blur small portions of the footage where faces are identifiable as best as possible before posting footage online. And any American can set up an appointment to view the unedited, unaltered footage at the Subcommittee offices.”

The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans published an editorial cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winning Walt Handelsman rapping its home-state representative.

The three-panel cartoon, also posted on X, shows Mr. Johnson at a dais speaking about the facts and truth of Jan. 6. In the final frame, Mr. Johnson says he wants to be "crystal clear," while his image is badly blurred.

Tyler Durden Sat, 12/09/2023 - 12:50
Published:12/9/2023 12:24:35 PM
[Markets] Biden Funding Woke Theater Arts Groups Under Counterterrorism Grants Biden Funding Woke Theater Arts Groups Under Counterterrorism Grants

Authored by James Varney via RealClear Wire,

Founded in 2020 in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, the Black Legacy Project describes itself as “a musical celebration of black history to advance racial solidarity, equity and belonging.” It brings together artists of all backgrounds “to record present day interpretations of songs central to the Black American experience and compose originals relevant to the pressing calls for change of our time.”

A similar arts group, Nu Art Education Inc., an offshoot of the NorCal School for the Arts, says it is “following the theory of change that utilizing theater arts” can be “a tool to teach and practice conflict resolution in the classroom.”

While both outfits share a mission of using the arts to inspire social change, they have something else in common: counterterrorism. Or rather, both have received taxpayer grants through the Department of Homeland Security’s “Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention” (TVTP) program. Together, the two groups have received more than $1.4 million since the Biden administration doubled the program’s annual budget, to some $20 million per year.

Grants to arts cooperatives and educational initiatives strike some as odd for a department charged with protecting the United States -- including its southern border, now viewed by many as virtually open to illegal migrants. Against that backdrop, FBI Director Christopher Wray recently warned Congress of the heightened threat of terror in the U.S. at a time of wars raging on two continents with America involved on the sidelines.

On Tuesday, Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee the "threat matrix" is "blinking red lights everywhere."

"The threat level has gone to a whole other level since Oct. 7," he said.

Given such concerns, Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies, a critic of Biden policies, said the DHS grants are misplaced. "It’s kind of hard to see how all that is going to help stop terrorism,” he told RealClearInvestigations.

DHS declined to discuss the TVTP program, or answer questions about how competitive the grant process is or who makes final decisions on where the money will go.

The program has its roots in the Obama administration under the concept of “countering violent extremism” and has drawn criticism ever since from both left and right – albeit for different reasons. During the Trump administration, the leftist Brennan Center for Justice faulted the “anti-Muslim and xenophobic rhetoric and policies” in such programs, which “also target refugees, asylum seekers, and Black Lives Matter activists.”

The Brennan Center said “the reality is that these programs, which are based on junk science, have proven to be ineffective, discriminatory and divisive.”

That was then. Now, having doubled the program’s budget, the Biden administration is using the money to advance parts of its agenda not directly related to terrorism. Increasingly the DHS grants, like much larger ones at other departments, are part of the administration’s “whole of government” effort to promote “diversity, equity and inclusion” and quash what it considers misinformation.

While proclaiming that that the grants are designed for “local communities across the country to develop targeted violence and terrorism prevention programming in their communities,” the Department of Homeland Security also stresses its focus on DEI.

“Ensuring equity is a key priority of the TVTP Grant Program and 41 percent of this year’s grant recipients are devoted to underserved populations, compared to 25 percent last year,” the DHS website says, noting grants have gone to historically black colleges and universities, seven “Minority Serving Institutions (MSI),” a Native American group and another serving the LGBTQIA+ community.

The program uses keywords to note favored characteristics of approved grants. Ones used often include “raising societal awareness,” “bystander training,” and what advocates call “media literacy.”

“Media literacy involves the critical evaluation of media messages, as well as their authors and audiences, and it includes the ability to differentiate between original, evidence-based reporting and commentary or propaganda,” said Seth Ashley, a communications professor at Boise State University, which has received nearly $400,000.

But such anodyne-sounding definitions come at a time when censorship by government in tandem with news outlets and social media has stirred controversy and court challenges. Experts have sprouted in the fields of “misinformation” or “disinformation,” and their power to control what is published and shared on various tech platforms has grown.

One of the recipients of DHS funding for media literacy is the University of Rhode Island, which received $700,000 in TVTP grants in 2022. The money has helped pay for “Courageous Rhode Island” initiatives that involve online seminars and work with K-12 schools.

In one of Courageous R.I.’s starter seminars, URI professors Renee Hobbs and Pam Steager discuss warning signs for media consumers. The flags include sources that “attract audience attention by finding and promoting unexplained phenomena or coincidence that seems at odds with official narratives.”

In another, the professors warn of “contrarian ‘experts’ [that] increase visibility and status by exploiting journalistic norms of balance and neutrality to present a controversy that counters widely-accepted beliefs.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is often used as a case study in media literacy. Ashley co-authored an op-ed in the Idaho Capital Sun in 2021 warning of COVID “disinformation.” But the co-authors offered no concrete examples of what would earn that classification, and many of the doubts health officials and Big Tech worked diligently to erase then – on masks, lockdowns, the origin of the virus – have been vindicated by subsequent reporting and revelations.

“Doing your own research is fine, but it’s no substitute for the meticulous work of experts who are doing their best to learn everything they can about Covid-19 and are updating us when their knowledge grows and as situations change,” Ashley wrote.

Asked by RealClearInvestigations about the sort of collaboration between government actors and Big Tech companies exposed in the “Twitter Files” and other revelations, Ashley replied, “I don’t think recent events have changed the need to be vigilant about where or how we get information, but I do think the digital age has made that more difficult than ever.”

Some conservative critics see in the nebulous language of media literacy a clear agenda against outlets that could counter the message of Washington Democrats. They see the government using taxpayer money to get around First Amendment protections by paying third party groups to censor views it doesn’t approve.

They are very careful in the words they use, and you rarely see them offer concrete examples of ‘misinformation,’” said Dan Schneider, vice president of the conservative Media Research Center. “But what the project is trying to do is get into the schools and divert people from conservative outlets and direct them to liberal outlets.”

Schneider has looked closely at the work being done in Rhode Island, as well as by other media watchdogs such as NewsGuard.

One of Courageous R.I.’s goals is combating “fear and hate that leads to violence,” but one participant in the group’s online workshops said that is a tenuous thesis. Nicole Solas, a Rhode Island parent who became a prominent critic of what she regarded as a leftward drift in public education there, took some Courageous R.I. courses online and clashed with Hobbs. Like critics at the Brennan Center, Solas said she saw no proof that “words in media cause people to commit violent acts,” and she said it was clear Courageous R.I. had conservative news in its crosshairs.

“They themselves are media – they write blogs,” Solas said. “They are promoting their own propaganda by saying someone or something else is propaganda so it’s not a real ‘conversation.’”

Hobbs disputed that characterization, insisting “listening” is a key component of the “Courageous Conversations” that Courageous R.I. seeks.

The “media literacy” advanced by TVTP grants also warns against outlets that do not perform “public interest journalism.” Ashley defines that as “journalism that aims to serve citizens by addressing issues of social importance and holding powerful actors accountable. It can be produced by anyone but usually comes from organizations with the resources and expertise necessary to gather and synthesize large amounts of information.”

Using preferred groups to set such parameters has been a hallmark of government grants like TVTP since the Obama administration, according to several people familiar with the process. The grants are not confined to DHS – the State Department, FEMA, the EPA, and other branches have similar programs – and critics agree the overall goal of such policies is to corral speech into preferred spaces and proscribe it from countering preferred narratives.

“They are using targeted funding to promote a buy-in to toeing the government line,” said Brian Cavanaugh, a former White House national security staffer in the Trump and Biden administrations who is now a senior vice president of American Global Strategies. “And here these have nothing to do with DHS’s core mission.”

Some of the grants appear to go to traditional organizations engaged in fighting terrorist threats. But most of the $70 million in grants issued since 2020 – $60 million of which flowed since Biden took office – reflect the administration’s approach to DEI initiatives more than any clear attempt to tackle potential threats, according to Mike Howell, director of the Oversight Program at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Howell said he has tracked federal “countering violent extremism” measures for almost a decade.

“This goes back to Obama where we saw the government shower these credentialed liberal outfits with a crap-ton of money,” he said. “Trump redirected it a bit, but not enough to kill it in its roots, so now it has cropped back up and gone full-woke under Biden.”

These include $878,000 to Michigan State University social workers who are running a project with the Drama Club on Rikers Island; nearly $1 million on esports (electronic sports or gaming); more than $500,000 to the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League; and three grants to Columbia University Teachers’ College totaling more than $2.3 million, including classwork “to slow the manifestation of domestic radicalization and extremism that contributed to the Jan. 6 insurrection on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.”

“The project will involve researching, developing and presenting stories,” one Teachers’ College grant says. “It also will include curating and co-creating educator stories of adapting to challenging situations, supporting the storytelling of educators who bring unifying narratives from their local communities, and leading the sharing of these stories.”

Teachers’ College officials did not respond to RCI’s request for comment.

In earlier iterations, much of the grant money would fund pet congressional projects, budget log-rolling that helped keep it popular on a bipartisan basis. But under Biden, Howell said, the grants have been folded into the “whole of society” philosophy that animates the administration’s efforts.

“These grants fund the left but it’s not harmless – they use these grants to predicate their own initiatives,” he said. “What they are doing is outsourcing research to groups they like, who reach the conclusions they want, and then the administration claims it is ‘acting on the belief of experts.’ This growth and maturation of outsourcing is one of the less noticed trends that got us into the mess we’re in now.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/07/2023 - 19:40
Published:12/7/2023 6:52:22 PM
[Free Speech] [Eugene Volokh] Self-Described "Transgender" "Pedo" Threatens Blacks, Christians, Children, Ugandan and Kenyan Governments Some background for the motion to keep defendant in jail pending trial (U.S. v. Alexia N. Willie a/k/a Jason Lee Willie (S.D. Ill.)): In a recorded interview … at the Sheriff's office, Kennedy, the man with whom WILLIE resides, said that he previously had called the FBI about threats made by WILLIE. Kennedy said that… Published:12/7/2023 5:07:43 PM
[Markets] Dodgy Dick: Top Democrat Won't Commit To Subpoenaing Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs Dodgy Dick: Top Democrat Won't Commit To Subpoenaing Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A powerful Democrat is refusing to commit to issuing a subpoena for more transparent versions of Jeffrey Epstein's flight logs.

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Washington on April 18, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declined to tell a reporter or Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who wants the subpoena issued, that he would support the effort.

Ms. Blackburn, in late November, tried bringing forth an amendment for a vote that would authorize the subpoena but was blocked by GOP colleagues, who invoked a rule that led to the hearing ending after about two hours.

When Mr. Durbin was asked on Dec. 5 whether he'd issue the subpoena, he demurred.

"I don't know anything about his flight logs. I know who Epstein was but I certainly don't know anything about the issue," he told a Fox News reporter in Washington.

Mr. Durbin also falsely said that the matter "has never been raised by anyone."

After entering a committee hearing in which members questioned the FBI's director on various topics, Mr. Durbin told Ms. Blackburn that he was not aware that one of her amendments was a subpoena for Mr. Epstein's flight logs.

"I do not know anything about this request," he said.

An aide for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month acknowledged that Ms. Blackburn's attempt to issue the subpoena was blocked during the Nov. 30 committee hearing before noting that Republicans, led by Ranking Member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) invoked a rule that ended discussion on amendments for the subpoenas that were ultimately approved for a billionaire and conservative activist linked to Supreme Court justices.

Mr. Graham's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Durbin "falsely claimed he was not aware of Senator Marsha Blackburn’s amendment to subpoena Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs," Ms. Blackburn's office said in a statement.

Ms. Blackburn was prevented from speaking in the November hearing by Republicans after Mr. Durbin asked her to kick off the amendment process. But in an earlier hearing in November, she said she'd filed for a subpoena for Mr. Epstein's flight logs.

"Given the numerous allegations of human trafficking and abuse surrounding Mr. Epstein, we’ve got to identify everyone who could have participated in his horrific conduct," she said at the time.

Ms. Blackburn blamed Mr. Durbin and other Democrats for there not being a vote yet on the proposal.

It’s perplexing why Chairman Durbin blocked Senator Blackburn’s amendment request to subpoena Jeffrey Epstein’s estate," a spokesperson for Ms. Blackburn told The Epoch Times via email.

"I think you are fully aware that I had two amendments, one dealing with Epstein," Ms. Blackburn said on Tuesday. Mr. Durbin said he was not aware. "I brought it up previously," Ms. Blackburn said. Mr. Durbin said she did not.

The subpoena "should be at the top of this committee's to-do list," she also said.

A request for comment to a spokesperson for Mr. Durbin was not returned.

"I did not know that you offered that amendment. I want a point on the record you and I have never personally discussed this, have we?" Mr. Durbin said.

Ms. Blackburn said they spoke briefly after the abrupt end to the late November hearing.

"You never mentioned what subject matter your amendment was," Mr. Durbin said.

"In committee, I brought up the subject matter of my amendment three weeks prior," Ms. Blackburn said.

"Not in my presence," Mr. Durbin said.

"I will pull the transcript for you," Ms. Blackburn said.

Then-President Bill Clinton welcomes Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to the White House in a 1993 file image. (William J. Clinton Presidential Library)

FBI Director Questioned

Ms. Blackburn also told Christopher Wray, the FBI's director, that she wanted more information from the bureau regarding Mr. Epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

"There are disturbing allegations that the FBI failed to investigate the sex trafficking allegations," Ms. Blackburn said, noting that one woman who said she was sexually abused by Mr. Epstein has said she took evidence to the FBI, but the bureau refused to investigate.

Mr. Wray said the FBI worked together with prosecutors to bring the sex trafficking charges and that it has been a while since he looked at the case.

"What we need from you is a complete investigation. Why the FBI did not take this on, and then getting to the bottom of what is an enormous sex trafficking ring and listening to the survivors," Ms. Blackburn said.

While the flight logs have been released before, that version was heavily redacted. Ms. Blackburn wondered whether a more transparent version could be released.

"Let me offer to get with my team and figure out if there is more information we can provide," Mr. Wray said.

The FBI's national press office told The Epoch Times in an email on Dec. 6 that it did not have anything to add, after being asked what Mr. Wray and his team had figured out.

RFK Jr. on Flights

Some of the most powerful people in the world flew on Mr. Epstein's private plane, according to the logs and witness testimony, including former President Bill Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent in the 2024 race, said this week he was on the plane twice.

Mr. Kennedy said on Fox that his now-former wife had "some kind of relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell," an associate of Mr. Epstein who has been convicted of sex trafficking of minors.

Mr. Kennedy said one of the flights took place in 1993 and that he flew to Florida with his wife and some of his children.

"I went then, and another occasion, I flew again with my family with, I think, four of my children," Mr. Kennedy said. "I have been very open about this from the beginning. This was in ’93, so it was 30 years ago. It was before anybody knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s, you know nefarious issues. And I agree with you that all of this information should be released. We should get real answers on what happened to Jeffrey Epstein and any of the high-level political people that he was involved with. All of that should be open to the public.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/06/2023 - 23:00
Published:12/6/2023 10:19:53 PM
[] New York Times: Republicans Pounce on University Presidents Over Antisemitism Published:12/6/2023 6:37:02 PM
[Politics] Mike Johnson Backtracks, Caves to Deep State, Democrats on Slipping FBI Spy Power Reauthorization into Defense Bill
Speaker Mike Johson (R-LA) backtracked and caved to the deep state and Democrats, moving to slip a deep state authorization into the defense bill.
Published:12/6/2023 5:30:43 PM
[Society] FBI’s Outrageous Probe of ‘Radical Catholics’ Included Priests, Choir Directors

After 9/11, leftist journalists passionately exposed the New York City Police Department doing surveillance of mosques to try to prevent violent Muslim extremism. By contrast,... Read More

The post FBI’s Outrageous Probe of ‘Radical Catholics’ Included Priests, Choir Directors appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/6/2023 12:00:43 PM
[Markets] Judge Denies Jack Smith's Request To Conceal Documents In Trump Classified Materials Case Judge Denies Jack Smith's Request To Conceal Documents In Trump Classified Materials Case

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A federal judge has denied special counsel Jack Smith's request to keep some documents hidden in former President Donald Trump's classified documents case.

Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington on Aug. 1, 2023. (AP Photo)

Judge Aileen Cannon, who's overseeing the trial in former President Donald Trump's classified documents case, has rejected a motion by special counsel Jack Smith to keep some documents hidden from President Trump's defense.

In an order signed on Dec. 4, Judge Cannon directed a court clerk to unseal multiple documents that Mr. Smith's team sought to keep sealed in the case that accuses the former president of retaining sensitive government materials, including some that were marked top secret, at his Mar-a-Lago home.

President Trump has said he used presidential powers to declassify the materials, insisting that he isn't guilty and calling the case an attempt by his political foes to hamper his 2024 presidential run.

The former president's longtime aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira have been named as co-defendants in the case; both also have pleaded not guilty.

President Trump's defense team and Mr. Smith's prosecutors have been litigating over what portion of classified materials the defendants are allowed to view, with the judge's latest decision delivering a win of sorts for the co-defendants.

"In light of the Special Counsel's Response to Defendants Motion to Unseal 230, and mindful of the strong presumption in favor of public access to judicial documents, the Clerk is directed to unseal docket entries 223, 224, and 230," Judge Cannon's Dec. 4 order reads.

More Details

The newly unsealed docket entry 230, a response by prosecutors to a Dec. 1 court order, shows that Mr. Smith's team agreed to unseal the documents, as requested by the defense, although prosecutors insisted on some redactions.

"The defendants did not oppose the Government's request, but reserved the right to challenge the redactions later," the document reads.

Mr. Smith's team also revealed in the newly unsealed court filing that prosecutors initially opposed unsealing 223 and 224 because it "would have revealed to defense counsel information, albeit unclassified, about the contours of the Government's planned CIPA Section 4 motion," meaning that it risked giving President Trump's legal team an opportunity to more effectively counter Mr. Smith's moves.

President Trump has been charged with retaining national defense information, meaning that his case will be tried under the complex rules laid out in the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which governs how those documents can be used in court.

A CIPA Section 4 motion asks the judge to redact certain information from the classified documents that are turned over to the defense.

The seven-stage CIPA process is sequential, meaning that one stage has to be completed before going on to the next. A key issue is that a delay at one stage of the CIPA process can affect the entire trial schedule.

President Trump's attorneys wanted the trial to take place after the 2024 election, while Mr. Smith's team has pushed for a faster timetable.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a commit-to-caucus campaign event at the Whiskey River bar in Ankeny, Iowa, on Dec. 2, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mr. Smith said in the 230 filing that the reason he no longer opposes keeping the documents hidden from the public is that the court earlier ordered full, unredacted versions of the 223 and 224 docket entries to be provided to President Trump's lawyers.

"Because the Court rejected that position and ordered the Government to provide unredacted versions of the two docket entries to defense counsel, there is no justification for keeping them from the public," the special counsel wrote.

In a recent ruling in the classified documents case, Judge Cannon granted in part and denied in part the defense's request to postpone deadlines, including the trial.

Possible Change to Trial Date

While Judge Cannon denied the defense's motion to change the trial date, she said a delay would "be considered at a scheduling conference on March 1, 2024," which is just three days before President Trump's trial is set to start in another case that Mr. Smith is prosecuting in Washington.

Citing the "high volume" of classified discovery, the judge wrote that it's "most prudent, given the evolving complexities in this matter, to adjust the first batch of pre-trial deadlines." She said that she couldn't "ignore the realities" of President Trump's several other trial schedules.

The order sets new deadlines for discovery, including a joint discovery status report on Jan. 9, 2024, and a pretrial motions deadline for Feb. 22, 2024, the last deadline before the rest of the trial schedule will be decided after a March 1, 2024, hearing.

In Washington, Mr. Smith is prosecuting President Trump in a case that accuses him of illegally interfering with the 2020 elections, and the trial is set for March 4, 2024.

Defense attorneys have said numerous times that they need time to go through 1.3 million pages of unclassified discovery, 5,500 pages of classified discovery, and 60 terabytes of security video footage.

Defense attorneys have said they will seek to compel additional material from the special counsel's office and from the FBI.

The special counsel's office, meanwhile, is seeking to prevent some of the already-produced classified discovery from the defendants.

Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/06/2023 - 09:15
Published:12/6/2023 8:30:15 AM
[8093ed4a-464d-5ec0-a180-adbbd914e3a7] What I witnessed at the FBI will be the agency's Waterloo Americans are losing trust and confidence in the FBI and this directly impacts national security. Published:12/6/2023 1:22:35 AM
[Markets] FBI Arrests Conservative Actor For Taking Part In Jan. 6 Protests FBI Arrests Conservative Actor For Taking Part In Jan. 6 Protests

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Conservative actor Siaka Massaquoi was arrested by the FBI on Nov. 30 and charged with misdemeanors in connection with his presence during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach.

Siaka Massaquoi attends the DailyWire+ premiere of "Lady Ballers" in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 29, 2023. (Jason Davis/Getty Images for Bentkey Ventures)

The FBI arrested Mr. Massaquoi as he arrived home from a movie premiere, according to a legal defense fundraising effort set up in his name. At the time, he was with his pregnant wife, Charlotte Massaquoi. The FBI separated them and took him to jail.

“Charlotte was told the charges had to do with January 6th; however, she was not presented with any arrest warrant," a description provided with the fundraising account on GiveSendGo reads. "Siaka was taken to Monterey Park Jail, where he stayed overnight and was told that he was being charged for four misdemeanors pertaining to his presence outside of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 6th.”

The FBI raided his home in 2021.

The couple are expecting their first child in March.

“This family has been through so many ups and downs," the fundraising account description reads. "A circus would be a more appropriate term for the turmoil and unnecessary display of government overreach that they have had to endure.”

The fundraiser, which has a goal of raising $115,000 to cover Mr. Massaquoi's legal expenses, had raised $42,581 from hundreds of donors as of Dec. 3. Mr. Massaquoi has acted in hit TV shows such as "S.W.A.T," "NCIS: Los Angeles," and "Lethal Weapon."

According to podcast host Lori Mills, Mr. Massaquoi was arraigned on Dec. 1 and was released with conditions.

“This judge was fair. Preliminary trial next week. We are praying it gets thrown out as D.C. wants the case,” she wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Activist group StopHate posted video footage from the Jan. 6 incident in a Dec. 3 post on X, showing Mr. Massaquoi inside the Capitol building.

He was at the threshold of the door for maybe a minute, & even helping the police direct the flow of foot traffic out the door. Crime?” the group wrote.

Mr. Massaquoi posted a link to this video post on his X account.

“Witness why I was raided 2 years ago and recently arrested and charged Nov 30th 2023 almost 3 years later,” he wrote.

Criticism of the Arrest

Multiple celebrities and political commentators have spoken in support of Mr. Massaquoi. Actress Gina Carano called the arrest “political persecution.”

“[Siaka Massaquoi] is an incredible human being, what is happening to him is disturbing and WRONG. Enough already, we shouldn’t be having to try this hard to defend ourselves from our own government! It’s sickening,” she wrote in a Dec. 3 post on X.

“Like they don’t have enough pedophiles, sex traffickers, rapists, and murderers to go after but what do they choose to spend their time doing? What are their priorities?? Harassing a peaceful protester on Jan 6th.”

Seth Dillon, the founder of the Babylon Bee, also called the arrest a political persecution that “can’t be allowed to continue.”

“He isn't just a talented actor and friend of the Babylon Bee; he also happens to be a Trump supporter,” Mr. Dillon wrote in a Dec. 3 post on X. "And he's being punished for it by our government."

Commenting on the arrest, X owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said “this has gone too far.”

Podcast host Kelly John Walker wrote that the arrest is a sign that the United States is nearing a “tipping point, beyond which we will be a completely subject people."

"The Rule of Law has been replaced by something no American must tolerate: Rule BY law,” he wrote.

On the day of his arrest, Mr. Massaquoi and his w