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The American colonies were made up of people who could not accept the downward progression in Europe and said, “I’m leaving.” That took great courage, as they were leaving their few known comforts for unknown difficulties.
However, once they had made the move and overcome the difficulties of settlement, they understood that their courage had been rewarded. Such people never look back and say, “Maybe we shouldn’t have left.”
There can be little doubt that they taught their children and grandchildren the values of courage, determination, hard work, and self-reliance. And more and more immigrants were added to their numbers, each of whom was also courageous enough to abandon Europe for freedom and opportunity. They raised generations of people with a “pioneer spirit.”
Not surprisingly, then, that when the American colonists were squeezed by King George for increases in tax, it wasn’t difficult for them to refuse. They chose to go it alone, rather than allow the British king to steal the fruits of their labours.
Although the tax level at that time was a mere 2%, it was the principle that taxation is theft that angered them. Further, they had already proven to themselves that they had all the character qualities necessary to determine their own future.
And so, in a sense, the American Revolution was Act II of the quest for freedom and, of the two challenges, it may have been the easier one to face.
However, the America of the late eighteenth century is not the America of today – and the outcome will not be the same for Americans in the present era.
It’s important to remember that only a very small percentage of people actually left Europe to find freedom. The great majority remained behind, complaining about the ever-increasing loss of freedoms, but doing nothing about it. Although their governments took more and more from them, the great majority simply tolerated it, saying, “What can you do?” They became the eventual victims of that oppression, as has happened throughout history.
Those in America today are, in essence, a subjugated people, just as Europeans were prior to the American Revolution. They’re accustomed to the concept of the “nanny state”—one which taxes its people heavily and throws back a portion of what they’ve stolen in the form of “bread and circuses,” as in ancient Rome.
Americans today complain continually, either that too much is being taken from them or that the state isn’t providing them with sufficient largesse. Some even complain of both at the same time.
And yet, a very large percentage of Americans holds out “hope” that somehow, the process will reverse itself—that a new political candidate will appear—a “Freedom Fairy,” who will somehow stand in front of the runaway train, stop it, and reverse it.
Historically, this never happens. What happens is that a small number decide to set sail and escape. Whether it’s the Roman commercial class, who walked away from their shops and travelled north to live amongst the barbarians, rather than accept Rome’s increasing domination, or the German Jews who locked up their shops and homes and boarded ships to the West, just prior to the lockdown of 1939, every burgeoning new “free” society has been created by the few who took courage and made an exit from a dying society.
In every case, those who exited did so with fear in their hearts that they would fail. They left their larger possessions behind and travelled light, sewing coins and jewellery into their clothing, not knowing whether they would succeed.
However, when they arrived at the new frontier, they met other like-minded people, each of whom had also shown courage and determination. They then created a new society that was, predictably, based upon the principles described above.
Today, a similar exodus is occurring. It’s made of those who place their liberty and hope for a promising future above the comforts and freedoms that, one by one, are being taken from them by their governments.
Of course, the details are not the same. They no longer travel by ship, but by jet. No one sews valuables into their clothes, as they’d never get through the metal detectors. Instead, they convert their assets to cash and purchase precious metals, to be stored in a country where there is diminished risk of confiscation by governments.
As has happened throughout history, the exodus is being undertaken quietly. Those who emigrate do not wish to call attention to themselves, but then, neither do the governments of the countries they’re leaving. It’s never seen on the news, and the official numbers who leave are far below the number that actually departed.
But the details of the exit are unimportant. What is important is that, when people meet the challenge to exit to find freedom and self-determination, they then build an extremely strong and free society. And there are many locations in the world where this is presently taking place.
But what of those left behind? Surely, the present-day US is at a breaking point and may very well explode into civil disobedience—even revolution.
Yes, this is quite so. And again, history shows us what happens in countries where the majority feel that they’re entitled to be looked after; that the rich must “pay a little more” to provide them with largesse. Good examples of this are the Russian Revolution and the French Revolution.
Both of these are marked by a predominance of belief that “someone has to pay so that I can benefit.” In both revolutions, the aristocracy were violently removed and the rebels scrambled to grab as much of the spoils as possible. Disorder became prolonged and the new leaders that rose up were, if anything, more oppressive than those they replaced.
Today, in visiting the US and talking with Americans, it’s palpable that most Americans now have a gut feeling that this will most certainly not end well. Most hope that there might be a peaceful transition of some sort. Some vainly hope that a “Freedom Fairy” will emerge.
But, Americans, more than most people in the world, incorrectly believe that freedom only exists in their country and that, when it dies there, it will die everywhere. This is far from true, but it does mean that those who were born in the former “land of the free” are more fearful and discouraged than those elsewhere. The great majority doubt that it’s possible for them, individually, to choose freedom, rather than to go down with the ship. They, in effect, are exactly the same as the great majority in Europe in the eighteenth century.
The American colonies were built upon the courage of a few who chose to leave the dominance and stagnation in Europe. The same is true today. The USA may be a sinking ship, but the concept of “America” is not. It’s a movable concept and it can exist anywhere that people have chosen future freedom over tentative comforts.
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A “pioneer spirit” isn’t the only thing you need if you want to leave the sinking ship and pursue freedom. You’ll find details on what else you’ll need in Doug Casey’s special report, Getting Out of Dodge. Click here to download your free PDF copy.
On March 29, the General Administration of Customs People’s Republic of China arrested 26 criminals who were part of a high stakes iPhone smuggling operation. The criminal ring used consumer drones to smuggle 500 million yuan ($79.8 million) worth of smartphones between Hong Kong and the mainland city of Shenzhen, the state-owned Legal Daily reported.
Customs officials describe the smuggling operation as the “flying line,” where 26 criminals used drones to transport two 200-meter (660-feet) cables between Hong Kong and the mainland China to carry tens of millions of dollars in refurbished iPhones.
A drone that was confiscated after authorities arrested suspects who used drones to smuggle smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, is pictured in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China March 29, 2018. Liu Youzhi/Southern Metropolis Daily via REUTERS
According to Reuters, the Legal Daily describes the latest bust as part of a much broader acceleration of illegal imports into mainland China, but, “it’s the first case found in China that drones were being used in cross-border smuggling crimes,” customs officials said.
State-owned media reports are unclear about which drone model was used, but speculations from images point to a highly modified DJI Phantom 4 Pro. Interesting enough, DJI is headquartered in Shenzhen, generally considered China’s Silicon Valley.
Under cover of darkness, Reuters reveals how the smuggling operation started around midnight and would continue into the early morning. Once the drones connected the cables between both buildings, the organized crime units were able to transport 15,000 smartphones across the international border per night.
“The smugglers usually operated after midnight and only needed seconds to transport small bags holding more than 10 iPhones using the drones, the report quoted customs as saying. The gang could smuggle as many as 15,000 phones across the border in one night, it said.”
A customs officer speaks at the crime scene after authorities arrested suspects who used drones to smuggle smartphones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China March 29, 2018. Liu Youzhi/Southern Metropolis Daily via REUTERS
CCTV News Shenzhen Special Zone News published an exclusive surveillance video of the criminal gangs in action.
Here is social media’s response to the 200-meter “flying line” transporting 15,000 iPhones on a given night across international borders…
One Twitter user said, “And trump thinks a wall will keep drugs out? “Gangs used drones and pulleys to smuggle $80 million in smartphones from Hong Kong, officials say” Washington Post April 2.”
And trump thinks a wall will keep drugs out? “Gangs used drones and pulleys to smuggle $80 million in smartphones from Hong Kong, officials say” Washington Post April 2.
— Jill Brooks (@JillSuzBrooks) April 2, 2018
“Eventually, all technology will be used to support crime. Criminals are now using drones to smuggle smartphones into China,” said another Twitter user.
— Eric Clive van Gils (@EcvanGils) April 2, 2018
Although using drones to smuggle high-value products like consumer electronics across the Hong Kong/China border appears to be a new technique, the deployment of ziplines has been around for ages.
According to the South China Morning Post, government officials recently busted a criminal gang network, who used fishing line — shot over the international border with a crossbow to transport electronics into Shenzhen.
The in-school suspension coordinator/counselor at a Bridgeport, Connecticut high school has been arrested after threatening to “execute every white man he gets his hands on.”
Warren Harding High School’s Carl Lemon was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of second-degree threat and breach of the peace.
According to NBC-4 in New York, the police report states a teacher heard Lemon say “he couldn’t wait for the Panthers to give the OK and a revolution begins,” so he could carry out his threat. The teacher said Lemon had made “similar statements in the past.”
During Lemon’s arrest, the school was put on lockdown for approximately ten minutes. Police noted the counselor was “pacing around his desk and repeatedly” and opening and closing a desk drawer which contained a kitchen knife.
The Connecticut Post reports Lemon also had stomped on an American flag in a classroom exclaiming “This is what I think about it!” In addition, Harding’s principal discovered an anonymous student note in her school mailbox which said Lemon “talks about shooting whites a lot! He watches radical stuff during class. I am scared he will do something… he is crazy.”
The official police report indicates the note also said Lemon “disrespects” students and that he doesn’t like the school’s principals and “will take them out.”
I [Officer Angelo Collazo] could see Mr. Lemons [sic] looking into the draw [sic] and closing the draw over and over. Mr. Lemons appeared to be very frustrated, then began moving papers across his desk attempting to hid [sic] things on his desk.
After a few minutes Mr. Lemons agreed to walk out of the building and be arrested. Mr. Lemon was allowed to walk out of the building without handcuffs on. Once outside, Mr. Lemons was handcuffed and transported to booking.
I then returned to Mr. Lemon’s classroom and looked in the draw he opening and closing [sic]. I located a white plastic bag in the same draw. Inside the bag was a large kitchen knife in the bag. I removed the kitchen knife (black handle) from the bag and secured it.
Officer Collazo adds that he collected “several random papers and journals” from Lemon’s desk and advised an assistant principal that she should remove Lemon’s computer so its hard drive could be reviewed.
The White House has responded to China’s decision to impose tariffs on 128 different categories of US imports – primarily foodstuffs and industrial items. The tariffs, which went into effect Sunday but were previewed more than a week ago, are meant to be a response to the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum (not to be confused with the $60 billion in section 301 tariffs unveiled later).
In a statement posted on China’s Ministry of Finance website, China’s Customs Tariffs Commission confirmed reports from March 23, stating that additional duties on 128 kinds of products of US origin would be introduced from Monday “in order to safeguard China’s interests and balance the losses caused by the United States additional tariffs.”
In response, a White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said the US tariffs were justified because China is creating a global steel glut with its oversupply.
“China’s subsidization and continued overcapacity is the root cause of the steel crises. Instead of targeting fairly traded U.S. exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming U.S national security and distorting global markets,” Walters said in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are calling for another round of trade talks with the US after the US didn’t respond to China’s March 26 request for a dialogue on the steel and aluminum tariffs, per Bloomberg.
Earlier Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president is “doing exactly what he said he was going to do” to help reduce the US trade deficit with China.
As a reminder, here’s the list of US imports upon which China has imposed tariffs of between 15% and 25%.
Chinese authorities claim they have banned more than 7 million people deemed “untrustworthy” from boarding flights, and nearly 3 million others from riding on high-speed trains, according to a report by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.
The announcements offer a glimpse into Beijing’s ambitious attempt to create a Social Credit System (SCS) by 2020 — that is, a proposed national system designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by establishing the scores of 1.4 billion citizens and “awarding the trustworthy” and “punishing the disobedient”.
Liu Hu, a 43-year-old journalist who lives in China’s Chongqing municipality, told the ABC he was “dumbstruck” to find himself caught up in the system and banned by airlines when he tried to book a flight last year.
Mr Liu is on a “dishonest personnel” list — a pilot scheme of the SCS — because he lost a defamation lawsuit in 2015 and was asked by the court to pay a fine that is still outstanding according to the court record.
“No one ever notified me,” Mr Liu, who claims he paid the fine, said.
“It’s baffling how they just put me on the blacklist and kept me in the dark.”
Like the other 7 million citizens deemed to be “dishonest” and mired in the blacklist, Mr Liu has also been banned from staying in a star-rated hotel, buying a house, taking a holiday, and even sending his nine-year-old daughter to a private school.
And just last Monday, Chinese authorities announced they would also seek to freeze the assets of those deemed “dishonest people”.
Bonus points for donating blood and volunteer work
As the national system is still being fully realised, dozens of pilot social credit systems have already been tested by local governments at provincial and city levels.
For example, Suzhou, a city in eastern China, uses a point system where every resident is rated on a scale between 0 and 200 points — every resident starts from the baseline of 100 points.
One can earn bonus points for benevolent acts and lose points for disobeying laws, regulations, and social norms.
According to a 2016 report by local police, the top-rated Suzhou citizen had 134 points for donating more than one litre of blood and doing more than 500 hours of volunteer work.
In Xiamen, where the development of a local social credit system started as early as 2004, authorities reportedly automatically apply messages to the mobile phone lines of blacklisted citizens.
“The person you’re calling is dishonest,” whoever calls a lowly-rated person will be told before the call is put through.
Could China combine these projects to engineer society?
If the Chinese Government manages to amalgamate the regional pilot projects and the immense amounts of data by 2020, it will be able to exert absolute social and political control and “pre-emptively shape how people behave,” Samantha Hoffman, an independent consultant on Chinese state security, said.
“If you are aware that your behaviour will negatively or positively impact your score, and thus your life and the lives of those you associate with, then you will likely adjust your decision-making accordingly,” Ms Hoffman said.
But the question remains if the Chinese authorities could really “pull it off”, Ms Wang said.
“The Ministry of Public Security runs a number of databases, and then regional authorities also run their databases,” Ms Wang said.
“It is difficult to know how these databases are related together and how they’re structured and how they are updated.
“At the moment, I would say that they [are] updated to some extent but they’re not very well integrated, and the integration is going to be difficult.”
Hu Naihong, a finance professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, who is helping to build the national social credit system, seems to agree.
“The top-level design, the institutional framework, and the key documents are all in place, but there are still many problems to be solved,” the professor said in a 2017 meeting in Zhejiang.
“The most serious problem being that all kinds of platforms are rigorously collecting [data], while having vague legal and conceptual basis and boundaries.”
Many observers fear human rights could be increasingly violated via the social credit system, and — combined with a growing surveillance system and technologies such as facial recognition being rolled out across the country — the Chinese Government could have the ability to turn the system on its citizens.
“China is characterised by a system of ‘rule by law’, rather than true rule of law,” Elsa B Kania, an expert in Chinese defence innovation and emerging technologies at the Centre for a New American Security, said.
“That law [and extra-legal measures] can be used as a weapon to legitimise the targeting of those whom the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] perceives as a threat.
“In such an environment, such a system could be abused to those same ends.”
The question that remains to be answered in coming years, experts say, is where the line between “bettering society” and “controlling society” will be drawn.