Social Articles from 2019
Why Technology Favors Tyranny
by Yuval Noah Harari
Posted July 14, 2019
Artificial intelligence could erase many practical advantages of democracy, and erode the ideals of liberty and equality. It will further concentrate power among a small elite if we don’t take steps to stop it.
There is nothing inevitable about democracy. For all the success that democracies have had over the past century or more, they are blips in history. Monarchies, oligarchies, and other forms of authoritarian rule have been far more common modes of human governance.
The emergence of liberal democracies is associated with ideals of liberty and equality that may seem self-evident and irreversible. But these ideals are far more fragile than we believe. Their success in the 20th century depended on unique technological conditions that may prove ephemeral. More…
Medical IDs: Enemy of Privacy, Liberty, and Health
by Ron Paul
Posted July 13, 2019
Last week, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill amendment to repeal the prohibition on the use of federal funds to create a “unique patient identifier.” Unless this prohibition, which I originally sponsored in 1998, is reinstated, the federal government will have the authority to assign every American a medical ID. This ID will be used to store and track every American’s medical history.
A unique patient identifier would allow federal bureaucrats and government-favored special interests to access health information simply by entering an individual’s unique patient ID into a database. This system would also facilitate the collection of health information without a warrant by surveillance state operatives. More…
Want to Be a Principled Billionaire? Stop Being a Billionaire.
By Daniel Uncapher
Posted July 11, 2019
We’re not even talking about the comparatively “impoverished” 1 percent, the millionaires. A billionaire like Jeff Bezos — who hasn’t signed the “Giving Pledge” himself — could lose over 99 percent of their wealth and still have over a billion dollars. Try to imagine how much of a difference an extra $1,000 a week would make for you — either to receive or to lose — and then realize that even with only $1 billion, Bezos could spend $1 million a week for 20 years before going broke. And that’s without taking into consideration interest.
Which is assuming that spending that kind of money is humanly possible. Even the wildest luxury goods imaginable — diamond-encrusted sports cars, ultra-luxury yachts, private islands — won’t get you to a billion. More…
What Does July 4th Really Mean?
by Marianne Williamson
Posted July 8, 2019
What a delight to hear a candidate talk candidly and honestly about what needs to happen to heal the country and move it forward into the future. She chose to give this on July 4th, because as a nation we have lost the true meaning of that day and what it really meant at that time and what it means today.
Marianne talks about the history of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and what those documents and the movements that made them possible meant to that generation and what it means to this generation. She considers the major transformational movements that have taken place in this nation when there were serious issues that needed to be dealt with: the Revolutionary Movement, Abolition, Women’s Suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement, and how each affected the generations that launched and participated in those movements. Then she describes how now it is this generation’s turn and duty to launch its own movement. Her message is one of hope and a call to action.
She warns us about focusing on the symptoms of problems rather than the root causes. She outlines how money has totally corrupted the system and how this is a key root cause of many of our problems. Both political parties have to share the responsibility for this happening and for not moving decisively to eliminate this growing cancer on our system. For a political candidate, there was very little political content with the focus on social and economic problems and solutions on how to deal with them.
I found it amazing that Marianne could speak all this time, never missing a beat and yet using no notes, no teleprompters, no presentations, no reminders, and no scripts. This is someone who truly believes what she says and speaks from the heart.
You owe it to yourself just to listen and make up your own mind on your thoughts about her message. Watch here…
Thirty-Two Tips For Navigating A Society That Is Full Of Propaganda And Manipulation
by Caitlin Johnstone
Posted July 7, 2019
For as long as there has been human language, humans have been using it to manipulate one another. The fact that it is possible to skillfully weave a collection of symbolic mouth noises together in such a way as to extract favors, concessions, votes and consent from other humans has made manipulation so common that it now pervades our society from top to bottom, from personal relationships between two people to international relationships between government agencies and the public.
This has made it very difficult to figure out what’s going on, both in our lives and in the world. Here are some tips for navigating this complex manipulation-laden landscape, whether that be the manipulations you may encounter in your small-scale personal interactions or the large-scale manipulations which impact the entire world: More…
‘This Is a Bombshell’: Facial Recognition Data Collected by US Customs Agency Hacked
by Jon Queally
Posted July 4, 2019
One of the key fears that critics of mass surveillance and the proliferation of facial recognition technology have warned about has been realized with new reporting Monday that a “malicious cyber attack” has resulted in photos of airport passengers and other personal data harvested by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol being stolen by unknown actors.
Customs officials said in a statement Monday that the images, which included photos of people’s license plates, had been compromised as part of an attack on a federal subcontractor. The agency maintains a database including passport and visa photos that is used at airports as part of an agency facial-recognition program. CBP declined to say what images were stolen or how many people were affected.
The CBP apparently did not want to confirm which private subcontractor was the target of the attack, but the Post and others were able to track down that it likely was Perceptics: More…
The US and other nations are increasing their use of facial recognition technologies and then keeping the data for themselves, forever. They are also sharing this data with private contractors.
Even if you 100% trust the US government with your biometric information (which you shouldn’t) this is a reminder that once your face is scanned and stored in a database, it’s easily shared across government agencies, stolen by hackers, other governments, private contractors etc. Who is watching these government officials, worse yet, who is watching the private contractors?
There’s Far More Diversity in Venezuela’s ‘Muzzled’ Media Than in US Corporate Press
by Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz
Posted June 26, 2019
The international corporate media have long displayed a peculiar creativity with the facts in their Venezuela reporting, to the point that coverage of the nation’s crisis has become perhaps the world’s most lucrative fictional genre. Ciara Nugent’s recent piece for Time (4/16/19), headlined “‘Venezuelans Are Starving for Information’: The Battle to Get News in a Country in Chaos,” distinguished itself as a veritable masterpiece of this literary fad.
The article’s slant should come as no surprise, given Time’s (and Nugent’s) enthusiastic endorsement (2/1/19) of the ongoing coup led by self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó. Time’s report is based on a trope oft-repeated by corporate journalists for over a decade (Extra!, 11–12/06), namely that Venezuela’s elected Chavista government is an “authoritarian” regime that brutally suppresses freedom of expression. Corporate outlets frequently speak of “Chávez’s clampdown on press freedom” (New York Times, 4/30/19), “a country where critical newspapers and broadcast media already have been muzzled” and “much of Venezuela’s independent press has disappeared” (NBC, 2/3/19, 5/16/19), or the Maduro “regime” controlling “almost all the television and radio stations” (Bloomberg, 1/29/19). More…
The Polarization Trap
by Charles Eisenstein
Posted June 22, ,2019
Over the past decade I’ve watched with alarm the widening polarization of the body politic across Western societies (and to some extent globally). As commonly recognized, the public is split into irreconcilable political factions who disagree not only on the interpretation of events, but on what events even took place. They have seemingly separated into two disjoint realities, each with its own facts, authorities, histories, and narratives.
In this polarized environment, each side attributes the problem of polarization to the other side’s descent into unreason, having fallen victim to an evil, manipulating power. However, the trend toward polarization extends far beyond the left-right, red-blue, or conservative-progressive political divide. Within each of these blocks, new polarized debates erupt with the same intractable breakdowns in communication. More…
The powers that be are using politics and the media to keep us divided, yet we have far more in common than we have dividing us.
Consider what role you play in this divide and conquer tactic everytime you feel the need to resort to name calling such as trumptard, libtard, etc. Once we resort to name calling, we close off any communication and connection.
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