Category Archives: Losing Freedom

Silent No More: Voices Against Restrictions and Mandates

Silent No More: Voices Against Restrictions and Mandates

By Sarabeth Matilsky   April 27, 2022   Society   16 minute read SHARE | PRINT | EMAIL

Around the world, people are coming together to stand up for bodily autonomy, and against the widespread harm that emergency measures and covid mandates are having on society. We must find and support each other.

Here are a few voices: a white, Catholic NYPD lieutenant (unvaccinated, Covid-recovered) who was forced to take early retirement when his religious exemption was denied after having worked for the police department for 18 years; a black activist and employee at the MTA who wore a bulletproof vest to work in February to protest and bring attention to the dangerous working conditions for both workers and riders on the NYC transit system, and is vaccinated for Covid but tore up his vaccine card to protest the “racist and unconstitutional mandates”; a comedian who wrote a stand-up routine concerning his experience with Covid vaccine injury; and an activist who co-wrote the eloquent official statement released by the Black Caucus of the Minneapolis Green Party, denouncing Covid mandates.

Some of these interviews were conducted on behalf of the Children’s Health Defense by a woman who moved her family to Florida when her husband realized he would soon lose his job due to vaccine mandates…and a former special education teacher in the NYC public schools who continues to work, along with more than a thousand other NYC teachers, and many thousands of other formerly “essential workers”, to compel New York City to allow skilled professionals to have their jobs back without regard to vaccine status. Some of these voices are from Defeat the Mandates LA.

——

John Macari

I was a lieutenant with the police department for 18 years, with zero disciplinary history. I was preparing for the captain’s exam to move up through the ranks of the NYPD. I get in my car the first day of the lockdown, and I thank God that I have this job, that I get to try to bring order to chaos in this city. 

I worked through the whole summer of the riots, every day. 

I was out there _every day_. For the first six months, no police officers wore masks. I supported the order to wear them when we started, because it was the same for everyone, and no one was being treated differently.

I contracted Covid prior to vaccines being readily available, I got pneumonia from it, and treatment in New York City at that time was awful. I couldn’t get basic medicine, I was begging for a Z-pack six days into my pneumonia… 

I finally healed. I rush back to work, and everything‘s fine, and next thing I know, the mask and testing mandate comes out for the unvaccinated. I was pretty upset about this, and I spoke at a couple of union meetings about it, and I felt it was very discriminatory: you’re creating two tiers of employees: vaccinated, and unvaccinated. I tested my antibodies, and I had _very_ high levels. I just felt that it wasn’t right to tell one group that you don’t have to test or mask, but the other group: you’ve gotta test, you gotta wear a mask, you’re not allowed at ceremonies…and at that point, the union stance was, they’re going to mandate vaccines so there’s nothing you can do about it.

And again, I kept saying, what’s my recourse in any of this? I submitted to the testing for four months, and I never tested positive, even though many of the employees who did take the vaccine to avoid going through the masking and the testing, got Covid! 

From the beginning, many of my colleagues did not want to wear a mask and did not want to take the test, and they didn’t feel the need for it – they had already worked the year prior, and they had ways to keep themselves healthy other than medicine. Myself, I never really went to the doctor much, and my first interactions with them was when I had pneumonia from Covid. At that time the doctors, including the NYPD doctors, as the vaccine started to roll out, said, “If you’re going to take the vaccine, we suggest against you taking it right after a recent infection.”

And to me, it made total sense, because I had chickenpox, so I didn’t run out and get the chickenpox vaccine. So all of these things played in my head throughout the whole time they’re pushing this vaccine down our throats: we get these emails, “Hey you’re a danger, it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” I’m listening to mayor de Blasio go on TV every morning and call the unvaccinated “Criminals.” 

Even though, my vaccinated colleagues keep coming into work with Covid, exposing me to it, and I’m still not getting it again. And I keep getting tested, and I’m not getting it. In October, when the vaccine actually became mandated, I submitted my religious exemption, I submitted my sincerely held religious beliefs. I am familiar with OEO law, I’m familiar with with The Human Rights Act of New York State, and I’m familiar with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

So I submit for my religious exemption, saying basically that I believe in God‘s healing powers, I believe he healed me from Covid, I believe the antibodies were given to me through God. I also do not take medicine, I don’t take aspirin when I have a headache, I don’t take medicine for _any_ reason when I’m not sick. If I do need medicine, I’m _sick._ I point to two verses in the Bible, where it says twice: Jesus says, those who are sick are in need of a doctor, and those who are not sick, do not. And even though the Catholic Church tells me that there’s nothing against this vaccine as a tenet of my religion, I believe that it is a tenet of my religion, and whether they want to admit to that or not, it is clearly written in the Bible. 

The other thing is, I’m a big believer in the truth, and I was always taught through my whole career: Have integrity! Have integrity! I wanna be the guy who walks into a precinct, where 300 guys are dealing drugs, and I’m gonna be the guy that stops that. I’m the guy who’s gonna lock criminals up, I’m not gonna be the guy who partakes in any of that sin. So I’m a big believer in the truth, and what I believe to be the truth, and I see that I’m not harming anyone by not taking the vaccine, and I’m not doing anything wrong. 

And basically I submitted that exemption application, and I said, Hey, you’re offering me $500 to go against my religious beliefs! It’s almost bribery, it’s wrong, I can’t even believe we are at at this point, and I feel that for me to take the vaccine would violate my conscience, which would damn me, not only to hell here on earth, but also to hell in the afterlife.

Meanwhile, of course, athletes and entertainers are allowed to work without vaccination, but not the essential workers.

There are 5000 NYPD members that are still waiting to hear the results of their appeals. And that’s just in the police department! 

I’m not a danger to anyone, I went through Omicron and Delta, I’ve never tested positive again, and even if I did, so do vaccinated people! You know what I mean? It’s so arbitrary and capricious, it’s not even funny. And at the same time, I’m being rejected and some of my coworkers are being rejected – only 30% of them are being approved for the religious exemptions. So New York City is completely violating OEO law on this, New York City is no longer an OEO employer, and I don’t know how they can even put that tag on themselves, since they’re not following the law. They’re basically telling one guy who submits a religious exemption, Okay yeah, you’re approved. Then I submit the same exact religious exemption, and: You are denied. So… Someone’s religion is is an undue hardship to the city, and another one’s isn’t? It’s completely arbitrary and capricious, none of it makes sense, and it’s been the same way with the mask mandate on the MTA. 

Personally, I had to give up my career. I’m not where I thought I would be, I thought I would getting ready to be a captain in the NYPD and pursue higher ranks. At the end of the day, I’m still blessed, but I’m worried for New York City. I love New York City, I worry for all the young guys that are still living in that city and trying to raise a family, and anyone, any city worker like teachers, nurses, these are great people and they’re being demonized. As crime runs wild in the city, all of a sudden, the people that pay their taxes, the bear the brunt of everything in the city, they are turned into the bad guys, and I just pray for New York. I really do.

There were MANY of my colleagues who took this vaccine and they did not want to take this vaccine. They took it to keep their employment, to put food on the table, and I would never judge anyone for doing that, but it was horrible, the way they were being pushed into it. 

The days before you were allowed to submit an exemption, people felt the pressure. Even myself, and I’m not a guy who feels much pressure, I tell you, my right eye at the time was fluttering. It was fluttering for weeks and months leading up to that day…and in that line, at One Police Plaza, everyone’s there lining up to get the shot. And I’m seeing hundreds of guys lining up, day in, day out – as the days got closer it was more and more. It went from 40% vaccinated, to 60% vaccinated, 75% vaccinated… And people were feeling the pressure, and the unions weren’t there for them, they felt they had nowhere to go, and I felt the same way. Which is why I started to look for different career options. I was like, I can’t believe I’m doing this, in my 18th year, looking for different career options! I’m down there at work, I’m watching grown men, with tears in their eyes, sit down, take a shot that they don’t want to take, stand up enraged, and immediately storm out of there: “I had no choice. I had no choice!!!” Same thing with women. 

And you know, these are not your average New Yorkers, these are tough, tough people. They’re New York City police officers, they see and go through things that other people have nightmares about. They deal with these things numerous times per day, they are not your average people, and you watch that response to the mandates…it really just cemented my own conviction even more: Hey listen, I can’t do that, I can’t violate my conscience. I can’t sit there and tell my children to do the right thing, to speak up for the truth, and to protect the weak, I can’t tell that to them if I don’t do it. If I were to succumb to take this thing just as compliance, none of it making sense to me, none of it in my religion…I can make money doing something else. If New York City doesn’t want people like you there, if they don’t want people of faith there, it’s time to move on, then. Let Mayor Eric Adams put his uniform back on, and he can be the cop! He can arrest people. He didn’t do it when he was, but he could try now!

For me personally, I grew up in Brooklyn, I lived in Staten Island, I never pictured myself leaving New York. My neighbors loved me, I shoveled the snow for all my neighbors, my whole family is in New York, I _never_ thought that I would leave New York. I thought that I would retire an old man from the police department, maybe get myself a little condo in Florida and travel back-and-forth, and raise my children here. It just didn’t work out that way. I had to leave my career, to basically put food on the table. I had to come to Florida to come to a state that supports my faith.

… Meanwhile, I have no health benefits for my kids, I have no steady check coming in anymore, and I have a disabled daughter, who is blind. She needs care all the time, and it’s a scary world out there. But it’s even scarier to think that, hey: they could ask me to stick whatever they want in my body…and I have to do it? Or force a medical procedure on me just so I can keep my check? I don’t believe in that, and I put my faith in God and I stick to my morals. As stressful and as hard as it is, I still count my blessings. I loved being a cop, I had a great time, and thank God I did save the way I did and I can get through the hard times now. 

——

Jimmy Dore, comedian; injured by his second Covid vaccine dose, he created a stand-up routine about it. This is the very end:

…Well, it’s been great to talk to all of you white supremacists! And in honor of your white supremacy, I’m going to read the statement from the Black Caucus of the Green Party, which got it right: lockdowns, mandates, and passports are the major issue of the day, with millions of people protesting against them worldwide. In fact, what has become known as the medical freedom movement is arguably the biggest and most diverse international movement in the world‘s history. And you’re part of it! Vaccine mandates, and vaccine passports, are among the most vile, unconstitutional, immoral, unscientific, discriminatory, and outright criminal policies ever to be forced upon this population…

That’s the Black Caucus of the Green Party, [effing] white supremacists! 

Don’t turn on each other! I have more in common with every person here than I do with Bill Gates. We have more in common than we do with the oligarchs! Don’t turn on your neighbor, keep your attention on the oligarchy, and [eff] authoritarianism. Stand together, love your neighbor, don’t turn on them, support each other! Thank you for being here, stop the mandates!

——

Trahern Crews, co-author of the Black Caucus Green Party statement referenced above:

…I am now an organizer with Black Lives Matter Minnesota, and we still feel that the mandates are unconstitutional, especially with the history here with Black people in the medical field. It’s just a no-brainer that we don’t accept the vaccine mandates. We’ve been working in the jails here; my sister’s son died from neglect and abuse in the county jail. They tried to tell her he died in their arms and they tried to revive him, but when we got the footage back, we found out that he was laying on the floor for eight hours and they just watched him die when they could have saved him.

So when we’re talking about medical freedom, sometimes even our inmates are being used as guinea pigs inside jails and prisons, and this is another thing we have to watch for. 

[Interviewer: It is so interesting that Black Lives Matter is against the mandates, and the Green Party is against the mandates… And also, the police officers are against the mandates! When else do we see BLM and the police come together on an issue like this?! That kind of tells you something.]

The St. Paul police union actually sued the city here about the vaccine mandate, and I think the fire department got involved, so that’s something we both can agree on for sure.

The truckers came through Minnesota on 94, and then right when they were starting to show up, mandates started dropping around here, so they were pretty effective, driving through St. Paul on 94! (Laughs.)

I think the experience we had in DC [at Defeat the Mandates] was: here’s a way to show that there are people from all walks of life, this is not just white supremacists, and lots of people who are impacted by this are black. Like in New York, 75% of people who are black are unvaccinated, and these are hard-working people, who want to take care of their families, take pride in going to work…but then you’re telling them that they have to get a vaccine that they don’t trust? We’re educated enough to know how long a product takes to get approved, and we’re like, why should we do this?

[in New York City public schools, you can’t enter your
child’s school if you’re not vaccinated! If you don’t show your
segregation pass… And that means 60 to 70% of black parents there can’t
enter their child school.]

After the March in D.C., a sister reached out to me because she wasn’t allowed to get on the subway. And here in Minnesota recently, I saw a man get asked for his papers in a restaurant, and he was turned away, and then I was like: Wow, so now they can just pick and choose who they want to ask!

[In New York City, you’re not required to ask for passports, but you are still ALLOWED to ask…if you want. Have we not learned these lessons already?]

Just yesterday, a Republican Minnesota lawmaker activist called for a vaccine mandate ban. “Whether you’re pro-vax or anti-vax, we are for healthcare freedom, and mandates that are one-size-fits-all should not be on the agenda.”

We’re also working on some reparatory justice work, so if any of your viewers can contact our Republican friends here in Minnesota, and tell them to support HF 3850…and keep fighting against injustice, tyranny, authoritarianism! When we keep pushing like this, we’re going to see these mandates fall across the country!

——

Tramell Thompson

…Now let me tell you all something. I’m going to be honest with you guys: I’m vaccinated, but I did it by choice. I do not subscribe to the mandates that they have us going through in this country! So what I did in New York City is, I went up to Albany, New York and invited 5000 of my friends. I tore up my vaccination card right there, to let them know I would not subscribe to their tyranny. 

Now check this out: this whole entire two years, I thought that the virus was actually Covid. And come to find out, the virus was never Covid: the virus was fear. The virus was control. 

Now if you notice, in 2022, they’re mandating everything but freedom.

In New York, in early 2020, they were calling frontline workers, “heroes.” They was banging pots at 7 PM, clapping for our heroes. In 2022, they’re firing those same heroes, who are trying to have freedom of choice. It’s crazy, right?

… Are you all familiar with Bobby Kennedy Junior? I got a text last night, and it said, “Tramell, come hiking with me in the morning?”

I said, “Bobby, I have a very important event!“ But I forgot, I’m speaking to a Kennedy! I can’t deny this, right? 

But he told me something important. He said, “When we’re going to sleep, the devil was just now putting on their clothes.” 

I said, “Mr. Kennedy, they must not know that our guard don’t sleep either.“ 

Our guard do not sleep!

Now check this out, I want you all to put your hand in the air real quick. If you are American, and you believe in freedom, put your hand in the air! Every time I name a freedom, I want you all to drop a finger: freedom of speech. Freedom of press. Freedom of religion. The right to assemble. The right to petition the government. Do you see this fist? This is our most powerful weapon in this country. It is time to fight back!

Author

  • Sarabeth Matilsky Sarabeth Matilsky writes about her family’s unschooling adventures, trying to find as much humor as she can.
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Using War to Assault Freedom

Using War to Assault Freedom

LewRockWell.com By Andrew P. Napolitano

April 21, 2022

Most judges and lawyers agree that the war on drugs in the past 50 years has seriously diminished the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

Now a small group of legal academics is arguing that the war in Ukraine should be used to diminish property rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment was written to guarantee that the government may only search and seize persons, houses, papers and effects pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge after the presentation under oath of evidence demonstrating that the place to be searched more likely than not contains evidence of crime. And the warrant itself must specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

These requirements — the work of James Madison, who was the scrivener of the Constitution in 1787 and the author of the Bill of Rights in 1791 — were intended to have two effects.

The first effect was to uphold the quintessentially American right to be left alone. The second was to compel the government to focus its law enforcement personnel and assets on crimes for which there is probable cause, not fishing expeditions or hunches.

Madison’s language prohibited absolutely the use of general warrants, a favorite tool of the British government against the colonists. General warrants were based on whatever the government wanted or claimed it needed.

The colonists were tormented by, and driven to revolution over, general warrants, as they authorized British agents to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. Surely, the dreadful colonial experience with general warrants was a driving force behind the wording and ratification of the Fourth Amendment.

Sadly, during the war on drugs, prosecutors and police persuaded judges to craft “emergency” exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. These included allowing police to look for whatever they wanted in cars and homes, and using the CIA for warrantless surveillance, lest the drugs supposedly being sought be destroyed before capture.

The effect of this was to destroy a fundamental liberty in deference to easing police work; that’s the definition of a police state. The courts effectively ruled that somehow the Constitution prefers liberty — rather than evidence of crimes — to be destroyed.

The Fifth Amendment protects the life, liberty and property of all persons from destruction or aggression by the government without due process of law. Due process requires a jury trial at which the government must prove fault.

Thus, property cannot be seized temporarily or taken permanently without either a search warrant or a jury trial.

Now back to the war in Ukraine.

I have argued in this column and elsewhere that the Biden administration sanctions imposed on Russian and American persons and businesses are profoundly unconstitutional because they are imposed by executive fiat rather than by legislation and because the sanctions constitute either the seizure of property without a warrant or the taking of property without due process.

When the feds seize a yacht from a person whom they claim may have financed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, they are doing so in direct violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Similarly, when they freeze Russian assets in American banks, they engage in a seizure, and seizures can only constitutionally be done with a search warrant based on probable cause of crime.

As well, when the feds interfere with contract rights by prohibiting compliance with lawful contracts, that, too, implicates due process and can only be done constitutionally after a jury verdict in the government’s favor, at a trial at which the feds have proved fault.

As if to anticipate these constitutional roadblocks to its interference with free commercial choices, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 and the Magnitsky Act of 2016. These constitutional monstrosities purport to give the president the power to declare persons and entities to be violators of human rights and, by that mere executive declaration alone, to punish them without trial.

These laws turn the Fourth and Fifth Amendments on their heads by punishing first and engaging in a perverse variant of due process later. How perverse? These laws require that if you want your seized property back, you must prove that you are not a human rights violator.

As if to run even further away from constitutional norms, a group of legal academics began arguing last week that the property seized from Russians is not really owned by human beings, but by the Russian government. And, this crazy argument goes, since the Russian government is not a person, there is no warrant or due process requirement; therefore, the feds can convert the assets they have seized and frozen to their own use.

To these academics — who reject property ownership as a moral right and exalt government aggression as a moral good — the argument devolves around the meaning of the word “person.” The Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect every “person” and all “people,” not just Americans.

And in American jurisprudence, “person” means both human beings and artificial persons — corporations and governments capable of owning property. Property ownership is defined by the right to use, alienate and exclude. Only persons can exercise those rights.

Madison and his colleagues clearly sought to protect property rights from government aggression, no matter the legal status of the owner. We know this from the judicial opinions involving foreign property that preceded and followed the ratification of the Fifth Amendment. If this were not so, then nothing could prevent the feds from seizing and converting the property of states or local governments or international religious institutions to federal use.

War is the health of the state and the graveyard of liberty. The drug war was a disaster for freedom. The war in Ukraine will be so as well, only if we permit it.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

The Best of Andrew P. Napolitano Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition

“One less traitor”: Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition

No, Russia may not be guiltless, but carefully consider if you would support Ukrainian government, military, etc. mrossol

The Grayzone, by Max Blumenthal and Esha Krishnaswamy, April 17, 2022

While claiming to defend democracy, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky has outlawed his opposition, ordered his rivals’ arrest, and presided over the disappearance and assassination of dissidents across the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his country’s war against Russia as a battle for democracy itself. In a carefully choreographed address to US Congress on March 16, Zelensky stated, “Right now, the destiny of our country is being decided. The destiny of our people, whether Ukrainians will be free, whether they will be able to preserve their democracy.”

US corporate media has responded by showering Zelensky with fawning press, driving a campaign for his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and inspiring a flamboyant musical tribute to himself and the Ukrainian military during the 2022 Grammy awards ceremony on April 3.

Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia.

“There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia.

Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.

The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents.

On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.

While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics.

“The war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members who express themselves critical of the government,” a left-wing activist beaten and persecuted by Ukraine’s security services commented this April. “We must all fear for our freedom and our lives.”

Torture and enforced disappearances “common practices” of Ukraine’s SBU

When a US-backed government seized power in Kiev following the Euromaidan regime change operation of 2013-14, Ukraine’s government embarked on a nationwide purge of political elements deemed pro-Russian or insufficiently nationalistic. The passage of “decommunization” laws by the Ukrainian parliament further eased the persecution of leftist elements and the prosecution of activists for political speech.

The post-Maidan regime has focused its wrath on Ukrainians who have advocated a peace settlement with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east, those who have documented human rights abuses by the Ukrainian military, and members of communist organizations. Dissident elements have faced the constant threat of ultra-nationalist violence, imprisonment, and even murder.

The Ukrainian security service known as the SBU has served as the main enforcer of the post-Maidan government’s campaign of domestic political repression. Pro-Western monitors including the United Nations Office of the High Commission (UN OHCR) and Human Rights Watch have accused the SBU of systematically torturing political opponents and Ukrainian dissidents with near-total impunity.

The UN OHCR found in 2016 that “arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment of such conflict-related detainees were common practice of SBU… A former Kharkiv SBU officer explained, ‘For the SBU, the law virtually does not exist as everything that is illegal can be either classified or explained by referring to state necessity.”

Yevhen Karas, the founder of the infamous neo-Nazi C14 unit, has detailed the close relationship his gang and other extreme right factions have enjoyed with the SBU. The SBU “informs not only us, but also Azov, the Right Sector, and so on,” Karas boasted in a 2017 interview.

Kiev officially endorses assassinating Ukrainian mayors for negotiating with Russia

Since Russia launched its military operation inside Ukraine, the SBU has hunted down local officials that decided to accept humanitarian supplies from Russia or negotiated with Russian forces to arrange corridors for civilian evacuations.

On March 1, for example, Volodymyr Strok, the mayor of the eastern city of Kreminna in the Ukrainian-controlled side of Lugansk, was kidnapped by men in military uniform, according to his wife, and shot in the heart.

On March 3, pictures of Strok’s visibly tortured body appeared. A day before his murder, Struk had reportedly urged his Ukrainian colleagues to negotiate with pro-Russian officials.

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, celebrated the mayor’s murder, declaring on his Telegram page (see below): “There is one less traitor in Ukraine. The mayor of Kreminna in Luhansk region, former deputy of Luhansk parliament was found killed.” 

According to Geraschenko, Strok had been judged by the “court of the people’s tribunal.”

Telegram post by Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, celebrating the assassination of “traitor” and Kreminna Mayor Volodymyr Struk

The Ukrainian official therefore delivered a chilling message to anyone choosing to seek cooperation with Russia: do so and lose your life.  

On March 7, the mayor of Gostomel, Yuri Prylipko, was found murdered. Prylipko had reportedly entered into negotiations with the Russian military to organize a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of his city’s residents – a red line for Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who had long been in conflict with the mayor’s office.

Next, on March 24, Gennady Matsegora, the mayor of Kupyansk in northeastern Ukraine, released a video (below) appealing to President Volodymyr Zelensky and his administration for the release of his daughter, who had been held hostage by agents of the Ukrainian SBU intelligence agency.   https://videopress.com/embed/JjOO47L8?hd=1&cover=1&loop=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=1&muted=0&controls=1&playsinline=0

Then there was the murder of Denis Kireev, a top member of the Ukrainian negotiating team, who was killed in broad daylight in Kiev after the first round of talks with Russia. Kireev was subsequently accused in local Ukrainian media of “treason.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement that “there would be consequences for collaborators” indicates that these atrocities have been sanctioned by the highest levels of government. https://videopress.com/embed/vXMNwPxf?hd=1&cover=1&loop=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=1&muted=0&controls=1&playsinline=0

As of today, eleven mayors from various towns in Ukraine are missing. Western media outlets have been following the Kiev line without exception, claiming that all mayors been arrested by the Russian military. The Russian Ministry of Defense has denied the charge, however, and little evidence exists to corroborate Kiev’s line about the missing mayors.  

Zelensky outlaws political opposition, authorizes arrest of rivals and war propaganda blitz

When war erupted with Russia this February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a series of decrees formalizing Kiev’s campaign against political opposition and dissident speech.

In a March 19 executive order, Zelensky invoked martial law to ban 11 opposition parties. The outlawed parties consisted of the entire left-wing, socialist or anti-NATO spectrum in Ukraine. They included the For Life Party, the Left Opposition, the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, Union of Left Forces, Socialists, the Party of Shariy, Ours, State, Opposition Bloc and the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc.

Openly fascist and pro-Nazi parties like the Azov National Corps were left untouched by the presidential decree, however.

“The activities of those politicians aimed at division or collusion will not succeed, but will receive a harsh response,” President Zelensky stated.

As he wiped out his opposition, Zelensky ordered an unprecedented domestic propaganda initiative to nationalize all television news broadcasting and combine all channels into a single 24 hour channel called “United News” to “tell the truth about war.”

Next, on April 12, Zelensky announced the arrest of his principal political rival, Viktor Medvedchuk, by Ukraine’s SBU security services. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1513975057739042819&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

The founder of the second largest party in Ukraine, the now-illegal Patriots for Life, Medvedchuk is the de facto representative of the country’s ethnic Russian population. Though Patriots for Life is regarded as “pro-Russia,” in part because of his close relations with Vladimir Putin, the new chairman of the party has condemned Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine.

Members of the state-sponsored neo-Nazi Azov Battalion’s National Corps attacked Medvedchuk’s home in March 2019, accusing him of treason and demanding his arrest.

In August 2020, Azov’s National Corps opened fire on a bus carrying representatives of Medvedchuk’s party, wounding several with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Zelensky’s administration escalated the assault on his top opponent in February 2021 when he shuttered several media outlets controlled by Medvedchuk. The US State Department openly endorsed the president’s move, declaring that the United States “supports Ukrainian efforts to counter Russia’s malign influence…”

Three months later, Kiev jailed Medvedchuk and charged him with treason. Zelensky justified locking away his leading rival on the grounds that he needed to “fight against the danger of Russian aggression in the information arena.”

Medvedchuk escaped house arrest at the onset of the war between Russia and Ukraine, but is a captive once again, and may be used as collateral for a post-war prisoner swap with Russia.

Under Zelensky’s watch, “the war is being used to kidnap, imprison and even kill opposition members”

Since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s SBU security service had been on a rampage against any and all iterations of internal political opposition. Leftist Ukrainian activists have faced particularly harsh treatment, including kidnapping and torture.

This March 3 in the city of Dnipro, SBU officers accompanied by Azov ultra-nationalists raided the home of activists with the Livizja (Left) organization, which has organized against social spending cuts and right-wing media propaganda. While one activist said the Azov member “cut my hair off with a knife,” the state security agents proceeded to torture her husband, Alexander Matjuschenko, pressing a gun barrel to his head and forcing him to repeatedly belt out the nationalist salute, “Slava Ukraini!”

“Then they put bags over our heads, tied our hands with tape and took us to the SBU building in a car. There they continued to interrogate us and threatened to cut off our ears,” Matjuschenko’s wife told the leftist German publication Junge Welt.

The Azov members and SBU agents recorded the torture session and published images of Matjuschenko’s bloodied face online.

The torture of left-wing activist Alexander Matjuschenko on March 3 in Dnipro, recorded by Azov members and posted on Telegram by the city of Dnipro

Matjuschenko was jailed on the grounds that he was “conducting an aggressive war or military operation,” and now faces 10 to 15 years in prison. Despite enduring several broken ribs from the beating by state-backed ultra-nationalists, he has been denied bail. Meanwhile, dozens of other leftists have been jailed on similar charges in Dnipro. Among those targeted by the SBU were Mikhail and Aleksander Kononovich, members of the outlawed Leninist Communist Youth Union of Ukraine. Both were arrested and jailed on March 6 and accused of “spreading pro-Russian and pro-Belarusian views.” In the following days, the SBU arrested broadcast journalist Yan Taksyur and charged him with treason; human rights activist Elena Berezhnaya; Elena Viacheslavova, a human rights advocate whose father, Mikhail, was burned to death during the May 2, 2014 ultra-nationalist mob attack on anti-Maidan protesters outside the Odessa House of Trade Unions; independent journalist Yuri Tkachev, who was charged with treason, and an untold number of others; disabled rights activist Oleg Novikov, who was jailed for three years this April on the grounds that he supported “separatism.” The list of those imprisoned by Ukraine’s security services since the outbreak of war grows by the day, and is too extensive to reproduce here. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1512783497605361665&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

Perhaps the most ghastly incident of repression took place when neo-Nazis backed by the Ukrainian government kidnapped Maxim Ryndovskiy, a professional MMA fighter, and brutally tortured him for the crime of training with Russian fighters at a gym in Chechnya. Ryndovskiy also happened to be Jewish, with a Star of David tattooed on his leg, and had spoken out on social media against the war in eastern Ukraine. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1500195518697328646&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

Ukraine’s SBU has even hunted opposition figures outside the country’s borders. As journalist Dan Cohen reported, Anatoly Shariy of the recently banned Party of Shariy said he was the target of a recent SBU assassination attempt. Shariy has been an outspoken opponent of the US-backed Maidan regime, and has been forced to flee into exile after enduring years of harassment from nationalists.

This March, the libertarian politician and online pundit received an email from a friend, “Igor,” seeking to arrange a meeting. He subsequently learned that Igor was held by the SBU at the time and being used to bait Shariy into disclosing his location.

For his part, Shariy has been placed on the notorious Myrotvorets public blacklist of “enemies of the state” founded by Anton Geraschenko – the Ministry of Internal Affairs advisor who endorsed the assassination of Ukrainian lawmakers accused of Russian sympathies. Several journalists and Ukrainian dissidents, including the prominent columnist Oles Buzina, were murdered by state-backed death squads after their names appeared on the list.

Common Ukrainian citizens have also been subjected to torture since the start of the war this February. Seemingly countless videos have appeared on social media showing civilians tied to lamp posts, often with their genitals exposed or their faces painted green. Carried out by Territorial Defense volunteers tasked with enforcing law and order during wartime, these acts of humiliation and torture have targeted everyone from accused Russian sympathizers to Roma people to alleged thieves. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1506003332015398918&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

This is the human rights that Zelensky brought to Ukrainian civilians#Mariupol #StandWithUkraine #RussiaUkraineWar pic.twitter.com/EWFC048M2q

— UN voice of Justice (@TheUN_voice) April 3, 2022

Ukraine’s SBU studies torture and assassination from the CIA

Vassily Prozorov, a former SBU officer who defected to Russia following the Euromaidan coup, detailed the post-Maidan security services’ systemic reliance on torture to crush political opposition and intimidate citizens accused of Russian sympathies. 

According to Prozorov, the ex-SBU officer, the Ukrainian security services have been directly advised by the CIA since 2014. “CIA employees have been present in Kiev since 2014. They are residing in clandestine apartments and suburban houses,” he said. “However, they frequently come to the SBU’s central office for holding, for example, specific meetings or plotting secret operations.”

Below, Russia’s RIA Novosti profiled Prozorov and covered his disclosures in a 2019 special. https://videopress.com/embed/XHPlaSCf?hd=1&cover=1&loop=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=1&muted=0&controls=1&playsinline=0

Journalist Dan Cohen interviewed a Ukrainian businessman named Igor who was arrested by the SBU for his financial ties with Russian companies and detained this March in the security service’s notorious headquarters in downtown Kiev. Igor said he overheard Russian POWs being beaten with pipes by Territorial Defense volunteers being coached by SBU officers. Pummeled to the sound of the Ukrainian national anthem, the Russian prisoners were brutalized until they confessed their hatred for Putin.

Then came Igor’s turn. “They used a lighter to heat up a needle, then put it under my fingernails,” he told Cohen. “The worst was when they put a plastic bag over my head and suffocated me and when they held the muzzle of a Kalashnikov rifle to my head and forced me to answer their questions.”

Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the first head of the SBU after the Euromaidan regime change operation of 2013-14, nurtured close ties to Washington when he served as general consul to the Ukrainian embassy to the US during the George W. Bush administration. During that time, Nalyvaichenko was recruited by the CIA, according to his predecessor at the SBU, Alexander Yakimenko, who served under the Russian-oriented government of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.

In 2021, Zelensky appointed one of Ukraine’s most notorious intelligence figures, Oleksander Poklad, to lead SBU’s counterintelligence division. Poklad is nicknamed “The Strangler,” a reference to his reputation for using torture and assorted dirty tricks to set-up his bosses’ political rivals on treason charges.

This April, a vivid illustration of the SBU’s brutality emerged in the form of video (below) showing its agents pummeling a group of men accused of Russian sympathies in the city of Dnipro. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-5&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1511301270820343809&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

“We will never take Russian soldiers prisoner”: Ukraine’s military flaunts its war crimes

While the Western media has focused squarely on alleged Russian human rights abuses since the outbreak of war, Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Ukrainian social media accounts have proudly exhibited sadistic war crimes, from field executions to the torture of captive soldiers.

This March, a pro-Ukrainian Telegram channel called White Lives Matter released a video of a Ukrainian soldier calling the fiancee of a Russian prisoner of war, seen below, and taunting her with promises to castrate the captive. https://videopress.com/embed/wnzk7oQc?hd=1&cover=1&loop=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=1&muted=0&controls=1&playsinline=0

Ukrainian soldiers’ use of the cellphones of dead Russian soldiers to mock and hector their relatives appears to be a common practice. In fact, the Ukrainian government has begun using notoriously invasive facial recognition technology from Clearview AI, a US tech company, to identify Russian casualties and taunt their relatives on social media. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-6&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1508046216420020225&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

This April, a pro-Ukrainian Telegram channel called fckrussia2022 posted a video depicting a Russian soldier with one of his eyes bandaged, suggesting it had been gouged during torture, and mocked him as a “one-eyed” pig. 

Perhaps the most gruesome image to have appeared on social media in recent weeks is the photo of a tortured Russian soldier who had one of his eyes gouged before he was killed. The accompanying post was captioned, “looking for Nazis.”

Photos distributed by pro-Ukraine Telegram channels showing captured, tortured and executed Russian soldiers

Video has also emerged this April showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting defenseless Russian POWs in the legs outside the city of Kharkov. A separate video published by Ukrainian and US-backed Georgian Legion soldiers showed the fighters carrying out field executions of wounded Russian captives near a village outside Kiev.

Ukrainian and Georgian Legion fighters celebrate after executing captive Russian soldiers on video

It is likely that these soldiers had been emboldened by their superiors’ blessings. Mamula Mamulashvili, the commander of the Georgian Legion, which participated in the field executions of wounded Russian POW’s, boasted this April that his unit freely engages in war crimes: “Yes, we tie their hands and feet sometimes. I speak for the Georgian Legion, we will never take Russian soldiers prisoner. Not a single one of them will be taken prisoner.” 

Similarly, Gennadiy Druzenko, the head of the Ukrainian military medical service, stated in an interview with Ukraine 24 that he “issued an order to castrate all Russian men because they were subhuman and worse than cockroaches.” 

Ukrainian officials present woman tortured and killed by Azov as victim of Russia

While Western media homes in on Russian human rights violations at home and inside Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has authorized a propaganda campaign known as “Total War” that includes the planting of bogus images and false stories to further implicate Russia.

In one especially cynical example of the strategy, Ukraine 24 –  a TV channel where guests have called for the genocidal extermination of Russian children – published a photo this April depicting a female corpse branded with a bloody swastika on her stomach. Ukraine 24 claimed that it found this woman in Gostumel, one of the regions in the Kiev Oblast that the Russians vacated on March 29.  

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, and Oleksiy Arestovych, the top advisor to President Zelensky, published the photo of the defiled female corpse on social media. While Vasylenko left the photo online, Arestovych deleted it eight hours after posting when confronted with the fact that he had published a fake.

In fact, the image was pulled from footage originally recorded by Patrick Lancaster, a Donetsk-based US journalist who had filmed the corpse of a woman tortured and murdered by members of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion in a Mariupol school basement they had converted into a base. 

At 2:31 in Lancaster’s video, the woman’s corpse can be seen clearly. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=maxblumenthal&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-7&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1511053915088990215&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthegrayzone.com%2F2022%2F04%2F17%2Ftraitor-zelensky-assassination-kidnapping-arrest-political-opposition%2F&sessionId=616f708faec424cf623554ed6130504f80ad8487&siteScreenName=TheGrayzoneNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=c8fe9736dd6fb%3A1649830956492&width=550px

As weapons pour into Ukraine from NATO states and the war intensifies, the atrocities are almost certain to pile up – and with the blessing of leadership in Kiev. As Zelensky proclaimed during a visit to the city of Bucha this April, “if we do not find a civilized way out, you know our people – they will find an uncivilized way out.”

Azov BattalionC14CIANazisneo-NazisRussiaSBUtortureUkraineUkrainian neo-NazisUkrainian SBUVolodymyr Zelensky

Max Blumenthal Editor-in-Chief

The editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, including best-selling Republican GomorrahGoliath, The Fifty One Day War, and The Management of Savagery. He has produced print articles for an array of publications, many video reports, and several documentaries, including Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded The Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

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Defeat the Mandates LA: A Report 

Defeat the Mandates LA: A Report 

The Brownstone Institute, By Sarabeth Matilsky   April 13, 2022  

On Sunday, April 10, Defeat the Mandates came to LA. The hope, after a similar march on Washington, DC that attracted 40,000 people, was to bring some sanity and solidarity to the Golden State. 

While many people are bored of thinking and talking about Covid, and the virus itself has gotten milder and milder as viruses do, there is an issue: the United States’ political response to Covid is NOT getting milder, even while “mandates fall.” This matters to you even if you wish it didn’t, even if you have “Covid Fatigue,” even if you are happy with your vaccines and boosters, and even if you don’t live in California. If you are one of the millions who got vaccinated under duress, you have likely noticed: it wasn’t enough to make all this go away. 

Way back in 2015, pharmaceutical companies had already elected some helpful politicians to carry out certain key “public health” missions in the state of California: removing religious and personal belief exemptions for childhood vaccines, and making it nearly impossible for doctors to legally grant medical vaccine exemptions for school attendance, even if a child has been previously injured by vaccines, or has a family member who was injured or killed by a vaccine.

It is very beneficial for Big Pharma when vaccines are mandated for school attendance: it qualifies them for protection under a 1986 law that completely removes liability for vaccine manufacturers when people are injured and killed by their products. And it’s very helpful to get legislation passed in California first, because California’s economy is Very Large Indeed.

Ten new bills introduced recently in California aim to expand Big Pharma’s money-making potential, and set a precedent for expanded liability protection and massive profits. If passed, these bills would make Covid vaccines mandatory for all California students, allow children to be vaccinated without parental approval, define anti-narrative speech as “misinformation,” deny funding to local police departments if they refuse to carry out disciplinary actions against those who violate public health orders, including the “spread” of “misinformation,” forbid doctors to share non-narrative “misinformation” with their patients, and more. 

Everything that is happening with Covid policies in the entire USA connects with the fact that we have been living under a “state of emergency” since March 2020. Despite the fact that there is no emergency, these emergency orders (that Biden just renewed for another entire year) cause certain constitutional rights to be suspended, such as a person’s right to work independent of Covid Vax Status. It’s truly a big moment for Big Pharma, and they are not planning to squander it while you and I take a little break after two years of lockdown fatigue.

I had been looking forward to the April 10 rally, since I’ve been following the Truckers’ Peoples’ Convoy for nearly two months and was hoping that the consistently non-partisan populism embodied by the Convoy would be echoed on a larger scale on the stage in L.A.

The first 2.5 hours of speeches were full of fire and brimstone, and a lot of anger and frustration and political rhetoric. There were lots of faith leaders and community organizers extolling the need for political action. And actually, I share these sentiments. It is shameful that “health” and “well-being” and the potential of the scientific method have been weaponized against so many billions of people around the world, and especially here in the United States, in the name of Covid Response. 

It is insanity that one would even have to debate the merits of medical mandates for a vaccine that never prevented transmission of the virus (not to mention that it possesses limited efficacy after multiple boosters, and safety issues that Big Pharma would like us never to consider). 

But still: partisan politics doesn’t fill me with hope for the future of the medical freedom movement.

However, as I tell my children, it’s absolutely never that you will meet another human with whom you have everything in common, and agree on every topic. The important part is finding common ground. And it turns out that right now, the most important common ground I can think of is medical freedom, and bodily autonomy, which has landed me in the midst of a fascinating movement that is more diverse than any community of which I have ever been a part. 

I grew up in a family steeped in progressive politics. I was taught that it is a person’s moral imperative to question authoritarianism, think for oneself, look out for and be compassionate toward those less fortunate; to demand honesty, accountability, wisdom, and fairness from elected officials; to be respectful and tolerant of different beliefs and lifestyles; to speak out against injustice; and most of all: To Do The Right Thing, even when it’s hard. We progressives don’t do the right thing because of religion, or law, or sponsorship, but because it is right. We stand together against Goliath, we seek truth over power always, and together we move mountains. 

At least, that’s my interpretation of what being left-wing means.

I would be admittedly less lonely these days if more progressives were standing up for medical freedom. But many have instead swiftly embraced both authoritarian Covid policies and authoritarian government, censorship, deplatforming, name-calling, fearmongering, and partisan bickering over the past two years, and it has often made me wonder whether I am actually left-wing after all. But even more often lately, I wonder if those who jumped ship have changed their values much more so than I. 

Or perhaps, as Darren Allen points out, these perceived differences are beside the point:

“The world, and recent history, is full of poor people who have rallied under leftist flags, proclaiming ‘brotherhood’ and ‘solidarity’ and ‘charity’ and so on. What I would like to argue is that these ‘values’ — to which we might even add ‘empathy’ and ‘love’ — are no more ‘leftist values’ than ‘tradition,’ ‘individuality,’ and ‘freedom’ are ‘rightist values’. They are human values (or qualities) which are hijacked by socialist thinkers in the first case and capitalist thinkers in the second and appended to their system-friendly ideologies. 

I have to remind myself that grief over losing old friends is something best to process separately from gratitude for new ones, and separately still from the essential task of Finding Bits of Truth. 

As one friend put it, “It IS interesting that our liberal parents and mentors who were always highly skeptical of Big Pharma, government, and sick care systems are now convinced of their infallibility. How did that happen? 

“I wouldn’t say the apple fell far from the tree in my case – now I happen to be skeptical of those things, too – but then the tree got up and went somewhere else!”

Somewhere around hour #2 of the speeches, members of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) spoke. Since January 2020, these doctors (many thousands of them) have successfully treated hundreds of thousands of Covid patients with various protocols, focusing on early treatment as the key to highly successful outcomes. They have written books, produced podcasts, shared information, and tried to reason with our sold-out public health administrators and agencies. 

For their efforts, these doctors have been censored, deplatformed, ignored, and had their licenses removed by agents of our corporate-state authority. Not once have federal public health authorities acknowledged how important it is for Covid patients to receive early treatment. (In order to get an emergency use authorization for an experimental, fast-tracked vaccine, there must not exist any other treatment alternatives for the disease in the question.) FLCCC doctors describe the shameful and unrelenting propaganda and suppression of information that caused millions of people in 2020 to die needlessly from Covid – and how still, today, if you go to a hospital with complications from Covid, you are unlikely to have access to early treatment that could save your life.

What follows are selected excerpts of particularly interesting speeches given at the Defeat the Mandates LA, lightly edited by me for clarity only.

——

  1. Bob Sears

I am a pediatrician, trained at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and right over there at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I think I was pretty darn well-trained to think for myself, to question everything, and to always put my patients first, no matter what. You are all here today because you also like to think for yourselves, and ask questions, and you have witnessed firsthand what our Pharma-funded government and medical industry are trying to force on all of us. You are here because you are tired of it, like I am, and you aren’t going to take it anymore.

But I want to tell you something. None of this is new. Everything that has been happening with Covid, and the Covid vaccine, has already been happening for decades now. Vaccine Mandates. People losing their jobs for not vaccinating. Children being kicked out of schools simply because their parents want to raise them more naturally. Vaccines rushed to market without adequate safety research – sound familiar? The medical community denying that vaccine injury is real, and canceling anyone who dares to speak up. Our society has been discriminating against people of a certain medical persuasion for decades now. 

A wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” And who would know better than King Solomon, how the love of money, and the thirst for power, always leads to evil in the end? I have been fighting our Pharma-funded mandates for a quarter of a century now, and I know some of you here today have been fighting even longer than I have. And for all of you who have just woken up, welcome to the fight!

Millions of Americans have come before you and have fought for you, and we’re finally becoming a bigger people. You all were shocked last year when you realized our government and medical experts don’t always tell you the truth when it comes to infectious disease and vaccines. You saw them deny that Covid vaccines can injure people. Myocarditis. Bleeding disorders. Strokes and heart attacks. Don’t worry, people, these are all just coincidence! Tens of thousands of inconvenient coincidences. Denial of vaccine injury isn’t new at all. Our CDC and medical industry have been denying vaccine injury for decades, even while many tens of thousands of injuries are reported each and every year from vaccines against the flu, chicken pox, HPV, and others. All of them written off as “coincidences.” 

You all woke up last year to the fact that our government was overblowing the danger of Covid. They were selling fear to prepare you to accept the coming vaccine mandates. And they had to make you believe that Covid is just as deadly for children so that you would accept their Covid mandates for schools. But none of this is new. They have been sowing fear of disease for decades, assuring you that if you don’t vaccinate, not only will you die, but so will everybody else around you. That if you don’t “do your part” to keep everyone vaccinated against devastating diseases – like chickenpox, the flu, mumps, HPV, hepatitis, and now Covid – that we will all die. And because some of you won’t comply, they’re taking your choice away and making vaccines mandatory. 

It is my greatest hope that we, the people, will finally come together – vaccinated and unvaccinated, as friends, neighbors, coworkers, and colleagues, and tell our government that they can no longer divide us, that our children can go to school together, that we can live, work, and play together, and that we can all be humans together again. And that no matter how scientifically justified they think their discrimination is, it is not okay. 

I’m here today to help end all vaccine mandates. You can get vaccines, or not get vaccines – I really don’t care. I’ll be your friend, and I’ll hug you no matter what you choose. All I care about is that you get to choose.

——

  1. Brett Weinstein

I thought the danger had passed for the moment. I thought the tyrannical force that has oozed and flowed across the West was finally receding, that Omicron and spring weather were driving it into retreat. Even in deep blue Portland where I live, masks were coming off and life was returning to something like normal. 

But I was wrong. The danger hasn’t gone anywhere. I discovered this when two friends contacted me about Covid policy in California, where I was raised. Even as masks are coming down here in California, the mandates that matter most are gearing up. 

I am not against vaccines. Quite the opposite: as a tropical biologist who has worked with wild mammals, I am more like a vaccine enthusiast. I have been glad for the immunity vaccination has given me to yellow fever and rabies, and I look forward to the day when I can say the same about dengue and malaria. 

As a biology professor, I have been thrilled to teach my students about the human immune system, and the fascinating and elegant way a good vaccine can provide what is in effect a firmware update that adds immunity to new diseases. 

But ladies and gentleman, as a father, husband, brother, friend, and as a student of history, I’m terrified. I’m terrified by the industry that has captured vaccine technology and turned it from a lifesaving medical tool into an industrial profit center. I’m terrified by what is known and what is not yet known about these new technologies that are so aggressively and universally being deployed – deployed, so far as I can tell, without a hint of reasonable caution. It would be negligent even if all the science were positive so far. It is utterly reckless in light of the evidence of risk that has already emerged.

We need excellent vaccines. We need them properly tested, and we need accurate information on their risks and benefits. We need our doctors, nurses, and scientists free to assess, discuss, and advise as they were trained to do. In short, we need all the ingredients of informed consent, and we citizens need the freedom to compare notes so we can protect ourselves and our families from the capture of our medical apparatus by forces with a higher priority than our health.

What we have instead, in place of accurate information, is phony scientific “consensus,” suddenly generated and ruthlessly maintained through intimidation and fear. And in place of consent, we have a coercive, one size fits all mandate policy, all of which makes a mockery of our rights as citizens of the West, and as Americans.

Let’s be clear: these mandates make no sense from the perspective of controlling the pandemic. They prevent neither contraction nor transmission of the disease, and cannot therefore rid the world of Covid, not even in principle. They also draw no distinction between the vulnerable and the naturally immune, and make no allowance for innate immunity of the young, nor the special vulnerability of pregnant women.

These policies are utterly incoherent from a health perspective. But there is another purpose to which they seem all too perfectly tailored: by driving those who are rightly hesitant about the Covid vaccines from many professions, the mandates create a world in which the powerful have a submissive and compliant workforce at their disposal. All those who intend to raise objections are being forced out of our police forces, our military, our hospitals, and our universities. The danger of that filtering could not be more grave.

In 1946, the world sat in judgement of the Nazis at Nuremberg. Those on trial claimed that they had simply been following orders. The world rightly concluded that the fact of having been ordered was no defense. 

A person has a moral obligation that transcends any duty to leaders or the chain of command. We have a sacred, absolute obligation to oppose immoral orders. That much is crystal clear. It is a civilizing insight, built on the graves of six million innocent people.

But what happens if a person gives an immoral order in 2022? To the police, to the military, to our medical professionals? Will they stand up and say, No? The chances of that have dropped dramatically in the last year, as those with the strongest tendency to object have been driven out for refusing, based on incomplete information, to consent to an experimental medical treatment.

The irony, of course, is that the orders these soldiers, cops, doctors, nurses, and professors rejected were themselves a clear violation of the Nuremberg code, defining a basic right to informed consent. The Covid vaccine mandates have in this way rolled back humanity’s hard-won gains at Nuremberg twice over. 

We have a massive medical experiment conducted on patients without informed consent, and those who refuse to enforce, accept, or administer the mandated experimental treatment are cast out of their chosen professions. We are unlearning the most important lessons of history. 

Informed consent and refusing immoral orders have, in a single year, been replaced with a universal requirement to take a radically new medical treatment and shut up about the unscientific and immoral logic behind it. Those who refuse are stigmatized, surrender basic rights, and driven to the economic fringe. I don’t know if the unmaking of Nuremberg is intentional, but regardless: the danger in these policies could not possibly be more real. We are setting the stage for the next tragedy of history. Our highest obligation is to resist and to pull as hard as we possibly can in the opposite direction. 

If our rights are to be protected, if our health is to be improved, if we are to benefit from good vaccines and good medication and good information, we must regain control of our captured system. We must preserve the gains of Nuremberg, liberate the practice of medicine from the pharmaceutical industry, defeat the mandates, and come together as Americans. 

——

  1. Mike Landis (co-leader of The People’s Convoy)

How about it, my freedom loving family! Wow, this is something! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I’d be standing here as a truck driver, I can tell you that much! However, here we are, huh? I can’t believe it! I just want to give a big shout-out to everybody that’s followed us, everybody that’s come along, everybody that’s stood up, and particularly there’s a bunch of doctors who got ahold of us when we started putting this together, that joined forces and made this thing just crazy…

…So, we started in California, and we’re baaaa-aaaack! You know, we went to DC and we got there and obviously had our First Amendment rights trampled on by some snow plows all around town, and then we found out about these bills that are getting ready to be voted on out here in California, and they directly attack what our convoy stands for, which is: your freedom, your freedom of choice, our constitutional rights, our human rights, and our god-given rights, and we said, hey, you know what? Maybe we should go back to Sacramento and let them know that there are some people who ain’t into this! So now, here we are.

And I’m gonna ask all of you who are out here and watching, to join us in Sacramento starting on the 18th, ‘cause we’re gonna be there for about a week or two, letting the Capitol know that we don’t like what they’re doing. Follow us along at thepeoplesconvoy.org . We’re gonna head up there next weekend, and we won’t be easy to miss.

——

  1. Brian Brase (co-leader of The People’s Convoy)

Hello, LA! Wow! Look at all of you, I can’t believe it, I can’t even talk… Man, I can’t even BEGIN! Like Mike said, it’s so humbling to see all this and the support that we got, going all the way across the country from Adelanto, CA to Hagerstown and on to DC and then ALL THE WAY back! You guys are amazing, this country’s amazing, everyone’s starting to wake up, and it’s ABOUT TIME!

Lotta people tried to paint us as Anti Vaxxers or Alt Right or Some Craziness, and that ain’t us! Listen, we’re not doctors, we’re not lawyers, we’re not scientists, we don’t work in labs, we have no idea whether vaccines are safe or not, but I’ll tell you something: We Are Americans! We Are Humans! As such, we are protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. This [the continuing “state of emergency” and the suspension of constitutional rights during this time] is not a left issue. This is not a right issue. This is an American issue, this is a global issue, this is a violation of your human rights, and countries around the world, nations, have gone to war over human rights violations. 

So I ask everyone: around the world, not just in this state, but around the world, to STAND UP! Now is the time! To remind our government, and governments around the world, that they work for us!

Thank you all for coming out! Come on up to Sacramento. Big shout-out to Fire Station 68. Over 7,000 first responders in LA County alone are about to lose their jobs for standing up. First responders in LA County and around the world: The People’s Convoy has your back! 

——

  1. Max Blumenthal

What’s up, L.A.?! I’m Max Blumenthal, from thegrayzone.com, and I regret to inform you that I’m a member of the media, the worst profession in the country. Actually, I’m one of the good ones. We’ll talk about that in a second. 

I want to talk about what’s been happening in the world for the last two years, because for two years we’ve seen one of the biggest grassroots movements unfold before our eyes: the medical freedom movement, which has seen millions of people around the world march against unscientific, anti-worker mandates in their own societies, from the indigenous Bolivians of El Alto, to Moroccans in Casa Blanca, to Iranians in Tehran, from Beirut, to Berlin, to Boston, to Los Angeles. And what is this about? It’s about decent, working people, around the world, trying to hold onto their humanity, their basic rights, their bodily autonomy and their very sanity in the face of the cold and ruthless machine that seeks to reduce every individual to a QR code and condition their participation in society and their very ability to work on their willingness to take an experimental gene therapy. 

That is unacceptable, and you know what else is unacceptable? Those who try to make this into a right versus left issue. All they’re trying to do is confuse, divide, hoodwink, and bamboozle on behalf of the billionaire class that represents the real winners of this pandemic. This is not about left vs. right, this is about our economic rights, our human rights, and our constitutional rights, and that’s why we’re here today. 

We watched for the past two years as Big Pharma and its oligarchic investors puppeteered our government, putting the FDA and CDC in its back pocket while turning our politicians into corporate sales reps, guaranteeing Pfizer and Moderna combined profits of $65,000 per minute. Per MINUTE! Using your bodies as profit centers, while working class Americans suffered the sharpest increase in poverty in 50 years. We’ve watched the wealth of the world’s ten richest men DOUBLE since the lockdowns began.

We’ve watched small businesses be destroyed, entire countries plunged deeper into debt, while the most vulnerable youth were deprived of the right to education. And now in New York City, we watch as wealthy and famous celebrities are allowed to work without a mandate, but healthy firefighters, medical workers, and teachers, people doing the most important jobs in this country, are not allowed to work because they disobey the mandates. 

And we’re here to say: LET THEM WORK!

Listen to the profit-driven, anti-people system here. I’m sorry, but this is not “socialism,” this is “corporatism,” and we live in a corporate state, a ruthless, imperialist corporate state, that exists in a permanent state of war and which divides to conquer, and which created a false division between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, in order to further shatter the solidarity of the 99%. 

I want to tell you about the most courageous journalist of our time. His name is Julian Assange. …Julian Assange, before he was a political prisoner, reminded us that every war of our lifetime, from Vietnam, to Iraq, to the NATO proxy war in the Ukraine, has been sold to us with the lies of the corporate media. And this too is true of the war waged on the people of this country under the banner of a pandemic.

Today as we know, Julian Assange sits in a maximum security prison for exposing the lies of the national security state, and they’re trying to kill him. And the same corporate apparatus that silenced Assange has set out to censor and smear anyone who has called out the lies that have given rise to a biomedical security state. Under the corporate state, character assassination, censorship, and official silencing is the price of telling the truth, and we understand that at The Grayzone, and we will never stop telling the truth. And so I’m here on behalf of the part of the media that is still independent, and still disobedient, and still defiant, and still says F.U., we won’t do what you tell me; to the stenographers, and the shills, and the war paint of the corporate state: We will not be silenced, and you will not win!

——

  1. Member of LAFD

You don’t just join a fire department and get a job: you join a fire family. And this is my fire family behind me, and out in this crowd. All of us here joined this job because we wanted to help serve the community, run into the chaos, make peace, and serve those who are in need. It wasn’t that long ago that we were called “heroes.” That’s a title that none of us like because it makes us uncomfortable. 

But nonetheless, that’s what we were called. We were happy to show up when no one else would. We showed up, they stayed home, and that was no problem. We knew the risks when we took this job. 

A few months back, it was determined that we either had to be vaccinated, have an exemption of some kind, or we would be terminated. We instantly went from heroes, to zeros. For exercising our god-given rights to say no.

I was a Beverly Hills firefighter/paramedic for eleven years. It meant the world to me. I tried to comply. I filled out an exemption, and they denied it. My religious beliefs were not strong enough, or perhaps not the right ones, but it was decided by one individual in HR that they were not good enough. She gave me no reasoning, no justification, she used no criteria. It was completely unjust. Then they immediately, unjustly, disregarded my due process and put me on unpaid leave on October 1st. 

The one thing they didn’t count on was that at that moment, they activated the fighting spirit inside of me. Since then, I’ve been doing everything in my power to educate the community, to fight against this tyranny. Because after all, it isn’t government or man who gives us power, it is bestowed on us by God, our creator, who gives us our rights and our freedoms. I refuse to give those up for any man or any paycheck, so I stand strong with my brothers and sisters behind me, to stand against this tyranny. 

——

  1. Jamel Holley, Democratic Politician from New Jersey

….I came here today because I’m a black man, and I’m a black Democrat, been elected for 16 years – and I believe in medical freedom, and I believe in you. 

You know, our Declaration of Independence was founded upon the idea that all men are created equal. I believe that. And there’s been times in our history where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have been interrupted. And during those moments in history, there were heroes – men, women, all races, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, who stood up as heroes – to fight against that interruption.

Have you ever heard that phrase, “History repeats itself?” Well, history is repeating itself. Because at this moment in time when we’re fighting for our medical freedom, our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence are being interrupted. But guess what? Just like history repeated itself when those men and women, those Democrats, those Republicans, those Independents, those vaccinated, those unvaccinated came together to defend themselves back then, each and every one of you are doing the same goddamn thing right now. 

We won in NJ, the headquarters of Big Pharma, and we can do that across America, because we’re doing it right now. They didn’t expect you to stand up, but you did. And today is about men, women, black, white, Democrat, Republican, Independent, unvaccinated, vaccinated, whatever-cinnated you want to be…that you are standing here today because you want to make a medical decision for yourselves. 

So now there’s a new agenda. And now we have to step up and stand up and run for public office. Now, not everyone’s an elected official, or chooses to be an elected official. It’s a tough job. But I’m about to introduce individuals who came up and said, “We are no longer going to sit on the sidelines, and we’re going to sign up, and we’re going to be candidates for office.” And you must support them! 

Before I introduce them, I want to simply say, Thank you to all of you. Thank you to all the individuals who are watching on the Highwire, thank you for all the individuals who are watching this across the world. And I want to take a minute to thank all of the volunteers, Del Bigtree, Children’s Health Defense, I wanna thank Michael Kane, and Bobby Kennedy…there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make things like this happen. And what about those goddamn truckers?! 

So folks, continue to support the medical freedom movement, because it’s not an easy ride. I’m a Democrat, I’m a black Democrat, and it ain’t easy in the Democratic Party. But I wanted to be here today to let you know that we do exist. And we may not agree on every issue, fundamentally, but where we do meet, and where I do meet with you, is that everyone has the right to make a medical decision for themselves. Period. And so, let’s give it up for those people running for public office across the United States of America!

——

  1. Reinette Senum, Independent candidate for California Governor

Hello, Californians! 

My name is Reinette Senum, and I’m here to replace Newsom – I’m running for governor. And you better believe I’m here to be his biggest nightmare. I am not running with any party affiliation because you cannot serve a party and the people simultaneously. I’m not here to serve Money, I’m here to serve The Many. 

And most importantly, I’m here to serve the seven-generation principle, which is: every decision you make today should serve seven generations from now. Because what we have done, is we have let down the children, and the children’s children, and…NOT ON MY WATCH. 

This is a game-changing moment in time, but do understand that one person is not going to save you. I’m going to get in there, and I’m going to make the changes, but we need every single one of you, because this is all-hands-on-deck. 

So, on the count of three – this is all about waking up the Mama Bears – I want seven generations to hear it: “WAKE THE BEARS!” 

Thank you, everyone.

——

  1. Jo Rose, Co-founder, the NY Freedom Rally 

[it must be stated in order to understand the intended irony in her
words below: Ms. Rose possesses skin the color of beautiful brown
coffee]

Hello, L.A.! It is a pleasure to be here. Coast to coast, because we have a country to save, especially the children.

A little bit about myself: I was working for the Department of Education in New York City. My parents came here from the Dominican Republic, seeking financial opportunities in the country that is supposed to be where everyone and anybody can make it. This is the American dream, so they say.

In March 2020, when they told me that I had to stay home, that I couldn’t go back to work, I immediately told people that something really, really wrong was happening in this country, and all over the world. I was called a conspiracy theorist, they said. They told me that I was crazy. As time went by, I was proven right. Today, because I speak for the children, and because I’m standing up for freedom, I’m being called a white supremacist and a white nationalist. To that, this is what I have to say: if standing up for freedom makes me a white supremacist and a white nationalist, then I’m going to claim that I’m white nationalist!

…I don’t care if I have to stand with them in the cold, if I have to stand in the rain or the snow: there’s a group of people that are here, and we have been going at it nonstop, day after day, working together. Because if this country falls, there’s nowhere else to run, and it’s important that people understand that – that freedom is on the shoulders of every American. Because if America falls, the rest of the countries that look up to us as the leader of free nations…what message are we sending them when we have children in New York City, from ages two to four with MASKS ON, while the mayors and the governor get to go out and do whatever the hell they want? It is time now that the people wake up from the cognitive dissonance and the Stockholm Syndrome where you have a relationship with your abuser. 

If people are not aware of what’s going on, this is the cycle of abuse:

First, they told people to stay home for two weeks. They’re doing it for your safety: “I love you,” right? They’re doing it for your safety! Two weeks, right? Two weeks…Now we’re in year number three! And we still haven’t gotten back our freedoms, and I’ll tell you why. 

When you’re dealing with an abuser, once you give them an inch, they’re going to take your whole body. And that abuser is never going to stop. This is about power and control. They have divided us by race, they have divided us by political affiliation, by masks or no masks, vaccine or no vaccine…and this is all a tactic, because at the end, they are going to discard both the scapegoats – those of us standing up for freedom – AND the golden children, those who keep complying. I want people to understand that we have been dealing with a narcissistic relationship within our own government.

The same cycles of abuse that you see in the family unit, is the same thing that is happening today, and until we realize psychologically and spiritually and emotionally what is being done, we’re never going to get out of it, because if you want to defeat your enemy, you have to understand the tactics that your enemy is using against you, against your children, against your businesses, against your schools. Because guess what? If you want to be able to control our population, you have to target the young. If you can get a child to comply, then in a few years, you have taken control of a whole nation. So if you’re not going to fight for yourself, then fight for the next generation that is to come. 

We, the people, WILL NOT COMPLY!

——

(Sarabeth writing again here)

“Covid“ doesn’t begin to capture the complexity. But what Covid can do is show us a reflection of what is wrong, and give us a chance to show up.

And so I invite you: come on out! The stage has plenty of room, and so do the town squares, and we need each other! The time to speak up is now, and the reason to do it is because it is right. Denounce the rot, and move onward with a sense of humor toward whatever lies ahead. It will take a lot of hard work to clean up this mess.

Author

  • Sarabeth Matilsky Sarabeth Matilsky writes about her family’s unschooling adventures, trying to find as much humor as she can.
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