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Community Articles from 2020

Video Analytics User Manuals Are a Guide to Dystopia

[Community]  [Justice]  [Media]
Video Analytics User Manuals Are a Guide to Dystopia
By Dave Maass and Matthew Guariglia
Posted December 31, 2020

video analytics danger to privacyA few years ago, when you saw a security camera, you may have thought that the video feed went to a VCR somewhere in a back office that could only be accessed when a crime occurs. Or maybe you imagined a sleepy guard who only paid half-attention, and only when they discovered a crime in progress. In the age of internet-connectivity, now it’s easy to imagine footage sitting on a server somewhere, with any image inaccessible except to someone willing to fast forward through hundreds of hours of footage.

That may be how it worked in 1990s heist movies, and it may be how a homeowner still sorts through their own home security camera footage. But that’s not how cameras operate in today’s security environment. Instead, advanced algorithms are watching every frame on every camera and documenting every person, animal, vehicle, and backpack as they move through physical space, and thus camera to camera, over an extended period of time. More…

Why I’m Hopeful About 2021

[Community] [Social]
Why I’m Hopeful About 2021
by Charles Hugh Smith
Posted December 18, 2020

hopeful for 2021I’m hopeful about 2021, and no, it’s not because of the vaccines or the end of lockdowns or anything related to Covid. The status quo is cheering the fantasy that we’ll soon return to the debt-soaked glory days of 2019 when everything was peachy.

The problem with this “brand” of magical thinking is that stripped of self-serving PR, the world of 2019 was an autocratic kleptocracy stripmining the planet to enrich the few at the expense of the many. Viewed through this lens, what’s hopeful isn’t returning to an autocratic kleptocracy but moving beyond it.

The most hopeful thing in my mind is that the Status Quo is devolving from its internal contradictions and excesses. The status quo is a perverse, intensely destructive system with powerful incentives for predation, exploitation, fraud and complicity. That’s the world of 2019; do we really want to go back to that? And even if we could, how long would it last? Another year or two? And at what cost to social cohesion and the planet? More…

When Does a ‘Glitch’ Become a Coup? It’s Time to Regulate America’s Fly-by-Night Voting Machine Monopoly

[Community] [Justice]
When Does a ‘Glitch’ Become a Coup? It’s Time to Regulate America’s Fly-by-Night Voting Machine Monopoly
by Robert Bridge
Posted December 12, 2020

hackers have easily broken into electronic voting machinesIt’s a frightening thing to consider, but the ultimate success of democracy in the United States largely hinges on the integrity of just three voting machine companies, which conduct their affairs with almost no government oversight and regulation. Unless that changes, the greatest democracy will start looking like a banana republic in the eyes of the world.

In January 2020, the CEOs of the three companies that produce over 80 percent of voting machines in the U.S. – Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Dominion Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic – were grilled by members of Congress over the question of security at the ballot box. Perhaps it would surprise exactly nobody that the 90-minute discussion focused almost entirely on the possibility of foreign actors, specifically China and Russia, interfering in the U.S. election system. Within such a predictably narrow frame of reference – Russia! Russia! Russia! – it becomes much easier to eliminate the possibility that domestic actors may also be tempted to tamper with the vote. At the same time, Russia provides the perfect smokescreen in the event someone gets caught with their hand in the election cookie jar. But already I digress.

Currently, Dominion Voting Systems, the supplier of voting machines in 28 states, is coming under fierce scrutiny after it was reported that thousands of votes in one Michigan country intended for Donald Trump went to his challenger, Joe Biden. Officials were quick to point out that the ‘glitch’ was due to silly “human error,” as opposed to any mechanical flaws with the voting machines. More…

Federal Agents Used Toxic Chemical Smoke Grenades in Portland

[Community]
Federal Agents Used Toxic Chemical Smoke Grenades in Portland
by Sharon Lerner
Posted October 28, 2020

toxic chemicals used by enforcers in PortlandProtesters who were exposed to chemical gas and smoke during the standoffs with federal agents in Portland report a constellation of immediate and enduring effects not usually associated with tear gas, including vomiting, hair loss, inability to eat, and inability to focus or “brain fog.” Some of the symptoms are consistent with those the military and the chemical manufacturers have linked to both hexachloroethane and zinc chloride.

Many people were instantly sickened by the chemical cloud. “I vomited and the people around me were vomiting as well,” said a medic who goes by Opal Hexen. “A whole block of people was throwing up into their respirators,” said Hexen, who was also wearing a respirator that covered much of her face. “At that point, I felt like I had to take it off to vomit,” she said. “And when I did, I had a blinding, choking feeling. My whole body started shaking. I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t process anything.”

Laura Jedeed, who went to the majority of protests in July, didn’t vomit but wanted to. “There’s a gag reflex,” she said of her immediate reaction to the substance that federal agents sprayed into the air. While she had been exposed to tear gas from the Portland Police Bureau on several occasions, “whatever the feds were putting out there felt a lot worse,” said Jedeed. “It burns like you’re on fire for 24 hours.” The night after being exposed, Jedeed slept clutching frozen cans to cool her hands. “And for about a day after, I’d get a gag reflex when I was swallowing.” Long after that, she struggled to eat and by August had lost 10 pounds. More…

Three Interactive Tools for Understanding Police Surveillance

[Community] [Social]
Three Interactive Tools for Understanding Police Surveillance
By Dave Maass
Posted October 14, 2020

Atlas of surveillanceAs law enforcement and government surveillance technology continues to become more and more advanced, it has also become harder for everyday people to avoid. Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are using body-worn cameras, automated license plate readers, drones, and much more—all of which threat people’s right to privacy. But it’s often difficult for people to even become aware of what technology is being used where they live.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has three interactive tools that help you learn about the new technologies being deployed around the United States and how they impact you: the Atlas of Surveillance, Spot the Surveillance, and Who Has Your Face?

The Atlas of Surveillance is a database and map that will help you understand the magnitude of surveillance at the national level, as well as what kind of technology is used locally where you live.

If you drove past an automated license plate reader, would you know what it looks like? Ever look closely at the electronic devices carried by police officers? Most of the time, people might not even notice when they’ve walked into the frame of surveillance technology. More…

The Fed Provides an Unlimited Money Lifeline to Wall Street; 30 Million Americans Facing Eviction Get a No-Money 4-Month Plan

[Community] [Economic]
The Fed Provides an Unlimited Money Lifeline to Wall Street; 30 Million Americans Facing Eviction Get a No-Money 4-Month Plan
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted October 9, 2020

30 to 40 million facing evictionsHappy New Year – here’s your eviction notice. That’s how tens of millions of struggling Americans have been set up to fail as the one percent on Wall Street, propped up by unlimited money from the Fed, ring in the New Year with Tiffany flutes of Dom Perignon in their Greenwich mansions.

According to a recent study published by The Aspen Institute, 30 to 40 million Americans will be at risk of eviction over the next several months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been dragged into the eviction morass because Democrats and Republicans in Congress cannot find common ground on a meaningful plan. More…

Community-Based Farms Rise To The Occasion As Big Food Supply Chains Stall

[Community]
Community-Based Farms Rise To The Occasion As Big Food Supply Chains Stall
by Elizabeth Henderson
Posted October 4, 2020

community based farms could be the futureThe COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep craters in the U.S. food supply chain. Dairies that supply milk and food products to restaurants have had the heartbreaking task of dumping millions of gallons of milk. Many giant meat processing plants had to close down because their workers were getting infected by the virus. The shutting down of these plants resulted in millions of farm animals being “culled” by drowning, shooting and suffocating.

During the crisis, however, family-scale farms that are deeply embedded in their communities have been able to pivot nimbly to provide high-quality, locally grown and processed foods while keeping everyone—farm family, workers and customers—safe. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms are where customers become loyal supporters by signing up for weekly shares for the whole season to share the risks and benefits with the farmers, and during this time, they have retained old members and attracted new ones.

By March 20, within days of the lockdown due to COVID-19, Massaro Community Farm, a nonprofit, certified-organic CSA farm in Woodbridge, Connecticut, was taking orders via email, and a week later, running a new online store—not only to sell winter greens from their own greenhouse, but also to offer products from neighboring farms that had lost markets when restaurants and schools closed. More…

10 Reasons to Use Linux Mint

[Community][Media]
10 Reasons to Use Linux Mint
by Martins D. Okoi
Posted September 22, 2020

good reasons to use Linux MintLinux Mint is 100% free and open-source so you are well within your right to use it for whatever you choose whether it is for educating people, understanding operating systems better, or for providing proprietary services.

Together with elegance, simplicity, and reliability, security and privacy are at the core of Linux Mint’s philosophy and the developers have made sure that all services running in the OS are respectful of users’ rights to data privacy.

Users are bound to feel at home, or at least, welcome, when using Linux Mint because of its familiar setup to that of Windows. Its configuration and navigation options don’t use text different from other operating systems so it is easy to find what one is looking for. To put in simpler terms, from the time you install the Linux Mint to your first boot, you wouldn’t feel lost and will be able to find your away around without outside help whether you are coming from a Windows, macOS, or non-Linux platform. More…

The Microsoft Police State: Mass Surveillance, Facial Recognition, and the Azure Cloud

[Community] [Media]
The Microsoft Police State: Mass Surveillance, Facial Recognition, and the Azure Cloud
by Michael Kwet
Posted September 17, 2020

Microsoft Advanced Patrol Platform, or MAPPNationwide protests against racist policing have brought new scrutiny onto big tech companies like Facebook, which is under boycott by advertisers over hate speech directed at people of color, and Amazon, called out for aiding police surveillance. But Microsoft, which has largely escaped criticism, is knee-deep in services for law enforcement, fostering an ecosystem of companies that provide police with software using Microsoft’s cloud and other platforms. The full story of these ties highlights how the tech sector is increasingly entangled in intimate, ongoing relationships with police departments.

Microsoft’s links to law enforcement agencies have been obscured by the company, whose public response to the outrage that followed the murder of George Floyd has focused on facial recognition software. This misdirects attention away from Microsoft’s own mass surveillance platform for cops, the Domain Awareness System, built for the New York Police Department and later expanded to Atlanta, Brazil, and Singapore. It also obscures that Microsoft has partnered with scores of police surveillance vendors who run their products on a “Government Cloud” supplied by the company’s Azure division and that it is pushing platforms to wire police field operations, including drones, robots, and other devices. More…

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Quotable Sayings

nothing can stop a determined soulThere is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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billionaires don't EARN money, they MAKE money

You do not become a billionaire through labor. You become a billionaire through inheritance, corruption or economic rents – or, in most cases, some mixture of all three.

Grace Blakeley

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same puppet master pulling strings on both sides

Mainstream American liberals think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by Fox and Donald Trump, and mainstream American conservatives think they’re clear-eyed because they can see the propaganda strings being pulled by MSNBC and the Democrats, but the propaganda strings on both trace back to the same puppet master. And seeing that is just the beginning.

Caitlin Johnstone

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discover your infinite worth

You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Deepak Chopra

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main stream media propaganda

It is obvious that the US government is destroying Assange to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is therefore also obvious that any journalist who fails to use whatever platform they have to speak out against Assange’s persecution has no intention of ever publishing anything that the US government doesn’t want published. Their silence on or support for what is being done to this man can and should be taken as an admission that they are nothing other than state propagandists.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Britian's Orwellian tactics against Julian Assange

It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

Pepe Escobar

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More Quotable Sayings

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How is it that we were taught to fear witches, rather than those burning them?

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The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free!

This site is designed for people who wish to follow important events, but do not have time to do a lot of reading. If you follow this site for a period of time, the daily fresh stories in different categories will over time provide you with an understanding of the “big picture” by showing you both the problems and the solutions. Hopefully this will inspire you to listen to your inner wisdom and become part of the solution.