Category: Today’s News

How the Left Creates Fake Studies to Fabricate Right-Wing Terrorism

By Bode Lang

After weeks of violence, Democrats have some public relations needs to redirect attention away from the awfulness of leftism.

Insert the latest report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which concludes that the greatest domestic threat comes not from leftists or Muslims, but from right-wing terrorists!

The CSIS study’s findings are not new.  The New America Foundation (NAF) and the Center of Investigative Reporting (CIR) have published similar studies with the same conclusions.

Each study is fake, but the most recent CSIS study is the most pathetic of them all — partly because the CSIS doesn’t provide a list of incidents to fact-check.  Just trust them.

There’s an art to creating this type of propaganda, which provides the Democrat narrative a halo of credibility.  A tremendous volume of subtle manipulation is concocted within studies on right-wing terrorism, and each demonstrates variations of the same basic formula.

1. Use “incidents” as a key metric

Written in the methodology of the CSIS study is this: “We coded threats of violence as attacks rather than plots, even if the threat turned out to be a hoax.”

This statement is an incredible admission.  The CSIS includes threats of violence as terrorist attacks — even if the threat was a hoax.

Such low standards for terrorism allow the authors to leverage vaguely defined “hate crime” data from the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center to inflate right-wing occurrences.

This way, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s paranoia could be counted as a terrorist threat.

2. Manipulate definitions

Each study is careful about the definitions for terrorism.  The CIR defines right-wing terrorism as follows: “militia movements, as well as white supremacist, anti-government, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-abortion extremists, including radical Christians.”

These are standard terms Democrats use to attack conservatives — which is the point.  The definitions are deliberately vague to increase subjectivity.

The NAF study uses the same broad criteria as the CIR.

The latest CSIS study casts an even wider net for right-wing terrorism by including, “incels,” “misogyny,” and “hatred based on sexuality or gender identity; and/or opposition to certain policies such as abortion.”

Notice that they do not suggest merely opposition to abortion policies — but opposition to certain policies such as abortion.  Basically, right-wing terrorists are defined as anyone who opposes the left, plus incels.

For Muslim terrorists, the variables are much more rigid. The CIR criteria for Islamic terrorism is as follows:

We use the term “Islamist” to describe theocratic extremists inspired by groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaida and the Islamic State. We chose the term “Islamist,” rather than “Islamic,” in an effort to uncouple the Muslim faith from the political ideology of Islamism.

The first sentence limits Islamic terrorism only for violence from those with a clear connection to specific terrorist groups.  The second sentence reminds us this is not a legitimate study.

The NAF uses a similarly limited criteria for Islamic terrorism.

Each study follows the same model of broad definitions for right-wingers but restrictive ones for Muslims.

In a fatal self-own, the CIR implies that racism and Islamophobia are the cause of 84% of Islamic incidents resulting in terrorism charges, compared to only 9% of right-wingers.  But this statistic reveals how deceptive these studies are.  Most right-wing incidents don’t result in terrorism charges because what they’re calling terrorism for right-wingers, isn’t terrorism.

Fortunately, our legal system does not redefine words to achieve more equitable sentencing outcomes for the purpose of creating better propaganda (yet).

3. Lone wolves are not terrorists

By limiting Islamic terrorism only to cases with direct ties to specific terrorist groups, they define away “lone wolf” terrorist attacks and exclude them from the studies.

The Washington mall shooter, Arcan Cetin, who killed five people in 2016?  Lone wolf.

Esteban Santiago, who killed five people at a Fort Lauderdale airport and told FBI agents he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS?  Lone wolf.

The Beltway snipers, who killed ten people in 2001?  Not terrorism.

Stabbing two men at a mall in Minnesota, or pleading guilty to an ISIS-inspired plot to commit mass murder in Texas?  Lone wolves.

None of these incidents or fatalities at the hands of Islamic terrorists are included in the NAF or CIR studies.  While the CSIS does not list their incidents, undoubtedly, they mimic the same restrictions.

4. Apply inconsistently

The NAF study enables anti-government statements to classify someone as a right-wing extremist.

This flimsy definition does not apply to Muslim extremists.

Yelling “down with the government” while carrying out an act of violence is enough to be counted as right-wing terrorism.  However, a Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” while committing the same violence is not sufficient to be an Islamic extremist.

This tactic helps reduce Islamic terrorism while increasing occurrences of right-wing terrorism.

5. Count violence unrelated to ideology

While the CSIS study doesn’t list specific terrorist acts, it discloses some sources — one of which is the Anti-Defamation League.

This inflates numbers by including incidents committed by those who fit the ideological criteria, even if the acts were unrelated to ideology.

For example, the ADL includes the murder of KKK member Frank Ancona, who was killed by his wife —also a KKK member.  It’s unlikely that Ancona’s wife shot him in the name of white supremacy, but it counts as right-wing terrorism anyway.

Another white supremacist, Edward Blackburn, murdered a white man dating his ex-girlfriend.  Did he kill him to advance white supremacy?  Unlikely.

Two white supremacists in Georgia broke out of prison and killed two guards in the process.  One guard was white and the other black.  Were the guards killed for their skin color? Probably not.

While the CSIS claims to have excluded non-ideological incidents, fatalities attributable to right-wing terrorism are significantly larger for CSIS than previous studies.  Couple that with a complete lack of transparency, and that’s enough to consider its claim a lie.

The CIR study includes as right-wing terrorism Gavin Long, a black man, who killed three police officers in Louisiana. They describe Long as “influenced by black nationalist ideology and angry over the shooting of a black man by Baton Rouge police[.]”

Long also tweeted a news story about Dallas shooter Micah Johnson (who assassinated five police officers at a BLM rally) and wrote that the shooter was “one of us! # MY Religion is Justice.”

What makes Gavin Long a right-wing terrorist?  He didn’t like police, and police work for the government, therefore he was an anti-government extremist.

These are only a few examples of many similar cases.

The timing of the studies is also peculiar.  The NAF starts tracking deaths after 9/11, excluding 9/11 from the study.  The CSIS starting tracking deaths in 1994, claiming that it selected that start date because it didn’t have enough reliable data to track before 1994.

A start date that begins just after the 1993 NYC bombings but just prior to the 1995 Oklahoma city bombings was purely a coincidence.

Oh, and don’t forget: Muslims are 1% of the American population, while these broad definitions of right-winger terrorists easily encompass 50% of Americans.  To be proportionate, right-wing terrorism should be 50 times greater than Islamic terrorism.  Best to omit any mention of that.

Studies on right-wing terrorism are fake — they are nothing but propaganda.

Most left-wing studies on other topics model the same framework: manipulate definitions and variables, fabricate data to fit or exclude based on the falsified definitions, and apply criteria inconsistently.

 

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The ‘Big Lie’ Behind COVID-19

By Porter Stansberry

Recently, an old friend said, “Porter, I’m almost afraid to ask… but what do you think about all of this madness, about the government telling everyone they have to sit in their houses? How long do you think this can go on?”

What do I think? You probably won’t like it…

We are going through the greatest mass delusion in history. Never in my life have I ever been more ashamed of our elected officials. And never in my wildest dreams did I think our entire country would fall for such complete nonsense on such an enormous scale.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think our entire country would fall for such complete nonsense on such an enormous scale.”

’ll show you why virtually everything we’ve done so far has made the impact of this virus worse than it would have been if we had done nothing at all. And I’ll also show you how simple doing the right thing could have (and should have) been. I can also predict what will (eventually) happen next – the only steps that can actually protect those most at risk from this virus.

But before I get to the facts that inform my view… I would like to review how completely inane and idiotic our political leaders have become in the midst of this health problem.

My favorite example so far? The thousands of outdoor recreational activities that have been closed or forbidden – including those that involve individual pursuits, like surfing. And what did CBS News publish as a headline above the story documenting a surfer being chased down by patrol boats? It read: “Scientist Says Beaches Are Dangerous Right Now.”

How does anyone read this stuff and not laugh out loud? It’s impossible to watch the video of a surfer being chased down by patrol boats in the name of public health and not think something has gone terribly wrong in America.

But what’s the root of the problem today? What’s the foundation of all of these bad ideas?

At the heart of every mass delusion, there’s a “big lie.” The big lie is a falsehood so outrageous and so obviously wrong, in retrospect people can hardly believe that anyone took it seriously.

“The big lie is a falsehood so outrageous and so obviously wrong, in retrospect people can hardly believe that anyone took it seriously.”

The most famous example of the “big lie” is the Salem Witch Trials, where four bored teenage girls convinced their pastor they were possessed by the devil and that dozens of people in their community were agents of Satan. The pastor, in turn, convinced most of Massachusetts that the colony was inundated with witches. Even though it’s hard to imagine today, some 200 people were arrested over the next year. One poor man, Giles Corey, was crushed to death under a pile of giant rocks because he wouldn’t confess to being a witch. And what happened to those who did confess? They were forced to name more witches. Then they were hanged. Before anyone came to their senses, 30 people were put to death.

We “modern” Americans look back at these events and wonder how anyone could have taken seriously a bunch of teenagers prattling on about witches and devils. But don’t be too proud… A court in Arkansas sent three teenage boys to prison in 1994 for murders they couldn’t have possibly committed, mostly because the jury firmly believed they were devil worshippers and thought they’d used black magic to pull off the crime.

And with COVID-19, Americans have become just as irrational as those Salem witch hunters or that Arkansas jury.

What’s the big lie today?

The big lie today is that “we” are all in “this” together.

It’s utter nonsense. “We” – the people of the world, the people of our country, of my state, of this city (Baltimore), and even the people in my neighborhood – do not share the same values, ideals, or circumstances. We do not have anything like the same immune systems or face the same risks of this virus.

While it might sound friendly to say “we’re all in this together” – the reality is that we are not. And enforcing policies that treat all of us the same is the very worst approach we could take to dealing with this health crisis.

Some of us are at much greater risk of serious harm by this virus. Some of us are much more susceptible to infection. Some of us own businesses or work for companies that haven’t been impacted at all. Others have seen their livelihoods, their careers, or even their life savings wiped out.

We are NOT in this together. As with everything else in our lives, our abilities and our priorities and the risks we’re willing to take all differ. We are individuals – not a monolithic polity. Saying “we’re all in this together” sounds like Mao’s China, where people abandoned the cities to die from starvation on communal farms. It seems like a disaster in the making… because it is.

Rather than assessing our own risks and our own priorities and then making our own decisions, we have decided to allow the government – really just a handful of governors and the president – to make one decision for all of us. And we’re told not following the rules means we’re putting other peoples’ lives in jeopardy.

What’s putting all of us in jeopardy is the idea that Washington D.C. knows best and we could follow directions – because “we’re all in this together.”

It’s complete and utter nonsense. What’s putting all of us in jeopardy is the idea that Washington D.C. knows best and we could follow directions – because “we’re all in this together.”

Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf explained why such “big lies” are at the foundation of all tyranny. If you want to understand how despots operate, you should consider how one of the worst in history manipulated large groups of people…

“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie…”

Not only are “we” not in “this” together, we shouldn’t strive to be either.

The strength and resilience of a free society is NOT based on the idea that we are all the same or should share the same goals – but upon precisely the opposite.

A free society recognizes a fundamental truth of nature: We are not the same.

A free society recognizes a fundamental truth of nature: We are not the same. We do not have the same strengths, the same ideas, the same histories, or the same goals. There’s no such thing as “The Public Good.” There’s a myriad of competing interests, as Adam Smith explained in The Wealth of Nations more than 200 years ago.

What we do share, however, is a common philosophy that champions the rights of the individual and limits the power of the State. We do not exist to serve the State. The State exists to serve us. That distinction lies at the very heart of what it means to be an American, and I think our leaders have completely forgotten this fact.

Why is this idea so important, not merely for philosophical reasons, but for the best possible outcomes? Why do free societies produce so much more wealth and happiness than countries led by tyrannical governments?

America has proven, again and again, that the “spontaneous order” of free people and free markets evolve far superior solutions to every human need and want. If you want to botch something up, just ask the government to take over. If you want efficient solutions that work, allow people to compete in a free market.

That’s why America has long led the world in the creation of wealth and innovation. That’s why we produce the highest-quality creative art, entertainment, design, and technology.

But… what about when we fail?

Look back at all of our country’s biggest blunders and you won’t find freedom or free markets. You’ll find a government that has far overstepped its constitutional limits.

When we allow our liberty to be taken from us in the name of a political theory, disaster will follow.

It happens every single time: When we allow our liberty to be taken from us in the name of a political theory, disaster will follow. Consider the Vietnam War, for example. Did Congress declare war as the Constitution requires? Nope.

Instead, the country was sold on yet another “big lie”… And it was a whopper. We were told that propping up a corrupt dictatorship in a tiny Asian nation was the key to stopping communism from spreading around the world. Meanwhile, without our involvement in that country’s internal politics, no one in America would have ever known who Ho Chi Minh was… or cared.

And ironically, all we had to do to stop the spread of communism was simply leave it alone. Empty grocery store shelves and hopeless lives were the only bane needed to wipe out that stain virtually everywhere. Yes, some folks still seem determined to adopt those ideas and destroy their societies (Venezuela), but we seem to have finally wised up to the fact that the only thing we have to do to make sure it fails is simply wait a decade or two. It’s certainly nothing worth sending our kids to die over.

And today… Should we all sit in our home prisons, with our freedom to work, to associate, and to speak taken away from us – all to universally support “flattening” a curve, because “we” are all in “this” together?

Or is this the public health service’s Vietnam?

I have a prediction for you… By the time this virus is thoroughly understood, what will become extremely clear is that these shutdown orders did virtually nothing to stop the spread of the disease or to reduce its lethality in the population.

Why do I believe that? Because it’s apparent already that at least 5 times more people have been infected than are reflected in the number of “confirmed cases”… and the real number may be much, much greater than that.

In a town in Germany, one of the only places where a reliable statistical sampling has been done, 14% of the population has antibodies for the virus, which means they have already been infected. Germany has a population of 83 million… so that’s more than 10 million people who have potentially already had this virus. And that’s only in one country.

Germany has also tested twice as many people per capita as we have, so they know far more about the actual spread of the virus and its real lethality.

So, how dangerous is this virus?

The official confirmed infected count in Germany is only 135,000. And almost 4,000 Germans have died because of this virus. That’s a 3% “case rate” mortality – that is, out of the population that has been proven to be infected, about 3% have died. That sounds really bad and scary. After all, the average annual flu has a mortality rate of between 0.1% and 0.2%, depending on the year. So, for example, in 2015 to 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 30 million people got the flu and around 60,000 people died, or 0.2%.

But, wait… we know for sure that far more people have gotten this coronavirus than have been tested for it. As I just noted, the statistical sampling of antibodies in Germany suggests a much, much lower lethality rate. And the real mortality rate is probably somewhere closer to the regular flu, as there are going to be a lot more deaths to come from people who are presently infected.

So what do you want to bet that we eventually figure out that the population-wide mortality rate for this virus is about the same as all of the other coronaviruses?

But what if I’m wrong? I might be. Nobody knows how widespread the virus is already in the U.S. But since we don’t know for sure, why in the world are we ordering everyone to stay in their homes? Why don’t we find out and then decide?

Knowing the real lethality of the virus (which can only be calculated if you know how many people are infected) informs us how dangerous the virus is for most people.

We already know that this virus isn’t a significant killer for people under the age of 50. Virtually no one without serious existing conditions has died from this virus under the age of 50.

And we also know from places that have actual data that this coronavirus is no more dangerous than the other viruses that we know circulate around our country on a regular basis every year.

Knowing how many people are infected is also critical to figuring out which policies are needed to mitigate the impact of the disease on the hospital system.

If tens of millions of people already have the virus, you’re not going to stop it by making people stay in their homes… It’s already too late.

After all, if tens of millions of people already have the virus, you’re not going to stop it by making people stay in their homes… It’s already too late. I strongly suspect that was the case here. I suspect we will eventually learn that this virus had been circulating undetected in the U.S. since at least December.

And what is certainly different about this virus, as compared with the regular flu, is that when it emerged, there was zero existing immunity to it… which meant it spread like wildfire.

But the good news is that super-contagious viruses also burn out quicker because herd immunity impacts the growth rate.

So… should we have shut down our entire economy for a month in March, long after the virus had spread to millions? No! What we’re doing will not reduce the total infection rate or the mortality rates of this virus. It’s far too late for the strategy we’re using.

How do I know? The best evidence of how widespread the virus has become comes from studies of fecal matter in wastewater treatment plants.

A group of researchers from Harvard, MIT, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and medtech startup company Biobot Analytics has published research submitting that viral loads in the wastewater from an area in Boston suggests at least 2,300 people in the water treatment area are infected with COVID-19, roughly five times more than the official 446 confirmed cases. No one wants to go to a hospital or a doctor’s office right now unless they absolutely have to, so it makes sense that the vast majority of these infections go unreported.

And that’s not all we know about how fast this virus spreads. Although nobody in Washington, D.C. wants to mention it, one group of people was thoroughly tested. This group offers a striking example of what happens when you lock people into their homes after this virus has been circulating amongst them.

We know exactly how many people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were infected. We know when the virus appeared on the boat. And we know exactly how many people died.

There is no dispute about these facts, whatsoever.

There were 3,711 people on the boat (passengers and crew). We know that 712 people were infected, despite restricting everyone to their cabins as soon as the infection was discovered. That’s an infection rate of almost 20% in a matter of days. This is a very, very contagious virus. Keep in mind, the lockdown on the boat began on February 5, which was only four days after the first case was discovered in Hong Kong. This virus spreads like wildfire.

On the other hand, even in a population that is much, much older than average and that featured substantial population-wide comorbidities like high blood pressure and obesity, only 12 people died. That’s 1.7% of the people who got infected. Yes, that’s much worse than the average flu – but not if you adjust for the age and relative health of the population.

Researchers who have studied the cruise ship outbreak in detail estimate that this virus will have 0.5% lethality in the general U.S. population – which is, again, comparable to the regular annual flu.

We have already seen that the initial forecasts of more than 2 million deaths are complete nonsense.

We have already seen that the initial forecasts of more than 2 million deaths are complete nonsense. When the president ordered the economy to shut down, he claimed that if we didn’t take this step of cowering in our homes, then millions would die. “People will be dropping dead on the subway,” Trump claimed, as though Ebola was on the loose.

All bullshit.

This virus is definitely dangerous to the old and the sick. To everyone else, it’s going to be a nonevent… just like any other flu season.

Here’s a prediction.

In a “bad year” for the flu, between 50,000 and 100,000 Americans die from the virus. I’m willing to bet that by the end of this year, roughly the same number of people will have died from this virus. And I’m also willing to bet that there’s zero difference in either the total per capita number who become infected and the mortality rate between our country (which ordered a shutdown) and Sweden’s, which has refused to order anyone to shut down their business or stay in their homes.

If you accept that the virus had been circulating in our population for months by the time the lockdown orders arrived (which is certainly the case) and if you know it’s highly contagious, then ordering everyone into their homes in mid-March was closing the barn door when the horses were already long gone.

What does work to control the spread of a novel virus? Herd immunity. Humans have immune systems. They work great, especially in younger people. We can handle viruses.

What we should do is tell older and sicker people to put on a mask. Wear rubber gloves. Avoid crowds at all costs. Avoid hospitals. Stay home whenever you can.

What we should do is tell older and sicker people to put on a mask. Wear rubber gloves. Avoid crowds at all costs. Avoid hospitals. Stay home whenever you can.

We should have told everyone else: Go about your lives. Yes, we should also add that some of you – probably about 20% – are going to get this novel coronavirus this year. (Normally about 9% of the population gets the flu every year… so your chances of catching COVID-19 this year are about double what you’d normally face with the regular flu.) And if you get it, it’s probably going to suck. But the younger you are and the healthier you are, the more likely it is that you won’t have any symptoms at all. So, let’s not cancel school. Let’s let the kids go and get exposed to this virus when they are young, when they can handle it, and when they can quickly develop immunity.

That’s the best way to build the herd immunity we need – allow everyone who can manage the virus to get exposed. As quickly as possible. After all, the sooner the herd immunity we need develops naturally, the safer we will all be.

If the media hadn’t gotten hold of this story and if our political leaders hadn’t panicked, this year would have just been a really bad flu season – nothing more.

And whether you agree with me or not, one thing is certain… Hiding in our homes will not make us any safer – not for long. As soon as we leave our isolation, the virus will spread again. There’s no way to stop a virus that’s this contagious and this widespread in a population this large.

It will take at least a year to build a vaccine. And until then, what we desperately need is for people who aren’t at risk of dying to expose themselves and build immunity.

And guess what… That’s exactly what’s going to happen – eventually. The only question is when. It can happen six months’ from now if we want to cripple our economy and lose $10 trillion to $20 trillion (plus all of our liberties). Or it can happen in about six weeks if we all just go back to work and deal with it like adults.

So what should we do? If you’re over 60 or if you’re in poor health, by all means, do everything you can to avoid catching the flu this year. The hospital isn’t going to be able to help you. You have to make sure you don’t get sick!

But if you’re in good health, and especially if you’re under 50, simply ignore everything and live a normal life. It’s no big deal.

Interestingly, if we had respected people’s civil liberties, that’s almost certainly what would have happened. A lot of people would have gotten sick at first because nobody knew a new virus was circulating. But as soon as people saw what was happening, the old and the sick would have taken much greater precautions. The rest of us would have gotten exposed – probably about 20% of the population in 60 to 90 days. And then it would have burned out as immunity in the population grew – just like the regular flu.

Meanwhile, there are tens of millions more people who have far more to fear from the economic consequences of these policies than they have of the virus. And guess what? There’s no way to develop immunity from the State. This situation sets a precedent that will surely be exploited for years to come. The government’s getting used to ordering us all around. It isn’t going to stop.

Meanwhile, God gave us the ability to reason – to judge for ourselves what risks to take and which to avoid. God also gave all of us the liberty to live our lives as we see fit. Our leaders don’t have the right to make these choices for us. When we let them, we doom our country to the worst possible outcomes.

Just imagine what John Hancock, Patrick Henry, or Paul Revere would say to themselves in our current situation. Do you have any idea what our Founding Fathers were up against? They took on the greatest army in the world with little more than a bunch of starving farmers. They had no navy… against the greatest navy in the world. They didn’t even have the support of all Americans. And if they lost… they would all been hanged for treason.

Why take on those terrible odds? For liberty… to establish the greatest society the world had ever seen – a grand experiment to find out how much better our world could become with civil rights for the common man and free markets.

And what do you think these men would say today, watching a governor ordering millions of people to stay locked up in their apartments while their businesses fail? Can you imagine what our founders would say looking at us cowering in our homes like whipped dogs?

I guess we’ve all forgotten about Valley Forge, where two-thirds of our soldiers died because of the flu! Trust me, they didn’t have ventilators either. But did George Washington go home? Hell no.

If our country’s willingness to kowtow to the most blatantly unconstitutional orders in the history of our nation doesn’t bother you because you still believe in the “common good”… or because you buy into the big lie that we’re all in this together… I think you should be ashamed of yourself.

First, because you’re stupid to have any faith at all in our leaders’ ability or willingness to make good decisions. They don’t even know how many people have the virus already and they never bothered to find out!

They’ve completely ignored the Diamond Princess cruise ship case study, the German data, and the wastewater studies. They’re doing the only thing they can with their very limited understanding of this virus: Ordering everyone to stay home. Meanwhile, plenty of hard evidence shows why this strategy won’t work and isn’t necessary.

But beyond all of the facts and the medicine… there’s another reason I believe every American ought to be ashamed of the way our government has behaved. We’ve acted just like the communists in China behaved – ordering everyone around, telling them they can’t travel, telling them they can’t work.

That ain’t what we do here. By all means, if you want to wear a mask, be my guest. And if you are older or if you have health problems, please, take sensible precautions. But those decisions are rightfully yours to make…

We aren’t in this together. You have your health and your priorities… And I’ve got mine.

We aren’t in this together. You have your health and your priorities… And I’ve got mine.

I hope you’ll join me in calling out anyone who supports these tyrannical and unconstitutional new laws. I believe every American should willingly risk death before surrendering an iota of his liberty.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive… those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis


Editor’s note: We suspect we’ll get plenty of feedback from this essay. Tell us what you think by writing to us here. And please, share it on Facebook by clicking here – love or hate Porter’s conclusions, his contrarian viewpoint is a must-read in today’s world of tyrannical lockdown orders and government overreach.


Porter Stansberry is well-known for doing some of the most important – and often controversial – work in the financial advisory business. Since he founded Stansberry Research, his string of accurate forecasts has made his research some of the most widely read in the world and has helped his readers both avoid catastrophe and make incredible gains.

 

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Who Were the Muckrakers in the Journalism Industry?

Journalists of the Progressive Era Exposing Corruption

Muckrakers were investigative reporters and writers during the Progressive Era (1890–1920) who wrote about corruption and injustices in order to bring about changes in society. Publishing books and articles in magazines such as McClure’s and Cosmopolitan, journalists such as Upton Sinclair, Jacob Riis, Ida Wells, Ida Tarbell, Florence Kelley, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and John Spargo risked their lives and livelihoods to write stories about the terrible, hidden conditions of the poor and powerless, and to highlight the corruption of politicians and wealthy businessmen.

Key Takeaways: Muckrakers

  • Muckrakers were journalists and investigative reporters who wrote about corruption and injustice between 1890 and 1920.
  • The term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, who thought they went too far.
  • Muckrakers came from all levels of society and risked their livelihoods and lives by their work.
  • In many cases, their work did bring improvements.

Muckraker: Definition

The term “muckraker” was coined by the progressive president Theodore Roosevelt in his 1906 speech “The Man With the Muck Rake.” It referred to a passage in John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” which describes a man who raked muck (soil, dirt, manure, and vegetal matter) for a living rather than raising his eyes to heaven. Even though Roosevelt was known for helping usher in numerous Progressive reforms, he saw the most zealous members of the muckraking press as going too far, especially when writing about political and big business corruption. He wrote:

“Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muck rake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed. But the man who never does anything else, who never thinks or speaks or writes, save of his feats with the muck rake, speedily becomes, not a help but one of the most potent forces for evil.”

Despite Roosevelt’s efforts, many of the crusading journalists embraced the term “muckrakers” and indeed forced the country to make changes to ease the situations they reported. These famous muckrakers of their day helped expose issues and corruption in America between 1890 and the start of World War I.

Jacob Riis (1849–1914) was an immigrant from Denmark who worked as a police reporter for the New York Tribune, New York Evening Post and New York Sun in the 1870s–1890s. For those papers and magazines of the day, he published a series of exposes on slum conditions in the Lower East Side of Manhattan which led to the establishment of the Tenement House Commission. In his writing, Riis included photographs presenting a truly disturbing picture of the living conditions in the slums.

His 1890 book “How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York,” 1892’s “The Children of the Poor,” and other later books and lantern slide lectures to the public led to tenements being torn down. Improvements which are credited to Riis’s muckraking efforts include sanitary sewer construction and the implementation of garbage collection.

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and grew up to become a teacher and then an investigative journalist and activist. She was skeptical of the reasons given for black men being lynched and after one of her friends was lynched, she began researching white mob violence. In 1895, she published “A Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States 1892–1893–1894,” providing clear evidence that lynchings of African American men in the south were not the result of the rape of white women.

Wells also wrote articles in the Memphis Free Speech and Chicago Conservator, criticizing the school system, demanding that women’s suffrage include African-American women, and vehemently condemning lynching. Although she never achieved her goal of Federal anti-lynching legislation, she was a founding member of the NAACP and other activist organizations.

Florence Kelley

Florence Kelley (1859–1932) was born to affluent abolitionists in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and educated at Cornell College. She joined Jane Addams’ Hull House in 1891, and through her work there was hired to investigate the labor industry in Chicago. As a result, she was selected to be the first female Chief Factory Inspector for the State of Illinois. She tried to force sweatshop owners to improve conditions but never won any of her filed lawsuits.

In 1895, she turned to muckraking, publishing “Hull-House Maps and Papers,” and in 1914, “Modern Industry in Relation to the Family, Health, Education, Morality.” These books documented the grim reality of child-labor sweatshops and working conditions for children and women. Her work helped create the 10-hour workday and establish minimum wages, but her greatest accomplishment was perhaps the 1921 “Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act,” which included health care funds to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

Ida Tarbell

Ida Tarbell (1857–1944) was born in a log cabin in Hatch Hollow, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of being a scientist. As a woman, that was denied her and, instead, she became a teacher and one of the most powerful of the muckraking journalists. She began her journalism career in 1883 when she became the editor of The Chautauquan and wrote about inequality and injustice.

After a four-year stint in Paris writing for Scribner’s Magazine, Tarbell returned to the United States and accepted a job at McClure’s. One of her first assignments was to investigate the business practices of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil. Her exposés documenting Rockefeller’s aggressive and illegal business methods appeared first as a series of articles in McClure’s, and then as a book, “The History of the Standard Oil Company” in 1904.

The resulting furor led to a Supreme Court case finding that Standard Oil was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and that led to the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911.

Ray Stannard Baker

Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946) was a Michigan man who enrolled in law school before turning to journalism and literature. He began as a reporter for the Chicago News-Record, covering strikes and joblessness during the Panic of 1893. In 1897, Baker began working as an investigative reporter for McClure’s Magazine.

Perhaps his most influential article was “The Right to Work” published in McClure’s in 1903, which detailed the plight of coal miners including both strikers and scabs. These non-striking workers were often untrained yet had to work in the dangerous conditions of the mines while fending off attacks from union workers. His 1907 book “Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy” was one of the first to examine the racial divide in America.

Baker was also a leading member of the Progressive Party, which allowed him to seek out powerful political allies to help institute reforms, including then-president of Princeton and future U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair (1878–1968) was born into relative poverty in New York, although his grandparents were wealthy. As a result, he was very well educated and began writing boys’ stories at the age of 16, and later wrote several serious novels, none of which were successful. In 1903, however, he became a Socialist and traveled to Chicago to gather information about the meatpacking industry. His resulting novel, “The Jungle,” gave a wholly unsavory look at abysmal working conditions and contaminated and rotting meat.

His book became an instant bestseller and, although it did not have much impact on the plight of the workers, it led to the passage of the country’s first food safety legislation, the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Lincoln Steffens

Lincoln Steffens (1866–1936) was born into wealth in California and was educated at Berkeley, then in Germany and France. When he returned to New York at 26, he discovered his parents had cut him off, requesting that he learn the “practical side of life.”

He landed a job working as a reporter for The New York Evening Post, where he learned of the immigrant slums of New York and met future president Teddy Roosevelt. He became a managing editor for McClure’s, and in 1902 wrote a series of articles exposing political corruption in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. A book compiling his articles was published in 1904 as “The Shame of the Cities.”

Other Steffens targets including the Tammany boss Richard Croker and the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst: Steffens’ investigations into Wall Street led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

John Spargo

John Spargo (1876–1966) was a Cornish man who was trained as a stonecutter. He became a socialist in the 1880s, and wrote and lectured about working conditions in England as a member of the nascent Labour Party. He emigrated to the United States in 1901 and became active in the Socialist party, lecturing and writing articles; he published the first full-length biography of Karl Marx in 1910.

Spargo’s investigative report on the terrible conditions of child labor in the United States called “The Bitter Cry of Children” was published in 1906. While many were fighting against child labor in America, Spargo’s book was the most widely read and most influential as it detailed the dangerous working condition of boys in coal mines.

 

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1864 Sand Creek Massacre: History and Impact

Cheyenne who were promised safety were attacked and massacred

The Sand Creek Massacre was a violent incident in late 1864 in which volunteer cavalry soldiers, commanded by a fanatical hater of Native Americans, rode up to a camp and murdered more than 150 Cheyennes who had been assured of their safety. The incident was denounced at the time, though the perpetrators of the massacre escaped any serious punishment.

To most Americans, the massacre in a remote corner of Colorado was overshadowed by the ongoing carnage of the Civil War. However, on the western frontier the killings at Sand Creek resonated, and the massacre has gone down in history as a notorious act of genocide against Native Americans.

Fast Facts: The Sand Creek Massacre

  • Attack on peaceful band of Cheyenne in late 1864 cost more than 150 lives, mostly women and children.

  • Indians had been flying two flags, an American flag and a white flag, as instructed by government officials who had assured their safety.

  • Cavalry commander who ordered the massacre, Col. John Chivington, had his military career ended but was not prosecuted.

  • The Sand Creek Massacre seemed to herald a new era of conflict on the Western Plains.

Background

A war between Indian tribes and American troops broke out on the plains of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Colorado territory in the summer of 1864. The spark of the conflict was the killing of a chief of the Cheyenne, Lean Bear, who had played the role of peacemaker and had even traveled to Washington and met with President Abraham Lincoln a year earlier.

Following the meeting with Lincoln at the White House, Lean Bear and other leaders of the Southern Plains tribes had posed for a remarkable photograph in the White House conservatory (on the site of the present day West Wing). Back on the plains, Lean Bear was shot from his horse during a buffalo hunt by U.S. cavalry soldiers.

The attack on Lean Bear, which was unprovoked and came without warning, was apparently encouraged by Colonel John M. Chivington, the commander of all federal troops in the region. Chivington had reportedly instructed his troops, “Find Indians wherever you can and kill them.”

Chivington was born on a farm in Ohio. He received little education, but had a religious awakening and became a Methodist minister in the 1840s. He and his family traveled westward as he was assigned by the church to lead congregations. His anti-slavery pronouncements prompted threats from pro-slavery citizens of Kansas when he lived there, and he became known as the “Fighting Parson” when he preached in his church wearing two pistols.

In 1860, Chivington was sent to Denver to lead a congregation. Besides preaching, he became involved with a Colorado volunteer regiment. When the Civil War broke out, Chivington, as a major of the regiment, led troops in a western engagement of the Civil War, the 1862 battle at Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. He led a surprise attack on Confederate forces and was hailed as a hero.

Returning to Colorado, Chivington became a prominent figure in Denver. He was appointed commander of the military district of the Colorado Territory, and there was talk of him running for Congress when Colorado became a state. But as tensions increased between whites and Indians, Chivington persisted in making inflammatory comments. He repeatedly said Indians would never adhere to any treaty, and he advocated killing any and all Indians.

It is believed that Chivington’s genocidal comments encouraged the soldiers who murdered Lean Bear. And when some of the Cheyenne seemed intent on avenging their leader, Chivington was presented with an excuse to kill more Indians.

The Attack on the Cheyenne

The chief of the Cheyenne, Black Kettle, attended a peace conference with the governor of Colorado in the fall of 1864. Black Kettle was told to take his people and camp along the Sand Creek. The authorities assured him the Cheyenne with him would be given safe passage. Black Kettle was encouraged to fly two flags over the camp: an American flag (which he had received as a gift from President Lincoln) and a white flag.

Black Kettle and his people settled into the camp. On November 29, 1864, Chivington, leading about 750 members of the Colorado Volunteer Regiment, attacked the Cheyenne camp at dawn. Most of the men were away hunting buffalo, so the camp was most filled with women and children. The soldiers had been ordered by Chivington to kill and scalp every Indian they could.

Riding into the camp with guns blazing, the soldiers cut down the Cheyenne. The attacks were brutal. The soldiers mutilated the bodies, collecting scalps and body parts as souvenirs. When the troops arrived back in Denver, they displayed their grisly trophies.

Estimated of Indian casualties varied, but it is widely accepted that between 150 and 200 Indians were murdered. Black Kettle survived, but would be shot dead by U.S. cavalry troopers four years later, at the Battle of the Washita.

The attack on defenseless and peaceful Indians was at first portrayed as a military victory, and Chivington and his men were hailed as heroes by Denver residents. However, news of the nature of the massacre soon spread. Within months, the U.S. Congress launched an investigation of Chivington’s actions.

In July 1865, the results of the Congressional investigation were published. The Washington, D.C., Evening Star featured the report as the lead story on page one on July 21, 1865. The congressional report severely criticized Chivington, who left military service but was never charged with a crime.

Chivington had been thought to have potential in politics, but the shame attached to him following the condemnation of the Congress ended that. He worked at various towns in the Midwest before returning to Denver, where he died in 1894.

Aftermath and Legacy

On the western plains, news spread of the Sand Creek Massacre and violent clashes between Indians and whites increased during the winter of 1864-65. The situation calmed for a time. But the memory of Chivington’s attack on the peaceful Cheyenne resonated and amplified a feeling of distrust. The Sand Creek massacre seemed to herald a new and violent era on the Great Plains.

The exact location of the Sand Creek Massacre was disputed for many years. In 1999, a team from the National Park Service located specific places believed to be where the troops attacked Black Kettle’s band of Cheyenne. The location has been designated a National Historic Site and is administered by the National Park Service.

Sources

  • Hoig, Stan. “Sand Creek Massacre.” Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2005, pp. 942-943. Gale eBooks.

  • Krupat, Arnold. “Indian Wars and Dispossession.” American History Through Literature 1820-1870, edited by Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer, vol. 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006, pp. 568-580. Gale eBooks.

  • “Conflicts with Western

 

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