During the 2008 financial crisis, Rod Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois, took on Bank of America by suspending all state accounts with the bank and publicly criticizing them for their role in the subprime mortgage crisis. In 2009, he was convicted for corruption charges, including his attempt to exchange Obama’s former senate seat for political favors, and is currently serving a 14 year sentence in Federal Prison. In 2007, governor Eliot Spitzer of New York pushed the controversial policy that granted undocumented immigrants the right to gain driver’s licenses and pay for car insurance. In 2008, Spitzer resigned from his position, admiting revelations that he solicited prostitutes. In 2017, speculation arose that Mark Zuckerberg could potentially be running for president in 2020. This year, Zuckerberg faces continued scrutiny over data collection and privacy within Facebook after revelations of Cambridge Analytica data collections.
These are incidents involving wealthy individuals, who have sought after monetary and political power. There is nothing directly linking any of the incidents I juxtapose against one another, yet it’s easy for our brains to make those jumps. This is how propaganda is made. The reality is that powerful leaders do not rise in a vacuum. Where once opposition was removed via murders and Stalinesque political purges, in our modern, civilized democracies, leaders are destroyed by defamation, propaganda and prisons.
The Daily Stormer, a website with highly controversial hate speech, was recently scrubbed from the Internet. This wasn’t due to government censorship or illegal content, but due to the fact that no private hosting provider would allow their content. DigitalOcean and DreamHost refused to host their content in 2014. In August of 2017, CloudFlare terminated their CDN services for the website. GoDaddy terminated their domain registration with a 24 hour warning. The site owners migrated to Google Domains, which also refused to allow the domain transfer. NameCheap refused to allow them to register a domain as well.
What is interesting about this situation is the Daily Stomer carried only content. Although legally protected as free speech, at least in the US, hosting and infrastructure providers are free to refuse service to any company. Many of the companies mentioned above quoted specific clauses in their terms of service about hate speech or inciting violence. On its surface, it seems like these tech companies are helping to make it difficult to host hateful content on the Internet. However, with such a limited set of providers and domain registration services on the Internet, does the dominance of such few companies in the hosting space allow the means for industry to decide what content is allowable? Are Google, GoDaddy and others effectively censoring opinions they find disagreeable?
Norte, a Mexican newspaper that has been publishing for nearly 30 years, announced that it was shutting down, after three journalists from various news agencies were killed last month. The effects of violence and gangs in parts of Mexico have led to this news organization’s concern over the safety of its reporters. Advocates for the removal of undocumented workers in the United States often cite the violence in Central America as justification for immigration control and fortification, while ignoring questions about the cause. The majority of the violence in the South and Central American countries, including the security problems that are ravishing several cities in Mexico, can all be traced back to the CIA, the funneling of drugs into America and the smuggling of firearms back across the border.
I worked in the American health insurance industry during the original Affordable Health Care (ACA) debates back around 2009. I watched a lot of money spent on completely wasteful projects as the entire industry lobbied against a public single-payer option. In January of 2016, I returned to the States after being outside the country for four years. I hadn’t been required to obtain insurance via the ACA while living outside the US. When I looked at my options upon returning, I discovered that many of the fears concerning the Affordable Care Act had proven to be true. All my current options for health coverage, both via my employer and the ACA, either leave me paying more than I ever have in my life for terrible coverage, or paying very little for preventative only care.
Congress is considering a bill that will increase the minimum wage for H-1B visa holders to $100,000 per year. This is an attempt to discourage businesses from hiring immigrants who require sponsorship, instead of hiring American workers. At least that’s what congress says H.R. 170 will do. However, I think what we’ll actually see are large companies in tech hubs like the bay area, Seattle, Chicago, New York and others, start to absorb the largest swatches of the immigrant talent pool, while shorting smaller companies and public sector jobs from the same access to skilled workers.
In January of 2017, three black eighteen year old males and one black eighteen year old female abducted a white, mentally handicapped man of the same age. The four of them abused him for somewhere between one and two days. They made him drink toilet water while yelling, “fuck trump” and “fuck white people.” They broadcast this on Facebook’s live streaming service. The kidnapping, abuse and hate crime charges they face could put them away for years. We are looking at the effects of the false left right paradigm, and of government propaganda, directly turning Americans against one another.
Recently, Seattle police raided the home of a privacy activist who maintained a Tor exit node, claiming they were informed child pornography was downloaded from his IP address. This raid was very unusual in the sense that none of the accused computers were seized. After explaining he ran a Tor exit node and giving up his passwords, the police examined his computers and left. Later it was discovered that the police knew about the Tor exit node and didn’t inform the judge during the warrant process. Given the unusual way in which the raid was executed, it is quite possible this was intentionally a means to harass someone simply for maintaining a Tor exit node.
I returned to the United States in 2016, directly into the excessively long election season. I’ve managed to avoid listening to American politics for years, but the other day I was with some friends watching the 4th democratic debate between Hillary, Sanders and some random governor no one cares about. I’ve had friends constantly promoting Sanders, so I was curious if he was different in any meaningful way from the oligarchy I had grown up under. After watching the debates, I realized that Sanders is nothing new or special. He is a breed of the same war mongering that has been part of the American regime since before my birth.