The important takeaway from this article is that it describes how Big Tech has now become the dominant wing of the capitalist class, as Joel Kotkin has pointed out (along with the national security state and financial sector). The ruling class is not a unified monolith, but comprised of competing interests. Nor is there egalitarianism among the ruling class, which is stratified into layer hierarchies in the same way as the general society.
By Carole Cadwalladr
There is no power on this earth that is capable of holding Facebook to account. No legislature, no law enforcement agency, no regulator. Congress has failed. The EU has failed. When the Federal Trade Commission fined it a record $5bn for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its stock price actually went up.
Which is what makes this moment so interesting and, possibly, epochal. If the boycott of Facebook by some of the world’s biggest brands – Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks – succeeds, it will be because it has targeted the only thing that Facebook understands: its bottom line. And if it fails, that will be another sort of landmark.
By Jebediah Reed
New York Intelligencer
Even before he became the point person in a global effort to find a coronavirus vaccine, Dr. Francis Collins occupied an interesting perch in government. One of the few Obama appointees still serving in a major role in the Trump administration, Collins, who rose to prominence in 1990s as leader of the Human Genome Project, is the head of the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s gargantuan hub for medical research.
Well, at least we know which firms to attack during the next wave of uprisings (if we didn’t already). And intra-ruling class conflict is always welcome. It’s also interesting how “hate” has become the new “obscenity.” It shows that the ruling class can always use whatever mores are dominant in the wider society to their advantage.
It couldn’t have happened to nicer people. The most ironic thing is that the Facebook boycott is just a virtue-signaling scam by corporations, some of whom use child slave labor in the global South. This would be like the National Socialists denouncing the Catholic Church for its legacy of anti-Semitism.
A growing number of major advertisers are abandoning Facebook amid criticism the social media company is letting hateful or false posts go unchecked.
Chipotle, HP, Pfizer and Puma are the latest to pull their ads from Facebook. They join a list of major brands including Adidas, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Conagra, Denny’s, Ford, Starbucks, Unilever and scores of smaller businesses that have halted advertising on the platform. A pledge by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday to label rule-breaking posts has done little to mollify advertisers.
First, we had Spanish Flu Two. Then we had Great Depression Two, followed by 1968 Two. Now, we’ve got Dust Bowl.
By Doyle Rice
A huge plume of dust and sand, blown by the wind from the Sahara Desert, has finally reached the U.S. mainland.
It’s one of the most significant Saharan dust events in decades, forecasters said.
The densest plume of dust began to emerge off western Africa last weekend and has now moved into the Gulf of Mexico and the South, the Weather Channel said.
Excellent. Let’s hope more firms follow suit. Spare us the annoyance of advertising while bankrupting Big Tech.
By Orion Rummler
Coca-Cola is pulling all paid social media advertisements for 30 days, saying “there is no place for racism on social media,” CEO James Quincey said in a statement on Friday.
Why it matters: Although Coca-Cola does not single out Facebook in its announcement, the company’s decision to temporarily pull ads comes as Hershey’s, Verizon, Unilever and other brands have joined a boycott of the social network over its content moderation policies.
The ultimate intentional community.
By Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix
The idea of a human colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn, might sound crazy. Its temperature hovers at nearly 300° below zero Fahrenheit, and its skies rain methane and ethane that flow into hydrocarbon seas. Nevertheless, Titan could be the only place in the solar system where it makes sense to build a permanent, self-sufficient human settlement.
We reached this conclusion after looking at the planets in a new way: ecologically. We considered the habitat that human beings need and searched for those conditions in our celestial neighborhood.
Our colonization scenario, based on science, technology, politics and culture, presents a thought experiment for anyone who wants to think about the species’ distant future.
Just like the traditional white collar priesthood, the newer white coat priesthood doesn’t mind “bearing false witness” when it’s convenient.
Krystal and Saagar react to Dr. Fauci’s interview where he admits health officials downplayed the importance of masks to save PPE for healthcare workers.
As the New Church, corporate media and Big Tech connive to impose censorship on heretics and to conveniently eliminate their business competitors in the process.
Krystal and Saagar discuss NBC News’ apparent push to have Google remove conservative sites from the search giant’s ad platform.
As I have often said, the same role that was played by the Church in the Middle Ages is now being played by the media, universities and educational system, Big Tech, Big Science, and the whitecoat priesthood.
Google is acting directly to shape what people can say and where they’re allowed to speak.
Trucks will be self-driving in a few years anyway so it doesn’t matter.
Because the police don’t care if someone is filming them if the wider apparatus of the state is backing them up. Why does anyone think Derek Chauvin choked George Floyd to death knowing full well he was being filmed the whole time? Because he thought the department, prosecutor’s office, and the union would back him up. Unluckily for Derek, the combination of the pandemic, the depression, months of house arrest, the Ahmaud Arbery shooting, the Breonna Taylor shooting, canceled sports and concerts, closed clubs and a lack of summer parties caught up with him.
By Ethan Zuckerman
The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers was captured on video, not once but half a dozen times. As we try to understand why a police officer continued compressing a man’s neck and spine for minutes after he’d lost consciousness, we have footage from security cameras at Cup Foods, where Floyd allegedly paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. As we wrestle with the sight of three officers standing by as their colleague killed Floyd, we have footage from the cell phones of witnesses who begged the officers to let Floyd off the ground. In the murder trial of Officer Derek Chauvin, who was patrolling despite 17 civilian complaints against him and previous involvement in two shootings of suspects, his defense may hinge on video from the body cameras he and other officers were wearing.
None of these videos saved George Floyd’s life, and it is possible that none of them will convict his murderer.
The evidence is overwhelming that most people would conform.
By Nick Chater
Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, described the horror of the authoritarian regime of Gilead. In this theocracy, self-preservation was the best people could hope for, being powerless to kick against the system. But her sequel, The Testaments, raises the possibility that individuals, with suitable luck, bravery and cleverness, can fight back.
But can they? There are countless examples of past and present monstrous regimes in the real world. And they all raise the question of why people didn’t just rise up against their rulers. Some of us are quick to judge those who conform to such regimes as evil psychopaths – or at least morally inferior to ourselves.
But what are the chances that you would be a heroic rebel in such a scenario, refusing to be complicit in maintaining or even enforcing the system?
For some time, I have largely regarded ideological conflict as a conflict between what I have called “psychological tribes” featuring groups of people with different personality types and psychological makeups, with these personality differences probably being rooted in genetics. In order words, people are genetically predisposed to have certain political positions.
By Emily Laber-Warren
BLUE STATE, red state. Big government, big business. Gay rights, fetal rights. The United States is riven by the politics of extremes. To paraphrase humor columnist Dave Barry, Republicans think of Democrats as godless, unpatriotic, Volvo-driving, France-loving, elitist latte guzzlers, whereas Democrats dismiss Republicans as ignorant, NASCAR-obsessed, gun-fondling religious fanatics. An exaggeration, for sure, but the reality is still pretty stark. Congress is in a perpetual stalemate because of the two parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything.
Once again, the Babylon Bee proves to be one of the most reliable news journals. Fuck the Zuck. Techno-oligarch piece of shit.
MENLO PARK, CA—Giving his arms and legs a nice little stretch while reclining in his office chair Tuesday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, confirmed that he had successfully completed another long day of deciding what people around the world should believe.
“We’ve got over two billion users now, so it’s never been more important to show them only what we want them to see, while throttling to death of all content that we don’t think they should be consuming for whatever reason,” the Facebook chief said. “My days are longer than ever.”
This scene resembles one of those science fiction films where astronauts travel to space only to return and find that Planet Earth has been destroyed in an apocalypse.
The Animal Liberation Front folks would be proud.
This is like the scened from “The Wizard of Oz” where Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” character unleashes her monkey army.
By Richard Williams
A gang of monkeys attacked a laboratory assistant and escaped with a batch of coronavirus blood test samples, it has been reported.
The bizarre incident saw the troop of primates launch their assault near Meerut Medical College in Delhi, India.
According to local media, the animals then snatched COVID-19 blood test samples that had been taken from three patients and fled.
A German teenager runs afoul of the new blasphemy laws. I consider the tribal civil war between the Red Tribe and Blue Tribe to a low-intensity variation of the traditional Catholic/Protestant conflicts in Europe during the early modern period or the Sunni/Shia conflict in the Middle East today. Each side has its own preferred version of religious or sumptuary law, (for example, laws against flag-burning for the Red Tribe or hate speech for the Blue Tribe).
The EU/NATO countries are essentially colonies of the US empire (with Western Europe being a collection of additional Blue colonies, and Eastern Europe largely being a collection of Red colonies). Just as China (an outlying province in the US-controlled global capitalist empire) is a test market for the police/surveillance state, so is Western Europe (particularly the Anglo-Celtic-Germanic-Scandinavian countries) a test market in totalitarian humanism. Naomi Seibt is the modern equivalent of a heretic who has denied a primary article of Blue Tribe orthodoxy (like denying the Trinity in a pre-modern theocratic state).
By Paul Homewood
While our attentions have been focussed on the coronavirus, something alarming and rather shocking has been going on in Germany.
You will probably be aware of Naomi Seibt, the 19 year old from Germany who has been making a name as the anti-Greta lately. Her common sense messages about global warming have not gone down well with the climate establishment, who prefer the hysterical outpourings of Greta.
This is reminiscent of the King vs. Pope feuds of the Middle Ages.
Saagar Enjeti blasts Twitter’s decision to fact-check President Trump’s tweets and explains the far-reaching implications that could allow Twitter to control future political rhetoric.
This interview with Chomsky is generally pretty good. He calls out the use of the pandemic as a pretext for expanding the surveillance state and the role of “big tech” in facilitating it. But there is one glaring contradiction. He criticizes the US inadequate response to the pandemic by blaming it on the lack of a strong federal government and then points out that Europe’s response has been even worse, and blames that on the transfer of power from individual countries to the EU. Is a strong central government only good in America but not good in Europe? Many of the US states are larger than many European countries. The EU is the US of Europe. Make up your mind, Noam.
The United States is on a chaotic path with no federal plan against the coronavirus pandemic as it reduces public health funding and ignores the advances of climate change, according to activist scholar Noam Chomsky, considered the founder of modern linguistics.
What follows are extracts, edited for clarity, from an AFP interview with the 91-year-old leftist intellectual, who has authored more than 100 books and is currently a professor at the University of Arizona.
For two months he’s been confined in Tucson with his Brazilian wife Valeria, his dog, and a parrot who can say “sovereignty” in Portuguese.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’m pretty sure this place use to be a democracy. Not America. Contrary to what Broadway may have told you, even our saintly Founding Fathers were little more than racist neocons in pantaloons. I’m talking about the fucking internet. The Anarchist’s American Dream. A brave new world wrestled from the savages of the military industrial complex who birthed it and wilded into a stateless candy land of endless possibilities by fuzzy little daydream believers like Steve Wozniak and Richard Stallman. The place that gave us Linux and Anonymous and Napster. That land of a million possibilities where no kink was left without a chatroom and a 12 year old hacker in Ethiopia could take down the American Federal Government just for the lulz. That glorious pirate utopia of temporary autonomous zones foretold by Hakim Bey, where only censorship was taboo and any lunatic with a Commodore could say whatever the fuck they wanted about the latest twat in the White House and the only recourse was to bitch and troll. Even a confirmed Luddite like myself couldn’t help but to look upon this satanic majesty and swell with pride at the seemingly inevitable supremacy of raw chaos.
Keep in mind that China is a permanent member of the US-created UN Security Council, the World Trade Organization (which manages the global capitalist empire), and the G-20, which the Asian Development Bank has characterized as the steering committee of global capitalism. In other words, China is just a province in global capitalism and just another crime family with a seat on the Commission. The Sinophobia that the Repugnicans have adopted is a pseudo-populist rhetorical trick that is meant as a counterpart to the Democraps Russophobia, a distraction from ruling class shenanigans, and an attempt to capitalize on anti-Chinese sentiment generated by COVID-19. Don’t think for one minute that US oligarchs don’t enviously observe China’s techno-surveillance system and regard it as a prototype for their future ambitions.
By Tara Chan
- Chinese businesses and the military are monitoring employees’ brain activity and emotions.
- The “emotional surveillance technology” helps employers identify mood shifts so they can change break times, an employee’s task, or even send them home.
- The technology reportedly increases productivity and profitability, with one company claiming its profits jumped by $315 million.
- Emotional surveillance adds to a wide surveillance network of facial recognition and internet censorship across China.
Employees’ brain waves are reportedly being monitored in factories, state-owned enterprises, and the military across China.
The technology works by placing wireless sensors in employees’ caps or hats which, combined with artificial intelligence algorithms, spot incidents of workplace rage, anxiety, or sadness.
Employers use this “emotional surveillance technology” by then tweaking workflows, including employee placement and breaks, to increase productivity and profits.