Category Archives: Technology

Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again

Time and time again, the left sites just keep pushing all those international stories, all those stories tied to this or that political party head, and while China is important, and while we know the dirty deeds of Blinken to Pompeo, all the way back, we still miss out on the common people, us, the little ones.

Sure, this is a trending story, in California, tied to the vaccine mandate, the hysteria, the fascism:

The University of California, Irvine has placed their Director of Medical EthicsDr. Aaron Kheriaty, on ‘investigatory leave’ after he challenged the constitutionality of the UC’s vaccine mandate in regards to individuals who have recovered from Covid and have naturally-acquired immunity.

Last month Kheriaty, also a Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine, filed a suit in Federal court over the mandate.

Natural immunity following Covid infection is equal to (indeed, superior to) vaccine-mediated immunity. Thus, forcing those with natural immunity to be vaccinated introduces unnecessary risks without commensurate benefits—either to individuals or to the population as a whole—and violates their equal protection rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment,” Kheriaty wrote in a Sep. 21 blog post.

“Expert witness declarations in support of our case include, among others, a declaration from distinguished UC School of Medicine faculty members from infectious disease, microbiology/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, pediatrics, OB/Gyn, and psychiatry,” the post continues (click here to read the rest).

…there is now considerable evidence that Covid recovered individuals may be at higher risk of vaccine adverse effects compared to those not previously infected (as seen in studies herehere, and here, among others). -Dr. Aaron Kheriaty

This issue, though, is more important on a local level for schmucks like me, who are overeducated, aging in a hateful society, left of left in a centrist and capitalism hard left/right contradictory world. I am back at a job, and the pay is embarrassing, and the fact that I am in a rural county with rural thinkers and with a service economy tied to beach combing, fishing, crabbing and vacation rentals also contributes to precarity.

You think I am ready to leave to go somewhere else, to some big sophisticated city, some harbinger of high tech and military industrial complex to find more sustainable and lucrative work? Each day, my skill sets, my background, all the ground-truthing and other on the job training, all the travel, all those deep learning moments in my life in several fields, all of that is mush to the masters of academia, the masters of companies that are small and large, getting on the gravy train of city, county, state, national and international money. Tax cheats and welfare queens and kings are those in the complex, the big C for the CRC, Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment.

Yep, bad that an environmental lawyer was under ankle bracelet house arrest for more than two years and faces six months in jail for contempt as a lawyer who sued the pants off of Chevron for killing and polluting communities south of this border. Sure, the hellfire and brimstone of this rotting empire is addictive, with all these blogs and newsfeeds and whatnot tapping into the lizard part of the collective American brain.

Chevron Steven Donziger Feature photo

Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Steven Donziger to six months in prison Friday for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had already spent 787 days under house arrest in New York.

Preska’s caustic outbursts — she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law” — capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of Vasiliy Vasilievich, the presiding judge at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant, “You really are a lousy piece of trash!”

full image
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

So, note the “proverbial two-by-four between the eyes” comment from this judicial devil . . . . From a multimillionaire “judge.” Imagine that! If I told a pig that exact same thing, after stopping me for a dangling mud flap on my minivan, just think what might happen to me. Or if I told that she needed a proverbial two by four between the eyes to a judge during my trial or someone else’s? Or, to the boss, uh? Or to the teacher if I was an 11th grader. Or, to the drill sergeant? Or the TSA guy smelling my feet at the airport.

This judge is human scum, and while this is of national and international importance, I have been in courtrooms (local, small and midsized town) where women lost their children, where drug addicted got the book thrown at them, where homeless rough sleepers were fined and incarcerated, where people more sane than this judge were committed to mental ward. This is the truth about systems of oppression, about modern white civilization, a fucked up rule of law lawlessness. This is it in our world. But it happens every day a few ten thousand times. To we the small ass people.

Now, multiple that by a factor a ten thousand — try suing Boeing, or Pfizer or FDA, or Ford, or General Mills, or Bayer, or Trump Towers or Bank of America, or Amazon, or Google, or the manufacturer of the air bag in the minivan or the pretzel maker  your kid is choking on.

Now, bring it back to a real perspective. Local, where cities have no money for infrastructure, where medical systems are threadbare at least, or missing altogether. No country for old men, for young people, for the sick, disabled, poor, mentally challenged, psychiatrically impaired. This is a country for no regular people.

Paperback No Country for Old Men Book

Yet, we will hear the media mental midgets yammer on and on about us bumkins, us flyover fucks, deplorables, or deploying any other laundry list of pejoratives or socio-psych mumbo jumbo for their elite brains to find more ways to subjugate the many in the name of profits, and in the words of their deep alter egos — “The world of elites and beautiful and worthy and good members of society have to deal with these useless breeders, breathers and eaters. Really, all we want is what’s best for the masses, for these misbegotten, less than high IQ, and multiple-dysfunctional people who in some cases, well, don’t mean to be useless eaters, breeders, breathers, existers. But we can corral them into good deeds, and we can make so much money from their faults, chronic illnesses, their low IQ’s, their inbreeding, their constant bad bad bad decisions in life. Their mistakes and pain and dysfunction are our opportunity to make society the way we want it designed, with a few trillion of profits in greenbacks to boot. But we would never say this outright to Anderson Cooper or Oprah or NPR or what not.”

But reality is always local, no matter how much bullshit college sports and pro football teams and idiotic Republican and Democrat lying and spewing interferes with their noggins. For example, the outfit I work with, as a social services guy, doesn’t ask our clients — developmental and intellectual disabled adults — if they have had “the jab,” but rather, they ask: “If an employer asks you to provide proof of vaccination, will that be a problem?”

That is the reality now — adults barely surviving, after their whole lives have been spent in special ed programs and being evaluated, separated, roomed, housed and institutionalized, and many coming from proverbial messed up families, dysfunction being the functional word — I have to navigate more of the same systems of oppression-poverty inducing-safety net fraying eating at our communities’ very souls. The chances of getting part-time work in a field tied to the five F’s (food, fur, factory, filth, foliage — restaurants, dog cleaning, warehouses, janitorial, and landscaping) are already slim, as so much is stacked against these folk. Think about the propaganda around “those with developmental disabilities are more vulnerable to the covid so they need to be vaxxed first” ideology.

Many clients were so scared that they were more or less forced into getting the Pfizer or J & J, both mRNA biomedical experimental treatments. Most live in supported housing, and most of these in group homes, sanctioned by the state, so the vaccine mandates are not just inferred, but demanded. Boosterism (booster x, y, z, omega) will continue to run rampant. More will be sick. Some will die, or course.

The reality is I know people who are losing jobs, and they are not sitting on piles of cash like a lot of professionals you might read about that are opting out of the forced chemical jabs. These people do not have the luxury of taking a stand with unlimited credit card limits, or fully owned homes, or hobby gardens out back with the swimming pool. These are people who read up about this planned pandemic, who take precautions, who listen to experts. Their choice is to not get jabbed.

Imagine, being a teacher, PhD in physics, after  20 years, and you have 130 accrued sick days (paid) and you refuse to do the jab but accept the draconian test and mask. You are still going to be fired, or put on unpaid leave, and those PTO days you have accrued, well, forget about them.

LEAKED GRANT PROPOSAL DETAILS HIGH-RISK CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH
The proposal, rejected by U.S. military research agency DARPA, describes the insertion of human-specific cleavage sites into SARS-related bat coronaviruses.” (source)

This is reality for one of my friends. Forget about the death proclamations of the Death Cult of Fauci. This guy is criminal, and he has sold millions a bill of goods. This bill of goods is dangerous, deadly, injurious.

A bill of goods, man, the lies, the continuing criminal enterprises, and then, remade, make overs, etc. Take these middle of the road news sites: Robert Scheer is not my favorite, but this takes the cake, no, as he appears as Mister New York Times and Most About USA is Good Scheer. So, no doubts about this fellow joining up with the CIA, and then now in Holly-Dirt?

This is the very celebrity culture that Chris Hedges rails against. This is a sick little blurb here promoting Scheer’s podcast of this criminal — CIA is a criminal outfit of the highest order.

A former CIA officer and Emmy award-winning creator of the hit FX series “The Americans” about two Soviet agents living secretly in Washington during the Cold War, Weisberg offers a refreshing perspective on the tense relationship between the two countries throughout his work. He joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to talk about his latest book, “Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War,” in which he examines how he, like so many Americans, got Russia wrong.

The author tells Scheer about his childhood growing up in a liberal Jewish household in Chicago, Ill. before studying Soviet politics at Yale University and joining the CIA, eager to do his “duty as an American” and fight what he considered then to be the “evil” Soviet empire. Now, after years of writing fiction about the Soviet Union in novels and TV scripts, Weisberg has decided to reflect on the historical events that he briefly played an active role in during his brief time at the CIA as the Soviet Union was collapsing through a more critical, factual lens. Based on both his personal experience as well as detailed research, Weisberg dispels common misconceptions about Russia that he once held to be true in “Russia Upside Down.”

Here we go: More meaningless Hollywood-CIA-millionaire stuff that the average Joe in Tucson or Portland, in Kansas or Utah has zero connection to. But we get he is Jewish (hmm, why this?) a Yale graduate (Yale being a CIA-Imperialist school), and lover of CIA and USA (when he was young — what puke). Fiction writer, and now a book writer and TV series producer, wow, what a radical.  This is the upper echelons of America Putridity, and you couple that with his millions thrown at him as a Holly-Dirt thing, and we have the mini-Celebrity fawning.

Scheer Intelligence Is America’s View of ‘Evil’ Russia Merely Projection?

The Americans: The Complete First Season (DVD)
More TV junk!

I was at a hospital two weeks ago, and the nurses must have thought I wasn’t awake (I never sleep in a hospital, in jail, or on a plane). They talked about the Samaritan Hospital system they work for introducing a “no vaccine, no medical service” protocol. They did not sound happy about it. And here we have it yesterday:

The Associated Press

Leilani Lutali, foreground, and Jaimee Fougner pose for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lutali recently found out her hospital wouldn’t approve her kidney transplant surgery until she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Even though she has stage 5 kidney disease that puts her at risk of dying without a new kidney. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert) — source

A hell of a country, and a hell of a “follow the science” kind of messed up system, no? Idiots of the Biden-Obama variety, like Thom Hartman, are yammering on and on about how these hospitals have a right to refuse un-jabbed folk. This is it for the liberals — you eat junk food, you drink booze, you suck on fags, you drive recklessly, you think this or that anti-Democratic Party thought, then we, the good beautiful, Hillary-Obama-Harris have a right to cut you off, cut you down, chop you off at the knees!

Many people I speak with and communicate with are tired of the pro-pro-pro forced jab perspective we are getting from the leftist Counterpunch, and from St. Clair.

I am referencing “Roaming Charges,” Counterpunch, 10/8/2921, from the anti-science pro-some-science get-out-of-that-science’s way thinking coming from some of the articles posted on the site. Very sad in many ways, so sad that there is not a robust discussion of the vaccination that we see on Dissident Voice, even Mint Press, and especially OffGuardian and Left Skeptics. Here, bullet points, direct quoting from “Roaming Charges”:

+ I’m against any exemptions (our social contract should require either all of us to get it or that the jab be completely voluntary ), but if there’s a religious exemption there should be one for philosophy, too. “Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID-19 vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.”

+ Merck is selling its high-touted new Covid pill Molnupiravir, whose development was federally financed by NIH and the Department of Defense,  back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make.

+ These people, if you want to call them that, seem to have taken their “tactics” from the Westboro (“God Hates Fags”) Baptist Church which used to (and I suppose still does) scream their godly obscenities at mourners during the funerals of people who died of AIDS.

+ Anti-vaxism is itself a kind of brain-eating virus…A Cumberland, Maryland man murdered his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a local pharmacist, had administered COVID-19 vaccines.

+ Cuba began vaccinating its population 150 days ago. In that time, it has administered 192 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the US began its vaccination program 297 days ago and has managed to administer only 119 doses per 100 people. The Covid death rate in Cuba is: 684 per million. The death rate in the US is: 2190 per million. This seems to provide pretty clear evidence that the embargo has been placed on the wrong country for the last 60 years. (end quote)

And therein lies the problem with fake leftists — attacking even doctors and virologists and journalists and educated/educators who have doubts about the entire pandemic and mRNA and coronavirus multiplicity of very pro-pro Capitalist and pro-pro Authoritarian and pro-pro Government Bureaucracy rhetoric. The reality is Cuba is not jabbing its people with mRNA: “All of Cuba’s vaccine candidates—Abdala, Soberana 1, Soberana 2, Soberana Plus, and Mambisa, are subunit protein vaccines, like the Novavax vaccine. Crucially, the vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration, are cheap to produce, and are easy for the country to manufacture at scale. They are made by fermentation in mammalian cells, a process Cuba already uses for monoclonal antibodies.”

A nurse holds up a vial of vaccine

Now, we are worried about more of the celebrities, this time, a professor who was sacked —

Now, think about any criticism against any university, when you are employed by the institution. I was employed by the University of Texas at El Paso. I was an English Department faculty, part-time, a radical, and I fought like hell for adjuncts, for students, etc. I was part of a group of students as a faculty member who made a human chain to stop the group of overweight sheriff posse dudes dressed up as Conquistadors on horses strutting on campus. That was 1992, the 500th anniversary of that evil contact we call Columbus Day. The El Paso Times ran a front page photo of these undercover cops jumping out of the bushes, and wrangling students, clobbering male and female with forearms to the neck. I was right in the middle, and I had to answer for myself to the Provost and president.

This is what a university, then, in 1992, was encapsulated inside, under a rich white president, a campus that was and still is 80-plus percent Mexican-American, Latinx, now. You can’t protest without our permission and our approval of signs!

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day

This was a campus that introduced a free speech zone out of the way of foot traffic. A state sponsored school, with a limited small postage stamp of land near dumpsters where people can gain the public square for protesting. And the campus Nazis demanded permission, permits, and full written details of the “protest” or “information gathering.” Now, sure, talk about Covid, about Nuremburg protocol, about mandates, about those who have the jab and those who do not. Talk about NIH and Fauci and the shadowy origins of the SARS-CoV2, or the doctors who have protocols to stop not only Covid patients getting on ventilators, but getting patients out of the hospital and back home in recovery zone. Not allowed.

These articles are verboten on campuses:

And, if I was still on that campus, how quickly would I be sacked for criticizing a campus– that pushes the Hispanic University of the World theme while colonizing Hispanics (mostly Mexican Americans) — for lock-step falling into the fold of the Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment? This campus is the whoring field of military, aerospace, drone and weapons makers, and even more nefarious. What ugly optics! Four Star Murder Bomber Air Force General all smiles and the PhD’s just lapping up the uniform!

So, back into that ground-truthing — try being a radical, a revolutionary, a critic of bureaucracies and corporate mandates and this sort of bullshit on a local level. UTEP is a sell-out, an embarrassment, but so are most all the colleges and universities in this shit hole. (Source) I have gone up against every single college and university I have taught in. EVERY ONE.  Can you imagine bringing this into the classroom — anti-war, anti-military, anti-corporation discourse and readings and critical thinking debates? Shit! Then, this? Pfizer Exposed! 

And while the big house is for us in the 80 percent, the ground-truthing in your neighborhood is littered with the poisons of that Complex, the Continuing Criminal Enterprise called capitalism.

[The aim of the international bankers was] nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

— Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope, p. 324 (source)

Finally, another point from a friend: “Fishy Felonious Fraudulent Fauci: Read Whitney Webb’s latest.”

During the panel, the moderator—Michael Specter of the New Yorker—asked the question: “Why don’t we blow the system up? Obviously, we just can’t turn off the spigot on the system we have and then say ‘Hey! everyone in the world should get this new vaccine we haven’t given to anyone yet,’ but there must be some way.” Specter then mentioned how vaccine production is antiquated and asked how sufficient “disruption” could occur to prompt the modernization of the existing vaccination development and approval process. Hamburg responded first, saying that as a society we are behind where we need to be when it comes to moving toward a new, more technological approach and that it is now “time to act” to make that a reality.

Several minutes later, Anthony Fauci stated that the superior method of vaccine production involves “not growing the virus at all, but getting sequences, getting the appropriate protein and it sticking in on self-assembling nanoparticles,” essentially referring to mRNA vaccines. Fauci then stated: “The critical challenge . . . is that in order to make the transition from getting out of the tried and true egg-growing [method] . . . to something that has to be much better, you have to prove that this works and then you have got to go through all of the critical trials—phase 1, phase 2, phase 3—and show that this particular product is going to be good over a period of years. That alone, if it works perfectly, is going to take a decade.” Fauci later stated that there is a need to alter the public’s perception that the flu is not a serious disease in order to increase urgency and that it would be “difficult” to alter that perception along with the existing vaccine development and approval process unless the existing system takes the posture that “I don’t care what your perception is, we’re going to address the problem in a disruptive way and an iterative way.”

During the panel, Bright stated that “we need to move as quickly as possible and urgently as possible to get these technologies that address speed and effectiveness of the vaccine” before discussing how the White House Council of Economic Advisers had just issued a report emphasizing that prioritizing “fast” vaccines was paramount. Bright then added that a “mediocre and fast” vaccine was better than a “mediocre and slow” vaccine. He then said that we can make “better vaccines and make them faster” and that urgency and disruption were necessary to produce the targeted and accelerated development of one such vaccine. Later in the panel, Bright said the best way to “disrupt” the vaccine field in favor of “faster” vaccines would be the emergence of “an entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes.” He later very directly said that by “faster” vaccines he meant mRNA vaccines.

The Bright-led BARDA and the Fauci-led NIAID in just a few months’ time became the biggest backers of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, investing billions and co-developing the vaccine with the company, respectively. As will be explained in Part II of this series, the partnership between Moderna and the NIH to co-develop what would soon become Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was being forged as early as January 7, 2020, long before the official declaration of the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic and before a vaccine was proclaimed as necessary by officials and other individuals. Not only did the COVID-19 vaccine quickly become the answer to nearly all Moderna’s woes but it also provided the disruptive scenario necessary to alter the public’s perceptions of what a vaccine is and eliminate existing safeguards and bureaucracy in vaccine approval. (Watch the 2019 Universal Flu Vaccine event here.)

As Part II of this series will show, it was an alleged mix of “serendipity and foresight” from Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel and the NIH’s Barney Graham that propelled Moderna to the front of the “Warp Speed” race for a COVID-19 vaccine. That partnership, along with the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 crisis, created the very “Hail Mary” for which Moderna had been desperately waiting since at least 2017 while also turning most of Moderna’s executive team into billionaires and multi-millionaires in a matter of months.

However, Moderna’s “Hail Mary” won’t last – that is, unless the mass administration of its COVID-19 vaccine becomes an annual affair for millions of people worldwide. Even though real-world data since its administration began challenges the need for as well as the safety and efficacy of its vaccine, Moderna – and its stakeholders – cannot afford to let this opportunity slip through fingers. To do so would mean the end of Moderna’s carefully constructed house of cards.

The post Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The End of the Speed Limit on the Highway to Nowhere

There was a time when time was time and space and speed had some human meaning, for people lived within the limits of the natural world of which they were a part.

As Albert Camus said, “In our madness, we push back the eternal limits, and at once dark Furies swoop down upon us to destroy.”

The destruction is now upon us.

In former days you could cross over to other people’s lives and come back with a different perspective, knowing what was obvious was true and that to exist meant to be composed of flesh and blood like all the others in different places and to be bound by the natural cycles of life and death, spring and fall, summer and winter.  There were limits then, on the land, water, and even in the sky, where space too had dimensions and the stars and planets weren’t imaginary landing strips for mad scientists and their partners in celluloid fantasies.

In that rapidly disappearing world where people felt situated in space and time, life was not yet a holographic spectacle of repetitive images and words, a pseudo-world of shadowy figures engaging in pseudo-debates on electronic screens with people traveling from one place to another only to find that they never left home. When the mind is homeless and the grey magic of digital propaganda is its element, life becomes a vast circinate wandering to nowhere. The experience of traveling thousands of miles only to see the same chain of stores lining the same road in the same town across a country where the same people live with their same machines and same thoughts in their same lives in their same clothes.  A mass society of mass minds in the hive created by cell phones and measured in nanoseconds where the choices are the freedom to choose what is always the same within a cage of categories meant to render all reality a “mediated reality.”

Without roots we are like Sisyphus pushing his rock not up the hill but in circles, only to reach what we think is the end is the beginning again.  Runners in the circle game.

People’s roots were what once gave them distinction, a place to stand against the liquid flow of modernity and its disillusionments. These roots were cultural and geographic, material and spiritual.  They went deep.  Such rootedness was not a panacea, simply a place to take a stand.  It gave a bit of stability, the sense of real existing individuals with identities, histories, ground under their feet.  It was possible to meet others as different but equally human despite their different roots, and to grasp our common reality.  It was the antithesis of globalization, of sameness.  It was diversity before there was fake diversity.

The idea of roots has become even more complicated since Simone Weil wrote her well-known book, The Need for Roots, in 1943.  Even then she admitted this:

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. It is one of the hardest to define.

So I will not try to do so.  Like so much in life, its reality involves both a yes and a no, like our relationship to time.

For we have always been time-bound creatures, caught in its mystery, and we always will be. This was true before the invention of clocks, although the clock ushered in a technological revolution from which we’ve never looked back.  Most people are now on speed going nowhere.

I recently looked back at a series of photographs that my parents had taken of me when I was about two years old.  They were shot at our home by a professional photographer and got me thinking about three themes that have always fascinated me and which lie at the center of our world today: cameras, clocks, and mirrors.  Each plays a significant part in what Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle:

In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation…The more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him.

I, the only boy with seven sisters, was dressed for the occasion in shorts and a polo shirt with suspenders.  Like a little model. An actor on a stage, a player in the spectacle before the spectacle became all-consuming.  Some of the photos were of me standing on a couch in front of a large mirror, double images, some with me looking away and others looking into the mirror.  Two boys in a mirror world.  Images.  A few captured me winding up a metal mechanical toy soldier so he could march across the floor to war. Others were of me looking up at a grandfather clock, focused on the time I couldn’t have understood; seeing the hands of time I couldn’t tell.  Those photographs froze me in time as they were meant to do. They lie before me now as afterimages of my earliest memories and my later concerns.  Time will decompose the paper they are printed on, just as my memories will disappear with my final journey.

I write these words from the third floor of the old Rogues Harbor Inn to anchor my sojourner’s passage through the mists of time. The old clocks throughout this ancient hotel are all stopped.  It is and is not comforting.  Yet these words move as I write them but stop when I’m done.  They too are a double-edged sword.  We want to stop time’s passage but to live as well, and you can’t have both simultaneously.  Maybe words are edible, and once they are written they must be eaten.  Then they are gone.

After fifty years I have returned to Ithaca, New York for three days and nights.  Everything has changed, changed utterly.  When I first arrived here half a century ago, I came to spend a few days with Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J. on my exit from the Marine Corps and my jettisoning of the mechanical soldier’s life.  I had to move out of the photographs.

The boats are still anchored in the sea-like Cayuga Lake along whose west side lies the towns of Ovid and Ulysses through which we passed to taste the wine pressed from the vines whose roots sink deep into this earth.  To imbibe the fruit of these vines on a beautiful day is to feel happy.  The names evoke the traditions of classical Greece and Rome, but when you study history, you realize that the soil then and now is soaked deep with the blood of innocents.

Walking through the ancient deep gorge that leads to the beautiful Taughannock Falls, the tallest free-falling waterfall east of the Mississippi River at 66 meters, beauty dominates your mind.  But when you grasp the history of how the native Iroquois tribes were massacred right here by the European settlers who drove them from their roots in this land, the natural beauty turns a darker shade of red.  Your mind flips.

Is there any place on this blood-soaked earth where a semi-conscious person can rest easy?  For beauty is the beginning of terror, is it not, the terrible realization that, as Rilke said, “every angel is terrible”?  And we are the terrible angels, exulting in beauty and often loving life so much that it brings us to tears, for we know it will end, and so we kill others to extend our lives, thinking it will bring us peace, even as we falsely cry peace, peace, when there is no peace.

If we think radically and go to the roots (Latin, radix) of human existence, we uncover our double-consciousness, the tragicomic state of laughter and despair, suffering and happiness that has no end.  There is no escape for mortals, even though history is replete with so many failed efforts to transcend the limits of the possible.  The modern project to achieve perfection and total control is a technological Faustian effort to transcend our humanity, now with artificial intelligence, digital dementia, and the marriage of the human to the machine.  This mad quest goes by many names (Lewis Mumford presciently called it The Myth of the Machine), but it  is always directed by ruling elites to gather more power to themselves. Today it is called the Great Reset, using medical technology and “vaccines” as the leading edge of its spear to disembowel our humanity. It may succeed because so many people have lost a rootedness in the lived spiritual experience of a sacred vision of an escape from our enigma. With this loss, they have lost the utopian vision that inspires hope when there is no hope.

The much-maligned English writer, D. H. Lawrence, grasped this in the years after the mass insanity of World War I when he wrote:

We are all spectres….spectres to one another….abstracted reality….Shadow you are even to yourself…abstracted reality….We are not solid. We don’t live in the flesh. Our instincts and intuitions are dead, we live wound round with the winding-sheet of abstraction. And the touch of anything solid hurts us. For our instincts and intuitions which are our feelers of touch and knowing through touch, they are dead, amputated. We walk and talk and eat and copulate and evacuate wrapped in our winding-sheets, all the time wrapped in our winding-sheets.

There’s a man I know very well, who, when his brother-in-law died, was given one of his watches.  The brother-in-law had been an accountant who saved everything that passed through his hands, from ticket stubs to scraps of notes and old pens and jewelry that his mother had worn eighty years before, including many of her watches.   Everything.  His passion to save was countered by his speed at getting to the finish line.  He was a champion runner, who had grown up in the Depression and his parents were immigrants who worked hard to survive.  The watch had never been used.  It was a beautiful wind-up watch the man had won as part of a collegiate four-man two-mile relay track team that had set a world record at a major track meet.  The man had, through grit and perseverance, won a track scholarship to this prestigious university where he had excelled at running very fast.  The back of the watch was inscribed from the Meet Committee with the date, place, and record time.

My friend used the watch regularly, winding it every morning.  It ran a few minutes slow every day, insulting the fleet feet of his brother-in-law, who, of course, was Greek.  One day, while winding the watch, the man dropped it and it stopped.  The jeweler said it would be very expensive to repair, so the man decided to set it at 12:00 and leave it at that stop-time.  He kept wearing it and when anyone asked him for the time, he’d show it to them, saying it was high noon or midnight at the oasis, or, if they preferred, NOW.  Naturally this was received with quizzical looks.

This always made him cry before he laughed.

The post The End of the Speed Limit on the Highway to Nowhere first appeared on Dissident Voice.

So You Go Deaf at a Protest: *MIC/MICC* at the Helm

*Military Industrial Complex, or Lawrence Wilkerson’s, Military Industrial Congressional Complex*

You get a story on the supposed Havana Syndrome, and then you also get the concept of mass psychogenic illness (you know, it’s all in your head, buster, those heart palpitations, the sweats, the throbbing veins, after getting mRNA “vaccinated”) explained, and, well, no huge outrage on these weapons of mass destruction created by USA, Israel, UK, France other shit-holes. None. Yes, of course, China and Russia, they have their directed energy weapons, their lasers, their rail guns.

As a collective, we just take it up the rear end daily, a thousand times, with these illustrations of the perversion of the inventors (scientists) and the CEOs and their armies of Eichmanns and then their armies of wrench turners and computer motherboard makers to help build these tools of oppression and murder. .

Get this one here:

The United Kingdom deployed an American-made Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), in essence, a sound cannon, during the London 2012 Olympics. Products like LRAD represent a shift from military to domestic usage of directed energy weapons, Dawson noted, explaining:

DEW manufacturers seem to be developing more hand-held versions of what was industrial-scale military weaponry. So they are transitioning from something that was the size of a truck used in Afghanistan or Iraq and turning it into something more like a taser that can be held by a police officer. In fact, the Taser Corporation, as well as other manufacturers of crowd-control weaponry, are listed in the WikiLeaks files as being manufacturers of directed energy weapons.”

LRADs are used at airports to deter wildlife from runways. But they are also commonly used by law enforcement against protestors, such as at Occupy Oakland, the George Floyd protests, and at the 2017 Women’s March.

 EU police officer deploys an LRAD

[An EU police officer deploys an LRAD near a popular refugee crossing point on the Greek – Turkish border, May 21, 2021. Giannis Papanikos | AP]

LRAD focuses a piercing and unbearable noise at those at whom it is pointed, leaving targets dizzy and suffering headaches. It is undoubtedly effective, but also poses a risk to human health. The National Institutes of Health advises that permanent hearing loss can begin when exposed to sounds of more than 85 dB. Yet police LRADs are capable of producing sounds of higher than 150 dB. There are serious concerns that the LRAD will be used liberally and illegally to disperse peaceful demonstrations. This is already happening: in 2017, the city of New York was forced to pay $748,000 to Black Lives Matter protestors targeted with LRAD. The NYPD suspended its use.

So, look at the thug, with earplugs and fake mask on, while using a weapon turned on refugees. Now if this is not a picture of the Great White Sadistic Race, then, I can’t begin to help you, kind reader.

Our tax dollars at this murderous work —

Read Alan MacLeod’s piece here — Havana Syndrome, Directed Energy Weapons, and the New Cold War

It’s the supplements, stupid!

So, from illegal and unethical and monstrous weapons against we the people, to the power of the Food and Drug Administration’s prostitutes in the employ of Big Pharma and Big Med:

Yep, emergency use authorization to approve the universal jabbing of hundreds of bottles of boosters on the wall, that FDA is something else —

Resveratrol, a plant-derived polyphenol found in grapes, could be eliminated in supplement form like pyridoxamine (B6) was a number of years ago due to an FDA back-channel that lets Big Pharma turn supplements into drugs. If Big Pharma asks the FDA to remove resveratrol, the agency’s job of eliminating these supplements is made much easier if it gets the “mandatory filing” requirement that it wants. We need to fight for major changes in the law and to block this “mandatory list” from ever passing to protect our access to important supplements.

Resveratrol has been available as a supplement for years. But we know from FDA documents that the agency rejected a “new supplement” notification for resveratrol, stating that resveratrol doesn’t meet the legal definition of a supplement because a drug company started investigating it as a drug in 2001, and the agency has no evidence that resveratrol was sold as a supplement before that date. This means that the drug company could, at any time, petition the FDA to remove resveratrol supplements from the market. This is what happened to pyridoxamine, a form of B6, and it still isn’t available as a supplement even though no drug ever came to market; it could also happen to CBD and l-glutamine.

So, imagine, all those supplements, all those proven natural elements to keep us out of the medical system. Out of the death chambers of doctors’ offices and mass murder hospitals. You know, this FDA and CDC and NIH group of liars, or in some camps, poison delivery villains:

Rumble — Expert Testimony provided by Dr. Christina Parks, Ph.D, to the Michigan House of Representatives in hearing on HB 4471. This is an unedited screen recording. This science of viruses, what they can and cannot do, and that is a huge discussion point, though I see this doctor talking to glazed eyes in the Michigan House — Eight minutes to get illuminated so please, watch. This absurdity, using boosters of those mRNA jabs to stop the Delta Variant? Makes zero sense. Listen, watch, and enlighten yourself.

If there are no national leaders, folks with bully pulpits, with media stages, to really drill down on the absurdity of this country, these trillions lost/stolen of our tax dollars, then the cascading number of stories will continue to come out with no umph, no fanfare, no repercussions.

The Pentagon doesn’t care that it snuffed out innocent lives in an airstrike; it does that all the time and its officials would do it a lot more if that’s what it took to secure their futures as lobbyists, consultants, board members and executives for defense industry corporations after they retire from the military. And the mass media don’t care either; they only cared about this one particular highly politicized airstrike during a withdrawal from a military engagement the mass media vehemently opposed.

“Pentagon acknowledges Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians.” Can you believe that headline? Not “admits” but “acknowledges”. Not “killed children while targeting an aid worker based on flimsy evidence” but “was a tragic mistake”. How many times did New York Times editors rewrite this? Imagine if this had been a Russian airstrike.

It’s the CIA (and assassinations) Stupid! 

And so, we get back to the USA, CIA, all those nefarious mutants from the UK, Israel, et al. I was almost five when Dag Hammarskjoild was murdered (1961). This documentary goes around the evidence, gets into the ugly reality of MI6 and CIA and apartheid whites wanting to eradicate the Blacks in, well, Black Africa. Lo and behold, the documentary that looks into the UN chief’s murder exposes another reality — a clandestine group using fake medical doctors and fake clinics to inoculate Blacks (poor, of course) with HIV, to help spread the deadly virus.

Former President Harry Truman told reporters two days after Dag Hammarskjöld’s death on Sept. 18, 1961 that the U.N. secretary-general  “was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said ‘when they killed him.’”

The mystery of the second U.N. secretary-general’s death festered until the 2011 book Who Killed Hammarskjöld? by British researcher Susan Williams, who uncovered new evidence that pointed to the likelihood that U.S., British and South African intelligence had a hand in his death in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia, today’s Zambia. He was on his way to negotiate a cease-fire in Katanga’s separatist war from the Congo.

Williams’ findings led to an independent commission that called on the U.N. to reopen its 1962 probe in the killing, which ended with an open verdict. “The possibility … the plane was … forced into descent by some form of hostile action is supported by sufficient evidence to merit further inquiry,” the commission concluded.

All roads lead to hell, when it comes to USA, Israel, UK, EU and Canada. Exterminate all the Brutes!

“I wanted to push the boundaries of conventional documentary filmmaking and find a freedom to tell this story by any means necessary.” Director Raoul Peck sits down to discuss the creative intentions behind documentary series Exterminate All the Brutes.

Check out more on Dag over at Consortium News —

Oh, the truths of the day, around 6 million people dead because of the War on Terror. Six million!

New Byline Times report which found that

“at least 5.8 to 6 million people are likely to have died overall due to the War on Terror – a staggering number which is still probably very conservative.”

Image

 

The post So You Go Deaf at a Protest: *MIC/MICC* at the Helm first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Smart Dust: A Tiny Part of What They’ve Got Planned For You

Thanks to corporate media, anything outside the accepted parameters of debate (e.g. CNN vs. Fox, NY Times vs. Wall Street Journal) is considered beyond the pale. Thus, when I wish to introduce you to what the transhumanists in charge have planned for you, by default, I sound like a fringe weirdo in a tinfoil hat. This highly efficient system keeps the rabble in line by encouraging each of us to do the enforcing of such censorship. We willingly limit our own access to information — in the name of “justice” or “science,” of course.

With that in mind, I offer you a 2-minute video on “smart dust” in the hope you have enough attention span and open-mindedness to focus that long:

Keep in mind that the above video is already five years old. In tech years, that might as well be a century. As far back as 2013, MIT was talking about “How Smart Dust Could Spy On Your Brain.” Smart dust (or “neural dust”) is already here, already in use, and will soon be a daily part of your life — whether you ask for it or not. Are you okay with that?

Smart Dust is comprised of “many small wireless microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS are tiny devices that have cameras, sensors, and communication mechanisms to transmit the data to be stored and processed further. They generally range from 20 micrometers up to a millimeter in size. They are usually connected to a computer network wirelessly and are distributed over a specific area to accomplish tasks, usually sensing through RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology.”

You can probably see what they’ve been given the nickname of “dust.” In fact, they can even be distributed via tiny, unmanned aircraft that would serve as crop dusters of sorts. Without being detected, they’d spray the virtually invisible motes over a large area and collect information that way. They are so small, you’d never know they were there — perhaps gathering info on you. How small? The prototype smart dust currently measures 0.8 millimeters x 3 millimeters x 1 millimeter can be only 1 cubic millimeter or less in size — possibly as small as 100 microns per side. 

Some of you, I’m certain, are already embracing this sci-fi kind of idea as yet another fine example of  “science.” Before you get too misty-eyed about such “progress,” please allow me to remind you that smart dust was developed by (surprise, surprise) the U.S. military. More specifically, it is the brainchild of the notorious DARPA — Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. These are the same folks who brought you mind-control weapons, cyborg insects, synthetic blood, mechanical elephants, programmable shape-shifting matter, and so much more.

So, go back and re-read the details above and recognize how easily smart dust could be weaponized. Even better, accept the reality that step one (as always) was weaponizing smart dust. And now, digest the fact that those well-intentioned and good-hearted souls in the military want to implant smart dust inside you… for your own good, of course.

“Neural dust represents a radical departure from the traditional approach of using radio waves for wireless communication with implanted devices,” said Doug Weber, a DARPA program manager. “The soft tissues of our body consist mostly of saltwater. Sound waves pass freely through these tissues and can be focused with pinpoint accuracy at nerve targets deep inside our body, while radio waves cannot. Indeed, this is why sonar is used to image objects in the ocean, while radar is used to detect objects in the air. By using ultrasound to communicate with the neural dust, the sensors can be made smaller and placed deeper inside the body, by needle injection or other non-surgical approaches.”

I’ve already told you about the Internet of Bodies. And I’ve also already told you about the Pentagon’s openly-discussed plan to insert microchips inside us to “protect” us. With smart dust, they could just let the technology waft down from the sky and have you unknowingly inhale it. Why is no one talking about this? I ask you to re-visit my opening paragraph for that answer. To even talk about smart dust is to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.” Once again, those in power have trained the public to do the policing for them. Somewhere, Goebbels is drooling.

All of the above has become easier to employ thanks to the pandemic. To explain that, we need to meet Klaus Schwab — the founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), and author of a book called The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s how the WEF explains this concept

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

To repeat: “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” This is transhumanism. It’s an ideology that proposes that technology can and must “enhance” the human mind and body and they are already working to “prove” this theory. Men like Schwab believe we must connect the physical, digital, and biological domains via steps like “implantable technologies such as smart tattoos, smart dust, smart pills, and other implantable smart functionalities.” They want to turn your heartbeat into your digital ID. Schwab and his ilk also support work going on in areas like designing human genomes, and simulating, monitoring, or even influencing brain activity, both in medical and non-medical applications. (P.S. Elon Musk is also currently setting up a company that links brains and computers.) Click here to watch Schwab telling Charlie Rose about his plans to edit your genes. 

Most people would’ve probably cast a wary side-eye at such suggestions — until Covid-19. For 18 months, the powers-that-be have successfully scared the population into believing anything they decree. They’ve also coerced and manipulated billions into allowing novel nanotechnology to be injected into them without a second thought. Never mind thinking, the masses are lining up to serve as unpaid PR people for the experimental jab.

With such widespread and enthusiastic compliance, there seems to be little to stand in the way of Schwab, the World Economic Forum, DARPA, Big Pharma, and the transhumanist agenda. They are counting on you going along without asking too many questions. But there’s the catch. You still can demand and reclaim autonomy over your mind and body. For starters, all you need to do is a little self-loving homework to see what they have planned for you and then… just say no. Unless, of course, you’d prefer having your consciousness uploaded to the cloud

The post Smart Dust: A Tiny Part of What They’ve Got Planned For You first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Incantational Bewitchment of Propaganda

We’ll know our disinformation is complete when everything the America public believe is false.

— William Casey, CIA Director, February 1981

All propaganda succeeds because it satisfies needs that it has first created.  If you follow the daily rat-a-tat mainstream news reports and react to them, you will be caught in a labyrinth that has been set to entrap you.  You will keep finding that your mind will be like a bed that is already made up and your daylight hours filled with nightmares.  What you assume are your real needs will be met, but you will swiftly tumble into the free-floating anxiety that the media has created to keep you on edge and confused.  They will provide you with objects – Covid-19, the U.S. “withdrawal” from Afghanistan, the Russian and Chinese “threats,” the need to crack down on domestic dissidents, 9/11, etc. (an endless panoply of lies) – that you can attach your anxiety to, but they will be no help. They are not meant to; their purpose is to befuddle; to make you more anxious by wondering if currently there is any contrast between the real world and the apparent one. The corporate mainstream media serve phantasmagoria on a 24/7 basis, all shifting like quicksand.  For anyone with a modicum of common sense, this should be obvious.  But then again, as Thoreau put it:

The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.

Perhaps some health expert will soon recommend that 24 hours of sleep a day is optimal, but maybe I am dreaming or being redundant.

For many decades, the corporate mainstream media and the CIA have been synonymous.  They were married down in hell and now daily do the devil’s work up above.  Now that news is conveyed primarily through digital media via the internet, their power to induce electronic trances has increased exponentially.  Linguistic and visual mind control is their raison d’être.  Fear is their favorite tactic.  And since the fear and anxiety of death is the archetypal source of all anxiety, death becomes a core element in their fear-mongering.

In a recent powerful article, Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett, a brave and free war correspondent who has reported from inside Syria and Gaza, has shown how the ongoing Covid-19 “fear porn” spewed out by the media has dramatically increased people’s anxiety levels and thrown so many into a perpetual state of near panic.  This, of course, is not an accident.

Fear immobilizes people and drives them into a cataleptic state where clear thinking is impossible.  They become hypnotized in a “private” space that is actually social, an instantaneous identification with the media news reports that are addressed to millions but feel personal and greatly exacerbate the great loneliness that lies at the core of high-tech society.

As I have said before, the new digital order is the world of teleconferencing and the online life, existence shorn of physical space and time and people. A world where shaking hands is a dissident act. A haunted world of masked specters, distorted words and images that can appear and disappear in a nanosecond. A magic show. A place where, in the words of Charles Manson, you can “get the fear,” where fear is king. A locus where, as you stare at the screens, you are no longer there since you are spellbound.

In a high-tech society, loneliness is far more prevalent than in the past.  The technology has imprisoned people behind their screens and now the controlling forces are intent on closing this mechanistic circle if they can.  They call it The Great Reset.

They have spent decades using technology to invade and pare down people’s inner private space where freedom to think and decide resides.

They have repeated ad nauseam the materialistic mantra that freedom is an illusion and that we are amazing machines determined by our genes and social forces.

They have reiterated that the spiritual and transcendent realms are illusions.

And they have pushed their transhuman agenda to assert more and more power and control.

This is the essence of the corona crisis and the push to vaccinate everyone.

Drip by drip, year by year, they have cultivated the necessary preconditions and predispositions for this technological fascism with its nihilistic underpinnings to succeed.

When the inner dimension of existence is lost, there is no way to critique the outer world, its politics, and social structure.  Dissent becomes a useless passion when people instantly identify with the social. Human nature doesn’t change but social structures and technology do and they can be used to try to destroy people’s humanity.  Herbert Marcuse put it clearly long before the latest digital technology:

This immediate, automatic identification (which may have been characteristic of primitive forms of association) reappears in high industrial civilization; its new ‘immediacy,’ however, is the product of a sophisticated, scientific management and organization. In this process, the “inner” dimension of the mind in which opposition to the status quo can take root is whittled down. The loss of this dimension, in which the power of negative thinking – the critical power of Reason – is at home, is the ideological counterpart to the very material process in which advanced industrial society silences and reconciles the opposition.

Once upon a time, people sat together and talked.  They even touched and shared their thoughts and feelings. They conspired in a most natural way apart from the prying eyes and ears of the electronic spies.  Now so many sit and check their cell phones.  They “connect,” thinking they are with it while not knowing they have been lured into another dimension where frenetic passivity reigns and trance states are the rule.

“Propaganda is the true remedy for loneliness,” said Jacques Ellul in his masterpiece, Propaganda.  He was being simultaneously accurate and facetious.  For propaganda provides a doorway to pseudo-community, a place to lose oneself in the group, to satisfy the need to believe and obey in mass technological society where emotional emptiness and lack of meaning are widespread and the need to fill up the empty self is dutifully met by propaganda, which is a drug by any other name, indeed the primary drug.  The empty-self craves fulfillment, anything to consume to fill the void that a consumer culture dangles everywhere.  Think alike, buy alike, dress alike – and you will be one big happy community.  It is all abstract, of course, even as its rational character is irrational, but that doesn’t matter a whit since the fear of “not going along” and appearing dissident plagues people.

Now we have endless digital propaganda that is the “remedy” for loneliness.  Ah, all the lonely people, keeping their masks in a jar by the side of the door together with Eleanor Rigby.  They think they know what their masks are for but don’t know why they are lonely or that they have been played with. Masks upon masks are donned to ward off the fear that is pumped out through the electronic airwaves.  It is doubtful that many ever heard of William Casey or can imagine the breadth and depth of the propaganda that he and his current protégés in the intelligence agencies and corporate media dispense daily.

“When everything the American people believes is false.”  Casey must be smiling in hell.

A grim submissiveness has settled over the lives of millions of hypnotized people in so many countries.  Grim, grim, grim, as Charles Dickens wrote of his 1842 visit to the puritanical Shaker religious sect in western Massachusetts.  He said:

I so abhor, and from my soul detest, that bad spirit, no matter by what class or sect it may be entertained, which would strip life of its healthful, graces, rob youth of its innocent pleasures, pluck from maturity and age their pleasant ornaments, and make existence but a narrow path to the grave….

And yet, the fundamental things still do apply, as time goes by.  Love, glory, loneliness, beauty, fear, faith, and courage.  Lovers and true artists, fighters both, resist this machine tyranny and its endless lies because they smell a rat intent on destroying their passionate love of the daring adventure that is life.  They feel life is an agon, an arena for struggle, “a fight for love and glory,” a case of do-and-die. They have bull-shit detectors and see through the elites’ propaganda that is used to literally kill millions around the world and to kill the spirit of rebellion in so many others.  And they know that it is in the inner sanctuary of every individual soul where resistance to evil is born and fear is defeated. They know too that the art and love must be shared and this is how social solidarity movements are created.

Listen.  The fight is on.  “This Has Gotta Stop.

The post The Incantational Bewitchment of Propaganda 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.

Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts

The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes that the project has been ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. Two key claims underpin this narrative: that global poverty has been cut in half, and global hunger nearly in half, since 1990. This good-news narrative has been touted by the United Nations and has been widely repeated by the media. But closer inspection reveals that the UN’s claims about poverty and hunger are misleading, and even intentionally inaccurate. The MDGs have used targeted statistical manipulation to make it seem as though the poverty and hunger trends have been improving when in fact they have worsened. In addition, the MDGs use definitions of poverty and hunger that dramatically underestimate the scale likely of these problems. In reality, around four billion people remain in poverty today, and around two billion remain hungry – more than ever before in history, and between two and four times what the UN would have us believe. The implications of this reality are profound. Worsening poverty and hunger trends indicate that our present model of development is not working and needs to be fundamentally rethought.

— Jason Hickel, Third World Quarterly , Volume 37, 2016 – Issue 5

*–*

How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

Michael Parenti

Genocide Phnom Penh

Staggering, no,  the memory hole shoveling going on and perpetrated by elites in commerce, weapons, media, education, a la industrial complexes in the second decade of the 21st Century? Like plagues of locusts. Leeches two hundred worth per hominid, and the tapeworm eats the last, next and current generation like a desiccating alien of our nightmares.

The more light shining on the criminals, spotlights onto the military war lords, floodlights on the entire punishment cabal in governments, in corporations, in policing and uniformed military agencies, the more that bearing witness just peters out. It flags the average Yankee, and the doodle dandy is football, flicks and frolicking with furious caloric intent.

Welcome to the West. Then, the mind-numbing retorts to the initiation of discourse, of legitimate discussion about the ails of the world, largely set loose by the captains of industries — the military-media-legal-medical-penal-computing-financial-education-energy-AI-real estate-poison-agriculture COMPLEX. And, boy, is it never really “complex” — it’s about the art of the steal, the art of the scam, the art of the grift, the art of the toll-fine-fee-garnishment-penalty-tax-attachment set forth by the lobbies of the lords of death with the Eichmann’s of Bureaucracy greasing the skids and oiling the wheels. Keep those hedge funds going, the trains running, the profits heaping.

  • “We can only take so much trauma.”
  • “The human brain can’t take so much truth.”
  • “Trigger Warning; The Following Stories About Wealth for the Rich and Poverty for the rest of Us Might Cause Spasms of Collective Amnesia, Anxiety, Animosity.”
  • “There is no meek shall inherit the earth. We are talking about the meek and the poor inheriting the toxins, pollutants, the penury, the profound suffering inflicted upon them generation after generation by the rich and their enablers, the ultimate evil — those turning a blind eye to suffering, raping, razing, murdering.”

I’m getting it from all angles, really, the tired, the over-educated (in terms of college but not in terms of smarts). The tired middle class. Retired and one-trick phony environmentalist ponies. All those huffing and puffing and blowing down the Trump Towers, folk who are self-blinding themselves, as if bearing the truth of Biden et al, as well as bearing the weight of protecting Everything/Anything Empire, while the chorus of War Mongering Democrats a la LGBTQA-+ sing ‘Hallelujah, No More Trump’ puts them right smack where Oedipus was, exposed to the truth and overcome with shame, grief, and remorse. Poking eyes out is the least the people who follow the perverse leaders should do.

Except, their blinding is symbolic, life-long, from womb to cradle to grave, as in turning a blind eye to the roots, the very radical cause of all the suffering, the police no-knocks, the cesium floating in lungs and bellies, and a dozen other micro-particles from this or that nuclear fallout incident. Symbolic and demonstrative of the kill-for-profits Capitalism.

It is too too much for the masses — The Truth —  so we all have to gather round the Zoom screen, tune into Amazon Prime, and sing, Give Peace a Chance while the world is fleeced by the billionaires, but also those millionaires (we tend to give millionaires, multi-millionaires a get-out-of-jail pass, when they too are the culprits helping spread that poisonous fallout).

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the [Fukushima] nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact.”

Lockdowns for a flu virus, lockdowns for free thought, lockups for free speech, lock and loaded for the Empire, shackled to bills-mortgages-policies-ballooning debt…. BUT  for fuck’s sake, we can’t lock-down the fossil fuel monsters, lock-up the Fukushima shills, shutdown the Olympics, punish and quell the military saber rattlers (read: purveyors of nuclear- chemical-bacterial-viral-digital-intergalactic weaponry).

Business as usual is a trillion easy dollars in Pandemic Profits, and a cool several trillion more with mandatory masking, Zooming, SARS-CoV2,3,4,5,6 annual vaccinations and semi-annual boosters.

Passports to their hell. Yet, when you talk to a Kamala Harris floozy, well, they get teary eyed, sing the All Spangled Banner of Buffoonery, and then tell you to hit the road, no more Haeder in their House.

Literally, people want nothing of politics, or the reveal — showing how their own colonized and kettled thinking under the guise of “liberal” looting under the Democrat Vote has always been part of the problem, not any solution to the world thievery or a pathway to  world peace.

So What is The Answer?

It is not a $64,000 question, for sure, since the answer is collectively simple, easily repeated, easily understood, Yet, that is the jig, always looking for the messiah, or having their cake (capitalism) and eating it (profits-profits-profits) too. They are limited and limiting, and they gladly take the Kool-Aide and mix in a shot of Jack Daniels and a jigger of high fructose fizz.

Resisting for them is not an option. If they can’t converse, frame, contextualize, harmonize, recount, go back in history, recall the scene of the crime(s), then how the hell can these same folk who ask, Well, you sure know how to criticize and go on and on about the ills of Capitalism, but show me any other system that works. Humanity is humanity, whether in the center of Wall Street or out on the Rez?

This is their thinking, their great retort, and so, how do we get to that point where we just get to the basics, the Cornel West basics– Watch his rumble in the jungle: At Harvard, the worst kind of man-eating institution, along with a few hundred elite schools on this side and that side of the pond:

Listen to him, watch him, feel his presence of soul, Dr. West. Not a perfect man, thank god!

So, what is the answer? Justice. Social-spiritual-ecological-cultural-gender-age-racial-ethnic-ecnonmic-educational-food-energy JUSTICE? Using the inverse, the answer is the whole human-whole earth, toward holism, embedded in systems thinking, what it means to have the commons, what it is to be a society among other societies that is ecologically-based, agrarian-centered, humanistic-thriving, environmentally-aware, is, well, the opposite formulation of these Gandhian sins:

Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle

It doesn’t take much K12 education and applied learning to understand that reversing these sins and following the antithesis would illuminate the bearable weight of being a human in the world, triggering change at a global and galactical level. Prometheus steals the fire from the gods and gives it to people. Bound to the mountain. Prometheus grows weary. The future, oh, the future, swallowed up by that lack of hope. Let us all be Prometheus, and help each other take from the thieves, the rich, and give warmth and fire to the world. Unbound us together. Break the chains of the illicit gods and their devils.

Really, though, one person’s hope is another person’s oppression. In capitalism, there is the king of the dung heap, the winner being the one who dies with the most toys. Dog-eat-dog, and survival of the most unfit (using the Seven Sins of Humanity above as illustrative of what makes capitalism really zip along).

In Western culture, it all might seem like a Greek Tragedy of Trailer Park or Mar-a-lago proportions. It might all seem like a hardscrabble blues tribute to American stick-to-it-ness. That hardened soul, as DH Lawrence ascribed —

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

We know that Western soul is a killer from the womb — those royals and despicable ones from the Old World, those Belgium in the Congo, those Romans, those hard, soldiering, religious zealots, hand in hand with silver chalice and golden rosary, those kings and queens, launching the deplorable ones, the rabble into crusades of raping-ravaging-razing. There is no “American soul” without the British slave traders-merchants-purchasers; no American soul without the French and Spanish interlopers. The American soul is part and parcel those former Nazis and the money-changers, the globalists looking for a micro-penny for every human corpuscle exploited in their gaming humanity. This is Turtle Island, not some chunk of land named for an Italian map maker for the king.

Now that’s a dark dark killer that never melts — Capitalism.  It is now cleaned up, a la Madison Avenue and slick green-blue-pink-white washing, no longer presented as cold, stoic, but happy, illustrious, coopting, brainwashing, gleeful, the ice cream truck coming to serve all the children with gooey goodies. Shifty, slick, liberal, slippery, hip. It is now a virus inside a thousand viruses —

A democratic society shapes itself – by means of the participation of its citizens in discussing and deciding how things should be organised and to what ends.

But, as even their name reveals, the Global Shapers want to “shape” society from above and in their own interests.

This is not the solution to global problems, and, the rockets and payloads of Bezos and Musk and DoD and the rest of the capitalists looking for lucre and gold on Mars and the Moon. Reset is not rebounding. Reset is not reconvening the true holistic way of life. Reset is not returning to a point in time in our civilizations where we come together in mutual aid, live a biodynamic present and future, hold onto sacred tribal principles, understand the soil-air-water. The reset is not a return to sanity, actualization for woman, man, child, ecosystem. This reset is the rich’s bargain basement theft of our agency, our independence, our collective will to strike at them as the felons of our time. Their reset is tracking our every movement, each blink of the eye, each snore and defecation. This reset is about pulling strings, forcing the Faustian Bargain each moment. They will fine-garnish-withhold-penalize-criminalize our unborn, and our dying parents. You get a universal income, but not to be spent on what they do not want you/us to spend it on.

The foregone conclusion is what the teachers teach the children. It is what the media paint around us. Each narrative directed and shot for Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Vudu, they are set to propagandize for the rich, the resetters, the titans who want mars colonized, who want the moon for their private resort. Orbiting Club Meds in the ionosphere.

Yet, the Lesson is Dead Wolves, Manatees and Turtles

The very place of Trump and Spring Break, Florida, is emblematic of the fall, the disgusting imbalance of the world, of sanity, of thinking. Manatees dying off in unfathomable numbers. Turtles washing up sick and dead. The expansion of the ocean, wiping out much of Florida by 2100. The bastion of Spring Break and lust and speedboats and dream hoarding.

Florida has seen an alarming rise in manatee deaths in 2021.

Something not to be proud of, and to lend pause for humanity, but not more than once, and give it to me once in that 24-hour news cycle, please. At least 432 Florida manatees have already died in 2021, well over double the state’s 5-year average for the same time period.

Hundreds of sea turtles washing up on Southwest Florida beaches this year in a mass mortality event that researchers say will impact the recovery of the protected species is not a good sign of HUMAN health. The Great Reset has nothing to say about the reality of our own commons.

Gray wolves in the North American wilderness.

Then you have Wisconsin, gun-toting AR15-loving murderers taking on a record 216 wolves killed in 60 hours. What does this say about this society, this blood sport society of high powered weapons, radar trackers, dually pick-ups, $340,000 campers, TV, booze, and a quick trip in the woods to murder wolves?

Migrants rescued by Save the Children’s Vos Hestia

Or, the hard cold soul of the European, Italians, putting 20-year sentences on people working with charities to help stranded and sinking and drowning refugees from African countries. Imagine that world of the cold Great Resetters.  Save the Children and MSF among dozens facing sentences of up to 20 years over humanitarian work

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison. — Source.

rescue operation

Each story of injustice is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, demonstrating the insanity of systems — legal systems of punishment-abandonment-unruly laws against the suffering, laws meant to pay the rich, pay off the rotting bureaucrats, the Eichmann’s, big and small, who keep the wheels and the gears of death grinding, whether those wheels are those of the Empire, or the Capitalists, or the Economic Hitmen-Frontmen-Debasers, or all the pigs who make money off the penury and punishment unleashed by Capitalism.

Not me. Not I. Over my dead body.

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.

Che Guevara Photo

The post Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Breaching Digital Rights: India’s Platform and Media Ethics Code

Having made something of a splash last month with the fuss over Australia’s News Media Bargaining code, Facebook, and the digital giants, are facing another stormy front in India.  The move here has nothing to do with revenue so much as alleged bad behaviour.  “We appreciate the proliferation of social media in India,” stated Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister of electronics and information technology. “We want them to be more responsible and more accountable.”

Such responsibility and accountability will purportedly be achieved through the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.  They are part of a program that has been incubating for some years.  An IT industry consultant advising the government expressed the sentiment to Wired in 2018.  “The government’s message is: If you want to do business in India, do it on our terms and conditions or you are free to leave.”  Previously, the Indian approach has been more timorous.  It had “always been ‘Do it the Apple way, do it the Facebook way, do it the Amazon way.”

Behind such rules is a crude, self-vested interest at work.  The primary role of social media lies in the sharing of information.  Governments tend to be happy with material they can finesse, curate and control on such platforms.  When the platforms become home for material that challenges the official version, stirring the blood of the citizenry or encouraging misrule, problems emerge.

To make its case, the Indian government has resorted to the marketing of moral outrage.  Over the last years, fake news has become something of a favourite, the Zeitgeist driving the regulatory truck.  In 2017 and 2018, over 40 deaths due to mob violence were said to have arisen from generously circulated disinformation.  On July 1, 2018, in the hamlet of Rainpada, five men, all members of the Nath Panthi Davari Gosavi wanderers, were beaten to death.  They were victims of a rampaging mob incensed by rumours circulating on WhatsApp that the area was crawling with opportunistic child kidnappers.

The Indian authorities duly asked WhatsApp to assist in stopping the “irresponsible and explosive messages” on its platform.  Some actions were taken.  The number of forwards was limited to five at a time.  Those messages also sported a “forwarded” tag.  This did little to pacify government officials.

The scope of the proposed changes is far from negligible.  The draft IT rules take aim at over-the-top (OTT) media services responsible for content on such outlets as Amazon, Netflix and Prime and news media platforms.  Applicable entities include “publishers of news and current affairs content”; “intermediaries which primarily enable the transmission of news and current affairs content” and “publishers of online curated content”.  Finally, “intermediaries which primarily enable the transmission of online curated content” are included.

The regulatory framework will entail three tiers: self-regulation by the entity itself; self-regulation through “self-regulating bodies of the applicable entities” and an “Oversight mechanism by the Central Government.”  The creation of “Chief Compliant Officers” by the companies is envisaged as are “nodal” persons responsible for 24 hour “coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance to their orders or requisitions made in accordance with the provisions of law or rules made thereunder.”  Resident Grievance Officers will also have to be appointed.

The introduction of this additional layer of regulation will constitute a form of bureaucratic strangulation, with the oversight mechanism open to censoring content in a manner that goes even beyond the current powers of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for TV regulation.

The Internet Freedom Foundation considers the mechanism a calamity in waiting, breaching the digital rights of citizens, causing economic harm “and [will] also negatively impact India’s growing cultural influence through the production of modern and contemporary video formats entertainment.”  In anticipation of the government code, 17 OTT platforms have already developed “self-regulation toolkits” which risk embracing the genie of self-censorship.

The incorporation of news media in the Code goes beyond the ambit of current legislation and potentially exceeds the safe harbour protections for intermediary platforms outlined by section 79 of the Information Technology Act.  That section exempts intermediaries hosting material from liability provided they follow various stipulated guidelines.  The draft rules, as they stand, circumvent due process and parliamentary scrutiny through regulation.  Media would also be censored if the government were to take a broad reading of the definition “publisher of news and current affairs content”.

Prasad does not merely want social media channels to be more diligent monitors and, if necessary, censors.  He is clear that such digital platforms lend a hand in identifying culprits who might be behind the dissemination of information and be targets of government prosecution. “We don’t want to know the content, but firms need to be able to tell who was the first person who began spreading misinformation or other objectionable content.”

Sub-rule (2) of Rule 5 proposes to do this, stating that the significant social media intermediary primarily responsible for providing messaging services “shall enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource as may be required by a judicial order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction” or by “the Competent Authority” pursuant to legislation.

The unacceptable content officials have in mind is detailed in a government release.  The objectionable material would be the sort that relates to Indian sovereignty and integrity, state security, friendly relations with States, “public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years”.  Prosecutors will have much to play with.

Breaking the resistance of companies such as WhatsApp to traceability requests has been a central aim of the Modi government, despite such proposals being dismissed as ineffectual in actually achieving their stated purpose.  They are not the only ones.  End-to-end encryption is seen by states as a technique for concealment, ripe for abuse, which is always a mean spirited way of clamping down on digital sovereignty.  Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia fantasise about creating backdoors to content.  That very subject is being currently considered by the Indian Supreme Court in the case of Antony Clement v Union of India (TC Civil No. 189 of 2020).

The emerging trend here is that, while such policy may fail to achieve its stated goal, it will certainly be pernicious in other ways, as any backdoor weakening of encryption or vital escrow systems would breach privacy and security.  Given that encryption acts as a safeguard in the current digital environment of data aggregation, while also deterring identity theft and code injection attacks, the draft rules look menacing.

Manoj Prabhakaran, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering based at ITT Bombay, suggests that States should do the opposite.  In a furnished expert report in the Antony Clement case, he urges government authorities to “promote strong encryption and anonymity.  National laws should recognize that individuals are free to protect the privacy of their digital communications by using encryption technology and tools that allow anonymity online.”

While the conduct of digital platforms is monstrous in terms of their operating rationale, not least their tendency to monetize privacy and commodify predictive behaviour, government scapegoating is a shallow distraction.  The agenda of the Modi government is moral stringency, surveillance and the monitoring of unruly citizens.  Breaking down the doors of encryption while encouraging social media giants to regulate themselves into censorship, is all in keeping with this theme.

The post Breaching Digital Rights: India’s Platform and Media Ethics Code first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Working Class Backbone of Hi Tech

In his comprehensive and educational book, Coders (2019 Penguin Press), tech writer Clive Thompson tells the story of computer programmers, a workforce that is undoubtedly one of the “most quietly influential on the planet.” Thompson writes:

You use software nearly every instant you’re awake. There’s the obvious stuff, like your phone, your laptop, email and social networking and video games and Netflix, the way you order taxis and food. But there’s also less-obvious software lurking all around you. Nearly any paper book or pamphlet you touch was designed using software; code inside your car manages the braking system; ‘machine-learning’ algorithms at your bank scrutinize your purchasing activity.

While the field isn’t something I plan to pursue (I’m too much of a wannabe Luddite for that to happen), it was fascinating to learn more about what programming actually is; its language; how the work combines engineering and art, logic and puzzle-solving, passion and patience. I also learned more about the people that do the work; how they think and why; the heady impact of being able to literally change the world overnight, particularly when an app or program generates millions of global users. Of special interest was the history, beginning with the first coders: “Brilliant and pioneering women, who, despite crafting some of the earliest personal computers and programming language, were later written out of history.”

Coders affirmed two things for me. One is that in the struggle for social justice and human liberation, coders are a decisive force for success—arguably the decisive force, particularly in any pursuit of a People’s Internet, or at the very least a People’s Media. Indeed, the digital battlefield is paramount.

My second affirmation was being reminded, yet again, about the power of the working class. The Internet, embedded in the lives of billions around the globe, is routinely compared to a cloud, a place without place, without distance. But that’s an illusion. All it takes is for service to go down for us to realize that someone has to fix it, be it a broken fiber optic cable, a damaged router, or a down electrical line.

When we rely on the Internet, we rely on workers, from mainframe engineers to computer programmers to office workers to maintenance personnel. In his 2012 book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, Wired correspondent Andrew Blum describes how the Internet is “as fixed in real physical places any railroad or telephone ever was. It fills enormous buildings, converges in some places and avoids others, and it flows through tubes underground, up in the air and over the oceans all over the world. You can map it, can smell it, and you can even visit it.”

There is a human, geographic side to the worldwide web, intricate and utterly interdependent on the other: Those who keep the power going and the work stations clean; the workers who mine and extract the silicon, the silver, copper, mercury, aluminum, tin, lead, and all the rare earth elements; the vast and global workforce that assembles the computers, smart phones and tablets. Then there are those who do the shipping and delivery, who dispose the toxic and radioactive electronic waste.

I think of tech’s working class whenever I feel I’m too becoming user-centric, and forgetting about the human beings whose labor makes it all run, with the awesome power to make it not run as well.

The post The Working Class Backbone of Hi Tech first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Post-Pandemic American Society Must Not Return to its Industrial Capitalist Roots

Our mace shaped COVID-19 enemy and its mutations merrily popping up around the United States, ironically has opened up new possibilities for inching beyond the grimy confines of industrial capitalism to new modes of work, learning and being that were initially promised by technocrats at the dawn of the Internet/World Wide Web. Indeed, the Pandemic of 2020-21 (Pandemic) revealed that remote education and work was feasible easing; for example, the pollution that filled the air with the exhaust from automobiles, buses, aircraft and idle factories.

Further, telemedicine was catapulted from mere novelty to reality as the medical community realized that simple follow-up appointments did not require brick and mortar (B&M) office visits. Corporations like Amazon saved billions, according to CNBC, on travel expenses by halting the practice of needlessly sending employees to conferences and trade shows that could just as easily be conducted online. Families were forced to spend time together maybe getting to know one another better.  Businesses that survived during the Pandemic were forced to make hybrid arrangements for employees so they could care for their children while staying physically distanced from the workplace. Americans had time to think in isolation and perhaps, for a moment, they became bored with all the technological gadgets and networks that blur, rather than educate.

Was it really all that bad? Can’t the nation wean itself off of industrial capitalism? Do we have to go back?

Yes, no doubt, suffering was real. Millions went unemployed and the destruction wrought by the Pandemic was revealed in the numbers filing for unemployment claims, food assistance, rent/mortgage and student loan forbearance. Homelessness increased. Surplus labor skyrocketed. Indeed, according to the human resources consultancy Adeccogroup.com, the top five jobs set for the post-Pandemic chopping block are in higher education, sales, administration and office support, construction, air travel and the hospitality industry. What now?

Never Forget

It was in this that the Pandemic exposed the sheer ruthlessness of American industrial capitalist governance and its homicidal policies. Even as 500,000 Americans died from complications of COVID-19, Americans would watch as the US government—through its elected representatives, simply told the people to go pound sand. Watching the mostly wealthy entrenched ideologues in the US Congress bicker, or vacation, while COVID-19 was causing America to eat itself has to stand as one of the more sickening events in American history. Indeed, stock prices soared at many points during the Pandemic even as a modern day plague ravaged the land.

No one should ever forget it.

The Pandemic caused American government to buckle on its knees. It was a horrific structural failure and the wreckage is there for all Americans, and the world, to see. It is there in the COVID-19 KIA body counts, a flimsy healthcare system ravaged by privatization, logistical impasses in transporting vaccines and, in the midst of it all, the US Congress—while in session affirming the electoral vote count for president Joe Biden—was overrun by an ignorant mob. And now those at the apex of industrial capitalism, here in the United States, and those at the bottom of it, want to move back to the standard industrial model that has left a path of death, suffering and waste in its wake. “Build Back Better,” US president Joe Biden says. Back to what?

Yes, our deadly friend COVID-19 showed that Americans are made of the stuff of ignorance, fear, complaint and irresponsibility. The Pandemic caused Americans not to adapt and put on a brave face, but rather exposed the flimsy myth of America as exceptional. Oh, first responders and frontline medical workers have great courage, of course, and so do many US soldiers that experience combat, but those individuals are small in number in a nation of 335 million people.

It is strange that the Pandemic pushed the Internet/WWW to be used for what it was initially meant for: research, learning, work, and video/voice communication in a time of isolation. It was a far better use of the medium as opposed to  24 hours news casts, Tik-Tok videos and perpetual head-down positions required by the handhelds; all accompanied, of course, by loud, tractor-pull mutilated language or techno pop. With 100 places to turn for electronic stimulation— and the fear of missing a call, video or text—it’s no wonder attention spans for the young and old have become so irreparably damaged that recalling sentence number one at the end of a four sentence paragraph is a challenge of the highest order.

Lobotomy Please, Not Reality

But perhaps there is a ghost in the machine type of logic to it all. The network connected American has come to forget in the evening what was purchased in the morning. It is certainly good for business. History is what happens in the future, not the past. The past needs to be wiped away so the future can appear. The unintended use of the Internet/WWW and communications technologies/gadgets, have caused in-depth, critical thinking to be wiped away in the United States. The Pandemic has shown that Americans do not want to slow down or spend time apart from their handheld which is, of course, connected to the Internet/WWW.

With the Internet—the cables, links, routers, switches and other machinery upon which content (voice, images, video, text, software) travels the World Wide Web, Americans became easily blinded into thinking that they were living out some novel, fantastical existence in a technologically sophisticated, forward thinking society. It was all cosmetic gloss, a techno-veil, one which we all donned because we really believed that by doing so we were moving in some direction to a sort of new American Nirvana.

It is tempting to refer to the artsy-tech movie The Matrix and the scene where Morpheus shows Neo that the world he thought he knew has been destroyed. “Welcome to the world of the real,” Morpheus says as Neo looks on and goes into shock, vomiting.

But the world of 2021 is no special effects movie.

Americans are eager to get back to the way things were, in their world of the real. To get back on the road to commute to work/school; that is, increase pollution, vehicle accidents. To be relieved of parenting, that is, using schools/teachers as a babysitting service and prisons for prepubescent adolescents and/or maturing teenagers. Why does the United States want to rush back into the B&M model? Consider building construction, or, better still, phrase it as building empty, wasteful spaces. Elementary and high school buildings remain largely empty during a 24/7, 12 month cycle (after hours they remain largely vacant). The sports fields, running tracks and basketball courts that accompany each structure are only partially used. The same can be said for sky-scraping office buildings that, over the same 24/7 hour, 12 month cycles, remain empty. Meanwhile, taxpayer funded sports stadiums are never fully used. It is reminiscent of cathedrals and mosques built at great expense on the backs of the poor that become tourist attractions more than places of worship. Or think about military bases, factories and housing projects abandoned, rotting away. These are the wasteful byproducts of industrial capitalism still existing and perpetually constructed in what is wistfully called “The Information Age.”

The Human Condition has hardly changed at all.

Warehouses for the Young

The Pandemic showed that the Internet—those land, seafloor and space-based communications networks, combined with the content and software of the World Wide Web (WWW), could be effectively used to teach students online, at home, and in virtual classrooms. As it is, America warehouses K-20 students; separating, or rather protecting them, from the messy society adults have created. Students are taught — what exactly? How to master a college entrance exam? To memorize Algebraic equations they will forget in a year?

The Pandemic of 2020-21, showed just how archaic B&M education is. Let’s face it, isn’t distance learning/work the way the United States was supposed to evolve even minus COVID-19?

Prognosticators claimed the greatest technological powerhouse on the planet was going to push ahead building pipelines to carry and host vast stores of knowledge content via the Internet and WWW for learning. No more bulky, out of date textbooks. Students, parents, teachers and local-state-federal government officials (in that order) would work together to develop an educational plan based on the student’s primary interests which would likely be demonstrated by 12th grade, perhaps, with second and third interests in the pipeline if the student’s subject matter area changed.

Course tracks would be customized by downloading, largely free, content from the WWW. The teacher would become more like a tutor and the student would have many of them with perhaps a learning coordinator/advocate constantly tweaking the course menu. Since performance data on students in K-12 in the USA is tracked anyway; for example—including absent/sick days, suspensions and legal problems— career path/trend analyses based on grades and other statistics could be implemented to assist the student in selecting a field of study-employment.

Chained to the Bicycle Rack

“It’s nice to know things. I like to know things. You like to know things,” said Professor David Perkins of Harvard University in the 2015 issue of Harvard Ed Magazine. “But there are issues of balance, particularly in the digital age. The information in textbooks is not necessarily what you need or would like to have at your fingertips…Conventional curriculum is chained to the bicycle rack…It sits solidly in the minds of parents: I learned that. Why aren’t my children learning it? The enormous investment in textbooks and the cost of revising them gives familiar elements of the curriculum a longer life span than they might perhaps deserve. Curriculum suffers from something of a crowded garage effect: It generally seems safer and easier to keep the old bicycle around than to throw it out…the life worthiness of the multitudinous facts and ideas in the typical curriculum is spotty, it seems not to have been thought through very carefully.”

It is often necessary to visit the past for a solution to the present. Consider the following from 1971. It is excerpted from Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era, by Zbigniew Brzeziński.

The following would be a good start for Americans to set about changing their views of learning, working and being.

In America higher education is carried on within a relatively self-­contained organizational and even social framework, making for a protracted period of semi­-isolation from problems of social reality. As a result, both organizationally and in terms of content, a divorce between education and social existence has tended to develop…extending education on an intermittent basis throughout the lifetime of the citizen, society would go a long way toward meeting this problem. The duration of the self­-contained and relatively isolated phase of initial education could then be shortened. Taking into account the earlier physical and sexual maturation of young people today, it could be more generally pursued within a work ­study framework, and it should be supplemented by periodic additional training throughout most of one’s active life.

A good case can be made for ending initial education—more of which could be obtained in the home through electronic devices, somewhere around the age of eighteen. This formal initial period could be followed by two years of service in a socially desirable cause; then by direct involvement in some professional activity and by advanced, systematic training within that area; and finally by regular periods of one and eventually even  two years of broadening, integrative study at the beginning of every decade of one’s life, somewhere up to the age of sixty. For example, medical or legal training could begin after only two years of college, thus both shortening the time needed to complete the training and probably also increasing the number attracted into these professions. Regular and formally required retraining—as well as broadening—could ensue at regular intervals throughout most of one’s professional career.

By now you are wondering: So what is my solution? I don’t have an adequate response to that question, but I do know that national and transnational cultural education has to be connected to any answer or plan that sets America—and the world, for that matter, on a path to a post-industrial capitalist society. The country isn’t even close to it now. The Pandemic has shown that. It just does not seem likely that returning to the industrial capitalist, B&M norm—or the model of governance as it is run by officials now in power—will move the country any closer to change. The wars go on, weapons are more lethal and will soon be operated by AI programs, racism still exists, ignorance is bliss, corporations are people, pollution continues, wasted spaces are good for business, and education is awash in a mishmash of learning methodologies, software applications and a war between parents, teachers and administrators.

Perhaps—like the US military as it seeks to stand down to contemplate the problem of extremism in its ranks—American civil society needs to stand down for some period of time to reassess learning, work and being.

The post Post-Pandemic American Society Must Not Return to its Industrial Capitalist Roots first appeared on Dissident Voice.