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11 months ago
“As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world,” NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said in a recent interview. “Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what is being built is the architecture of oppression.”
“Apple Inc. and Google unveiled a rare partnership to add technology to their smartphone platforms that will alert users if they have come into contact with a person with Covid-19,” reads a new report from Bloomberg. “People must opt in to the system, but it has the potential to monitor about a third of the world’s population.”
“World Health Organization executive director Dr. Michael Ryan said surveillance is part of what’s required for life to return to normal in a world without a vaccine. However, civil liberties experts warn that the public has little recourse to challenge these digital exercises of power once the immediate threat has passed,” reads a recent VentureBeat article titled “After coronavirus, AI could be central to our new normal“. bit.ly/3eiAqBw
He is not wrong!
"Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build 'the Architecture of Oppression'"https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bvge5q/snowden-warns-governments-are-using-coronavirus-to-build-the-architecture-of-oppression …
Snowden Warns Governments Are Using Coronavirus to Build 'the Architecture of Oppression'
VICE co-founder Shane Smith interviews famed whistleblower Edward Snowden in "Shelter in Place," a new series on VICE TV.
“White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s task force has reached out to a range of health technology companies about creating a national coronavirus surveillance system to give the government a near real-time view of where patients are seeking treatment and for what, and whether hospitals can accommodate them, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions,” reads a recent article by Politico, adding, “But the prospect of compiling a national database of potentially sensitive health information has prompted concerns about its impact on civil liberties well after the coronavirus threat recedes, with some critics comparing it to the Patriot Act enacted after the 9/11 attacks.”
“Mass surveillance methods could save lives around the world, permitting authorities to track and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus with speed and accuracy not possible during prior pandemics,” The Intercept‘s Sam Biddle wrote last week, adding, “There’s a glaring problem: We’ve heard all this before. After the September 11 attacks, Americans were told that greater monitoring and data sharing would allow the state to stop terrorism before it started, leading Congress to grant unprecedented surveillance powers that often failed to preempt much of anything. The persistence and expansion of this spying in the nearly two decades since, and the abuses exposed by Snowden and others, remind us that emergency powers can outlive their emergencies.”
As we discussed recently, it’s an established fact that power structures will seize upon opportunities to roll out oppressive authoritarian agendas under the pretense of protecting ordinary people, when in reality they’d been working on advancing those agendas since long before the crisis being offered as the reason for them. It happened with 9/11, and we may be certain that it is happening now.
The reason for this is simple: the powerful are afraid of the public. They always have been. For as long as there has been government power, there has been the fear that the people will realize the power of their numbers and overthrow the government that is in power. And understandably so; it has happened many times throughout history.
28 Minute Video Show - On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein about the death of our US Constitution. Ralph Nader, with constitutional scholars Louis Fisher and Bruce Fein, wrote to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, on November 22 urging her to focus on 12 Articles of Impeachment President Donald Trump had allegedly violated during his administration. Among them: flouting the emoluments clause, expanding presidential wars, and spending billions of dollars on projects not appropriated by the US Congress.
On Contact: Death of the US Constitution
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to constitutional scholar Bruce Fein about the death of our US Constitution ...
26 Minute Show - Jimmy Dore: 'You're only as healthy as the least insured person around you'
Jimmy Dore: 'You're only as healthy as the least insured person around you'
Jimmy Dore fills in for Jesse Ventura Jimmy and Brigida Santos discuss updates from the World Health Organization about the global coronavirus outbreak ...
30 Minute News Show with Gov. Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos share tips for staying healthy in a pandemic from health professionals and reveal why the World Economic Fund says the global economy is officially in a recession. Professor Richard Wolff talks about the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Jesse Ventura sounds off on economic fallout from coronavirus outbreak
Jesse Ventura and Brigida Santos share tips for staying healthy in a pandemic from health professionals and reveal why the World Economic Fund says the global economy is officially in a recession ...
Trump & US Gov. vs. Hitler and Fascism -- 28 Minutes Video Program - ||| Chris Hedges talks to Professor Benjamin Hett about the collapse of democracy in Germany’s Weimar Republic and its descent into fascism – and which features of the collapse may be applicable to the democratic experiment in America. Hett is professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; his new book is ‘The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic’.
On Contact: Collapse of Weimar Germany with Benjamin Hett
Chris Hedges talks to Professor Benjamin Hett about the collapse of democracy in Germany’s Weimar Republic and its descent into fascism – and which features of the collapse may be applicable to the democratic experiment in America ...
27 Minutes Video Program: bit.ly/38nClRW
The deep rot of American journalism w/Matt Taibbi
Chris Hedges discusses the deep rot that infects American journalism with reporter Matt Taibbi Follow us on Facebook: Facebook ...
28 Minutes Video Program: bit.ly/39dOw3U
On Contact: Poisoned drinking water with Seth Siegel
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to author Seth Siegel about his new book Troubled Water: What’s Wrong with What We Drink ...
All of a sudden, events are looking a bit fluxy out there, as though the world is shuddering through some spooky ch-ch-ch-changes, like a monster waiting to be born, with strange convergences of ecology, politics and economy, and there’s only so much you can do to prepare, really. Criticality is in the air!
The horses are out of the barn on the Wuhan Coronavirus. Air travel was curtailed too late in the game — and still only partially — with asymptomatic-but-infectious human carriers winging to every corner of the world and probably contaminating airports all along the way. There’s plenty of thought and counter-thought on what exactly is going on behind the scenes in China. The ruling party has knocked itself out demonstrating its earnestness in the crisis, performing great feats like the construction of a one-thousand-bed hospital in ten days, shutting down the lunar new year festivities (like cancelling Christmas here), and locking down a hundred million citizens in quarantine. Pretty impressive.
But there’s also a theory that the Coronavirus affords a cover for cascading failures in China’s corrupt and shifty banking system. The country had already stepped across some frontiers in demographics, energy consumption, and industrial growth that were shoving it toward contraction for the first time in two generations. Coronavirus has shut down a lot of production in big things like cars and big-little things like cell phones, and supply lines are shutting down to world markets. This amounts to the first big test of the integrated global economy, as well as the world’s debt-saturated business model.
When a lot of parties and counterparties can’t pay each other because their revenue flows are cut off, the securities, currencies, equities, and other abstract representations of wealth go south. The US and Europe are no better positioned for a crisis in their banking arrangements, and confidence is starting to crack. Both economic mega-regions have relied on central banking hocus-pocus to prop up stock markets and maintain the illusion that the logic of bonds still applies. The first thing to go moneywise in a contracting financial system is the magic of compound interest.
The US Federal Reserve has been massively gaming the Repo markets — overnight lending that uses bonds as collateral — since September, raising suspicions that more than one of its “primary dealer” banks are insolvent. Juicing them with “liquidity” is like painting over sheetrock infested with black mold. Looks good for a week or so, and then you’re in intensive care. Nobody knows yet what the effect of Britain’s escape from the EU will do to the Union’s remainers, but Europe’s bonded debt arrangements are even dodgier than America’s, since there is absolutely no EU central control of each member’s fiscal affairs. Anyway, the meta-trend now is the devolution of governance from giant-and-central to smaller-and-local, so the real question is how much disorder and damage do these nations endure as that happens. It’s been manifesting vividly in France for a year in the yellow vest protests.
Here in the USA, the knock-on effects of converging crises begin to look like a game of four-dimensional eight-ball. The oil markets are getting slammed around the $51 hashmark, making it more difficult for the shale oil producers to meet their onerous debt repayments (in an industry that just doesn’t make a profit). Lower gasoline prices may seem like a boon for US motorists, but it comes at the expense of bankrupting more oil companies and punishing lenders like pension funds that invested in shale securities in the desperate search for “yield.” Shale never was a rational business model despite its fabulous production surge in a very short span of years. Don’t be surprised if there’s an attempt to nationalize it, which will induce new problems of capital allocation and sheer incompetence in a world where central planning of anything is more and more a bad bet.
Looming and converging multiple crises are also behind the gross disorder in US politics, though the connections may not be so discernably visible. President Trump foolishly took credit for financial markets that he had correctly described as being “one big, fat, ugly bubble,” back in the febrile days of the last election. Now it threatens to leave him holding a big fat ugly bag of trouble. That booby trap is surely more hazardous to his reelection chances than the frenetic efforts of pissants like Adam Schiff running Wile E. Coyote ambuscades in the DC Swamp. Mr. Trump spent three years working, jawboning, and bluffing over global trade arrangements that are now suddenly falling apart. How much of that will turn out to be a temporary effect of the Coronavirus, nobody knows. Or maybe it’s an inflection point in the workings of our over-hyper-complexified human ecosystem.
These shifting quandaries leave the Democratic Party between that ol’ rock and a hard place. All of their bad faith ploys against Mr. Trump have failed so far. I speak to supposedly educated people every day upon whom the failure of the Mueller Investigation, the fiasco of impeachment, and the revelations of IG Michael Horowitz have made no impression at all. The Golden Golem of Greatness is still Putin’s Puppet to them. It’s a wonder of the age that they can’t cut their losses. And now Bernie Sanders suddenly looks poised to win the Iowa caucus and inflame the not-quite-so-socialist factions of the party, who appear to be ratcheting up some Wile E. Coyote traps against him. If that works, it’ll blow the party apart, 1860 style, into rump factions. But if Bernie somehow perseveres and gets the nomination… and the Potemkin financial markets tank… and Coronavirus turns out to be a very big deal for upsetting global trade… then, America may get its first zealous socialist president.
Yes, history repeats and rhymes and all that, but I don’t see Bernie replicating the triumphs of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Great Depression 2.0. Rather, by attempting to overlay command-and-control policies on a zeitgeist that wants to take us smaller and local, Bernie Sanders will only be bucking reality. The net effect of Bernie Sanders in the White House will be to finish off the economy… and imagine where that will take us.
James Howard Kunstler | kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/ ...