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This Week in the New Normal #29

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Meet Homeland Security’s new “disinformation czar”

The Department of Homeland Security is getting a big addition to its purview this week – “the truth”.

Yes, the Biden administration is funding and staffing a new sector of the DHS, one focused on countering “disinformation” from Russia, China, “people smugglers” and other “foreign threats”.

What powers precisely the Ministry of Truth – sorry “Disinformation Governance Board” – will possess, and how they will be used are as yet unknown. As the Washington Post says:

there are few details on what the board will actually do. DHS hasn’t issued many specifics

So, all we have are an ominous name and a vague mission statement.

Oh, and an appointed leader, Nina Jankowicz, a Russian-educated specialist in both Eastern Europe and disinformation.

Her views could not be more predictable, speaking out against “antivaccine misinformation”, Russian interference and so on. She also called for social media to censor the President of the United States:

She also makes TikTok videos. Like this one…

…yeah.

It’s clown world alright. And, right now, a farce is the best-case scenario. A tragedy seems far more likely.

2.The World Bank wants “better data”

A new paper, co-published by the World Bank and an NGO with the ungainly moniker “The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data”, calls for “better data practices” to help “combat climate change” and “prevent future pandemics”.

A quick note here: By “better”, they mean “more”, and by “data” they mean “surveillance”. That’s what they’re arguing for. They need to know what everybody is doing all the time.

Where they’re going, how they’re getting there. How much money they spend, on what, where. That’s the data they want. All the data.

The claim is that this behavioral data will then be put into models and used to save us from global warming or stop people from getting the flu.

The fact that this might amount to essentially a global digital surveillance grid is irrelevant, and the idea they could use it to conduct social experiments or attempt to control people through mass psychology never even occurred to them, and shame on you for even thinking it, you cynical bugger.

The Guardian’s economic editor Larry Elliott has a write-up on the paper headlined:

Policymakers need data about us despite privacy fears

…which is exactly as even-handed as it sounds. Bemoaning that many countries don’t have data on their climate targets(!), then praising Ghana for an initiative which saw the corporate giant (Vodafone), team up with the government to place an entire nation under surveillance in order to “help in public health emergency planning.”

The message could not be clearer:

If the world is serious about tackling climate change, it needs better data. If it wants to have better defences against future pandemics it needs better data. If it wants faster growth in poorer countries it needs better data.

It’s all about that surveillance.

Interestingly, Elliott admits in his piece that the Earth’s population is nothing but an “educated guess”. That almost half the world’s deaths and over a quarter of births are thought to be totally unregistered. So, it’s possible they have almost literally no idea how many people there are, where they were born, how they died or what they did in between.

One wonders how many commonly cited statistics have almost no basis in reality at all.

3. Fined a quarter of a million dollars for wanting clean food

Amos Miller, an Amish farmer from Bird-In-Hand Pennsylvania, is facing at least $250,000 in fines and even potential jail time for refusing to use chemicals on his organic, grass-fed beef cattle.

Miller has set-up a private “food club”, selling his traditionally reared meat, raw milk and other products to several thousand members across the US, but has been in constant legal conflict with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which requires all meat be treated with chemical preservatives before it’s sold.

This three-year legal battle came to a head recently, when a judge ordered Miller cease-and-desist all trading and empowered the United States Marshalls to enter his farm by force if necessary to perform a federal inspection of his facilities.

Whatever the outcome of the inspection – Miller is still required to pay $250,000 in fines, plus the salaries of the USDA inspectors.

Ice Age Farmer covered this, and other recent events in the “war onf food” in a his recent video:

BONUS: Laughable propaganda of the week

Thursday marked the beginning of this year’s NFL Draft, the event where the teams of the National Football League choose which college players to add to their rosters.

Here’s what the opening looked like…

The lady with the flowers in her hair is Kiev native Jenny Arata, half of a stage act based in Las Vegas, the same city where the draft is taking place this year. To quote Yahoo news:

In the hour leading up to the start of Thursday’s NFL draft, the league invited a Kyiv native to speak on the draft’s Las Vegas stage. Jenny Arata of Las Vegas act “The Skating Aratas” took the stage wearing a blue dress with blue and yellow flowers in her hair.

In other words, the NFL grabbed the nearest Ukrainian they could find and shoved her on stage, wearing a flag. Classy.

In the US sports dwarf both film and television as avenues for blatant propaganda, and the NFL is the worst offender by far. It is known the Pentagon spends millions of taxdollars on infiltrating the sports world and promoting its chosen messages.

That said, this was brazen even by their standards. As an NFL fan I’ve watched well over a dozen drafts and never seen anything like that before.

They’ve certainly never expressed solidarity with Iraq, Palestine, Syria or Yemen before.

Our second example of laughable propaganda comes direct from the “biography” section of your local Children’s bookstore…

…kiddy-themed biographies of Anthony Fauci, Kamala Harris and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. Nothing more to say.

It’s not all bad…

An Italian court has ruled the nation’s mandatory vaccination programme “unconstitutional”.

On March 22nd (yes this is from March but we didn’t see it ’til this week, so it counts) the Sicilian Court of Administrative Justice found that the vaccines have “serious or fatal adverse effects.”, and as such a national mandate declares some Italian citizens “disposable” and stands in violation of the constitution.

The issue will now pass to the Italian Constitutional Court.

You can read the full opinion here (in Italian).

Also, shout-out to the BBC’s Question Time for accidentally airing some truth this week. When asked about #PartyGate, an audience member used the opening to launch into an anti-lockdown speech citing all the facts the mainstream media have been ignoring for two years.

If you need any evidence of just how far off the reservation he goes, check the reactions of the panelists and the audience members behind him:

He does get a decent round of applause though. Nice job Jamie.

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All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention doctors potentially losing their licences for spreading “covid misinformation” on social media or the UK’s new policing bill.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.