Category Archives: Surveillance

Clapper’s Credibility Collapses, by James McGovern

James Clapper is a hack and a slimeball. From James McGovern at antiwar.com:

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s key role in helping the Cheney/Bush administration “justify” war on Iraq with fraudulent intelligence was exposed on Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington by his own words quoted back to him from his memoir “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.” Hard truths, indeed.

Clapper was appointed Director of National Intelligence by President Barack Obama in June 2010, almost certainly at the prompting of Obama’s intelligence confidant and Clapper friend John Brennan, later director of the CIA. Despite Clapper’s performance on Iraq, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Obama even allowed Clapper to keep his job for three and a half more years after he admitted that he had lied under oath to that same Senate about the extent of eavesdropping on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). He is now a security analyst for CNN.

In his book, Clapper finally places the blame for the consequential fraud (he calls it “the failure”) to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs – squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” (emphasis added).

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Shocking NYT Expose Reveals Facebook’s Scramble To Label Liberal Critics Soros-Operatives While Trashing Google And Apple, by Tyler Durden

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg have no discernible principles. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The New York Times has painted a 5,300 word picture of an out-of-control Facebook’s desperate and incompetent damage control measures in the wake of multiple scandals.

Based on interviews with over 50 current and former company executives, lawmakers, government officials, lobbyists and congressional staff members – most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity – the Times illustrates how Facebook resorted to mercenary tactics when it came to combatting criticism over everything from Russian ad-spending during the 2016 US election, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to the platform’s blind eye towards corrupt governments using the social network to commit atrocities around the world.

as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. –NYT

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The Implicit Desperation of China’s “Social Credit” System, by Charles Hugh Smith

Charles Hugh Smith makes a keen distinction between power and force. From Smith at oftwominds.com:

Other governments are keenly interested in following China’s lead.
I’ve been pondering the excellent 1964 history of the Southern Song Dynasty’s capital of HangzhouDaily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276 by Jacques Gernet, in light of the Chinese government’s unprecedented “Social Credit Score” system, which I addressed in Kafka’s Nightmare Emerges: China’s “Social Credit Score”.
The scope of this surveillance is so broad and pervasive that it borders on science fiction: a recent Western visitor noted that train passengers hear an automated warning on certain lines, in Mandarin and English, that their compliance with regulations will be observed and may be punished via a poor social score.
In the Song Dynasty, arguably China’s high water mark in many ways (before the Mongol conquest changed China’s trajectory), social control required very little force. The power of social control rested in the cultural hierarchy of Confucian values: one obeyed the family’s patriarch, one’s local rulers and ultimately, the Emperor.

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Red Flag Gun Laws: Yet Another Government Weapon for Compliance and Control, by John W. Whitehead

It used to be dystopian fiction, but now pre-crime scenarios are coming true. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”—George Santayana

We never learn.

In the right (or wrong) hands, benevolent plans can easily be put to malevolent purposes.

Even the most well-intentioned government law or program can be—and has been—perverted, corrupted and used to advance illegitimate purposes once profit and power are added to the equation.

The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands.

Mark my words: red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people suspected of being threats, will only add to the government’s power.

These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another Trojan Horse, a stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.

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Three (3) Reasons Why Elections Don’t Matter, by Doug “Uncola” Lynn

Doug “Uncola” Lynn examines the trends and forces that render elections irrelevant. From Lynn at theburningplatform.com:

In so many ways, elections in America have become just another manifestation of bread and circuses; like watching a reality TV show when your house is on fire.  It’s why this article was almost named:

“The Inevitableness of Reality Requires Honesty and Acceptance”

Of course, the 2018 Midterm Elections will be analyzed ad nauseam, with other writers and pundits parsing it better than this blogger.  However, suffice it to say:  There was no Blue Wave and Trump has now solidified leadership of his Republican Party; at least more so than during the last two years of his administration.

In a raucous press conference the day after, Trump claimed victory and said his party “defied history to expand our Senate majority”. The president also said his focus in the days prior to the election remained on the senate and pointed out that most of the candidates for whom he campaigned had won their respective races.

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It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Google, by Mark Nestmann

If the history of business is any guide, Google too shall pass. From Mark Nestmann at lewrockwell.com:

A few months ago, the Verge leaked a training video from Google. The video, obviously not intended for public distribution, described the data produced by a girl on her cell phone – all snatched up by Google without her awareness.

That data, according to the video, “describes our actions, decisions, preferences, movement, and relationships.” Google uses the analogy of a ledger, with the data siphoned off the web by the internet giant being “a constantly evolving representation of who we are.”

The ledger, of course, is you. And the video made it clear that Google believes you do not own the data about you, but that you are merely a “transient carrier” of it.  What’s more, Google suggests that over time, it could provide “more inputs” to the ledger with the goal of modifying your behavior.

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A Badge of Shame: The Government’s War on America’s Military Veterans, by John W. Whitehead

We send our military on pointless interventions and wars and when they get back home, they’re treated like shit. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

For soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, coming home is more lethal than being in combat.” ― Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

Not all heroes wear the uniform of war.

In the United States, however, we take particular pride in recognizing as heroes those who have served in the military.

Yet while we honor our veterans with holidays, parades, discounts at retail stores and restaurants, and endless political rhetoric about their sacrifice and bravery, we do a pitiful job of respecting their freedoms and caring for their needs once out of uniform.

Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 20 million veterans who have served in World War II through the present day, the plight of veterans today is America’s badge of shame, with large numbers of veterans impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, suicide, and marital stress, homeless, subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration offices.

Still, the government’s efforts to wage war on veterans, especially those who speak out against government wrongdoing, is downright appalling.

Consider: we raise our young people on a steady diet of militarism and war, sell them on the idea that defending freedom abroad by serving in the military is their patriotic duty, then when they return home, bruised and battle-scarred and committed to defending their freedoms at home, we often treat them like criminals merely for having served in the military.

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