Monday, August 31, 2020

Colleges Are Testing Dorm Sewage To Detect Early COVID-19 Outbreaks

Colleges Are Testing Dorm Sewage To Detect Early COVID-19 Outbreaks Tyler Durden Mon, 08/31/2020 - 23:25

Colleges and universities which are opening for in-person, on campus classes this week and the next are apparently stopping at nothing to ensure they can detect COVID-19 cases early, especially as they struggle to prevent total campus shutdowns as happened last March when the pandemic hit the US, also as in many cases the very financial survival of a number of institutions of higher learning is at stake.

Already stringent virus testing measures are in effect for new and returning students, but some schools are going to more extreme lengths. Testing students' shit - literally - is now a thing, apparently.

"The University of Arizona found early signs of COVID-19 in a student dorm this week by testing wastewater and were able to head off an outbreak there, school leaders announced Thursday," the daily newspaper Arizona Republic reports.

Sewage testing, via Getty Images

"Researchers at the school have looked for traces of the virus in wastewater samples taken from the greater Tucson area since March and have gathered samples from 20 buildings on the UA campus since school started," the report states.

The campus has some 5,000 students currently moving into their on-campus dorms and housing. At least one of the dorms' sewage water came back positive for traces of COVID-19.

"Earlier this week, data collected from the dorms found higher viral loads in wastewater samples taken from Likins Hall," AZ Republic writes further. This led the school to test all newly arrived 311 students in that dorm, resulting in discovery of two COVID-19 positive cases.

University of Arizona Likins Hall, via Martin White Griffis

The positive students were said to be asymptomatic, which suggests they could have spread the disease far and wide before any detection, if not for the new sewage monitoring.

Meanwhile a report in The Washington Post notes that other schools like University of California are doing the same.

This also as there are nationwide efforts underway to put some kind of wastewater COVID-19 detection tracking system in place, as the virus is believed to appear in feces often prior to the onset of symptoms like fever, coughs, and headaches.


Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots

We owe the New York Post a huge debt of gratitude for publishing this article. Please read the entire article by going to the New York Post link.

8.29.20 – New York Post

“Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots”

By Jon Levine

[We owe the New York Post a huge debt of gratitude for publishing this article. Please read the entire article by going to the New York Post link.]

Excerpts from this article:

A top Democratic operative says voter fraud, especially with mail-in ballots, is no myth. And he knows this because he’s been doing it, on a grand scale, for decades.

Mail-in ballots have become the latest flashpoint in the 2020 elections. While President Trump and the GOP warn of widespread manipulation of the absentee vote that will swell with COVID polling restrictions, many Democrats and their media allies have dismissed such concerns as unfounded.

But the political insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he fears prosecution, said fraud is more the rule than the exception. His dirty work has taken him through the weeds of municipal and federal elections in Paterson, Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Hoboken and Hudson County and his fingerprints can be found in local legislative, mayoral and congressional races across the Garden State. Some of the biggest names and highest office holders in New Jersey have benefited from his tricks, according to campaign records The Post reviewed.

“An election that is swayed by 500 votes, 1,000 votes — it can make a difference,” the tipster said. “It could be enough to flip states.”

The whisteblower — whose identity, rap sheet and long history working as a consultant to various campaigns were confirmed by The Post — says he not only changed ballots himself over the years, but led teams of fraudsters and mentored at least 20 operatives in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania — a critical 2020 swing state.

“There is no race in New Jersey — from City Council to United States Senate — that we haven’t worked on,” the tipster said. “I worked on a fire commissioner’s race in Burlington County. The smaller the race the easier it is to do.”

A Bernie Sanders die-hard with no horse in the presidential race, he said he felt compelled to come forward in the hope that states would act now to fix the glaring security problems present in mail-in ballots.

…Mail-in voting can be complicated — tough enough that 84,000 New Yorkers had their mailed votes thrown out in the June 23 Democratic presidential primary for incorrectly filling them out.

But for political pros, they’re a piece of cake. In New Jersey, for example, it begins with a blank mail-in ballot delivered to a registered voter in a large envelope. Inside the packet is a return envelope, a “certificate of mail in voter” which the voter must sign, and the ballot itself.

That’s when the election-rigger springs into action.

Phony Ballots 

The ballot has no specific security features — like a stamp or a watermark — so the insider said he would just make his own ballots.

“I just put [the ballot] through the copy machine and it comes out the same way,” the insider said.

But the return envelopes are “more secure than the ballot. You could never recreate the envelope,” he said. So they had to be collected from real voters.

He would have his operatives fan out, going house-to-house, convincing voters to let them mail completed ballots on their behalf as a public service. The fraudster and his minions would then take the sealed envelopes home and hold them over boiling water.

“You have to steam it to loosen the glue,” said the insider.

He then would remove the real ballot, place the counterfeit ballot inside the signed certificate, and reseal the envelope.

“Five minutes per ballot tops,” said the insider.

The insider said he took care not to stuff the fake ballots into just a few public mailboxes, but sprinkle them around town. That way he avoided the attention that foiled a sloppy voter-fraud operation in a Paterson, NJ city council race this year, where 900 ballots were found in just three mailboxes.

“If they had spread them in all different mailboxes, nothing would have happened,” the insider said.

Inside Jobs

The tipster said sometimes postal employees are in on the scam.

“You have a postman who is a rabid anti-Trump guy and he’s working in Bedminster or some Republican stronghold … He can take those [filled-out] ballots, and knowing 95% are going to a Republican, he can just throw those in the garbage.”

…In some cases, mail carriers were members of his “work crew,” and would sift ballots from the mail and hand them over to the operative.

In 2017 more than 500 mail-in ballots in New York City never arrived to the Board of Elections for races that November — leaving hundreds disenfranchised. They eventually were discovered in April 2018. “For some undetermined reason, some baskets of mail that were bound to the New York City Board of Elections were put off to the side at the Brooklyn processing facility,” city elections boss Michael Ryan said at the time of discovery.

Nursing Homes 

Hitting up assisted-living facilities and “helping” the elderly fill out their absentee ballots was a gold mine of votes, the insider said.

“There are nursing homes where the nurse is actually a paid operative. And they go room by room by room to these old people who still want to feel like they’re relevant,” said the whistleblower. “[They] literally fill it out for them.”

<< snip >>

Voter Impersonation 

When all else failed, the insider would send operatives to vote live in polling stations, particularly in states like New Jersey and New York which do not require voter ID. Pennsylvania, also for the most part, does not.

The best targets were registered voters who routinely skip presidential or municipal elections — information which is publicly available.

“You fill out these index cards with that person’s name and district and you go around the city and say, ‘You’re going to be him, you’re going to be him,” the insider said of how he dispatched his teams of dirty-tricksters.

At the polling place, the fake voter would sign in, “get on line and … vote,” the insider said. The imposters would simply recreate the signature that already appears in the voter roll as best they could. In the rare instance that a real voter had already signed in and cast a ballot, the impersonator would just chalk it up to an innocent mistake and bolt.

Bribing voters 

The tipster said New Jersey homeless shelters offered a nearly inexhaustible pool of reliable — buyable — voters.

“They get to register where they live in and they go to the polls and vote,” he said, laughing at the roughly $174 per vote Mike Bloomberg spent to win his third mayoral term…

Organizationally, the tipster said his voter-fraud schemes in the Garden State and elsewhere resembled Mafia organizations, with a boss (usually the campaign manager) handing off the day-to-day managing of the mob soldiers to the underboss (him). The actual candidate was usually kept in the dark deliberately so they could maintain “plausible deniability.”

With mail-in ballots, partisans from both parties hash out and count ballots at the local board of elections — debating which ballots make the cut and which need to be thrown out because of irregularities.

The insider said any ballots offered up by him or his operation would come with a bent corner along the voter certificate — which contains the voter signature — so Democratic Board of Election counters would know the fix was in and not to object.

“It doesn’t stay bent, but you can tell it’s been bent,” the tipster said. “Until the [certificate] is approved, the ballot doesn’t matter. They don’t get to see the ballot unless they approve the [certificate.]”

“I invented bending corners,” the insider boasted, saying once the fixed ballots were mixed in with the normal ones, the bed was made. “Once a ballot is opened, it’s an anonymous ballot.”  

…A study by the conservative Heritage Foundation found more than 1,000 instances of documented voter fraud in the United States, almost off of which occurred over the last 20 years.

“There is nothing new about these techniques,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at Heritage who manages their election law reform initiative. “Everything he’s talking about is perfectly possible.“

<< snip >>


5.27.20 — “Mail-in Ballots DO Increase Voter Fraud: Trump and Lt. Gov. Patrick Are Right” — By Donna Garner –

The post Confessions of a voter fraud: I was a master at fixing mail-in ballots first appeared on Education News.


Governor Orders Mandatory Flu Shots For All Students Under 30 In Boston In Order To Attend School



The Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker has ordered that it is mandatory for all students under 30 to get flu shots in order to attend school. Following the order massive protests were organised outside the State House Sunday morning demanding that Governor Charlie Baker rescind the public health mandate.


'Shrouded in obscurity': AT&T asks feds to crack down on Big Tech like Facebook


By Chris White
Daily Caller News Foundation

AT&T will ask the Federal Communications Commission to adjust the legal shield protecting big tech companies and argue that Facebook and Google are not open with the public about how their algorithms impact public discourse, the telecommunications giant said Monday.

AT&T will make comments to the FCC Wednesday asking the agency to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which indemnifies internet companies from liability over content their users post, AT&T policy executive Joan Marsh wrote in a blog post Monday about the company’s decision to press for changes.

Tech platforms need to be more transparent about how they rank search results and feature news stories, Marsh wrote.

“The decisions these companies make on a daily basis – which search results to rank first, which products to promote, which news stories to feature, and which third parties they will deal with and on what terms – shape virtually every aspect of America’s economic, social and political life,” Walsh wrote.

“Yet those decisions are shrouded in obscurity, away from public view, in a world where black-box algorithms and non-negotiable terms pick winners and losers in every sphere of public life,” she wrote.

Modifying Section 230 to force companies into being more transparent about their decisions with respect to search results and algorithm changes is critical, according to Walsh.

Lawmakers in 1996, when Section 230 was enacted, were unable to foresee how the “provision, intended to protect struggling startups at the dawn of the internet, would ultimately be wielded by the largest and most powerful companies in the world as a shield not just from unfair and frivolous lawsuits, but from what many consider to be every day responsibilities,” Walsh added.

The Internet Association (IA) argues changing Section 230 would make it more difficult for Facebook, Google and other major platforms to remove objectionable content.

“Section 230 makes the best of the internet possible. It empowers online platforms to make their services safe for consumers and remove harmful content. (The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s) rulemaking would make it harder, not easier, for platforms to do that,” IA Deputy General Counsel Elizabeth Banker said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is part of the Commerce Department and advises the president on telecommunications and information policy issues.

AT&T’s support of rollbacks to Section 230 protections comes after the Commerce Department asked the FCC to modify Section 230 following a request from the Commerce Department. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in May requiring the Commerce Department to press the FCC for changes to the statute, which previously has not been under the FCC’s purview.

“Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not,” Trump said in the Oval Office after signing the executive order. “We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it’s been very unfair.” The president believes that Twitter and other giants discriminate against conservative activists online.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact


The post 'Shrouded in obscurity': AT&T asks feds to crack down on Big Tech like Facebook appeared first on WND.


Amazon Granted FAA Clearance For Prime Air Drone Delivery Fleet 

Amazon Granted FAA Clearance For Prime Air Drone Delivery Fleet  Tyler Durden Mon, 08/31/2020 - 15:20

Amazon received approval Monday from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones in US skies, reported Bloomberg

The FAA designated Amazon Prime Air as an "air carrier," allowing it to "safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers." 

"This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA's confidence in Amazon's operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world," David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement. 

"We will continue to develop and refine our technology to fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the FAA and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery," Carbon said.  

The certification gives Prime Air drone operators the ability to fly the aircraft 'beyond the line of sight' to deliver packages across metro areas. Amazon made no mention of what cities nor timing of when the pilot tests will begin. 

Consumers are accustomed to two-day, one-day, and or now, even same-day deliveries. The idea a 30-minute delivery option could be available in the near term would be game-changing for consumers in a contactless society - though it would continue to roil brick-and-mortar retailers

Amazon is expected to use the MK27 unmanned aircraft for pilot testing. These drones have a delivery range of about 7.5 miles of a distribution center, with a payload weighing 5 pounds.

Amazon will join an elite club of companies, including Alphabet subsidiary Wing and UPS, operating FAA-approved trials in the US. 

Questions remain if the Prime Air drone will have the capability to spy on consumers (read: "Amazon Patents Creepy Drone Technology To Spy On Your Home."


Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be.

The usual diagnostic tests may simply be too sensitive and too slow to contain the spread of the virus.


Swedish scientists successfully ‘swap bodies’ in bizarre experiment, changing participants’ perception of themselves




Pregnant Women Who Don’t Get Vaccinated Have Healthier Babies Than Those Who Do – So Why Do We Still Give Them Flu Shots?



Fewer than four in ten pregnant women in America follow the public health recommendation to get a flu vaccine. Although this percentage is a lot lower than public health officials might like to see, it is still remarkably high when you consider the dangers.

Worries by mothers-to-be about potential harm to their fetuses are the main reason many choose to avoid the jab, and their concerns are justified. Unfortunately, a lot of pregnant women aren’t hearing about studies like one from a team of South African researchers that compared four outcomes for infants whose mothers were given flu shots during pregnancy versus those who were given a placebo. They found that the shot was ineffective at lowering the risk of the outcomes studied, which were low birth weight, preterm birth, small for gestational age birth and fetal death.

Perhaps even more concerningly, they found that the infants whose mothers were vaccinated actually fared worse on these metrics.

The study was a large randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study involving more than 2,000 mothers who were given the flu shot or a placebo during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. The researchers then followed up on fetal outcomes once the infants involved reached 24 weeks of age.

Another interesting finding was that the average gestational age at birth in the vaccinated group was lower than that of the placebo group, which is a statistically significant result pointing to a greater risk of preterm birth from the shot.

It is also worth noting that studies have shown there is a higher risk of autism among children whose mothers got the flu shot during their first trimester of pregnancy.

Not surprisingly, researchers are trying to find ways that they can design “communication interventions” that are more persuasive and improve uptake. In other words, they still want to convince pregnant women they need these shots even as research shows it can damage their children’s health.

A study from 2013 that looked at adverse pregnancy outcomes among women who were given the flu vaccine determined that low-risk women without medical complications who were given the jab during the 2009-2011 flu seasons saw a rise in a composite measure of negative outcomes (fetal demise, neonatal demise, preterm birth, and miscarriage) when compared to pregnant women who were unvaccinated, even after the researchers made adjustments for confounding factors.

Read the Whole Article

The post Pregnant Women Who Don’t Get Vaccinated Have Healthier Babies Than Those Who Do – So Why Do We Still Give Them Flu Shots? appeared first on LewRockwell.


These People Want To Convince Everyone That Looting Is A-Okay


As an American, most of us strongly support the concept of peaceful protests. However, when things turn violent, when property gets destroyed, when buildings and cars are set on fire, and when businesses are looted, rational people can agree that this is wrong.

Unfortunately, a whole bunch of irrational people are being given microphones and they’re trying to tell us all why looting is not just okay, but actually awesome.

Looting is okay because it’s “reparations”

First, there was the woman who spoke after the Magnificent Mile in Chicago was looted so ferociously that Mayor Lori Lightfoot pulled the drawbridge open to keep people out of the downtown area. I recently wrote:

According to a Black Lives Matter activist and organizer, Ariel Atkins, it was just “reparations.” Atkins believes that anything the looters wish to damage or steal is owed to them. She made the radical statement at a solidarity rally in front of a Chicago police station, where people were gathered to support those who had been arrested.

“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes,” Ariel Atkins said at a rally outside the South Loop police station Monday, local outlets reported.

“That’s a reparation,” Atkins said. “Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.” (source)

At a time when more people than ever in the United States were willing to get on board and protest police brutality and racial violence, entitled statements like the one made by Atkins have served to return us to a place of absolute division. (source)

Atkin’s statement was made at a solidarity rally in front of a Chicago police station where people were gathered to support those who had been arrested for pillaging the Windy City.

Looting is okay if they “need” the item.

According to a document obtained by Red State News, Diana Becton, the district attorney of Contra Costa County, California, has changed up how looters are charged during a state of emergency.

Theft Offenses Committed During State of Emergency (PC 463)

In order to promote consistent and equitable filing practices the follow[ing] analysis is to be applied when giving consideration to filing of PC 463 (Looting):

1. Was this theft offense substantially motivated by the state of emergency, or simply a theft offense which occurred contemporaneous to the declared state of emergency?

a. Factors to consider in making this determination:

i. Was the target business open or closed to the public during the state of emergency?
ii. What was the manner and means by which the suspect gained entry to the business?
iii. What was the nature/quantity/value of the goods targeted?
iv. Was the theft committed for financial gain or personal need?
v. Is there an articulable reason why another statute wouldn’t adequately address the particular incident? (source)

Oh. Well. If you need those shoes and purses, then it’s totally different.

And yes, before the barrage of comments, I know that Red State News is biased. So is CNN. So is the New York Post. They’re all biased. If I could only use unbiased sources, I’d have maybe 3 articles on current events on this website. If you want to hear directly from District Attorney Becton, you can check out her opinion piece on Politico right here.

Rioting and looting are okay because they’re “joyous and liberatory”

Vicky Osterweil is the author of the book, In Defense of Looting. I’m sure it’s a super nice book despite that misleading picture of a crowbar on the cover.

Osterweil landed an interview with NPR to tout her opus and first provided a definition.

When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot. That’s the thing I’m defending. I’m not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. It’s not a home invasion, either. It’s about a certain kind of action that’s taken during protests and riots…

…It tends to be an attack on a business, a commercial space, maybe a government building—taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free. (source)

Then she continued to laud looting, almost poetically explaining the “number of important things” that looting does. (Emphasis mine)

It gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage—which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities is often not available, or it comes at great risk. That’s looting’s most basic tactical power as a political mode of action.

It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed. It attacks the idea of property, and it attacks the idea that in order for someone to have a roof over their head or have a meal ticket, they have to work for a boss, in order to buy things that people just like them somewhere else in the world had to make under the same conditions. It points to the way in which that’s unjust. And the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free…

Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police. It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be. And I think that’s a part of it that doesn’t really get talked about—that riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory. (source)

And also, if you’re worried about violence, don’t be as long as you don’t “feel” violent. (Emphasis NPR’s)

Ultimately, what nonviolence ends up meaning is that the activist doesn’t do anything that makes them feel violent. And I think getting free is messier than that. We have to be willing to do things that scare us and that we wouldn’t do in normal, “peaceful” times, because we need to get free. (source)

I suspect if you are aggressively defending your hard-earned property against looters, folks like Vicky Osterweil won’t give two hoots whether you felt violent or not.

Incidentally, Osterweil herself is white. Here’s her bio and photo.

Not everyone was impressed with NPR’s publicity for the author.

This glorification of looting and property damage is absolutely despicable and shameful, @NPR.

— Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) August 29, 2020

As long as looting is praised it will increase.

If looting continues to be considered acceptable, okay, or even awesome, it’s not just going to continue – it’s going to increase. Our country’s economy has already been devasted by COVID and the subsequent shutdowns. Imagine being a small business owner who just managed to reopen your shop or restaurant, only to have your windows smashed in, your property stolen, and your fixtures destroyed by an entitled mob. While it’s great that riot damage is often covered by insurance, who’s going to cover your massively increased premiums when your policy renews? If you aren’t driven out of business now, you might be when that bill comes in.

Not only are businesses being forced to board up their windows and close, they’re going to have difficulty doing business in the longterm due to these looters.

Looting is NOT okay under these kinds of circumstances. As preppers, we talk sometimes about looting and scavenging. But that is something which would take place when no further business is likely to occur due to a systemic breakdown. This is something entirely different.

What happens when more business owners decide that if the police aren’t going to protect their property they’ll protect it themselves? What happens when they take away the “joyousness” of looting? What happens when the rational people of the United States of America say, “That’s enough” and back it up?

Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Hardworking business owners are not going to stand by and simply watch as everything they’ve worked for is destroyed. At some point, they’re going to fight back because if the country is lawless, they’ll have to take the matter into their own hands.

There are already battle zones across the country and more getting added daily. Armed conflict is already occurring. These celebrations of looting will only fuel the flames.

And then we’ll really see things burn

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

The post These People Want To Convince Everyone That Looting Is A-Okay appeared first on LewRockwell.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

It's Been One Week Of Remote School And Here Are Some Thoughts I Have - Moms

It's Been One Week Of Remote School And Here Are Some Thoughts I Have  Moms


Greenwald: America's Social Fabric Is Fraying Severely... If Not Unravelling

Greenwald: America's Social Fabric Is Fraying Severely... If Not Unravelling Tyler Durden Sun, 08/30/2020 - 10:50

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own righta global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population - not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves - that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges.

But the data are nonetheless stunning, in terms of both the depth of the social and mental health crises they demonstrate and the pervasiveness of them. Perhaps the most illustrative study was one released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, based on an extensive mental health survey of Americans in late June.

One question posed by researchers was whether someone has “seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days”— not fleetingly considered it as a momentary fantasy nor thought about it ever in their lifetime, but seriously considered suicide at least once in the past 30 days. The results are staggering.

For Americans between 18-24 years old, 25.5 percent — just over 1 out of every 4 young Americans — said they had. For the much larger group of Americans ages 25-44, the percentage was somewhat lower but still extremely alarming: 16 percent. A total of 18.6 percent of Hispanic Americans and 15 percent of African Americans said they had seriously considered suicide in the past month. The two groups with the largest percentage who said yes: Americans with less than a high school degree and unpaid caregivers, both of whom have 30 percent — or almost 1 out of every 3 — who answered in the affirmative. A full 10 percent of the U.S. population generally had seriously contemplated suicide in the month of June.

In a remotely healthy society, one that provides basic emotional needs to its population, suicide and serious suicidal ideation are rare events. It is anathema to the most basic human instinct: the will to live. A society in which such a vast swath of the population is seriously considering it as an option is one which is anything but healthy, one which is plainly failing to provide its citizens the basic necessities for a fulfilling life.

The alarming CDC data extends far beyond serious suicidal desires. It also found that “40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%).”

For the youngest part of the adult population, ages 18-24, significantly more than half (62.9 percent) reported suffering from depressive or anxiety disorders.

THAT MENTAL HEALTH WOULD SUFFER materially in the middle of a pandemic — one that requires isolation from community and work, quarantines, economic shutdowns, and fear of illness and death — is not surprising. In April, as the realities of isolation and quarantine were becoming more apparent in the U.S., we devoted a SYSTEM UPDATE episode to a discussion with the mental health experts Andrew Solomon and Johann Hari, both of whom described how “the traumas of this pandemic — the unraveling of our way of life for however long that lasts, the compulsory viewing of all other humans as threats, and especially sustained isolation and social distancing” — will exacerbate virtually every social pathology, including ones of mental health.

But what makes these trends all the more disturbing is that they long predated the arrival of the coronavirus crisis, to say nothing of the economic catastrophe left in its wake and the social unrest from this year’s protest movement. Indeed, since at least the financial crisis of 2008, when first the Bush administration and then the Obama administration acted to protect the interests of the tycoons who caused it while allowing everyone else to wallow in debt and foreclosures, the indicia of collective mental health in the U.S. have been blinking red.

In 2018, NBC News, using health insurance studies, reported that “major depression is on the rise among Americans from all age groups, but is rising fastest among teens and young adults.” In 2019, the American Psychological Association published a study documenting a 30 percent increase “in the rate of death by suicide in the United States between 2000 and 2016, from 10.4 to 13.5 per 100,000 people” and a 50 percent increase “in suicides among girls and women between 2000 and 2016.” It noted: “Suicide was the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. It was the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34 and the fourth-leading cause among people ages 35 to 54.”

In March 2020, the New Yorker’s Atul Gawande published a survey of data from two Princeton economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, under the headline: “Why Americans Are Dying from Despair: the unfairness of our economy, two economists argue, can be measured not only in dollars but in deaths. The decadeslong economic stagnation for Americans, the reversal of the American Dream, and the shockingly high mass unemployment ushered in by the pandemic are obviously significant reasons why these pathologies are rapidly worsening now.

Observing these trends is necessary but not sufficient for understanding their breadth and their impact. Why is virtually every metric of mental and spiritual disease — suicide, depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, and alcoholism — increasing significantly, rapidly, in the richest country on earth, one filled with advanced technologies and at least the pretense of liberal democracy?

One answer was provided by Dr. Laurel Williams, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital, to NBC when discussing the rise of depression:

“There’s a lack of community. There’s the amount of time that we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you don’t have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesn’t have any place to go.”

That answer is similar to the one offered by the brilliant book on depression and modern western societies by Johann Hari, “Lost Connections,” along with his viral TED Talk on the same topic: namely, it is precisely the attributes that define modern Western societies that are crafted perfectly to deprive humans of their most pressing emotional needs (a book by Hari on addiction, “Chasing the Scream,” and an even-more-viral TED Talk about it, sounds a similar theme about why Americans are turning in horrifyingly large numbers to serious problems of substance abuse).

Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture.

But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

Today’s SYSTEM UPDATE on The Intercept’s YouTube channel is devoted to exploring this unravelling of the social fabric: not just the data demonstrating that it is happening, but also what the causes are, and what the consequences are likely to be for our politics, our culture, our society generally. And the answers to the question prompted by all of this — where is the exit ramp to prevent these trends from worsening even further? — are as elusive as they are vital. It can also be viewed on the player below:

*  *  *

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New poll shows how much of a disaster online schooling can be



In its annual measure of American attitudes toward education, Gallup has found that satisfaction with schools is eroding.

The analytics firm reported that one year after 82 percent of American parents surveyed were satisfied with education, that number has fallen to 72 percent.

A year ago, Gallup found that 41 percent of parents were completely satisfied with the education their children were receiving, That's now at 32 percent.

The survey is one of Gallup's annual barometers about Americans' attitudes. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for questions asked of all adults and 8 percentage points for questions that were only asked of parents with children in school. That means that overall satisfaction among parents could be anywhere from 64 percent to 80 percent.

The survey also found that the number of parents who say their children will be home-schooled rose 5 percentage points from last year to stand at 10 percent.

"Although parents largely rated the performance of their child's school positively at the end of the last school year, they also reported experiencing considerable challenges brought on by the physical separation from classmates and teachers, a lack of motivation or attention span from their child, and balancing work while assisting their child with schoolwork," Gallup wrote in its analysis of the survey.

"The latest drop in satisfaction with the quality of their child's education is likely a result of some parents' concern about the effectiveness of remote schooling. This concern has no doubt contributed to the uptick in the percentage of students who will be home-schooled this year," it wrote.

In Shawnee Mission, Kansas, parents took their concerns about remote learning to the school board, with little to show for it, according to KHSB-TV.

Despite a protest from parents, the board voted to begin the fall with all classes online and canceled fall sports.

Hundreds of people gathered Monday outside of the Shawnee Mission School District, objecting to the decision to start the school year with remote learning.

— FOX4 News (@fox4kc) August 25, 2020

“I think in any other circumstance, I might have children’s division at my door for leaving my kids home, but now we’re basically being told that is what we have to do," said parent Tiffany Johnson, referencing how child welfare might be called in the past for doing what the school board now requires.

“I don’t know when I’m going to get my shifts in. I don’t know who is going to watch my kids,” said Johnson, an intensive care unit nurse. “There’s no way health care workers can both take care of people and make sure their kids are getting educated. There’s no way.”

Parents in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville, New York, were also irate about the plan in their school district, according to WIVB-TV.

“We’re here at this protest, hoping that the superintendent’s contract does not get renewed -- that we want him to step down,” said Theresa Faith, a parent. “We need somebody capable of what the sign says -- giving us what we deserve, which is an A+ plan.”

Parents are peacefully demonstrating outside the Williamsville Central School District offices tonight ahead of the district’s special board meeting. Reopening plans are on the agenda.

— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonNewsTV) August 21, 2020

Parents had been given less than a week to decide whether they would keep their children home for fully remote learning or send them to school for a hybrid model.

In Port Washington, New York, on Long Island, resident Henry Duarte joined in a protest of his school district's plan, according to the Manhasset Times.

“I can’t home-school, I’m not a teacher, and I don’t pay taxes to be a home-school teacher,” Duarte said. “The virtual home schooling during the quarantine was a disaster, and I can’t do it again.”

Justin Renna attacked the school board in Port Washington for how it has gone about concocting its fall plan.

“Too many people in this town cannot properly handle a hybrid learning environment due to work obligations,” Renna said. “This decision will face many parents to make the tough choice of leaving a child home alone or leaving their jobs."

Furious parents in Port Washington are demanding their district reverse what they say was a last-minute switch to a hybrid learning model.

— News12LI (@News12LI) August 24, 2020

He accused school leaders of "epic failure in planning to properly open up the school safely."

"Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo has told schools they need to work with parents to make sure schools are opened in a timely manner. This district didn’t do enough. They have lost the right to tell us to trust that they are doing everything they can to get our kids in school five days a week," Renna said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

The post New poll shows how much of a disaster online schooling can be appeared first on WND.


Study: Children fare better with married parents



A new study from the Center for Social Justice in the United Kingdom found a big difference for children whose parents are married compared to those who are cohabiting.

The study, "Family Structure Still Matters," comes from the independent think tank that studies the root causes of social problems in Britain.

"Marriage has become a middle-class secret," the report said. "Among high income couples (the top quintile) 83% have tied the knot; among low-income parents (bottom quintile) only 55% are married.

"This 'marriage gap' is a social justice issue, as our paper suggests."

Including both same sex and traditional sex marriages in its analysis, "Family Structure Still Matters" shows that married parents are twice as likely to stay together as cohabiting ones.

"By the time they turn five, 53% of children of cohabiting parents will have experienced their parents' separation; among five-year-olds with married parents, this is 15%. These differences matter because family stability has been shown to profoundly affect children's outcomes."

The report said, "Even when controlling for income and education, children raised in unstable families suffer worse health, are more likely to be excluded, more likely to join a gang.

"The cost of this to the [National Health Service], to the criminal justice system, and to the Treasury – in terms of lost revenues – is huge. Less quantifiable but equally corrosive is the impact on society: the anti-social behavior of even a tiny minority can erode trust and well-being among the majority."

The problem is that the government considers the terms interchangeable.

"By ignoring this distinction, the government risks robbing couples of making an informed choice about what kind of relationship they should embark on."

The report notes that there are several problems the government could address, including that the welfare system penalizes those who are married and benefits those who are single.

"Many slide into cohabitation out of convenience and financial pressures rather than out of an intentional decision to increase the commitment of their relationship. Yet sliding into cohabitation, which as an overall trend does not offer the same permanence as marriage, may lead to greater hardship caused by instability and more family transitions for those who are already struggling to get by," the report said.

The report said more than half of the 4,500 children seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services cited "family relationship problems" as a cause of their trouble.

"The recommendation of this paper is for government to stop blurring the distinction between cohabiting and married couples: when they deliver dramatically different outcomes for children as well as parents."

The British charity Christian Concern noted the study did not distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

"Research has proven time and again the differences between heterosexual partnerships and homosexual partnerships and that the age-old theory that it makes no difference to parenting is wrong. In fact, homosexual relationships are far more likely to experience breakdown than heterosexual ones," the group said.

"It would be more helpful for future studies to break down the types of relationship in terms of hetero- and homosexual marriages and cohabitations, as there is likely to be a difference in outcomes for the family," the organization said.

But Christian Concern noted the "drastic effects" for children from family breakdowns.

The report said: "Parental separation at age 7 was found to have negative associations with behavior at age 13, even after controlling for previous wellbeing. Parents divorcing, especially when this results in losing touch with one parent, counts as an Adverse Childhood Experience, according to Harvard’s Centre on the Developing Child. Experiencing multiple ACEs, without the buffer of the continuous presence of a trusted adult, can cause toxic stress – over-activating the stress-response system, thereby causing wear and tear of the child’s brain and body."


The post Study: Children fare better with married parents appeared first on WND.


Dem Convention Made No Mention Of Russiagate Or Impeachment, Because Those Were Fake Things


The only interesting thing about either of the conventions held by America’s two mainstream political parties this month was not anything that was said by the interminable parade of vapid speakers, but rather what those speakers did not say.

Despite their dominating mainstream news cycles for years on end, at no time during the four-day Democratic National Convention was the word “impeachment” ever uttered, nor was any mention made of the Mueller investigation into allegations of collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

Politico reports:

Eight months after Democrats mounted a historic effort to remove Donald Trump from office, not a single speaker uttered the word “impeachment” during their four-day convention.
For Democrats to completely omit impeachment from their convention was once unthinkable. Democrats had mounted a case that Trump had abused his power to blackmail Ukraine into investigating his political adversaries, including Biden. And they made an existential argument that without removing him from office, Trump’s behavior would get worse and democracy itself would be at risk.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia — which Democrats once thought could topple Trump for obstruction of justice — also went unmentioned, even as it was a defining feature of Trump’s nearly four years in office.

 — @aaronjmate

“The fact that Democrats couldn’t bring themselves to even mention Russiagate or Ukrainegate (the first-ever sequel to a flop?) at their convention should maybe hasten some reflection for those who made these issues the ‘defining feature of Trump’s nearly four years in office,’” quipped incisive Russiagate skeptic Aaron Maté of the omission on Twitter.

“Next on Unsolved Mysteries: Democrats and media allies accused Donald Trump of being a Russian agent for four years,” Maté added. “They chanted ‘All Roads Lead to Putin’ and ‘The Walls Are Closing In.’ But at their political convention, they forgot all about it. Did Russia give them amnesia?”

“I personally feel like if the President of the US seeking re-election is beholden to and controlled by an adversarial foreign power, the opposition party should find a few seconds to squeeze in a mention of it if, you know, it wasn’t utter bullshit,” tweeted The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald.

And, of course, it was utter bullshit. And that is indeed why the Democrats saw no need to mention it at their own four-day convention despite dominating news cycles with it for years. Russiagate and Ukrainegate were never the cataclysmic scandals that the Democrats and their allied media factions portrayed them as. They weren’t even actually about getting rid of Trump.

 — @ggreenwald

Anyone with an ear to the ground knew that Russiagate would fizzle, and anyone capable of counting Senate seats knew impeachment would fail to remove Trump. The drivers of these attention-monopolizing narratives knew this also.

If there’d been any solid evidence to find that the Kremlin was blackmailing Trump, or that his campaign had conspired with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election, the US intelligence community would have found some of it and leaked it to The Washington Post long before Trump took office. The Russiagate narrative has been completely dismantled from the very beginning by journalists like the late Robert Parry, and then Maté after Parry’s death. There was never any real evidence for it, and the people pushing Russiagate from the beginning knew there was never any real evidence for it.

All you really need to know about Russiagate was that it was started by unsubstantiated claims by the US intelligence community, and in the end it facilitated pre-existing plans by the US intelligence community. Everything else in between those two points is just empty narrative fluff.

In 2017 Parry documented how the original assessment that Russia meddled in the US election in the first place was put forward without proof by just a couple dozen officers from three intelligence agencies hand-picked by the perjurer and notoriously Russophobic then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Maté has documented that this allegation remains just as suspicious and porous as the day it was first made. Despite having sweeping investigative powers Mueller indicted not one single American for conspiracy with the Russian government. The recent evidence-free Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report did nothing to change the flimsy nature of the entire Russiagate narrative.

So the whole thing has been plainly bogus from the beginning, with the foundation laid by secretive and unaccountable intelligence agencies who have an extensive history of lying about exactly this sort of thing. And it just so happens to have paved the way for operations against a longtime geostrategic foe that were being unfolded well before Trump’s arrival in the White House.

This is an excerpt from an article by legendary Australian journalist John Pilger from March 2016:

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two — led by the United States — is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia.
Ukraine — once part of the Soviet Union — has become a CIA theme park. Having orchestrated a coup in Kiev, Washington effectively controls a regime that is next door and hostile to Russia: a regime rotten with Nazis, literally. Prominent parliamentary figures in Ukraine are the political descendants of the notorious OUN and UPA fascists. They openly praise Hitler and call for the persecution and expulsion of the Russian speaking minority.
This is seldom news in the West, or it is inverted to suppress the truth.
In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — next door to Russia — the US military is deploying combat troops, tanks, heavy weapons. This extreme provocation of the world’s second nuclear power is met with silence in the West.

This was all happening during the Obama administration. But he was still more doveish than the spooks and cold warriors who drive US foreign policy would prefer, resisting for example loud calls from the warmongers to arm Ukraine against Moscow and forcibly install a no-fly zone in Russia’s ally Syria.

The heir apparent to Obama’s throne, Hillary Clinton, did not suffer from such peacenik scruples. She’d already been making people on both sides of the aisle nervous with her anti-Russia hawkishness, and supported both arming Ukraine and installing a no-fly zone in Syria.

So these escalations were already underway, and more were being prepared for.

Then what happened? Somehow a political neophyte who’d been talking about making nice with Russia got in instead.

We suddenly found ourselves bombarded with narratives from the US intelligence community and its mass media stenographers about Russian election meddling and Trump playing some mysterious role in it. These narratives were pushed with steadily increasing frequency and shrillness, with the help of a humiliated Democratic Party that stood everything to gain by participating, until those of us who expressed any skepticism of them at all were being accused on a daily basis by MSM-brainwashed dupes of running psyops for the Russian government.

We were never at any time presented with any proof of these claims which rose anywhere near the level required in a post-Iraq invasion world, but we were hammered with them anyway, day in and day out, year after year.

This ended up putting a lot of political pressure on Trump to keep existing sanctions and military tensions with Russia, and he ended up adding dozens more new cold war escalations including further sanctions, shredded nuclear treaties, NATO expansionism and more. He even armed Ukraine due to these pressures, just like the anointed queen was scheduled to do.

 — @MaxBlumenthal

The cold warriors wanted their escalations, and they got them. From beginning to the end, that’s all this was ever about. They pushed the narratives, the media joined in because it was great for ratings, and the Democrats joined in because it took the focus off their 2016 scandals and gave them a kayfabe phantom to punch instead of pushing for actual progressive changes.

And now the slow motion third world war between the US-centralized power alliance and the loose collective of unabsorbed governments is right on schedule, with Biden all set and ready to carry the omnicidal torch forward. The 2016 scandals are well enough forgotten, no progressive changes have been made, and there is no need to talk about Russiagate or impeachment at the Democratic National Convention.

Because everyone already got what they wanted. Everyone except ordinary people, of course.


Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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German court reverses ban on Berlin anti-lockdown demo, as ‘far-right’ smears against protesters continue


“Day of Freedom” anti-lockdown protest in Berlin © Reuters / Christian Mang

A massive planned demonstration against coronavirus lockdowns and social control measures planned for Saturday in Berlin is back on, after a German court overturned an earlier ban, arguing it lacked valid legal grounds.

The Berlin Administrative Court has ruled Saturday’s Assembly for Freedom protest, expected to draw upwards of 30,000 participants, can go forward as planned, arguing that the government’s stated rationale for the ban – an imminent threat to public health and safety – was baseless. The decision, handed down on Friday, is being appealed by Berlin police.

March organizer Michael Ballweg hailed the repeal as “a success for our basic rights,” though he suggested permission was not the government’s to give. “It is our basic right to be able to assemble,” Ballweg’s group, Querdenken (‘lateral thinking’) 711, wrote to participants via Telegram before the court decision was handed down.

ALSO ON RT.COMGerman capital BANS anti-lockdown protest, condemning ‘corona deniers & right-wing extremists’By Friday morning, Berlin police had been deluged with 5,000 more applications for demonstrations, a spokeswoman told the DW news channel, and Querdenken 711 urged supporters to apply as many times as possible. “It’s impossible to cancel all these demos across the board,” they argued.

Berlin interior minister Andreas Geisel had officially cited “protection against infection” as the reason for banning the event, arguing that participants in the Day of Freedom rally earlier in August – also organized by Querdenken 711 – had failed to respect social distancing or wear masks. The court countered Geisel had presented no evidence that the ‘hygiene plan’ submitted by march organizers for Saturday would not be followed.

Critics of the ban had also pointed out that the real motives for spiking the march appeared political, observing Geisel had not minced his words in denouncing the protesters as science-hating neo-Nazis. “I am not prepared to accept a second time that Berlin is being abused as a stage for corona deniers, Reich citizens and right-wing extremists,” the Social Democrat politician declared, on announcing the ban on Wednesday.

He doubled down on that characterization in interviews following the controversial decision, claiming demonstrators had leveled “massive” threats of violence against his office, and insisting they hailed “from the right-wing extremist spectrum with a considerable potential for aggression.”

While certain marginal factions had indeed reacted to the ban with rage, calling for those responsible to be executed, their invective was limited to the online arena, and Ballweg stressed that the march should remain peaceful. In a press release, he warned that the government had confirmed his deepest fears that coronavirus control measures were being used to sneak in a totalitarian police state.

ALSO ON RT.COMExtinction Rebellion & BLM set for weekend of protests despite Covid-19 restrictions…because nobody gives a damn anymoreGeisel and others who favor the Covid-19 controls have attempted to tar all protesters with the right-wing-extremist brush, but some participants in the anti-lockdown demonstrations have argued their efforts are not political. Many fear the imposition of a mandatory unsafe vaccination regime, and Microsoft founder turned pharmaceutical evangelist Bill Gates has become a particular target of their ire. Participants in the Day of Freedom march also claimed their fellow demonstrators numbered in the millions, rather than the 20,000 reported in German media.

The right-wing AfD party demanded Geisel’s resignation following the repeal of the protest ban, denouncing his “brazen attempt” to suppress Germans’ freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by law.

A number of counter-protests are planned against the Assembly for Freedom, including by the Berlin Alliance against the Right, which will march under the banner “No place for Nazis.” Geisel did not attempt to ban those demonstrations.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Back to school: faced with uncertainty, parents organize micro-schools - Red & Black Student Newspaper

Back to school: faced with uncertainty, parents organize micro-schools  Red & Black Student Newspaper


Brave diner who REFUSED to be intimidated by BLM mob tormenting her over dinner in DC

This is the woman who bravely stood up to a Black Lives Matter mob in Washington DC, refusing to raise her fist on their command. Lauren B. Victor, a 49-year-old urban planner, was aggressively heckled by marchers on Monday night while she was dining with a friend in the Adams Morgan district.


Doug Casey On Whether It's Possible To Find Freedom In An Unfree World

Doug Casey On Whether It's Possible To Find Freedom In An Unfree World Tyler Durden Sat, 08/29/2020 - 21:00


International Man: Statism has become a new religion.

A growing number of people are interested in using the State’s power to tell others how to live. They are also voting themselves freebies at the expense of others.

It’s clear that those who want to be left alone won’t be. Is it possible to find freedom in an unfree place?

Doug Casey: Back in 1973, my old friend Harry Browne wrote a really fantastic book called How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, where he dealt with exactly that question.

Remember, that was almost 50 years ago now—a lifetime.

The book was timely, even though the world was much freer then than it is now. We now have vastly more financial and travel controls, however—many new penalties for saying, or even appearing to think, the “wrong” things. You’re now monitored in many more ways.

Harry’s book is brilliant and actually more important to read now than it was then. His answers to how you find freedom in an unfree world are useful and relevant.

But the fact is that you can run but you can’t hide.

That’s because the world has been infected by a virus. I don’t mean the ridiculous COVID virus. I mean the virus of statism and collectivism.

There’s really nowhere you can go to be safe from it - only some places that are better than others.

For instance, the so-called Five Eyes countries - the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They were once the major bastions of Western Civilization, the only civilization - ever - that held personal freedom as an ideal. But now they’re the very ones leading the route downhill.

It’s a real problem for freedom lovers. We’re a smaller and smaller minority. Most people, however, prefer a strong leader promising the illusion of safety and security. Nothing has changed since the days of Rome. It devolved from a yeoman republic to a multicultural empire with onerous taxes in order to pay for bread and circuses to keep the capite censi under control.

In the latter days of the empire, many of its citizens attempted to escape, to live among the barbarians - even while the barbarians were taking over the empire itself. Pretty much the same thing is happening now in the West in general and the US in particular.

The best thing you can do to defend yourself—at least while it’s still possible—is to become rich enough to insulate yourself from the State. Rich enough so that even if they steal a lot from you—and they will— you still have enough. Enough to absorb the hit, keep moving, and live life as you’d like.

Let me go off on a bit of a tangent here, and look at things from the viewpoint of class. That’s perhaps appropriate in a world where neo-Marxism is being promoted everywhere. I see classes according to how they align relative to the three most important, most basic verbs in any language—be, do, and have.

If you’re lower class—which is to say have a lower class mentality— you just accept what you’re given. The lower classes are defined by psychological demoralization, apathy, and hopelessness. At best, they just think about having stuff—cars, houses, food, mates—but don’t even succeed at that very well because of their values. I doubt, however, that anybody now reading this fits into that category. Historically, they’re by far the largest group, and their numbers are now growing rapidly.

I increasingly wonder if the US even has much of an upper class any more. Being upper class is all about values, primarily being something. Money, power, and prestige don’t make someone upper class—they’re consequences of upper-class values unless you win the lottery or have great athletic, entertainment, or sometimes even business ability. Then you can masquerade for a while. But those things tend to corrupt. It’s easy to descend and become effete, entitled. Ineffectual and stagnant.

The fact is, most of us are middle class. Historically, the middle class is what America is all about; it made America unique. The work ethic, striving, and improving, doing. The middle class is being destroyed by inflation and taxes, which make it hard to save and build capital, and regulations, which make it hard to produce, to do. I’m afraid that ground between the millstones of taxes and inflation—as Lenin said—huge numbers of the middle class are descending into the ranks of the lower—the proletariat.

The three classes are natural enough. But since the invention of mass democracy, since it was turned into a worldwide secular religion around the time of World War One, there’s arisen another class—the political class. Anyone can join it. They were always there but nowhere near as hugely important or virulent. I can’t think of a single verb to define them—all the possibilities are unflattering, though. They hate the middle class, though, because its members are, by definition, productive and independent.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts. Maybe I’ll expand on them in the future.

To get back to the original question, what you should do is become rich so you can insulate yourself to the best degree that you can from the ongoing crisis. It will eventually pass, and you can reposition yourself - if you’ve maintained some capital.

Money is far from everything, of course. It’s just a tool. But tools are helpful …

International Man: Western Civilization seems to be going downhill economically, politically, and culturally at a rapid pace. The trajectory looks grim.

However, much of the rest of the world outside of the West has their own problems. What
can freedom-loving people do not only survive but thrive in the years ahead?

Doug Casey: Once again, I’ve said this for many years, and it’s truer now than it’s ever been.

The financial and economic problems in the world are serious and accelerating. But as we go deeper into the Greater Depression, your biggest risks aren’t financial or economic. They’re political.

The only way to solve that problem from a practical point of view is to diversify politically the way you would diversify financially.

That means you should have a crib in a second or third country—as well as businesses and financial assets in others besides your home country. That’s the only thing that you can do at this point. You can vote if it makes you feel good. But, as Stalin said, it’s not who votes that counts—it’s who counts the votes. Becoming a political activist is degrading and pointless. This coming election will be largely about cheating by both sides, IMO.

The political classes everywhere are using the current COVID hysteria to cement themselves in place, and very few of the sheeple are resisting. To the contrary, they welcome it, because they think drastic actions make them safe. A degenerating society values safety above all.

It’s true everywhere, though, even in increasingly primitive places like South Africa—in fact, almost all of Africa. India is totally locked down as is most of South America. These places don’t have enough capital stored to enable an enforced vacation of several years. And that’s what we may be looking at.

It’s happening almost all over the world. The people that are being hurt the most, needless to say, are the people living hand to mouth. They’re going to be hurt even worse as all these governments destroy their national currencies—because poor people can only save the local national currency.

When their pitiful paper currency savings are wiped out, then they’re really in trouble. Will they get violent, or just roll up into a ball and die? Good question.

In the 21st century, East Asia, China, Vietnam, Korea are the best places to be. This is also true of Russia and Eastern Europe, notwithstanding the fact that China is going to have a financial collapse and may very well wind up divided into five or six smaller countries.

We’re looking at worldwide chaos in the making. I was always half kidding when answering the question, “How bad do you think the Greater Depression will be?” and I’d say, “Even worse than I think it’s going to be.” But now, it’s no joke.

International Man: Almost every government and country in the world is going in the wrong direction from a personal freedom standpoint.

Are there any options for like-minded individuals to come together if there is no perfect country or place?

Doug Casey: Everybody should read Neal Stephenson’s book, The Diamond Age.

The ideas that he developed, essentially of nation-states falling apart and being replaced with phyles, was very prescient.

Humans are social animals; we like to hang out with other people.

This is especially true with people that are like us. In other words, people that believe in the same things, that have the same values, and have the same outlook on the world.

It’s actually crazy to try to put diverse, disparate people together into the same political entity. That’s because, inevitably, any and all of the groups in that artificial political entity are going to try to get control of the apparatus of the State to benefit themselves and punish the others. Politics always results in a war of all against all.

I think Stephenson’s novel was quite correct. People will increasingly find that their real countrymen are people with whom they share values and ideas—or whatever happens to be important to them. Not a national passport. That’s just government ID, like a driver’s license.

Within that context, here in the US, Libertarians tried to put together a community, I think called the Free State Movement, centering around Keene, New Hampshire. I haven’t been there. So, I don’t know if it’s in any way successful or not, or whether the Libertarians are looked upon as some type of a weird religious cult by the locals. I don’t think it’s had any real effect on anything.

Worse, if the wrong guys get in power, the thing could backfire.

It might facilitate one-stop-shopping to find potential enemies of the State. If seriously dangerous political class types take over, as is likely in November if Biden wins the election, there’s no telling what might happen.

Of course, I tried to put something together in an obscure but very pleasant part of Argentina, La Estancia de Cafayate.

It’s been an artistic success, and it’s a great place to live. We’ve got a lot of great people living there—very enjoyable, mellow, easy-to-get-along-with company. But we attracted our share of antisocial and dogmatic nutcases. Just because someone is a political Libertarian doesn’t necessarily mean he has any other virtues. And he may be psychologically unbalanced in the bargain.

Psychology and character are the real problems. Shangri-la doesn’t exist. And it won’t until the vast majority of humans are more like Harry Browne, Ron Paul, or Lao-Tzu, and less like AOC, Pelosi, or Obama. I guess my best suggestion at this point is to look at a small town, whether you’re in the US or elsewhere, one that has a frontier culture, where people are independent-minded.

I suspect most of the people reading this now are what we’d call gamma rats.

They’re not like alpha rats, which want to boss everybody else around, taking the best mates and best territory. And beat up the beta rats, who are the vast majority of the population.

The gamma rats also tend to get the best possessions and so forth, but they don’t beat up the beta rats nor let themselves be beat up by the alpha rats. The trouble is that, in laboratory experiments, scientists found that gamma rats are only a very small portion of the population. Among humans, we’re an equally small portion of the population.

International Man: Let’s discuss some potential bright spots.

What role do you think the advancement of technology will play in empowering the individual?

Doug Casey: From Day One, technology has been the friend of the average man, and hugely beneficial. Except the effect comes in two stages. The first is usually only good for the ruling political class and bad for the average guy.

Let’s go to Stanley Kubrick’s movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Remember the scene where the hominids gathered around the watering hole, and the one hominid comes up with the idea of using a bone as a weapon to beat up the other group?

That was early technology. The first guy that gets technology uses it to dominate. But then after a while, it’s monkey see, monkey do. The technology spreads from the inventor or the first utilizer to the population in general, and things equalize.

It’s been that way for hundreds of thousands of years.

It was true with gunpowder. The first people that got gunpowder ran the State; they used it to keep the peasants at bay. But when it got into the hands of the peasants, they were able to use firearms to take out armored knights, which they couldn’t do before. The tables were turned.

That same was true with writing, and then the printing press. At first, they were hoarded by the political classes and priesthoods, who used them to maintain their power. The same with the computer. In the old days of ENIAC and the IBM 360, only a government or a giant corporation could afford them, and they could use them to keep track of all the little people. Now, everybody has a massively powerful laptop or cellphone. Hackers can counterattack.

I go into that theme in some detail in Assassin, the third novel in the High Ground septet. It will be released in September—lots of political implications. I urge readers who are interested to get Speculator and Drug Lord now, so as not to fall behind. Speculator is especially relevant because of what’s about to happen with gold stocks.

In other words, technology eventually turns the tables to the advantage of the average guy, even though it’s always used to suppress the average guy in the beginning.

It was technology that liberated the masses to overturn whatever the current political class might have been at the time. It has nothing to do with democracy, which is just a sop to make the peasants believe they’re in charge. If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let you do it.

It’s a trend that’s going to continue. But it can be years, or even decades, before a new technology finally gets into the hands of the average guy. Then the political class wants to regulate it.

The powers-that-be treat all technologies as dangerous. Like guns, they want to keep these things out of the hands of the average guy, basically to keep the peasants from defending themselves.

But the cat always gets out of the bag in the long run. It’s a reason for long-term optimism. That said, there’s always a chance of a genuine Dark Age if the old order collapses seriously enough.

International Man: Most people are familiar with large, centralized tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.

But we’ve also seen the development of decentralized technologies that empower the individual, such as encryption and the 3D printing of guns. One key example of this is bitcoin, which is a decentralized form of money.

What promise do you think decentralized technologies have for wresting power out of the hands of the State, and what are the implications?

Doug Casey: The mistake that people make with things like Facebook - a giant, amoral, and duplicitous corporation - is thinking that just because billions of people use it, it must be harmless. “Oh, it must be kind of decentralized and democratic because it lets everybody communicate with one another.”

Giant media corporations like Facebook and Google are dangerous because they can actually form people’s view of reality itself. Much more than newspapers or even TV could. The average person’s understanding of the world, what’s happening, and what other people think is no longer a product of talking to his neighbors or even looking out the window. Their opinions and emotions are now formed by looking at their little screens. That makes them very easy to manipulate.

The situation will get worse with Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality—somebody will program and control what goes into these things. Maybe subtly, or maybe very overtly. The situation is greatly aggravated by the COVID hysteria in many ways.

The solution to the danger, however, is not to regulate them. That would be totally counterproductive. Regulation just means giving even more power to the State—which is innately vastly more dangerous than any corporation. At least corporations have to provide a worthwhile service to stay in business…

What we really need is not just one Facebook where everybody goes, and can therefore be easily monitored. What we need is 10,000 Facebooks, so the power devolves to everybody and anybody.

The problem will resolve itself in the long run, though. Giant corporations become dysfunctional. Apart from that, they’re subject to the second Law of Thermodynamics as anything else. It’s one of the few laws I believe in.

That’s true, politically speaking as well. The world would have been much better off if Bismarck had not united about three hundred minor principalities and kingdoms in Germany in 1871. The world and the Germans would have been much better off in every possible way if they’d stayed three hundred fairly small, not powerful principalities.

Same in Italy, with Garibaldi. Today they’d be much better off if there were still scores of little duchies and counties. The same with India, which would be much better off if their hundreds of kingdoms hadn’t been forcibly united by the British. It’s true everywhere.

I hope, and actually expect, that places like Germany, Italy, and certainly India will once again devolve into smaller units. The way the Soviet Union broke up into fifteen, and Yugoslavia broke up into six, and Czechoslovakia split into two. The US, which has evolved into a multicultural domestic empire, should—and likely will—split up as well.

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