From the Brownstone Institute
The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over the Fifth Circuit’s grant of a preliminary injunction in Missouri v. Biden. As I mentioned in previous posts, the injunction would bar officials from the White House, CDC, FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Surgeon General’s office from coercing or significantly encouraging social media platforms to censor constitutionally protected speech.
My fellow plaintiffs and I welcome this opportunity to defend the First Amendment rights of all Americans in the U.S. Supreme Court. We expect to hear from the Court soon regarding the hearing dates—it could be in February or March.
The Fifth Circuit panel of judges last month upheld the key components of U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty’s July 4 preliminary injunction order, prohibiting named federal officials from coercing or significantly encouraging social media companies to suppress legal speech.
That decision vindicated our claims that we—and countless other Americans—were blacklisted, shadow-banned, deboosted, throttled, and suspended on social media as part of the government’s years-long censorship campaign orchestrated by the federal government.
The Biden Administration’s censorship regime has successfully suppressed perspectives contradicting government-approved views on hotly disputed topics such as whether natural immunity to covid exists, the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, the virus’s origins, and mask mandate efficacy.
Beyond covid, the documents we’ve obtained on discovery demonstrate that the government was also censoring critiques of its foreign policy, monetary policy, election infrastructure, and lighting rod social issues from abortion to gender ideology.
The vast, coordinated, and well-documented effort has silenced influential, highly qualified voices including doctors and scientists like my co-plaintiffs Dr. Bhattacharya and Dr. Kulldorff, as well as those like Jill Hines who have tried to raise awareness of issues. Though the US Supreme Court temporarily stayed the Fifth Circuit’s injunction until they make a ruling, I believes the Justices are ultimately unlikely to permit the egregious First Amendment abridgements our case has exposed.
The Fifth Circuit recognized that the Plaintiffs did “not challenge the social-media platforms’ content-moderation policies.” Rather, Plaintiffs challenged the government’s unlawful efforts to influence “enforcement of those policies.” The government gravely harmed the ability of Americans to convey their views to the public, and it deprived Americans of their right to hear opinions that differ from the government’s. Judge Doughty strikingly described the Administration’s conduct as “arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States history” and “akin to an Orwellian Ministry of Truth.” He was right, and the US Supreme Court must not permit it.
Here are some reactions to the news from our lawyers at NCLA:
“NCLA is thrilled to have the opportunity to vindicate the First Amendment rights of our clients, and all Americans, in the nation’s highest court. We are confident that after a thorough review of the disturbing facts in this important case—which involves unprecedented government-imposed, viewpoint-based censorship—the Court will recognize the grievous, unconstitutional nature of the government’s conduct and enjoin it.”
— Jenin Younes, Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“We are disappointed Americans’ First Amendment rights will be vulnerable to government infringement until this case is decided. But we are confident this Court, as strong as it is on First Amendment issues, will rule against the government and uphold our clients’ rights and liberties.”
— John Vecchione, Senior Litigation Counsel, NCLA
“If anything, the Fifth Circuit’s decision did not go far enough in enjoining the reprehensible conduct exposed in this case. The facts of this case show government agencies censored speech in a deliberate effort to control the narrative on several controversial topics ahead of the last election. The First Amendment forbids such censorship, and the Supreme Court must never allow such mischief again, if we are to keep our democracy.”
— Mark Chenoweth, President, NCLA
Republished from the author’s Substack
Senator Ted Cruz introduces bill to ban CBDCs to prevent US from becoming ‘surveillance state’
Heritage Action for America warned that ‘anti-CBDC legislation is necessary to safeguard Americans’ financial privacy in the face of potential surveillance, control, and political intimidation.’
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz introduced the CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act to prohibit the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that Republican sponsors of the bill believe could turn the nation into a “surveillance state” by handing over control of personal finances to federal government agencies.
While digital currency offers some attractive features, it also would grant the federal government unlimited opportunity to weaponize the technology against citizens, allowing it to both spy on the spending habits of everyday Americans and block access to the money in their personal bank accounts.
U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota described the threat of a U.S. CBDC last fall:
Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, a CBDC is a digital form of sovereign currency that is designed and issued by a government and transacts on a digital ledger that is controlled by that government. In short, a CBDC is government-controlled programmable money that, if not designed to emulate cash, could give the federal government the ability to surveil Americans’ transactions and choke out politically unpopular activity.
A government-issued CBDC is nothing more than a CCP-style surveillance tool that would be used to undermine the American way of life.
“While Americans across the country are being punished for thinking, speaking, and voting the ‘wrong’ way, the last thing we need is the government surveilling personal finances,” explained a statement from Heritage Action for America concerning the new legislation. “Anti-CBDC legislation is necessary to safeguard Americans’ financial privacy in the face of potential surveillance, control, and political intimidation.”
“CBDCs present major privacy concerns for everyday Americans, including granting the government the ability to collect intimate personal details on U.S. citizens, and potentially track and freeze funds for any reason,” the Blockchain Association noted.
Sen. Cruz, chief sponsor of the bill, said, “The Biden administration salivates at the thought of infringing on our freedom and intruding on the privacy of citizens to surveil their personal spending habits, which is why Congress must clarify that the Federal Reserve has no authority to implement a CBDC.”
“Big government has no business spying on Americans to control their personal finances and track their transactions,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It is a massive overreach.”
In early 2022, the Biden administration urged the Fed to investigate the creation of a CBDC.
“Over 100 countries are exploring or piloting Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs),” said Biden, warning that the U.S. “must play a leading role in international engagement and global governance of digital assets consistent with democratic values and U.S. global competitiveness.”
But many Republicans see this as nothing more than a means to turn America into a totalitarian state.
Pushback against a U.S. CBDC has become an integral part of the messaging of 2024’s presidential hopefuls.
Last month, former President Donald Trump pledged to ban a CBDC if re-elected to the White House.
“As your president, I will never allow the creation of a Central Bank Digital Currency,” Trump told a crowd during a campaign event in New Hampshire.
“Such a currency would give a federal government — our federal government — absolute control over your money,” Trump said. “They could take your money, and you wouldn’t even know it was gone.”
“This would be a dangerous threat to freedom, and I will stop it from coming to America,” he vowed.
Even Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a former Democrat now running as an Independent presidential candidate, has warned that CBCDs are “a calamity for human rights and for civil rights” while similarly promising to halt progress by the Fed from creating a CBDC.
Eleven countries have already fully implemented CBDCs, including China, where digital currency is tied to a person’s “social credit score.”
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) uses its extensive network of digital cameras —estimated to be over one billion — combined with facial-recognition capabilities to monitor the daily movements and actions of its citizens. That along with other information collecting capabilities used in conjunction with government-controlled digital currency allows the CCP to punish those who transgress desired social norms.
While Democrats in Congress have sought to pass legislation authorizing the Fed to institute a CBDC, Republicans have similarly made sought to preempt such a move.
Last fall, Emmer introduced a bill in the U.S. House with the same name as Cruz’s bill, “CBDC Anti-Surveillance State Act,” to” halt the efforts of unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. from issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that dismantles Americans’ right to financial privacy.”
Co-sponsoring the bill with Cruz are Republican Sens. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Scott, Ted Budd of North Carolina, and Mike Braun of Indiana.
European farmers continue to protest New World Order’s anti-food agenda
By Frank Wright
As the farmer-led protests in the EU rage on, globalists are slowly learning that labeling those demanding the ability to provide food for the future as ‘extremist’ is not going to work.
Farmer protests in Europe continue to escalate, with Belgian farmers blockading the capital yesterday, Monday February, 26, with 900 tractors and driving through police barricades.
Belgian farmers sprayed police with manure and lit bonfires with tires in a fiery day of action which saw barbed wire and anti-tank obstacles placed outside European Union institutions, and police dousing the crowd with water cannons.
The action comes days after a convoy of Spanish farmers lead an estimated 20,000 people to protest outside the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.
The plea of one Spanish farmer at the February 21 protest was stark. Silvia Ruiz, 46, a livestock farmer from the north-central area of Burgos told The Associated Press.
It is impossible to live from the rural industry, which is what we want, to live from our work. That is all we ask for.
Video from Madrid showed the scale of the protest, at which AP said banners were displayed reading “Farmers in Extinction” and “There is no life without farming.”
— The National Independent (@NationalIndNews) February 21, 2024
Spanish farmers conducted another four-day national action in early February, their complaints echoing what The Daily Telegraph called “common talking points from what has been an eruption of farmers protests in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy and Spain over recent months.” Protests have also emerged in England and Wales in recent months.
Reasons to be fearful
The reasons given by farmers for their Europe-wide action present a direct challenge to the policies of European governments – which they say are resulting in extreme pressure on small-scale farmers. British farmers issued a desperate plea last September, saying they too were “struggling to survive.”
So what are the issues facing European farmers? This report examines the policies and practices which have combined to produce a hostile environment for Europe’s small scale farmers.
Agenda 21 – a coordinated effort?
Though the protests have many dimensions, including the imposition of carbon “Net Zero” related measures, with the removal of subsidies and the threat of cheap imports, some critics argue that small-scale farming across Europe is facing a systematic and coordinated attempt to replace them – with large-scale, state-controlled agriculture.
A documentary published by the Epoch Times in September 2023 argues that soaring food prices and food shortages “have little to do with climate change – but are the direct result of an environmental policy that was conceived over 30 years ago.”
The reference in the documentary, titled “No Farmers: No Food” is to“Agenda 21,” the United Nations’ “Master Plan for Humanity” for the 21st Century. Now renamed Agenda 2030, with that year being given as the target for the agenda’s implementation, it is a program that dates back as far as 1989.
The agenda’s seemingly laudable goals to “eradicate global poverty,” reduce consumer waste and combat the degradation of the natural world whilst promoting prosperity can be seen in another dimension.
An ‘excuse for government to do what they want’
Christian journalist Alex Newman says in the documentary that this noble-sounding agenda simply “gives government an excuse to do whatever they want, under the guise of meeting these goals.”
From its inception, the “master plan” demanded increased “trade liberalization,” the strengthening of “international institutions” backed by a series of “development banks” from government and private finance to drive accelerated global coordination.
Yet “trade liberalization” and a punitive regulatory environment are two factors cited by farmers across Europe which they say are threatening their very existence.
‘Green’ farmers also in protest
Farmers who support measures to limit pesticide use and the move to less polluting means of production have also mobilized to protest against “the neoliberal policies in agriculture the WTO has been promoting for decades which have led to the systematic impoverishment of farmers.”
A group called the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), which represents small-holder farmers in 21 European countries, highlights the worsening struggle for survival faced by small-scale farmers. In a February 25 report, farmers Morgan Ody and Vincent Delobel spoke out in advance of the World Trade Organization’s 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi.
These are the people who produce Europe’s food – whether conventionally or organically, on a small or a medium scale. They stand united by a shared reality: They are fed up with spending their lives working incessantly without ever getting a decent income. We have reached this point after decades of neoliberal agricultural policies and free trade agreements. Production costs have risen steadily in recent years, while prices paid to farmers have stagnated or even fallen.
The effect on small-scale farmers has been devastating – but beneficial for corporations.
“All the while, through mergers and speculation, large agroindustrial groups have gotten bigger and stronger, putting increased pressure on prices and practices for farmers.”
‘Like the Soviet Union’
This argument, coming from farmers supportive of sensible “sustainable development” measures, echoes a warning given by U,S, conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson.
Hanson’s segment in “No Farmers: No Food” treats this issue as a matter of the concentration of food production in the hands of the state – or under its direction.
They feel that humans don’t need meat-based protein. They want to either force people to follow their paradigms – or they want to buy or accumulate farmland and that’s how they’re going to farm it.
It’s sort of like Mao’s cultural revolution or the Soviet Union – and it results in disasters.
At least 45 million people are said to have “been starved, tortured or beaten to death” under Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” with the forced collectivization of farms in the Soviet Union contributing to a famine which caused the deaths of at least 3 million people between 1931 and 1934.
Hanson says this example does not deter the “academic mind,” which “always has the answers, but never in the real world.”
What is happening in the real world is, according to Hanson, the systematic global consolidation of farming in the hands of state and corporate power.
“They want large blocks [of farming] run by the government – or by private consortia” where meat can be largely eradicated by the control of agricultural production.
The real world action of Bill Gates
Hanson cites the example of Bill Gates’ purchase of large tracts of farmland, coupled with the stated objectives of his “philanthropic” organization.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had by 2017 granted an estimated $6 billion of investment in the future of farming according to one small farmer’s campaign group, GRAIN.
Its 2021 report argued that the foundation is “driving the food system in the wrong direction,” saying “[Gates’] funding overwhelmingly went to research institutes rather than farmers. They were also mainly directed at shaping policies to support industrial farming, not smallholders.”
Far from providing “the substantial flow of new and additional financial resources to developing countries” exhorted by the 1989 UN statement on Agenda 21, the Gates Foundation sends 80-90 percent of its funds to U.S. and Europe based NGOs, “buying political influence” and promoting a “corporate-industrial farming agenda.”
The funding patterns of Gates’ so-called charity “illustrates the point of where the priorities of the Foundation lie.”
Killing small farmers
These priorities are opposed to those of small farmers – whether in the developed or the developing world. Both populations are plagued with farmer suicides – from India through Australia and the United States, given plummeting prices and the increasing pressure to consolidate farming. Studies in Ireland, France and the U.K. show far higher rates of suicide amongst farmers – a trend that has continued over the last decade, as this 2015 report shows.
The pressure driving farmers to desperation is related to a model exampled, as Alex Newman argues, on that adopted in China.
“We are seeing that in China now, where these giant, mechanized, corporate, big-government controlled mega-farms are displacing all these little small family farms,” he says.
The stated aims of Agenda 30 may be an example of Hanson’s “academic answer” – which is contradicted by the real world effects it has produced.
Ally versus ally?
Diplomatic tensions now accompany farmer protests, and have spread beyond Eastern Europe to the West.
The Prime Minister of France Gabriel Attal responded to recent protests in France, acknowledging a further dimension of the threat to small farmers’ livelihoods: cheap imports from Ukraine.
Attal said his government is working to protect French farmers against imports from Ukraine of chicken, eggs, sugar and cereals.
“Solidarity with Ukraine is obviously essential, but it cannot be to the detriment of our farmers,” the prime minister said.
Attal’s remarks, reported by Britain’s Independent on February 22, recall the ongoing blockade of the border by Polish farmers – undertaken in protest against cheap imports.
Poland continues to block Ukrainian grain
Farmers have attempted to block imports of Ukrainian grain, with two acts of grain destruction alleged in the past month. Ukrainian news outlet European Pravda reported the following incident
On the night of 24-25 February in Poland, Ukrainian grain exports suffered the most extensive damage since the beginning of the farmer protests, with the attackers damaging 160 tonnes of Ukrainian grain.
A social media post recorded the aftermath of the grain spill, showing the alleged sabotage.
Awaria mechanizmu zamykającego 🤦🏼
Źródło: Internet pic.twitter.com/TAPWPpRe1i
— Edgar Wolność Polska (@EdgarWolnosc) February 25, 2024
The incident comes weeks after a similar event on February 11, when according to the same report, “Polish farmers protesting near the Ukrainian border spilled some grain from three Ukrainian lorries near the Yahodyn-Dorohusk checkpoint.”
The Ukrainian deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kubrakov complained of “160 tons of Ukrainian grain destroyed…[in] the fourth case of vandalism at Polish railway stations.”
Farmers fighting for a viable life are now fracturing former alliances, showing the state-level impact of the issue of food security.
Against the grain
Polish farmers began their attempts to block Ukrainian imports in late November, with assurances from the new Polish Minister of Agriculture providing only a temporary pause. The protests follow a troubled year for Ukrainian grain exports, with the EU conceding to demands from Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia with a temporary ban on Ukrainian maize, wheat, rapeseed and sunflower seed from May-June, 2023.
The ban was extended until September 15. When it was lifted, Reuters reported that “Slovakia, Poland and Hungary imposed national restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports after the European Union executive decided not to extend its ban on imports into those countries and fellow EU members Bulgaria and Romania.”
The reason supplied was to protect domestic farmers from being undermined by cheap imports.
“The countries have argued that cheap Ukrainian agricultural goods – meant mainly to transit further west and to ports – get sold locally, harming their own farmers.”
Following the elections on October 15, the incoming Polish government of Donald Tusk, a noted globalist, appears unwilling to confront the farmers directly. Last week, the Polish government snubbed the Ukrainian delegation, failing to appear at a recent meeting convened by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to end the crisis. According to Agence France Presse (AFP):
Ukraine’s prime minister went to the border with Poland on Friday [February 23] hoping to end weeks of protests by Polish farmers but he said no-one from the neighboring government turned up for talks.
Zelensky proposed the frontier meeting, issuing a statement saying Ukraine’s grain did not go to the Polish market “at the request of the Polish side.”
Zelensky’s remarks appear to be contradicted by the continued attempts to export Ukrainian grain into Poland.
He added: “We are willing and will do everything to resolve this issue.”
But Tusk’s chief of staff Jan Grabiec told AFP that Warsaw had not sent a delegation because a meeting “makes no sense at the moment.”
He said the two sides were “far” from a deal to end the showdown.
“Unfortunately, there is not yet a Ukrainian proposition that allows to hope for an end to the deadlock in commercial relations.”
The two governments are set to meet on March 26 in an attempt to resolve a crisis, which by then will have been ongoing for over ten months. The snub by Tusk’s pro-EU and pro-Ukraine administration shows the extraordinary power of the farmer’s movement in shifting public opinion on an alliance which formerly saw Zelensky receive a “hero’s welcome” in Poland last April. Going against the Ukrainian grain was unthinkable only a year ago.
Farmers and the future
The farmer protests have been caricatured as “agrarian populism” – a progressive phrase intended as as slur. In characterizing these protests as irrational, and bracketing them with extremism, critics such as the U.K.-based European Consortium for Political Research seek to frames this crisis as one which “emphasizes the antagonistic relationship between the virtuous peasants and people from the countryside on the one side, and the evil and corrupt urban elites on the other.”
Yet the farmer movement is not driven by fantasies of good and evil, but by basic reality. Farmers across the world claim the current system is threatening their very existence.
Many are taking their own lives, with many others taking to the streets. It seems that some governments are now taking notice. As the protests continue, the message is breaking through to the would be managers of the Master Plan for Humanity – that if the demand for food and a future without misery is defined as extremist, then it is not the small-scale farmers who must give way.
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