Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC, business-loving, US government, MIKE WHITNEY wrote a solution in 2007 that makes a lot of sense to me :

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Friday, May 20, 2022

The Next Recession Part 29 - Rising Inflation

rdwolff-dw.jpg image: economist richard wolff border=0

“The Fed uses interest rates as either a gas pedal or a brake on the economy when needed,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “With inflation running high, they can raise interest rates and use that to pump the brakes on the economy in an effort to get inflation under control.”
- CNBC - Why the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation

“Relentless high inflation is the culprit here: As the Federal Reserve attempts to tame it by rising interest rates, investors read depressed earnings ahead. We’re going to have high inflation throughout this year and into next year, and I dont really see a slowdown until 2024”
- Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel says that high inflation will last until 2024 and the Fed is playing catch-up with its late response.

The US Department of the Treasury recently announced that student loan interest rates will increase for the 2022-2023 school year. These new rates go into effect July 1, 2022, and you can’t take out any new student loans before that date.
- Student Loan Interest Rates Are About To Go Up, Business Insider, May 18, 2022

University of Florida economist Dr. Amanda Phalin said she also anticipates a recession to form over the next year or two despite efforts to avoid job losses.

“It is possible to raise the interest rates without increasing unemployment theoretically, but it has never been done before, Phalin explained.
- Anticipate Another Recession

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Economics 101: What rising interest rates, inflation mean for you

By Paul Guggenheimer
Tribune Total Media
May 20, 2022

The price of just about everything has gone up.

Inflation, the rate at which prices rise in the economy, is the worst its been in 40 years. The Federal Reserve, the central bank for the U.S. - more commonly known as the Fed - announced earlier this month that it was raising its benchmark interest rate by a half percent. That marked the largest rate hike since 2000 and came as a direct result of rising inflation.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said future interest rate hikes are likely.

But what does this all mean for you?

It means the cost of borrowing money has gone up. If you carry credit card debt, your rates are going to jump. Adjustable-rate mortgages and home-equity lines of credit also will be affected.

Risa Kumazawa, an associate professor of economics in Duquesne Universitys Palumbo Donahue School of Business, teaches the course “Economics 101 - Principles of Macro Economics.” She spoke with the Tribune-Review and explained what you need to know.

Question: What is inflation and what causes it?

Answer: Inflation simply means that there are higher prices. There is always inflation in the economy. Prices are always rising. But when it becomes a problem is when prices are so much higher than the year before. Were experiencing inflation that is not the typical norm. In the U.S., prices (usually) grow by about 2% to 3% per year. But (now) we’re suddenly faced with an 8.5% (increase) in March of this year compared with March of last year. So we’ve deviated from the norm, which is why this inflation is on everybody’s minds.

Q: How would you sum up what is currently happening with the economy and what were seeing with inflation?

A: This is the perfect storm - with Russia going to war with Ukraine, the supply chain issue, higher demand, stuff not being shipped quickly enough and prices rising for certain things in the economy. People are facing unexpected higher prices. The first place people are noticing this is at gas stations. The one thing that shot up in price is oil. Your gasoline now costs a lot more (per gallon) than it used to. Russia’s war with Ukraine has definitely played a role in this. Russia is one of the primary countries that supplies oil to the world. So this is a major blow to countries that were importing oil from Russia. That usually comes with higher food costs, and we’re definitely seeing that as well.

Q: So its like a domino effect? Do higher gas prices impact food prices?

A: They do because when truck drivers ship things, or if you’re flying things, gasoline costs are involved, so then the sellers of these products raise their prices as well to make a profit.

Q: How do you arrive at the figure of 8.5% to show how much prices have increased in the last year?

A: Were tracking multiple prices in the economy. You’re not just tracking the price of gasoline but food milk, bread, eggs - we track all these prices as well. We have a way of combining all of these individual prices together in whats called the (Labor Department’s) consumer price index, and then when we take the percentage change in that, we can figure out the inflation rate in the economy.

Q: So this is what our current inflation looks like, and its not good for consumers. The Federal Reserve is responding to inflation by raising interest rates. What is the Fed, what is it designed to do, and why is it raising interest rates?

A: The Fed is considered to be the central bank of the country. It conducts monetary policy, which includes lowering and raising of interest rates depending on how well the economy is doing. The Fed lowers the interest rate to stimulate a slowing economy. It impacts big-ticket purchases that people make - cars, homes, appliances. If there’s a lower interest rate that people are going to be paying, they’re going to spend more, and this is how the economy gets stimulated. The Fed also raises interest rates to combat an economy with high inflation. When interest rates are high, people aren’t going to be spending as much because you’re going to be paying (more money) for your car loan, your mortgage, credit cards. (Consumers) aren’t spending as much, so prices will come back down again. But by slowing down the economy, it could lead to a recession. The Fed has decided that the inflation issue is a big enough problem that they’re going to fight that one.

Q: When do we, as a collective economy, feel the pinch of this, and whats the worst thing that can happen?

A: The worst, I think, is because of these (higher) interest rates, the Fed actually pushes us into a recession. That’s the worst that could happen in this scenario.

About the author

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or EMAIL

SOURCE

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“Is there anything the Biden administration can do to decrease the rate of inflation significantly, even though it is worldwide?  Is there any approach to price controls that could really work?”

By Richard Wolff
Democracy At Work
May 18, 2022

Transcript

Q. Is there anything the Biden administration can do to decrease the rate of inflation significantly even though it is worldwide?

A. There’s all kinds of things that Mr Biden can do. I’m going to go over several of them, but they’re not that’s not a complete list.

The tragedy in the United States is that we are dealing with the inflation by raising interest rates through the Federal Reserve and the public discussion is as if that’s it that’s our option. That’s what we’re going to do - that’s what we have to do.  As if there were not loads of other possibilities, which are all cut off by this conversation that is really a story of silencing.  And i want to unsilence so that we all understand it

First of all, the United States impacts global inflation because it is an outsized participant

Let me give you an example. The GDP, the gross domestic product of the United States is about 21 trillion dollars. The next biggest country, China, is only 15. And after that they’re very small.  Germany is about four, Russia’s about one and a half.

The United States is a huge outside player in the world economy, and if we bring down inflation here, everybody else confronted with the fact that prices aren’t rising here, they were wouldn’t dare raise their prices, because they priced themselves out of the world market. So put aside the question of direct control, we don’t need it.

In the united states what we do here impacts the rest of the world.  So let’s begin.

Here’s a way to stop an inflation.  I’m not going to speculate on a possible one, I’m going to describe it for you historically.

Richard Nixon, a conservative republican president on August 15 1971 declares a wage price freeze. He says “I’m speaking to you Americans on radio and television and as of tomorrow morning we will make it illegal for anyone to raise a price or a wage. If you do that we will arrest you and put you in jail.”

Is that an option?  Yes.  Was it done in the united states? Yup. Has it been done in other countries? Yes. Is it an alternative to raising interest rates to stop an inflation?  You bet. Is it being discussed in the United States?  Nowhere not at all.  It’s as if what i just said had never happened.

Here’s a second way to stop an inflation.  In World War II we had to do that. The democratic President Roosevelt understood that to fight world war II resources that used to be used to make consumer goods would be diverted to making uniforms - guns, planes, tanks, all of the apparatus of war - and that meant that the quantity of resources available to produce consumer goods would shrink and therefore consumer goods would be scarce.

The demand hadn’t changed, or people of America still wanted to eat and dress and live the way they had in the past, but there wouldn’t be the equivalent stuff, and the government decided. If we allow the market to handle this, the rich people will come in, see quickly that there’s a shortage, and make sure they get it by bidding up the price that’s how they make sure they get what is scarce.

Markets always distribute whatever is scarce to the richest people.

Do you find that offensive does it contradict your morality? Think about what you just agreed to.

Wow! And so the government didn’t allow it, It didn’t want an inflation. They didn’t want the prices of consumer goods to go up so that only the rich people could get it, and the mass of people couldn’t afford it who would then get angry and bitter and we would have disunity at a time of war when we needed unity, so that was out, and they issued ration books that had in them ration stamps and store keepers could not sell you a quart of milk, a gallon of gas, whatever it is that was in the rules of those days without you having a stamp, and the stamps were distributed to people according to their need not according to their wealth. Wow! We didn’t have an inflation for that reason we didn’t allow it to happen.

And here’s a third one that’s also a reality of American life, making it all the more amazing that there’s no conversation about it.

That the desperate government of Biden, and the political center republican and democrat determined to survive politically and rebuild their shattered hold on American society have to make us all unite in a war, and have us all unite in the Federal Reserve as if the raising of interest rates is the only way to deal with an inflation. 

Here’s one more that time allow. We already do in this country a very interesting thing with the prices of utilities, you know electricity, water, things like that, and the price of insurance policies, because they have been abused by the capitalists who own those businesses who raised their prices too high, who made a little personal inflation, we have what are called utility commissions in every one of the 50 states, and we have insurance commissions. And you know what?  Before an insurance company can raise a price, before a utility can raise a price, they have to go before the commission and demonstrate that it’s a reasonable thing to do, which the commission has the power to reject, and that happens all the time. Well if you don’t want an inflation, why don’t you do that for everything? Why don’t we set up a wage price control board - oh wait a minute - during world war II we had that.

One of the greatest economists at that time - John Kenneth Galbraith - wrote a book: A THEORY OF PRICE CONTROL - because he worked during the war on the board that controlled prices in this country.  So don’t tell us that there’s nothing you can do but interest rates.  That’s a lie. It’s just a lie.

I’ve just given you rationing, I’ve given wage price freeze mr dixon thing, and I’ve talked about using commissions to control prices.

There are others, but the important thing is to understand that if there were a political will to stop the inflation it could be done tomorrow, but instead it’s taking months and months, and it’ll be done by raising interest rates, which will mean it’s harder to afford a home, harder to pay for a car, harder to carry credit. It’ll hurt the mass of people as if that were the only way to go.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/20/22 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Search Engine Manipulation

image: google x ceo schmidt

Since Google announced plans to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, privacy advocates have expressed growing concern over the mountain of data Googles would hold following the deal. The largest search engine in the United States, Google fielded as many as 3.5 billion search queries last month, and it regularly stores that data. (It recently said it would begin to get rid of those records after 18 to 24 months.)

The company also collects and stores data on a range of other services, including user’s schedules on Google Calendar, address information from Google Maps and e-mail documents from Gmail. By acquiring DoubleClick - the country’s largest ad-technology provider, with a reach of about 80 percent to 85 percent of the Web population - Google would have access to a database of users surfing habits across hundreds of sites, including DoubleClick customers such as Time Warner’s AOL and Viacom’s MTV Networks.
- Google Buys DoubleClick, 2007

Libertarians dislike Google’s DEAL WITH CHINA’S censors. Conservatives moan about its uncensored VIDEOS. But the BIG NEW FEAR is to do with the PRIVACY of its USERS. Google’s business model (see article) assumes that people will entrust it with ever more information about their lives, to be stored in the company’s “cloud” of remote computers. These data begin with the logs of a users searches (in effect, a record of his interests) and his responses to advertisements. Often they extend to the user’s e-mail, calendar, contacts, documents, spreadsheets, photos and videos. They could soon include even the users medical records and precise location (determined from his mobile phone).
- Whose Afraid of Google? 2007

AIBRT researchers continued to conduct experiments on new methods that can be used by search engine companies to manipulat people’s opinions, votes, and purchases without their knowledge. They continued their research on the “Search Engine Manipulation Effect” (SEME), continued experiments on the “Search Suggestion Effect” (SSE) and the “Answer Bot Effect” (ABE), and discovered and initiated other new forms of online influence, such as the “Opinion Matching Effect” (OME), the “Targeted Messaging Effect” (TME), & the “Differential Demographics Effect” (DDE)
- Program areas at American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology

Many Ways Google Threatens Everyone

By Neenah Payne
ACtivist Post
May 11, 2022

Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California, has studied the many ways Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook are affecting our lives in profoundly negative ways. He recommends several steps to protect yourself.  However, he explains that there are much larger implications for our democracy.

WHY GOOGLE POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO DEMOCRACY AND HOW TO END THAT THREAT (.pdf)

‘SOMETHING THAT’S FRIGHTENING’: ROBERT EPSTEIN WARNS AGAINST BIG TECH MANIPULATION

Robert Epstein has been researching and looking at how the biggest tech companies influence human behavior, and conducting extensive monitoring projects of bias in these companies products, with a particular FOCUS ON GOOGLE:

“Big Tech companies such as GOOGLE and Facebook have enormous power to shift peoples’ opinions and voting preferences through manipulation of the content of their home pages that users see on screens of their devices, without people knowing, said Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California.”

Googles Meddling In Elections

Google critic, 66, who testified that the tech giant’s 2016 election meddling GAVE 2.6M VOTES TO HILLARY:

“A high profile critic of Google, who accused the search engine of meddling in the 2016 election, has now suggested his wife’s fatal car crash was not an accident.  Robert Epstein, 66, said in July the internet giant’s methods ‘gave’ millions of votes to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. Epstein, a psychology professor at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, concluded that Googles search methods ‘gave’ millions of votes to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.”

Dr. Epsteins Congressional Testimony

In his TESTIMONY before Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dr. Epstein explained that Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter can shift as many as 15 million votes in an election without peopleҒs knowledge and without leaving a paper trail.

“Google has the power to manipulate what you see online, targeting you with certain advertisements and burying search results theyd rather you not see. But can they go so far as to control the outcome of political elections? Absolutely, according to Robert Epstein, Ph.D., a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology (AIBRT).

Epstein, a Harvard-trained psychologist who founded the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, likens Google to a dictator with unprecedented power because it relies on techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history. The free services they provide really aren’t free, he warns. You pay for the services with your freedom.”

Google Uses Ephemeral Manipulation Tools

In this VIDEO, Epstein speaks with Jan Jekielek, senior editor of The Epoch Times, about Googles ability to control public policy, swing elections and brainwash our children. Google has the power “to censor content, to track our every move, to tear societies apart, to alter the human mind, and even to reengineer humanity,” Epstein writes in his report, “Googles Triple Threat,” which he details in his interview with Jekielek.

The methods Google uses are ephemeral and leave no paper trail, making it very difficult to track and prove that theyre using humans as pawns, manipulating us via ways that we can’t counteract. Ephemeral experiences occur briefly, then disappear, and include things like a list of suggested videos on YouTube, search suggestions and topics in a newsfeed.

“They affect us, they disappear, the’re stored nowhere and they’re gone.” Epstein says. It’s the ideal form of manipulation. People have no idea they’re being manipulated, number one, and number two, authorities can’t go back in time to see what people were being shown, in other words, how they were being manipulated.

Epstein and his team, however, have found ways to track Google’s invisible, almost subliminal, tools, including the search engine manipulation effect (SEME). According to Epstein:

“SEME is one of the most powerful forms of influence ever discovered in the behavioral sciences It leaves people thinking they have made up their own minds, which is very much an illusion. It also leaves no paper trail for authorities to trace. Worse still, the very few people who can detect bias in search results shift even farther in the direction of the bias, so merely being able to see the bias does’t protect you from it.”

Research by Epstein and colleagues has found that biased search results can change peoples’ opinions and voting preferences, shifting opinions in undecided voters by 20% to 80% in certain demographic groups. Internal emails leaked from Google talk about “ephemeral experience,” and the company makes a point to engineer ephemeral experiences intended to alter the way people think.

SEME, however, is just one of about a dozen subliminal tools that Epstein’s team has discovered. Others include the “search suggestion effect,” the “opinion matching effect” and the “YouTube manipulation effect.”

Google Shifted Millions of Votes in 2020

As Epstein and his team began to preserve politically related ephemeral experiences, extreme political bias was uncovered on Google and YouTube, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.

In the days leading up to the 2020 Presidential election and 2021 Senate runoff elections in Georgia, for instance, they preserved 1.5 million ephemeral experiences and more than 3 million web pages, which were sufficient to shift at least 6 million votes in the presidential election without people’s knowledge.

This isn’t an isolated incident. In 2016, Googles search algorithm generated biased search results that influenced undecided voters, giving 2.6 million to 10.2 million votes to Hillary Clinton.

Epstein makes a point to state that he leans left politically, but despite Google’s bias working to support the candidates he supported, he cant applaud it, “because rigorous research I have been conducting since 2013 has shown me how dangerous these companies are Google-and-the-Gang, I call them.”

Even displaying a “Go Vote” reminder on Google on election day in 2018, Epstein found, gave one political party an extra 800,000 to 4.6 million votes compared to what the other party got. What’s more, Epstein says those numbers are “quite conservative.” In other words, Epstein explained, ԓGoogles “Go Vote prompt was not a public service; it was a vote manipulation.” This type of vote manipulation is an example of what I call the “Differential Demographics Effect.”

Epstein also had a monitoring system in place in 2018, which preserved more than 47,000 election-related searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo, along with nearly 400,000 web pages that the search results linked to. The political bias that was uncovered in the results may have shifted 78.2 million votes to one political party.

Even the autocomplete feature that occurs when you start to type in Googles search engine is a powerful manipulation tool. “A growing body of evidence suggests that Google is manipulating peoples’ thinking and behavior from the very first character people type into the search box,” Epstein writes. Just from this feature alone, Epstein’s research found Google can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into nearly a 90/10 split - all without people realizing they’re being manipulated.

Further, because Google’s persuasive technologies are so powerful, and many elections worldwide are very close, Epstein’s data suggest Google has likely been determining the outcomes of up to 25% of national elections worldwide since at least 2015.

Google Is a Surveillance Agency

DOWNLOAD the transcript.

Its important to understand that Google is a surveillance agency with significant yet hidden surveillance powers, and this is one of their primary threats to society. As noted by Epstein:

“The search engine - Google Wallet, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube, these are surveillance platforms. In other words, from their perspective, the value these tools have is they give them more information about you. Surveillance is what they do.”

While surveillance is Google’s primary business, their revenue - which exceeds $130 billion a year - comes almost exclusively from advertising. All that personal information you’ve provided them through their various products is sold to advertisers looking for a specific target audience. Meanwhile, they also have an unprecedented censorship ability. By restricting or blocking access to websites, they decide what you can and cannot see.

The most crushing problem with this kind of internet censorship is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If a certain type of information is removed from search, and you donҒt know it should exist somewhere, you will never know and you wont go looking for it. This is how hundreds of millions of people have been deprived of learning the power of natural healing from me and many other clinicians who have been censored by Google.

For example, Google has been investing in DNA repositories for quite a long time, and adding DNA information to our profiles. According to Epstein, Google has taken over the national DNA repository, but articles about that - which he has cited in his own writings - have all vanished. As it stands, Epstein is worried for the future if no one steps in to stop Google’s power:

“As the father of five children, I am especially concerned about what humanity’s future will look like if Big Tech is allowed to continue unobstructed on its path toward world domination. In the 1950s, British economist Kenneth Boulding wrote, ‘A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.’

I am writing this essay because I believe that such a world already exists, and that unless we act quickly and decisively, the power that the technology company executives have garnered will become so firmly entrenched that we will never be able to unseat them from their invisible thrones.”

Epstein’s Six Top Privacy Tips

The first step to breaking free from Google’s dictatorship is recognizing that the manipulation is occurring. The next involves consciously opting out of it as much as possible. It’s especially important that children are protected, as they are among the most vulnerable to the onslaught of manipulation, which will have serious consequences to future generations. Epstein noted:

“We’re trying to figure out how the manipulation works. But most importantly, were trying to quantify it ҅ Because I think that what’s really happening is that there is a cumulative effect of, not just political bias, but a value literally a cumulative effect of being exposed to certain kinds of values, over and over and over again, on one tech platform, or after another.

And I think that the people who are most vulnerable to being impacted by that kind of process are children.”

Epstein has compiled six steps that can help protect your privacy online, noting that he hasnt received a targeted ad on his computer or mobile phone since 2014 as a result.

To take back some of your online privacy, for yourself as well as your children, he recommends:

Get rid of Gmail. If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service instead such as ProtonMail, an encrypted email service based in Switzerland.

Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices. It blocks ads and protects your privacy.

Switch search engines. Try Brave search engine instead, which you can access on the Brave browser and will not compromise your privacy and surveil you.

Avoid Android. Google phones and phones that use Android track virtually everything you do and do not protect your privacy. It’s possible to de-Google your cellphone by getting an Android phone that doesn’t have a Google operating system, but you’ll need to find a skilled IT person who can reformat your cellphones hard drive.

Avoid Google Home devices. If you have Google Home smart speakers or the Google Assistant smartphone app, there’s a chance people are listening to your requests, and even may be listening when you wouldn’t expect.

Consider using a proxy or VPN (Virtual Private Network). This service creates a buffer between you and the internet, “fooling many of the surveillance companies into thinking youre not really you.”

Book: GOOGLE’S TRIPLE THREAT

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/15/22 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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United States Innovation and Competition Act

image: corporate umbrella

Most Senate Democrats Join Republicans in Calling for Corporate Tax Break

By Steve Wamhoff
Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy
May 6, 2022

On Wednesday night, the vast majority of Senate Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in APPROVING a non-binding measure to include a new corporate tax break related to research in legislation that contains no offsetting corporate tax increases.

Congressional Democrats have spent months discussing reforms that would reduce corporate tax avoidance and increase corporate tax revenue, but the vote Wednesday night suggests an incredible reversal, allowing for legislation that cuts, rather than increases, corporate tax revenue.

The corporate tax break related to research is not new. It was included in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) passed by the House back in November. But that legislation contains many CORPORATE TAX INCREASES so that the net effect would be to reduce corporate tax avoidance and increase overall corporate tax revenue substantially. The vote on Wednesday night suggests the possibility that Senate Democrats would reverse course by passing legislation that has the net effect of cutting corporate taxes.

ITEP and Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) recently wrote a LETTER asking members of Congress to oppose the tax cut unless it is part of a bill like BBBA that increases corporate tax revenue overall.

The vote Wednesday, which passed 90 to 5 in the Senate, was on a non-binding “motion to instruct” the conferees who are working out the differences between the versions of a “competitiveness” bill passed by the House and Senate. THE UNITED STATES INNOVATION AND COMPETITION ACT (USICA), which passed the Senate, and the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, which passed the House, are both supposed to ensure that American corporations producing semi-conductors and other technology can compete with those based abroad, particularly in China.

The tax cut would allow companies to deduct research expenses in the year they incur them rather than writing those costs off over five years, as required under current law starting in 2022.

In fact, the requirement that companies writethese costs off over five years rather than deduct them immediately was enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was passed by a Republican Congress in 2017 without a single Democratic vote and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. This requirement was supposed to raise some revenue to partly pay for the tax cuts that Republicans wanted to enact, to keep TCJA’s overall cost to an amount they had previously agreed upon, $1.5 trillion over a decade.

The research tax provision itself has a smaller revenue impact, but it could still be quite significant. The version of this tax cut in the House-passed BBBA would be provided for four years. (In other words, the House’s BBBA would delay for four years the TCJA provision that slows down deductions for research expenses.) Congresss official revenue-estimator, the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimated that this would cost $125 BILLION DURING THOSE FOUR YEARS.

It is true that the Treasury would, in theory, recoup much of that revenue in later years. Much of the revenue effect would result from companies taking deductions earlier than they can under current law, meaning less revenue collected for the first four years but more revenue collected in later years compared to current law. But anyone paying attention understands that corporations lobbying for this tax break would not rest if Congress provides it for a limited number of years. The companies would lobby for another extension of the tax break and for Congress to make it permanent, meaning the ultimate cost will be much greater.

Proponents claim that allowing companies to immediately writeoff full research expenses would encourage more research. But it seems more likely to reward companies for research activities they would have engaged in regardless of what tax policy is in effect. Even in the unlikely event that companies make such decisions based on tax policy, there is little reason for concern given that another tax break, the research and development tax credit, is available and is a permanent part of the tax code.

Neither party seems to take their own positions on corporate taxes very seriously. Senate Republicans included a “revenue-raising” provision that would spread out deductions for research expenses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and now have voted to reverse it. Many Senate Democrats campaigned against TCJA as an unjustified tax cut for the wealthy and corporations but now most of them seem to contemplate passing even more corporate tax cuts.

The only members who voted against the “motion to instruct” conferees to add this tax break were four Democrats, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and one Republican, Mike Lee. Hopefully their view will prevail when the final version of the legislation is written.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/15/22 •
Section Dying America
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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Jesus, Endless War, and the Rise of American Fascism

image: gabriel

Everyone knows the ploy by now: Anyone who runs for President must equate God and nationalism. If you leave the God part out, you are branded as not being a patriot.
- Are You Running With Me Jesus

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.
- William Faulkner

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.
- Adolf Hitler

---

Jesus, Endless War, and the Rise of American Fascism

The Democratic Party is hoping to thwart an election rout by running against the expected Supreme Court decision on abortion. This is depressingly all that is left of its political capital.

By Chris Hedges
The Chris Hedges Report
May 8, 2022

The Democratic Party which had 50 years to writeRoe v Wade into law with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama in full control of the White House and Congress at the inception of their presidencies - is banking its electoral strategy around the expected Supreme Court decision to lift the judicial prohibition on the ability of states to enact laws restricting or banning abortions. 

I doubt it will work.

The Democratic Party’s hypocrisy and duplicity is the fertilizer for Christian fascism. Its exclusive focus on the culture wars and identity politics at the expense of economic, political, and social justice fueled a right-wing backlash and stoked the bigotry, racism, and sexism it sought to curtail. Its opting for image over substance, including its repeated failure to secure the right to abortion, left the Democrats distrusted and reviled.

The Biden administration invited Amazon Labor Union president Christian Smalls and union workers from Starbucks and other organizations to the White House at the same time it re-awarded a $10 billion contract to the union-busting Amazon and the National Security Agency (NSA) for cloud computing. The NSA contract is one of 26 federal cloud computing contracts Amazon has with the U.S. Army and Air Force, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, and the Census Bureau. Withholding the federal contracts until Amazon permitted free and open union organizing would be a powerful stand on behalf of workers, still waiting for the $15 minimum wage Joe Biden promised as a candidate. But behind the walls of the Democratic Party’s Potemkin village stands the billionaire class. Democrats have failed to address the structural injustices that turned America into an oligarchic state, where the obscenely rich squabble like children in a sandbox over multibillion-dollar toys. The longer this game of political theater continues, the worse things will get.

The Christian fascists have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump. They are bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of capitalism. The capitalists permit the stupidities of the Christian fascists and their self-destructive social and cultural wars. In exchange, the billionaire class gets corporate monopolies, union busting, privatized state, and municipal services, including public education, revoked government regulations, especially environmental regulation, and can engage in a virtual tax boycott.

The war industry loves the Christian fascists who turn every conflict from Iraq to Ukraine into a holy crusade to crush LATEST ITERATION OF SATAN. The Christian fascists believe military power, and the “manly” virtues that come with it, are blessed by God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. No military budget is too big. No war waged by America is evil.

These Christian fascists make up perhaps 30 percent of the electorate, roughly equivalent to the percentage of Americans who believe abortion is murder. They are organized, committed to a vision, however perverse, and awash in money. John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, mediocre jurists and Federalist Society ideologues who carry the banner of Christian fascism, control the Supreme Court.

Establishment Republicans and Democrats, like George Armstrong Custer on Last Stand Hill, have circled the wagons around the Democratic Party in a desperate bid to prevent Trump, or a Trump mini-me, from returning to the White House. They, and their allies in Silicon Valley, are using algorithms and overt de-platforming to CENSOR critics from the left and the right, foolishly turning figures like Trump, Alex Jones, and Marjorie Taylor Greene into martyrs. This is not a battle over democracy, but the spoils of power waged by billionaires against billionaires. No one intends to dismantle the corporate state.

The ruling class in both parties told LIES ABOUT NAFTA, trade deals, reforming welfare, abolishing financial regulations, austerity, the Iraq war, and neoliberalism that did far more damage to the American public than any lie told by Trump. The reptilian slime oozes out of every pore of these politicians, from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to Biden, who backed the 1976 HYDE AMENDMENT banning federal funding of abortions and in 1982 voted to support a constitutional amendment that would allow states to overturn Roe v Wade. Their hypocrisy is not lost on the public, even with their armies of consultants, pollsters, courtiers in the press, public relations teams and advertising agencies.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is clueless and unhinged. She claims Hillary Clinton was involved in a child mutilation and a pedophilia ring and several high-profile school shootings were staged. But weaponized, like Trump, she is a political cruise missile aimed straight at the heart of the discredited centers of traditional power.

Hate is the fuel of American politics. No one votes for who they want. They vote against those they hate. Black and brown marginal communities have suffered worse assaults than the white working class, but they have been defanged politically with militarized police that function as internal armies of occupation. The erosion of due process, the worlds largest prison system and the stripping away of all rights, including often voting rights because of felony convictions, as well as a loss of access to most social services and jobs, reduced them to a subsistence level on the lowest rung of AmericaҒs caste system. They are also the primary targets of Republican-sponsored voter suppression and redistricting.

The glue holding this Christianized fascism together is not prayer, although we will get a lot of that, but war. War is the raison d’tre of all systems of totalitarianism. War justifies a constant search for internal enemies. It is used to revoke basic civil liberties and impose censorship. War demonizes those in the Middle East, Russia, or China, who are blamed for the economic and social debacles that inevitably get worse. War diverts the rage engendered by a dysfunctional state towards immigrants, people of color, feminists, liberals, artists, anyone who does not identify as a heterosexual, the press, antifa, Jews, Muslims, Russians, or Asians. Take your pick. It is a bigots smorgasbord. Every item on the menu is fair game.

I spent two years with the Christian right reporting and researching my book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. These Christian fascists have never hidden their agenda or their desire to create a “Christian” nation, any more than Adolf Hitler hid his demented vision for Germany in Mein Kampf. They prey, like all fascists, on the despair of their followers. They paint gruesome portraits of the end times when the longed-for obliteration of non-believers presages the glorious return of Jesus Christ. The battle at Armageddon, they believe, will be launched from the Antichrist’s worldwide headquarters in Babylon once the Jews again have control of Israel. The closer we get to Armageddon, the giddier they become.

These people believe this stuff, as they believe in QAnon or the election fraud that supposedly put Biden in office. They are convinced that a demonic, secular-humanist ideology propagated by the media, the United Nations, elite universities, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the Trilateral Commission along with the US State Department and major foundations are seeking to destroy them.

Violence is embraced as a cleansing agent, a key component of any fascist movement. The Christian fascists do not fear nuclear war. They welcome it. The insane provocations of Russia by the Biden administration, including the decision to provide $33 billion in assistance to Ukraine, target ten Russian generals for assassination and pass on to Ukraine the intelligence to sink the Moskva, the guided missile cruiser that was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, supercharges the ideology of the Christian right. The marriage of the war industry, determined to make war forever, with the Christian fascists yearning for the apocalypse is terrifying.  Biden is sleepwalking us into a war with Russia and perhaps China. The Christian fascists will accelerate the bloodlust.

The political deformities we have SPAWNED are not unique. They are the product of a society and government that no longer functions on behalf of the citizenry, one that has been seized by a tiny cabal, in our case corporate, to serve its exclusive interests. The airy promises politicians make, including the announcement by candidate Barack Obama that the first thing he would do in office was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which during his eight years as president he never got around to doing, are worthless. The scheduled vote next week in the Senate on a bill asserting that abortions are legal in the United States, which is expected to be blocked by the Republicans use of the filibuster, a Senate procedural rule that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation in the 100-member chamber, is another empty gesture.

We saw the consequences of this dysfunction in Weimar Germany and Yugoslavia, a conflict I covered for The New York Times. Political stagnation and economic misery breeds rage, despair, and cynicism. It gives rise to demagogues, charlatans, and con artists. Hatred drives political discourse. Violence is the primary form of communication. Vengeance is the highest good. War is the chief occupation of the state. It is the vulnerable and weak who pay.

The Chris Hedges Report is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/14/22 •
Section Revelations • Section Spiritual Diversions
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