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The Rise of the Terminally Online

Americans, rich or poor, now live in a culture entirely perceived through simulacra-media images and illusions. We live inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation that has not existed for quite some time now. Our national reality is held together by images, the originals of which have been lost or never existed. The well-off with their upscale consumer aesthetic, live inside gated Disneyesque communities with gleaming uninhabited front porches representing some bucolic notion of the Great American home and family. The working class, true to its sports culture aesthetic, is a spectator to politics … politics which are so entirely imagistic as to be holograms of a process that has not existed for decades in America, if ever. Social realism is a television commercial for America, a simulacrum republic of eagles, church spires… and ‘freedom of choice’ between holograms. America’s citizens have been reduced to balkanized consumer units by the corporate state’s culture producing machinery. We are all transfixed on and within the hologram and cannot see one another in the living breathing flesh.

— Joe Bageant, from a 2005 interview with my late friend, Richard Oxman

We need to understand that technology is not simply a relation between humans and their natural environment, but more fundamentally a way of organizing global human society.

— Alf Hornborg, “Technology as Fetish: Marx, Latour, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism”, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 31, no. 4

Note to readers: This is an impromptu, long overdue, unsolicited, and frankly incomplete second attempt at describing aspects of digital media and “extremely online” culture and ideology. You can read my first essay “Questioning the Extremely Online” by clicking the link. There are conservative, liberal, and leftist variants of the extremely online crowd; what unites them are social media as well as internet and screen addictions, a lack of class analysis, and technological fetishism.

The Psychology of the Terminally Online

It is not enough to change the world. That is all we have ever done. That happens even without us. We also have to interpret this change. And precisely in order to change it. So that the world will not go on changing without us. And so that it is not changed in the end into a world without us.

– Günther Anders, The Obsolescence of Man, Volume II

There are a few very inconvenient truths about the internet, digital media, and technological “progress” that Western societies have largely failed to account for. They are as follows: the technology and mediums are addictive, alienating, manipulative, exploitative, and violate privacy. Also, the glut of information that the internet and online media stores no longer seems to be able to advance any coherent cultural education or socio-economic framework for change that corresponds to what is necessary to avoid the devastating effects of climate change and various forms of collapse that are on the horizon.

One of the obvious and pernicious aspects of social media is its addictive and manipulative nature. As we have known for awhile now, social media amplifies negatives news and posts that anger and/or irritate us through algorithms designed to capture and hold our attention. As Silicon Valley guru Jaron Lanier explains in a British TV interview, our social media feeds are designed using behavioral modification techniques to serve an attention economy; where data is sold off to third parties to hook the user on products and/or digital services. This represents a new era for humankind, based on full-scale data accumulation and manipulation of our digital selves, one that Shoshana Zuboff details in her work The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. As Lanier and Zuboff aptly point out, the addictive and manipulative elements inherent to social media leads to degradation of the self and society.

The nature of time spent on computers and smartphones necessarily involves the lack of use of one’s material body. By atrophying our senses, we no longer question what it “feels like” to be online, allowing the alienating “manipulation engine”, as Lanier puts it, that is social media and web advertising to distort one’s neurobiology: the corporeal biochemical and physiological makeup of each person, and part of what makes an individual unique. Then comes addiction: as Lanier points out in the same interview, the addict is hooked to both the positive and negative aspects of the addiction: in this case the social media addict experiences positive emotions from validation, exposure and pseudo-solidarity and in the best cases deep connections, but also a perverse enjoyment from diving into the swamp of “rancor and abuse” that posting inevitably stirs up. Furthermore, fighting (in this case posting) for a cause becomes an end-in-itself and rationalized as worthy of the time spent: one cannot just give up, as the “sunk costs” of obtaining an outlet, platforms and followers self-justifies the “need” to always be broadcasting one’s unique or even brilliant ideas as well as inane and banal trivia and gossip.

One main and obvious critique regarding digitally-based sociopolitical manipulation is that people increasingly confuse, if only on subconscious levels, digitally-based “virtual” and “cyber” interaction, friendship, and activism with in-person connections and organizing. Certainly, a great many people fall into this category, as the substitution of virtual life for face-to-face offers a palliative to the endemic depression, anxiety, and host of psychosocial issues caused by the reactionary nature of capitalism and the hollowing out of communal life and civil society. Social media has become the new center of spectacle for post-modern society. As Guy Debord wrote in 1967, “the spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

Capitalism has managed to thrive in our screen-driven world, even with the forces of production being shifted to the developing world, by profiteering off humanities’ sharing/cooperative communal ties: through harvesting personal data, then using targeted advertising to get users to buy and thus hook them on the platform and its products, and also selling one’s digital profile to third parties. Not only that, but mainstream capitalist ideology has managed to insinuate itself into every corner of the internet, and drive public narratives of events, through a process of regimenting the public on every issue, instantaneously, all the time.

Still, not many are going to readily admit that they believe most mainstream news sources verbatim, or even that advertising is particularly useful or accurate online. In terms of activism, most people still understand that signing online petitions has very little impact compared to in the street protest movements. Many people can see through the “bad faith” inherent to social media. Even taking into account the addictive nature of the medium and the resulting physiological manipulation that social media use causes, on both the conscious and subconscious levels, this still does not explain the immense forces behind internet and social media addiction and its hegemonic position within the cultural landscape.

What is taking place is quite broader in scope than a “substitution” of communal face-to-face activism and social connection with virtual, internet-based networks. While quite a lot of people fall into the first category above, as somehow ignorant and oblivious to the alienating and exclusionary nature of social media, there is another large group that needs analysis: the ruling class “winners” of social media, those with large platforms and significant followings, as well as those among the “extremely online” who engage in non-stop socio-economic and political commentary.

The Disintegration of the Digital Commons

On the floors of Tokyo
down in London town’s a go go,
with the record selection,
And the mirror’s reflection,
I’m dancin’ with myself

— Billy Idol, “Dancing with Myself”

This second group — one that explicitly acknowledges the inequalities and injustices baked into digital media — may indeed have more education and wealth, and some of whom even readily understand what has been lost; yet still view the new world of social media and digital engagement as the only game in town, and therefore the only way to gain new adherents/followers, or in the case of the extremely online left and right, political power.

Sadly, many on the left appear to be resigned to LARPing: playing an online game where they do not make the rules, do not have any leverage, power, or any money for that matter, and cannot possibly win. There is not any significant need for liberal/left journalists providing day-to-day “hot take” commentary, using platforms and influencer methods to gain followers and viewership, if the goal in mind is revolutionary change and/or attaining political power. If the goal in mind is likes, shares, streams of revenue, and even new forms of social capital, then the actions of these users makes more sense. What is needed is organizing skills and the ability to bridge gaps between classes and cultures in order to activate a working class base, and that is sorely lacking.

The terminally online in this second category can perceive that notions like the community, a social contract, and democratic consensus based on a shared culture of trust and reciprocity have been demolished in the Western world. They mostly fall into liberal-left/progressive camps but there are certainly conservative and even isolationist/anti-war libertarian variants. The common thread is that even with the implicit acknowledgment that “local community” and even face-to-face interaction is waning (especially in light of the technocratic and authoritarian reaction to the pandemic) the urge remains to put internet technology to work for the good of their own brands and content promotion.

So a new digital hierarchy of opinion and commentary is becoming entrenched, and has been for over a decade now, controlled by the ruling class and its mainstream media mouthpieces with the ability to censor and shadow-ban dissenting voices. The significant followings of online political commentators have created its own monopoly on user engagement and viewership — whether through a Google search, Youtube stream, or social media account, the masses are herded to the opinions of the same tiny group of influencers by the invisible algorithm. It was always easy to discredit a cable news commentator as biased and untrustworthy, but now the personalized feeds of social media give a new sheen of legitimacy and respectability — even if digital commentators with large viewerships are simply parroting mainstream lies and distortions (which they mostly do).

A related issue that has come to the fore is that the virtual nature of online “work” and digital influencing models simply mimic the wider mainstream capitalist model of capturing attention; through clicks, “likes”, advertising, and hawking merchandise. This certainly doesn’t take away from the valuable educational and activist networks that are coerced into adopting these models, but simply to point out that the most facile, vapid, compromised, lowest-common-denominator political analysis and trends will float to the surface, and become the most popular, in this environment. It’s no surprise, then, that the serious alternative media on the left has been taking a beating from Google’s adjustment of search algorithms, social media censorship, “shadow-banning” and “throttling” on platforms, as well as being ignored as usual by the mainstream.

Of course, just taking a wider lens of how most of the non plugged-in world and the poor (in the West and worldwide) views the often bitter, internecine factionalism and sometimes irrelevant controversies within social media would be helpful. When the usual posturing, identity politic culture wars, and cos-playing in online turf squabbles are put ahead of the material needs of the people, open-minded individuals who could be potential allies and comrades check out of the milieu and view socialism as an arcane subculture. Within the maelstrom of fighting for more reach, subscribers, and content promotion, nothing becomes more relatable in a narcissistic culture than endlessly talking about oneself.

This debased charade of public discourse has been allowed to fester, with basically no resistance, precisely because it suits late-stage capitalism — not only is the profit motive of targeted advertisement too lucrative, but the mechanisms of social control and surveillance too tantalizing, as it enters an era of semi-controlled collapse and corporate consolidation of the entire planet. There are alternate “post-truth” realities (Q-Anon, Russiagate), bubbles of echo-chamber subcultures preaching to the choir, the labeling of any ideas contrary to mainstream media as conspiracy theory (a term invented by the CIA to discredit anyone questioning the official story of the JFK assassination), ego-trippers taking pot-shots and “dunking” on those less knowledgeable, and sections of an overzealous cancel culture which all contribute to dividing, disempowering, and disincentivizing a populace from understanding how the dominant mode of production on the planet, capitalism, is holding the world hostage for the sake of short-term monetary profit.

The privileges of the extremely online (coming from mainly middle class backgrounds) create insular echo-chambers which keeps them sheltered from the realities of daily labor; it also alienates working class people who might otherwise be attracted to anti-capitalist thinking. The lack of blue-collar life experience and organizing skills from the self-proclaimed “leaders” in online discourse face problems relating to the cultural and aesthetic styles of the working classes, in terms of social capital, personal affect, to how theories and obscure references are flaunted, as well as artistic taste.

Connected with this notion are a perceived lack of authenticity and dedication; in this context, it is understandable how it is hard to take successful bloggers, podcasters, journalists, and even academics seriously because many do come from more privileged backgrounds, with all of the blind spots of class that this usually entails. This would not be as much of problem if the nexus of the extremely online was not nearly always targeting content towards their own white-collar milieu and focusing on fringe aesthetic pretensions and/or nice forms of cultural capital: instead, if the animus was focused against the ruling classes consistently, the snarky and cringe-worthy cultural signaling, non-stop commentary careerism, and thin gruel of cosmopolitan affects could be dropped.

Since much of the terminally/extremely online is middle class, they invariably come off as out-of-touch at best; dilettante, effete, or “soft” to put it politely: some re-create bubbles of professional class affluence and gate-keeping hierarchy online; others mimic the non-profit bureaucracy and the pseudo-organizing principles of white-collar NGOs; and more ape serious civic groups, community organizations, subversive ideology, serious strategies of resistance and protest, all the while staying within the confines of their self-imposed defanged and declawed liberal “progressivism”.

The Memeification of Society

The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world.

— Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

It would be remiss if we did not mention one of the dominant forms of expression on social media: the meme. The function of the meme: a pictogram, is telling insofar as it reminds us that people not only do not want to read anymore, but also often don’t have time to invest in watching a short video, essay or novel, or even examine worthy works of art, either. Memes have become a form of postmodern hieroglyphs for screen-addicted Westerners. The meme acts as a floating signifier par excellence; when there is very little common ground or shared reality inherent in the online world, users (netizens is one cute name scholars like to use) pass along memes and interpret them to fit into prefabricated narratives and beliefs.

Not only that, certain extremely online media “poison the well” of nuanced online discourse by using the same generic tropes and stereotypical styles borrowed from memes and mass culture, and endlessly regurgitating one-dimensional thinking. Posters then inevitably adopt the same styles of humor from memes, and appear in the form of pre-packaged personalities: there’s the preening virtue signaler; the petit bourgeois influencers hawking a channel, brand, or merchandise; the bipartisan shrieking about the perils of socialism; the self-deprecating very earnest posters with endless commentary; the low-key spiritualist humble-bragger; the perpetual oversharer; the haranguing trolls and snarky “edgelords” who get off on other’s misery; the cantankerous self-appointed ideology police who admonish everyone who deviates from their purity politics; and many other prefabricated templates of virtual personality types to follow and waste one’s time “engaging” with.

“Posting wars” have taken the mantle from the culture wars that began heating up in the early 2000s: everyone can engage in their own lame version of liberal, conservative, or radical punditry; everyone can be their own asinine Jon Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Bob Avakian — whatever skin one wants to try on for the day; parroting the same tired tropes, shuffling through the never-ending news cycle, applying embarrassingly childish levels of critique, and usually stoking nationalistic fervor on all sides. Through algorithms that amplify the most simplistic, most milquetoast, most authoritarian, and frankly the most enraging and ignorant voices, social media performs a key element of social engineering and low-level psychological warfare: it keeps the population in perpetual angst, disorientation, and even fear; just off-kilter enough to be swayed by authoritarian demagogues, and just desperate and delusional enough to be assuaged by the liberal “resistance” that “democracy” will be restored soon.

This is just more Hollywood: we can find the same types of styles of media personalities, the same shows and movies promoting US foreign policy, the same jokes and narratives online as in mass consumer culture. Even if the “content” is likeable, or wholesome, or whatever, we often find the same tedious set-ups, the same formulaic variations to get to the punchline, the exact same references online that one might see in a lame superhero movie.

Again, there certainly is worthwhile work and even political education being done within online culture, but some of the problems with posting are the inexorable rise of the hyperreal blurring of truth and illusion, the layers of shellacking with ironic distance to make things “funny” or acceptable to an audience. Much like the sadistic overseer at one’s job who confuses “being the boss” with having a personality, the new cadres of the extremely online misunderstand that simply having an online presence, significant following in terms of numbers, or a media platform does not confer experience, brilliance, uniqueness, the ability to lead or be a role model about, well, anything. Much like politicians and modern celebrities (who are increasingly becoming the same thing), the extremely online are simply popular for being popular.

Through the Cyborg Looking Glass

It’s not an experience if they can’t bring someone along
They hang on emotions they bottle inside
They peck at the ground
And strut out of stride

— Phish, “Birds of a Feather”

Another issue that establishment commentators cannot seem to wrap their heads around is the liberal-dominated kitsch and camp social media behavior, attitudes, and posts that appeal to specific subcultures and make things go “viral” within small communities, but face the same echo-chamber issue when confronted with going beyond the “target audience”. By pandering towards in-groups, many internet-savvy influencers (even socialist and radical-minded ones) unconsciously adopt the same tactics as PR and marketing firms relying on focus groups to target audiences. Developing a following now consists of who can shout the loudest, report the fastest, and spurt out the most ridiculous and sensationalist click-bait. In other words, socio-economic control no longer simply functions with capitalist monopolization of the means of production — as many astute observers have pointed out, non-waged labor, leisure time, biopower, and cultural reproduction now are absorbed into the nascent “new world order” of global capitalism; which is in turn reshaping human consciousness in totally unforeseen ways.

Apparently variations of the above happens among leftists quite often on social media: the retweet/sharing of another’s post followed/captioned by a snappy or poignant comment to provide context, an added emphasis,  an angry denunciation and disavowal of the concept, or a gentle nudge to offer clarity. Certainly this is necessary in some cases, but the idea of becoming each other’s constant 24/7 news aggregators, soundboards, and amplifiers…in order to accomplish what exactly? Is there an unconscious desire to carry on with this quasi-forced show, which is obviously coercive due to social pressures, in order to meet the perceived need to regularly signal one’s beliefs and develop monetization models?

Another way of framing the question is to what extent are the flurry of posts about daily “news” and critiques of current events required, and to what extent do individuals yearn for and crave the never-ending spectacle of discourse to feed egos, get a dopamine rush, and/or gain popularity? To what extent is the drive to secure social capital an excuse to develop a liberal-left version of having “credentials”, and to what extent are those involved softening the edges of critiques, compromising values, and slowly becoming assimilated into a virtual world where technological power is worshipped and fetishized? Is there an engaged and dedicated minority of revolutionaries ready, willing, and able to storm the barricades physically, or do our online connections consist of a simulacra of ally-ship, and represent the dying embers of a burnt-out husk of a public sphere masquerading as serious discourse?

Putting aside the ignorance and vitriol all over the web for a minute, and there’s plenty of that, what comes to the fore is the quite boring and tedious background to online discourse. Not only is it incredibly lonely, nearly everyone is in some important sense going through the motions, performing in service of whatever fad or niche subculture, instantly sucked into commentary on any media narrative and scratching the itch; in this environment, political commentary in the West resembles sports news, or movie reviews, or fashion advertising; a running conversation on trendy, stupefying, salacious current events where no serious response to the power structure or the money system is offered. Not only are we faced with online/digital ennui, but internet commentary has become downright predictable- running the gamut from “influencers” who are demagogic authoritarians, to establishment types pandering to centrist neoliberal notions of “bipartisanship”, to libertarian pseudo-spiritual grifters, to tech moguls and celebrities incessantly reminding us “we’re all in this together”.  Pretty soon we will have algorithms and AI writing TV and movie dialogue as well as political news, if it’s not already happening, in order to gauge and profiteer off of what machine learning tells us is “fun” and “likeable” to the public.

The common thread is that high technology will somehow save us and make the world a more interesting and enjoyable place, which is a technophilic worldview: only the vast arrays of screens, robots, AI, internet of things, smart-grids, ever-watching and listening surveillance, and multinational corporations can solve the problems they themselves have created. No one stops to think — and this is another part of the equation, the lack of free time in the always-online world — maybe, just maybe, modern technology is diverting us from coming together, forming community-level mutual aid groups, organizing the working class, protecting the environment, and many other deadly serious issues.

As for the reasons why we keep diving head-first into the toxic stew of social media, here’s a quote from one Jay Hathaway at the Daily Dot to ponder over:

Why do we continue to lap at this useless, mean trickle of garbage juice? Even worse, why do we seek out more of it? Is it because we hate ourselves? Quite possibly, yes. Is it because we’re lonely, and we’re hooked on this simulacrum of human connection even as it makes us less relatable to the real people around us? There’s definitely some of that… At some point, you have to admit that you’re Extremely Online because you want to be. Or because you once wanted to be, and now it’s part of your identity. Who would you be if you weren’t Extremely Online?

We’re all liable to badger on about whatever pet issue we stand up for, and sometimes rightfully so; but the majority don’t really want to take action or even think through the implications of what would be needed to change our cultural momentum or our personal inertias. This is because, through the money system and the vagaries of an extreme social hierarchy, mainstream liberals and conservatives have become so beaten down that they adopt fatalistic and nihilistic mentality. Part of the reason they despise each other so much is that they recognize so much of themselves in each other. On varying levels of cognition they despise themselves. Being told their entire lives that more money and technology will bring more happiness and progress, and yet not being able to partake in any tangible culturally enriching activities or soul-expanding journeys, many become schizoid.

Social media and the denizens of the extremely online compound this problem. The loudest, meanest, crudest of the bunch are amplified in our social media feeds by algorithms designed to capture our attention, most obviously for ad revenue. Of course this is how the game got started in Silicon Valley, so we are ostensibly told that this whole racket is all about the money, no other nefarious “agendas”. Unfortunately the extremely online liberal and soft-left has swallowed this hook, line, and sinker that the only motive driving these companies is profit.

Yet, Facebook and Google are known to have taken start-up money from In-Q-Tel, a CIA created venture capital firm, and intelligence agencies are known to use backdoors through every browser, operating system, social media app, etc. Further, just thinking through what an “attention economy” and Shoshana Zuboff’s notion of “surveillance capitalism” really entails brings up rather unpleasant truths. One of which is that the national security state is monitoring the web at large not to play “defense” but to actively plant and stir up counterrevolutionary ideology not only in the mainstream but in the furthest recesses of online discourse. In short, there are now intelligence operators whose job is to act as an online COINTELPRO.

Beyond that, the full-scale push for more time spent in online communities as well as the wide availability of broadband internet connected to nascent “digital identity” technologies in the developing world will only allow for the wider use of cyber-based, psychological warfare, propaganda, and counterinsurgency techniques. Even pushing further, establishment narratives and media stories can be amplified through algorithms that favor “trusted sources”. The fact is that the public is not aware of the full capabilities of the national security state, and that social media can operate to create the same sorts of conditions that the CIA program “Operation Mockingbird” used to bribe journalists and editors into printing mainstream-favored news over dissident opinions.

We’ve already seen Facebook manipulate individuals media feeds as a social experiment to see if it would provoke more positive and negative emotions, and it worked as they readily admit. If, in previous generations mass propaganda worked through the model of “manufacturing consent”, today we are faced with perhaps an even more intractable situation: the normalization of consent and the amnestic erasure of the social, erosion of community, and destruction of a slower type of deliberative discourse, and of history. The regiments of mainstream liberalism and co-opted progressives are stirred into action to promote the interests of the status quo. Take two glaring recent examples from the US and the UK: Bernie Sanders’ supposed misogyny and Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called anti-Semitism.

Driven by an absurd, relentless media narrative, both messages were amplified and both candidates tarred and feathered in public because of an inane social media discourse. 2016 may have been the year that Twitter became relevant for national politics because of Trump; four years later, things have gotten even more absurd. To cite just one example in the 2020 election race, Elizabeth Warren became incensed about Bernie Sanders’ supporters being mean to her online- this become somehow debate-worthy and relevant enough to provoke national discussion. So not only has mass media become fixated on reactions to bad jokes or distasteful references on Twitter, but it now parrots the same maudlin sentimentality and priggishness as the denizens of the extremely online world.

Similarly, across the pond Corbyn was smeared over little more than insinuations and hyperbole; again amplified by ridiculous anti-socialist social media influencers, liberal and conservative alike. Then there was the mother of all the liberal delusions and overreactions the past four years: Russiagate. While the mainstream media played the dominant role, social media trolls, bots, and liberal officialdom continued to hammer away at collusion, becoming the mirror image of the nascent conservative post-truth fake news era. Narratives are now almost entirely driven by the profit-motive, money values and celebrity click-bait begin to exclusively dominate discourse, gossip becomes the main focus in a doomed capitalist economy where its leaders can no longer alter its course.

The fact is that this intentional manipulation of human nature serves the ultra-rich classes through more than their bank accounts. It’s not just about advertising money and profit, and not just about surveillance, or a new form of attention economy. It’s all of that and much more, much darker and dystopian. Social media, the web, and streaming services are the new fuels that run the alienation and atomization engine of our culture. They have become the dominant form of online expression, and through ads, codes, and algorithms have found their way into our collective unconscious. Not only do these pervasive media elements divide those with obvious ideological differences; the intricacies of the algorithms stir up unconscious impulses and polarize those with largely overlapping interests.

Of course we all know this phenomenon well (the narcissism of small differences) and it predates the internet age, but what is novel here is not its reappearance on a bigger “stage” but its targeted, precise, insidious deployment into our social newsfeeds. Individuals are made to feel the need to keep up with internet flame wars, memes, and obscure references or else the feeling of being “left out” and/or uninformed begins to creep up out the recesses of one’s consciousness. Social isolation and stigmatization for not being able to “keep up with the facts” (Fear of Missing Out-FOMO) and events in our modern world is a very real thing, just as ruthless on social media as the various hierarchies in the corporate world, civic life, and academia, just to name a few instances.

Further, the lack of being able to have one’s opinion heard or validated online in the maelstrom of discontent it has sown often gives young people, especially those with low self-esteem, the idea that their thoughts and opinions don’t matter and are somehow unworthy of attention. This is compounded for those that, due to propaganda uncritically filtered from others or simply naiveté, believe that the best art, theory, and culture rise virtuously to the top in the great “democratic” marketplace of ideas that the internet and social media has come to represent.

Unfortunately the trend of the extremely online is to uphold the hegemony of the insulated, college-educated, the mostly liberal but also conservative petit bourgeoisie. Working class leftists and anti-capitalists, and even the very minor celebrities in the international left, will continue to be marginalized, censored, and their work ignored because they do not bear the stamps of officialdom: the Twitter blue check-mark or “verified” Google news.

All of these trends and addictive technologies converge into a dystopic framework: one that will attempt to enslave humanity in some form of digital prison; one where real-time sensors, AI driven and smart-grid internet hyperconnectivity will be able to drive human behavior on an unprecedented scale. Our “docile bodies” are being reprogrammed and conditioned to accept this, one ad, TV show, one scroll through the feed, one dopamine hit at a time. In order to accomplish this nightmare, the ruling elites need to “data-fy” us by hooking us up — by merging man and machine. Hence, this is why wearable technologies have been marketed so hard: it is not enough for a smartphone or external biosensors to do the job of extracting surplus value from our bodies. The falling rate of profit will eventually force the “data is the new oil” tech oligarchs to police our thoughts, modulate our pleasures and pains, and keep up the façade of a world of obedient workers, even if it means resorting to dystopian totalitarian tactics such as implants, virtual reality gaming systems, cheap or even free housing for those who live where they work, and a host of unforeseen emerging concepts as global civilization continues down the glide path towards oblivion.

Techno-Feudal Oligarchy

Bill Gates’ and Paul Allen’s BASIC-MS operating system, which they sold to IBM and ended up dominating the global market for many years, was written in BASIC computer language. This language was developed by professors at Dartmouth in 1964 with funding from the National Science Foundation…The PARC research facility, from which Steve Jobs obtained the basics of the graphic user interface that became the Mac and later all computer interfaces, had several former ARPA researchers working on these display concepts…Facebook’s deferential corporate biographer David Kirkpatrick admits, ‘Something like Facebook was envisioned by engineers who laid the groundwork for the internet. In a 1968 essay by J.C.R. Licklider and Robert W. Taylor, ‘The Computer as Communication Device,’ the two essentially envisioned Facebook’s basic social network. They worked for ARPA… Google itself, considered the most academically inspired of the megacaps, was originally google.stanford.edu, where it was developed through the state and federal tax funding of California and the United States…Page’s first research paper included the note, ‘funded by DARPA’.

— Rob Larson, Bit Tyrants

One thing to remember is that Western governments are never going to willingly reign in the monopoly transnational corporations that dominate the internet. The five biggest (Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon) form an internet oligopoly, as Nikos Smyrnaios explains. Through a process of the convergence of IT, web, media, intellectual property rights domination, deregulation of the digital sector, tax avoidance, and a never-ending slush fund from the biggest banks, as well as the “network effect” that herd consumers to a very few web conglomerates, the big five have managed to create basically a private internet cartel, based on inventions and achievements made with public funding, which have been effectively stolen and privatized using intellectual property and patent laws.

As Rob Larson explains in his book Bit Tyrants, the network effect occurs because the very few big social media networks offer increased connections and usefulness for people as more people flock to the platform. This makes the Big Five and a few other platforms virtual monopolies that can exert leverage; whether through algorithms, censorship, banning, and other opaque measures to destroy competition.

Naomi Klein pointed out in The Intercept in her piece “Screen New Deal” that the tech oligarchs are prepared to use the pandemic as an excuse to push their business model onto the world. As she writes:

It’s a future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails. Of course, for many of us, those same homes were already turning into our never-off workplaces and our primary entertainment venues before the pandemic, and surveillance incarceration ‘in the community’ was already booming. But in the future under hasty construction, all of these trends are poised for a warp-speed acceleration.

Another glimpse into a high-tech dystopia revealed itself in Toronto, where citizens smartly made an uproar about turning part of the waterfront area known as Quayside into a “smart city” constructed by an innocuous sounding company, Sidewalk Labs. Of course, it turns out that Sidewalk is affiliated with Google, and concerned citizens and privacy advocates shot it down for obvious reasons, such as privacy and surveillance violations which would undoubtedly occur.

A similar idea has been introduced recently in Nevada, which goes by the innocuous name of the “Innovation Zone”. The Governor has been preparing to allow private corporations to buy land, develop cities, and form private governments, courts, police, and essential services to residents, who would live under private law which would have the same weight as county laws in the state. A company called Blockchains LLC, part of a holding company with very little transparency, has bought a ton of land outside of Reno and is all in on forming a new “smart city” there. This sort of techno-libertarian dystopia is ostensibly being introduced to raise tax revenue and boost economic growth. Yet for a governor to hand over sovereignty to an unaccountable corporation, it begs a number of questions, no? Especially since the company has donated to the Nevada governor, one would think the obvious conflict of interest would be enough to kill the project. Something much larger than the petty corruption of a US governor and the greed and opportunism of a technology company are at play here. As we shall see below, these private-public partnerships and deceitful collaborations are signs from a possible future of total social control and surveillance.

Online Labor and Value

If a free market economy plus intellectual property leads to the “underutilization of information”, then an economy based on the full utilization of information cannot tolerate the free market or absolute intellectual property rights. The business models of all our modern digital giants are designed to prevent [access to] the abundance of information.

– Cryppix, “The End of Capitalism Has Begun”, Blog Post from Medium.com, 2019

People understand that essential jobs are the only ones who really matter in our economy: food production, construction and housing, keeping store shelves stocked and life-sustaining services running, nurses and surgeons, those kinds of jobs. The rest of the economy falls into the category of what the late David Graeber rightly called “bullshit jobs”. These are jobs that exist solely for the sake of making corporations more profit, and provide no tangible material benefits in terms of food, housing, clothing, making domestic and communal life easier, and even art and culture for humanity.

White collar jobs (the extremely online included, at least those who benefit considerable or have a career closely related) in the US mainly exist to sell tangential perks and benefits for rich elites and the affluent; whether it’s fancy gadgetry and high technology, or either to reduce their own labor within their households, or to manufacture false consumer needs in the wider populace, or to exploit labor forces domestically and abroad. The modern West increasingly does not physically make or manufacture anything of value. The tech-heavy jobs of the future, as well as the new high technology and extremely online jobs of today, whether it is mainstream jobs in media, journalism, graphic designers, computer coders and software developers, engineering and science in service to the military industrial complex, Ad and PR firms, political consultants, armies of middle managers and think tanks wonks all reinforce and re-circulate narrow-minded and ignorant neoliberal economics and conservative cant about how the US is a shining beacon of freedom and democracy, and not a capitalist-imperialist authoritarian oligarchy bent on world domination and driving the world towards ecological annihilation. This is connected to too much time spent on digital devices. Upper-middle class white collars are “making bank” and have gotten intellectually lazy and morally corrupted by their ill-gotten wealth and they have effectively substituted online life for local community. They decry gentrification and white privilege even as they are the ones pushing minority and working class communities out of desirable inner city areas.

One of the reasons this happens, whether its liberals or libertarian Silicon Valley acolytes on the coasts or conservative tech-savvy suburbanites in the Midwest and breadbasket of the US, is because the upper-middle class thinks of itself as a meritocracy. What they’ve created of course, is a bougie neo-Victorian aristocracy of wealth, social status, and cultural capital, a “New American Aristocracy” as one Matthew Stewart explained in The Atlantic. What is interesting about Stewart’s piece is that he is at least cognizant of his own position in what he calls the “upper 9.9%”, and how the people and families in this class all slavishly service, idolize, strive towards, and navel-gaze at the top 0.1%. Reading his essay one can feel his consternation, as he acknowledges his complicity:

But that is not to let the 9.9 percent off the hook. We may not be the ones funding the race-baiting, but we are the ones hoarding the opportunities of daily life. We are the staff that runs the machine that funnels resources from the 90 percent to the 0.1 percent. We’ve been happy to take our cut of the spoils. We’ve looked on with smug disdain as our labors have brought forth a population prone to resentment and ripe for manipulation. We should be prepared to embrace the consequences.

Of course, as Stewart states, “running the machine” is a euphemism for improving the bottom line, and the only way that’s done today is to make blue-collar people work harder for less money, to deregulate industry, to smash labor rights, and to transfer production offshore to countries using essentially slave labor and indentured servitude. We do not live in a Taylorist-Fordist manufacturing economy anymore and even the ruling elites acknowledge that producing more for the sake of more is insane, as most affluent and upper-middle class people just binge on a steady diet of useless mass-culture goods, cycles through endless perks that the service economy provides, and consumes digitally-based mainstream lowbrow entertainment. Anyone who tells you different is mostly likely either a snake-oil salesperson or a sycophantic brown-noser for the ruling class.

The white collar professional milieu now functions mainly to create make-work jobs to sop up the millions of university educated indoctrinated into the capitalist world order, who otherwise would find  their fields outsourced just as the working class jobs have been for the past forty-odd years. Elite overproduction does present a problem, insofar as late-stage neoliberalism no longer affords the opportunities for obedient, conforming middle-class workers who feel entitled to a slice of the American pie that in the postwar period was more equitable divided — at least towards white, educated citizens. These educated, professional class individuals ostensibly would prefer a modicum of social democracy, but today instead are bribed with aforementioned bullshit jobs in the corporate world, who are eventually psychically broken down and assimilated into “normal” capitalist relations, become inured to human suffering, and begin to accept the self-fulfilling prophecy of capitalist realism.

The Normalization of Technocratic Language

The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit — and take advantage of our lowered guard to bombard us with bullshit of the second order. The majority of administrative activity, whether in private business or the public sphere, seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit.

– Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, Callingbullshit.org

Paeans to productivity and a smarter, more efficient economy while doing nothing to alleviate poverty, homelessness, environmental problems, etc. also reinforces the striving, overachieving, smarmy, centrist white-collar dweebs in the professional classes and political wonks of the world whose smugness and arrogance only increases as they delude themselves into believing they are the winners in a fair meritocracy.

The milieu of the extremely online crowd are the ones occupying these “bullshit jobs” and whose role it is to filter and mediate who, what, when, where, why, and how issues are framed and discussed in the media. This explains some of the sneering dismissal and resentment from the right about the “coastal liberal elites”: the conservatives understand that media liberals have no real expertise and are not serious thinkers, and they doubly resent them because they see in liberals the same moral relativism and nihilism they see in themselves. This can be made clear when one considers who the modern far-right respects and fears among world leaders more: effete neoliberal elitists who peddle bullshit, such as Obama, Clinton, Macron, and Trudeau; or staunch socialists of the recent past and present like Morales (and now Arce), Lula, Chavez, Castro, etc.

As for what increases in productivity in material terms even means anymore at work for white-collar jobs in 2020, it’s laughable on its face, as our economy has become so divorced from reality. I’m not even referring to small businesses offering tangible, physical products here, but rather professional class jobs which exist solely to make money for giant corporations, aka more bullshit jobs, without any actual corporeal objects to sell.

What we do know is that, besides tech and computer workers, the only people who talk about increasing productivity and GDP in glowing terms are sadist executives and managers in soulless corporate America, delusional mainstream economists, Wall Street sociopaths, real estate speculators displacing the poor and gentrifying inner cities, CEOs who rely on slave labor overseas, people who work for pyramid schemes, tech moguls destroying middle class jobs and transmuting them into a precarious gig economy, hedge fund managers who instigate hostile takeovers of companies and lay off loyal employees, military contractors who build more drones and bombs, etc.

Simply put, only the most craven and bougified people used to talk like this about economic issues, but with the emergence of online culture and the double expansion of the financial and computer-centric sectors of the economy, this sort of Orwellian PR-speak has expanded to the “attention economy” and is becoming normalized, internalized, and disseminated by tech entrepreneurs, the culture industry and Hollywood/web influencers, “lean-in” liberals, and social media-addicted journalists, who then feign responsibility for the type of hyper-fast, work all the time environments and disposable culture and entertainment that they help to cultivate and profit off of.

Essentially, the denizens of the extremely online normalize liberal, bourgeois ideology by couching their ideas in the “woke”, “hip”, rhetoric of identity politics and neoliberal economics, which they interpret as somehow being “progressive”. They normalize an ever-shrinking political discourse which excludes radical thinkers and promotes an updated, social media-savvy version of Orwellian corporate-speak, which Pierre Bourdieu dubbed as “NewLiberalSpeak” in 2001.

Screen-Captured Subjectivity: Digital Interpellation and Algorithmic Control

Hence the exclamation ‘another world is possible’ today seems to be confronted with the riddle, ‘would another digitality be possible?’

– Jan de Vos, “Fake subjectivities: Interpassivity from (neuro)psychologization to digitalization”, Continental Thought and Theory, Vol 2. Issue 1

Regardless of the many brilliant complex analysis of social ills, either on social platforms or digital media more broadly, it appears that the web and social media provides a very strong new avenue for what we might term digital interpellation. Users of the web and social media are constantly hailed, as in Althusser’s famous example, and continually modulated and nudged by algorithms to conform to bourgeois ideology, and endlessly diverted by the mass culture industry. Again, this constant feedback loop of being online only gives the ruling classes more power — simply logging into social media and posting does this. Academics have even attempted to calculate the monetary values of posts, retweets, and photos shared online: we are literally making money for tech corporations when we post on social media. The only real option is to stop feeding the beast and boycott these monopolies altogether; finding ways to bring people off these platforms onto non-monetized, secure, non-surveilled services, or at the very least use them sparingly — to instigate revolutions, for example.

Whereas in Althusser’s example it was the policeman doing the “hailing” in the physical environment, today we have moved to the digital plane: and it’s the thought-police and propagandists peddling mainstream narratives that define the new enemy. Jan de Vos describes this evolution from the Althusserian “discourse of the master”, to the modernist “discourse of the university”, and now we are faced with what I’d call a “discourse of the algorithm.” Power is being displaced onto the micrological level, where absent causes have real life devastating effects. In the internet panopticon, which stretches beyond the confines of spatio-temporal planes into the digital ether, not only do we self-censor what we post and share but also annihilate the processes by which we are able to think critically.

Not only do we take for granted what we know, but how we know what we know ceases to be a domain of contestation: the economic and power relations of how knowledge is constructed and wielded by the ruling class isn’t questioned, and the ways in which invisible actors and algorithms decide what is “popular” and newsworthy are assumed to be neutral and balanced. Whereas Althusser’s concept stemmed from interpellation as the discourse of the master, clearly now this archetypal ruling class figure has dissolved and seeped into the social body with no central character — we now enter the age of the discourse of the serpent, where algorithms and thus viewpoints on subjects as disparate as “science” or “international relations” which guide “professional” mainstream journalism and polite, acceptable thought which conforms with the demands of capitalism.

Why are these new forms of control so important and relevant in today’s times? Simply put, the national security state and corporations care very much about what we think, and how we feel. As late capitalism lurches towards semi-controlled collapse and contraction due to its internal contradictions, the old model of the corporate state’s indifference to the masses, the “f*** your feelings” approach, is no longer realistic for the goals of social control, especially after the mass outcries against the travesties of Vietnam and the second Gulf War in Iraq. Modern institutions care very much about our feelings nowadays, and are heavily invested in our collective emotional reactions; not only for monetary reasons, but to gauge policy decisions, for psychosocial mass monitoring of dissent, for biopolitical control of birth and death rates, and to market the imperial national security state to the public, among just a few examples. For instance, we know the CIA and intelligence community has been seeding itself into Silicon Valley and Hollywood for decades now, with shadowy agents literally rewriting movie scripts and tech executives making regular trips to Langley and DC to discuss integration and public-private partnerships.

The new tools of social control involve not only the hard aspects of indoctrination into nationalism and imperialism, but also the “soft” underbelly of manipulating our emotional states, and programming our tastes to like or at least accept aspects of our society that are crass, barbaric, camp, kitsch, trendy and faddish. The culture industry has evolved over the past fifty years to anticipate and channel public discontent into consumption patterns and “acceptable” resistance. The next stage invariably involves the immaterial realm of molding minds: of pacifying the unrest of the gig economy precariat, service economy workers, and unpaid household domestic laborers; of offering endless streaming services and apps to modulate and condition the populace to accept whatever technological mediated and biosecurity-centered “new normal” is coming, and of substituting “cyberspace” for local, grounded, in-person relations.

“Cruel Optimism” and “Ugly Feelings”: Affect Theory and Interpassivity in Relation to Digital Media

As a judgement, however, the gimmick contains an extra layer of intersubjectivity: it is what we say when we, unlike others implicitly evoked or imagined in the same moment, are not buying into what a capitalist device is promising. Robert Pfaller refers to this structure of displacement as a ‘suspended illusion’: beliefs like the superstitious ritual of the sports fan that ‘always belong to others, that are never anyone’s own [beliefs].’

– Sianne Ngai, Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form

It would be a disservice to understanding the extremely/terminally online without applying the lens of two heavyweights of cultural criticism, Lauren Berlant and Sianne Ngai. Berlant became prominent after her book, Cruel Optimism, managed to thread the needle of accessibility and scholarly erudition: her notion of cruel optimism can be succinctly defined as follows: “when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your own flourishing”. There is hardly a better way to explain the effect of social media today on individual psyches and the body politic. As Berlant aptly points out, her idea is connected to the notion of the “American Dream”: a delusional belief system fraught with contradictions; and one increasingly predicated on insecurity and ever-looming economic precarity. In the context of the digital age, social media use is mostly just another escape and addiction for the growing precariat — we know too much web use is bad for us, a way to pass the time with pop-media pablum and ignore the reality that our lives are being wasted on performing pointless rote work — as internet users learn experientially as the addiction takes hold and spirals.

The figure of the internet/computer addict and the ambivalence the subject has towards the object; the computer or social media account- simultaneously attracted and repulsed by it- provides a good segue towards understanding the work of Sianne Ngai. As Ngai and Berlant point out, these contradictory reactions towards commodities and media at large in some sense determine what the late Raymond Williams called the “structure of feeling” in late capitalist society.

Ngai builds on this model through a brilliant examination of cultural affect and “aesthetic categories”. Spanning decades now, her work analyses categories of emotion endemic to late capitalism: the “cute” consumer creature-comforts and the dark side of how cuteness is used to manipulate; the “zany” which can represent, among other things, the precarious hyper-active work environment, emotional labor and super-productive demands of the service economy; and the “interesting”, which can stand in for withholding judgment: here the interesting is an invitation towards a discourse with another; how aesthetic judgment comes from shared understandings and mimesis. Ngai’s varied and textured analysis leaves room to show how political subjects today can enact many categories simultaneously — the “cute” always smiling, ever-happy disposition of the service worker and the emotional labor expended performs alongside the zany ever-increasing demands of a super-fast paced retail store.

There can be no doubt that alongside social media’s hacking of our neurobiology, the systematic playing off on citizen’s mental states and emotionality represents the new “dark arts” in politics. This is why Berlant and Ngai are so prescient, because they foresaw this decades ago, just as, for example, the novelist Octavia Butler was able to foresee the slogan “Make America Great Again” in 1998.

Ngai’s most fascinating concept is her notion of “stuplimity” — a combination of shock and boredom — of the sublime with the stupid. Really, there is hardly a more apt word to describe being online today, or on social media. The incessant chatter and news headlines may at the same time excite, titillate, awe, bore, and depress us- again, the blended attractive and repulsive nature of which, like capitalism itself, is ingrained into the structure of our everyday lives.

In her most recent work, Ngai analyses the nature of the “gimmick”, and strikingly reveals the economic undercurrents of how and why we critique commodities as such. Not only do gimmicks simultaneously entertain and annoy us, they show labor and value are at the core of how we judge and develop tastes for consumer goods as well as art (here is a good interview with Ngai to explain).

To tie back to modern technology — media outlets, social media, and many overproduced devices (computers, cars) as well as superfluous ones (smartphones, tablets, private jets) well, these are all modern gimmicks of an extractivist capitalist economy. They are not capable of being produced sustainably in the long-term. Not only are these objects not built to last, trendy and faddish in a cultural sense, they are built by supply chains and manufacturing techniques which require mass exploitation, coercion, and environmental degradation. The laptop one uses for create surplus value for one’s employer is still just a softer version of accepting a blood diamond — the “cost of doing business”. Laptops with which rare earth elements are mined by child labor and victims of human trafficking in Africa, manufactured into circuit boards under unsafe and extreme conditions in East Asia, and shipped and sold by precarious laborers in transport, big-box stores and online retailers worldwide. If society is in fact unaffected, indifferent, and ignorant of such things, it does in fact reveal that our aesthetic judgments — our interior worlds of emotions as well as discernment of what constitutes truth, beauty, and various affective states has been hijacked by a culture that is hell-bent on advancing technological progress at all costs — even if it means the collapse of our web of life and the enslavement of humankind.

As the epigraph for this section points out, Ngai reminds us that the gimmick has a fungible quality — one person’s gimmick is another’s useful, or even adored good — and vice versa. The gimmick can also slip between pretentious and useless to utilitarian and labor-saving: Ngai likes to point out how the Google Glass morphed from a fad that was (appropriately) derided by consumers into a workplace device for hands-free smart-device used in industrial work.

Ngai’s work on the gimmick can be compared to Robert Pfaller’s (with an assist from the inimitable Slavoj Zizek) notion of interpassivity: the delegation of enjoyment. With social media we delegate positive experiences to the “anonymous other” — when we post, we trick ourselves into believing another is viewing and enjoying our content — even if, in fact, there is no one observing. This faces us with prospects of staging “illusions without a subject”; no one may be watching but we take pleasure in the illusion someone is doing so, in Pfaller’s examples of the TV fanatic who records shows without watching them, or of the academic who photocopies books at a library where no one else is watching. Whereas the gimmick relies on the subject who believes someone is being “duped” into buying a trivial kitsch consumer item with no “value” to most people, while they can see through the gimmick; the interpassive subject may be staging an illusion, but either no one is there to question the motive, or there is a perceived “naïve observer” in the mind of the stager.

Yet with the delegation of enjoyment, and more broadly, life experiences, are transposed in our age from material consumer goods to the immaterial realm of the internet, what passes as a gimmick becomes even trickier to define. Also, just as endless signifying chains can mutate, fold, or implode upon themselves, interpassive subjects can infinitely delegate, one to the other, feeding memes, art (which now has been degraded into “content”), videos, and journalistic forays through endless cycles. Thus the progression of an economy based on production to one based on reproduction and circulation that we find today in the West, solipsistic and self-generating, with varying degrees of simulation and hyperreality.

Technological Salvation: The Religion of the Ruling Class

Left ‘accelerationist’ ideas of a post-work society based on state-supported ‘4th industrial revolution’ development, with a UBI to pacify surplus populations, could well be enabler of, rather than alternative to, large scale capitalist AI development. Ecosocialists might also suggest that the idea that human emancipation is identical with the advance of a high-production, high-technological networked society is precisely what is thrown into question by global heating and other environmental-crises…

– Nick Dyer-Witheford, “Left Populism and Platform Capitalism”, tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, Vol. 18 No. 1

As we have seen above, the profit motive is not the only thing being served by social media. Driven by individualized “feeds”, web and screen-based news/commentary are being unleashed with additional benefits — one of which being that it is an updated model for social cohesion and mass obedience, based on elements of what Gilles Deleuze described as a “Society of Control.”

As the epigraph to this section suggests, many within progressive and even socialist spaces favor the expansion of modern technology into nearly every aspect of our lives, in order to supposedly make labor easier and alleviate undue suffering. These “left-accelerationist” and “Fully Automated Luxury Communism” (FALC) promoters have a lot of overlap with green capitalist and eco-modernist thought.

To use clumsy and obscure analogy, just as twenty years ago it was written that “Empire can be read as the Lexus and the Olive Tree of the Far Left”, today we can confidently say that FALC and its promotional grifters can be viewed as the Al Gores, Steward Brands or Alvin Tofflers of the far left. Indeed, in a sense the FALCists continue in the starry-eyed idealist vein, in the sense that the technological salvation the former believe in can be juxtaposed with the supposedly inevitable deterritorializing process of “Empire” for the latter: both presuppose and give preeminence to very Western notions of social change and the role of technology.

Why is FALC delusional, exactly? In part because the technology required to create these notions of automated communism (never mind full or luxurious) would have huge carbon and environmental footprints. Also, an AI driven 5G and eventually 6G smart grid would make even today’s omnidirectional surveillance states look like child’s play. Compounding these delusions of grandeur is the uneven development between the advanced industrial economies and the exploited postcolonial states. Where do the Western FALC advocates believe the physical infrastructure and manufacturing power will come from? From poorer developing nations of course, as there is no real desire of organizational understanding of how to revolutionize an international working class among those hoping for technological salvation. This sort of pseudo-leftism desires the comfort and security of an advanced industrial system without taking into full consideration the levels of sacrifice necessary to create an eco-socialist economic model.

These are just a few examples of how semi-radical thought reproduces and reinforces capitalist hegemony, but the wider trend has been visible for decades now. As Baudrillard wrote in Simulacra and Simulation:

It is the justice of the left that reinjects an idea of justice, the necessity of logic and morals into a rotten apparatus that is coming undone…the system puts an end one by one to all its axioms…all the objectives of the historical and revolutionary Left that sees itself constrained to revive the wheels of capital in order to lay siege to them one day…everything that is disappearing, that the system itself, in its atrocity, certainly, but also in its irreversible impulse, has liquidated, must be conserved.

The Ouroboros Economy

All corporations become increasingly organized around the worship and control of information. Control over the value chain through ownership of the information vector extends even into life itself…through monitoring its states, through modifying its functions with drugs that alter chemical signals, through patenting aspects of life as design. What is at stake is neither a bios nor a polis but a regime of property in information extending into the organism. The novel forces of production as they have emerged in our time are also forces of reproduction and forces of circulation.

– Mckenzie Wark, Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse?

When Debord noted, and rightly so, that the spectacle is a “social relation among people, mediated by images”, it was understood that we all participate in and collectively make up the spectacular worldview. Yet that is not how many people today think, and when it is casually mentioned, spectacle is situated outside the self, not a set of social relations. Unfortunately, being able to detect vacuously transparent and craven corporate advertising as well as political rhetoric mostly is not sufficient for the second-level effects on the unconscious. As “desiring machines” integrated into late stage capitalism, the prison is not longer only physically constructed around us- and not only have we become both inmate and warden, oftentimes we take it on ourselves to perform the labor, both at work and in leisure time, that entrenches the powers of corporations and the national security state.

Here, it helps to have a grasp of a few key basic concepts from thinkers such as Debord, Foucault, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Guattari, and also Bourdieu, and even Latour. As many have noted, the pandemic has conveniently set the stage for capital and computer technology to fully absorb nearly all facets of everyday life, which reinforces the arguments of the terminally online and their worship of technology, and thus, American empire.

For Baudrillard a metaphor of simulation could be visualized as the Mobius strip, and for Deleuze describing the society of control it was the serpent. Today we can conjoin the concepts into the archetype of the ouroboros — a self-contained system of simulation and hyperreality, embedded to an immanent, infinite process of death and rebirth, one that contains within it seeds of destruction and the potential for renewal and societal transformation. The ouroboros encapsulates our era: from cybernetics, to algorithmic feedback loops of code, to cosmology, and even evolutionary anthropology, to the financialization and cannabilization of economies, the circuital globe-spanning nature of capital, the ineffable mimetic nature of cultural transmission and (re)production.

The consolidation of media narratives into social media outlets performs one unique function insofar as it renders the “official” establishment narrative into the only possible reasonable, logical way of seeing the world. Analogically, one can see this as a digital version of what Deleuze and Guattari called “state philosophy”, the incorporation and transmutation of “proper” stories and events into those which uphold state hegemony and corporate control. Of course, there can never be a totalization of these views online, just as there could not before in the age of print, or before in oral traditions. Reality cannot be consolidated into a tweet, just as it could not before in a newspaper editorial. What comes out of the void are “post-truths”, “alternative facts”, and other unruly features foreseen decades ago by Bruno Latour, when he undertook that could be called an anthropological study of modern science. Thus, what used to be called misinformation or half-truths have been reified by mainstream media, as objects with viral properties that must be censored before they can “infect” the populace.

What seems to be happening over and over again on the media satured/technophilic left is the refusal, the blind spot which keeps repeating the mantra that media monopolization and social media misuse by tech elites is somehow only driven by money and profit motives. The elites already have all the money. Certainly, their greed is a huge driving force, but what’s another billion to someone with a net worth of 50 or 100 billion. At a certain point one has to concede that there are deeper, more sinister agendas, which involve shaping reality and perception, and total social control. As one can easily see with a healthy degree of skepticism towards technological progress, lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid-19 are a perfect excuse for the nascent authoritarian biosecurity state, just as the legitimate protests against police brutality will be used by the state to implement more curfews and police state measures.

Social media and digital media are in the midst of a totalizing process in which all dissent will be censored, shadow-banned, or posts that differ from official narratives “throttled” by tech algorithms. The age of book-burning may be over but a new age of technological authoritarianism is emerging. To assuage the worst aspects of this emerging techno-feudal society, where “the economy” has fully replaced society and monetization of content and followings has replaced spontaneous and anarchic/communistic web interaction are the extremely online celebrities, influencers, and the corporate cut-outs and shills who fund them: and they strive towards and imitate tech owners and executives, bankers, lawyers, doctors, and various professional class snake-oil salespeople who offer escapist fantasies, slavish devotion to modern technology and overconsumption.

Since the upper and upper-middle classes are surrounded by corporate and state propaganda like fish in an ocean, which conforms to varying degrees to Bordieu’s notion of habitus; they are the most likely to “buy in” to the new prison system mediated by new repressive technology apparatuses, which is in line with Herman and Chomsky’s findings in Manufacturing Consent.

Like the sirens of Greek mythology, the job of the influencer, backed and financed by the ruling class, is to hypnotize the masses, and lull us back to sleep — “be like us” they intonate, we’re rich, successful, famous, powerful. While the vast majority toil away working for technological advancement and capital, the tech tyrants and web celebrities succeed by making internet technology and monopolized media work for them. Since the ruling class and new media elite earn passive income from conglomerate platforms, algorithms, and computing power, they have no interest in discovering how they have become the new architects of inequality and mass immiseration. It’s up to us to show them.

The post The Rise of the Terminally Online first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Tech giants help Israel muzzle Palestinians

Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, sought to shut down all use of the popular video-sharing app TikTok in Israel last month.

The attempt to censor TikTok, details of which emerged last weekend, is one of a number of reported attempts by Israel to control social media content during last month’s military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu tried to impose the blackout as Israel faced an international social media outcry over its 11-day attack on Gaza, which killed more than 250 Palestinians, and the violent repression by Israeli police of Palestinian protests in occupied East Jerusalem and inside Israel.

Government law officers are understood to have resisted the move.

Benny Gantz, the defense minister, also lobbied senior officials at Facebook and TikTok to crack down on posts critical of Israel, labelling them incitement and support for terror.

The tech giants responded by agreeing to act “quickly and effectively,” according to a statement from Gantz’s office.

The revelations follow widespread reports last month that social media corporations regularly removed posts that referred to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israel recently stepped up moves to force out Palestinian families and replace them with Jewish settlers.

Social media users and digital rights organizations also reported censorship of posts about the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Threats of expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah and an invasion by Israeli soldiers of al-Aqsa were the main triggers causing Hamas to fire rockets into Israel last month. Israel responded by destroying swaths of Gaza.

Shadowy cyber unit

Israel’s success in manipulating social media last month follows warnings from Israeli human rights groups about the longer-term threat of Israeli censorship faced by Palestinians.

Adalah, a legal rights group in Israel, said a shadowy Israeli government “cyber unit” – which works hand in hand with tech giants like Facebook and Twitter – had been given “a blank check” to police social media and muzzle online dissent.

Israel’s supreme court ruled in April that the cyber unit could continue its often secretive operations from inside the justice ministry, arguing that its work contributed to national security.

Since 2016, the cyber unit has removed many tens – and more likely hundreds – of thousands of Palestinian social media posts in collaboration with global tech corporations.

The posts are erased without any legal oversight and usually without notifying users, Adalah pointed out. In many cases, users’ accounts are suspended or removed entirely, or access to whole websites blocked.

The vast bulk of those being silenced are Palestinians – either those under a belligerent Israeli occupation or those who live inside Israel with degraded citizenship.

The cyber unit was established in late 2015, part of a raft of measures by Israel purportedly intended both to identify “terrorists” before they strike and to curb what Israel describes as “incitement”.

Given the opaque nature of the process, it is impossible to know what content is being taken down, Rabea Eghbariah, one of the Adalah lawyers who filed a petition against the unit to Israel’s high court, told The Electronic Intifada.

Examples in the Israeli media, however, suggest that Israel regularly targets posts critical of Israel’s belligerent occupation or express solidarity with Palestinians.

The court petition to end the cyber unit’s work was filed in November 2019 by Adalah, which represents 1.8 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of Israel’s population.

According to Adalah, the unit’s methods violate “the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and due process”.

In approving those methods, Adalah observed, the courts had conferred on the Israeli state the “unchecked” power “to govern online speech” and had allowed private tech companies to usurp control of the judicial process.

Eghbariah said Palestinians could rarely challenge their silencing on social media. The tech companies do not reveal when Israel is behind the censorship or what “terms of service” have been violated.

In court, Israeli officials defended their sweeping suppression of online content by arguing that ultimately social media companies like Google and Facebook were free to decide whether to accede to its requests.

News sites shuttered

However, Israeli officials have previously boasted that the tech giants almost always agree to remove whatever content Israel demands. In 2016, the justice ministry reported that Facebook and Google were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content” – almost all of it Palestinian.

Eghbariah told The Electronic Intifada that some 80 percent of Israel’s referrals for removing content relate to Facebook and its other major platform, Instagram, both of which are heavily used by Palestinians.

The next most targeted site was YouTube, where Palestinians often post videos showing attacks by Jewish settlers illegally taking over Palestinian land or Israeli soldiers invading Palestinian communities.

The accounts of Palestinian news agencies and journalists have also been repeatedly shut down.

Eghbariah noted that submissions by Israel’s cyber unit to social media platforms had skyrocketed since it was set up. In 2019, the last year for which there are figures, some 19,600 requests to remove content were submitted – an eightfold increase on three years earlier.

He added that each referral to a tech company could relate to tens or hundreds of posts, and that the removal of a whole website typically counted as a single request.

“What’s noticeable is the increasing cooperation rate of the social media platforms,” he said. “In 2016, three quarters of Israeli requests were complied with. By 2019 that had risen to 90 per cent.”

Distinctions blurred

Human Rights Watch is among those who have criticized Israel for blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism made by Palestinians and incitement.

By contrast, the Palestinian digital rights group 7amleh has noted, Israel rarely takes action against Israeli Jews, even though they are responsible for posting racist or inciteful material roughly every minute.

And the politicized nature of Israel’s crackdown on social media is often hard to disguise.

In December 2017, Nariman Tamimi was detained for incitement.

She had streamed a video on Facebook of her then 16-year-old daughter, Ahed, confronting and slapping an Israeli soldier who was invading their home in the occupied West Bank moments after his unit shot her cousin.

Dareen Tatour, a poet from the town of Reine, next to Nazareth, spent years either in jail or under strict house arrest for supposedly glorifying violence in a poem.

Experts said the lines had been misunderstood by Israel’s security services.

Indeed, errors in translations from Arabic have been regularly evident. In a case in October 2017, a Palestinian laborer was arrested for supposedly threatening a terrorist attack on Facebook before it was discovered that the Arabic expression he used meant “good morning.”

In 2019, 7amleh reported that fears over this online crackdown had left two-thirds of Palestinians worried about expressing their political views on social media.

Normalizing censorship

Other governments may look to the Israeli court’s decision in April as further encouragement to adopt a more aggressive role in censoring online content.

Eghbariah said that the UK, France and the European Union already had their own cyber referral units, although unlike Israel’s those units were explicitly authorized by legislation.

In a sign that Israel’s politicized approach to crushing online dissent could become normalized worldwide, an architect of Israel’s cyber unit was appointed to Facebook’s new oversight board last year. Emi Palmor was the justice ministry’s director-general at the time the unit was established.

The board is supposed to oversee what content should be allowed on Facebook and Instagram.

The Israeli cyber unit’s increasing efforts to remove content from Palestinians, labelling it “terrorism,” “disinformation” or “incitement,” are the latest stage in more than a decade of moves by Israel to control and manipulate its image online as social media has become more central in most people’s lives.

Israel stepped up its digital activities after its large-scale attack on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, which killed large numbers of civilians, including children, and shocked much of the world.

During the attack, the Israeli army established its own Youtube channel, the first army to do so, offering a model that the US army quickly sought to emulate.

At the same time tech-savvy youngsters were recruited to pose as ordinary web-surfers as they secretly promoted foreign ministry talking-points.

Several “cyber warrior” teams established in the following years, including one that recruited former officers from Israel’s military spying unit 8200.

Erased from maps

Since then, Israel has expanded its digital operations, not only promoting hasbara (propaganda) online but intensifying its silencing of Palestinians.

At a conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah in 2018, local representatives for Google and Facebook conceded that the companies’ priority was to avoid upsetting powerful governments like Israel’s that could tighten regulation or constrain their commercial activities.

The tech giants are also unlikely to be neutral between the claims of the Israeli state and ordinary Palestinians when they are so reliant on Israel’s hi-tech sector. Technologies developed using the West Bank and Gaza as a testing-bed have been eagerly bought up by these global corporations.

Incensed by Facebook’s censorship, a Palestinian campaign of online protests was launched in 2018 under the hashtag #FBcensorsPalestine.

In Gaza, demonstrators have accused the company of being “another face of occupation.”

Google and Apple have also faced a wave of criticism for colluding in Israel’s policy seeking to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. The tech companies have failed to identify many Palestinian villages in the West Bank on their online maps and GPS services while highlighting illegal Jewish settlements.

They have also refused to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine,” in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations, subordinating these areas under the title “Israel.”

Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible.

• First published in Electronic Intifada

The post Tech giants help Israel muzzle Palestinians first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Jab, Star Wars, and the Bubble Net of Digital Gulags

See, hear, speak no evil!

Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil by Gavin Mayhew

And, we are the slow fish, the 80 percent:

The world’s 85 richest individuals possess as much wealth as the 3.5 billion souls who compose the poorer half of the world’s population, or so it was announced in a report by Oxfam International. The assertion sounds implausible to me. I think the 85 richest individuals, who together are worth many hundreds of billions of dollars, must have far more wealth than the poorest half of our global population.

Michael Parenti, February 18, 2014

Central African Republic: Torn Apart by Violence

Vaunted Mansions: Billionaire Homes For Sale In America

The Incredible Homes of The Top 10 Richest People - YouTube

These people do not want a free and open media, or valient press, or any real scrutiny of their holdings. And, not so ironic, — the censoring of the worldwide net, and the deeper censorship/editing out/cancelling in mainstream and left-stream “media” is more rapid than anything Fahrenheit 451 could have imagined. These people write the book on scrubbing, back end theft, surveillance capitalism.

There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, page 48

Peter Thiel speaks at the World Economic Forum in 2013, Source: Mirko Ries Courtesy for the World Economic Forum

Oh, that monster, Thiel — A Florida jury said Gawker would have to pay $140 million for publishing an excerpt of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape. For filmmaker, Brian Knappenberger, he stated he wanted to make make a documentary about it. But once it came out that Hogan’s case was secretly bankrolled by venture capitalist Peter Thiel …

Hulk Hogan, Peter Thiel, Nick Denton and Donald Trump

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017) - IMDb

So, there you have it — nobody outside the realm of mainstream stupidity and group think can really speak. Slap you baby — A strategic lawsuit against public participation, a SLAPP suit, or intimidation lawsuit is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Loose lips sinks ships —

Persuasion and Influence: 'Loose Lips Sink Ships' & Co.

And this is huge, these interloping and interlinked topics, as the world burns, and the technofascists fiddle with algorithms, data centers, satellites in the air, supporting the MIC, and, alas, supporting the Big Pharma “experiment.” You have rampant killings all over the world, the murdering of Palestinians, the cabal of NATO pukes trying to encircle Russia and China, and, daily, the reality is that leftists (they aren’t left, really) scurry around like those human-like transgenic bred mice and ferrets used in the coronavirus gain of function Mengele experiments.

You (me) hit the sack at midnight, and then wake up at 5 am, with more of the good news, bad news:  disaster capitalism eroding away the brains of people, including the fake leftists. Even the real leftists have bought into the mass-chemical-jab mentality. Imagine that.

But no matter what topic I deal with here at Dissident Voice, all of what I have to critique or unravel goes through the galactical strainer of the elite, the dirty dozen, and the dirty 199:

Developing this list of 199 directors of the largest money management firms in the world, Phillips argues, is an important step toward understanding how capitalism works globally today. These global power elite directors make the decisions regarding the investment of trillions of dollars. Supposedly in competition, the concentrated wealth they share requires them to cooperate for their greater good by identifying investment opportunities and shared risk agreements, and working collectively for political arrangements that create advantages for their profit-generating system as a whole.

Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.

So what is the global elite’s purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled ‘terrorists’ – around the world. The real purpose of ‘the war on terror’ is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of ‘national interests’.  Source.

Any real look at lockdowns, at the censorship, at the worst of the worst at the top ruling the 80 percent of us, well, it has to go through this investment and rentier group tied closely to the military industrial complex.

Any cogent, deep discussion about what is really going on with corona mRNA delivery loads, or how the satellites in space (50,000) to prop up the internet of things, internet of bodies with 5G and 6G tied into, well, who woulda thunk — gene therapy drugs, boosters, vaccines (sic), Covid-19/20/29 pills. Forget about just the electro sensitivity of many people who actually get sick because of all those EMFs floating around, zapping, and with 4 G to 5 G, the rate of frequencies is exponential for 5 G. In fact, 4G runs on its own frequency outputs/inputs, and 5G is its own set of applications and delivery systems. Try Googling this, and you get article after article pooh-poohing the very idea of EMFs affecting people. It is not surprising. The mass delusional media in the hands of the capitalists.

That in itself is terrible. The media, so-called enlightened press, laughs and laughs:

The BioInitiative 2012 Report has been prepared by 29 authors from ten countries, ten holding medical degrees (MDs), 21 PhDs, and three MsC, MA or MPHs. Among the authors are three former presidents of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and five full members of BEMS.

Then, those satellites, part of the Military Intel Complex. What’s that going to do to biological systems, that space web of beams back and forth, inside and outside the human and nonhuman cells?

“If you don’t take action now, then you will be as responsible as those who have not taken care of climate change,” says Kai-Uwe Schrogl, chief strategy officer for the European Space Agency (ESA).

A new and lucrative standard in global connectivity is the impetus for these sprawling swarms of spacecraft. Blanketing our planet in satellites to beam high-speed Internet to any location on Earth around the clock could banish the days of struggling with spotty Wi-Fi and cellular connections, while also transporting the estimated three billion people who are currently offline into the digital age. If these companies are successful, the entire world could be suddenly interlinked as never before, with the Internet becoming truly omnipresent for essentially every human on the planet.

Achieving this goal requires some heavy lifting, in its most literal sense. U.S.-based SpaceX plans to launch at least 12,000 satellites, with the possibility of lofting another 30,000, based on recent filings from the company. U.K.-based OneWeb hopes to orbit about 650 satellites, possibly increasing to almost 2,000 in the future, and U.S.-based Amazon is planning for more than 3,000 satellites in its Project Kuiper constellation. Other companies and nations, including China, also have their eye on developing similar constellations, with rough estimates suggesting there could be more than 50,000 satellites in total added to Earth orbit in the coming decades. (Source)

War — Space. War — Data. War — Digital Prisons. War — Economics. War — Medical Controls. War — Pathogens. War — Food. War — Water. War — Freedom of Movement. War — Freedom of Speech. The gulag is the digital dashboard.

Taibbi:  Have you self-censored because of all this, and if so, in what way?

C.J. Hopkins: Does it sound like it? No, I think experiencing the roll-out of the “New Normal” for over a year, compiling stories of police goon squads raiding families in their homes because their neighbors reported them for “having friends over to dinner,” arresting old ladies for “strolling in the park without permission,” witnessing the media demonize Holocaust survivors as “anti-Semites” for protesting the Covid-19 restrictions, reading ex-colleagues demanding that the government set up internment camps for those who refuse to be “vaccinated,” and all the rest of it, has only made me more outspoken, and, unfortunately, less funny.

Now, in this sound bite age, as most end up scrolling screens to the moon into larger and larger trash heaps of capitalist trash/consumerism/if-it-bleeds-it-leads/scams/worthless celebrity updates/empty calorie political analyses, still, it is possible to wade through the highly edited and choregraphed morass of algorithmic scrubbing to find decent voices in the wilderness questioning things through a process of critical thinking, contemplating contradictory theses in one act of thinking, staving off the knee-jerk tendency to believe the “experts” and follow the bandwagon and just never questioning this or that authority.

To be human and humane is to doubt all the things coming out of the mouths of the so-called authorities, the so-deemed experts, the technical whizzes, think tanks, corporations, government agencies, politicians, and anyone with a small or huge stake in raking in profits over ethical treatment of consumers, citizens, land, air, soil, water.

Sacred cows, deep-seated allegiances, and many times the warped and wrong mass collective consciousness a society and culture permeates the society with.

Mark Crispin Miller, author and longtime New York University professor, has unconventional views. Even work he’s done that’s won mainstream praise is unconventional, upon close examination. If you came of political age during the Iraq war years, you probably remember him for The Bush Dyslexicona witty, challenging book that took a deep dive into the speech patterns of George W. Bush.

Unwrapping the thought processes behind famed “Bushisms” like “The question is, how many hands have I shaked?”, Miller found a metaphor for the broad illogic under American society. However, that book’s central idea — that “we Americans have been tricked out of our democracy by a vast and very smart conspiracy of stupid talkers” — was too rich for some mainstream commentators.

Crispin Miller argued that when people like Donald Rumsfeld told us that “victory” in Iraq may not come “in a month or a year or even five years,” that in fact even fighting forever might be a “victory, in my view,” the joke was not that this message was garbled by Bush, but rather that it was conveyed clearly by “producers, anchors, editors, journalists, and pundits,” who were “fatally dyslexic in doping out the very spectacle it presents to us.” Presenting madness as sanity required a brokenness of mind that just happened to come of the president’s mouth as laugh lines.

Crispin Miller’s recent troubles stem from being a skeptic about mask use. He points out that until 2020, studies were unenthusiastic about their benefits in stopping the transition of respiratory illness, and even the CDC only recently changed its mind on the issue. When he broached the subject in class, a student responded critically on Twitter:

Criticizing Crispin Miller for sending links to a site that in turn linked to The Charlie Kirk Show, Zero Hedge, Technocracy News, Global Research, “and more,” the student went on to tag the University leadership and wrote, “I hope they take immediate steps to relieve him of these duties.”

Crispin Miller’s department responded by promising, “We have made this a priority and are discussing next steps.” This in turn led to a now-standard cancelation ritual. A denunciation letter from academic colleagues asked the school to complete a review of Miller’s “intimidating tactics, abuses of authority, aggression and microaggressions, and explicit hate speech, none of which are excused by academic freedom and First Amendment protections.”

Here is this guy, and I don’t believe some of Crispin Miller’s take on the world, but he was teaching a class on PROPAGANDA for Christ’s sake.

Gleichschaltung was the Nazi term for streamlining. It’s when they made all the cultural institutions, they Nazified them all. Of course, there was stuff you couldn’t read. It would be a crime to read it or even bring it up, and it’s kind of like that now.

Again, how can real leftists not doubt the mainstream corporate narrative coming from the news, the newspapers, the stenographers, the CDC, the NIH, the lot of them? So, all other topics the leftists might doubt coming from the mouths of the controllers and their Eichmann White Papers and Think Tanks — what started the war on Vietnam, how Exxon et al created climate change skeptics (scientists) while planning for global heating, what both major parties say about almost anything, all of it — those are kosher, but to question the Covid-19 narrative and the jabs and the lack of response to human health before, during and now soon after (corona capitalism), that is the work of Trumpies, QAnon, tinfoil mad hatters?

“From Harvard to the Big House”:

Below is a takedown of that article, and the good news is a much more nuanced and honest look at the origins of COVID-19, the Wuhan Strain of coronavirus is just a click away.

Furthermore, a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described.

This means nothing. There is no open-source shared database of viruses. No one has any idea what viruses are in China’s BSL-4 lab, where they’ve been collecting these viruses for years. As mentioned, one of our persons-of-interest was the very first person to isolate a coronavirus from a bat that uses the ACE2 receptor. He also worked at UNC in Baric’s lab making the hyper-virulent bat coronavirus in 2015. It should also be noted that several years prior to tinkering directly with bat coronavirus spike-proteins, Baric orchestrated research that involved isolating a coronavirus from civets and then passing it through mammalian ACE2 receptor cells that were grown in the lab from kidney and brain samples – serial passage through host cell lines instead of entire hosts, which imparted a strong affinity for ACE2, and presumably created an airborne strain of coronavirus. And if cells derived from kidneys and brains were used for the serial passage development of COVID-19, that might help explain its affinity for attacking the kidneys and brains of its human hosts.  Source.

Sure, the obvious questions about interlinked topics — the so-called militarization of space; 5g and 6g internet of things/bodies, and the SARS-CoV2/Covid-19 — should never go unasked, and should always be pursued.

It’s sort of the Hypocritic Oath of thinkers, writers, journalists, and investigators — travel the path less traveled, doubt the mainstream, question anyone with skin in the game when it comes to profits tied to, well, any topic on planet earth.

Who’s Making Bank on this Corona-Macarena

As over 2.8 million people have died globally from Covid-19 in the past year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires has surged.

The planet’s 2,365 billionaires have seen their wealth increase $4 trillion, or 54 percent, during the pandemic year. Their combined wealth rose from $8.04 trillion to $12.39 trillion between March 18, 2020 and March 18, 2021.  Source. Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at progressive Public Citizen advocacy group, said Pfizer’s rising profits showed the need for governments to take action to save lives. “Pfizer is cashing in on the crisis …” Zain Rizvi stated.  Source.

Big Pharma revenues and profits have skyrocketed. In 2017, the U.S. consumers spent $333.4 billion on prescription drugs (Source). There are profits and then there are just plain old price gouging, full-scale rip-offs, and manufactured scarcity and managed perceived and created obsolescence.

In a minute, the obvious questions tied to the three huge topics listed above, but first, the question is front and center: Why the hell would any free-thinking, democracy-loving, First Amendment-wielding, so called open society believer who “honors” (sic)  diversity censor and platform and dishonor any robust level of debate on every subject from here to kingdom come?

Dr. Francis Boyle: All these BSL-4 labs are by United States, Europe, Russia, China, Israel are all there to research, develop, test biological warfare agents. There’s really no legitimate scientific reason to have BSL-4 labs. That figure I gave $100 billion, that was about 2015 I believe. I had crunched the numbers and came up with that figure the United States since 9/11.

To give you an idea that’s as much in constant dollars as the US spent to develop the Manhattan Project and the atom bomb. So it’s clearly all weapons related. We have well over 13,000 alleged life science scientists involved in research developed testing biological weapons here in the United States. Actually this goes back it even precedes 9/11 2001.

So, we leftists and communists should believe the CDC, NIH, WHO, White House Covid-19 handlers, state governors, and the drug and military drug and virus makers, but then, not include in our way of thinking looking at what a guy like Boyle (above) has to say. And, yep, the hero exposing all manner of crimes by USA and Military Industrial Complex, dying a slow, steady death:

Julian Assange, well, the lefties don’t give a shit!

We know why governments might want no questions about its role in bombing civilians and children. We understand how an Exxon might not want any questions about its role in not just polluting some “backwater place,” but also propping up despotic hit squads. Lots of reasons why domineering parents might not want children to question said parents’ truthfulness and actual knowledge about things.

The evidence (large piles to the moon) and groups (many) working to expose these crimes against humanity/nature (militarizing space; the SARS-CoV2/Covid-19 origins/lockdowns/forced inoculations/lack of dynamic treatments; and the rush for 5G and 6G to be set up by “telecoms, who are, in fact, setting it up for the entire foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is mounting.

The 4th industrial revolution will be just as criminally violent as the previous three but it will involve applying old techniques — religion and drugs — to subject at least 20-30 per cent of the world population. This is to be eased by the viral and climate crusades designed to prepare the pious masses to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the alpine conclave. The rest of us are just industrial waste, green indeed, like Soylent green.

— Annual Alpine Crucifixions. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” (Crusades against Humanity)

While at the same time, the burning of the books, so to speak, is being stoked by fewer and fewer overlords of the media and tech platforms with what is again an obvious endgame: more money from the middle and lower economic strata being moved into their coffers. To do this, there has to be fear, a global pandemic (sic) and harsh lockdowns, and a savior in the wings ready to come to the rescue: Digital Dionysus.

Work from home, prostate check on Zoom, school on electronic blackboards with one teacher for a thousand students. Food ordered by smart phone and delivered by self-driving car or funky flying drone.

A great reset, a transformation, and it isn’t about destroying capitalism, but putting capitalism on electronic and AI steroids:

Now those same families, again including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rothschilds in the person of Lynn de Rothschild’s “Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican,” are moving to create the next generation in their pursuit of global domination. It’s being called the Great Reset. It requires global government, a plank significantly endorsed by the Jesuit Pope Francis. Its PR man, Klaus Schwab, is a self-admitted protégé of Rockefeller insider Henry Kissinger, from their days 50 years ago at Harvard.

Behind the seductive rhetoric of the Powers That Be on creating a “sustainable” world, lies an agenda of raw eugenics, depopulation on a scale never before tried. It is not human, in fact, some call it “transhuman.”

— (Source:  “After COVID, Davos Moves to The ‘Great Reset’” )

Controlling water, food, travel, thought, dreams, hopes, fears, and one’s own body has to be done through a very simple but wide complex of actors throwing the gauntlet down on people.

9 Henry Kissinger (1923- ) ideas | henry kissinger, nobel peace prize, national security advisor

It makes sense that anyone questioning what a mask is/does, what a coronavirus is/was might also want to question what a messenger RNA experimental microbiome programmer does to billions of people inoculated with this chemical. Adverse reactions and death, now, or shortly thereafter the jabs, and, well, in the coming years, what sort of immune, respiratory and blood/heart maladies are on the horizon?  It makes sense that more and more people want more and more diverse thinkers and commentators looking into the profits going to drug companies (after taxpayers have paid almost a trillion dollars for the research and the drugs themselves). It makes sense that real journalists would want to talk to a battalion of doctors, researchers, scientists who question the rollout of untested Covid-19shots, question the actual PCR test determining all those fancy numbers of tested positives plastered all over the internet in interactive colorful maps, and question the lack of real treatment for this coronavirus.

The researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have collaborated with American researchers, however, conducted gainof-function experiments utilizing gene-splicing techniques. See, for example, a 2015 paper published in Nature, “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence” authored by researchers mostly from the University of North Carolina (UNC), but also by collaborators from Harvard, Switzerland, and Wuhan. Dr. Zhengli-Li Shi is the second-to-last author.
Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone.
That is to say, these scientists bioengineered a chimera, a Frankenvirus, from the old 2002-2003 SARS virus but with spikes from a different bat coronavirus. The Frankenvirus seems to be a pretty tough customer:
Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from infection with CoVs using the novel spike protein. On the basis of these findings, we synthetically re-derived an infectious full-length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Our work suggests a potential risk of SARS-CoV re-emergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.

That is, it’s hard to kill, it’s hard to immunize against, and it reproduces like gangbusters – meaning that if it got loose, it might cause a … wait for it … a pandemicSource.

Military and Bioweapons

On a second rail is the huge outlay of money and time and energy for the military in general, but for the advances in space/satellite/moon-based weapons. This arms race is not only perverse, but emblematic of rampant theft by the millions of people involved in the Military Industrial Complex, from decal maker to put on one of those satellites or satellite-seeking rockets, to the super scientist who has developed even more compact mini nuclear generators for each little payload orbiting earth.

You’d think real journalists would follow the money, and follow the studies and concerns raised about electromagnetic frequencies bombarding the planet, from the bedroom to the bee hive.

It is a virus, really, this totalitarian and crypto-fascist movement the billionaires with their tech monopolies and overlord apps shutting people down, taking them off these platforms, which is actually demonstrating an incredibly hateful bent against those who might doubt. They’d have Albert Einstein in the docks for questioning on the e fascist bent.

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one … I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two thirds of the people of the Earth would be killed.

The Einstein Reader, Albert Einstein (page 169)

All of them — Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — would red-flag Einstein today if he were alive, on many of the things he stated. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Imagine his Twitter account being shut down:

The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.

– Martin Luther King to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) board on March 30, 1967

So, in a time of Covid-19, star wars and mega-constellation, and 5G and 6G, any pushback against the system will get you labeled as a “denier” — a person of interest in the surveillance state. No jab, no job? No compliancy, no life.

Factory industry worker working with face mask to prevent Covid-19 Coronavirus spreading during job reopening period .

This is the way, man –Charlie Mullins,  chief executive of big London plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers, recently announced plans to impose a “no-jab, no-job” policy for current and future workers. All employees would be contractually required to prove they had received the COVID 19 vaccine, without which they would not be offered any work by Pimlico.

Plumbing boss Charlie Mullins has been prominently demanding right to jab his workers. Yui Mok/PA

Imagine, now, the insipid stupidity of Q-Anon and Trump supporters in Texas, but then also the insipid stupidity of the centrists and progressives, pushing one narrative that the jab is good, seal of approval, from Good Housekeeping, Underwriters Laboratory, and the Five Eyes. Soon to be Six Eyes, with Japan jockeying to join —

United States and allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said encryption should not come at the expense of the public’s safety. Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can obtain access to data in a readable and usable format.

In an upending of logic, even the lefty sites see the virus warriors (sic) as unquestionable, as the purest of the pure. This mentality is what gets us back to square one, no? Who in Christ’s sake trusts those major Big Pharma to do anything right? With $300 million a year on advertising, more hundreds of million$ for lobbying and payoffs, with a football stadium full of Ivy League lawyers, and two stadiums full of accountants and hedge fund impresarios, well, now, we believe, right? The messenger is the message, in these genetically screwed up shots.

The Battle for the Future of Food

The fear and lockdown and isolation and fake news on a nanosecond by nanosecond cycle, all the trash, all the distracting muck of this team, that actor, this millionaire, that politician, this singer and that athlete, and this and that human stain who gets air time and digital ink, and so we have it, now, US Patriot Act 3.0, total surveillance, all eyes on bank accounts, school records, health records, driving records, social media posts, police records, housing records, purchase records, travel records, and, shoot, that passport is on the phone, man, the digital apps all connected, all there to incentivize this behavior, discourage that behavior, massage this way, and get you in-line: food line, rent line, cable channel line, clinic line, school line, mortuary line.

The connection of Big Pharma with Big Edu with the US military, there is no better a series to read than Whitney Webb and Diego:

All Roads Lead To Dark Winter

A Killer Enterprise: How One Of Big Pharma’s Most Corrupt Companies Plans To Corner The Covid-19 Cure Market

Head Of The Hydra: The Rise Of Robert Kadlec

Oh, and just months ago, New York Magazine ran this — “The Lab-Leak Hypothesis For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?” by Nicholson Baker

But then, hitting further, calling the pandemic the plandemic? That gets you one, two and three strikes you are out on YouTube.

Then this stuff — Medical Doctor and Director of Diagnostics Laboratory Presents Cures for COVID and Exposes Dangers of COVID “Vaccines”.  Shoot, no discussion about therapeutic treatments for this SARS-CoV2 “thing” can be platformed, and doctors and scientists can lose their credentials.

Who knows if this Word Press digital writing form Dissident Voice uses will also scrub out articles against the new narrative(s) sealed and approved by Big Brother.

Here, a cheap product — beautiful man. We are the 99 percenters?

Results of clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom have shown that a nitric oxide nasal spray (NONS, SaNOtize) is both a safe and effective antiviral treatment to prevent COVID-19 transmission and symptom duration, as well as reduce symptom severity and damage in those already infected, according to the study authors.

During the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial, the investigators assessed 79 patients with confirmed COVID-19 who were given the spray early following diagnosis. The results following treatment demonstrated that the spray significantly reduced the level of SARS-CoV-2, even in patients with high viral loads, according to the study.

“NONS destroys the virus, blocks entry into and halts viral replication within the nasal cavity, which rapidly reduces viral load. This is significant because viral load has been linked to infectivity and poor outcomes,” said Chris Miller, PhD, RT, chief science officer and co-founder of SaNOtize, in a press release. “There is currently a lack of an antiviral therapy that is effective against COVID-19 and its variants, can prevent or shorten the course of the disease, reduce damage, lower the severity of COVID-19, and can be made widely and readily available to the public.”

In the first 24 hours following treatment with the spray, investigators observed that the average viral log reduction was 1.362, which is a decline of approximately 95%. After 72 hours following treatment, the viral load decreased by more than 99%Source.

Nah, this small Vancouver, BC company, with eight employees, can’t get shit on a national level, because, well, those mRNA’s are in the pipeline. Go back up this article to the 199 controlling the world, including the lockdowns, the digital gulags, transhuman (sic) plans, 5G and 6G internet of the human genome, and, well, war, whether terrestrial, marine, atmosphere, and stratospheric and lunar, dudes.

The new left, old left, the greenie weenie left, the global investor left, and even old revolutionary left will not go there, will not look at the holistic ways to prevent global deaths. Like I have stated before, end tobacco now, end vaping now, and, whoops, how many deaths stopped today, this year, in the decade, for 21st century (1 billion will have died)? All new opioids banned? Yep, you will be slapped with Opposition Defiance Disorder young with any of these ideas, these skeptical looks at the multiple narratives that come crashing into your heads. My ODD had gotten more rarified as I have aged, like an aging wine does. Any lag time in getting the jab? Duly recorded in your record. Any refusal to get the jab, duly noted and quickly the crime is the refusal, on your record.

I Don’t Need No Fucking PhD’s and MD’s to tell Me!

Fucking A, you betcha, Bartleby The Scrivener by Herman Melville. I prefer not to. Initially, Bartleby has incredible output of high-quality work, but then one day, when he’s asked to proofread a document, Bartleby answers with his soon to be perpetual response to every request: “I would prefer not to.”

To the consternation of narrator, Bartleby performs fewer and fewer tasks and eventually none. He ends up spending long periods of time staring out one of the office’s windows at a brick wall. The coworkers are pissed off. When the business owner (narrator) stops by this office one Sunday morning, he discovers that Bartleby is living there.

Dobbs (Bogart) : “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”

Gold Hat (Alfonso Bedoya): “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!”

— John Huston directing B. Traven’s The Treasure of Sierra Madre

In the book, real language:

Gold Hat: Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre!”

Try leveling those rejoinders to your local sheriff, local school board president, or your local incompetent governor. These people are lunatics. Masks, masks, masks. Can you imagine, all the scrutiny of the drug makers over all manner of “drugs” for all manner of “ailments.” Payola, and lies, disease, death, injuries. I wrote about this earlier.  It’s the Mask, Stupid: Beware The Covid-Pfizer Jumping Virus!

I do not have to repeat all the maleficence and felonies J & J and Pfizer have perpetrated. But now, everything is copasetic?

The Bug is DARPA’s Baby

Another aside —  I’m not going to let a good personal narrative link go unused. Really. So, my own time in US military, well, that’s a whole other socialist fighting that dirt-bag mercenary industry. I also ended up working with military as a college teacher. Some got close to me.

Forced vaccinations for various things, including anthrax vaccine. Experimental. Vaccinations for sand fleas and malaria mosquitos. Experimental. Many of these students were forced to take multiple jabs. The Department of Defense (DOD) wanted to administer pyridostigmine and botulinum toxoid vaccine to protect soldiers from a possible toxic nerve gas or botulism attack by Iraqi forces. The Nuremberg Code, informed consent. Read, CJ Annas’ Informed Consent to Human Experimentation: The Subject’s Dilemma. (Ballinger 1977).

Here, in 1942, all military personnel received typhoid, smallpox, and tetanus vaccines, and soldiers who refused vaccination were subject to court-martials—a military “legal” principle originating in World War I and continuing to this day. No jab, Yes, you go to the brig. During World War II, a yellow fever vaccine had not yet been licensed for civilian use in the United States and as history tells us, an FDA-approved vaccine would not be available until 1953. This yellow fever vaccine used in 1942 contained human serum, and despite earlier published reports of “homologous serum” jaundice occurring after its use, the masters of the universe pushed forward with their perceived/concocted urgency of a biological weapon threat.  Unfortunately, many lots were contaminated by the hepatitis B virus.

An epidemic of unexplained hepatitis began in March 1942, and yellow fever vaccination was halted on April 15, 1942. Approximately 51,000 military personnel with symptomatic hepatitis were hospitalized, and subsequent serologic investigation of veterans concluded that approximately 330,000 persons had been infected. (Source).

My college friend, and my preacher for one of my weddings, Shannon, he was the proverbial Guinea pig in the US Army. Malarial and other vaccines. He got an extra $200 a month for his body, and he signed the contract, man — upon the death of you, your body belongs to Uncle Sam. Get your things in order. Tell your family. Make copies of this contract and give it to your kids, your spouse, your priest.

Shannon learned genetics, and while we both were getting graduate degrees to be English teachers at the college level, he did have an uncanny knowledge of pigeons.

The Pigeon Guide: Practical Breeding Training and Management: Hiatt, Shannon, D.V.M., Dr. Jon Esposito, Nuez, George De La: 9781895270181: Amazon.com: Books

Shannon (R.I.P.) did work at Fort Detrick. Worked at Plum Island. Worked with geneticists and virologists. But in the end, he was beaten up by parachuting the constant military mindset. It was Ike Eisenhauer who signed into law, ARPA, the precursor to DARPA: 1958.

Here, a talk, given to Google in Cambridge (oh, Google, what a shit hole). She’s not an anti-capitalist, but her research is good, even on Operation Paperclip,  so, here we go: Journalist Annie Jacobsen  discusses her book, The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency.

Or, try the same author out for size in another venue — Join Annie Jacobsen as she discusses her new book, First Platoon on P&P Live! On biometrics, and again, she is interviewed by a military guy. “An urgent investigation into warfare, good, and evil in the age of biometrics, the technology that would allow the government to identify anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

Here, a quick look at the insanity of DARPA, 63 years ago:

SHORTLY after arriving at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in April 1958, the new chief scientist presented a plan to the agency’s director. Four months later, nine ships set off for the (mostly) uninhabited Gough Island deep in the South Atlantic, carrying 4500 personnel and three small nuclear weapons to launch into the magnetosphere.

This was Project Argus. The idea had germinated in the panic after the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik satellite. In light of these surprising new capabilities, the US had a problem: how could it protect the country from an incoming nuclear warhead?

Armed with some wild physics, Nicholas Christofilos hatched an equally wild plan: turn the upper atmosphere into a force field across the US that would fry the electronics of incoming missiles. How? Explode nuclear weapons in Earth’s magnetosphere to create a long-lived radiation belt that would degrade the missiles.

The first atomic detonation set off a luminous fireball, triggering a staggering blue-green aurora that captivated its audience. But beyond the pretty lights, it was a failure. The bombs did indeed produce many high-energy electrons, but it turned out that Earth’s magnetic field wasn’t strong enough to keep the electron shield from decaying.

New Scientist

New Scientist Default Image

Now, Sharon Weinberger is not a real hard hitter, failing to look deeper into DARPA, and the evolution of that agency which has infected every aspect of computing, science, virus research, medicine, social manipulation, and any number of Frankenstein projects. Deadly. Really deadly, as in coronavirus deadly. We’ll get to that.

Star Wars, though? You want Facebook’s military’s origins?

Good synopsis by Whitney Webb, another writer banned from the unsocial-precrime networks:

Part 1 of this two-part series on Facebook and the US national-security state explores the social media network’s origins and the timing and nature of its rise as it relates to a controversial military program that was shut down the same day that Facebook launched. The program, known as LifeLog, was one of several controversial post-9/11 surveillance programs pursued by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that threatened to destroy privacy and civil liberties in the United States while also seeking to harvest data for producing “humanized” artificial intelligence (AI).

As this report will show, Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley giant whose origins coincide closely with this same series of DARPA initiatives and whose current activities are providing both the engine and the fuel for a hi-tech war on domestic dissent.

“The Military Origins of Facebook”

This is DARPA (the big letter “d” for “defense” — read, “offensive” —  added in 1990, ARPA to DARPA!) at its best: turn the upper atmosphere into a “force field” across the US in hopes of frying incoming missiles’ electronics. These are America’s best and brightest —  detonate nukes in Earth’s magnetosphere to generate a radiation belt that would disable missiles.

Oh, the fireball and blue-green aurora captivated its audience. The bomb blasts did generate high-energy electrons, but Earth’s magnetic field wasn’t strong enough to keep the electron shield from decaying.

And, the gift that keeps on giving with DARPA, et al — Gough Island had few Homo Sapiens living on it, but 50 years later, residents of nearby islands confronted their governments about the vicious mice that now roam the island (50 per cent heavier than wild mice anywhere in the world). Bye-bye wild bird populations.

A U.S. anti-satellite missile on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

This is madness, the legacy of atomic bomb testing and colonial history coming back to haunt France in the form of a radioactive Sahara dust cloud. These Sahara Desert clouds headed north over Spain, France, the UK, and Ireland. Those golden-tinged evening skies to some parts of Europe also delivered a spike in radiation. The mainstream media reports “slight,” again, the wasted media and their slight risk assessments of anything tied to the corporate bottom line. Heard the slight risk assessment before? Lead in water, mercury in fish, PFAS in blood, tobacco in lungs, plastics in your shit, Covid-19 jab in your arm?

Dust Brings Radiation From Nuke Tests in '60s Back at France | IE

Atomic isotopes,  caused by French nuclear tests in Algeria in the early 1960s, are considered by these foolish French, 50 years later, as “beautiful blood orange sunsets.”

Take a Deep Breath, Stand Up, and Look at the Smart Phone

Oh, how many takes on the 5 G and 6 G transformation can the human take?

Why is 5G important for the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)? Intelligent connectivity, enabled by 5G, will be the catalyst for the socio-economic growth that the 4IR could bring (Source)

+–+

Alison McDowell is a mother and an independent researcher based in Philadelphia, PA. She blogs at the intersection of race, finance, nature, and technology at wrenchinthegears.com. Her activism began fighting to slow the privatization of public education in her city. These efforts eventually led her to an examination of globalized poverty management, euphemistically known as social impact investing. This new form of capitalism – biocapitalism or stakeholder capitalism – aims to turn humans into data commodities. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has been planned out by Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum, seeks to replace human labor with artificial intelligence and robotics, a problem has arisen as to how life can be made profitable for transnational global capital interests once the poor have no buying power and are drowning in debt. The solution? Human capital bond markets, but first everyone must be tagged and trackable for “impact.” That’s where biometric Covid health passports come in. (Source)

+–+

Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits. The appeal makes the following assertions:

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals. (Source)

And, you throw caution into the wind, and the precautionary principle, be damned. And, do no harm? This is not how capitalism runs. Where there is profit and hoarding of profits and using the global population for exploitation, all things coming out of those warehouses of “innovation” must be questioned.

We have what is called, “the latest cellular technology,” 5G, and we know it will deploy millimeter waves for the first time, in addition to microwaves that have been in use for all those so called cellular technologies, 2G through 4G. 5G will require cell antennas every 300 to 600 feet, which exposes many people to millimeter wave radiation. This branded 5G also utilizes experimental technologies like “active antennas capable of beam-forming; phased arrays; massive multiple inputs and outputs, known as massive MIMO.”

All of these challenge us to measure exposure levels. Millimeter waves are absorbed within a few millimeters of human skin and also in the surface layers of the cornea. Additionally, short-term exposure can have adverse physiological effects in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.

The research suggests that long-term exposure may pose health risks to the skin (e.g., melanoma), the eyes (e.g., ocular melanoma) and the testes (e.g., sterility). Since 5G is a new technology, there is no research on health effects, so we are “flying blind” to quote a U.S. senator. However, we have considerable evidence about the harmful effects of 2G and 3G. Little is known the effects of exposure to 4G, a 10-year-old technology, because governments have been remiss in funding this research. Meanwhile, we are seeing increases in certain types of head and neck tumors in tumor registries, which may be at least partially attributable to the proliferation of cell phone radiation. These increases are consistent with results from case-control studies of tumor risk in heavy cell phone users. (Source)

There are people studying EMF’s, and people who are electro sensitive. This is real stuff.

There is the appeal:  The 5G Appeal where scientists and doctors call for a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G. “5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields RF-EMF, that has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.”

I can direct the reader to this source, “Wi-Fi is an important threat to human health.”

  • Highlights —
    1. 7 effects have each been repeatedly reported following Wi-Fi & other EMF exposures
    2. Established Wi-Fi effects, include apoptosis, oxidant. stress & testis/sperm dysfunction; Neuropsychic; DNA impact; hormone change; Ca2+ rise
    3. Wi-Fi is thought to act via voltage-gated calcium channel activation
    4. One claim of no Wi-Fi effects was found to be deeply flawed

Or, “How the Telecommunications Industry 5G Strategy Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Replace Human Intelligence: The End of Mankind as We Know It” by Martin L. Pall, June 8, 2019

Oxford philosopher and cofounder of the World Transhumanist Association, Nick Boström, has written recently on transhumanism’s desire to make good the “half‐baked” project that is human nature. Here it is, and with AI, Digital Webs, 5G and 6G technology, and 30,000 satellites in space, the entire project of Covid-19 mRNA is just a precursor of things.

+–+

Table of Transhumanist Values

Core Value

  • Having the opportunity to explore the transhuman and posthuman realms

Basic Conditions

  • Global security
  • Technological progress
  • Wide access

Derivative Values

  • Nothing wrong about “tampering with nature”; the idea of hubris rejected
  • Individual choice in use of enhancement technologies; morphological freedom
  • Peace, international cooperation, anti-proliferation of WMDs
  • Improving understanding (encouraging research and public debate; critical thinking; open-mindedness, scientific inquiry; open discussion of the future)
  • Getting smarter (individually; collectively; and develop machine intelligence)
  • Philosophical fallibilism; willingness to reexamine assumptions as we go along; Pragmatism; engineering- and entrepreneur-spirit; science
  • Diversity (species, races, religious creeds, sexual orientations, life styles, etc.)
  • Caring about the well-being of all sentience
  • Saving lives (life-extension, anti-aging research, and cryonic

+–+

We have gene editing, a la Bill Gates: CRISPR/Cas9 “genetic scissors” –  clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.  Here you go — The roles of Nanotechnology and Internet of Nano things in healthcare transformation.

Of course, this paper above sees the world through IoNT (Internet of Nano Things) eyes:

Hence, nanotechnology and the IoNT hold the potential to completely revolutionize healthcare in the 21st Century, creating a system that will enable early disease detection and diagnosis followed by accurate, on-time and effective treatment with significantly reduced healthcare costs. This paper presents the roles of nanotechnology and IoNT in medicine and healthcare, and attempts to gain an insight of nanoscale solutions and approaches, highlighting benefits and discussing potential risks and concerns.

Despite concerns regarding nanotoxicity, privacy and security issues, it is anticipated that nanotechnology and IoNT will show their full potential in medicine and healthcare in the years to come.

Oh, man, these nets, the world wide net, the mega constellation net, the nano tech net, the trans-human world of command and control of our bodies net, and the nanoparticle net. Then, we have Patent 060606, Gates/Microsoft. And all those microchip insertions in vaccination believers were laughed out of the classrooms.

Bill Gates will use your microchipped body to mine cryptocurrency – Biohack

The patent, filed under international patent number WO-2020-060606 and titled ‘Cryptocurrency System Using Body Data Activity’, leverages human body activity as proof-of-work.

This proof-of-work is achieved when a user performs given tasks, or even online activities such as viewing ads and using search engines.

“Instead of massive computation work required by some conventional cryptocurrency systems, data generated based on the body activity of the user can be a proof-of-work, and therefore, a user can solve the computationally difficult problem unconsciously,” the patent reads.

Despite the patent being published on March 26 by the World Intellectual Property Organization, some titans of the cryptocurrency industry are already on board, and cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, founded by Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire Ben Delo, has donated $2.5 million dollars to the Gates Foundation.

As to how body activity and biometrics will be communicated to servers and cryptocurrency hardware, the patent explains that “a sensor communicatively coupled to or comprised in the device of the user may sense body activity of the user.” The patent then gives examples of sensors that can be used to this end – such as “fMRI scanners, electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) sensors, heart rate monitors, thermal sensors, optical sensors, Radio Frequency sensors, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, or any other sensor or scanner.”

They are all working together, Musk, et al and Neuralink ramping up a brain implant as one of  body-invasive augmentations of interest for Super Soldiers.  The United States through DARPA has made public some of its cyborg and bionic projects:  from synthetic telepathy to exoskeletons to bionic limbs. Israel and Denmark have also been conducting intense research into cybernetic enhancements, and both countries ran a collaborative program for years, seeking to augment their soldiers with AI-powered brain implants.

Does it sound far-fetched? Shoot. “Well, golly,” as Gomer Pyle says.

Jim Nabors, TV's Gomer Pyle, dies aged 87 | The New Daily

They Have the Medium and the Message and the Messianic Zeal

It’s tough to stop writing this oddly weird piece:  a triumvirate —  that is, no longer just Covid-19’s origins and the deeper implications of jabs, boosters, lockdown, remote living; the Star Wars; the 5G rush. I alluded to the Word Press, being hijacked by Big Brother techies, stopping even two-bit articles by me, a three-bit human in the eyes of capitalists, to even posit anything tied to what the master-race of the world — billionaires and techie Eichmann’s — are doing in their murder/hitman plans.

This is breaking now, May 14, 2021:

Controlling the internet

Day two of the conference focused more on the coronavirus and the threat to democracies posed by fake news and disinformation online. In one panel titled “Regulating Social Media and Protecting the Public From Harm,” participants discussed how the U.S. and Europe could come together to formulate a united approach to controlling digital communications. The discussion was particularly notable because panelists included Michael Chertoff, co-author of the PATRIOT Act, which stripped Americans citizens of a wide range of rights under the guise of national security and fighting terrorism. Also on the panel were two British conservative members of parliament, an advisor to the executive vice president of digital affairs for the European Commission, and a member of Facebook’s oversight board, the body that regulates what the platform’s 2.6 billion people see in their news feeds. These individuals are so influential that their opinions and decisions could well affect virtually the entire world.

Together, they agreed that more cooperation between big tech and big government was necessary in order to reduce the amount of false information and harmful content online. This in itself is little new: in 2018 Facebook announced that it had partnered with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab to help regulate and curate its newsfeeds, effectively giving up partial control to the NATO-aligned organization. It also hired a former NATO press officer as its intelligence chief earlier this year.  — “Alliance of Democracies Summit: The Glass House Where the Power Elite Gather to Throw Stones: The lineup of presidents, generals and CEOs makes it clear that what was stated is effectively the collective view of the world’s elite and a window into their thinking and the debates they are having. What they decide will affect all of us, whether we realize it or not” by Alan Macleod

 

Aod

Game over?  Curating? Regulating? Controlling? This is who these people are, and anyone working in the real world, any writer who ends up on Dissident Voice, any of us, we have zero concept of how these people are wired, how they group think, what the hive is like because we are always sitting afar from their power circles. The message is handled, and they have these “former correspondents” of CNN & ABC News (See above photo, Jeanne Meserve) getting huge wads of cash to curate the Star Chamber meeting just reported on at Mint Press. Those secret courts, the other Star Chambers.

They all tie together. Read again — “2018 Facebook announced that it had partnered with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab to help regulate and curate its newsfeeds, effectively giving up partial control to the NATO-aligned organization”.

This is not a free society, and, well, heck, or, well, golly, we still get trickles of stories, FOIA stuff, but in the end, that’s controlled opposition of a very deep state kind of mass psychosis. Oh heck, why not end with Operation Paperclip as the origins of DARPA, viruses, and, the worldwide net!

Author Annie Jacobsen presents a fascinating topic from her new book, Operation Paperclip, and takes questions from the audience. This event was recorded February 26, 2014 at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C.

And the only net I want to see is a bubble net. Humpback whale here at the end. But imagine, lefties loving the smart phone, the prostate nano-probe, the instantaneous downloaded papers on Marx, the fun stuff with Podcasting. Oh, the price we pay, the price we pay. Ignorance. This system, Mega Constellation, is now what? Okay with you lefties?

Why Musk You Do This? – The Gryphon

Below — the real net, the real bubble net, a la marine mammals, cetaceans, dolphins and whales! Oh yeah, the Navy’s sonar blasts, “grounding” (and killing) these amazing mammals. That’s the frequency, man! What about those 50,000 satellites roaming the heavens?

Antarctic humpback bubble nets! — SR3 Sealife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research improving the health of marine wildlife.

This is the price we pay, man, and if any lefty thinks star link and mega constellation are about junk downloads and Klingon interactive war games, then they are colonized viruses themselves. Game over.

And Musk is just an extension of MIC and those 199 mentioned above, and the Group of 30:

Their fundamental priority is to secure an average return on investment of 3 to 10 percent, or even more. The nature of any investment is less important than what it yields: continuous returns that support growth in the overall market. Hence, capital investment in tobacco products, weapons of war, toxic chemicals, pollution, and other socially destructive goods and services are judged purely by their profitability. Concern for the social and environmental costs of the investment are non-existent. In other words, inflicting death and destruction are fine because they are profitable.

So what is the global elite’s purpose? In a few sentences Phillips characterizes it thus: The elite is largely united in support of the US/NATO military empire that prosecutes a repressive war against resisting groups – typically labeled ‘terrorists’ – around the world. The real purpose of ‘the war on terror’ is defense of transnational globalization, the unimpeded flow of financial capital around the world, dollar hegemony and access to oil; it has nothing to do with repressing terrorism which it generates, perpetuates and finances to provide cover for its real agenda. This is why the United States has a long history of CIA and military interventions around the world ostensibly in defense of ‘national interests’. Source.

As my friend and loyal reader, Joe the Farmer from Merced (67 years old) says:

So if you make $46,800.00 a year and have absolutely no bills and save every penny you make from your salary in 21,000 years you could be a billionaire also and join the group of thirty and kill people and destroy the earth for profit and shave your head and sit around with pricks like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos figuring out how to make life miserable for everyone and everything.

For further midnight to 4 am reading, go here: 1

Assetization | The MIT Press

And just to be a Debbie Downer, to say sayonara here, well, you never know

So small injectable microdevices & nanobots that can be vaccinatable through the nasal test swabs too ..., image #1

And this headline is, of course, A-Anon. No discourse, discussion, and the why of it all:

Are PCR Tests Secret Vaccines?

Oh, those scientists, aren’t they just so glorious, so amazing and ethical:

And, not to be outdone by these Mengele monsters, and their theragripper, and even with all those laurels from Johns Hopkins or what have you, there once was a Sunshine Project, started 22 years ago, and now, dead three years counting. In St. Clair’s piece Friday, May 14, he allude to it, and has the wrong link, which is not a terrible thing when it comes to St. Clair’s lengthy writing in his Roaming Charges column he mostly does weekly on Fridays.

Roaming Charges: How Bio-Warfare Came to Colombia

He talks about Agent Green, and I was certainly getting my head bashed against Bush and Clinton and the war criminals, tied to a lot of the USA’s destruction of South America and Mesoamerica with those chemicals, and others, including paraquat and diquat. Again, lefties just could not absorb all the information, all the infamy, all the corrupted and putrid people in USA politics on all sides of the manure pile. The media and all sides of the “pro-scientist” line just can’t wrap their heads around the possibility that scientists in any realm of Big Pharma, Big Mining, Big Medicine, Big Anything might be bought and sold and, well, liars! Paraquat: A controversial chemical’s second act

And, so, 2021, we are to believe these bioweapons best and the brightest, uh? So, coronaviruses have been studied, messed with, genetically changed, spliced and diced, by, who, the valiant ones in labs, at universities. And, lo and behold, what, then, an accident? A leak? An escape?

Why the virulence? Why the respiratory virus still mucking about in summer? Why the pukes who got jabbed get Covid-19? Come on, lefties, grow a pair — brains and backbone.

Agent Green — You go to that corporate and CIA fixed Wikipedia, and here’s what you get:

Agent Green is the code name for a powerful herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military in its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. The name comes from the green stripe painted on the barrels to identify the contents. Largely inspired by the British use of herbicides and defoliants during the Malayan Emergency, it was one of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides”. Agent Green was only used between 1962 and 1964, during the early “testing” stages of the spraying program.

Agent Green was mixed with Agent Pink and used for crop destruction. A total of 20,000 gallons of Agent Green were procured.[1]

Agent Green’s only active ingredient was 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), one of the common phenoxy herbicides of the era. Even prior to Operation Ranch Hand (1962-1971) it was known[2][3][4][5][6][7] that a dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD), is produced as a side product of the manufacture of 2,4,5-T, and was thus present in any of the herbicides that used it. Because Agent Green’s only active ingredient was 2,4,5-T, along with the similar Agent Pink, and earlier-produced batches of 2,4,5-T having higher TCDD-levels,[8] it contained many times the average level of dioxin found in Agent Orange.

During much of the fighting in the Vietnam War, chemical agents were used by the United States to defoliate the landscape. Although many different chemical agents were used, the most well known today is “Agent Orange,” one of the “Rainbow Herbicides”

Oh, those Rainbow Herbicides —

Colombia wants to resume spraying a toxic chemical to fight cocaine. Critics say it's too risky - CNN

So, again, where are those Rainbow Warriors? Out of business:

Feb 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The Sunshine Project, a nonprofit group that has monitored biological weapons developments and helped expose safety breaches at several US biodefense research facilities, announced on Feb 1 that it had ceased operations.

Edward Hammond, the project’s director, who worked at the group’s US office in Austin, Tex., said he shuttered the organization for financial reasons, according to a news report yesterday in Nature. “At some point you come to realize that if you don’t have buy-in from the people whose business it is to fund peace and security nongovernmental organizations, then you have to recognize reality,” he told Nature.

Established in 1999, the Sunshine Project investigated and reported on a number of biological and chemical weapons topics, including biological methods used to eradicate illicit crops such as opium and marijuana.

However, in the past few years the bulk of the Sunshine Project’s work focused on biodefense research in the United States, which rapidly expanded after the Sep 11 terrorist attacks. Much of the increase in biodefense research has been funded by Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion program passed in 2004 to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to combat the effects of biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiologic agents.

The Sunshine Project had said it supported closer federal oversight of US biodefense labs, including legal reforms, mandatory accident reporting, and increased transparency

Hammond said he was surprised that the surge in biodefense work didn’t spur more support for monitoring efforts such as his, according to a Feb 8 report in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “One would have expected that with the billions of dollars being poured into biodefense research, there would be something of a better operating environment for NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] like this,” he told the Chronicle.

The Sunshine Project used freedom-of-information requests to expose accidents and safety violations at labs that conduct biodefense work. The group monitored laboratories by pressing universities to share minutes from institutional biosafety committees.

In June 2007, the group’s revelations that some lab workers at Texas A&M University were infected with the category B bioterrorism agents Brucella and Coxiella burnetti prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to suspend the university’s work on select agents and toxins.

Three months later the Sunshine Project reported on biosafety lapses at three University of Texas labs in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. A few weeks later the group charged that University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers worked on Ebola virus genetic material in a lab that lacked the required security measures.

Last October, Hammond testified at a US House of Representatives committee hearing on problems at the nation’s biodefense labs. He said the Sunshine Project’s goal was to bring more transparency and compliance to biosafety lab operations.

Hammond told legislators that the nation could do needed biodefense research more safely with one-fifth of the current biodefense lab capacity. “Our system can’t absorb all of the labs coming online,” he said.

Richard H. Ebright, professor of microbiology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., told the Chronicle that the Sunshine Project’s monitoring of biodefense research was sometimes more aggressive than the federal government’s and credited the group for accomplishing a lot with a small budget.

“The end of their operations would create a vacuum. We’ll go back to silence,” Ebright said.

And then the moritorium on gain of functionresearch” (Mengele)?

January 8, 2018 – Last month, the U.S. government lifted a three-year moratorium on funding risky research to genetically alter deadly viruses in ways that could make them even more lethal. Epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of Harvard Chan School thinks the move could create an accidental pandemic.

Reinstate the global moratorium on “gain-of-function” research is on Change.org, which is again a flyswatter for a missile holding drone.

Shoot, more reading — And I know, I know, lefties just can’t get their arms around it, when these best and brightest scientists and MDs and all those highly educated and principled BIPOC working on viruses — offensive and defensive tools for, hmm … interesting propositions around depopulating, repopulating, chronic illnesses tsunami, indentured servantry to the masters.

References:2

Jfk and the cold war

Eric Clapton is pissed off after his two jabs. Frozen hands and feet for weeks. He shared a letter with his friend, Italian architect, lecturer, film producer,  Robin Monotti. Here, listen to his discussion on biopolitics and biosecurity implications of COVID19 and “The Great Reset.” Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben discusses this too. Clapton states it’s been propaganda pushing the safety of the jab.

Monotti refers to Umberto Eco’s “Ur-Fascism” (Eternal Fascism) on how fascism or totalitarianism is not a thing of the past, but an evil that is present in every generation and which must be identified, recognized, and fought back against. He examines whether there are such underlying themes and dangers hidden within the Davos crowd’s “Great Reset”.

Here.

God didn’t die, he was transformed into money – An interview with Giorgio Agamben

  1. Nayef Al-Rodhan explores the evolving space security race;  Placement of Weapons in Outer Space: The Dichotomy Between Word and Deed; Video: “Crimes Against Humanity”: The German Corona Investigation. “The PCR Pandemic”;  Why Are Gates and Pentagon Releasing “Gene Edited” (GMO) Mosquitoes in Florida Keys?China owns Nature magazine’s ass: Debunking “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” claiming COVID-19 definitely wasn’t from a lab;  Dr. Rombero F. Quijana: Beware of the Vaccine for Covid-19 Part One, Part Two, Part Three; Assetization – Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism
  2. Did the SARS-CoV-2 virus arise from a bat coronavirus research program in a Chinese laboratory? Very possibly,” by Milton Leitenberg, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 4, 2020; “Cambridge Working Group Consensus Statement on the Creation of Potential Pandemic Pathogens (PPPs),” The Cambridge Working Group, July 14, 2014; “Why Some Labs Work on Making Viruses Deadlier — and Why They Should Stop,” by Kelsey Piper, Vox, May 1, 2020; “NIH Lifts 3-Year Ban on Funding Risky Virus Studies,” by Jocelyn Kaiser, Science Magazine, December 19, 2017; “Threatened pandemics and laboratory escapes: Self-fulfilling prophecies,” by Martin Furmanski, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 31, 2014; “Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society,” by Paul C. Stern and Harvey V. Fineberg, Editorsr, Committee on Risk Characterization, National Research Council; “IAP Statement on Biosecurity,” Interacademcy Partnership on Science Health Policy, December 2005; “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code,” by George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992; Inaugural Global Health Security Index Finds No Country Is Prepared for Epidemics or Pandemics.
The post The Jab, Star Wars, and the Bubble Net of Digital Gulags first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Second Stage Terror Wars

We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

– William Casey, CIA Director, February. 1981

It is well known that the endless U.S. war on terror was overtly launched following the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the linked anthrax attacks.   The invasion of Afghanistan and the Patriot Act were immediately justified by those insider murders, and subsequently the wars against Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.  So too the terrorizing of the American people with constant fear-mongering about imminent Islamic terrorist attacks from abroad that never came.

It is less well known that the executive director of the U.S. cover story – the fictional 9/11 Commission Report – was Philip Zelikow, who controlled and shaped the report from start to finish.

It is even less well known that Zelikow, a professor at the University of Virginia, was closely associated with Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Dickey Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Brent Scowcroft, et al. and had served in various key intelligence positions in both the George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations. In 2011 President Obama named him to his President’s Intelligence Advisory Board as befits bi-partisan elite rule and coverup compensation across political parties.

Perhaps it’s unknown or just forgotten that The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission repeatedly called for Zelikow’s removal, claiming that his appointment made a farce of the claim that the Commission was independent.

Zelikow said that for the Commission to consider alternative theories to the government’s claims about Osama bin Laden was akin to whacking moles.  This is the man, who at the request of his colleague Condoleezza Rice, became the primary author of (NSS 2002) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, that declared that the U.S. would no longer abide by international law but was adopting a policy of preemptive war, as declared by George W. Bush at West Point in June 2002.  This was used as justification for the attack on Iraq in 2003 and was a rejection of the charter of the United Nations.

So, based on Zelikow’s work creating a magic mountain of deception while disregarding so-called molehills, we have had twenty years of American terror wars around the world in which U.S. forces have murdered millions of innocent people.  Wars that will be continuing for years to come despite rhetoric to the contrary.  The rhetoric is simply propaganda to cover up the increasingly technological and space-based nature of these wars and the use of mercenaries and special forces.

Simultaneously, in a quasi-volte-face, the Biden administration has directed its resources inward toward domestic “terrorists”: that is, anyone who disagrees with its policies.  This is especially aimed at those who question the COVID-19 story.

Now Zelikow has been named to head a COVID Commission Planning Group based at the University of Virginia that is said to prepare the way for a National COVID Commission.  The group is funded by the Schmidt Futures, the Skoll Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Stand Together, with more expected to join in.  Zelikow, a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program Advisory Panel, will lead the group that will work in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Stand together indeed: Charles Koch, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, the Rockefellers, et al. funders of disinterested truth.

So once again the fox is in the hen house.

If you wistfully think the corona crisis will soon come to an end, I suggest you alter your perspective.  Zelikow’s involvement, among other things, suggests we are in the second phase of a long war of terror waged with two weapons – military and medical – whose propaganda messaging is carried out by the corporate mainstream media in the pursuit of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. Part one has so far lasted twenty years; part two may last longer. You can be certain it won’t end soon and that the new terrorists are domestic dissidents.

Did anyone think the freedoms lost with The Patriot Act were coming back some day?  Does anyone think the freedoms lost with the corona virus propaganda are coming back?  Many people probably have no idea what freedoms they lost with the Patriot Act, and many don’t even care.

And today?  Lockdowns, mandatory mask wearing, travel restrictions, requirements to be guinea pigs for vaccines that are not vaccines, etc.?

Who remembers the Nuremberg Codes?

And they thought they were free, as Milton Mayer wrote about the Germans under Hitler.  Like frogs in a pot of cold water, we need to feel the temperature rising before it’s too late.  The dial is turned to high heat now.

But that was so long ago and far away, right?  Don’t exaggerate, you say.  Hitler and all that crap.

Are you thankful now that government spokespeople are blatantly saying that they will so kindly give us back some freedoms if we only do what they’re told and get “vaccinated” with an experimental biological agent, wear our masks, etc.? Hoi polloi are supposed to be grateful to their masters, who will grant some summer fun until they slam the door shut again.

Pfizer raked in $3.5 billion from vaccine sales in the first quarter of 2021, the first three months of the vaccine rollouts, and the company projects $26 billion for the year.  That’s one vaccine manufacturer.  Chump change?  Only a chump would not realize that Pfizer is the company that paid $2.3 billion in Federal criminal fines in 2009 – the largest ever paid by a drug company – for being a repeat offender in the marketing of 13 different drugs.

Meanwhile, the commission justifying the government’s claims about COVID-19 and injections (aka “vaccines”) will be hard at work writing their fictive report that will justify ex post facto the terrible damage that has occurred and that will continue to occur for many years.  Censorship and threats against dissidents will increase.  The disinformation that dominates the corporate mainstream media will of course continue, but this will be supplemented by alternative media that are already buckling under the pressure to conform.

The fact that there has been massive censorship of dissenting voices by Google/ YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc., and equally massive disinformation by commission and omission across media platforms, should make everyone ask why.  Why repress dissent?  The answer should be obvious but is not.

The fact that so many refuse to see the significance of this censorship clearly shows the hypnotic effects of a massive mind control operation.

Name calling and censorship are sufficient.  Perfectly healthy people have now become a danger to others.  So mask up, get your experimental shot, and shut up!

Your body is no longer inviolable.  You must submit to medical procedures on your body whether you want them or not.  Do not object or question. If you do, you will be punished and will become a pariah.  The authorities will call you crazy, deviant, selfish. They will take away your rights to travel and engage in normal activities, such as attend college, etc.

Please do not recall The Nuremberg Code.  Especially number 7: “Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.” (my emphasis)

“Now is the time to just do what you are told,” as Anthony Fauci so benevolently declared.

I am not making a prediction.  The authorities have told us what’s coming. Pay attention.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s a game they have devised.  Keep people guessing.  On edge.  Relieved.  Tense.  Relaxed.  Shocked.  Confused.  That’s the game.  One day this, the next that.  You’re on, you’re off.  You’re in, you’re out.  We are allowing you this freedom, but be good children or we will have to retract it.  If you misbehave, you will get a time out.  Time to contemplate your sins.

If you once thought that COVID-19 would be a thing of the past by now, or ever, think again.  On May 3, 2021 The New York Times reported that the virus is here to stay.  This was again reported on May 10.  Hopes Fade for Global Herd Immunity.  You may recall that we were told such immunity would be achieved once enough people got the “vaccine” or enough people contracted the virus and developed antibodies.

On May 9, on ABC News, Dr. Fauci, when asked about indoor mask requirements being relaxed, said, “I think so, and I think you’re going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated.”  Then he added: “We do need to start being more liberal, as we get more people vaccinated.”

But then, in what CNN reported as a Mother’s Day prediction, he pushed the date for “normality” out another year, saying, “I hope that [by] next Mother’s Day, we’re going to see a dramatic difference than what we’re seeing right now. I believe that we will be about as close to back to normal as we can.  We’ve got to make sure that we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated. When that happens, the virus doesn’t really have any place to go. You’re not going to see a surge. You’re not going to see the kinds of numbers we see now.”

He said this with a straight face even though the experimental “vaccines,” by their makers own admissions, do not prevent the vaccinated from getting the virus or passing it on.  They allege it only mitigates the severity of the virus if you contract it.

Notice the language and the vaccination meme repeated three times: “We get more people vaccinated.” (my emphasis) Not that more people choose to get vaccinated, but “we get” them vaccinated.  Thank you, Big Daddy. And now we have another year to go until “we will be about as close to back to normal as we can.”  Interesting phrase: as we can.  It other words: we will never return to normality but will have to settle for the new normal that will involve fewer freedoms.  Life will be reset, a great reset.  Great for the few and terrible for the many.

Once two vaccines were enough; then, no, maybe one is sufficient; no, you will need annual or semi-annual booster shots to counteract the new strains that they say are coming.  It’s a never-ending story with never-ending new strains in a massive never-ending medical experiment.  The virus is changing so quickly and herd immunity is now a mystical idea, we are told, that it will never be achieved.  We will have to be eternally vigilant.

But wait.  Don’t despair.  It looks like restrictions are easing up for the coming summer in the northern hemisphere. Lockdowns will be loosened.  If you felt like a prisoner for the past year plus, now you will be paroled for a while. But don’t dispose of those masks just yet.  Fauci says that wearing masks could become seasonal following the pandemic because people have become accustomed to wearing them and that’s why the flu has disappeared. The masks didn’t prevent COVID-19 but eliminated the flu.  Are you laughing yet?

Censorship and lockdowns and masks and mandatory injections are like padded cells in a madhouse and hospital world where free-association doesn’t lead to repressed truths because free association isn’t allowed, neither in word nor deed.  Speaking freely and associating with others are too democratic. Yes, we thought we were free.  False consciousness is pandemic.  Exploitation is seen as benevolence. Silence reigns.  And the veiled glances signify the ongoing terror that has spread like a virus.

We are now in a long war with two faces.  As with the one justified by the mass murders of September 11, 2001, this viral one isn’t going away.

The question is: Do we have to wait twenty years to grasp the obvious and fight for our freedoms?

We can be assured that Zelikow and his many associates at Covid Collaborative, including General Stanley McChrystal, Robert Gates, Arnie Duncan, Deval Patrick, Tom Ridge, et al. – a whole host of Republicans and Democrats backed by great wealth and institutional support, will not be “whacking moles” in their search for truth.  Their agenda is quite different.

But then again, you may recall where they stood on the mass murders of September 11, 2001 and the endless wars that have followed.

The post Second Stage Terror Wars first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Caught in a Propaganda Mad House

The fully developed bureaucratic apparatus compares with other organizations exactly as does the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production.

The organization of offices follows the principle of hierarchy … each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one.

— Max Weber, Economy and Society, 1922

This doesn’t infer private companies, organizations, trade groups, corporations, lobbies are any better than the bureaucracies of government. In fact, the bureaucratic hell we all have been put through — those of us who do not go quietly into the night or roll over to show some yellow belly — consumes millions of lifetime lives, working us over through a very disgusting labyrinth of penury, penalties, prosecutions, persecutions and penal phalanx designed to wear down the innocent.

If you do not have a stable of lawyers (imagine: $2000 an hour; imagine, at least 33.33 percent plus expenses for supposed civil cases of a class action variety), or a stable of lobbyists (imagine: entire companies set up to lie, steal, block, and hide for the rich, the corporations), or a brothel of politicians (imagine: how much does it cost to run for a Senate seat) — here, October 2020:

The North Carolina Senate race is already the most expensive congressional race of all time, with $265 million spent between candidates and outside groups. The Iowa Senate race has already claimed the No. 2 spot with $218 million.  — Open Secrets

Those small potatoes people like you and I, those underclass, those lower classes, those less than medium wage/middle class, and all those developing world classes, and all those displaced classes, and all the farmer and laborer classes, we are set up for failure, and when we do fight, we have to empty the savings accounts just to get to the courthouse.

I won’t go into deep-deep detail, but my own family has a recent living example of this fleecing, here in good old Oregon. That person set up an LLC — limited liability corporation — when he got a job with a hospitality staffing agency back east. This agency is run by a multimillionaire, who Zooms his gig workers (all workers  have to pay the money in respective states for setting up LLC’s) from his 5,000 square foot “dream home” in Vermont, the second or third one in his portfolio. Imagine, a schmuck like me assisting my family member in Oregon to set up his LLC. It cost him $100. Some of my family member’s teammates ended up getting lawyers and CPA’s to help at a tune of not less than $450.

The entire gig and DIY and precarious and atomized world of work, including recruiting and staffing, is full of money at the top, and worker bees at the bottom. These worker bees are usually women. Covid-19 stupidity hit, and, well, the hospitality and restaurant business caved.  This company then went after the N95 mask makers, and other industries still operating during the planned-economic-demic.

So, you have I Can’t Breathe George Floyd unfolding, yet this multimillionaire white man did not talk about the national movement to stop the police murders of black people (Duh, restaurant workers are BIPOC). Nothing even on his company’s web site decrying pig-cop violence against blacks.

This commission-based job went south for my family member. Fast. He did not make money, and got one commission check, $3,000 for hundreds of hours of work. Do the math. Think of the money lost, time lost, percentage of the soul eaten out.

Now, he looked for work, paid work, and landed a job. The problem is the Oregon Department of Revenue sent a mountain-high set of letters, warnings, bills, and then penalties. You know, some people have to try and make a living. This family member also had in his past bad nightmares from the IRS coming to his family home and taking the house over, kicking the family into the streets. He was an 11-year-old. Try another incident with a repo of a car, and other such IRS crap, and this family member just could not handle all the chaos of the bureaucracies of hate, failure to file, not knowing the codes inside and out. He expected it all to be washed out at the end of the year when he filed his taxes.

Wrong, sucker.

I helped him out, sending in thoughtful and rhetorically-magnificent letters to stop this idiocy. No go. Still, more and more late penalties.

I went to the Tax Court (logged on), and the only way to get a hearing in Oregon is to pay the charged (but incorrect) taxes and the added-on penalties. At more than $10,000 to pay the government, my family member had to dump two IRA Roth’s. So much for the savings.

Now, just to get an administrative judge to hear this, another $280 check had to be written to the state of Oregon. Think of all the work we had to do to try and figure out what the hell was going on. Over $10,000 shelled out, and here it is, waiting for forms to be filled out.

Then, on top of this, ending the LLC cost my family member, $110. That’s $100 to create a sole proprietor LLC, and another $110 to dissolve it.

My family member did not have the bandwidth to handle this. Of course, over the years the toll of medical bills, mortgage company thieves, PayDay loan thugs, school loan sharks, real estate appraisers, auto creeps, and on and on, I have had to come to the assistance of many many people. In reality, this capitalist society — call it parasitic, diseased, disruptive, poisonous — is a wasteland of fraud, scams, and downright theft. In a real society, there would be navigators for people of all ages and ilk — free legal advice, free clinics, free social workers and services workers helping cut through the avalanche of red-tape and bureaucrats who should be — along with at least the first million lawyers on earth, and first 10 million lords of war, and the first 100 million financial real estate insurance scammers —  at the bottom of the sea.

This is it for a broken society. Broken big time. And how do all those notices and penalty scare letters and authentication letters from courts and the revenue service and unemployment service and department of labor come to us in a small rural town?

Yep, through the post office … the dying USPS. That that bumbling mean as a white old man Biden can hardly muster a trickle of phlegm in his words. No groundswell of legislators (sic) and policy makers (sic) and law makers (sic) putting a stop to this evisceration after evisceration.

My family member gets the hearing, appointing me as a secondary or primary family member allowed to present “evidence.” In the first three minutes of my family member presenting evidence, it is clear the Revenue guy is a buttoned down bureaucrat on Prozac. We are talking legalese, and mentioning form x and form y to be filed, with Zeros in all the boxes, to trigger the next step of a refund for the taxes my family member didn’t owe, and then, with the waiving of penalties. My family member literally left, vomiting, and yelling.

Did the judge hear this? Yep. Did the Revenuer hear it? Yep. This wasn’t a Zoom Doom call, but I could hear some dry voices, and then, I took over and navigated the Revenuer’s promise to the judge that all fines and penalties and interests and the initial taxes would be refunded.

Luckily, the Revenuer had some humanity, and emailed me immediately, and we talked, too, on his personal phone, and he attempted to navigate me on some forms, sent them to me, and, alas, the forms did not work. He saw that, and he tried to get some workarounds, and this is where we are at:

Trauma. PTSD. Past bad-bad interaction with IRS, state code men, tax folk, cops, pigs, the entire buffet of bumbling and overpaid and inhumane people. Think of the ticket guy on the street, and the pig-cop. Try and have conversations with these “public” officials about how they live with themselves. I have, in bars. They will throw down, pull a gun, call more pigs-cops. I’ve had many a yelling match. This is the cancel culture.

Courts, Cops, DA’s, HR, Customer Service, Code Enforcers, Penalty Purveyors.

We await the refund checks, and I will have to let the court know it was resolved once a check comes in, but not without more headaches after the administrative hearing. I will petition the court to charge back the $281 court fee to the state of Oregon, demanding a refund.

More letters.

And that’s where we are at — letters encoded in Digital Blockchains, on those electronic strips on the DMV license, passport, medical card, on the license plate. And that leads us to the vaccination passport, and soon, the vaccination electronic tattoo.

All app driven, all approved by the Google-Palantir-Facebook-AI masters of the universe. With those sleazy millionaire governors and sleazier senators and congressmen.

Those of us knew this was beyond 1984 and a Brave New World and Minority Report and The Jungle, more than a modern Grapes of Wrath, we knew all of this three decades ago, way before Plans for the Pandemic, shortened to Plan-demic.

The horror is looking at Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Thiel, Musk, Fauci, and a million other toadies and Eichmann’s in their lizard eyes. The Agenda 2030 and Great Reset proverbial bulldozer of humanity? Already in second gear!

Here we are, now Rutgers, looking for every person on campus to have been hit with the drug-thing in the hypodermic. Prove your worth, prove your jab (s). And anyone really looking at this bio-nano technology knows that the mRNA poison, and the entire suite of bad-bad brews, well, we can expect constant jabs.

Rutgers Campus about to go 100 percent forced vaccinations!

a group of people walking down the street

The federal government’s assurance of vaccine supply for all Americans prompted Rutgers to make the decision, the university said in a statement.

Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for health affairs, said the vaccine is the key “to the return of campus instruction and activities closer to what we were accustomed to before the pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Storm said in the statement.

— Source:  Market Watch

“The Vaccine Passport Propaganda Template” by Adam Dick

And my shitty job with shitty pay and shitty respect, oh, the managers I work with are actually breaking confidentiality rules by announcing which people have gotten the jab vis-à-vis the nonprofit, and those (me) who have not. Can you believe that shit? I have to tell them if, or if not, where and how and which one?

Asking same said boss what the hell is his BMI? How’s that red face blood pressure going? What the hell is going on with the heavy asthmatic breathing? Those fat-laden lunches? You sure about those? Imagine, a world where they ask, or demand, or press — “You’ve gotten the vaccine, right?”

Sure, this is the new normal, and it is their immoral code, their anti-ethics, their Scarlet Alphabet — A through Z, and many symbols stitched into the digital passport signifying the Wrong Kind of American.

My friend does recruiting for California businesses, and that fine fucked up state is requiring vaccine passports, to get to and from work. Pigs-Cops tackling you and folding you into a squad car. That’s step one. Many more steps here to this Plan-Demic takeover.

And this physics and chemistry high school teacher is so right, so vulnerable in this shit show called United Snakes of America:

Today, I would describe myself as a Marxist who thinks the Russian Revolution of 1917 was the most recent example of a working class revolution but would describe its counter-revolutionary collapse as ending in state-run capitalism. I still believe the experience of the Bolshevik party in Russia is vital to look at as an example of what needs to be built today, and there are writings of Lenin and Luxemburg that I use as a political touchstone today. However, I no longer adhere to the idea that “socialism in one country” came only with Stalin, but that you can see its beginnings under Lenin in the policies of the NEP and other changes in policies of the Soviet state under Lenin. The revolution’s fate was sealed when it did not spread to Germany shortly after the socialist revolution in Russia.

Still, I believe the only way out of the mess we are in today is another working class revolution for the establishment of socialism. But that will not take place through the ballot box. It will require mass strikes and an armed insurrection to establish it. Also, it cannot be called socialism unless working class democracy is at its center and is preserved and expanded through the course of the revolution and beyond. Overall, while I firmly believe capitalism must be dismantled, I have more questions than answers about the state of our political tradition and the process by which this mass socialist uprising will take place. Part of the reason I started “What’s Left?”, a podcast/channel I host with two friends, was to give myself an open space to investigate political questions that I am still working through.

The last year has made the prospects for revolutionary change (which were exceedingly dim before the mania around COVID started) seem even more unlikely. I have witnessed the revolutionary Left collapse behind the capitalist state and institutions through the course of the pandemic. I am exceedingly grateful for the existence of Left Lockdown Sceptics and their attempt to fashion a Left response and oppositions to the authoritarian maneuvers of the capitalist classes across the globe. This blog has been a glimmer of hope for me in what has felt like an ocean of despair.

—  Andy Libson

Just how long does Andy have left in the rotting K12 school system? DV readers know the real way to beating down the masters, and beating back their toadies and Eichmann’s. You’ve read my stuff until you’ve hacked up the offal of capitalism and the rotting meat percolating from the core systems of oppression and subjugation. You know my stance on K12 and higher education.

Solutions to homelessness, obesity, paranoia, fear, sickness, illiteracy, poverty, hunger? Shit, the entire community-based land-formed people-centered, ecosystem-dominating holism and complete person, from cradle to cradle. Every system checked against a true precautionary principle. Every move for 10 generations out. Every decision made for the good of the community.

Art over science. Environment over economics. Ecology over commerce. All tied into a localized economy, regionalized planning, fair use, retrenchment, and ending capitalism, here, there, everywhere.

Naïve? Shit thinking? Is believing in this warring, poisoning, thieving and murdering system of money and top owning the world better? Is that where we are — giving Musk the green light to dump satellites and space junk into orbit after orbit? Who has the right to the Moon and Mars? Just what price is that sickness, that megalomania?

Embarrassing — sick:

See the source image

Read Andy’s piece. Follow his links to Alison McDowell and Cory Morningstar and  Jake Klyceck!

That is the horror story after horror story —  Daily, more and more sad sack humans are opting for Zoom Teaching-Medicine-Social Work-Counseling-Engagement with the lighting on the best side of the face, while every Tom, Dick, Harriet and Jane are Zooming in their Underpants.

Andy, again:

I think we need to get back to our source of power – our workplace and centers where we congregate to do work – immediately and begin figuring out how we can stop what is coming. The remote learning experience we are going through right now is not a momentary mirage of a world trying to escape COVID. What we are witnessing and participating in (as either educator or student) is the future of education that is preparing future workers for what work will be like in the coming years: remote, on a screen, mediated through data flow and transmission, overseen, monitored and directed by AI. Students are experiencing education (separated, individualized, isolated, controlled and obscure) as they will experience their future work.

Participating in remote learning today isn’t ‘safer’, it’s actually far more dangerous to all our futures. It means our lives will be more separated, more surveilled, more scrutinized and more controlled than ever before. Physical schools will be replaced with laptops and drop-in centers. Teachers will be replaced with screens and AI. Education itself will be a lifelong chase, not of learning, but of job skills so each worker can compete in a global labor market where ever-centralized capitalist centers get their pick of the litter to screen for and exploit workers not as a class but as an isolated worker connected via a screen.

 

And it seems apropos to end with John Steppling, now in Norway, and an intellect on the wane, as is anyone who looks critically at the demise, whether it is art or culture.

There is a deep anti-human agenda in Capitalism. There always has been, but today, as capitalism reaches its most dire crises (one expected, perhaps even planned) the class struggle has taken on its most profound form. And fear is the currency in play. And the most coercive aspect of this struggle is the war on children. And it is found in many forms- from the known and ignored toxicity of plastics and the poisoning of the earth and oceans, to the revanchist sex negativity of social distancing and masks, and to the addictions of screens. And the habituation to screens is, of course, also intentional.

He cites much of Robert Bly’s work and his thinking around fantasy, art, the poet’s duty:

As I mentioned, Bly is in his 90s now. I met him once. And he was like a shining light in the room. My old mentor Terry Ork knew him well. I learned more from Bly than probably anyone. So I feel I want to return to him a bit more right now. I found his opening remarks at the 1968 National Book Awards Ceremony…

“I know I am speaking for many, many American poets when I ask this question: since we are murdering a culture in Vietnam at least as fine as our own, have we the right to congratulate ourselves on our cultural magnificence ? Isn’t that out of place ?

I met Bly a couple of times, drank with him a few times — Spokane, El Paso and Tucson.

Here, a short piece on him coming to Spokane, oh, 14 years ago. I’ve written and published a few essays on my remembrances of him, my work as a journeyman with him, and with others like William Stafford.

Enwrapped in solitude, Bly spins ruminations shaped by other cultures, other poets — as in “Meeting the Man Who Warns Me”:

I dream that I cannot see half of my life. “I look back, it is like the blind spot in a car.

So much just beyond the reach of our eyes, what tramples the grasses while the horses are asleep, the hoof marks all around the cave mouth…

what slips in under the door at night, and lies exhausted on the floor in the morning.   

— from Haeder’s article, “Bly’s Call to Duty

There is that, really, seeing less than that life, blind spots, this teetering age of digital fascism, and worse. That light, barely there, now.

The post Caught in a Propaganda Mad House first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Facebook Unfriends Australia: The Triumph of Epistemic Chaos

Creepy and ruthless Facebook has again impressed with its steely indifference to civic responsibility, as if a company established by a sociopath could ever be a model of human improvement. On February 18, Mark Zuckerberg’s antisocial company took aim at Australia by blocking those in that country from sharing local and international content.  As the company notice to those trying to share material went: “In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook generally restricts the posting of news links and all post from news Pages in Australia. Globally, the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted.”

As with previous thugs of mercenary trade (the Dutch East India Company and its British equivalent come to mind), Facebook is keen to make the rules it likes, and ignore those of the commonweal.  It is a plundering pioneer in the world of surveillance capitalism, which has led to what Shoshana Zuboff calls an “epistemic coup” with “unprecedented computational concentrations of knowledge and power” gathered by extracting data elitists.  These elitists, in turn, trash such concepts as the rule of law and democracy in the name of profits.

As she explained in her keynote speech at last year’s EU Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment panel, “These corporations are not publishers, they are not distributors, they are not merely adtech providers; they are indiscriminate, radically indifferent all-you-can-eat extractors of everything forever, all for the sake of prediction that become more lucrative as they approach certainty.”

Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code is one such proposed imposition on these extractive qualities, though it does little to actually redress the central principles Facebook and Google operate under.  The Code, as it stands, is a compendium of defects sold as politics rather than sound structural change. In it, the Australian government hopes not to restrict surveillance capitalism so much as redirect it.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the Code would “address the fundamental bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and major digital platforms.”  It’s all a problem of revenue: the fourth estate is dying, having lost its classified advertising base; the Australian government, unenthused by ideas of creating funding schemes or taxing Big Tech, has come to the conclusion that these giants will subsidize and ultimately regenerate old media outlets.  To do so, it proposes making companies reach, through good will negotiations, bargains by which revenue can be distributed.

While making wild presumptions of what platforms such as Facebook do with the news (referrals, shares and so forth), the government will also require these Silicon Valley hulks to notify media organisations of any change in their search algorithms and abide by an arbitration mechanism.  Disputes on the amount of revenue will then go to an arbitration body.  Such scenes promise to be messy: media moguls hunkering down to discussions with such amoral practitioners as Facebook.

The blocking of news content on the Facebook platform precipitated a range of consequences, some of them possibly surprising to Zuckerberg and his crew.  The Facebook pages of news organisations were immediately emptied of content.  Australia’s ABC put it like this: “If you search for the Facebook pages of (for example) ABC News, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Times, and the BBC, you’ll see a blank feed saying ‘No posts yet.’”

This was not all.  The draft Code has a definition of news content of some breadth, which purports to be any material that “reports, investigates, or explains issues that are relevant in engaging Australians in public debate”.  When approached for comment on the issue, Facebook confirmed it has pushed its own reading to the limits, citing a lack of clarity.  “As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted.”  Not that the law has been implemented, but Facebook has been quick on the draw.  Snottily, the company promises to “reverse any Pages that are inadvertently impacted.”

Government pages were also caught up in the dramatic scrub, including the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Health and an assortment of commercial and retail outlets.  The blocking of content on the bureau’s site was considered particularly galling, given cases of flooding in Queensland and fire danger in Western Australia.  “Warnings need to get to as wide an audience as possible as a matter of safety,” tweeted ABC weather presenter Nate Byrne.  “Shocking.”

Smaller community news outlets, trade unions, homeless charities, and various local controlled health services were also enveloped in the information clean. Indigenous communities have been particularly bruised. According to the National Indigenous Times, “Indigenous health and media groups fear Facebook’s pushback will have a dangerous impact on regional and remote communities during [the] wet season and the COVID-19 epidemic, with concerns communities will not have access to vital updates on flood warnings or the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.”

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services saw the issue of blocking content on its site as a matter of rights, restricting an invaluable means of connecting with the community.  “This is a human rights issue, silencing the voices of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people, our representative peak bodies.”

In going for the Australian throat, Facebook has resorted to a different approach from that other giant of amoral propensities, Google.  Google has repeatedly threatened to withdraw its search engine from Australia for similar grievances against the draft Code. But the company has been aggressively negotiating and buttering up Australian media outlets for its News Showcase.  The Australian government sees this as a triumph, a strange interpretation given the positively pyrrhic nature of any such outcomes.  Google can well argue to have come out better in the deal, its business model left intact.

The time has come to reconsider the very operating rationale of such companies in an effort to address their singular monopoly position.  Solutions are not merely to be found in government regulation and antitrust approaches.  The very allegiance shown to such platforms by their captive users will have to change.  The time has come to save the human project from surveillance capitalism.

The post Facebook Unfriends Australia: The Triumph of Epistemic Chaos first appeared on Dissident Voice.

No Work, Little Work, Too Much Work, UBI/DIY/Gig Economies

It’s an unprecedented coalition of business networks that have come together to raise our ambition. Not just to help our individual CEOs succeed, we’ll do that for sure. But to actually bring their voices together to help shift culture. So that the pushback on the BRT [Business Roundtable] from different business publications or other people within the business community lessens. So there’s less of a headwind culturally for this type of leadership. 
— Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab and B Corporations [Source]

[These are not good people, and if anyone thinks otherwise, then, well, War is Peace, Truth is Lies, Hate is Love!]

We Are Big Data’s Dregs

The great data dredge. Everyone’s hired through a digital head hunter, staffing firm, and the result is a continuation of atomizing society with no water cooler, so to speak, from which to complain about working conditions, to discuss the next austerity measure concocted by the boss/management/ CEO/Corporation. No after work bull session at the local Chili’s or T.G.I.F. to compare notes about those exploding gas tanks and caustic chemicals and faulty electrodes in the air bag systems.

This is what Ford would have wanted, and this is what the heads of retail and data and manufacturing want. They’ve already put most of us over a barrel with forced arbitration clauses, non-compete agreements (sic), and rule after penalty after threat after law after delimitation, that, well, in this knowledge (sic) economy and post-Industrial (sic) economy, the white collar and pink collar workers are hemmed in by management. More than the field hands picking this country’s lettuce!

The hemming in is an oppression planned and sealed, and a deep seated zombifcation of the “higher castes” and to be honest, people of the land, even those in struggle, in other countries that have been deemed shit-holes by Trump and Third World by Biden have more gumption about them, more ability to fight the systems, the oppressors, than any member of the Western Civilization.

Just drive around your town or suburb, anywhere. Take a look at what and how the systems have been set up for and about the rich, for the money changers, for the money takers, for the dream hoarders. Take a look. How many bus stations, how many covered and art-imbued public amenities? How many public toilets, public waysides, public paths, public trails, public pedestrian overpasses, public bandstands, public gazebos, public museums, public eateries, public statues, signs, art, historical markers? How many trees and shrubs and open spaces set up for the public? How many picnic tables and interpretive trails, and …? How many tiny home villages for the houseless? How many community gardens? Theaters and cinemas for and by the people?

Talk about dead and lobotomized citizens, as we have allowed the captains of industry and oppressors of finance and the legions of pushers of the realm rule: retailers, consumer crack salesmen/women, middle managers, ant hill after ant hill of processors and facilitators of the entire house of cards built upon the dopamine hits of lizard drips of the brain. “I betcha can’t eat just one Lays potato chip,” now on steroids – “I betcha you can’t just have 3 big screen TVs in your pad … “And now you fill in that blank – Just look at the so-called Black Friday ads.

Amazing, junk, junk and more junk. Families buying deep fryers and rice steamers and any number of electronic junk that they can’t or don’t know how to use. All that plastic and tin, diodes and LED screens. All of that planned obsolescence. Nary a word about the embedded energy, the packaging, the toil and slave labor, the life cycle analysis. Piles and piles of worthless junk, planned to break, parts planned to snap, wires planned and ready to melt.

Planned Human Obsolescence

This is not a difficult thing to comprehend,  about socialism for the land and people versus capitalism for the elite and bankers and small group of sociopaths, who will fight tooth and nail (well, with a battalion of lawyers at $1500 an hour each, not really a fight per se) to push the poisons, hawk the faulty products, demand the welfare for the rich and corporations, and deposit all the externalities of their profit schemes onto the public and the commons’ health.

But …  Man, those “buts.” I talk all the time with great white saviors, who just start spewing at the mouth of the evils of socialism, and that, well, capitalism is good, and “we let Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg” accumulate so much wealth and power, so it’s our fault, and really, is it that bad we have these Titans who give us goods and services? This is like heaven compared to countries who push that bullshit democratic socialism crap. Do you know what the 10 pillars of socialism/communism/Marxism are?”

Try putting “debunking the critics of socialism” into the Google Gulag Search, and you shall receive so much hatred and polemics around anything tied to socialism on the first 50 pages of the search, that, well, you get the picture why these big white saviors will dare  come up to me and challenge me the socialist on how and why socialism is bad-bad-bad while capitalism is god’s work.

As these great white saviors are pushing a cart filled with two TV’s, a new printer, two iPads, and junk junk junk, 50 pounds of kitty liter and a hundred pounds of dog chow. While walking past the two young men I am working with who are taking in shopping carts as part of their competitive work as people who happen to be living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. These Great White Hopes are Blind to “them.”

These great white saviors, well, it’s all about survival of the fittest. All about the colonized mind. All about – “you majored in the wrong subject matter, sucker … born into the most messed up family, sucker grew up on that side of the railroad tracks, dufus … got stuck with those bills and foreclosures, sucker.”

Oh, the invisible hand of the oppressors, and these people – Biden and Trump supporters, what have you – are criminal thinkers, really, because with one huge swath of their inhuman brain, they disregard 90 percent of the planet’s people.

“They are all sucka’s for being born where they are and from the loins of ‘those’ rotten people.”

A Sucker Borne Every Nanosecond

Oh, and I am seeing more and more quasi-leftist stuff, saying, well, the left needs to embrace the Trumpies, to work with them on labor rights, on environmental rights, on health care for all, on all those issues, and not be so hung up on their misogyny, racism, classism, white Duck Dynasty Ted Nugent shit.

Insanity, man. Leftists writing from the comfort of their offices, well, they are a dime a dozen. The reality on the ground is that this country has a cool 100 million or so hateful, resentful, ignorant of the world, pro-war, rah-rah, hate welfare of all kinds sort of people. They don’t have to be Proud Boys and KKK. These people in this USA, the white ones, mostly, have come from that evil spawn stock, back even before SCD, Smith Colony Disease.

Then, again, we have Democrats with a wilted big “D” who need their comeuppance, and who are just one half brain shy of a squid, and somehow, the other squids (sorry about the dispersion to cephalopods) with another load of brain cells missing need to be embraced, because, the GOP and Trumpies and the like want to move toward a truly socialist society?

Again, the reality is some bad-ass slow, consistent and in many cases rapid death by a 1,000 capitalist cuts.

I meet people in my new job, working with Adults with ID/DD, to get job ready and jobs in the community – real jobs, not stuck in some sheltered workshop getting one-tenth the wage of anyone else in the same job.

Sure, I am doing great work, god’s work, the work of an angel (they really say this stuff to me, a commie, a devoted atheist), and while I get the gist of that, we talk about how it is my careers have been shit for pay, highly exploitive and yet highly regarded in some sense: teaching, social services, and, well, community journalism.

“Ha-ha, you are doing these great services knowing you are not going to get rich doing it, but thank you for your service.”

Imagine that stupidity, that dense mentality. Imagine, the hard jobs that need doing in a broken capitalist society with wave after wave of damaged, chronically ill, economically strafed, mentally poisoned, generously precarious, and one paycheck away from bad ass disaster citizens on the precipice? PayDay Loans? That in and of itself defines capitalism. The Mafiosi aspect of this spiritually deserted society.

Yet, now, these great leftist warriors are saying the Trumpies and the GOP of the world – the log cutters, the mill workers, the truckers, the blue collar millionaires – that they want workplace rights, the right to strike, the right to squat, the right to refuse bad and dangerous work; that they want to be able to shut down polluting industries, and the right of the people to take over industries? That these Trumpies and GOP want universal health care, universal rights for all people. That these GOP and Trumpies want real education, more education, holistic education, writing and thinking across the curriculum, across disciplines, across industries. That the GOP-Trumpies will work so-so well with organizers and “the people” over defunding and holding to task “the police-backed” banks-warehouses-fulfillment centers. Right!@#$%

So how does anyone on both sides of the manure pile called USA politics square this fact?

Ahh, the world’s 26 richest people currently have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—down from 61 people in 2016. As the rich get richer, sea levels are rising, tribalism is flourishing, and liberal democracies are regressing. Even some of the wealthiest nations are plagued by job insecurity, debt, and stagnant wages. Ordinary people across the political spectrum are increasingly concerned that the system is rigged against them. Trust in public institutions is near an all-time low.

So that Google search got one hit on the “other side” of the dividing line (not really) – “What the Right Gets Wrong About Socialism. As Scandinavia shows, it does feature plenty of public ownership—but also a thriving economy.”1

Sure, we get this from the Norwegian:

Norway’s success has not come without costs—wealth accrued through oil and other extractive industries has had harsh ecological consequences. But students there and across Scandinavia graduate without the horrifying debt burdens of their U.S. counterparts. Those who sustain injuries in traffic accidents never have to beg bystanders not to call for an ambulance, for fear of drowning in medical debt. Norwegian diabetics don’t need to crowdsource their insulin. As seniors, they don’t spend their golden years working at Walmart or living in their vehicles. Their homes were not repossessed en masse by banks during the Great Recession. Extensive public ownership shields Norwegians from the harshest aspects of unfettered capitalism.

But then he attacks North Korea and Venezuela for being failing socialist countries, and without the context of the international transnational monetary criminal system of sanctions and debt and theft of Venezuela’s treasury, and war war war with Korea still on the hot plate. Then the illegal maneuvers of governments like the USA and supported by all those others, including Norway, in its attack on Venezuela’s elected leaders and support of the dirty rich racist opposition groups, that is not mentioned.

Yep, there is a link in the Norwegian’s piece to another article – July 2018, “There is Nothing Inherently Wrong with State Ownership” by Matthew Bruenig over at Current Affairs Magazine.

Again, short anemic, and an essay in response to an attack on Norway and Sweden and “socialist” countries in the Nordic category by a New York Times “writer,” a Bret Stephens, who is sloppy and makes untrue claims in this piece, “Democratic Socialism Is Dem Doom.”

No Richard Wolf and no Michael Parenti or any thousands upon thousands of thinkers who know about societies and economies and cultures and ecologies who could put this tripe to rest. This is it?

Hemming Us In

Imagine, a 69-year-old working in a deli at a national chain. “I was once a speech therapist with a thriving private practice. And then my retirement went bust, thanks to Enron.” So, Molly works with a terrible limp, arthritis everywhere and almost no hair left. Fryers, slicers, prepping, and she runs it. Since age 55, when not only her measly retirement went bust, but the speech therapy arena turned more and more into high end certification racket, and gobbled up by, well, monopolies, agencies that scarf up the independents, or make it impossible to compete against the aggregators and services felons.

Then another guy, James, working the parking lot, bathrooms, carts, etc., making a wage when he started at this national grocery chain, of $9.75 an hour. He busts his butt, and we talked about his chronic heart failure, the meds he takes each month, all of that, including the pace maker and other aspects of his life, at age 60. He is at $12 an hour after five years with this outfit, and he tells me his supervisor likes his work, and his helping the other cart people, so much so that he is in for a wage increase to $15 an hour. He has to wait 90 days for the higher ups to approve that.

Hemming in. Working hard jobs at an old age to keep bad health insurance that is part of a for-triple-profit system of penury and theft. Oh, stories of an item being charged 18 times more during this Covid “crisis.”

A study that revealed hospitals may be charging as much as 18 times over their costs.

Nurse Jean Ross – “ Yes. Again, unconscionable, but that seems to be the way in this country. Up to 18 times. So, for example, if your true cost — it’s called the charge-to-cost ratio, or CCR — if your true cost for your service is $100, they are, in many cases, charging up to $1,800. And they do it because they can.” This from a study put out by National Nurses United.

Sit on the Ground and Try and Pull Yourself Up by Bootstraps

Those great white hopes, those big happy white males and big happy white females who voted for Trump and then those that believe Biden is better, well, that’s what we have – “Just let it take place, and that’s the way the Capitalist Cookie crumbles. What would Cuba be doing? The great invisible hand will fix things!”

Where I currently work – a small non-profit – the amount of software and tracking-time management apps and all the government agencies I have to get my mandatory trainings on and get my certifications renewed, well, it’s almost daunting. That’s the squeeze, the money train to the middle men, having nothing to do with my job, my humanity, work.

This is a non-for-profit agency working with adults with ID/DD.

Imagine all those warehouses and factories and office buildings and other places where the atomization was already on overdrive before the plan-pandemic.

Now, with the lockdowns, the on-line doom dungeons, and alas, with more and more AI and IT measures in place to keep us out of each other’s social distance arena, things are really degrading big time.

Teaching to the New Technology

I want to look at another gig I had – substitute teaching. Not just the bad working conditions of the public schools and anxious teachers and idiotic principals and the dictatorial superintendent. Let’s look at the payrate. Look at this – substitute teachers, K12, in Oregon, on the Coast, now managed by a Tennessee outfit. Note the hourly rate, and of course, coming into substitute teaching, a teaching certificate is required, and that means, well, most teachers like me, we have master’s degrees. That Oregon licensing costs another cool $400 to get the license and jump through the hoops. We get no mileage expended to get to and from very remote schools.

Job details — $14 an hour; Full-time/ Part-time; The State of Oregon requires all substitute teachers to hold an active Oregon Teaching License, Restricted Substitute Teaching License, or an Oregon Reciprocal License.  As leaders in the education staffing space since 2000, ESS specializes in placing qualified staff in daily, long-term, and permanent K-12 school district positions including substitute teachers, school aides, and other school support staff. With more than 700 school district partners throughout the US, ESS supports the education of more than 2.5 million students every day.

I had been teaching as a substitute a year ago. I had been hired by the District, and my contacts were through the District. I was making $80 for four hours and $160 for seven. In many cases I could get called in late and then get ready, make the drive in the rural county, get to the school and still  get the full day’s pay rate. That’s more than $18 an hour, and alas, I got to know the teachers who wanted me when they had planned absences, and the school secretaries also knew me.

There is a shortage of substitutes, and, well, if things were better all around, substitutes could be integrated more seamlessly and holistically to provide amazing outside the box perspectives and teaching.

Not so in Lincoln County, as is true of most counties, with plenty of Administrators, plenty of bullshit curriculum cops, plenty of teach-to-the- test zombies running roughshod over the entire project of working with our youth, our kids, our aspiring young adults.

This staffing “solution” is killing again teachers getting together, working with the district, getting to know people in the district, airing grievances with the district. Everything goes through this Tennessee outfit. Complaints go nowhere, and if you get a complaint leveled against you by a school, ESS will NOT go to bat. They have taken that $18 an hour and whittled it to $14 an hour. Then, they probably charge more than just that $4 per each hour taught to the DIstrict. Add to the fact they will manage who gets called, how they get called. These people are running call centers, data dredging centers, and know zilch about the schools, the roads, the weather, the culture, the teachers, the students.

I am sure they will not be allowing teachers to get a few extra hours pay if they are called in late and end up working a partial day. I am sure there are all sorts of cost-cutting (human-killing measures) this Education Staffing Solutions outfit deploys.

And, they probably pay Google for a net cast to see how many hits on the world wide web Education Staffing Solutions gets mentioned or Yelped or rated on Indeed or Linked In. You can only imagine if I was still employed as a substitute teacher, through ESS, that conversation happening, as ESS would be the outfit that would be managing me, so to speak. Finding this article criticizing them, well, sayonara subbing Mister Paul Haeder.

Management fees, man, and government (local, city, county and state, and federal) giving up oversight and decent livable wages for all the agencies and the public utilities (that we could have) and everything else, gone to middle and middle and middle men.

Again, these warped folk with ESS probably backed Trump and believe in Capitalism on Steroids, while they make bank on all the public entities across the land, AKA, public schools.

That the bus systems for schools is now outsourced from sea to shining sea, that again, defines the bottom line of pathetic capitalism. All the food cooked in cafeterias, outsourced to Sodexo. There is nothing local anymore, and these multinationals, these huge stockholder and stock board run outfits, they are making money off of us, US taxpayer, and in that formula, they are welfare recipients, and mostly welfare cheats, and with ESS, they are ripping off the very people that do the work – teachers, para-educators, more.

My comeuppance it seems was being banned from the entire District because of a few students I was in charge of at a local high school accused me of “upsetting” them when we were having a classroom discussion about homelessness, about epigenetics and families, about poverty, about the potential for many people to become substance abusers. We were talking about the books Of Mice and Men and Animal Farm.

What happened was La-La-Land level stuff, and while I think some students are crackpots, and little versions of really bad parents, I am ready to deal with crackpots and talk them off their cliff.

I did not get my day in court, so to speak, and I was not allowed to explain what could have been the students’ (three of them) hysteria, and I had no chance to query the people involved or bringing in the rest of the classroom students who were both inquisitive and enthralled to have a well-traveled, well-read, well-educated, well-experienced person like me in their classroom, albeit, temporary.

And ESS did nothing to defend me, protect me, or gain some sort of redress. That was a year ago.

Here’s a positive story — “Musings on a Monday After Teaching High School Get You Down? Nope!”

Another — “Professor Pablo and Fourth Grade Enlightenment in Lincoln City”

Education By and Because of the Corporation

The backdrop of my teaching debut … was a predicament without any possible solution, a deadly brew compounded from twelve hundred black teenagers penned inside a gloomy brick pile for six hours a day, with a white guard staff misnamed ‘faculty’ manning the light towers and machine-gun posts. This faculty was charged with dribbling out something called ‘curriculum’ to inmates, a gruel so thin [that this school] might rather have been a home for the feeble-minded than a place of education.
— John Taylor Gatto, “The Underground History of American Education,”

I did get a bird’s eye and on-the-ground look at the elementary, middle and high schools in this District. I have done substituting elsewhere, as in Vancouver, Seattle, Spokane and El Paso. Things are not looking good for youth. And I have written about that fact decades ago, and, yes, way before COronaVIrusDisease-2019, and, now, in a time of stupidity, fear, self-loathing, and complete loss of agency, the world is flipped around and, in most cases, crushed for our young people.

Did I mention fear, and while this Intercept piece below is a superficial look at the digital divide, there is so-so much more to write about this lockdown and social (pariah) distancing. It is a caste system on steroids. Calling it “remote learning” is doublespeak, oxymoronic.

In agro-industrial Watsonville, California, English-language learners struggle with remote learning. It’s much easier for students in a nearby Bay Area suburb.

I have a daughter, a step-daughter and a niece in various schooling situations. One is in med school, one is getting a chemistry degree and one is in esthetician school. Hmm, you’d expect hands-on for med school and chemistry majors. Nope. The fear factor for one of the three young women is high, and she is not wanting to leave campus, and the great reset is not in her vocabulary. There is a bombastic, “I am so glad Trump is gone. I hate him. I wish he was dead” from one of the college students. But that’s about it.

The med school woman, well, she is still having to pay out the nose for the school, yet there are less hands-on classes, again, through this doublespeak system of “remote learning.”

Now the esthetician student is hands-on, learning about the human skin dynamics, the chemistry of things in the body and outside, and working on clients, hands on. Seems very interesting that this one area – not to knock one career choice over another – has more practical hands on work than university-level chemistry majors and medical school attendees.

Now, the chemistry major’s school is introducing an “app of paranoia and tracking 101” – you put it on your smart phone, and all those who accept this app, well, as soon as someone tests (sic) positive for the virus (sic), then the entire network of users will get a notification and a detailed map of that person’s whereabouts. Oh, it’s secure, safe, no personal data shared (or mined – right!) they say, and that is a blatant lie-lie-lie. This is the Great Reset, and it’s pathetic and a gateway drug to implanted RFID’s.

The two college students, well, they are focused on their majors, but because of the siloing (atomization) of schooling, the demands on S/T/E/M do not enter the real of STEAM, science technology engineering arts math as  interdisciplinary critical studies and as a praxis of seeing how the world could, should and might work outside the Corporate Thievery of Capitalism.

The net effect of holding children in confinement for twelve years without honor paid to the spirit is a compelling demonstration that the State considers the Western spiritual tradition dangerous, subversive. And of course it is. School is about creating loyalty to certain goals and habits, a vision of life, support for a class structure, an intricate system of human relationships cleverly designed to manufacture the continuous low level of discontent upon which mass production and finance rely.” —John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education

More atomization, and more dumb-downing, and more caste systems, and more social-economic-intellectual-employment-philosophical-cultural distancing. This is it for us, no?

 …. the world’s 26 richest people currently have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion—down from 61 people in 2016. As the rich get richer, sea levels are rising, tribalism is flourishing, and liberal democracies are regressing. Even some of the wealthiest nations are plagued by job insecurity, debt, and stagnant wages. Ordinary people across the political spectrum are increasingly concerned that the system is rigged against them. Trust in public institutions is near an all-time low.” [source]

Read some of this report, and the surface stuff, well, just surface feel good stuff, but dig deep — Oxfam Report. It’s harrowing.

Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist:
I am a practitioner of capitalism. I have started or funded 37 companies and was the first outside investor in Amazon. The most important lesson I have learned from these decades of experience with market capitalism is that morality and justice are the fundamental prerequisites for prosperity and economic growth. Greed is not good.

The problem is that almost every authority figure – from economists to politicians to the media – tells us otherwise. Our current crisis of inequality is the direct result of this moral failure. This exclusive, highly unequal society based on extreme wealth for the few may seem sturdy and inevitable right now, but eventually it will collapse. Eventually the pitchforks will come out, and the ensuing chaos will not benefit anyone – not wealthy people like me, and not the poorest people who have already been left behind.

Ironically, the woman going into the beauty field is much more keenly aware of the economic and social disasters befalling small businesses in her own city, her own state and her region of the country.  She is super left, but is keenly aware of her democratic governor’s insipid lockdown measures.

I have many friends who now are going bankrupt, closing their businesses. Those businesses are part of a multiplier fabric. The town is or was so much better off with all these independent and mom and pop owned businesses. Not just the cool eateries and breweries, but many people I know opened up furniture stores, businesses around building and construction, all kinds of services you can’t find at the national level. Heck, used computer parts and computers, and even car rental places. Things that are not part of the monopolizing Fortune 500 set. Gone.

That means, of course, STEAM is damaged, in that, sure, the arts are hit hard, but the rest of the STEM also are hit hard on many levels. These STEM folk like their food, beer, edgy stuff, locally sourced and owned. The neutron bomb  that the lockdowns and lack of financing and wages and deep-deep help for the small guys and gals, well, it is hollowing out and even more hollowed out economy. The STEM folk will follow the money, while the arts folk and those deeply tied to something richer than science for profit and engineering for war and math for building and construction and technology for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will embed and grow a city’s or town’s or area’s culture.

This all leads us back to the semi-liberal class, even the youth who hate Trump and who don’t get all the conspiracies because they go to schools (universities) which are nothing to shake a stick at, since they are tied to social constructs and hierarchies reliant on the investor class; and they pay out the nose, take out loans and go to classes that are on-line, given to them now largely by scared educators, monitored and mashed up by the Titans of Technology, who have colonized every aspect of our society, ESPECIALLY, PK12 and higher education.

The young woman working on beautifying people and supporting their self-esteem and confidence on a superficial level (skin deep beauty, so to speak), well, she is more acutely aware of the lies of the authorities on both sides of the political manure pile than these card-carrying creeps who actually think Kamala Harris is something good. Anyone-but-Trump is what got us here, this evil of two lesser, lesser of two evils. The two college-going/educated ones are more and more tied into getting out and making money, and not to knock them, because they too know the disgusting reality of poverty and more and more people who once had decent lives, who were the fabric of communities, from that baker to the speech therapist, from that teacher to the counselor, from that glass blower to that coffee shop owner, from all those service workers with lives outside just the service economy (if they are budding or bustling artists).

The creative class is not what Richard Florida yammers about. The liberal class, as Chris Hedges writes, is dead. Education has been gutted and sold down the river, as Henry Giroux states. The New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander states, is the new normal for not just American mindsets at the citizen level, but on the economic and investor and Capitalist level.

But conditions today favor the amateur. They favor “speed, brevity, and repetition; novelty but also recognizability.” Artists no longer have the time nor the space to “cultivate an inner stillness or focus”; no time for the “slow build.” Creators need to cater to the market’s demand for constant and immediate engagement, for “flexibility, versatility, and extroversion.” As a result, “irony, complexity, and subtlety are out; the game is won by the brief, the bright, the loud, and the easily grasped.”  — “The Great Unread: On William Deresiewicz’s The Death of the Artist

Capitalism is fascism, and it takes over entire cities and states and regions. It operates on the “buyer beware” mentality, which relies on consumers to take it up the rear, no foul called on the billionaires and CEOs and capitalist systems;  and it is protected through the fascist laws of the land created by the massagers of the law from the Supreme Court down to traffic court.

More Nazis Than They Knew What to do With

Again, the great reset tied to Dashboards, a million different types of Education Staffing Solutions (ESS), universal buffoon incomes, all of that inculcated by Karl Schwab, Bill Gates, the Aspen Institute, the TED-X-ers, the World Economic Forum, all of them in the elite class, their handlers, their sycophants, all of those billionaires determining the course of cradle to grave predetermination for billions of people (Zuckerberg has encircled the African continent with his cables and lines and  fiber optics), that reset was started decades ago. Debt. Foreclosures. Bailing out corporations. Drugs for guns; Crack Cocaine and the CIA; and, well, the CIA is god, into everything, right, making sure the reset has already been ensured. CIA and Nazis, and Mossad and Jihad, and, these are the merry makers of the world of Lords of War, Lords of Disruptive Economies, Lords of Predatory-Parasitic-Vulture-Usury Capitalism.

Operation Paperclip – 1,600 of Hitler’s Angels of Death. Housing, citizenship, and carte blanc living in the United States. Families welcomed. Italy’s and Germany’s intelligent agencies working closely with the National Security State, and this was in the form of so-called the rat-lines. Tens of thousands going to South America. Tens thousand other Nazi’s allowed to come to USA.

And this was the plan, from the last days right before WWII ended with an illegal double bang of Atomic Murdering Tools – all these stay-behind armies from those defeated fascists of Italy and Germany. Check out this interview on RT –Chris Hedges talks to Gabriel Rockhill about the undercurrents of fascism in America’s DNA, and the US role in internationalizing fascism after World War II through clandestine activities such Operation Paperclip and Operation Gladio.

Rockhill is a Franco-American philosopher and the founding Director of the Critical Theory Workshop and Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. His books include Counter-History of the Present: Untimely Interrogations into Globalization, Technology, Democracy, Interventions in Contemporary Thought: History, Politics, Aesthetics, Radical History & the Politics of Art and Logique de l’histoire.

Try having conversations with liberal (illiberal) college-educated and college-loving Democrats about USA’s bioweapons program dating back to again, WWII, and Japanese scientists who were working on all sorts of bioweapons but were captured by the USA and reappropriated and brought back to the USA for, well, good paying jobs.

That is capitalism, right, reappropriating and stealing and setting up systems of mental, physical, psychological, biological, ecological, cultural repression, and eventually, disease and illness, because it pays more to treat and encourage the disease than it does to have a society living disease-free or at least living with those old time religion concepts of – precautionary principle, do no harm, preventative medicine, treat your fellow human as you would want to be treated. You know, all of that mumbo-jumbo that is not put into practice one iota in Capitalism, but certainly is mishmashed into the systems of propaganda, and, alas the “Si Se Puede” marketing of such criminals at Audacity of Hope Obama. et al makes some feel like there is change where change will NEVER be.

Until we get this liberal archetype  who says Columbus was a bad guy, and that the USA was built upon the deaths and murders of Indians and Blacks, but, shoot, when ordering from the Prime Amazon account, or when scrolling up and down the iPhone, and, well, all of that which we take for granted in this First World which comes on the back of people here and now in this country and especially in other countries, then, well, the tune changes.

Fascism: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality

Because in an economic fascism, when again, old worn out people have to still hoof it to Walmart and stock shelves, and when there is no home health care for the sick and dying, young or old, unless there is always huge exchanges of money going out into the pockets of the purveyors of capitalism, you will be getting variations on a theme of a people hooked on Netflix, hooked on buying, hooked on not knowing, hooked on confusion and chaos and, well, this is what is planned.

The great reset and fourth industrial revolution are no-brainers. We’ve given up our fingerprints for a shit job, we have given up blood and urine for a shit job, we are guilty before we can attempt to prove our humanity, our innocence, and in reality, we are always guilty in the eyes of Capitalists.

Western and ruling class ideologies have played a crucial and cruel role in the violent transformation of the peoples, ecosystems and biosphere. The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents the most violent transformation of all. For as long as the ruling class is allowed to exist, social and environmental justice remain pipe dreams. [Cory Morningstar, source]

We are now taking those supposedly benign things like tracking outcomes – you know, if you have prenatal education and vitamins as a pregnant teen, and if you get the little tikes reading on a Chromebook, watching Sesame Street and if you eat this veggie over that deep friend morsel, and, all of those metrics that the data ditzes love, all of it is now being used AGAINST self-agency, AGAINST not just individuals, but all manner of classes, groupings, economic strata. You do the stuff “right” which Bill and Melinda have studied are right, then there will be s few more digital dollars in your bank account. If you fail to do them, well, no more dialing for dollars.

Because the jobs are going. The mom and pops are folding. Even chains like bowling alleys and movie theaters, all of that, they are shuttering. This revolution was already in the works before Marshall McLuhan and the medium is the message and Herman and Chomsky’s manufacturing consent. Way before deadly at any speed, a la Nader, and way before the lies of better angels of our nature Pinker.

The fix was in long-long time ago, when the food was locked up and the agricultural revolution forced us to stop being human and humane, and made us into the cogs in so many machines of oppression and suppression.

Until today, when the Catholic freaks are coming in their vestments with their exorcising tools for anyone who would dare desecrate the statue of Columbus or any Fray who pushed their stinking selves and their stinking religions onto this continent and the one south.

In response to Indigenous-led efforts that demanded land back and the toppling of statues, Catholic Church leaders in Oregon and California deemed it necessary to perform exorcisms, thereby casting Indigenous protest as demonic. [Truthout]

LaRazaUnida cover the Fray Junípero Serra Statue in protest at the Brand Park Memory Garden across from the San Fernando Mission in San Fernando on June 28, 2020.

Exorcism: Increasingly frequent, including after US protests

This is 2020, and the trillionaire Catholic Church is walking in downtown Portland with these conquistadors of nothingness, while the great reset is happening, with the green light of the Pope. “The story did not end the way it was meant to,” Pope Francis wrote recently, deftly excommunicating about a half-century’s worth of economic ideology.  [source] In a striking, 43,000-word-long encyclical published last Sunday, the pope put his stamp on efforts to shape what’s been termed a Great Reset of the global economy in response to the devastation of COVID-19.”

Here it is imperative to note the consolidation of power happening in real time. World Economic Forum founder and CEO Klaus Schwab refers to this consolidation as a new global architecture; the new global governance. The following dates of are of paramount significance. On May 18, 2018, the World Bank partners with the United Nations. On June 13, 2019, the World Economic Forum partners with the United Nations. On March 11, 2020, the World Economic Forum partners with the World Health Organization (a UN body) launching the COVID Action Platform, a coalition of 200 of the world’s most powerful corporations. This number would quickly swell to over 700. On this same day, March 11, 2020, the WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. The UN-WEF partnership firmly positions Word Economic Forum at the helm of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also referred to as the Global Goals), which they are frothing at the mouth to implement. This is not because they care about poverty, biodiversity, the climate, or world hunger. Marketed with holistic language, dressed with beautiful images of brown smiling children, SDGs represent the new poverty economy (impact investing/social impact bonds) and emerging markets. Children as human capital data to be commodified on blockchain linking behaviour to benefits. Coercion has been repackaged as empowerment. The human population to be controlled via digital identity systems tied to cashless benefit payments within the context of a militarized 5G, IoT, and an augmented reality environment. A world where every function of nature is monetized, to be bought, sold and traded on Wall Street. — Cory Morningstar, The Great Reset: The Final Assault on the Living Planet [It’s not a social dilemma — it’s the calculated destruction of the social — Part III]

Pope Francis meets with members of the clergy after his weekly general audience at the San Damaso courtyard, at the Vatican, September 30 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi - RC2X8J96HY8F
[Pope Francis meets with members of the clergy after his weekly general audience at the San Damaso courtyard, September 30 2020. Image: REUTERS/Yara Nardi]
  1. Erlend Kvitrug, June 29, 2019 at Foreign Policy Magazine.

The post No Work, Little Work, Too Much Work, UBI/DIY/Gig Economies first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability.

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump.

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know.

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants.

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer.

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true.

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful.

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally.

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight.

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal.

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly.

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations.

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights.

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites.

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism.

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia.

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services.

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda.

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised.

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity.

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute.

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists.

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag #FBcensorsPalestine. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”.

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed.

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations.

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown.

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible.

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank.

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.”

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians.

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”.

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful.

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The post Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability.

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump.

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know.

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants.

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer.

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true.

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful.

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally.

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight.

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal.

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly.

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations.

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights.

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites.

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism.

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia.

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s ministry of strategic affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services.

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda.

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised.

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity.

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute.

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists.

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag #FBcensorsPalestine. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”.

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed.

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations.

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown.

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible.

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank.

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.”

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians.

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”.

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful.

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The post Social Media’s Erasure of Palestinians is a Grim Warning for our Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Google meets the Sherman Act

“Ambition is the subtlest Beast of the Intellectual and Moral Field,” wrote John Adams to his son, John Quincy Adams, in January, 1794. “It is wonderfully adroit in concealing itself from its owner.”  Father Adams was thinking of Thomas Jefferson in penning these words, that sly devil of a man who sought to gain power while falsely claiming to eschew ambition and vanity.  It worked: Jefferson duly became the third president of the United States, succeeding Adams himself in 1801.

Such a biting description might well describe the digital giants of Silicon Valley, and one in particular.  Google, a company so influential it has entrenched itself in the daily lives of billions of users across the globe, could also be accused of being adroit in concealing ambition.  That singular ambition is not merely market dominance but total market domination.  This has done the very idea of competition in the field of search engines to death; the Google beast flies, and flies high.

This month, the US Department of Justice summoned up the courage to use Section 2 of the Sherman Act in filing an antitrust lawsuit against the company.  The action is intended to “restrain Goggle LLC (Google) from unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices, and to remedy the effects of this conduct.”

In the words of Attorney General William Barr, “Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google – the gatekeeper of the Internet – for violating antitrust law is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people.”  One senses an election just around the corner, and the addition of 11 state attorneys general, all Republicans, did little to disprove the sense of political timing.

Google has faced an assortment of actions in terms of competition, consumer and privacy laws in various legal theatres, the European Union foremost amongst them.  Since 2010, the EU has done antitrust battle with Google, raking in US$8 billion in fines. But no noticeable change in the competition environment has occurred; such fines are easily accommodated, permitting breaches to continue.  The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, along with other officials, have decided that more aggressive regulations are required.  The latest comes in the form of the Digital Services Act.  According to a draft of the regulation, giants such as Google “shall not use data collected on the platform … for [their] own commercial activities … unless they [make it] accessible to business users active in the same commercial activities”.

The DOJ has taken longer on this score.  In 2012, interest was shown in hauling Google before the law courts by the Federal Trade Commission for anti-competitive practices.  The effort did not get too far, largely because of fears that the case had no legs.  Since then, Google’s parent company Alphabet has climbed the summit of value, reaching $1 trillion.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen was keen to stress the department’s profile in getting at monopolies, though it has little to go on, given the DOJ’s lack of appetite for pursuing antitrust filings since the 1970s.  “As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation – this time in vital digital markets.”  Not taking action to “enforce the antitrust laws to enable competition” would mean that “Americans may never get to see the ‘next Google.’”

Barr claims that the DOJ action “strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”  The contention here is that Google has illegally monopolised the market in online search and search advertising.  This has been secured through the use of “exclusionary agreements” that retard competition while preserving market share in what the DOJ describe as a “continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolisation”.

At a more granular level, the DOJ highlights the company’s payment for agreements with, say, Apple, making Google the default search engine on Apple’s Safari browser; agreements excluding pre-installation of rival search engines by specified mobile device manufacturers and distributors; arrangements that, in turn, obligate specified mobile device manufacturers and distributors to pre-install undeletable Google search applications on mobile devices via its Android operating system; and using the profits derived from such dominance to purchase preferential treatment across a range of devices employing search functions.

Google was ready for a public rebuttal, and let its Senior Vice President of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker do the honours.  In a post, Walker argued that the action against the company “would do nothing to help consumers”.  That most conventional of monopolistic views are suggested: there are rivals, even if spotting them might be difficult; they do provide competition, though never sufficiently to challenge Google.  Consumer choice is left unimpaired.  “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”

The reason?  Google’s well-earned superiority.  The lawsuit, argues Walker, would merely serve to “artificially prop up lower-quality research alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”

Examples of competition are given.  Apple devices feature Google Search in its Safari browser calling Google “the best”.  But such an arrangement was not exclusive, as “our competitors Bing and Yahoo! pay to prominently feature and other rival services also appear.”

The DOJ effort is but one amongst several, with seven other states including New York and Colorado announcing that they will conclude parallel investigations into the company in the “coming weeks”.  According to a statement from New York Attorney General Letitia James, “If we decide to file a complaint, we would file a motion to consolidate our case with the DOJ’s.”

The regulators are coming for Google, but as has been remarked upon by Kate Cox in Ars Technica, the DOJ suit is narrow, mainly focused on the search market.  Google’s abuses of power in digital advertising, notably exposed in a report by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, is spared.  Cox also notes that consumers are less the subject of interest of such actions than the competitors.  “The complaint does not particularly address potential harms we, the end consumers, may experience as a result of this monopoly.”  The nature of the relief being sought is also unclear, though “structural relief” might flag the possibility of breaking up the company.

Little wonder, then, that Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive of one of Google’s rival search companies, DuckDuckGo, was mildly celebratory at the announcement.  “We’re pleased the DOJ has taken this key step in holding Google accountable for the ways it has blocked competition, locked people into using its products, and achieved a market position so dominant they refuse to even talk about it loud.”  Adams might say they were being Jeffersonian about it.

The post Google meets the Sherman Act first appeared on Dissident Voice.