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On Covid-19 And Authoritarian Abuses

On Covid-19 And Authoritarian Abuses

Over the last few months there’s been a clique of indie media who’ve been urging their respective followings to bully and cajole other indie media into focusing on Covid-19, lockdowns, mask laws and Covid-related authoritarian agendas in their coverage of world events.

I personally find the idea of fighting with indie media in a world that is dominated by murderous globe-spanning power structures absurd, so I won’t make this about them, but since their attacks are getting more heated now I’m going to try to spell out my own position on the matter here as clearly as possible. I don’t expect this essay to have any effect on this online mobbing behavior’s primary drivers, who appear to operating in bad faith; this is more for my longtime readers who’ve been expressing bafflement that I haven’t made Covid-related abuses a primary focus of my writing.

To sum up the gist of my position in a paragraph: I’ve said from the beginning that “the fears that the ruling class will seize this opportunity to advance preexisting authoritarian agendas are well-founded”, and I’ve repeatedly written entire essays about this. Unless people want me to re-write more or less the same essays over and over again, there hasn’t been much more for me to add to the discussion. The information ecosystem is still too polluted and muddied to see clearly enough to provide a comprehensive, lucid, big-picture understanding of what’s actually going on, so I’ve just been watching and patiently gathering information.

That is what someone who is interested in telling the truth does: they wait until they have enough information about something before they attempt to elucidate their understanding of it. I haven’t been writing about my clear, big-picture understanding of what’s going on with this virus because I simply do not have one, and frankly I don’t believe anyone else does either.

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

You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

Mr. Trump has often being accused of “lying” in his many speeches and tweets. For sure, much of what he says can be said to be “contrary to fact.” But is the president really lying or is he simply stating what he thinks truth is? One man’s lies are another man’s truth. And the problem is that people tend to see the world according to the different echo chamber in which they live. Everyone seeks for facts that support their opinions. We badly need to take control of the information flow that we receive and I think we can do that. Let me show you how I try to do it by disclosing my personal information bubble.

Not long ago, I stumbled in a comment on “Quora” for the question, “Why do some people deny climate change? Here is a shortened version:

CO2 levels of 400 ppm being dangerously high are not accepted by scientists I find credible. There is no significant sea rise. The temperature has not changed by even 1 degree C. over the past century. Climate Change has not increased hurricanes or their intensity. I may rethink this if there is an undoubtedly measurable change in the level of the seas, or a decade long temperature rise.

Now, if you are an average reader of “Cassandra’s Legacy” you’ll agree with me every statement in this paragraph is wrong in the sense of being “contrary to fact.” But I am sure that the writer of this paragraph is a good person. He signed with his full name and I could see his profile. I think that if he were a neighbor of mine we could be good friends (as long as we would avoid discussing climate science!). He truly believes in what he says and he thinks his vision of the world is the right one.

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

What The Hell Is Going On Here, Anyway?

What The Hell Is Going On Here, Anyway?

Over the course of my young career here I’ve amassed a very eclectic group of readers from all across the political spectrum, which I quite enjoy. Sometimes I read the comments sections just to watch what happens when you bring people together from wildly different worldviews who wouldn’t normally interact with each other very much and see how those reality tunnels dance together in a conversation or debate.

I can’t rightly call my whole audience left-wing or right-wing, conspiracy theorists or anarchists, activists or intellectuals, or almost any other label I can think of. There’s only one attribute that comes to mind which unites pretty much all of my readers and social media followers, and that’s a drive to know what’s really going on in the world. Their curiosity about what’s going on in what specific field may differ from person to person, as do the conclusions they reach, but basically I think we’re all united by a desire, perhaps often an obsessive one, to come to some understanding of what’s really happening in the world.

If schools, news media and politicians told people what’s really going on in the world, this curiosity wouldn’t exist. There’d be no need to do deep investigations into what’s really happening, because it would be public knowledge, right there in our faces every day, and I’d be out of a job. The only reason people like me get to make a living trying to expose what’s really happening in the world to as many people as possible is because the teachers, news reporters and politicians don’t do that job for us, and instead dedicate themselves to the craft of filling public consciousness with power-authorized lies. So people gather in little fringe communities like this one in an attempt to help each other slice through the fog of propaganda and disinfo.

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

Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the “Integrity Initiative”

Is there such a plane of blissful, balanced information, deliberated and debated upon?  No.  Governments mangle; corporations distort.  Interest groups tinker.  Wars must be sold; deception must be perpetrated.  Inconsistencies must be removed.  There will be success, measured in small doses; failure, dispatched in grand servings. 

The nature of news, hollow as it is, is to fill the next segment for the next release, a promiscuous delivery, an amoral ejaculate.  The notion a complicated world can somehow be compressed into a press release, a brief, an observation, is sinister and defeating.   

The believers in an objective, balanced news platform are there.  Grants are forked out for such romantic notions as news with integrity, directed to increase “trust in news”, which is tantamount to putting your trust in an institution which has been placed on the mortician’s table.  The Trump era has seen a spike in such funding, but it belies a fundamental misconception about what news is. 

Funny, then, that the environment should now be so neatly split: the Russians (always) seen to distort from a central programme, while no one else does.  The Kremlin manipulates feeble minds; virtuous powers do not.  The most powerful nation on the planet claims to be free of this, the same country that boasts cable news networks and demagoguery on the airwaves that have a distinct allergy against anything resembling balanced reporting, many backed by vast funding mechanisms for political projects overseas.  Britain, faded yet still nostalgically imperial, remains pure with the BBC, known as the Beeb, a sort of immaculate conception of news that purportedly survives manipulation.  Other deliverers of news through state channels also worship the idol of balance – Australia’s ABC, for one, asserts that role.

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

The Perils of Banning “Fake News”

The Perils of Banning “Fake News”

When the printing press was invented in the mid-1400s, Europe faced radical and unprecedented changes. Ultimately revolutionizing the circulation of information, the printing press dislodged the monopoly of information and ideas. As Gutenberg reformed the printing system around 1440, the technology quickly expanded. According to some accounts, there were approximately 110 printers in Europe around 1480. As technology diffused throughout Europe, more than 270 cities had active printers by the end of the 15th century.

By reducing the cost of production, revolutionary ideas were easily distributed across Europe. For dissidents and scholars all over Europe, the printing press was an instrument to disseminate progressive ideas, criticizing authority and advocating freedom of expression.

Encountered with challenging and subversive ideas, governments and religious authorities began to enforce strict censorship. In order to silence criticism, political and religious dissidents were brutally prosecuted in summary procedures all across Europe. Brutal methods were employed, and numerous people accused of heresy were burned ruthlessly at the stake.

As with the printing press, computers and smartphones have enabled people to disperse ideas all over the world. Social media and new platforms of public deliberation have rendered traditional gatekeepers like news editors redundant. In addition, the digital age has fostered the so-called “bots”—automated accounts that allow people to spread fake news.

During the 2016 US presidential election, the role of fake news attracted spectacular attention. The predicament of fake news was fiercely discussed, and afterward analyses have shown 50,000 Russia-linked bots tweeted about the election. Moreover, evidence has revealed that more than 100,000 dollars were spent on Facebook ads by a company with ties to the Kremlin, thus adding further potency to the allegations of Russian interference.

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

We are Living with Maximum Uncertainty – Catherine Austin Fitts

We are Living with Maximum Uncertainty – Catherine Austin Fitts


Financial expert Catherine Austin Fitts has said for years that the economy was not going to crash, but be on a “slow burn.” How long can they make this heavily indebted game last? Fitts says, “Our problem as investors is we don’t know. If you look at all the information we need to make an intelligent assessment, we don’t have access to that information. I have said many times this is a military question. Who has the biggest weapons and who has the ability to deliver force and control? So, we are living with maximum uncertainty. . . . Clearly, we are headed into a new currency world that’s part of a new control system, but the answer is we don’t know when. My fear with many, many commentators is they are underestimating the power and endurance of the system. I am always getting yelled at because people think I am pro-empire. I am not saying I am pro-empire or I am for the things they are doing to keep it going.”

Fits adds that things are so uncertain that “the old system could go five years or five months.”

On introducing a new dollar, Fitts says, “Even if they do introduce a dollar backed by gold, it’s going to start off with a small market share. They are very unlikely to do a big bang thing. These guys are prototypers.”

There is no doubt wealthy people around the world are buying gold. Why? Fitts says, “The reality is . . . in the worst case scenario, gold is a store of value because it is respected globally as a currency or money without the backing of a sovereign government. What is the global currency that has backing without a sovereign government, and gold and silver are one of the few.

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

Freedom Where Did You Go?

Freedom Where Did You Go?

My Generation is the last one to have known privacy and to have lived out most of our lives in freedom.

I remember when driving licenses did not have photos and most certainly not fingerprints. A driving license was issued on proof of birth date alone.

Prior to the appearance of automobiles IDs did not exist in democratic nations. You were who you said you were.

The intrusive questions that accost us every day, even when doing something simple as reporting a telephone or Internet connection being out or inquiring about a credit card charge, were impermissible. I remember when you could telephone a utility company, for example, have the telephone answered no later than the third ring with a real person on the line who could clear up the problem in a few minutes without having to know your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name. Today, after half an hour with robot voices asking intrusive questions you might finally get a real person somewhere in Asia who is controlled by such a tight system of rules that the person is, in effect, a robot. The person is not permitted to use any judgment or discretion and you listen to advertisements for another half hour while you wait for a supervisor who promises to have the matter looked into.

The minute you go online, you are subject to collection of information about yourself. You don’t even know it is being collected.

According to reports, soon our stoves, refrigerators, and microwave ovens will be reporting on us. The new cars already do.

When privacy disappears, there are no private persons. So what do people become? They become Big Brother’s subjects.

We are at that point now.

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

SELCO: “The media manipulated people, bombarding us with fear and hate” during the Balkan Wars. Sound familiar?

SELCO: “The media manipulated people, bombarding us with fear and hate” during the Balkan Wars. Sound familiar?

Editor’s note: A point I’ve been harping on a lot lately is how we in the United States have been divided by politics and the media lately. Many have become callous and lost their humanity. People havebegged for laws and rulings against others but don’t like those laws and rulings when it later applies to them. It will ring familiar when you read this article as Selco shares how the media manipulated the population of the Balkans fanning the flames of hatred and fear. To paraphrase, if we don’t learn from history, we’ll repeat the mistakes, again and again. Don’t let yourself be manipulated by half-truths and hate-mongering propaganda. ~ Daisy


Media is a very powerful and useful tool and we as preppers lean on it in making our opinions and decisions.

Many survival strategies, bug-out routes, survival storages and whatnot are built on what we figured out based on information that media gave us.

I belong to a generation that once believed, “if it was not on TV it did not happen.” Today there are many more choices, but in essence, it comes down to the fact that if it is nicely packaged and repeated for enough number of times, most of the folks are gonna believe it.

Because of the ways of modern life, we tend to want information very fast and accurate, and the accent is on fast. We want “flashy” and useful, and the accent is on flashy.

There are many more choices, sources, and opinions for how we get information and from what media – but still, not too many things have changed. We are still very easy to manipulate with through the media.

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

The ‘fake news’ story is fake news

The ‘fake news’ story is fake news

Almost every day on public radio or public television, I hear reports about how fake news is undermining our democracy. These high-minded reporters and anchors seem truly to believe that a feverish menace is overwhelming the minds of once-sensible people.

This story is itself fake news for several obvious reasons. We’ve never had more good information than we have now; people are as well-informed as they want to be. There will always be outlets purveying lies; that is the nature of communication. And the insistence on the “fake news” issue is an effort to assign Trump’s victory not to those who brought it to us (the electorate, and the incompetence of the Clinton campaign) but on some nefarious agents.

The fact that we have more and better information today than ever almost goes without saying. When I started in the news business more than 40 years ago, few reporters carried tape recorders, largely because they worked for a guild and were never subject to correction. Today there are countless outlets, thanks to the internet, and important events are almost always recorded. The amount of data we have on public figures is vast compared to even ten years ago.

We can all argue about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; but we are today awash in information. That information is more reliable than it has ever been before. My own work on Palestine and the Israel lobby has shown me that global consumers can get more accurate information about that conflict than they’ve ever had. Yes, as we assert here all the time, the mainstream US media is in the tank for Israel; but it’s not as if better information is not available at your fingertips, much of it from Europe and Palestine, often citizen video.

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

Gathering Existing Information for Use After TEOTWAWKI

Gathering Existing Information for Use After TEOTWAWKI

This article is about how to gather existing knowledge and information for use after TEOTWAWKI. Basically, search Wikipedia.org for the basic articles on the six categories listed below, download the PDF of each related page, and check the footnotes for industry standard reference books that can be purchased or found online. Textbooks, workbooks, and lab manuals will also be needed on each subject.

It is far beyond my resources (and probably that of most of us) to purchase hundreds, if not thousands, of such books, therefore, a non-profit entity should be created to buy and store these books, and much more, in such a way as to survive TEOTWAWKI (Doomsday).

I like Wikipedia.org, despite the fact that their history, political, and controversial pages are biased, but because their science, engineering, and other hard subjects pages are filled with facts that are free and easy to find.

How to save the information from Wikipedia

Saving the information is very easy.

On the left-hand menu under the section labeled “Print/Export”, then click on “Download as PDF”. This will take you to a download page where you will click on the blue “Download” button.

The PDF will be automatically put in your “Download” folder, which on my machine is under Favorites. From there you can move it to the folder you want.

This is easiest if you open two Windows Explorer windows – one on the Download folder and one on the folder you want the PDF in. Then,  just drag the PDF file across to where you want it.

What information to store

At first, I wanted information on the U.S. military, bases, weapons, aircraft, and ships, everything I could find. Not because I need that information today but because someday I might need it and wish I had it.

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

Information overload, sustainability, and the emerging organization

Information overload, sustainability, and the emerging organization

Nafeez Ahmed, an exceptional journalist who writes at the intersection of resources and society, understands the complexity of the ecological predicament we humans face. In a piece he wrote last year, Ahmed asserted that our current arrangements are approaching a convulsive crisis point. One reason for this is as follows:

[T]he system faces a crisis of information overload, and an inability to meaningfully process the information available into actionable knowledge that can advance an adaptive response.

If he’s right, is there anything we can do? The short answer is maybe. The great human ecologist William Catton pointed out in his 2009 book Bottleneck that the mass media has become a conduit for propagating bad or at least inconclusive information. In short, the feedback we humans need in order to run our society in a sustainable way is dangerously lacking.

But what if we could reorganize society to better handle the information available and act on that information quickly, decisively and appropriately? Management consultant and author John Hagel may be able to shed some light on this. (Regular readers will recall that I was channeling Hagel in last week’s piece.)

Part of the reason we as a society have been having difficulty making sense of the vast amount of information we are getting is that most organizations are not very good at doing this.

Yet, technology now more than ever affords us the opportunity for what Hagel calls scalable collaboration and learning involving very large groups of people. Those companies and organizations that are mastering this opportunity can react with lightning speed and precision—all the while keeping an eye on the moving target that is our rapidly changing world.

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

Escape the Echo Chamber

Escape the Echo Chamber

First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult 

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Something has gone wrong with the flow of information. It’s not just that different people are drawing subtly different conclusions from the same evidence. It seems like different intellectual communities no longer share basic foundational beliefs. Maybe nobody cares about the truth anymore, as some have started to worry. Maybe political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills. Maybe we’ve all become trapped in echo chambers of our own making — wrapping ourselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of likeminded friends and web pages and social media feeds.

But there are two very different phenomena at play here, each of which subvert the flow of information in very distinct ways. Let’s call them echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Both are social structures that systematically exclude sources of information. Both exaggerate their members’ confidence in their beliefs. But they work in entirely different ways, and they require very different modes of intervention. An epistemic bubble is when you don’t hearpeople from the other side. An echo chamber is what happens when you don’t trustpeople from the other side.

Current usage has blurred this crucial distinction, so let me introduce a somewhat artificial taxonomy. An ‘epistemic bubble’ is an informational network from which relevant voices have been excluded by omission. That omission might be purposeful: we might be selectively avoiding contact with contrary views because, say, they make us uncomfortable. As social scientists tell us, we like to engage in selective exposure, seeking out information that confirms our own worldview. But that omission can also be entirely inadvertent. Even if we’re not actively trying to avoid disagreement, our Facebook friends tend to share our views and interests.

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

How & Where Can Preppers Store All That Information?

How & Where Can Preppers Store All That Information?

Information Collection for the Prepper – Part 2

Most of the information discussed in these articles will be electronic files – specifically PDF and TIF files. This article will discuss how to safely store these files and use them before and after the SHTF.

Portable Storage of the Library

What I need to be able to do is read PDF and view TIF (graphic) files using my cell phone. It would be best if I could read these files from a USB drive, or secondarily, from a miniSD card. The plan would be that I would copy these files from my computer to these storage (USB and/or microSD) devices. I will sometimes call the information stored on these devices as the “Library”.

I like the Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth USB 3.0 Flash Drives because the USB drive is built into an “armored” case. The case appears to me to be made out of steel and rubber and is shock resistant with a water seal. These devices are about 3 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. I have carried 2 of these devices in my pocket, along with my EDC (every day carry) stuff, for over a year now. My grandson carried the one I gave him on his keychain. The paint is a little worn but the devices still work fine. I have two 256 GB drives.

Here are the things that didn’t work:

I can carry thousands of PDF and other computer files with me everywhere I go. I just needed a portable device to read them with. Read on and I will tell you about my struggles finding a portable device to read these drives with.

  • My current cell phone is an Apple 4S. It has no capability to store computer files, nor any way to read files even if it did. I searched diligently for a cable with a female USB connector, into which I could plug my above-described USB drives, and that would plug into the connector on my phone. I never found one. Given that I never found a cable that even if I made up such a cable myself, which I didn’t, there would be no software with which to read the files.

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

 

Why Every Prepper Group Needs an Information Specialist (and How to Start Collecting Information)

Why Every Prepper Group Needs an Information Specialist (and How to Start Collecting Information)

Many preppers gather into groups of like-minded people to provide skills and equipment they themselves don’t have. One position or skill that is often overlooked is that of the “Information Specialist.”

“Someone who wants senior command should cultivate a lively curiosity. Technical competence (survival skills), even tactical competence (planning and execution of survival and military skills), isn’t enough. Strategy depends on intelligence (access to knowledge [books, articles, blogs, databases, maps, military intelligence, etc.]), and that depends on asking the right questions.”   ~ “Winning Colors” by Elizabeth Moon (Comments in parentheses  by the author of this article)

There is a great deal of information that is available to preppers publically and legally today that most likely won’t be available after the SHTF. Useful information that may help you survive and prosper during those bad times.

About the Information Specialist series

This article, the first of nine parts, does not discuss the basic prepper subjects of food (seeds, planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, saving, plus hunting and fishing), water, clothing, shelter, defense, first aid and medical, transportation, skills, gadgets, etc. This information is readily available in books and blogs. Prepper gadgets are available from numerous sources.

These articles will discuss the many sources of “important facts (that) are well known or may be gathered from public sources. This form of information collection is known as open source intelligence.” (Source). We will be discussing Internet sources of information, with links that you won’t find anywhere else, all free and legal.

For the purposes of discussion in these articles, there are two kinds of information. “Survival Information” (parts 1 – 6) and “The History of Technology and its Use in the Restoration of Civilization” (parts 7 – 9).

  • First are news and disaster warnings to let you stay up with what is happening now.
  • Second is information and gadgets that you can collect now that would be of use to the prepper now and after the SHTF. This includes maps, information about people and places local to you, in your state and nationally, radios, etc.

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

Most of what you’re going to read today is pointless. 

Most of what you’re going to read today is pointless. 

We spend hours consuming news because we want to be well informed. But is that time well spent? News is by definition something that doesn’t last. And as news has become easier to distribute and cheaper to produce, the quality has decreased.

Rarely do we stop to ask ourselves questions about what we consume: Is this important? Is this going to stand the test of time — say, in a week or in a year? Is the person writing this someone who is well informed on the issue?

“[W]e’re surrounded by so much information that is of immediate interest to us that we feel overwhelmed by the never-ending pressure of trying to keep up with it all.”
— Nicolas Carr

There are several problems with the way we consume news today:

First, the speed of news delivery has increased. We used to have to wait to get a newspaper or gossip with people in our town to get our news, but not anymore. Thanks to alerts, texts, and other interruptions, news find us almost the minute it’s published.

Second, the costs to produce news have dropped significantly. Some people write 10 or more blog posts a day for major newspapers. It’s nearly impossible to write something thoughtful on one topic, let alone 10. Over the course of a year, this works out to writing 2400 articles (assuming four weeks of vacation). The fluency of the person you’re getting your news from in the subject they’re covering is near zero. As a result, you’re filling your head with surface opinions on isolated topics. Because the costs have dropped to near zero, there is a lot of competition.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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