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Or “How I learned to stop worrying and love my inner anarchist.”
Back in 1992, when I graduated from high school and first voted in a Presidential election, I probably had about a 75% stake in supporting and participating in the System — Government, State, Deep State, Global Elites, GloboCap, Uniparty — call it what you like. I planned to follow local, state and national politics, get involved in various grassroots campaigns and vote every couple of years.
By 1996, I was a full-time reporter at a small town western Massachusetts newspaper. I had a little salary and a little apartment. And while I knew there were lines that shouldn’t be crossed for fear of angering advertisers to pull their ad revenue, the box inside the lines was pretty big. Reporters could do a fair amount of digging, expose a little bit of corruption, call for a little bit of accountability and have some confidence that editors would allow most of it into print.
My stake in the System was roughly 70%. I understood corruption and corporate profiteering by that time: the destruction of Main Street small businesses, jobs and local economies by Wal-Mart was a big issue for lots of people back then.
But I also thought the System had some feedback loops — decent media reporting, trustworthy elections, open policy debates among dissenting members of legislatures, mostly fair courts — that sometimes worked to reduce corruption and improve things for ordinary working people.
By 2000, I was a bit more skeptical. I’d entered and quickly backed out of a pompous, elitist graduate program in philosophy, moved out west and given birth to my first child in a dysfunctional health care system. I was raising him in a dysfunctional social system. I was only intermittently employed, mostly restaurant back-of-house, and when working as a reporter for a business newspaper, found that the lines had tightened more than a little. It was still possible to write and publish about corruption and reform potential, but less so than before.
I think I voted for Nader in 2000, and then watched the Bush-Gore legal battle play out from Florida to the Supreme Court. I noticed that the feedback loops of dissident access to fair media coverage, election integrity standards, and impartial courts were not doing well.
My buy-in to the System dropped to about 60%.
I lived in New York City on 9/11, and watched in horror as the natural blowback of decades of deadly American imperial interference in the Middle East, for control of other people’s oil reserves, was rapidly converted into a story of unprovoked attack by evil Muslims who “hate us for our freedoms.”
The false, ahistorical storyline was in turn used to “justify” and launch roundups of Muslim-Americans, extraordinary renditions to black sites in foreign countries, the Patriot Act, and waterboarding and other torture of prisoners, some now detained at Guantanamo Bay almost two decades without charge or trial.
It was also used to “justify” the Authorization for Use of Military Force (opposed at the time by only one Congresswoman - Barbara Lee of California).
The AUMF triggered military invasions and occupations of Afghanistan in October 2001, with no evidence of Afghani state-support for Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 bombers but plenty of evidence for American CIA support.
A little over a year later, it formed the legal basis for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003, based on lies about weapons of mass destruction told to Congress and the public by government officials and amplified by mainstream journalists at mainstream outlets, led by Judith Miller at the New York Times.
I marched in the streets of New York City with thousands of others, opposing American war-making in Afghanistan and Iraq, and watched as the mainstream media marginalized everything about those antiwar positions, protests and protestors.
My stake in the System dropped to about 45%.
American troops are still active in those war zones almost 20 years later.
The AUMF, written with “no geographic restrictions and no time limits” to circumvent the Constitutional and 1973 War Powers Resolution requirements that Congress co-authorize wars with the President, has now formed the legal basis for “counterterrorism” actions in 80 countries, and combat operations in 14.
And supranational corporate war profiteers are still profiteering.
By 2004, we were living in a small working-class city in New Jersey, I was working part-time as a paralegal (learning the legal system from inside) and started to take a closer look at local government as a potential source of grassroots reform.
I figured, if ordinary people protesting and letter writing, and voting every couple of years can’t make a dent in GloboCap’s uniparty dominance at the national level, maybe there’s still some good to be done at the community level. Maybe local government corruption can be meaningfully exposed and reduced. Maybe local government reform can really make things better for working people, at least in their own communities.
I also thought Dennis Kucinich was a pretty great presidential candidate, what with his courageous antiwar positions in Congress. I worked on his campaign, leading to my first run-in with the law, as I was detained curbside for hanging fliers on telephone poles and other public places in downtown Plainfield. The officer called my drivers license in to dispatch looking for active warrants on “Whisky-Alpha-Tango-Tango.” The foot patrol officer - and the occupants of the cruiser he called for backup - were unpersuaded by my suggestion that posting fliers for a political candidate’s upcoming political speech is protected First Amendment activity. I was let go with a warning and an instruction to retrace my steps and remove the fliers.
Stake in the system dropped to about 35%.
In 2005, I gave birth to my second child, still in a dysfunctional health care and social support system, and increasingly blocked from paid employment by child care costs and my disagreeable penchant for critical thinking. I began independent blogging and connected with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. CELDF had been developing a new organizing framework, promoting a rights-based approach to local control to block harmful corporate-state activity, and exposing the futility of the traditional regulatory framework (DEP permits, inspections, fines etc.)
I co-founded my first community organization - North Plainfield Citizens for Community Rights - and embarked on my first local government-scale political campaign, related to land use, historical preservation, food security, real estate development, flood plains, and watershed management. Learned a lot, stirred the pot.
Stake in the system inched up to maybe 36%, but the main lessons I took from it was that local governments and court systems are just as corrupt and impervious to standard political feedback tools as national governments and court systems, and that New Jersey was too-population-dense and paved-over a place to live for people interested in food and water security.
By 2008, we had moved to State College, specifically seeking a small town in an agricultural county with opportunities to support local food systems and grow more of our own. I don’t remember who I voted for. It may have been Ralph Nader, it may have been Cynthia McKinney (another courageous anti war Congressional voice in the post-9/11 era.) It may have been Barack Obama; I may have fallen for the whole hopey-changey thing.
Didn’t work out. Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, enjoyed sending American troops to bomb the snot out of people all over the world, and take out their leaders, and steal their resources, and destroy their public infrastructure, and turn it over to American corporate profiteers for rebuilding, just as much as Bush I, Bush II and Clinton had.
The 111th Congress — like all prior and since — enjoyed supporting and funding this imperialism, and exporting manufacturing jobs, and financializing the housing market, and myriad other anti-working-class activities.
In 2012, I voted for Jill Stein, and in 2016, as already noted, I just stayed home.
By January 2020, through working the previous dozen years on Centre Region local food campaigns, farmland and watershed protection campaigns, anti-gas-pipelines-in-residential-neighborhood campaigns and anti-corruption-in-Centre-County-prosecution-and-judiciary campaigns, and running for Borough Council in 2019, my stake in the System had dropped again.
It stood at about 10%.
I finally understood that engagement through issue research, writing, organizing and campaigning was pointless. Local government capture is complete and irreversible.
Unelected, unrecallable managerial technocrats (the Steffs, Fountaines, Kunkles and Grays of the local “public service” world) operate in secret, unrecorded meetings — the monthly “managers meeting” on behalf of private corporate profiteers, with Penn State and real estate investment trusts at the head of the line.
They are “overseen” by clueless, rubber-stamping elected legislators through self-selecting Democratic Party committees at procedurally-dysfunctional and dissent-suppressing public meetings, with corrupt county and state judges as backstop.
Then along came Covid.
With endless lockdowns, school and business closures, mask mandates and experimental “vaccine” propaganda.
In mid-March, I thought we would stay home for two weeks to “flatten the curve” and allow rebalancing of medical resources. I thought that made a lot of sense.
Two weeks passed, the restrictions stayed, and early dissenters began examining historical precedents for managing pandemic respiratory viruses and emerging data sets about Covid infections and cross-immunity with earlier coronaviruses, using what was once considered standard scientific skepticism and hypothesis testing.
In early April, I thought we would get our right to self-determination back in six to eight weeks, when the spring peak of infections had passed.
Two months passed, and Deep State, government functionaries and media propagandists kept the restrictions in place: schools closed, businesses closed, libraries and government offices closed, big box stores open, Amazon and other Big Tech profiteering galore. Public compliance with lockdown and masking policies continued*, and demonization of dissenters escalated.
At the end of May, when the first peak was past, I thought we would get our civil liberties and local economies back by July, when the Democratic convention was over and the government and media had consolidated the nomination of a well-groomed System politician to occupy the “D” side of the November ballot, opposite the Bad Orange Man.
In June and July, the rolling lockdowns continued, riots broke out in cities across the country, and I watched the rollout of the Transition Integrity Project with a wary eye, alert to the high likelihood that it was more a psychological tool for social control and election manipulation than a good faith effort to promote election integrity.
Conducted, written and disseminated by the Uniparty at least four months before the election, the TIP preemptively de-legitimized one potential election outcome (a Trump win), and pre-legitimized the other potential outcome (a Biden win). It was an exercise in priming uncritical audiences to view the summer riots as a justifiable mass extortion scheme.
“Give us,” the System’s string-pullers said to the People preparing to vote, “the impotent figurehead we want, or we’ll stand idly watching while a multiracial assortment of unemployed young adults literally burns your businesses, your jobs, your homes and your local economies to the ground.”
After July, after the DNC convention came and went, I thought that maybe when the general election was over, regardless of which candidate won, the government and media would stop mass testing with the useless RT-PCR test, stop mask mandates and business and school closures, stop generally interfering in our rights to go to work and run our businesses, move and assemble freely.
We would be allowed full opportunities to get on with our personal and work lives, and support our devastated small and mid-sized businesses by engaging in trade without arbitrary dress codes, occupancy limits and lines and dots pasted on the floor.
But sometime between June and November, as the System’s media organs continued to attack and suppress all dissenting voices, the World Health Organization changed the definition of herd immunity at its website, to remove it from the category of means by which pandemics historically, naturally and immunologically end as viruses become endemic, leaving only widespread uptake of experimental “vaccination” as the System-sanctioned, and highly profitable for Big Pharma, pathway to freedom for the proles.
September came, and some universities, including Penn State, maintained in-person classes despite spiking “case” rates driven by RT-PCR tests (mostly run at 37-40 cycles in U.S. states) amplifying dead fragments of viral material beyond any clinically significant limits.
I thought this fact, driven though it was by basic financial interests in tuition and housing payments, would influence government functionaries and media propagandists, and K-12 public school boards, and the county would open fully with no mask mandates, lines on the floor, Plexiglass barricades and occupancy limits.
Didn’t happen, and the level of rage directed at dissenters hit a new high.
In early October, the Great Barrington Declaration was released, and its call for “focused protection,” prominent scientist authors, and professional and civilian signatories were brutally attacked by every one of the System’s media organs.
In mid-October, the Deep State and tech monopolies coordinated to suppress distribution of a New York Post investigation into corruption by Hunter Biden, son of the Democratic presidential candidate, lest the revelations sway voters in swing states to prefer the Bad Orange Man over Joe Biden.
In late-October, Danish newspapers reported that a study of the results of the only randomized controlled trial (RCT) of masking in the general population had been rejected by three scientific journals over the summer for apparently political reasons. The study - which found no public health benefit of mask mandates for the general public - was finally published Nov. 18, 2020 by the Annals of Medicine. The System’s media organs misrepresented its findings or simply refused to report on them.
November 3 - The Election
On November 3, the general election in the United States finally happened.
But the results were close and tabulation anomalies were many.
The System’s federal officials rushed to declare it “the most secure in American history” within days of the polls closing, before evidence collection and legal challenges had gotten underway, and before initial counts were even complete in several jurisdictions.
This was a massive, tragic strategic error by the System.
Not because Trump won, or deserved to win, or any other reason specific to Trump the man.
Indeed, Trump and his inner circle apparently made all the wrong decisions on the path to collect ballot verification and voting machine data in disputed swing state cities, analyze it and make appropriate fraud claims in appropriate courts. That’s apparently down to Rudy Guliani, who was mostly drunk, had no strategic plan, and focused on procedural claims rather than substantive ones. It’s also plausible that the lack of coherent effort was because Trump himself didn’t really want another four years in office.
Those Trump-specific details don’t matter.
The System should have taken voting and ballot-counting fraud claims seriously and pulled out all the stops to get to the bottom of what happened with those mail-in envelopes and in the computers, in those anomalous Democrat-controlled cities in crucial swing states, on and after November 3, for the sake of its own future.
The System depended on maintaining the last few grains of buy-in from the 75 million or so voters who knew exactly who the System-preferred candidate was thanks to years of wall-to-wall Trump demonization and tried to vote for Trump anyway.
Those voters had strong reason to believe their votes would count less than the System’s preferred votes (see TIP) and suspected that the System wouldn’t care at all how their arrogance and hubris came across to the downtrodden.
The System’s heavy-handed response confirmed their suspicion beyond all doubt.
Those deplorables, including me, now have zero stake in the System.
Instead, the System barreled on, assuming its power to memory-hole the lessons of the previous five years is undiminished.
I’m not sure that’s a safe bet. I think a whole lot of Trump supporters, and non-voting bystanders, have been watching and learning.
We watched the Democratic wing of the System model how to handle electoral loss after 2015. Rig your primaries to exclude popular candidates who generate authentic voter enthusiasm among your grassroots base. Rig media coverage of your opponents’ party to elevate the weakest candidate you can find and distract from your own candidate’s weakness (the pied piper gambit). Lose bigly, but pretend your candidate won. Claim, without evidence, that the electoral process was rigged and illegitimate, and feed that message incessantly to your bewildered voter base.
Promote the view that the inaugurated team is comprised entirely of traitorous, seditious imposters. Ally with Republican Deep Staters, and launch purportedly independent investigations based on falsified evidence driving falsified FISA warrants. Publish thousands of breathless “the smoking gun is nigh!” Russiagate articles in countless mainstream propaganda outlets the world over, but never produce a single smoking gun. And then pretend you never suggested there would be one.
Above all, refuse to publicly work with your pretend political enemies; maintain the Rock’Em Sock’Em Red v. Blue illusion at all times.
Except, of course, behind the scenes, when — just after their December 2019 “impeachment” vote — Democrats tripped over themselves in May 2020 to help Republicans reauthorize the Patriot Act and keep massive government surveillance power intact, including the fraud-riddled secret FISA court process.
While the American man who exposed the illegal mass surveillance programs that grew out of the Patriot Act is stuck in exile in Russia, thanks to the System.
And except, of course, when Democrats tripped over themselves in December 2020 to help Republicans pass the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to spend $738 billion more on war (an increase of $120 billion over the defense budget Obama left behind.)
While the Australian man who exposed American war crimes, and was illegally abducted from asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, sits dying in Belmarsh Prison, thanks to the System.
Meanwhile, probably because the election did not go as landslidey-for-Biden as the System had planned (damn you, shy Trump voters!) government functionaries and media propagandists have continued the abusive fear-mongering and collective punishment of all humans for the unforgivable crime of having human immune systems and human social bonds, and for daring to be born into a world in which respiratory viruses exist and spread.
January 6, 2021 - Congressional Certification of Electoral College Day, the security breach at the Capitol, and the destruction of Parler
In the bowels of gray central Pennsylvania December, I thought maybe by Inauguration Day in January, government functionaries and media propagandists would have the closure they craved, once the Bad Orange Man left the White House.
Then January 6 happened, and within two days, Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon collaborated — as they had in October to disappear the Hunter Biden corruption reporting — to further chill dissent and push dissenters underground. The tech monopolies removed the sitting president of the United States from all social media, and destroyed Twitter’s competitor Parler, the most-popular app in the country and a refuge for free speech proponents (me among them) who had been fleeing the censorship at Twitter over the preceding 48 hours.
Those who endorsed these acts cited three false premises:
1) that private companies have no duty to protect freedom of speech**;
2) that tech monopolies have the legal power to unilaterally charge, prosecute, convict and sentence potential acts of incitement under federal law; and
3) that Trump’s questioning of election integrity and encouragement of supporters to engage in peaceful public protest met the legal standard for the crime of incitement.
I lost my mind for a few days. Despair that had been deepening since the autumn flared into full-blown suicidality. It was not the residue of having endured child abuse and neglect. It was not innate biochemical imbalances in my brain. It wasn’t even primarily from the intolerable situation of being — like everyone else — subject to severe, arbitrary, uncontrolled and unending government repression.
The cave-in came mostly from bottomless shame and self-hatred, that I had violated my own integrity by failing to fight back.
Like many victims who internalize the victim identity, I kept thinking the abusers in the System, their government functionaries and their media propagandists, would see the evil and stop doing it. I kept thinking if I kept quiet, cooperated and complied, the beatings would stop.
But I get it now. They really do want to shut us all up, kill all independent businesses, destroy all the family-supporting jobs and tear apart all the families, evict the renters, foreclose the homeowners, put us all on Universal Basic Income living in temporary corporate-owned housing, and make everyone, everywhere dependent on the System for everything.
January 20, 2021 - Inauguration Day
Inauguration Day is now over. Bad Orange Man has gone home to Florida, and Dementia Joe is busily signing executive orders to undo the so-called damage.
Lo and behold! The System’s extortion racket appears to be winding down. Blue state governors are now repealing some of the most restrictive measures that red state governors repealed in May, and reopening schools and small businesses, to join the big box stores that have been open all along.
International and national health organizations are finally publishing guidance acknowledging that mass testing with RT-PCR tests at high cycle thresholds is evidence of a “casedemic” - a term coined by dissenters half a year ago or more - and not evidence of a public health crisis.
And “herd immunity” may now be uttered in public again without triggering howls of indignation, even in corporate-state media outlets like the Washington Post.
Too late. The damage is already done.
Processing it all
We’ve just been through ten months of unprecedented, unrelenting, merciless hostility and contempt, piled atop at least six decades of the same, by the System, against the People.
I’m sure the State has more in store for us; among other treats, they’re gearing up to criminalize all domestic dissent in bipartisan harmony.
I don’t advocate physical violence like the arson, looting, vandalism and shooting perpetrated over the last year by the toxic roving stew of angry civilians and the System’s own infiltrators and instigators infecting all of those grassroots movements.
As anarchist Michael Malice explains in an intriguing video interview, violence is too expensive; the cycle escalates; innocent bystanders get hurt. Civilians angry at the System do have a lot of guns and bricks and matches and gasoline in America, but so do the police officers and National Guardsmen working to protect and uphold the System, and the System will not hesitate to deploy those State-controlled forces.
Witness militarized Washington DC right now, in all its chain-linked glory. $738 billion buys a lot of guns, bullets, soldiers to fire them, and re-education camps in which to imprison and “deprogram” Trump voters.
At the same time, I think Malice and others are right to point out that the System’s operatives are scared and confused: “They thought Trump was the river. He was the dam.” (Video interview at 18:40)
Tom Luongo puts it thus: “A country that has never been more divided is also now strangely united in their contempt for not only our government but also the media which openly supports its most brazen lies.”
Deplorables have long understood everything is rigged against us and for the benefit of the overclass.
We’ve understood that the overclass hates and despises us from their lofty perches in government, media, corporations and academia.
But Trump was an equally despised figure, with his combover, his MAGA hat, his potbelly and his greasy Big Macs and Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches, representing us symbolically, right in the Oval Office.
Now the deplorables have no stake at all.
Not even a symbolic one.
And so there’s a beautiful opening, for the deplorables who keep waking up.
We can claw back some shreds of self-respect.
We can withdraw all of our silent complicity, protection and support from the System.
Take the meager payouts (paychecks, stimmy checks, UBI checks) from the corporate-state overlords, feed ourselves, and bite the hand that feeds us with the same clenched teeth.
And openly and loudly regard the System’s operatives and operations, at every level in every institution with unrelenting contempt, scorn, hostility, ridicule, shunning…the whole spectrum of passive aggression we humans have in our social arsenals.
That’s what I’m going to do anyway.
For readers interested in a 40-page compilation of the limited pushback I put into private emails and small acts of social disobedience over the past year, leading up to Bailiwick’s reopening a couple of weeks ago, there’s a PDF of my Wrongthink Re-education Camp Application/FBI Domestic Dissidents Dossier at Bailiwick News Archives.
*Excerpt from "Request for expedited federal investigation into scientific fraud in COVID-19 public health policies," submitted to U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, and British, German, Australian and Canadian counterparts on or about January 10, 2021.
“Throughout 2020, lockdown measures have been quite popular, but that popularity is deceptive. For the general public, the idea that anyone might accept some outside incentive to support such devastating policies while knowing them to be ineffective -- needlessly bankrupting millions of families and depriving millions of children of education and food -- is, quite simply, too dark.
Thus, the public supports lockdowns because the alternative -- that they might have been implemented without good cause -- is a possibility too evil for most to contemplate. But those who know history know that others with superficially excellent credentials have done even worse for even less.”
**From Jonathan Turley:
The First Amendment is limited to government censorship, but free speech is not limited in the same way. Those of us who believe in free speech as a human right believe that it is morally wrong to deny it as either a private or governmental entity. That does not mean that there are not differences between governmental and private actions. For example, companies may control free speech in the workplaces. …However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech. Indeed, they sought immunity on the false claim that they were not making editorial decisions or engaging viewpoint regulation. No one is saying that these companies are breaking the law in denying free speech. We are saying that they are denying free speech as companies offering speech platforms.