Elizabeth Warren is “calling your bluff”

Herodes Atticus was born in the year 101 AD into a wealthy family in Greece, which at the time was part of the Roman Empire.

During Emperor Hadrian’s rule, Herodes petitioned for public funds to build a proper water system in the famed city of Troy.

When the water system cost more than double what Herodes had estimated, Hadrian expressed his displeasure.

But Herodes’ father wrote to Hadrian, saying “Do not, O Emperor, allow yourself to be irritated over such trifles. The amount spent in excess of 3,000,000 [drachmas] I am presenting to my son, and my son will present to the city.”

(3 million ancient Greek drachmas is roughly $11 million US dollars today.)

It was actually common practice at the time for wealthy citizens to take on public works projects using their own wealth. And Herodes continued the tradition.

He built aqueducts to bring clean water to the city of Olympia, and sponsored the construction of pools meant to heal the sick at Thermopylae. He built stadiums and theaters and threw feasts and festivals for the people, all at his own expense.

And for his contributions, Herodes was honored and praised.

The people celebrated him, and built a statue in his honor. He went down in history as one of the biggest philanthropists of his day.

Today, people in the completely tolerant and mostly peaceful Left, do the opposite— they shame and ridicule the wealthy for their contributions to society.

For example, last year when the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos pledged billions of dollars to improve the earth’s climate, an editorial in The Guardian asked: Why doesn’t Jeff Bezos pay more tax instead of launching a $10bn green fund?

The message was clear: no amount of philanthropy is good enough. It’s only acceptable if Bezos hands over his money to the government first, so that politicians can squander most of it on wasteful bureaucracy and corrupt self-dealing.

Ironically, Bezos was actually ready and willing to pay more taxes when he chose to build a second Amazon headquarters (‘HQ2’) in New York City.

HQ2 would have been a bonanza of tax revenue for New York.

But AOC and her merry band of Marxists were having none of that. Because Amazon’s HQ2 would have received a federal tax break, they poopoo’d the deal and chased Amazon out of town.

Goodbye 25,000 high-paying jobs. Goodbye $500 million per year in local tax revenue.

Now New York is facing a $15 billion budget deficit fueled in part by wealthy people and prominent businesses fleeing the state for more tax friendly places like Florida and Texas.

But rather than cut spending or give wealthy people incentive to stay, New York’s Emperor Cuomo wants to raise the state income tax on the wealthy to 10.86%, up from 8.82%.

Talk about a bad idea. According to IRS data and the Tax Foundation, the top 1% of income earners pay almost 40% of state and federal taxes.
Raising taxes will only chase away more of them.

But politicians deny this simple truth. They think they can raise taxes on the rich and there won’t be any consequences, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, for example, is back on her high horse, demanding a 2% annual wealth tax on rich Americans.

However, when a CNBC anchor asked Warren if she had concerns that the wealth tax would make Americans leave the country, Warren scoffed, saying:

“I’m sorry, there is no evidence that anyone is going to leave this country because of a [wealth tax]… you’re telling me that they would forfeit their American citizenship… and I’m just calling your bluff on that. I’m sorry that’s not going to happen.

Really? No evidence?

What about the 6,000+ Americans who renounced their citizenship during the first nine months of 2020 (versus only roughly 2,000 Americans who renounced in all of 2019).

37,000 Americans have renounced since 2010, and the trend has been growing ever since around halfway through the Obama presidency.

There are 9 million American expats currently living overseas, and about 23% report seriously considering renouncing their American citizenship. Much of their reasoning is tax-related.

But Warren dismisses this evidence entirely.

To her, the 37,000 people who have already renounced their citizenship don’t exist, nor do the 23% of expats who are considering renouncing. It must be fake news.

She can’t possibly imagine a world where her decisions have a negative impact.

Her way of thinking is also quite instructive. Just look at what she’s saying— ‘we can do whatever we want to successful people, raise their taxes to whatever we want, and they’re just going to have to take it.’

That’s pretty scary.

And this trend is only going to continue as the Bolsheviks think of new ways to punish successful people.

Because, for them, it’s not just about the tax revenue. It’s about shame and ridicule.

AOC tells her Twitter following, for example, that wealthy people “don’t MAKE a billion dollars. They TAKE a billion dollars.”

She thinks earning money from willing customers is theft. But the government taking money by force is righteous. THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE!

These people are totally clueless… and yet they’re the ones in charge. Nothing we do will change that fact.

But what does make a difference is taking rational, legal steps to distance yourself from their insanity.

Tax is a great example. No matter what crazy legislation these politicians pass, almost EVERYONE still has completely legitimate ways to reduce their tax bills.

For example, you can take advantage of retirement plan tax incentives; and it’s hard to imagine anyone would be worse off paying less tax and having more money set aside for retirement.

Or someone could take advantage of Opportunity Zones, captive insurance companies, or the incredible incentives in Puerto Rico (and US Virgin Islands).

Point is- there are plenty of options. But you have to educate yourself and take action… because Elizabeth Warren and AOC certainly won’t find the deductions for you.

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Actually, there is an alternative

On March 12, 1989, a research fellow at CERN named Tim Berners-Lee submitted a paper to the agency’s senior management, proposing a new way to organize information across computer networks.

The Internet was already in full swing by 1989, at least among governments and universities. But it was mostly used for email at that point, because there was no easy way to post and access different types of content.

Berners-Lee solved that problem, and his creation became known as the World Wide Web.

A few years later, a young software engineer named Marc Andreessen led the development of the first graphical web browser; it was called Mosaic, and it was instrumental in popularizing the Internet around the world.

Andreessen broke away from the Mosaic project and founded a new company– Netscape Communications. And its ‘Netscape Navigator’ quickly became the most popular web browser in the world.

Barely a year after its founding, Netscape decided to go public. And this was extremely unusual at the time.

Back in the 1980s, nearly EVERY company to IPO was profitable, and fairly seasoned. Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etc. were all making money when they went public.

Sure, it was normal that sophisticated investors who could bear the risk would buy shares of unprofitable startups. But it was unthinkable that an unprofitable company would go public, or that mainstream investors would actually want to own the stock.

Netscape, despite the popularity of its browser, was losing tons of money, so its decision to go public was highly unusual.

But that didn’t seem to matter to investors; Netscape’s IPO was a smashing success. When it went public in August 1995, the share price doubled on the first day, and it was up 600% within a few months.

And soon, it seemed like every 20 year old with a website was going public. And not only were most of these companies unprofitable, many of them weren’t even generating revenue.

It took another 4+ years for the dot-com bubble to burst. And when it did, the decline was ferocious; the NASDAQ stock index dropped nearly 80% from its peak, and most of the former high-flying dotcoms went bust.

You’d think that would have been a valuable lesson, and that no one would repeat the same mistakes of the dot-com bubble again.

But that’s precisely what we’re seeing now– companies that lose tons of money are some of the most popular stocks in the world.

Uber, for example, has never turned a profit. Its operating cash flow has totaled NEGATIVE $11 billion over the past five years with no end in sight. Yet its stock is worth roughly $100 billion.

SnapChat similarly has lost billions of dollars over the years. Yet its stock is worth nearly $80 billion.

Even stocks that are profitable are trading at absurd valuations.

I know its sacrilege to criticize Tesla… but let’s be honest– even though the company finally had a full year of positive Free Cash Flow, the stock is trading at an unbelievable 1600x earnings.

In fact MOST of the market is overvalued; the current P/E ratio of the S&P 500 is nearly FORTY (versus a long-term average of 15).

Yet people keep piling into the market despite these extreme valuations, let alone the fact that the new ruling party wants to raise their taxes and create all sorts of debilitating regulations.

The common refrain is that ‘There is No Alternative,” or TINA. In other words, because the Federal Reserve is printing so much money, it’s nearly impossible to find a fairly valued asset anymore.

But this TINA mentality demonstrates a remarkable lack of creativity or insight. And one need only look as far as gold.

Now, typically when I write about gold, I discuss its utility as a hedge against systemic risk.

Gold is like an insurance policy. And if the proverbial ever hits the fan, its not a bad idea to own a little bit of an asset with a 5,000 year history of value and marketability.

But today I’d point to gold’s potential speculative upside.

Remember when the pandemic first hit last year? Gold went through the roof because everyone was in a panic. And by early August, gold hit an all-time high of $2,058.

About two days prior to that record high, when the price was in excess of $2,000 per troy ounce, I wrote that “a short-term correction” in gold prices might occur, especially “if a Covid vaccine is produced.”

And that’s pretty much what happened; gold prices started to decline slightly and are now down roughly 10.5% from the peak.

The S&P 500, on the other hand, is up 12% since August. Oil and natural gas prices are up more than 25%. Real estate across the United States (according to Zillow data) is up 6%.

Even prices of industrial and agricultural commodities like corn, rubber, copper, lumber, cotton, and iron are WAY up since August.

But gold is DOWN.

This makes gold one of the only major assets to fall over the past five months.

And yet the world is not exactly on a positive trend right now.

Public health officials have been terrorizing their citizens about the evil new Covid strain; one government minister in Singapore just said it would be 4-5 YEARS before Covid conditions went away.

Politicians still want to restrain economic activity and pay people to stay home. Governments are still going deeper into debt and creating all sorts of debilitating regulations. Central banks are actively debasing their currencies.

Amid all of this, stock market valuations are near record levels… but gold is down 10%.

Now, I’m not suggesting anyone should sell their stocks to buy gold (we aren’t investment advisors anyhow); in fact there’s a case to be made that stocks will rise even further as long as the central bank keeps printing money.

The larger point is that this TINA mentality is total nonsense. It seems obvious that gold is a very credible alternative when so many other assets are overvalued.

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Get ready for your COVID anal swab

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

China Pushes New Trend: Anal Swab COVID Tests

In the earliest days of the pandemic, China locked down the citizens of Wuhan, going so far as to weld some people in their homes in an attempt to control the spread of COVID.

Little did we know at the time that China’s aggressive authoritarian policies would become the norm across the world.

Now China has taken the depths of their penetration to a whole new level… because now the regime has started to use anal swabs, inserted about two inches into the anus, to test for COVID.

And naturally they started the process by using the new tests on about 1,000 school children, claiming it is more accurate to detect mild or asymptomatic cases through the anus.

First China convinces the West to destroy their economies, and trample on the individual liberty of their citizens using aggressive lockdowns.

Now they are showing the world that the next step in controlling COVID is to sodomize children in the name of public health.

We can only imagine how quickly the WHO will praise China’s courageous leadership… and how quickly the West will follow the example.

Trust the experts. Obey.

Click here to read the full story.

US Vaccine recipients not exempt from COVID test entry requirements

Earlier this week the US federal government began requiring all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to have a negative COVID test before being allowed to enter the United States.

This includes US citizens, and even US citizens who have proof that they received a full dose of the COVID vaccine.

According to the CDC website, “all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination or antibody status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.”

This goes along with all their other guidance— once you receive a vaccine, you still have to wear a mask, social distance, and cower in fear in your home.

What exactly is the point again?

It’s also a bit silly that the ONLY condition they care about is COVID. It’s perfectly fine if you enter the country with Tuberculosis. Or Ebola. Or any other highly contagious superbug. As long as you don’t have COVID, it’s totally fine!

Click here to read the CDC guidance.

Former CIA Director Labels Libertarians as Potential Terrorists

John Brennan was the Director of the CIA under President Obama.

Earlier this month MSNBC interviewed him for his perspective on the Capitol protests.

Brennan said that “members of the Biden team… are now moving in LASER-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas.”

He then added that the government should look out for domestic terrorists who form “an unholy alliance frequently of religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, Nativists, even libertarians.”

Apparently belief in a small, limited government, like the one laid out in the Constitution, now makes you a potential domestic terrorist.

Click here to watch the video.

Tech Giants favorably manipulating White House ‘likes’

Social media giants aren’t just censoring people they disagree with. Now they appear to be actively manipulating likes and follows too.

Youtube appeared to delete thousands of dislikes on videos uploaded to the official White House channel, because the dislikes so vastly outweighed the likes.

For example, in one case, a video had 1,800 likes, and 12,000 dislikes… but hours later showed 2,000 likes and only 2,500 dislikes.

YouTube explained that they do sometimes remove “spam” or “inauthentic” dislikes.

Naturally the leftist ‘fact checkers’ are all over this, backing up YouTube’s assertion that the dislikes must be spam… because, clearly, if you dislike the guy who received more votes than Barack Obama, you must be a Russian bot.

Click here to read the fact checker’s absurd support.

COVID hypocrite watch: Biden Maskless on Federal Property Hours After Mandate

Hours after signing an executive order forcing everyone to wear masks at all time on federal property, President Biden was spotted not wearing a mask at the Lincoln Memorial.

But to be fair, judging by the look on his face, he probably didn’t know where he was…

Click here to read the full story.

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At precisely 2:32pm Eastern time on May 6, 2010, the US stock market started to drop.

The decline was sudden, and vicious. Within minutes, more than $1 trillion of market capitalization had vanished, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing nearly 10% of its value.

This event became known as the ‘Flash Crash’. And early explanations pointed to the big investment banks and their high-tech trading algorithms, i.e. software that could buy and sell stocks without human involvement.

When the market started its decline that day, banks’ trading algorithms went haywire and started selling everything. This caused the market to decline even further, which triggered the algorithms to sell even more.

The humans were powerless to stop it. There were stories of panicked tech teams at investment banks frantically ripping cables out of the floor trying to shut down the machines.

But the selling went on for 36 minutes… during which time the banks and big funds racked up enormous losses.

For me, however, the Flash Crash was great. I was ‘short’ the stock market at the time, meaning I had bet that the market would decline.

And when the market dropped by more than 1,000 points, I happily cashed in.

But two days later I received an email from my broker explaining that they were CANCELING my trade.

The poor little investment banks had lost money because their fancy algorithms didn’t work. So the exchange was giving them a ‘do over’ at my expense.

Incredible. It hadn’t even been two years at that point since the banks had to be bailed out at taxpayer expense during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

Then, 20 months later, the Flash Crash happened. And the banks were simply able to wipe all their losses away.

The lesson is obvious: when we screw up, we pay the price for our mistakes. But when the banks screw up, the whole financial system comes to their rescue.

Plenty of people have made this realization over the years.

If you’ve been following the news, you are probably aware that there are a few stocks right now– most notably GameStop (GME), that have soared to incredible heights in a matter of days, thanks to a zealous group of individual investors on reddit and TikTok.

These aren’t titans of finance; they’re a bunch of little guys, many of whom are also frustrated by the rigged financial system.

A bit of background– GameStop is a company that sells video games. And, for years, almost all of their sales have been from their 5500+ stores around the world.

That business model worked really well… in 2005.

Today, most users download video games online directly from the publishers, or they stream games from Google, Amazon, Apple, or Steam. Going into a store and buying a DVD is a thing of the past, and GameStop’s sales have suffered as a result of this trend.

A handful of hedge funds have been betting that GameStop will go out of business soon, or at least that the stock price will continue to decline.

So these funds shorted the stock in a huge (and dubious) way, selling more shares of the company than were actually in existence.

And a number of small investors saw these questionable short positions and said, ‘Enough is enough. We’re tired of hedge funds exploiting the market.’ So they’ve banded together and bid up the price of GameStop’s stock to absolutely epic levels.

GME’s stock price is up from $17 earlier this month, $347 at yesterday’s close, all from these small investors.

And as a result, the hedge funds who shorted GameStop have extreme losses.

Individual investors are angry; comments on the subreddit r/wallstreetbets really sum this up:

“Hedge Funds have literally taken lives through their greed. It’s time for some long overdue taste of their own medicine.”

and

“It’s a class war. It’s time we fought back.”

and

“[Hedge funds: ] This is personal for me, and millions of others. . . I’m making this as painful as I can for you.”

and

“There is and has been a ruling class whose sole purpose is to retain power. They gaslight us into thinking they know what is best for us. 1% knows better than 99%. This is not [about] stocks, this is a financial revolution. . .”

And they’re right. Small investors have been fleeced for years. It’s infuriating. People are angry.

And as we saw over and over again throughout 2020, when people become angry enough, they band together, often in loosely organized mobs, and take action.

Oftentimes that action is destructive (or self-destructive), and even irrational.

We watched people burn buildings in the name of combating discrimination, others descend upon the US Capitol, others destroy people’s lives via Twitter, and yet others assaulting their fellow citizens who weren’t wearing masks.

That’s human nature: we do strange things when we’re angry. But it makes us feel better.

GameStop is similar. The business loses tons of money, lost half of its equity last year, and has a net asset value of just $690 million. Yet at yesterday’s close the company was worth $20+ billion.

(So GameStop’s ‘Price/Book’ ratio was roughly 30, while the average Price/Book in the S&P500 is 4.16.)

GameStop is a completely irrational investment. And sure enough, the price has been hammered this morning after the brokerage app RobinHood suspended GME trading.

But as the reddit users say, it’s not about the money. It’s personal. It’s emotional. They’re knowingly engaging in destructive (and self-destructive) behavior. They’re OK losing money– because they’re angry.

This is a sign of the times.

We saw explosive mob anger last year over social issues, political issues, health issues. Now we’re seeing it in the financial system.

The obvious theme here is that people are seriously angry. And it’s not going away. It’s building.

Personally I think a better strategy is to borrow from the 1983 movie War Games: “The only winning move is not to play.”

We have an incredible amount of options at our disposal. Just like I wrote recently about divorcing oneself from Big Tech, no one has to use gmail; you don’t have to play Google’s game.

There are plenty of other secure, cloud-based email services. Same goes for Google Drive, Google search, etc.

Similarly, we have plenty of options when it comes to our investments.

If you think the stock market is rigged, you don’t have to play. Consider alternative investments instead– gold, real estate, private companies, crypto, etc. It may be more productive to NOT play the game rather than take huge risks to fight the system.

Either way, expect the anger to continue building. (Just imagine the fury if inflation starts to rise…)

And this is reason enough to have a Plan B.

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The dumbest argument I’ve ever heard against cryptocurrency

Two decades ago, General Tommy Franks– commander of the original US invasion of Afghanistan back in 2001– was asked his opinion about a civilian bureaucrat named Doug Feith.

Feith was an academic policy wonk who, despite never having served in the military, was a staunch warmonger who was happy for other people to go fight and die in foreign lands.

General Franks was a straight-talking Texan who wasted no words in his opinion that Feith was “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet.”

Over the years of this publication, I have, from time to time, submitted some candidates for what I call the ‘Tommy Franks Award’.

As you can imagine there’s pretty stiff competition for the dumbest f’ing person on the planet, especially these days. But I feel especially compelled right now to nominate the World Economic Forum.

Traditionally the World Economic Forum’s annual event in Davos, Switzerland has been a pageant of wealth and power.

If you’re there, you’ve made it… at least in the eyes of the global elite; it’s nothing but billionaires and politicians. And in the past, the event was typically just photo ops and pointless speeches.

But lately the World Economic Forum has been much more active in cranking out horrifically stupid policy ideas.

For example, the Forum wants human beings (i.e. us peasants) to be conditioned to eat WEEDS and insects in order to save the planet.

The Forum’s founder Klaus Schwab also penned a book last year entitled Covid 19: The Great Reset, which pushes for a radical agenda involving Green New Deals, strict people controls, “solidarity” taxes, debt defaults, and more.

As Schwab announced last year alongside Prince Charles (who is totally relevant with respect to global economic matters),

“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. . . In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

They’re not even hiding their agenda– they’re boldly stating that they want to ‘reset’ the economic system that is responsible for the greatest amount of prosperity that has ever existed in the history of the world.

And over the next few days, the World Economic Forum is unveiling more about its Great Reset initiative.

Yesterday they held a live virtual panel entitled “Resetting Digital Currencies”. And, naturally they sought out the finest ‘experts’ in cryptocurrency, including:

– The CEO of Western Union, a company whose last financial innovation was when they put the Pony Express out of business in 1861;

– The Governor of the Bank of England, a central bank whose entire existence is the complete opposite of the decentralized cryptocurrency ethos; and

– Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Yes I’m serious.

Talk about an EXPERT panel!

Honestly it was pretty astonishing to watch. The Queen started off with a completely incomprehensible rant about how the Dutch guilder was the original ‘stablecoin’ because it held its value for so long.

This is just totally inaccurate from a historical perspective; there were plenty of other stable reserve currencies long before Holland even existed. But I’ll let that one slide.

Later, the panel dove into the real meat of their argument: cryptocurrencies are bad because poor people in Africa can’t use them.

The Queen once again piped up, stating that “digital currencies [depend] on smartphones”, and because most people in Africa still have lower grade ‘feature phones’, they don’t have the opportunity to transact with crypto.

Wrong again!

Feature phones have been able to store and transact Bitcoin and other currencies for at least SEVEN years.

And open source wallets like Electron Cash have been available for even the most basic feature phones since mid-2018.

The Queen and her friends are totally wrong. Just about everyone in the world can use crypto.

But they continue to repeat these incorrect statements– I believe the technical term is “baseless assertions”. They claim that crypto is not “inclusive”, which is code for ‘social justice’.

That’s total nonsense. Aside from gold and silver, crypto is the most inclusive asset class in world history. Almost anyone can own it.

What’s not inclusive is the traditional financial system; there’s over 1.7 billion people worldwide who can’t access bank accounts or basic financial services– ironically, according to the World Economic Forum!

Furthermore, if they really care about ‘inclusive finance’, traditional currencies are totally not inclusive.

US Dollars, for example, are exclusive to the United States, a handful of dollarized countries, plus governments, wealthy individuals, and big corporations.

It’s not like some poor person in Africa has regular access to dollars. They’re at the mercy of their local currency, and however much the government wants to inflate it.

And in addition to manipulation and inflation, traditional currencies can also be subject to capital controls. Nothing about this is ‘inclusive’.

Nevertheless, the World Economic Forum elitists continue to repeat their baseless assertions about cryptocurrency.

In reality, they’re terrified of it, because cryptocurrency represents a rejection of the system that they control.

People aren’t stupid, they know they’ve been betrayed.

Corporations have betrayed them by going completely woke. Politicians have betrayed them by abandoning individual liberty and fiscal restraint. The media has betrayed them with its lack of truth and transparency. Tech companies have betrayed them through blatant censorship.

Trust is at an all time low. So why should anyone have any trust in the currency or financial system?

Crypto is a natural alternative for anyone who’s fed up with the people who pull the strings.

This isn’t about price… or even a single currency; Bitcoin, for example, has a number of flaws, though there are plenty of other promising options that still present substantial upside potential.

This is really about the concept of decentralization: taking power away from people who have constantly abused it, and redistributing that power freely across the market.

Some of the greatest advances in human civilization, from the Reformation in the 1500s, to the early days of the Internet, were based on decentralization.

But these people stand for the opposite. They love centralization and concentration of power… especially when they’re the ones in power.

Now they want to tell us what currencies we can/cannot use, which weeds we should be conditioned to eat, and how we should ‘reset’ capitalism.

Perhaps it’s the World Economic Forum that requires a Great Reset.

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Five ways to loosen Big Tech’s grip on your life

I imagine there are countless people right now who feel a wide range of emotions when it comes to Big Tech companies. Anger. Disgust. Confusion. Fear.

We’ve watched with exasperation as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have systematically squashed intellectual dissent; their actions have been so commonplace that there’s even a name for it: “De-platforming”.

We all know there’s a ton of garbage on the Internet, including from mainstream sources.

But de-platforming has proven to be wholeheartedly biased, totally arbitrary, and often comically ridiculous.

This isn’t just about the election or the Capitol. For example, if you dare utter a word on social media that goes against the infinite and infallible wisdom of the Chinese-controlled World Health Organization, then you might find yourself banned.

YouTube even suspended a renowned epidemiologist– a bona fide pandemic expert– because he opposed lockdowns and was hence ‘dangerous’.

Facebook censored more than 22 million posts in Q2 of 2020 for ‘hate speech’. Naturally, its entirely up to Facebook to define hate speech and judge whether or not you’re using it.

#killallmen, for example, is NOT considered hate speech. And even by the company’s own admission, hate speech against men, or white people, is a low priority.

It’s clear these companies have an enormous amount of unchecked power. They have the ability to erase you from the Internet, destroy your reputation, and, if you’re someone who makes money online, terminate your livelihood.

But the only reason they have this power is because we’ve given it to them. Hundreds of millions of people have intertwined their entire lives into the Big Tech ecosystem, to the point that they know absolutely everything about us.

People post practically every detail of their lives on Instagram. They tell Zuckerberg what they like and dislike on their Facebook profiles. They tell Jack Dorsey what they believe in on their Twitter feeds.

They give Google free license to spy on every single email that’s sent or received; Google even keeps track of the things that you buy, archiving receipts from online purchases in your inbox and aggregating all of it into your advertising profile.

Through its Maps, Drive, and Calendar applications, Google has access to our schedule, our location, and our confidential files.

They know what we’re searching for. They know what we’re saying. They know what we’re doing.

And at a certain point, a rational human being might be compelled to say “enough is enough”. How can anyone possibly trust these people with their data anymore?

The good news is that there are tons of solutions.

In fact, distancing yourself from the Big Tech companies is one of the easiest ways you can declare your own independence and regain a bit of freedom and security. Below I outline a few options to consider:

1. Absolutely use a VPN

Your device, whether your mobile phone, laptop, or even smart TV, has an IP address, and it’s something that the tech companies use to track you.

Whenever you go to Google’s homepage to search for something, for example, Google already knows it’s you.

And many websites around the Internet will track you by IP address, often sharing this information with Google, Facebook, etc.

Using a VPN helps create anonymity online because you’re no longer accessing those websites from your own IP address.

Right now, for example, even though I’m sitting at home in Puerto Rico, I’m using a VPN service and accessing the Internet through a server in Panama. So any website I visit thinks that I’m in Panama.

There are several VPN providers which, as a policy, do NOT keep logs of their customers’ activities, including VyprVPN and NordVPN.

2) Change your search engine

There’s more to the world than Google search, and plenty of other search engines exist which won’t spy on you. Among them– DuckDuckGo, which is based in the United States, and SwissCows, which is based in Switzerland.

3) Change your web browser

If you use Google Chrome, chances are pretty good that your browser is constantly feeding data back to the mother ship. Everywhere you go on the Internet, Chrome is telling Google about it.

But there are plenty of other browsers out there which are far more privacy oriented. “Brave” is one such browser; it’s open-source, which means that its source code is freely available. And it is automatically set up to block trackers and ads to help protect your privacy.

If you do those three things: VPN, change your search engine, and change your browser, you will take a giant leap forward in distancing yourself from Big Tech.

Those three steps will make it much more difficult for Facebook and Google to track you. But here are a few more to consider:

4) Consider more privacy-oriented chat applications

In a couple of weeks, WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) will force all users to accept its new privacy policy. Among other things, this means that ALL of your contacts will be shared with Zuckerberg.

There are better options– like Signal. Signal is ultra-secure, built for privacy, and its source code is open source. There are versions for iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux.

5) Ditch Gmail

You might think that Gmail is free, but you’re paying for it with your personal data.

Google’s algorithms automatically scan every incoming email and mine data about you, all of which ends up in your advertising profile.

There are plenty of other services to use, free and paid. If you’re interested in encryption and security, you might consider Switzerland-based ProtonMail, or Iceland-based CTemplar.

There are endless possibilities to reduce Big Tech influence in your life, and these suggestions barely scratch the surface.

More advanced readers might ditch their operating system altogether for an open-source Linux distribution, or even load a custom ROM on their phone to replace Google’s Android.

For now, start small. These suggestions above are easy steps to get started, and they’ll make a huge difference.

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“Spend as much as you can and then spend a little bit more.”

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

“Spend as much as you can and then spend a little bit more.”

At an economic forum last week, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told governments :

“In terms of policies for right now, very unusual for the IMF, starting in March I would go out and I would say: ‘please spend’. Spend as much as you can and then spend a little bit more.”

She added that she continues advocating this policy.

Governments across the world are in massive debt. And essentially all of them continue to finance their debt by printing money. Meanwhile economies have shrank over the past year due to COVID restrictions on travel, and business.

So more debt, a smaller economy, and more paper money than ever, with nothing backing it…

What could possibly go wrong?

Click here to read the full story.

Apple Sued to Force it to Remove Telegram from its App Store

An organization called the Coalition for a Safer Web is suing Apple to try to force the company to remove the messaging app Telegram from its app store.

The lawsuit claims Apple is failing to enforce its terms of service because Telegram “allows” (read: doesn’t censor) “extremist” content.

It’s bad enough that Apple removed Parler from its app store because the social media platform allows free speech. But that wasn’t enough for the censorship zealots.

Now the woke mob has moved beyond Twitter and taken to the courts.

Click here to read the full lawsuit.

23 Elderly People Have Died Soon After Receiving COVID Vaccine

The Norwegian government issued a warning that frail, elderly people with underlying health conditions might be in danger from the COVID vaccines.

So far, at least 23 elderly people have died shortly after receiving the first dose of the BioNTec /Pfizer COVID vaccine.

“Based on these reports we cannot rule out that common adverse reactions, such as fever and nausea, may contribute to a more serious course and fatal outcome in some frail patients with severe underlying diseases,” said Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency.

So it’s possible that the most likely group to die from COVID may also be the most likely group to die from the COVID vaccine…

Click here to read the full story.

Germany Will Detain Quarantine Breakers in Camps

An emergency German law gave states the power to detain people who come into contact with COVID and refuse to quarantine, even if they test NEGATIVE for Covid multiple times.

Now, some German states are moving ahead with plans to detain people in immigrant detention camps, and juvenile detention centers.

You might think Germany, of all countries, would shy away from detaining people in camps.

But the Germans insist that these are totally not concentration camps.

You might even call them social distancing camps, which is like, the opposite of concentration. So that makes it OK.

Click here to read the full story.

Study finds no difference in COVID cases among strict versus lenient countries

A peer reviewed study begins:

“The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. Given the consequences of these policies, it is important to assess their effects.”

The study compared less restrictive countries like Sweden and South Korea, to countries which issued strict lockdowns, like England, France, Germany, Iran, and Italy.

It found “no clear, significant beneficial effect” in using strict lockdowns to control the spread of COVID. In fact in some cases, such as France, COVID cases increased in the wake of strict interventions.

I guess governments destroyed your civil liberties and businesses for no reason, since the study concluded: “Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.”

Listen to the scientists. Unless, of course, the scientists are anti-lockdown.

Click here to read the full story.

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Build Back Bitter

It’s over everyone, you can sleep easy again— the party of peace, tolerance, and reconciliation is back in power. Amen. And Awomen.

They claim they want to heal and unify the nation. But clearly the only way to do so is to create enemies lists and silence anyone with dissenting opinions.

For example, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked, “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?”

Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under Clinton, and adviser to Obama, Tweeted, “When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission [to] name every official, politician, executive and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”

Chris Hayes, an MSNBC host agreed saying, “The most humane and reasonable way to deal with all these people, if we survive this, is some kind of truth and reconciliation commission.”

And Dick Costolo, the former CEO of Twitter, said, “Me-first capitalists … are going to be the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution. I’ll happily provide video commentary.”

Clearly social media companies like Twitter are a big part of the efforts to unify the nation.

Twitter deleted 70,000 accounts using the trespassing of the Capitol as an excuse.

Amazon Web Services removed the alternative social media site Parler from its servers, while Apple and Google deleted Parler from their app stores.

Facebook and Reddit joined the purge, feverishly removing content that they don’t want their users to see.

Stripe, PayPal, and Visa announced they would stop processing payments to certain politicians and non-profits guilty of thought crimes.

Yesterday I read in the completely fair and objective media that simply acknowleding this tech purge makes one a conspiracy theorist.

Axios news wrote a segment titled, Right wing’s new conspiracy: “The silencing”.

They went on to say that only crazy conspiracy theorists believe that there are efforts to silence conservative voices.

In other words, if you believe what you can see with your own eyes, you’re a conspiracy theorist.

Most recently, for example, Harvard has purged Congresswoman Elise Stefanik from its advisory board.

Stefanik’s crime? She publicly questioned voting irregularities in the 2020 election.

Now, some people may think that she’s a terrible person because of her beliefs. And in fairness it’s Harvard’s right to choose whoever they want for their board.

But now there’s a petition from the woke Harvard mob to revoke her degree, effectively erasing her existence from the institution.

They want to cancel her. Yet even merely acknolwedging that this is happening now makes you a conspiracy theorist according to the media.

The left’s cries of “de-fund the police” have turned to “fund the secret police,” as lawmakers reintroduce “domestic terror” bills to create new units under the

Department of Homeland Security to monitor American “extremism”.

But the #assassinatetrump and #killtrump hashtags that Twitter has allowed since 2016— that’s totally fine free speech!

During the summer BLM riots, looting Target stores and burning down police stations were acts of courage.

They even literally declared an independent autonomous zone and took over government buildings. Yet no one in the media ever used the words insurrection, sedition, or treason.

AOC praised these mostly peaceful protests and said the entire point of them is “to make people feel uncomfortable.”

But if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable that 25,000 troops are in the nation’s capital, along with tanks and attack helicopters, then you’re a (you guessed it!) conspiracy theorist.

Remember, though, ignorance is strength, so we should probably just obey the experts.

Trust in Social Security to provide retirement. Trust the Federal Reserve to improve the economy. Trust the media to tell the truth. Trust that the tech companies will continue to allow your free speech.

Or… as an alternative… make your own Plan B.

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Everything’s fine, there’s absolutely nothing to see here

In the darkest corners of our human instincts lies a psychological phenomenon that is the result of millions of years of evolutionary biology.

It’s called “tonic immobility”. And it refers to a form of paralysis that occurs when we’re terrified and facing extreme mental or emotional trauma.

Tonic immobility is common in nature. Animals in the wild will often freeze in place when confronted by a predator; the idea is that making no movement, and doing absolutely nothing, increases their chances of survival because the threat will simply go away.

But as anyone who has ever been on safari or seen a nature documentary knows, the danger seldom goes away on its own.

This instinct to ‘do nothing’ in the presence of danger runs very deep in our instincts; and it’s related to a cognitive quirk within our brains that psychologists call ‘normalcy bias’.

We’ve discussed this before. Normalcy bias is what causes human beings to believe, even in the face of obvious perils, that everything is going to be just fine.

Humans are creatures of habit. We easily fall into routines—waking up, going to work, stopping by the coffee shop on the way, spending time with the family in the evening, etc. And those routines define ‘normal’ for each and every one of us.

When the routine is disrupted, we often have a difficult time coping—even with little things. If the bakery down the street is out of the croissant flavor that we order every morning on the way to work, we’re irritated by it and don’t want to break routine by trying something new.

And major disruptions to our ‘normal’ are met by severe psychological backlash. Our brains simply refuse to acknowledge it.

This is normalcy bias. It’s one of the reasons why denial is the first stage of grief. We cannot accept the loss of a loved one who has been part of our routine– our brains won’t allow it.

Or occasionally we might find out someone has passed, and our first reaction is, “But I just saw them last week!” Again, our brains have an extremely difficult time grasping the concept that our deeply entrenched ‘normal’ is about to change.

And that’s why, when faced with something obvious that threatens our ‘normal’, it’s common for us to instinctively do nothing. Our brains are hard wired to believe that the danger will resolve itself and everything will go back to ‘normal’.

Many of us felt this way in 2020.

When the pandemic struck, it was terrifying. No one really understood anything about it; the media practically made it out to be a flesh-eating superbug that would vaporize everyone immediately.

And in the face of this threat, it was easy for politicians to convince people to literally do absolutely nothing: stay home, and shelter in place.

The idea was that if we waited long enough—if we froze in fear long enough—then the danger would pass.

And people maintained a belief throughout the year that life would eventually return to normal, no matter how crazy the world became.

When we were locked down in our homes, we believed that life would return to normal.

When mostly peaceful protestors were rioting and raging in the streets, torching private businesses that had absolutely nothing to do with their cause, we believed that life would return to normal.

When angry Marxists political candidates raged that they want to confiscate private property and nationalize entire industries, we believed that life would return to normal.

Today there are literally tanks lining in the streets of Washington DC and attack helicopters roaming the skies. A new US President is set to be inaugurated tomorrow with more than 20,000 troops guarding him.

They have already announced sweeping legislative and policy changes, ranging from substantially higher taxes to Green New nonsense to debilitating business regulations that will likely frustrate an already weakened economy.

There is absolutely zero fiscal or monetary restraint in government; there’s hardly a single policy initiative that doesn’t carry at least a trillion dollar price tag.

No one cares about the national debt—which is set to reach $30 trillion within the next few months, or the fact that the central bank balance sheet will likely pass $10 trillion this year.

Their solution to everything is to squash productivity and print money.

Yet still, countless people believe that life will return to normal. For them, part of their ‘normal’ is that America is safe, stable, and powerful… and always will be.

Their brains simply cannot accept a reality in which the country they love so dearly has changed. And it’s not going back.

This is normalcy bias, and it compels countless people to do absolutely nothing in the face of obvious threats.

When you see a government racking up trillions of dollars a year in wasteful new debt, and a central bank printing trillions of dollars of new money, a rational person would take steps to preserve his/her savings.

When the Treasury Secretary states in black and white that the Social Security trust funds will run out of money in a few years, a rational person would take steps to safeguard his/her retirement.

When the nation has become so fractured in conflict that it takes tanks and 20,000+ troops to hold a ceremony in the capital, a rational person would create a Plan B and have some backup options.

But normalcy bias makes us believe that everything is going to back to normal. So we freeze in place and do nothing.

There are plenty of solutions to mitigate these threats. But the most important thing to do right now is overcome normalcy bias.

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The latest COVID absurdity: walking with hot beverages

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Women Surrounded by British Police for Taking a Walk

You’re allowed to exercise outside of your home under the UK’s current COVID lockdown.

But the rule states vaguely that you must stay in your “local area.”

So when two women drove five miles from their homes to take a secluded walk in nature, they were immediately surrounded by police and issued £200 fines each.

The officers used their own discretion to decide that driving to a nearby park for a walk was not in the spirit of the lockdown. The officers also decided that, since the women both had beverages, their ‘walk’ was really just a picnic in disguise… which is strictly verboten.

It’s just scary to think the damage to society that could have occured if these horrible criminals were allowed to sip tea while strolling in a remote park.

Click here to read the full story.

UK Law Enforcement Demands Power to Raid Homes Over COVID

A regional police commissioner in the UK is upset that police don’t have the power to enter your home to enforce COVID rules.

The commissioner has raised the issue with the national government, because he believes “For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool.”

Big Brother might not be watching yet… but he wants to be able to come into your home just in case.

Click here to read the full story.

Antifa Violence Forces Portland Bookstore to Cancel Book on… Antifa Violence

A book by Andy Ngo called Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, is about the violent tactics that Antifa uses to coerce and intimidate its ideological opponents.

And after a Portland bookstore began carrying the book, Antifa threatened to destroy the store and organized a seething protest outside one of the locations.

The “Anti-Fascist” activists surrounded the bookseller, plastered banners on its windows, and forced it to close early “to keep employees and customers safe.”

Antifa’s intimidation worked. The store responded that they will not carry the physical books, but that they would still keep the book in their online catalogue in order to “[shed] light on the dark corners of public discourse.”

Additionally, though, the bookstore groveled in a public statement to indicate ideological alignment with Antifa, saying “It feels ugly and sickening to give any air to writing that could cause such deep pain to members of our community.”

Sometimes it just takes the threat of violence to turn someone into a goose-stepping collaborator.

Click here to read the full statement.

New York wants to make body armor illegal

New York legislators introduced a bill that would make it a crime for all of us peasants to purchase or possess body armor, or bulletproof vests.

Law enforcement would still be allowed to buy and own body armor however.

And no one would be grandfathered in either; the commoners would have 15 days to turn in their protective gear, or face the consequences.

The first offense is a misdemeanor, which means you could face a year in prison for owning a bulletproof vest.

The second offense is a class E felony– punishable by between one and four years in prison.

Clearly only criminals would want to shield themselves from bullets.

Click here to read the bill.

Hypocrite Watch: “Don’t Travel” says Canadian Senator Who Traveled to Mexico

Last year, Canadian Senator Don Plett co-signed a directive barring all Senators and Members of Parliament from traveling outside of Canada on government business, due to safety concerns from COVID.

But apparently the Senator thought traveling to Mexico on vacation was perfectly safe.

The directive he co-signed is still in effect, but that didn’t stop Plett from flying to Mexico for a short vacation at the end of December.

The Canadian government also still advises citizens to avoid non-essential travel– but I guess that just applies to the little people.

Click here to read the full story.

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