*edit, August 13, 2017 – I added a link from The Free Thought Project. I also clarified a few things where I discuss the United States transitioning from colonization involving direct military invasions and occupations to neocolonialism, which I’m fairly certainly I had muddled. It’s not an area that I have specialized knowledge in, to say the least. And I added a paragraph or two about neoliberalism. This post was probably published before it was done, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just tends to look a bit messy when I add edits. But I think that’s better than not making the post as good as it can be.
*edit, August 15, 2017 – I’m a few days late with this, but I was in a coffee shop with a friend and showing him how bit.ly would not shorten my website url for a particular blog post I had written. Lo and behold, after who knows how many days (with this blog post up), bit.ly, suddenly, can be used to shorten the link that recently, they decided they wouldn’t shorten. The back and forth I had with a rep for the company can be found at the bottom of the page. The ‘temporary’ glitch wasn’t very temporary. I should have taken note of dates here.
*edit, August 12, 2017 – I added a Black Agenda link, including an image (from The Matrix) I found there that was too good not to show you. I also slightly altered the punctuation in one sentence about the US tweaking its system in order to protect capitalism and forestall revolution, so as to make it clear that its leadership role within the Corporatocracy was post WWII.
A loud whoompfing sound is often what accompanies an avalanche. When we read, some time ago, about Google’s Jigsaw or about First Draft which Google was putting together, that was the equivalent of the loud whoompfing sound that those in the vicinity of an impending avalanche hear. They hear that and feel a phsysical “settling” on the ground that they are standing on, just prior to an avalanche. And they are in danger when they hear that sound and feel that settling of the ground under their feet.
Once an avalanche starts, it doesn’t stop until it reaches what is called the ‘run-out zone’, which occurs when the surface upon which the avalanche is flowing enters into a steepness less than about 20 degrees. The avalanche doesn’t miraculously stop before then. We have heard the whoompfing sound. But the impending avalanche has not occurred, let alone reached the run-out zone.
Exactly when did we hear the whoompf? Well, I would say it’s a collective whoompf. And I would point out that we’ve had other avalanches. So there was a (collective) whoompf in connection with neoliberalism, for example, which can be said to have entered into its run-out zone. And there is a collective whoompf that we are hearing now in connection with the Corporatocracy’s use of its (martial) instruments of repression together with its Silicon Valley components to kill free communication among the people.
In regard to the impending Orwellian total clampdown on “fake news”; After the “truth to power complex” (to borrow from Vanessa Beeley) gave the major media a black eye, repeatedly – in connection with deep state operations like the invasions of Iraq (and the bogus weapons of mass destruction line used to launch the second Gulf War), the invasion of Afghanistan (to get at those 9/11 terrorists, most of whom came from staunch US ally Saudi Arabia), and the invasion and destruction of Libya (in which media lied about Muammar Gaddafi’s black mercenaries and viagara-fueled rapists and other things) – the establishment began to react. We heard a whoompf.
“Google’s Jigsaw Undermining Alternative Media” by Kurt Nimmo:
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
In a surreal and stunning example of 21st century propaganda and censorship, Google has cobbled together a coalition it is calling “First Draft” to tackle what it calls “misinformation online.”
First Draft’s “founding partners” include News Corporation’s (parent company of Fox News) Storyful and NATO think tank Atlantic Council’s “Bellingcat” blog, headed by formally unemployed social worker Eliot Higgins who now fashions himself as a weapons expert and geopolitical analyst despite no formal training, practical real-world experience or track record of honest, unbiased reporting. In fact, between News Corporation and Bellingcat alone, Google’s First Draft appears to be itself a paragon of, and nexus for “misinformation online.” …
Google too, having for years now worked closely with the US State Department, faces its own conflicts of interest in “social newsgathering and verification.” …
Indeed, many of the organizations that constitute First Draft’s coalition played a pivotal role in perhaps the most destructive and costly lie of the 21st century (to date), that involving alleged “weapons of mass destruction” or “WMDs” in Iraq, serving as the pretext for the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
“It’s Getting Real – Google Censors The Left. And Us.” by Bruce A. Dixon
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
In the last week, we’ve witnessed a massive crackdown on alternative media — the likes of which are unprecedented. Quite literally overnight, YouTube issued a sweeping update and demonetized thousands of video in accounts across all political spectrums…
“This is political censorship of the worst sort; it’s just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints,” Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google, told wsws…
Given these recent moves, we can infer that what is likely happening is far more insidious than pro-Trump censorship or pro-left censorship. While the ADL is likely using their newfound authority to silence those with whom they disagree politically — by labeling them extremists — this new censorship appears to go after anyone who challenges the establishment.
Disagreeing with the status quo is the new hate speech.
Those who challenge the corporate government paradigm are being lumped in with extremist groups and being flagged as hate speech. Sadly, only those who get their information from these alternative sources who are unafraid of challenging the oligarchy will even know this is happening.
It takes years of hard work to build a platform that is able to break through the static shoved out by the mainstream media and reach people still plugged into the matrix. However, once they see the establishment for what it is, this cannot be unseen. The powers that be know this and appear to be moving in to stop it.
It was always the case that imperialist destruction was not completely covered up. But the establishment never felt threatened by it and just kept on doing its destructive business as usual regardless the bad image its behavior had presented to the people, at home and abroad. (The exception might have been when the Soviets were making comments about the land of the free and its enslavement of blacks. That seemed to prod the American politicians into action.) Howard Zinn’s book, “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001,” tells us that. There were always those who didn’t like the barbarism of the state and the business class it partnered with and squawked about it. And there was always one or two major media outlets, besides the anti 1% and/or anti-imperialist voices of different flavors, that would express outrage at some awful activity or another of the godless government. But the American state (only leading the Corporatocracy since the end of World War II) just wasn’t bothered by it all. It did make adjustments of course and always has. Open Doors, which included gunboat diplomacy but less direct military aggression, gave way to (or made room for) neocolonialism and finally neoliberalism. Neocolonialism involved using organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, GATT (signed in 1947) and its later iteration as the World Trade Organization (formed in 1995), together with economic hit men (See below), to colonize foreign countries. But, as John Perkins lays out in his books on the EHM approach, When the EHM fails, the jackals (CIA funded assassins) are sent in, and when that fails to bring a country around, then the army is sent in. So, old fashioned military aggression is not off the table. Ellen Meikson Wood makes the same point about neocolonization, warning that the US has a preferred method, which involes everything but military invasions, but people should not imagine that “traditional forms of coercive colonization” are off the table.
Open Doors was, as Zinn notes, the dominant foreign policy of the twentieth century. Businessmen felt that if they could get free trade, without invasion and colonization, then American business interests would do okay just by dint of the superiority and strength of the American economy. And instruments like the IMF and World Bank were only available to capitalists in 1944 and 1945 respectively.
“This idea of an “open door” became the dominant theme of American foreign policy in the twentieth century. It was a more sophisticated approach to imperialism than the traditional empire-building of Europe.” – Howard Zinn, page 301
James Laxer, in “The Perils Of Empire,” notes that “Today, the American Empire is made up almost entirely of countries that are not currently occupied by U.S. troops and over which the Stars and Stripes does not fly,” which I think understates matters. The U.S. has upwards of 1000 bases (ignoring self-serving definitions of “base” by official spokespersons) scattered all over the globe, a source of trouble, ongoing and future, for peoples everywhere. Nevertheless, he’s basically correct. Laxer also makes the point that military “conquest is not essential to empire.” He adds that “Peoples and states can fall under the sway of an empire without a shot being fired, without a single imperial soldier entering their territory. Furthermore, it is not necessary for the flag of the imperial power to be raised over a country for it to fall under the sway of empire.” Perhaps. But if no shots were ever fired, the military/intelligence/security complex would be out of work. And anyone who doesn’t know that governments are, de facto, corporations and rich people, including the powerful defence contractor sector, isn’t paying attention. Certainly John Perkins (an economic hit man who turned whistleblower), who coined the term ‘Corporatocracy’, would agree with James that the American Empire is different, in some respects, from previous empires. But as rightwing columnist Thomas Friedman boasts, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.” Yeehaw!
Noam Chomsky warned that the US, floundering economically (for neoliberalism is damaging to economies), will increasingly turn toward military adventurism in order to get its way in the world. It (or segments within the ruling class) always did enjoy military adventurism. The US economy flounders (and I don’t know details and stats here) and capitalist expansion – which goes inward (impacting First Nations disproportionately) and outward (stealing vulnerable countries by force or via economic hit men) continues because the only thing that the mafia capitalists and their enablers know is capitalist growth.
“It is not surprising that the first real Cold War showdown over oil occurred in the Middle East. Demanding that his people share in petroleum profits from their lands, the democratically elected and highly popular Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh (TIME magazine’s man of the year in 1951) nationalized a British petroleum company’s assets. An outraged England sought the help of her World War II ally, the United States. Both countries feared that military intervention would provoke the Soviets into pulling the nuclear trigger. Instead of the marines, Washington dispatched CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt Jr. (Theodore’s grandson). With a few million dollars, Roosevelt organized violent demonstrations that eventually overthrew Mossadegh; the CIA replaced this democratically elected leader with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the “Shah”), a despotic friend of Big Oil.
“As discussed in Confessions [Perkins’s previous book], Roosevelt’s success generated a whole new profession, the one I followed, that of EHMs. The lessons of Iran were clear: An empire could be built without the risks of war and at far less expense. The CIAs tactics could be applied wherever resources existed that the corporatocracy wanted. There was only one problem. Kermit Roosevelt was a CIA employee. Had he been caught, the consequences would have been dire. The decision was made to replace government operatives with agents from the private sector. One of the companies enlisted was mine, MAIN.
“Very soon we EHMs discovered that we did not need to wait for countries to nationalize oil fields as an excuse to manipulate their politics. We turned the World Bank, the IMF, and other “multinational” institutions into colonizing tools. We negotiated lucrative deals for U.S. corporations, established “free” trade agreements that blatantly served our exporters at the expense of those in the Third World, and burdened other countries with unmanageable debts. In effect, we created surrogate governments that appeared to represent their people but in reality were our servants…” – pages 166 & 167 of “The Secret History Of The American Empire – The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, And How To Change The World” by John Perkins
The Corporatocracy’s tact of using NGOs, for plausible deniability, is alive and well. F. William Engdhal recently wrote a book about it. Unfortunately, it’s in German. Hopefully, it doesn’t get the Udol Ulfcotte treatment.
Basically, You had reformers, namely smart business people who, together with like-minded politicians, sought to keep enough of the people just well off enough to forestall revolution. Before you join in the adulation for politicians like Franklin D Roosevelt, who implemented the New Deal, think about their motivations.
“The hard times, the inaction of the government in helping, the action of the government in dispersing war veterans – all had their effect on the election of November 1932. Democratic party candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover overwhelmingly, took office in the spring of 1933, and began a program of reform legislation which became famous as the “New Deal.” When a small veterans’ march on Washington took place early in his administration, he greeted them and provided coffee; they met with one of his aides and went home. It was a sign of Roosevelt’s approach.
“The Roosevelt reforms went far beyond previous legislation. They had to meet two pressing needs: to reorganize capitalism in such a way to overcome the crisis and stablize the system; also, to head off the alarming growth of spontaneous rebellion in the early years of the Roosevelt administration – organization of tenants and the unemployed, movements of self-help, general strikes in several cities.
“That first objective – to stabilize the system for its own protection – was most obvious in the major law of Roosevelt’s first months in office, the National Recovery Act (NRA). It was designed to take control of the economy through a series of codes agreed on by management, labor, and the government, fixing prices and wages, limiting competition. From the first, the NRA was dominated by big business and served their interests. As Bernard Bellush says (The Failure of the N.R.A.), its Title I “turned much of the nation’s power over to highly organized, well-financed trade associations and industrial combines. The unorganized public, otherwise known as the consumer, along with the members of the fledgling trade-union movement, had virtually nothing to say about the initial organization of the National Recovery Administration, or the formulation of basic policy.”
Where organized labor was strong, Roosevelt moved to make some concessions to working people. But: “Where organized labor was weak, Roosevelt was unprepared to withstand the pressures of industrial spokesmen to control the… NRA codes.” Barton Burstein (Towards a New Past) confirms this: “Despite the annoyance of some big businessmen with Section 7a, the NRA reaffirmed and consolidated their power…” Bellush sums up his view of the NRA: “The White House permitted the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, and allied business and trade associations to assume overriding authority… Indeed, private administration became public administration, and private government became public government, insuring the marriage of capitalism with statism.
“When the Supreme Court in 1935 declared the NRA unconstitutional, it claimed it gave too much power to the President, but, according to Bellush, “…FDR surrendered an inordinate share of the power of goverment, through the NRA, to industrial spokesmen throughout the country.” -pages 392 & 393 of “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001” by Howard Zinn
In those early years, with business persons taking over government, with the help of traitorous, undemocratic leaders masquerading as people’s champions, as Benefactors, we see the rise of Corporatocracy and, soon after, neoliberalism. But Corporatocracy, as groups of powerful people have always done, takes steps to protect and perpetuate itself. It does not claim victory, celebrate and then let the world go its way. And it covers all the bases, just as those who conduct battles look at every possible weakness in their defenses with a view to mitigating them.
“Control of the internet is currently the “hot issue.” Developed primarily in the state sector for almost 30 years and commercialized against the will of two-thirds of the population, the Internet and the Web are regarded by the business world as “the primary platform for the essential business activities of computing, communications, and commerce,” as “the world’s largest, deepest, fastest, and most secure marketplace,” not only for goods but also for “selling” ideas and attitudes. They are expected to provide enormous profits, as well as new means to carry forward the mission of civilizing attitudes and belief, if they can be brought under corporate control and commercial sponsorship – that is if they can be taken from the public, the owner of the airwaves and cyberspace by law, and transferred to a handful of immortal and unaccountable collective “persons” with extraordinary global power.” – page 122 of “Rogue States – The Rule Of Force In World Affairs” by Noam Chomsky.
Chomsky wrote that in 2000. He saw the signs that the masters of mankind would act to take the internet from the people years before they actually turned to that project in earnest. But, as soon as it was evident that the internet might be useful to the people, anyone could guess what was coming.
The reform approach of the Benefactors in power is an approach that is seen all through the history of the United States, which is why Zinn comes back to it again and again in his epic “A People’s History.” The reforms are always presented as democratic and for our benefit. (So it is with the current reforms and proposed reforms of the internet, the difference being that with New Deal Reforms, for example, there was actually reform, not well intentioned and not sufficient, but it was reform. With the reforms and proposed reforms of the internet, post 2016, there’s zero that’s positive about them.) With the fading of Open Doors, you also had the fading of gunboat diplomacy (that seems to have returned, at least where China, Russia and Iran are concerned) and what Gabriel Kolko calls political capitalism “where the businessmen took firmer control of the political system because the private economy was not efficient enough to forestall protest from below. The businessmen were not opposed to the new reforms; they initiated them, pushed them, to stabilize the capitalist system in a time of uncertainty and trouble.” -pg 315 of “A People’s History”
“When the plans for a new office building for the military, which came to be known as the Pentagon, were brought before the Senate on August, 1941, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan was puzzled. ‘Unless the war is to be permanent, why must we have permanent accommodations for war facilities of such size?’ he asked. ‘Or is the war to be permanent?’ – page 3 of William Blum’s “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy”
Capitalists (who actually own capital and have real influence) are also behind all the wars and bloodshed we see on this planet. Stephen Gowans states the matter clearly (on pages 107 & 108) in his recent book, titled “Washington’s Long War On Syria.” Consider:
In connection with Syria impeding the achievement of U.S. goals in the Middle East, the Congressional Research Service made the following observations in 2005 about the Syrian economy: it was “largely state-controlled;” it was “dominated by… the [public] sector, which employ[ed] 73% of the labor force;” and it was “based largely on Soviet models.” These departures from the preferred Wall Street paradigm of open markets and free interprise appeared, from the perspective of Congress’s researchers, to be valid reasons for the U.S. government to attempt to bring about “reform” in Syria. But then, why wouldn’t the goal of bringing about a change in Syria’s economic policies appear to be wholly justified to U.S. government researchers? After all, the United States had been clear in its official policy documents, including its 2015 National Security Strategy, that sustaining U.S. leadership meant “shaping an emerging global economic order” that reflected U.S. “interests and values” and that these interests and values were at odds with “alternative, less open-models,” such as the “Soviet models” on which the Soviet economy was based. Indeed, it would be naive to believe that the U.S. government was prepared to allow foreign governments to exercise sovereignty in setting their own directions economically if they could be made to do so otherwise. Washington was implacably opposed to foreign states implementing economic policies which failed to mesh with Washington’s preferred free enterprise plus open markets paradigm. That this was the case was evidenced by the existence of a raft of U.S. sanctions legislation against “non-market states.” For example, the Congressional Research Service’s 2016 report, “North Korea: Economic Sanctions,” contained a detailed list of sanctions imposed on North Korea for having a “Marxist-Leninist” economy; in other words, Washington was in the business of waging economic warfare against people in other lands because it didn’t like the decisions they made about how to organize their own economic lives. What could be more hostile to democracy – and more imperialist – than that?
And Washington’s intolerance of economic dirigisme was additionally evidenced in U.S. policy documents which asserted that Washington looked askance on states which held “fast to the false comforts of subsidies and trade barriers” and that U.S. determination to lead the global economy meant promoting “economic freedom beyond America’s shores.”
Elsewhere in Gowans’s book, he notes that U.S. leaders took a lesson from Hitler, who noted that people will not fight for an economy (although that seemed to be what the UK’s Remain advocates thought in their 2016 referendum), but they will die for an ideal. So don’t expect honest talk from the Corporatocracy’s managers about why they are destroying other nations or ‘reforming’ the internet.
Come forward to the early 70s and you find the avalanche of neoliberal capitalism still flowing, reflected in the Powell Memorandum and the Trilateral Commission’s paper, titled “A Crisis Of Democracy.” The avalanche of neoliberal capitalism buried us and left most of the survivors crippled with austerity and totally unaccountable governments. When was the Whoompfing sound of neoliberalism heard? I think it was heard once smart anti-people politicians got together with smart business people and agreed on letting the business people and rich people decide on policy. The New Deal, which protected capitalism by putting capitalists in control and calling it democratic reform, was certainly that sort of thing. The run-out zone? Well, neoliberalism is all about liberty for corporations, the rich and those who serve them. Therefore, Legislation, including legislation that’s lacking (including de-regulation), that gives corporations more freedom (and citizens’ money in the form of taxes), directly and via taking away power from the people, is what you’re looking for. Crap rules about offshore tax havens are significant, as are rules around the (captured) electoral system, including rules about how much you can donate and whether donors can be invisible (dark money). Citizens United was lethal to democracy. The creation of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC (and similar groups), which actually allows CEOs to mingle with politicians and work out legislation with them, is significant. Free trade deals are a huge step in the process of transferring political power from the people to unaccountable corporations. It’s hard to imagine that further free trade deals could result in much more loss for Americans and Canadians, but they still seem to be finding things to squeeze into the deals (that Donald Trump seems to want done on a smaller, country by country, scale) that represent a loss for people, so perhaps the run-out is not quite done.
While mafia capitalists were consolidating their grip on power, globally, with the help of traitorous, undemocratic leaders (like FDR), two innovations in technology would eventually take place that would lead to a problem for the world’s owners and rulers that, around 2016, they would get serious about solving, and that problem was the internet and the connectivity that it allowed – to everyone, or at least to everyone who could get their hands on a computer. The two people who had the most to do with that ‘problem’ were Tim Berners-Lee (who designed the internet in 1989) and Gary Kildall (who created the first operating system for computers in 1973). People think that Bill Gates created the operating system. He did not. Gary Kildall did and the story of how Bill Gates more or less tricked Gary into letting him have an inferior version of the first operating system, that he would then develop, is quite interesting. (I see that there is controversy about that origin story. I don’t know enough about it to be sure of the details.) As for Berners-Lee, he’s gone over to the dark side.
“Guardian promoting GCHQ demand for more internet censorship” by Clair Bernish (I can’t find this article on the Free Thought website.) The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article:
==== === == =
In the past year the Guardian has been overtly promoting internet censorship. A while back they uncritically coordinated with Yvette Cooper’s insinuating “take back the internet” programme to make sure we all get “the web we they want”. Last week they uncritically published an opinion piece from Tim Berners-Lee, where he claims we should:
“…push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem…”
While, of course…
“…avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is “true” or not.”
Hmmm… Tough thing to achieve you may think. Which is possibly why Tim doesn’t bother to tell us how he thinks it should be done. In fact we can be pretty sure, being a bit of a genius allegedly, Tim knows pretty well that Governments and corporations are so irreversibly intertwined, their policies and goals so similar, that by instructing Facebook to “take measures” you are, in effect, privatising Orwell’s Minitrue, and creating precisely the “central bod[y] to decide what is true or not” that he affects to fear.
= == === ====
I wonder how Mr Berners-Lee feels about European politicians’ passage of a link tax law. Does Berners-Lee believe in collective punishment? He says, essentially, that he’s worried about fake news. Is he for real? Can’t he see that it’s not fake news that Google et al are concerned with? It’s the public’s ability to communicate that troubles those Benefactors with power. What does a link tax have to do with fake news? And if it has nothing to do with fake news, then why does Berners-Lee think that the First Draft project is actually about fake news? If he can see the true intentions of overseers like Google and their political partners, which are impossible to miss, then why is he giving them the benefit of the doubt in relation to the First Draft project?
Then there’s the UK’s stellar Theresa May with this non terrifying bit of news. From “Theresa May to shut down the internet as we know it” we get the following:
— — –
Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.
Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.
“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” it states. “We disagree.”
Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.
– — —
What’s noteworthy about that news item isn’t the shocking news that isn’t news – We know that our voices are being silenced – but the clever way government is taking the heat for corporations. It’s not just the government that’s threatening the free internet. It’s the captured statist government that is threatening the free internet. Most governments on the planet right now are Corporatocracy governments. Captured governments are doing what the Corporatocracy – a US-led world government comprised of corporations and capitalists and rich people – want them to do!
We’ve been hit with an avalanche of surveillance that has fairly completed its run. The anti-privacy companies and individuals who are willingly and knowingly a part of the wild beast of Corporatocracy have gotten their way. Now we are witnessing a sort of mop up operation, constituting another avalanche in its own right, whereby we are simply blocked from communicating in a myriad of ways. The Corporatocracy, in its war on light and God, has left nothing to chance. About all we have left to us is communication and education (not of the formal variety). And so that’s being targetted. Who can argue with the Bible revelation of an attack by Gog (probably meaning ‘darkness’) in the last days? (Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39)
“The battle for privacy has been lost and mass surveillance is here to stay, according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.” And so it has, which is why I agree with William Blum, who wrote that “Inasmuch as I cannot see violent revolution succeeding in the United States (something deep inside tells me that we couldn’t quite match the government’s firepower, not to mention its viciousness), I can offer no solution to stopping the imperial beast other than: educate yourself and as many others as you can…” – page 15 of “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy”
What prompted me to write this post was the ‘whoompf’ that I have personally heard in recent months and days. It was a composite whoompf and I had not processed, right away, all of the whoompf that I heard. I see much of the class warfare that I read about, and blog about, as involving a lawless, vicious corporatocracy strategically breaking rules in order to stay in power and keep the people sidelined. It turns out that right now, many of those rules have to do with the internet and with our ability to communicate. We all know about the NSA’s surveilling of everyone, thanks largely to Edward Snowden. We suspected crap like that even before it was official. But these devil’s worshop projects are not one-offs. Why would they be? The vicious, wild beast of Corporatocracy isn’t going to suddenly miraculously become gentle. (Eventually, it will be suddenly and miraculously terminated – if you believe in a higher, ‘good’ power. In the meantime…) Just in my personal life alone, I’m finding obstacle after obstacle to communicating online. I’m experiencing nasty stuff online all the time and it’s probably not all as a result of perverse, government policy-making. In fact, perverse government policy-making has probably emboldened rightwingers in many fields – business and private actors – to do gatekeeper crap.
I visit Off Guardian regularly and have always experienced problems posting comments. These are people who, mostly, share my political views. They aren’t disappearing my comments, but someone, something, is. Off Guardian editors are dealing with Corporatrocracy agents who are hostile to their online activism and to most of OG’s visitors’ political views. PayPal identified OG as a security threat. WordPress may or may not have something to do with posts, by many visitors to the site who try to comment, disappearing. (WordPress has been dumbing down its once stellar blogging platform for years, eliciting howls of protest from the WP community, which they just ignore.) And just recently, OG posted an article/alert about a service called Sky (which I’m not familar with). Apparently, users of the Sky service have reported to OG that it is censoring OG. I myself have caught Bitly censoring my blog. I emailed them when I discovered that they wouldn’t shorten an url to one of my blog posts.
When Box, the cloud service I use, and pay for, deleted a comment I had made on their public forum objecting to their partnering with (tax evading) Google, the comment was labelled a “rant” and deleted. Recently, I discovered Sarah Abed’s fine blog, titled The Rabbit Hole. She invited me to comment on her articles dealing with Kurds in Syria, which I did, except that the comment to her WordPress blog disappeared completely. She was appalled. I was not surprised, but I informed her because, as I mentioned to her, people tend to not say anything when things like that happen. How many visitors to her blog have tried to comment and been unable to, causing them to just shrug and move on?
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
OffG’s PayPal account has been frozen for what are described as “security” reasons. We have no access to the funds you have donated and – given PayPal’s history with other alternative news sites – it’s possible we may not be able to regain access.
Please do NOT make any more donations to this account and cancel any recurring donations you may have set up.
If PayPal closes the account, they will retain the funds and WILL NOT return them to the people who donated. So be warned.
Many of our followers have suggested we move to a Patreon account, and this might be an opportune moment to do this.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
A reader in the UK has just advised us that SKY has been blocking the OffGuardian as a malware site, using its Sky Broadband Shield to deny the public access to us.
People using Wifi through their Sky package may not find this out and will probably not know how to terminate this intrusion. The Sky number to call to have them remove their shield is 03442414141.
As the reader who passed this information to us points out: “The assault on truth and sites promoting it has begun and is far reaching and OffGuardian, like WSWS and other left-wing alternate media sites, is obviously being targeted. Hope OffG makes it known as did WSWS.”
One of my comments posted to the above linked-to article follows:
As I mentioned in an email to Sarah Abed, I think that a lot of us, when confronted wth glitches online, tend to not say much to many people about it. One, We are dealing with complexity and imperfection. Therefore, How does a non specialist know whether the glitch is nefarious or not? People probably don’t want to look like idiots and paranoiacs and so they keep quiet, assuming that the glitch is a glitch. Two, People just aren’t squawkers. I am. It’s not so much that I’m a squawker though. I just figure that the only way to know is to investigate and who cares if people think I’m a yappy complainer? In the long run, you get the reputation that you give yourself.
And it’s great to get the enemy on the record bullcrapping you, as I’ve done now and then. Box deleted a comment I made on their public forum about their announcement that they were partnering with Google, calling it a “rant.” It’s good to know what they call a rant. Bit.ly won’t shorten (still) an url to one of my blog posts (dealing with Common Dreams’s sacrificing of progressives for donations from non progressives). I have all the back and forth, via emails, about that. That was interesting.
I suspect that we are all going to start seeing more and more ‘glitches’ followed by an avalanche. (Then where we will be?) I’ve been visiting Sarah Abed’s website, The Rabbit Hole, recently. Sure enough, when I posted a comment about her series (not finished), which she in fact invited me to do, it completely disappeared. She was appalled. I explained to her that her’s isn’t the only WordPress-powered blog where that happens (telling her about the adventures that Off Guardian is having with PayPal and Sky and, possibly, WordPress). We haven’t caught WordPress (via a whistleblower or some clever investigator) doing stinky stuff (other than dumbing down their once stellar platform), but how is it possible that WordPress, which powers much of the internet, isn’t on the anti-people, deep state’s radar?
One of the WSWS articles referred to in the Off Guardian article, above, is titled “Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm.” It’s by Andre Damon. Here’s an excerpt:
Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search engine that sharply curtails public access to Internet web sites that operate independently of the corporate and state-controlled media. Since the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just one month, a 70 percent drop in traffic from Google.
In a blog post published on April 25, Ben Gomes, Google’s chief search engineer, rolled out the new censorship program in a statement bearing the Orwellian title, “Our latest quality improvements for search.” This statement has been virtually buried by the corporate media. Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal has reported the statement. The Washington Post limited its coverage of the statement to a single blog post.
The other WSWS article referred to in the Off Guardian article is titled “Google’s new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites.” From that article, by WSWS, we get the following:
The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:
* wsws.org fell by 67 percent
* alternet.org fell by 63 percent
* globalresearch.ca fell by 62 percent
* consortiumnews.com fell by 47 percent
* socialistworker.org fell by 47 percent
* mediamatters.org fell by 42 percent
* commondreams.org fell by 37 percent
* internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36 percent
* democracynow.org fell by 36 percent
* wikileaks.org fell by 30 percent
* truth-out.org fell by 25 percent
* counterpunch.org fell by 21 percent
* theintercept.com fell by 19 percent
Of the 13 web sites on the list, the World Socialist Web Site has been the most heavily affected. Its traffic from Google searches has fallen by two thirds.
And here’s my back and forth with a Bitly rep, Emily Chasse. As you can see, she just left me hanging after I pointed out to her that the problem hadn’t been fixed:
Conversation opened. 1 read message.
Re: [Bitly] Re: Why?
Keepers – Political
Then it’s a “temporary” bug or other problem that persists. I just received your email and thought I’d check. I got the same result when I attempted to shorten the link. Interesting, Isn’t it?
On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 8:42 AM, Emily Chasse (Bitly) wrote:
##- Please type your reply above this line -##
Your request (41152) has been updated. To add additional comments, reply to this email.
Emily Chasse (Bitly)
Jul 26, 8:42 AM EDT
Thanks for providing that screenshot.
This could have been a temporary bug or a problem with the server when you went to go shorten it.
Jul 25, 8:32 PM EDT
Hello. Screenshot per your request is attached:
bit.ly refuses to link to my blog post Common Dreams sacrifices pogressives.jpg
Emily Chasse (Bitly)
Jul 25, 9:35 AM EDT
Thanks for writing in.
Can you please send me a screenshot of the error that you receive when you go to create this link?
Jul 25, 3:14 AM EDT
Here’s my blog post, which I wanted to share with someone else via a short link: https://arrby.wordpress.com/2016/11/18/common-dreams-wants-donations-and-will-sacrifice-progressives-to-get-them/
You wouldn’t shorten it. I just used another service. But please, do tell why you wouldn’t shorten it.
** About $38 trillion, and counting, reside in offshore tax havens while ‘leaders’ whine that they can’t afford social spending! **
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I almost forgot to tell you about Box’s deletion of a link to one of my uploaded files. You won’t believe it. Could it be a glitch? In the case of Bitly, it’s something else because Bitly still won’t shorten the url to my blog post about Common Dreams. But in regard to Box’s deletion of a scripture uploaded to their service (which I pay for), that could have been a glitch, since it’s now working. But if it wasn’t, then it was gatekeeper harrassment.
The above video is from the YouTube account of PettyYou007