Category Archives: Tyranny

Draconian Lockdown Powers: It’s a Slippery Slope from Hand Washing to House Arrest

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
—Viktor Frankl

We still have choices.

Just because we’re fighting an unseen enemy in the form of a virus doesn’t mean we have to relinquish every shred of our humanity, our common sense, or our freedoms to a nanny state that thinks it can do a better job of keeping us safe.

Whatever we give up willingly now—whether it’s basic human decency, the ability to manage our private affairs, the right to have a say in how the government navigates this crisis, or the few rights still left to us that haven’t been disemboweled in recent years by a power-hungry police state—we won’t get back so easily once this crisis is past.

The government never cedes power willingly.

Neither should we.

Every day brings a drastic new set of restrictions by government bodies (most have been delivered by way of executive orders) at the local, state and federal level that are eager to flex their muscles for the so-called “good” of the populace.

This is where we run the risk of this whole fly-by-night operation going completely off the rails.

It’s one thing to attempt an experiment in social distancing in order to flatten the curve of this virus because we can’t afford to risk overwhelming the hospitals and exposing the most vulnerable in the nation to unavoidable loss of life scenarios. However, there’s a fine line between strongly worded suggestions for citizens to voluntarily stay at home and strong-armed house arrest orders with penalties in place for non-compliance.

More than three-quarters of all Americans have now been ordered to stay at home and that number is growing as more states fall in line.

Schools have cancelled physical classes, many for the remainder of the academic year.

Many of the states have banned gatherings of more than 10 people.

At least three states (Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania) have ordered non-essential businesses to close.

In Washington, DC, residents face 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine if they leave their homes during the coronavirus outbreak. Residents of Maryland, Hawaii and Washington State also risk severe penalties of up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine for violating the stay-at-home orders. Violators in Alaska could face jail time and up to $25,000 in fines.

Kentucky residents are prohibited from traveling outside the state, with a few exceptions.

New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., is offering its Rikers Island prisoners $6 an hour to help dig mass graves.

In San Francisco, cannabis dispensaries were included among the essential businesses allowed to keep operating during the city-wide lock down.

New Jersey’s governor canceled gatherings of any number, including parties, weddings and religious ceremonies, and warned the restrictions could continue for weeks or months. One city actually threatened to prosecute residents who spread false information about the virus.

Oregon banned all nonessential social and recreational gatherings, regardless of size.

Rhode Island has given police the go-ahead to pull over anyone with New York license plates to record their contact information and order them to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

South Carolina’s police have been empowered to break up any public gatherings of more than three people.

Of course, there are exceptions to all of these stay-at-home orders (in more than 30 states and counting), the longest of which runs until June 10. Essential workers (doctors, firefighters, police and grocery store workers) can go to work. Everyone else will have to fit themselves into a variety of exceptions in order to leave their homes: for grocery runs, doctor visits, to get exercise, to visit a family member, etc.

Throughout the country, more than 14,000 “Citizen-Soldiers” of the National Guard have been mobilized to support the states and the federal government in their fight against the coronavirus. While the Guard officials insist they have not been tasked with martial law, they are coordinating with the Pentagon, FEMA and the states/territories on COVID-19 response missions.

A quick civics lesson: Martial law is a raw exercise of executive power that can override the other branches of government and assume control over the functioning of a nation, state, or smaller area within a state. The power has been exercised by the president, as President Lincoln did soon after the start of the Civil War, and by governors, as was done in Idaho to quell a miner’s strike that broke out there in 1892.

In areas under martial law, all power rests with the military authority in charge. As British General Wellington wrote, “martial law” is not law at all, but martial rule; it abolishes all law and substitutes for it the will of the military commander. Military personnel are not bound by constitutional restrictions requiring a warrant, and may enter and search homes at without judicial authorization or oversight. Indeed, civil courts would no longer be functioning to hear citizen complaints or to enforce their constitutional rights.

Thus far, we have not breached the Constitution’s crisis point: martial law has yet to be overtly imposed (although an argument could be made to the contrary given the militarized nature of the American police state).

It’s just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

If this is not the defining point at which we cross over into all-out totalitarianism, then it is at a minimum a test to see how easily we will surrender.

Curiously enough, although Americans have been generally compliant with the government’s suggestions and orders with a few notable exceptions, there’s been a small groundswell of resistance within parts of the religious community over whether churches, synagogues and other religious institutions that hold worship services should be exempt from state-wide bans on mass gatherings. While many churches have resorted to drive-in services and live-streamed services for its congregants, others have refused to close their doors. One pastor of a 4,000-member church who stood his ground, claiming that the government’s orders violate his right to religious freedom, was arrested after holding multiple church services during which attendees were reportedly given hand sanitizer and made to keep a six-foot distance between family groups.

It’s an interesting test of the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly and religious freedom clauses versus the government’s compelling state interest in prohibiting mass gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Generally, the government has to show a compelling state interest before it can override certain critical rights such as free speech, assembly, press, search and seizure, etc. Most of the time, it lacks that compelling state interest, but it still manages to violate those rights, setting itself up for legal battles further down the road.

These lock down measures—on the right of the people to peaceably assemble, to travel, to engage in commerce, etc.—unquestionably restrict fundamental constitutional rights, which might pass muster for a short period of time, but can it be sustained for longer stretches legally?

That’s the challenge before us, of course, if these days and weeks potentially stretch into months-long quarantines.

For example, the First Amendment guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”  While the freedom to travel has been specifically recognized only as in the context of interstate or international travel, the freedom of movement is implicit liberty given that government agents may not stop and question or search persons unless they have some legal justification. 

As Supreme Court Justice William Douglas once wrote:

The right to travel is a part of the “liberty” of which the citizen cannot be deprived without the due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. . . .  Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country, may be necessary for a livelihood. It may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

As a rule, people are free to roam and loiter in public places and are not required to provide police with their identity or give an account of their purpose for exercising their freedom.

However, as with all constitutional rights, these freedoms, as the Courts have ruled, are not unqualified. Even content-based restrictions on speech are allowed under the First Amendment if the restriction is needed to serve a compelling government interest.

The Supreme Court long ago “distinctly recognized the authority of a state to enact quarantine laws and health laws of every description[.]” Such laws are an exercise of the state’s police power, and if there is a rational basis for believing they are needed to protect the public health, they will be deemed to serve a compelling government interest.

The point was made over 100 years ago in circumstances similar to today’s COVID-19 outbreak when a smallpox outbreak occurred in Cambridge, Mass., invoking a state law allowing localities to make vaccinations mandatory and enforceable by criminal penalties.  In upholding the law and local order against a claim that it violated the constitutional liberty to control one’s own body and health, the Supreme Court declared:

The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed by the governing authority of the country essential to the safety, health, peace, good order, and morals of the community. Even liberty itself, the greatest of all rights, is not unrestricted license to act according to one’s own will.

The Court went on to write that “[u]pon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

Most states have enacted laws that recognize the need for prompt action in times of emergency, including epidemics, and have delegated the authority to and executive officer to take action to address that emergency.  For example, Tennessee law provides that the governor is given the power to issue orders that have the force and effect of law to address emergencies, which include disease outbreaks and epidemics. That state’s law similarly grants mayors or other local chief executive officers the power to issue orders and directives deemed necessary, including closing public facilities, in order to address civil emergencies. 

Courts have ruled that they will defer to the decisions of an executive authority on the decision as to whether an emergency exists and whether the means employed to address the emergency are reasonable and legal, although there could be situations where a court woCiuld declare that the executive decision is arbitrary and unreasonable.

When governments act under their police power to control plagues and epidemics, those laws are valid even though they may restrict individuals in the exercise of constitutional rights.  As one legal scholar recently noted, the balance between individual rights and protection of the public “assumes that there will be times when there are truly compelling emergencies justifying severe measures. A global pandemic that spreads even among those who are asymptomatic and could exceed the capacity of the American health care system would appear to be just such a compelling situation.”

At the moment, the government believes it has a compelling interest—albeit a temporary one—in restricting gatherings, assemblies and movement in public in order to minimize the spread of this virus.

The key point is this: while we may tolerate these restrictions on our liberties in the short term, we should never fail to be on guard lest these one-time constraints become a slippery slope to a total lock down mindset.

What we must guard against, more than ever before, is the tendency to become so accustomed to our prison walls—these lock downs, authoritarian dictates, and police state tactics justified as necessary for national security—that we allow the government to keep having its way in all things, without any civic resistance or objections being raised.

Martin Niemoller learned that particular lesson the hard way.

A German military officer turned theologian, Niemoller was an early supporter of Hitler’s rise to power, having believed his promises to protect the church and not allow pogroms against the Jewish people. It didn’t take long for Hitler to break those promises, but by the time the German people realized they had been double-crossed, it was too late.

As Niemoller warned: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

The lesson for those of us housebound and watching from a distance as the Fourth Reich emerges from the shadows is this: all freedoms hang together.

Niemoller’s warning for our modern age would probably go something like this: First the government went after the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and I did not object, because I had nothing to hide. Then they went after the right to not be spied upon, and I did not object, because I had done nothing wrong. Then they went after the right to criticize the government, and I still did not object, because I had nothing to criticize them for. Then they went after the right to speak—worship—and assemble freely, and I did not object, because I had nothing to say, no one to worship, and nowhere to congregate. By the time the government came to lock me up, there was no one left to set me free.

In other words, don’t be naïve: the government will use this crisis to expand its powers far beyond the reach of the Constitution. The Justice Department has already signaled its desire to suspend parts of the Constitution indefinitely.

That’s how it starts.

Travel too far down that slippery slope, and there will be no turning back.

Curiously enough, although Americans have not been inclined to agree on anything much lately, given the extreme polarization of the country politically, a recent survey indicates that “people of both parties seem rather okay with undermining core civil liberties in order to fight the pandemic.

This way lies madness.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if you wait to speak out—stand up—and resist until the government’s lock downs impact your freedoms personally, it could be too late.

What would be far worse, however, is handing over your freedoms voluntarily—without even a semblance of protest—to a government that cares little to nothing about your freedoms or your lives.

Are Stay-At-Home Orders Legally Binding?!

An excellent reminder about what your rights are…

Source: by John Whitehead | Rutherford Institute

Two Of The Largest Riots In Recent Chinese History Occurred In Wuhan And Hong Kong Just Before Outbreak Of CCP-COVID-19

There are no coincidences in politics…

Thousands Protest Waste Incinerator Plans in China’s Wuhan (summer 2019)

Residents in the central Chinese city of Wuhan hold a street protest over plans to build a new waste incineration plant.

Residents in the central Chinese city of Wuhan hold a street protest over plans to build a new waste incineration plant.

Authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have detained around 20 people in a crackdown this week on a mass street protest at plans to build a new waste incineration plant, RFA has learned.

Amid chants of “Give us back our clean environment!”, an estimated 10,000 residents from apartments near the Yangluo industrial development area in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district turned out against the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday, local residents said.

The local government dispatched around 1,000 riot police to disperse the crowd, with large numbers of injuries reported, they said.

Many of the arrests were of social media users for posting or forwarding information about the protests via the closely controlled platform WeChat.

A Xinzhou resident surnamed Xu said the protest was a spontaneous action by local people, who are angry that local officials are ignoring their health concerns.

“The site was originally a landfill,” Xu said. “The air quality is already very poor in Yangluo and the groundwater has been polluted for more than a decade.”

“Now they say they have to build a waste incineration power plant, which is a threat to our lives,” he said.

The waste incinerator plan comes after the Chenjiachong landfill site in Xinzhou exceeded its capacity just five years after its opening in 2007.

Local residents — who number around 400,000 — said they first learned of the renewed incinerator plan in mid-June, and immediately organized a petition against it. The government responded by having around 20 of the petitioners detained.

This week, the authorities blocked the mobile phone signal, as well as sending in police to beat up and detain protesters. According to Xu, the government feared the Wuhan protesters would communicate with anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong.

A local resident surnamed Zhang said the Xinzhou district government had responded to the protests by saying that it would consult more widely with local people, and that the project won’t go ahead without the consent of the local community.

No faith in authorities

But Zhang said many local residents simply don’t believe this.

“They tried to start a project like this here before, and the people kicked up a huge fuss, and it was shelved,” Zhang said.

“But less than six months later, the old district governor was transferred away, and the new one reapplied for the project as soon as he took up his post.”

A resident who declined to be named said it was unacceptable to build a waste incinerator in a densely populated residential area.

“There are many ways in which this will have an impact on people’s lives: the air pollution, the harm to health, all of that,” the resident said.

“But what government really speaks up for the people? None of them do. If they did, then no garbage incinerators would be built in residential areas,” he said.

Last month, tens of thousands of residents of Yunfu city in the southern province of Guangdong also took to the streets to protest against plans for a waste incinerator in Mintang village.

Three days later, the government announced the project would be canceled at the selected site.

And on June 26, authorities in Xiantao city in the central province of Hubei announced they would initially shelve, and then cancel altogether, a similar project following mass protests by local residents.

Decades of breakneck economic growth have left China with a seriously degraded environment, with regular environmental protests emerging among the country’s middle class.

Previous attempts to build similar plants elsewhere across China have drawn widespread criticism over local government access to the huge potential profits linked to waste disposal projects.

It’s all laid out here in a fascinating interview with Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, inventor of email who among many other things points out that heart of the global deep state operates within a one mile radius between Harvard and MIT… 

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Oathkeepers: Thoughts After Richmond Action

You won’t be able to stay on your porch and defend yourself.

Your enemies are waging the early stages of full-spectrum warfare against Trad Americans.

If you don’t have people who will help you when loud noises and projectile exchanges begin, you will be handled by the State piecemeal.

Part of winning that game is the ally process, and thus the Mattis quote you have seen around here:

In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.

Work hard on getting over the “to hell with so-and-so” resentment, if circumstances permit.

You really don’t have enough trained, provisioned, hard-hearted allies.

And time is flying.

Source: WRSA

NY State Forces Citizens to Pay for ‘Stargazing Permit’ to View Night Sky in Public Parks—Yes, Really

New York — In the Land of the Free, if you do not pay the State in the form of a permit before you attempt to sell a product or service to a willing customer, you can and will be extorted, kidnapped and caged, with extreme prejudice. While many folks stand behind permits for selling, one permit in New York that has nothing to do with commerce, has garnered the scrutiny of the Free thought Project. If citizens of the state wish to look up at the sky and view the stars at one of New York’s public parks, they will first have to obtain a “Stargazingpermit.” Seriously.

Light pollution across the state of New York makes it hard for folks in highly populated areas to view the night sky. So, people who wish to gaze upon the stars at night have to drive many miles away to remote areas. Many of these remote areas are located in taxpayer-funded state parks.

In their efforts to squeeze every dime they can from the tax farm, bureaucrats in New York have devised a scheme to extort citizens who wish to use public parks to gaze upon the night sky. This extortion comes in the form of a $35.00 “Stargazing Permit.” If you are from out of state and wish to gaze upon the night sky from one of these locations that fee jumps to $60.

If you think that you will do anything else besides look at the night sky with this permit, think again. Within the regulations, bureaucrats explicitly point out that the “Permit allows after sunset parking for stargazing only, valid January 1 – December 31.”

But that’s not all, if you want to bring your metal detector to any of these parks, there’s a permit for that too—it’s $40 to passively scan the ground in search of lost metal. Seems legit.

When conducting a news search on Google for a stargazing permit, we couldn’t find any articles calling out this ridiculous assault on liberty, so we decided to take up that task ourselves. We did find a discussion on Twitter, however, in which Neil deGrasse Tyson even chimed in.

We should also point out the obvious limits this places on underprivileged residents who may have to choose between $35 in groceries versus paying the state to look up at the stars in a public park. While $35 may not seem like that much to some folks, to others it’s the difference between sleeping with the heat on or freezing. It also serves to drastically limit the imagination and discovery of those who are unable to pay for the permit by disallowing them access to these remote dark areas.

Others are defending the permit in the thread, claiming that it allows people to enter the “closed parks” after hours. But they are clearly missing the point. If you can enter the park with a permit, then it’s not “closed” at all. It’s opened to anyone willing to be extorted or who can afford it. Those who are unable to pay the government or choose not to do so for the exact same activity will be arrested and or further extorted.

Now for the irony and blatant statist hypocrisy. If you want to go after dark to look at stars on state land that you paid for through your tax dollars, you have to pay the government more money for a permit. However, if the government wants to take the most sacred land in the state and put a telescope on it to look at the stars, this is fine and dandy. If you try to protest the government’s construction of star gazing equipment on your sacred land, you can and will be kidnapped and caged.

Case in point: Mauna Kea’s summit is the most sacred of all the mountains in Hawaii to many of the indigenous people. In July, when those people showed up to protest the desecration of their land with the Thirty-Meter Telescope, dozens were arrested.

“These lands were taken from us, so we have rights to them,” Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, an organizer from the Hawaiʻi Unity and Liberation Institute (Huli), a group that opposes construction on Mauna Kea says “We have a spiritual connection to them. We have a genealogical connection to them.”

Well Kanuha, you didn’t have the right permit to claim ownership of the land that was stolen from your people in the 1893, therefore, you are shit out of luck.

Source: by Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

The Compound Eye

Plan accordingly …. 

Compound eyes, common with insects and crustaceans, are made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is a fully functioning eye in itself. The insect’s “eye” is thousands of ommatidium that together create a broad field of vision. Every ommatidium has its own nerve fiber connecting to the optic nerve, which relays information to the brain. The brain then processes these inputs to create a three-dimensional understanding the surrounding space.

The compound eye is a good way to imagine how the surveillance state will keep tabs on the subjects in the near future. Unlike the dystopian future imagined by science fiction, it will not be one eye focusing on one heretic, following him around as he goes about his business. Instead it will be tens of millions of eyes obtaining various bits of information, sending it back to the data-centers run by Big Tech. That information will be assembled into the broad mosaic that is daily life.

For example, rather than use informants and undercover operatives to flesh out conspiracies against the state, the surveillance state will use community detection to model the network of heretics. Since everyone is hooked into the grid in some fashion and everyone addresses nodes of the grid on a regular basis, keeping track of someone is now something that can be done from a cubicle. There is no need to actually follow someone around as they go about their life.

For example, everyone has a mobile phone. At every point, the phone is tracking its location, which means it is tracking your location. It also knows the time and day when you go into various businesses. Most people use cards to pay miscellaneous items, so just that information would tell the curious a lot about you. Combine that information with the same information from other phones that come into close proximity with your phone and figuring out the community structure is simple.

Of course, the mobile phone is not the only input device. Over Christmas, millions of Americans were encouraged to install surveillance devices in their homes by friends and family. Maybe it was an Alexa listening device from Amazon or a Nest Doorbell surveillance device from Google. All of these gadgets are collecting data on your life inside and around your home. It is then fed to the same data-centers that have all of your movements and associations collected from your phone.

That’s an enormous amount information about the lives of the subjects, but that’s just the start of what they are collecting. Everything about property and property ownership is now kept in those same systems. Tax and earnings information are now shared with the new technological overlords. We know this because Raj Chetty told us so. He gained access to everyone’s tax information from the IRS. Since Big Tech provides the infrastructure to all government operations, they have their data too.

It turns out that the future will not be one big eye searching about for a heretic on which to focus or even thousands of such eyes. Instead, it will be tens of millions of eyes, collecting data, filtering it through a specific lens, and passing it onto massive data-centers controlled by Big Tech. It is there where the focus will narrow, looking for patterns, modeling communities and searching for any anomalies that could indicate unacceptable behavior. Big Brother will be an Indian in a cubicle.

The human eye is attached to muscles that allow it to move, expanding the field of vision and narrow in on specific items of interest. The compound eye is fixed and therefore cannot focus on a single item. It also results in nearsightedness. It is, however, exceptional at detecting motion. The mosaic of infinitesimally small images lets the insect notice the smallest movement around it. This is why flies, for example, are so good at anticipating your effort to swat them.

Big Tech’s compound eye will be similar. It will be adept at tracking movement and capturing data about the environment, but it will not be very good at focusing in on one individual or even a group of individuals. That’s where the brain takes over to interpret the data, looking for the sorts of movement that could present danger. As with insects, the compound eye has evolved for defensive purpose. Hunters need focus, prey need a broad field of vision and pattern matching.

We are seeing the precursors of what will be special teams of agents charged with focusing in on potential trouble. Those “Trust & Safety” squads on social media are the early attempts at this. Algos were created to look for patterns and movement that would then warrant further review. The “focus teams” then look more carefully at individuals inside an identified community. This is how a heretic gets banned from Twitter despite not using the system very much. He was part of an identified community.

In the future, these “Trust & Safety” teams will be dispatched into the real world to infiltrate suspected communities, disrupt social bonding within dissident communities that are forming up and, of course, neutralize genuine threats. That last part is always what the dystopians focus on, but that will be an exceedingly rare occurrence as we move into the custodial state. Technological advance will also bring with it new ways to influence behavior in a myriad of small ways.

Alongside those millions of eyes collecting data will be other nodes that nudge people in the right direction through the power of suggestion, social proof and social bonding. The Chinese social credit system is a crude example of what is to come. A much more subtle version will rely on social influencers, who will be rewarded for encouraging positive behaviors. Social proof and fear of ostracism will confirm the tendency to accept what comes from prominent influencers.

This is already happening in a crude way on social media platforms. They promote those with the right opinions and demote those with the wrong opinions. Since active users seek an audience, inevitably they act in such a way that gets them promoted by the algos running these sites. It is why review sites have abandoned real user reviews in favor of robots. It is a lot easier to push a movie on a movie review site if the “viewer reviews” are actually robots run by the site.

That’s the future that awaits us in the custodial state. It is living under the watchful compound eye that is feeding all of our data into massive data-centers controlled by private companies. Since information is the ultimate currency and controlling the currency makes you sovereign, the official state will simply become another node on the network run by the Big Tech. There will be no recourse. Any effort to revolt will be detected by the compound eye before it gets started.

Source: The Z Man