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41

      

By Caitlin Johnstone


One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.


Any Assange supporter active on Twitter will be familiar with the Unity4J account, which originated to help boost the wildly successful Unity4J online vigils in which well-known Assange defenders would appear to speak out against his persecution. As of this writing, the account has been gone for a day and a half.


“About 8:45am CST on Thursday July 11, one of our Unity4J Twitter team members went to retweet on the account and noticed that the account was no longer accessible,” reports pro-Assange activist Christy Dopf, one of the operators of the account. “When each of us also attempted to access the account we all received the same message ‘Account Suspended’. Twitter did not send us a reason or violation for the suspension. So an appeal was submitted. We did receive correspondence that Twitter got our request and the case is currently open. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline on how long this could take.”


         



      
42

      

By Caitlin Johnstone


One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.


Any Assange supporter active on Twitter will be familiar with the Unity4J account, which originated to help boost the wildly successful Unity4J online vigils in which well-known Assange defenders would appear to speak out against his persecution. As of this writing, the account has been gone for a day and a half.


“About 8:45am CST on Thursday July 11, one of our Unity4J Twitter team members went to retweet on the account and noticed that the account was no longer accessible,” reports pro-Assange activist Christy Dopf, one of the operators of the account. “When each of us also attempted to access the account we all received the same message ‘Account Suspended’. Twitter did not send us a reason or violation for the suspension. So an appeal was submitted. We did receive correspondence that Twitter got our request and the case is currently open. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline on how long this could take.”


         



      
43

      

By Camille Fischer


In a long-awaited ruling, the Second Circuit has found that the replies section on President Trump’s Twitter @realDonaldTrump is a public forum and that the President cannot block his critics from reading his tweets or participating in the forum merely because his dislikes the views they express. This ruling, along with two previous federal appellate court decisions, directly affects thousands of government social media accounts across the country. Government officials and agencies who operate their social media accounts as public or non-public forums must not delete comments or block users because the officials disagree with the viewpoints expressed.


The President and his advisors had admitted earlier in the case that they blocked the plaintiffs because they disagreed with the viewpoints they expressed in their replies. As a result, the case addressed only the issue of viewpoint discrimination, and not any other reason for blocking, such as harassment.


The Second Circuit made several important findings.


         



      

First, the court found that @realDonaldTrump is in fact controlled and maintained by the government, and used to conduct official governmental business. The Court relied on the bio in the @realDonaldTrump profile and other public statements and documented how he used the account to announce changes in his cabinet, changes in government policy positions, and even informing the public about talks with North Korea about nuclear disarmament. In finding that the blocking was state, and not private, action, the court rejected the government’s argument that the President still used the account as a private person, and found it irrelevant that he originally started the account as a private citizen.


Second, the Court found that the interactive components of @realDonaldTrump comprise a public forum, that is, a space generally open, indiscriminately, for the speech of the public, and in which viewpoint discrimination is prohibited.


Next, the court rejected the argument that workarounds existed to allow blocked users to read and reply to the @realDonaldTrump feed in any event, finding that such workarounds nevertheless hindered the blocked users’ ability to participate in the forum, a burden on their speech that “runs afoul of the First Amendment.”


Finally, the Second Circuit rejected the government’s argument that the entire Twitter page for @realDonaldTrump is government speech, in essence, a claim that the President is speaking by curating his reply feed to express his own message. When the government itself speaks, it may pick and choose the viewpoints it wants to express. The court found that the replies, mentions, retweets, and likes were instead the speech of the multiple users who post them, not the government. The court’s ability to distinguish the different functionalities of Twitter and social media pages is fundamental to preserving the public’s ability to speak freely as the government continues to adopt new technologies for communicating with the public.


This case sends a strong message to government officials across the country that the First Amendment will in most cases apply to the public’s interactions on the officials’ social media pages. At EFF, we’ve received numerous complaints from across the country and across the political spectrum from constituents who’ve been blocked from receiving and/or commenting upon officials’ and agencies’ posts because of political disagreements or criticism.






We’ve also seen that government use of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms is widespread—and that when local and state governments start limiting who can see government messages, the consequences can be disastrous. Our briefs for this case in both the district court and Second Circuit laid out numerous examples of how government officials and agencies use social media during emergencies, and later in disaster recovery. For example, in Northern California, local fire departments have taken to Twitter to alert the public about evacuations and the control of California’s deadly wildfires. Users who are blocked risk missing out on the most up-to-date information.


EFF has also been active in other government social media cases, challenging a multitude of speech discrimination practices.


We are representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a case against Texas A&M University regarding the school’s automatic and manual deletion of PETA’s comments and posts on the A&M Facebook page – all because A&M wanted to silence a PETA campaign to end a dog lab at A&M that breeds and experiments on dogs with muscular dystrophy. By deleting these comments, A&M was engaging in viewpoint discrimination, which is illegal in any forum, and in content discrimination, which is illegal in forums that the government specifically creates as a place for speech. We are also participating in an Oklahoma state court case, Holcomb v. Hickman, a challenge to a local official’s deletion of comments in a city Facebook group.


EFF also submitted an amicus brief in Robinson v. Hunt Co., Texas, a case in the 5th Circuit that decided that deleting a critic’s comment on the Sheriff’s Facebook page, even though the deletion followed a policy set by the Sheriff’s office, is illegal viewpoint discrimination.




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We’re waiting to see how the government responds to the @realDonaldTrump case. The Department of Justice could appeal to the Supreme Court, but at this stage, the case law is not on the government’s side. Further, we are waiting to see if the President finally unblocks all of his critics, not just the named plaintiffs in the Knight case.


The case against President Trump isn’t the first to find that government officials cannot block their critics on social media, but it is certainly the loudest. Courts must hold all elected officials, including the President, to the same restrictions against limiting speech online that have long been upheld in the physical world. That will allow everyone to speak freely, no matter the medium.



Camille Fischer is a Frank Stanton Fellow working on EFF’s free speech and government transparency projects. Camille came to EFF from D.C. where she worked in the Obama White House and in the Department of Commerce advocating for civil, human rights, and due process protections in national security and law enforcement policies. She also ran projects to increase consumer security and privacy, like the move to chip cards (sorry not sorry), and has war stories about ECPA Reform, MLATs, and encryption. Camille graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs). She takes pics and bakes pies.


This article was sourced from EFF.org


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44

      

By Carey Wedler


States across America are reforming policies on civil asset forfeiture, the controversial practice by which police seize property from citizens, often without even charging them with a crime.


According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 11 states—California, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont—have passed laws banning law enforcement from seizing property from people who have not been convicted of a crime, while three states—North Carolina, New Mexico, and Nebraska—have abolished civil forfeiture entirely.


         



      

Hawaii’s lawmakers attempted to join the trend, but this week were met with a veto from Democratic Governor David Ige.


House Bill 748, introduced by Democratic representatives, would have limited police to seizing property only in cases where a felony conviction has been issued (within the practice of civil asset forfeiture, it is actually the property that is “convicted”). As the bill’s authors wrote in their introduction to the legislation,


The legislature finds that civil asset forfeiture frequently leaves innocent citizens deprived of personal property without having ever been charged or convicted of any crime. This amounts to government-sponsored theft.


According to the Institute for Justice (IJ), Hawaii is one of the worst-ranked states for civil asset forfeiture practices. In the second edition of its “Policing for Profit” report, the organization gave the state a grade of “D-” for its “low standard of proof,” which requires “only that the government show by a preponderance of the evidence that property is tied to a crime.” IJ also cited the heavy burden placed on citizens to prove they are not connected to the alleged crime tied to the forfeiture.


Hawaii’s current policy gives 100 percent of the funds and seized property to law enforcement, including state and local police, as well as prosecuting attorneys and the attorney general. HB 748 would have shifted some of the confiscated money and income generated from the sale of forfeited property to a general state fund to reduce the financial incentives police and prosecutors have to seize property and pursue convictions.



Indeed, Hawaiian law enforcement profits immensely from the practice. According to IJ’s report, between 2000 and 2013, law enforcement seized a total of $17,244,129 worth of currency, automobiles, and other property. Hawaii News Now reported in 2015 that the Honolulu Police Department was sitting on $15 million of extra funds thanks to the practice, either from cash seizures or the profit they generate from selling confiscated property. Despite this surplus, by April of that year, the department had spent only $37,000 of their holdings, instead petitioning the Honolulu City Council for $2.6 million to pay for new police cars, motorcycles, and surveillance cameras.


Considering how lucrative civil asset forfeiture is, it should come as no surprise that, as the Hawaii Civil Beat reported, the Honolulu Police Department, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office, and the Department of the Attorney General all opposed the reform bill. “We are confident that property is being seized and forfeited fairly and equitably and the abuse present in other jurisdictions simply does not exist here,” the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office told the legislature.


In his veto explanation, Governor Ige echoed a similar refrain, claiming the state already has enough safeguards to prevent abuse. But supporters of the now-rejected bill disagree.



Addressing Ige’s perspective, which he also expressed last month prior to his official veto, Carl Bergquist, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i, said:





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The notion that there is no abuse of civil asset forfeiture here in Hawai’i is quaint. Last year’s audit reveals that there have been neither oversight nor rules in place to protect property owners from such abuse when it does occur.



According to data from a 2018 state audit analyzing seizures in 2015, in 26 percent of cases, no criminal charges were filed. In 4 percent, the charges were dismissed, meaning nearly one-third of civil asset forfeitures were conducted against people who had not been convicted or charged with a crime.



“They took a whole bunch of assets from legally innocent people,” said Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, who sponsored HB 748. “It’s basically legalized theft by the police, and that’s wrong.”


Bergquist argued that a


[felony] conviction requirement would give police pause before going after low-hanging fruit, and it should be a bare minimum to uphold another notion, one eternal rather than quaint, due process.


That same audit also found the Attorney General had mismanaged forfeiture funds and failed to allocate a portion of them to drug prevention problems as required by law.




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It is well-documented that civil asset forfeiture disproportionately affects minorities and the poor. Data from cities around the country from San Diego and Las Vegas to Chicago reflect that, as a 2018 research paper published in the Journal of Criminology and Public Policy noted, “civil forfeitures are disproportionately used against minorities and individuals with limited financial resources to challenge forfeiture actions.”With Ige’s veto of the legislation, which Bergquist says mirrors reform enacted in other states, Hawaii will continue to deny its citizens due process and make a profit in the process.


In the 2018 Supreme Court case Timbs v. Indiana, justices ruled unanimously that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on excessive fines applies to states, as well, which will likely have implications for practices such as asset forfeiture. Further, as IJ notes, since 2014, 33 states and Washington, DC, have implemented reforms.



Carey Wedler is a video blogger and Senior Editor for Anti-Media.


Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Jackie Sanders [public domain]


This article was sourced from FEE.org


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45

      

Op-ed by Peter A. Kirby


Big Bitcoin news dropped today. In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump attacked Bitcoin, Facebook’s Libra, and cryptocurrencies in general. His tweets are reproduced here:



I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….


….Similarly, Facebook Libra’s “virtual currency” will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National…


…and International. We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!



He’s got crypto all wrong.


         



      

Cryptocurrencies (and especially Bitcoin) ARE money. This is basic finance. Money is whatever people agree upon it being and people all over the world are constantly using Bitcoin to buy and sell things.


So what if cryptos are volatile? So are a lot of other financial products. People should know that before they buy them. In fact, many people buy them BECAUSE they are volatile. Don’t restrict our freedom of choice, Mr. President.


Bitcoin is not based on thin air. It is the product of electricity and computing power. A strong argument can be made for Bitcoin having more intrinsic value than the US Dollar.


If you are concerned about cryptocurrencies being unregulated, Mr. President, then why don’t you regulate them? Please let us know what the rules are. Please stop with your hypocrisy here.


Bitcoin is not the currency of choice for illicit drug sales and other unlawful activity. The US Dollar is. Bitcoin transactions are INHERENTLY traceable while national currencies such as the US dollar are not. If he wants to stop the sale of illicit drugs, then he should try going after the Central Intelligence Agency and the big banks, not Bitcoin.


If Facebook’s Libra has little standing or credibility, then why do you care about it? Let it fail. This is the free market, Mr. Trump. I thought you were a big supporter of free trade. If you think that Facebook’s Libra operates like a bank, then go ahead and regulate it as such. That’s fine. We’re waiting.


Bitcoin, on the other hand does not operate like a bank and should not be regulated as such. I’m afraid you’re stuck with it, Mr. President. You couldn’t stop it if you tried. If you do try by putting onerous regulations on cryptocurrencies, then other countries will simply issue much lighter regulations and those countries will be the ones to take the lead in the crypto space.






The US dollar is not stronger than ever, Mr. President. It was much stronger before it was taken off the gold standard by your friend Nixon. Further, the US Dollar was much, much better off before the private United States Federal Reserve Bank came into existence in 1913.


If Trump does not support crypto, then he must end his hypocrisy and provide us with a better US Dollar. The only way to effectively do that is to get rid of the current Federal Reserve Bank situation. He has spoken out against the Fed, but simply speaking out is not enough. He needs to DO SOMETHING and he has made no apparent and significant moves against the Fed thus far. There’s been lots of talk, but nothing of substance. Backing the US Dollar with precious metals would be a good idea, but we have seen no substantive moves in this direction.


Put up or shut up, Donald. We’re tired of the private Fed’s tyranny and we are repulsed by your hypocrisy.


Bitcoin is the free market solution to the Fed’s destruction of the US Dollar. It is no secret that some of the most, if not THE most powerful forces behind the rise of Bitcoin are in this game because they are fully aware of the Fed’s financial tyranny and want a better alternative.


When Trump bashes Bitcoin, he is speaking in favor of the private Federal Reserve Bank and their monopoly over the issuance of currency and credit. This is hypocrisy because, while he positions himself as a big critic of the Fed, he also speaks out against the free market alternative to their product.


Let me clarify


Being that this piece is an op-ed, let me opine further. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Donald Trump and I understand his position. I just disagree with him here.




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When it comes to President Donald Trump, there’s a lot to like. On his rise to the presidency he took out the two most powerfully corrupt political dynasties in the Country: the Bushes and then the Clintons. He crushed ISIS like the limp-wristed Obama never did. He’s securing the border. He’s standing up to the deep state, China and all the other great tyrannies of the world. He’s making peace on the Korean peninsula. The economy is doing great. He got rid of the TPP. Big Tech is on their heels. I still have faith that the chemtrail issue is being addressed and that they will cease under a Donald Trump presidency. Especially for Libertarians and Conservatives, it suffices to say that this president’s positive achievements just go on and on, and he’s not even half-way done.


Further, I understand his position. He is defending our National currency. He is defending America. That’s his job and he is doing it. Bitcoin holds tremendous potential to wreck the US dollar and national currencies around the world, and it therefore has the potential to wreck the entire global financial system; which is based on national currencies. If Bitcoin wrecks the global financial system, in the short-term, it will only be good for those who hold Bitcoin and that is currently a very small fraction of American society. Although an argument could easily be made for people to simply get off their butts and buy Bitcoin, Trump is not here to do that.


Trump apparently likes to play hardball, so the tone of this piece should not be a problem. Please feel free to hit me up anytime for a round of golf, Mr. President.


Peter A. Kirby is a San Rafael, CA researcher, writer, and activist. Please buy his book Chemtrails Exposed: A New Manhattan Project available exclusively at Amazon.com. Also, please join his email list at his website peterakirby.com.


Image credit: Pixabay


46

      

We Bring You This Critical Alert, Contributed By WealthResearchGroup.com and Their Founder, Lior Gantz, Who I regard as an expert on investing in these critical times.


Gold rallies, thanks to numerous catalysts in general, but the BIGGEST of all just triggered. We’ll receive confirmation in the coming days.


For one, gold is not affiliated with any nationality, so institutions in every country as well as individuals (to a degree) buy it in times of great uncertainty. Gold is also bought as an inflation hedge, though it’s not the most effective one. Its expertise is with cases of hyperinflation (5% and higher). Gold is bought mostly as jewelry, so the price of oil and mining labor play a part, but its most driving factor is NEGATIVE REAL RATES.


         



      

Nothing, absolutely nothing, moves gold prices higher like seeing cash burning a hole in your pocket. Warren Buffett, the greatest investor in the field of identifying businesses that possess unique competitive advantages, mocks gold and compares its return with that of stocks, but that’s a big mistake on his end.


I never buy gold with the expectation that in doing so I’ll make bigger returns than in my real estate portfolio or in my stock market portfolio; I buy it when my cash savings are GUARANTEED to lose money, and I sell it when interest rates are positive.


Better said, I load up on gold in times of negative real rates and unload when those conditions change, for a profit. On top of this, I maintain a core position in physical gold and silver eagles equivalent to my family unit’s spending needs for 24 months, in the unlikely case that during my lifetime there is a grave economic disturbance, or a reset of the system that puts me in a situation that actually requires bartering precious metals or worse.


In the past 3 days, we’ve seen confirmation of negative interest rates!



Courtesy: Zerohedge.com



Gold spiked to $1,409 immediately and silver followed suit. The reason is that the “risk-free” yield which our financial system is based on – the 10-yr Treasury note – currently returns just about 2.00%, and that dropped to as low as 1.91% a couple of days ago.


Inflationary expectations are 2% this year, which puts us right at the border between positive and negative.


Since the FED isn’t lowering its inflation forecast down from 2%, but is about to cut rates, investors are pricing in that a period of negative real rates (10-yr yield – inflation) is commencing.




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This is the reason the S&P 500 is breaching past the historic 3,000 points mark. It will probably go up as much as another 20% by the time the slowdown really starts to take effect and investors detonate this bubble and move to other asset classes.


In the early stages of a bull market, the big names rally first. Then silver joins in, at which point the small-cap miners go nuts. I expect that to begin happening once silver hits $17.00/ounce.


      
                     

ActivistPost.com absolutely loves the articles, contributed by WealthResearchGroup.com


            

Of all the investment and economic commentators we're tracking, this one is, by far, part of the top echelon.


            

We read his free newsletter daily


            

In fact, he's opened-up registration to our readers, so you can subscribe to his award-winning free letter right here!


         




   
   

   

   
      
      
       
   
   
   




      
      
   
            


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47

      

By Michael Boldin


Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot of people demanding that all illegal immigrants need to be deported, literally millions of them.


Depending on your point of view – this episode is either going to be good news or bad news. Either way, we’ll be talking about the top 3 reasons this isn’t going to happen.



         



      

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Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, where this video first appeared. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin and Facebook.




   
48

      

By Tyler Durden


AMP Robotics, an artificial intelligence and robotics company that is automating the recycling industry, has rolled out new trash-picking robots for recycling centers that will replace countless low-skilled jobs, reported The WSJ.



Single Stream Recyclers (SSR) in Sarasota, Florida, which processes 350 tons of waste per day, said last week that it would add eight AMP trash-picking robots to its already six. “Robots are the future of the recycling industry. Our investment with AMP is vital to our goal of creating the most efficient recycling operation possible, while producing the highest value commodities for resale,” said John Hansen co-owner of SSR.


         



      

AMP robots are more productive than humans, can sort garbage more accurately and faster, are set to eliminate most human sorter jobs at SSR’s Florida facility in the coming years.


Amazon to ‘Upskill’ Third of Employees for ‘Skills We Know Are in Demand,’ Says VP


“AMP’s robots are highly reliable and can consistently pick 70-80 items a minute as needed, twice as fast as humanly possible and with greater accuracy. This will help us lower cost, remove contamination, increase the purity of our commodity bales, divert waste from the landfill, and increase overall recycling rates,” said Eric Konik co-owner of SSR. (Video)


Hanson said, “It’s 95 degrees, they’re [human sorters] standing on a platform and sorting,” adding that AMP robots are “twice as fast and they don’t make mistakes.”



Kerry Sandford, a senior consultant with Resource Recycling Systems in Ann Arbor, Michigan, told the Journal that less than 5% of the residential recycling centers in North America are automated.


AMP robots are controlled by the AMP Neuron AI platform to perform tasks. AMP Neuron uses cameras and machine learning to identify different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and patterns to identify material characteristics.



The robots have been trained to pick out water bottles, beer cans, milk jugs, food cartons, and other items—whether they are intact, dented, or crushed.



Using computer vision, sensors scan the trash on a conveyor belt to detect materials. The robot uses a suction cup that can throw the recyclables into the appropriate bin by using reverse air pressure to blow them out.




“Anything a person can identify, our system can be taught to identify,” said AMP’s chief executive and founder, Matanya Horowitz.


“All of the systems can learn collectively. All robots are learning from different robots around the country.”





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AMP has approximately 24 systems running across the US, Canada, and Japan, and the company believes more robots will be brought online in 2H19.


SSR’s Hansen said it could take a recycling plant about 1.5 to four years to recover the cost of its AMP investment.


SSR has built a world-class facility that sets the bar for modern recycling. John, Eric and their team are at the forefront of their industry and we are grateful to be a part of their plans,” said Horowitz. “SSR represents the most comprehensive application of AI and robotics in the recycling industry, a major milestone not only for us, but for the advancement of the circular economy.


A new wave of automation investments in recycling facilities across the US could displace tens of thousands of jobs in the next decade. Overall, robots could replace 20% to 25% of current jobs by 2030 — equivalent to 40 million job losses.


This article was sourced from ZeroHedge.com


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49

      

By S.M. Gibson


Attorneys for alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein proposed a deal on Thursday that would allow their client to be released on bail and live in his $77 million Manhattan residence under house arrest.


The request was one of 14 conditions listed in a letter to Judge Richard M. Berman.


Other stipulations outlined by the defense include armed guards being placed at Epstein’s mansion, surveillance cameras being installed inside and outside the home, and that no one would be allowed to enter the residence other than Mr. Epstein and his attorneys. Their client would also agree to wear an electronic monitor with a global positioning system (GPS).


         



      

“Mr. Epstein stands ready and willing to pay for 24-hour armed guards should the Court deem it necessary or appropriate,” the letter noted.


Restrictions about who Epstein could contact on his phone were not included in the proposal.


Epstein’s attorneys claim their client is not a flight risk, describing him as “a U.S. citizen who’s lived his entire life in this country” who “speaks only English and knows no other languages” and “owns no foreign businesses and holds no foreign bank accounts.”


In regards to bail, Epstein’s attorneys suggested an amount be set by the court after reviewing additional information regarding his finances, which Mr. Epstein will seek the court’s permission to provide via a sealed supplemental disclosure.


“The government seeks to remand a self-made New York native and lifelong American resident based on dated allegations for which he was already convicted and punished,” Epstein’s lawyers wrote.


Judge Berman will make his ruling regarding the matter on Monday.


By S.M. Gibson | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com


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50

      

By Charles Hugh Smith


Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power.


When every device in your life is connected to the Internet (the Internet of Things), your refrigerator will schedule an oil change for your car–or something like that–and it will be amazingly wunnerful. You’ll be able to lower the temperature of your home office while you’re stuck in a traffic jam, while your fridge orders another jar of pickles delivered to your door.


It’s all in service of convenience, the god all Americans are brainwashed to worship. Imagine the convenience of turning on the light while seated on your sofa! Mind-boggling convenience at your fingertips–and since you’re already clutching your smartphone 24/7, convenience is indeed at your fingertips.


         



      

It’s also about control, and as we lose control of everything that’s actually important in our lives, the illusion of agency/control is a compelling pitch. Imagine being able to program your fridge to order a quart of milk delivered when it gets low but not order another jar of pickles when that gets low! Wow! That’s control, yowzah.


The Internet of Things is indeed about control–not your control, but control over you— control of what’s marketed to you, and control of your behaviors via control of the incentives, distractions and micro-decisions that shape behavior.


I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked. (via Mark J.)


The control enabled by the Internet of Things starts with persuasion and quickly slides into coercion. Since corporations and government agencies will have a complete map of your movements, purchases, consumption, communications, etc., then behavior flagged as “non-beneficial” will be flagged for “nudging nags”, while “unsanctioned” behavior will be directed to the proper authorities.


Say you’re visiting a fast-food outlet for the fourth time in a week. Your health insurance corporation has set three visits a week as a maximum, lest your poor lifestyle choices start costing them money for treatments, so you get a friendly “reminder” to lay off the fast food or make “healthier” choices off the fast food menu.


Failure to heed the “nudges” will result in higher premiums or cancelled coverage. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your “freedom” doesn’t extend to costing us money.


Domestic corporate versions of China’s social credit score will proliferate. Here is evidence that such scores already exist:


Everyone’s Got A “Surveillance Score” And It Can Cost You Big Money (Zero Hedge)


Then there’s the surveillance. The Internet of Things isn’t just monitoring energy use and the quantity of milk in a fridge; it’s monitoring you–not just in your house, car and wherever you take your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smartphone, but everywhere you go.


If you are a lookie-loo shopper–you browse the inventory but rarely buy anything–expect to be put in Category Three–zero customer service, and heightened surveillance in case your intent is to boost some goodies (shoplift).


Heaven help you if you start spending time reading shadow-banned websites like Of Two Minds: your social credit standing moves into the red zone, and your biometric scans at airports, concerts, retail centers, etc., will attract higher scrutiny. You just can’t be too sure about people who stray off the reservation of “approved” corporate media.


Your impulses are easy to exploit: since every purchase is tracked, your vulnerabilities to impulse buys will be visible with a bit of routine Big Data analysis, and so the price of the treats you succumb to will go up compared to the indifferent consumer next to you. Sorry, pal, it’s just business. Your vulnerabilities, insecurities and weaknesses are profit centers. We’d be foolish not to exploit them to maximize profits, because that is the sole mission of global corporations.


Governments access the trove of surveillance for their own purposes. Monitoring phone calls, texts and emails is only the first step; privacy as a concept and a right has effectively ceased to exist other than as a legal abstraction and useful fiction. The Dawn Of Robot Surveillance: AI, Video Analytics, and Privacy.


Longtime correspondent Simon H. recently submitted a video link on The Internet of Things as well as a sobering and insightful commentary.


Here is an overview by James Corbett of the totalitarian reach of the 5G IoT and a technocratic surveillance dictatorship. All delivered as an unavoidable facet of inevitable tech progress.


The 5G Dragnet



There seems to be an idea that the only reason we have historically had privacy, civil liberties and general freedoms is because in the past we lacked the technology to eliminate them.


The future does indeed seem to have globalist technocracy written all over it which is to be presented as a simple matter of embracing technological progress and celebrating new technological wonders. Don’t think about the total surveillance taking place just marvel at the speed of your connections and the convenience of outsourcing all of your troubling personal sovereignty to machine assistants to make all of your decisions for you.


Anyone who resists this undemocratic future will be branded as a nostalgically foolish, technological Luddite. However, this new form of tech is completely different in nature to all of those that have preceded it. If we think in terms of macro and micro economics, then we can also look at current developments in terms of macro and micro sovereignties. This phenomenon is more pronounced in the UK than the US because of the sovereignty issues of the EU and Brexit.




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Not only is our democratic sovereignty being eroded by supranational organization such as the EU, the IMF, the IPCC, markets and the central banking masters of the economic universe, etc., if we take surveillance capitalism, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) into consideration one can see that our sovereignty it is also under direct dual attack at an extreme and fundamentally personal level.


Against all of these things we are seeing extraordinary coalitions of resistance: Marxists, Anti-Capitalists, Anarchists, Austrian Libertarians and anyone of an old school left of right wing true liberalism who believe in the principles of democracy and sovereignty, freedom of speech, privacy and civil liberties.


The so called liberal progressives who support globalism and the technocracy are anything but liberal: they are imperialist totalitarians no better or less dangerous than the Nazis. We desperately need to strip them of their fake liberal and moderate claims and show them for what they truly are — sociopaths.


Thank you, Simon. Resistance can take many forms.


One approach is to minimize surveillance by stripping out apps from your smartphone, leaving it in a drawer most of the time, and disabling WiFi in all appliances and devices you buy/own. This approach isn’t perfect, as surveillance is far beyond our control, despite Big Tech claims of transparency, privacy controls, etc., but nonetheless any reduction in data collection is meaningful.


More than 1,000 Android apps harvest data even after you deny permissions (via Mark J.)


Buy with cash and buy the absolute minimum. If you only buy real food–meats, vegetables, grains, fruit, etc.–you’ve effectively stripped out all the profit potential of our corporate overlords. Who is going to make a big profit offering you a discount on raw carrots? No one.


If your impulse buys are paid with cash, they can’t be tracked. Whatever you buy in person with cash can’t be tracked.


Limit your Personal Surveillance Device, i.e. your smartphone: disable its “always listening” and other capabilities; leave it in the drawer, etc.


How to Turn an Android Phone Into a Dumbphone in 8 Steps


Understand you’re being played and gamed 24/7; ignore all the marketing, pitches and propaganda. Make it a habit to ignore all marketing pitches, discounts, coupons, etc. Become an anti-consumer, minimizing trackable purchases and pursuing a DeGrowth lifestyle of repairing existing items and making everything you own last rather than replace it with a new item (this is the Landfill Economy I’ve discussed many times, with thanks to correspondent Bart D. who coined the phrase to the best of my knowledge).




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Don’t buy WiFi-enabled devices, and disable WiFi if there are no non-WiFi options available.


This subverts the value of the data Facebook, Google, et al. collect on you and sell to the highest bidder. If the data isn’t useful in selling you something, then the buyers of the data will at a minimum weed the non-controllable consumers out of the data pool.


Since any deviance outside “normal” attracts scrutiny, game the system by logging a baseline of “normal” purchases and activities. Appearing minimally ordinary has its advantages. Trying too hard to leave no digital footprint is itself highly suspicious.


Advocate for digital privacy / Freedom from Surveillance and AI Bill of Rights. There is still a narrow window in the U.S. for protecting and expanding civil liberties and privacy. Here is an example of a proposed Algorithmic Bill of Rights:



Convenience is the sales pitch, but the real goal is control in service of maximizing profits and extending state power. “To serve humans” takes on new meanings in Big Tech/ Big Government’s Orwellian the Internet of Things: To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone).


Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.


My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)


My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.


If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.


You can read more at Charles Hugh Smith’s blog Of Two Minds, where this article first appeared.


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