Category Archives: Governments

Assange Keeps Warning Of AI Censorship, And It’s Time We Started Listening, by Caitlin Johnstone

Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter have been working with governments to allow them to gain control of the internet. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

Throughout the near entirety of human history, a population’s understanding of what’s going on in the world has been controlled by those in power. The men in charge controlled what the people were told about rival populations, the history of their tribe and its leadership, etc. When the written word was invented, men in charge dictated what books were permitted to be written and circulated, what ideas were allowed, what narratives the public would be granted access to.

This continued straight on into modern times. Where power is not overtly totalitarian, wealthy elites have bought up all media, first in print, then radio, then television, and used it to advance narratives that are favorable to their interests. Not until humanity gained widespread access to the internet has our species had the ability to freely and easily share ideas and information on a large scale without regulation by the iron-fisted grip of power. This newfound ability arguably had a direct impact on the election for the most powerful elected office in the most powerful government in the world in 2016, as a leak publishing outlet combined with alternative and social media enabled ordinary Americans to tell one another their own stories about what they thought was going on in their country.

This newly democratized narrative-generating power of the masses gave those in power an immense fright, and they’ve been working to restore the old order of power controlling information ever since. And the editor-in-chief of the aforementioned leak publishing outlet, WikiLeaks, has been repeatedly trying to warn us about this coming development.

In a statement that was recently read during the “Organising Resistance to Internet Censorship” webinar, sponsored by the World Socialist Web Site, Assange warned of how “digital super states” like Facebook and Google have been working to “re-establish discourse control”, giving authority over how ideas and information are shared back to those in power.

Assange went on to say that the manipulative attempts of world power structures to regain control of discourse in the information age has been “operating at a scale, speed, and increasingly at a subtlety, that appears likely to eclipse human counter-measures.”

To continue reading: Assange Keeps Warning Of AI Censorship, And It’s Time We Started Listening

Advertisements

Cryptocurrencies – Questioning The Value Proposition, by Stephen Englander

When the tech bubble popped in 2000, many companies went to zero, but many had value and are still with us today. Their values were lower than the euphoric values assigned to them at the height of the tech bubble, but they were or became profitable going concerns. A similar weeding out process will probably hit cryptocurrencies. From Stephen Englander at Rafiki Capital Management via zerohedge.com:

Bitcoin is deciding whether this is the moment to crash and burn.

My conjecture is that cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon Bitcoin because its limitations mean it will be superseded by better products or bet that it can thrive despite them.

The dilemma is that once you stop pricing Bitcoin and its derivatives as new assets that will head to the moon, the pricing model is more conventional and much less breathtaking.

We discuss these issues below.

Below we go through some of the questions on why Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have certain characteristics, and whether these characteristics are needed or even desirable.

  1. Is Bitcoin Netscape?
  2. How limited is the supply of cryptocurrencies?
  3. If Bitcoin crashes what happens to other alt-currencies?
  4. What asset market lacunae do cryptocurrencies fill?
  5. Why mine?
  6. Why distribute the ledger?
  7. Do cryptocurrency transactions need coins or tokens?
  8. Can you make cryptocurrencies KYC and AML compliant?​

1) Is Bitcoin Netscape?

Bitcoin emerged in the shadow of the financial crisis, when the reputations of the financial and economic policy community was at a post-1930s low. It is designed for a world in which there is no confidence in major fiat currencies. Bitcoin gives you pseudonymity (albeit imperfect), the distributed ledger means that transaction records are unlikely to disappear, the mining can take place anywhere and there are built-in incentives for miners to keep mining.

The question is whether there is a problem that the original Bitcoin solves in developed economies. Some Bitcoin characteristics superficially suit a ‘Mad Max/Hunger Games’ world, but add little now. My suspicion is that even in the Mad Max world, the value of Bitcoin will be de minimis since hard assets will be the currency, not an abstract string of code.

 

To continue reading: Cryptocurrencies – Questioning The Value Proposition

Olympic Games In South Korea – Perfect Opportunity For A False Flag Attack? by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith believes a war with North Korea would be the perfect way to get the ball rolling on financial collapse and the globalist moves he’s been predicting. From Smith at alt-market.com:

The war rhetoric surrounding North Korea on both sides of the Pacific has never been more aggressive than it has been the past year (at least not since the Korean War). There are some people that see the entire affair as a “distraction,” a distraction that will never amount to actual conflict. I disagree with this sentiment for a number of reasons.

North Korea is indeed a distraction, but still a distraction in the making. That is to say, the chest beating and saber rattling are merely a prelude to the much more effective distraction of live combat and invasion in the name of regime change and “national security.” As I noted in my article “Korean War Part II: Why It’s Probably Going To Happen,” the extensive staging of military assets to the region that has not been seen in over a decade, the extremely swift advancement of North Korean missile technology to include ICBMs capable of reaching the mainland U.S., the strange and unprecedented language by China indicating that they will not intercede against an invasion of North Korea by the U.S. “if Pyongyang attacks first….” All of this and more shows a clear movement of chess pieces into place for a sudden action.

According to these factors, I am led to believe that a false flag event blamed on North Korea, or a prodding of North Korea into taking an attack posture, is likely. The purposes behind such a war would be many-fold. Primarily, the final implosion of the vast financial bubbles created by central bank stimulus measures could be undertaken while the banks themselves escape public blame or prosecution.

A geopolitical crisis large enough would provide a perfect scapegoat for an economic crisis that was going to develop eventually anyway. And, if this geopolitical crisis were initiated by a “rogue state,” along with the poor decisions of a conservative “populist” president (Trump), then the historical narrative would be complete. Future generations would talk about the “great blunder” of sovereign states and nationalists and how hubris and greed and ego led to a global fiscal disaster and unnecessary destruction. The rationale for a one world governmental authority would be planted in the minds of the populace.

To continue reading: Olympic Games In South Korea – Perfect Opportunity For A False Flag Attack?

 

Crypto Collapse Crushes Hedge Funds that Touted Huge Gains for 2017, by Wolf Richter

What goes up can also go down? Who knew? Don’t tell the stock market. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Are they causing the rout by trying to get large sums out of an illiquid market?

At the moment, cryptocurrencies and tokens are bouncing up and down in wild, double-digit gyrations by the hour. Bitcoin plunged below $9,300 and as I’m writing this is trading at around $9,800, down about 50% from its peak on December 17. Gone up in smoke in one month: $168 billion.

Ripple, the crypto that has recently been touted as the “next bitcoin” or “better than bitcoin,” plunged to $0.88 and is currently trading at $0.98, still down 76% from its peak on January 4. Gone up in smoke in two weeks: $110 billion.

Ethereum, after having plunged to $775, is now at $852, down 40% from its peak on January 13. Gone up in smoke in two weeks: $60 billion.

There are now over 1,400 of these “cryptocurrencies” and “tokens” out there, according to CoinMarketCap. Anyone can issue a new one. The supply is unlimited. On January 8, they were valued at $830 billion. Now they’re valued $472 billion. About $358 billion have been eradicated or transferred from those holding the bag to those that got out early.

Then there’s BitConnect, which is down 97% from $476 on December 28 to $14.39 currently, but bouncing wildly up and down. Nearly $4 billion evaporated, using the number cited by the Texas Securities Commissioner, which has entered an Emergency Cease and Desist Order. The Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State has issued a Temporary Order to Cease and Desist. Much of the operation has now been shut down.

“Gain financial freedom with a secure and practical alternative to centralized banking,” BitConnect said on its website. In the crypto-craze, people fall for anything.

So have crypto hedge funds triggered the collapse by trying to get their money out of an illiquid market?

An index by Eurekahedge that tracks nine crypto hedge funds soared 1,167% in 2017 through December 31 and over 17,000% since June 2013. So it’s understandable if, after this run-up, the funds might try to take some profits.

But the index does not yet include the collapse so far this year.

To continue reading: Crypto Collapse Crushes Hedge Funds that Touted Huge Gains for 2017 

Mr.Trump on the Apertures: Stark Madness and Inmiscibility, by Fred Reed

If Trump did say “shithole” his language leaves something to be desired, but not the notion that the US has both the right and obligation to be selective about whom it allows into the country. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

Pop Quiz: Take out a sheet of paper. This will be fifty percent of your grade: Which of the above is the Norwegian? Which from Mr. Trump’s other category? With which would you rather have your children go to school?

Mr. Trump’s comment regarding his preference for immigrants from Norway instead of “shithole countries”  such as Haiti engendered among the commentariat a great squealing. I cannot fathom this. Are they geographic virgins, and just don’t know anything of the world? Is it  only the usual schadenfreudian gotcha pile-on?  The if-A-then-B response to stimulus of a press corps with the freedom of thought I associate with a FORTRAN statement?

Shithole countries exist. Mr. Trummp’s  Haiti is one of them. Some other expression of more acceptable weaselhood might be employed: “hygienically-impaired conceivably preliterate ” or something.

If one takes “shithole” literally, Haiti is indeed excrementially challenged, I shamelessly steal this from John Derbyshire’s column on the Unz Review:

NPR: “A rainstorm on Good Friday last year filled the streets and alleys of one Port-au-Prince neighborhood with 3 feet of raw sewage.”

If unconvinced, try here.

However, Mr. trump’s term is usually figurative, meaning something like filthy, backward, pitiable, poor, unspeakable, degraded, ignorant, and so on. This is Haiti.

I once spent a week in the slums of Cite Soleil, in Port au Prince  with the US Army.  It was godawful. Huts of corrugated iron, “streets” of packed dirt, actually paths maybe two feet wide between them, no sewerage, no electricity. No medical care or, so I was told, education.  The impression was of an occupied garbage dump.

There were no guns, so the denizens went at each other with machetes, leading to missing limbs and exposed brains. Law enforcement did not exist. Witchcraft did. Haiti is voodoo territory.

One may sympathize with the inhabitants of such  a Dantean sub-basement, and I did. One may imagine ways of helping such people, and I did, knowing that they had been tried without effect. Yet there is no point in whitewashing a disaster, in pretending that Haiti is not what it is.

To continue reading: Mr.Trump on the Apertures: Stark Madness and Inmiscibility

The Whole World Is Sick and Tired of US Foreign Policy, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Strange as it may seem, people get tired of being bossed around, even when the boss is supposedly doing it for their own good. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

According to four-star General Wesley Clark, in a 1991 meeting with Paul Wolfowitz, then-under-secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, Wolfowitz seemed a little dismayed because he believed the U.S. should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm but failed to do so. Clark summarized what he says Wolfowitz said:

“‘But one thing we did learn. We learned that we can use our military in the region, in the Middle East, and the Soviets won’t stop us. We’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.’” [emphasis added]

This was certainly the case in the years that followed, as the United States used the pretext of 9/11 to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq with little to no substantive resistance from the international community. This trend continued as the Obama administration heavily expanded its operations into Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and even the Philippines, to name a few, right up until the U.S. led a cohort of NATO countries to impose regime change in Libya in 2011.

At the time, Russia withheld its veto power at the U.N. Security Council because it had received assurances that the coalition would not pursue regime change. After NATO forces began bombing Muammar Gaddafi’s palaces directly, a furious Vladimir Putin questioned: “Who gave NATO the right to kill Gaddafi?

Following Gaddafi’s public execution on the streets of Sirte, Putin’s criticism of NATO’s betrayal went even further. He stated:

“The whole world saw him being killed; all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos – who were not supposed to be there – brought in so-called opposition and militants and killed him without trial. I’m not saying that Gaddafi didn’t have to quit, but that should have been left up to the people of Libya to decide through the democratic process.”

To continue reading: The Whole World Is Sick and Tired of US Foreign Policy

 

Trump’s Phony Support for Iran’s Popular Protests, by Reese Erlich

Most Iranians, even the ones who don’t like their own government, can’t stand Trump. From Reese Erlich at antiwar.com:

During a recent reporting trip to Iran, I interviewed almost two dozen people at random in both rich and poor neighborhoods of Tehran. All the middle and upper-middle class people I spoke with said the government of President Hassan Rouhani had made economic progress, although not as much as they wanted. All the working-class Iranians said they had seen no economic improvements since Rouhani’s election in 2013.

Iranians overwhelmingly oppose Trump’s policies. Reese Erlich photo

Starting in late December, spontaneous protests broke out among young, working-class Iranians. While hundreds demonstrated in Tehran, tens of thousands demonstrated in eighty towns and smaller cities. To date, the government has arrested an estimated 1,000 people and twenty-two have died. The 2009 Green Movement mobilized much larger crowds but attracted mostly intellectuals and other middle-income folks.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that Iran’s economy will grow 4.2 percent by March. But, just as in the United States, very little of the country’s wealth trickles down.

A construction worker told me he has no regular place to live while working in Tehran. Sometimes contractors provide refurbished shipping containers as living quarters. Sometimes he stays with relatives. He blamed Iran’s economic problems on the economic sanctions imposed by the United States. He also blamed the Iranian government for wasting billions of dollars on wars in Syria and Iraq.

“First you have to feed your own people and then go around helping others,” he told me. He criticized widespread Iranian corruption. When the Revolutionary Guard builds projects, for example, workers often don’t get paid on time and then the officers say, “Oh, we spent the money in Syria or Iraq.”

But many other Iranians, while critical of corruption, are not willing to break with the Rouhani government. Tens of thousands of people participated in pro-government marches on January 5 as hardliners blamed the United States and foreign powers for the unrest.

Back in the United States, President Donald Trump has sought to use the protests to justify his aggressive policies.

He tweeted, “Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!”

But Iranians don’t believe Trump supports them. In my numerous, random interviews, I did not encounter a single person with anything positive to say about Trump. They opposed his ban on Iranian travel to the United States, his declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his efforts to cancel the nuclear accord.

To continue reading: Trump’s Phony Support for Iran’s Popular Protests