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Tag Archives: facebook
Posted: December 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm
I remember being tired before I had kids. It sucked. I was so tired!
Then I had a baby, and I got even more tired. I mean, I dont know how much more tired Iwaswith a kidthan I used to be, or if I was moretired than my childfree friends have ever or will ever be, but I definitely feltmore tired most days than Iremember feelingback then. To make matters worse,I had to keep my kid alive while being this insane new level of tired.
The tiredness just kept growing, exponentially. I just had my second baby. The tiredness hasnt stopped. It never will.
But I shouldnt say that out loud. And I definitely shouldnt say it online. Fitness guru and mom Jillian Michaels found that out the hard way when she posted what she probably thought was a harmless parenting meme about being exhausted. Unfortunately, in todays landscape of instant outrage, nothing is harmless anymore.
It doesnt matter that shes right (COME AT ME!) All that matters is that the childfree somehow felt victimized by the meme, because if theres anything worth getting upset about, its Facebook memes.
Some well-balanced people feel differently, leaving comments on the post like, Thats YOUR story, but then you obviously werent suffering with long term illness, looking after sick relatives, working 80 hours a week, working 24 hour shifts, looking after sick animals, working three jobs to make ends meet or any of the other tons of reasons there are to be tired!!!!!
Nope. Just one reason to be tired, as the meme CLEARLY states.
Jillian is a new parent and a famous fitness guru, so she knows from exertion, but she is not a scientist, so she should just shut it, according to this kind soul: Hey, genius. Its called being human. Everyone gets tired, whether they have kids or not. Thats what the human body does. Try studying science harder next time.
No one said anything about childfree people not being tired. Again, I was childfree. I was plenty tired. Im sure there are EMTs and medical students and people with insomnia and people with no eyelids who are just as tired as parents, and congratulations, we all tied in the Tired Contest.
Except newsflash:there is no Tired Contest! I was pulling your leg!
Tiredness is not something that can be measured, and neitherMichaels nor I nor those kids staying awake for days on end just to avoid Freddy Kruger can prove theyre more tired than anyone else, but honestly? WHO GIVES A SHIT. Were all tired.
But those of us with more responsibility are probably maybe? a little more tired than those without much? I dont know how much responsibility you have, and neither does Jillian Michaels, unless she has a personal relationship with all 3,035,511 people who like her Facebook page,(If she does, she definitelywins the Tired Contest!), but I know that kids are a lot of responsibility.
You cant sleep through your kids. Once you have a baby, your sleep starts suffering, and you never get it back, at least not until theyre teenagers. And so parents have very limited opportunities to catch up on sleep theyve missed. Maybe youre childfree and you cant catch up on sleep either I dont know your life but if so FUCK YOU FOR OFFENDING ME except not really because getting upset about a humorous (YMMV) meme meant to appeal to other parents is a tremendous waste of time and energy.
In fact, if youre one of the people who went online to scream about this, like this guy?
You may have been cute back then, but you grew up to be a c***. Why arent people allowed to be tired if they dont have sprogs? You chose to have the little c*** goblins, yet all parents seem to do is complain about everything, and try to bring everyone down to their misery. We get it youre tired. Know who else has a better reason for being tired? People who work 40+ hours a week. They arent allowed to be tired? When did moms become so selfish and entitled? Youre making yourselves look like Bitches.
Wow. If youre leaving a psychotic rant like that on a celebritys harmless Facebook post, you clearly have a lot more energy than me.
BOOM! I win.
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Posted: December 14, 2016 at 3:45 am
Our Constitutions Fourth Amendment reads as follows: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As with nigh all the rest of our Constitution, the federal government has long been ignoring the Fourth. Likely the most notorious example is the National Security Administration (NSA)s bulk data collection. Which is the Feds: (S)toring the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency.
The NSA has been amassing so much data on persons notof interest that it built a $1.2 billion data center thats seven times larger than the Pentagon. (If youre questioning whether the Fourth Amendments papers protection applies to digital data imagine hitting Print.)
Let me guess what youre wondering now: How could the NSA possibly be issued this sort of mass, blanket warrant, under the auspices of the Fourth Amendment if millions of these persons are notof interest? I.e. totally devoid of any probable cause? A very reasonable question.
The NSA laid claim to the authority to do this under the auspices of the Patriot Act. Which is not how things are supposed to work. Congress cant pass laws that eviscerate Constitutional protections they must amend the Constitution to eviscerate said protection. So, of course, the poorly written Patriot Act is trumped (no pun intended) by the Constitution.
The Senate has long been ignoring another Constitutional charge to properly vet federal judges prior to confirmation. So our judiciary is addled throughout by men and women in black gowns who shouldnt be. Because they impose their personal policy preferences rather than rule within the confines of the Constitution.
Even under these conditions, we do occasionally get good legal decisions. In May 2015, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the NSAs build data collection is unconstitutional. In response, President Barack Obamas Attorney General Loretta Lynch said: she was unaware of privacy violations under its existing program.
Madame Attorney Generals blissful ignorance is emblematic of the Washington, D.C.-wide problem. (As, too, was her being confirmed AG by a yet-again-too-compliant Senate.)
And, of course, the Feds arent just massively overreaching on domestic data they are overreaching overseas as well.
Under the auspices of the now-woefully-outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the Feds obtained a warrant against tech giant Microsoft. With which they tried to collect data stored on servers Microsoft has outside of the United States (in this instance, in Dublin, Ireland).
This would be horrendously bad precedent as tin horn dictators the world over could and would start looking to get at data contained within our borders. To allow the Feds to do this to Microsoft would be to allow one of the worst genies ever out of its bottle.
Thankfully, the very same Second Court of Appeals that dumped the NSAs bulk data collection agreed and unanimously told the Feds they couldnt have access to Microsofts overseas servers. (God bless them.)
The very same Attorney General Lynch still bathing in her blissful ignorance has filed to reopen the case. Which brings us to Congress Fourth Amendment reminder we mentioned at the outset. Which would stop Madame Attorney Generals abuse here and a whole lot of abuses elsewhere.
The (Senate) bill is called the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA). It is, amongst other things, a DC unicorn it is bipartisan. And bi-cameral as members of the House have joined in its crafting.
And it will rein in an overreaching federal government that is forcing companies to violate the laws of other countries in which they operate to give the U.S. government data to which it really shouldnt have access.
Because the Fourth Amendment (and the rest of the Constitution) is limited to our territorial bounds. Else wed better start invading a whole lot of places in which all sorts of our Constitutional rights are being routinely violated in their jurisdictions.
Obviously, the Feds need a reminder of this fact. ICPA is that reminder. It is pathetic that you need a Congressional backstop to a Constitutional right but were dealing with DC here, so we are oft dealing in things pathetic.
I am on the record as being nigh always against lame duck Congressional action. I dont like officials We the People just said should no longer be voting on legislation voting on legislation. But ICPA is a perfectly reasonable exception that proves this rule.
You can almost certainly pass ICPA just with people who will again be here in the next Congress. And ICPA has been languishing for more than two years all the while (and going back years and years before) the Feds have been vastly exceeding their Constitutional bounds. And in the Microsoft case are looking to do so yet again.
So the overreaches must be ended. ICPA ends them. So lets pass ICPA.
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Posted: December 7, 2016 at 8:03 am
As the popularity of work from home jobs is increasing, there are new ways of making money online are created. Some of these jobs needs technical knowledge in a particular area, but there are some ways through which you can easily earn money online without being an expert in any area. One of these simple ways of making money online is uploading of documents, images, photos and other files. All you need to make money uploading files is a fast and reliable internet connection at your home. There are no rules of uploading files, you just have the ability to upload files on the internet. Today, almost everyone is using the internet, and they have to upload and download files during their daily internet using. Just take the example of Facebook, didnt you ever upload a picture or video there? Make money uploading files is as easy as you are uploading any file on Facebook
Now you know how to upload files makes money online, and you must have idea that how easy job this is. You can upload files within just a few clicks of your mouse. This is a type of home based job which is not very popular, and people are normally not aware about upload files make money work. The reason behind writing this articles is increase the awareness among the online workers and general public about get paid to upload files. There are a number of sites where you can get access to upload and download files. Few of the popular sites are Rapidshare, and Megaupload. On these sites you are able to download as many as you want at a very reasonable price.
Often people thinks they do not have types of file which they can upload, if you are also thinking on the lines that files in your computer are not as good as someone will pay for you, you have to reconsider your thinking as you can get paid to upload files on your PC. For example you can upload songs in your PC, popular games, images, attractive wall papers, and software programs that are in demand
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Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm
The subtext here is that male ballet dancers are frequently homosexual — and a mother is entitled to discourage her son from such an unhealthy and unhappy lifestyle. Just for starters, there is a very high incidence of spousal abuse among homosexual couples
It may have once been traditional for boys to play football and girls to do ballet but nowadays many children feel free to take up activities regardless of gender.
However, one pushy parent took to Mumsnet to ask for advice on how to discourage her son from taking ballet lessons.
The woman said her son is an aspiring model and explained that she doesn’t think the extra-curricular activity ‘is going to fit in’.
In her post, Mumsnet user Ironriver said: ‘How do I put my son off wanting to do ballet? I’m showing him how cool football, rugby and karate are but he’s having none of it. ‘He does modelling and I don’t think ballet is going to fit in. Lots of the boys do football and other sports so I would like him to do that. Any ideas?’
Many commenters were outraged at the mother’s behaviour and suggested she should let her son pursue his own interests.
Concerned commenter OohhThatsMe said: ‘Your poor child, having such a sexist mother.’
Shocked reader coolaschmoola added: ‘Stop being so bloody sexist and let him do the thing he is interested in and actually wants to do.
‘It’s 2016! Boys don’t just play football. Just like not all girls do ballet.’
Other commenters were surprised that the woman had already decided her should would become a model.
Dodobookends said: ‘He’s nine and you have already chosen his career for him? Absurd.’
Some even suggested that taking up ballet would be beneficial to any future modelling aspirations.
OlennasWimple said: ‘Ballet would give him excellent posture, teach him to move well and have a better idea how to use his body effectively. ‘And less chance he’ll break his nose or get a cauliflower ear.’
OohhThatsMe added: ‘Actually ballet would REALLY help a modelling career. In what way would football do that?
‘Look at the girls doing modelling – most will have studied ballet.’
Israeli Bill to Hush Mosque Call to Prayer Stokes Controversy Among Muslims–Others Too
Proposed legislation in Israels parliament to prohibit the use of loudspeakers to transmit the five-times daily Muslim call to prayer is causing dismay among adherents of more than one religious group.
A preliminary vote on the so-called muezzin bill (a muezzin is the mosque official who recites the call to prayer) is scheduled for early next week.
It is not clear how the legislation, if adopted, would impact numerous areas of Israel and the West Bank that are under complex jurisdictional ruling and home to a mixture of religions.
In Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the country, the three monotheistic faiths contribute to the cacophony of sounds at various times and on different days of the week.
The daily Muslim calls to prayer begin at about 4 a.m. and can be heard to differing degrees, depending on where you are. Where mosques are in close proximity to one another, there is a lot of overlap and duplication.
In Jerusalem, the Jewish shabbat alarm, which is essentially an air-raid siren, sounds every Friday at sundown to tell residents the sabbath has begun. Church bells ring on Sunday and important holidays.
Yaakov Litzman, Israels ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, initially blocked the bill over concerns that it could be extended to include the shabbat alarm. Last week, Litzman withdrew his opposition after a loophole was added for the alarm, Haaretz reported.
In Bethlehem, which is heavily dependent on Christian pilgrims for tourism at several points during the year, the towns main tourist center is home to a mosque with a loudspeaker set at a very high volume. The mosque towers over Manger Square, and faces the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
The towns Christmas tree stands right in front of the church and numerous Christmas holiday traditions take place in or near the square.
Local business owners, many of whom are Arab Christians, dont seem to mind the blend of sounds, though.
Im not against it, for sure, said Sami Khouri, general manager of the Visit Palestine visitor center and gift shop-cafe a few hundred feet from Manger Square. Turning down the volume is somewhat okay, but preventing them from doing it isnt right.
Khouri, who also runs a tourism company and lives in Jerusalem, says its just part of life in the region.
Even where I live in Jerusalem, there are two mosques [making the call to prayer] nearby, five times a day. I just think this is co-existence, he said. The mosque has been there for who knows how long and we also ring the church bells. For tourists, its part of the flavor. For me its part of the sounds of Jerusalem, the ambience.
However, Khouri and others do suggest that if multiple mosques are situated in a given area they could possibly coordinate their broadcasts. The caveat is popular sentiment, but is not part of the bill before the Israeli parliament.
Some areas in the West Bank technically under full Palestinian Authority control have protested by staging multifaith demonstrations, with hundreds of Muslims, Christians, and Jewish Samaritans singing the call to prayer together.
Nablus is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to hundreds of mosques, which together produce a wall of uncoordinated sound.
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is almost evenly divided on the issue, according to a poll on one of the communitys websites, Kikar HaShabat (Sabbath Corner). The poll found that 42 percent of respondents were against the bill.
There are also individuals working together behind the scenes, with unlikely, discreet alliances between some Arab and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, according to a report in Al-Monitor.
Disputes over mosque calls to prayer are not uncommon, both in Western and Muslim countries. In 2004, some of the 23,000 residents of the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, Michigan were at odds over mosque loudspeakers, with some telling local media they were simply too loud.
In Dubai in 2011, the volume of a mosque was checked twice for decibel level after residents complained about crying children being woken up at 4 a.m.
An online Indonesian housing forum for expats recommends visiting a potential new home to make sure you can handle the disruption to the peace and quiet of your home during the call to prayer.
The left is creating a new kind of apartheid
The student union at Kings College London will field a team in University Challenge that contains at least 50 per cent self-defining women, trans or non-binary students. The only bad thing Ken Livingstone could bring himself to say about the brutal dictator Fidel Castro was that initially he wasnt very good on lesbian and gay rights. The first page of Hillary Clintons campaign website (still up) has links to African Americans for Hillary, Latinos for Hillary, Asian Americans and Pacific islanders for Hillary, Women for Hillary, Millennials for Hillary, but none to men for Hillary, let alone white people for Hillary.
Since when did the left insist on judging people by to paraphrase Martin Luther King the colour of their skin rather than the content of their character? The left once admirably championed the right of black people, women and gays to be treated the same as white, straight men. With only slightly less justification, it then moved on to pushing affirmative action to redress past prejudice. Now it has gone further, insisting everybody is defined by his or her identity and certain victim identities must be favoured.
Given the history of such stereotyping, it is baffling that politicians on the left cannot see where this leads. The prime exponents of identity politics in the past were the advocates of apartheid, of antisemitism, and of treating women as the legal chattels of men. We are sleepwalking our way to segregation, Trevor Phillips says.
Identity politics is thus very old-fashioned. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism, says equality feminism fair treatment, respect and dignity is being eclipsed in universities by a Victorian fainting couch feminism, which views women as fragile flowers who require safe spaces, trigger warnings and special protection from micro-invalidations. Sure enough, when she said this at Oberlin College, Ohio, 35 students and a therapy dog sought refuge in a safe room.
It is just bad biology to focus on race, sex or sexual orientation as if they mattered most about people. Weve known for decades and Marxist biologists such as Dick Lewontin used to insist on this point that the genetic differences between two human beings of the same race are maybe ten times as great as the average genetic difference between two races. Race really is skin deep. Sex goes deeper, for sure, because of developmental pathways, but still the individual differences between men and men, or women and women, or gays and gays, are far more salient than any similarities.
The Republican sweep in the American election cannot be blamed solely on the culture wars, but they surely played a part. Take the bathroom wars that broke out during the early stages of the campaign. North Carolinas legislature heavy-handedly required citizens to use toilets that corresponded to their birth gender. The Obama administration heavy-handedly reacted by insisting that every school district in the country should do no such thing or lose its federal funding. This was a gift to conservatives: Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use . . . the same restroom used by your daughter? Your wife?, asked Senator Ted Cruz.
White men played the identity card at the American ballot box There is little doubt that to some extent white men played the identity card at the ballot box in reaction to the identity politics of the left. In a much-discussed essay for The New York Times after the election, Mark Lilla of Columbia University mused that Hillary Clintons tendency to slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT and women voters at every stop was a mistake: If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them.
He argues that the fixation on diversity in our schools and the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life . . . By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. As many students woke up to discover on November 9, identity politics is expressive, not persuasive.
Last week, in an unbearably symbolic move, Hampshire College in Massachusetts removed the American flag a symbol of unity if ever there was one from campus in order to make students feel safer. The university president said the removal would enable us to instead focus our efforts on racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours. There are such attitudes in America, for sure, but I am willing to bet they are not at their worst at Hampshire College, Massachusetts.
The one group that is increasingly excluded from campuses, with never a peep of complaint from activists, is conservatives. Data from the Higher Education Research Institute show the ratio of left-wing professors to right-wing professors went from 2:1 in 1995 to 6:1 today. The 1 is usually in something such as engineering and keeps his or her head down. Fashionable joke: whats the opposite of diversity? University.
This is not a smug, anti-American argument. British universities are hurtling down the same divisive path. Feminists including Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel and Kate Smurthwaite have been no-platformed at British universities, along with speakers for Ukip and Israel, but not Islamic State. Universities are becoming like Victorian aunts, brooking no criticism of religion, treating women as delicate flowers and turning up their noses at Jews.
The government is conducting an independent review into Britains sharia courts, which effectively allow women to be treated differently if they are Muslim. The review is chaired by a Muslim and advised by two imams. And far too many government forms still insist on knowing whether the applicant is (I have taken the list from the Office for National Statistics guidance): Gypsy or Irish Traveller, White and Black Caribbean, White and Black African, White and Asian, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Arab, or any other ethnic group. So bleeding what?
The left has vacated the moral high ground on which it won so many fine battles to treat human beings equally. The right must occupy that ground and stand for universal human values and equal treatment for all.
Fake news and posttruth: the handmaidens of Western relativism
It isnt Macedonian teens who killed truth and objectivity
Internet-savvy 16-year-old boys in Macedonia are undermining Western journalism and democracy. Have you ever encountered a faker news story than that? This is the great irony of the fake-news panic that has swept the Western media in recent days, with observers now claiming that the promotion of made-up news on Facebook may have swung the election for Donald Trump and done GBH to the Western ideals of objectivity and reason: it is underpinned by illusions of its own; by a refusal to grapple with hard truths about the Wests own jettisoning of those values; and by an urge to invent bogeymen that is every bit as dislocated from reality as are those myth-peddling kids in the East.
Still reeling from the failure of their idol Hillary Clinton to get to the White House, mainstream observers and politicians this week came up with another thing to blame: BS news. They claim the spread of stories like The pope loves Trump and Hillary is a paedophile, many of which originate on phoney-news websites in Eastern Europe and get loads of likes among Westerners on Facebook, is a threat to truth and to the very practice of democracy. Angela Merkel bemoaned the fake sites, bots, trolls which manipulate public opinion and make politics and democracy harder. President Obama slammed this active misinformation, arguing that if everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, then we lose so much of what weve gained in terms of democratic freedoms.
Liberal columnists, wounded that so much of the public ignored their overtures first on Brexit and then on Trump, claim good, decent, supposedly elitist journalism must now assert itself. Our role in seeking the truth must be harnessed with steely determination, says one. CNNs Christiane Amanpour says the tsunami of fake-news sites is an affront to journalism and the thing that journalism helps to facilitate: democracy. We must now fight hard for the truth in this world where the Oxford English Dictionary just announced that its word of 2016 [is] post-truth, she says. Numerous hacks have been despatched to Macedonia and Russia to confront the fresh-faced youths who run these fake-news sites for cash. How teens in the Balkans are duping Trump supporters, says one headline. Russian propaganda effort helped spread fake news during election, says another. The image were left with is of dastardly Easterners suckering stupid Westerners and undermining the democratic tradition, and now pain-faced, well-minded columnists must stand up to this foreign threat to reason.
Its the fakest news story of the week. It might not be as utterly invented as the one about Hillarys people abusing children in a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC. But it involves a profounder avoidance of truth, a deeper unwillingness to face up to facts. In particular the fact that the rise of fake news, alternative news and conspiracy theories speaks not to the wicked interventions of myth-spreaders from without, but to the corrosion of reason within, right here in the West. It speaks to the declining moral and cultural authority of our own political and media class. It is the Western worlds own abandonment of objectivity, and loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its populace, that has nurtured something of a free-for-all on the facts and news front. Those Macedonian kids arent denting democracy or damaging objectivity theyre merely milking a Western crisis of objectivity that began long before they were born.
The first striking thing about the fake-news panic is its naked paternalism. The suggestion is that voters, especially those of a low-information, redneck variety, were hoodwinked into voting Trump by outlandish stories about how evil Hillary is. Fake news whacks people who could not recognise [or] fact-check, says Amanpour. Its a post-truth era where you can play [people] like a fiddle, says a liberal writer in the US. A Guardian columnist says people easily believe lies that play to their prejudices and then pass them on thoughtlessly. Were given the impression that masses of people are incapable of deciphering fact from fiction. They cast their votes on the basis of a daft pizza-paedo link they saw on Facebook. With a loud sneer, observers write off the general publics capacity for reason and willingness to engage seriously with democratic decisions. Ironically, this demeaning of the demos, this calling into question of the very idea that underpins modern politics that the public is reasoned and must be allowed to steer the fate of their nation does far greater damage to the value and standing of democracy than any spotty Macedonian with a laptop could ever do.
Then came the paternalistic solutions. We need new gatekeepers, columnists claim: professionals who have the resources and brains to work out whats true and whats a lie and ensure that people see more of the former. Obama and others suggest Facebook must get better at curating news, sorting truth from falsehood on behalf of its suggestible users. The suggestion is that the internet, having thrown open the world of reportage and commentary to everyone, having enabled anyone with a computer or phone to say their piece, has disoriented truth and democracy and now must be tamed, or at least better managed.
This echoes the elite fears that greeted the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. Then, the religious authorities the gatekeepers of their day worried that all sorts of heresy might now find its way into the publics minds and hearts, unfiltered by their wise, godly counsel. Todays aspiring gatekeepers panic that fake news will get into and warp the minds of the little people in this era when knowledge filtering has been stripped back even further, so that increasingly the citizen stands alone before the claims and counter-claims of those who publish. And apparently this fake news often contains heresies of its own. In his interview with the New Yorker, Obama strikingly bemoaned the fake news of climate-change scepticism, where an explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers payroll. This cuts to the 15th-century-echoing fear that motors the panic over fake news: the belief that it will allow not only outright lies, but new heresies, new blasphemies, different ways of thinking, to make an appeal to peoples beliefs and convictions. The call to filter social media is a paternalistic call to protect the public from bad or mad or dangerous thoughts, in a similar way that early clampdowns on the printing press were designed to keep evil from the swarm.
What this censorious, anti-demos view overlooks is the positive side to todays unprecedented throwing-open of debate and news and politics: the fact that it implicitly calls on the citizen to use his own mental and moral muscles, to confront the numerous different versions of the world offered to him and decide which one sounds most right. Surely the internets downside of fake news is more than outweighed by its invitation to us to negotiate the rapids of public debate for ourselves and make up our own minds? Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is a consequence of man-made behaviour, because thats what 99 per cent of scientists tell us, said Obama in his handwringing over fake news. No. The ideal thing in a democracy isnt that we believe something because scientists, or politicians, or priests, have told us its true; its that we believe something because we have considered it, thought about it, weighed it up against other things, and then deployed our own judgement. Believing something because others tell you its true isnt democracy its oligarchy.
Even the extent to which fake news is a bad thing and of course it can be its rise is not a result of wicked foreign poking into Western politics and debate. Rather, it speaks to the hollowing-out of the whole idea of truth in the West, to the march of the relativistic notion that objectivity is not only difficult but undesirable. The image of the old gatekeepers of knowledge, or just news, being elbowed aside either by new technologies or by interfering Easterners is wrong; it is more accurate to say that these gatekeepers gave up, and abandoned their posts, on the basis that it is arrogant to assume that any one way of seeing or reporting the world is better than another.
For the past two decades, Western news reporting has openly called into question its own definitiveness. It has thrown open news items to ceaseless commenting below the line, on the basis that news coverage is a partnership, as the BBCs Richard Sandbrook said in 2005. It celebrated citizen journalism as a realer, less top-down form of newsgathering. And it has jettisoned the very thing that distinguished it from other, more opinionated views on world events: its objectivity. From the rise of the journalism of attachment in the 1990s, in which journalists eschewed the apparently cold, forensic habit of objectivity and took sides with the most victimised groups in certain conflicts and situations, to the medias embrace of data journalism in the 2000s, where churning through thousands of leaked documents took the place of discovering stories and faithfully reporting them, Western journalism has redefined its mission from one of objectively discovering truth to simply offering its increasingly technical or emotional take on what might, or might not, have happened.
Journalists have explicitly disavowed objectivity, and with it their gatekeeping role. It is time to toss out objectivity as a goal, said Harvard journalism expert Dan Gilmor in 2005. By 2010, even Time magazine, self-styled epitome of the Western journalistic style, was celebrating The End of Objectivity. The new-media openness [has] upended the old medias poker-faced stoicism and its about time, it said. The Western media started to replace the ideal of objectivity with values such as fairness, transparency and balance. And as one European observer pointed out, these are very different to objectivity: where objectivity points to the active quest for truth, these newer, more technical values reduce the news media to just another voice among the many voices in a pluralistic world. When someone like Amanpour says Western journalism and democracy are in mortal peril, largely thanks to foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out false news, she overlooks journalisms weakening of its own ideals and authority, including by her and others in the 1990s when they ditched objectivity in preference for taking sides in conflicts like the one in Bosnia. She conspiratorially displaces on to Russia a crisis of objectivity that has its origins in the newsrooms and academies and political chambers of the West.
The abandonment of objectivity in journalism did not happen in a vacuum. It sprung from, and in turn intensified, a rejection of reason in the West, a disavowal of the idea of truth, and its replacement either by the far more technical ambition of being evidence-based or by highly emotional responses to world events. Indeed, the greatest irony in the fake-news panic, and in the whole post-Brexit, post-Trump talk of a new post-truth era, is that it was the very guardians of Western culture and knowledge, the very establishment now horrified by how the little people think and vote, who made us post-truth; who oversaw the turn against Enlightenment in the academy, the calling into question of male science, the throttling of the idea of any one, clear morality to which people might subscribe, and the rubbishing of the entire project of objectivity, even of news as we understood it. When Obama says we live in an era where everything seems to be the same and no distinctions are made, he isnt wrong. Only that refusal to distinguish, to judge, to elevate truer things over questionable things, is not down to Facebook or Macedonians or allegedly dumb Trump voters it is an accomplishment of the very post-Enlightenment, self-doubting, technocratic elites Obama is part of.
And what happens when you give up your conviction that truth can be discovered, and instead promote the idea that all ways of looking at the world, and interpreting the world, and feeling the world, have validity? You disorientate public discussion. You slay your own cultural authority. You create a situation where people doubt you, often with good reason, and go looking for other sources of information. You create the space for other claims of truth, some of them good and exciting, some of them mad and fake. Dont blame Russia, or us, for the crisis of journalism and democracy or for our so-called post-truth times. You did this. You, the gatekeepers. Well be our own gatekeepers now, thanks.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American “liberals” often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America’s educational system — particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if “liberals” had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Posted: at 12:24 pm
The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.
Trumps first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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An already over-powerful surveillance state is about to be let loose on the American people, said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization.
In a reversal of curbs imposed after Edward Snowdens revelations in 2013 about mass data-gathering by the NSA, Trump and Congress may move to reinstate the collection of bulk telephone records, renew powers to collect the content of e-mails and other internet activity, ease restrictions on hacking into computers and let the FBI keep preliminary investigations open longer.
Read more: Apple, the FBI and encryption — a QuickTake
A first challenge for privacy advocates comes this week: A new rule is set to go into effect on Dec. 1 letting the FBI get permission from a judge in a single jurisdiction to hack into multiple computers whose locations arent known.
Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
Wyden is one of seven senators, including libertarian Republican Rand Paul, who have introduced a bill, S. 3475, to delay the new policy until July to give Congress time to debate its merits and consider amendments.
Sessions, Pompeo and officials with national security and law enforcement agencies have argued that expanded surveillance powers are needed, especially because of the threat of small, deadly terrorist plots that are hard to detect, like the killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June and 14 people in San Bernardino, California, last year.
The FBI had at one point opened a preliminary investigation into the Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, but didnt have the authority to keep it going for lack of evidence of wrongdoing.
Whats needed is a fundamental upgrade to Americas surveillance capabilities, Pompeo and a co-author wrote in a Wall Street Journal commentary in January. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed.
Pompeo and Sessions want to repeal a 2015 law that prohibits the FBI and NSA from collecting bulk phone records — metadata such as numbers called and dates and times — on Americans who arent suspected of wrongdoing.
“Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” Pompeo wrote.
Press aides for Sessions and Pompeo declined to comment.
Sessions has opposed restraints on NSA surveillance and said in June that he supported legislation to expand the types of internet data the FBI can intercept without warrants.
Congress is also expected to consider legislation early next year that would renew the governments ability to collect the content of e-mail and other internet activity from companies such as Google and Facebook Inc.
Under the Prism program, investigators pursuing suspected terrorists can intercept the content of electronic communications believed to come from outside the U.S. without specific warrants even if one end of the communications is inside the country or involves an American.
Prism came under criticism when it was exposed by Snowden, the former NSA contractor who stole hundreds of thousands of documents on agency surveillance programs. Section 702 of the USA Patriot Act, under which Prism and other spy programs are conducted, is set to expire at the end of 2017 if it isnt reauthorized by Congress.
James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has said he also wants to renew a debate early next year about whether Apple and other companies can resist court warrants seeking to unlock encrypted communications. The agency went to court trying to force Apple to create new software to crack password protection on a phone used by the shooter in San Bernardino.
Boycott Apple until they give up the information, Trump said at a rally in South Carolina in February. He said Tim Cook, Apples chief executive officer, is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is. Apple should give up.
While the FBI dropped that case against Apple after buying a tool to hack into the phone, the increasing use of encryption on mobile devices and messaging services remains a challenge to national security and law enforcement agencies.
Republicans led by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina are expected to re-introduce legislation requiring companies to give investigators access to encrypted communications.
The FBI is also seeking legislation that would allow it to obtain non-content electronic communication transactional records, such as browsing histories and computer Internet Protocol addresses, without court oversight or a warrant.
Sessions and Burr supported the legislation earlier this year, while it was opposed by major technology groups as well as Google and Facebook.
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FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under …
Posted: November 29, 2016 at 1:22 am
We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity.
Theres another one to watch: “targeted” v. “mass” surveillance.
Since 2008, the NSA has seized tens of billions of Internet communications. It uses the Upstream and PRISM programswhich the government claims are authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Actto collect hundreds of millions of those communications each year. The scope is breathtaking, including the ongoing seizure and searching of communications flowing through key Internet backbone junctures,the searching of communications held by service providers like Google and Facebook, and, according to the government’s own investigators, the retention of significantly more than 250 million Internet communications per year.
Yet somehow, the NSA and its defenders still try to pass 702 surveillance off as “targeted surveillance,” asserting that it is incorrect when EFF and many others call it “mass surveillance.”
Our answer: if “mass surveillance” includes the collection of the content of hundreds of millions of communications annually and the real-time search of billions more, then the PRISM and Upstream programs under Section 702 fully satisfy that definition.
This word game is important because Section 702 is set to expire in December 2017. EFF and our colleagues who banded together to stop the Section 215 telephone records surveillance are gathering our strength for this next step in reining in the NSA. At the same time, the government spin doctors are trying to avoid careful examination by convincing Congress and the American people that this is just “targeted” surveillance and doesnt impact innocent people.
PRISM and Upstream surveillance are two types of surveillance that the government admits that it conducts under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, passed in 2008. Each kind of surveillance gives the U.S. government access to vast quantities of Internet communications.
Upstream gives the NSA access to communications flowing through the fiber-optic Internet backbone cables within the United States. This happens because the NSA, with the help of telecommunications companies like AT&T, makes wholesale copies of the communications streams passing through certain fiber-optic backbone cables. Upstream is at issue in EFFs Jewel v. NSA case.
PRISM gives the government access to communications in the possession of third-party Internet service providers, such as Google, Yahoo, or Facebook. Less is known about how PRISM actually works, something Congress should shine some light on between now and December 2017.
Note that those two programs existed prior to 2008they were just done under a shifting set of legal theories and authorities. EFF has had evidence of the Upstream program from whistleblower Mark Klein since 2006, and we have been suing to stop it ever since.
Despite government claims to the contrary, heres why PRISM and Upstream are “mass surveillance”:
(1) Breadth of acquisition: First, the scope of collection under both PRISM and Upstream surveillance is exceedingly broad. The NSA acquires hundreds of millions, if not billions, of communications under these programs annually. Although, in the U.S. governments view, the programs are nominally “targeted,” that targeting sweeps so broadly that the communications of innocent third parties are inevitably and intentionally vacuumed up in the process. For example, a review of a “large cache of intercepted conversations” provided by Edward Snowden and analyzed by the Washington Post revealed that 9 out of 10 account holders “were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.” The material reviewed by the Post consisted of 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant message conversations, 7,900 documents (including “medical records sent from one family member to another, resumes from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren”), and more than 5,000 private photos. In all, the cache revealed the “daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted [but were] catalogued and recorded nevertheless.” The Post estimated that, at the U.S. governments annual rate of “targeting,” collection under Section 702 would encompass more than 900,000 user accounts annually. By any definition, this is “mass surveillance.”
(2) Indiscriminate full-content searching. Second, in the course of accomplishing its so-called “targeted” Upstream surveillance, the U.S. government, in part through its agent AT&T, indiscriminately searches the contents of billions of Internet communications as they flow through the nations domestic, fiber-optic Internet backbone. This type of surveillance, known as “about surveillance,” involves the NSA’s retention of communications that are neither to nor from a target of surveillance; rather, it authorizes the NSA to obtain any communications “about” the target. Even if the acquisition of communications containing information “about” a surveillance target could, somehow, still be considered “targeted,” the method for accomplishing that surveillance cannot be: “about” surveillance entails a content search of all, or substantially all, international Internet communications transiting the United States. Again, by any definition, Upstream surveillance is “mass surveillance.” For PRISM, while less is known, it seems the government is able to search throughor require the companies like Google and Facebook to search throughall the customer data stored by the corporations for communications to or from its targets.
To accomplish Upstream surveillance, the NSA copies (or has its agents like AT&T copy) Internet traffic as it flows through the fiber-optic backbone. This copying, even if the messages are only retained briefly, matters under the law. Under U.S. constitutional law, when the federal government “meaningfully interferes”with an individuals protected communications, those communications have been “seized” for purposes of the U.S. Constitutions Fourth Amendment. Thus, when the U.S. government copies (or has copied) communications wholesale and diverts them for searching, it has “seized” those communications under the Fourth Amendment.
Similarly, U.S. wiretapping law triggers a wiretap at the point of “interception by a device,” which occurs when the Upstream mechanisms gain access to our communications.
Why does the government insist that its targeted? For Upstream, it may be because the initial collection and searching of the communicationsdone by service providers like AT&T on the governments behalfis really, really fast and much of the information initially collected is then quickly disposed of. In this way the Upstream collection is unlike the telephone records collection where the NSA kept all of the records it seized for years. Yet this difference should not change the conclusion that the surveillance is “mass surveillance.” First, all communications flowing through the collection points upstream are seized and searched, including content and metadata. Second, as noted above, the amount of information retainedover 250 million Internet communications per yearis astonishing.
Thus, regardless of the time spent, the seizure and search are comprehensive and invasive. Using advanced computers, the NSA and its agents can do a full-text, content search within a blink of an eye through billions, if not trillions of your communications, including emails, social media, and web searches. Second, as demonstrated above, the government retains a huge amount of the communicationsfar more about innocent people than about its targetsso even based on what is retained the surveillance is better described as “mass” rather than “targeted.”
So it is completely correct to characterize Section 702 as mass surveillance. It stems from the confluence of: (1) the method NSA employs to accomplish its surveillance, particularly Upstream, and (2) the breadth of that surveillance.
Next time you see the government or its supporters claim that PRISM and Upstream are “targeted” surveillance programs, youll know better.
 See, e.g., Charlie Savage, NSA Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S., N.Y. Times (Aug 8, 2013) (The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans e-mail and text communications into and out of the country[.]). This article describes an NSA practice known as about surveillancea practice that involves searching the contents of communications as they flow through the nations fiber-optic Internet backbone.
 FISA Court Opinion by Judge Bates entitled [Caption Redacted], at 29 (NSA acquires more than two hundred fifty million Internet communications each year pursuant to Section 702), https://www.eff.org/document/october-3-2011-fisc-opinion-holding-nsa-surveillance-unconstitutional (Hereinafter, Bates Opinion). According to the PCLOB report, the current number is significantly higher than 250 million communications. PCLOB Report on 702 at 116.
 Bates Opinion at 29; PCLOB at 116.
 First, the Bush Administration relied solely on broad claims of Executive power, grounded in secret legal interpretations written by the Department of Justice. Many of those interpretations were subsequently abandoned by later Bush Administration officials. Beginning in 2006, DOJ was able to turn to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to sign off on its surveillance programs. In 2007, Congress finally stepped into the game, passing the Protect America Act; which, a year later, was substantially overhauled and passed again as the FISA Amendments Act. While neither of those statutes mention the breadth of the surveillance and it was not discussed publicly during the Congressional processes, both have been cited by the government as authorizing it.
 Bates Opinion at 15.
 PCLOB report at 119-120.
 See 18 U.S.C 2511(1)(a); U.S. v. Councilman, 418 F.3d 67, 70-71, 79 (1st Cir. 2005) (en banc).
Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:11 am
Nathaniel Mauka, Staff Writer Waking Times
When Seth Lloyd, a professor of Quantum-Mechanical Engineering at MIT first suggested that the Universe was a giant, quantum computer, the notion garnered a few peoples attention. Lloyd believes that everything in the Universe is made up of chunks of information called bits, disputable as a seeming extension of the materialistic view of the world where stuff is all there is, with no ability for a sentient being to escape the Matrix. Those green, streaming numbers in the opening scene of the film, in fact, would account for everything if it were up to Lloyd, but he is not alone in assuming that we live in a Universe with such a limited description.
There are purportedly a number of billionaires in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who are using Lloyds popularized view as a jumping board to develop technologies which would free us from a bit-made actuality otherwise known as the computer simulation we collectively call the Matrix. Lloyd thinks that even atoms are made of bits. If this were the case, then a simple reprogramming of the 1s and 0s ought to give us an innumerable number of options, but even a quantum computer has limitations.
Mathematician, Peter Shor was able to show that a quantum computer can solve some of the most impossible problems in nanoseconds, but just like Artificial Intelligence, you cant fake real experience and sentient reality. More importantly, what are the implications of giving the machines power over our lives, even if some of them have made redundant activities less bothersome?
Ray Kurzweil once wrote that the exponential growth of AI will lead to a technological singularity, a point when machine intelligence will overpower human intelligence. Lloyd argues that a great quantum computer has already taken over. Stephen Hawking has also warned that Artificial Intelligence could take over humanity so if we were to juxtapose these scenarios over one another, even you and I are just bits, certain to experience an impending doom.
Other large corporations just took over the Internet, the last bastion of fairinformation sharing on the planet. Do Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and others in this technocracy threaten not just the democratic governance of technology, but the absolute sovereignty of ourselves?
Transhumanists have already popularized the notion of cyborgs and super human powers augmented with hardware machinery and software computer parts. The game is half played.
Katherine Hayles wrote in her 1999 publication How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics,
In the posthuman, there are no essential differences, or absolute demarcations, between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot technology and human goals. Humans can either go gently into that good night, joining the dinosaurs as a species that once ruled the earth but is now obsolete, or hang on for a while longer by becoming machines themselves. In either casethe age of the human is drawing to a close.
In a technocracy, power is given only to those who can make decisions based on technological knowledge. The system of governance which holds technology as God cannot fathom the subtleties of human emotion, nor express compassion, morality, or achieve spiritual ascension.
As William Henry has put it, Are you ready to cede your body to the global body and to Transhumanist technology under [the] Transnationalistss control? Really this is a world a Universe no different than the one imagined by the cabal for thousands of years. An elite few create a One World Government, only in this case it expands into solar systems and planets we have yet imagined visiting. The United Nationshas even called this Universal Plan a way to extend peace, but we should not be fooled.
If you dont agree with the technocratic agenda, fear not that youll be on the other end of a gun. Youll be micro-chipped instead. Or, youll pick out your implantable device, or your retina lenscreated by Google. In one of the most secretive start-ups ever, Magic Leap, has raised more than billion dollars to create an implantable contact lens that injects computer-generated images or floats virtual objects into your very real world view. DARPA has already developed numerous technologies to infiltrate your brain, and even to take control over your peripheral nervous system. You wont have personal relations with other human beings. Your avatar will do it for you.
Humanity is undergoing a metamorphosis, but there are two directions we could take. Lloyds version is only one. Another involves ascending spiritually, instead of relying on technology and artificial intelligence in order to outsmart mortality. WhileGoogle and Big Pharma, along with the Department of Defense promise an extra 500 years to some among us, those who have obtained true enlightenment, as suggested by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, can experience something much greater than a little bit of extended time in a skin suit.
Nathaniel Mauka is a researcher of the dark side of government and exopolitics, and a staff writer forWaking Times.
This article (Rise of the Posthuman Technocracy) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution toNathaniel Maukaand WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.
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