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31

      

Op-Ed by Tyler Durden


In a bid to end the massive welfare state, the Trump administration is expected to announce new measures Wednesday that would end food stamp benefits for nearly 750,000 low-income folks. The new rules will make it difficult for “states to gain waivers from a requirement that beneficiaries work or participate in a vocational training program,” according to Bloomberg sources.


Republicans have long attempted to abolish the welfare state, claiming that the redistribution of wealth for poor people keeps them in a state of perpetual poverty. They also claim the welfare state is a system of command and control and has been used by Democrats for decades as a political weapon against conservatives, hence why most inner cities vote Democrat.


House Republicans tried to cut parts of the federal food assistance program last year, but it was quickly rejected in the Senate.


         



      

The new requirements by the Trump administration would only target “able-bodied” recipients who aren’t caring for children under six.


Sources said the measure would be one of three enacted by the Trump administration to wind down the massive federal food assistance program.


The measures are expected to boot nearly 3.7 million recipients from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Though it comes at a time when employment is in a downturn, manufacturing has stumbled into a recession, and the US economy could be entering a mild recession in the year ahead.


As to why President Trump wants hundreds of thousands of low-income folks off SNAP ahead of an election year while the economy is rapidly decelerating could be an administrative error that may lead to social instabilities in specific regions that will be affected the hardest. Then again, no turmoil could come out of it, and it’s hailed as a success during the election year.




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The Department of Agriculture estimates that the new measures could save the agency $1.1 billion in year one, and $7.9 billion by year five.


See: 177 Different Ways to Generate Extra Income


Nearly 36.4 million Americans in the “greatest economy ever” are on food stamps. At least half of all Americans have low-wage jobs, barely enough to cover living expenses, nevertheless, service their credit cards with record-high interest rates.


The economy as a whole is undergoing profound structural changes with automation and artificial intelligence. Tens of millions of jobs will be lost by 2030. It’s likely the collision of these forces means the welfare state is going nowhere and will only grow in size when the next recession strikes.


Cutting food stamps for low-income folks is the right move into creating a leaner government, but there are severe social implications that could be triggered if the new measures are passed.




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And while President Trump wants to slash the welfare state for poor people, his supply-side policies and bailouts of corporate America have been record-setting in some respects.


Actions by the administration clearly show that corporate welfare for Wall Street elites is more important than welfare for low-income folks.



32

      

By Matt Agorist


In one of the most ridiculous cases of police overreach we’ve ever seen, an innocent woman was placed under arrest and cited for “disobeying” a sign recommending that individuals on the escalator hold the handrail. Now, after fighting for justice for years, Bela Kosoian is finally seeing justice.


The incident unfolded when Kosoian was at the Montmorency Metro station. As this innocent woman rode the escalator, a police officer — who just knew he had found himself a hardened criminal hellbent on burning down society for not holding a handrail — targeted her for extortion and kidnapping.


The officer pointed out that Kosoian was disobeying a pictograph with the instruction “Hold the handrail.” Knowing that she had done nothing wrong, Kosoian flexed her rights and refused to comply with the officer’s unlawful stop and refused to identify herself. This infuriated the officer who then escalated the situation, no pun intended.


         



      

Kosoian was then arrested and held for 30 minutes before being let go. She was given two tickets: one for $100 for disobeying the plastic sign recommending escalator riders hold the handrail and a $320 fine for obstructing the cop by refusing to identify herself.


This incident happened in 2009 in Montreal, Canada and she’s been fighting it ever since. As the CBC reports:



She was acquitted of the two infractions in Montreal municipal court in 2012 and subsequently filed a $45,000 lawsuit against Montreal’s transit authority, the City of Laval and one of the officers, Fabio Camacho.


Her suit was rejected by Quebec court in 2015 and by the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2017, which said Kosoian was the “author of her own misfortune.”


The Supreme Court has ordered $20,000 be paid to Kosoian in damages. The Société de transport de Montréal, which operates the Metro, and Camacho will each be liable for half the amount.



Luckily, when Kosoian’s case made it to the Supreme Court, logic prevailed.




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“An unlawful arrest — even for a short time — cannot be considered one of the ‘ordinary annoyances, anxieties and fears that people living in society routinely … accept,’” the court wrote. “In a free and democratic society, no one should accept  or expect to be subjected to  unjustified state intrusions.”


The court further ruled that a plastic sign recommending escalator riders hold the handrail cannot be considered law and, “given that the offence alleged did not exist in law, (Kosoian) was perfectly entitled to refuse to identify herself and then simply to walk away.”


The court went further, pointing out that the arresting officer was also found to have committed “a civil fault by ordering Ms. Kosoian to identify herself and by arresting her and conducting a search based on a non-existent offence, namely disobeying the pictogram indicating that the handrail should be held.”


The Supreme Court’s findings directly contradicted the previous findings from both lower courts.




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“It follows that a pictogram that only warns, advises or informs cannot serve as the basis for this offence. After all, one does not ‘disobey’ a warning. At most, one refuses to take notice of it,” the court wrote. “A reasonable police officer looking at the STM’s sign would have concluded that the pictogram simply advises users to be careful and does not impose an obligation.”


Indeed.


Had this case taken place in the United States, where police officers routinely beat, kidnap, and kill people over such minor “offenses,” Kosoian’s refusal to identify could’ve ended much worse. Luckily for her, the court saw through the color of law and ruled in her favor.




Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Minds.



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33

      

By Janet Phelan


The reports are in and the conclusion is unavoidable—a number of American citizens are stating they have been tortured by their own government.


Back in 2004, the world was given a glimpse of human rights violations executed by US soldiers and contractors in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The violations included rape, sodomy, torture and murder. Soon after, allegations of torture via waterboarding came to light.


Under pressure, President George Bush announced that the US was ceasing these activities, which he insisted on terming as “enhanced interrogation.” Bush refused to admit that waterboarding, which involves simulated drowning, constituted torture.


President Trump has signaled that he desires to reinitiate waterboarding. “It works,” he stated.


         



      

But these are all foreigners, right? No one would dare torture an American. Right?


Recently, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer issued a call-out for submissions from NGOs, UN agencies, State parties and Academia, requesting input on “psychological torture.”


As a result of this request for submissions, Special Rapporteur Melzer has been deluged with reports from NGOs, US citizens and others claiming that the US government has put them into weapons testing programs without their consent. The reports submitted revolve around “no touch torture” claims involving deployment of electronic and chemical weapons.


The mainstream media has for some time sneered at such claims.  However, when US diplomats were assaulted with electronic weapons in Cuba and Canada, the US press dropped the slurs and took the reports – at least of the diplomats – seriously.


Earlier reports had determined that similar weapons were deployed against the US embassy in Moscow for at least two decades.


According to the recent report submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur by PACTS INTERNATIONAL,


Members of our community experience the same symptomology of ‘no touch’ torture as recently experienced by the US diplomats to Cuba and China, which included: nausea, headaches, sleep problems, vertigo, hearing loss and memory and cognitive issues, along with the following forms of “psychological torture”: workplace harassment, which may lead to termination, vehicle tampering, computer tampering, email tampering, phone tampering, phone monitoring, 24 hr. surveillance,home entry, gaslighting, involuntary detention in a mental facility, vehicular stalking, organized group stalking, community-based harassment, blacklisting, and much more.


The PACTS submission, which was signed by over fifty individuals from the US, China, Canada and Europe, went on to quote Dr. Robert Duncan, who has worked on sensitive projects with DARPA, the CIA and other agencies, to wit:



…the US military and the CIA have been researching a number of interrogation and behaviour modification protocols, such as:



Induction of manic/depressive states – various methods of verbal abuse
Memory erasure using drugs Use of fear tactics – gaslighting, stalking, mock burials and executions, etc.
Remote mind manipulation – Every drug effect can be artificially induced in the target’s mind, including those of poisons.
Imprisonment and isolation
Personal and spiritual defamation


PACTS goes on to quote Cheryl Welsh, founder and director of Mind Justice, as follows:


The psychiatric sequelae of PT [psychological torture] are severe. They include delirium, psychosis, regression, self-mutilation, cognitive impairment, and anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Neuroscience research on these and related mental disorders continues to establish their neurobiological underpinnings, thus challenging the popular view that PT is not physical, not serious, and perhaps not even torture at all.


In a separate report to the Special Rapporteur, mental health professional Tina Henderson, M.A., LCSW explained how people get chosen as test subjects:


These type of torture PROGRAMS are being carried out by state and local fusion centers across the United States. They are being done covertly and apparently being paid for with tax dollars. Typically, persons can be placed on a “watch” list for minimal reasoning. Once on the list, they can be extra judiciously used for non consensual human experimentation which may include the use of military technologies…


Henderson went on to explain the effects of being placed on the watch list.


As per above, most “PROGRAMS” designs for psychological torture are based on the idea that a person’s symptomology will present in such a way that makes them appear mentally unstable. In this way, individuals enduring psychological torture have a disincentive from speaking out for fear they will be labeled as mentally ill. This is just one more form of psychological torture–not being able to ask for help out of fear.


Henderson went on to note that





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One example can be seen in the use of what is known as “The Voice of God” technology whereby individuals hear voices via technologically transmitted waves. This is utilized for the purpose of intimidation and control. It is also known as V2K. Individuals presenting with this issue would be seen by doctors or psychiatrists as psychotic and mentally ill. They would be placed in mental institutions which would serve the interests of those doing the torture, because confinement represents control.



In fact, fear of being labelled as crazy is not the only disincentive for US torture victims to get help. There are legal disincentives as well. The twenty or so torture rehabilitation agencies in the US are restricted through the stipulations attached to their HHS funding and will not assist domestic torture victims. The sole federal law governing torture defines it as something occurring outside the borders of the US, therefore making it impossible for domestic victims to sue.


However, some of these agencies appear to also deny the existence of torture in the US. When asked if US torture victims had contacted the Center for Victims of Torture, a Minnesota based organization, media representative Jenni Bowring-McDonough reverted to the fall back of mental illness and replied that


CVT has served small numbers of U.S.-born individuals whose torture occurred outside the U.S. over the years, and we continue to receive calls from U.S.-born individuals with a variety of mental health concerns (including those having nothing to do with torture). (emphasis added)


Bowring-McDonough added that “We direct all U.S.-based callers requesting help with torture that occurred in the U.S. immediately to other US-based resources, such as these: https://www.cvt.org/lookingforhelp.”


When she was informed that the organizations listed in the link would not provide assistance to US domestic torture victims, she cut off contact and refused to answer any further questions.


There appears to be only one organization in the US which provides services to domestic torture victims. The Chicago Torture Justice Center was founded in 2015 as a result of the disclosures that police officers in Chicago had tortured a number of black Americans in order to secure false confessions. The Center does not accept HHS funding and has focused its efforts on police brutality victims in Illinois.


“Trip” Oldfield, director of another torture rehabilitation organization, opined that torture services were not needed for American citizens because “The US has an intact legal system.” However, given that there is no right to sue on a federal level for torture in the US and given the mounting concerns that the judiciary in the US is compromised Oldfield’s assertions do not pan out. In addition, when queried further about the contacts he has received from US born torture victims, Oldfield also reverted to the mental health fall back, stating that these people appeared to be afflicted with mental illness.


The mental health fall back is politically convenient. It serves to buttress the perception that the US does not torture and further assaults the mental integrity of its victims.


Josephine Grace submitted a declaration to the UN Special Rapporteur through the organization Targeted Justice, which she also sent to this reporter. She wrote me, “…please list my name and Springfield, MO….so everyone knows who murdered me when I die. ”


Her experience of electronic torture at the hands of the US government reportedly began when she engaged in anti-nuclear activism:





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1980- Woke up one morning with tinnitus- high ringing, ever-changing shrill sound in ears while peacefully, legally gathering signatures to put issue on US ballot regarding:  Stopping construction on the only nuclear power plant in Missouri (Calloway Unit) until a national radioactive waste repository is built to store spent uranium fuel rods.



Her detailed account includes the following:



June 2016- Perps outside home 24/7 after let go from job. Using hand-held DEWs to cause spot-specific remote torture on different parts of body:  Heart pumping so fast, hard think it will burst (but only upon laying down at night).  Sudden pressure in head, feels like it will explode (but only upon laying down).  Extreme shaking from vibrations inside body as if electric current running through physical body. Top of head feeling numb and pressure like band around head.  Sizzling in head as if ‘bees in a bonnet.’ Sleep deprivation begins.


June 2016 entire south side of home begins to register in danger level magnetic 9 on EMF reader set on 0-3 magnetic.  During day began to experience eyes literally jiggling in sockets, organs shaking in abdomen, extreme exhaustion, inability to make decisions, short term memory loss at home.  Decide to start blog first time in life to document what was happening- as had no idea.



As succinctly stated by Tina Henderson,


There is NO law that protects American citizens from these kinds of torture. In the US, only non Americans seeking political asylum are protected from torture. You can be a born US Citizen and be subjected to all out psychological and physical torture in America.


The cat may be out of the bag: The leader of the free world tortures people. Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer has promised his report to the Human Rights Council in March of 2020. That would be the same Human Rights Council that the US resigned from in 2018, after Trump accused it of bias. It remains to be seen if Dr. Melzer will begin to tackle this issue head on or if he will fall prey to other influences.


Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You are invited to support her work on patreon here: patreon.com/janetphelan


Image credit: The Anti-Media


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34

      

By Elias Marat


Around the world, the problem of homelessness has only grown over the last several years. The roots of the problem are social in nature: rising housing prices in large cities are leading to mass evictions and displacing communities, while poor access to health care and medical health services overlaps with a number of other public health crises.


To make matters worse, once people end up without housing—by and large through no fault of their own—they are at the mercy of not only society in general, but a number of brutal health risks such as exposure to weather and disease. Homelessness is often the beginning of a never-ending cycle that either leads to, or is accompanied by, mental disorders, untreated medical issues, substance abuse, and complete social isolation.


In Australia, the latest census data shows that the problem of a growing unhoused population has increased in recent years. As a result, many are forced to sleep in the streets under improvised dwellings and tents or find themselves in severely overcrowded dwellings hardly fit for human habitation.


         



      

With these horrible conditions affecting an increasing number of people, charity group Beddown has devoted itself to creating new spaces for people in need—especially those “spaces that are commonly used and busy during the day but at night are left vacant or empty,” according to their website.


Continuing, the charity group explained:


Beddown then activates and repurposes the space at night into pop-up accommodation to ensure the homeless, those who are sleeping rough are then able to come and get into a bed at night.


Such spaces include vacant office building parking lots. So Beddown partnered with major parking garage operator Secure Parking to launch a two-week trial in Brisbane where a parking garage is converted into a housing facility where homeless people can get some much-needed rest and refuge.




 












View this post on Instagram


















 


Some time lapse footage of us setting up some of our beds for our guests ❤️ Thanks to @cossdog16 for capturing our set up. #homelessness #homeless #streetlife #storyofthestreet #beds #globalshift #queensland #brisbane #nsw #sydney #victoria #melbourne #southaustralia #adelaide #westernaustralia #perth #northernterritory #darwin #tasmania #australia #nonprofit #selfesteem #community #usa #uk #quality #endhomelessness #timelapse


A post shared by  beddown (@beddowntonight) on Oct 15, 2019 at 5:32am PDT





The primary aim is to allow people without housing to get a good night’s rest. Many homeless people suffer from sleep deprivation due to their harsh living conditions, which the charity notes can lead to myriad problems, including: depression, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, memory loss, and impaired cognitive functioning that can lead to substance abuse disorders.


The charity also provides some key services to restore the dignity of its “guests,” including dentists, doctors, nurses, and a hairdresser. Guests are also given access to social services.




 












View this post on Instagram


















 






It was great to start bringing the Beddown vision to life last night with a group of our awesome volunteers for the Dry Run. Thank you to our awesome group of volunteers who came in late on a Saturday night to help us trial and set-up some beds. Although as expected we had a few challenges to overcome, but it was awesome to start bringing Beddown to life. Thank you also to one of our many awesome collaborators @sunny_street_ for popping in to see what we are looking to achieve, thanks Sonia


35

      

By B.N. Frank


In February, telecom executives gave congressional testimony that they had NO scientific evidence that 5G is safe.  Many doctors and scientists say it isn’t.  People and pets have already become sick where it’s been installed (see 1, 2, 3).  Despite increasing worldwide opposition, warnings, and lawsuits (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) companies are still installing it anyway.  Most would consider that to be very risky especially considering that



Insurance companies tend to NOT do business with telecom companies anymore (see 1, 2).
Telecom companies have been warning investors for many years that they may eventually be held liable for harm caused by their devices and transmitters. In fact, there’s currently a Smart Phone Class Action lawsuit due to phones exceeding federal RF safety levels.

         



      

So it’s really not surprising that Swiss Re has classified 5G as a “High Impact” Risk.



The top five emerging risks in our SONAR 2019 report are digital technology’s clash with legacy hardware, potential threats from the spread of 5G mobile networks, increasingly limited fiscal and monetary flexibility by central banks, genetic testing’s implications on life insurers, and the impact of climate change on the life and health sector.


SONAR examines new and “slow-burner” emerging risks and their potential effects on the re/insurance industry. This year’s report features 15 emerging risk themes and five trend spotlights as well as an overview of global macro trends. Among the topics are the rising vaccine hesitancy, hazards of cosmetic surgery tourism, artificial intelligence and healthcare, concussion injuries in sports, the warehouse of the future, and the baby boomers’ skills gap.






Ever noticed how 5G rhymes with “insanity”?


Activist Post reports regularly about 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other sources of unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites.



5GCrisis
5GExposed
5G Information
The 5G Summit
Whatis5G.Info
Zero5G
ElectromagneticHealth
Environmental Health Trust
Physicians for Safe Technology

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36

      

By Jon Queally


It was Cyber Monday and the U.S. Navy put in a $22.2 billion order for new nuclear submarines but absolutely no headlines in the United States, pundits on Morning Joe, former presidents, nor elected politicians active on social media have been spotted asking this question in response to the massive purchase: How we gonna pay for it?


According to CNN, the contract issued on Monday is the Navy’s “most expensive shipbuilding contract ever” and was awarded to weapons maker General Dynamics Electric Boat and subcontractors. “The massive contract for nine nuclear-powered, Virginia class attack submarines comes just months after the head of the US Navy in the Pacific warned of a massive Chinese naval buildup and his trouble in getting enough submarines to counter it,” the news outlet reported.


         



      

As lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders have pointed out, the “how we gonna pay for it” question has become a common mantra among the “elite D.C. pundit” class and “deficit scolds” when public benefits like tuition-free higher education, Medicare for All, and paid family are proposed—but rarely if ever deployed against massive military expenditures like the “ultra-costly, underwhelming” F-35 fighter jet, the $6.4 trillion thrown at the endless “war on terrorism,” or these latest Virginia class attack submarines.


“If you’re following the presidential race,” Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Insitute for Policy Studies, wrote in a column last week, “you’ve heard plenty of sniping about Medicare for All and whether we can afford it. But when it comes to endless war or endless profits for Pentagon contractors, we’re told we simply must afford it—no questions asked.”


While a search of social media and news reporting turned up no evidence of elected lawmakers speaking out or asking questions about the cost of the Navy’s latest order, Albert Lee, running in the 2020 Democratic primary to unseat incumbent Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Oregon’s 3rd congressional district, did make the connection between Pentagon spending and what else that money might possibly fund.


“$22 billion could fund a lot [of kids] learning,” Lee said. “We need an education race; not a wasted arms race.”



37

      

By John Vibes


This week, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning about the popular smartphone photo application FaceApp, along with every other app developed in Russia, calling them a “potential counterintelligence threat.”


The investigation was prompted by warnings from Democratic U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer this July that the app was suspect because it was made in Russia.


Schumer posted the FBI’s letter to his Twitter profile with a statement that basically implied I told ya so.




         



      

However, it doesn’t seem that there was much of an actual investigation into the technical aspects of the application, considering that the statement suggested that “any app or product developed in Russia like FaceApp is a potential counterintelligence threat.”


“The FBI considers any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat, based on the data the product collects … And the legal mechanisms available to the Government of Russia that permits access to data within Russia’s borders,” the letter read.




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The word “potential” implies that they don’t really have any evidence.


Ian Thornton-Trump, intelligence service expert and CompTIA faculty member, told Forbes that this statement is “out of touch” and assumes that FaceApp is a threat simply due to its country of origin.


“I feel like this is a political opportunity to stoke the narrative of ‘tech company in Russia is bad; tech company in USA is good.’ It looks and smells like political pandering to an election base. The data collection practices of firms such as Google and Facebook make this look even more out of touch with the reality on the ground,” Thornton-Trump said.


FaceApp insists that they don’t “sell or share any user data with third parties,” but there is a very good chance that they do. Still, this is no different than the practices that most tech companies engage in.


Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


As with most user agreements for most of the software available in app stores, privacy agreements permits the app to collect a user’s browser history, location, cookies, log files, metadata, and much more.




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This much is fairly common, but most FaceApp users don’t know that the company can also use user uploaded photos for advertising, without compensating the people in the photos. This goes for third party advertisers too—if FaceApp wants to give your photo to another company for use in an advertisement, they can. FaceApp may insist that they won’t do this, but again, doing so is nothing unusual.


Obviously, FaceApp isn’t the only application on your phone that harvests your information. Most apps do. It is important to be careful with anything that you download.


The only reason there is so much controversy surrounding the FaceApp is because they have a headquarters based in Russia. If FaceApp were located in London or San Francisco with the exact same policies, it is unlikely that anyone would actually care that their data was being collected.



By John Vibes | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com


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38

      

By Michael Maharrey


Activists in Denver are working to get a complete ban on facial recognition technology in the city on the ballot in 2020. The growing movement to prohibit the use of facial recognition at the state and local levels could hinder the operation of a growing national facial recognition network.


Earlier this fall, Denver resident Connor Swatling introduced a ballot measure that would ban the Denver Police Department and any other city government entity from using facial recognition technology and data gathered with it for law enforcement purposes. The Denver Elections Commission approved the petition language earlier this month and activists can now begin gathering signatures. They will have until May 4 to collect 8,265 valid signatures from registered Denver voters in order to place the measure on the November 2020 ballot.


Swatling said he modeled his ordinance on a similar measure recently passed by Somerville, Massachusetts, City Council.


         



      

Scott Kilgore serves on the “5280 not 1984 Initiative” committee. In a statement, he said facial recognition infringes on civil liberties.


Facial recognition software allows for the invasion of every citizen’s privacy, The technology could allow individuals to be tracked at any time for any reason without a warrant. There are also grave equity concerns about the accuracy of facial recognition, as the technology has been shown repeatedly to be less accurate at identifying people of color.


There is a growing movement to limit or ban the use of facial recognition technology and the local and state level. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Somerville, Mass. have all prohibited government use of facial recognition technology. Portland, Oregon, and Springfield, Massachusetts, are considering similar bans, The California governor recently signed a bill that imposes a 3-year ban on the use of the tech in conjunction with police body-worn cameras. The New York Assembly is considering a bill to ban facial recognition in schools and on police body cameras.


IMPACT ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS


A recent report revealed that the federal government has turned state drivers’ license photos into a giant facial recognition database, putting virtually every driver in America in a perpetual electronic police lineup. The revelations generated widespread outrage, but this story isn’t new. The federal government has been developing a massive, nationwide facial recognition system for years.


The FBI rolled out a nationwide facial-recognition program in the fall of 2014, with the goal of building a giant biometric database with pictures provided by the states and corporate friends.


In 2016, the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law released “The Perpetual Lineup,” a massive report on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology in the U.S. You can read the complete report at perpetuallineup.org. The organization conducted a year-long investigation and collected more than 15,000 pages of documents through more than 100 public records requests. The report paints a disturbing picture of intense cooperation between the federal government, and state and local law enforcement to develop a massive facial recognition database.





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“Face recognition is a powerful technology that requires strict oversight. But those controls, by and large, don’t exist today,” report co-author Clare Garvie said. “With only a few exceptions, there are no laws governing police use of the technology, no standards ensuring its accuracy, and no systems checking for bias. It’s a wild west.”



There are many technical and legal problems with facial recognition, including significant concerns about the accuracy of the technology, particularly when reading the facial features of minority populations. During a test run by the ACLU of Northern California, facial recognition misidentified 26 members of the California legislature as people in a database of arrest photos.


With facial recognition technology, police and other government officials have the capability to track individuals in real-time. These systems allow law enforcement agents to use video cameras and continually scan everybody who walks by. According to the report, several major police departments have expressed an interest in this type of real-time tracking. Documents revealed agencies in at least five major cities, including Los Angeles, either claimed to run real-time face recognition off of street cameras, bought technology with the capability, or expressed written interest in buying it.


In all likelihood, the federal government heavily involves itself in helping state and local agencies obtain this technology. The feds provide grant money to local law enforcement agencies for a vast array of surveillance gear, including ALPRs, stingray devices and drones. The federal government essentially encourages and funds a giant nationwide surveillance net and then taps into the information via fusion centers and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE).




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Fusion centers were sold as a tool to combat terrorism, but that is not how they are being used. The ACLU pointed to a bipartisan congressional report to demonstrate the true nature of government fusion centers: “They haven’t contributed anything meaningful to counterterrorism efforts. Instead, they have largely served as police surveillance and information sharing nodes for law enforcement efforts targeting the frequent subjects of police attention: Black and brown people, immigrants, dissidents, and the poor.”


Fusion centers operate within the broader ISE. According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators…have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant. Known ISE partners include the Office of Director of National Intelligence which oversees 17 federal agencies and organizations, including the NSA. ISE utilizes these partnerships to collect and share data on the millions of unwitting people they track.


In a nutshell, without state and local cooperation, the feds have a much more difficult time gathering information. Passage of local ordinances banning facial recognition eliminates one avenue for gathering facial recognition data. Simply put, data that doesn’t exist cannot be entered into federal databases.




Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE



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39

      

By Michael Maharrey


A bill filed in the New Jersey Assembly would allow utility customers in the sate to opt-out of installing “smart meter” technology on homes and businesses. Passage of this bill would enable New Jersey residents to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.


A bipartisan coalition of three assemblymembers introduced Assembly Bill 5884 (A5884) on Nov. 14. The legislation would create an option for New Jersey utility customers to opt-out of any utility company smart meter program with no penalty.


Smart meters monitor home energy usage in minute detail in real-time. The devices transmit data to the utility company where it gets stored in databases. Anybody with access to the data can download it for analysts. Without specific criteria limiting access to the data, these devices create significant privacy issues. Smart meters can also be used to remotely limit power usage during peak hours.


         



      

A5884 would require utility companies to provide written notice to customers at least 90 days before installing a smart meter. Customers would have an option to decline the installation of a smart meter within 30 after receiving written notice with no fee or penalty. Customers declining installation after 30 days but not later than 90 days after the notice could be charged a fee of no more than $100.


Privacy Concerns


The proliferation of smart meters creates significant privacy concerns. The data collected can tell anybody who holds it a great deal about what goes on inside a home. It can reveal when residents are at home, asleep or on vacation. It can also pinpoint “unusual” energy use, and could someday serve to help enforce “energy usage” regulations. The ACLU summarized the privacy issues surrounding smart meters in a report.


The temptation to use the information that will be collected from customers for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police may want to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want the information to sell you a new washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago. Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more ‘granular’ as the system develops.


The privacy issues aren’t merely theoretical. According to information obtained by the California ACLU, utility companies in the state have disclosed information gathered by smart meters on thousands of customers. San Diego Gas and Electric alone disclosed data on more than 4,000 customers. The vast majority of disclosures were in response to subpoenas by government agencies “often in drug enforcement cases or efforts to find specific individuals,” according to SFGate.


Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Network watchdog group, said the sheer number of data disclosures made by SDG&E raised the possibility that government agencies wanted to sift through large amounts of data looking for patterns, rather than conducting targeted investigations.






Federal courts have held that government collection of smart meter data does not violate individual privacy rights. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that data collection by smart meters is reasonable and therefore permissible.


No Smart Meter, No Data


Refusing to allow a smart meter on your property is the only sure-fire way to ensure your energy use data won’t fall into the hands of government agents or private marketers, or end up stored in some kind of government database. Passage of A5884 would make opting out a legal option for New Jerseyites and give them control over their own privacy.


Impact on Federal Program


The federal government serves as a major source of funding for smart meters. A 2009 program through the U.S. Department of Energy distributed $4.5 billion for smart grid technology. The initial projects were expected to fund the installation of 1.8 million smart meters over three years.


The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to fund smart grid technology. The easiest way to nullify such programs is to simply not participate. A5884 would make that possible. If enough states pass similar legislation, and enough people opt out, the program will go nowhere.




Brave - The Browser Built for Privacy




We’ve seen a similar opt-out movement undermining Common Core in New York. Opting out follows a strategy James Madison advised in Federalist #46. “Refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” provides a powerful means to fight back against government overreach. Such actions in multiple states would likely be effective in bringing down federal smart meter programs.


WHAT’S NEXT


A5884 was referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.


Also see Activist Post’s extensive Smart Meter archive HERE.



Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center.He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky.See his blog archive here and his article archive here.He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE


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40
Huffington Post General Discussion / Why You Can’t Stop Clicking
« on: December 03, 2019, 05:57:30 PM »

      

By Truthstream Media


Activist Post Editor’s Note: Silicon Valley has taken to “dopamine fasting” in a new fad to give their high-tech brains a rest from over-stimulation.


Meanwhile, Silicon Valley parents have also been in the news for keeping their own children out of high-tech schools. It seems that the creators of this technology are well aware of the negative effects.


Aaron and Melissa Dykes cover the science behind the dopamine-driven feedback loops that are a clear form of mind control through addiction.


         



      


Aaron & Melissa Dykes are the founders of TruthstreamMedia.com, Subscribe to them on BitChute, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, support on Patreon.


Watch their mini-documentary Obsolete here and their full-length documentary THE MINDS OF MEN here.


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41

      

By Clint Siegner


The presidential race will mesmerize Americans over the next 11 months. The country hasn’t been this polarized since the Civil War.


Voters on the left desperately want a story which undermines support for President Trump. They are also searching for a candidate who can actually win.


Many Republicans are outraged about the Deep State and corporate media campaign obsession with unseating a duly elected president – and they worry an avowed socialist could win the Democratic primary and, just possibly, the general election.


Plenty about the year ahead is unpredictable. Massive federal budget deficits and unrestrained borrowing, however, are a certainty.


         



      

The federal government is not going to voluntarily shrink itself, regardless of who wins in 2020. It has been hopelessly insolvent for a good long while.


The federal government has returned to trillion-dollar deficits – levels last seen following the 2008 financial crisis.


But this time is that federal tax receipts are the highest ever seen. Despite President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, the IRS pulled in $3.44 trillion in 2019. Politicians may be divided, but they managed to find enough bi-partisan support to spend all that… plus another $984 billion.


Under current economic conditions, forecasters expect trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.






Imagine what the deficit will be the next time tax receipts fall to recessionary levels and/or Congress launches a major stimulus program. Multi-trillion-dollar deficits are on the way, perhaps when the U.S. economy next hits the skids.


Nobody in Washington DC leadership cares about sound money. Voters have forgotten the Fed’s unpopular decision to bailout crooked banksters and stick Main Street with the losses in 2008.


They stopped insisting upon limited government a long time ago. The Tea Party movement to restrain spending is all but dead, a victim of the partisan battles which have shifted attention to other issues.


Big Government Democrats and Republicans may occasionally pay lip service to the idea of fiscal restraint. But they know the Fed’s printing press will get them out of having to make any difficult cuts.


The return to sound money and limited government requires a 180-degree shift in ideology in Washington and an informed electorate. That isn’t going to happen until some hard lessons have been administered – most likely in the form of a dollar crisis.




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Trouble is, the political theater has become such a distraction. It’s harder to keep track of which problems have a political solution and which do not.


The long slide into national bankruptcy is in the latter category. Prepare accordingly.



Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, Siegner puts his experience in business management along with his passion for personal liberty, limited government, and honest money into the development of Money Metals’ brand and reach. This includes writing extensively on the bullion markets and their intersection with policy and world affairs.


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42

      

By Subverse News


Artificial intelligence is developing at a rapid rate and is already changing the way businesses and governments run, but how the algorithms they use work isn’t clear.


More governments are implementing machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase efficiency, cut costs, enforce laws, and combat the spread of fake news.


         



      


Subscribe to Subverse News


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43

      

By MassPrivateI


The good old days of elevator music being a minor distraction is about change.


VentureBeat reports that “elevators of the future will have virtual windows, voice-activated controls, music-streaming, and more.”


KONE’s DX Class, elevators will give security and the buildings owners, unparalleled access to view what is happening inside their elevators.


Yesterday’s announcement concerned new elevators designed from the get-go with connectivity built in, allowing building owners to remotely control, activate, and deactivate specific services from a central dashboard. The setup includes a dynamic display, acoustics, and lighting that can be used to tailor the ambiance and interior.


         



      


KONE’s “Monitoring Solutions” page also reveals that security and law enforcement can identify elevator riders in real-time. They even went so far as to trademark their real-time elevator spying program. It’s called KONE E-Link:


With KONE E-Link you can monitor all your elevators and escalators from a single location. It gives you a real-time overview of equipment status, demand, traffic performance, and availability.


Not only will security and the buildings owners have access to what is going on inside their elevators in real-time, but residents can also use Alexa to call the elevator while they are in their apartments.


Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


VentureBeat‘s story revealed that KONE plans to use Alexa and other companies like Robotise and BlindSquare to track people in the elevator.


Putting microphones inside elevators will transform them into Big Brother listening devices that will spy on you and your family.


As CNN reported earlier this year,







Amazon reportedly employs thousands of full-time workers and contractors in several countries, including the United States, Costa Rica and Romania, to listen to as many as 1,000 audio clips in shifts that last up to nine hours. The audio clips they listen to were described as mundane and even sometimes possibly criminal, including listening to a potential sexual assault.



Forbes warned that company’s usage of Alexa Guard is much more intrusive than their normal consumer used Alexa because it requires no wake word, is always listening, and cannot be turned off. (To learn more about Alexa Guard, click here.)


Turning elevators into 24/7 listening devices will make everyone long for the good old days when elevators just played bad music.


Kone plans to put facial recognition in elevators



Credit: Times UK



Tomio Pihkala, KONE’s executive vice president said,


Computer vision is really one of the big things which we are working on quite a lot, Pihkala added. There are many use cases — facial recognition in the context of accessibility is a really obvious one for us.


As VentureBeat pointed out, KONE has 450,000 customers worldwide. Their “Press Releases” page documents nearly 15 years of acquisitions and installations that would make even the most cynical person cringe.


Some of KONE’s recent contracts are Chicago’s Union Station Tower, the Garden Office Tower in Boston and the City of Kansas City. They are even in a cruise ship called the Harmony of the Seas.




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KONE’s “Traffic History Playback” feature is also a major privacy concern for elevator riders.


The history playback facility is a unique KONE E-Link feature. The need for playback may arise due to suspected misuse, reported incidents, or complaints by tenants. This feature facilitates reruns and study of elevator and escalator operating events and status changes, as if on a video recorder.


How long does law enforcement or security store elevator video footage for? And are they recording audio?


For those of you who thought smart city surveillance ended the moment you walked inside a building or went on a cruise ship, guess what it doesn’t.  When elevators are being monetized to listen to our conversations and identify us, we all lose.



You can read more at the MassPrivateI blog, where this article first appeared.


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44

      

By The Last American Vagabond


America’s history of heavy-handed political intervention in Latin America is one of the most well-documented aspects of U.S. foreign policy.


Nicaragua has been a recurring target, but now the government of Nicaragua is the latest “national security threat” that demands immediate military action … all to help liberate the suffering people and the struggling protesters of course.


The Last American Vagabond takes a closer look at the latest flare-ups, the real meaning of national security, terrorism, the drug war and more.


This is an excerpt of The Daily Wrap Up 12/1.


Full Episode Can Be Seen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT8Tz…



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45

      

By Tyler Durden


A couple of minutes after polls closed in Easton, Pennsylvania on Election Day, the chairwoman of the county Republicans, Lee Snover, realized something had gone horribly wrong.


When vote totals began to come in for the Northampton County judge’s race, it was obvious there was a problem. The Democratic candidate, Abe Kassis, only had 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across 100 precincts. In an area where you can vote for a straight party ticket, it was near a “statistical impossibility”, according to the New York Times.


When paper backup ballots were recounted, they showed Kassis winning narrowly, 26,142 to 25,137, over his opponent, the Republican Victor Scomillio. Snover said at about 9:30PM on November 5, her “anxiety began to pick up”.


“I’m coming down there and you better let me in,” she told someone at the election office after eventually getting through to them on the phone.


         



      

Matthew Munsey, the chairman of the Northampton County Democrats who helped with the paper ballot recount said: “People were questioning, and even I questioned, that if some of the numbers are wrong, how do we know that there aren’t mistakes with anything else?”



The issue in Northampton County continues to highlight fears and mistrust over election security that the nation is feeling on a broader scale heading into 2020. The machines used in Northampton County were also used in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, crucial areas for next year’s Presidential election.


Calibration of the voting ecosystem is often invoked by those who lose by a small margin.


Snover echoed voter concerns: “There are concerns for 2020. Nothing went right on Election Day. Everything went wrong. That’s a problem.”


Voters around the country say that machines exacerbate an already grueling voting process that is replete with long lines and frustrated poll workers.


Michelle Broadhecke of Easton, like many others who watched their Democratic candidate go down in flames in 2016, said her anxiety about elections began after Trump won.


She said: “It made me sad because with everything that’s going on, you kind of worry about: Was something tampered with, or was it just a mistake. There’s just too much going on that you worry about those things. And you don’t want the wrong people in the wrong places.”


No study has been conducted to determine why the machines malfunctioned in Northampton County. The machines stay locked away for 20 days after the election, per state law. The prevailing theory has been a bug in the software and there have been no visible signs of outside meddling, according to a senior intelligence official. 


Or as Democrats call it, “Russian interference”. 






County officials say the machines worked as they should have, with the paper ballot backup process working as advertised.


Katina Granger, a spokeswoman for Election Systems & Software, the manufacturer of the machines said: “We also need to focus on the outcome, which is that voter-verified paper ballots provided fair, accurate and legal election results, as indicated by the county’s official results reporting and successful postelection risk-limiting audit. The election was legal and fair.”


Others say the mess highlights a lack of uniformity for purchasing voting systems on a national scale. Federal testing standards for election machines haven’t been updated since 2005, when a large percentage of the machines were not digital, the Times notes.Kevin Skoglund, a senior technical adviser for the National Election Defense Coalition, a nonpartisan group that focuses on election security issues, commented: “Not only is that a decade before the current cybersecurity threats to our elections, it is two years before the first iPhone. There is a newer 2015 standard, but the Election Assistance Commission lets voting system vendors choose which one to use.”


The machines that broke are called the ExpressVoteXL and are made by Election Systems & Software. It is among the most high end machine is being called a “luxury one-stop” voting system that combines a 32 inch screen with a paper printer.


There are nearly 6,300 ExpressVoteXL machines in use across the country and the way they were chosen for use in Philadelphia has drawn significant scrutiny. Since 2013, ES&S had been lobbying two Philadelphia city commissioners and had donated $28,000 in campaign contributions and direct lobbying of Al Schmidt, one of the city’s commissioners.



In total, E.S.&S. spent more than $425,000 in lobbying expenses related to the City of Philadelphia.


Emails obtained by the city comptroller also found that E.S.&S. had influenced the writing of the city commissioners’ $22 million budget request for new election machines, tilting the process in favor of its machine, the ExpressVoteXL. The city eventually purchased the machines for $29 million in February.



But the machines are supposed to be able to test themselves to prevent what happened in Northampton County. According to the Times:





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The machines began arriving in the county in August, having gone through a federal and state certification process. The only remaining testing to be done was what officials called a “logic and accuracy test,” which is a quick dry run of roughly 20 dummy ballots. But the ExpressVoteXL has an auto-test function in which the machines can simulate a full digital test, a feature that election security experts say is ill-advised.



Skoglund continued: “It doesn’t test if the touch screen or the scanner work. It doesn’t even cast votes for everyone on the ballot. It is especially concerning that it can send made-up votes to the vote counting software without needing a real ballot. Fake ballots are a feature no voting machine should have.”


The automatic tests in Northampton proved to be problematic in that they didn’t even cast votes for every candidate.


The machines were rolled out and used anyway. 



This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


Image Credit: chrisdiontewalker


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