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Is China’s Social Credit System A Preview Of The Coming “Beast System”?

Is China’s Social Credit System A Preview Of The Coming “Beast System”?

Virtually everything that you do online and offline is being monitored, tracked or recorded by someone.  Could you imagine what life would be like if the government compiled all of that information into a giant database and used it to punish those that had engaged in politically-incorrect behavior?  Here in the United States, Internet censorship has escalated dramatically, but over in China the government is cracking down on a much wider array of online and offline activities.  If you fail to make a credit card payment, get into an argument in public or say the wrong thing on social media, you could suddenly find yourself restricted from conducting a whole host of normal economic activities.  The primary marketing slogan for this social credit system is “once discredited, everywhere restricted”

China’s social credit system rates citizens based on their daily behaviour, and this could range from their bank credit to their social media activities.

With a tagline of ‘once discredited, everywhere restricted’, it vows to punish ‘untrustworthy’ citizens in as many ways as possible.

This system sounds like something right out of a George Orwell novel, and even entire businesses can be penalized.  In fact, it is being reported that 3.59 million Chinese businesses were added to “the official creditworthiness blacklist” last year.  The following comes from the South China Morning Post

Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre.

On top of that, millions of ordinary Chinese citizens were restricted from flying and riding on trains last year for engaging in “untrustworthy conduct”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?

Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?

In an extremely weird article titled “Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials“, CNN reports that Facebook has suspended popular dissident media outlet In The Nowand its allied pages for failing to publicly “disclose” its financial ties to a subsidiary of RT. According to CNN, such disclosures are not and have never been an actual part of Facebook’s official policy, but Facebook has made the exceptional precondition of public disclosure of financial ties in order for In The Now to return to its platform.

I say the article is extremely weird for a number of reasons. Firstly, according to In The Now CEO Anissa Naouai, CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform. Secondly, the article reports that CNN found out about Maffick’s financial ties thanks to a tip-off from the German Marshall Fund, a narrative control firm which receives funding from the US government. In The Now‘s Rania Khalek has described this tactic as “a case where the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world.”

Thirdly, and in my opinion weirdest of all, the article goes to great lengths to make the fact that a dissident media outlet supports the same foreign policy positions as Russia look like something strange and nefarious, instead of the normal and obvious thing that it is.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Demise of Physical Money: A Retail Worker’s Perspective

The Demise of Physical Money: A Retail Worker’s Perspective

Something I have come to realise about money is that the more you come into direct contact with it, the less alluring it becomes. That may sound like a hollow platitude, but when your history of paid work has predominately involved handling thousands of pounds through face to face transactions and back office duties, the worthlessness of fiat currency burrows into your psyche.

That is not a fatuous comment. I recognise that the entity I proclaim to be worthless is the same entity that allows me to eat and to sleep with a roof over my head. Nevertheless, it is not as simple as surmising that it is the intrinsic value of money that grants the ability to exchange funds for goods. Money has no intrinsic value as I came to discover.

This time two years ago I secured a job working in the cash office of a UK supermarket. It was an opportunity that came about just as I had begun to question the true nature and value of money.

My perception of cash changed on coming across a postcard pack published by the Bank of England called, ‘Your Money: What the Bank Does‘. The pack is no longer available through the bank’s revamped website, but fortunately I downloaded a copy before it was taken down.

Contained within the pack is a section titled, ‘Banknotes and the Promise to Pay‘. Here, the bank offers up a compelling question:

What gives modern banknotes their face value, when they cost only a few pence to make?

The answer may or may not surprise you:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rule by Fiat: National Crises, Fake Emergencies and Other Dangerous Presidential Powers

Rule by Fiat: National Crises, Fake Emergencies and Other Dangerous Presidential Powers


“When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”—Richard Nixon

Who pays the price for the dissolution of the constitutional covenant that holds the government and its agents accountable to the will of the people?

We all do.

This ill-advised decision by President Trump to circumvent the Constitution’s system of checks and balances by declaring a national emergency in order to build a border wall constitutes yet another expansion of presidential power that exposes the nation to further constitutional peril.

It doesn’t matter that the legal merits of this particular national emergency will be challenged in court.

The damage has already been done.

As reporter Danny Cevallos points out, “President Donald Trump only had to say ‘national emergency’ to dramatically increase his executive and legal authority. By simply uttering those words … Trump immediately unleashed dozens of statutory powers available to a president only during a state of emergency. The power of the nation’s chief executive to declare such an emergency knows few strictures — it was designed that way.”

We have now entered into a strange twilight zone where ego trumps justice, propaganda perverts truth, and imperial presidents—empowered to indulge their authoritarian tendencies by legalistic courts, corrupt legislatures and a disinterested, distracted populace—rule by fiat rather than by the rule of law.

This attempt by Trump to rule by fiat merely plays into the hands of those who would distort the government’s system of checks and balances and its constitutional separation of powers beyond all recognition.

This is about unadulterated power in the hands of the Executive Branch.

This is about corporate greed disguised as a national need.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Staged Chemical Attack Videos and Other Trends in Modern Propaganda

STAGED CHEMICAL ATTACK VIDEOS AND OTHER TRENDS IN MODERN PROPAGANDA

The scandal regarding the fake hospital video published by the White Helmets as a proof of the Douma chemical attack has reached its peak in the media and has caused reaction on the diplomatic level.

On February 13, BBC Syria’s producer Riam Dalati came out with a statement that “After almost 6 months of investigations” he “can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged” and “no fatalities had occurred in the hospital.” Dalati added that he believes that “the attack did happen” but no Sarin was used and “everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect.”

“I can tell you that Jaysh al-Islam ruled Douma with an iron fist. They coopted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation. In fact, one of the 3 or 4 people filming the scene was Dr. Abu Bakr Hanan, a “brute and shifty” doctor affiliated with Jaysh Al-Islam. The narrative was that “there weren’t enough drs [doctors]” but here is one filming and not taking part of the rescue efforts. Will keep the rest for later,” he wrote in a tweet chain on the topic.

An interesting fact that despite the confidence that the attack did take place and no Sarin was used, Dalati was not able to name the chemical substance used and said that it is up to the OPCW to make conclusions.

Even this halfway contradiction to the “Assad did it” version caused a wide attention because BBC was among the mainstream media organizations fueling anti-Assad hysteria when the video first appeared in April 2018. This joint propaganda effort became a formal justification of the US-led cruise missile attack on Syria.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

With Trump Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela, Critics Warn News Outlets Failing US Viewers Once Again

With Trump Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela, Critics Warn News Outlets Failing US Viewers Once Again

“If the US had a major state TV network it would sound exactly like this. 100% pure, uncritical cheerleading.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks about Venezuela before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a rally at Florida International University on February 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. President Trump is scheduled to speak about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks about Venezuela before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a rally at Florida International University on February 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. President Trump is scheduled to speak about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ahead of a speech in Miami on Monday in which President Donald Trump promoted the ouster of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, progressive media critics continued their warnings that corporate news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and others are carrying water for the White House’s regime change policy in the country despite interventionist failures like the invasion of Iraq in 2002, the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011, and the long U.S. history of backing bloody coups and civil wars in Latin America going back to the 1980s.

“The self-aggrandizing ‘factchecking’ brigade that emerged to confront the Trump administration is suddenly nonexistent as it rolls out a transparent, cynical PR strategy to delegitimize a Latin American government it’s trying to overthrow.” 
—Adam Johnson, media critic

Leading the charge is journalist Adam Johnson, a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and host of the Citations Needed podcast, who recently warned that the “same U.S. media outlets that have expressly fundraised and run ad campaigns on their image as anti-Trump truth-tellers have mysteriously taken at face value everything the Trump White House and its neoconservative allies have said in their campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuela.”

According to Johnson, “The self-aggrandizing ‘factchecking‘ brigade that emerged to confront the Trump administration is suddenly nonexistent as it rolls out a transparent, cynical PR strategy to delegitimize a Latin American government it’s trying to overthrow.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The State Expands its Responsibilities In Order to Expand Its Power

The State Expands its Responsibilities In Order to Expand Its Power

Many moviegoers might recognize the following quotation: “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Reality, however, is the exact opposite of what the quote describes. In reality, it is responsibility that precedes power. In a corporation, for instance, when you’re hired you are told your responsibilities and the powers granted to you are those that are necessary for you to accomplish your responsibility.

In John’s family, John’s father demands that everyone stay out of the kitchen while he cooks, lest they distract him. It is not because John’s father has the power to keep everyone out of the kitchen that he has accepted the responsibility of cooking; it is because he is responsible for cooking that he has the power to keep everyone out of the kitchen.

A vast number of self-help books focus on self-responsibility. This is no coincidence. It is only by accepting responsibility for our lives that we can acquire power over our lives. On the other hand, by blaming others for our conditions, we forfeit our responsibility, and consequently, our power.

Responsibility is important not just because it provides power but also because, as psychologist Jordan Peterson has often remarked, most people find the meaning of their lives through responsibility.

Examining American history, it is evident that the expansion of government powers has been a direct result of the government’s theft of the responsibilities of the individual.

There is a rather straightforward argument that is consistently presented by the government in order to justify its theft of responsibilities that rightfully belong to others.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Deepfake News The Next Frontier In Phony Journalism

Deepfake News The Next Frontier In Phony Journalism


Computers can now imitate human writing. Is it the start of a fake news avalanche?

Fake news may be the issue of the day, but what about “deepfake” news – that is, articles written by an artificial intelligence (AI) machine only pretending to be human? OpenAI, a company backed by several Silicon Valley heavyweights, claims it has developed a software that can mimic human writing so convincingly that those who invented it are too scared to divulge the full details. After being fed an initial sentence or question to start the ball rolling, the AI program GPT2 generates text in either fiction or non-fiction genres, matching the style of the initial human-input prompt. 

“…it’s possible to generate malicious-esque content quite easily.”

“Deepfakes” are phony content created by “deep learning” (artificial intelligence) computers. This is a quickly developing field, but the researchers behind GTP2 have refused to release the full version of the product, due to concerns about it “being used to generate deceptive, biased, or abusive language at scale.” In other words, fake news and objectionable material can now be composed at speeds beyond the capabilities of human writers and sent out to spam the world.

Breaking News: Scientists Discover Unicorn!

Previous attempts at such technology stumbled when the bots were unable to “remember” details of the story and context; the GPT2 program, however, can compose a narrative without losing track of these elements. After receiving one or two lines as a prompt, the technology went on to write convincing fake news stories about nuclear material being stolen in Cincinnati, scientists discovering a unicorn (albeit one with four horns), performer Miley Cyrus being caught shoplifting, as well as Lord of the Rings fan fiction and an essay on why the American Civil War occurred – of which the first paragraph reads:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“I’m Committing Professional Suicide”: CBS Star Reporter Admits “Mostly Liberal” Journalists Are Now “Political Activists”

“I’m Committing Professional Suicide”: CBS Star Reporter Admits “Mostly Liberal” Journalists Are Now “Political Activists”

CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan has broken ranks and admitted that journalists have lost their objectivity and become “political activists.” 

During an appearance on the Mike Drop podcast with retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland, Logan admitted that “the media everywhere is mostly liberal, not just the U.S.,” adding that it was nearly impossible for viewers to decipher if they were being told the truth at any given time. 

85% of journalists are registered Democrats,” Logan said. “How do you know you’re being lied to? How do you know you’re being manipulated? How do you know there’s something not right with the coverage? When they simplify it all [and] there’s no grey. It’s all one way. Well, life isn’t like that. If it doesn’t match real life, it’s probably not. Something’s wrong. For example, all the coverage on Trump all the time is negative. … That’s a distortion of the way things go in real life.”

Embedded video

CBS Laura Logan

“There’s no grey. It’s all one way,” said Logan.  ~All coverage of Trump was negative -that’s distortion We abandoned our pretense to be objective

Logan says that the heavy bias has warped people’s ability to know what’s really true

“When you turn on your computer, or you walk past the TV, or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store If they’re all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true,” said Logan. “You don’t question it, because everyone is saying it.”

She also admitted that journalists today are more or less lobbyists for liberal interests, adding that the weight of the liberal media machine overwhelms “the other side” unless people actively seek outlets such as Breitbart

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How 1984 turned into an instruction manual

How 1984 turned into an instruction manual

“Sometimes [two and two are four], Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

One of the key themes from George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 is that the Party can do and say whatever it wants.

And more importantly, you must believe it, with all your heart. No matter how absurd.

That’s doublethink. It is impossible for two plus two to equal three, four, and five simultaneously. But if the Party says it is so, it is so.

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If you can’t make yourself believe two contradictory facts simultaneously, that makes you a thought criminal — an enemy of the Party.

Thoughtcrime is thinking any thought that contradicts the Party.

Facecrime is when you have the wrong expression on your face. For instance, if captured enemy soldiers are being paraded through the streets, looking sympathetic is a facecrime.

Newspeak is the language of the Party–one that has painstakingly been removed of unnecessary words, or words that might contradict the Party’s ideals.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

During daily two minutes hatecitizens shout and curse whatever enemies the Party shows them.

And the face of the Party, Big Brother, is watching you. He helps you be a better citizen.

This isn’t just some random literature lesson. Understanding Orwell’s 1984will help you understand 2019 America.

For instance, one California state senator is working on her own version of Newspeak.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chinese Data Leak Reveals Millions Of People Actively Tracked By Surveillance Network

Chinese Data Leak Reveals Millions Of People Actively Tracked By Surveillance Network

A data leak discovered by a Dutch internet expert has revealed over 2.5 million people who are under active surveillance by a Chinese government contractor, reports Reuters

FILE PHOTO – Security cameras are installed at the entrance to the Id Kah Mosque during a government organised trip in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 4, 2019. Picture via REUTERS/Ben Blanchard

An exposed database maintained by Shenzhen-based facial-recognition technology company SenseNets Technology revealed ID card numbers, birth dates and location data which went unprotected for months, according to Victor Gevers, co-founder of GDI.Foundation – a nonprofit organization which hunts for critical vulnerabilities around the internet. 

Exposed data also showed about 6.7 million location data points linked to the people which were gathered within 24 hours, tagged with descriptions such as “mosque”, “hotel,” “internet cafe” and other places where surveillance cameras were likely to be found. –Reuters

“It was fully open and anyone without authentication had full administrative rights. You could go in the database and create, read, update and delete anything,” said Gevers. 

SenseNets contracts with police departments across China, and is a subsidiary of Shenzhen-listed NetPosa Technologies Ltc, which has offices in several Chinese provinces and regions, including Xinjiang. 

Gevers said GDI.Foundation immediately alerted SenseNets to the vulnerability. While they did not respond, they took steps to secure the database. 

Beijing has been at the forefront of facial recognition technology, such as their “SkyNet” system deployed in over 16 provinces, cities and autonomous regions which can instantly scan faces and compare them to a database of criminal suspects at a speed of 3 billion times per second, according to People’s Daily

YouTube Will Determine What ‘Conspiracy’ Is and Stop Recommending Such Videos

YouTube Will Determine What ‘Conspiracy’ Is and Stop Recommending Such Videos

While the evolution of Google’s YouTube from a free expression platform into something entirely different has been underway for a while, it just took another step in a very short-sighted and restrictive direction. NBC News reports:

YouTube has announced that it will no longer recommend videos that “come close to” violating its community guidelines, such as conspiracy or medically inaccurate videos…Chaslot said that YouTube’s fix to its recommendations AI will have to include getting people to videos with truthful information and overhauling the current system it uses to recommend videos.

There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s get started. First, it appears YouTube has announced the creation of a new bucket when it comes to content uploaded to the site. It’s no longer just videos consistent with company guidelines and those that aren’t, but there’s now a category for “conspiracy or medically inaccurate videos.” This is a massive responsibility, which neither YouTube or anyone else seems fit to be judge and jury. In other words, YouTube is saying it’s comfortable deciding what is “conspiracy” and what isn’t. Which brings up a really important question.

So no videos of government officials lying the public into wars, or is that the Silicon Valley approved type conspiracy?https://

“Conspiracy” and covering up conspiracies is a fundamental part of the human experience, and always has been. It demonstrates extreme hubris for a tech giant to claim it can differentiate between a legitimate conspiracy to explore, versus an illegitimate one. One person’s righteous investigation is another’s conspiracy theory, with Russiagate serving as an obvious contemporary example.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Digital Banking Makes You More Vulnerable

A man takes part in a hacking contest during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on July 29, 2017. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

A man takes part in a hacking contest during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on July 29, 2017. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

How Digital Banking Makes You More Vulnerable

Banking – and bank robbery – have entered the digital age and all is not well.

Safes and vaults used to be how banks protected your money. Now the money completely accessible through your digital identity. But how safe is your digital identity?

Needless to say, banking has changed. Although managing financial assets, providing services and processing transactions remains retail financial institutions’ primary functions, they’re also charged with protecting the most prized and valuable assets of all: their customers’ digital identities. That would include yours as well as mine. They’re spending vast sums on it as well. Unfortunately, achieving total security is more of a challenge than paying interest on a CD or interest-bearing checking account.

Invasive Banking Laws Make You Vulnerable

One of the biggest changes in banking over the past decade or so is how much individual privacy has been eliminated. With various anti-money laundering laws and protocols put in place since the 9-11 Attacks, banks have been given new powers aimed at identifying sources of funds and recipients of financial transfers. Furthermore, strict limits on how you transfer or receive money – how much, how often, from whom or to and from where – have resulted in banks knowing more about their clients’ lives than ever before.

But that invasiveness has left clients’ identity incredibly vulnerable. In the past, some banks were slower in adopting client data security tools and protocols necessary to protect personal and corporate client identity details due to conflicting interests. And even those that did so couldn’t be certain that their efforts were successful. Even with the most sophisticated systems in place, that ambiguity remains today.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet

Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet

Such measures were always going to come on the heels, and heavily so, of the utopians.  Where there is Internet Utopia, Dystopia follows with dedicated cynicism.  Where there are untrammelled means of searching, there will be efforts to erect signposts, usually of a warning nature.  Like the librarian ever worried of her reader finding something inappropriate, material will be kept in a different section of the library, forever filed, concealed and kept from overly curious eyes.  The library, however, will never close.

Like many of President Vladimir Putin’s projects, tackling the internet has all the elements of the improbable, the boastful and the grand quixotic.  It also has a certain Icarus, waxwing quality to it, and may end up melting when approaching its sunny objective.  Be that as it may, the Russian Internet Isolation Bill is simply another one for the books, another project in authority’s efforts to control, in the name of security, the way the world wide web works.  It seeks to impose further restrictions on traffic and data, routing it through state-controlled points to be registered with Roskomnadzor, the federal communications regulator. To this will be added a national Domain Name System, enabling the internet to function even if severed from foreign links.

The obvious and sensible point here shared by all states with an interest in using, exploiting and controlling the internet is how best to preserve an information web function that is sovereign and resistant to attack.  The Russian suggestion here is somewhat bolder than others: to hive off and keep RuNet (the state’s internet infrastructure) safe from any cyber mauling. This would effectively link the Russian segment to a switch.  Even after an attack, the internet within the country might still function in its provision of online services, minimising internal chaos.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

BBC Producer’s Syria Bombshell: Douma “Gas Attack” Footage “Was Staged”

BBC Producer’s Syria Bombshell: Douma “Gas Attack” Footage “Was Staged”

Now approaching nearly a year after the April 7, 2018 alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria — which the White House used as a pretext to bomb Syrian government facilities and bases throughout Damascus — a BBC reporter who investigated the incident on the ground has issued public statements saying the “Assad sarin attack” on Douma was indeed “staged”

Riam Dalati is a well-known BBC Syria producer who has long reported from the region. He shocked his nearly 20,000 twitter followers on Wednesday, which includes other mainstream journalists from major outlets, by stating that after a “six month investigation” he has concluded“I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.” 

​​​​​​One of many widely circulated images of the Douma hospital scene from April 2018. The Times (UK) published the image with the following headline: Syria attack: ‘We found bodies on the stairs. They didn’t see the gas in time’

The “hospital scene” is a reference to part of the horrid footage played over and over again on international networks showing children in a Douma hospital being hosed off and treated by doctors and White Helmets personnel as victims of the alleged chemical attack.

The BBC’s Dalati stated on Wednesday: “After almost 6 months of investigations, I can prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged. No fatalities occurred in the hospital.” He noted he had interviewed a number of White Helmets and opposition activists while reaching that conclusion. 

He continued in a follow-up tweet

Russia and at least one NATO country knew about what happened in the hospital. Documents were sent. However, no one knew what really happened at the flats apart from activists manipulating the scene there. This is why Russia focused solely on discrediting the hospital scene.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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