Political Articles from 2021
[Social] [Political] [Community]
Rite Aid’s Secret Facial Recognition System Is the Tip of the Iceberg
by Dave Gershgorn
Posted May 9, 2021
A stunning report on the company’s secret facial recognition program shows that banning government use of the technology isn’t enough. Rite Aid stores have been using facial recognition software on customers in 200 stores, according to a Reuters investigation published this week.
The Reuters story paints a dark picture of an intrusive and flawed technology being developed, tested, and implemented in relative secrecy, and then quietly foisted onto customers in hundreds of locations across the country.
And private facial recognition in the United States doesn’t end with Rite Aid. Walmart uses facial recognition in more than 1,000 stores, 7-Eleven Australia uses facial recognition in 700 stores, and KFC and McDonald’s have tested the technology in China and Japan. There are likely many more examples of facial recognition being used in businesses across the United States, including algorithms used to track people in real time. More…
[Social] [Political] [Media]
The Rights of the Naturally Immune
by Thomas Harrington
Posted May 7, 2021
There is an important issue that, in the midst of all the talk of vaccines, has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves: the civil rights of those who have already developed natural immunity to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is said to cause Covid.
Yesterday, I got the results of the test I took to detect whether I had developed a T-Cell response to the virus. Like the antibody test I took almost 2 months ago, it was positive.
These two things would appear to demonstrate that for all intents and purposes my body knew exactly what to do with this virus and that it probably has the equipment to dispose of it again were it, or one of its cousins, to revisit me in the near-to-medium term.
In a halfway rational world, what to do going forward in regard to getting a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus would be something I’d discuss with my doctor in the discreet quarters of the examination room. Were it to be offered, I would politely refuse it. And he, seeing the test evidence in my file, would raise no objection. More…
[Justice] [Political] [Social]
The Government’s War on Free Speech: Protest Laws Undermine the First Amendment
By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead
Posted May 5, 2021
Remember, the USA Patriot Act didn’t make us safer. It simply turned American citizens into suspects and, in the process, gave rise to an entire industry—private and governmental—whose profit depends on its ability to undermine our Fourth Amendment rights.
In much the same way that the Patriot Act was used as a front to advance the surveillance state, allowing the government to establish a far-reaching domestic spying program that turned every American citizen into a criminal suspect, the government’s anti-extremism program criminalizes otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities such as peaceful protesting.
Ask yourself: if there are already laws on the books in all of the states that address criminal or illegal behavior such as blocking public roadways, trespassing on private property or vandalizing property—because such laws are already on the books—then why does the government need to pass laws criminalizing activities that are already outlawed?
What’s really going on here? No matter what the politicians might say, the government doesn’t care about our rights, our welfare or our safety. More…
[Politics] [Social] [Media]
by Robert Gore
Posted May 2, 2021
If it seems like the world has turned upside down it’s because it has. Right is wrong and wrong is right. Truth is lies and lies are truth. Knowledge is ignorance and ignorance is knowledge. Success is failure and failure is success. Reality is illusion and illusion is reality.
It would be comforting to say that this inversion is a plot by nefarious others. Comforting, but not true, in the pre-inversion meaning of the word true. Rather it stems from answers to questions that confront everyone. To think for yourself or believe with the group? To stand alone or cower with the crowd? It’s the conflict between the individual and the collective, and between what’s true and what’s believed.
We live in an age of fear. It’s not fear of germs, war, poverty or any other tangible threat that most besets humanity. It’s the fear of being disliked and ostracized by the group. More…
Financial False Hope – I Know You’re Lying…but I Trust You with My Life!
by Steve Penfield
Posted April 30, 2021
Investing trust in the wrong people and policies can be ruinous. How much dishonesty does it take before the public stops putting blind faith in debt dealers, corporate crooks and the servile politicians who do their bidding? The widespread acceptance of ‘healthy’ inflation, monopoly patent rights, the ‘retirement’ trap and enslaving corporate ‘benefits’ would suggest we enjoy the abuse.
Throughout modern history, a perpetual quest among leisurely aristocrats, the entourage of corporate titans and their political suitors has been solving the mysteries of how to get paid for doing nothing and how to look good while doing it. The various means developed over the centuries by our mainstream banking industry—wearing a princely costume, shifting papers around a desk, funding corporate dominance along with ruinous wars and welfare programs, then lounging in the comfort of an expansive corner office—have neatly satisfied both elements of that royal endeavor.
Enslaving the public to endless financial servitude just adds an unfortunate side-effect of the primary mission. More…
Google and Palantir Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
by Will Oremus
Posted April 29, 2021
If you know the name Palantir, you probably know that it’s associated with Peter Thiel, that it contracts with defense and law enforcement agencies, and that it works with data somehow, including data from surveillance systems. You might get that it’s named, creepily enough, after the magical “seeing-stones” in Lord of the Rings.
But what exactly it is that Palantir does has not always been clear from media coverage. That’s partly because the company has intentionally cultivated an air of secrecy and mystery around its work. But it’s also partly because the actual nature of its work is somewhat murky and hard to pin down, even once you know what it is.
On Thursday, Palantir went public in a direct listing, completing a transition from a shadowy Silicon Valley unicorn to one that must answer quarterly to investors and regulators. Its shares dipped just a bit from their initial price but left the company with a hefty valuation on the order of $20 billion, per the Wall Street Journal. That’s remarkable for a company that has just 125 customers.
Enterprise software companies tend to stay out of the spotlight; their products are not used, let alone beloved, by the masses, as are those of consumer software giants such as Google. But Palantir in particular is worth knowing about, because it embodies a vision of technology’s role in society that carries profound implications for all of us. More…
Memo to Biden — What About the Other Whistleblowers?
by John Kiriakou
Posted April 26, 2021
Former CIA technical officer Joshua Schulte, who is alleged to have released to WikiLeak sinformation known as “Vault 7,” which showed that the CIA was able to hijack the computers in our cars to cause us to drive into trees or off cliffs, and was able to take over our smart TVs to turn them into eavesdropping devices.
Schulte was tried on nearly a dozen espionage charges in federal court in New York last year. He was found guilty of two more minor counts and his jury hung on all other charges. Instead of releasing him pending retrial, though, the judge ordered that Schulte be held at the notorious Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where FBI agents from the Biden Justice Department recently raided his cell to search for additional evidence to strengthen their case against him. He was denied access to a laptop computer to assist with his own defense, and his complaints of a fully-lighted cell 24 hours a day and lack of heat were rejected.
Schulte complained further that he was being denied access to, and visitation from, his family. The judge forced the Justice Department to reverse that policy. Schulte still faces the prospect of spending the rest of his natural life in prison. And Biden’s Justice Department is pulling out the stops to make sure that happens. More…
We Are Now Entering Full-Blown Tyranny In The Western World
by Mike Snyder
Posted April 21, 2021
If we accept what they are doing to us now, they are just going to keep pushing the envelope. Over the past 12 months, authorities throughout the western world have used the pandemic as an excuse to impose Orwellian measures that we never would have accepted during normal times. They are promising us that these measures are just “temporary”, but the pandemic has already been with us for a year and there are no signs that it is going away any time soon. If those governing us are willing to go to such ridiculous extremes during a relatively minor pandemic, what are they going to be willing to do once things start getting really crazy?
All over the western world, we are being promised that life will finally go back to “normal” once the pandemic is over, and they are telling us that the vaccines will end the pandemic.
But that isn’t happening. Cases are on the rise again, and thousands are still getting sick even though they have been “fully vaccinated”.
And now Pfizer and Moderna are publicly admitting that their vaccines only provide about six months of immunity. Most people that are getting shots think that they now have some sort of permanent immunity, but that isn’t even close to accurate. More…
Poll: Likely Voters Support ‘Wall Street Tax Act’
By Bilal Baydoun and Sean McElwee
Posted April 20, 2021
A February poll from Data for Progress and The Lab, a policy vertical of The Appeal, shows that a majority of likely voters want Congress to pass the “Wall Street Tax Act,” federal legislation that would promote equity, fairness, and raise revenue through a tax on trades of certain financial instruments. The results show that:
Fifty four percent of overall voters — including 69 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents — support passage of the measure, which would generate an estimated $777 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.
The proposed measure would tax sales of stocks, bonds and derivatives at a rate of 0.1 percent — the equivalent of 10 cents per $100 sold. In addition to raising new revenue, the tax is designed to target a practice known as high-frequency trading (HFT), which often involves complex algorithms that execute a slew of trades in milliseconds based on miniscule shifts in prices. It would largely exempt long-term assets such as employee retirement accounts, according to Rep. Peter DeFazio, the bill’s primary sponsor. More…
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