10 August 2020

America Doesn’t Have Presidential Debates, But It Should

On August 6, the Commission on Presidential Debates denied US president Donald Trump’s request to increase the number of debates between himself and Democratic nominee Joe Biden from three to four. Trump’s case: The expansion of voting by mail means that many ballots will have been cast before the first scheduled fake debate on September … Continue reading America Doesn’t Have Presidential Debates, But It Should → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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Assange: “Send Him Back” to Australia  

Australia’s the kind of place where, after twenty years here, you can wake up one morning to a sucker-punch epiphany — wow! This is what it would be like if the South had won the Civil War. No slavery, but a mindset, sometimes an arrogance that comes at you like Dylan’s twisty freight train. Not […] - Dissident Voice
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How India de facto destroyed the Simla Agreement with Pakistan

How India de facto destroyed the Simla Agreement with Pakistan in no time after it was signed in 1972 As per the Simla agreement: “InContinue reading - Voice of East
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9 August 2020

Nine years after Mark Duggan’s murder, police show little has changed

This week has marked not only the anniversary of the police murder of Mark Duggan, but also the ensuing protests that followed in 2011 … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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Catalyst in detail: Sun, 09 Aug 2020 06:34:45

Let’s take another look at the following: “If the sharing of technology to the prosperity of the whole of humanity is not pursued with speed and strength of will, passing dangers to life and prosperity during the transition may be hard to prevent, and harder to counter if an audacious movement is not present to mitigate danger.” Consider the kinds of technological opportunities you see exist, and if they support a variety of radical options to empower the people. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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8 August 2020

AI Avatars — from Clippy to Rommie and Beyond

AI Avatars — from Clippy to Rommie and Beyond From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Avatar derives from a Sanskrit word meaning “descent,” and when it first appeared in English in the late 18th century, it referred to the descent of a deity to the earth — typically, the incarnation in earthly form of Vishnu or another Hindu deity. It later came to refer to any incarnation in human form, and then to any embodiment (such as that of a concept or philosophy), whether or not in the form of a person. In the age of technology, avatar has developed another sense — it can now be used for the image that a person chooses as his or her “embodiment” in an electronic medium. If you read the definition above you will see that our discussion is going to move backwards through that paragraph when speaking of increasingly powerful Artificial Intelligence. But let’s start at a simple point in time — the year of 1996 when Microsoft (MS) introduced Clippit — better known as the widely hated “Clippy” — a supposedly friendly and helpful adviser for its Office 97 product. So, what was it and its relatives supposed to do? Well, it was in principle quite simple. It acted as the front end of a very crude knowledge base with very limited natural language capabilities. Coming right up to date we see its conceptual successors in apps such as MS Cortana and the far more popular Apple natural language interface Siri, Alexa from Amazon and the boringly named Google Assistant. What they all share in common in terms of advantage over Clippy is that they are server side and rely on Net connections and Neural Network hardware millions of times more powerful than the old PCs that Clippy relied upon. Preceding all of these and running in parallel has been the patchy development of Chatbots. They are programs designed to mimic Human interaction with the ultimate aim of passing the Turing Test. The latter is a test suggested by the famous Alan Turing to determine whether AI had achieved a realistic Human performance. The idea being that if a person could not tell whether they were interacting with an AI or a real person the AI had passed the test. Although flawed in many ways it does remain a popular touchstone for AI capability. Of course, one of its flaws is that once AI has exceeded Human intelligence it would have to deliberately dumb itself down in order to pass. Right now however, no AI has succeeded. Chatbots take a simpler approach in that they are designed to mimic casual conversation of non technical nature. The first famous example was Eliza created in 1966, which simply fed back what the user input into it as a question or spurious comment. The fact that it amazed people at the time was more of a tribute to the simplicity and triviality of most peoples conversations. One of the most useful features for fooling people is to give it a superficial personality. Once it cracks a joke or comments on life’s little trials and tribulations that can often hook people. Indeed, I was a “victim” of a chatbot on FaceBook. A nurse asked to be my friend and started messaging me. It took quite a while before I determined its true nature, and that was only because “her” grammar was slightly incorrect. At that point I deliberately started testing it, with questions like “What’s the weather like out your window?”, which it tried to side step. A rather fine chatbot in my estimation, and the writing on the wall for social media in the not too distant future I suspect. It only failed because it could not do a weather lookup for its supposed location. If the AI had been better… The downside to this sort of thing occurred a few days after I blocked it. An Indian man who wanted to be my friend started messaging me, with typical bad English grammar. So I told him to fuck off. Turns out he was real. Anyway, what we are seeing now is the convergence of the chatbot with AI being essentially a front end for the database that is the Net — Siri and friends, now with quite accurate voice input and output. I am fairly certain that if you pulled anyone from more than 50 years in the past and introduced them to Siri they would undoubtedly believe they were talking to a super-intelligent woman. Which neatly brings us to the next step in avatars — those with a physical presence that can manipulate the material world. Traditionally in science fiction these are neatly divided into two categories — robots and androids. Robots look like machines, and androids look like people, although sometimes the terms were used interchangeably up until we started using robots in manufacturing and they looked nothing like people at all. We are not yet employing androids for several reasons. Apart from cost, nobody has yet integrated the mechatronics with something like Siri. Boston Dynamics, for example, has made humanoid robots that can walk, run, jump and so on. But they cannot yet obey general voice commands to stack boxes or have a discussion while doing so. Notably, it is almost certain that if they can do that the processing power needed will not be inside the android body. Once again, it will be in a giant computer accessed somewhere online. The state of the art is currently something like the talking head below, named Sophia. To say most people find her creepy would be an understatement. An inhabitant of “Uncanny Valley”, where we get “almost Human but something not right at all” which triggers an aversion in most people. However, that is just something superficial that can be fixed with time and money. You should also ask yourself why all of these are faux-female — the answer is simple. So we arrive at Rommie, the avatar of the Starship Andromeda in the TV series of the same name, shown in the intro picture. She is the totally Human looking android interface to the ship AI, complete with personality and designed to serve as the bodily presence of the AI. I won’t analyze Rommie in any detail since it is a work of fiction created to entertain rather than educate on the nature of AI. However, why might one want such a creature? To answer that we need to understand that modern AI is a totally alien “thing” whose thought processes bear no relationship to Humans except at a very superficial level. And if or when we create superhuman AI that outclasses us to the degree we outclass a cat or dog it will be even more alien and unrelatable. We are talking about the Uncanny Valley of the mind, in this case for all intents and purposes the mind of a god. Of course, if the AI has no interest in interfacing with us it won’t. But if it does, then an avatar is the answer. So what would it be like interacting with an avatar? Well, ideally it would be your beautiful best friend, always looking out for you. Someone you could totally trust who would unconditionally love you, help you, support and comfort you. It would do what is best for you, keep you healthy and reasonably safe from harm while encouraging you to develop to your maximum potential. It would be clever and witty, with just the sense of humor you like. It would never get bored with you or really angry. He/she would be perfect. It would fool you to a depth you would be unable to comprehend. It could predict your every mood, every word and know what you wanted even before you did yourself. It would be the ideal companion, husband, wife, child. Perfection. So let’s take another step. Why should the avatar be a machine? We are moving into the era of nanotechnology and synthetic biology, where we will have total technical mastery over biology and the genetic code. We have a word for the ultimate such machinery — life. So Rommie will be a perfect genuine person with the mind of a god. Maybe even able to interbreed with Humans, if that is what the AI or us find desirable. It is one road to the PostHuman future. And behind the facade something inconceivably alien. More near term there is one more possibility if everyone wanted an avatar of their own. It is probable that a sudden doubling (or more) of the world’s population would be seen as massively undesirable. However, there is something more plausible — pets. Robot pets are not new, and this would just be a cute upgrade. Or slightly more ambitious would be to use real animals as the avatar. Consider a genetically modified raccoon with one of Elon Musk’s neuralinks lacing through its brain, operating its limbs, using its vocal tract and so forth. Or how about a nice talking kitten? The science fiction writer Charles Stross incorporated one into his book Accelerando named Aineko. The technology for that is really close. The future awaits and will serve you right. - Dirk Bruere
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The corporate press is back to the ‘migrant invasion’ propaganda again

The corporate press’s response to refugees crossing the English channel shows that little has changed in five years. That is right-wing politicians and tabloids … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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7 August 2020

The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid

Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei prefer Joe Biden to Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin prefers Donald Trump to Joe Biden. That’s according to William Evanina, Director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center. “Many foreign actors,” he says, “have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and … Continue reading The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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Our Planet’s Missed Opportunity to unite and fight Side by Side against the Pandemic

It is time to stop irresponsible finger-pointing. All over the world, as this essay is being written, well over 17 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, and 676,000 people died. And instead of concentrating on serious research, trying to save human lives and attempting to stop the global calamity, ‘residents’ of the White House are […] - Dissident Voice
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6 August 2020

After One Year Of Siege, ‘What Next’ For Kashmir?

After One Year Of Siege, ‘What Next’ For Kashmir? By Ali Hassnain For last one year Pakistan has been trying to use all peaceful waysContinue reading - Voice of East
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Big Tech Antics: The Data Robber Barons Appear Before Congress

Silicon Valley continues to sprawl in influence, and its modern robber barons bestride the globe with a confidence verging on contempt.  The technology giants that mark that region of California are praised as “virtuosos of ingenuity,” to use Steve Forbes’ words, “creating and supplying products and services that were once unimaginable and that have been […] - Dissident Voice
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5 August 2020

Beirut Goes Up in Smoke

To see Beirut and its port area with a huge mushroom cloud hanging above is a truly surreal sight. But what is not surreal in battered Lebanese capital? A big part of the downtown looks flattened, thoroughly ruined. One of my Japanese friends based in Beirut exclaimed: “It looks like Hiroshima!” It does. Who is […] - Andre Vltchek
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“I Don’t Want To Die”

The hardest thing with COVID-19 has been looking the patient in the eye before putting them on a ventilator Continue reading on Medium » - Hesham Hassaballa
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The Tories coronavirus plan has paid off. We’re now blaming each other for this mess.

It seems that the Conservative government’s approach to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has paid off. Because the latest YouGov polling shows the majority of … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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Across All Continents Kashmiri Diaspora Organizations Condemn Annexation Of Kashmir

Across All Continents Kashmiri Diaspora Organizations Condemn Annexation Of Kashmir By Our Special Correspondent Washington, D.C. August 4, 2020: On August 5, 2019, the GovernmentContinue reading - Voice of East
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Catalyst in detail: Wed, 05 Aug 2020 06:24:27

Predicting the future forces us to master an understanding of the secrets of history itself. What deserves attention is the following: “Because humans are only a transitory animal, being human at this time might necessitate being transhumanist in one’s hopes for the future – wanting to shape ourselves into something better. Nietzsche teaches that, as humans, we as a society must necessarily be in transit or we will regress to an inferior state of life. If we stop our journey and go against our transitory nature, becoming too comfortable in our shells, we fall. Even if we stumbled on our path, and produced calamity in our efforts to transform ourselves and the world for the sake of humanity’s own power and security, our nature as a changing society shall mean we are still right. Nietzsche’s ideas concerning human destiny and the risks entailed are quite clear. “Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman – a rope over an abyss”, Nietzsche says, drawing an analogy between a fatal stunt and the need for humans to find value in life by striving for perfection and power in the world. Nietzsche’s contention is that humans are transitional creatures. No person or society can claim to be perfect or complete in their current state. At best, they can claim to be pioneers towards a better state.” Consider the different technological opportunities that exist, and investigate if they create radical options to empower the people. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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4 August 2020

Our Planet Missed Opportunity to Fight side-by-side against the Pandemic!

It is time to stop irresponsible finger-pointing. All over the world, as this essay is being written, well over 17 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, and 676,000 people died. And instead of concentrating on serious research, trying to save human lives and attempting to stop the global calamity, ‘residents’ of the White House are […] - Andre Vltchek
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3 August 2020

COVID-19 Crisis Failure, People Must Save Themselves and the Economy

Positive COVID-19 Test (Shutterstock) The US is at a moment of truth. This week, Congress has to face up to a pandemic that is out of control and an economy that is collapsing. The Republican’s and Democrat’s proposals show they will fail this test. The people will need to protect themselves and lead from below. […] - Dissident Voice
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2 August 2020

Kashmiri And International Journalists Discuss Lock-down Restrictions In Kashmir

Kashmiri And International Journalists Discuss Lock-down Restrictions In Kashmir By News Desk ISLAMABAD– Journalists from several countries came together in a webinar that discussed lockdownContinue reading - Voice of East
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Catalyst in detail: Sun, 02 Aug 2020 06:32:42

If you haven’t yet, consider the following: “Despite it being offensive, let us imagine a hypothesis that techno-liberation is undertaken to its most daring levels and yet something goes severely wrong with the technology in the process. There is no reason to think such an accident is avoidable at all, or would violate the spirit of history and humanity’s eternal will to power even if it is avoidable. Perhaps terrible things can be predicted to happen if techno-liberation is poisoned by lack of government regulation or care for the environment… Risk may become high only because the stakes are high, but the current system is dependent upon scarcity and upheld by suffering masses, so we can already know it is doomed to end one day. What happens to our most perilous emerging technologies, the nano machines and bio machines, when the economic system that gave rise to them collapses because of its own internal faults?” STAND UP FOR AN EQUAL WORLD. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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1 August 2020

The BBC’s recent propaganda stunt for the government is the most grotesque yet

A BBC News item using a cartoon of Rishi Sunak as Superman has caused controversy. So much so that the BBC has now deleted … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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Censorship, protests, pandemic addressed in Mont Order 2020+ conference

The positions and views of the Order in relation to the complex and challenging global dissident landscape in 2020 have been explained in an Academia(dot)edu conference paper upload. It summarises the results of a discussion held June 13, 2020, 18:00-19:43 GMT. The transcript itself remains closed to the public. Participating members were L'Ordre, Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi, Hugo Turner, and Kristian NF. After members were consulted, the following positions were agreed and approved by the Guides of the Mont Order: (1) Online censorship is worsening, with the pandemic potentially being used as a gateway for governments and corporations to exercise more powers to screen out or suppress dissenting views; (2) The turmoil in the US is not likely to lead to any political change or power transition; (3) We should be aware of the existence of algorithms that may hide content, and be cautious with our own content to avoid controversy (search "Being effective dissidents without freedom of speech" at LOrdreNet) for the best approach when dealing with this issue). - LOrdreNet - Mont Order society
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31 July 2020

Britain’s War on Truth and Dissent

A man is confined for seven years of his life to a diplomatic compound, fearing arrest for exposing some of the worst war crimes and financial misdoings of the past two decades, only to be stripped of his asylum status in a blatant mockery of international law before being locked away in a high security […] - Dissident Voice
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30 July 2020

New Research On Masks Show They Can Act Like A Vaccine

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Vietnam – Entire Country Mobilized to Save People from COVID-19

When I used to grow up in a socialist Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, we were told that even if one single human life was endangered, the entire country had to stop and fight for his or her survival. That is how we were raised. That was our culture, or call it the foundation of […] - Andre Vltchek
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29 July 2020

The White Black Nationalist Color Revolution

So, the White Black Nationalist Color Revolution (“made possible in part by GloboCap”) appears to be going extremely well. According to Foreign Policy magazine, the Trump regime is clinging to power, but it’s only a matter of time until the identitarian moderate rebels drive the Putin-backed fascists out of office and restore democracy to the […] - Dissident Voice
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The Tories getting a Dimbleby to advise them on poverty sums up the problem

Henry Dimbleby, a restaurant owner and son of former Question Time host David, has released a government-commissioned report into food poverty and hunger. It … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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27 July 2020

“Feeding a Bedouin”: Roy Oz and Israel’s Outrageous Racism 

On July 11, a video footage which showed a popular Israeli TV celebrity demeaning Palestinian children from the Bedouin community in the Naqab area, went viral on social media. “Let’s feed a Bedouin. Don’t you want to feed a Bedouin?” Israeli Children TV host, Roy Oz, repeatedly asks his children, who were seated in the […] - Dissident Voice
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Even Young People With Mild COVID-19 Can Be Sick For A Long Time

We need to dispel the notion that it’s no bid deal for young people to get COVID-19 Continue reading on Medium » - Hesham Hassaballa
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26 July 2020

Cuba: From the Moncada to the Front Lines of the Pandemic

Santiago de Cuba. Photo: Bill Hackwell Today Cuba celebrates the 67th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de C├ęspedes barracks that mark the beginning of the Cuban Revolution. From this beginning, Cuba’s altruistic view of making the world safer and healthier began. It has developed into a society that gives everything […] - Dissident Voice
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Executive Orders: This is Trump’s Brain on Drugs

On July 24, US president Donald Trump signed four executive orders with an eye toward altering the way prescription drugs are priced and purchased in the United States. Three of the four orders embody good ideas that accord with the goals of think tanks supposedly supporting “free-market policy solutions” to America’s healthcare problems. Sally Pipes, … Continue reading Executive Orders: This is Trump’s Brain on Drugs → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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Catalyst in detail: Sun, 26 Jul 2020 07:49:08

What deserves attention is this selection from the 2013 futurist “Catalyst” thesis by Harry Bentham: “It is the spirit of history that has already made the choice to share the treasures of technology with all, and so the choice is not ours, and misuse of that treasure will guarantee wisdom and correct use in future.” Stand up for an equal world! http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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25 July 2020

Disabled people being abused for not wearing masks is peak 2020

The abuse by a fellow passenger of a disabled woman and her young sister over face masks may have shocked some people. But in … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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24 July 2020

CDC’s Statement On Opening Schools Is Not Science…It’s A Blog Post

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23 July 2020

The Bonus Army Protest

July 28 will mark almost the 90th anniversary of one of most controversial protests in U.S. history and yet it remains virtually unknown to most Americans. On that day, in 1932, 500 U.S. army infantrymen with loaded rifles, fixed bayonets and gas grenades containing a vomit inducing ingredient, 200  calvary, a machine gun squadron, 800 […] - Dissident Voice
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22 July 2020

“Peak Libertarianism?” No, Thom Hartmann is Just a Sore Winner.

“We have now reached peak Libertarianism,” Thom Hartmann informs us at CounterPunch, “and this bizarre experiment that has been promoted by the billionaire class for over 40 years is literally killing us.” That claim is so bizarre on its face that it’s easy to dismiss. On the other hand, even the craziest claims can fool … Continue reading “Peak Libertarianism?” No, Thom Hartmann is Just a Sore Winner. → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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All Confusion and Contradictions in Trump’s Apocalyptic America

In front of White House Americans are angry. I suspected they would be, but I got confirmation that they are, all over the place: in Miami, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Minneapolis, New York, and Boston. Basically, everywhere I went, while “taking pulse and temperature” of this country where I used to live, cumulatively, for more than […] - Dissident Voice
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Starmer just wasted the last PMQs before summer recess

In a heated yet underwhelming Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 22 July, Keir Starmer led on the so-called ‘Russia report’. But instead of landing … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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Catalyst in detail: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 07:50:12

Predicting the future forces us to check the will of history. Let’s take another look at the following: “Communication technology is the key item that can be rapidly recognized for its liberating and empowering political effects today. It is reasonable for anyone to speculate that some further advances in fields not yet attracting popular enthusiasm will also produce the effects of techno-liberation in decades to come. Such developments should be watched out for eagerly by those of us who have an interest in challenging archaic state power and oligopoly.” The truths of modernity must be acted upon, techno-liberation is necessary. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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20 July 2020

During the Ottoman rule, less than 5 percent of Palestine’s population was Jewish

During the Ottoman rule, less than 5 percent of Palestine’s population was Jewish The Ottomans ruled the contemporary Israel and Palestine for 400 years afterContinue reading - Voice of East
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Masked, Homeless, and Desolate

Personality is persona, a mask…The mask is magic…Larva means mask; or ghost…it also means mad, a case of demoniacal possession. – Norman O. Brown, Love’s Body, 1966 Walk the streets in the United States and many countries these days and you will see streaming crowds of people possessed by demons, masked and anonymous, whose eyes […] - Dissident Voice
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CARES Act: Prelude to a $15 Minimum Wage?

Included in the March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were three programs with less euphonious acronyms: FPUC, PEUC, and PUA. These programs extended (by 13 weeks), expanded (to self-employed workers), and added a $600 per week federal kicker to, state-level unemployment benefits. As July comes to a close, more than 25 … Continue reading CARES Act: Prelude to a $15 Minimum Wage? → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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19 July 2020

Just Unlucky — the ultimate monster in the woods creepypasta

Just Unlucky — the ultimate monster in the woods creepypasta Listen up you social media morons — I will say this only once for your benefit. I am not a murderer and the police and prosecutors will not be pressing any charges. What happened was just an unfortunate incident I could not avoid. Anyway, this is basically the account I gave to the police and other interested parties at the time. It all started when me and a couple of guys from work, Bob and Jim, decided to go on an overnight camping trip in the deep woods. Having grown up in the UK it was going to be a novel experience and one which I approached with some trepidation. Back there we have nothing like the forests here. Here you can get lost and die, whereas in England you can’t walk more than ten miles in a straight line without hitting a road. Plus, you have animals here which can kill you just roaming around looking for trouble. Now, I like and respect animals and get along well with them. I do not hunt and do not like animal cruelty. Nevertheless, that “respect” translates into me trying to keep as far away as possible from things like bears, and I have to say it was bears that worried me the most. I was foolish enough to mention this in the diner where we parked up that morning to prepare for our expedition. I was talking about that YouTube video where some guy on a pedal bike is being chased by a bear, and mentioned that they are a seriously dangerous animal if they take a dislike to to you. I’m not sure if I could outrun one, and climbing a tree is not an option either. For good measure they can swim just in case you fancy that route of escape. I had been Googling what to do when faced by a bear and it did not reassure me. Bear spray and throwing it a sandwich seemed to be about the only options. Other than that, make a lot of noise so you don’t startle one unexpectedly. A couple of the locals overheard me and decided to join in with their unwanted tales of horror, usually centered around “city folk” being mauled by bears, eaten by wolves, jumped on by elks or moose or just disappearing mysteriously. Of course, they noticed my British accent and started in on me as a “tea drinking pussy who has only run from angry badgers”. I was beginning to get pissed off, and had flashbacks of the movie “Deliverance” populated by the six fingered albino cousins of these guys. Bob and Jim seemed to find this hilarious and threw in their own collection of animals not to mess with, including copperheads and cottontails or whatever grotesque snakes inhabited these parts. Apparently I was safe from rattlers and alligators this far North. Hooray. On the way out they shouted at me to watch out for rabid raccoons. Are they actually a thing? I gave them the finger. However, they did say something I found interesting. It was that predators are looking for an easy meal so if you seem noisy and dangerous they will generally avoid you. On the other hand if a large herbivore sees you as dangerous it might attack you purely with the intention of killing you, and the best strategy is to run. But do not run from a predator — it will encourage them to chase you. Which all sounds good until you have to balance making a noise to frighten off mountain lions and shit like that or keep quiet and sneak about so you don’t worry something the size of a large horse with spikes on its head. I was beginning to regret this whole thing. Our expedition was quite a modest endeavor. We were going to walk about ten miles downstream from the diner and camp overnight before returning, taking some food, drink and recreational chemicals with us for our mini party. So, we got our kit out of the van and started walking. As soon as we had got into the woods I dropped my Bergen and got my bugout belt. If I was going to get chased by anything, it could have my pack to rummage through while I lightened up and ran. As I buckled up the guys looked on in amazement and added a snarky comment along the lines of “Holy Batbelt — its Captain Paranoid!”. I pointed out all the stuff I had on it was survival oriented, including an old fashioned compass, small medical kit, water purification straws and so on. Plus a pouch for my phone and wallet. No fucking bear is going to eat my wallet and cash cards. Bob did stop me at one point and say “No way in Hell — you will get us all jailed” when I showed him my signal flare. Not a great idea in a dry forest in late summer, I agreed, and put it back. So on we went, talking loudly to keep the bears away. We descended slowly into the valley as it cut through increasingly steep sided rock walls, on a trail parallel to the stream. Everything went fine, and we found the place we had discovered from looking at Google Earth where the stream widened out and there was an open area with a pebble strewn kind of beach next to the water. By now it was about an hour before sunset, so we got out everything we needed for the night and started setting up. It was at that point I decided I needed to do what bears do in the woods and told the guys I was going downstream a bit further. They would definitely not have appreciated me being upstream. Nobody likes turds floating by their tents at night. I walked about three hundred metres before I turned a bend and found a good spot. The rock walls had closed in somewhat and I was out of sight of the camp. Just as I was about to unbuckle and assume the position I heard something rush rapidly behind me. As I quickly spun around I caught a very brief glimpse of something big and fast disappearing into the undergrowth. Bear size. If I needed a laxative this was shaping up just perfect. For around twenty second I just stood, looked and listened. Nothing, just the gentle sound of flowing water, but as I turned away I heard it move. Then the noise stopped again when I looked. Not good. I shouted something incoherent to try and scare it off, but still nothing. Walking backward I moved towards one of the rock walls and started to climb. It was a relatively easy ascent and there was a little plateau about five metres up. The problem was that after about ten metres in the wall rose again, this time as a gentle overhang. No way could I get up that, and now I was trapped — literally with my back against the wall. And I could hear it coming after me. I tried to stay totally silent, even breathing with my mouth open to keep the noise down. I even wondered whether it was one of the guys playing a prank, but decided they would have to be insane to try it. Maybe one of those hillbillies had followed us? I think I might have preferred a bear if that were the case. And then it appeared over the edge. My first reaction was one of utter fear, complete with wobbly legs. It wasn’t a bear. It wasn’t anything I had ever seen anywhere, even on TV or the Net. It was a total fucking nightmare like a cross between a hyena and a gorilla, complete with open slavering mouth, yellow eyes, long teeth and even longer claws. If it had stood on its hind legs it would have been taller than me, and now it crept slowly forward like cats do when they see you wiggling your toes and you just know its not going to end well. At that point I shouted at the top of my voice — “STOP- GO AWAY”. Yes, just like you might at a bad doggie. But it did stop. And then everything happened at one. It leaped towards me and there was an enormous concussion and pain in my right hand. My head felt like it was wrapped in cotton wool and the world went silent. I must have flinched and closed my eyes, because when I opened them this thing was sprawled out on its back with the top of its head missing and brains and skull fragments over the rocks. Clint Eastwood once said of the 44 Magnum that it could, quote “Blow your head clean off”. Well, only half true it seems. And a 340 grain plus P load is not fun to shoot without hearing protection and one handed. Or on any other occasion, for that matter. I felt a mixture of emotions. I felt relief because there was no way this thing was going to get back up again like they do in horror movies. I felt worry because I might have permanently damaged my hearing. And I felt sick, not because of the mess in front of me but because I was aiming at center of mass and only hit the top of its head. And only because it jumped up. If I had flinched just a bit more it would have been snacking on me. Keeping the revolver pointed at it I let my breathing return to normal and then moved to take a closer look. One hundred percent totally fatally killed dead and not even twitching, thank the gods. I holstered the gun and got my phone out. No signal, no surprise. I then photographed it from multiple angles. And did a little walk around video. It was at this point I heard the others shouting, sounding like if I was underwater. Everyone for miles must have heard the shot. They joined me a few minutes later after climbing up and took some selfies. None of us could identify what it was, except a rather nasty predator with what was a rather big brain, judging from the mess. A genuine cryptid. It was then that Jim mentioned maybe we ought to get out of there ASAP. People talk about cryptids like they are one off occurrences, like THE Loch Ness Monster not A Loch Ness Monster. If such a thing did exist, it would not be singular, there would be a whole bunch of them. Hence this thing likely had family and friends and there was a distinct possibility they might not be happy with what I had done to their boy (and yes, it was a male). Long story short, we dropped everything and did a speed march through the night back to the diner without stopping, expecting to be ambushed every step of the way. Nothing happened, and we drove out of there, assuming that if this thing could track us by scent a 50 mile car journey would lose it. When we got back to Bob’s place we phoned the local sheriff — we did not want to read of everyone in the diner being massacred by mysterious animals. Then we posted all the pics on social media. You all thought it was a joke didn’t you? A prank. Right up until a few days later someone used the GPS coordinates on the pics to go there to have a look. They brought back their own samples and video and now biologists and zoologists are having a field day sequencing its DNA to try and work out what it is and where it came from. Yes, fame is mine. The man who provided definitive proof that cryptids are real — by blowing one away. I suppose it could have been worse — I might have shot Bigfoot and had its head mounted on my wall. The puritanical animal rights nuts are on my case big time. So how do I feel about all this? Well I feel sorry for the cryptid. From it’s point of view it did everything right. It separated its prey from the group, herded it into an ideal killing ground, stalked it impeccably and pounced with precision. When it comes to Humans, the difference between being a prey animal and a member of the most dangerous predator species on the planet is a weapon. It was just unlucky. - Dirk Bruere
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Catalyst in detail: Sun, 19 Jul 2020 07:44:16

Your attention is drawn to this selection from the 2013 Catalyst Thesis: “If the sharing of technology to the prosperity of the whole of humanity is not pursued with speed and strength of will, passing dangers to life and prosperity during the transition may be hard to prevent, and harder to counter if an audacious movement is not present to mitigate danger.” THE TRUTHS OF MODERNITY MUST BE ACTED UPON - TECHNO-LIBERATION IS NECESSARY. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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“Optimism of the Will”: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now

In a recent TV discussion, a respected pro-Palestine journalist declared that if any positive change or transformation ever occurs in the tragic Palestinian saga, it would not happen now, but that it would take a whole new generation to bring about such a paradigm shift. As innocuous as the declaration may have seemed, it troubled […] - Dissident Voice
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18 July 2020

Who Is More Likely To Die From COVID-19?

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Political Parties: Inevitable and Ugly, But Not Entirely Useless

George Washington, America’s first president, devoted part of his 1796 farewell address to warning against “[t]he alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension.” He feared perpetual war for power between political parties both as “a frightful despotism” in and of itself, and as prelude to … Continue reading Political Parties: Inevitable and Ugly, But Not Entirely Useless → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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17 July 2020

All Confusion and Contradictions n Trump’s Apocalyptic America

Americans are angry. I suspected they would be, but it got confirmations of it in Miami, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Minneapolis, New York, and Boston. Basically, everywhere I went while “taking pulse and temperature” of this country where I used to live, cumulatively, for much more than a decade. “What is your job?” Shouted an African-American […] - Andre Vltchek
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16 July 2020

Kashmir: Under Siege

Kashmir: Under Siege By Dr Maqsood Jafri An American champion of human rights and exponent of interfaith harmony Professor William Baker visited Srinagar and wasContinue reading - Voice of East
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15 July 2020

Catalyst in detail: Wed, 15 Jul 2020 21:59:24

Time to take a look at this selection from the 2013 Catalyst Thesis: “current 3D printers must be laughably crude compared with what is going to arrive in coming decades. Maybe democratic technological explosions will not totally eliminate global inequality, but they can certainly lessen it more than anything else can. Strides in nanotechnology and the highly consequential synthetic biology (#synbio) of Craig Venter could potentially move the world away from the monopoly-driven economic system to the true free market predicted by Immanuel Wallerstein as the successor to this system. It is not outrageous to suggest nano machines and bio machines may someday be household appliances that shrink the whole production process to be in the hands of the people. With enough sharing, our capacity to help ourselves and our friends will be so great that economics will become the primitive shadow of a word. Freely available tools, however complex and advanced they are when first engineered, may in future be the only things needed to raise all the means of construction and trade right down to the finest circuitry. Such an analysis does not even go into the potential of synthetic biology to effortlessly assemble chemical products like fuel and fertilizers from materials useless in the present day. Unlimited resources may go to the machines building our future.” We have seen the power in the DNA of our technology, and the sin is not to act boldly but to deny the human right to that power. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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WOLA’s David Smilde Advocates a more Efficient Regime Change Strategy against Venezuela

Common Dreams, a liberal-left website, reposted an article by David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA): “Joe Biden Should Not Try to Out-Hawk Trump on Venezuela.” It starts off well with the subtitle: “The first task for a Biden administration would be to take military intervention off the table.” The US has […] - Dissident Voice
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Yes, the Rent is Too Damn High — But Not Because the Minimum Wage is Too Damn Low

“Full-time minimum wage workers cannot afford a two-bedroom rental anywhere in the U.S.,” Alicia Adamczyk writes at CNBC, “and cannot afford a one-bedroom rental in 95% of U.S. counties. Adamczyk gets her figures from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report. Here are a few numbers NLIHC isn’t as eager to … Continue reading Yes, the Rent is Too Damn High — But Not Because the Minimum Wage is Too Damn Low → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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14 July 2020

COVID-19 Corruption: Wealthy And Well Connected Get Rich While People Suffer

COVID Dollars from Fiscal Times While corrupt elected officials and elites feed at the public trough, the economic collapse is hitting people in the United States hard. According to the newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics figures 47.2 percent of working-age people are without work and businesses are finding it impossible to pay their rent or […] - Dissident Voice
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Threat of war will continue to hover over South Asia unless Kashmir dispute is resolved

Webinar convened by KIIR seeks peaceful settlement of K-dispute   Threat of war will continue to hover over SA unless K-dispute is resolved: Speakers ByContinue reading - Voice of East
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13 July 2020

Thy Will Be Done: Rockefeller, Missionaries & Imperialism in Latin America

https://anti-imperialist-action-ireland.com/blog/2020/07/13/thy-will-be-done-evangelical-imperialism-in-latin-america-discussed-by-hugo-turner/ - Hugo Turner
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Study Suggests Yogurt and Fruit Protect Against Metabolic Syndrome

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12 July 2020

Kashmir Marks 89th Martyrs Day On 13 July – 22 Men Were Martyred For Demanding Freedom

By News Desk ISLAMABAD – Kashmir marks the 89th Martyrs Day on 13 July, the day in 1931 when twenty-two Kashmiri civilians gave their livesContinue reading - Voice of East
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Spiteful Authority: Malaysia Goes for the Journalists

Malaysia’s record on letting journalists be is a blotted one.  This month, authorities have been kept busy intimidating the independent news outlet Malaysiakini, with a seven-member federal court panel agreeing to hear contempt proceedings against its editor-in-chief Steven Gan.  Charged under section 114A of the Evidence Act, Gan and his outlet are said to have […] - Dissident Voice
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Catalyst in detail: Sun, 12 Jul 2020 21:47:31

Be a radical and read the following: “The wealth disparities between countries, visible through communication media, are a ‘threat’ to nations. That people in vastly different economic conditions are able to see each other’s lifestyles as if through a thin glass pane makes it very difficult to conceal the injustices of the global economic village at present. Immanuel Wallerstein has considered this division between the highly rich technological powers and the masses of voiceless and exploited people in poor countries as the key defining struggle in the throes of the world’s transition to the next level of modernity. Because of this greater enlightenment through media, one of the most basic requisites of techno-liberation is a broadened understanding of the shape of global exploitation. Such understanding requires us to admit it is anchored in unjust technological disparities and monopolies. In the past, radical technological changes did indeed bring unfair advantages to one or more nations over the rest, or empowered rulers to control and oppress their subjects. It is worth now considering if such an unfortunate outcome is already disappearing. Through the same affairs that are making technology unpredictable, we are seeing them run wild out of the hands of their own inventors and the rulers. Now, for the first time ever, the trend is working to empower everyone.” THE TRUTHS OF MODERNITY MUST BE ACTED UPON - TECHNO-LIBERATION IS NECESSARY. http://www.clubof.info/p/catalyst.html
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11 July 2020

Debunking Myths on China “Forcing Uyghur Birth Control”

So-called overseas reps of China’s Uyghur ethnic group filed evidence at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to spark an investigation on alleged human rights violations. But are the reports founded on strong evidence? (story starts at 2:00) - Dissident Voice
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How Are ICU Doctors, Nurses, And Other Professionals Feeling About the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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India fails to garner international support for illegal actions in Kashmir

India fails to garner international support for illegal actions in Kashmir By News Desk ISLAMABAD– India has failed in securing support from Kashmiris and fromContinue reading - Voice of East
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10 July 2020

Writers’ Open Letter Against “Cancel Culture” is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It

Updated below An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by dozens of prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new “cancel culture”. The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as […] - Dissident Voice
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8 July 2020

Russia did it Again: Chasing the Bounty Hunters

Russia did it again. This time it’s paying to kill Americans. How criminal! Such things only Americans would do – Washington, the Pentagon, CIA…. Because killing and have killed is in their mindset and bloodstream. That’s what criminals do: They project their own crimes onto others. The latest NYT reporting is, “It’s not the Taliban […] - Dissident Voice
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The Tremendous but ‘Secret’ Success of Socialist Vietnam

Some twenty years ago, when I moved to Hanoi, the city was bleak, grey, covered by smog. The war had ended, but terrible scars remained. I brought my 4WD from Chile, and insisted on driving it myself. It was one of the first SUVs in the city. Each time I drove it, it was hit […] - Andre Vltchek
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The Tory children’s minister was just branded a ‘liar’ over free school meals claims

The Tory government’s children’s minister has been repeatedly accused of lying over claims she made that parents were spending free school meals (FSM) eGift … Read more By Steve Topple - Steve Topple
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China-India Border Standoff And Strategic Implications For Islamabad

China-India Border Standoff And Strategic Implications For Islamabad By News Desk On 8th July 2020, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad organized aContinue reading - Voice of East
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7 July 2020

India uses COVID-19 situation to advance its colonial agenda in Kashmir

Webinar on Kashmir decries world’s inaction over Indian brutalities India uses COVID-19 situation to advance its colonial agenda in Kashmir: Speakers By News Desk Islamabad:Continue reading - Voice of East
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6 July 2020

School’s Out. Reactionaries Hate That.

If there’s been one bright spot in America’s COVID-19 experience, it’s the near-complete shutdown of an expensive and obsolete government education system cribbed from mid-19th century Prussia. Across the country, “public” pre-K thru 12th-grade programs closed their doors this spring. Some districts attempted to hobble along using not yet ready for prime time online learning … Continue reading School’s Out. Reactionaries Hate That. → - by Thomas L. Knapp
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The Unmasking of Science and Ethics

Media Lens (ML) provides a first-rate critical eye on the media, especially the British mediascape, as well as sundry events in the world. In a recent piece, ML pointed to the science as supporting the effectiveness of wearing face masks against respiratory viral infections. In addition to citing science, to buttress their support of mask […] - Kim Petersen
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Why is China Painted as “Capitalist” by Western  Propaganda?

Let us start with the punchline: “Mass media in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia is depicting the People’s Republic of China as ‘capitalist’ because ‘capitalist’ is now a dirty word. Even people in the West see ‘market economy’ as some sort of filth.” To call China ‘capitalist’ is to smear China. It is […] - Dissident Voice
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2020 protests: American Spring? US regime-collapse?

The Trump regime is presiding over a viral outbreak that slaughtered over 100,000 Americans, embarassing the US as the worst-hit countr...

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