The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin on February 7, warning that fake news fuels domestic extremism.This warning was complete with new terminology to describe the threat It is a mistake-, Dis-, and mal-informationThese three terms are combined referred to collectively as MDM). According to this National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin (dated June 7, 2012), “The main terrorist threat to the United States still stems from lone offenders and small groups of individuals motivated by a variety of foreign or domestic grievances, often cultivated via the consumption of certain content online.”
According to the bulletin, “The United States continues to be under an elevated threat environment that is fueled by many factors,” it states. These threat actors aim to increase societal friction and to cause discord. They also seek to undermine trust in the government to promote unrest. An ongoing threat to the country is mass casualty attacks, as well as other targeted violence by small groups or individuals acting in support of ideologies and/or personal grievances.
Scary-sounding stuff! But as media entrepreneur Tom Elliott points outOn Twitter, this department does not have the best record when it comes to these matters. According to Elliott, it is called “The 10th Time in 22 Months [that]DHS warns that domestic violent extremists and anti-government activists may attempt to launch an attack.
Last year advisory alerts regarding domestic terrorists were issued in May, January, August, September, and November. Each terror alert lasted several months and covered almost the entire year.
According to the DHS terrorist alert, “while conditions underpinning the increased threat landscape haven’t significantly changed in the past year,” some factors have “increased volatility, unpredictability and complexity of this threat environment.” They include the “proliferation of misleading or false narratives that sow discord and undermine trust in U.S. government agencies.” Particularly, the report mentions COVID-19 and election fraud.
What’s interesting about these warnings—which tend to get widely and uncritically amplified in the press—isn’t just that DHS is falsely forecasting attacks but also that it is sowing narratives. First, that it’s most assuredly “MDM” fueling social unrest and anti-government sentiment…not, you know, actual government policies and legitimate grievances with them. Anti-government criticism must be considered suspicious and possibly dangerous.
Viewed one way, better-safe-than-sorry alerts that don’t pan out do little harm. Viewed another, these broadsides—which may influence local law enforcement action and tend to get widely and uncritically amplified in the press—help to delegitimize protests against government policies by casting them as the product of a misinformed populace that should seen as threat. And just like in the heyday of post-9/11 terror alerts, they also help create an atmosphere of fear that drives support for expanded government surveillance—like the newly created domestic terrorism branch in DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
It stated in its most recent alert that the Department had expanded its online evaluation as part of efforts to prevent and assess acts of violence. As always, the Department reminds Americans to “If You See Something, Say Something.”
The spread of psychedelic decriminalization laws is alarming:
Do magic mushrooms want to follow marijuana legalization’s lead? In many states, lawmakers are debating the legalization of psilocybin. It is a naturally occurring substance found in certain mushrooms and can cause visual and auditory hallucinations. https://t.co/tq7MpzhJPm pic.twitter.com/av9zo8IMk9
— MultiState (@MultiStateAssoc) February 8, 2022
According to a study by the Institute for Justice, starting a business in cities is expensive. The report—Barriers to Business: How Cities Can Pave a Cheaper, Faster, and Simpler Path to Entrepreneurship—looks at startup costs and processes in 20 cities. The average time it takes to open a business in these cities is 45 steps, with interactions with 8 agencies.
Alex Montgomery, an IJ City Policy Associate and co-author of this report said “You don’t need to have a bunch of cash or a law degree in order start the mom-and pop shop of your dreams.” The report states that these high prices and burdens most adversely affect those with limited resources.
The city can do much more than provide technical support and resources for entrepreneurs. Andrew Meleta from IJ Activism, another coauthor of the report, stated that small businesses must be supported by cities.
The whole story is here.
The wages of small-business owners are rising. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, a record 50% of U.S. small-business owners increased wages in January. This is despite continued worker shortages. “With some 47% of small businesses reporting job openings last month that they could not fill, employers have been raising wages to attract skilled candidates—a trend that doesn’t appear to be reversing any time soon,” Bloomberg points out.
Vladimir Putin is frightening because he’s modern and not because of his past. Vladimir Putin represents the 21st century, not the old world. My latest ???? https://t.co/8WbKhgFM5F
— Tom McTague (@TomMcTague) February 9, 2022
• The 2022 Oscar nominations list is out.
• “Americans tuning in to the Super Bowl on Sunday will be inundated with ads from cryptocurrency companies, including the trading platform FTX, which plans to give away millions of dollars in bitcoin,” reports The Washington Post. Sam Bankman (founder of FTX) said that it was about creating a positive image of the industry and ourselves in order to calm fears from U.S. regulators.
• Cities are getting on board with City Coins.
• New York City Mayor Eric Adams wants to go all-in on facial recognition technology.
• WikiLeaks has raised massive amounts of money for founder Julian Assange’s defense:
Wikileaks raised $50M almost without notice from major media.
Fifty. Million. Dollars.
probably nothing https://t.co/sn1IU5a96R
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 8, 2022
• While a number of states have been seeking constitutional amendments to declare there is no right to an abortion, Vermont is going the other direction.
• Utah’s weird liquor laws mean many hard seltzers may be relegated to liquor stores—including some brands who are allowed to sell some flavors of the same beverages in grocery stores. You can look at your favourite brand and see if they have flavors that conform to the glycol-based flavoring standard. If they don’t, then they’ll have to be moved to a liquor store. [state liquor]”store,” Kate Bradshaw (president of the Utah Beer Wholesalers Association) told FOX 13 News.
• A new book challenges the way people first arrived in America.
• PayPal founders Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and David Sacks will be discussing the new book The story of PayPal’s founders and entrepreneurs who shaped Silicon Valley Jimmy Soni, author on Antonio Garcia Martinez The Pull Request