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Mr. Nice Guy: Consider these thoughts on Moore, Trump, Clinton

The Free Press WV

Yes, I was rooting for liberal Democrat Doug Jones to beat Roy Moore, and beat him he did in a very close race.

After the results were in, I looked online to see what the mood in Alabama was. I wondered, if truth be known, whether I had exaggerated Judge Moore’s hold on some Southern evangelicals. The first picture to come up is of a sign on a local church that said “Jesus . . . Roy Moore.“ As I read further, I saw no evidence that Moore tried to disabuse voters of that notion, and the final vote reflected his hold on some Southern Baptists.

I’ve been following politics for well over half a century and I have heard, seen, read all sorts of political pitches, but Moore’s behavior was a new low. What is mystifying is that some part of the 500,000 votes he got came from people who saw, and believed, his masquerade.

Just imagine if Moore had won – perhaps a recount will flip the outcome – and we had politicians from similar communities running similar campaigns. Don’t get me wrong – Moore knew just what he was doing. Almost. While he let the pastors celebrate his divinity, he rode around in full cowboy regalia, casting his vote from horseback.

As for Doug Jones, he does seem like a hopeless liberal who will take orders from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and all it takes is one RINO to give any issue to the Democrats. A RINO, if you’re not familiar with the term, stands for “Republican in Name Only.“ Sadly, one senator who frequently is awarded that label is John McCain, who apparently is undergoing serious medical work. McCain often would not go along with the party leaders on any given issue, which caused him to earn an unspeakable insult from President Donald Trump.

McCain, you may recall, spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton – the main prison – and that provoked Trump to say “I like people who weren’t captured.“ Low class, and a permanent demerit on my Trump scorecard. Notwithstanding that red blot, I think Trump is doing a pretty good job as president.

I’m especially heartened to hear the news that the American Embassy in Israel will be moved to Jerusalem, where it historically belongs. After President Trump made that announcement, it seems the entire world condemned the proposed move.

A little history, if you will. Of all the votes in the General Assembly since the United Nation’s founding in 1948, most of those votes were against Israel. In other words, in a world with – currently – 7 billion people and almost 200 countries – the “sins” of Israel have attracted more condemnation than the tens of millions of people slaughtered in Communist countries, and the savagery in much of Africa.

So, for me, at least, Trump is hard to pin down. He does some things that make me cringe, and he does others that make me applaud. And, of course, any anger I might occasionally feel is tempered by one overriding fact: He’s not Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton, of course, is still going on her “What, me worry?“ tour. Excuse me, that would be, “What Happened?“ – the title of her non-best seller. There’s a lot of blame to go around, and none of it falls on her, of course.

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker

The Dumbing Down of America – By Design

The Free Press WV

First published by GR in August 2014

This presentation focuses on the myriad ways in which the powers-that-be in the United States have been systematically dumbing down Americans as a society for a very long time – all by meticulously calculated design. Originally the term dumbing down was used as a slang expression in 1933 by film screenwriters to mean “revising [the script] so as to appeal to those of lower education or intelligence.”
 
The most obvious example of how Americans have been dumbed down is through this nation’s failed public education system. At one time not that long ago America reigned supreme as a leading model for the rest of the world providing the best quality free public K-12 education system on the planet. But over the last many decades while much of the rest of the world has been passing us by, it seems an insidious federal agenda has been implemented to condition and brainwash a population of mindless, robotic citizenry that simply does what it’s told, and of course the brainwashing commences early in America’s schools. 
 
But prior to delving into the many ways we’ve been duped and dumbed down through the years, a cold hard look at the devastating result seems very much in order here. With doom and gloom warnings of impending collapse, the US economy is floundering still mired in recession, emaciated and cut off from life support, as a consequence of waging too many wars around the world (be they the longest running costly defeats in US history or the fast rising dirty little Special Ops wars secretly raging on every corner of the globe or Obama’s personal favorite, state sponsored terrorism from drone-filled skies). As a pawn to the military industrial complex, the US government has chosen permanent war over its own people. This treasonous decision has decimated the middle class and created a college educated indentured class struggling in heavy debt to find any means to stay afloat. With an outsourced, now vanished manufacturing base, upward mobility and the American dream have become tragic casualties of modern life, now a sad, nostalgic bygone reminder of the once greatness of America. 
 
With the US the biggest debtor nation on earth, Americans are drowning in debt as hopelessly trapped collateral damage from a rapidly sinking, overextended Empire desperate to remain the sole global superpower even if it means death to the whole human race. At home the hapless American population has become increasingly the victim of its own government’s tyranny and oppression under the constant roving eyeball of criminal surveillance and a brutal militarized security state, leaving its citizens defenseless without any security, liberty, freedom or place to hide. After centuries of carefully orchestrated design, oligarchs of the banking cabal have finally gotten what they’ve been plotting and scheming, globally enforced austerity and impoverishment reducing life in America and around the world to near Third World status, and absolute control. The oligarchs are counting on a dumbed down population too busy addicted to their video games or watching sports or Kim Kardashian’s latest wardrobe malfunction to even notice that a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway.
 
But this dismal outcome has long been in the making on many fronts. Over numerous decades a grand experiment engaging in social engineering with America’s youth has been steadily working to homogenize a lowest common denominator product of sub par mediocrity, creating generations of young Americans who can neither read nor write, nor think for themselves in any critical manner. According to a study last year by the US Department of Education, 19% of US high school graduates cannot read, 21% of adults read below 5th grade level and that these alarming rates have not changed in the last ten years. 
 
The international test results from the 2012 PISA indicate American students are lagging behind virtually all developed nations even more than in the past. China topped all 65 nations while US teenagers again scored at or below average in math, reading and science. That is because the current educational system is no longer about learning the basic A-B-C’s but simply cranking out a subclass of work force laborers. This tragic fall from grace of America’s once great educational system has education researcher Cynthia Weatherly referring to America’s current education system as “limited learning for lifelong labor.” 
 
But this planned system of a New World Order (NOW) featuring a planned global economy and a planned global education system has been promoted for well over a century. The Carnegie Foundation outlined its explicit roadmap for absolute oligarch control way back in the 1930’s. Department of Education whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt exposes the conspired downfall of America’s educational system in her well documented chronicle The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.
 
It turns out that America’s “father of modern education” John Dewey, an unabashed admirer of Stalin and his educational system, proclaimed his NWO agenda in 1947:

“… establishment of a genuine world order, an order in which national sovereignty is subordinate to world authority…”

As the first elected UNESCO Director-General British ProfessorJulian Huxley (brother of Brave New World’s Aldous), in 1949 had the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization pumping out pamphlets expounding the importance that children be educated devoid of any national allegiance, patriotism or family loyalties identified as the biggest barriers to their demonic ambitions:
 
      “As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can only produce precarious results.” 
 
Based on my personal experience working with America’s broken child welfare system, several weeks ago I wrotean article on the current child welfare system’s assault on the modern American family. That assault is but part of a wider, across-the-boards assault by the entire US government. The federalist fascists in Washington have been busily mounting an assault on the American family through the state run public education system as well. Like the separation of church and state, the Constitution explicitly calls for specific delineation between the federal government to stay out of the business of education, traditionally leaving it within the sovereignty of the states and local communities to govern. However, just as the US Constitution has been under assault, Washington is now unlawfully dictating mandates to the 1600 US school districts that they must comply with in order to avoid the cutoff of federal dollars. Thus, local school districts throughout this nation are presently under a subversive assault from the long arm of our authoritarian totalitarian government.

Second only to the Department of Defense in its annual budget, more US taxpayer dollars are funneled into the Department of Education than any other public sector. The discretionary budget for Education as of 2015 is $68.6 billion. And these days most of those dollars are being squandered to bankroll the privatization of an already failed educational system. Through privately run charter schools and federally mandated programs like Common Core, control has been snatched away from parents, teachers and elected local school boards. 
 
In the Orwellian double speak deception of “school choice,” public tax funded privatized programs like Common Core have been sold as answering the need for higher educational standards. Should a school district accept even $1 from the federal government, it automatically relinquishes control to the feds, thus providing no choice to the locals. With 43 out of the 50 states already signed up for Common Core, public education run by local communities and states is clearly under siege. The federal agenda is to abolish local run school boards, abandon the letter grade system of A through F’s and seize control over the curriculum. Concealed in the fine print is the not so thinly veiled Trojan Horse promoting that same New World Order that Dewey and Huxley were driving at nearly seven decades earlier. Like it or not, even the nation’s home schoolers, private schools and students in the seven states not adopting Common Core are being impacted as textbook companies have rushed to align their books according to the dogma of the Common Core standards.
 
The embedded Common Core doctrine handed down from Dewey’s Progressive Education is designed to program and prepare children’s impressionable minds toward accepting the notion of collectivism. The group mind is deemed far more important than the individual mind to the extent that a child’s value is only as good as the value the child can bring to the group. As an individual one carries little intrinsic value as a human life without the greater context as the worker bee sacrificing for the maintenance of the group.
 
The heavy focus of public education today is primarily limited to standardized test performance and the proliferation of privatized charter schools complete with private contractors teaching the tests, usurping the authority at all levels from state, to local communities, to individual teacher’s lesson plans, to home schooling parents, largely replaced by instructional software programs.

Little thought or consideration by today’s education top down policymakers is ever given to those students who happen to score low on all these tests. To make matters worse scores are being made public access now which will only traumatize those children and schools scoring far below average. Being branded as less than carries stigmatizing effects of shame and low self-esteem that can both hurt and haunt a person their entire life. Test scores determine placement and too often those scoring lower in the youngest grades again can easily be branded for the remainder of their public education years and beyond for life. Tests always possess limitations on what they mean and measure. Many super intelligent individuals experience test anxiety and perform poorly. Yet with so much riding on test scores today, and the damaging baggage that results from lower scores and lower placements, this current system appears to be doing far more harm than good. But then that is rarely if ever taken into account when the powerful few control the lives of so many. 
 
The New World Order educational system of the twenty-first century has been ushered in by the likes of former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program as a transparent corporatized privatization takeover. Bush’s younger brother Neil after being banned from the banking industry after his savings and loan scandal in the late 1980’s has been making a killing with his educational software company Ignite that promises higher test scores. Behind the double speak deceit of No Child Left Behind, Washington began blackmailing school districts across America with the threat of cutting off federal funds should their test scores fail to make the cut. 
 
This governmental design for public education to move away from actual academic learning to becoming a mere pipeline for training a docile and obedient future workforce has only accelerated on steroids during the Obama regime. With Obama’s current Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago public schools Arne Duncan, and current Chicago Mayor’s Rahm Emmanuel as both Obama and Duncan’s strong-arm enforcer, the scenario being played out in the murderous mean streets of Chicago is igniting the growing national debate. 
 
The federal government busily ramrods its agenda pushing standardized tests and test performance as the packaged panacea in the form of Common Core standards and privatized charter schools under the guise of tax paid public education. Of course school privatization in many districts around this Christian nation also means Creationism is now being taught instead of evolution. Of course this systemic dumbing down of our educational system also permeates a parallel process in the dumbing down of textbooks sold to the schools. The omission of truth and inclusion of false disinformation and propaganda in school textbooks are just another form of indoctrinated mind control. This lopsided war between fascist run propaganda schools brainwashing a Brave New World youth and the local school boards, teachers and parents battling for their lives to maintain what little choice they still have left with their children is yet another pathetic cautionary tale of what the oligarch agenda is doing to destroy America today. 
 
When those who are endowed with optimal energy and often become restless and bored with the dullard tedium of their common denominator factory education, and especially if they freely exercise an individual mind or will of their own in the classroom, they are customarily misdiagnosed and branded with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and given drug lobotomies for control purposes so the school staff can manage the herd more easily, something is diabolically wrong with the system. When teachers are burdened with overcrowding in their classrooms with 30 or more students as is extremely common today, it is a setup for failure to provide an enriching learning environment and typically leads to the above scenario of a false ADHD-drug pushing classroom culture. Yet this is typically what happens to children and young people who are generally sharper in intellect and creativity, and are inadequately engaged, stimulated and challenged in the classroom.

Instead of encouraging the gifted by teaching to their strengths, too often they are responded to punitively by either overly frustrated and/or rigid, authoritarian adults bent on maintaining some semblance of control. As a longtime therapist of children and adolescents, I have repeatedly observed this over-reactivity by adults in our educational system often caused by the fatally flawed system more than the overloaded teacher entrusted to educate and develop the intellectual capacity of our young people. Instead they too frequently squelch, impede and destroy it. The one size fits all cookie cutter system stifles learning, cognitive and intellectual development and creativity, rewarding those who acquiesce and simply do what they are told as good little boys and girls on their way to being good little employees and citizens who are so easily manipulated, controlled and subdued. They become the lifeless, walking dead who merely go through the daily motions on autopilot, too beaten down, numb and/or fearful.
 
A substantive quality education should teach the curious developing mind to be critical and discriminating, willing to ask questions, challenging the status quo of preconceived suppositions and accepted dogma. But then when we have a leader like President Obama telling the graduating seniors last year at Ohio State University to “reject” what they may hear about their government’s tyranny, in effect dictating how they as college educated adults should think, especially when it’s a complete and utter lie, again another disturbing warning sign that there is something extremely wrong with both the educational as well as political system. And again, more overwhelming evidence of the systematic and relentless dumbing down of America. 
 
With an educational system that purposely misinforms and indoctrinates young people to respond as Skinnerian rats to a positive reinforcement schedule of operant conditioning, children as future adults are being shaped and programmed to become little robots easily controlled by their oligarch masters. 
 
It is worth mentioning that the world wide web offers people around the globe much needed access to important information and knowledge. Though there is much on the internet that also is of little value regarding enrichment of website users’ minds and lives, with some effort and discriminative appraisal, people can increase their awareness and understanding by leaps and bounds if tapping the best that the internet can provide. Yet as much as it can be a valuable disseminator of truth and knowledge, the internet can also potentially empower individuals and groups of individuals to greater heights of achievement for the collective good of all humanity with its instantaneous capacity to share and communicate vital, even life saving information. The old expression that “information is power” is true. 
 
Because of this fact that information is power, the last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny. Thus, the net neutrality that Obama had promised in his campaign was met with yet more betrayal of the American people when he appointed high powered telecom exec Thomas Wheeler as head of the FCC. And in no time at all as the next predictable move, the internet is now in process of both censoring sites and charging internet consumers additional fees for individual site access.

With so many people struggling financially just to survive, pending changes to the internet would hamper and block access to whatever potential good the internet offers the public. However, in case of an emergency or crisis under martial law conditions, Obama has already stipulated that in the interest of national security, the buzzword deception used ever since 9/11 to justify all constitutional violations of civil liberties and privacy rights, access to theinternet will be cut off. This obviously would instantly sabotage and likely reverse any progress that people, groups and a potential worldwide movement might make through the vital connection network that computers provide. And with the US government planning and preparing long in advance of such an emergency, it will deploy all security apparatus and resources using police and armed forces to quell any political, social and economic unrest or revolt against the government. This power to deny internet access is also the ultimate strategy to ensure that the American public stays deaf and dumbed and powerless.
 
Another primary means of dumbing down America is through mass media. If the public is busily preoccupied with the superficial garbage spoon-fed to the masses every single day via television, movies, music, internet, video games that all act just as effective as the most potent drug dulling the senses and the brain, again an enormous control over the population is achieved and maintained. With so much entertainment as the modern day opiate to the masses to divert people’s attention, these weapons of mass distraction easily render people oblivious to see what is really happening in the world. Compound that with the lowest common denominator appealing to the most prurient interests such as pornography, crass materialism (using mind control techniques to manipulate consumers into spending money on false promises of sex, status and happiness), entertainment that dually serves as propaganda along with the mesmerizing effects captivated by sports that also draw enormous amounts of money, and the oligarchs have us right where they want us – numbed and dumbed.
 
Even the flicker rates of televisions, videos, computers and cinema by design are all programmed to contain hidden properties that physically resonate and alter the human brain’s alpha wave state to induce a hypnotic, mesmerizing, trancelike state of mind. This literally drugs and distorts the cognitive processes of the mass audience being subliminally fed input that modify and shape values, moral and ethical messages and multiple autosuggestions that carry powerful binding effects on people’s unconscious minds and future behavior. This too is another form of calculated brainwashing, mind control as well as behavior control that the media as vehicles of propaganda and disinformation constantly utilize. The constant 24/7 sensory bombardment that media puts on humans is one highly effective means of control over both culture and population. 
 
With the consolidation of mass media in recent years limited now to just a handful of transnational giant media corporations merging with national governments, a monopoly of thought, beliefs, perceptions of reality and core values are instilled into the masses and covertly maintained. Thus, entire populations of countries and regions of the earth are easily influenced and controlled by the elite through powerful mass media outlets. Add the outright lies spewing forth nonstop from the government and mainstream media as state sponsored propaganda and mind control and the oligarchs have absolute control over a deluded, impotent and hopelessly oblivious population. With the homogenizing effects of mass media these days possessing a global outreach that is unprecedented in recorded human history and people on this planet fast become programmed sheeple and unthinking automatons under complete power and control of the oligarchs.

Along with war criminal Henry Kissinger, perhaps the most emboldened globalist associated with a prominent role in a US president’s innermost circle is Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. For years he has regularly come out with very matter-of-fact yet incredibly astute and even prophetic observations about the oligarch agenda. Way back in 1970 in his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, Brzezinski envisioned:

 

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

 

Welcome to the twenty-first century. Brzezinski goes on to conclude that the American people will become brainwashed in giving up control of their lives to the elite that they will reach a point when they are so dumbed down and confused, they are unable to even think individually for themselves. So they can only repeat that which is downloaded into them by the constant repetition of what is driven into their heads by the mainstream media outlets. In effect, people defer the task of cognitive assessment and analysis of what is most important and real to what is simply communicated and propagated to them by the media. 
 
Mentioned earlier in describing the addictive properties of the enticing media outlets, all drugs whether illicit or legal by their very nature dumb down people’s minds and impair their brain functioning. Yet both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly addictive, always smothering symptoms be they physical, mental or emotional, acting as a quick escape or quick fix for whatever ails you. Currently an incredible near 70% of all Americans are taking at least one prescription drug. Between the multibillion dollar alcohol and tobacco industries and the multibillion dollar Big Pharma industry, these corporate entities wield colossal amounts of power in America, buying off politicians, spending billions on advertising, often times killing people whose addiction overpowers them. To a considerable extent, so called lesser drugs like caffeine and sugar also possess addictive features that also impair and endanger the mind and health if excessively consumed. 
 
And though alcohol consumption around the world does far more damage than any and all of the so called illegal substances combined, obviously all of them create a widespread culture and practice of extremely high rates of addiction in North America and globally that both dumb users down as well as destroy their health and lives. The fact that the oligarchs, banking cabal of the West and US government working hand in hand with the drug cartels virtually control the entire international drug smuggling market, making billions if not trillions of dollars off of drugging and dumbing the masses down to easily ensure that those incapacitated pose little threat to the power elite. Rampant drug addiction in US society becomes yet another very effective means of control over millions of humans who struggle daily with their very real demons. The number of deaths related to drug overdose has jumped 540% since 1980. And whatever collateral damage results from those who die as well as those who engage in criminal activity to support their habit, with both a privatized prison industrial complex and privatized medical system, again the only profiteers feeding off the misfortunes of the afflicted are that same power elite. It’s another win-win for them.
 
The same damage and dumbing down effects are only added on when considering the detrimental and often lethal effects that chemically processed foods, chemical and hormone injected meat products, genetically altered organisms (GMO’s) and pesticide-ridden foods that virtually the entire American population consumes on a daily basis. The masses are poisoning themselves to death with built up toxins in their bodies. Yet because they have little choice about what they eat due most often to an inability to afford purchasing higher priced organic food, of course exacerbated by Monsanto willfully, maliciously obstructing their access to information when profit is deemed far more valuable than human life. Thus far, despite Vermont’s passage of law as the first state requiring GMO labeling in 2016, Monsanto has had its way bribing the Food and Drug Administration and court system to maintain its impunity in its monumental damage to the health and well being of humans, a dying bee population and a multitude of life forms on the planet.
 
The same can be said for the known toxin fluoride that is added to America’s drinking water from the tap. One of the most researched side effects is diminished intelligence. The list goes on and on how the power elite continue to endanger and harm the public. Vaccines loaded with mercury and other known toxic metals cause major health problems that also kill people. Chemtrails of more toxic metals raining down everyday for decades on defenseless people from military planes cannot possibly have a positive impact on human health. Manmade as well as the earth’s electromagnetic waves can also have the capacity to alter the electromagnetic activityin the human brain which in turn can alter thoughts, emotions and behavior. For years “black ops” have been experimenting to fine tune and harness this phenomenon as a military weapon. Yet unsurprisingly the powers-that-be continue denying and lying to the public maintaining that no ill effects from any of these controversial sources pose any real danger. Yet many even among the dumbed down US population can discern and suspect that all these actions committed by the powerful do in fact cause harm. Due to the government’s ultra-secrecy, the extent of that harm is still largely unknown. 
 
The totality of destructive damage that transnational corporations have perpetrated against all forms of planetary life has destroyed the eco-systems of thousands upon thousands of animal and plant species. Of the five times that life on earth has become massively extinct in the past, we humans are rapidly causing the sixth great cycle of mass extinction and the first and fastest due to manmade effects in the form of rising global air and water temperatures and over-polluted water, air and soil. The dead zones across the planet are spreading faster rates of extinction amongst plant and animal life than at any prior time in the earth’s known history. Destruction of our living habitat and eco-system carries perhaps the most damning, ultimate dumbing down effect that the oligarchs have caused. But then they no doubt have laid out their own contingency plan utilizing a hidden technology that can save them when the lights go out on mother earth for the rest of us lowly expendables. 
 
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.

The Deep State’s Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

The Free Press WV

“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows when you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!”
—“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

Just in time for Christmas, the Deep State wants to give America the gift that keeps on giving: never-ending mass surveillance.

I’m not referring to the kind of surveillance carried out by that all-knowing and all-seeing Jolly Old St. Nick and his informant the Elf on the Shelf (although, to be fair, they have helped to acclimate us to a world in which we’re always being watched and judged by higher authorities).

No, this particular bit of Yuletide gift-giving comes courtesy of the Deep State (a.k.a. the Surveillance State, Police State, Shadow Government and black-ops spy agencies).

If this power-hungry cabal gets its way, the government’s power to spy on its citizens will soon be all-encompassing and permanent.

As it now stands, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—the legal basis for two of the National Security Agency’s largest mass surveillance programs, “PRISM” and “Upstream”—is set to expire at the end of 2017.

“PRISM” lets the NSA access emails, video chats, instant messages, and other content sent via Facebook, Google, Apple and others. “Upstream” lets the NSA worm its way into the internet backbone—the cables and switches owned by private corporations like AT&T that make the internet into a global network—and scan traffic for the communications of tens of thousands of individuals labeled “targets.”

Just as the USA Patriot Act was perverted from its original intent to fight terrorism abroad and was used instead to covertly crack down on the American people (allowing government agencies to secretly track Americans’ financial activities, monitor their communications, and carry out wide-ranging surveillance on them), Section 702 has been used as an end-run around the Constitution to allow the government to collect the actual content of Americans’ emails, phone calls, text messages and other electronic communication without a warrant.

Under Section 702, the government collects and analyzes over 250 million internet communications every year. There are estimates that at least half of these contain information about U.S. residents, many of whom have done nothing wrong. This information is then shared with law enforcement and “routinely used for purposes unrelated to national security.”

Mind you, this is about far more than the metadata collection that Edward Snowden warned us about, which was bad enough. Section 702 gives the government access to the very content of your conversations (phone calls, text messages, video chats), your photographs, your emails. As Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., warned, “This is not just who you send it to, but what’s in it.”

Unfortunately, Big Brother doesn’t relinquish power easily.

The Police State doesn’t like restrictions.

And the Surveillance State certainly doesn’t look favorably on anything that might weaken its control. Even after Congress limited the NSA’s ability to collect bulk phone records, the agency continued to do so, vacuuming up more than 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls last year alone.

A government that doesn’t heed its constituents, doesn’t abide by the law, and kowtows to its police and military forces? That’s a dictatorship anywhere else.

Here in America, you can call it “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.

Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.

For all intents and purposes, we now have a fourth branch of government.

This fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.

The government’s “technotyranny” surveillance apparatus has become so entrenched and entangled with its police state apparatus that it’s hard to know anymore where law enforcement ends and surveillance begins.

The short answer: they have become one and the same entity.

The police state has passed the baton to the surveillance state.

Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.

This is the new face of policing in America.

Enter big data policing which gives the nation’s 17,000 police agencies access to a growing “investigative” database that maps criminal associates and gangs, as well as their social and familial connections.

As Slate reports, “These social network systems, which target ‘chronic offenders,’ also include information about innocent associates, family members, and friends, creating extensive human maps of connections and patterns of contacts.” Those individuals then get assigned a threat score to determine their risk of being a perpetrator or victim of a future crime.

In Chicago, for example, “individuals with the highest scores on the Chicago Police Department ‘heat list’ get extra attention in the form of home visits or increased community surveillance.”

In Baltimore, police are using Cessna planes equipped with surveillance systems to film entire segments of the city, then combining that footage with police reports in order to “map the comings and goings of everyone—criminals and innocents alike.”

In this way, big data policing not only expands Big Brother’s reach down to the local level, but it also provides local police—most of whom know little about the Constitution and even less about the Fourth Amendment—with a new technological weapon to deploy against an unsuspecting public.

The end result is pre-crime, packaged in the guise of national security but no less sinister.

All of those individuals who claim to be unconcerned about government surveillance because they have nothing to hide, take note: pre-crime policing—given a futuristic treatment in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report—aims to treat you like a criminal before you’ve ever even committed a crime.

This hasn’t fazed President Trump who, much like his predecessors, has thus far marched in lockstep with the dictates of the police state.

For months, the Trump Administration has been actively lobbying Congress to reauthorize Section 702 in its entirety. Now, according to The Intercept, Trump is actively considering a proposal to establish his own global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies and answer directly to the White House.

If approved, this would be yet another secret government agency carrying out secret surveillance and counterintelligence, funded by a secret black ops budget that by its very nature does away with transparency, bypasses accountability and completely eludes any form of constitutionality.

According to The Washington Post, there are more than a dozen “black budget” national intelligence agencies already receiving more than $52.6 billion in secret government funding. Among the top five black ops agencies currently are the CIA, the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program, and the General Defense Intelligence Program.

A significant chunk of that black ops money has been flowing to Silicon Valley since before there was an internet, itself a creation of the military/security industrial complex.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it would be storing classified information for U.S. spy agencies in its digital cloud, part of a $600 million contract with the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Two decades earlier, America’s spy agencies tapped Silicon Valley to spearhead research into ways of tracking individuals and groups online. That research, as documented by Jeff Nesbit, the former director of legislative and public affairs at the National Science Foundation, culminated in the creation of a massive public-private surveillance state that hinged on a partnership between the NSA, the CIA and Google.

“The research arms of the CIA and NSA hoped that the best computer-science minds in academia could identify what they called ‘birds of a feather,’” writes Nesbit. He continues:

Their research aim was to track digital fingerprints inside the rapidly expanding global information network, which was then known as the World Wide Web… By working with emerging commercial-data companies, their intent was to track like-minded groups of people across the internet and identify them from the digital fingerprints they left behind, much like forensic scientists use fingerprint smudges to identify criminals. Just as “birds of a feather flock together,” they predicted that potential terrorists would communicate with each other in this new global, connected world—and they could find them by identifying patterns in this massive amount of new information. Once these groups were identified, they could then follow their digital trails everywhere.

The problem, of course, is that the government always sets its sights higher.

It wasn’t long before the government’s search for criminal “birds of a feather”—made much easier with the passage of the USA Patriot Act—lumped everyone together and treated all of the birds (i.e., the public) as criminals to be identified, tracked, monitored and subjected to warrantless, suspicionless surveillance.

Fast forward to the present moment when, on any given day, the average American is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

Every second of every day, the American people are being spied on by the U.S. government’s vast network of digital Peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops.

Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency is listening in and tracking you. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine. These corporate trackers monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere and share the data with the government.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to collect data and spy on the American people. Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power.

These government snoops are constantly combing through and harvesting vast quantities of our communications, then storing it in massive databases for years. Once this information—collected illegally and without any probable cause—is ingested into NSA servers, other government agencies can often search through the databases to make criminal cases against Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism or anything national security-related. One Justice Department lawyer called the database the “FBI’s ‘Google.’”

In other words, the NSA, an unaccountable institution filled with unelected bureaucrats, operates a massive database that contains the intimate and personal communications of countless Americans and makes it available to other unelected bureaucrats.

Talk about a system rife for abuse.

Ask the government why it’s carrying out this warrantless surveillance on American citizens, and you’ll get the same Orwellian answer the government has been trotting out since 9/11 to justify its assaults on our civil liberties: to keep America safe.

Yet warrantless mass surveillance by the government and its corporate cohorts hasn’t made America any safer. And it certainly isn’t helping to preserve our freedoms. Frankly, America will never be safe as long as the U.S. government is allowed to shred the Constitution.

Now the government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying program because they’re only looking to get the “bad” guys who are overseas.

Don’t believe it.

The government’s definition of a “bad” guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale. They are conducting this mass surveillance without a warrant, thus violating the core principles of the Fourth Amendment which protects the privacy of all Americans.

Warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens is wrong, un-American, and unconstitutional.

Clearly, the outlook for reforming the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs does not look good.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, whenever the rights of the American people are pitted against the interests of the military/corporate/security complex, “we the people” lose. Unless Congress develops a conscience—or suddenly remembers that they owe their allegiance to the citizenry and not the corporate state—we’re about to lose big.

It’s time to let Section 702 expire or reform the law to ensure that millions and millions of Americans are not being victimized by a government that no longer respects its constitutional limits.

Mark my words: if Congress votes to make the NSA’s vast spying powers permanent, it will be yet another brick in the wall imprisoning us within an electronic concentration camp from which there is no escape.

John W. Whitehead

Jeanette Riffle: First Snow, December 09, 2017

The Free Press WV

We had flurries one evening, but Saturday night we had snow to lay on and our new pup was excited to death! He looked up at the sky and watched that white stuff coming down and he decided to taste it. He stood on his hind feet, opened his mouth up wide and was catching snowflakes. Rascal has been a “little rascal” but he is comical at times. He stands on his hind feet at night to make himself look bigger and he barks and growls at deer across the creek. Duane had the leaf blower out this week, and he stood up like that and barked at it. We have never had a dog that acts like this one. He will be six months old the first week of January but is already as big as a fox hound. Long legs and big paws make him look like a hound, but he is lab/border collie mix. Black and white with tan legs.

The Free Press WV


Little by little we have been getting ready for Christmas and are just keeping it simple.  Our son and granddaughter are planning on coming home. We started downsizing last year with the tree. Instead of the big green artificial tree, we got a white table top one. It is different but very pretty with red decorations. Really everything shows up better on that white background.

I remember a Christmas when our son was in 5th grade, that he wanted homemade ropes and gingerbread ornaments on the tree. Back then we went somewhere and purchased a real tree. I popped corn and bought bags of cranberries and we strung them up with a darning needle and strong thread and made pretty red and white ropes for the tree. We baked gingerbread men and hung them on the tree with ribbons, and of course ate some, too. Best I remember, we did use the store-bought icicles and a star at the top of the tree. That tree was different but was tempting not to eat on it if we were hungry. After Christmas we took the tree out in the back yard for the birds to enjoy the popcorn and berries. That drew a lot of birds and I could see them out the kitchen window. Dad wanted a homemade tree one year for Christmas, but Mom was too busy for all that hard work of stringing up cranberries and popping corn to string up. I made the chain ropes for him. Take crayons and color in the lines of lined notebook paper. Then cut on the lines and cut strips of paper to glue, end to end and one circle inside another until you get a big rope of them to wrap around the tree. Grandmother Stewart had told me that Dad’s sister, Bea, made those when the kids were growing up.

We are planning on going to the Christmas program at Rosedale Baptist Church this coming Saturday evening at 5:30. They always have a good one. The Lord has blessed with a lot of talent, there.

Until next time, stay well and keep warm. God bless!

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