We cannot go back to the pre-coronavirus world, they tell us. Everything has changed and we must accept a “new normal.” What does this “new normal” look like? It looks a lot like a dystopian horror film, where privacy is destroyed, property is subject to political whim, surveillance is to be accepted, medical treatments can be forced on people. Should we accept totalitarianism as our “new normal”? Plus in today’s program: the real story of Houston’s “round two hospital crisis.”
What's in a name? Everything. Find out about the latest attempt to package the Orwellian total police state surveillance grid as something wonderful and wholesome—and why you should never, ever say "contact tracing"—in this week's edition of #PropagandaWatch.
Still think we aren't living in the Matrix? Sadly, this isn't science fiction but science fact and it's coming in the next decade as part of the Internet of Things smart surveillance grid they want everyone swept up into. Technology is about to openly bring us an era where government authorities can read people's minds without their permission and use it against them including in court, pre-crime, thought police/thought crime and labeling people including children as potential criminals based on their brainwaves... and all of this was discussed casually at Davos this year like it'll be a rip roaring roller coaster of rose-colored awesome instead of the Orwellian Nightmare 2.0 we all know is coming under the technocrats in charge. Hey, why watch a horror movie when you can watch a panel at Davos instead? Philip K. Dick and George Orwell are spinning in their graves...
The era of finance capitalism is marked by a curious shift in the desire of the business world: to get out of the business of making things people use, and into the business of getting money for owning, extracting and/or liquidating things.
The thing is, this isn't a good strategy. Not only did the drive to build up financial institutions themselves precipitate the financial crisis (tanking Lehman Brothers in the process, and bringing the rest to the brink of extinction, forced to beg for government handouts), but all the real-economy businesses that tried to become financial institutions also collapsed in the crisis: GM converted its making-cars business to a issuing loans business and nearly croaked as a result; ditto GE.
But the dream of extractive rentierism still haunts the managerial classes.
Take Ford CEO Jim Hackett, whose recent Freakonomics Radio appearance celebrated his company's shift from a car business to a debt-issuance business, with Ford Credit now accounting for a third of the company's profits. Hackett vowed to increase that share by using the leverage he could exert over his debtors to force them to let him spy on them (for example, by doubling down on GM's car radio surveillance), and then cross-referencing this data on the data borrowers are forced to supply in order to buy their cars, and with data-sets from corporate acquisitions like the scooter company Spin.
It's funny how these real-economy naifs keep getting taken for rides by finance svengalis, who convince them to convert their making-things-people-need businesses to extracting-value-at-loan-point businesses. Every single time, they end up like the bottom tier of a pyramid scheme, emptying their pockets to benefit the con-artists who kicked the whole business off.
For the CEO of Ford to announce that he will goose his company's debt business with a surveillance business at the exact moment that the world's biggest debt issuers and surveillance businesses are coming under tight scrutiny and fretting about massive regulation as they head into another 2008-grade crisis is pretty perfect rustbelt timing. Welcome to the bottom of the pyramid, Ford. Your financial betters will be along shortly to get rich off of your touching enthusiasm and trust.
“We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?” Hackett said, according to the podcast transcript.
“The issue in the vehicle, see, is: We already know and have data on our customers. By the way, we protect this securely; they trust us,” Hackett said. “We know what people make. How do we know that? It’s because they borrow money from us. And when you ask somebody what they make, we know where they work, you know. We know if they’re married. We know how long they’ve lived in their house because these are all on the credit applications. We’ve never ever been challenged on how we use that. And that’s the leverage we got here with the data.”
Although both articles present the idea of microchipping as something that is new and rarely done, the truth is that neither the technology nor the process is new and the practice is growing across Europe and North America at an alarming rate.
The UK’s largest employer organization is promoting microchips
Britain’s largest “employer organization” and “main trade union body” is now speaking out over the prospect of British companies implanting their employees for security purposes.
Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide, including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. And, according to a new report, those requests are increasing at an alarming rate.
According to QZ.com, in the United States, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising—it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.
“You have to remember that Zuckerberg had “seed money” and that seed money came from CIA front companies that put a lot of resources into this and…basically think about it as like, sowing seeds; if you will. They knew that Facebook was gonna bear fruit. I don’t think they realized just how big it would become. But I can tell you that they get so much information and intel from social media: I don’t think that it would go away even if we wanted it to.”
The government keeps requesting the information, and Facebook continues to comply with the government’s demands. In the first six months of 2013, it granted the government—which includes the police—79% of requests (“some data was produced” in these cases, the company says); in the first six months of 2017, that share rose to 85%. “We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data — whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere — to make sure it is legally sufficient,” Chris Sonderby, the company’s general counsel, wrote in a post. “If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary.”
But Joseph thinks Facebook is just trying to pacify the easily manipulated sheeple of society. “This is pretty troubling when you think about what you put out there, what they collect, and Facebook only being one of the many avenues that they have,” Joseph says. “The United States is collecting your data. Whether you like it or not. They are scooping up everything. And they’re taking it and they’re storing it in their facility at Bluffdale, Utah which has the capacity at this time to store every communication on the face of this earth for the next one hundred years.”
“It’s unbelievable,” Joseph continues. “This is stuff that is unacceptable to me, but I’m sure, to a lot of you. And these companies have really gone too far…they can reconstruct your life and make anyone they want a patsy.”
So what do you do when you fail to elect your chosen candidate and your former political allies and mainstream media turn against you by painting you not as the 'progressive', open-minded, friendly tech company that you used to be but as an evil, racist, Russian-colluding corporate villain intent upon destroying all that is sacred in the world? Well, you just buy the media, of course.
As Poynter notes today, after a series of public relations debacles in recent weeks, from the firing of James Damore to news last week that Google's algos served up some fairly disturbing keywords to potential advertising buyers (e.g. "Why Do Black People Ruin Neighborhoods"), Google is ramping up its media presence with the announcement that the Google News Lab will be working with Report For America (RFA) to hire 1,000 journalists all around the country.
Many local newsrooms have been cut to the bone so often that there's hardly any bone left. But starting early next year, some may get the chance to rebuild, at least by one.
On Monday, a new project was announced at the Google News Lab Summit that aims to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms in the next five years. Report For America takes ideas from several existing organizations, including the Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America and public media.
Unlike foreign or domestic service programs or public media, however, RFA gets no government funding. But they are calling RFA a national service project. That might make some journalists uncomfortable – the idea of service and patriotism. But at its most fundamental, local journalism is about protecting democracy, said co-founder Charles Sennott, founder and CEO of the GroundTruth Project.
"I think journalism needs that kind of passion for public service to bring it back and to really address some of the ailments of the heart of journalism," he said.
Here's how RFA will work: On one end, emerging journalists will apply to be part of RFA. On the other, newsrooms will apply for a journalist. RFA will pay 50 percent of that journalist's salary, with the newsroom paying 25 percent and local donors paying the other 25 percent. That reporter will work in the local newsroom for a year, with the opportunity to renew.