Wed Feb 5th, 2020 at 09:08:17 PM EST
America on the wrong path ... a good listener of the State of the Union address will not get through a very BIG ego of the man. The Republican applause machine does remind me of any format of a 20th century dictator. Shameful. Madam Pelosi get tear-up her invitation papers, but unwittingly the Democrats are empty-handed ever since they lost the majority in U.S. Congress. The Republicans are a much tougher party of NO!
More below the fold ...
As the world burns worsened through climate change, species become extinct by the thousands, virus spreads from human to human, human rights abuse on the increase across too many nations, privacy and security on the Internet becoming a farce ... so the most powerful nation by its economy and military refuse to cooperate in this chamber of We The People, refusing a handshake, tearing up the speech papers filled with lies and boastful drudgery.
So the Kansas City Chiefs (of Missouri jerk) won the Super Bowl, what else is important in the Land of the Free?
Homo Sapiens Creation of Cyborgs - THE END?
Book Review: Sapiens - Homo Deus
By Yuval Noah Harari
Yuval Noah Harari's career is a publishing fairytale. An obscure Israeli academic writes a Hebrew-language history of humanity. Translated into English in 2014, the book sells more than a million copies. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg includes it in his book club in 2015. Ridley Scott wants to turn it into a TV series. Barack Obama says it gave him perspective on "the core things that have allowed us to build this extraordinary civilization that we take for granted". Its sales spike when it is mentioned on Love Island.
That book was Sapiens, which is bold, breezy and engaging, romping its way from the discovery of fire to the creation of cyborgs in less than 500 pages. The future-gazing follow-up, Homo Deus, was also a global bestseller, and now Harari has turned his attention to the present with 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. It covers everything from war - Harari's academic specialism - to meditation, his favourite leisure activity. (He does two hours a day, and a month-long retreat every year.)
The collection of pieces aims to take stock of where humanity has reached, and where it might be going. Ultra-topical concerns such as "fake news" and the rise of authoritarians such as Donald Trump are set in the context of centuries of our biological and social evolution. As Obama said, this approach certainly gives the reader perspective. Ivan the Terrible was probably more, well, terrible than Trump. Cheer up! Until you remember climate change, at least - because, to his credit, Harari is one of the few futurists to factor ecological collapse into his predictions.
by Ben Hubbard, in the bookstore March 2020
MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman
MBS is the untold story of how a mysterious young prince emerged from Saudi Arabia's sprawling royal family to overhaul the economy and society of the richest country in the Middle East--and gather as much power as possible into his own hands. Since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne in 2015, Mohammed bin Salman has leveraged his influence to restructure the kingdom's economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes, and confront its enemies around the region, especially Iran.
That vision won him fans at home and on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, in Hollywood, and at the White House, where President Trump embraced the prince as a key player in his own vision for the Middle East. But over time, the sheen of the visionary young reformer has become tarnished, leaving many struggling to determine whether MBS is in fact a rising dictator whose inexperience and rash decisions are destabilizing the world's most volatile region.
Global Targeting in Saudi Arabia - Iran religious conflict:
Some push-back by the Danes.
Three Iranian-Arab separatists have been under arrest in Denmark for the Ahvaz terror attack of 2018 in Iran. The prosecutor have added alleged espionage from 2012 -2018 for Saudi intelligence. Both in Denmark and in The Netherlands, the Saudi ambassador has been summoned to receive a diplomatic dressing down.
The Dutch had taken in hiding a long sought terrorist accused of the deadliest bombing in Tehran of 1981 killing top leaders and Ayatollah Behesti. Iran located the terrorist in Amsterdam after 35 years and liquidated him. A price was put on his head and a Moroccan mob under leadership of Ridouan Taghi took the contract. Taghi had been hiding in Dubai where he recently was arrested and extradited. The Dutch prosecution made serious work to find Taghi and his associates only after a lawyer Derk Wiersum was targeted and liquidated by the mob.
More in my recent diary - Denmark: 3 Saudi Spies Linked to Terror Attack In 2018.
Israeli Malware Company, NSO Group, Beset by Lawsuits, Board Resignations, Failed Cyber-Hack of U.S. Journalist | Tikun Olam |
Things are not looking up for NSO Group, to say the least. It's the world's leading Black Hat cyber-security company. Its Pegasus malware is the most-advanced hacking tool in the world. It has been used by as many as 40 intelligence agencies, many working for repressive regimes, to seize control of cell phones belonging to human rights activists, journalists, teachers, and victims of state violence. For several years, the company was the darling of the cyber-security industry with valuations approaching $1-billion. When it finally sold itself to the UK venture capitalist, Stephen Peel, the start-up founded by two floundering IDF veterans looking for the "next big thing," had achieved magical unicorn status and became mega-wealthy overnight.
A First: MBS's Failed Hack Against NY Times Journalist
A few days ago, NY Times Beirut bureau chief, Ben Hubbard, wrote that months earlier he had been targeted by Pegasus via an email. He had wisely not opened the message, which would have immediately downloaded the contents of his phone and offered the attackers access to everything he did, said or wrote subsequently. Hubbard sent his phone to Citizen Lab, which examined the phishing message and detected the server which would have connected to Hubbard's phone had he clicked the link. The NGO determined that the server belonged to a network created by Saudi intelligence to target multiple victims. Hubbard holds the distinction of being the first U.S. journalist targeted by the Saudis.
○ Court filing links exposed spy to Israel's Black Cube
○ WhatsApp Sues NSO Group Over Exploit Which Attacked Political, Military Leaders in 20 Nations
Yuval Harari's blistering warning to Davos in full ...
○ The three existential challenges are nuclear war, ecological collapse and technological disruption. We should focus on them.
The usual bargain between philosophers and politicians is that philosophers have a lot of fanciful ideas, and politicians basically explain that they lack the means to implement these ideas. Now we are in an opposite situation. We are facing philosophical bankruptcy.
The twin revolutions of infotech and biotech are now giving politicians the means to create heaven or hell, but the philosophers are having trouble conceptualizing what the new heaven and the new hell will look like. And that's a very dangerous situation.
If we fail to conceptualize the new heaven quickly enough, we might be easily misled by naïve utopias. And if we fail to conceptualize the new hell quickly enough, we might find ourselves entrapped there with no way out.