Oct 222022
 


Salvador Dali Punta es Baluard de la Riba d’en Pitxot 1918-19

 

US Election Outcome Threatens Ukraine Aid – Politico (RT)
Russian Language Should Become Extinct In Ukraine – Security Chief (RT)
The Arms-Swapper (John Kiriakou)
EU Leaders Fail To Agree On Russian Gas Price Cap (RT)
EU Wants To Use Frozen Russian Assets To Finance Ukraine (RT)
Musk Spars With Medvedev (RT)
France To Leave Energy Charter Treaty (RT)
Trump Officially Subpoenaed By Jan. 6 Committee (Axios)
Biden DOJ Wants $34 Million To Keep Targeting J6 Defendants (ZH)
The Authorities Are Our Enemies (Kunstler)
Time for Doctors and Politicians to Stop Ignoring the Devastating Data (Evans)
Fauci Forced To Testify On Social Media Censorship (RT)
We Will Be Challenging Any State’s Covid-19 School Vaccine Requirement (Siri)
I Try, But He Does It Better. He Cares About People. (Sotomayor)

 

 

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

Christine Anderson

 

 

 

 

NBC

 

 

 

 

This is becoming a popular theme in the politically correct press.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it..”

US Election Outcome Threatens Ukraine Aid – Politico (RT)

EU nations should be prepared to provide more aid to Ukraine after the November 8 midterm elections in the US, Politico reported. If the Republican Party takes control of Congress, “NATO’s most generous donor to Ukraine’s war effort may suddenly seem much more parsimonious,” next year, the publication warned on Thursday. Similar predictions have been made by other outlets, such as Axios. Opinion polls have been showing dwindling support among American voters for supporting Ukraine. Members of the Republican Party have been increasingly criticizing President Joe Biden for asking Congress for tens of billions of dollars in aid to Kiev and not spending the money on domestic issues that the party finds important, like border protection.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it,” House minority leader Kevin McCarthy told Punchbowl News this week. Republicans have long urged Europe to take a greater burden in supporting Ukraine, arguing that the crisis there is a bigger threat to Europeans than it is to the US. Politico predicted that with the party gaining a stronger grip on pursestrings, Washington’s approach to its allies may shift. The Biden administration is using “friendly encouragement … rather than haranguing its partners,” the news outlet noted. If the GOP takes over Congress, they would not use “such a convivial tone.”

But officials in Brussels don’t expect any serious changes in Washington’s generosity towards Ukraine due to an overall bipartisan consensus in favor of it. Estonian ambassador to the US, Kristjan Prikk, said he has “been assured by different members of Congress that there is a strong core support to continue the assistance to Ukraine as long as needed from both parties.” David McAllister, chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico that ultimately “the president maintains considerable control over foreign policy.” Meanwhile, European voters are feeling the pain of the trade breakup with Russia and the surge in energy prices it has caused. The EU leadership has been calling for unity and resolve in the face of economic hardships, stating that the bloc had to ensure Moscow’s defeat by Kiev.

Read more …

Zelensky is fluent in Russian. They all are. “The Russian language is nothing but an “element of enemy propaganda and brainwashing of our people..”

Russian Language Should Become Extinct In Ukraine – Security Chief (RT)

The Russian language should be eradicated in Ukraine as it is allegedly being used as a tool by Moscow to wield influence on Ukrainians, one of the country’s key security officials has claimed. The Russian language is nothing but an “element of enemy propaganda and brainwashing of our people,” Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said on the ‘Big Lviv Talks’ show on Friday. The official also spoke in favor of Ukrainians learning English instead. According to Danilov, the very idea that Ukrainians have to understand the Russian tongue is a “dangerous narrative.” “Look, we don’t want anything from them [Russians]. Why don’t they leave us alone? Let them go to their swamps and croak in the Russian language,” he stated.

The senior official went on to criticize pundits and experts who speak Russian while appearing on Ukrainian TV. According to the 2001 census, approximately 14.3 million Ukrainians (29% of the population) speak Russian as their first language. Some other estimates put that number even higher. The language is particularly widespread in the eastern and southern regions of the country. Ever since the Maidan coup back in 2014, Moscow has been consistently accusing the Ukrainian government of systematically discriminating against Russian-speakers. The perceived violations of the linguistic minority’s rights were also cited by the secessionist movements in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, parts of which went on to become the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, respectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently cautioned his country against taking cues from those who engage in ‘cancel culture’. Speaking at a media conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, he noted that around three million Ukrainians permanently reside in Russia. “How can we prohibit their language and culture? We don’t have anything of the kind on our minds,” Putin added. Commenting on reports about a man who had been fined in Moscow for listening to Ukrainian music in his car, the president said that attempts to ban the Ukrainian language in Russia were “illegal in themselves.”

Read more …

Blinken.

The Arms-Swapper (John Kiriakou)

The problem the Ukrainians are facing is that American weapons are difficult to use. They’re sophisticated and complicated. And there just isn’t any time for Americans to train Ukrainians in how to use them. A better idea, the administration thinks, is to just ask countries around the world that have Russian weapons to help. It wasn’t just these three South American countries that he asked. Blinken also asked South Africa, Finland, Cambodia, Rwanda, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cyprus. Would they send their Russian weapons to Ukraine and take American weapons in return? According to The New York Times, most of those countries said yes. Cyprus, though, said no. The Cyprus situation is what I was referring to at the start of this article. Greece and Turkey are both members of NATO. Cyprus is not.

Greece and Cyprus are members of the European Union. Turkey is not. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and has occupied the northern third of the island ever since. There are 33,000 Turkish occupation troops there right now. In 1974, Henry Kissinger, who was then both secretary of state and national security adviser, believed that the only way to stop the fighting was to impose an arms embargo on all three countries. Greece quit NATO in protest. The arms embargo didn’t last long. It was lifted on Greece and Turkey in 1979 and Greece rejoined NATO. But for reasons that have never been terribly clear, the arms embargo was maintained on Cyprus — until last month. [A commonly cited explanation for the embargo was to support U.N.-facilitated reunification efforts for Cyprus.]

In the intervening 48 years, Cyprus developed its economy, joined the European Union and bought French and Russian weapons. Now Tony Blinken wants them to send those Russian weapons to the Ukrainians. The Cypriot parliament asked rhetorically last week where the United States has been for the past 48 years, while some 1,510 Cypriots are still missing and presumed dead from the Turkish invasion. Even five American citizens are still missing from the conflict. They told Tony Blinken that they have more pressing problems than what the nationality of Ukraine’s weapons happens to be. They’re worried about 33,000 Turkish combat troops and daily Turkish statements that another invasion may be in the cards in the run-up to Turkish elections next year.

George Webb – Schiff

Read more …

“..a unilateral decision of this kind is, of course, a violation of essential terms of the agreements which would lead to a termination of supplies.”

EU Leaders Fail To Agree On Russian Gas Price Cap (RT)

EU leaders have failed to agree on a gas price cap following a summit in Brussels, but expressed their willingness to keep looking for bloc-wide solutions to the energy crisis. “There is a strong and unanimously shared determination to act together, as Europeans, to achieve three goals: lowering prices, ensuring security of supply, and continuing to work to reduce demand,” European Council President Charles Michel said after the meeting in the Belgian capital concluded late on Thursday. During a press conference on Friday morning, Michel insisted that the summit had sent “a clear signal to the market” and pledged that “there will be an effect very soon” from the EU’s moves to alleviate the energy crisis.

While they failed to find common ground on a gas price cap, the EU leaders asked the European Commission to come up with a “temporary dynamic price corridor on natural gas transactions to immediately limit episodes of excessive gas prices.” The participants of the summit also suggested that the EU’s joint purchasing power should be used as leverage in negotiations with global suppliers of gas. Joint purchasing would be voluntary for member states, but would require them to buy 15% of the volume needed to fill gas storage through the bloc’s mechanisms. EU energy ministers are expected to meet next week to discuss solutions to the crisis, which was exacerbated by the fallout from European sanctions on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine and the subsequent drastic reduction of Russian gas supplies to the bloc. The situation deteriorated even further in late September when the Nord Stream pipelines, which deliver Russian gas to European customers through Germany, were damaged.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who opposes radical interventions in the gas market, said after the summit that “there is a lot to do to make this concrete, but we need to find a concrete way to limit” the spikes in prices. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has pointed out that it was “very difficult to see” an agreement on the price cap being reached within the next few weeks. “We really have to assess all the pros and cons and the ramifications. If it would not fulfill the requirements, for example, could also lead to a higher base price or gas sailing away from Europe,” he pointed out. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow would cut off energy deliveries altogether if any price caps were imposed. The head of Russian gas giant Gazprom Alexey Miller also insisted last week that “a unilateral decision of this kind is, of course, a violation of essential terms of the agreements which would lead to a termination of supplies.”

Read more …

How to make theft legal. And lose your own legality in the process.

EU Wants To Use Frozen Russian Assets To Finance Ukraine (RT)

EU leaders have instructed the European Commission to prepare proposals on ways of using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine, Russian media reported on Friday. The statement comes as EU leaders wrapped up a two-day summit in Brussels. “We have to talk about the use of [frozen] assets that we have – Russian [frozen] assets. We have over €300 billion ($292 billion) of [frozen] assets and how we can use them in benefit of Ukraine,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Friday, as quoted by CNN. Legally, frozen funds still belong to Russia or its citizens. In order to spend those assets, the EU needs to find a way of confiscating them. According to media reports, EU leaders will discuss the possible confiscation of frozen Russian assets at a summit in Brussels in May.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was looking to provide Ukraine with about €1.5 billion each month. The bloc’s finance ministers have been tasked with pulling together the money. The EU seized property belonging to Russian businessmen and companies, along with the assets of the Russian Central Bank, as part of sanctions against Moscow. The idea of using the funds in Ukraine was first put forward several months ago and was supported by politicians such as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, former UK prime minister Liz Truss, and president of the European Council Charles Michel. Top US officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that using those funds in Ukraine could be illegal and would discourage other countries from investing in the United States. Russia strongly criticized the seizure of its assets by the Western nations, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the asset freeze essentially constitutes theft.

Read more …

“See you in Moscow on the Victory Day!”

Musk Spars With Medvedev (RT)

US billionaire Elon Musk and former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev have lashed out at each other on Twitter. The Tesla CEO asked about the situation on the frontline in Ukraine, to which Medvedev invited him to Moscow to celebrate Victory Day. The exchange came on Friday after Musk expressed appreciation for a tongue-in-cheek comment that Medvedev made about outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss. He followed up on the compliment by asking Medvedev: “Btw, how’s it going in Bakhmut?” He was referring to a frontline city in the Donetsk People’s Republic in Russia which is currently controlled by Ukrainian troops. “See you in Moscow on the Victory Day!” Medvedev responded.

The term “Victory Day” usually refers to the Russian national holiday on May 9, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany, when the country holds large-scale military parades in Moscow and other major cities. The first part of the online conversation between Medvedev and Musk was about the former president’s comment on Truss’ short tenure as Britain’s prime minister, which the billionaire called “a good troll.” Medvedev reacted to Truss’ resignation this week by bidding her farewell and congratulating “lettuce,” alluding to a popular running joke in Britain. Last week, The Economist magazine said that in just seven days of being in control since the period of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II ended, Truss “blew up her own government.” The time is “roughly the shelf-life of a lettuce,” it added. The Daily Star tabloid responded last Friday by launching an online broadcast of a lettuce, wondering if it would last longer than the prime minister. Truss resigned on Thursday.

Read more …

The Energy Charter Treaty lets companies, investors sue governments for perceived damage to their profits. God knows why it was ever signed.

France To Leave Energy Charter Treaty (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday that France will leave the Energy Charter Treaty. Report informs, citing Politico, that the pact, which allows international companies and investors to sue governments over interventions that hit the profits of energy projects, is increasingly seen as a threat to national climate plans. “France has decided to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty,” Macron said at a press conference following an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, adding that the move is “coherent” with the country’s climate ambitions and the Paris climate agreement. The decision follows announcements from Spain, the Netherlands and Poland that they will withdraw from the pact. Germany and Belgium have signaled they are considering their options. Earlier this week, France’s High Council on Climate said continued membership of the treaty posed a threat to the EU’s climate goals.

Read more …

This committee is America at its worst. It beats even Mueller for that top spot.

They got Steve Bannon convicted yesterday, but he says he simply acted on his lawyers’ advice.

Trump Officially Subpoenaed By Jan. 6 Committee (Axios)

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Friday formally issued a subpoena to former President Trump. Trump is the highest-ranking individual targeted for testimony by the panel, which has been building a case that the ex-president was the primary instigator of the deadly riot. Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the chair and vice chair of the panel, are requesting Trump turn over documents by Nov. 4 and appear for a deposition on Nov. 14. “As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence … that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” they wrote in a letter shared publicly Friday.

The committee seeks testimony about Trump’s dealings with associates who invoked the Fifth Amendment when questioned by the panel about their communications with him, including Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kelli Ward. It also says the testimony and documents will inform the committee’s planned legislative recommendations to ensure “no future President could succeed at anything even remotely similar to the unlawful steps you took to overturn the election.” The details: Among the documents listed in the subpoena are Trump’s communications on Jan. 6, 2021 and any photographs or videos taken on that day related to the Ellipse rally, the joint session of Congress or the Capitol riot. Also requested are:

Communications from Nov. 3, 2020 to Jan. 6, 2021 about efforts to press former Vice President Mike Pence, state legislators, the Justice Department and members of Congress to help overturn the election, as well as summoning supporters to D.C. on Jan. 6. Communications during that period between Trump and more than a dozen of his associates including Stone, Flynn, Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and Sidney Powell. Communications during that period about lawsuits and potential lawsuits that may have delayed or disrupted the joint session, and about fundraising off of claims of election fraud. Documents and communications from Sept. 1, 2020 to the present regarding the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, other militia groups and any individuals who attended the Ellipse rally or the Capitol riot. Communications from July, 2021 to the present about the select committee, as well as witnesses who testified to the panel and their lawyers.Documents about the destruction of any materials that would have been covered by the subpoena.

Read more …

“For comparison, the entire Mueller Russiagate investigation cost $32 million.”

Biden DOJ Wants $34 Million To Keep Targeting J6 Defendants (ZH)

The Biden administration’s weaponized Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked Congress for more than $34 million in new funding to continue its January 6th investigation, NBC News reports. The budget request for 2023 will fund 130 employees, including 80 federal prosecutors, to aid in the “extraordinary,” “unprecedented” and “complex” investigation. “We don’t have the manpower,” said one official told the outlet, noting that many J6 participants who will eventually be charged haven’t been arrested yet. Another official said that the cash crunch was a “culmination” of various factors – including the need to provide support for cases moving to trial. A third official called it a “work-in-progress” as prosecutors from US attorney’s offices around the country are recalled to their offices.

The request comes after federal officials have made around 850 arrests in the nearly 19 months since the incident – just a fraction of the 2,500 people who entered the Capitol, and the “hundreds more who committed serious crimes outside but haven’t yet been arrested.” The massive trove of evidence — be it body camera and surveillance video or damning content generated by suspects themselves — presents a tremendous challenge for an enormous bureaucracy working with technology that’s often a few years behind the times, at best. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which is overseeing the Capitol siege investigation, is also running separate inquiries exploring the fake electors scheme and a conspiracy to obstruct the Jan. 6 electoral vote certification, both of which touch on Trump’s actions in the lead-up to Jan. 6, as well as on the day of the attack. -NBC News

The requested funding comes after it was slashed from the omnibus spending bill passed in March. In an interview earlier this week, Attorney General Merrick Garland told NBC News that he was “confident” the DOJ would be able to handle the workload regardless of what Congress does. “Of course, we’d like more resources, and if Congress wants to give that to us, that would be very nice,” Garland said on Tuesday. “But we have people — prosecutors and agents — from all over the country working on this matter, and I have every confidence in their ability, their professionalism, their dedication to this task.” Former US Attorney Joyce Vance told MSNBC: “People are concerned about the resources. It’s an enormous amount of cases, and that puts pressure not just on DOJ, but on the courts and probation. It puts pressure on the entire system.”

Read more …

“..unlike the experts who sit on the CDC’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, many parents have actually read about the serious adverse reactions in young people who get the shots.”

The Authorities Are Our Enemies (Kunstler)

Adding the mRNA shots to the official vaccine schedule will make permanent the liability shield their makers enjoy under the current emergency use authorization (EUA). Pfizer and Moderna are now off-the-hook for any responsibility, unless fraud over the vaxxes is proven in a court of law. Given the vast evidence of harms done by these products, will that be a difficult thing to do? Consider: cases for fraud can be brought in any jurisdiction of the USA, not just in the notoriously corrupt DC federal district court, which does not recognize crime for what it is (crime). This is the first time that a pharmaceutical under an EUA has been admitted to the childhood vaccine schedule.

The Vaccine Advisory Committee said it was okay because it consulted with the Department of Justice’s Office of General Counsel, and the lawyers there said it was okay. One might ask: is it within the purview of the DOJ’s Office of General Counsel to review the medical criteria for such a decision? The answer must be no. How are they qualified? You may be certain they did not parse the drug trial data on the mRNA products, or study the official reports of deaths and injuries. In short, they know nothing. Their authority in the matter is vacated. Since many states and localities go by the CDC’s vaccine guidelines, as well as pediatricians, then millions of children will be required to get the shots to attend school. So, the CDC has not only put an as-yet-untold number of kids on the road to disability, infertility, and death, but it may have coincidentally destroyed public schooling in America.

The so-called “uptake” on mRNA shots for children has been paltry. Parents do not want their kids to get the shots. Do you know why? I’ll tell you: Because, unlike the experts who sit on the CDC’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, many parents have actually read about the serious adverse reactions in young people who get the shots. And many more have heard enough horrifying rumors — despite the criminal delinquency of the major news media in ignoring any negative news about the vaxxes — prompting these parents to steer clear of vaxxing their children. Other countries have officially and altogether discontinued mRNA vaxxes for children. Do you think that’s for no reason?

Reverse damage

Read more …

“This failure of due diligence has come at a huge price – to doctors and nurses as individuals and clinicians, to the medical profession as a body, and to the public as a whole.”

Time for Doctors and Politicians to Stop Ignoring the Devastating Data (Evans)

Tragically, the vast majority of the medical profession and wider public were deceived by the powerful and incessant Government and media messaging that the vaccines would be our ‘only way out’ and that we should ‘trust the science’. It is now clear that most people, including doctors, did no independent research beyond listening to the Government press conferences, the pronouncements of health officials, the Today programme and reading the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail and so on. This failure of due diligence has come at a huge price – to doctors and nurses as individuals and clinicians, to the medical profession as a body, and to the public as a whole.

Trust in the medical profession and health bodies has been seriously damaged, as evidence of unprecedented levels of vaccine injury mount and the extravagant claims of 95% or even 100% effectiveness have not been borne out in the real world. Indeed, real world data is repeatedly showing negative effectiveness of the Covid jabs in a matter of weeks – meaning that you are more likely to catch Covid if you are vaccinated than unvaccinated. These Covid jabs have certainly not lived up to the incessantly repeated marketing slogan of ‘safe and effective’. The UKMFA is calling now for the medical profession, politicians and decision-makers to actively engage with the huge amount of published science and real-world data, and to listen to the multitude of eminent scientists, doctors and independent journalists laying the facts out for easy independent research and understanding.

A good place to start would be the two part paper “Curing the pandemic of misinformation on COVID-19 mRNA vaccines through real evidence-based medicine”, published by Dr. Aseem Malhotra in the Journal of Insulin Resistance on September 26th 2022, and the press conference that he gave to explain his findings and to call for an immediate and “complete suspension” of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines pending a full and independent investigation into the safety of these products. As a society, we now have an opportunity and responsibility to change course, to start to put things right and to hold accountable those people who failed in their duties and responsibilities to protect the public, so that this can never happen again. There is no shame in admitting that you were wrong or misled. Science, unlike the dogma of ‘The Science’, is all about constantly testing existing hypotheses and adapting and changing them when the facts change or new information comes to light. We have more than enough evidence to challenge the hypothesis that Covid vaccines are ‘safe and effective’.

Kolakusic EU deaths

Read more …

“Plaintiffs move for the following government officials to be deposed as a part of their limited preliminary injunction discovery. These are: (1) NIAID Director and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, (2) Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, (3) former White House Senior COVID-19 Advisory Andrew Slavitt, (4) former White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, (5) FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan, (6) CISA Director Jen Easterly, (7) CISA official Lauren Protentis, (8) Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, (9) CDC Chief of the Digital Media Branch Carol Crawford, and (10) Acting Coordinator of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center Daniel Kimmage. Defendants oppose Plaintiffs’ deposing of all of them”

Fauci Forced To Testify On Social Media Censorship (RT)

The White House’s chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, and other senior officials are set to be deposed under oath as part of a lawsuit claiming the government worked alongside social media platforms to create a “massive censorship enterprise” throughout the Covid-19 outbreak. In a Friday ruling, Judge Terry Doughty granted a joint request from the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana to compel several current and former officials to testify in the suit, among them Fauci, ex-White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Director of White House Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and two high-level figures from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


“After finding documentation of a collusive relationship between the [Joe] Biden administration and social media companies to censor free speech, we immediately filed a motion to get these officials under oath,” Missouri AG Eric Schmitt said in a statement. “It is high time we shine a light on this censorship enterprise and force these officials to come clean to the American people, and this ruling will allow us to do just that. We’ll keep pressing for the truth.” While the defense insisted that senior officials can only be called to testify about their actions in office under “extraordinary circumstances,” Judge Doughty said the personnel in question met that standard. He added that the two GOP-led states “have proven that Dr. Fauci has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to Covid-19,”ordering him to cooperate with a deposition.

Requests to depose the other officials were granted on similar grounds, as the judge concluded all either held direct meetings with social media firms about the purported censorship, or had close knowledge of those discussions. Jen Easterly, who heads up the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was also ordered to testify. She played a “central role” in “flagging misinformation to social-media companies for censorship,”the plaintiffs argued, describing the cyber agency the “nerve center” of “the federal government’s efforts to censor social media users.” The same official was said to be involved in the DHS’ now-defunct ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ – dubbed the ‘Ministry of Truth’ by critics – which would have created a new mechanism to facilitate cooperation between the White House and social media sites.


Initially filed last May by Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, the lawsuit claims the federal government encouraged online platforms to censor, delete or ban certain speech about the pandemic, including discussion of the “lab leak theory of Covid-19’s origin,” as well as questions about the effectiveness of face masks, vaccines or lockdown policies, among other issues. The two AGs have largely relied on documents obtained through subpoenas of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook’s parent firm Meta, which detail regular communications between the government and social media sites. The White House, as well as the eight officials ordered to testify, have yet to comment on Friday’s ruling. The depositions must take place within 30 days of the order, though it remains unclear whether the defense intends to appeal the decision.

95%

Read more …

”Everyone should be free to get numerous shots because that is freedom.

And everyone should be free to reject any unwanted shot because that, too, is freedom”

We Will Be Challenging Any State’s Covid-19 School Vaccine Requirement (Siri)

The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee unanimously voted a few hours ago to add the Covid-19 vaccine to the CDC’s routine childhood vaccination schedule. Immediately following the vote, I received a call from Del Bigtree, ICAN’s founder and host of The HighWire, to tell me that ICAN will support a legal challenge to any state that imposes a Covid-19 vaccine mandate to attend school. We look forward to bringing those challenges to protect the individual right of every American, especially the youngest among us, as we successfully did when challenging the San Diego School District’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate. Everyone should be free to get numerous shots because that is freedom.

And everyone should be free to reject any unwanted shot because that, too, is freedom. While most post-March 2020 mandates have been successfully challenged or rescinded, we must never forget that the repressive arm of government is just behind a curtain, waiting to strangle our rights. That is why we must fight, always fight, to push back against that oppression. It is not a war that is won. It is an endless battle with one side pushing the needle toward eliminating individual rights and the other side that must never stop pushing back – because once it swings too far, we will not easily regain our rights. Power seized is rarely returned.

The next battle front is the body of every child in this country whose parents do not want them to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. A product for which you cannot sue the manufacturers for harm. A product whose clinical trial for children was underpowered, not properly controlled, and that did not review safety for a sufficient duration. But even in the absence of these issues, corrosive rights-crushing mandates should never exist. We look forward to, with ICAN’s support, challenging any state’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for school.

P.S. Note that the CDC’s action of adding the Covid-19 vaccine to its routine childhood vaccine schedule does not automatically make it mandatory in all states for attending school. In most states, the state itself needs to take action to make it mandatory. The expectation is that some states will seek to do just that.

C19 injury

Read more …

I read this from Sotomayor earlier, and never mind the Turley setting. It’s beautiful, and almost poetic.

I Try, But He Does It Better. He Cares About People. (Sotomayor)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the Court’s most strident liberals, praised her conservative colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas, in a lecture at Roosevelt University in Chicago on Thursday evening, noting his unique compassion for others. Sotomayor was quoted as saying: “I have disagreed with [Thomas] more than with any other justice. Which means we don’t come together on many cases. And yet I can tell you that I spend time with him, understanding that he is one of the few justices who knows practically everybody in our building. He knows their name, he knows the things about their life, what their family is suffering. He’ll tell me, you know that person’s wife is sick right now, or that person’s child is having difficulty.


There’s no other justice who does that. I try, but he does it better. He cares about people. Now, he cares on legal interests differently. And he sees those legal issues much differently than I do. I tell people, you know Clarence believes, just like him, because he grew up very, very poor, that everyone is capable of picking themselves up by their bootstraps. I understand that some people can’t reach their bootstraps. That’s a fundamental difference in how we view what the law can or should or does do for people. But I can appreciate him.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephants

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 192020
 


Pablo Picasso Self portrait 1907

 

‘Unverified’ Is A (False) Excuse For Ignoring NYP’s Hunter Biden Scoops (NYP)
Steve Bannon Behind ‘Roll-Out Plan’ For Hunter Biden Emails (ZH)
Does This Explain Why Facebook Suppressed Hunter Biden Revelations? (AT)
Ukrainian Lawmaker: 2nd Laptop Related To Hunter Biden Seized By Law Enforcement (DM)
How Hysterical Punditry Failed America (Tracey)
China Says Its Economy Grew 4.9% In The Third Quarter (CNBC)
China’s Inflation Struggles To Perk Up Despite Broader Recovery (R.)
Sweden To Bring In Local Lockdowns As Covid Cases Rise (Sun)
Alberta’s Contact Tracing Raises Red Flags (CBC)
The Day The International Tax Authorities Came Knocking (Age)
Social Media Creators Admit It Dehumanizes People, Disrupts Social Fabric (RT)

 

 

Yaneer Europe

 

 

“It’s particularly rich that The New York Times has fixated on the “unverified” excuse, since it’s spent much of the Trump era offering supposed dirt from anonymous sources — which, by definition, makes the info unverifiable.”

‘Unverified’ Is A (False) Excuse For Ignoring NYP’s Hunter Biden Scoops (NYP)

Much of the push to ignore The Post’s drop of Hunter Biden’s e-mails centers on the charge that it’s all “unverified.” The claim is more excuse than truth. First, a host of media outlets have now interviewed the computer-repair guy who provided the data at the heart of these exposés — and he’s said exactly what we’ve reported from the start about how the laptop came into his possession. Second, neither Hunter nor Joe Biden has even questioned the fact that the drive is real — they merely dismiss the entire line of questioning, while charging that The Post has an agenda in presenting it to the world.

Third, we’ve published emails and pictures — most of which have nothing to do with Ukraine or China — that contain an extraordinary level of detail. Is that all fabricated? The Biden campaign’s response, notably, is not that an e-mail from a Burisma official thanking Hunter for an introduction to his father isn’t real, it’s that said meeting doesn’t show up on Joe’s “official” schedules. Pressed by Politico, the campaign acknowledged that they couldn’t say for certain if Joe Biden had met him casually. It’s particularly rich that The New York Times has fixated on the “unverified” excuse, since it’s spent much of the Trump era offering supposed dirt from anonymous sources — which, by definition, makes the info unverifiable.

A simple but striking case of that is The Atlantic’s “reporting” that President Trump spoke contemptuously and insultingly of US troops during his trip to France for war-memorial ceremonies. Its claims were based purely on anonymous sources — but contradicted by a number of on-the-record sources, including ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has absolutely no reason to lie to protect the man who fired him.

Biden drops out

Read more …

His recent arrest makes him seem even more compromised.

Steve Bannon Behind ‘Roll-Out Plan’ For Hunter Biden Emails (ZH)

As former Breitbart journalist Lee Stranahan – who’s not exactly Bannon’s biggest fan – puts it, “I can’t think of a single example of him saying he had the goods on the story that didn’t pan out,” adding “If he says a lot more is coming he’s not shooting blanks.” [..] Last week the NY Post took the political world by storm with its release of shocking material from Hunter Biden’s hard drive indicating corruption, sexual depravity, and more. The Post reported that a lawyer for former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani obtained the hard drive from a computer repairman and that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon had alerted the Post to the existence of the hard drive in July.

“But before turning over the gear, the shop owner says, he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello. Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday”. [NY Post] Steve Bannon has since clarified to Revolver News that he was brought into the project based on familiarity with corruption in corporate America, on Wall Street, and within the Chinese Communist Party and America’s political class. Mr. Bannon revealed that he “worked up and executed the roll out plan” of the information contained in the Hunter hard drives. Given his close knowledge and familiarity with an issue of such explosive importance to the election, Revolver asked Mr. Bannon a few questions pertaining to the contents of Hunter’s hard drive and the political implications of their release.

Revolver: What is the most incriminating thing on the hard drive? Rudy has suggested illegal things, and as Revolver reported, the FBI person tasked with the hard drive is associated with the child pornography division. Could you give more insight into how bad it is we’re talking about? Mr. Bannon: Joe Biden is a liar, a fraud, and compromised by Chinese cash. In short, he is a national security crisis. The hard drive combines emails and text messages that show a massive involvement with companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Also, there are 25,000 images that show a drug-addled, depraved lifestyle — one that decent hardworking Americans will not want near the White House.

Revolver: The FBI has been holding onto the hard drive for almost a year? Any sense of why? Was there any indication that they were seriously interested in a criminal case, assuming that there is, in fact, illegal material on there? If not, why would the FBI simply hold onto information like that? Mr. Bannon: The President must confront the director of the FBI on why the information housed on this hard drive was not moved on immediately. If the content of the hard drive had been released when received in November 2019, there would have been no impeachment of Trump, and Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic Party nominee. This confrontation should take place this weekend in the Oval Office. If Wray doesn’t have a bulletproof reason he should be fired in the room.

Revolver: What are your best estimates on how many foreign entities may have obtained possession of the hard drive? Chinese intel? Mr. Bannon: It’s the actions represented on the hard drive that the American people must understand our enemies know about. The cash and equity given for access to Biden, the favors done for that cash, the drugs, the depravity. The CCP, Russian Intel, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Intel Services — they know the Bidens are for sale. [..] The Bidens are about to be hit with multiple stories from multiple media sources based off evidence beyond the hard drive. Fox and Peter Schweitzer have already started but bigger more mainstream companies are going to weigh in. We already have set in motion the various apparatuses that will release everything.

Read more …

If there’s one thing we’ve found out the past week it’s a whole new set of revolving doors exist.

Does This Explain Why Facebook Suppressed Hunter Biden Revelations? (AT)

The moment the New York Post reported on some of the sleazy, corrupt details contained on Hunter Biden’s hard drive, Twitter and Facebook, the social media giants most closely connected to the way Americans exchange political information, went into overdrive to suppress the information and protect Joe Biden. In the case of Facebook, though, perhaps one of those protectors was, in fact, protecting herself. The person currently in charge of Facebook’s election integrity program is Anna Makanju. That name probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, but it should mean a lot – and in a comforting way — to Joe Biden. Before ending up at Facebook, Makanju was a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council is an ostensibly non-partisan think tank that deals with international affairs. In fact, it’s a decidedly partisan organization.

In 2009, James L. Jones, the Atlantic Council’s chairman left the organization to be President Obama’s National Security Advisor. Susan Rice, Richard Holbrooke, Eric Shinseki, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Chuck Hagel, and Brent Scowcroft also were all affiliated with the Atlantic Council before they ended up in the Obama administration. The Atlantic Council has received massive amounts of foreign funding over the years. Here’s one that should interest everyone: Burisma Holdings donated $300,000 dollars to the Atlantic Council, over the course of three consecutive years, beginning in 2016. The information below may explain why it began paying that money to the Council. Not only was the Atlantic Council sending people into the Obama-Biden administration, but it was also serving as an outside advisor. And that gets us back to Anna Makanju, the person heading Facebook’s misleadingly titled “election integrity program.”

Makanju also worked at the Atlantic Council. The following is the relevant part of Makanju’s professional bio from her page at the Atlantic Council: “Anna Makanju is a nonresident senior fellow with the Transatlantic Security Initiative. She is a public policy and legal expert working at Facebook, where she leads efforts to ensure election integrity on the platform. Previously, she was the special policy adviser for Europe and Eurasia to former US Vice President Joe Biden, senior policy adviser to Ambassador Samantha Power at the United States Mission to the United Nations, director for Russia at the National Security Council, and the chief of staff for European and NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She has also taught at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and worked as a consultant to a leading company focused on space technologies.”

[..] on the same day in February 2016 that then-Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced that Shokin had offered his resignation, Biden spoke to both Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The White House version is that Biden gave both men pep talks about reforming the government and fighting corruption. And that’s where Makanju comes in: “Anna Makanju, Biden’s senior policy adviser for Ukraine at the time, also listened to the calls and said release of the transcripts would only strengthen Biden’s case that he acted properly. She helped Biden prepare for the conversations and said they operated at a high level, with Biden using language such as Poroshenko’s government being “nation builders for a transformation of Ukraine.”

Read more …

Not sure if this enhances the story or kills it.

Ukrainian Lawmaker: 2nd Laptop Related To Hunter Biden Seized By Law Enforcement (DM)

A Ukrainian lawmaker has claimed a second laptop belonging to Hunter Biden’s business contacts in the country has been seized by law enforcement there. Andrii Derkach posted to Facebook on Friday to say there is a ‘second laptop’ involving evidence of corruption and connected to the Bidens, The Daily Beast reports. Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has said foreign sources did not provide the Hunter Biden emails first reported last week. He says a laptop containing the correspondence and intimate photos was simply abandoned in a Delaware repair shop and the shop owner reached out to Giuliani’s lawyer. Derkach is one of Giuliani’s principal contacts and was mentioned in an August intelligence assessment that described a concerted Russian effort to disparage Biden.

A Treasury Department sanction announcement from last month characterized Derkach as an ‘active Russian agent for over a decade.’ Now he claims to know of a second laptop, used by ‘two representatives for the interests of [Burisma founder Mykola] Zlochevsky.’ Hunter served on the board of directors at Ukrainian energy company Burisma. In the post Derkach says that laptop ‘was given to Ukrainian law enforcement’ and that Burisma representatives were now serving as ‘witnesses in criminal proceedings.’ The Ukrainian parliamentarian said: ‘The facts that confirm international corruption are stored on the second laptop. ‘This laptop was handed over to Ukrainian law enforcement officers, and the “workers” themselves are now witnesses in criminal proceedings.’

Derkach says the workers are ‘ready to tell’ about international corruption involving the Bidens. He warns: ‘But most importantly! These are not the last witnesses or the last laptop.’ Giuliani has not been shy about discussing his foreign contacts, including with Derkach. In December, Derkach posted on his Facebook page photos of him and Giuliani meeting in Kyiv.

Read more …

Panic sells.

How Hysterical Punditry Failed America (Tracey)

It seems like only yesterday that America’s leading organs of elite consensus were engulfed by a full-fledged panic that the country was on the cusp of all-out Civil War. The means by which this prophesied conflict would be instigated — much less fought — were never made exactly clear, but that wasn’t the point. After all, logistical or operational specifics are immaterial when it’s already been ordained that something unimaginably, harrowingly catastrophic is just around the corner. “This is not a drill. The Reichstag is burning,” blared a five-alarm-fire warning in the Washington Post by Dana Milbank, who may want to consider a title change from “columnist” to “in-house hysteric”. Not to be outdone, establishment weather-vane Thomas Friedman joined the fray in the New York Times with an equally shocking exhortation: “I can’t say this any more clearly,” he hyperventilated.

“Our democracy is in terrible danger — more danger than it has been since the Civil War, more danger than after Pearl Harbor, more danger than during the Cuban missile crisis […]”. If these fevered prognostications even bore the faintest resemblance to political conditions in the United States, it might seem a bit odd that the pundits in question have since moved on to other subjects. Or to put it this way: if they really believed their own fantastical rhetoric, shouldn’t they have spent the past few weeks taking action more tangible than rattling off a few throwaway columns and browsing Twitter? Not that any “resistance” brigade composed of pallid middle-aged journalists would be especially formidable on the battlefield, but the point is that their conduct doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the incredible alarmism of their words.

More destruction could be in store next month than was wrought in World War II, the most devastating global military conflict in human history? All of civilisation was nearly wiped out in the Cuban Missile Crisis, but we’re supposed to believe that whatever harm is brought about by the election aftermath will exceed that? If so, why aren’t these people stockpiling canned food and training for hand-to-hand combat? They’re not doing anything of the sort because this latest round of histrionics is just a continuation of a theme that has characterised the Trump era: political and cultural elites, whose psyches have been profoundly damaged, will churn out nonstop waves of hysteria rarely noting afterwards if their frenzied forecasts ever panned out.

Read more …

I basically see only people doubting these numbers.

China Says Its Economy Grew 4.9% In The Third Quarter (CNBC)

China’s economy recovered further from the coronavirus in the third quarter, according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The world’s second-largest economy reported third-quarter GDP growth on the low end of expectations, up 4.9% from a year ago. That brings growth for the first three quarters of the year to 0.7% from a year ago. Chinese economists expected GDP growth of 5.2% in the third quarter, according to an average of estimates compiled by Wind Information, a financial information database. Slower recovery in Chinese consumption remained a drag, while uncertainty persisted about the ability of other countries to control the coronavirus pandemic and return to economic growth.


“Generally speaking, the overall national economy continued the steady recovery and significant results have been delivered in coordinating epidemic prevention and development,” the bureau said in an English-language release. “However, we should also be aware that the international environment is still complicated and severe,” the release said, “with considerable instabilities and uncertainties, and that we are under great pressure of forestalling epidemic transmissions from abroad and its resurgence at home. The economy is still in the process of recovery and the foundation for sustained recovery needs to be consolidated.”

Read more …

This one is easy: China is overproducing once again, that makes the “recovery” look real. But consumption doesn’t follow production.

China’s Inflation Struggles To Perk Up Despite Broader Recovery (R.)

China’s factory gate prices fell at a faster-than-expected pace in September and consumer inflation slowed to its weakest in 19 months, underscoring the challenges still facing China as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The producer price index (PPI) fell for an eighth straight month on an annual basis while consumer prices grew more slowly than expected. The world’s second largest economy has seen a steady recovery after being hard hit by the coronavirus in the first quarter. But a sustained fall in producer prices, seen as a gauge of industrial demand, may rekindle worries about deflation and prompt authorities to provide more support, analysts said.


“The PPI has not rebounded strongly despite the improving trend, pointing to continued weakness in industrial demand. It is unlikely to return to positive territory this year,” said Wang Jun, chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank. “It is possible that the economic recovery in the fourth quarter may not be as strong as it has been in the third quarter.” The PPI fell 2.1% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement. [..] China’s GDP grew 3.2% year-on-year in the second quarter, and recent data has pointed to a sustained rebound, underpinned by government stimulus and as the virus comes under control. China releases GDP data for the third quarter on Monday.

Read more …

“..the autumn surge in infections had changed they way they understood the virus..”

Sweden To Bring In Local Lockdowns As Covid Cases Rise (Sun)

SWEDEN is set to introduce local restrictions as coronavirus cases begin to rise across the country after it shunned lockdown. The nation has been championed by lockdown sceptics as a display of how governments could weather the pandemic storm without using draconian measures. Restaurants, bars and shops stayed open in the spring as many countries shut down their economy – but the now Stockholm appears to be changing its tactics. Dr Johan Nojd, who leads the infectious diseases department in Uppsala, told The Telegraph, said: “It’s more of a lockdown situation – but a local lockdown. He is due to meet with Sweden’s leading health officials on Monday to discussing implementing the new coronavirus measures.

Rules suggested being introduced include telling people to stop meeting the vulnerable and urged to avoid public transport. Dr Nojd also said that if contact tracing shows further links between activities and infections they will not hesitate to impose even tougher measures. He added: “Perhaps tomorrow we will have several talking about concerts or restaurants and then perhaps one could say, ‘in Uppsala now for two or three weeks it is the Public Health Agency’s advice not to sit in restaurants late at night’.” Sweden – which has a population of 10million, only slighter bigger than London – has seen coronavirus cases creeping up since the middle of September. A two week total of 85 cases per 100,000 people has been reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The organisation has marked Sweden with an “orange” alert as they called for coordinated action by European nations to stop a surge in cases.

[..] Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said on Thursday that the autumn surge in infections had changed they way they understood the virus. He said: “I think the obvious conclusion is that the level of immunity in those cities is not at all as high as we have, as maybe some people, have believed,” he said. “I think what we are seeing is very much a consequence of the very heterogeneous spread that this disease has, which means that even if you feel like there have been a lot of cases in some big cities, there are still huge pockets of people who have not been affected yet.”

Read more …

Does anyone know of a -truly- successful contact tracing scheme? Did it work in New Zealand? The problem is obvious here: people don’t remember what they did for the past 14 days.

Alberta’s Contact Tracing Raises Red Flags (CBC)

COVID-19 cases are rising in Alberta, and there are concerns that difficulties involved in contact tracing — both manual and digital — could hamper the province’s ability to slow the spread. Of the 1,812 new cases reported in Alberta last week, 772 (43 per cent) have an unknown source. There are currently 2,836 active cases in the province, 1,054 (37 per cent) from an unknown source. Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, said she doesn’t like the look of those numbers. “This is actually one of the cornerstones of reducing spread. If we can’t, basically, kind of find the ring of exposed people and prevent them from spreading it outwards, we’re going to be looking at really, really bad numbers. So it’s a big deal,” she said.


Contact tracing is the process of identifying, notifying and tracking the spread of the virus from individual to individual. Alberta’s team of contact tracers speak to people who have tested positive in order to identify who they have been in close contact with during the previous 14 days. Those close contacts can then be instructed to self-isolate and get tested. Lori Henneigh, acting manager with an Alberta Health Services COVID-19 outbreak team in Red Deer, Alta., told CBC News last month that people often have difficulty remembering what they did 14 days ago. “If you think about it yourself, if you try to think about what you did in the last 14 days, you’ll realize that it’s not easy to recollect what you did two weeks prior,” she said. “We certainly can ask them to look at statements — bills, receipts and things they have at home — to help them remember their activities in the last 14 days.”

Read more …

Peter Schiff.

The Day The International Tax Authorities Came Knocking (Age)

On a sunny Friday in late January, investigators from the Australian Tax Office issued subpoenas and fired off letters as part of an unprecedented probe that reached around the world.It was a similar scene in Amsterdam, where investigators from the Dutch tax agency set about a similar task. So, too, did investigators in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. While none of the millionaire tax dodgers targeted on January 24, including about 100 Australians, knew each other, they shared a bond: they were customers of a little-known Caribbean bank. The Euro Pacific Bank in Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan was founded by American celebrity investor and business commentator Peter Schiff.

The silver-haired and pugnacious businessman is worth an estimated $100 million. On major television networks, popular podcasts and his own YouTube channel, he reminds his audience he predicted the Global Financial Crisis. He also likes to warn people about the upcoming economic apocalypse from which they can take financial refuge in his “privacy assured” bank. Schiff’s celebrity status is likely why some major Australian financial institutions, including Westpac and the Perth Mint, hopped into bed with the Euro Pacific Bank. They weren’t alone. The New York Federal Reserve and Canada’s Bank of Montreal both allowed their customers to transfer funds into the bank, cloaking it in an air of credibility it used to attract thousands of clients, including at least 400 from Australia (about 100 are considered “high risk”).

But on January 24, Euro Pacific became the target of Operation Atlantis, the world’s largest tax evasion probe. Australia’s deputy tax commissioner, Will Day, describes the inquiry as “unprecedented”. An investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes in collaboration with The New York Times can reveal that Operation Atlantis is examining the financial transactions of Euro Pacific’s customers. Hundreds of account holders are now suspects in a tax evasion probe.

[..] It was January 2017, almost three years to the day before the ATO began knocking on doors, when Schiff and partner Mark Anderson filed into the Department de Estado – a pale-blue Spanish colonial-style building with two Puerto Rican flags adorning the front entrance — to sign documents registering their new venture. The bank’s new office is on the 10th floor of a blue-glass block that overlooks the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s in the expensive part of San Juan. But former employees speaking on the condition anonymity say the office was a bit like the bank itself. “An empty shell that has the appearance of luxury,” according to one Puerto Rican who worked there. “It was basically empty except for a few desks, chairs and the computers.”

When it opened in San Juan, Euro Pacific was one of 81 offshore banks on the island and it would become by far the biggest. Government records from the time of registration show the bank had 13,000 customer accounts and more than $232 million in deposits. Schiff himself lives there with all the trappings of colonial luxury.

Read more …

Probably a good movie.

Social Media Creators Admit It Dehumanizes People, Disrupts Social Fabric (RT)

An important new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, uses former Silicon Valley insiders to lay bare the existential threat Big Tech poses to civilization. It’s much more than a dilemma. The Social Dilemma is a remarkable documentary about social media platforms and their two billion users, and may well be the most important documentary made in America for decades. The documentary is a radical, insider-based critique of social media and the large tech companies that created it – and continue to profit handsomely from it (especially given that they are monopolies and pay little or no tax in many countries).

Directed by American filmmaker Jeff Orlowski, The Social Dilemma features interviews with a number of former tech giant executives who created the technologies and business model that underpin the social media empire. Social media has only been with us for just over ten years and most of the interviewees are in their thirties. Tristan Harris (a former Google design ethicist) and Jaron Lanier (a computer scientist) – two of the interviewees – both believe that social media and the tech leviathans have created an “existential threat” to those western societies in which they have been permitted to flourish unchecked. They believe that social media platforms dehumanize their customers, disrupt the social fabric and are destroying democracy.

The critique is all the more compelling because it is perhaps only social media and big tech insiders that have a comprehensive understanding of how the system was created and operates. Technological changes have always attracted criticism. Gustave Flaubert, the nineteenth century novelist, disliked railways because he took the view that they “permitted more people to move about, meet and be stupid together.” But this documentary is much more than a simple critique of one particular technological advance. Rather, Orlowski argues that the technology underpinning social media differs qualitatively from all earlier technological developments, and that this gives rise to serious social and political consequences.

Railways, for example, were a mere “tool” that enabled people to travel more widely – they did not dehumanize their customers; nor were they an existential threat to western society. This qualitative difference, the documentary argues, is a result of the unique technology and business model employed by the social media behemoths. According to Orlowski, the technology utilized by social media is inherently addictive and manipulative, and involves a wide-ranging surveillance of its customers of a kind previously unimaginable.

[..] Many users of social media are undoubtedly addicted to it – observe the compulsive way in which people use their phones in public. And, as the documentary points out, there are only two industries that describe their customers as “users,” the tech industry and the drug industry. Social media is clearly manipulative. Excessive use is encouraged by various “growth techniques” such as tagging photos and inviting friends. The tech giants are in constant contact with their users, bombarding them with information tailored to suit their prejudices, together with endless advertisements. Algorithms enable the extraordinarily precise targeting of users. And there is no doubt that social media engages in covert, wide-ranging and ongoing surveillance of users.

Every transaction, click and post of every user is monitored, and mountains of data are accumulated daily in underground computer vaults in Silicon Valley. Some years ago, author John Lanchester noted that “Facebook is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind….what Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads.” This brings us to the social media business model. By monitoring their users, the big tech companies accumulate vast amounts of data that enables them to attract advertisers – who are willing to pay large sums for the precise targeting that only the tech giants can provide. This is why advertisers have turned their backs on traditional media companies – who simply cannot offer them the same degree of precision targeting.

In effect, the tech behemoths sell the lives of their users to their advertisers – who are willing to pay billions of dollars for them. In just under 20 years, the tech giants have become the largest corporations in America, and they grow more prosperous by the day.

Read more …

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site.

Click at the top of the sidebars for Paypal and Patreon donations. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime, election time, all the time. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.