Article 43

 

Privacy And Rights

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

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Posted by Elvis on 05/15/22 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 41 - Misinformation

image: truth doesnt lie

There’s a huge difference between someone who once expressed a view that no longer is in vogue - and ones who, say, post decidedly racist messages on online forums. Unfortunately, the totalitarian cancel culture allows no distinctions. It’s a game of gotcha, played by people who want to DESTROY their political opponents - and drive them into the outer darkness.

The RESULT is self-censorship, a narrowing of the public discussion and, as counterintuitive as it seems, the proliferation of crazy ideas on the Internet. The first two points are obvious. How many of us think twice before posting a legitimate message - not because the post is offensive per se, but because of the possible repercussions if some numbskull interprets it the wrong way?
- Cancel Culture

In the end, this bullying will be used by social media platforms, which are integrated into the state security and surveillance organs, not to promote, as its supporters argue, civility, but ruthlessly silence dissidents, intellectuals, artists and independent journalism.  Once you control what people say you control what they think.

This cancel culture is embraced by corporate media platforms where, as Glenn Greenwald writes, teams of journalists at three of the most influential corporate media outlets - CNNs media reporters (Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy), NBC’s ‘disinformation space unit (Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny), and the tech reporters of The New York Times (Mike Isaac, Kevin Roose, Sheera Frenkel) - devote the bulk of their ‘journalism’ to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated.

Corporations know these moral purity tests are, for us, self-defeating. They know that by making the cancel culture legitimate and for this reason I opposed locking Donald Trump out of his Twitter and other social media accounts - they can employ it to silence those who attack and expose the structures of corporate power and imperial crimes.

The ruling elites and the courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins. They wallow in a sanctimonious arrogance, one made possible by their privilege, which masks their subservience to corporate power and their amorality. They do not battle social and economic injustice. They silence, with the enthusiastic assistance of the digital platforms in Silicon Valley, those who are crushed and deformed by systems of oppression and those who lack their finely developed politesse and deference to linguistic fashion. They are the useful idiots of corporate power and the emerging police state. Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny.
- Chris Hedges: Cancel Culture

Don’t Underestimate How Badly The Powerful Need Control Of Online Speech

By Caitlin Johnstone
Substack
January 17, 2022

Seems like almost every day now the mass media are blaring about the need for speech on the internet to be controlled or restricted in some way. Today they’re running stories about JOE ROGAN AND COVID MISINFORMATION; tomorrow it will be something else.

The reasons for the need to control online speech change from day to day, but the demand for that control remains a constant. Some days its a need to protect the citizenry from online disinformation campaigns by foreign governments. Sometimes it’s the need to guarantee election security. Sometimes its the need to eliminate domestic extremism and conspiracy theories. Sometimes it’s Covid misinformation. The problems change, but the solution is always the same: increased regulation of speech by monopolistic online platforms in steadily increasing COORDINATION WITH THE US GOVERNMENT.

It’s actually pretty comical at this point, once you notice it. It’s like if you had an expensive Prada bag that your friend really coveted and she was always making up excuses to try and take it home with her. Gosh I’m carrying all these small objects and I have nothing to carry them in! “You’re going on vacation? I’ll look after your Prada bag for you! Oh no you slipped and now you’re clinging to a cliff’s edge! Quick! Throw me your Prada bag!” Once you know what they’re actually after, their attempts to obtain it look clownish and silly.

TWITTER

Whenever I talk about how the immense power structure which the MASS MEDIA SERVES AND PROTECTS has a desperate need to control online speech, I’ll always get a few people objecting that the powerful don’t care about what ideas and information the ordinary riff-raff share with each other on internet forums. They just do what they want regardless of public opinion, like Greek gods on Mount Olympus.

And really nothing could be further from the truth. Controlling the thoughts we think about our nation and our world are of paramount importance to our rulers, because its only by controlling what we think that they can control how we vote, how we act, and whether or not we get fed up with being exploited and oppressed by a loose alliance of unelected plutocrats and government operatives. There is nothing, literally nothing, that these people would not do to maintain this control. Their very survival depends on it.

Michael Parenti summed this up perfectly in his 2015 book PROFIT PATHOLOGY AND OTHER INDECENCIES with this passage that was recently shared by Louis Allday:

But they don’t care about what we think. They turn a deaf ear to us, some people complain. That is not true. They care very much about what you think. In fact, that is the only thing about you that holds their attention and concern. They don’t care if you go hungry, unemployed, sick, or homeless. But they do care when you are beginning to entertain resistant democratic thoughts. They get nervous when you discard your liberal complaints and adopt a radical analysis. They do care that you are catching on as to what the motives and functions of the national security state and the US global empire are all about at home and in so many corners of the world. They get furiously concerned when you and millions like you are rejecting the pap that is served up by corporate media and establishment leaders.

By controlling our perceptions, they control our society; they control public opinion and public discourse. And they limit the range and impact of our political consciousness. The plutocrats know that their power comes from their ability to control our empowering responses. They know they can live at the apex of the social pyramid only as long as they can keep us in line at the pyramids base. Who pays for all their wars? We do. Who fights these wars? We do or our low-income loved ones do. If we refuse to be led around on a super-patriotic, fear-ridden leash and if we come to our own decisions and act upon them more and more as our ranks grow, then the ruling profiteers’ power shrinks and can even unwind and crash as has happened with dynasties and monarchies of previous epochs.

We need to strive in every way possible for the revolutionary unraveling, a revolution of organized consciousness striking at the empire’s heart with full force when democracy is in the streets and mobilized for the kind of irresistible upsurge that seems to come from nowhere yet is sometimes able to carry everything before it.

There is nothing sacred about the existing system. All economic and political institutions are contrivances that should serve the interests of the people. When they fail to do so, they should be replaced by something more responsive, more just, and more democratic.

Preventing their replacement with a system that is more responsive, just and democratic is precisely why our rulers are so keen on controlling the way we think, act and vote. They exert this control with their total domination of the mass media and mainstream education systems, with SILICON VALLEY ALGORITHM MANIPULATION, and with the rapidly increasing normalization of internet censorship.

The dawn of THE INTERNET SPARKED HOPE for those who knew that the ruling power structures of our day retain supremacy by controlling and manipulating peoples access to and understanding of information; the possibility of billions of human minds freely spreading awareness of what’s going on in our world and sharing revolutionary ideas to address our problems spelled beautiful things for our future to anyone with a lucid understanding of the obstacles we face.

Unfortunately, our rulers understood the significance of that moment too. They’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that the internet serves as a NET POSITIVE FOR THEMSELVES and a net negative for the rest of us, manipulating the large-scale movements of information so that dissident voices are increasingly marginalized and inconsequential while giving themselves the ability to funnel PROPAGANDA into public minds far more rapidly and efficiently than ever before. If they succeed in their objectives, ordinary people will wind up no better at sharing unauthorized ideas and information than they were before the internet, while our rulers will be far more effective in controlling the way we think at mass scale.

That they will succeed is by no means guaranteed. We are living in an entirely unprecedented moment in human history with many large-scale systems on the precipice of failure while technological advancement creates many other unpredictable factors; gaps could open up at any time to let light shine through in the massive movements that humanity is poised for. There is no way to accurately predict the future in a situation the likes of which weve never seen before, where patterns are crumbling and narrative is hitting white noise saturation point.

Anything can happen. Win or lose, this is a hell of a time to be alive.

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Posted by Elvis on 01/18/22 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Privacy And Rights
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Sunday, September 26, 2021

NWO - Bidenism

image: big bad biden

“We are currently experiencing what medical professionals have resorted to calling a PANDEMIC OF THE UNVACCINATED.” We know vaccines are safe and effective. We know wearing masks in enclosed areas like schools, washing hands regularly, using sanitizer, and social distancing work. Even so, an alliance of idiots and evil profiteers seek to convince people otherwise. Articles like THIS and THIS spread misinformation, ably backed up by enormously influential media outlets like Fox News.
- Help Us Fight the Two-Front War against COVID-19 and its Allies, Center For Inquiry, August 30, ,2021

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After LISTENING TO PRESIDENT BIDEN’S SPEECH last week DEMONIZING THE UNVACCINATED (from covid-19) Americans:

We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us.

I’m pretty convinced UNCLE JOE is as much to be FEARED as President Trump.  Probably a lot more, but I’m TRYING TO BE OPTIMISTIC.

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Liberty Vs Fascism: Your Choice

By Austin Craig
Seeking Alpha
September 9, 2021

Summary

A President preaches sedition against states and the elected leaders.

We are at a cross roads. Liberty & religious freedom of choice, vs the nanny state (ah la 1984).

Employment blackmail.

The vax is safe and effective. so much so that we all need to be forcefully jabbed.

I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here and if you are not inclined to read about liberty and freedom on choice I would urge you to stop reading now. This is going to get political (and poorly worded). Politics impact investments and they impact our lives but more so this is a post about liberty and freedom of religion.We are at a cross roads as a nation. Do we go down the road of fascism or do we maintain the Republic of the United States? Do we descend further into 1984 or do we draw the line as PICARD WOULD SAY?

Covid Hysteria as a Power Play

Covid mania has impacted our society. Yet once you look at the numbers it is fractionally more lethal than the common cold (.026 of 1% vs .01 for the cold). Obviously this ramps up as you age but so do comorbidities. So what is all fuss about? Power. It is all about power and control.

A President Preaches Sedition Against The States

sedition - NOUN conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

In Biden’s speech he actually called out state governors who are trying to protect the rights of its citizens. He stated that employees, guilty of rebellion (by disreguarding the law), should continue to disreguard the law) and that if any state educator has lost wages for continuing to ignore the law of the land he shall pay them the lost wages “100%” because he has their back. Never mind the American citizens stuck in the everexpanding disaster that is called Afganistan might disgree on how much of your back Joe has.The point is Joe is preaching sedition against the states.

Blackmail

No jab, no job. Biden is unable to legally force everyone to get the jab hence he is going after the power of the purse in a bid to try to make those that refuse the jab to become unemployed. Yet he has the nerve to call state governors who tell employees “You have a choice to wear a mask and so do your students”. He labels them “bullies” yet in a moment of irony is guilty the same in blackmailing workers. No jab, no job.

Lawsuits

I suspect we are going to see a virtual storm of lawsuits across America and thankfully so but these will take time and by then you will have employees fired for refusing to deny liberty and engage in religious discrimination. If you have endured this much then you deserve a reward. Abott (ABT) might be a play here based on home test kits.

The Natural Vax & Fascism

After some debate with a friend you can call covid a flu or a cold. Maybe something inbetween. I’m sure someone smarter can try to define the chimera virus but for simplicity I’ll call it a cold.Colds mutate, hence jabs do not fully work. To make maters worse according to the Israelies the jab only offers diminishing protection. By 6 months it is only at 16% ... hence the CDC is wanting to jab not at a year as previously stated or 9 months but now we are down to 6 months much over the protests of the FDA.No where in Joes speech did he once mention the superior natural vax… which simply getting the cold.So enjoy the circus, enjoy the power play, enjoy the madness. Never would I have thought we would be at the door of fascism. Do we close this door or step though it?

Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of ABT either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives.

SOURCE

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Biden’s Vaccine Fiat Forges a Fascist Pharma Corporate State

By Connor Mortell
Mises Institute
September 9, 2021

About six months ago, I wrote an article here explaining that STATE PREEMTIONS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ARE A BAD THING - EVEN WHEN RON DESANTIS DOES IT. I vehemently stand by these principles. However, it is now time for Ron DeSantis to take that principle of decentralized control and run with it - against the Biden administration. Just as it is acceptable to see local governments passing laws in defiance of their state, it is now time for the states to pass laws in defiance of the federal government. This is because on September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that all employers with one hundredplus employees will be required to mandate vaccines or weekly negative covid tests.

Never in my lifetime has something occurred that was so egregiously opposed to Misesian concepts of liberalism and freedom. In fact, this is directly in line with perhaps the most opposite ideology to liberalism: fascism. Benito Mussolini said himself that “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” In today’s political discourse, people abuse the word fascism and sometimes even cite this definition of corporatism while stretching it somewhat from the truth. However, the state requiring that businesses require the vaccine from one of three large corporations that were propped up by the state is undoubtedly the merger of state and corporate power that Mussolini dreamed of.

In my earlier-mentioned piece criticizing DeSantis’s intervention remitting fines passed by local governments in regard to local covid regulations, I had two main issues with the order. First, was a preference for localism, citing the president of the Mises Institute, Jeff Deist, who claimed that Insisting on universal political arrangements is a huge tactical mistake for libertarians.Ӕ This concern is even more true as it relates to Bidens newest announcement, as this is simply another universal political arrangement, now expanding to the national level. My other concern was that the a sweeping universal political arrangement like this - even in the best-case scenario, when the decision is hypothetically good for everyone with no costsets a precedent that the central state now has authority over that issue.

Right now, take a moment to think of the issue that is by and far most important to you. We all have one. Then think of the politician that threatens that more than anything. Do you want that individual to have this precedent to rely on when he or she takes power one day?

Luckily, the solution to this was described by the great TOM WOODS:

Nullification is the Jeffersonian idea that the states of the American Union must judge the constitutionality of the acts of their agent, the federal government, since no impartial arbiter between them exists.

Many businesses across the country will act in civil noncompliance, but that is simply not enough. If one wants to see this end, states across the country will have to undoubtedly reject this. I am not here to make any criticisms of the vaccine. I still stand by my initial piece that these bans on mom-and-pop shops wanting not to run the risk of interacting with unvaccinated individuals is a dangerous threat to liberty. However, I’d argue that any act of nullification at this point has little or nothing to do with the vaccine or the pandemic. We are now facing one simple question: Will we accept or reject a precedent for the merger of state and corporate power? If we choose to reject it, then the governors of the free state of Florida as well as New York, the governors of Texas as well as California, all these governors alike must stand firm against this tragedy.

SOURCE

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This is Why Biden’s Presidency is Failing
Even Joe Biden Doesn’t Seem to Know What Bidenism Is - And the Result is a Mess

By Umair Haque
Eudamonia
September 23, 2021

In case it’s not obvious - and don’t kill me for saying it - Joe Biden’s in a mess. His agenda’s in a mess. And his approval ratings in freefall as a result. His fanbase of liberals notwithstanding - who regard him as something of a saint, above questioning and criticism, which is deeply unhealthy - the average American, and the average person around the globe seems to be thinking, saying: what happened joe? We expected better than this.

Let me first outline how Biden’s agenda is a mess, and then explain why.

On the domestic front, all of Biden’s big initiatives are stalling. Social spending, pharmaceutical reform, immigration reform, antitrust - they’ve all hit the shoals. The Democrats cant seem to discipline the two thorns in their side, SINEMA AND MANCHIN, Senators who’ve stopped progress on all these fronts dead - and that’s before we even get to the Republicans.

On the global front, Biden’s had a disastrous summer. Chaos ensued in Afghanistan - whether or not leaving was the right decision, leaving this way PROVED TO BE CATASTROPHIC. Then Biden proceeded to alienate, well, all of Europe, by signing an arms deal with Australia and the UK, behind Europes back. Meanwhile, Covid still rages around the globe, not to mention in America, and “climate change,” aka global warming, intensifies by the season.

The world’s confidence in Biden has been badly, badly shaken. And so has Americas. Biden’s losing the confidence of, to name just a few, key allies, leaders, institutions, and people around the world. That is not a good thing. Because you know where this ends: Biden could end up being a one-term President.

So. Is Biden’s summer of doldrums an anomaly, or trend? To ask that question another way, why is Biden’s agenda in a mess?

The answer to that question is deceptively simple, and painful to have to say out loud. Bidens agenda is in a mess because BidenҒs agenda is a mess. What do I mean by that? Its incoherent. ItҒs inconsistent. It’s flatly illogical, in many places. And it’s not nearly brave, bold, or daring enough - at least at this juncture in history. The world needs a much more visionary America, and America needs to be that country, too.

Every President has - or ends up having - a governing philosophy. Even if they dont say so, it can be clearly discerned from their actions. What was GWBҒs? Shoot first, ask questions later. Clintons? Compromise with the Republicans to the point that many policies were indistinguishable. ObamaҒs? A kinder, gentler version - on the surface - of free markets and American capitalism.

So what is Bidenism?

The problem is that Bidenism is itself inconsistent. It wants to achieve big goals - which means, formally, in this arena, structural socio-economic transformation, without institutional reform and revolution. But thats probably not possible. Hence, Biden is ending up mired in a maze of inconsistencies and incoherences - from which there’s probably no way out, unless his fundamental governing philosophy changes.

Let me explain, with an example.

Biden recently GOT UP IN FRONT OF THE UN, and preached, if not outright demanded, more global cooperation, on issues like global warming and inequality and so forth - all the great Existential Challenges of the 21st century. The world was baffled by this. Why? Well, it was Biden who just SIGNED AN ARMS DEAL with Australia and the UK, alienating Europe and China. Guess who the two most crucial parties are in fighting global warming and inequality and all the rest? That’s right, Europe and China.

So theres Biden, demanding more global cooperation on the one hand - and yet not demonstrating or leading by example with the other, in fact doing the very opposite, not cooperating globally. In case itҒs not obvious, global cooperation at this juncture in human history doesn’t mean more arms deals. You can’t drop a nuclear bomb on climate change. It’s fruitless.

The world was BEWILDERED by Biden because of this weird level of inconsistency. The lack of self-awareness about it, too. People around the globe and their leaders don’t hate Biden, or scorn him, the way they did Trump. They like him. But they’re baffled. How can he not see that his own agenda is badly inconsistent? How can you demand global cooperation on common problems the week - literally - after you just alienated half the world… for missiles and bombs? What the?

So after Biden gave this speech, mostly, the world shook its head. What to make of this President? He doesn’t seem to be a bad guy, a fascist, a megalomaniac, like Trump. ButsomethingŒs wrong. Is he really so oblivious he doesnt see the mismatch between his words҅and his actions? And why is that glaring mismatch there in the first place?

Let me give you another example, to make my abstract point about not being able to socioeconomic transformation with institutional reformation and revolution much more concrete.

Biden says that he wants to stop Covid. Hell agree that weҒre not doing a good enough job as a world on it. And yet Americas still right there at the WTO enforcing vaccine patents.

This is badly, badly inconsistent. America is the most powerful country in the world. If Biden really wanted to stop Covid, heҒd tell Americas WHO delegation to stop enforcing vaccine patents. Sure, heҒd get blowback from Big Pharma. So what?

This goes way further than simply being inconsistent. Its worse: itҒs illogical. Covid vaccines dont deserve patent protection. Why not? Because pharmaceutical companies did not develop them. Who did? They were created - all of them - at public institutions, with public funds, by public officials, by researchers, professors, labs. Covid vaccines are pure public goods. That means that they deserve to be shared as widely as possible, because that is how the most benefit from them accrues to everyone. I benefit when you take a vaccine, and when some poor kid in Africa has one, too. That is how we prevent new, vaccine resistant variants from developing. That is how we eliminate Covid.

Let me say it again. Covid vaccines do not deserve patent protection because pharmaceutical giants did not create them. They only manufacture them. There is a world of difference. It therefore makes precisely zero sense to grant patents for Covid vaccines - all it does is prevent really stopping Covid. It makes even less sense to have an army of well-paid lawyers at the WTO enforcing all this illogic and stupidity.

Now, Americans don’t quite get this. Nobody much teaches it to them. They really believe, most of them, that vaccine patents are good and sensible and so on. But the world sees all this with glaring precision. What does the world see? An America that doesnt care about it at all. That is happy to let it die of a pandemic for no good reason. That wonҒt share vaccines, even though theyre public goods, and instead has created gigantic capitalist monopolies over them.

WhatҒs the net result of all that? The world’s confidence in Biden is plummeting, just like his approval rating in America. Don’t think that just because countries are poor, they dont see hypocrisy, illogic, and stupidity. Of course they do - often more sharply than rich ones. The world sees the rank illogic of Biden’s policy on vaccines, which is so illogical, in fact, let me spell out all the levels clearly now.

Biden wants to stop Covid, but he won’t give the world vaccines, because his administration is paying armies of lawyers a fortune to enforce patents that shouldn’t exist in the first place, since pharma companies didnt create vaccines. Now put yourself in the shoes of someone from, say, Malaysia or Peru or Pakistan. What would you feel? Anger? Disappointment? Disgust? All the above. And then China would step in, and give you vaccines. See how America loses this way?

All those are examples of what I mean by “Bidenism is incoherent and inconsistent.” Why enforce vaccine patents which shouldn’t exist? That trickles down into a larger failure that affects Americans. Why is America wracked by Covid all over again? New variant. Where do new variants come from? Undervaccinated populations. Whos that? The entire rest of the world, apart from rich white nations.

What does all that do? It gives Red Staters a feeling of smug validation, even though they might not know it. The world isnt taking vaccines - so why should they? If vaccines were so great, why isn’t there a push to give them to everyone on earth, like there was for smallpox and polio? Maybe the conspiracy theories are true, they imagine.

Biden reinforces the worst tendencies of Americans through inconsistencies - because Red Staters are looking for the tiniest chink through to place the sword of folly and ignorance. And Bide’s giving them ignorance, licensing it, by pretending that enforcing vaccine patents which shouldnҒt exist is perfectly reasonable. Ignorance is ignorance, and when a President ignores reality - then why shouldn’t Red Staters?

Now let’s come to some domestic inconsistencies. Here we need to speak a little brutal plain English. Biden and the Dems will tell you that their domestic agenda is sweeping and grand. It’s not. What’s grand and sweeping. The New Deal was. How big was it? It was equivalent to 40% of the country’s GDP.

Bidenism isn’t even close to that number. His social spending program is maybe, maybe about 10% of GDP over ten years. That’s 1% a year. The New Deal makes that look miniscule - because it is.

Biden’s great inconsistency domestically is this. You can have socioeconomic transformation without investing enough in it. Without building new institutions to manage and incentivise and ignite it. But… can you?

Let me make clearer what I mean. There was never a better time - never - for America to have finally created an American Healthcare System, like Britains NHS, than during Covid. Millions of people needed vaccines, and still do. Millions need long-term care. Right then - right now - is when there should be a push for a whole new institution - an American Healthcare System.

Yes, I know Republicans will oppose it. I know that people on Biden’s own side will, too. Thats obvious. But the job of a leader is not to back down before the fight. Not to step out of the ring before the bell has even rung.

Let me give you another example. What was the best time in recent history to have created a whole new set of financial institutions? What kind do I mean? Banks get - and this is true - endless free money, simply deposited into their accounts at the Fed. WHY DON’T YOU AND I AND EVERY AMERICAN HAVE ACCOUNTS AT THE FED? Why don’t you and I and every American have accounts at the Fed? Why do we have to use private banks - which have a monopoly over capital? Wouldn’t it be more competitive for them to have to outdo the public one? Maybe then they’d finally have a reason to do their job, instead of plunder everyones savings every decade or so, by needing yet another bailout.

See what I mean? America could have a financial system that really showed the world what was possible, what the future looked like, what reimagination was. Everyone gets an account at the central bank. Zap - money’s deposited into it. You can use it for free, and you get a credit line, too, because “debt” is just you borrowing money from me, with hedge funds in the way.

When was the best time to do all that? When Americans needed to get money monthly from the government, because the economy was shutdown due to Covid. But there was no call - none - in the Biden administration to use that as an opportunity for necessary reimagination. So now Americas right back where it began - crippled and hobbled by an obsolete, predatory financial system, which, among other things, charges people interest rates in the thousands of percent, burdens students for life, makes healthcare unaffordable, and has created a nation of debtors who die in debt.

See the problem here? Biden talks a good game about “Building Back Better."But his team doesn’t really know how. All the stuff I’ve discussed with you is way beyond them. If I sat down with Biden’s economics guys, and sketched out the new financial system above - which Americans desperately need - they’d look at me like I’m from Mars. But I’m not from Mars. I’m from Washington, DC, and most of them are, too. But there’s a difference between us.

Biden’s team is made of consummate INSIDERS. And like most insiders, these ones seem to have severe, severe deficits of creativity, imagination, daring, audacity, and self-awareness. Biden left Afghanistan in chaos because Blinken assured him it would be OK - meanwhile, literally anyone with experience in the region, which isnt Blinken, could have told you that doing it this way would lead to disaster. That theme [ inept insiders, with no little to no real-world experience, and less daring, less boldness - is a continual one.

Hence, Biden preaches “Build Back Better” - but they don’t do it. Because they don’t seem to grasp what it must really mean, if its to work. It can’t just be about roads and bridges or even hospitals and schools - but what creates them. Institutions. No institutional transformation, no socioeconomic renewal. It takes financial systems and public agencies to build roads and bridges - better ones. It takes healthcare systems to make hospitals work - better ones.

Biden’s had golden opportunity after opportunity to really Build Back Better. To spearhead true institutional transformation. A healthcare system like Canada or Britain has (even though both countries are on the cusp of destroying theirs.) A financial system that should be the envy of the world again. A foreign policy that isn’t beholden to corporate interests like the WTO. A whole new set of mechanisms for true global cooperation.

Let me leave you with a final example. Biden could have been remembered as the man who eliminated Covid. He could have sat down with every leader in the world, and said: you’re getting this many vaccines, at this time. Agree? Good, thanks. Then he could have turned to Bezos, Zuck, and Elon Musk, and said: EACH OF YOU COULD END COVID SINGLE-HANDEDLY. Contribute, or face the wrath of my executive pen.

Boom. Covid over. It would have been relatively easy. But Biden lackedsomething. Courage? Stomach? Guts? Skin in the game? Vision? It’s hard to say what that deficit in him was and is, still. But instead, Biden did something else. Something disappointing. Something weird. He enforced vaccine patents which shouldn’t exist in the first place. The world is baffled and bewildered by all this. But it wont be baffled for long. It’s already asking - like many Americans are:

Which Joe Biden is the real one? The one who preaches reformation and transformation and progress? Or the man who, time and again, backs down from it, and backs the status quo instead? Like enforcing vaccine patents instead of vaccinating the world.

Were finding out. The answer, my friend, isnҒt pretty. Theres time yet for Biden to change this disastrous course. But only if he and his team begin to understand that this course is disastrous. Because inconsistency and incoherence, as any engineer, logician, or true leader can tell you, only end in one place. Implosion.

Umair
September 2021

SOURCE

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Biden’s First Year Proves He Is Still a “Corporate Socialist” Beholden to Big Business

By Ralph Nader
Democracy Now
January 20, 2022

As President Biden marks one year in office, we speak with former four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader and The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel, who say Biden has failed so far to sell his agenda to the American people and bring about the transformative policy he campaigned on - from quelling the pandemic to passing his landmark Build Back Better legislation. The two also critique the U.S. mainstream press for asking “war-inciting questions,” with Nader saying “the self-censorship of the press is overwhelming.”

Transcriipt

AMY GOODMAN: We spend the rest of the hour looking at Bidens agenda so far, after he entered office reeling from the violent January 6th insurrection and in the middle of a deadly pandemic, is now facing a new surge in COVID-19, among other challenges.

We’re joined by two guests. Ralph Nader, longtime consumer advocate, corporate critic, a four-time presidential candidate, hes the author of many books, including Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think. And continuing with us, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher of The Nation magazine, columnist for The Washington Post.

Ralph Nader, lets begin with you. If you can respond to what we just heard - to say the least, you’re a critic of how Democrats and Republicans deal with elections in this country - and what happened yesterday, and then move on to, overall, what President Biden said yesterday?

RALPH NADER: Well, the two-hour news conference was deliberate. I think he wanted to show his stamina. And he had a great opportunity to communicate a lot of important things, which he didn’t do.

By the same token, the media did not make itself proud. It had a very narrow range of questions, and huge areas were never asked. They never asked about climate disruption and the Republican opposition to doing anything about it. They didn’t ask about the military budget, where Congress gave Biden $24 billion more than the Pentagon even asked for. They didn’t ask about the drain on the Treasury from hundreds of billions of dollars of corporate welfare, which is a kind of corporate socialism. They didn’t ask about the corporate crime wave that is ripping off consumers and exploiting labor in this country and has been reported around the country. And he didn’t raise those questions, either.

They raised the antitrust issue - he raised it, properly, for meatpacking companies controlling and the pricing of meat products. But no one asked him: Well, if hes so keen on antitrust and anti-monopoly policy, why isn’t he demanding larger budgets? There are very few federal antitrust cops on the corporate monopoly beat at the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice.

Most interestingly, the press didn’t ask about what his attorney general is going to do to prosecute Donald Trump. We’ve written letters to Merrick Garland listing one criminal federal statute after another that he openly and brazenly violated, including political events on the White House lawn, which is a crime under the Hatch Act. No answer whatsoever. No special counsel being appointed to investigate and recommend prosecution of this criminal recidivist Donald J. Trump, who has never seen a law that he hasnt violated.

So, if you look at the big picture, it was a very disappointing press conference from both sides - the issues that Biden didn’t raise and the dittohead-type narrow range of questions from the media.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Ralph, one of the issues that Biden did address was, of course, the pandemic. If you could respond to the comments he did make on the pandemic, and the fact that, you know, what’s happened since last May the Biden administration supported a waiver of the COVID-19 vaccines, and Public Citizen, that has come out with a study showing that within a year, 8 billion doses of an mRNA vaccine could be produced for $23 billion - I mean, what more could the Biden administration be doing?

RALPH NADER: Well, they could be leading an international consortium to spend that modest amount for vaccination throughout the Third World. They could be playing much tougher against the drug companies that are being subsidized to levels of profiteering Pfizer, Moderna - and exerting their patent monopoly rights and blocking wider manufacturing of these medicines. They haven’t done that. The report

AMY GOODMAN: Lets talk about that, Ralph. I want to talk specifically about this. I mean, Public Citizen is one of the groups that you founded

RALPH NADER: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:  that put out that report, and, interestingly, doesn’t call the Moderna vaccine the “Moderna vaccine.” They call it the “NIH-Moderna vaccine,” like you talk about Pfizer-BioNTech, because NIH that is, the people’s health institute of this country, taxpayer-funded had their scientists working on this, as well, provided enormous amount of resources. So, if you can talk specifically, while President Biden was asked, you know, about providing the vaccines to the world, what he specifically could demand, for example, of Moderna, who got the money at the front end, and Pfizer, that was promised the money at the back end, in terms of sharing the recipe, the formula, with factories and manufacturers around the world that are used to producing drugs but just simply don’t have those recipes?

RALPH NADER: Well, the federal government has long had the authority to break these patents in times of emergency, which is clearly the case. He’s not doing it. The World Health Organization has authority to do it, as well. And as Public Citizen reported, we’re talking about $35 billion, which is only a third of Apple corporations stock buyback last year, $90 billion.

So, there wouldn’t be a vaccine without the National Institutes of Health research over the last 25 years. All the basic research is funded by the taxpayer, and the taxpayer doesn’t get much of a return. The taxpayer is basically funding corporate patent monopolies over these drugs. They’re not just the vaccines here but a whole range of drugs. The taxpayer is funding all kinds of drug research and development, so that the drug companies can export their manufacturing of drugs to China and India. We have a national security problem here: There are no antibiotics manufactured in the U.S. And there’s no penicillin manufactured in the U.S. It’s imported from China and India under very inadequate Food and Drug Administration inspection.

So, yeah, I mean, he should make a - he made a big deal saying he’s not a socialist like Bernie Sanders. He is a corporate socialist, completely. He has always, in his career Joe Biden - supported subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts, without any challenge. And hes continuing to do that.

And the reporters didn’t take him to task there. The reporters, either they’re not doing their homework or they’re full of taboos. I mean, they never raise the corporate supremacy over our country. There isnt a single agency in the federal government that isnҒt influenced maximally by corporate lobbies. And Congress is swarmed by corporate lobbies. You have 500 drug company lobbyists full-time assigned to Congress, and there are 535 members of Congress. And these corporations are strategically commercializing every aspect of our society, commercializing childhood, strategically planning the tax system, the food system, the health system, fighting global warming remedies, the fossil fuel industry, ExxonMobil. Theyre planning our genetic inheritance. Commercializing childhood should be a left-right issue, conservative issue. The press never asks about it. The self-censorship of the press is overwhelming. ThatҒs why we have to have a more independent media.

We have to have I mean, look at the coverage of Ukraine. As Katrina pointed out, if our country was invaded in a span of 40 years from the north, with 50 million casualties, what do you think we would do? Do you think we would just station troops on the northern border? We would have taken over the northern country and annexed it. And thatגs why dictator Putin can get away with what hes doing now, in terms of public opinion of the impoverished Russian people, is because they remember. They have their casualties in their families from the western frontiers, started with Napoleon.

And here we are, expanding a military alliance for arms sales for the military-industrial complex, because, as was pointed out, a condition of joining NATO is to buy the F-16 and other weapons in Eastern European countries. NATO is a military alliance organized against the Soviet Union. And now they’re expanding it in Eastern Europe and putting troops there. It’s, here we go again, a completely preventable conflict. What Putin really wants is Ukraine never to join NATO, no strategic offensive weapons in the Ukraine. He’s asking for ending strategic weapons in Europe that is not going to happen.

But the press asks war-inciting questions. NPR asked it. David Sanger asked it. They asked war-inciting questions. Itגs like Vietnam all over again. Its like Iraq all over again. They donҒt ask peace-inciting questions about diplomacy. And this is a dangerous situation, and the press just isnt doing its job. It isnҒt just Biden.

He can’t communicate how the GOP is opposed to everything that’s defined as human. You don’t make moral appeals to the GOP, like Senator Warnock just did. You show that they are opposed to sending $250 and $300 monthly checks to 65 million children, which has stopped now, and the GOP will not expand it. I mean, that’s a good political item to communicate to the American people. Those 65 million children come from conservative and liberal families who are both deprived. He doesn’t know how to communicate. The GOP knows what it wants. It’s messianic. Its fascistic. It’s driven. And the communication from the Democrats, from the DNC to the White House, is weak. Its anemic. And the public senses that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, letҒs

RALPH NADER: He doesnגt know how to sell his own program.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to President Biden speaking about the Build Back Better Act and both get Ralph Naders response and, overall, Katrina vanden Heuvel’s response, as well.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Yes. I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks, of the Build Back Better law signed into law.  I think that we can get - and I’ve been talking to a number of my colleagues on the Hill. I think it’s clear that we would be able to get support for the for the $500-plus billion for energy and the environmental issues that are there, number one. Number two, I know that the two people who have opposed, on the Democratic side at least, support a number of the things that are in there. For example, Joe Manchin strongly supports early education, 3 year and 4 years of age, strongly supports that. There is strong support for, I think, a number of the way in which to pay for these - pay for this proposal. So I think there is - and I’m not going to - I’m not going to negotiate against myself as to what should and shouldn’t be in it, but I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, and come back and fight for the rest later.

AMY GOODMAN: So, breaking up Build Back Better. Katrina, if you could start by responding both to Build Back Better and, overall, the rest of the news conference that President Biden held yesterday on this first anniversary of his inauguration?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: On the Build Back Better front - first of all, let’s not forget the American Rescue Plan, which $1.9 trillion. It helped cut poverty, child poverty. And if the child tax credits continued, you could continue 40% reduction in poverty for a long, long time. Bernie Sanders thought that was the most consequential legislation for working people in decades. You had the bipartisan infrastructure plan. But it’s this Build Back Better, of course, that is in play.

There is a move on to come back next week, in the progressive side of Congress, and put back a plan that was laid out in November. I hate to do the numbers, because I think the media did a great disservice by sort of cutting the numbers every day instead of laying out what was in the plan, or maybe saying 1% of GDP instead of, in one New York Times story, “tax and spend,” huge piece of legislation. But I think theyre going to come back with climate, child care and tax stuff, and find a way to move that forward and connect it to the social, racial, economic justice of a voting rights bill and what we’ve seen this past week. So, that seems to me this next week is going to really be a push on trying to put back Build Back together Build Back Better, and not in the way the moderates in the Congress look at it, the House moderates, not piece by piece, but a more transformative bill, not the $6.4 trillion, to use a number.

In terms of picking up on what Ralph said, I do think Biden ח you know, a long press conference, rambling press conference, doesnt make up for maybe speaking to the people every month. I wrote a column a year ago about fireside chats. Maybe thatҒs maudlin. Maybe thats not his form. But the messaging, connecting to people, speaking to people җ not only speaking, but laying out who the villains are, laying out some of what Ralph said, in a maybe more homespun way but itגs surprising that he has failed in that way. You know, he could have, I think, done better. Of course hes not a socialist, but the need to say that is always part of the trope.

And I do think Ralph is absolutely right. In the media, you get җ the media whos in that room, the media in that room, that press room, is, for example, asking war-inciting questions. The questions are leading to the answers they want. And you donҒt get itגs kind of a suffocating consensus of questions in that room. And I remember Helen Thomas on the eve of Iraq, who was kind of mocked by her colleagues because she was asking tough questions of President Bush, who was ready for air balls. And thats really, I think, very sad. And whatҒs not on the agenda are the kinds of questions Ralph asked maybe not as tough as Ralph would ask them, but framed in a way that would really produce some news thatגs needed, necessary news for the American people.

One last thing on the mandate, the mask. With the Supreme Court decision, thats not been reported sufficiently, in my mind, about test җ vaccinated and test, I mean, that is shocking that the Supreme Court itגs not shocking, in the same way President Biden should not be shocked by the Republican Party as it exists today. But that the Supreme Court essentially sided with death, I think, in that COVID decision is something we should think long and hard about.

AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, Ralph Nader, responding to Build Back Better being broken up.

RALPH NADER: Yeah. There are two major omissions here. He didnt push his tax increases for corporations and the corporate rich, the super rich, which he proposed, because these programs are not supposed to be on the backs of our descendants, in terms of deficits. They should be paid for by restoring the tax system to the level of the prosperous ‘60s, when the corporations paid much higher taxes. And he didn’t take advantage there.

And he didn’t take advantage of - he calls himself a union guy. He should have pushed for the $15 minimum wage through the Senate. He should have showed how the Republicans are against almost everything that he’s proposing that has huge popular polls, left-right support, from the social safety net to rebuilding America in community after community with the support of the local Chamber of Commerce and local unions. He missed that. And he didn’t push the bill that his own Democrats passed in the House, languishing in the Senate, to make it easier for workers to form unions.

And most critically, these programs are going to fail if they don’t deal with audits and anti-corruption efforts inside. The inspector general for the Small Business Administration has been pointing out for years that the big companies are ripping off the payroll protection plan. They don’t deserve it. Some corporate law firms actually got money from the corporate protection plan, which is designed mostly for small business. So, if the press doesn’t want to ask these very fundamental questions, that doesn’t mean that Biden’s advisers shouldn’t have emphasized in his original message at the press conference to highlight these areas.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Katrina, we just have a minute left. His press conference took place at a time when his approval ratings in his first year are extremely, substantially lower than when he began. What are the likely consequences of this for the midterms later this year?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL: Not pretty. But he has time to turn it around. A day, you know, a week in politics is a whole other time factor. But he needs to do some things that are both morally and strategically important - student loan debt, some of those issues, use executive actions in ways not to - to speak to a base that is demoralized but could be put back together. A lot of work ahead, but I think it’s possible. Turnout

AMY GOODMAN: Were going to leave it there, but we thank you both so much for being with us, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher of The Nation magazine, columnist for The Washington Post - we’ll link to her pieces and to The Nation - and Ralph Nader, four-time presidential candidate, consumer advocate extraordinaire.

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

NWO - Fascism, Facebook, Truth and Covid

image: shut up

In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum and create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future.

The greatest source of hope for reestablishing a vigorous and accessible marketplace for ideas is the Internet.

We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web.

We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy’s future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom.

- Al Gore, 2005

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This is Fascism: White House and Facebook Merge to Censor “Problematic Posts”

My Matt Algorist
Free Thought Project
July 16, 2021

If we look back throughout history, all societies whose government attempted to, or actually succeeded in, controlling the speech of their citizens, have been totalitarian nightmares. It is for this reason that the founders crafted the first and most important Amendment to the Constitution, barring government from doing exactly that.

Aside from a few constitutionally illiterate politicians over the past couple of decades and the horrid atrocities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, recently Americans have had the ability to express their protected speech in any manner they see fit. Over the last several years, however, tech giants and social media companies have brought down the hammer in the name of protecting society from “disinformation.”

Many have argued - ALTHOUGH INCORRECTLY - that companies like Facebook and Twitter are private entities and therefore can censor whatever speech they want to on their own platforms. As TFTP has been reporting for years, however, this censorship was anything but private.

While there has been a grey area as to the relationship between social media and government, on Thursday, the White House made sure to clear up any doubt. During a press briefing, Jen Psaki removed any uncertainty that FACEBOOK is a wholly private entity by claiming that the United States government will now dictate to the social media behemoth, exactly what is and isnt allowed on their platform.

“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms,” said Psaki, adding, “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook.”

Government censorship has worked so well in the past. I am glad we are finally getting with the times and proudly proclaiming that it’s happening. After all, all free societies are based in the principle of government controlling what you can and can’t say. Bravo, USSA. Bravo.
- https://t.co/29NtW7vKah
- Matt Agorist (@MattAgorist) July 15, 2021

The implications of such a declaration are utterly mind boggling. For the last four years and justifiably, the left has been screaming from the roof tops, marching in the streets, and taking to protests outside the White House to demand an end to fascism. Now, we have the merger of corporate and state entities creating de facto fascism - and they are not only silent, but behind it!

This entire insidious move seems to be a push to either convince or otherwise trick the “vaccine hesitant” Americans into taking the jab. However, announcing that the government is merging with the state to silence critics of the vaccine on social media is hardly a way to build trust, which is why it must be the latter.

Instead of attempting to build trust through transparency, the state is attempting to silence anything information that doesnt wholly enforce their narrative in order to trick others into believing there is only a single consensus.

The government thinks that by creating an endless stream of completely unchallenged information and “news” which confirms their claims, then people will eventually be convinced as any contrary information will be deemed “problematic” and erased from memory. This is an incredibly slippery slope and it needs to be put to an end immediately.

Wondering if @ACLU plans on weighing in at some point soon about the fact that the Biden WH today boasted it is flagging posts it regards as “problematic” and telling FB to take them down immediately. Seems like a relevant issue for them.
- https://t.co/KBMZpFiSzL pic.twitter.com/qbzGIErlm
- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021

As stated above, this announcement is the definition of fascism - a move that would have made Benito Mussolini proud - but that is happening in the ostensible land of the free.

To those who have been paying attention, this merger between the state and social media was inevitable. It has been TAKING PLACE VIA PROXY SINCE 2018 and the results of such a move have been utterly disastrous. As the state and big tech attempt to control the narrative, they suppress the truth and aid in the spread of actual disinformation.

One example happened last year when anyone who shared information on social media about anything related to COVID-19 and the lab in Wuhan, China or that mentioned the possibility that COVID-19 was man-made, saw their post removed and may have even been banned. Facebook, Twitter, Google, the establishment media, and many in the government made it their primary mission to ғdispel misinformation over the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

The arbiters of truth in Big Tech claimed and vehemently pushed the idea - BASED ONLY ON THEORIES - that the COVID-19 virus originated in nature, and anyone who challenged or questioned this view was a dangerous conspiracy theorist.

It was established. The fact checkers were correct and anyone who challenged them was a danger to society. But the fact checkers who dismissed this information did not do so with ԓfacts at all. Instead, they simply promoted one theory over another.

As the world found out in May, the fact checkers, the government, big tech, and social media were all dead wrong.

Make no mistake, there are definitely some asinine and utterly stupid conspiracy theories out there on just about everything, including COVID-19. But does society need handlers to hide these things from them by censoring those who engage with it?

Stupid ideas didnԒt used to go extremely viral. Even in the furthest corners of the conspiracy theory realm, verifiably false facts were easily proven wrong and dismissed swiftly. But that no longer happens now thanks to the censors.

If the ideas of the censors are so grand, why not allow them to compete with other ideas? Censoring ideas doesnt stop them, it only allows very bad ideas to go unchallenged in the public arena, THEREBY GRANTING THEM CREDENCE. This is extremely dangerous.

This new merger of corporate and state cannot go unchecked. Free speech does not come with terms and conditions and those who claim it does will eventually be silenced by the very monster they helped to create.

SOURCE

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Down the Rabbit Hole with COVID Truth

By Gordon Duff
New Eastern Outlook
July 14, 2021

It is impossible to writeusefully and informatively about the pandemic without risk to reputation. One’s writings on COVID exist in context, not just media and accepted narrative but one’s own writings as well. Thus, it is vital that any information, even science, as that has of late been twisted out or recognizability as well, be judged based on the credibility and standing of the voice reporting it.

That said, we establish that as of this writing it is mid-July, the year is 2021 and collective world media has failed miserably, to serve, to report, to analyze and to investigate.

First, we examine COVID as a bioweapon. Was COVID, with its complexities, engineered as a chimera disease, either to use as a weapon or as part of a program intended to protect from the possibility unnamed others, who or whatever they might be, could engage in such an endeavor?

No media reporting in this arena can be relied upon. I can explain why, and the explanation will not please, it will only depress and upset, my apologies.

The West, such as it is, ostensibly under the umbrella of NATO and concumbent think tanks and hoax machines, is responsible for the breakdown in international legal standards. Without standards, conventions that allow unbiased investigations, banditry becomes the standard.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the West, with Israel and Saudi Arabia behind ISIS and al Qaeda (terrorist organizations, both banned in Russia). Israel was always perfectly safe, so was Saudi Arabia but Syria and Iraq were targeted and dozens of military officers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even Israel were arrested in both Syria and Iraq, I have seen the documentation, with repatriation only after million in reparations were paid secretly.

Moreover, the targeting of Iraq was clearly engineered to disrupt Sunni/Shia relations in the new government and to draw Iran into the conflict, and with Iran, push the US into war with that nation as well.

I discussed this hypothesis with Iraqi leaders in 2014 during a classified defense briefing.

Fake stories were fed the press who accepted them without question like this one from 2015:

Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria

Officials: Terror groups oil and gas minister targeted in capture attempt.

Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a par.

In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, US special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama administration said today.

Officials told ABC News that the large-scale operation that killed ISIS oil and gas minister Abu Sayyaf was carried out by the Army’s elite counter-terror unit known as Delta Force under the direction of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

One senior US official said there was a “pretty good fight on the ground.” The adversaries used women and children as human shields, but no innocents were killed. The battle got so close and intense that there was even some hand-to-hand combat, according to the official.

By the time the operation was over many of the aircraft were riddled with bullet holes, the US official said. The entire operation lasted several hours from the time Delta Force operators took off from inside Iraq and eventually returned with no injuries or loss of life.

So, what is true? A retired American general, working with ISIS, under the employ of a private security agency funded by Saudi Arabia, had been targeted for capture by commandos of the Syria Arab Army.

This former American general took credit for taking Mosul on behalf of ISIS and, according to statements he had made, had developed a campaign strategy for ISIS to take Baghdad as well.

The US Delta Force entered Syria to extract the American officer involved. He was extracted at orders of President Obama despite the fact this same officer, a former psychological warfare specialist, had, on may occasions on Fox News, pushed for the arrest of President Obama as a foreign national illegally serving as US president.

People who espoused this conspiracy theory were called “Birthers.” Donald Trump led this effort.

Around the same period, we have the issue of Colonel or Brigadier General, there is some confusion on this point, Yossi Elon Shahak from Israelis Golani Brigade, who was captured in Iraq by Shiite militias.

They photographed General Shahak and his IDF identification card and sent it to the press, CNN, Fox News and others.

The following is part of the press notification, translated from the Arabic:

Information Office of Foreign Affairs Commissioner in the USA Parliament (international) and European Department for Security and information Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Haitham Abu Said confirmed that the Israeli prisoner captured by the popular army in Iraq on Oct. 19, 2015 Colonel Yossi Elon Shahak, whose military NO is (AZ 231434) with sequence (RE34356578765) from the Golani Brigade.

Shahak has been removed from his detention few days ago and moved sequestered.  US International Parliament private sources say that a regional power which is coordinating with the Iraqi popular army in Iraq stood in on the details of Shahak’s case before being transferred and has listened to the statements that he made.

It is understood that General Shahak has been repatriated to Israel and is, we hope, in good health.

There are many more, perhaps countless more of these circumstances and events, all censored or not reported out of an unusual aspect of hyper-focused disinterest by each and every NATO press outlet.

Do we never need to go into the Beirut explosion, the Syria gas attacks, the crash of MH 17 and the disappearance of MH 370?

Our point is simple, since all investigations must be controlled, even to the point of the US government physically threatening judges from the International Criminal Court at The Hague or controlling other institutions through similar coercion, the mechanism for protecting the world from bioterrorism has been obliterated.

Thus, we as a planet stand vulnerable, devoid of credible institutions and their protections.

So then, how does this apply to COVID-19? We know labs funded by various organizations, DARPA and USAID for America, but many other nations as well, used gene spicing to create SARS based diseases under the guise, perhaps real, of evaluation potential threats.

We know labs have had leaks, like at the University of North Carolina, who reported their leaks. Other institutions may well not have reported leaks, such as the National Reference (Lugar) Laboratory in Tbilisi.

If diseases can escape labs accidentally, then how likely is it that terrorist groups, perhaps not the ones we read about in the “fake news” but others not so public, were able to infiltrate these facilities and steal samples of the horrific bioweapons manufactured to save us all from bioweapons?

How many different agendas might an international criminal/terrorist organization serve through releasing a pandemic? While some talk about fear of being magnetized, trillions (US dollar equivalent) have disappeared from the world economy into the hands of who? Nobody knows?

The world economy has been restructured but to who’s benefit?

Not only are there no credible investigations, there is no one left to begin asking the right questions, always based on cui bono, “who benefits?”

Ah, but here’s the rub; there is no one capable of investigating without being ordered at the outset to blame China, Russia or Iran.

Do remember, an American court recently found Iran guilty of the planning and execution of 9/11. If the concept seems insane to you, then there is hope.

From here, we move on to the issue of vaccines.

The US, under President Biden, has with much success ended COVID-19, but has it? The opposition political party has advised its members to avoid vaccination as a political statement and spreads bizarre stories of mass deaths, magnetized vaccines and mysterious computer chips that might be used to track people who already aren’t tracked by their own mobile phones.

This leaves areas of the US where denial of science is embedded in the local DNA vulnerable for COVID outbreaks. Currently over 99 percent of those hospitalized or dying of COVID-19 in the US are those who avoided vaccination due to willful ignorance.

In converse, most areas of the US are unlocked and unmasked and have infection rates that are microscopic, with empty hospitals, and life back to normal.

However, we are one variant away from disaster and the millions of willfully deny science and vaccination are a breeding ground for that next variant which may kill not simply 2 percent of those infected, and then mostly the elderly.

Could that next variant be purposefully engineered as an even deadlier bioweapon?

Could that next variant be engineered to take advantage of science denialism and willful ignorance?

Could those who could or would or have engineered such a variant also be part and parcel of the mechanism of science disinformation sweeping the world as well?

But then, those who might protect us from such a disaster, one that might well kill us all, no longer exist. Their efforts were long ago turned to blaming Syria and Iran if the wind blew from a wrong direction.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. Hes a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

SOURCE

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The Responsibility of Medical Doctors: Warn the Public Worldwide of Serious State Criminality and Coverup Thereof

By Dr. C. Stephen Frost
Global Research
July 8, 2021

In my opinion, as an experienced medical doctor, there was never (and there still is not) any medical justification for the extreme measures taken worldwide in the name of a single unremarkable coronavirus (which was never novel as claimed).

The alleged present pandemic was always purportedly a medical problem. Medical doctors are trained (or should be) to solve medical problems.

It takes many years of intense training and experience to produce competent medical doctors. The fact that medical doctors were shunted out of the picture (and that shamefully they allowed themselves to be rendered redundant) in solving a medical problem tells you all you need to know as to what has ensued.

The proper practice of Medicine was deliberately corrupted by politicians and pseudo scientists and the resultant chaos, confusion and fear generated (with the malign assistance of behavioural psychologists) is a direct result of that.

Now, the public is incapable of distinguishing between good scientists and bad scientists.

They trust politicians they once distrusted!

The only people capable of leading (and trained to lead) the public out of their Stockholm Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression (take your pick) resulting from well over a year of severe psychological torture through fear “propaganda and arbitrariness” (the deliberate creation of confusion with mixed messages etc.) are honest medical doctors.

The public is desperate for a credible lead out of this obvious pseudo-medical chaos. The public will believe medical doctors whom they perceive to be honest and they will follow their lead.

Medical doctors have an ethical duty to provide that lead and most urgently medical doctors need to stop the vaccination programme by raising the alarm re. the huge number of deaths due to the vaccines and the fraud/cover-up which the absence of post-mortems so obviously constitutes.

A positive PCR test never equated with a “case” and “deaths” were fraudulently created by falsification of death certificates in order to terrify populations into taking a dangerous inadequately tested gene-based vaccine which was ineffective and which they did not need, during a purported emergency which was clearly not an emergency (Ioannidis).

And, always remember the WHO swine flu pandemic fraud of 2009. As I understand it, that particular episode of medical nonsense was stopped almost singlehandedly by a medical doctor, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, who subsequently forced an official investigation at the Council of Europe which duly found the WHO to be guilty as charged of fraud. And, everybody forgot!!!

In the face of the glaring widespread absence of the usual safeguards and transparency and the extreme level of coercion, I think that doctors must infer (from the best figures we have at our disposal) that mass murder by the state and cover-up thereof is taking place worldwide and that it will continue.

In such fraught circumstances, we doctors have a professional and ethical duty to warn the public as a matter of urgency of ongoing extremely serious state criminality.

The onus of proof lies with the state to prove that we are wrong.

They will not be able to do that because they have with criminal intent covered up mass murder by systematically concealing and destroying evidence of mass murder.

There comes a point when the sheer volume of false exculpatory statements indicates intent to commit crime.

There is much more to be said, but these are my initial somewhat hurried thoughts.

Dr. Stephen Frost, prominent medical doctor human rights activist and anti-war whistleblower. North Wales. Founder of Doctors for Covid Ethics. Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

SOURCE

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White House Admits To Flagging Posts To Be Censored By Facebook

By Jonathan Turley
July 17, 2021

We have PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED the extensive censorship programs maintained by Big Tech, including companies like Twitter and Facebook taking sides in major controversies from gender identification to election fraud to Covid-19. The rise of corporate censors has combined with a heavily pro-Biden media to create the fear of a de facto state media that controls information due to a shared ideology rather than state coercion.  That concern has been magnified by demands from Democratic leaders for increased censorship, including censoring political speech, and now word that the Biden Administration has routinely been flagging material to be censored by Facebook.

White House press secretary JEN PSAKI DMITTED that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that spread “disinformation” on COVID-19. She explained that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies.

The concern is obvious that this allows for a direct role of the government in a massive censorship program run by private companies. There have been repeated examples of the censoring of stories that were embarrassing or problematic for the Biden Administration.  Even when Twitter expressed regret for the censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, there was an immediate push back for greater censorship from Democrats.

The concern is that these companies are taking to heart calls from Democratic members for increased censorship on the platform. CEO Jack Dorsey previously apologized for censoring the Hunter Biden story before the election. However, rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers climate denialism.Ӕ Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.Ӕ Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

Robust content “modification” seems the new Orwellian rallying cry in our society.

The same problems have arisen on Covid stories. For a year, Big Tech has been censoring those who wanted to discuss the origins of pandemic.  It was not until Biden admitted that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan lab that social media suddenly changed its position. Facebook ONLY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED that people on its platform will be able to discuss the origins of Covid-19 after censoring any such discussion.

The back channel coordination with Facebook further supports the view that this is a de facto state-supporting censorship program. That is the basis for the recent lawsuit by former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, there is ample basis for objection to this arrangement but the legal avenue for challenges is far from clear. The lawsuit will face difficult if not insurmountable problems under existing law and precedent. There is no question companies like Twitter are engaging in raw censorship. It is also true that these companies have censored material with a blatantly biased agenda, taking sides on scientific and social controversies. A strong case can be made for stripping these companies of legal protections since they are no longer neutral platforms. However, private businesses are allowed to regulate speech as a general matter.  It will take considerable heavy lifting for a court to order this injunctive relief.

That is why we need legislative action. That includes removal immunity protections. However, the government should also consider the creation of an alternative to these companies which are now a threat to our political system. A few companies now control a huge amount of the political discourse in this country and have shown a clear bias in taking sides (even on issues later found to be wrong). Since litigation is likely to fail, legislation would seem an imperative. Congress has been spending hundreds of billions with utter abandon. Yet, there is little discussion over a government subsidized platform for social media or other measures to break up this unprecedented level of corporate control over our political discourse. I am no fan of government programs, particularly as it relates to media. However, Apple, Google, and these other companies are now operating like monopolies, including crushing competitors like Parlor. That is a direct and growing threat to our political process.

We need to consider a short-term investment in a social media platform that will focus any censorship on direct threats or criminal conduct. There is currently a lack of not only competition but any real opportunity for competition to challenge these companies. Either we have to redefine what we treat as monopolies or we need to invest in the establishment of competing platforms that are content neutral like telephone companies.

This is why I HAVE DESCRIBED myself as an Internet Originalist:

The alternative is “internet originalism” - no censorship. If social media companies returned to their original roles, there would be no slippery slope of political bias or opportunism; they would assume the same status as telephone companies. We do not need companies to protect us from harmful or “misleading” thoughts. The solution to bad speech is more speech, not approved speech.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and protectӔ them from errant or harmful thoughts.

The actions by Twitter and Facebook on Election Day were reprehensible and wrong. That should have been sufficient cause for action by Congress. It is now growing more precarious and chilling by the day.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/15/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Dying America
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Friday, May 07, 2021

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 39 - The Day The Internet Died Redux

image: i support net neutrality

Net Neutrality keeps the internet free and open enabling anyone to share and access information of their choosing without interference.

But on Dec. 14, 2017, the FCC voted along party lines to pass Chairman Pais plan to dismantle the Net Neutrality rules.

Without these rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to block or slow down any online content including political speech they disagree with. This will disproportionately harm people of color and other marginalized communities who use the internet to fight systemic discrimination and share their stories.

Net Neutrality is essential to education, economic opportunity, innovation, social movements and dissent. Without Net Neutrality thereҒs no way to organize for justice or power the resistance.
- Save The Internet, December 14,2017

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Attorney General James Issues Report Detailing Millions of Fake Comments, Revealing Secret Campaign to Influence FCCs 2017 Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

Multi-Year Investigation Into 2017 Net Neutrality Rulemaking Finds 18 MillionFake Comments Filed with FCC, Half a Million Fake Letters Sent to Congress

Broadband Industry Funded Six Companies That Engaged in Illegal Activity and Impersonated Millions of Americans

AG James Announces Three Agreements Ending Fraudulent Practices by Perpetrators of Fake Comments

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NEW YORK New York Attorney General Letitia James today released a REPORT detailing the results of her office’s wide-ranging investigation into fake, public comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality rules. Net neutrality prohibits broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging companies to prioritize certain content on the internet. Attorney General James investigation uncovered widespread fraud, as well as abusive practices used to sway government policy - using masses of comments and messages to create the false impression of popular support. Additionally, Attorney General James today resolved investigations into three companies that contributed to the millions of fake comments submitted in the 2017 net neutrality proceeding.

“Americans voices are being drowned out by masses of fake comments and messages being submitted to the government to sway decision-making,” said Attorney General James. Instead of actually looking for real responses from the American people, marketing companies are luring vulnerable individuals to their websites with freebies, co-opting their identities, and fabricating responses that giant corporations are then using to influence the polices and laws that govern our lives. But, today, we are taking action to root out this fraud and the impersonation that has been corrupting the process for far too long. From net neutrality rules to laws affecting criminal justice reform, health care, and more, these fake comments have simply been generated to influence too many government policies, which is why we are cracking down on this illegal and deceptive behavior. My office will continue to shine a spotlight on abuses and disinformation and ensure those who break the law are held accountable.”

Through its investigation, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that, in 2017, the nations largest broadband companies funded a secret campaign to generate millions of comments to the FCC. Many of these comments provided “cover” for the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules. This practice disguising an orchestrated, paid campaign as a grassroots effort, to create a false appearance of genuine, unpaid public support - is often referred to as astroturfing. To help generate these comments, the broadband industry engaged commercial lead generators that used prizes like gift cards and sweepstakes entries - to lure consumers to their websites and join the campaign. However, nearly every lead generator that was hired to enroll consumers in the campaign, instead, simply fabricated consumers responses. As a result, more than 8.5 million fake comments that impersonated real people were submitted to the FCC, and more than half a million fake letters were sent to Congress.

The OAG also found that the FCC received another 9.3 million fake comments supporting net neutrality that used fictitious identities. Most of these comments were submitted by a single person җ a 19-year old college student using automated software. In all, the OAG confirmed that nearly 18 million of the more than 22 million comments the FCC received in its 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality rules were fake.

Additionally, the OAG’s investigation revealed that the fraud perpetrated by the various lead generators infected other government proceedings as well. Three of the lead generation firms involved in the broadband industry’s net neutrality comment campaigns had also worked on more than 100 other, unrelated campaigns to influence regulatory agencies and public officials. In nearly all of these advocacy campaigns, the lead generation firms engaged in fraud. As a result, more than 1 million fake comments were generated for other rulemaking proceedings, and more than 3.5 million fake digital signatures for letters and petitions were generated for federal and state legislators and government officials across the nation.

Attorney General James report recommends several reforms to root out the deception and fraud that have infected public policymaking by agencies and legislatures, including encouraging:

Advocacy groups to take steps to ensure they have obtained valid consent from an individual before submitting a comment or message to the government on their behalf,

Agencies and legislatures that manage electronic systems that receive comments and messages to hold advocacy groups and their vendors more accountable for the comments they submit on behalf of individuals,

Lawmakers to strengthen laws to deter the submission of deceptive and unauthorized comments to the government, and

Agencies to adopt technical safeguards to protect against unauthorized bulk submissions using automation.

Attorney General James also, today, announced agreements with three of the lead generators that were responsible for millions of the fake comments submitted in the net neutrality proceeding: FLUENT, INC, responsible for approximately 4.8 million fraudulent comments; OPT-INTELLIGENCE, INC, responsible for more than 250,000 fraudulent comments; and REACT2MEDIA, INC, responsible for approximately 329,000 comments in the net neutrality proceeding (all or nearly all of which were fraudulent). Fluent and React2Media were also responsible, collectively, for millions of fake comments and messages submitted in dozens of other advocacy campaigns. The agreements with the OAG require the companies to adopt comprehensive reforms in future advocacy campaigns and pay more than $4.4 million in penalties and disgorgement.

The OAG wishes to thank the offices of the attorneys general of Colorado, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, as well as the San Diego district attorney’s office for their assistance in this matter.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Noah Stein and Special Enforcement Counsel Jordan Adler, with assistance from Assistant Attorneys General Ezra Sternstein and Hanna Baek, Internet Technology Analyst Joe Graham, and Legal Assistants Richard Borgia and Shirly Huang all of the Bureau of Internet and Technology, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Clark Russell and Bureau Chief Kim Berger; as well as Data Scientist Kenneth Morales, under the supervision of Deputy Director Megan Thorsfeldt and Director Jonathan Werberg of the Research and Analytics Department. The Bureau of Internet and Technology is a part of the Division for Economic Justice, which is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris DגAngelo and First Deputy Jennifer Levy.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/07/21 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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