Archive - 2014

Wikileaks meets Surveillance Valley: An interview with Julian Assange

“The problem,” says Julian Assange, is that “a lot of groups that would normally criticize Google, the nonprofits that are involved in the tech sector are funded directly or indirectly by Google. Or by USAID. Or by Freedom House. Google and its extended network have significant patronage in the very groups that would normally be criticizing it.”

Assange is speaking over the telephone from his exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. I’m 3,700 miles away in the eastern United States. The connection is awful, which makes the conversation stilted and weird. It also lends the whole affair a certain degree of intrigue. It feels like the secret police could bust in and confiscate our shortwave radios at any minute.

“For example,” he continues, “the EFF is a great group, and they’ve done good things for us, but nonetheless it is significantly funded by Google, or people who work at Google.”

I wanted to make sure I heard him right: “Are you saying that if it didn’t have those ties, that the EFF would be more outspoken against Google?”

Continue reading on PandoDaily

From Pittsburgh to the End of the World

Adam Parfrey writes of “individuals who have the audacity to consider themselves their own best authority, in repudiation or ignorance of the orthodoxy factories of the Church, University or State. The constructions of these folk researchers may often seem wildly amiss, laughable, disreputable, but are more revealing cultural barometers than the acculturated pabulum of compromised and corrupt professionals.” This type of “folk researcher” is an American institution, as exemplified by such eccentrics as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and C.T. Russell.

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Kicking A Man While He’s Down: Richard Mellon Scaife (1932-2014)

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Here in Pittsburgh, one can almost be perversely proud that a man who leached so much poison into the earth owed his fortune and prominence to the city we call home. Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire philanthropist whose fortune was almost entirely misapplied, died 82 years too late on Independence Day, July 4, 2014.

Richard Mellon Scaife’s sins were many — at least the public ones, while his private life was a mess. But his lasting legacy will not boil down to any one action, whether it be bankrolling the “conservative intellectual infrastructure” behind the victories of Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, and the rise of the neocons (according to The Washington Post) or trying his damnedest to unseat a democratically elected President of the United States. In the end, Scaife will be remembered as one of the key figures in the re-imagining of American Politics as a zero-sum battle between ideologies.

Continue reading on CounterPunch

My friend Jason Louv did an excellent break down of the facts and myths surrounding Neurolinguistic Programming, and since this is a topic that interests me (and since he gave me a nice shout-out in the text!) I’m sharing it with all of you.

Something of an outgrowth of the weird loony-libertarian west coast of the 1970s, the founders of NLP originally hoped that human beings could be reprogrammed like solid state computers — using the power of language, and a methodology that completely underestimates the complexity and intelligence of people. Needless to say, some forty-ish years later NLP has been discredited as a therapy, although it seems to have achieved some usefulness as part of the arsenal of scammers, pick-up artists and marketing weirdos. It’s in this context that some background of NLP is probably quite useful. Even if you don’t believe that these tricks work, you’ll want to know when you’re encountering someone who thinks that they work… so you can avoid them at all costs.

Read ’10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control’ at Ultraculture