"Geofence warrants are just part of day-to-day cop business these days," laments Tim Cushing at Techdirt. "Rather than moving forward with a list of suspects, law enforcement agencies just ask for data on everyone in a certain area at a certain time and move backwards to probable cause to investigate and arrest."
The FBI utilized geofence warrants in its investigation into January 6 protesters—one of whom challenged the use of these warrants in court, filing a motion to suppress data obtained through the warrant.
A court has now denied the motion to suppress. "The ruling [PDF] from the DC District Court does have a few problems with geofence warrants generally, but not this particular one," notes Cushing. "The court also says there's no expectation of privacy in anonymized location data. Referencing the Supreme Court's Carpenter decision, it says hoovering up massive amounts of data related to hundreds of devices isn't the same thing as harvesting data targeting a particular device over the space of days or weeks."
Cushing has more on the decision and on what it means here.
IT IS ONE of the wonders of the world—or, more accurately, off the world. The Starlink constellation currently consists of 3,335 active satellites; roughly half of all working satellites are Starlinks. In the past six months new satellites have been added at a rate of more than 20 a week, on average. SpaceX, the company which created Starlink, is offering it as a way of providing off-grid high-bandwidth internet access to consumers in 45 countries. A million or so have become subscribers.
And a huge part of the traffic flowing through the system currently comes from Ukraine. Starlink has become an integral part of the country’s military and civil response to Russia’s invasion. Envisaged as a celestial side-hustle that might help pay for the Mars missions dear to the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, it is not just allowing Ukraine to fight back; it is shaping how it does so, revealing the military potential of near-ubiquitous communications. “It’s a really new and interesting change,” says John Plumb, America’s assistant secretary of defence for space policy.
Appropriately enough, the story started with a tweet, one sent by Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, two days after the invasion:
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars —Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space—Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.
Mr Musk replied to him within hours, saying that the Starlink service had been turned on over Ukraine and that the hardware would follow. Within days lorries full of the pizza-sized flat dishes used to access the satellites began to arrive in Ukraine.
By May around 150,000 people were using the system every day. The government quickly grew to rely on it for various communication needs, including, on occasion, the transmission of the nightly broadcast by Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president. Because the dishes (some of which are round and some rectangular) and their associated terminals are easily portable and can be rigged to run off a car battery, they are ideal for use in a country where the electricity and communication networks are regularly pounded by Russian missiles. When Kherson was liberated in November Starlink allowed phone and internet services to resume within days.
Crucially, Starlink has become the linchpin of what military types call C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance). Armies have long relied on satellite links for such things. An hour before Russia launched its attack, its hackers sought to disable thousands of modems associated with the terminals which provide access to the main satellite used by Ukraine’s army and government, among many other clients. But the capabilities Russia sought to degrade in that pre-emptive strike were far less advanced than the capabilities Ukraine enjoys today....
Last August, the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach resort, looking for classified documents. Last Friday, the FBI searched President Joe Biden's home in Wilmington, Delaware, looking for classified documents.
Both searches were unprecedented, and both turned up secret material stored in unauthorized locations. While the circumstances that led to the searches were starkly different, the broad parallels between the two investigations, each of which has been assigned to a special counsel, complicate already fraught decisions about whether Trump's retention of government records justifies criminal charges. They also raise the question of how common such sloppiness is and what it says about a system that is ostensibly aimed at protecting national security....
Two weeks ago, after CBS News broke the story of the documents in Biden's former office, the president said he had been "surprised" to learn about those records last fall. Last Thursday, after news reports revealed that additional classified material had been found at his house in Wilmington, Biden minimized the import of that development.
"We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place," Biden told reporters. "We immediately turned them over to the [National] Archives and the Justice Department….I think you're going to find there's nothing there….There's no there there."
At that point, it was clear that the number of classified documents "in the wrong place" exceeded "a handful." And the next day, the FBI found six more. Contrary to Biden's assurances, there was something there: a pattern of carelessness belying Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber's claim that Biden "takes classified information and materials seriously." ...
Contrary to Biden's claim, however, none of this means "there's no there there." He cannot consistently maintain that the classification system is vitally important to protecting national security and that "inadvertently" violating its rules is no big deal, a mere clerical error involving documents that were "filed in the wrong place." That certainly was not Biden's take on Trump's handling of classified records, which he called "totally irresponsible" a couple of months before his own trove was discovered.
Even granting the differences between what Trump did and what Biden did, in terms of both volume and attitude, the only way Biden can escape similar criticism is by arguing that it does not really matter if classified material he handled ended up where it was not supposed to be, intermingled with personal records and mementos. But if that's true, either because the documents were classified for no good reason or because they remained classified long after the original rationale no longer applied, the whole system begins to look like a joke.
Biden's retention of classified material from his time as vice president went unnoticed for six years, while one or more secret documents that he came across as a senator remained in his private possession more than twice as long. How many classified records might be discovered in the homes or offices of other former federal officials if anyone bothered to search for them? And do those overlooked documents pose a real threat to national security, or only to the idea that the classification system should be taken seriously?
Between the documentation obtained through a recent lawsuit against the White House and the Twitter files released by Elon Musk, it’s become quite clear that every facet of the U.S. government, including its intelligence agencies, are involved in illegal and unconstitutional censorship We now have proof that the FBI has been acting as the key instigator and implementer of the government’s illegal censorship of Americans. The FBI has also actively interfered in multiple elections — all while inventing the narrative that foreign nations were interfering Twitter has worked hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Defense to aid U.S. intelligence agencies in their efforts to influence foreign governments using fake news, computerized deepfake videos and bots The Twitter files also reveal members of Congress have a direct line to Twitter and have had accounts suspended on their behalf and content removed at their whim Discovery documents from a lawsuit against the White House filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana show at least 67 federal employees across more than a dozen agencies are also engaged in illegal censorship activities. This includes aides to President Biden, who pressured social media companies to change their policies to fit White House demands for censorship
Between the documentation obtained through a recent lawsuit against the White House and the Twitter files released by Elon Musk, it's become quite clear that every facet of the U.S. government, including its intelligence agencies, are involved in illegal and unconstitutional censorship.
In the video above, Fox News host Tucker Carlson interviews independent journalist Matt Taibbi, who has spent weeks sifting through the released Twitter files and reported on the contents. FBI Has Gone Off the Rails
Importantly, we now have proof that the FBI has been acting as the key instigator and implementer of the government's illegal censorship of Americans' political and medical views. The agency has also, on a regular basis and for unknown purposes, asked Twitter to reveal the location of specific Twitter users, such as actor Billy Baldwin.
What's more, internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos, emails and documents show the DHS has worked on expanding its influence over tech platforms for years, so, government censorship is not something that came about in response to the COVID crisis. Nor is the censorship limited to COVID or public health information in general.
Evidence shows the FBI has actively interfered in multiple elections — all while inventing the narrative that foreign nations were doing the interfering.1 As noted by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., these kinds of activities are "the biggest threat to our constitutional democracy today."2
As just one example, we now know the FBI plotted to quench the Hunter Biden laptop story well before the first report about it was published. In collaboration with Twitter, Facebook and the Aspen Institute, the FBI held a tabletop exercise to practice the shaping of the media's coverage of a potential "hack and dump" operation involving Hunter Biden material.3,4 As reported by the New York Post:5
"[The] drill was put into practical use weeks later, when The Post broke the news about Hunter Biden's infamous laptop — which was either ignored or downplayed by most mainstream news outlets and suppressed by both Twitter and Facebook."
There's also evidence showing the FBI has been shielding Hunter Biden and working with social media to censor bad press about him as far back as 2018.6 That job was probably made easier by the fact that reportedly former FBI agents work at both Twitter and Facebook.
For example, Jim Baker spent three decades with the FBI before becoming Twitter's head lawyer,7 and Facebook employs no less than 115 "former" employees of the FBI, CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies, most of whom now work in Facebook's content moderation department.8 Twitter Paid to Censor Americans and Promote US Propaganda
Disturbingly, we now also have evidence showing that while Twitter insisted it was cracking down on covert government propaganda accounts, they only tracked down and banned foreign government-affiliated propaganda while working hand in hand with the U.S. Department of Defense to aid U.S. intelligence agencies in their efforts to influence foreign governments using fake news, computerized deepfake videos and bots.9 As reported by The Intercept:10
"Behind the scenes, Twitter gave approval and special protection to the U.S. military's online psychological ops. Despite knowledge that Pentagon propaganda accounts used overt identities, Twitter did not suspend many for around two years or more. Some remain active …
In 2017 a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) official sent Twitter a list of 52 Arab language accounts 'we use to amplify certain messages.' The official asked for priority service for six accounts, verification for one and 'whitelist' abilities for the others."
Whitelisted accounts have a "validated" status similar to that of the blue check mark, which ensures they are promoted in searches. These accounts also don't get shadow-banned or limited by other means. Adding insult to injury, the FBI has been using taxpayer dollars to pay Twitter for their censorship and propaganda services — more than $3.4 million between October 2019 and February 2021 alone.11 Congressional Members Involved in Censoring Americans
The FBI has not acted alone, however. Far from it. The Twitter files reveal members of Congress have a direct line to Twitter and have had accounts suspended on their behalf and content removed at their whim. As reported by MSN:12
"… Taibbi … reported that Twitter 'received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn't like to be banned.' An example he shared was one sent in November 2020 by [Rep. Adam] Schiff's office, who contacted Twitter hoping the tech giant would take action regarding 'alleged harassment from QAnon conspiracists' against Schiff's staff, including aide Sean Misko.
'Remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service — to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content,' the request to Twitter read. 'Suspend the many accounts, including @GregRubini and @paulsperry, which have repeatedly promoted false QAnon conspiracies.'"
Other government leaders have been less clandestine in their censoring operations. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, wrote an open letter to Amazon demanding they ban my book, "The Truth About COVID-19."
Similarly, two state attorneys general, Letitia James and William Tong, publicly threatened social media companies with legal ramifications if they refused to censor the "Misinformation Dozen." President Joe Biden also publicly called on social media platforms to ban my accounts. But it gets worse. Government Has Been Weaponized Against the People
Discovery documents from a lawsuit against the White House13 filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana (Eric Schmitt and Jeff Landry) show at least 6714,15 federal employees across more than a dozen agencies are engaged in these kinds of illegal censorship activities. This includes officials from:
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) Election Security and Resilience team
Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis
The FBI's foreign influence taskforce
The Justice Department's (DOJ) national security division
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence
White House staff (including White House lawyer Dana Remus, deputy assistant to the president Rob Flaherty and former White House senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt)
Health and Human Services (HHS)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
The Office of the Surgeon General
The Census Bureau
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The State Department
The U.S. Treasury Department
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission
Consultants from the strategic communications and marketing firm Reingold16 were also hired to manage the government's collusion with social media in this intentional effort to violate our Constitutional right to free speech. A Look Inside the White House Censorship Machine
In a January 8, 2023, op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Jenin Younes and Aaron Kheriaty reviewed a series of emails between White House digital media director Rob Flaherty and a Facebook executive, illustrating how the White House pressured the company to censor and remove vaccine content even though Facebook itself characterized the material as "often-true content:"17
"Newly released documents show that the White House has played a major role in censoring Americans on social media. Email exchanges between Rob Flaherty … and social-media executives prove the companies put COVID censorship policies in place in response to relentless, coercive pressure from the White House — not voluntarily."
Flaherty also demanded Facebook limit the spread of viral content on WhatsApp, a private messaging app with broad reach among "immigrant communities and communities of color." In the end, Facebook acquiesced to all of Flaherty's demands to prevent the spread of vaccine hesitancy and control political speech. As noted by Younes and Kheriaty:18
"President Biden, press secretary Jen Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy … publicly vowed to hold the platforms accountable if they didn't heighten censorship. On July 16, 2021, a reporter asked Mr. Biden [about] his 'message to platforms like Facebook.'
He replied, 'They're killing people.' Mr. Biden later claimed he meant users, not platforms, were killing people. But the record shows Facebook itself was the target of the White House's pressure campaign."
White House Pressured Google and YouTube to Do Its Bidding
Flaherty also had Google in his crosshairs, and accused YouTube of "'funneling' people into vaccine hesitancy," adding that this concern was "shared at the highest (and I mean the highest) levels of the White House."
"These emails establish a clear pattern," Younes and Kheriaty write. "Mr. Flaherty, representing the White House, expresses anger at the companies' failure to censor COVID-related content to his satisfaction. The companies change their policies to address his demands. As a result, thousands of Americans were silenced for questioning government approved COVID narratives.
Two of the Missouri plaintiffs, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, are epidemiologists whom multiple social-media platforms censored at the government's behest for expressing views that were scientifically well-founded but diverged from the government line — for instance, that children and adults with natural immunity from prior infection don't need COVID vaccines …
The First Amendment bars government from engaging in viewpoint-based censorship. The state-action doctrine bars government from circumventing constitutional strictures by suborning private companies to accomplish forbidden ends indirectly.
Defenders of the government have fallen back on the claim that cooperation by the tech companies was voluntary, from which they conclude that the First Amendment isn't implicated. The reasoning is dubious, but even if it were valid, the premise has now been proved false.
The Flaherty emails demonstrate that the federal government unlawfully coerced the companies in an effort to ensure that Americans would be exposed only to state-approved information about COVID-19. As a result of that unconstitutional state action, Americans were given the false impression of a scientific 'consensus' on critically important issues around COVID-19."
Weaponization of Government Select Committee Impaneled
Taken together, the revelations from the Twitter files and this lawsuit clearly demonstrate that most, if not all, aspects of the U.S. government have been secretly weaponized to undermine and circumvent the Constitutional rights of the people.
It's much more serious than what I thought at the beginning. ~ Matt Taibbi
As noted by Taibbi in his Fox News interview:
"This is not a partisan story. It's a story about the architecture of the intelligence community and law enforcement getting its hands on speech, and on the ability of people to communicate with one another through platforms like Twitter and Facebook. And they're doing this in a very profound way — it's much more serious than what I thought at the beginning …"
While the danger we're in as a nation is far more dire than anyone suspected, there is some good news. A new select committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, has been launched to investigate the weaponization of government, the politicization of the FBI and the DOJ's investigation into and harassment of parents who spoke out against COVID mandates, critical race theory and the sexualization of their children at school board meetings. As reported by The Post Millennial:19
"This investigative panel will demand emails and correspondence between the Biden administration and big tech companies, and follows the massive revelations that came to light through the recent release of the Twitter files. Newly minted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy … was asked to form the committee as part of the negotiations that brought him to power …
The probe into communications between tech giants and President Biden's aides will look for government pressure that could have resulted in censorship or harassment of conservatives — or squelching of debate on polarizing policies, including the CDC on COVID …"
While it's likely that government personnel and agencies will try to ignore the committee's requests for information, the committee does have subpoena power, and hopefully will not be too timid to use it.
Unfortunately, since the GOP does not control the Senate, it's unlikely they'll be able to pass any new laws based on the committee's findings. That said, legislation to penalize government censorship has already been introduced, and you can help push it forward by asking your representatives to support it. Support Legislation to Penalize Government Censorship
The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act20 (HR.8752), introduced by three Republican House Representatives on the House Oversight and Reform, Judiciary, and Commerce committees, including Jordan, is specifically aimed at preventing federal employees from using their positions to influence censorship decisions by tech platforms.
The bill would create restrictions to prevent federal employees from asking or encouraging private entities to censor private speech or otherwise discourage free speech, and impose penalties, including civil fines and disciplinary actions for government employees who facilitate social media censorship.
While the U.S. Constitution clearly forbids government censoring and restricting free speech, HR. 8752 could be a helpful enforcement tool — and we clearly need enforcement, seeing how more than a dozen agencies are flouting the Constitution and have done so for years. People might tend to think twice, though, when they know there's a personal price to pay.
- Sources and References
1 Coffee & Covid 2022 December 19, 2022 2 Rumble Glenn Greenwald December 19, 2022 Timestamp: 44:23 3 Twitter Michael Shellenberger December 19, 2022 4, 6, 7, 8 Coffee & Covid December 20, 2022 5 New York Post December 19, 2022 9 Coffee & Covid December 21, 2022 10 The Intercept December 20, 2022 11 Meryl Nass Substack December 20, 2022 12 MSN January 3, 2023 13 State of Missouri and State of Louisiana Against President Joseph Biden, Civil Action No. 22-cv-1213 14 WAFB.com October 10, 2022 15 State of Missouri and State of Louisiana Against President Joseph Biden, Civil Action No. 22-cv-1213-TAD-KDM 16 Reingold 17, 18 WSJ January 8, 2023 19 Post Millennial January 9, 2023 20 HR 8752 — Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act
Hunter Biden Was Paying Joe Biden Almost $50,000 Per Month In "Rent" to Live At His House
Hunter Biden wrote in an email that Joe Biden was taking half of his ill-gotten monies from foreign potentates.
But we never had a money trail showing money going into Joe Biden's accounts.
This seems to be how Hunter Biden moved the money he was collecting for Joe Biden, to Joe Biden, without disclosing it as a cut of the Burisma and China and Russia money -- he disguised it as exorbitant "rent" of $49,910 per month to live in... Wilmington, Delaware.
Seriously? $49,910 per month to live in Wilmington, Delaware? This isn't Miami or LA or Jackson Hole or a luxe zip code. In what word does Joe Biden's house rate nearly $50,000 per month in rent?
This sure looks a lot like money laundering.
Hunter Biden recorded monthly rent payments of $49,910 while living at President Joe Biden's residence, according to a document unearthed by New York Post's Miranda Devine.
On a document titled "background screening request," it appears Hunter paid $49,910 in monthly rent for one year while living at Joe Biden's Delaware residence, where the president kept classified documents alongside his Corvette in the garage.
Joe Biden did not report this level of rent on his tax returns :
It should be noted Joe Biden's 2017 tax return on Schedule E only listed $19,800 in "rents received." In 2018, Biden listed no rents received.
Was Hunter just on crack? Or was he pulling another criminal scam?
His drivers license lists the home as his residence, so he was living there.
Or is Joe Biden guilty of tax evasion as well as money laundering?
Hunter Biden revealed in a 2019 text message to his daughter that the family has an arrangement where Joe Biden collects half his son's salary.
"I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years," Hunter described in texts to his daughter. "It's really hard. But don't worry, unlike Pop [Joe], I won't make you give me half your salary."
Wendell Husebo's article at Breitbart notes that the Biden family is the subject of a lot of wire transfers flagged by the Suspicious Action Report system. Whether that ties into these rent payments (was the rent paid via wire transfer?), I don't know.
According to former Utah U.S. attorney Brett Tolman, the Biden family's payment mechanism may reveal the core of an entrenched business enterprise, which could involve legal "predicates" for racketeering charges.
You probably know that five more classified documents were found in Biden's SCIF Trap House.
On Saturday, additional classified documents were found at Joe Biden's Wilmington, Delaware home by White House Counsel Richard Sauber, who said he discovered them while conducting an additional search of Biden's personal residence. Biden's personal attorneys earlier this week found an initial classified document Biden kept from his time as Vice President.
Sauber said, "Because I have a security clearance, I went to Wilmington Thursday evening to facilitate providing the document the President's personal counsel found on Wednesday to the Justice Department. While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them."
Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-KY) sent a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain requesting the visitor logs for President Joe Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, residence where multiple classified documents were found.
"It is troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored at the home of President Biden for at least six years, raising questions about who may have reviewed or had access to classified information," Commer wrote in his letter to Klain on Sunday, noting that there is an ongoing investigation into Biden's mishandling of classified documents from his committee and the Department of Justice.
"Biden's mishandling of classified materials raises the issue of whether he has jeopardized our national security," Comer continued. "Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents."
Remember Hunter Biden's secretary who urged Joe Biden to run for president? Did she visit the SCIF Trap House?
Update: Don't worry, Joe Biden made sure his visitor logs aren't accessible, by never maintaining visitor logs.
Lucas Tomlinson @LucasFoxNews
BREAKING: White House says there are no visitor logs from Biden's Wilmington home, Peter Doocy reports.
Preparing for a Non-Nuclear WWIII on the US Homefront
Europe is potentially on the brink of another continental war, the blame for which can be laid at the feet of the Obama Administration’s ill-conceived backing of a coup in Ukraine. The Moscow-backed president was ousted in the 2014 Maidan Revolution. With a pro-Western government in office, Putin felt threatened and sized Crimea and the first breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine. That all set the stage for Putin’s second invasion in 2022 and where we are now.
Like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, the NordStream2 pipeline was sabotaged. Even more grotesquely, the United States might have done it to punish Russia and prevent wishy-washy European countries like Germany from running back to Putin, begging for natural gas, when the winter turns cold. Now NATO is barking like a small dog that doesn’t know when to shut up. China is openly broadcasting its intentions towards conquering Taiwan while North Korea rattles its cage.
The point of all this is that we could be at the brink of WWIII. The world already feels like the late 1930s anyway but you never know when it’s actually August in Europe (both world wars began in August/September for those of you who don’t get the reference). A life-altering world crisis could break out virtually overnight and I’ve barely brought China up.
Assuming a more major crisis doesn’t go nuclear, a third world war will have immediate repercussions in the United States that will affect and hurt the average American. These will be far more than refusing to serve borscht, dumping out your vodka, renaming Russian dressing to “Freedom Dressing” or “Liberty Sauce,” and renaming Chinese food “Mainland Taiwanese Cuisine.”
Should things go pear shaped, cyberattack s will certainly occur and will target the American public one way or another. Ransomware attacks may be unleased as governments sanction rogue hacking groups. Blatant state cyberattack s will target infrastructure and to disrupt commercial business operations. We have seen the effect of large food operations shutdown by malware in the last 1-2 years.
Unlike my nuclear war/EMP novels, not all enemy action on our shores will be nuclear or even kinetic. Attacks causing technological rollbacks in the United States will be the main way the homeland is affected. Prepare for life to suddenly return to the 1980s. That means cash, no cell phones, and no Internet. We’ll survive just fine but someone the younger and dumber people will have a hard time adjusting.
Expect to return to using cash for all purchases. Don’t rely on electronic payments as credit/debit systems may be down. Use cash instead of relying on debit/credit cards and certainly not paying with your phone (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, etc.). Pull cash out of the ATM, enough for two weeks’ worth of expenses (groceries, gas, and other things you buy in person). If you can sock away more, do it. Keep small bills on hand as business may not be able to make change for large bills. Order paper checks if you don’t have any just in case you need to make large purchases or pay bills by mail.
I wouldn’t worry about your bank balance going to zero because this information is backed up and cyberattacks are likely intended to hinder usage of the system, not destroy information. Saving your last statement can’t hurt but won’t help if the entire banking system is trashed. A total loss of banking data means the loss of the digital banking system, so your paper records are worthless if the bank no longer has its zeros and ones.
Even if an EMP happens, cash will probably still be king for some time. Why? Not many people carry large amounts of cash anymore. ATMs run out quickly and many bank branches have, at most, a few tens of thousands of dollars in cash available. If you want a large cash withdrawal, banks often have to arrange it. Most branches have around $15,000-20,000 on hand at any one time.
Your gold and silver coins won’t necessarily be accepted right away or as freely as you might think. Most people won’t recognize or accept it as payment. You can’t eat silver and gold so someone trying to barter the gasoline you need in exchange for food won’t want your Krugerrands if edibles can’t be had at any price. Precious metals should only be used for wealth preservation in a true end-of-the-world situation, a hedge against hyperinflation, or as a tertiary means of saving excess wealth. Never go into hock for precious metals or put them before food/ammo stockpiles.
Communications and information
Have an AM/FM radio (preferably shortwave capabilities too) to gather news. If you can receive over-the-air TV in your area, get an antenna. Cable, satellite, and streaming TV may go down but broadcast TV will probably remain up. Radio certainly will be a working, viable source of information.
Cell phones may not work and even your old POTS phone on the wall probably won’t work. Virtually all landline networks have been upgraded to digital systems that could be taken down through various means or even a power outage. Have radios to communicate with friends/family around town. CB radios are one option because they are still rather ubiquitous. I suggest GMRS because the license requires no test, is $35 for 10 years, approval is 1-2 business days, and it covers your whole family.
GMRS compatible radios will range from the FRS bubble pack radios at Walmart to programmable units that will take better antennas and work GMRS repeaters. They also interface with Baofeng radios. You can put a 50 watt unit at home as a base station or in the car. Handheld units work fairly well across level urban terrain up to three miles with a better antenna. I cover the entry-level radio options and what you can do with GMRS in detail in my book Basic SHTF Radio.
Back up any data you have on your computers on to archival grade DVDs, external hard drives, or thumb drives. Keep multiple and update them on different days. This is to avoid data becoming infected or corrupted by “zero day” viruses that a malign nation-state might release to harm an enemy’s personal computers. If one day’s backup is infected, you can use another day’s clean one. Always run a good anti-virus program (I use ESET).
If a crisis is imminent, avoid traveling long distances. Stay within a gas tank of home if driving and don’t fly anywhere. Go home early if you have to. Consider evacuating before the crisis begins in earnest and everyone else wants to evacuate. A strained highway network and empty gas stations make a nightmare scenario.
Have paper maps. Satellite attacks or disruption to the GPS and cell networks will disable turn-by-turn directions. A paper map of your local area, anywhere you may need to travel, and any potential bug-out routes will replace GPS navigation and electronic maps. Do not rely on your phone. Even older maps will have basic streets and routes, especially in older areas without a lot of recent development.
Fill up your vehicle’s tank, keep it above ½ a tank at all times, and fill up your portable fuel cans as well. Fuel prices will likely skyrocket in the event of a war and refineries may be targeted for kinetic or cyber attacks. Plus everyone else will panic and buy gas. Get your gas cans before people start panic buying. Also consider storing propane if you use that as it will face similar supply challenges.
The electrical grid could fail. This may be due to cyberattacks (very likely) or kinetic attacks. The average person is well aware of the potential impact a person with a rifle can have on a substation. These well-placed shots disable critical equipment. A handful of sleeper cells could do this all over the country and cause outages that might take weeks to repair. Sabotage may damage long distance transmission lines. Whole power plants might be struck if submarine launched cruise missiles are used (unlikely).
A cyberattack on the US power grid is the most probable attack vector on electricity (or other utilities). This would be intended to demoralize Americans, hamper industrial production, and delay military movements. Communications would suffer and so would commerce. The economic damage of having large parts of the country dark and unable to work would really hurt.
If you do not have a generator, get one ASAP. Have one large enough to at least charge some devices and keep a small fridge/freezer cold. Don’t let your frozen food go to waste in the event the electrical grid goes down. For critical devices, get battery operated models and plenty of rechargeable batteries. A small scale, portable solar system is not a bad idea either. All of these are quick purchases that can be made locally.
Battery packs, both large and small, can be charged off a generator, solar power, or a vehicle inverter. Large packs can power small household appliances and serve as a reservoir for what a solar system might produce. Battery backups like Goal Zero or computer APS systems can charge on off-grid power between brownouts. Small booster packs can power cell phones, tablets, and games for children. Rechargeable batteries like the Eneloop brand are cost-effective, efficient, and are better than stockpiling tons of single-use batteries. Food and stuff
Fill your pantry. Ordering and shipping systems for the food and grocery sector may be badly disrupted; recall the ransomware attacks on several food processors in 2021. Russia or China will certainly do this in order to mess with the US economy and scare the public. While nothing is going to happen to the food, working around a dysfunctional computer system may cause huge issues in getting deliveries to your local stores.
Food shortages as part of a cyber or traditional war will likely be a lot worse than in 2020. Random things will go missing for reasons ranging from hacking, messed up orders, or delays in distribution. Staples will face panic buying. Scared shoppers will be looking to stock up and raid the shelves. Quantity limits may be put in place to stop hoarding and limit the ability to stock up.
If store-level rationing begins, you must shop daily at multiple stores. Switch it up so that each store thinks you are just doing your normal once-a-week shopping with them. Buy what you can find when you can find it. Consider buying items you wouldn’t buy normally to barter with.
When you get home, hide what you purchased. Most Americans have about three days worth of food on hand. After that, people become desperate. Do not let your neighbors know that you are a prepper. Don’t tell them that you’ve stocked up, what you bought, or allow them to see your pantry. An inconsequential thing as seeing a garage shelf full of food may come to mind when they are desperate enough to break in and steal from you.
You cannot afford to save the neighborhood. Do not offer to give out food even if you have some to spare. Find a way to anonymously give, such as through a food bank. Perhaps, coming home from the grocery store, you can claim that you went shopping and were able buy a little bit extra. You must appear to be hurting as badly as they are.
Have some bottled and stored water put aside. The taps are almost certainly not going to run dry. Worst case scenario, cyberattacks damage water treatment plants or pumping facilities and it takes a week or two for the damage to be undone, creating a temporary water shortage. Contingency water supplies should be kept on hand. Yet, escalation and shortages can conspire to make a hysterical panic turn into a dire situation. Let’s say a nuclear war showed up on the horizon and the freaks that bought out the bottled water for no reason in 2020 had already emptied the shelves now that you need it?
Fill any prescriptions and consider talking to your doctor (sooner rather than later) about getting an extra 30-90 day supply of medication. China makes a lot of medication and that flow will stop if there is a war. Supplies from other Asian countries like India may also be disrupted by cyberattacks, sunk shipping, or port attacks.
In the event of a war with China, buy any cheap Chinese stuff you need now. That includes things like Baofeng radios or new electronic appliances. The stuff might not be made in China, but components may come from there and unrest in the region may affect shipping from other countries like South Korea and Japan.
Remember this could include stuff like water bottles and plastic bowels from Walmart and Taiwanese products. There are probably a few weeks in the supply chain for stuff that has already sailed clear of any conflict zone before it is sold out, but demand will be high and supplies short with a very-long lead time on re-stocking. Sequential effects will cause issues with other product lines, such as how the chip shortage led to the new and used car shortages. War on US soil
Foreign troops are not going to be landing on US soil. No country has the sealift capacity we do to get enough marines or soldiers across the sea to land here. As weak as the US military has become, we could at least defend our shores against a landing party. Amphibious invasion fleets are very noticeable targets that would take weeks to cross very perilous oceans. Not to mention every red-blooded American would love to play “Red Dawn.”
Special forces raids are, on the other hand, quite possible. Targets beyond military bases would include undersea communication cable landing stations, satellite control/receiving facilities, data centers, power plants, electrical substations, and natural gas facilities, among others. Terrorist attacks against the population are not outside the realm of possibility, nor would foreign intelligence officers stirring up domestic political unrest.
Military bases could see small-scale acts of sabotage, infiltration, or guerilla-style attacks. Hit-and-run raids might occur to damage aircraft or kill gate guards to harm morale. More serious attacks could target naval ships at anchor, fuel storage, or weapons storage areas. Targeted assassinations may occur against high-ranking officers or specialist military personnel. If you are in the military, work on base, or live immediately adjacent to one, begin to consider possible effects.
Martial law may also result. I have a chapter on this subject in my book Suburban Warfare but suffice it to say that the military can exercise very broad powers in the realm of national defense. Homeowners near a military base may be evacuated or subject to search. Checkpoints could be put up anywhere there is a national security need or whole areas of, say, the West Coast declared off-limits.
In conclusion, preparedness for WWIII affecting the mainland US is about redundancy and self-reliance. Rationing’s limitations were overcome or eased through storing up, gardening, and bartering. We lived in a world without the vast array of technological advances and can do so again with some adjustment. The main survival key is a positive attitude and willingness to adapt. Build your cushion now while you can because it looks like the window is rapidly closing.
Don Shift is a veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and author of Nuclear Survival in the Suburbs, suburban/rural defensive guides, and several post-apocalyptic novels. Visit www.donshift.com.
As one of their first orders of business in the new Congress, House Republicans plan to probe the pressure the Biden administration put on social media companies to suppress certain sorts of content. The inquiry will come as part of a new Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
The subcommittee "will demand copies of White House emails, memos and other communications with Big Tech companies," reports Axios.
A series of recently released internal documents—some as part of a lawsuit filed by Missouri and Louisiana and some as part of documents that new Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been sharing with journalists—showcase requests by the federal government to control the flow of content and information on Facebook and Twitter. During both the Biden and Trump administrations, federal officials were in close contact with these Big Tech companies. They warned of potential misinformation around elections and COVID-19 and frequently flagged specific content they considered dangerous or suspect.
To be clear, there's nothing strictly wrong with such warnings and requests. So long as officials aren't demanding content be taken down, or threatening adverse action if it is not, then these officials do not run afoul of the First Amendment.
But things get a bit sticky when you look at what might be considered implied threats here. At the same time as government officials were asking Twitter and its ilk to suppress certain sorts of content, Big Tech companies were being harangued from just about every angle the government could muster. They faced executive orders and comments related to taking them down a peg. They faced a flurry of bills that aimed to regulate them more intensely. Lawmakers bashed them in the media constantly, while demanding their leaders repeatedly answer antagonistic questions in public hearings and turn over all sorts of documents to congressional panels. Meanwhile, state attorneys general and the federal government filed numerous lawsuits against Big Tech companies.
When you consider all of the anti-tech action from myriad branches and levels of government, it throws into question the idea that federal officials could ever be just asking for cooperation with their censorship schemes.
The new subcommittee, chaired by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), "will look for government pressure that could have resulted in censorship or harassment of conservatives — or squelching of debate on polarizing policies, including the CDC on COVID," Axios says.
To the extent that the new subcommittee plans to investigate whether the government acted inappropriately here, good.
"This oversight is an infinitely better use of Congress' time than past anti-Big Tech efforts," said Jessica Melugin, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Technology and Innovation. "The only real threat all along has been the use of government coercion to pressure these companies to make politically-motivated decisions they might not otherwise have made."
But to the extent that their probe winds up being yet another opportunity to excoriate tech companies, House Republicans will be exacerbating the very conditions that have created the current mess we're in. The more federal lawmakers, agencies, law enforcement, and administration officials demand answers about exactly why and how these companies make internal decisions, the more they demonize them in public and in the press, and the more they bully these companies to conform with their (competing) visions of good content stewardship, the less likely it is that these companies will feel empowered to resist "friendly requests" from the federal government.