WASHINGTON, D.C. – We all know the world is not quite the same as it was just a few weeks ago, but none of us will know just how much until it’s too late. Beyond the headline legislation in response to the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, and the legislation in response to the response to the hysteria surrounding the Wuhan Coronavirus, there have been disturbing moves by the federal government to use this crisis as an opportunity for advancing absolute government power and the further debase our individual rights.
While we’ve been distracted by the sky falling, big blocks of our nation’s foundation have been getting pulled right out from under us.
- The EARN IT Bill – Congress is moving to block wide spread public use of encryption, because privacy is a hindrance to their ability to spy on American citizens.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this legislation will enable the government to scan virtually all online messages.
“Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate.
That’s what the Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed and hopes to pass into law. The so-called EARN IT bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), will strip Section 230 protections away from any website that doesn’t follow a list of “best practices,” meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy. The “best practices” list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption, and guarantee law enforcement “legal access” to any digital message. […]”
The first hearings on the bill were held just under two weeks ago, right when the pandemic mayhem was beginning. Advocates for blocking your online privacy in this way are hoping you won’t notice when it begins moving again. You can read more about the bill’s implication here.
- The Feds are working with tech giants to vacuum up your cell phone location data, so they can know where you are, where you’ve been, and where you might be going.
The reason for the effort is to better track people who’ve contracted SARS-CoV2 (Wuhan Coronavirus), but the privacy advocates are concerned. How likely is it that this sort of tracking relationship with Big Tech just ends after the virus is exhausted?
“The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking Facebook, Google and other tech giants to give them greater access to Americans’ smartphone location data in order to help them combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to four people at companies involved in the discussions who are not authorized to speak about them publicly.
Federal health officials say they could use anonymous, aggregated user data collected by the tech companies to map the spread of the virus — a practice known as “syndromic surveillance” — and prevent further infections. They could also use the data to see whether people were practicing “social distancing.” […]”
If that doesn’t set the stage for ‘Big Brother,’ what does? But, you say, it’s for a very good reason, and they promise it is anonymized, and their intentions here are good. If only good intentions were protection enough from wrongdoing or harm.
- The DOJ is asking Congress for the ability to ask judges to retain people, without trial, indefinitely during states of emergency.
The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the United States. […]
In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.” […]
The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus — the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release.
“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” said Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.”
Reimer said the possibility of chief judges suspending all court rules during an emergency without a clear end in sight was deeply disturbing. […]”
Judging by how elected officials have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to declaring states of emergency, giving judges the ability to essentially suspend rights to core rights like Due Process and Habeas Corupus and keeping you imprisoned until whatever declared emergency is deemed over IS quite terrifying.
And then there is the actions taken by an unelected cabal of bankers that probably have more power and effect on our lives economically than any other group — the Federal Reserve. The existence of the central bank’s dual mandate is hubris in itself, but the actions they take to expand upon that mandate, thereby undercutting anyone who ever earns a dollar, is a silent killer of Joe America that feeds the center of cronyism.
The Federal Reserve is lending to speculators and the loans are non-recourse, meaning that the speculator doesn’t lose anything if they can’t repay the loan.
This is a *direct* billionaire bailout. https://t.co/snHLVwxpwY
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) March 23, 2020
This is on top of the trillions of dollars the Fed is printing to itself buy securities in the open market. They are buying US Treasuries (some yields are now NEGATIVE), even ETFs; offering trillions in short term loans, created out of thin air, so that banks don’t experience any pain associated with existing in a market that changes (is it really a free market at all?); and, now the Fed is being leveraged to possibly create a digital currency and set up E-wallets for every American so that can manipulate the economy via direct injections or withdrawals to or from individual Americans.
Economy too slow? The Fed just strokes the keyboard and gives half of America a thousand dollars in monopoly money.
These are all things happening while the nation is fixated on a, admittedly concerning, Chinese Flu on Steroids. The moves made in the last three weeks, and in the next three months stand to fundamentally transform America. But please, shelter-in-place, and don’t ask questions.