PropOrNot, the Anti-Russian Propaganda Bill, and Why Some of Us Prefer Russian News to American

snopes-fake-news-sites-2

– 5 December 2016 –

Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqIn the aftermath of Trump’s election victory, the American Left is fighting bitterly to overturn, ruin, and disrupt the results. One of the ways they have tried to discredit the various anti-establishment voices is this “fake news” narrative. They seem to be wildly aiming this campaign against the Alt-Right, the #Pizzagate movement, and the alternative news media, along with Russian news outlets and their sympathizers.

On November 24, a Washington Post article warned against the horrors of various—mostly alternative—news outlets which, they say, frequently sympathize with Russia, including popular sites like Zerohedge, Infowars, and the Drudge Report. Most of my personal favorites are included, in fact. The Post cites a report by some mysterious and well-funded organization called PropOrNot which formed at the end of October to bring attention against what they view to be undue Russian influence in various irregular news sites across the political spectrum. It’s actually a useful list; I’ve found some pretty good news sites that I had never heard of. (Watch for them to break their links.)

This PropOrNot business seems to be growing teeth with the passage on 30 November of H.R. 6393: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. A seemingly ordinary and uncontroversial budget bill passed to fund our intelligence services with 390 votes in favor and only 30 opposed. Yet tucked within its verbiage is the ominous section 501, which relates to “active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments.” From Zerohedge:

A quick skim of the bill reveals “Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries”,  whose Section 501 calls for the government to “counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in  coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly.”

The section lists the following definitions of media manipulation:

  • Establishment or funding of a front group.
  • Covert broadcasting.
  • Media manipulation.
  • Disinformation and forgeries.
  • Funding agents of influence.
  • Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
  • Assassinations.
  • Terrorist acts.

As ActivistPost correctly notes, it is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called “fake news” websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration.

Curiously, the bill which was passed on November 30, was introduced on November 22, two days before the Washington Post published its Nov. 24 article citing “experts” who claim Russian propaganda helped Donald Trump get elected.

Of course some of us on the Right have grown to prefer our top news from RT.com or other Russian sites, and we have come to see the Russian perspective as the usually pro-White, pro-Christian counter to the corrupt lies and manipulations of the major American news outlets. To us, the only country in the world that seems to be moving firmly in a sensible direction is Russia. We don’t have to be propagandized to see this. We genuinely prefer the traditionalist Russian perspective and have deliberately sought it out.

Are there Russian connections to the American Right? Very likely so. Russia has a vested interest. The Obama regime has worked to isolate Russia and overthrow its government. If the U.S. can transform into an ally via Russian influence, great. But if the U.S. falls into civil war and balkanizes, that will work, too. In either scenario, the U.S. will stop working to push Russia into World War III.

Does Russia have America’s best interests in mind? I think they want us to stay out of their sphere of influence but otherwise don’t really care what we do. We should regard them the same way. Russia is following a Russia-first policy; the U.S. should focus on our own interests. The two don’t have to conflict.

Did Russian influence cause Hillary Clinton to lose? No way. Pro-union white men in the rust belt tipped the balance against Hillary. Lack of black turnout didn’t help her either. The establishment is just using this as a cover to attack the anti-establishment Right.

Perhaps the American establishment has good cause to worry about the rise of the white Right.

mccarthyism

The Left still whines about Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities. During the Forties and Fifties, those two entities kept the Commies in check. But they didn’t go far enough, and ultimately the Left won out, ushering in the dystopia we have today.

The pro-white, pro-Christian American establishment of the 1950’s rightly grew concerned over the growth of Marxist influence (much of it influenced by the USSR). And today’s anti-white, anti-Christian establishment likewise fears the resurgence of a popular and angry pro-white and pro-Christian movement, one that has finally inoculated itself against the Alinskyite tactics of the Left.

In the 1950’s, the Leftists successfully defeated a Joseph McCarthy who, while correct about Communist infiltration, overextended himself, with the cucks of the time successfully sabotaging his efforts. Basically the Constitution tied the hands of the Right against an enemy who uses our laws against us.

Today’s establishment isn’t about to give up without a fight like the overly-civic and overly-sensible white establishment of the 1950’s. They will attempt to repress any influential reaction against them.

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Colorado Baker Jack Phillips Stands His Ground, Suffers for His Faith

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Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqLast December, I wondered if Colorado baker Jack Phillips would stand firm in his faith after his state ruled against him for his refusal to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding.  I was wrong to doubt: Phillips’ resolve seems—if anything—stronger now than ever.  But having already ruled against him, Colorado now cranks their persecution up another notch, forcing Phillips to undergo re-education.  From Charisma News via Canada Free Press:

A family owned bakery has been ordered to make wedding cakes for gay couples and guarantee that its staff be given comprehensive training on Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws after the state’s Civil Rights Commission determined the Christian baker violated the law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado was directed to change his store policies immediately and force his staff to attend the training sessions. For the next two years, Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly reports to the commission to confirm that he has not turned away customers based on their sexual orientation.

The masks of the left-wing pigs are slipping off, exposing the tyranny that always lurked behind their facades of tolerance and peace.  In a way, we should celebrate this exposure: we can more clearly see an enemy who has always attacked us from within.

We on the side of traditionalism can also take heart in this lost Colorado lawsuit.  If Jack Phillips is typical of Christians in America, he shows that common, every-day believers are prepared to face persecution and inconvenience, even jail time and unemployment, against these bullying tyrants.  The fascist masks fall off, but the pigs may be surprised that the Christian flocks have backbones under all that fluff:

“My God is bigger than any bullies they’ve got,” he said. “I don’t worry about it. I honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be true to what He wants me to do.”

And the Civil Rights Commission is going to have a mighty hard time trying to “rehabilitate” Phillips and his staff.

“My 87-year-old mom works here and she says she’s not being rehabilitated,” he said.

Martin said the Alliance Defending Freedom will “continue to stand with Jack against overreach and tyranny by the state.”

“Jack has gone out on a limb and taken this stand – and not capitulated to the government’s demands,” she said. “That speaks volumes about him.”

And should the highest court in the land force Jack to do the bidding of homosexuals?

“There’s civil disobedience,” Phillips told me. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for this faith to give it up that easily.”

Meanwhile, the bullying tactics of the militant gay rights community have not hampered the bakery’s bottom line. They’ve gotten so much business from the sales of cookies and brownies, they’ve temporarily stopped making wedding cakes.

“Obey Christ rather than worry about what man can do to you,” Phillips said.

In his firm resistance to persecution, Jack Phillips has become a Christian hero.  Let us keep him in our prayers.

Tonsillectomy Death at the Oakland Children’s Hospital and Why Americans Shouldn’t Trust their Doctors

Jahi-McMath

Clusivius:

Clusivius-sqA 13-year-old girl named Jahi McMath went to the Oakland Children’s Hospital on December 9 for a tonsillectomy to treat her sleep apnea. Hours later she died at the same hospital from profuse bleeding and cardiac arrest caused by the procedure. The hospital managed to keep her on life support, but their tests showed no brain activity, and they declared her legally dead.

The public controversy of this case arises from the hospital’s desire to cut off the life support on this “dead body” and the family’s attempts to keep her body alive in their hope for a miracle. So far a judge has twice intervened to extend her life support, now to January 7. But complicating the case is the potential complicity of the hospital in her death and the cold-hearted eagerness of the hospital to pull the plug.

Children’s Hospital Oakland has a very good reputation where I live in the Bay Area. But its public communication around the tragedy of Jahi McMath’s ”brain death” has been astoundingly insensitive, bordering on arrogant.

The hospital’s statements quoted in today’s San Francisco Chronicle continues the maladroit insensitivity. The hospital states it will remove the ventilator the moment that can be done legally. From the story:

Children’s Hospital Oakland officials confirmed Sunday they will turn off the machines sustaining Jahi McMath’s body as soon as a legal injunction expires at 5 p.m. Monday unless otherwise ordered by a court. “Barring any other court-order legal action by the family, the ventilator will be shut off at 5 p.m. tomorrow,” said hospital spokesman Sam Singer. “It’s tremendously sad, but that’s what’s going to occur.”

Not five minutes after five. Not sometime after five. Not one second after five. At five! I can picture a doctor looking at his watch counting down the seconds, “three, two, one…”.

Then there’s this:

“Children’s Hospital Oakland continues to support the family of Jahi McMath in this time of grief and loss over her death,” the hospital said in a statement Sunday. “We continue to do so despite their lawyer’s criticizing the very hospital that all along has been working hard to be accommodating to this grieving family.

Gee, that’s big of you. Why have hospital spokespersons acted throughout this sad saga as if the institution is the victim?

Much of the nastiness comes from the hospital’s PR consultant Sam Singer, who seems ill suited for his job of sugar-coating the hospital’s eagerness to not only pull the plug on this girl but to prevent any other facility from taking her in her present condition.  The coldness of the hospital’s lawyer, Douglas Straus, only adds to this nasty impression.

singer-straus

The insensitivity and arrogance of Oakland Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer and the hospital’s attorney Douglas Straus has created a PR disaster for the California hospital.

Meanwhile, the fact that Jahi McMath died because of a failed surgery performed at this same Oakland Children’s Hospital seems to have little bearing on anyone’s behavior in this case and isn’t widely highlighted in the news. One gets the impression that this sort of death just happens sometimes, like hail storms, and there is nothing that anyone can or should do about it.

While hospitals are quick to say that any surgery is risky, death from tonsillectomy is rare, occurring in 1 case for about every 15,000 performed.[1] [2] Each tonsillectomy death that happens ought to be carefully scrutinized, and maybe this one was. But that doesn’t excuse the callous treatment by the hospital.

According to reports, this family’s insurance is willing to pay to keep her on life support for some time, so it doesn’t appear that the hospital will lose money. (And would these sprawling medical palaces with their indoor waterfalls and botanical gardens ever allow themselves to lose money?) So why is the hospital placing so many roadblocks for other facilities to accept her? The hospital’s lawyer, Douglas Straus, issued a statement that rather coldly outlines all of the conditions that they require for another facility to accept the girl. Callous experts seem to think that the hospital is fighting against the possibility that brain deaths will be harder to declare in the future.

The moral of the story: we should not trust our doctors. Doctors, for all of their fancy and rigorous qualifications, aren’t much better at diagnosis and repair than the local grease monkey at the auto shop.

Like any businessmen, doctors have an incentive to make money with the minimal effort possible. If that means rushing a patient through a five minute interview and telling the nurse to prescribe some pills to shut him up, then so be it.

Doctors often inflate the value of their own knowledge and abilities, achieved through their qualifications and experience, a knowledge that they believe trumps any doubts or complaints (or even questions) that their patient may have. They hear all sorts of babble from hypochondriacs, and this can make them cynical. But they haven’t lived with their patient’s body for decades, either.

And doctors, especially in hospitals, also tend to take a possessive attitude towards their patients, considering them to be wards in their custody. Doctors know what’s best, and they aren’t inclined to allow a patient to leave their care once that patient is admitted. Just try to leave a hospital without their proper discharge. This conceit especially applies to children, as the recent example of the Amish girl with cancer highlights.

CVC-garden-from-above-21-1024x682

Would these sprawling medical palaces with their indoor waterfalls and botanical gardens ever allow themselves to lose money?

Provisions in ObamaCare to gather a variety of impertinent information on medical patients, such as sexual relations and history of psychological issues, could impact our lives in unknown ways. Surely the government will use this information for its own purposes, which may be simple data analysis or the typical social engineering, but certainly could be used for outright gun confiscation or political blackmail.

As the government intrudes ever more deeply into the medical industry, Americans can expect a shift from a system whose primary customers are insurance companies to one where doctors show the most concern for satisfying the government. And while insurance companies must at least somewhat consider the wishes of their paying customers, government bureaucracy has little incentive to do so. Unfortunately, it’s easier—a little—to change our insurance companies than to change our government. The end result is a medical system that cares less about the well-being of its patients and more about staying out of trouble with the government. In that case, we can expect more cases like that of Jahi McMath.

One way or another, we mustn’t blindly trust our doctors. Especially now.

Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqThe Oakland Children’s Hospital is definitely showing a lack of sensitivity to the family of a child who died because of their own failed procedure, and as Wesley J. Smith said in the above-quoted article, it is a PR disaster for them. But the hospital is correct to try to move this case along, even if they aren’t doing it with the greatest finesse.

The grieving mother will never willingly pull the plug on her daughter’s body. She sees a child who appears to respond to her voice and touch and doesn’t care what anyone says about it. Who could blame her? Most mothers would behave the same way in this situation.

But the child is showing no brain activity at all. She’s not in a coma and she’s not in a vegetative state, she’s dead. According to some of these news stories, the state of California requires two doctors to confirm brain death with two separate tests three hours apart from one another. Additionally, the family (rightly) brought in three additional doctors to confirm the condition, and all five doctors found the child to be brain dead. While a miracle from God could certainly save her, we can’t expect the hospital to keep her on life support on the basis of a miracle when she is already clinically dead.

Bluntly said, hospitals are intended to save lives, not cater to corpses. It’s an unpleasant truth, but those who deal with death so frequently must address this unpleasant subject.

This is one of those cases where technology has muddied what once was a clear-cut matter.

As far as trusting doctors, a second opinion can be a good idea, but we should weigh a doctor’s opinion pretty heavily. They have experience and knowledge that we typically don’t. But maybe we don’t have to run to a doctor for every sneeze or runny nose, or to request the latest prescription for restless leg syndrome that we saw on a one-minute commercial.

Considering ObamaCare, we should resist sharing information to doctors or to the government that has nothing to do with our particular cases. It isn’t necessary to openly defy them (this can cause even more unnecessary troubles). If it’s possible to say nothing, we should say nothing; if an answer is required, a quiet “N/A” should suffice.

Concorditas:

ConcorditasAs terrible as many of California’s ideas about laws and rights may be these days, it seems like matters are proceeding as they should in the case of Jahi McMath.

The mother is rightly fighting for her child’s life. She sees her child responding to her touch and her voice, and she’s right to challenge the hospital in every way she can.

The hospital is justifiably, if heartlessly, trying to pull the plug on the girl. They see a brain-dead corpse, and they want to avoid a precedent that will make it harder to declare a person dead. They might have chosen a callous way to push their case, but they are justified in doing so.

And the legal system is allowing time for this case to get settled in a just way by extending her life support until January 7. McMath’s mother has more time to either find a facility that can comply with the hospital’s conditions for removal and/or for doctors to observe her case over a period of time. Or for her lawyer to determine if the hospital is trying to hide its complicity in McMath’s death.

The system seems to be working in this case. Meanwhile, my prayers and best wishes go out to McMath and her family.

[Update: On January 5, Jahi McMath was moved from the Oakland Children’s Hospital to an undisclosed facility where she will remain on life support.  Medical “ethicists” howl and scream in indignation.]

[1] Windfuhr, Schloendorff, Sesterhenn, Prescher, and Kremer. “A Devastating Outcome after Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy: Ideas for Improved Prevention and Management.” Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (2009). Metro Atlanta Educational Society for Otolaryngology, Apr. 2009. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. http://www.metroatlantaotolaryngology.org/journal/apr09/Devastating%20T%20%26%20A.pdf>

[2] Encyclopedia of Surgery. “Surgery.” Tonsillectomy. Advameg, Inc., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2014. <http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/St-Wr/Tonsillectomy.html

Assume that the Government is Always Watching

nsa-utah-data-center

Clusivius:

Clusivius-sqAll of the wonderful “smart” devices that nearly everyone uses on a daily basis, if not constantly, are Trojan horses designed to watch and listen to our every move.  Nevertheless, the cattle are shocked when they find out that their beloved government is willing to use its power to spy on them.

The FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years, and has used that technique mainly in terrorism cases or the most serious criminal investigations, said Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, now on the advisory board of Subsentio, a firm that helps telecommunications carriers comply with federal wiretap statutes.

The FBI’s technology continues to advance as users move away from traditional computers and become more savvy about disguising their locations and identities. “Because of encryption and because targets are increasingly using mobile devices, law enforcement is realizing that more and more they’re going to have to be on the device — or in the cloud,” Thomas said, referring to remote storage services. “There’s the realization out there that they’re going to have to use these types of tools more and more.”

It is best for Americans to assume that the government is always observing us whatever we are doing, even though this is not quite possible yet, especially for those who live in rural areas.  But regardless of location, any activities or communications performed through internet-connected electronic devices are likely being filtered for keywords.  Once a person triggers enough keywords, they are sure to be targeted for more in-depth surveillance.  Eventually a human might even get involved.

How should we handle this surveillance?  During the American Revolution, while serving as US Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin described to a concerned friend his attitudes about spies:

I have long observ’d one Rule which prevents any Inconvenience from such Practices. It is simply this, to be concern’d in no Affairs that I should blush to have made publick; and to do nothing but what Spies may see and welcome. When a Man’s Actions are just and honourable, the more they are known, the more his Reputation is increas’d and establish’d. If I was sure therefore that my Valet de Place was a Spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge him for that, if in other Respects I lik’d him.

We should follow this model in the course of our everyday activities, even those activities that are designed to fight against our political enemies.  We shouldn’t say or do anything that we’re not willing to defend in public.

Even if a man must break the law in service to his national cause, he should always act with honor and justice, doing nothing that would harm the reputation of his cause, and expecting that if he gets caught he must accept full responsibility for his actions, suffering whatever consequences may befall him with dignity and grace.  (But really, people—finger wagging—it’s so much simpler if you don’t break the law!)

There is one great advantage to the government’s widespread use of electronic surveillance: it makes them stupid! Just as today’s teenagers don’t know how to change the oil in their cars and don’t know how to write in cursive, today’s masters of surveillance are prepared to let computers perform all of their analysis for them.  If something isn’t flagged on their system, they aren’t going to notice it.  If we don’t want the government to spy on us, we should speak face-to-face away from electronics or write with good old-fashioned ink and paper.  And don’t forget to stick something over that camera lens!

US Supreme Court Rejects Privacy Appeal Against the NSA

Clusivius:

Should anyone be surprised that the US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal for privacy against the NSA?

The justices without comment Monday rejected an appeal from a privacy rights group, which claimed a secret federal court improperly authorized the government to collect the electronic records.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed its petition directly with the high court, bypassing the usual step of going to the lower federal courts first. Such a move made it much harder for the justices to intervene at this stage, but EPIC officials argued “exceptional ramifications” demanded immediate final judicial review. There was no immediate reaction to the court’s order from the public interest group, or from the Justice Department.

The NSA has publicly acknowledged it received secret court approval to collect vast amounts of so-called metadata from telecom giant Verizon and leading Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.

The Supreme Court has lately developed a taste for rejecting controversial cases without comment.  Perhaps American conservatives should be thankful for this.  Should the justices choose to actively take these cases, they would likely rule in favor of the Establishment position, as they did with Obamacare and the Arizona immigration law.

But even if the Supreme Court had ruled to end the NSA spying, there is no chance that the NSA would really dismantle its enormous surveillance systems and cease its spying on every phone call, every e-mail and web transaction, and ultimately every electronic communication throughout the world.  They’ve got too much invested and have too little accountability.

This is all a farcical reaction to the exposure of the NSA by Edward Snowden.  The Establishment won’t seriously back down.

The American people must learn to live with a government that keeps a constant eye on its citizens (and on non-citizens in foreign countries).  Like pets or livestock, the people must be tagged, tracked, fenced-in, and hand-fed for our own protection and well-being.  We, as a people, have certainly come a long way in just a few years towards the acceptance of police state intrusions and hand-outs from our benevolent masters.

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