Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is reporting an increase in the homeless population of California of 16.4% over the course of the last year and alarm bells are ringing the corridors of power. The human misery of destitution has now reached such levels that the cash registers are being affected.
Homelessness is spinning out of control in many places, not least right here in Toronto. However, in California, the situation is now generating an acute political crisis. So great is the problem of mass destitution in that state that whole urban areas are facing a threat to public health and a level of social dislocation that undermines public order and the basic level of social stability needed for capitalism to conduct business. Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is reporting an increase in the homeless population of California of 16.4% over the course of the last year and alarm bells are ringing the corridors of power. The human misery of destitution has now reached such levels that the cash registers are being affected.
When a hard right champion of the austerity agenda like HUD Secretary Ben Carson says that he wants to ensure homeless people “go to the places that are designed to help them get out of that situation,” it is very necessary to anticipate what he might have in mind. The Trump Administration is “considering moving homeless people in California off the streets and into unused federal buildings.” This could be interpreted in several ways but the political character of those involved leads to a very strong suspicion that what is being contemplated is not a supply of social housing but, rather, a round up of those who have been thrown on the streets, so as to place them against their will in holding pens for homeless people.
The above mentioned Mr. Carson is not known for the depth of his social analysis. To him, broken and sinful misfits are getting in the way of profitable business dealings and need to be taken somewhere where no one will see them. His moral assumptions are quite impervious to any consideration of the actual factors driving this homeless crisis. If he were presented with an explanation of “the rising cost of housing, coupled with wage stagnation at the lower end of the income spectrum that has led to a housing affordability crisis across Southern California” the HUD Secretary’s eyes would simply glaze over.
The same factors, that have put 36,300 people onto the streets of Los Angeles, are playing out across North America and on the other side of the Atlantic. The British Medical Journal is clear that, “Austerity policies lie at heart of soaring homelessness and related health harms.” The US Coalition for the Homeless informs us that “an estimated one-third of homeless families in New York City are working but unable to afford market-rate rents” and that the number of shelter residents who are employed has shot up. The role of “soaring housing prices” in putting people onto the streets of Vancouver is abundantly clear. Escalating homelessness is, in fact, an inevitable effect of the convergence of the agenda of austerity, coupled with the extreme commodification of housing in what has come to be known as the “neoliberal city.”
Repression vs Concession
Margaret Thatcher’s infamous suggestion that there’s no such thing as society was the product of some highly selective reasoning on her part. She certainly was not signalling an intention to disband the police forces or military. Nor did she intend to fling open the doors of the prisons. What she actually meant was that the state’s secondary role in the area of social provision needed to be drastically reduced in line with the needs of the neoliberal agenda. The state has always ensured public order by way of some mix of meeting peoples’ needs and applying physical coercion. If the social infrastructure is to be weakened, the readiness and ability to resort to the billy club must be increased. The neoliberal decades have seen hugely increased rates of incarceration (most strikingly in the US) and the favouring of police budgets over social spending.
This increased use of the repressive power of the state has certainly been brought to bear on the homeless populations that the agenda of neoliberal austerity has produced. As destitution has assumed ever more serious proportions, governing authorities devoted to the neoliberal reordering of urban space, have predictably favoured the authoritarian option when it comes to trying to contain the problem. So, with Toronto’s homeless shelters bursting at the seams, and people forced to try and survive outside, City Hall has put a premium on raiding and dispersing homeless encampments. When a right-wing Tory government in Ontario introduced the Safe Streets Act in the 1990s, it was rightly regarded as a draconian attack on people forced to ask for spare change on the street. No one would have imagined, however, that this legislation would survive fifteen years of Liberal rule and be used far more extensively today than its original sponsors ever anticipated. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, the Mayor of Nanaimo publicly ruminates on the forced institutionalization of homeless people.
So it is that, in California, where the intensity of the homeless crisis runs ahead of the grim situation in other parts of North America, the neoliberal agenda’s ‘collateral damage’ creates a defining moment. It appears that the Trump Administration favours the razing of the extensive network of homeless camps and the placing of those driven from them in “temporary government facilities.” Some local politicians, however, are alarmed at the prospect of such rampant authoritarianism and favour a significant concession that would ensure a significant part of the homeless population are housed. The dilemma really comes down to the limitations of how far austerity and social abandonment can be taken within the framework of a liberal democracy.
The capitalist state has come a full circle from the days when the Elizabethan authorities, deciding they must stave off unrest and social dislocation, came up with the first model of social provision in 1601, in the form of a Poor Law. On the streets of California’s cities, the same stark choice is now placed before modern-day state officialdom. The homeless population there is vast and, with the global economy moving towards a slump, the even greater numbers of people precariously poised on the edge of destitution are at risk of losing their housing. Unless a significant concession is made that partly reverses the austerity agenda, the choice will be between tolerating destitution on a scale that threatens the social order or a sweep of the streets that takes on the features of selective martial law.
The authoritarian option can only be seen as a very real threat. In Hungary, the hard right regime of Viktor Orban has passed legislation making it illegal for people to be homeless. Trump’s political instincts are striking similar to the ‘illiberal’ Orban and, no doubt, there would be a base of support for a crackdown on California’s homeless. Once removed from the streets and out of sight, those swept up would find that their ‘temporary’ holding facilities became horribly permanent and a strict prohibition of camping outside, coupled with a complete lack of housing options, would turn these facilities into de facto prisons. It would be a return to the labour camp approach that was adopted by governments during the Great Depression and that was challenged by the unemployed movements of that period, including with the great On to Ottawa Trek of 1935.
As the economy sinks into global slump, and the already dreadful homeless crisis intensifies dramatically, it is very likely that the ‘solutions’ coming from the Trumps and Orbans will become the ‘policy options’ of the neoliberal centre. It will be more important than ever to bring the fight against homelessness into a broader struggle against austerity. We must stop the attempt to drive out homeless people and demand, instead, the social housing, living income and decent wages that can tackle the homeless crisis. Instead of a society that sweeps people from the streets when they have nowhere to go, we need one that considers housing a human right and that acts accordingly.
“It’s really scary that someone could be hauled out of his house by a team of cops, listed falsely as ‘armed and dangerous,’ and then jailed for two days and possibly put on trial because someone who doesn’t like their political views decides to level a false allegation against him,” he said. “There has to be some deterrence against this happening again.” Max Blumenthal
Journalist Max Blumenthal says assault charges against him have been dropped by the US government partially because the case would have turned into a great embarrassment for the Secret Service.
Blumenthal was subjected to an early morning arrest in October on a five-month-old warrant, which stemmed from an accusation against him and fellow activist Ben Rubinstein. A Venezuelan opposition activist said they attacked her when they were delivering food to people who took cover in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC trying to prevent supporters of US-backed self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido from taking over the place.
The journalist says the charge was bogus from the start, but his defense took a surprising turn when Blumenthal’s lawyer requested exculpatory evidence in the form of logs from the US Secret Service, whose agents were present at the scene. If agents failed to call an ambulance after a violent incident resulting in an injury, a lack of such call would indicate that the allegations were false, he reasoned.
However, the logs for the day were completely missing. Blumenthal believes the Secret Service obstructed the request because the logs would confirm that they were acting hand-in-glove with the crowd trying to take over the diplomatic mission, he told RT.
“What I think could be the case here is that they are concerned that their collusion with this right-wing band of hooligans, who were used to do what the Secret Service was legally forbidden from doing, which is prevent food and medicine from getting into the embassy,” would have been exposed, he said.
[Releasing the logs] would have exposed that collusion and embarrass the Secret Service.
The Grayzone journalist said he was obviously targeted with a false accusation because he personally and his colleagues were vocal opponents of Guaido and his Washington-backed attempts to overthrow the Venezuelan government. The opposition activists simply used the friendly US government to harass their critics, and there needs to be a push-back against such malpractice, he believes.
“It’s really scary that someone could be hauled out of his house by a team of cops, listed falsely as ‘armed and dangerous,’ and then jailed for two days and possibly put on trial because someone who doesn’t like their political views decides to level a false allegation against him,” he said. “There has to be some deterrence against this happening again.”
The confrontation at the embassy happened between April and May, and resulted in the pro-Guaido crowd taking over the building. Two Grayzone journalists were covering the tense standoff from inside the embassy.
Americans are the most over-entertained, uninformed citizens on planet earth — despite around 80% of US households having Internet access, making it easy to stay informed with minimal effort.
Manipulated by the power of state-sponsored and go-along establishment media propaganda, Americans are ignorant about geopolitical and other major issues affecting their lives and welfare.
It’s why both right wings of the US war party get away with ravaging one country after another — while the FBI and police nationwide operate with impunity as enforcers for powerful interests, grievously breaching the rights of ordinary people.
Reality is clear. The US already is a police state because of repressive laws overwhelmingly passed by Congress, supported by the executive and federal courts.
Based on events post-9/11 at home and abroad, things in the US are heading toward full-blown tyranny and ruin.
Perhaps it’s another major state-sponsored false flag away, wrongfully blamed on elements having nothing to do with it, followed by martial law and suspension of the Constitution on the phony pretext of sacrificing fundamental rights for greater security, losing both in the process.
Polls consistently show Americans are out-of-touch with reality.
Earlier polls showed most Americans favor war on North Korea if diplomacy fails. Other polls showed around half of Americans believe war on Iran is coming.
Both countries are viewed as threats to the US despite their nonbelligerent agendas. Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries.
Nor has North Korea throughout its entire post-WW II history — while the US wages forever wars against invented enemies, its ruling class hostile to world peace.
Annual Gallup polls since 1989 showed from 79 – 87% of Americans view Iran as “mostly (or) very unfavorabl(y).” Throughout this period, they viewed the Islamic Republic from 5 to 17% favorably.
North Korean nukes, ballistic missiles, and other weapons are solely for defense — to deter the legitimate threat of US aggression.
Iran’s nuclear program has no military component, repeatedly confirmed by nuclear watchdog IAEA monitors.
Since joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nearly half a century ago, Iran fully complied with its provisions.
According to Nukewatch co-director John LaForge,
“(t)he United States is perhaps the principle nuclear weapons proliferator in the world today, openly flouting binding provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).”
Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel never signed NPT, the world community doing nothing to challenge its menace to regional and world peace.
According to a new Fox News poll, around 60% of Americans view Iran and North Korea as threats to US security — a questionable source, but here are the results anyway.
Asked if North Korea “pose(s) a real national security threat to the US, 60% of respondents said “yes,” only 27% saying “no.”
Results to the same question on Iran are identical, pollster Daron Shaw saying:
“Despite changes in the partisanship of the White House and shifts in geopolitics, the percentage of Americans who see Iran and North Korea as threats has been quite consistent.”
Over half of respondents (53%) support military action to prevent Iran from developing nukes its leadership abhors, doesn’t seek, never did, and wants eliminated everywhere to remove the threat these WMDs pose to planet earth and all its life forms if detonated in enough numbers.
A higher percentage (57%) favor attacking North Korea militarily to prevent expansion of its nuclear weapons program.
Most respondents also disapprove of how Trump is dealing with both nations.
Beacon Research and Shaw & Company conducted the poll on July 21 – 23 “with 1,004 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones.”
Like other polls on major geopolitical and other issues, results show an ignorant electorate.
Lincoln reportedly said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time…”
Most Americans are easily fooled time and again — no matter how many times they were duped before, especially on issues of war and peace.
Notably, it’s true about nations threatening no one like Iran and North Korea.
Throughout the post-WW II era, no nations threatened US security.
All US post-WW II wars were and continue to be waged against nations threatening no one — threats invented to justify what’s illegal and unjustifiable.
Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Artificial intelligence might be a technological revolution unlike any other, transforming our homes, our work, our lives; but for many – the poor, minority groups, the people deemed to be expendable – their picture remains the same. “The way these technologies are being developed is not empowering people, it’s empowering corporations,” says Zeynep Tufekci, from the University of North Carolina.. “They are in the hands of the people who hold the data. And that data is being fed into algorithms that we don’t really get to see or understand that are opaque even to the people who wrote the programme. And they’re being used against us, rather than for us.” In episode two of The Big Picture: The World According to AI we examine practices such as predictive policing, predictive sentencing, as well as the power structures and in-built prejudices that could lead to even more harm than the good its champions would suggest.
In the United States, we travel to one of the country’s poorest neighbourhoods, Skid Row in Los Angeles, to see first-hand how the Los Angeles Police Department is using algorithmic software to police a majority black community. And in China, we examine the implications of a social credit scoring system that deploys machine learning technologies – new innovations in surveillance and social control that are claimed to be used against ethnic Uighur communities.
As AI is used to make more and more decisions for and about us, from targeting, to policing, to social welfare, it raises huge questions. What will AI be used for in the future? And who will stand to benefit?
A tech privacy report, that has been swept under the rug by the mainstream media has declared that Americans are about to live through the very world Orwell wrote of. Georgetown researchers are warning Americans about a sophisticated real-time face surveillance system that’s about to become an “imminent reality” for millions of citizens across the country. Ground zero, though, appears to be Detroit.
The “America Under Watch” report is a warning that authorities in select U.S. cities may soon be able to pick you out from a crowd, identify you, and trace your movements via a secret network of cameras constantly capturing images of your face. Mass surveillance of every single human being living in the U.S. has become a nightmarish dystopian reality.
DataWorks says it offers software which “provides continuous screening and monitoring of live video streams.” The system is also designed to operate on “not less than 100 concurrent video feeds.”
According to the research team’s report, live footage is captured by cameras installed around Detroit as part of Project Green Light, a public-private initiative to deter crime (and violate the privacy rights of everyone) which launched in 2016. The expanse of the police department’s facial recognition policy last summer, however, means the face recognition technology can now be connected to any live video, including security cameras, drone footage, and body-worn cams.
You’ve been warned. This technology will not remain limited to Detroit. Illinois, meanwhile, is home to one of the most advanced biometric surveillance systems in the country. The report added that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Chicago Transit Authority have had face surveillance capabilities since “at least 2016.”
Similar facial surveillance is now also, apparently on the horizon for other large cities, including New York City, Orlando, and Washington D.C. Oddly enough, San Francisco, known for its authoritarian control of the public, became the first US city to ban facial recognition software used by police and other municipal agencies last week.
This report has prompted the authors, Clare Garvie, and Laura M. Moy, to call for a “complete moratorium on police use of face recognition” to give communities a chance to decide whether they always want to be monitored in their streets and neighborhoods.
The American mainstream media is also doing their “due diligence” by hiding this report and it’s obvious why they have done so. The U.S. could very soon resemble communist China with the citizens having no rights and limited ability to even ask the government for permission, while the government does whatever they want with the power willingly handed to them by the ignorant masses.
Have you noticed how much life increasingly feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone?
Only instead of Rod Serling’s imaginary “land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas,” we’re trapped in a topsy-turvy, all-too-real land of corruption, brutality and lies, where freedom, justice and integrity play second fiddle to political ambition, corporate greed, and bureaucratic tyranny.
It’s not merely that life in the American Police State is more brutal, or more unjust, or even more corrupt. It’s getting more idiotic, more perverse, and more outlandish by the day.
Somewhere over the course of the past 240-plus years, democracy has given way to idiocracy, and representative government has given way to a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) and a kakistocracy(a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens).
If you’re starting to notice a pattern here, it speaks to the fact that nearly 50 years after Serling’s creative brainchild, The Twilight Zone, premiered on national television, we’re still fumbling around in the dark, trying to make sense of a world dominated by racism, cruelty, war, violence, poverty, prejudice, intolerance, ignorance, injustice and a host of other social maladies and spiritual evils.
The Twilight Zone was an oasis in television wasteland: a show that captured imaginations; challenged moral hypocrisy and societal prejudices; and railed against inhumanity, racism, prejudice, the mechanization of human beings by way of their technology, tyrants of all shapes and colors, a passive populace, war, injustice, the surveillance state, corporate greed.
Fifty years later, with so much having changed legally, technologically and politically, so much still remains the same. Fear is the same. Prejudice is the same. Ignorance is the same. Hate and war and tyranny are unchanged. Police officers are still shooting unarmed citizens. Bloated government agencies are still fleecing taxpayers. Government technicians are still spying on our communications. And American citizens are still allowing themselves to be manipulated by their fears and pitted one against the other.
All of these themes can be found in The Twilight Zone.
Serling, a truth-teller who pulled no punches when it came to calling out the evils of his day, channeled his moral outrage into storytelling. As his daughter Anne explained, “The Twilight Zone was more than just the strangest show on TV, with the best theme song, but back in the 50’s Rod Serling was serving up social commentary through science fiction.”
Serling would have no shortage of material to draw from today, given the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.
It boggles the mind how relevant The Twilight Zone and its unique brand of truth-telling are to an age in which truth has become a convenient fiction for those in power, what researchers refer to as “Truth Decay.”
As a report from the Rand Corporation explains, “Truth Decay is defined as a set of four related trends: increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and declining trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.”
Serling would have had a lot to say about the lies that masquerade as truth today.
I’m not sure that Serling would have been surprised by current events, though. After all, this was the man who concluded that people are alike all over: that was the kernel of truth in one of Serling’s episodes about a pair of astronauts who journey to Mars only to find that while they may have landed on an alien planet, inhabited by alien creatures, the ignorance, fear and prejudice of the “foreigner” was the same.
So many truths, packaged in 156 episodes that aired from 1959 to 1964.
Serling took pride in the writing, penning 92 of the 156 episodes himself. For the rest, he enlisted some of the best writers of the 20th century to lend their talents to Zone episodes: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Earl Hamner, to mention a few. As such, the Twilight Zone became the embodiment of great story-telling.
If you want to watch something that fuses time and space into reality by way of a fictional setting, then I suggest that you tune into The Twilight Zone.
There are so many to choose from, but the following are 12 of my personal favorites:
Time Enough at Last: Mild-mannered Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith), hen-pecked by his wife and brow-beaten by his boss, sneaks into a bank vault on his lunch hour to read. He is knocked unconscious by a shockwave that turns out to be a nuclear war. When Bemis regains consciousness, he realizes that he is the last person on earth.
I Shot an Arrow into the Air: Three astronauts survive a crash after their craft disappears from the radar screen. They find themselves on what they believe to be a dry, lifeless asteroid. Only five gallons of water separate them from dehydration and death. And temperamental crew member Corey (Dewey Martin) goes to great lengths to ensure his survival.
The Howling Man: During a walking tour of Europe after World War I, David loses his way and comes to a remote monastery. He is turned away but passes out, and the monks take him in. David regains consciousness and hears a bizarre howling. He eventually finds a man in a jail cell who the monks say is the Devil himself, kept in his prison by the “staff of truth.”
Eye of the Beholder: Janet lies in a hospital bed, her face wrapped in bandages, hiding the hideous face that has made her an outcast all her life. This is her eleventh hospital visit and the last allowed by the government. The faces of the doctors and nurses are also hidden by shadows and camera angles. Janet’s bandages are finally removed, and the medical staff retreat in disgust.
The Invaders: A haggard woman (Agnes Morehead) hears a strange sound on the roof. She climbs up to see a miniature flying saucer and tiny spacemen who invade her home. Their small ray guns sting, but she fights back.
Shadow Play: Adam (Dennis Weaver) is on trial, and the judge gives him the electric chair. Adam chortles that it’s all a joke, a recurring nightmare in which all the participants are bit players in a scripted play. But will anyone listen?
The Obsolete Man: Romney (Burgess Meredith) is a God-fearing librarian in a totalitarian state in which books and religion have been banned. Romney is judged obsolete by the government chancellor but is granted several requests before he dies. He chooses to have a television audience watch his execution. Forty-five minutes before he is to die, he invites the chancellor to his room and locks them both inside.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Robert (William Shatner) boards an airplane after having been discharged from a mental hospital for a nervous breakdown. He looks out his window during the flight and sees a weird creature on the wing. Alarmed, he alerts others. However, when they look out, the creature disappears. Robert eventually realizes that what he sees is a demon trying to dismantle the plane so it will crash. Robert decides to act.
Living Doll: Erich (Telly Savalas) is angry at his wife for buying his stepdaughter an expensive doll. Erich has a nasty disposition and soon discovers that the doll has a life of its own and it dislikes him. In fact, the doll tells him so. Talky Tina says emphatically “I hate you” and “I’m going to kill you.”
The Masks: On his deathbed, Jason Foster calls his four heirs to his side on a Mardi Gras evening. Each heir has a character flaw—self-pity, avarice, vanity or cruelty. Foster demands that each wear a mask he has fashioned for them. If they refuse to keep the masks on until midnight, they will be disinherited. The masks are hideous, and the heirs do not want to don them. But out of greed, they slide them onto their faces.
It’s a Good Life: Peaksville, Ohio, a small community, has been “taken away” from the so-called normal world—ravaged by 6-year-old “monster” Anthony (Billy Mumy). By mere thought and/or wishes, Anthony can make things and people disappear or turn into hideous creatures. All of the adults kowtow to his every desire.
To Serve Man: The Kanamits—nine-foot-tall, large-headed creatures—come to Earth from outer space, bringing gifts, spouting peace and promising to end famine. After some initial resistance by earthlings, the world relents and humans become entranced by the visitors. However, government agent Mike (Lloyd Chambers) soon discovers a sinister and shocking plot being hatched by the Kanamits.
The Twilight Zone was a paradox.
Although the series is often seen as science fiction, ultimately it was not science fiction.
Whatever weird or far out setting may have been involved in a particular episode, the focus was always on the angst, pain and suffering we face in the so-called “real” world. As author Marc Scott Zicree writes:
The Twilight Zone was the first, and possibly only, TV series to deal on a regular basis with the theme of alienation—particularly urban alienation…. Repeatedly, it states a simple message: The only escape from alienation lies in reaching out to others, trusting in their common humanity. Give in to the fear and you are lost.
Fifty years after the original The Twilight Zone series questioned whether we can maintain our humanity in the face of authoritarian forces trying to reduce us to mindless automatons, we’re still struggling with the demons of our age who delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism.
We still have the power to change our circumstances for the better.
However, overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness.
As Serling concluded in his remarks to the graduating class of 1968:
“Toughness is the singular quality most required of you… we have left you a world far more botched than the one that was left to us… Part of your challenge is to seek out truth, to come up with a point of view not dictated to you by anyone, be he a congressman, even a minister… Are you tough enough to take the divisiveness of this land of ours, the fact that everything is polarized, black and white, this or that, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is one of the challenges. Be prepared to seek out the middle ground … that wondrous and very difficult-to-find Valhalla where man can look to both sides and see the errant truths that exist on both sides. If you must swing left or you must swing right—respect the other side. Honor the motives that come from the other side. Argue, debate, rebut—but don’t close those wondrous minds of yours to opposition. In their eyes, you’re the opposition. And ultimately … ultimately—you end divisiveness by compromise. And so long as men walk and breathe—there must be compromise.”
Officials say aim is to make it ‘difficult to move’ for those deemed ‘untrustworthy’
Millions of Chinese nationals have been blocked from booking flights or trains as Beijing seeks to implement its controversial “social credit” system, which allows the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behaviour and activity.
The system, to be rolled out by 2020, aims to make it “difficult to move” for those deemed “untrustworthy”, according to a detailed plan published by the government.
It will be used to reward or punish people and organisations for “trustworthiness” across a range of measures.
A key part of the plan not only involves blacklisting people with low social credibility scores, but also “publicly disclosing the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis”.
The plan stated: “We will improve the credit blacklist system, publicly disclose the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis, and form a pattern of distrust and punishment.”
For those deemed untrustworthy, “everywhere is limited, and it is difficult to move, so that those who violate the law and lose the trust will pay a heavy price”.
The credit system is already being rolled out in some areas and in recent months the Chinese state has blocked millions of people from booking flights and high-speed trains.
According to the state-run news outlet Global Times, as of May this year, the government had blocked 11.14 million people from flights and 4.25 million from taking high-speed train trips.
The state has also begun to clamp down on luxury options: 3 million people are barred from getting business class train tickets, according to Channel News Asia.
The aim, according to Hou Yunchun, former deputy director of the development research centre of the State Council, is to make “discredited people become bankrupt”, he said earlier this year.
The eastern state of Hangzou, southwest of Shanghai, is one area where a social credit system is already in place.
People are awarded credit points for activities such as undertaking volunteer work and giving blood donations while those who violate traffic laws and charge “under-the-table” fees are punished.
Other infractions reportedly include smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.
Punishments are not clearly detailed in the government plan, but beyond making travel difficult, are also believed to include slowing internet speeds, reducing access to good schools for individuals or their children, banning people from certain jobs, preventing booking at certain hotels and losing the right to own pets.
When plans for the social credit scheme were first announced in 2014, the government said the aim was to “broadly shape a thick atmosphere in the entire society that keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful”.
As well as the introduction in Beijing, the government plans a rapid national rollout. “We will implement a unified system of credit rating codes nationwide,” the country’s latest five-year plan stated.
The move comes as Beijing also faces international scrutiny over its treatment of a Muslim minority group, who have been told to turn themselves in to authorities if they observe practices such as abstention from alcohol.
Hami city government in the far-western Xinjiang region said people “poisoned by extremism, terrorism and separatism” would be treated leniently if they surrendered within the next 30 days.
As many as a million Muslim Uighurs are believed to have been rounded up and placed in “re-education” centres, in what China claims is a clampdown on religious extremism.
“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
Life in a post-9/11 America increasingly feels like an endless free fall down a rabbit hole into a terrifying, dystopian alternative reality in which the citizenry has no rights, the government is no friend to freedom, and everything we ever knew and loved about the values and principles that once made this country great has been turned on its head.
We’ve walked a strange and harrowing road since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties.
We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade the citizenry to march in lockstep with a police state.
These past 17 years have proven Bin Laden right in his prediction.
What began with the passage of the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.
The citizenry’s unquestioning acquiescence to anything the government wants to do in exchange for the phantom promise of safety and security has resulted in a society where the nation is being locked down into a militarized, mechanized, hypersensitive, legalistic, self-righteous, goose-stepping antithesis of every principle upon which this nation was founded.
This is not freedom.
This is a jail cell.
Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.
Our losses are mounting with every passing day.
Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people, a war that has grown more pronounced since 9/11.
Since the towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.
In allowing ourselves to be distracted by terror drills, foreign wars, color-coded warnings, underwear bombers and other carefully constructed exercises in propaganda, sleight of hand, and obfuscation, we failed to recognize that the true enemy to freedom was lurking among us all the while.
The U.S. government now poses a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist, extremist or foreign entity ever could.
While nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government and its agents have easily killed at least ten times that number of civilians in the U.S. and abroad since 9/11 through its police shootings, SWAT team raids, drone strikes and profit-driven efforts to police the globe, sell weapons to foreign nations, and foment civil unrest in order to keep the military industrial complex gainfully employed.
No, the U.S. government is not the citizenry’s friend, nor is it our protector, and life in the United States of America post-9/11 is no picnic.
In the interest of full disclosure, here are some of the things I don’t like about life in a post-9/11 America:
I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds.
I don’t like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I don’t like having representatives incapable of andunwilling to represent me. I don’t like taxation without representation.
I don’t like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.
I don’t like being treated like an underling by government agents who are supposed to be working for me. I don’t like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights. I don’t like being silenced, censored and marginalized. I don’t like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.
I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely.
I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.
I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country.
I don’t like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens.
I don’t like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely don’t like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.
I don’t like the fact that police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”
I don’t like having my hard-earned taxpayer dollars used against me.
I don’t like the partisan nature of politics today, which has so polarized Americans that they are incapable of standing in unity against the government’s abuses.
I don’t like the entertainment drivel that passes for news coverage today.
I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.
I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I don’t like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.
I don’t like Americans being assumed guilty until they prove their innocence.
I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us.
Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.
Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. Certainly, there are those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores.
However, I’m not giving up on this country without a fight.
I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.
Our country may be in deep trouble, but all is not yet lost.
The first step begins with you.
Get educated. Know your rights. Take time to read the Constitution. Study and understand history because the tales of those who seek power and those who resist them is an age-old one. The Declaration of Independence is a testament to this struggle and the revolutionary spirit that overcame tyranny. Understand the vital issues of the day so that you can be cognizant of the threats to freedom. Stay informed about current events and legislation.
Get involved. Become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, “Think nationally, act locally.” America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments, which is a far cry from the colossal federal bureaucracy we have today. Yet if our freedoms are to be restored, understanding what is transpiring practically in your own backyard—in one’s home, neighborhood, school district, town council—and taking action at that local level must be the starting point. Responding to unmet local needs and reacting to injustices is what grassroots activism is all about. Getting involved in local politics is one way to bring about change.
Get organized. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and tap into your resources. Play to your strengths and assets. Conduct strategy sessions to develop both the methods and ways to attack the problem. Prioritize your issues and battles. Don’t limit yourself to protests and paper petitions. Think outside the box. Time is short, and resources are limited, so use your resources in the way they count the most.
Be creative. Be bold and imaginative, for this is guerilla warfare—not to be fought with tanks and guns but through creative methods of dissent and resistance. Creatively responding to circumstances will often be one of your few resources if you are to be an effective agent of change. Every creative effort, no matter how small, is significant.
Use the media. Effective use of the media is essential. Attracting media coverage not only enhances and magnifies your efforts, it is also a valuable education tool. It publicizes your message to a much wider audience.
Start brushfires for freedom.Take heart that you are not alone. You come from a long, historic line of individuals who have put their beliefs and lives on the line to keep freedom alive. Engage those around you in discussions about issues of importance. Challenge them to be part of a national dialogue. As I have often said, one person at a city planning meeting with a protest sign is an irritant. Three individuals at the same meeting with the same sign are a movement. You will find that those in power fear and respect numbers. This is not to say that lone crusaders are not important. There are times when you will find yourself totally alone in the stand you take. However, there is power in numbers. Politicians understand this. So get out there and start drumming up support for your cause.
Take action.Be prepared to mobilize at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re located or what resources are at your disposal. What matters is that you recognize the problems and care enough to do something about them. Whether you’re 8, 28 or 88 years old, you have something unique to contribute. You don’t have to be a hero. You just have to show up and be ready to take action.
Be forward-looking.Beware of being so “in the moment” that you neglect to think of the bigger picture. Develop a vision for the future. Is what you’re hoping to achieve enduring? Have you developed a plan to continue to educate others about the problems you’re hoping to tackle and ensure that others will continue in your stead? Take the time to impart the value of freedom to younger generations, for they will be at the vanguard of these battles someday.
Develop fortitude. What is it that led to the successful protest movements of the past headed by people such as Martin Luther King Jr.? Resolve. King refused to be put off. And when the time came, he was willing to take to the streets for what he believed and even go to jail if necessary. King risked having an arrest record by committing acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. A caveat is appropriate here. Before resorting to nonviolent civil disobedience, all reasonable alternatives should be exhausted. If there is an opportunity to alter the course of events through normal channels (for example, negotiation, legal action or legislation), they should be attempted.
Be selfless and sacrificial.Freedom is not free—there is always a price to be paid and a sacrifice to be made. If any movement is to be truly successful, it must be manned by individuals who seek a greater good and do not waver from their purposes. It will take boldness, courage and great sacrifice. Rarely will fame, power and riches be found at the end of this particular road. Those who travel it inevitably find the way marked by hardship, persecution and strife. Yet there is no easy way.
Remain optimistic and keep hope alive. Although our rights are increasingly coming under attack, we still have certain freedoms. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we can still fight back. We have the right to dissent, to protest and even to vigorously criticize or oppose the government and its laws. The Constitution guarantees us these rights. In a country such as the United States, a citizen armed with a knowledge of the Bill of Rights and the fortitude to stand and fight can still be a force to be reckoned with, but it will mean speaking out when others are silent.
Practice persistence, along with perseverance, and the possibilities are endless. You can be the voice of reason. Use your voice to encourage others. Much can be accomplished by merely speaking out. Oftentimes, all it takes is one lone voice to get things started. So if you really care and you’re serious and want to help change things for the better, dust off your First Amendment tools and take a stand—even if it means being ostracized by those who would otherwise support you.
It won’t be easy, but take heart. And don’t give up.
“Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours…. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.”
— Neil Postman
Americans have a voracious appetite for TV entertainment, and the Trump reality show—guest starring outraged Democrats, power-hungry Republicans, and a hodgepodge of other special interest groups with dubious motives—feeds that appetite for titillating, soap opera drama.
After all, who needs the insults, narcissism and power plays that are hallmarks of reality shows when you can have all that and more delivered up by the likes of Donald Trump and his cohorts?
Yet as John Lennon reminds us, “nothing is real,” especially not in the world of politics.
In other words, it’s all fake, i.e. manufactured, i.e. manipulated to distort reality.
Indeed, the political scene in the United States has devolved over the years into a carefully calibrated exercise in how to manipulate, polarize, propagandize and control a population.
This is the magic of the reality TV programming that passes for politics today.
As long as we are distracted, entertained, occasionally outraged, always polarized but largely uninvolved and content to remain in the viewer’s seat, we’ll never manage to present a unified front against tyranny (or government corruption and ineptitude) in any form.
The more that is beamed at us, the more inclined we are to settle back in our comfy recliners and become passive viewers rather than active participants as unsettling, frightening events unfold.
Reality and fiction merge as everything around us becomes entertainment fodder.
We don’t even have to change the channel when the subject matter becomes too monotonous. That’s taken care of for us by the programmers (the corporate media).
“Living is easy with eyes closed,” says Lennon, and that’s exactly what reality TV that masquerades as American politics programs the citizenry to do: navigate the world with their eyes shut.
As long as we’re viewers, we’ll never be doers.
Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch—and I would posit that it’s all reality TV, entertainment news included—the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce.
“We the people” are watching a lot of TV.
This doesn’t bode well for a citizenry able to sift through masterfully-produced propaganda in order to think critically about the issues of the day, whether it’s fake news peddled by government agencies or foreign entities.
Look behind the political spectacles, the reality TV theatrics, the sleight-of-hand distractions and diversions, and the stomach-churning, nail-biting drama, and you will find there is a method to the madness.
We have become guinea pigs in a ruthlessly calculated, carefully orchestrated, chillingly cold-blooded experiment in how to control a population and advance a political agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.
This is mind-control in its most sinister form.
Truth is often lost when we fail to distinguish between opinion and fact, and that is the danger we now face as a society.
Given the preponderance of news-as-entertainment programming, it’s no wonder that viewers have largely lost the ability to think critically and analytically and differentiate between truth and propaganda, especially when delivered by way of fake news criers and politicians.
While television news cannot—and should not—be completely avoided, the following suggestions will help you better understand the nature of TV news.
1. TV news is not what happened. Rather, it is what someone thinks is worth reporting. While viewers are often inclined to take what is reported by television “news” hosts at face value, it is your responsibility to judge and analyze what is reported.
2. TV news is entertainment. There is a reason why the programs you watch are called news “shows.” It’s a signal that the so-called news is being delivered as a form of entertainment. Although the news items spoon-fed to you may have some value, they are primarily a commodity to gather an audience, which will in turn be sold to advertisers.
3. Never underestimate the power of commercials, especially to news audiences. In an average household, the television set is on over seven hours a day. Most people, believing themselves to be in control of their media consumption, are not really bothered by this. But TV is a two-way attack: it not only delivers programming to your home, it also delivers you (the consumer) to a sponsor.
4. It is vitally important to learn about the economic and political interests of those who own the “corporate” media. Even those “fake” news outlets denounced by Trump are enjoying significant sales and ratings boosts as a result of Trump’s so-called war on the media. In other words, to a dying news industry, the Trump presidency has been great for business.
5. Pay special attention to the language of newscasts. TV by its very nature manipulates viewers. One must never forget that every television minute has been edited.
6. Reduce by at least one-half the amount of TV news you watch. Do not form your concept of reality based on television.
7. Watching TV news gives the illusion of participation in American life. Americans should beware of letting others—whether they be television news hosts, political commentators or media corporations—do their thinking for them.
As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, a populace that cannot think for themselves is a populace with its backs to the walls: mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all.
It’s time to change the channel, tune out the reality TV show, and push back against the real menace of the police state. If not, if we continue to sit back and lose ourselves in political programming, we will remain a captive audience to a farce that grows more absurd by the minute.
“In his 10 years in power from 1997 to 2007, Tony Blair passed an astonishing 26,849 laws in total, an average of 2,663 per year or 7.5 a day. The Labour Party continued this madness under Gordon Brown who broke the record in 2008 by passing 2,823 new laws, a 6% increase on even his megalomaniac predecessor.”
This article will demonstrate how the United Kingdom has steadily become a police state over the past twenty years, weaponizing its institutions against the people and employing Orwellian techniques to stop the public from seeing the truth. It will demonstrate, contrary to official narratives, that both overall levels of crime and violent crime have been increasing, not decreasing, as the size of the state in the UK has gotten bigger. It will also expose how the Labour government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2010, deliberately obscured real crime data with estimated crime rates based on survey data as opposed to the real numbers. I will demonstrate that, contrary to popular opinion perpetuated by progressive myths, life was much safer in Britain during the era of classical laissez-faire from the 1850s to 1911.
In his 10 years in power from 1997 to 2007, Tony Blair passed an astonishing 26,849 laws in total, an average of 2,663 per year or 7.5 a day. The Labour Party continued this madness under Gordon Brown who broke the record in 2008 by passing 2,823 new laws, a 6% increase on even his megalomaniac predecessor. In 2010, Labour’s last year in power before handing over the reigns to the Blairite social radical, David Cameron, there was a 54% surge in privacy cases brought against public bodies, and the Cabinet were refusing freedom of information requests at a rate of 51%. The vast number of new laws under Labour does not count the 2,100 new regulations the EU passed in 2006 alone, which apparently is average for them.
Many of these vast changes under Blair and Brown were in the area of criminal law. By 2008, Labour had created more than 3,600 new offences. Many of these, naturally, were red-tape regulations. To give you an idea:
Creating a nuclear explosion
Selling types of flora and fauna not native to the UK, such as the grey squirrel, ruddy duck or Japanese knotweed
To wilfully pretend to be a barrister or a traffic warden
Disturbing a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer
Obstructing workers from carrying out repairs to the Dockland Light Railway
Offering for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day
Allowing an unlicensed concert in a church hall or community centre
A ship’s captain may end up in court if he or she carries grain without a copy of the International Grain Code on board
Scallop fishing without the correct boat
Breaking regulation number 10 of the 1998 Apple and Pear Grubbing Up Regulations
Selling Polish Potatoes
There are many more. However, there were also some more serious breaches of civil liberty.
One common tactic of the Blair government was to use a moral panic to pass radical new legislation. For example, in 2006, he passed the Terrorism Act that overturned habeas corpus and gave the British police the right to detain anyone for any reason for 90 days. At the time, this got widespread public support because of the recent 7/7 bombings in London. This means that, in the UK, the police can arrest you without you necessarily having committed a crime if they can brand your activities as “terrorist” or “extremist.” Although these laws were ostensibly brought about to combat Islamic terrorism, the ever-expanding definitions of “far right” and “extremist” demonstrate how they can be weaponised against the British people.
This Is What Modern War Propaganda Looks Like
I’ve been noticing videos going viral the last few days, with , about Muslim women bravely fighting to free…
Another area in which the Labour government used moral panic cynically to overturn longstanding common law principles was the murder of Stephen Lawrence, which they used to eliminate the double jeopardy rule and, as per the MacPherson report, to put an end to colour-blind policing.
Recently there have been an increased number of cases in which the British state has encroached on civil liberties in a near-openly tyrannical way. The Count Dankula case, for example, in which a man was arrested for “hate speech,” then tried and made to pay a fine for telling off-colour jokes about the Nazis on Youtube. Then there was the young woman who was found guilty of being “grossly offensive” for posting Snoop Dogg lyrics on her Instagram account. And, most recently, the political activist Tommy Robinson was arrested and tried in mere hours for recording outside a courtroom. In each of these cases, despite some protests against the legal rulings, the media broadly sided with the courts, citing the technicalities of the law – in the former two cases section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 (another Blair special) – and brand anyone who would protest “far right” or “extremist.”
“Gaslighting” is a word from the world of psychology; it is a technique of manipulation to achieve power. Here are eleven warning signs:
They tell blatant lies.
They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
They wear you down over time.
Their actions do not match their words.
They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
They know confusion weakens people.
They try to align people against you.
They tell you or others that you are crazy.
They tell you everyone else is a liar.
The British state has become increasingly Orwellian in its gaslighting of the British public since at least 1997 with near-total complicity from the media. In a recent article for Quillette, I argued that this has been the case in both Britain and the USA for years.
This has especially been the case in the area of crime. During a period in which both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have become increasingly statist and interventionist on both an economic and civil level, we have been continually told that one of the positive effects of ever-increasing government control is that society is becoming more peaceful. This is the narrative, for example, of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. In 2005, The Guardian told us that since 1995 overall crime had decreased by 44%. Almost a decade later the same publication wondered out loud what could be causing the continued decline in crime rates in the UK. And just a few years after that, they had changed their tune completely decrying sudden increases in violent crime and blaming this on cuts in police numbers. In the first few months of 2018, the shocking increases in instances of violent crime in Sadiq Khan’s London, which in the past year has seen rises of 31.3% in knife crime, 78% in acid attacks, 70% in youth homicides, 33.4% in robberies, 18.7% in burglaries, 33.9% in theft and 30% in child sex crime. But this story told by The Guardian – of a general trend down in crime over the past twenty years followed by a sudden and inexplicable spike – is simply not true, as I will demonstrate in this paper.
In 1997, Tony Blair famously ran on a platform of being ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’. Unfortunately for him, the reality of empirical crime data had stubbornly refused to comply with his anointed vision through his first years in power. “New Labour” were famous for the efficiency of their propaganda machine. American readers will no doubt be aware of Mr. Blair’s complicity in making exaggerated claims about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” in the run up to the war in Iraq, but few readers – British, American, or otherwise – will know that the Blair government was also lying about the extent of crime in Britain. The Labour Party, who were so much about media perceptions and political spin, needed to find a way to show on paper that their “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” agenda was making good on its promise. So, in 2003, Tony Blair permanently changed the way crime is reported in the UK by introducing the National Crime Recording Standard’ (NCRS). Up until that point, crime in the UK was reported using hard data drawn from actual arrests and convictions from the police. However, from that point onwards, the official statistics were to be drawn from the British Crime Survey which estimates crime based on a survey of 50,000 people aged 16 or over. This works much like how television companies produce estimates for their show ratings. So that means that the statistics you see quoted in newspapers like The Guardian are not hard figures, but estimates drawn from surveys. Whatever the merits of this method, it produced a graph for the Blair government that looked like this:
This change ostensibly came about because – as part of the “tough on the causes of crime” part of their pledge, Labour wanted to count victims as opposed to the total number of offenders. Of course, this takes a huge number of crimes out of the data. For example, as it was introduced in 2003, because only over 16-year olds could be interviewed, crimes against minors were not registered in the official statistics. Also, because interviews had to take place in private properties, street crime habitually would not show up in these numbers. Of course, so-called “victimless” crimes – fraud or online crime – do not show up in this data either. Once you start to account for some of these caveats, it becomes more obvious why this extraordinary change in methodology would produce a downwards trend in the data. In fact, it was explicitly designed so that, because of these changes, it could not be compared with numbers before 2002.
In 2007, Ken Pease and Graham Farrell estimated that the survey data could be underestimating violent crime by as much as 82%, with the real number of victims closer to 4.4 million than 2.4 million. This massive margin of error means that the real crime rate becomes a matter for debate as opposed to a question of hard evidence. It seems to me that this was a deliberate choice by the Blair government. Hence, we now find the BBC wondering about what the real crime rate might be. And this is where the true extent of the Orwellian nightmare of the Blair and Gordon Brown years dawns: by making the crime rate an estimate neither political party can reliably point to the facts, and it always becomes a question of one difficult to substantiate narrative against another. “Post-truth” did not start with Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump – Tony Blair was doing it from the minute he stepped into office.
However, real numbers of convicted offenders are still recorded and kept, although they are somewhat difficult to obtain. In the run-up to the 2010 British election, Conservative MP and Shadow Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, requested the real numbers from the House of Commons library which duly produced a series of independent reports. Incidentally, once the leader of the Tories, David Cameron, became prime minister in 2010, Chris Grayling became the Secretary for Justice and, to my knowledge, was happy to let this little detail slide and continue with the survey-based methodology. It is funny how power can change the incentives for action.
In any case, the numbers that Grayling requested are damning for anyone who claims that either overall crime or violent crime decreased in the UK between 1997 and 2010.
The population of the UK was about 58 million people in 1997. In 2008, that had increased to 62 million, an increase of 6.87%. In that same period male violent crime convictions in England and Wales increased by around 63.92% from 49,153 in 1997 to 80,574 in 2008. So violent crime convictions increased by more than ten times the growth of the population.
Increases like this can been seen across virtually every category of crime. Convictions for persons under 18, for example, increased by 60.18% from 12,806 in 1997 to 20,513 in 2008, in keeping with the average increase in violent crime, this is ten times the rate of population growth in the same period. Knife crime practically doubled during the Blair years, from 3,360 offenders in 1997 to 6,368 in 2008. In 1998 there were 5,542 robberies, in 2008 there were 8,475. From the year 2000 to 2008, the total number of arrests for any offence went up from 1.2 million to 1.4 million, an increase of about 17%.
For the claim to be true that violent crime went down 44% during the 00s in the UK, it would have to be at a time when violent crime convictions went up 64%. For the claim to be true that overall crime went down in from 1997 to 2008, it would have to be at a time when overall convictions for crime went up by 17%. Both claims seem extraordinary: how could there be a rise in convictions without a corresponding increase in crime? The methodology that measures victims through estimates from survey data clearly is not getting this correct.
If we use recorded convictions in this way, as opposed to estimates, we can make meaningful comparisons to the past as Peter Hitchens does in The Abolition of Liberty. As we have seen, the total number of convictions in England and Wales for 2008 was around 1.47 million for a population of 62 million people, around 2.25% of the population. According to Hitchens the comparable number in 1861 at the height of laissez-faire was 88,000 for a population of 20,066,224, or around 0.44% of the population. In 1911, before Leviathan and the welfare state had really had a chance to grow, the number was 97,000 for a population of 36,075,269, or around 0.27% of the population. The claim that crime has risen because of government cuts to the numbers of police also cannot stand since in 1911 there were 51,203 officers whereas by 2009 there were 144,353 officers. The increase in police officers from 1911 to 2009 therefore is 181.92% compared with an increase of 71.86% in total population. So the size of the repressive apparatuses of the state have increased greatly, and with it the total number of criminals.
It is clear that with less personal freedom and a bigger and more invasive state comes less personal responsibility and greater lawlessness. It is also clear that as the British state has become more top-down in orientation than in its common-law past, it has levied increased coercive legislative power against the British people it supposedly serves. The state is now behaving in an openly Orwellian manner with near-explicit contempt for the public.
Wall Street creates and destroys businesses for the sake of financial profits regardless of the impact on individuals, families, and society.
The U.S. economy is not driven by honest business enterprise such as manufacturing but is kept afloat artificially by bank and government-created bubbles, including the debt-driven bubble of military spending.
People are being sent to jail for non-payment of debt. Some with out-of-control debt commit suicide.
The federal government’s national debt is a growing burden to society that can never be paid off. George W. Bush with his wars doubled the national debt in eight years. It doubled again during the Obama eight-year war period.
The lack of decent jobs drives huge numbers of people into cybercrime, drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal pastimes simply as a mode of survival.
The corporate-orchestrated attack on net neutrality seeks to eliminate independent opinion on the internet as was done in the past on cable TV.
Major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and the national TV broadcast networks are controlled by the oligarchy and Deep State which use them as propaganda organs for their pro-war, corporate agendas.
Can the U.S. survive as a nation for another generation? It seems doubtful without a major reform movement dedicated to correcting ALL the above-mentioned abuses. But before the U.S. destroys the planet it may simply collapse from its internal failures or through its policies of endless war and the guilt this has produced.
Turkey has warned its citizens to revise their travel plans to the US or act with caution if they go ahead with a trip, according to the foreign ministry.
A statement on Friday cited risks of “terrorist” attacks as well as arbitrary arrests in Turkey’s Western ally.
“It has been observed that there is a recent increase in terrorist and violent attacks in the US,” the foreign ministry said, referring to several deadly incidents over the past few months.
“Attacks by vehicles being driven on crowds, in addition to bomb and gun attacks, are likely to continue to target city centres, cultural events, subway stations, state buildings, places of warship and school campuses,” the statement continued, adding that there is also a risk of arbitrary arrest for Turkish citizens travelling to the US.
It added that the New York City subway pipe bomb attack in December was “an example of far-right/racist incidents”.
The ministry also warned of alleged “arbitrary arrests” of Turkish citizens, including public servants travelling to the US for official duty.
The move came after the US announced a new travel advisoryon Wednesday and named Turkey as a country with an “increased security risk” along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.
Separately, Turkey summoned senior US diplomat Philip Kosnett to the foreign affairs in Ankara on Thursday over Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Tensions have been simmering between Washington and Ankara for some time.
In October, the two NATO allies were involved in a visa dispute, motivated both by Washington’s concern over Ankara’s Syria policy, and by the arrest of a US embassy employee who allegedly had information on American involvement in the 2016 failed coup attempt.
[ Author’s note: This is a long article due to the complex nature of this problem with hyperactive, overly aggressive, mind-kontrolled police with itchy trigger fingers. Readers can skip to the parts that interest them or read the summary only. ]
There has been a substantial increase in American police incidents since 9-11-01 with the police being too quick shoot, occasionally killing or even murdering an unarmed or innocent person.
In a growing number of cases, these unarmed persons turn out to completely innocent of anything, with police responding to a call by going to the wrong address and murdering a person that was minding their own business on their own property.
There are numerous cases where swat teams have broken into the wrong house, murdered an innocent person; or roughed up, sworn at and insulted innocent family members at the same time. They often use such language to innocent men, women and children, such as “if you move I’ll blow your fucking head off”. This sick verbal abuse is tolerated by internal affairs and even respected, and considered the norm. It is disrespectful and abusive, and should never be tolerated in so-called “public servants” whose salaries and benefits are paid by We The People.
How would these same abusive swat teams members feel if a swat team broke into their home with flash bangs on a no-knock home invasion to the wrong home when they were gone and did the same to their family? Would they get it then that this is criminally abusive, a serious crime of assault, and would they then stop this abuse and brutality?
In Florida some years ago, a DEA squad was caught doing after hours invasions in swat attire of wealthy homeowners and keeping the loot unreported. Several drug task forces with swat teams have been caught stealing drug money and TV sets and jewelry for their personal use.
These police who over-react and murder, maim or insult the innocent are rarely ever brought to to justice because fellow police, internal affairs and most courts favor the police over the public, and often sidestep the US Constitution. Crafty, two-faced prosecutors can easily stack almost any jury, federal, or county, to get the results they want, which is to have all charges dropped, despite acting as if they wanted otherwise.
Too often, it turns out that there was no search warrant; a search warrant was been filled out with the wrong address, or was even read incorrectly by the attacking swat team; or that there was no search warrant at all, and flimsy exigent circumstances claimed. Often these swat raids go deeply wrong and the innocent are wrongly harassed, assaulted and even sometimes murdered.
In many states, retired law enforcement of all types are extended concealed carry privileges automatically if they pass a yearly range test by a local city or county police department. A friend of mine with a long-term ethical and very esteemed LE record before he retired, went to get his yearly shooting exam recently.
The certifying gun range officer told the group of retired LE individuals being re-certified that, if they were ever involved in using their gun to stop a crime of any type, to immediately set their gun down and don’t even waste your time trying to tell them that you are a retired LE. Why? Because the recent batch of new urban police recruits over the last several years are noticeably trigger happy and would immediately shoot first and think later when they get to a call and see anyone holding a weapon or reaching for it. If you have a gun in your hand, expect for any police officer arriving at the scene to empty his clip into you first before doing anything else.
This is a known national trend in US Police departments, both small town, rural and large urban departments.
Why are so many new police recruits so trigger happy, quick to shoot, quick to murder innocents?
Colonel Osman was seen going in and out of Langley and the Pentagon on numerous occasions before 9-11-01, was instrumental in arming the Mujahedeen with stingers for the CIA and, right after 9-11-01, emphatically denied having anything to do with it.
Colonel Osman had Marfans disorder (like President Abraham Lincoln), was on dialysis for CKD, because Marfans usually destroys one’s kidneys. He either died of kidney disease or the results of an America bombing in late 2001. This was announced in the foreign press, and his body was buried in a unmarked grave as is customary Islamic practice.
The massive hunt for Colonel Osman was all based on a known Big Lie by the Administration. Later on, when he was supposedly found and killed by some Seal Team Six operatives, it became known to these men that the man killed was not Colonel Osman at all, nor a terrorist, but was an innocent man they murdered in cold blood. The ops that did this were murdered by their superiors to cover it up, and the rest of the Seal Team Six that found out were also murdered to keep this covered up – they were blown out of the sky while ordered on an old National Guard twin-rotor helicopter.
Knowledge of this treachery by their superiors who had a signed-finding “kill order” right from Potus has spread to many Special Ops who also have heard about the mass-murder of all but one spooky, special ops team in South America. Naturally, most special ops are now assembling special life insurance packets of documents and hiding them with trusted friends, in case they are dealt with treacherously by their superiors. It is a fair statement to say that the trust special ops have in their superiors is at an all time low and dropping by the day.
Even Huma Abedon created a “life insurance” file dump on her husband’s computer and of lots of secret DNC emails, which also allegedly (according to NYCPD insiders) contained pedophilic sexual videos so sick the older veteran police that watched them cried. When the FBI seized these materials, the NYCPD kept numerous copies and told the FBI in plain terms that if they didn’t prosecute all those involved they would eventually release them to the American public one way or another. Right now the NYCPD has about 75,000 officers, a very large international Intel group for itself in almost every major City of the world, and it is not wise for any Intel agency to mess with them.
Congress is completely controlled by AIPAC, preventing any honest investigation or prosecution of the perps responsible for this great attack on America, which is just one part of the secret war between Likudists and We The People on behalf of the City of London’s RKM private fiat Banksters (aka, the Babylonian Talmudic folks who run the worldwide satanic pedophile network). Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a great American hero, revealed this to all for the first time when she described how any member of Congress who does not sign an AIPAC Loyalty Oath to place the interests of Israel first even before the interests of We The People will never be allowed to be re-elected.
9-11-01 was used to create a false-narrative needed to use American military might to attain the Greater Israel Plan for the Likudists.
9-11-01 was used to create a false narrative that the radical Islamics attacked America and the full force of the US Military had to be deployed in the Mideast to retaliate in full vengeance. We now know this is a major lie designed to trick America into serving as Israeli surrogates to complete their greater Israel Plan. And what is the Greater Israel Plan which was concocted in the City of London for the Israelis to spearhead?
The Greater Israel Plan is a secret policy of the City of London RKM Banksters designed to use American military might to invade, destroy and mass-murder a majority of the governments and people in Islamic nations neighboring Israel, in order to clear the path for Israel’s aggressive annexation of all these lands to Greater Israel.
This Greater Israel Plan has now been thwarted by superior, precision Russian Federation air power in Syria. The Russian Federation is a close ally of Syria and was asked to come in and help defend Syria from ISIS et al., which is now known to be the secret mercenary army of Israel, the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and the City of London. This Russian Federation defense of their ally Syria is perfectly legal under international law.
The CIA’s support of ISIS is illegal under international law, just as every other American invasion in the Mideast is also illegal and unconstitutional, according to American law. Of course a growing number of Americans now realize that the only reason the US military and the CIA would be allowed to do this is because America has been hijacked by the COL, Israeli Likudists, Israeli-American “Israeli-first” dual citizen traitors and lots of traitors in the Pentagon, DOD, White House and administration, and Congress and the CIA.
It’s a fact that ever since 9-11-01 and earlier, the the Murrah Bombing (also done by the RKM and covered up by the FBI), the Administration and the CMMM’s obsession with terror and terrorists inside America has all been based on big lies, false-narratives and USG propaganda. The FBI is a RICO crime syndicate in and of itself; is actually run by the COL Banksters and their top Cutouts; has usually been run by traitors deeply morally compromised, some with ties to major CIA drug money laundering.
The FBI’s specialty is recruiting retarded or mentally ill Islamic patsies to accept a free airline ticket to the Mideast for radical terror training in a special camp run by the CIA and Mossad, or to read and become mind-kontrolled by FBI-run, terror-training websites. Almost all pedophile websites have been run by the FBI. The FBI is known to protect the worldwide satanic pedophile network from exposure or prosecution and has done so, according to reliable insiders from many years.
After 9-11-01, FBI Directors have known that the 9-11-01 attack on America was nuclear; they have known who actually did it, and have worked hard to keep it covered up forever. These men are major American RICO criminals and traitors. If any ordinary, non-connected person did this, they would be prosecuted, convicted and hung for numerous capital crimes, such as accessory after the fact, misprision of a felony, treason, espionage against America, etc.
The matrix of big lies continually broadcast in the RKM’s CMMM is of course designed to spook the police to make them aggressive to citizens, and to scare the American People into supporting all these unprovoked, undeclared, illegal, unconstitutional Mideast wars of aggression to further the RKM’s and Likudists’ Greater Israel satanic obsession.
Most advanced American police training is done under direction of Israeli anti-terror forces (this is no coincidence). DHS was set up to consolidate all American LE and place it under the direct control on the RKM in order to keep the truth of who was behind 9-11-01 covered up forever.
One factor in this increased tendency for American Police to shoot quick and empty their clip into their target “until the threat is over” is the little realized fact that most advanced American police training is driven by Israeli anti-terror forces. This should be illegal and considered espionage by a foreign nation against America.
The current training attitude subtly but actually communicated is that the Police are the righteous occupying military force and We The People are like Palestinian Terrorists. This is the subtle but governing attitude in the back of most new police officers’ minds in America. Sad to say, but it is a fact.
Ever since the RKM and Israel attacked America on 9-11-01, the USG, which is under secret occupation by the RKM and Israel, has been working hard to quickly militarize the American police and transform them into an occupying force that is based on Israel anti-Palestinian police tactics.
Steroid and drug use (including alcohol and SSRIs) by some police is a big problem in America.
Those prescribed steroids for a real medical illness should be removed from the street and given a desk job until off the steroids. Those taking SSRIs by valid physician prescription should be removed from street duty and given a desk job to protect the public until such time as they have recovered from their mental disorder and are off SSRIs.
All these black civil rights groups like Black Lives Matter have completely missed the boat on steroids, SSRI use and advance deployed psychotronics. They cannot do much about the deployed psychotronics, but they can create enough political pressure to get a national policy established for regular drug testing of all police, Intel and any LE in America. This should be their national strategy from here on out.
The CIA and BATF have supplied weapons to gangs for many years and been responsible for hyping up police vigilance, fear and over-aggressiveness in inner urban jungles.
About 20 years ago in a large city nearby, the CIA trucked in confiscated weapons from the Chicago Police Department and sold them to the local drug gangs out of the back of a USDA cheese delivery intended for economically poor households in a bad neighborhood. The police officer who was told about this didn’t believe it but ended up investigating and was assassinated in a pizza restaurant by a CIA-linked gang banger. All drug gangs in this city were set up by the CIA, just like MS-13 has been transformed from the contras into a mind-kontrolled violent drug gang and allowed to migrate into certain large American cities.
The BATF was caught (due to internal whistle-blower leaks) supplying massive amounts of high-powered weapons to the Mexican Cartels, which brought them into the USA and murdered Border Agent Brian Terry.
The RICO criminals in the USG that did this avoided any prosecution, but they are still liable to be fully prosecuted if the US Dept of Just-us is ever cleaned out, since there is no statute of limitations on murder.
It’s quite sad and also disturbing that the USG, which is now an occupied colony of the RKM and Israeli Likudists, has declared a secret war against the USA and We The People and is doing everything they can to abuse us like Palestinians by using the militarized police, asset strip us all, destroy our Republic, and then genocide us like they are doing to Palestinians.
Middle-class Americans are thus going to become the new Palestinians unless this RKM corruption is stopped cold and cleaned out.
The 1033 Program.
The infamous 1033 program was set up to provide police departments with machine guns, grenade launchers, armor and armored vehicles, as long as the Chief or Sheriff would sign a CIA contract to yield jurisdiction to the feds any time they requested. My Police Chief refused when this program first came out while on an all-expenses-paid junket to Langley; and he was given the CIA flu, which disabled him. This man is a stand-up man who could not be corrupted by the CIA using federal bribe money and military hardware; and he paid the price in spades.
Of course, much of the blame for this transformation of American cities into drug- and weapon-infested urban war zones goes back to LBJ’s Great Society program, which provided the money the CIA needed for black ops. The CIA’s massive drug-trafficking into America Cities could then easily access all the welfare dollars that LBJ’s program provided.
Before 9-11-01, the CIA had no authority inside America to run covert operations or to influence elected officials and corporate leaders. After 9-11-01, the US Congress passed laws (albeit clearly unconstitutional) to allow the CIA to combat terror inside the USA, and also got a law rescinded that prevented the USG from using the Major Mass Media to deploy false stories and propaganda to mislead the public.
Almost all lone wolf terror is synthetically manufactured by the CIA and FBI.
How come the news media (CMMM) never mentions the hard, cold realities of the CIA MK-Ultra program, or anything about the remote, psychotronic entrainment devices sold to Intel agencies and certain corporations with Intel clearances?
Answer: because the cabal that controls the USG and the Intel agencies and assets who deploy these programs and equipment do not want these sinister and highly illegal, unconstitutional practices disclosed to the America People.
If you doubt the power of remote inductive psychotronic devices that can easily be targeted against individuals, groups and whole neighborhoods, consider the documented history of the deployment of the “Voice of God” electronic weaponry in the First Gulf War against the Republican Guard.
Or consider the public disclosures by Barrie Trower, the UK’s top expert on Microwave and its use as a weapon of war. Barrie is now retired and has expressed concern about the misuse of EMF, WiFi and cell phones. He has pointed out numerous times that the constant-on, shoulder-carried police radios can harm certain susceptible officers by entraining their brains.
With some some police officers, these shoulder-carried radios cause them to experience psychomotor seizures when in stressful situations. Some officers will become temporarily unconscious, will act out violently with their guns, and will not remember what happened afterwards.
Here’s a leak from an insider to me that I will share. Evaluate it and decide for yourself if it could be true. Personally I think it is. The Voice of God has once again been deployed in the Mideast, this time quite recently in Iran to generate rebellion, which is now occurring.
This is a desperate, last-ditch attempt by the Babylonian Talmudic non-Hebrew Zios (Rev. 2:9, 3:9) to take down Iran using these pyschotronic weapons that are ground-based, and satellite-based; but it will fail.
So far, all COL/RKM/Likudist attempts to manipulate the USA to deploy its full military to invade Syria and Iran have failed. It is likely that the USG will continue to refuse to do so.
ISIS, the private Mossad/CIA/Saudi mercenary army, has now been completely defeated by Russian Federation precision air power and Assad’s highly motivated Syrian Army.
If the USG thinks it could ever attack and invade Syria or Iran (which are major Russian Federation allies) without a strong reaction from the Russian Federation, they are self-deluding. So far, Russian electronic warfare has shown itself to be quite superior to deployed American electronic warfare systems. Doubt this, then do some Internet research on the USS Donald Cook incident (March, 2014), the Khbiny and Dome of Protection systems, the latest S500 systems, and the new Russian Federation’s hypersonic, hived, grouped missile defense systems and their supersonic torpedoes with anti-gravity, matter-altering nose cones.
The City of London (RKM) and Israeli Likudists want to create as much terror and conflict inside America as they can, in order to divide the American people and create massive chaos. They have worked hard to militarize the American Police and mold them into their murderous anti-Palestinian, anti-terror apartheid forces.
They also want to blood shock Americans with major terror events – some real, like Murrah, Waco, Ruby Ridge, 9-11-01 – and some fake, like Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon – and some hybrid FEMA/DHS exercises taken live and real to fool investigators, all done in order to “blood shock” the masses. This creates terror in the American group subconscious mind; and this massive subconscious fear can be used by the USG to motivate Americans to demand and/or allow their government to institute major, Draconian measures to provide for their safety from terror, even if these measure violate the constitution, take away their personal God-given rights, and end up resulting in the death of many innocent Americans and foreigners in illegal, unconstitutional foreign wars for Israel and the RKM.
Obviously this massive militarization of the American police has already terrorized, injured and murdered many innocent Americans in their own homes, and will lead to increased violence back at American police, and that is already happening. This is exactly what the COL Banksters (the RKM) and the Likudists want.
Everyday, more and more ordinary Israelis are catching on, and want the Likudists out and the Apartheid stopped cold, with real peace and goodwill established with the Palestinians. They want to see an end to the Greater Israel Plan. This trend is good and will continue, as some Israelis try to save Israel.
Unless drastic action is taken to reverse course, world justice is now forming major storm clouds against Israeli Likudist Apartheid, like the BDS movement which is accelerating and cannot be stopped.
Henry Kissinger announced that Israel as we know it would be gone in 10 years, which is a clue that the several Kingpins that run the world system have already abandoned it because they now longer need it, as they shift to a new Cosmic Fascist system.
Many American Police, especially those that work CIA drug- and BATF weapon-infested urban jungles, find themselves in extremely stressful and impossible policing situations. Those who cannot cope often become hyper-aggressive as a coping mechanism; and certainly the role of secret RKM/Mossad and FBI synthetic terror has added significantly to creating hyper-vigilance and a tendency to quickly empty one’s clip even into innocents.
At the center of many police departments at their top command is a culture of lies and cover-ups; and there is no law against it. That is true of the department in my city and others nearby, where certain officers routinely lie to the public with no consequences and abuse their power. But, if you lie to a police officer, that is a prosecutable crime.
Poor police management is likely a major “system problem”. When you have corruption at the top of the USG and state government, where most government is run by pedophiles who abuse young children, no wonder you have corrupt police command structures. It’s like what former Representative Ron Paul recently stated that, when a nation is run by pedophiles, it’s no wonder they send troops repeatedly into illegal wars to slaughter innocents.
And yet, despite all this endemic corruption, the thin blue line and lots of poor police management, there are a lot of good police officers who remain low profile and do their thankless jobs well. It’s the sociopathic, ‘roided up, abusers that give these departments a bad image; and the management usually lies and covers their bad behavior to protect their image. The new movement to active police body cameras should help this over time, somewhat.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela
This is the tale of two Americas, where the rich get richer and the poor go to jail.
Aided and abetted by the likes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a man who wouldn’t recognize the Constitution if it smacked him in the face—the American dream has become the American scheme: the rich are getting richer and more powerful, while anyone who doesn’t belong to the power elite gets poorer and more powerless to do anything about the nation’s steady slide towards fascism, authoritarianism and a profit-driven police state.
Not content to merely pander to law enforcement and add to its military largesse with weaponry and equipment designed for war, Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.
“Despite prior attempts on the federal level and across the country to prevent the profound injustice of locking people in cages because they are too poor to pay a debt,” concludesThe Atlantic, “the practice persists every day.”
Where things began to change, according to The Marshall Project, was with the rise of “mass incarceration.” As attorney Alec Karakatsanis stated, “In the 1970s and 1980s, we started to imprison more people for lesser crimes. In the process, we were lowering our standards for what constituted an offense deserving of imprisonment, and, more broadly, we were losing our sense of how serious, how truly serious, it is to incarcerate. If we can imprison for possession of marijuana, why can’t we imprison for not paying back a loan?”
By the late 1980s and early 90s, “there was a dramatic increase in the number of statutes listing a prison term as a possible sentence for failure to repay criminal-justice debt.” During the 2000s, the courts started cashing in big-time “by using the threat of jail time – established in those statutes – to squeeze cash out of small-time debtors.”
Fast-forward to the present day which finds us saddled with not only profit-driven private prisons and a prison-industrial complex but also, as investigative reporter Eli Hager notes, “the birth of a new brand of ‘offender-funded’ justice [which] has created a market for private probation companies. Purporting to save taxpayer dollars, these outfits force the offenders themselves to foot the bill for parole, reentry, drug rehab, electronic monitoring, and other services (some of which are not even assigned by a judge). When the offenders can’t pay for all of this, they may be jailed – even if they have already served their time for the offense.”
Follow the money trail. It always points the way.
Whether you’re talking about the government’s war on terrorism, the war on drugs, or some other phantom danger dreamed up by enterprising bureaucrats, there is always a profit-incentive involved.
The same goes for the war on crime.
At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, the flawed yet retributive American “system of justice” is being replaced by an even more flawed and insidious form of mass punishment based upon profit and expediency.
Sessions’ latest gambit plays right into the hands of those who make a profit by jailing Americans.
Sharnalle Mitchell was one such victim of a system for whom the plight of the average American is measured in dollars and cents. As the Harvard Law Reviewrecounts:
On January 26, 2014, Sharnalle Mitchell was with her children in Montgomery, Alabama when police showed up at her home to arrest her. Mitchell was not accused of a crime. Instead, the police came to her home because she had not fully paid a traffic ticket from 2010. The single mother was handcuffed in front of her children (aged one and four) and taken to jail. She was ordered to either pay $2,800 or sit her debt out in jail at a rate of fifty dollars a day for fifty-nine days. Unable to pay, Mitchell wrote out the numbers one to fifty-eight on the back of her court documents and began counting days.
This is not justice.
This is yet another example of how greed and profit-incentives have not only perverted policing in America but have corrupted the entire criminal justice system.
As the Harvard Law Review concludes:
[A]s policing becomes a way to generate revenue, police start to “see the people they’re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential sources of revenue, as lawbreakers to be caught.” This approach creates a fugitive underclass on the run from police not to hide illicit activity but to avoid arrest for debt or seizure of their purportedly suspicious assets… In turn, communities … begin to see police not as trusted partners but as an occupying army constantly harassing them to raise money to pay their salaries and buy new weapons. This needs to end.
Unfortunately, the criminal justice system has been operating as a for-profit enterprise for years now, covertly padding its pockets through penalty-riddled programs aimed at maximizing revenue rather than ensuring public safety.
Same goes for the courts, which have come to rely on fines, fees and exorbitant late penalties as a means of increased revenue. The power of these courts, magnified in recent years through the introduction of specialty courts beyond your run-of-the-mill traffic court (drug court, homeless court, veterans court, mental health court, criminal court, teen court, gambling court, prostitution court, community court, domestic violence court, truancy court), is “reshaping the American legal system—with little oversight,” concludes the Boston Globe.
“When bail is set unreasonably high, people are behind bars only because they are poor,” stated former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “Not because they’re a danger or a flight risk — only because they are poor. They don’t have money to get out of jail, and they certainly don’t have money to flee anywhere. Other people who do have the means can avoid the system, setting inequality in place from the beginning.”
In the late 1980s, Missouri became one of the first states to let private companies purchase the probation systems of local governments. In these arrangements, municipalities impose debt on individuals through criminal proceedings and then sell this debt to private businesses, which pad the debt with fees and interest. This debt can stem from fines for offenses as minor as rolling through a stop sign or failing to enroll in the right trash collection service. In Ferguson, residents who fall behind on fines and don’t appear in court after a warrant is issued for their arrest (or arrive in court after the courtroom doors close, which often happens just five minutes after the session is set to start for the day) are charged an additional $120 to $130 fine, along with a $50 fee for a new arrest warrant and 56 cents for each mile that police drive to serve it. Once arrested, everyone who can’t pay their fines or post bail (which is usually set to equal the amount of their total debt) is imprisoned until the next court session (which happens three days a month). Anyone who is imprisoned is charged $30 to $60 a night by the jail. If an arrestee owes fines in more than one of St. Louis County’s eighty-one municipal courts, they are passed from one jail to another to await hearings in each town.
As Time reports, “The companies that build and run private prisons have a financial interest in the continued growth of mass incarceration. That is why the two major players in this game—the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group—invest heavily in lobbying for punitive criminal justice policies and make hefty contributions to political campaigns that will increase reliance on prisons.”
It’s a vicious cycle that grows more vicious by the day.
Worse, as human rights attorney Jessica Jackson points out, “the fines and fees system has turned local governments into the equivalent of predatory lenders.” For instance, Jackson cites:
Washington state charges a 12% interest rate on all its criminal debt. Florida adds a 40% fee that goes into the pockets of a private collections agency. In California, penalties can raise a $100 fine to $490, or $815 if the initial deadline is missed. A $500 traffic ticket can actually cost $1,953, even if it is paid on time. And so we are left with countless tales of lives ruined—people living paycheck to paycheck who cannot afford a minor fine, and so face ballooning penalties, increasing amounts owed, a suspended license, jail time, and being fired from their jobs or unable to find work.
This isn’t the American Dream I grew up believing in.
This certainly isn’t the American Dream my parents and grandparents and those before them worked and fought and sacrificed to achieve.
This is a cold, calculated system of profit and losses.
Now you can shrug all of this away as a consequence of committing a crime, but that just doesn’t cut it. Especially not when average Americans are being jailed for such so-called crimes as eating SpaghettiOs (police mistook them for methamphetamine), not wearing a seatbelt, littering, jaywalking, having homemade soap (police mistook the soap for cocaine), profanity, spitting on the ground, farting, loitering and twerking.
There is no room in the American police state for self-righteousness. Not when we are all guilty until proven innocent.
It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a debtors’ prison guarded by a phalanx of politicians, bureaucrats and militarized police with no hope of parole and no chance for escape.
These doofuses think they are the paragons of virtue and saviors of the empire. They’re not. They have higher rates of alcoholism, substance abuse, suicide, and are three times more likely to abuse their wife. No wonder they hide behind the so-called blue line.
Why America’s Law Enforcement Empire Resembles Secret Police in a Dictatorship
Secret police are characteristic of dictatorships, or so goes the conventional thinking on the subject. Police in democracies operate for the most part transparently and within a set of rules and guidelines that limits their ability to gratuitously punish citizens who have done nothing wrong. If a policeman operating under rule-of-law steps out of line, he can be held accountable. That is also conventional thinking.
But what happens when an ostensibly “democratic” police force becomes corrupted and starts doing things that are outside its zone of responsibility, and does so to benefit a political relationship that will in turn protect those who have broken the law under cover of carrying out their official duties? That is the characteristic of what we have been calling a “deep state,” where forces drawn generally from the political class and security services conspire together to control what the public is allowed to know while also manipulating nuisances like elections to make sure that the “correct” outcome emerges.
Indeed, deep state operating in a democracy or republic is far more dangerous that the secret police in a dictatorship. That is because in a system where the forces of the state are all-powerful, nearly everyone expects that what they read and what the government says is all a lie. In a democratic system there is what intelligence officers would refer to as plausible denial, which means that even when the government is behaving very badly much of the public will believe that it is acting honorably because they want to trust that the system works. And when the deep state includes management of the media, many citizens will likewise believe what they are reading or hearing is honest reporting, even when it is not.
Due to the events of the past year in particular, many Americans have become convinced that there now exists something like a secret police operating in the United States that is a fusion of some political dealmakers with certain politicized elements in the intelligence and security services. However one regards President Donald Trump and his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, there is nevertheless something odd in terms of how they have been investigated and, in the case of Flynn, legally entrapped to convict him of lying to the FBI to force him to cut a deal with the Special Counsel inquiry headed by Robert Mueller.
Consider how, even though meeting with Russians is not illegal, Trump and his associates have been subjected to secret investigation of their Russian ties for nearly two years without any revelations apart from the fact that it was Israel, not Russia, that colluded to undermine White House policy. FBI Director James Comey’s antics during the primaries and electoral campaign, in which he first exonerated and then complained about Hillary Clinton while at the same time validating a dossier full of largely questionable information about Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia provides clear evidence of an organization that has lost its bearings and has become a politicized agent of an incumbency that has itself become corrupted and believes itself to be above the law. And then there is the Central Intelligence Agency’s own John Brennan working with the FBI to undermine the Trumps, illegally digging up dirt from the liaison intelligence partners in Europe and the Middle East.
America’s law enforcement empire has all the characteristics of secret police in a dictatorship. It is not transparent in its actions, has a history of bending the rules to obtain convictions, and its officers are rarely held accountable. It has also been politicized. And to be sure, one should recognize that there are two additional factors driving the growth and transformation of the national security state in the U.S. First is the intense dislike that the top levels of the American intelligence and police agencies have for Donald Trump personally, a contempt that Trump himself has largely earned by his scorn for much of the government that he inherited. Second is the “trust the authorities” culture that has grown up since 9/11, reinforced by fearmongering on the part of the government to justify executive overreach and enabled through anti-terror legislation that has unleashed the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) to act with impunity while suffering no consequences whatsoever.
Think you live in a free country? Think again: If you really lived in a free country, all sorts of things around you would look much different than the way they do now.
For example, if you really lived in a free country, you wouldn’t see people being arrested for selling fresh, whole milk.
People also wouldn’t be arrested for growing their own medicine in the form of cannabis.
If you really lived in a free country, you’d be able to seek out any form of medicine you wanted, including holistic medicine. And doctors would be free to practice holistic medicine without being criminalized by the state.
If you lived in a free country, you wouldn’t see people being threatened with arrest for growing food in their own front yards!
Watch the video below to learn the truth, Neo: You are a slave living in a police state.
While in Baltimore City, Maryland, death and despair are a few things that are plentiful as the region descends into chaos. Deindustrialization coupled with depopulation started in the 1960s stripping the city of economic wealth. Many don’t want to admit, the city is shrinking as their looking glass is clouded with Kevin Plank’s gentrification narrative.
Wealth inequality in the area is some of the widest in the United States with more than 100,000 African Americans with zero dollars to their name, according to JPM. Baltimore is a skeleton of what it once was many decades ago when it had its industries.
Now, 46,800 homes are vacant– almost 16% of the housing stock as citizens are either leaving the area or being pushed into multi-family complexes by the city. Neighborhoods are rotting away as the local economy crumbles giving way to a surge in homicides. Baltimore is on track for the worse year ever with a homicide rate the highest in the United States.
Baltimore is home to about 615,000 people, but the city has more homicides than New York or Los Angeles, both of which have far larger populations. Earlier this year, Mayor Catherine Pugh called in the Federal Government in hopes to restore order. She was even quoted, “violence in the city is out of control”…
With the police department hemorrhaging officers, local community organized groups have taken to the streets in attempt to slow the momentum of out of control homicides.
The movement is called Baltimore Ceasefire and the group has held two weekend city-wide ceasefire campaigns of “Nobody Kill Anybody”… Both ceasefires have failed.
According to WSJ,
Most murder victims are African-American men, and shootings happen largely in areas where residents live surrounded by poverty, unemployment, drug addiction and crime, city police records show.
WSJ interviews Jackie Moodie, a resident of Baltimore who said
“I’m always looking around at my surroundings”…. Moodie’s 27-year old son, Sir Jamareo Moodie, was fatally shot in February.
“These children are so crazy. They get on drugs, they don’t care and they have guns. This is nothing but a bunch of genocide,” she said.
According to WSJ, Moodie supports “martial law” on the streets to stop out of control homicides,
At this point she would support “martial law” on the streets.
“They need it in the areas that are highly targeted as shooting zones, killing zones,”
she said, noting that this month, three people were shot, one fatally, a short distance from a Northwest Baltimore police station.
In a preview of what’s to come, we reported on an incident over the weekend where the “police declared martial law” according to one citizen, after an entire neighborhood was shut down with the installation of checkpoints. The 4-5 day lockdown started late last week and ended Monday, after a police detective was executed in broad daylight.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone