Soros Accuses Facebook and Google of Manipulation and Deceit

Billionaire investor George Soros says social media companies, particularly Facebook and Google, are becoming “obstacles to innovation” as they have become too powerful and should be broken up.

While often playing an “innovative and liberating role,” the companies are deceiving users “by manipulating their attention” and “deliberately engineering addiction” to their services, Soros wrote on opinion website Project Syndicate.

According to him, the two firms profit from making users stay on their websites for long periods of time. Due to the size of the companies, content providers have to “accept whatever terms they are offered,”but that is only helping Facebook and Google become more profitable.

“Indeed, the exceptional profitability of these companies is largely a function of their avoiding responsibility – and payment – for the content on their platforms,” Soros wrote.

“The companies claim that they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulation, aimed at preserving competition, innovation and fair and open access.”

Soros added that as Facebook and Google grow, they are looking to bundle more services to offer to consumers. They “exploit the data they control” and use “discriminatory pricing” to do this, he explained.

“There is a similarity between Internet platforms and gambling companies. Casinos have developed techniques to hook customers to the point that they gamble away all of their money, even money they don’t have.”

Social media companies are “inducing people to surrender their autonomy” with the power to shape people’s attention “concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”

The investor warned these “data-rich IT monopolies” could form an alliance with authoritarian states that “may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even George Orwell could have imagined.”

He said this could happen in Russia and China first, adding that EU regulators are more “farsighted” than those in the US when it comes to social policies.

Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/soros-accuses-facebook-and-google-of-manipulation-and-deceit/

The 21st century plague: Deceit and complicity

hear see speak no evil

    

The Black Death was a medieval pandemic which swept through the ‘old world’ in the 14th Century. It arrived in Europe from Asia in the 1340s and killed an estimated 25 million people, about 50% of the population. The social and economic consequences of this were ‘permanent’: it created a labour shortage which ended the medieval institution of serfdom.

In short: Increased demand for labour + reduced supply of labour + chaos = collapse of status quo.

What emerged from the chaos was a rudimentary ‘free market’ in labour and goods. The age of capitalism had begun…the unforeseen consequence of a plague, borne on a creature that looked like this:

plague carrying flea

    

The pandemic we face in the 21st Century is a psychological phenomenon rather than a biological one, but in my view, it is equally parasitic. Its name is ‘deceit’, and our political & economic institutions are riddled with it.

The majority of people I speak to know that something is badly wrong with our societies and our economies – they feel it when they pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or engage with the internet. Some of us try to disconnect from the drama and the constant stream of claim and counterclaim, in order to try to ‘get on with normal lives’ – but we feel something is badly wrong nevertheless.

Some of us gather ourselves into political parties, protest movements, and/or intellectual cliques in order to discuss how to ‘fix’ what ails us. And every 4 or 5 years, the majority of us go out and vote for an individual or a group of people that we hope will bring change…and then…we get more of the same. We just got, for example, the 3rd president in a row who ran on a promise of peace, and then immediately went looking for war.

What the majority of people have not yet realised is that the politician’s ‘promise’ is part of the deceit – it’s what keeps you coming back for more, hoping this time will be different. It never is – it’s just a new coat of paint on a crumbling wall.

It matters little whether you believe an individual candidate is a ‘good’ person, or a ‘bad’ person. Once in office he or she becomes a tool for the maintenance of the status quo – evidently. Why is this? Because the system is not run for your benefit. Its primary function is the concentration of power and wealth within the system itself, to serve the vested interests of a relatively tiny group of people.

These are the manifestations of the 21st-century plague – the institutions of deceit:

  1. A monetary system rigged for the banks and globalised corporations
  2. A military-industrial complex that requires endless war
  3. Politicians that are controlled by 1 & 2
  4. A mainstream media that is complicit with 1 to 3

The rest of our problems are ‘symptoms’, and some are deliberate distractions from that quartet. The prime example of this is ‘Russiagate’. What started as a ‘shoot the messenger’ attack on Wikileaks for revealing Democratic Party corruption, is now a daily farce that distracts people from the real villains. Who cares about our own warmongering? Let’s all fetishize about how Vladimir Putin spent at least five bucks telling Facebook users that black people get a raw deal in America. Wow, who knew? Meanwhile, the banks and the war machine go quietly about their business, undisturbed by any meaningful oversight or opposition.

At the root of each of the items in that quartet is a LIE. Nothing fundamental will change so long as those lies are allowed to stand. Those of you that have read my stuff before will know that I bang on about this a lot. Well…if the problem is deceit…and if you really want things to change…then get used to repeating yourself. Let’s look at it again:



1. A Monetary System rigged for the banks & global corporations

Banks create credit out of ‘thin air’; what we think of as ‘bank deposits’ are nothing more than bookkeeping entries. The credit thus created is then lent to borrowers at compound interest, effectively providing the banks with a constant return on the productive, non-productive & speculative activities of the entire system. Over time, and as the leverage in the system has expanded, the % of credit issued for productive activity has diminished, the % issued for non-productive & speculative activity has expanded. The result is a financialised economy, controlled by the banks – the book-keeping tail is wagging the productive dog. This is, in effect, usury…or if you prefer…theft by sleight of mind.

So, whenever you hear an economist talking about ‘trickle down’ or the ‘wealth effect’ – you are being lied to – wealth trickles up, not down. Believe it or not, many economists are still ignorant of how the system works. On the other hand, some are simply lying: Paul Krugman ignores the banking system in order to protect his career; Larry Summers panders to the bankers in order to further his. In both cases, they are apologists for a corrupt system.

By contrast there is one economist whose work reveals how the banking system really works. He is a scientist and a true man of ‘character’, which simply means he tells the truth. His name is Professor Richard Werner of Southampton University, UK; and he puts men like Krugman and Summers to shame. If you want to learn about the corruption at the core of our banking system, and ideas on how to fix it, find out what this man has to say. You can start here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521914001070

Prof. Richard Werner

    



2. A Military-Industrial Complex that requires endless war

The US allocates $700 billion a year to ‘defence’. Much of this expenditure is actually on ‘offence’ – tools for the maintenance of a global empire. You don’t need 700 military bases around the world for ‘defence’. You need 700 military bases around the world for this:

  1. To control and intimidate smaller nations, slapping down any that refuse to pay homage to King Dollar. E.g. Iraq and Libya
  2. To prevent the development of a ‘multi-polar’ world by hampering the development of Russia & China and their plans for new trade routes, E.g. continued US presence in Afghanistan & Syria
  3. To feed the balance sheets of corporations like Lockheed and Raytheon that are dependent on the government maintaining constant war and/or the threat of war

Washington’s wars are not about liberty, or human rights, or democracy. They are about putting anyone who threatens their hegemony under the imperial jackboot – yes ‘jackboot’. Washington has no problem making alliances with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. It has no problem outsourcing ‘dirty work’ to mercenaries like Blackwater. All that gut-wrenching stuff about human rights? It’s bullshit. Neoconservatives care nothing for human rights – they have objectives that they lie about, using morality as the decoy.

So…the next time you hear John McCain’s cant about some brave ‘freedom fighters’, take a look at who he’s rubbing shoulders with. See this photo of him in Ukraine?

John McCain and Oleh Tyahnybok

    

The guy standing next to him is the same guy as the chap on the far right (pun intended).

His name is Oleh Tyahnybok and he has absolutely no more interest in democracy than John McCain has in telling the truth.



3. Politicians that are controlled by 1 & 2

I’ll keep this short. The next time a politician tells you exactly what you want to hear, please do three things:

  1. Look at his or her voting record
  2. Find out where they get their campaign finance
  3. Make their lives excruciatingly embarrassing if you don’t like what you find at a) or b)

If you discover, as you almost certainly will, that they support regime change operations and take money from corporations and lobbyists that profit from war, ask yourself this: Why on earth would they care about what you want? If it comes to a choice between you and Raytheon, who do you think a Congressman is going to serve? Raytheon will get what it wants, and you’ll get screwed. You’ll also get lied to about why you’re getting screwed.



4. A mainstream media that is complicit with 1 to 3

I believe that the primary duty of the 4th estate is to speak truth to power. Not to promote an ideology or to sell copy, not to support your pals or to maintain access, and not to get the KBE, the Légion d’Honneur or any other award for being the most reliable ‘brown-noser’ on the think-tank circuit.

That isn’t journalism. None of that crap requires courage or integrity. None of it requires you to tell the truth, or to expose corruption and duplicity on your own side.

We don’t have many real journalists – we have hacks, sell-outs, bull-shitters, and people who lie through omission. We have people who lie in short sentences and people who omit to tell the truth in long ones. We have stenographers posing as commentators and idiots posing as analysts – our media is a melange of mediocrity, complicit with the corruption that is rotting our society from the inside out…and it is in total denial.

I recommend that you take the time to listen to the following interview with a real journalist – a great one in fact – John Pilger, on why his written work is now unwelcome at the Guardian, on Julian Assange, and on the death of truth-telling in the mainstream media: https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=277808



Conclusion

When writing a conclusion, I find it useful to remember why I started the piece in the first place. In this case it’s simple – I can’t stand the lies:

  • I can’t stand watching any more politicians lying about their motives for war. I can’t stand the sight of Tony Blair’s self-obsessed face still trying to wheedle his way back into public life. I can’t stomach the sight of Theresa May posing with the Saudi Arabian royal mafia to celebrate an arms trade that facilitates the murder of children in Yemen
  • I can’t stand listening to politicians and hacks demonising Russia, Syria and Iran, when they refuse to condemn the brutal apartheid regime in Tel Aviv or the medieval clown show in Riyadh. I can’t stomach the fact that ‘the west’ turns a blind eye to every atrocity against Palestinians but howls with rage when a 16-year old girl slaps an Israeli soldier a couple of days after her cousin got shot in the face with a rubber bullet
  • Most of all, I can’t stand the philosophy of ‘ends justify means’ – they don’t, not even close. Means create ends; actions have consequences -always. If war was ever going to create peace, don’t you think we’d have cracked it by now?

What do I suggest? I suggest that I keep my own side of the street clean; that I tell the truth in all my personal dealings; that I ensure that my own integrity is intact; that I keep my agreements; that ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’; that you can take my word to the bank, preferably a local bank…that I speak out when I see injustice or hear lies; that when I go to bed at night, I am at peace with the voice that matters most – my own conscience.

This system will not stand, it is already collapsing. I do not know if what replaces it will be better or worse; whether the same collection of criminals and sociopaths will remain in charge, or if we can create something honest and decent. But I do know one thing for sure – the cure for deceit is telling the truth.

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men” George Orwell

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/376842-The-21st-century-plague-Deceit-and-complicity

Pakistan responds angrily to Trump tweet accusing of ‘lies & deceit’, summons US ambassador

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

    

Pakistan lashed out Monday after President Trump accused its leaders of “lies & deceit” and suggested the United States would withdraw financial assistance to the nuclear-armed nation it once saw as a key ally against terrorism.

U.S. Ambassador David Hale was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the president’s statement, U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said. Pakistan lodged a strongly worded protest and asked for clarification about Trump’s comments, according to two foreign office officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, called a Cabinet meeting for Tuesday and a meeting of the National Security Committee on Wednesday to discuss Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet.

It was the president’s latest broadside against Pakistan after a speech in August in which he demanded its leaders crack down on the safe havens enjoyed by Taliban militants fighting U.S.-backed forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s face was plastered across TV channels in Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif went on Geo TV, the country’s biggest news channel, to respond.

“We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said.

He said that Trump was disappointed that the U.S. was losing its 16-year war in Afghanistan and trying to blame Pakistan. He also said Pakistan was “ready to publicly provide every detail of the U.S. aid that it has received.”

Pakistani officials maintain the billions it has received from the U.S. were mainly reimbursements for supporting U.S.-led coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban regime that sheltered Al Qaeda.

Opposition politician Shireen Mazari called Trump “shameless.”

“We have sacrificed our citizens & soldiers fighting [your] war which we [should] never have done,” Mazari said.

Afghan officials have cheered Trump’s tough talk against Pakistan, which Kabul accuses of sponsoring terrorist attacks on Afghan soil. But some analysts say Trump is playing a dangerous game by challenging Pakistan’s security establishment, which many U.S. officials view as essential to forging a peace agreement with the Taliban.

Still, Pakistan has periodically taken steps to show it is cooperating against militants. In October, security forces freed two hostages, including an American woman, held by a Taliban-linked group for five years.

On Monday, Pakistan passed an order prohibiting donations to people and groups under United Nations Security Council sanctions. The move was seen as targeting Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, who runs a high-profile political organization in Pakistan despite a $10-million reward issued by the U.S. for information leading to his conviction.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/372832-Pakistan-responds-angrily-to-Trump-tweet-accusing-of-lies-deceit-summons-US-ambassador

New York Times’ Latest Flimsy ‘Fact-Check’ on Trump ‘Deceit’ Falls Flat on Its Face

New York Times “fact-checker” Linda Qiu’s latest lame “gotcha” attempt against President Trump appeared under a strongly hostile headline, “Deceit and Confusion In Talk on Law and Order.” It comes on the heels of a backfired Times investigation — a graph purporting to compare the lies of Donald Trump (103 after 10 months in office) and Barack Obama (just 18 during eight full years).

Qiu has previously used a misleading argument to falsely slam a defense of gun rights as “spurious.”

On Saturday, she focused on four alleged Trump falsehoods on Saturday, two of which aren’t actually false, and the other two of which are sufficiently vague as to avoid classification entirely:

At a ceremony on Friday honoring police officers and sheriffs, President Trump praised the courage and devotion of law enforcement — and presented a not entirely accurate picture of the difficult conditions they face.

In the morning, before speaking at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Va., Mr. Trump lamented the reputation of the bureau. Then, as he addressed police officers who graduated from the academy’s training program, he claimed that they and the bureau’s agents were “great people” and “heroes for all of us.”

The about-face kicked off a series of misleading statements Mr. Trump made about crime, his predecessor and immigration. Here’s an assessment.

[Editorial note: For the sake of clarity, numerals and italics have been added to Qiu’s four topics.]

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1. He asked “what the hell is going on in Chicago,” where most types of violent crime have declined since last year.

Mr. Trump spoke of “the steepest two-year consecutive increase in murders in nearly half a century” in 2015 and 2016, and focused on Chicago.

“What the hell is going on in Chicago? What the hell is happening there?” he said, before offering a sobering statistic. “For the second year in a row, a person was shot in Chicago every three hours.”

The national murder rate climbed 20 percent from 2014 to 2016, the highest two-year increase since the 1960s. The steep rise concerned many criminologists. But the murder rate itself was far higher over all in the 1990s.

Did Trump say it wasn’t higher in the 1990s? No. Trump told nothing but the truth, but Qiu comes armed with useless context: that since 2017 is on track to have a decline in shootings from 2016, Trump’s point about Chicago’s high murder rate is somehow misleading.

In 2016, Chicago experienced its most violent year in nearly two decades, but Mr. Trump’s points require some context and updating.

The Chicago Tribune tracks shootings in the city and has reported that 3,429 people have been shot so far this year, as of Dec. 9. That does amount to the shooting of at least one person every three hours….

So Trump was right? Not so fast.

Shootings have declined 21 percent from the same period last year, according to the Chicago Police Department’s most recent crime report. Murder has declined 15 percent and aggravated battery 8 percent, while robbery has not changed and sexual assault has increased 12 percent.

Trump not including the Chicago Police Department’s most recent report for 2017 (which isn’t even over yet) does not make it a falsehood for him to state that the murder rate was historically high in 2015 and 2016. So why would Qiu suggest Turmp was wrong?

2. He misleadingly claimed the Obama administration refused to equip police with military gear.

In detailing his administration’s support for law enforcement, Mr. Trump said he was “allowing our local police to access surplus military equipment — something the previous administration for some reason refused to do. Explain that one.”

In August, Mr. Trump fully restored a program supplying military equipment to local police. But he is exaggerating the restrictions placed on the program by President Barack Obama and inaccurately suggested that Mr. Obama’s decision came without a cause.

….

In 2015, the Obama administration prohibited police departments from obtaining track armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft grenade launchers and bayonets, among other weapons, at the recommendation of a task force it assembled after the Ferguson protests.

Since the program allowed other kinds of police equipment, Qiu labels Trump’s assertion false.

3. He claimed, without evidence, that countries give “us their worst people” through the diversity immigration visa program.

The program, known as the diversity visa lottery, provides an immigration pathway for people who come to the United States from countries with low levels of immigration, have no close relatives living here and lack special skills.

Mr. Trump’s claim that other countries use the program to expel undesirable members from their own societies is unfounded and implausible.

It certainly sounds possible, knowing that Cuba’s former Communist dictator Fidel Castro sent some violent prisoners and inmates of mental health facilities to the United States during the Mariel Boatlift in 1980.

4. He suggested that sanctuary cities protect criminals.

Sanctuary cities limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials. But they do not stop law enforcement from pursuing criminals, as Mr. Trump suggested when he claimed, “Our cities should not be sanctuaries for criminals.”

Did the case of Katherine Steinle, killed by an illegal immigrant and five-times deported felon, truly not reach Qiu?

This story appears the day after a ridiculous report, due to appear in the paper’s Sunday section, claimed President Obama told only 18 whoppers during his entire eight-year term got some pushback on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner focused on how Leonhardt’s compilation of Obama lies did not include some extremely obvious whoppers on the part of Obama.

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/clay-waters/2017/12/16/new-york-times-latest-flimsy-fact-check-trump-deceit-falls-flat-its