Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Regulating The Public Space, by the Zman

Alternatives to the tech social media oligopoly are springing up. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:

There are few things good about aging, but one of those benefits is you start seeing how history often repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun, but when you are young most everything is new to you. When you get old, you have experienced enough to begin noticing the repeats of things you saw in your youth. For example, those old enough to remember the early the days of the internet, probably recognize what’s happening with the tech giants trying to regulate the public space.

By early days, I’m not talking about the iPhone 4 days. I’m talking about the Windows 3.1 days, when the internet was for weirdos, who knew how modems worked and liked tricking the phone company for free long distance. It was when hobbyists assembled their own computers It was when NewEgg was called Egghead and operated in shopping centers. That was before the phrase “social media” existed, but there was still plenty of social media and plenty of people on it, just smarter people.

Usenet and bulletin board systems served the same role as Twitter and Facebook, without the cute names and billionaires trying to control the platforms. Like the big social media platforms, they started with the same general idea. They would be open forums for people to debate and argue. The internet was going to be free from the censorship of the old media and free from government control. The same things people say about bitcoin today were said about the internet in the olden thymes.

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From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming: Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent, by Colin Todhunter

Get people to focus on your made-up issues and they’ll not notice that you’re robbing them blind of both their money and their freedom. From Colin Todhunter at counterpunch.org:

There has been an on-going tectonic shift in the West since the abandonment of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. This accelerated when the USSR ended and has resulted in the ‘neoliberal globalization’ we see today.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented campaign to re-engineer social consensus in the West. Part of this strategy, involves getting populations in Western countries to fixate on ‘global warming’, ‘gender equity’ and ‘anti-racism’: by focusing on identity politics and climate change, the devastating effects and injustices brought about by globalized capitalism and associated militarism largely remain unchallenged by the masses and stay firmly in the background.

This is the argument presented by Denis Rancourt, researcher at Ontario Civil Liberties Association, in a new report. Rancourt is a former full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada and author of ‘Geo-economics andgeo-politics drive successive eras of predatory globalization and socialengineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, andanti-racism as state doctrines’ (April 2019).

In the report, Rancourt references Michael Hudson’s 1972 book ‘Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire’ to help explain the key role of maintaining dollar hegemony and the importance of the petrodollar to US global dominance. Aside from the significance of oil, Rancourt argues that the US has an existential interest to ensure that opioid drugs are traded in US dollars, another major global commodity. This explains the US occupation of Afghanistan. He also pinpoints the importance of US agribusiness and the arms industry in helping to secure US geostrategic goals.

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The Purge, by Eric Peters

I just discovered this morning that the short video I made the other day discussing the absence of the latestsaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety features in the 2019 VW Beetle I test drove recently has been pulled – apparently for “dangerous and derogatory” content. Which amounts to me criticizing the latest pushy-parenting-nudging “assistance” tech such as Lane Keep Assist/Steering Assist and ASS.

See here.

You’d think I’d put on a Hitler outfit and been ranting about “the Jews” – which by the way one ought to be able to do in a “free” country – whether “hateful” or not.

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Pinterest Bans Zero Hedge By Adding To “Porn Domain Block List” Used To Target Conservatives, by Tyler Durden

Big Tech is more and more blatantly and openly censoring political views it doesn’t like. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Documents leaked to Project Veritas by a Pinterest insider reveal that the San Francisco-based social media company has blocked links from Zero Hedge and several conservative or religious-based websites – adding them to a ‘porn domain block list’ originally intended to keep the platform free of sexually explicit material.

Veritas has published several internal documents and interviewed the insider, who explained how the company with nearly 300 million active monthly users censors pro-life and Christian content. The leak reveals an aggressive campaign to censor conservative content under the guise of ‘hate speech’ and ‘fake news.’

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Hong Kong Police Fire Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets At Protesters In “Riot Situation”, by Tyler Durden

The new extradition law China is trying to impose on Hong Kong will make it easier for China to go after political opposition there. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

For decades, China has been terrified – and preparing – for a social uprising on the mainland. It was less prepared for one taking place in Hong Kong.

Two day after a massive, 1+ million protest took place in Hong Kong, with demonstrators demanding the end to a proposal allowing extraditions to China, a follow up protest took place with thousands of people blocking local streets, and Hong Kong police defended the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to control a “riot situation” after protesters tried to storm the chamber where lawmakers were expected to take up – and pass – the controversial bill.

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A Soldier’s Defense of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, by Danny Sjursen

A former soldier applauds Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange’s exposure of US  war crimes. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

It’s a matter of principles over personalities. Whether one loves or hates Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange is besides the point. The First Amendment freedom of the press is at stake now. In this case the government’s tool for oppression is the Espionage Act, an archaic relic from America’s repressive World War I-era legislation. Chelsea Manning already served seven years of a 35-year sentence, one of the longest ever meted out to a whistleblower, and was recently jailed again after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks.

That was harsh and disturbing enough for those of us who value transparency regarding our national security state. Now the Trump administration has gone a step further and threatens, for the first time ever, to imprison an actual publisher – in this case Julian Assange. Charged on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, Assange – currently jailed in Britain – faces extradition and a lengthy sentence in the United States.

I’ve been called a whistleblower, myself, for my decision to write a book and articles critical of the American warfare state and the military to which I dedicated my entire adult life from the age of seventeen. But the truth is I’ve got nothing on Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Manning broke the law, risked it all, went to prison for her principles. Assange is headed for the same fate. And as a soldier I’m glad they did what they did!

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Hong Kong Pushes Forward On China-Backed Extradition Bill Despite Massive Protests, by Tyler Durden

Hong Kong wants to make it easier to extradite people to China. The people of Hong Kong are understandably upset. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The leader of Hong Kong has pledged to move forward with legislation that will ease extraditions to China despite a massive protest from hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of citizens over the weekend. The legislation is backed by Beijing, according to Bloomberg, and would allow Hong Kong to enter into one-time agreements with places like China and Taiwan to move criminal suspects.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the government “could see people are still concerned about the bill.” Generally, a million people taking to the streets in protest can make that point clear.

Lam has said that the legislation has been amended to protect human rights and called on Hong Kong’s elected Legislative Council to make further changes.

Lam remarked:

“The society has been closely and intensely discussing the amendment bill for four months. It should be returned to the Legislative Council, which should carry out its constitutional duty. This means after vetting the bill, legislators can amend or approve the bill or whatever. Our stand is still our stand today.”

“There is very little merit to be gained by delaying the bill,” Lam concluded.

Hong Kong arrested 7 people who were parties to the protest on charges of “suspicion of attacking the police”. Lee Kwai-wah, senior superintendent of the city’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said another 12 people were arrested for blocking roads.

Jimmy Sham of the Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of Sunday’s protest, pushed back on Lam’s comments: “Carrie Lam is provoking us. I don’t understand why a government doesn’t want us to live a comfortable life but to challenge us to see what price we can pay.”

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