Tag Archives | Government

Tackling the ET question: Project Camelot and Robbie Graham

“The Cult of Nick podcast” has been going for a few years now. It launched on Disinfo, in 2012. Back then it contained work taken from my archive. For a few years in the UK, I was fortunate enough to be paid to present a national radio show on the sort of topics that fascinate me: occultism, UFOs, ghosts, bigfoot, conspiracy theories.  The show was called “The Night Before” and ran on a UK station called “Kerrang Radio“. We made the international news after interviewing Edgar Mitchell, he announced UFOs were real and governments were covering it up. The interview itself is not my finest hour, his announcement came at the end of an hour long session where we mainly discussed him going to the moon. I keep shouting “wow, that’s amazing”. It’s my attempt to throttle the mainstream audience and remind them that this is a high caliber witness telling us all something incredible.… Read the rest

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David and Goliath: What do we do about surveillance?

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Douglas Heaven via New Scientist:

“DEAR subscriber, you have been registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” This text was sent by the Ukrainian government last year to everyone with a cellphone known to have been near a protest in the capital, Kiev.

Just what you’d expect from an ex-Soviet country? Not so fast. In the US and Europe, police are also seeking information on phones linked to specific places and times – and always without a warrant. We’re all spied on. Our phones are bugged, our laptops inveterate informants. Reports on activities that define you – where you go, who you meet, what you buy – are sold to the highest bidder. But do we notice? And do we care?

Bruce Schneier does his best to make us do both. But it’s tough: as it fades into the background, surveillance gets easier to ignore.

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TPP vs. Democracy: Leaked Draft of Secretive Trade Deal Spells Out Plan for Corporate Power Grab

"With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty," said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen. (Photo courtesy of Wikileaks)

“With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty,” said Lori Wallach of Public Citizen. (Photo courtesy of Wikileaks)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams.

Newly leaked classified documents show that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, if it goes through as written, will dramatically expand the power of corporations to use closed-door tribunals to challenge—and supersede—domestic laws, including environmental, labor, and public health, and other protections.

The tribunals, made infamous under NAFTA, were exposed in the “Investment Chapter” from the TPP negotiations, which was released to the public by WikiLeaks on Wednesday.

“The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states,” said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor. “This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies.”

Responding to the leak, Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, declared: “With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty, expose U.S.

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The White House Celebrates Transparency Week by ENDING Transparency

In honor of “Sunshine Week”- where activists push for a more transparent government- the White House issued an end to FOIA requests, and Jen Psaki accidentally reveals the US’ long-standing tradition of supporting coups around the world.

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Cruz Won’t Say How Much Wife Makes at Goldman Sachs

Zaid Jilani Via Alternet:

Why Did Ted Cruz Refuse to Disclose How Much His Wife—a VP at Goldman Sachs—Makes?

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has announced his intention to run for the presidency. He is widely expected to tap into the Tea Party base of the Republican party and posit himself as anti-establishment – in this case, an establishment that is too weak-kneed and too willing to compromise with the Democrats.

But a curious statement on Cruz’s financial disclosure shows that he may not be so opposed to the establishment he rails against. See, Cruz’s wife is a vice president at Goldman Sachs, the megabank so close to the powers in Washington that it is often jokingly referred to as “Government Sachs.” Because spousal income is shared, it is required for Members of Congress to list their spouse’s employement if it gives them over $1,000. They are not required to list the exact income their spouse receives, but they are certainly allowed to if they are willing to be that transparent.

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Hear Dr. Carl Hart Eviscerate Drug Propaganda

HartPhotoVia Midwest Real

Dr. Carl Hart is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of High Price

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

Before we were engulfed in a tsunami of boundless digital knowledge containing more truth (and garbage) than we could ever digest in thousands of lifetimes, we lived in an incredibly different world. If you were a child of the 90’s like myself, you were constantly inundated with overly-simplistic catchphrase propaganda– “This is your brain on drugs,” “just say no,” the list goes on. I specifically remember being taught in school that marijuana was supremely dangerous because it was a “gateway drug.” The connotation being that if you so much as tried it, you’d probably wind up a strung-out, do-nothing idiot with a Kentucky-fried brain who’d never amount to anything.

This tireless barrage of indoctrination has forged us into a population that looks to traditional sources of authority with an immense amount of skepticism.Read the rest

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Philip K. Dick was right: we are becoming androids

stephane (CC BY 2.0)

stephane (CC BY 2.0)

Via Jesse Walker at Boing Boing:

In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Philip K. Dick novel that inspired the film Blade Runner, a bounty hunter pursues a group of androids who have been posing as human beings. He is eventually arrested and accused of being an android himself. The officers bring him to what turns out to be a counterfeit police station run entirely by androids, not all of whom are aware that they aren’t human.

“What do you do,” one of the robocops asks him, “roam around killing people and telling yourself they’re androids?”

It’s a complicated situation. But then, androids play a complicated role in Dick’s fiction. On the most obvious level, they represent the inhuman and the mechanical: People have empathy and will, while robots are rigid and soulless. It’s a familiar division in science fiction, though some storytellers prefer to put other monsters in the androids’ place.

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The Vanquished Light

Michael Welton writes at CounterPunch:

From its founding, America has cast itself as a kind of redeemer nation unlike other nations (see E. Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: the Idea of America’s Millennial Role (1968) and J. Axtell, The School Upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England (1974)). The first emperors—Alexander the Great and the Roman Caesars—created myths of their descent from the gods. Alexander was “great” because he was descended from semi-divine beings. Augustus declared himself a son of a god. He raised a statue to his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, on a stage alongside Mars and Venus—not bad company. The USA engages in the same sort of myth-making. The Puritans came with an “errand in the wilderness” to build the New Jerusalem. They had no doubt that eradicating the indigenous people was within their god’s will, part of the divinely-promised land.

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Everything I know about homelessness I learned from SimCity

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Aaron Sankin at Kernel Mag:

In October 2012, a gamer posted a provocative comment to a forum run by Electronic Arts about its beloved, long-running SimCity franchise.

“There is one area I’d like to see as future expansion … the homeless,” gamer IanLoganson wrote. “Most cities have homeless … Some of the world’s biggest cities now are in the rapidly developing countries and one big problem [they] seem to have is slums. Let’s say you have a thriving commercial city full of landmarks, high-end jobs and high-end housing. Such city lights draw the dispossessed in search for hope and if there aren’t enough low-end jobs, low-end housing, or a social safety net, they end up on the street.

“A small homeless problem is no big deal, but as it gets bigger it brings down property value and discourages tourists,” IanLoganson continued. “You need to think of helping them with aid, providing more jobs/housing for them, or getting the police to kick them out of the centre.

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