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21

      

By Jon Miltimore



There are a lot of unpleasant things in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Spying screens. Torture and propaganda. Victory Gin and Victory Coffee always sounded particularly dreadful. And there is Winston Smith’s varicose ulcer, apparently a symbol of his humanity (or something), which always seems to be “throbbing.” Gross.


None of this sounds very enjoyable, but it’s not the worst thing in 1984. To me, the most terrifying part was that you couldn’t keep Big Brother out of your head.


Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, the authoritarians in 1984 aren’t that interested in controlling behavior or speech. They do, of course, but it’s only as a means to an end. Their real goal is to control the gray matter between the ears.


“When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will,” O’Brien (the bad guy) tells the protagonist Winston Smith near the end of the book.


         



      

We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him.


Big Brother’s tool for doing this is the Thought Police, aka the ThinkPol, who are assigned to root out and punish unapproved thoughts. We see how this works when Winston’s neighbor Parsons, an obnoxious Party sycophant, is reported to the Thought Police by his own child, who heard him commit a thought crime while talking in his sleep.


“It was my little daughter,” Parsons tells Winston when asked who it was who denounced him. “She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh?”


Who Are These Thought Police?

We don’t know a lot about the Thought Police, and some of what we think we know may actually not be true since some of what Winston learns comes from the Inner Party, and they lie.


What we know is this: The Thought Police are the secret police of Oceania—the fictional land of 1984 that probably consists of the UK, the Americas, and parts of Africa—who use surveillance and informants to monitor the thoughts of citizens. The Thought Police also use psychological warfare and false-flag operations to entrap free thinkers or nonconformists.


Those who stray from Party orthodoxy are punished but not killed. The Thought Police don’t want to kill nonconformists so much as break them. This happens in Room 101 of the Ministry of Love, where prisoners are re-educated through degradation and torture. (Funny sidebar: the name Room 101 apparently was inspired by a conference room at the BBC in which Orwell was forced to endure tediously long meetings.)


The Origins of the Thought Police

Orwell didn’t create the Thought Police out of thin air. They were inspired to at least some degree by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), a complicated and confusing affair. What you really need to know is that there were no good guys, and it ended with left-leaning anarchists and Republicans in Spain crushed by their Communist overlords, which helped the fascists win.


Orwell, an idealistic 33-year-old socialist when the conflict started, supported the anarchists and loyalists fighting for the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, which received most of its support from the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. (That might sound bad, but keep in mind that the Nazis were on the other side.) Orwell described the atmosphere in Barcelona in December 1936 when everything seemed to be going well for his side.


The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing … It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle,


he wrote in Homage to Catalonia.


[E]very wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle … every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized.


That all changed pretty fast. Stalin, a rather paranoid fellow, was bent on making Republican Spain loyal to him. Factions and leaders perceived as loyal to his exiled Communist rival, Leon Trotsky, were liquidated. Loyal Communists found themselves denounced as fascists. Nonconformists and “uncontrollables” were disappeared.


Orwell never forgot the purges or the steady stream of lies and propaganda churned out from Communist papers during the conflict. (To be fair, their Nationalist opponents also used propaganda and lies.) Stalin’s NKVD was not exactly like the Thought Police—the NKVD showed less patience with its victims—but they certainly helped inspire Orwell’s secret police.


The Thought Police were not all propaganda and torture, though. They also stem from Orwell’s ideas on truth. During his time in Spain, he saw how power could corrupt truth, and he shared these reflections in his work George Orwell: My Country Right or Left, 1940-1943.







…I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.



In short, Orwell’s brush with totalitarianism left him worried that “the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.”


This scared him. A lot. He actually wrote, “This kind of thing is frightening to me.”


Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe,” Rudyard Kipling once observed.


The struggle to remain true to one’s self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about “the smelly little orthodoxies” that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a “power of facing unpleasant facts”—something of a rarity in humans—even though it often hurt him in British society.


In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power.


More Prophetic Than He Knew?

It might be tempting to dismiss Orwell’s book as a figment of dystopian literature. Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Modern history shows he was onto something.


When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what’s frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn’t just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around.


Nor did the use of state spies to prosecute thoughtcrimes end with the fall of the Soviet Union. Believe it or not, it’s still happening today. The New York Times recently ran a report featuring one Peng Wei, a 21-year-old Chinese chemistry major. He is one of the thousands of “student information officers” China uses to root out professors who show signs of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping or the Communist Party.


The New Thought Police?



The First Amendment of the US Constitution, fortunately, largely protects Americans from the creepy authoritarian systems found in 1984, East Germany, and China; but the rise of “cancel culture” shows the pressure to conform to all sorts of orthodoxies (smelly or not) remains strong.


The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984, but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE’s Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they’re “walking on eggshells” and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation.


That’s a lot of pressure, especially for people still learning the acceptable boundaries of a new moral code that is constantly evolving. Most people, if the pressure is sufficient, will eventually say “2+2=5” just to escape punishment. That’s exactly what Winston Smith does at the end of 1984, after all. Yet, Orwell also leaves readers with a glimmer of hope.


“Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad,” Orwell wrote. “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”


In other words, the world may be mad, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.



Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, and Fox News. 


This article was sourced from FEE.org


Image Credit: Flickr-thierry ehrmann | CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)


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22

      

By Matt Agorist


Madison, MS — Last year, the Navari family was devastated on Christmas Eve when their home caught fire and destroyed all they had. Pam Navari thought things couldn’t get any worse after the fire. However, thanks to the government, she was wrong. Now, as the family battles the insurance company to pay for the damage, they are also battling government who says it’s illegal for them to live in an RV in their own driveway while they conduct repairs.


The Navari’s didn’t just set up an RV and start living like Uncle Eddie in the Griswold’s driveway, dumping their sewage into the storm drain. They actually sought out permission from city officials first, and were approved.


“We called the alderman, the mayor was aware of it. We were told as long as I was approved by the homeowners (association) board, then we could get a temporary permit. They were OK with it,” Navari said.


         



      

Despite being told it was okay, one apparently heartless board member reneged on the decision and made it their mission to make the Navari’s lives a living hell.


“The next thing we knew, we get a letter from a board member saying it was against the covenant. They were not able to change the covenant. They felt sympathy for us in our situation, but we needed to leave,” Navari said.


Navari posted a photo of the email to Facebook, proving her claims. This alleged “sympathy” from the board member was quickly followed up with a demand to GTFO.



“This is a bonafide emergency. What we are going thru could happen to anyone in our neighborhood or others,” she said. But city officials couldn’t care less about a family emergency and the family is now in violation of city ordinances which could land them in jail.


Having nothing better to do, the city actually sent enforcers out to the property to threaten and intimidate the family. Rich Navari, Pam’s husband witnessed the intimidation first hand. According to Pam:


Now, we are not just having to fight this insurance company. This week we had to go in-front of the City. Since the President of the HOA never sent a letter to the Home Land Management company. We are now in violation of zoning ordinance. Yesterday we received a citation summons. When Rich showed the officer our home, he was apologetic for having to deliver this. On November 19th at 1:30, we have to go to court. While Rich was standing in our driveway, a truck sped up and parked in front of our driveway and a guy jumps out. An employee of the management company as starts taking pictures. While he is saying and motioning with his hands, you were supposed to have this thing out of here by the 15th. I’m reporting you today.






Pam posted a video this week to Facebook expressing their frustration.



“I cannot believe that people can be so cold and unempathetic about what people are going through,” Navari said.


We agree. However, this is the nature of the state. Now, the family is in a race against time. They are hoping their attorney reaches a settlement with the insurance company in time before they are forced out on the street, or worse, go to jail.


“We are not trying to hurt anybody. We are trying to continue to be a family. Every day we are fighting to have this attorney deal with the insurance company so we can get our home back. That’s what we are trying to do,” Navari said.


The family has only a few weeks before their court date next month. If they don’t get everything settled with the insurance company before then, they face fines, court costs and possible jail time.





And this is what a family attempting to rebuild their home after a fire looks like in the land of the free.



This action by city officials should come as no surprise, however, as government has shown us that they are willing to steal homes from elderly retirees over $8 in property taxes. Shameful indeed.



Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.


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23

      

By Joziah Thayer


This letter was written to me by Yemeni journalist and activist Hamed Albukhiti and was published with his permission. This letter was translated from Arabic to English, the original text is in full at the end of this page.



There have been five years of American aggression on Yemen, five years of deals to sell US weapons to the Saudi and Emirati regime to commit the most heinous crimes against children, men, and women of Yemen. Spread epidemics and impose a land, sea and air blockade on 25 million people in Yemen in return for money to benefit a corrupt US system.
There have been five years to buy the official US position in support of aggression and crimes of the unjust siege to disrupt all political solutions contribute to ending the war of genocide in Yemen.


There have been five years of the United States disrupting the international humanitarian organizations and reports released by humanitarian organizations describing this war.  Continuous disruption of any decision to end this criminal war. Five years of the American people watching as the US government created great hostility among its people towards the Yemeni people.


I send a message to the American people from the rubble and destruction caused by American weapons and American policies. Among the remains of 100,000 people killed by US weapons in my country, tens of thousands of wounded who are prevented from treatment by the US blockade on Yemen where there are over five million suffering from starvation. We the people of Yemen, desire liberation and independence.


Beware of the repercussions of silence on the biggest crime witnessed in recent history, the victims of the Yemeni people and the criminal system in which the American regime and the greed of Gulf money.  Put the photos of the crimes that the camera lenses were able to document and put the decimal folds alongside them and know that they were committed because of your silence on your regime and its crimes.


What is the role of Congress?
Why are they absent?
Where are the American people? Why do we not hear their voices standing for freedom and humanity?
Where is the role of activists Why do they ignore the American people?
Why are issues related to trade deals raised in the absence of humanitarian issues?


We invite you to visit Yemen to see the facts from the field so you can see the criminals of this war and if they can hide from the justice of the earth, the justice of heaven and this justice is the people of Yemen who look for it from the king of the heavens and the earth.






Written by Hamed Albukhiti
حامد البخيتي


Human Rights Activist and Journalist from forgotten Yemen


Published by Joziah Thayer


من اليمن الى امريكا





” رسالة انسان”
5 سنوات من العدوان الامريكي على اليمن شعبا وارضا وانسانا 5 سنوات من الصفقات لبيع الاسلحة الامريكية للنظام السعودي والاماراتي لارتكاب ابشع الجرائم في حق اطفال ورجال ونساء اليمن ونشر الاوبئة وفرض الحصار البري والبحري والجوي على 25 مليون انسان في اليمن مقابل اموال يستفيد منها الفاسدين في النظام.
5 سنوات لشراء الموقف الامريكي الرسمي الداعم للعدوان وجرائمه والحصار الجائر لتعطيل كل حلول سياسية تسهم في انهاء حرب الابادة في اليمن
5 سنوات من التعطيل الامريكي للمنظمات الانسانية العالمية وتقاريرها التي تصف هذة الحرب وتعطل اي قرار لانهاء هذة الحرب الاجرامية
5 سنوات والشعب الامريكي يشاهد الحكومة الامريكية وهي تخلق عداءكبير لشعبها مع الشعب اليمني
ابعث برسالة الى الشعب الامريكي من تحت الانقاض والدمار الذي تسببت فيه الاسلحة الامريكية والسياسة الامريكية من بين اشلاء 100 الف قتيل قتلتهم الاسلحة الامريكية في بلدي اليمن وعشرات الالاف من الجرحى منعهم الحصار الامريكي من العلاج و5 ملايين يعانون المجاعة منعهم الحصار الامريكي من الغذاء واثقا بعدالة الله ومعتزا برغبة شعبي في التحرر والاستقلال


احذروا من تبعات الصمت على اكبر جريمة شهدها التاريخ الحديث ضحيتها الشعب اليمني والمجرم فيها النظام الامريكي والجشع بالاموال الخليجية وسلاح الجريمة امريكي الصنع والمستفيد الخزينة الامريكية التي تترقب ازمة مالية في نهاية العام الحالي
ضعوا صور الجرائم التي استطاعت عدسات الكاميرات توثيقها واجعلوا اضعافها العشرية الى جانبها واعلموا انها ارتكبت بسبب صمتكم على نظامكم وجرائمه
اين دور الكونجرس لماذا قراره غايب لماذا موقفه غايب ؟ اين دور الشعب الامريكي ؟ لماذا لانسمع للحرية صوت وللانسانية موقف ؟
اين دور الناشطين لماذا يعمد على تجهيل الشعب الامريكي ؟ لماذا تثار القضايا المرتبطة بالصفقات التجارية وتغيب عنة القضايا الانسانية ؟
وندعوكم لزيارة اليمن والاطلاع على الحقائق من الميدان وستعرفون ان المجرم ان استطاع التخفي من عدالة الارض فلن يتستر من عدالة السماء وهذة العدالة هي التي يترقب لها اهل اليمن وينشدونها من ملك السماوات والارض حامد البخيتي ناشط حقوقي وصحفي من اليمن المنسي


Written by Joziah Thayer. You can find more of my articles at wedacoalition.org, where this article first appeared, and activistpost.org – Please Follow me on Twitter @ Dapeaple


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24

      

By Aaron Kesel


There has been serious backlash against Google for hoarding health data of 50 million Americans through Project Nightingale. The once social media giant is now shifting focus from just a search engine and video platform with its subsidiary YouTube, to a megalithic corporation seeking to monopolize our daily lives in not only health and technology but banking as well, CNBC reported.


Whistleblower: Google Wants To Enter Healthcare

Google is partnered with the second leading healthcare provider in the U.S., Ascension, and has access to the personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states. The data acquired includes names, dates of birth, lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records on millions upon millions, according to the Wall Street Journal. The action has many worried — lawyers, doctors and tech experts have reacted with horror and fury to the fact Google had access to medical records without prior knowledge or consent.


         



      

The data comes after a whistleblower leaked the plan known as Project Nightingale, expressing outrage to the Guardian and a number of news media outlets.


Google and Ascension boasted that the scheme is completely legal. However, the ethics behind such a plan without the consent of those involved is in question. Neither doctors nor patients were informed that the data-gathering was taking place or given the chance to opt-out.


Google says the partnership is aimed at “improving patient outcomes and saving lives” and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which controls the privacy of health data.


The act allows hospitals to share patients’ medical data with business partners on the condition that it is used to “help the entity carry out its healthcare functions.”


Google Cloud President Tariq Shaukat in a statement said, “by working in partnership with leading healthcare systems like Ascension, we hope to transform the delivery of healthcare through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools—ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives.”


As part of its deal with Ascension, Google states the data can only be used for the purpose of providing healthcare at Ascension and will not be combined with consumer data. However, Google has a very spotty history for privacy holding just online fingerprints of someone.


Further, Google has a long standing history with the NSA since 2009 forming a “cooperative research and development agreement,” a legal pact that was originally devised under a 1980 law to speed up the commercial development of new technologies that are of mutual interest to companies and the government.


In 2015, the Huffington Post wrote an article “Why Google’s Spying on User Data Is Worse than the NSA’s” detailing various reasons why Google’s spying is a bigger problem then even intelligence agencies.  Two years later, Google was caught personalizing Gmail ads based on its scanning of words in email messages.


Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


Google also previously acknowledged to state officials in 2013 that it had violated people’s privacy during its Street View mapping project when it casually scooped up passwords, e-mail and other personal information from unsuspecting computer users.


YouTube agreed in September to pay $170 million in fines and change its practices in response to complaints that it illegally collected data on children to sell ads. However, the video company didn’t admit or deny any wrongdoing on its part.


So how then can anyone reasonably trust Google with such important records as someone’s health?


Ascension says the partnership is designed to “optimize the health and wellness of individuals and communities.”


The companies claim they want to help improve patients’ health and save lives. This is significant because Google just acquired Fitbit, a company which produces watches and bracelets that track health information like a person’s heart rate, giving us all a glimpse of the industry direction in which Google is heading: health and wellness.


It is worth noting that Google attempted to enter the health care industry before but failed adoption after three long years of pushing its Google Health, a previous effort to digitize patient medical records into the cloud.


Project Cache Google Wants To Become Your Bank

Although little is known about the project, at the same time another wing of Google is exploring banking solutions partnered with various banks and credit unions to offer “smart checking” accounts through Google Pay. To start out, Citigroup and Stanford Federal Credit Union are two of the biggest banks involved with Project Cache, Tech Crunch reported.






This should be no surprise since Google Pay has been one of Google’s major features that it rolled out across Android phones in September 11, 2015 under Android Pay, re-branding in 2018 to the self-titled name.


As a reminder for readers, Google was involved with the U.S. government and Chinese government with two separate projects; one where the company was using its A.I. to help the U.S. military (Project Maven), and the other where the tech giant produced a censored version of its search engine appeasing China’s demands (Project Dragonfly).


Dragonfly involved plans to implement a censored version of Google’s search engine inside China, and Google sought to suppress the internal memo about it. Further, if that’s not enough, the company wanted phone numbers linked to the searches.


In May of last year, Activist Post reported that Google had removed multiple references to its old catchphrase “Don’t be evil” from its Code of Conduct; as employees expressed outrage over the company’s decision to work with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, including signing a petition and quitting. This caused Google to walk back the plans, denouncing support for Maven by stating that the company would not be renewing the military contract and would stop in 2019.


General Joseph Dunford previously lambasted Google prior in December of last year when he criticized the search giant for not working with the U.S. military and wanting to work with China.


“I’m not sure that people at Google will enjoy a world order that is informed by the norms and standards of Russia or China,” Dunford said.


Its also worth noting as Activist Post reported that Google is in effect aiding China’s war against Muslim Uighurs, which has moved to putting them in concentration camps.


Google told Congress it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China during a Congressional hearing in December of last year, though it is continuing to study the idea, according to a recent report by The Intercept where employees leaked there had been 400 code changes between January and February of this year.


Oh and who can forget, a leaked 2016 video to The Verge entitled “The Selfish Ledger” from within Google X exposing internal Google dialogue to create a dystopia run by the big social giant. The revelation showcased the other big problem the company faces — questions about harvesting its users’ data.





With this leak, the company’s dystopian future it seeks to achieve is exposed, as the 9-minute video goes on to describe how Google could keep a ledger of all human behavior and then use it to manipulate your decisions and those of future generations. All with the ultimate goal of pushing the company’s values, offering services and products, and basically dictating the behavior of entire populations.


In October of last year, Google suffered another leak when Breitbart revealed an internal memo 85-page briefing entitled “The Good Censor,” which advised tech companies to “police tone instead of content” and to not “take sides” when censoring users as this author wrote.


This must be why Activist Post remains censored on YouTube and the wrongful suspension still hasn’t been removed, along with other accounts that were removed, or further why Iran has had 39 YouTube channels deleted. It must be Google’s “new position as ‘moderators in chief.’” (page 70)


These leaks offer a rare glimpse into the types of conversations and the views the company might be having, as well as aligning with many of Google’s existing products that use A.I.; for example, suggesting routes in Google Maps, organizing albums in Google Photos, and even composing automated emails in Gmail.


But all this is awesome news for competitors like Presearch who are seeking to take away Google’s monopolized dominance on search by giving back to their users and allowing users more control over their own data. Presearch is seeking the ultimate goal of completely decentralizing searches, which will allow an unbiased search engine that just works, and rewards you as a Presearch Community member or Presearcher for using it in the PRE cryptocurrency.


Speaking of cryptocurrency, by opening a Bitcoin, Steemit, or SoMee account you become your own bank; all you need to do is create a wallet and buy Bitcoin or create and post content.


One single company shouldn’t have all the data possible on human beings, and users should control what data companies hold and be able to monetize data if they choose. On the other hand, medical data is better kept on the blockchain fully encrypted and accessible only by the patients themselves giving permission to a doctor to view as needed, as Medical Chain is aiming to achieve. Forbes even agrees that the blockchain will transform the medical industry; however, the company that does that shouldn’t also have all of our other online fingerprints.



Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter.


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25

      

This is a critical update from one of the best financial commentators I know, a good friend of ours, Mr. Tom Beck, who runs PortfolioWealthGlobal.com and we’re excited to share this one with you!


Jerome Powell just gave his testimony to Congress and there were a number of NUGGETS that are of the utmost importance to consider.


Powell said that it is the belief of the Federal Reserve that we’re going to keep living in a Low Growth, Low Interest Rates and Low Inflation world, created by various major trends that are beyond the Federal Reserve’s ability to impact meaningfully.


Powell was asked by one of the committee members about the inherent risks to the economy in a low-rate environment to stimulate, if a recession appears. He shocked the members by responding that if the FED had to follow historical lines of policy, the Fed Funds Rate would be dropped by 5%, all the way down to -3.50%, if judging by today’s rate.


         



      

That means that the FED has just alerted to investors, globally, that the heavy lifting going forward will be done by the government, using fiscal policies.


History is clear on the matter of government stimulus packages: they end up being inflationary.


My most pressing concern is that the FED and Washington aren’t communicating and that lack of coordination and cooperation is hurting the American people and, to an extent, the global community.


The market is COMPENSATING for the fact that NO ONE has ever seen a worldwide recession, with interest rates being so low, by holding immense amounts of cash on the sidelines.


This means that the wealthy will be able to exploit cheaper prices, but the middle-class and lower-income demographics might be traumatized when the slowdown hits.


It is true that there are a record number of people working in the USA right now, but wages aren’t rising fast.


Think of it like a car that is running at what looks to be the limit of its performance curve, but you have no idea when it will start malfunctioning, or what the malfunction will look like.


You’d be taking precautions and that’s putting it mildly. You love the performance and the adrenaline, but it can all end without many early warning signs.


Some prepare by buying government bonds. Others buy precious metals. Another group owns cryptocurrencies. Most like cash. A minority places short orders and is ready to make money from the bear market.


Whatever you do, diversification is always a good tactic.


      
                     

ActivistPost.com absolutely loves the articles, contributed by PortfolioWealthGlobal.com


            

Of all the investment and economic commentators we're tracking, this one is, by far, part of the top echelon.


            

We read his free newsletter daily


            

In fact, he's opened-up registration to our readers, so you can subscribe to his award-winning free letter right here!


         




   
   
   

   

   
      
      
       
   
   
   




      
      
   
26

      

By Mayukh Saha


A North Dakota brewery has decided that some dogs should be smiling for a change. Dogs having a tough time finding their forever homes have been featured on their beer cans so that people moved by their appealing faces can contact the rescue where they are staying at present.


Fargo Brewing Company has featured the pictures of dogs up for adoption on their craft beer cans. The company has brought on board a non-profit, 4 Luv of Dogs, to help some pups reach their forever homes. The dogs featured are having a tough time getting adopted.


One volunteer says that the dogs staring out from the cans would be happiest in homes with no other pets. Volunteer Jerad Ryan said that does narrow down things a bit. But to reach out to the widest audience possible, they are featuring the dogs on the cans.


         



      

Dubbed the ‘one-der’ dogs, these dogs are finding it a bit tough getting foster homes or homes for adoption. Many shelters across the US can’t take in any more animals as they are filled to capacity. Some shelters such as Lifeline Animal Project in Atlanta have even waived their adoption fees to encourage people to adopt while Louisiana SPCA and Nebraska Humane Society have reduced their fees to open up space in their shelters.


Ryan has been a volunteer with the North Dakota based group for 4 years and the one-der dogs are special, he says. He is especially attached to Bizzy who he fostered. He holds a regular job at Northern Pains Label where they produce labels for breweries. So he had this inspiring idea to feature the down and out dogs on the beer cans.


Six dogs – Bizzy, Jensen, Hobie, Moby, Nyx, and Virginia – were chosen initially to feature on the beer cans. The community was invited to the special launch where they were offered a six-pack of Fargo Original Larger for $9 and a chance to meet one of the pups featured on the cans.






The social media and marketing manager of the brewery, Tawny Hewitt, told CNN that the dogs were featured on the labels of 40 cases and during the Monday night promotion; they managed to sell 25 cases. The packs are up for sale for this week and the remaining stock will be donated to the rescue. Part of the sales will also be given to the rescue.


Fargo Brewing informed CNN that they hoped that the one-der dogs featured on the cans will help in raising awareness about those pups who are finding it difficult to get new homes.


Ryan is happy at the response from the community and hopes that the publicity will help find forever homes for the waiting animals.






Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, videos, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and I started living as a digital nomad in Europe from 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: [email protected]com Read More stories by Mayukh Saha


This article was sourced from Truth Theory.


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27

      

By Matt Agorist


Huntsville, AL — In the state of Alabama, it is illegal for people to walk along the roadways and solicit rides from motorists. This act is known as hitchhiking and it is explicitly outlawed in Alabama Code Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 32-5A-216. According to the code, “No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride.” Given the duty of police officers to enforce the law and their history of beating, kidnapping and caging people for this type of violation, one would think that when officers passed Gerald Baldwin, a disabled veteran, hitchhiking down the highway, they would have arrested him. However, a handful of cops in Alabama just proved us wrong and their actions have made the world a better place.


Baldwin is a disabled veteran who has no means of transportation but who was trying to get to a doctor’s appointment nearly 100 miles away. Having no one to bring him, Baldwin grabbed his oxygen tank and started down the highway. When a Walker County Sheriff’s Office Deputy came across the disabled veteran — who has cancer — walking down the street with his oxygen, he restored our faith in humanity and gave the man a lift — instead of arresting him for hitchhiking.


         



      

When the deputies learned that he was hitchhiking to get to a doctor’s appointment for cancer some 100 miles away, multiple departments came together to help him out. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office made a post on Facebook explaining how multiple departments came together to get the hitchhiking veteran to his appointment. They didn’t just bring him there, however, they brought him back home too!



On Wednesday in Alabama, a Walker County Sheriff’s Office Deputy came across a man walking down the road with an oxygen tank and learned he is a Disabled American Veteran trying to walk/hitchhike from the Jasper area to Huntsville for a Dr. Appointment he was told he could not miss. With no way to get there, he said he started walking.


The deputy acted quickly and escorted the Gulf War Veteran to the Cullman County line where a Cullman Sheriff Deputy picked him up. The deputy then transported him to the Morgan County Line where a Morgan County Sheriff Deputy took over and met a Madison County Sheriff Office Deputy in Huntsville who finished the trip and took the man to his appointment.


After an overnight stay, we were happy to do it all again today….. in reverse to help get the man back home.




Baldwin had to stay overnight to see the doctor and the deputies made all the arrangements to bring him back home after his visit.


The good deed of the deputies did not go unnoticed either, and according to WAFF, a woman in Oklahoma sent the Facebook post to a man named Lance Baldwin, living in Pennsylvania.






Baldwin realized the man in the photo was his father who he hadn’t talked to in more than five years, according to the news outlet.


“I couldn’t bring myself to message him. It’s just a lot of bad blood between us,” Lance Baldwin said. “But I knew his health was declining. He had cancer surgery the last time we spoke. I should have been there more.”


He said, “I’ve read that post probably a dozen times over and over again. I still can’t believe that they went as far as they did to get him to where he needed to be, then to do it again in reverse to take him back home.”


The son added, “I’m not a religious person, but somebody was up there watching.”





Because these deputies chose to help a random man hitchhiking instead of arresting him, a father and son who haven’t spoken in years are being reunited. Lance Baldwin told the news outlet that this act has inspired him to reach out to his dad.


“Even more now, after seeing that post and seeing him, I will probably do that here this weekend, is reach out to him,” he said. “He’s a tough old man…He’s always been my superman.”


This is what public service is. This is what happens when police choose to help instead of escalate and arrest. These deputies refusing to arrest a man for hitchhiking and helping him instead has turned a potentially horrific situation into a beautiful one that will make the world that much better. Now, if all cops would follow their lead.



Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.


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28

      

By Jessica Corbett


The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.


“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths.


“These reports provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than, it was 10 years ago,” Lutz added. “We will still be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd century.”


         



      


The new Human Cost of Post-9/11 Wars report (pdf) tallies “direct deaths” in major war zones, grouping people by civilians; humanitarian and NGO workers; journalists and media workers; U.S. military members, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors; and members of national military and police forces as well as other allied troops and opposition fighters.


The report sorts direct deaths by six categories: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria/ISIS, Yemen, and “Other.” The civilian death toll across all regions is up to 335,745—or nearly 42% of the total figure. Notably, the report “does not include indirect deaths, namely those caused by loss of access to food, water, and/or infrastructure, war-related disease, etc.”


Indirect deaths “are generally estimated to be four times higher,” Costs of War board member and American University professor David Vine wrote in an op-ed for The Hill Wednesday. “This means that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million or more—around 200 times the number of U.S. dead.”




“Don’t we have a responsibility to wrestle with our individual and collective responsibility for the destruction our government has inflicted?” Vine asked in his op-ed. “Our tax dollars and implied consent have made these wars possible. While the United States is obviously not the only actor responsible for the damage done in the post-2001 wars, U.S. leaders bear the bulk of responsibility for launching catastrophic wars that were never inevitable, that were wars of choice.”


Referencing the project’s second new report, United States Budgetary Costs and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars Through FY2020: $6.4 Trillion (pdf), Vine wrote, “Consider how we could have otherwise spent that incomprehensible sum—to feed the hungry, improve schools, confront global warming, improve our transportation infrastructure, and provide healthcare.”


“At a time when everyone from Donald Trump to Democratic Party candidates for president is calling for an end to these endless wars, we must push our government to use diplomacy—rather than rash withdrawals, as in northern Syria—to end these wars responsibly,” he concluded. “As the new Costs of War report and 3.1 million deaths should remind us, part of our responsibility must be to repair some of the immeasurable damage done and to ensure that wars like these never happen again.”




The project’s $6.4 trillion figure accounts for overseas contingency operations appropriations, interest for borrowing for OCO spending, war-related spending in the Pentagon’s base budget, medical and disability care for post-9/11 veterans (including estimated future obligations through FY2059), and Department of Homeland Security spending for prevention of and response to terrorism.


Costs of War co-director and Boston University professor Neta Crawford co-authored the project’s death toll report and authored the budget report. For the latter, she wrote that “the major trends in the budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars include: less transparency in reporting costs among most major agencies; greater institutionalization of the costs of war in the DOD base budget, State Department, and DHS; and the growing budgetary burden of veterans’ medical care and disability care.”


Both reports were released as part of the project’s new “20 Years of War” series. Crawford, Lutz, and fellow Costs of War co-director Stephanie Savell were in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to present the reports’ findings at a briefing hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.




“We have already seen that when we go to Washington and circulate our briefings, they get used in the policymaking process,” Lutz said in a news story published by Brown Wednesday. “People cite our data in speeches on the Senate floor, in proposals for legislation. The numbers have made their way into calls to put an end to the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force. They have real impact.”


Lutz pointed out that “if you count all parts of the federal budget that are military-related—including the nuclear weapons budget, the budget for fuel for military vehicles and aircraft, funds for veteran care—it makes up two-thirds of the federal budget, and it’s inching toward three-quarters.”


“I don’t think most people realize that, but it’s important to know,” she added. “Policymakers are concerned that the Pentagon’s increased spending is crowding out other national purposes that aren’t war.”



By Jessica Corbett | CommonDreams.org | Creative Commons


This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.


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29

      

By Joe Wolverton, II


Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee from both sides of the aisle are questioning the necessity of renewing one of the NSA’s many telephone surveillance programs.


During a hearing on Wednesday, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California each peppered an NSA representative regarding that organization’s drive to continue its unconstitutional collection of Call Detail Records (CDR) of Americans, records that reveal personal data of millions of citizens.


The Hill offered the following summary of the surveillance program being debated:


The call detail records program gathered information on incoming and outgoing domestic text messages and phone calls to aid the government in terrorism investigations. Civil liberties advocates are pressing Congress to allow the program to sunset entirely, claiming that privacy concerns outweigh any national security benefits.


         



      

“Why should we reauthorize it?” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked NSA official Susan Morgan.


Feinstein followed suit. “It’s really not clear to me why a program with limited intelligence value and clear compliance problems should be reauthorized,” the California Democrat said. “And unless there is good reason to believe that it should, I do not believe we should reauthorize it.”


Morgan parried the one-two combination calmly. She said the NSA “supports reauthorization of the … provision so the government will retain this potentially valuable tool should it prove useful in the future.” She told the senators that the surveillance program in question is “dynamic,” and warned lawmakers that if the collection program is not renewed, the NSA would lose a valuable “tool in our toolbox.”


That vague warning and dire prediction of putting the NSA at a disadvantage when it comes to “fighting terrorism,” was all that was offered by Morgan in defense of the program.


“Can the NSA provide an example of information obtained by the [call detail records] program that resulted in discovery of previously unknown terrorist plot?” Feinstein asked, not content to rubber-stamp the surveillance program without at least a little evidence that it is “preventing terror.”


Of course, Morgan demurred, claiming that such sensitive information could not be safely revealed “in an open setting.”


Such stonewalling didn’t sit well with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), and he called Morgan’s bluff, offering to “go there right now,” referring to a secure room near the Senate chamber.


Not surprisingly, Morgan sat still, refusing to take Lee up on his offer.


Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) renewed the offer to run off to a secure location. “If you can’t answer this question, why don’t we go to a [sensitive compartmented information facility] right now?” Sasse offered. Again, Morgan didn’t budge.


After the hearing, civil rights watchdog Demand Progress’s policy counsel Sean Vitka issued a statement criticizing the data collection program and questioning its constitutionality and necessity,



Today’s hearing further proves the urgent need for Congress to end the Trump administration’s ability to spy on millions of innocent people in the United States. Despite this administration’s claims that it is concerned about unlawful surveillance and the ‘Deep State,’ it is fighting for the permanent reauthorization of a notorious mass surveillance authority that has never proven useful, and has rarely, if ever, been operated in full compliance with the laws and rules governing surveillance of call records.


However, repeal of the ‘Call Detail Records’ (CDR) program alone is not enough. Congress must prevent this government from using Section 215 to target First Amendment-protected activity and to collect location information without a warrant, and it must put an end to the government’s use of Section 215-derived information in court without giving notice to defendants.





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Freedom Works and Demand Progress have partnered to publish information about the insidiousness and the unconstitutionality of Section 215. Here are a few highlights from the many documents the organization provides: The FBI and NSA use Section 215 to collect vast amounts of information about U.S. persons without a warrant. In 2018, under only one of two Section 215 provisions, the government collected 434,238,543 call records. The vast majority of those records relate to people who are not the targets of any investigations or suspected of wrongdoing.


Section 215 is scheduled to sunset on December 15, 2019.


The government’s extreme interpretation of Section 215 was the first subject of the Snowden revelations that shocked the country, most notably the “bulk telephone metadata program,” under which the government ordered major telephone providers to hand over records of all calls made by all customers.


Section 215 orders do not require a warrant based on a showing of probable cause, but rather a statement of facts to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It is similar to an administrative subpoena.


Call Detail Records orders collect all of a target’s records, as well as all records of everyone who has communicated with that target, and does so on an ongoing basis. This ongoing, two-degree collection means the majority of records collected under the CDR program are not those of a target or anyone suspected of wrongdoing, or even of people in contact with someone who is.


Senators and bureaucrats can cavil over whether Section 215 — the Call Detail Records program — has proven successful in catching terrorists before they, well, terrorize, but the truth of the matter is that the program could have put hundreds of terrorists out of business, but that wouldn’t make the program any more constitutional and when it comes to the authority of the federal government, the enumerated powers of the Constitution is the alpha and omega.


In fact, the Framers abhorred the British practice of entering a man’s house without a warrant and rifling through his private papers to try and find a pretext for putting him in prison. They believed that “papers are often the dearest property a man can have” and that permitting the government to “sweep away all papers whatsoever,” without any legal justification, “would destroy all the comforts of society.”


In 1776, George Mason, the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights — a document of profound influence on the construction of the federal Bill of Rights — upheld the right to be free from such searches, as well: “That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence [sic] is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.”





Thus, the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”


The rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment are under nearly constant assault by the forces of the federal government. From NSA surveillance to IRS use of tax records as a political tool, the papers, effects, and homes of all Americans are now de facto denied the protections our Founders held so dear.


The undeniable truth is that not a single one of our Founding Fathers, not even the most ardent advocate of a powerful central government, would have remained even one day at the Philadelphia Convention if he had believed that the government they were creating would become the instrument of tyranny that it has become.


Taken together, the federal government’s consolidation of control and cognizance reduces every American to the status of “suspect.”


These historical and constitutional facts should be all the evidence the Senate needs to permanently shut down Section 215.




Apart from his work as a journalist, Joe Wolverton, II is a professor of American Government at Chattanooga State and was a practicing attorney until 2009. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since 2000, Joe has been a featured contributor to The New American magazine. Most recently, he has written a cover story article on the Tea Party movement, as well as a five-part series on the unconstitutionality of Obamacare.




This article was sourced from the Tenth Amendment Center.

Originally published at The New American Magazine


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30

      

By Matt Agorist


Havre, MT —  Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez are both U.S.-born citizens who grew up in Texas and California respectively. But their lifelong citizenship and complete lack of criminal record would have no bearing on a US Border patrol agent hell-bent on taking ‘dangerous’ Spanish speaking women off the streets of Havre, Montana. Since that fateful day on which these women were detained for speaking Spanish, Suda says her life has become a nightmare.


As TFTP reported at the time, the incident happened on May 18, 2018, as Suda and Hernandez stood in line at a local grocery store. The two ladies were having a friendly conversation—in Spanish—an entirely legal and common activity which takes place in most grocery stores everyday in this country. However, the Border Patrol Agent in line behind them, saw their conversation as nefarious. He just knew they were evil criminal scum.


As the two innocent US citizens checked out at the register, this “hero” public servant demanded to know where they were born. Remember, they had done nothing wrong and were simply speaking Spanish. Still, Suda and Hernandez complied and told the officer they were born in Texas and California. But he did not believe them.


         



      

The agent then demanded the two women hand over their driver’s licenses which were apparently not enough to get them immediately on their way. The two innocent US citizens were then held against their will—otherwise known as kidnapping—by US Border Patrol Agents who completely humiliated them in front of their friends and neighbors.


“After Mimi and I told the officer that we were born in the U.S.,” Suda explained. “he demanded that we show identification. I didn’t feel like I could say no since he was in uniform and armed. We gave him our Montana driver’s licenses and then followed him outside into the store’s parking lot as directed. ”


During their illegal detainment, Suda and Hernandez were interrogated as if they were criminals. The scene is something akin to the era of “papers please” as these entirely innocent women were temporarily kidnapped and forced to prove they weren’t “illegal” human beings who should be shipped off to some ‘camp’.


Had they been “illegal,” the stop was still unconstitutional, as speaking Spanish is most assuredly not probable cause for detainment. Even if a person speaks no English at all, the state cannot detain them for it.


Nevertheless, this tyrant agent had no problem telling the women why he had taken them into custody. When Suda and Hernandez asked him why they were being humiliated and interrogated, the officer responded with brutal honesty.


Suda explained that, “Agent O’Neal — the name on his badge — got on his car radio and asked for backup, as if two moms holding a carton of eggs were a threat. As we stood there, I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach. I told him that I was going to start filming on my cell phone. Then I made a simple request, ‘Can you tell us in video why you asked for our ID’s please.’”


“He said it was because, ‘You guys are speaking Spanish which is very unheard of up here,’” said Suda.


For nearly an hour, Suda and Hernandez were held captive as other armed agents showed up in their uniforms and carrying guns—to investigate two American soccer moms—a shameful act indeed.


Now, Suda is speaking out. In an interview with BBC, Suda says she and her family have faced constant harassment over the video of her rights-violating incident. She was forced to move and her family is now separated.








Detained for speaking Spanish in the US


When two US citizens were stopped by police in Montana for speaking Spanish, their story went viral. bbc.in/2Xa8pny


Posted by BBC News on Tuesday, November 12, 2019




Suda and Hernandez’ case is now the subject of an ACLU lawsuit as their detention was unlawful, unconstitutional, and entirely uncalled for.


As the ACLU reports:


This detention violated Ana and Mimi’s constitutional rights. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit on their behalf. Speaking Spanish is not against the law. In fact, there is no official language in the United States — Americans speak hundreds of different languages. Over 40 million U.S. citizens speak Spanish at home with their families, and tens of millions more speak Spanish as a secondary language. And Montana, like the rest of the country, is increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and language.


Sadly, Hernandez says that her family has also been harassed repeatedly and have received hateful messages from people across the country.





Their children are even feeling the effects of this disgusting madness.


“At his high school, a teacher asked Mimi’s son whether he had brought his ID to class. My 8-year-old daughter is scared to speak Spanish and has started responding to me in English when I ask her questions,” said Suda.


Below is the infuriating and saddening video from last year.



Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.


Subscribe to Activist Post for truth, peace, and freedom news. Become an Activist Post Patron for as little as $1 per month at Patreon. Follow us on SoMee, Flote, Minds, Twitter, and Steemit.


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