Category Archives: On the Road to Serfdom ?

Florida Condo Prices in Free Fall

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Have a Florida condo? Can you afford a $100,000 or higher special assessment for new safety standards?

After the collapse of a Surfside Building on June 24, 2021that killed 98 people, the state passed a structural safety law that is now biting owners.

Not only are insurance rates soaring, but owners are hit with huge special assessments topping $100,000.

New Florida Law Roils Its Condo Market

The Wall Street Journal reports New Florida Law Roils Its Condo Market

Condo inventory for sale in South Florida has more than doubled since the first quarter of last year, to more than 18,000 units. While the sharp rise in Florida home insurance costs is driving some to sell, most of the units on the market are in buildings 30 years or older. Under the new law, buildings must pass milestone structural inspections no later than 30 years after they are built.

In Miami, about 38% of the housing stock is condos, the highest of any major metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Zillow. Of those buildings, nearly three-quarters are at least 30 years old. For those that have large repairs looming, many owners are scrambling to sell before Jan. 1 when building reserves must be fully funded to be in compliance with the law.

“I think this is just the beginning,” said Greg Main-Baillie, an executive managing director at real-estate firm Colliers, who oversees 40 condo renovation projects across the state.

Owners are struggling to find all-cash buyers because mortgage lenders are increasingly unwilling to take on the risk associated with these units. “It’s not the buyers that aren’t qualifying,” said Craig Studnicky, chief executive at ISG World. “It’s the buildings that aren’t qualifying.”

State law previously allowed condos to waive reserve funding year after year, leading many buildings, including the nearly 50-year-old Cricket Club, to keep next to nothing in their coffers. Now, about 40 units in the building of 220 are listed for sale but are seeing little interest.

“These units are practically being given away,” said Sari Papir, a retired real-estate agent who has lived in the Cricket Club with her partner Shaul Szlaifer since 2018. “Even if we found a buyer, what could we buy with the pennies we’d receive for our unit?”

Some are worried developers may already be purchasing condos in the building for a potential takeover, where a developer tries to gain control of a building to knock it down and build a newer, more luxurious one. These condo terminations are happening up and down the state’s coastline. While the rules can vary by building, if enough people vote to sell their units, the others have to follow along.

No Way to Escape the Assessment

Those who cannot sell and don’t have the special assessment, will be evicted and their units seized for whatever the Associations can get for them.

South Florida listings have doubled in the past year to over 18,000. Few of those units will sell, and those that do sell will be at a huge haircut.

The Journal noted the plight of Ivan Rodriguez who liquidated his 401K to buy a condo for $190,000. He then faced a $134,000 special assessment. Eventually he sold the unit for $110,000.

Got the Insurance Blues?

Auto insurance is up more than 20 percent from a year ago. In many places, private home insurance isn’t available at all. Consumers are steaming.

Insurance data from the BLS, chart by Mish

On February 17, 2024 I asked Got the Insurance Blues? Auto and Home Insurance Costs are Soaring

Car insurance is on an amazing run. For 13 straight months, insurance is up at least 1.0 percent. For 20 straight months car insurance is up at least 0.7 percent.

Home insurance, if you can get it at all from any private insurer, is also rising at a fast clip.

If you live in a flood zone, hurricane zone, or fire zone, insurance may be very difficult to get.

Proposition 103 Backfires, State Farm to Cancel 72,000 California Policies

Citing wildfire risk, State Farm will not renew policies on 30,000 homes and 42,000 business in California. Blame the state, not insurers.

On March 26, I noted Proposition 103 Backfires, State Farm to Cancel 72,000 California Policies

Proposition 103 limited the annual increases of insurance companies. State Farm responded by cancelling 72,000 policies.

The Idiot’s Response

Carmen Balber, the executive director of Consumer Watchdog, said “The industry is not going to start covering Californians again without a mandate.”

That is why we think the legislature needs to step in and require insurance companies to cover people.

Force companies to cover people. What a hoot. The insurers would all leave and everyone would be on the “FAIR” plan.

Think!

Think carefully about where you want to live. And if it’s a condo, you better be prepared for huge special assessments.

US Global Digital Dictatorship?

The United States is seeking to establish global dictatorship in the digital sphere, said Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, at a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Information Committee.

According to him, conditions are being created for total control over the digital space with the possibility of “disconnecting” any information alternative to the Western mainstream.

“They Think There Are Too Many of Us on the Planet”

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Award-winning journalist Alex Newman, author of the popular book “Deep State” and the new best-selling book called “Indoctrinating Our Children to Death,” says the UN’s quest for total tyrannical control of your life is coming sooner than you could imagine.

Newman explains, The bigger story here that people are not paying attention to is the UN is coming together in September… and they are having ‘The Summit of the Future.’

“They are telling us they are going to bring out radical drastic reforms in the structure of the UN… and the power of the UN. Think of it as the biggest power grab ever at the global level. The Secretary General of the UN (António Guterres) has put out briefs where he is calling for the UN to be the one world global dictatorship with him at the helm. In emergencies, the UN would have all power in emergencies and have all power to oversee emergency response…
They say the crisis could be a climate crisis, an economic crisis, environmental crisis, pandemic crisis, black swan crisis or maybe something from outer space. So, basically, anything could be a crisis, and when the Secretary General declares a crisis, all power and authority would go to the UN. This is like a blank check on the wealth and liberty on every person on the planet, and this is coming soon. It is imminent. This is coming in September at the UN, and it is a power grab of historic proportions.
They know their time is short, and they are going for the big enchilada here. This is really a summit for a tyrannical future…
They want control of every aspect of your life.”

If you think the “depopulation” or murder program by the Deep State is some sort of conspiracy theory or myth, think again. Newman says:

“One of the interesting things about going to the UN conferences is they are totally open and totally transparent about the fact that they think there are way too many of us on this planet.
We are taking up their space and consuming their resources. They say this openly.
They say there are way too many people having way too many babies, and we have to drastically cut back on the number of people on the planet. They have a whole agency dedicated to this called the UN Population Fund.”

One sure fire way to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time is war. Newman says:

“They have understood, the globalists, the Deep State, the evil doers and the sick cabal, have understood for a very long time that war was the best mechanism for bringing about their totalitarian one world government.
This is not speculation on my part. This is what they say. Their game plan is war, famine, energy crisis and economic crisis. These are all tools and catalysts for accelerating this agenda.
If millions of people die in a third world war, and it does not matter if it is Iran and Israel, or China and Tiawan, or Ukraine and Russia, it really does not matter, they want millions and millions of people dead so people will give up their attachment to the nation state, self-government and individual liberty and give up anything, money or freedom, anything to make it stop.”

Now, how are they going to make this world integration possible?  How are they going to convince 196 or so nations to give up their sovereignty and their nationhood? Simple, says Alex Newman, step by step:

How do we get from where we are today? — a world of sovereign states, self-governing nation states — to where they want to be, a world effectively controlled by the United Nations? And his answer was, it kind of summarized all is findings — the fastest way is war, the threat of war, and grave crises. …

 

You also get the radical acceleration of globalism. This is like a super-catalyst of globalization.  So now you have the Finns and the Swedes, who forever have resisted NATO, didn’t want to be a part of this, now they’ve joined NATO.

You’ve got the European Union saying, Oh, you’ve got the big, scary Putin over there, we have got to deepen our integration, we’ve got to have a single European military to respond to this aggression, etc., etc. What does Putin do? He says, golly, look at this dangerous European Union. They’re bringing NATO right up to our border, we need to deepen the Eurasian Union, the Eurasian Economic Union he is building.

This is their strategy. Henry Kissinger outlined it in his book World Order published in 2014. He said that the contemporary quest for world order involves the creation of the concept of order within the various regions, and so then you have the African Union, the European Union, the Eurasian Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in South America they’re doing the Union of South American Nations — the UNASUR and UNASUL. Up here in North America they’re doing the North American Union (NAFTA), which they’re building out very rapidly. All over the world, these regional governments, accelerated through war. And then what is Kissinger saying? Well, then you find a way to relate these regional orders or regional governments to one another until they’re all subsumed into the United Nations.

So this is their game plan. War and famine and energy crises and economic crises, all of these are tools and catalysts for these agendas; and if millions of people die…”

“You’ll Own Nothing and Be Happy”, NO – Be a Slob

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: According to a recent study by Investopedia, the classic middle-class American Dream now costs over $3.4 million.

That’s the estimated lifetime cost of marriage, two children, cars, homes, healthcare, education, and retirement. It’s now entirely out of reach for many Americans.

What do you make of this? How did this happen?

Doug Casey: The fact is, despite the fact that his standard of living has been slipping over the past 50 years, the average American today lives much better and longer than a king during pre-industrial times. There were never any guarantees that Americans would live in the lap of luxury for their entire lives.

We got to this high standard of living for two reasons. One, people tended to produce more than they consumed and saved the difference. And two, technology has been improving at almost the rate of Moore’s law for the last 200 years.

However, there’s no guarantee that either of these fonts of progress will continue, especially since savings are being wiped out by the destruction of the dollar. A lack of savings means there won’t be a capital pool to finance further advances in technology.

But there are other serious things at work, termites eating away at the foundations of civilization. It’s become customary for Americans to think that it’s okay for some people to live their entire lives without producing at all and to live at the expense of others. A lot of the country is on welfare. And many more are buried in consumer debt, which means they’re either living off the capital others have saved in the past, or they’re mortgaging their own futures.

On top of that, since about 1980, the main export of the US hasn’t been Boeings or soybeans; it’s been dollars. Foreigners have accepted those paper dollars in exchange for real wealth. They’re really just another form of debt. At some point—soon—they’ll repatriate them in exchange for titles to land and companies.

Capital is also being destroyed by the constant wars that the US fights against trivial countries on the other side of the world.

The fact is that our institutions, from corporations to academia to government, have become corrupt, ineffectual, and bloated. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that, in the physical world, things inevitably degenerate over time. That’s also true in the world of human action. In general, as any institution gets old, it winds down. That’s true of the US, and it’s apparent to everyone—at least anyone outside of the Washington Beltway.

International Man: As the American middle class continues to shrink, it seems the “New American Dream” is to merely get by and make ends meet.

People will have to rent instead of own. They may not be able to afford kids, pets, ribeye steaks, or retirement. They’ll have to take on a lot more debt.

The “New American Dream” looks more like the WEF’s “you’ll own nothing and be happy.”

What’s your take?

Doug Casey: It’s rather shocking that in a traditionally middle-class society like the US, that the “one percenters”—typically those wired to the State and major corporations—now own about one-third of the total wealth.

What’s even more shocking is that the bottom half of society only owns 2% of the country’s wealth. That kind of an imbalance makes for instability. No wonder it’s said that the average guy can’t lay his hands on even $500 cash if there’s an emergency. No wonder a criminal like Klaus Schwab can promote his “You’ll own nothing and be happy” meme and not be hung from a lamp pole— a lot of people now feel they’d be better off in that kind of world.

Increasingly, the wealth of the country is owned by corporations and their top management. It used to be said that “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” I used to believe that because General Motors actually created cars, and that was good. But we’ve devolved. GM and other major corporations have become defacto arms of the State. Taxes, staggering regulations, subsidies, and bailouts have destroyed free-market capitalism.

The capitalist system in the US is long gone. We’ve devolved into classical Mussolini-style fascism, which is to say, State corporatism, where corporations and the State work hand-in-glove.

It’s euphemistically called a public-private “partnership.” The people in government and the people in top corporate levels scratch each other’s backs and reinforce each other’s positions. They feed each other power and money. This makes for a highly politicized society, where connections, not production, are what count.

For instance, in the last election, $14 billion was spent on campaign spending to get the hoi polloi to vote for one party or another. But only a fifth of that money came from small donors—the rest from the wealthy and corporations. Of course, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer as our highly politicized society degenerates.

International Man: Many people look back on how they viewed the future and how it was portrayed in movies. Many thought we would have flying cars by now, among other futuristic luxuries.

Instead, we have a declining standard of living, and people look back on the good old days.

Where do you think this trend is headed?

Doug Casey: We’re heading in the wrong direction at an accelerating rate because there’s been a breakdown of moral fiber in society. People, in general, no longer understand what’s right and what’s wrong—or what’s good and what’s evil. They’re taking less responsibility for their individual lives and what happens around them.

We’ve gone from a high-trust society, where you didn’t need to lock your car or your front door, to a low-trust society, where everybody is constantly observed, and security is of critical importance.

At the same time, the country has generally gone from having low time preferences and being future-oriented to high time preferences; “I want it all, and I want it now.” They’re not as future-oriented as they once were.

Going back to the question of moral fiber breakdown, the economic observer Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption.” People wanted to show off expensive cars and clothes to advertise to other people that they were more successful. But now, because of all the debt in society, anyone can have a nice car. And nobody even cares about nice clothes anymore; everybody wears the equivalent of T-shirts and jeans.

The trend setters have moved from owning and displaying frivolous goods to displaying frivolous ideas—like Wokeism. Everybody is adopting those ideas, to show that they’re hip, in-the-know, and part of the cognoscenti. In the past, adopting the conspicuous consumption lifestyles of their betters would only make them poor. Adopting these degenerate ideas makes them stupid and immoral—which is much worse.

International Man: What advice do you have for struggling middle-class people who are about to be kicked down to the lower class?

Doug Casey: First and most important, don’t go to college unless you need a STEM degree—Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.

Going to college today does nothing but misallocate four critically important years of your life, permanently indebt you, and corrupt your mind with the idiotic ideas that Marxist professors and administrations cram down students’ throats. Educate yourself. Read constantly.

Next, work to become self-employed, not to “get a job.” You don’t want to rely on a job that somebody else gives you. And save your money—but don’t save in fiat dollars. Save in gold. When you have sufficient savings, learn to speculate and invest.

International Man: As you’ve noted, The Greater Depression is a period in which there will be a significant decline in the general standard of living.

Is there any way to make lemonade out of these lemons?

Doug Casey: We’re well into what I’ve long called The Greater Depression. But I’d point out that most of the real wealth in the world will still exist – it’s just going to be owned by different people.

The opportunity will exist for nimble entrepreneurs and speculators to do well, even as most people’s standard of living drops. But the big question is: For how long will the societal trend that we’re now on continue going down?

When Rome collapsed over a period of several hundred years, living well and peaceably got harder and harder as Europe entered the Dark Ages. Even if you had a lot of money, it really didn’t do you that much good. That’s why it’s important to preserve what’s left of the idea of America.

The West’s Moral Decay: Cannibalism Normalized?

via New Scientist

“New archaeological evidence shows that ancient humans ate each other surprisingly often – sometimes for compassionate reasons. The finds give us an opportunity to reassess our views on the practice”


IT IS the ultimate taboo: in most societies, the idea of one human eating another is morally repugnant. Even in circumstances where it could arguably be justified, such as when a plane crashed in the Andes in 1972 and starving passengers ate the dead to survive, we still have a deep aversion to cannibalism. One of the survivors, Roberto Canessa, has since described the passengers’ actions as a “descent towards our ultimate indignity”.
Ethically, cannibalism poses fewer issues than you might imagine. If a body can be bequeathed with consent to medical science, why can’t it be left to feed the hungry? Our aversion has been explained in various ways. Perhaps it is down to the fact that, in Western religious traditions, bodies are seen as the seat of the soul and have a whiff of the sacred. Or maybe it is culturally ingrained, with roots in early modern colonialism, when racist stereotypes of the cannibal were concocted to justify subjugation. These came to represent the “other” to Western societies – and revulsion towards cannibalism became a tenet of their moral conscience.
A slew of recent archaeological discoveries is now further complicating how we think about human cannibalism. Researchers have unearthed evidence suggesting that our hominin ancestors ate each other surprisingly often. What’s more, it seems that they weren’t always doing so for the reasons you might expect – for sustenance or to compete against and intimidate rivals – but often as funerary rituals to honour their dead.
Like it or not, then, cannibalism is an important part of our story. This isn’t to say that we should change our attitudes towards it. But understanding its deep roots might shift our perspective on the few cultures that still practise cannibalism today, albeit only occasionally, such as the Aghori, a Hindu ascetic sect in India that does it in pursuit of transcendence. Above all, these discoveries invite us to reconsider our revulsion to cannibalism in the context of our evolutionary past.

Behold the West’s latest outrage—debating the undebatable and defending the indefensible. Cannibalism, once the vilest of violations, is now served up as a thought experiment for the liberal palate. It’s not enlightenment; it’s ethical insanity. The sanctity of human life, chewed up in the cogs of moral relativism, is spat out as a “cultural preference.”

This is not a slippery slope; it’s a nosedive into the abyss. The normalization of atrocities marches forward, with pedophilia disgracefully queued for a rebrand. Society’s moral fabric isn’t just fraying, it’s being shredded by the day. Western liberalism, once a bastion of purported high values, is now an echo chamber where the deviant becomes mainstream if whispered enough times.

We must draw the line with an iron fist. The time for nuanced debate is over—this is a fight for our collective soul. We reject this mockery of human dignity, and we condemn the architects of this madness. We stand defiant, ready to reclaim our humanity and protect the most vulnerable. It’s time to restore sanity, shun the shadow of relativism, and rekindle the flames of unyielding, absolute moral truth.

It’s Now The People vs. The Banks

BY AKRAINER

[Originally published on Alex Krainer’s Substack]

What’s the driving force behind the agenda?

I attempted to shed some light on this question in an article I published in August 2020. The title gives it away, “Covid 19: the banking cartel is driving the agenda,” but let me elaborate with a shortened version of that article here.

For many months during 2020 and 2021, the media and “health” authorities have relentlessly promoted fear-inducing narratives about the alleged Covid 19 “pandemic,” sensationalizing the emergency nearly 24/7 while ignoring and censoring hundreds, perhaps thousands of experts who diverged from the official versions of news. Supposing that we were up against a “once-in-a-century” pandemic that nobody could have predicted (ehm..), one would expect a lively debate among experts about how best to tackle the crisis. Journalists might have sought out as many domain experts as possible so we could arrive at the clearest possible understanding of the new health challenge and how to confront it. Effective treatments should have been promoted, celebrated, screamed from the rooftops. But that’s not what happened.

Public health measures – virtually identical in most nations – were handed down from the World Health Organization through shadowy bureaucratic hierarchies that claimed a monopoly on science and truth. All discussion was discouraged while hundreds of experts were being aggressively silenced. Several effective treatments like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine were identified, but officialdom was outright hostile to any mention of them.

Doctors and patients have been strongly discouraged from using such remedies and in some nations HCQ was abruptly pulled from the market. In Australia, prescribing HCQ has even been made a criminal offence. Instead, the authorities forcefully pushed the hastily developed, untested, experimental vaccines, all for a disease which was lethal for only 0.004% of the population (even by the overinflated U.S. CDC statistics).

Officialdom’s puzzling entrenchment

Within a few months of the “pandemic,” the utter incoherence of the official positions became so obvious that they lost all credibility with much of the population. But rather than changing tack, officialdom only became more deeply entrenched in their own contradictions, turning increasingly aggressive with ever more restrictive “public health” measures as the media escalated the ‘project fear’ propaganda to nauseating proportions.

We insist: the edifice is sound, do not believe your lying eyes, do not do your own research!

The situation became surreal: how can seemingly intelligent, learned people remain so stubbornly attached to a narrative that was as obviously flawed? Why did the media continue for months relentlessly inciting fear and hysteria over a mild flu virus? In addition to the American and British media, I had followed the media reports in Croatia, Spain, France and Italy – it was the same thing everywhere: all Covid, all the time, with nonstop fearmongering and calls for compliance with increasingly silly “measures.” Did everyone worldwide just go insane? If it wasn’t science and logic informing the public health measures, then what was it? And then it hit me…

The curious case of the IMF loans for Belarus

Back in June 2020 I noted that Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko publicly snubbed a $940 million line of credit from the International Monetary Fund. He rejected it because the IMF conditioned the loan on Belarus imposing a strict Covid 19 lockdown policy and a curfew. At the time I thought it was very strange that the IMF would offer loans to a nation while at the same time setting conditions which would severely impair that nation’s ability to repay.

Apparently, a number of other nations received similar offers from the IMF and/or the World Bank, but it was only thanks to Mr. Lukashenko disclosing it publicly that we knew about the Covid 19 conditionality attached to such offers. Significantly, Lukashenko mentioned on several occasions that the IMF negotiators wanted Belarus to do “like in Italy.” Other nations and governments who accepted the money may have quietly agreed to the conditionality which they forgot to disclose to the rest of us.

As of April 2020, 85 nations had requested financial assistance from the IMF. Deeply in debt and with severely damaged economies, most governments around the world needed loans, making them prey to the dictates of money power. To secure the needed funds they may have agreed to shutting down their economies, restricting their population’s freedom of movement, created Stasi-like contact-tracing structures and closed down the schools.

We must aggressively use the testing and tracing capacity “we’ve built”

Further evidence that the agenda is being driven by the bankers was an Op-Ed in the New York Times by Neel Kashkari, the president of Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, calling for the government to issue strict 4- to 6- week shelter-in-place orders “for everyone but the truly essential workers.” Kashkari advocated that the lockdowns should be as comprehensive and strict as possible and done aggressively, using “the testing and tracing capacity we’ve built…”

Banking cartel’s fingerprints could also be found in the document “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” published by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2010. On page 18, under the heading “Lock Step,” the document presciently describes our current reality as “A world of top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback.” The scenario envisions a “pandemic the world had been anticipating for years…” And then we did have that “pandemic,” as well as “the world of top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership.”

Napoleon Bonaparte understood all too well that “When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation.” In each nation, we seem to be opposed by some government bureaucracy. But while those bureaucracies and the officials who work there are becoming the targets of public resentment, it is critical that we recognize the puppeteers behind the agenda that’s playing out.

There can be little doubt that the enemy is the international banking cartel headquartered in the City of London and on Wall Street, together with their agencies like the Bank of International Settlements, the IMF, World Bank, the global systemically important banks and institutions like the World Economic Forum, big pharma corporations, World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI and numerous others.

As Lord Acton warned over a century ago, “the issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.” This fight is now upon us. It might be the ultimate struggle for humanity’s emancipation or our final enslavement. To prevail, we must understand our true enemies and the financial, economic, political and social structures that are enabling their agenda.

Planning wars and more wars

The Rockefeller Foundation document further revealed that they have clearly anticipated our pushback and have surely planned diversions to misdirect our grievances toward the visible enablers of their top-down authoritarian rule. One of the greatest means of diversion are wars [sadly, that prediction came true in the meantime]. We must therefore guard against believing that our enemies are the Russians, the Chinese or whomever the logic of divide-and-rule would pit us against .

When our governments tell us that we face a grave threat from another nation, send troops to its borders or warships near its shores, we must demand they stand down. We must also guard against demonization of other nations and their leaders because they frequently lead to military escalation (think Saddam Hussein, Moammar Ghaddafi, Bashar al Assad…). Ron Paul warned us that “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” I explained the systemic roots of the West’s war lust in this article: “Deflationary Gap and the West’s War Addiction.”

In short, we must not be distracted by the bullfighter’s red cloth: the ultimate culprits, the super-predator class, are the bankers: a handful of families and individuals who control and manage the present monetary system. We’ve no choice but to confront them. Today we are armed with truth and information that past generations could not have dreamt of. Today, we can make the difference and gift our children and their children a world of prosperity and liberty beyond anything what we can imagine at present. That struggle is worth every effort.

A random aside

Today I learned from a reliable source that Tucker’s in Moscow (3 Feb. 2024) with his crew. We might get that interview with President Putin after all – and a host of interesting reports from Russia!

Banks, Credit Card and Financial Firms are Searching Your Purchases

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Faith leaders and religious liberty advocates are up in arms over news that the federal government encouraged banks and other financial institutions to search customers’ private accounts using the search term “religious texts.”

Tony Perkins (C), president of the Family Research Council, speaks during an interfaith roundtable on the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to religious freedom in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The “religious texts” search term was among those federal officials asked financial institutions to use following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, a congressional source with direct knowledge confirmed to The Epoch Times on Jan. 18.

Other terms that were asked to use in the searches included “MAGA” and “Trump,” according to the House Judiciary Committee. Federal officials at the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department sought the data from such searches as part of their investigation of the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Religious liberty advocates interviewed by The Epoch Times were unanimous in condemning the searches, which were conducted without judicially authorized search warrants.

“This is beyond alarming,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Epoch Times. “If we did a word search in history of the type of activities the Biden administration is engaged in, it would return words like ‘KGB,’ ’totalitarian,‘ ’repressive,’ ‘anti-democratic,’ and ‘grave threat to freedom.’”

Family Research Council is a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group that works on behalf of traditional values, including and especially defense of the family and religious freedom.

The last place you would anticipate this kind of government intrusion into freedom of speech is America and yet it is rife with this administration and with the ‘deep state,’” Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver told The Epoch Times.

“It is a very serious concern and it should be a serious concern, no matter your political beliefs because if this is permitted, then it just depends on who is in power. This is what despotic governments do to suppress people that they don’t agree with,” he said.

Mr. Staver’s organization, Liberty Counsel, is an Orlando, Florida-based nonprofit religious liberty defense foundation.

‘Mockery of Our Laws’

Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel for the Plano, Texas-based First Liberty Institute, told The Epoch Times the searches exposed by the House panel represent a threat to religious freedom.

“It’s outrageous and frankly chilling that the federal government may be urging banks to monitor Americans for exercising their religious freedom by simply purchasing a Bible or other religious text,” Mr. Shackelford said.

Weaponizing the federal government against religious Americans freely exercising their constitutionally protected freedom is outrageous and a danger to all our freedoms. It makes a mockery of our laws. When religious people are attacked and religious freedom is not upheld, all other civil liberties—including economic freedom—soon start crumbling.”

“This news should serve as a wake-up call for every American,“ warned Jeremy Tedesco, senior vice president of corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom. ”The revelation that the government is working with financial institutions to flag everyday American citizens as ’threats’ because they shop at Cabelas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or buy religious texts is terrifying.

“No one should live in fear that law enforcement or a financial service provider will flag their account based on the exercise of their constitutionally protected rights.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a Jan. 17 statement that the searches were sought by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in conjunction with the FBI.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division of politically based prosecutions while questioning U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke during a House hearing about “Oversight of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division” in Washington on Dec. 5, 2023. (Screenshot via NTD)

Mr. Jordan wrote a Jan. 17 letter to Noah Bishoff, the former FinCEN director who is now the anti-money laundering officer for Plaid Inc., a San Francisco digital financial platform developer and marketer.

According to this analysis, FinCEN warned financial institutions of ‘extremism’ indicators that include ‘transportation charges, such as bus tickets, rental cars, or plane tickets, for travel areas with no apparent purpose,’ or ‘the purchase of books (including religious texts) and subscriptions to other media containing extremist views,’” Mr. Jordan wrote.

“In other words, FinCEN used large financial institutions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression.”

Officials’ Testimony Sought

Mr. Bishoff was asked to provide testimony to the House Judiciary panel about the searches, as was Peter Sullivan, senior private sector partner for outreach in the Strategic Partner Engagement Section of the FBI.

“Freedom of Religion is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution,” Mr. Jordan told The Epoch Times. “It should frighten every American that the federal government is watching people based on their purchases. This is as wrong as it gets and we will continue to expose this blatant attack on faith and civil liberties.”

In a Jan. 17 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Mr. Jordan explained that Mr. Sullivan’s testimony “will help to inform the [House Judiciary] Committee and Select Subcommittee [on the Weaponization of the Federal Government] about the FBI’s mass accumulation and use of Americans’ private information without legal process; the FBI’s protocols, if any, to safeguard Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights in the receipt and use of such information; and the FBI’s general engagement with the private sector on law-enforcement matters.”

Congressional leaders also told The Epoch Times the searches warrant further investigation and corrective action.

FBI Director Christopher Wray looks over notes as he arrives for a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 10, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) also commented.

The Biden administration is bringing back ‘Operation Chokepoint’ from the Obama-Biden era to weaponize our financial system against their political opponents. House Republicans, under the leadership of Chairman Jordan and the House Judiciary Committee, will not tolerate this un-American abuse of power.” Mr. Emmer said.

He was referring to a Department of Justice investigation in 2013 of firearms dealers, payday lenders, and other businesses thought to be vulnerable to money laundering.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told The Epoch Times that “digging through American citizens’ private financial transactions, based on political phrases, is a clear weaponization of the federal government and those responsible must be held responsible.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the searches “outrageous” and claimed “the Biden administration is using federal law enforcement to engage in financial surveillance of Americans. … Shockingly, the government is even monitoring people for purchasing religious texts like the Bible. This is an Orwellian invasion of privacy, and it should have never happened in the United States. Biden’s bureaucrats running this horrendous financial surveillance system must be held accountable.”

Similarly, Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) told The Epoch Times: “This is yet another example of the federal government being weaponized against Joe Biden’s political opposition, as well as people of faith. This sort of activity is highly concerning and warrants further investigation. I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for digging into this issue and I look forward to investigators exposing and rooting out this misconduct.”

Tactics of Marxism

Shea Bradley-Farrell is an international development professional and president of the Washington-based Counterpoint Institute for Policy, Research, and Education. She told The Epoch Times that the searches are typical of the control measures used by totalitarian regimes to counter dissidents and other groups not approved by the authorities.

Weaponizing the federal government against private citizens for their political or religious beliefs is straight out of the playbook of Marxism, and was also used to identify, crush, and control the occupied peoples under the communist Soviet Union,” Ms. Bradley-Farrell said.

“As I explain in my book, ‘Last Warning to the West,’ these are totalitarian, police-state tactics used to impose ‘docility, discipline and controllability of subject populations. These are warrantless searches that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

A spokesman for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Australia to Ban Cash, Mandate ‘Digital Passport’ for Public

by Hunter Fielding via News Addicts

The Australian government is moving to ban all physical cash and mandate that all members of the public will require a “digital passport” to take part in society.

The World Economic Forum-infiltrated government is laying the groundwork for the establishment of “cashless societies” as part of a broader scheme to clamp down on public freedoms, according to a news report from Australia.

The government is claiming that the “digital passport” seeks to tackle “bad behavior” from dissenting citizens.

“Essentially it will work the same as a passport,” said the Today Show reporter.

“Australians will be forced to submit 100 points of identification like their driver’s license or their passport when using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.”

“Police will have access to those social media accounts and it’s all part of a crackdown on online abuse.

“Users could be liable for defamation suits or even criminal prosecution.

“It’s all part of a plan to stop users engaging in bad behavior.”

According to the global elite, “bad behavior” by social media users is any kind of dissent that opposes their radical agenda.

Watch:

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest banks are banning cash from their business operations and moving to a digital-only system.

Macquarie Bank, Australia’s fifth-largest bank, announced Friday it will phase out cash, cheque, and phone payments in 2024 as it transitions to digital-only transactions.

Australia is not the only state to have fallen under the totalitarian control of the globalist elite.

The European Parliament and member states have reached an agreement on the mandatory rollout of Bill Gates’ Digital ID which has inbuilt features designed to exclude people from participating in society if they do not comply with the globalist agenda.

For some time now, News Addicts has been warning the masses for years that a key plan in the globalist agenda involves Digital IDs and Central Bank Digital Currencies to lock humanity in a digital prison

Meanwhile, the European Union has just admitted that we were right all along.

The elite has always denied these plans, describing anybody who dared to expose their plans as “conspiracy theorists” who need to be muzzled on social media, frozen out of society, and in some cases thrown in prison.

But now the globalists are making their move.