Monday, February 22, 2021

Is Britain a more free country than the United States? In what ways is it more free?

 

Citizens in the US are freer from a technical/legalistic perspective, which is also easier to define, but Britain is freer where it counts most - freedom of thought/freedom of expression. Brits are mentally freer, which is most fundamental freedom and therefore Britain is generally a freer country.

Freedom can be defined in different ways. The two basic conceptions of political freedom are freedom from government intrusion in citizens’ lives and the more Marxist conception, which sees freedom in terms of economic human rights, without which humans cannot reach their potential. In other words, people cannot develop their full potential unless their basic needs are met - shelter and food. In this view, government has an obligation to provide basic needs to its citizens, regardless of whether those citizens work.

In our media-driven age, the right to freedom of thought and expression is especially important..

The US has more freedom according to the first definition - freedom from government intrusion. Because of the United States’ political history - a country founded by people who sought freedom from government oppression - this type of freedom is fundamental to US identity. Americans have greater rights to privacy, as a matter of law. Police cannot search citizens arbitrarily. We discovered during the Snowden affair that, as a matter of law, British government has significantly greater powers to electronically monitor citizens. In the US, government is not allowed to casually listen in on, or even collect information about communication among US citizens. Authorities need special permission to do so. Americans also have a constitutional right to bear arms, which is a political freedom in the sense that this right was created in order prevent government oppression. The US also gives its citizens greater rights to obtain information from the government, through the Freedom of Information Act. US government is, technically speaking, more transparent. But that’s just on paper.

Brits are freer where it counts most; freedom of thought and freedom of expression. In purely legal terms, both countries protect freedom of thought/expression, as do all Western democracies. You are allowed to think what you want, and to communicate what you want so long as you do not 1) compromise national security and 2) endanger other people’s lives. The famous legal opinion from the Warren Supreme Court explained that an individual’s right to free speech is limited if that speech endangers other people - you can’t shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater/theatre (for my UK friends) because that would endanger people’s lives.

The most serious violation of the right to free speech is when the government prevents media from reporting political speech. Censorship of political speech is, after all, what separates the US from North Korea/China etc… “Prior restraint” is the legal term for this violation, when the government actually prevents media from publishing a story. The high point of US post-war democracy came in June of 1971, when the Nixon administration filed an injunction, prior restraint, against The New York Times and Washington Post to prevent the papers from publishing a story, already written, about The Pentagon Papers, which was a study by the Rand Corporation that Daniel Elsberg had somehow illegally obtained, much as Ed Snowden stole documents. The study revealed that the US government was lying about the progress of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration argued that the story would threaten national security.

Because the court injunction was curtailing political speech, the case was treated with the utmost urgency by the Supreme Court. I say it was the high water mark of US democracy because the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech. In one of the court’s most famous opinions on free speech, the Court ruled that the public’s right to be informed was stronger than the argument for national security. In order to curtail political speech, the government must demonstrate a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER the Court said. This standard applies to this day. Only if a story presented a direct and immediate threat to national security, meaning that lives would be threatened… or something along those lines, could the government block free speech.

In the nearly 50 years ago since the Pentagon Papers case, the United States has turned into an authoritarian Big Brother type of country, and most US citizens are totally brainwashed, and are totally unaware of this fact. For all intents and purposes, the United States is no longer a democracy, and that is not an exaggeration. Although the UK is less free than it once was, it is still a democracy - as is evidenced by the Brexit vote. UK citizens actually got the chance to make a substantive decision about the future of their country. Further, its citizens are much better informed, and its media is much freer. The recently published Chilicot report, a brutally honest assessment of the UK’s involvement in the Iraq war, proved that the UK was still capable of honest self-evaluation. The report blasted the Blair government, stating that he blindly followed the Bush administration into a disastrous war that had no plan other than to invade and destroy a country. Such a report could never be produced in the US.

How and when did things go so terribly wrong in the US? It began with deregulation of media during the 1980s. Whereas media used to be owned by thousands of companies, today five companies own all the newspapers and electronic media in the US. A new media catchphrase during the late 1980s and 1990s was “synergy” - which meant maximizing profits. Serious media companies, who are supposed to be the “watchdogs” of US democracy, began making deep cuts in reporting staff. Media consciously moved away from its previously “confrontational” approach towards government, meaning that it no longer challenged government and assumed that government does not lie. Increasingly, mainstream media turned into mouthpieces of the State Department.

The death knell of US democracy was September 11, 2001 - a day when mainstream media became complicit in the Bush administration’s evil plan. I am not arguing that media were “in on it,” although some clearly were. CNN, for example, reported the collapse of WTC 7 20 or so minutes before it actually happened (as did the BBC). The Bush admin put out a few talking heads who announced, hours after the attack, who was responsible and all dissent was squashed. On the afternoon of 9/11, a few lone journalists in what was once an honorable profession made their last protests - the late Peter Jennings, and a few others (very few), noted the similarity between the building collapses and a controlled demolition. Jennings was the only journalist to ask, live on air, why there was so little rubble. Where did the buildings go? One of his reporters on the scene explained that the buildings had “evaporated”. There would be no more questions. To this day.

In the coming years, it got worse. The New York Times, once the nation’s most venerable and respected newspaper, became the play thing of the Bush administration. The paper shamelessly repeated lies about weapons of mass destruction, without ever questioning the flagrant lies. The paper would eventually apologize, but too little too late.

Behind the scenes, intelligence agents with a conscience were leaving their careers because they were horrified over what was happening; agencies were providing “evidence” (cherry picking info) that supported a politicized and biased view of reality in support of a foreign policy agenda. Behind the scenes, the NSA was creating the architecture of a totalitarian government that would spy on everyone all the time, a move made possible by provisions in the Patriot Act, which were being renewed every three months. Agents with a conscience tried to warn the public. They were silenced.

In the dystopian version of the United States, there are two kinds of people - a small group of “crazies” who are labelled “conspiracy theorists” and who try to warn people that the country has turned into a totalitarian government where political freedom is an illusion. They warn citizens that media is an illusion, that 911 was fake, that Sandy Hook was fake - and that these claims are so easy to prove… all you need to do is look at the vast mountains of evidence that point in that direction… they warn that ISIS was created by the US in order to destabilize Syria, and the region, and that you can’t believe much of the news anymore because much of it is manipulation and propaganda. You can look up in the sky and see geo-engineering planes with your own eyes… you can read about such programs… and it is really scary because there is a continuity at work, from Bush to Obama… and now the baton will be passed to Clinton… and that the people in power are totally insane because they want to impose a global system in which everyone will be dependent on a system of finance/credit - these people don’t give a shit, they rule by deceit, and the only reason you still feel that you have political freedom is because you haven’t challenged these key claims and demanded change.

This new totalitarianism is expressed as soft power through a corporate monoculture - in order to advance professionally in the monoculture, one must accept the assumptions about reality and not question the insanity. Failure to go along with the herd will result in economic marginalization. That’s how they keep everyone in line. Through institutional culture and labels. The idea that our political reality is manipulated and controlled through propaganda seems so crazy that most people can’t go there - but the evidence is real and overwhelming. All you have to do is look. The evidence is logical and scientific. And the reason that most people are not waking up out of their stupor is

1) there is no psychological incentive to see what’s really going on… you take the time to investigate the evidence and at the end, you will discover an uncomfortable truth

2) The mainstream belief system is based on a few widely held and often repeated assumptions: that people can’t keep secrets, and that if any of this were true, someone would have gone to the media and told them the whole story, and the media would have investigated these claims and told us the truth because journalists are courageous and motivated by a desire to tell the truth… and the government can’t even safely deliver a letter… how in the world can it pull off some of these events? And it’s impossible that everyone is in on this… it doesn’t make any sense.

Scratch deeper and you see that these are silly assumptions. Edward Snowden was a whistle blower, but he had a unique level of access, was able to copy a million documents to prove what he was saying, and he had to sacrifice his entire life and leave forever in order to tell us that society had become Big Brother. before Snowden, hundreds of thousands of people had kept quiet, and three previous guys had tried to warn the country, but they didn’t have documents… As for media? They are not fearless warriors, but superficial maggots driven by a desire to advance professionally. Stop believing in fairy tales.

2) evaluating the evidence requires an independent and confident personality… most people prefer to believe what everyone else believes because people don’t want to be different

3) it would be psychologically and emotionally painful to see reality

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rep. Waltz Blasts Biden on China, 'Social Justice Doesn’t Just Apply to You'

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) called on Tuesday for the Biden administration to “walk the walk” on human rights and boycott the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics games.

The  Games, set to commence next February, have become a target of mounting criticism from both the left and the right over concerns of ongoing human rights’ violations within the People’s Republic of China. Earlier this week, Rep. Waltz proposed a resolution in the House to boycott the Games if the Internal Olympic Committee (IOC) refuses to relocate them. 

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Rep. Waltz defended his position, arguing that the “Chinese Communist Party has unleashed the Coronavirus on the world, it covered it up, arrested journalists, arrested doctors, obfuscated an investigation by the WHO, and now is actively committing genocide, forced rape, forced sterilization, slave labor in concentration camps literally as we speak,” concluding with the question, “how do we then have the American flag flying in Beijing?”

Rep. Waltz stressed that the ideal solution would be for the IOC to relocate the upcoming Games, but with the event less than a year away, he was clear that a boycott would be a necessary step if the international committee chose to disregard the public outcry. 

The recent criticisms of China stem from both their handling of the global pandemic and their human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims. 

In late 2019, China’s Wuhan Province became the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic and the People’s Republic has since been accused of mismanaging the initial outbreak and misleading the world in an effort to save face publicly and downplay their own culpability. 

At the same time, the communist regime has forced over a million Uighur Muslims into concentration camps that the country originally denied, but ultimately acknowledged as “re-education centers.” Reports of systematic violence within the camps include torture, rape and forced sterilization.

In an open letter to governments around the world, a coalition of 180 human rights groups requested a boycott of the 2022 Beijing games to “ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government's appalling rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent.”

For their part, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has pushed back against calls to boycott, opposing the idea “because they (boycotts) have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues.”

According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, the administration is “not currently talking about changing our posture or our plans as it relates to the Beijing Olympic.”

 

Biden's 'Commonsense' Gun Controls Make Little Sense

 

This week, President Joe Biden marked the third anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by urging Congress to "enact commonsense gun law reforms." The implication was that the gun controls Biden favors would prevent crimes like the Parkland massacre.

There is little reason to think that's true. The bills Biden is eager to sign would instead arbitrarily limit Second Amendment rights and threaten the viability of the industry that makes it possible to exercise them.

Biden wants to prohibit the production and sale of "assault weapons" and require that current owners either surrender their firearms to the government or follow the same tax and registration requirements that apply to machine guns. Yet, he concedes that the 1994 federal "assault weapon" ban, which expired in 2004, had no impact on the lethality of legal firearms.

The problem, according to Biden, was that manufacturers could comply with the law by "making minor modifications to their products -- modifications that leave them just as deadly." But there is no way around that problem because laws like these are based on "military-style" features, such as folding stocks, threaded barrels and bayonet mounts, which have nothing to do with a weapon's destructive power.

Even if the government could eliminate all guns with those features, would-be mass shooters would have plenty of equally lethal alternatives. Several of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history were carried out with weapons that would not be covered by Biden's ban.

Biden also would ban "high-capacity magazines," which politicians generally define as magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Americans own millions of those; they are standard for many of the most popular handguns and rifles.

The rationale for the 10-round limit is that the need to switch magazines can create a "critical pause" during which a mass shooter might be overpowered or his victims might escape. But as a federal judge noted when he ruled against California's ban on "large-capacity magazines" in 2019, that restriction also can create a "lethal pause" for a crime victim "trying to defend her home and family" -- a far more common situation.

Also on Biden's agenda: repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a 2005 federal law that generally protects gun manufacturers and distributors from liability for criminal uses of their products. As Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., noted in 2016, exposing businesses to potentially ruinous judgments when a legally purchased firearm is used to commit a crime is a prescription for "ending gun manufacturing in America," meaning "your position is there should not be any guns in America, period."

Biden also supports background checks for nearly all gun transfers, which in practice would mean requiring the involvement of federally licensed dealers in private sales. That requirement would impose new burdens and costs on law-abiding gun owners without having any impact on run-of-the-mill criminals, who are no more likely to follow Biden's rule than they are to obey all the other laws they routinely violate.

As for mass shooters, they typically do not have criminal or psychiatric records that would disqualify them from buying guns, meaning they would pass the background checks Biden wants to expand. The Parkland shooter, for example, bought his rifle legally, which makes the invocation of his crime as a justification for expanded background checks rather puzzling.

To the extent that Biden's policy would actually prevent people from buying guns, it would hurt many people who are legally barred from owning firearms even though they have never demonstrated violent tendencies. Prohibited owners include cannabis consumers, even in states where marijuana is legal; anyone with a felony record, no matter the nature of the offense or how long ago it happened; and anyone who has ever undergone involuntary psychiatric treatment, regardless of whether he was deemed a danger to others.

Biden's "commonsense" gun control prescriptions are "common" in the sense that politicians often push them. Whether they make "sense" is another matter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Given How Flawed Human Nature Is, America Has Been a Remarkable Moral Achievement

Given how flawed human nature is, America has been a remarkable moral achievement.

This is the truism that separates the wise man from the fool.

This is the truism that separates the left from the anti-left.

Those who acknowledge how flawed human nature is compare America to reality. Those who do not, compare America to some utopian image: a country free of inequality, prejudices, intolerance, sexual misbehavior, greed, etc. This divide helps explain why those who hold a biblical worldview -- usually religious Jews and Christians -- are more likely to appreciate America than those who do not. It is fundamental to Judaism and Christianity that "the will of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21).

I offer a partial list of bad traits inherent to human nature. When perusing it, one can only marvel at how good a country America became.

No. 1: A yearning for power over others.

This yearning is what has animated nearly every political leader in history. There are people who do not have a personal craving for power and seek positions of power solely because of a calling. But these people are rare.

The American Founders understood this. They created a unique political system to minimize power and to maximize checks on power. That is the reason for the division of power among three coequal branches of government and the reason states were given so much power. Thus, America was established to be a republic, not a pure democracy. In addition, the Founders did not trust the majority with great power, which is the reason for two nondemocratic institutions: the Electoral College and the Senate. And that is why the left, which is rooted in a desire for power -- and therefore a desire for evermore powerful government -- loathes the Electoral College and the Senate.

No. 2: A yearning for fame and recognition.

This, along with the yearning for power, is what drives and has driven nearly all politicians in world history, but it is hardly isolated to politicians. For example, it is largely what animates Hollywood actors. That is one reason no other profession gives itself as many awards as does Hollywood. Increasingly, however, being a star is also what animates journalists and, to the extent possible, academics and other intellectuals.

No. 3: A yearning to feel and be considered important and morally superior.

This is nearly universal. People -- historically men, but increasingly women -- ache to believe they are important. There is nothing inherently wrong with this yearning. However, it can lead people to engage in irresponsible, even evil, behavior -- solely because it makes them feel important. This explains why the left fights largely nonexistent evils such as "systemic racism," "white supremacy," "white privilege" and "capitalism." Fighting evil, even make-believe evils, makes one feel important and morally superior to those who do not fight these evils.

No. 4: The sex drive.

Consider how many men have lost everything -- their money, reputation, livelihood, even their family -- in order to gratify their sex drive. The reason there has been so much irresponsible and sometimes evil sexual behavior is not because of "sexism" or "patriarchy," but because of this drive. The wonder is not how much sexual impropriety exists in America; the wonder is how little there is compared to the past, compared to virtually every society in history and compared to many societies today.

This has largely been the result of the influence of Judeo-Christian ethics. Prior to the baby boomer generation, most American men were raised to believe that manhood was defined by marriage and by taking care of a family. With the left's assault on Judeo-Christian religions, more and more young men feel free to revert to their animallike sexual nature, which is not monogamous and not naturally inclined to getting married and making a family.

No. 5. Greed.

The desire for more money and material possessions is built into the human condition. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money and have a nicer home. In fact, it is usually a good thing; it is what animates people to work hard and invent things. Greed, however, is the word we use to describe a yearning for material wealth so great that it overpowers moral considerations -- which it has throughout history. It is the reason for corruption, an evil that constitutes the single greatest reason countries do not develop. Like every other country, America has always had its share of greedy individuals, but there has generally been far less corruption in America than elsewhere -- a major reason for America's unique prosperity.

This, too, is rapidly changing. Like the other negative impulses of human nature, greed was held at least somewhat in check by religion. Every Bible-based religion taught its followers self-control. With the demise of religion, the only thing left to control people is the state. But when the state becomes a substitute for religion in attempting to control human nature, one ends up with a police state, which may well happen here.

No. 6: Ingratitude.

Gratitude is not built into human nature. That's why good parents tell their children thousands of times, "Say 'thank you.'" Gratitude needs to be cultivated. And throughout American history, it was. The great majority of Americans and new immigrants to America were profoundly grateful to be American. Of course, many Blacks had legitimate reasons not to be grateful to be American. But, over time, that has changed. However, the left has told every group other than white males that they should have no gratitude for being American. One could say that most college and graduate school degrees today are degrees in ingratitude. The left knows it can only win elections when the majority of Americans are ungrateful.

Given human nature, America has been an extraordinary accomplishment. However, given the left's largely successful elimination of Judeo-Christian and middle-class values -- and the consequent unleashing of human nature -- that accomplishment may not survive

 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Biden Creating a COVID Nightmare By Allowing Hordes of Illegals To Enter the Country

 

Our own Julio Rosas has been at the border since Joe Biden decided to reverse course on Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement agenda. Needless to say, things are about to change for the worse down there. Mr. Biden has been on an executive order kick. Should we call him King Joseph of Delaware? I don’t know, but Rosas noted that there is a looming immigration crisis that’s about to hit this administration as hordes of illegal aliens continue to march toward our southern border. He’s setting the ground for the floodgates to open for illegal aliens, but also drafting new COVID restrictions for American citizens. It’s backward.

As Biden has made tackling COVID his main issue supposedly, he’s bound to cause a spike in cases along these border areas that do not have the resources to provide adequate care to anyone. This seems like a situation that can be avoided by merely enforcing our immigration laws and agreements, especially the Migrant Protection Protocols. This is known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, which prevents migrants from entering the country until their asylum declarations are assessed. 

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and other Senate Republicans sent a letter to President Biden that he’s setting himself up to detonate a massive COVID bomb regarding infections and possible deaths if he doesn’t reconsider his direction on immigration policy. 

“As we write this letter, main streets across America are shuttered, millions of parents can’t go to work, and children are kept from school. In a nation where everything seems closed, our border is now open. In violation of the law and common sense, your administration is allowing large numbers of unvetted and likely unvaccinated illegal aliens to enter our nation,” reads the letter.

The GOP Senators add, “This is the beginning of what could rapidly turn into a public health and humanitarian disaster. If illegal immigration continues to surge as a result of your policies, our detention facilities will be overwhelmed, and pandemic precautions would be difficult or impossible to maintain. Not only would this greatly endanger the American public, but the migrants themselves would face increased potential for viral spread.”

Finally, they use Biden’s own words about COVID, noting the 465,000 Americans who have died and how we’re about to enter a dark winter regarding this fight. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, remember that? I also remember a detailed and science-oriented plan to fight this virus that is wholly different from Donald Trump’s agenda. It’s not really. In fact, Biden, who pledged to wipe out the virus if elected, now says we can’t do anything for most of this year. The one thing we do have is a vaccine, thanks to President Donald J. Trump. Regarding the death toll and the doom and gloom projections Biden articulated, the letter ends with GOP Senators issuing one last warning about the recklessness of this administration’s immigration orders 

“We can’t afford for you to create a crisis at the border or cause an increase in COVID-19 cases due to increased illegal immigration. We urge you to quickly reassess and rescind your administration’s reckless immigration actions and focus instead on protecting the American people. Open our economy and our schools, not our border.”

We’ll see what happens. There’s only so much he can do before he taps out for his afternoon nap.