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Running On Censorship: A California Candidate Seeks To Ride The Anti-Free Speech Wave

Running On Censorship: A California Candidate Seeks To Ride The Anti-Free Speech Wave

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

It is not easy to unseat…



Running On Censorship: A California Candidate Seeks To Ride The Anti-Free Speech Wave

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

It is not easy to unseat an incumbent in Congress, but Will Rollins believes that he has hit on a guaranteed winner to galvanize Democratic support in California’s 41st congressional district.

He is pledging to push for greater censorship to stop those “profiting by spreading division based on lies.”

Of course, the former assistant U.S. Attorney suggests that he will know who is lying and who should be allowed to speak freely.

Rollins is also running on his role “prosecuting insurrectionists” from January 6. While most of us condemned the riot on that day and supported the prosecution of those who broke into the Capitol, polls show that most Americans do not view what occurred as an actual insurrection or rebellion.

That, however, is a legitimate matter of debate and people of good faith can differ in how they view the crimes committed that day. What is far more serious is the embrace of censorship as a political cause.

Rollins pledged to stop people saying things that “erode our democracy.” His policy platform promises “accountability” for tech platforms that “spread conspiracy theories” and do not yield to demands for censorship. It appears to be a pitch to restore censorship systems on sites like X but also pledges to go after “media outlets.”

He is not alone in such efforts. Democratic members caused a firestorm previously by writing to cable carriers like AT&T to ask why they are still allowing people to watch FOX News. Rollins promises to crackdown on “propaganda networks to protect the public’s right to be informed.” He does not identify which networks would be targeted, but the assumption is that it is not MSNBC. (For full disclosure, I am a legal analyst on Fox News). However, he wants ramped up penalties for anything that he considers “harmful lies and conspiracy theories.”

Of course, one person’s “conspiracy theory” is another person’s news. It is again unlikely that Rollins will be pursuing the Washington Post which recently reaffirmed that it is standing by past false claims made about Lafayette Park, the Hunter Biden laptop, and Russian collusion. Rollins is not likely referencing the false conspiracy theories funded by the Clinton campaign like the Alfa Bank allegations.

As someone who was raised in a liberal, politically active Democratic family in Chicago, I remember when the party championed free speech as a touchstone of the party. Now it is often treated as an existential threat to democracy.

In recent hearings on the government’s censorship programs, Democratic members and pundits attacked witnesses as “Putin lovers” or supporters of “insurrectionists” in opposing censorship.

President Joe Biden is now arguably the most anti-free speech president since John Adams. His administration is unabashedly and unrepentantly pursuing the silencing of those with opposing views. Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, extended her agency’s mandate over critical infrastructure to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” That includes combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.”

Democratic members have warned social media companies that they will not tolerate any backsliding after Elon Musk dismantled the massive censorship system at Twitter.

In one hearing, tech CEOs appeared before the Senate on past censorship. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) pushed back on statements from the witnesses suggesting an effort to protect free speech and reminded them that “the pandemic and misinformation about COVID-19, manipulated media also cause harm” as well as “climate change misinformation policy” and “climate denialism.”

It did not matter that many censored over their views on the efficacy of masks or the necessity of shutting down schools have been vindicated. Even raising the lab theory on the origin of Covid 19 was denounced as a conspiracy theory. Even after the theory was embraced by government agencies as possible or the most likely explanation, science and health reporter for the New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli,  continued to denounce the theory as “racist.”

The concerning aspect of Rollins’ campaign is that censorship was largely used as a political tactic in Washington to silence critics and opposing views. It is now an actual political campaign. It shows how speech regulation has become popular with the rank-and-file in the party. It now defines the party.

Campaigning for censorship should be a warning sign of the breakdown of democratic values. Limiting free speech is akin to cutting off oxygen to the body politic. It produces atrophy in a system, the breakdown of our political tissues. That is also reflected in a recent poll that shows that 52% of Biden supporters say Republicans are now a threat to American life while 47% of Trump supporters say the same about Democrats. Roughly 40% of both parties believe violence is now justified and roughly a quarter of both parties now question our system of government.

Politicians fuel that anger by running on silencing their opponents in the name of disinformation or malinformation. It is of course popular. Rage is often popular. Indeed, it can be addictive. Yet, what remains is release from reason in the blind pursuit of those with opposing views.

Will Rollins is right that this is a popular pitch for an age of rage. However, it is the political version of the Dead Sea Fruits that were irresistible to pick but would turn to ashes in one’s mouth. Silencing others creates an insatiable appetite for combating an ever widening circle of “lies.” Until, that is, when you find yourself encircled by your own truth police.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/09/2023 - 20:20

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Arab Spring 2.0? Gro Intelligence’s Head Warns Global Food Crisis ‘Much Worse Than 2008’  

Arab Spring 2.0? Gro Intelligence’s Head Warns Global Food Crisis ‘Much Worse Than 2008’  

Speaking at the sidelines of Bloomberg’s New…



Arab Spring 2.0? Gro Intelligence's Head Warns Global Food Crisis 'Much Worse Than 2008'  

Speaking at the sidelines of Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Singapore, Sara Menker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, cautioned that the current food crisis surpassed the one in 2007-08, which ultimately sparked Arab Spring across the Middle East a few years later. This is primarily due to elevated crop prices and steep declines in local currencies against the dollar. 

Bloomberg's Yvonne Man asked Menker: "When we talk about where we see food prices - come off from the record highs of last year. What drives food insecurity is wars, climate change, and economic shocks. And we're feeling that on all fronts right now... So what worries you the most?" 

Menker responded: "It's actually the narrative that food prices have come off the highs, which has been the narrative we're using because we're all following future markets that are all dollar-denominated as a gauge of where food prices are." 

She said, "Year-on-year food prices have come off quite substantially."

"But what has happened in most other parts of the world that import food - is that food prices continue to go up because local currencies are weakening significantly against the dollar," she said, adding, "People eat in local currency and not in US dollars."

She pointed out, "While wheat futures are down double digits year on year - it's up double digits year on year in Egypt because the price of importing wheat has gone up just due to the decimation of the Egyptian pound." 

Menker said in Syria, food inflation is up 2,000%, 1,200% in Lebonan, and 700% in Argentina. She said the food crisis "is far from over for most people in the world." 

Later in the interview, Man asked Menker: "Where are we headed now? Obviously, we look at the 2007-08 food crisis at that time. Are we getting closer to that scenario?" 

Menker's response was apocalyptic: "Actually, I think we are much worse." 

She explained again, "Where food prices are in a lot of countries - if you take it in a local currency basis - food prices are significantly higher when compared to 2007-08." 

Here's the interview.

For some context, after global food prices spiked in 2007-08, in late 2010 and early 2011, discontent over soaring prices triggered the Arab Spring. 

In late 2020, SocGen's Albert Edwards started to warn about the Federal Reserve blowing bubbles during the Covid pandemic and how it could spark a rise in food prices and the usually ongoing risks, such as social-economic instabilities. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently warned the world food import bill jumped to nearly $2 trillion in 2022 as many poor countries are on the brink of crisis. 

This time, unlike a decade ago, the Western world has been battered with food inflation crushing tens of millions of low-income folks. 

"There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy," American investigative journalist Alfred Henry Lewis stated in 1906. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/09/2023 - 19:20

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How The Billionaire Elite Manipulate The World

How The Billionaire Elite Manipulate The World

Authored by Raymond Ibrahim via,

What is ultimately behind so many of…



How The Billionaire Elite Manipulate The World

Authored by Raymond Ibrahim via,

What is ultimately behind so many of the (manufactured) ills currently plaguing the West, from leftist lunacy and gender insanity to unnecessary lockdowns and wars?

In a word, the ultra-rich -- the billionaire elite.  So argues bestselling author Hanne Nabintu Herland in her latest book, The Billionaire World: How Marxism Serves the Elite.

In a series of brisk chapters, Herland -- a historian of religions and founder of The Herland Report -- traces all the world’s major problems back to the billionaire elite and their use of Marxist repression and social engineering. 

While this may seem counterintuitive, Herland makes -- and documents -- several powerful arguments. 

The fact that a tiny elite control much can be seen in that  even seemingly opposing and competing brands, such as Coke and Pepsi, are usually owned by the same company, says Herland.  The same applies to supposedly opposing “leftist” and “rightist” media. Six corporations control 90% of all U.S. media. As for the political arena, the “richest 0.01% have accounted for 40% of all campaign contributions through corporate donations.”

In short, “These mastodonte private companies completely dominate our way of life, what we eat, drink, watch on TV, what we wear, and who we vote for.”

Little wonder that, no matter what happens in the world, and no matter how such developments are detrimental to the average person, the ultra-rich tend to only get richer. According to Herland, “82% of all wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest 1% among us, while the poorest world population of 3.7 billion saw no increase in wealth.” 

But it’s worse than that; there seems to be a direct correlation between how much poorer the average man gets and how much richer the billionaires get.  Writes Herland,

[T]he richest among us made billions of dollars on the COVID-19 world tragedy, while the world’s poor plunged into unimaginable poverty…  The shutdown strategy made the billionaires’ profit soar.  In the span of just a few months in 2020, Bill Gates made $75 billion, Jeff Bezos $67.9 billion, Mark Zuckerberg $37.8 billion, and Elon Musk $33.6 billion.

Meanwhile, 48% of small business owners in America experienced severe economic turmoil -- with fully one-third of them going bankrupt, and with Black-owned businesses suffering disproportionately -- due to this lockdown that otherwise profited the billionaires.

From a macro-historic perspective, the  West is slowly regressing, and the ultra-rich are becoming “the globalist version of feudal lords, as the new Western slave class emerges beneath them.”

But how did this lamentable state of affairs comes to pass in the first place?  Marxism -- in its myriad forms and iterations -- is Herland’s answer.  Since the 1960s, beginning with the “free sex and drugs” movement, Marxism, especially in the guise of godless materialism, has wormed its way into Western culture, poisoning, corrupting and destroying everything that originally made the West great, and therefore making it ripe for the most powerful -- meaning the richest -- to manipulate and control.   Writes Herland,

The Marxist attack on historic Western values has weakened the very core of our culture, destroyed social stability and the family, quenched free speech and silenced the people -- and thereby removed the obstacles for the billionaire class to gain centralized control… The combination of strong private corporations coupled with political socialist ideologies has pushed for a radical groupthink model in which the population is expected to agree with the consensus -- not unlike that which we witnessed during National Socialism in Germany before and during World War II.”

Marxism is especially apt at exploiting any environment where freedom and liberty erode and are replaced with groupthink.  In the words of Vladimir Lenin:

We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth... We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion and scorn towards those who disagree with us.

It needs no great expounding to say that these tactics dominate all social and political discourse today -- more than a century after they were first written down.

There is much more to recommend Herland’s Billionaire World. Almost every pressing topic -- including the politicization of science, the rise of (openly Marxist) groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), the global persecution of Christians, the stoking of racial tensions, and the rewriting of history -- is connected to the overlooked role of the billionaire elites and their self-serving agendas.

*  *  *

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/09/2023 - 17:00

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Australia leads the world in the annual pace of disposable income decline

In its fight against persistent inflation, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just introduced its 13th rate hike in this cycle at the same the financial…



In its fight against persistent inflation, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just introduced its 13th rate hike in this cycle at the same the financial strain on Australian households intensifies. According to a disturbing report published in The Australian Financial Review (AFR) this week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has discovered Australia leads the world in the annual pace of disposable income declines globally.

The last year has seen a dramatic decline in Australian living standards, outpacing all other developed nations, driven by soaring inflation and increasing mortgage repayments. Disposable income, when adjusted for inflation and population growth, is at a three-year low, continuing a downtrend for the seventh quarter, as per OECD data.

Figure 1. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Figure 1. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The economic situation poses a significant challenge for the Albanese government, with cost of living concerns topping voter issues. The AFR’s analysis shows a 5.1 per cent drop in household income within a year, marking the steepest decline among OECD countries. In comparison, the collective OECD experienced a 2.6 per cent rise in living standards. Over the same period, real household gross disposable income per capital rose 3.5 per cent in the U.S., 2.2 per cent in the UK and 6.0 per cent in Spain.

Australia’s real household incomes have seen only an 18 per cent increase since 2007, lagging behind the OECD’s 22 per cent average. Although Australia’s inflation rate is below the OECD average, wage growth fails to keep pace with that of other developed economies, affecting living standards.

A combination of surging population growth (the impact of which we have written about here) and high inflation is the crux of Australian households’ struggles. Unlike in the U.S., where many households refinanced 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at ultra-low rates during the pandemic, our variable rates in Australia have an immediate impact on disposable incomes and therefore living standards.

The RBA’s data highlights that Australia has one of the highest proportions of mortgages with variable rates, leading to significant payment increases. For example, a $500,000 loan now costs $1,210 more per month than in May 2022, a 59 per cent jump in 18 months.

The initial phase of the pandemic saw a boost in disposable incomes due to substantial government stimulus. However, this created an excess savings buffer that is now nearly exhausted, as observed by U.S. Federal Reserve economists.

Adding to the fiscal pressure is the non-indexation of tax brackets to inflation in Australia, causing more of an individual’s income to be taxed at higher rates, a phenomenon known as bracket creep. Consequently, income taxes have devoured a record portion of household incomes.

While I have hitherto been sanguine about the risk of recession and stated in November last year that Australia would side-step a recession in 2023, the case for one must be gaining strength as any lagged impacts from rate rises converge with declining savings buffers, and now, evidence of substantial drops in disposable incomes.  

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