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Big Capitalism and Devaluation of Human Life

by Oui 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.

PROLOGUE

Bestseller: MBS
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.

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US Navy's Deployment of New "Low-Yield" Nuclear Warhead A Dangerous Step | Portside |

by Oui on Wed Feb 5th, 2020 at 09:47:16 PM EST
Just as in lacking measures to counteract climate change, the Dutch court system  intervened to protect the privacy and human rights of citizens in The Netherlands. Mark Rutte is by all measures a wolf in sheep's clothing as he consistently follows an Anglo-Saxon conservative policy well suited for a Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. Thank goodness the Dutch are part of the EU!

Digital technology should benefit all people to advance their talent and education, not to suppress the weak, sick or poverty stricken.

Welfare surveillance system violates human rights, Dutch court rules | The Guardian |

People in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Dutch system aimed to predict the likelihood of an individual committing benefit or tax fraud, or violating labour laws.

The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, applauded the verdict and said it was "a clear victory for all those who are justifiably concerned about the serious threats digital welfare systems pose for human rights".

The decision "sets a strong legal precedent for other courts to follow", he added. "This is one of the first times a court anywhere has stopped the use of digital technologies and abundant digital information by welfare authorities on human rights grounds."

A Dutch court has ordered the immediate halt of an automated surveillance system for detecting welfare fraud because it violates human rights, in a judgment likely to resonate well beyond the Netherlands.

The case was seen as an important legal challenge to the controversial but growing use by governments around the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and risk modelling in administering welfare benefits and other core services.

Campaigners say such "digital welfare states" - developed often without consultation, and operated secretively and without adequate oversight - amount to spying on the poor, breaching privacy and human rights norms and unfairly penalising the most vulnerable.

Work and social policy in the age of artificial intelligence | Brookings Institute |

The Dutch play a key role in the NSA-GCHQ-Mossad group sharing western intelligence.

by Oui on Thu Feb 6th, 2020 at 07:51:39 AM EST
Clients in the Middle East: Israel and the Gulf States. ...Britain of Boris Johnson makes another statement: UK is open for business.

UK: Exit of Human Rights

UK to host spyware firm accused of aiding human rights abuses | The Guardian |

The government will host the NSO Group, which sells technology that has allegedly been used by autocratic regimes to spy on the private messages of journalists and human rights activists, at the closed Security and Policing trade fair in Hampshire next month.

The NSO Group is due to be an exhibitor at the three-day fair, where police and security officials from abroad can browse commercial stalls selling surveillance and crowd-control equipment.

Around 60 foreign delegations are typically hosted by the British government to the fair. In the last four years they have included countries whose human rights records have been criticised such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Hong Kong. The identities of this year's delegations are not known as they are usually announced on the opening day of the fair.

NSO has faced allegations that its technology is used to target human rights activists and reporters around the world. At least three UK residents are among those who are alleged to have been targeted using spyware sold by NSO. Among them is a prominent London-based satirist who is suing Saudi Arabia in the UK courts alleging that the Riyadh regime targeted him using malware developed by the firm.

Countries, territories and organisations invited by the Home Office and the Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation (DIT DSO) to attend. (2019)

Related reading ...

Former IDF intelligence personnel likely tied to UAE DarkMatter spy app, report says | Times of Israel |
Black-Ops Mercenaries On the Internet
Team of American Hackers and Emirati Spies Discussed Attacking The Intercept

by Oui on Thu Feb 6th, 2020 at 02:42:37 PM EST

After Exit from EU, BoJo aims at priority for arms sales to any client, whatsoever the cost!

by Oui on Sun Feb 9th, 2020 at 06:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Thu Feb 6th, 2020 at 06:13:03 PM EST
I do like his take on the fake president who is good for corporations and bad for the majority of the people.

What Tom Steyer said to extricate himself from the world's most uncomfortable situation

Tom Steyer's Long Journey

Tom Steyer wants you to know that he's a businessman. He also wants you to know that he's not that kind of businessman.

Dig a little deeper, as I did with Steyer by phone while he traveled through western New Hampshire on Wednesday, and you find that his viewpoint on the economy would not be out of place at a Bernie Sanders rally. He believes the corporate mentality of short-term thinking to boost shareholder profits has crippled America and its workforce. He believes the wealthy have extracted society's gains and left nothing for everyone else.

"If you understand how corporate people think," Steyer told me, "they look at their employees as people driving revenues or not. And if you're not driving revenues, you are commoditized as a human being. You're not an employee, not a partner, not a co-worker, but a digitized asset. Workers went from being partners to being widgets."

...
Here's what that same guy is saying today. "Something dramatic changed in the 1980s in terms of how people running corporations and boards thought about their responsibility. We moved from a stakeholder model to a shareholder model, and that's absolutely wrong. It's corrosive and destructive to America." In our interview, Steyer also condemned the Laffer Curve, which predicted that lower taxes would increase federal revenues, and the concept of trickle-down economics. He accused the Trump administration of "committing crimes against humanity" on the border. He was proudly liberal and even fiery at times.

Tom Steyer accuses Kevin McCarthy of anti-Semitism over tweet

by Oui on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 02:05:35 PM EST
Cherbourg: Suspected Arms Shipment to War in Yemen

by Oui on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 03:05:40 AM EST
by Oui on Mon Feb 10th, 2020 at 02:33:21 PM EST
DOJ announces reversal in Roger Stone sentencing recommendation to nine years after Trump tweet | ABC News |

A federal prosecuter Aaron Zelinsky hands in resignation in the case of Roger Stone ...

After Trump tweet, Roger Stone could get a lot less jail time | Vanity Fair |

by Oui on Tue Feb 11th, 2020 at 08:35:48 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 04:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

SHAME! Our leader dictator in the White House.
Impeachment: cross-out a responsible U.S. Congress.
Judicial branch has now been attached to the power of the Executive. Any more questions? No, you are fake news ... next Fox news!

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 04:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Founding Fathers build the U.S. Constitution on the Separation of Powers. A major test was the 1860s, slavery, an industrial North and industrious plantation owners of the South.

The Civil Rights Act of the 1960s did much to heal the inequality imposed by States on the Afro-American citizens. However latent racism stayed in the fiber of the American White tribe. The election and eight years of the Barack Obama administration cultivated a White Supremacist backlash. The rise of Donald Trump during the primaries was as surprising as his win over Hillary Clinton. The infamous Steele Dossier was initiated by Republican rivals of Trump before it was paid for by the DNC and Clinton!

American Empire: A Separation of Parties, the New Civil War

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 09:39:26 AM EST

Sounds pretty Dutch to me ... Hoekstra ...

Dutch Colonial Heritage Revived Under Trump Administration

West Africa Slavery - South Africa Apartheid - Racism and White Supremacy by Dutch Reformed Teaching - Luther and anti-Semitism - Dear Jesus!

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 04:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Rough sleeping in London is soaring - what was that pledge, Boris Johnson? | The Guardian - Dec. 2012 |

William recalled visiting the project for the first time as a young boy, saying: "It was one of the first places I came to actually. I must have been between eight and 10, something like that. It had a profound impact on me.

"My mother knew what she was doing with it. She realised that it was very important when you grow up - especially in the life that we grew up - that you realise that life happens beyond palace walls, and that you see real people struggling with real issues."

In the footsteps of his mother, William became the patron of Centrepoint helping homelessness of young people

Related reading ...

Finland's 'Housing First' policy proves that homelessness is avoidable

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 11:30:39 AM EST

Presidential Candidates on Student Loans: The Complete 2020 Guide  [cached, website not available outside US - Oui]

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 11:45:20 AM EST
I read this summary, "Presidential Candidates on Student Loans: The Complete 2020 Guide". Notably, Sanders' "College for All Act" is the only one with legislative history; so I read the 2017 bill's summary and some sections. The devil is in the details highlighted and conspicuous omissions in that summary (ahem) even supposing congress enacts the whole thing after Sanders' or Warren's election. These are the only candidates proposing semblances of (1) conditional students' debts forgiveness--commercial and federal lenders?; (2) federal grants to institutions/eligible and qualified? student ("free tuition"); and (3) federal loan products' principal/interest modifications.

A provision establishing severable trust funds for designated separate-but-equal ahh ethnic colleges is ... inexplicable rather than illustrative of universal equity.

It ought to go without saying, that reserving interest-bearing debt marketing was an especially non-trivial repudiation of celebrated ventures into US "public school" education from cradle to grave; campaign "democratic socialists" and their antagonists are in for a rude surprise; also fuck Benthem and generations of "liberal" education spawned by such doctrine. My opinion is that interest demanded be prohibited except for speculative ventures to acquire exclusive property and rights (from government), I have mentioned before.

Incidentally, BernieSanders.com doesn't have either that or another draft posted.

by Cat on Sat Feb 15th, 2020 at 10:37:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... interesting!
by Oui on Sun Feb 16th, 2020 at 09:10:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tech Fair in Barcelona: Huawei takes hit on virus fears as 6000 Chinese visitors were expected.

Mobile World Congress axed after firms quit over Coronavirus fears

by Oui on Wed Feb 12th, 2020 at 10:44:16 PM EST
Barcelona #MWC2020

by Oui on Thu Feb 13th, 2020 at 07:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has been corrupt all along ...

Swiss Crypto AG Was Owned by the CIA

The operation, first known by the code name "Thesaurus" and later "Rubicon," ranks as the most audacious in CIA history.

The CIA's 'Minerva' Secret

by Oui on Thu Feb 13th, 2020 at 05:49:09 PM EST
Among tech circles in the 70s and 80s it was assumed the NSA and CIA could crack any encrypted system because they were heavily involved in writing the specifications for those systems.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Feb 24th, 2020 at 07:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This also proves what was long suspected: The vast majority of the CIA's "threat assessments" were in fact self-promoting bullshit.
by rifek on Mon Feb 24th, 2020 at 07:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Google concedes $10bn Pentagon Jedi   data contract amid ethical concerns | The Drum - Oct. 2018 |

by Oui on Thu Feb 13th, 2020 at 11:29:08 PM EST

Church group criticizes US plan to rein in rights of smaller shareholders | SEC Governance |

by Oui on Mon Feb 17th, 2020 at 02:23:07 AM EST

Eugenics only 'works' for delusional white men who think they're superior -- no surprise it's infiltrated No 10, then | The Independent |

by Oui on Mon Feb 17th, 2020 at 04:57:43 PM EST
Good riddance ... one empty seat next to Dominic Cummings ...

by Oui on Mon Feb 17th, 2020 at 07:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Mon Feb 17th, 2020 at 07:59:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank goodness ... Andrew Sabisky is gone forever ... his twitter account that is 🤣

by Oui on Tue Feb 18th, 2020 at 11:16:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Tue Feb 18th, 2020 at 07:21:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has always been tacit and not-so-tacit Tory policy.
by rifek on Mon Feb 24th, 2020 at 07:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Time has come to review all extradiction requests due to political interference.

by Oui on Tue Feb 18th, 2020 at 11:44:52 AM EST
by Oui on Tue Feb 18th, 2020 at 11:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Wed Feb 19th, 2020 at 03:50:51 PM EST
by Oui on Wed Feb 19th, 2020 at 03:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Mike, how does President Trump treat/beat the "Free Press" in your own country? FAKE NEWS!

WSJ is part of Murdoch's News Corporation .... 'nuf said.

by Oui on Wed Feb 19th, 2020 at 08:08:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A mature, responsible country
Israel is expelling Derk Walters, the correspondent of a leading Dutch newspaper, after harassing him for months over the content of his reporting.

The editor of the newspaper NRC Handelsblad says the Israeli decision not to renew Walters' visa is an attempt to obstruct free and critical news gathering about Israel.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 19th, 2020 at 09:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China should not restrict #freespeech
EYAL WEIZMAN, an Israeli-born British architect who uses visual analysis to investigate war crimes and other forms of state violence, was barred from traveling to the United States this week for an exhibition of his work after being identified as a security risk by an algorithm used by the Department of Homeland Security.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Feb 21st, 2020 at 05:27:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran says 12 dead from new virus, rejects higher death toll | AP News |

Iran looking for or at the Zero patient ...

Top Iranian health official tests positive for coronavirus | Gulf News |

I can imagine the press meeting attendees and the Iranian cabinet of ministers are all forced in quarantine for at least 14 days ...

Further news Middle East, pilgrim sites and prayer gatherings are places to avoid ...

Coronavirus latest: UAE halts all flights to and from Iran | The National - UAE |
Kuwait airlifts 900 citizens from virus-hit Iran | Al-Khajeel Times |
Iraq bans travel from seven countries over coronavirus fears | Gulf News |

Meanwhile in the Saudi Kingdom ...

Saudi cabinet reshuffle brings ex-energy minister back as investment chief

by Oui on Tue Feb 25th, 2020 at 02:54:46 PM EST


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