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Scott Lazarowitz's Blog Posts

Donald Trump’s Third World Banana Republic

Many ICE agents feel “unshackled” now that Trump has empowered them to attack, assault, arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, people who come to the U.S. to make a living and most of whom have committed no actual criminal acts against anyone else’s person or property. And for those who say that the “illegals” come here to get on welfare, as Jacob Hornberger has pointed out before, why are there no ICE raids at the welfare offices?

From the New York Times:

A whirlwind of activity has overtaken ICE headquarters in Washington in recent weeks, with employees attending back-to-back meetings about how to quickly carry out President Trump’s plans. “Some people are like: ‘This is great. Let’s give them all the tools they need,’” said a senior staff member at headquarters, who joined the department under the administration of George W. Bush.

A supervisor in Northern California described a typical operation, with teams of at least five members rising before dawn, meeting as early as 4 a.m. to make arrests before their targets depart for work. To avoid distressing families and children, the agents prefer to apprehend people outside their homes, approaching them as soon as they step onto a public sidewalk and, once identified, placing them in handcuffs.

After the arrests outside the church in Alexandria, Va., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, (said) the action “raises a concern that, unlike previous actions, ICE agents are detaining Virginia residents without cause or specific allegations of criminal activity.”

Bystanders are now being taken in if they are suspected to be undocumented, even if they have committed no crime, known within the agency as “collateral” arrests.

Meanwhile, Robert Wenzel says that people he has spoken to in San Francisco are acting preemptively, just in case they, too, find themselves kidnapped and caged by ICE agents. Those people are making sure that they never leave the house without ID, even just to walk the dog. It looks as though, given the threat by the Trump Regime to arrest innocent people without any reason to suspect them of anything, I will have to be just as concerned for my own safety (and I was born in the U.S.).

And, according to Wenzel, some people are even “preparing power of attorney papers for control of their bank accounts and other assets and handing them over to lawyers, just in case they get deported.”

Tom Knapp suggests that resistance against the State’s violence against innocent people should include “negative social preferencing. ICE agents and other evil-doers shouldn’t be invited to social events by their former friends (who should have stopped calling them as of now anyway). They shouldn’t be able to get tables in decent restaurants, and if they walk up to fast food counters or sit down on bar stools in uniform, the employees should just silently point to the places’ ‘we reserve the right to refuse service …’ signs.”

Well, I happen to think there are too many anti-immigration, anti-foreigner supporters of these draconian, police-state policies that we probably won’t be seeing those things very much. And also, a lot of businesses need as many customers as they can get, regardless of their views. I mean, I hope to see that kind of ostracization, of course.

I just don’t understand all those conservatives and “nationalists” out there, who get very emotional when CPS agents go in and arrest and kidnap innocent people, parents and/or their children, and other similar scenarios, but these conservatives and “nationalists” become total State-lovers when it comes to this immigration stuff. Hmmm.

Similar to Tom Knapp, although on a different issue, Jim Davies makes a point about change coming about from the bottom up, not from the top down, i.e. not by putting decent people in charge who want to dismantle the State’s intrusive police-state apparatus. For instance, says Jim Davies, electing a Harry Browne (or a Ron Paul) as President could very well make the government parasites (like ICE or TSA agents, for example) angry, and the new president could get what JFK got, if you know what I mean.

So Jim Davies says that decent people who happen to have found themselves in government employment need to get out of it! Seems to me like an uphill battle to persuade those government workers that they are working for a criminal racket, and most of the time, innocent people are having their lives tortured and ruined by it.

The Trump Administration’s Escalation of the Fascist Drug War

Well, I’m sure that the very antiwar, pro-market, pro-civil liberties “Libertarians for Trump” are really pleased with the policies of the current Trump administration. Just kidding. They probably are not pleased, although I’m sure they are pleased with the conflicts going on between Trump and the FBI or between Trump and the CIA, but especially between Trump and the biased mainstream media.

But it appears that Washington is now going to become even more fascist than it was under the Obama administration. The new attorney general Jeff Sessions is as fascist as they come. Just like the Massachusetts state attorney general, Maura Healey, with her prohibitionist mentality, in e-cigarettes, Internet gambling, and with the drug-war. Another drooler, in my view. And she’s a Democrat, believe it or not. The U.S. AG Jeff Sessions is a Rethuglican Republican, as we all know.

Sessions is very anti-immigration and a drooling pursuer of the drug war. Now he is saying that he will viciously enforce federal drug war laws including marijuana-related laws, including in states in which the voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana.

Jacob Sullum at Reason sums that up quite well. Sullum writes that Sessions has in the past supported the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, but it is apparently only lip service, as Sessions does not really agree with that Amendment, that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution clearly does not authorize the federal government to get involved in drugs, alcohol, and many other matters in which the federal bureaucrats want to illicitly intrude themselves.

And further evidence of what hypocrites these Trump administration people are, such as Sessions, includes their now saying that they are reversing Obama’s federal edicts on transgender bathroom policies and leaving all that up to the states. So, the feds are now selectively supporting the “states’ rights” or opposing them, based on temporary whims and their ideological agenda.

And speaking of the feds vs. the states on the drug war, in Massachusetts, whose voters approved of legalizing recreational marijuana last November, Gov. Charlie Baker stated in a recent interview with WBZ, “The voters voted. We should pursue implementing the will of the voters … But (the Senate president, the House Speaker and I) all agreed basically we should just go ahead until we’re told not to.”

Until we’re told not to“? What a spineless, mealy-mouthed sheeple. In other words, Baker, who, besides the state attorney general Maura Healey, also opposed marijuana legalization, is living up to his moniker, Charlie Half-Baker. But I digress.

Another aspect of actual fascism, and of AG Jeff Sessions’s fascist drug war over which he wants to unconstitutionally override the states’ control, is the crony-capitalism aspect. For instance, Sessions has announced that the feds will not phase out contracts with private prisons. Sessions likes the idea of private prisons profiting from the justice system that involves prosecution quotas and other forms of abuse, such as that which Sessions as an Alabama prosecutor has been accused of.

As Glenn Greenwald noted, “privatizing justice is warped.” What he probably means is, crony politicians benefiting from such a system that makes use of tax-thefts, is warped. (A non-government-involved, private justice system is an entirely different issue worthy of discussion, however.)

Greenwald also linked to this information which indicates that two of Jeff Sessions’s aides had been hired by the prison lobby. You see, the crony-capitalism aspect of the fascist drug war is that the private owners of the private prisons will profit from the drug war and other illegitimate powers imposed by the government legal system. And by profit, I mean they will profit at taxpayer expense, from wealth and earnings which are stolen from workers and producers by the thieves of government and its enforcement wing, i.e. which can more accurately be called crony-socialism.

And as Jacob Hornberger pointed out, “One part of the corruption that exists in plain sight, however, involves the program known as “asset forfeiture,” by which federal and state cops are stealing money and property from people in the name of the drug war, appropriating it to their own use, and never charging the victims with a crime.” (Jeff Sessions, by the way is a really big fan of asset forfeiture. Hence, “Rethuglican.”)

Nationalism and Centralization vs. Freedom and Free Markets

I really don’t get the cognitive dissonance of all the anti-immigration conservatives and nationalists out there, such as Donald Trump, Pat Buchanan and the dittoheads and Jeff Kuhnerbots in talk radioland. They say they hate globalism and internationalism, which are grandiose versions of collectivism and centralization of power and government, but they nevertheless zealously favor the centralization and collectivism of nationalism. They are obsessed with the government-drawn borders of the United State of America, and further empowering the evil central-planning bureaucrats in Washington.

To be consistent, they should favor further decentralization, away from the nationalization of everyday life and the economy (which is just as bad as the globalization of everything) and this idea of “national sovereignty,” and toward independence of the states and, even better, toward individual towns and cities and villages and down to the sovereignty of each individual household and the sovereignty and self-ownership of each individual.

So the conservatives and nationalists love socialist central-planning when it comes to immigration, labor and employment for some reason. They demand the harassment, arrest and detention, and deportation of anyone who comes to this territory without the permission of bureaucrats. They would have businessmen arrested for employing such workers. So these nationalists oppose the idea of economic freedom and free markets.

You see, when an individual travels to a new territory (without trespassing on private property, of course) and provides labor for an employer, a client or customer, and no third parties are permitted to intrude into that peaceful, voluntary contract, that’s the free market. The businessman determines which such workers are the best qualified applicants for the job and who would best serve his customers, the consumers. Sadly, nationalists and supporters of central planning restrictions seem to have contempt for the free market, for employers, and for consumers especially. But they revere government bureaucrats and central planners!

And as I have written before, free-market capitalists don’t put up government walls to obstruct free-market capitalism. That’s what socialists do.

The standard of living of society as a whole is raised considerably the more economic freedom and free markets there are. My reading of history indicates that economic freedom and free markets tend to coincide with decentralization of society while more centralized governmental controls, such as the socialist immigration controls which also include controls on labor and business and controls on private property that the nationalists favor, coincide with less prosperity and less freedom. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe has noted, centralization leads to poverty.

You can’t “make America great again” without restoring the freedom that the people had which made America great in the first place. That means decentralizing, away from Washington (far, far away, in fact). As Lew Rockwell wrote recently, break up the USA. Let the people decide how to run their own businesses, and their own lives. Centralization is a very bad thing, as Hoppe observed in this great video. Not only decentralizing political units, but all matters of everyday life, economic and otherwise. And that applies to labor and employment matters but also immigration of foreigners that will be controlled by property owners and businesses and not by government bureaucrats. And the necessary decentralization applies to education, health care and all other aspects of everyday life.

Restoring freedom and free markets will coincide with the great decentralization, and it’s what the people have a right to have, after all, as the Declaration of Independence refers to, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of all.

Some Economic Common Sense

Robert Wenzel comments on Bill Gates’s economic ignorance:

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and world’s richest man, said in an interview Friday that robots “that steal human jobs” should pay their fair share of taxes, reports the New York Post.

“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things,” he said. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

Gates made the remark during an interview with Quartz.

“Exactly how you’d do it, measure it, you know, it’s interesting for people to start talking about now,” Gates said. “Some of it can come on the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there. Some of it can come directly in some type of robot tax. I don’t think the robot companies are going to be outraged that there might be a tax. It’s OK.”

How idiotic can you get? A robot is just another form of capital. Capital never “gets paid.” Money, generated by capital, flows to capital owners who do pay taxes! All money ends up with some human somewhere. How clueless is Gates?

Maybe we should retroactively tax all Microsoft software for all the jobs it “ended.” In the words of Gates, I don’t think he is “going to be outraged that there might be a tax. It’s OK.”

The fact of the matter is that capital, be it software, robots or some other form, increases productivity. This does not wipe jobs off the planet. It causes people to move into other jobs. This is economics 101. Markets clear, including labor markets. If people lose jobs because of more productive capital and they have to move to other jobs, it means the pool of product is greater. This is a net gain for an economy and the more it happens the greater the gain for everyone in the economy.

You really have to be an idiot to want to tax the owners of capital that are responsible for these gains in product.

And Wenzel writes this about economist Jeffrey Sachs:

Sachs appears to understand that robots make the economy more productive but he doesn’t seem to understand that this results in more product* available for all, including the masses. He babbles on about the mythical “problem of inequality.” If the product tide is rising for everyone, who cares if it rises a bit more for those who are responsible for the tide to be increasing in the first place?

Sachs somehow doesn’t get this. In the video, he states that “income is shifting from workers to capital (he means capitalists).” But it is not a shift in absolute income, everyone’s income (that is, access to more product) occurs, though proportionality it could very well be a greater gain for the capitalists who have created the product increase by investing in robots. This is not a shift in a static amount of income, it is an increase income for all.

But because Sachs doesn’t get that it is a gain for all, he proposes all kinds of government interventions that fix a problem of shifting income that doesn’t exist—and in the process advocates policies that create a less incentivized economy that will produce less product.

He states in the video that we need an economy that “shares benefits.” By this, he means taking income from those who have expanded the array of products through capital investment and giving some of that income to those who have not made such investments. He specifically suggests that the young should be given such a payout…

Again, who says that everyone isn’t gaining product in an economy that experiences broad-based gains in robotic productivity? But, further, who says everyone has equally ability in the handling of capital or robot investment? This is an absurd notion. In a free market, capital tends to move toward those who are most capable of employing it efficiently.

His policies, if enacted, would only make the economy less productive.

* I am using the term product to mean both product and service for brevity’s sake.

And George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux quotes from

Ludwig von Mises’s 1958 essay “Foreign Investment“:

“The only way to increase industrialization is to have more capital.  Protectionism can only divert investments from one branch of business to another branch.

“Protectionism, in itself, does not add anything to the capital of a country.  To start a new factory one needs capital.  To improve an already existing factory one needs capital, and not a tariff.”

DBx:  Indeed.  Yet the alleged entrepreneurial genius who now resides as head carnival barker at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, does not grasp this most basic of economic truths.

And Don Boudreaux writes in a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

While touring a Boeing factory today in South Carolina, Trump exclaimed that “[w]hen there is a level playing field, and I’ve been saying this for a long time, American workers will always, always, always win” (“President Donald Trump Praises Boeing, Suggests More Plane Purchases Coming,” Feb. 17).

It’s distressing that a U.S. president regularly spews such economic nonsense.

First, as Adam Smith made clear, the ultimate measure of the success of trade is not how many jobs it creates or how many domestic businesses it profits but, rather, how much it allows ordinary men and women to consume.  To see the truth of Smith’s point, ask: would you prefer to live in an economy in which everyone works long and hard but gets in return only an always-skimpy handful of goods and services for consumption, or in an economy in which relatively little work is required in order to afford everyone access to an ever-growing abundance of goods and services for consumption?  If you chose the latter, then you correctly understand that Trump errs in focusing on jobs (which are a means); he should instead focus on access to goods and services (which is the end).

Second, trade is neither a game nor a battle in which one party defeats the other.  All parties to voluntary trades come out ahead regardless of the tilt of the “playing field” (whatever this hackneyed phrase might mean).

Third, even on the most uneven of “playing fields,” American workers would find profitable opportunities to produce goods and services for export.  Opportunities to profitably specialize and export are determined by comparative advantage which, contrary to Trump’s suggestion, continues to exist even on the most lopsided and wobbly of “playing fields.”

It’s no crime for Trump to be completely ignorant of economics.  It is, however, a great crime for him to use the power of the U.S. presidency to impose coercive trade policies that are premised on his boundless ignorance.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

Are the News Media the “Enemy of the People”?

Recently Donald Trump made reference to the news media as “the enemy of the American people,” and Chris Wallace and Sen. John McCain found that statement troubling. But this is nothing new, says Jack Shafer of Politico, who cites Presidents Adams, Jefferson, Grant, FDR, and Nixon, who all had a beef with the Press.

But I think that Trump was really referring to how the mainstream news media have been dishonestly propagandizing on behalf of government bureaucrats. With such collusions and given that most of the time government bureaucrats target innocent people with aggressions, intrusions, and thefts, we can conclude that media propagandizing on their behalf qualifies such media as acting as “enemies of the people.”

For example, the New York Times especially with Judith Miller, and much of the mainstream media, frankly, spread the bureaucrats’ propaganda to promote war in Iraq in 2002-2003, just as the U.S. government’s massive propaganda campaign duped the American people to support the first war in Iraq in 1991.

Another example is the biased mainstream news media “reporters” or pundits who colluded with Hillary campaign staff in 2016, giving her debate questions in advance, and otherwise acting on her behalf against Bernie Sanders. And all the Democrat media minions who have been pushing the Russia-enemy narrative, and the “Russians hacked the DNC” fake news as well. It is extremely hard to believe that Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and their fellow Democrat groupies in the media really believe the Russia hacking accusation when there has been no evidence to support it. Seeing the fallout of the WikiLeaks DNC email revelations, the Washington Post even published an article in late November on “fake news” that was itself “fake news.”

I can see why reasonable and objective people would conclude that when reporters or news organizations not only slant their coverage but purposely omit information while repeating false information to intentionally misinform the people, that such reporters can be considered as a part of the Regime, i.e. the “enemy.”

And yes, the Regime in Washington can be considered the “enemy,” or something close to an occupying foreign regime having invaded the territory.

As I wrote in my February 25, 2011 essay, “U.S. Government Now Treats the American People As the Enemy – The People Need to View the Government As an Invading and Occupying Foreign Government,”

The more intrusions Americans have allowed their governments — federal, state and local — to inflict into their lives, the more aggressively governments have been enforcing those intrusions, and certainly not on behalf of the American people, that’s for sure. The worst level of government, of course, has been that centralized federal Leviathan in DC…

And regarding how the U.S. Regime treats the American people as the enemy, I continued,

The generals’ psy-ops on U.S. senators is proof enough of the zeal to justify expansion of State power.

The psy-ops are supposed to be used on the “enemy,” but now that we see that the generals are using that psychological warfare on U.S. senators who presumably represent the American people, the message that the American people are now the enemy of the U.S. government is loud and clear.

And in that post I linked to and discussed Glenn Greenwald’s article on the Obama Regime’s war on journalists, which some people are mistakenly comparing to Donald Trump’s current criticism of the biased media. So far, Trump has not imposed any tyrannical fascist-like suppressions of the Press, unlike Obama. But as I wrote in my aforementioned post, regarding Obama’s anti-freedom of the Press crackdowns,

Greenwald writes about the DOJ’s going into New York Times journalist James Risen’s bank, credit, phone and travel records to locate Risen’s source for a book associated with CIA incompetence. Not only are these intrusions by government officials into a private citizen’s private records disturbing, but the reasons for the intrusions have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with punishing those who expose the government’s crimes

And, worse than George W. Bush, believe it or not, Obama went on to prosecute or harass several people, including James Rosen of Fox News and Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times (and possibly Andrew Breitbart and Michael Hastings), as well as government whistleblowers including William Binney, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, and Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning). And the feds have been using the “Espionage Act” to prosecute whistleblowers, as though informing one’s fellow Americans about the feds’ criminality is equal to “spying on behalf of a foreign government,” yeah, right.

When whistleblowers shine a light on the criminal cockroaches in Washington the criminals scamper and attempt to cover up their exposed criminality, and the unaccountable bureaucrats’ usual response is to turn the legal and prosecutorial arm of the Regime against the whistleblowers.

Other examples of the bureaucrats’ treating the people as the enemy and of the bureaucrats’ aggressions against them include the EPA declaring that rain puddles or ponds on someone’s property is “wetlands” and thus seizing or usurping control over that private property, or arresting property owners for collecting rainwater on their own property for their own private use. Or a city persecuting an innocent man to death for having chickens on his property.

The above situations could very well be considered examples of treason, committed by government officials against the people, in my view. As I wrote here, the U.S. Constitution defines “Treason” thus:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

By “levying war against them,” the “States” in the plural sense, as Thomas DiLorenzo notes, it is really the agents of the federal government who act treasonously when they target the states, or the people of the states.

While some of the aforementioned journalists really are journalists in the genuine sense, I would have to say that most mainstream media journalists are really activists and do-gooders who are in the business to promote a particular agenda. And I am not shocked that many of them act as clueless propagandists for the regime, promoting war and fanatically and ignorantly promoting destructive central planning. Those many “news journalists” run to the defense of the Regime and its militarist lunatics and demonize those who expose the lunatics, sadly.

When authoritarians such as Obama and Bush engage in suppression of the Press (or threats thereof, as has been the case with Donald Trump), what they really mean is suppression of dissent. Dissent from the status quo, dissent from the Regime’s power and control. That is what we see when journalists and government whistleblowers expose the criminality of the Regime, they are really expressing dissent. The Regime bureaucrats and their apologists don’t like that!

One concern I do have is that there may be many more future propagandists for the State under the guise of “news journalism,” having been thoroughly indoctrinated and brainwashed on today’s college campuses, supporting suppression of dissent and censorship in the name of protecting sensitive snowflakes from “triggering” and “microaggressions.” As we have seen at UC Berkeley, the anti-microaggression babies are now trending dangerously beyond just intolerance but toward violence against those with a different or dissenting point of view, and that is a real concern.

And finally, as I wrote in this post, the “Press” includes anyone with a pen and notepad, a camera or cell phone or tape recorder, and so on. Anyone can be a member of the “Press,” as a journalist, researcher, investigator, or reporter. And the more the better, as far as I’m concerned. If Donald Trump thinks that CNN, ABC, CBS, et al. are biased and the “enemy of the American people,” then those places of so-called journalists need better and more competition to weed them out.

What Is the Real “Fake News”? Who Are the Real “Deniers”?

I know it’s an old cliche by now, but we really do live in a thoroughly Orwellian world, when former Director of national “intelligence” James Clapper lies to Congress and gets away with it, but Donald Trump’s national security advisor is run out of town by the CIA/NSA “intelligence” establishment on their way to getting the big cheese himself, The Donald.

And this whole “fake news” thing with Russia, with the people who used to be known as “liberals” as the McCarthyite paranoids, is also bizarre and Orwellian. The old “liberals” and their younger millennial minions used to consider themselves “open-minded” but certainly not now. As Glenn Greenwald put it, many people just instantly believe news based on anonymous sources as fact without evidence presented. The news media’s shaping of “news” presentation and interviews based on government-propagandized assumptions for the sake of pushing particular partisan agendas has been quite obvious, now.

For instance, this past week George Stephanopoulos demanded evidence from White House policy advisor Stephen Miller on the Trump team’s accusation that people voted illegally in the election in New Hampshire. But did Stephanopoulos demand evidence when the national security establishment asserted that “Russians hacked the DNC?” Did ANY mainstream news media reporters ask for evidence? Not really, as mainly they have been reporting such assertions as fact, regardless of the absence of actual evidence.

Another example of media believing and promoting assumptions as fact without investigation and intellectual inquiry is the “settled science” phenomenon, particularly regarding climate change and vaccines. Just recently Jim Braude, who hosts Greater Boston on WGBH-TV news, participated in the firing of former Boston TV meteorologist Mish Michaels as the show’s newly hired science reporter. Braude heard that Michaels had expressed concern for vaccine safety, and that she had also questioned the climate change orthodoxy, a no-no in Braude’s far-left looniverse. In a tweet, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby asked if Braude will have anyone else fired for questioning a “settled” medical issue. (Hmm, I kind of doubt that Emily Rooney, Greater Boston‘s previous host, would have had Mish Michaels fired for merely expressing honest intellectual inquiry.)

In an earlier time, Braude was a part of Tax Equity Alliance and spent a lot of his time promoting more taxes and tax hikes to impose on the workers and producers of Massachusetts. Braude never met a tax he didn’t like. So really he seems to be an ideologue of the left. But he has good speaking and conversational skills, and he had been a good interviewer on New England Cable News. It seems that many, many people in the “news” business are ideologues of the left, anyway.

I have a feeling that the firing of Mish Michaels is more to do with the climate change skepticism than the vaccines controversy, given the religious zeal of many climate fanatics now. In fact, their main goal, as we hear time and again, is to get the government to raise taxes or impose an irrational “carbon tax,” and to further expand and empower the government’s police powers to deal with climate change’s terrible impact on Mother Earth.

But instead of referring to “settled science,” the more honest journalists conduct intellectual inquiries and they question what has supposedly been “settled.” For instance, do those among the climate change crowd ever ask how many among that “97%” of climate scientists who conclude that climate change is human-caused are reliant on government grants? That’s an important part of the issue here, as the government hands out tax-funded grants to certain scientists for their studies. The bureaucrats of the regime have a primary goal of collecting more in taxes and expanding their powers and expanding their little fiefdoms. So the primary goal of the whole climate change agenda is more powerful government and more tax-thefts.

On his WGBH radio show Braude and his co-host Margery Eagan, it seems to me, are constantly referring to “deniers,” in the same way that televangelists might refer to non-believers as “deniers.”

Eagan has done so in her writing as well, such as in her Boston Herald column promoting her town of Brookline’s ban on plastic shopping bags (despite evidence which shows that paper shopping bags might be more harmful to the environment than plastic ones — oops).

Now, of course news journalists such as Mish Michaels should express skepticism of various assertions put forth by government bureaucrats, establishment medical “experts,” climate scientists, and other more zealous journalists.

And by the way, the “settled science” that the climate change True Believers refer to has mainly been computer models which make predictions for future events or conditions, often times not panning out. And if they do use actual scientific data, they have to resort to fraudulent and skewed testing. Remember “climategate“?

The “science” is not based on actual historical, empirical evidence of global warming or climate change, such as in their assertions that polar ice caps are melting, and causing sea levels to rise. The actual evidence shows that the Arctic ice has been thickening, as shown in 2014, and that the Antarctic ice has also been thickening, as noted in 2002. Yet, regardless of actual evidence, some of the more fanatical among the True Believers actual want to jail the “deniers.” They are definitely of the Salem witch hunt variety of True Believers, for sure.

And regarding the vaccines controversy, no, the science is not “settled” on vaccines. Once one learns of the extent that the vaccine makers are in bed with the FDA and other government agencies, you get an entirely different perspective on this issue. As news journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who has researched these issues extensively, has pointed out:

A new study this week found no link between vaccines and autism. It instantly made headlines on TV news and popular media everywhere. Many billed it as the final word, “once again,” disproving the notion that vaccines could have anything to do with autism.

What you didn’t learn on the news was that the study was from a consulting firm that lists major vaccine makers among its clients: The Lewin Group.

That potential conflict of interest was not disclosed in the paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine; the study authors simply declare “The Lewin Group operates with editorial independence.”

(As an aside, according to OpenSecrets.org, The Lewin Group’s parent company, UnitedHealth Group, is a key government partner in Obamacare. Its subsidiary QSSI was given the contract to build the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website. One of its top executives and his family are top Obama donors.)

Attkisson goes on to describe some of the valid studies which have shown a link between some vaccines and autism. She has an entire page of links to information on vaccines that you won’t find from the mainstream media.

And Dr. Julian Whitaker noted that “Depending upon which vaccine is being administered, a single shot can contain a brew of adulterated bacteria, viruses, aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, and/or numerous multisyllabic chemical additives. To say that repeated exposures to such a wide range of toxins have no cumulative adverse effects on a child’s developing nervous and immune systems is more than irrational—it’s diabolical.”

Dr. Whitaker also points out that kids receive 14 different vaccines in 49 doses by the age of six. (Thank God we didn’t get inflicted with all that crap when I was a kid!) In this article, Bill Sardi states that “children under age 2 are not able to develop sufficient antibodies to develop immunity from vaccination.  Despite this basic fact, the medical establishment insists upon administering a total of 19 shots, containing 24 vaccines, to infants on their 2, 4 and 6 month pediatric visits.” Sardi gives a lot of important information with links for further inquiry (for those open-minded enough to not fall for the “science is settled” mantra).

I think that much of the pro-vaccine and pro-prescription drug hysteria is unwittingly on behalf of the obscene profits being made by the drug companies (and often at taxpayer expense, especially via Medicare and ObamaCare). Not that I’m against corporations earning profits. But when it’s based on deception, that’s not good.

Some of the “fake news” includes the intentional omission of important information for consumers to make better choices.

I have written before on NPR’s blatant bias on behalf of Big Pharma, and PBS’s biased story on the deadly Gardasil HPV vaccine. And I have also written about how the mainstream media often don’t mention the number of recent mass murderers who had been taking psychiatric drugs. Many mainstream news media outlets are sponsored by pharmaceutical industry predators, so naturally the media wouldn’t want to expose any of the liabilities from those companies’ products.

Former Merck employee Brandy Vaughan describes the lengths to which the drug companies will go to harass and intimidate those who speak out against the corruption of the pharmaceutical industry.

Regarding the vaccine hysteria of the never-question-vaccine-safety crowd, one point I hear them make is, “My kid is vaccinated, and I don’t want any unvaccinated kids in the class with my kid. So, get your kid vaccinated, because otherwise he’s dangerous to my kid.” Which implies that you don’t believe that your kid’s being vaccinated protects him, i.e. an admission or belief that your kid’s vaccination is ineffective. Otherwise, it wouldn’t matter if another kid isn’t vaccinated. But hystericals don’t think logically, they act emotionally.

In this important article on vaccine hysteria, Dr. Lee Hieb points out the dangers of some vaccines such as the MMR vaccine, and makes a valid conclusion that the whole issue is really more about freedom. Let parents have the freedom to make an informed decision as to whether or not to get their child vaccinated.

So we do live in an extremely Orwellian age now. Real information and truth are considered “fake news,” while propagandists push false information or silence alternative (i.e. truthful and factual) information from getting out there. Today, the actual promoters of science and honest intellectual inquiry are silenced by the anti-science promoters of actual fake news (i.e. propaganda) and greater governmental power and control.

Some Informative Links

Here are some links to recent informative items:

Laurence Vance asks, Is the moral life of a Christian compatible with the military life?

Jacob Hornberger says that attacks on Betsy DeVos are misguided.

Jon Rappoport tells the truth about modern psychiatry, and psychiatric drugs.

Dr. Ted Noel explains why the high medical costs.

Glenn Greenwald on the vast hidden powers of the FBI.

William Binney and Ray McGovern say that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked.

Tony Heller says the arctic sea ice is the same thickness as 1940, and discusses NOAA data tampering.

Walter Block on free trade.

And Jay Nordlinger interviews AP reporter Hannah Dreier on life in Venezuela.

Frothing Collectivists and Nationalists Need to Understand Due Process

You can say what you want about the ACLU. They’re not right on every issue. For instance, in their defending same-sex couples who sue Christian bakers for not baking a same-sex wedding cake, the ACLU forgets that freedom of thought and conscience and freedom of association are part of the underpinnings of liberty in a free society. In those instances the ACLU defends the use of aggression and coercion, and defends the “rights” of people to force others to do extra labor to serve them, involuntarily.

But there are many other cases in which the ACLU is on target, such as in their defense of due process and presumption of innocence. Such important aspects of freedom seem to escape the minds of many “nationalists” and conservatives who love Donald Trump’s anti-immigration views. The talk radio crowd seem to be following Trump off the cliff because they share his simple-minded, anti-foreigner attitude. As I implied in my 2010 article, Tea Partiers May Need the ACLU Soon, when the Democrats take over both houses of Congress in 2018, the Patriot Act-on-Steroids policies that Trump will be putting in place will then be used by the Left against conservatives and others who have criticized the Regime. You like the college campus totalitarianism of today? Good luck. And good luck to goofy Jeff Kuhner on the radio who wants to have another House Un-American Activities Committee, like Newt Gingrich wants to do, so that when the Left returns to power they can drag him before the Committee and let him know a thing or two.

But nationalism is a part of collectivism. And collectivism causes people to lose sight of the fact that we are all individuals. Innocent people have a right to be left alone.

People have a right to be left alone by their neighbors and by the government unless they are actually suspected of some crime against the persons or property of others. And even then, the accused have a right to require the accuser to present evidence against the accused. Doesn’t matter who the accuser is, private parties or government officials. It is wrong to prevent an innocent individual from traveling to where he wants to go just because of one’s ethnic background, if you don’t suspect him of any criminal act.

Just as much as it is wrong to stop and search black youths without suspicion just because some other black youths may have committed crimes, just as much as it is wrong to persecute white people because some white people owned black slaves before 150 years ago, and just as much as it is wrong to attack and beat up on innocent people for their merely attending a Trump or Milo speech.

Wendy McElroy linked to a post by a prominent ACLU attorney who was unnecessarily questioned by Customs and Border “Protection” agents when returning to the U.S. from abroad. Hina Shamsi stated in her post that the federal agents were questioning her much more like a suspect than any of the questioning she might have received while Bush or Obama was President, even though the agents had no reason to suspect her of anything.

The questioning continued and was extensive. It included not just travel, but my schooling and other jobs over the years. I know — and have represented — numerous people who were unjustifiably questioned by CBP based on their religion or studies or travel. Perhaps it’s remarkable that this never happened to me, but it hasn’t.

It didn’t happen during the Bush years when I traveled to meet with and represent Afghan and Iraqi survivors of U.S. military torture, to Guantanamo as an observer at the military commissions there, or to attend meetings and give talks abroad about U.S. human rights abuses in the national security context. It didn’t happen during the Obama years when my work included challenges to unlawful targeted killing, anti-Muslim discrimination, unfair watchlisting, illegal spying, and other U.S. government abuses at home and abroad.

Ms. Shamsi defends due process when it comes to national security policies, including the Obama drone-murder policies which Trump has just inherited.

From a 2013 interview, here is Ms. Shamsi (approx. 4 minutes into video) giving reasons to be against the Obama Administration’s drone-murder policy. The other guy in the interview, a Council on Foreign Relations flunky, sounds very confused in his defense of such immoral, anti-due process policies.

The truth is, all human beings have a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those are natural, inherent rights that we are all born with. All human beings have those rights, not just Americans or American citizens. But the people who defend those anti-due process policies, or defend due process-free immigration restrictions and government walls, do not seem to understand this.

And those basic rights, by the way, which are inherent and which preexist the formation of any government, also include freedom of speech, self-defense, the right to be secure in one’s person, houses, papers and effects, and that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,” as noted in that dusty ol’ U.S. Constitution.

It’s sad that the collectivists and nationalists who are following Trump over the cliff prefer all these counter-productive and immoral police state policies, rather than ending the murderous and destructive interventionism overseas that has been provoking those foreigners and the terrorism in the first place.

A Symphony Conductor Responds to Donald Trump’s Ignorant Decrees

The 87-year-old German symphony conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi canceled his recent scheduled concerts with the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, citing the flu. Von Dohnanyi spent many years as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, 1984-2002.

This week, the classical music blog, Slippedisc.com, recently published a statement by von Dohnanyi regarding the Trump travel ban from certain Muslim-majority countries.

PRINCIPIIS OBSTA – RESIST THE BEGINNINGS
6th February, 2017

Four men in my family were executed by the Nazis. Hans von Dohnanyi, my father, honored in Yad Vashem, was killed in the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen short before the Second World War ended. At the same time the world-renowned theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, brother of my mother, my godfather, was executed in the concentration camp Flossenbürg. In 1930 Bonhoeffer began his studies in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary and learned to love and admire the United States of America.

I know today he would be extremely unhappy observing a tendency of religious intolerance in the country he once admired so much for its freedom and acceptance. He never could have imagined that this strong, great nation would find itself in the political and ethical crisis it now faces. A nation’s heart may race when it feels threatened, fearful, or even terrified. But this heart, no matter how “devout”, should never tolerate walls nor turn away those seeking help. People died at the Berlin Wall. Many people died in Hitler’s concentration camps for their unwavering beliefs in the value of their ethics and in their fellow man. These beliefs are now endangered in many Western nations including, sadly enough, the USA. This is unimaginable.

Also unimaginable, for instance: I should have a U.S. visa and move through passport control without incident. Next to me another musician would have the same kind of visa. He would be detained because he is a Muslim from Iran. He would be sent back after hours of interrogation. But Christians would be excepted from these new regulations. (By the way, Bonhoeffer – a fervent and prominent supporter of ecumenical Christianity – would have strongly opposed that.) Rising walls will unfortunately keep many talented, well educated and good people away from travelling to the U.S. this might be sad. But by far more relevant remains the question, whether walls will make anybody safer. We all know, fear and aggression produce nothing but fear and aggression.

What kind of world are we living in? A world of “Texas first!”, “California first!”, Asia, Africa, America, Europe or Australia “first!”? Or do we live in a world that puts human dignity, humanity, fearlessness and compassion above everything else? In it’s great days our much-loved USA was such a country.

There is hope that the current political turmoil in the U.S. will, in fact, harm the extreme-rightwing parties in some upcoming, important European elections.

(c) Christoph von Dohnanyi

Here is von Dohnanyi conducting a rehearsal of the last movement from Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony with l’Orchestre de Paris 2 years ago.