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Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment

Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment

In their zeal for control over online speech, House Democrats are getting closer and closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.

CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey (R) and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (L) are sworn in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content from their platforms. On March 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will interrogate Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebooks’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai at a hearing which the Committee announced will focus “on misinformation and disinformation plaguing online platforms.”

The Committee’s Chair, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and the two Chairs of the Subcommittees holding the hearings, Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), said in a joint statement that the impetus was “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud.” They argued that “these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety,” adding: “This hearing will continue the Committee’s work of holding online platforms accountable for the growing rise of misinformation and disinformation.”

House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing: to exert control over the content on these online platforms…

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

 

NY Times Calls For Biden to Appoint “Reality Czar” to Fight “Misinformation”

NY Times Calls For Biden to Appoint “Reality Czar” to Fight “Misinformation”

Here comes the Ministry of Truth.

Drew Angerer via Getty Images/Composite

The New York Times has amplified claims by “experts” who are calling for Joe Biden to appoint a “reality czar,” prompting critics to compare the idea to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984.

In an article entitled ‘How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis’, the NYT’s Kevin Roose cites “experts” who are calling on “the Biden administration put together a cross-agency task force to tackle disinformation and domestic extremism, which would be led by something like a “reality czar.”

The job of this “reality czar” would be to head up “a centralized task force could coordinate a single, strategic response” to things like COVID-related and election fraud “conspiracy theories.”

“This task force could also meet regularly with tech platforms, and push for structural changes that could help those companies tackle their own extremism and misinformation problems. (For example, it could formulate “safe harbor” exemptions that would allow platforms to share data about QAnon and other conspiracy theory communities with researchers and government agencies without running afoul of privacy laws.) And it could become the tip of the spear for the federal government’s response to the reality crisis,” states the article.

“Ah, the Ministry of Truth. I’ve been waiting for this one,” responded Raheem Kassam.

While the Orwell comparison has become something of a cliché, in this instance its the best available.

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

Big Media: Selling the Narrative and Crushing Dissent for Fun and Profit

Big Media: Selling the Narrative and Crushing Dissent for Fun and Profit

The profit-maximizing Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime hasn’t just strangled free speech and civil liberties; it’s also strangled democracy.

The U.S. has entered an extremely dangerous time, and the danger has nothing to do with the Covid virus. Indeed, the danger long preceded the pandemic, which has served to highlight how far down the road to ruin we have come.

The danger we are ill-prepared to deal with is the consolidation of the private-sector media and its unification of content into one Approved Narrative which is for sale to the highest bidders. This is the perfection of for-profit Totalitarianism in which dissent is crushed, dissenters punished and billions of dollars are reaped in managing the data and content flow of the one Approved Narrative.

So don’t post content containing the words (censored), (censored) or (censored), or you’ll be banned, shadow-banned, demonetized, demonized and marginalized. Your voice will be erased from public access via the Big Media platforms and you will effectively be disappeared but without any visible mess or evidence–or recourse in the courts.

That’s the competitive advantage of for-profit Totalitarianism–no legal recourse against the suppression of free speech and dissent. And if you’re shadow-banned as I was, you won’t even know just how severely your free speech has been suppressed because the Big Tech platforms are black boxesno one outside the profit-maximizing corporation knows what its algorithms and filters actually do or exactly what happens to the disappeared / shadow-banned.

Shadow-banning is an invisible toxin to free speech: if you’re shadow-banned, you won’t even know that the audience for your posts, tweets, etc. has plummeted to near-zero and others can no longer retweet your content…

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

Demanding Silicon Valley Suppress “Hyper-Partisan Sites” in Favor of “Mainstream News” (The NYT) is a Fraud

Demanding Silicon Valley Suppress “Hyper-Partisan Sites” in Favor of “Mainstream News” (The NYT) is a Fraud

The corporate news organizations masquerading as reliable and non-partisan are, in fact, as hyper-partisan as any sites on the internet, and spread as much misinformation.

The most prolific activism demanding more Silicon Valley censorship is found in the nation’s largest news outlets: the media reporters of CNNthe “disinformation” unit of NBC News, and especially the tech reporters of The New York Times. That is where the most aggressive and sustained pro-internet-censorship campaigns are waged.

 

Due in part to a self-interested desire to re-establish their monopoly on discourse by crushing any independent or dissenting voices, and in part by a censorious and arrogant mindset which convinces them that only those of their worldview and pedigree have a right to be heard, they largely devote themselves to complaining that Facebook, Google and Twitter are not suppressing enough speech. It is hall-monitor tattletale whining masquerading as journalism: petulantly complaining that tech platforms are permitting speech that, in their view, ought instead be silenced.

In Tuesday’s New York Times, three of those censorious tech reporters — Kevin Roose, Mike Isaac, and Sheera Frenkel — published an article on Facebook’s post-election deliberations over how to alter its algorithms to prevent the spread of what they deem “misinformation” regarding the election. The most consequential change they implemented, The New York Times explained, was one in which “hyperpartisan pages” are repressed in favor of promoting “a spike in visibility for big, mainstream publishers like CNN, The New York Times and NPR” — a change the Paper of Record heralded as having fostered “a calmer, less divisive Facebook.”

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

Bring Them Home for Christmas


Pablo Picasso Dans l’atelier 1954
“There is nothing in Afghanistan worth the life of a single American soldier.”
– Douglas Macgregor

I’m having a bit of a problem finding the right format for this essay. I want to highlight a whole number of quotes, but I also would like you to read the original setting they came from. Please bear with me.

CNN: “A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor “will be serving as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.”

Also CNN: “Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants [..] and has made a litany of racist comments.”

I must admit even my encyclopedic brain had never heard of Macgregor, and I’m sure most of you hadn’t either, but I’m taking a liking to the man. “The use of lethal force against unarmed migrants” sounds bogus off the bat, that’s “Putin eats babies” territory, and accusing someone of “a litany of racist comments” without naming even one, doesn’t do it for me either.

And even then. The man wants to bring US troops home. Oh wait, but that’s why you accuse him of all these unsubstantiated “facts”. Gotcha. What I do know is for instance this Nov 6 2019 interview Macgregor did with Tucker Carlson, in which he sounds like a reasonable yet worried man. And while opinions may differ on how big of a threat drug cartels may be to the US, his view appears to have its merit.

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

Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness

Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness

Facebook’s reach is being used to create division, spread hate and harm democracy. And the corporation doesn’t care.

In 1486, a German priest named Heinrich Kramer published a manual called Malleus Maleficarum or the Hammer of Witches. Kramer wrote the book as an act of revenge following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop after he tried — and failed — to convict a woman he was sexually obsessed by of satanic practices.

Eventually reaching 30,000 copies, Kramer’s book detailed the theory and practice of witch persecution that catalyzed a frenzy of female torture throughout Europe and claimed at least 40,000 victims. History teaches us that indulging petty ignorance can be decidedly deadly, a lesson we ignore at our peril.

Dangerously dumb ideas of course continue today. Thousands recently took to the streets in Montreal and Vancouver to oppose mask mandates that could save thousands of lives. Many also proudly pledged their support for Donald Trump or QAnon conspiracies about a secretive cabal of Satan-worshiping elites who for some reason harvest the blood of children.

The world has always had whack jobs. However, the multiplier of social media has made spreading outlandish ideas ever more dangerous, especially at a time when there are plenty of other very real problems that demand our attention and action.

Cities on the West Coast choke in smoke from historic wildfires driven by accelerating climate change. Increasing human encroachment into the natural world propelled this pandemic, and others. Democracy in the world’s largest economy apparently hangs in the balance.

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

Regime Change The Media: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Regime Change The Media: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

America this is serious: if you re-elect Trump, you’ll be trapped in a fascist dystopian oligarchy which will keep robbing you of your rights and wellbeing for the benefit of the powerful and the wealthy.

And it gets even worse: these things will also be true if you elect Biden.

~

People often ask me for suggestions on how they can learn to understand the world better. Here is a link to an article full of tips on how to punch through the obfuscations of propaganda and make sense of things, and here is a link to a Twitter list of my favorite news-gatherers and dot-connecters which you can bookmark and scroll through daily. Those should get you started.

~

Mainstream media reporters have a much higher body count than all serial killers and terrorist organizations combined. They do not deserve respect, and their institutions should not exist.

You are infinitely more qualified to report the news than all the scumbags in the mass media who are paid by billionaires to parrot government lies. I mean that 100 percent literally. If you’re not being paid by the wealthy to lie to the public, you are more qualified to report the news than those who are. Doesn’t matter if all you have is a smartphone and a Twitter account; you are set up to be a better news reporter than them.

You know all that space mass media reporters take up in society’s awareness proclaiming what’s true and what’s going on in the world? That’s your space. They usurped it. Take it back from them. The MSM have betrayed humanity to an unforgivable extent. We must become the media.

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

Shape Yourself Into The Perfect Weapon Against The Empire

Shape Yourself Into The Perfect Weapon Against The Empire

Do you want to win this thing? Actually win it?

By that I mean, do you actually want to create a healthy world instead of a world where we are ruled by lying, murderous, warmongering, oppressive, ecocidal, omnicidal sociopaths? Is that something you truly, deeply want?

It’s okay if you don’t, but be real with yourself about it.

A large percentage of the people who get involved in revolutionary political movements and criticism of establishment power structures, if they were honest with themselves, would admit that they do so not out of a sincere desire to replace the sociopathic ruling empire with something that benefits all life on this earth, but out of a desire to feel good about themselves. It’s not a real battle for them, it’s just a titillating ego game. A hobby, no different from any other.

If this is you, that’s fine. Humanity is asleep in a whole host of ways, and it wouldn’t be fair to single you out as uniquely awful when you’re not any different from the vast majority of people. But at the very least please do try and be real with yourself about it.

If this is not you, and you really are in this fight to win it, then you should be spending every day doing everything you can to hone yourself into the perfect weapon in that fight.

If this were a revolution that is fought with physical weaponry, then you should be training every day to use those weapons effectively in that revolution. But this is not a revolution that is being fought with physical weaponry. The frontline of this revolution is propaganda, and the guerrilla psywar that we are fighting against it.

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

German Fake News – People Demanding Freedom

German Fake News – People Demanding Freedom

The Berlin Protest was indeed far greater than the German press tried to claim. But even more so, they called these people NAZIs and fringe right-wing conspiracy nuts. You will see this was not a right-wing demonstration nor was it brandishing Nazi symbols. The German people are shouting: “Resistance! Resistance! Resistance”, “FREEDOM” and “We are the people!” Many are fed up with government incapacitation and government and media misinformation.

According to TV news, there are 20,000 people, others speak of over 1 million protesters. Supposedly many right-wing radicals, citizens of the Reich, etc. … but if you look closely, it is grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, brother and sister, children and adolescents, consistently mature citizens and everyone is calling for the end of corona measures and FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM.

The disinformation campaign against the people is massive and it is not restricted to just the United States. The objectives are very clear. This is the 1848 Socialist Revolution all over again and they are out to suppress any resistance.

BP spends ‘low carbon’ money on finding and using fossil fuels

BP spends ‘low carbon’ money on finding and using fossil fuels

Analysis of hi-tech venture capital division reveals it is being used to fund technologies which will increase supply and demand for fossil fuels

BP put millions of dollars from its ‘low carbon transition’ fund into companies like a private jet app and a firm using AI to look for oil.

The oil giant BP has used money from a “low carbon transition” fund to buy shares in companies developing new ways to find and use fossil fuels, Unearthed can reveal.

Companies using AI to help drill for oil, a private jet app developer and a firm generating carbon emissions from fossil fuels to create animal and fish feed are among those to have received substantial investment, alongside investments in clean energy.

BP made these investments through its venture capital unit, which it uses to buy shares in tech companies. The oil giant claims that this unit invests in “a portfolio of relevant technology businesses that will help BP transition to a low carbon economy”. 

But Unearthed used the market data platform CB Insights to analyse its portfolio, finding that it has backed companies which contribute to climate change by driving the extraction and unabated use of fossil fuels.

It made its latest investment of this kind as recently as April, just eight days after CEO Bernard Looney, in an update to investors, again claimed that his ambition is “to make BP a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and help the world achieve the same goal”.

This was BP’s second investment in a company called Belmont Technology, which runs an AI platform nicknamed Sandy.

Sandy analyses particular oilfields to find information that will help engineers to extract oil much more quickly.

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

Why The US Empire Works So Hard To Control The International Narrative About Russia

Why The US Empire Works So Hard To Control The International Narrative About Russia

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, John Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?” asked Napolitano.

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.

“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”

“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said. “And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”

I am going to type a sequence of words that I have never typed before, and don’t expect to ever type again:

John Bolton is right.

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

Lies, Damned Lies and Covid19

Lies, Damned Lies and Covid19

Growing up as I did in the Cold War, I still experience a special kind of shudder whenever I come across an anecdote like that of Katya Soldak, whose Soviet nursery school teacher once showed her class a photograph clipped from a Western newspaper, “depicting skinny [Russian] children in striped robes walking in a straight line.”

The capitalists who printed that picture wanted people to think Soviet children were “treated like prisoners,” the teacher declared angrily, “when in reality the kids were on their way to a swimming pool in their bathrobes.”

Which was a nice story (thought little Katya) — except that “I had never even seen a pool…. [T]hey existed in my mind as does an exotic animal or an unvisited city.”

A time capsule from a remote dystopia? Think again.

Staring at me right now from the latest quarterly newsletter of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, is an identical piece of bad-is-good fakery: a photograph of an involuntarily isolated graduate student named Kalea Obermeyer, accompanied by a caption blandly informing the reader that the woman seated alone on a trunk in the confines of a cramped dormitory room, clumsily swathed in a surgical mask, “shelters in place” in “her most secure housing during the pandemic.”

Welcome to Pravda, COVID19 style.

Being an honest sort, I have considered whether I ought to write to the editors of my old university’s magazine, accusing them of playing toady to democracy-destroying propagandists.

Should I remind these so-called educators of the young that the term “shelter in place” is properly applied to air raids, not to “pandemics,” and is a cruel hoax when pressed into service to describe what is actually an illegal quarantine?

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

Wikipedia: A Disinformation Operation?

Wikipedia: A Disinformation Operation?

Wikipedia Manipulation

Wikipedia is generally thought of as an open, transparent, and mostly reliable online encyclopedia. Yet upon closer inspection, this turns out not to be the case.

In fact, the English Wikipedia with its 9 billion worldwide page views per month is governed by just 500 active administrators, whose real identity in many cases remains unknown.

Moreover, studies have shown that 80% of all Wikipedia content is written by just 1% of all Wikipedia editors, which again amounts to just a few hundred mostly unknown people.

Obviously, such a non-transparent and hierarchical structure is susceptible to corruption and manipulation, the notorious “paid editors” hired by corporations being just one example.

Indeed, already in 2007, researchers found that CIA and FBI employees were editing Wikipedia articles on controversial topics including the Iraq war and the Guantanamo military prison.

Also in 2007, researchers found that one of the most active and influential English Wikipedia administrators, called “Slim Virgin”, was in fact a former British intelligence informer.

More recently, another highly prolific Wikipedia editor going by the false name of “Philip Cross”turned out to be linked to UK intelligence as well as several mainstream media journalists.

In Germany, one of the most aggressive Wikipedia editors was exposed, after a two-year legal battle, as a political operative formerly serving in the Israeli army as a foreign volunteer.

Even in Switzerland, unidentified government employees were caught whitewashing Wikipedia entries about the Swiss secret service just prior to a public referendum about the agency.

Many of these Wikipedia personae are editing articles almost all day and every day, indicating that they are either highly dedicated individuals, or in fact, operated by a group of people.

In addition, articles edited by these personae cannot easily be revised, since the above-mentioned administrators can always revert changes or simply block disagreeing users altogether.

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

Debunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents

Debunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents

This is a new section for my newly updated ongoing mega-article Debunking All The Assange Smears, a resource for debating 30 of the most common smears against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Use it, share it, and let me know if there’s anything you think should be changed or added.

The prosecution in the Assange extradition trial has falsely alleged that WikiLeaks recklessly published unredacted files in 2011 which endangered people’s lives. In reality the Pentagon admitted that no one was harmed as a result of the leaks during the Manning trial, and the unredacted files were actually published elsewhere as the result of a Guardian journalist recklessly included a real password in a book about WikiLeaks.

A key government witness during the Chelsea Manning trial, Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, testified under oath that no one was hurt by them. Additionally, the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert M Gates, said that the leaks were “awkward” and “embarrassing” but the consequences for US foreign policy were “fairly modest”. It was also leaked at the time that insiders were saying the damage was limited and “containable”, and they were exaggerating the damage in an attempt to get Manning punished more severely.

As Assange’s defense highlighted during the trial, the unredacted publications were the result of a password being published in a book by Guardian reporters Luke Harding and David Leigh, the latter of whom worked with Assange in the initial publications of the Manning leaks. WikiLeaks reported that it didn’t speak publicly about Leigh’s password publication for several months to avoid drawing attention to it, but broke its silence when they learned a German weekly called Freitag was preparing a story about it. There’s footage of Assange calling the US State Department trying to warn of an imminent security breach at the time, but they refused to escalate the call.

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

Are There Really 10,000 Diagnosed Covid-19 Cases In Wuhan That Aren’t Being Counted?

Are There Really 10,000 Diagnosed Covid-19 Cases In Wuhan That Aren’t Being Counted?

Summary:

  • UK hospital confirms worker found to be infected treated ‘small number’ of patients
  • Russia releases two Chinese nationals who recovered from virus
  • China Grand Prix likely to be cancelled
  • Couple onboard ‘Diamond Princess’ tell CNBC situation is “frankly terrifying”.
  • AFP publishes report exposing worsening shortages of food and supplies in Wuhan
  • Cruise ship rejected by four countries allowed to dock in Cambodia
  • Rumors of 10k in Wuhan not included in official count of cases
  • NYT follows WSJ in exploring problems with Chinese testing kits

* * *

Update (0824ET): At this point, some of the world’s most prestigious media organizations, including WSJ and NYT, have reported that health officials are probably undercounting the number of coronavirus cases in Wuhan.

After WSJ spotlighted the issue in a story published online last night recounting how officials turned away seriously ill patients who failed to pass swabtests, the NYT followed up this morning with a piece about Beijing’s efforts to speed up testing.

Dr. Zhang Xiaochun, who works in a hospital in Wuhan, was in dismay. Her patient had been running a fever for nine days, and a CT scan showed signs of pneumonia — symptoms of the new coronavirus sweeping across the central Chinese city.

But a test to confirm the diagnosis would take at least two days. To Dr. Zhang, that meant a delay in isolating her patient — and getting potentially lifesaving treatment.

This past week, Dr. Zhang started a social media campaign with an urgent call to simplify screening for the new coronavirus. It was an unusually public effort that quickly found support among public health experts and the government as China grapples with one of the deadliest epidemics in its recent history.

…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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