I celebrate the late, great Peter Falk for his legendary “populist” characterization of Lt. Columbo, relentless nemesis to the Gucci’d “above the law” types who tried to use power and money to cavalierly escape responsibility for profound crimes against humankind.
I celebrate the Columbo TV series’ enactments of takedowns of the down-and-dirty high-and-mighties, since we are now seriously in the Season (or maybe we should call it Age) of the “High Functioning Sociopath” (so defiantly in your face during the Bush and Obama eras (let’s acknowledge bipartisan amorality) and now reaching epic dimensions in the ethical freakshow of Trump).
Our economy captured by them, our quality of life and that of our children and their children, etc., drastically diminished by them, our planet doomed by them, large masses of our global family killed, maimed and/or displaced by them and their “profits over human welfare” gratuitous and profound violent evil and all perpetrated with seemingly little legal, economic and even reputational consequence, thanks to crony capitalism and its post-morality, mis-informing and/or un-informing, conscience beveling, corporate media.
Maybe the only comfort we of awakened consciences and minds can glean is from a spiritual speculation of the risks to their immortal souls?
I confess, I find myself praying more and more not so much for the existence of a heaven, but a horrendous hell for the obscenely wealthy and obscenely criminal rat bastards of the universe.
We desperately need populist heroes, in real life and in art! We need them from past, present and future dimensions.
In the Columbo shows, you might remember how the amoral and murdering monsters did their best to finesse their way out of unspeakable, ends-justifies-any-means deeds. However, Columbo was like the proverbial terrier with a bone. We as viewers enjoyed the ultimate justice, the comeuppance of the smug, mendacious, callous, deadly and always privileged villains by show’s end.
Columbo wasn’t ever dazzled and conned by the money, the power or the fame of the sociopathic gamesman or gameswoman. He would sniff out their guilt early on and hover, hover, hover, question, question, question and then, that “just one more thing,” crime-cracking question.
What was such a kick was watching the elite’s preliminary dismissal of Columbo as a non-threatening, crass, working class, in-way-over-his-head, amiable schlub change to a begrudging respect and fear as the high-functioning sociopath realizes his or her ingenious, perfect-crime blueprint was not Columbo-proof.
Falk’s character counterpointed the moral shamelessness of the guilty, upscale criminal with his own, endearing shamelessness at being a non-rich, working class Joe, clunkily invading golden-gated communities to uphold justice.
Columbo would at times awkwardly gush over the opulence, the fame, the power he would stumble upon, while at the same time asserting pride over the satisfying symbols of his world — that clunker of a car, a hearty bowl of chili, or even a good deal on a less than $20 pair of shoes.
Columbo felt comfortable and entitled showing up anywhere despite, as one character declared, “looking like an unmade bed.” He was a “substance” not style kinda guy. (“Substance over style,” imagine that, Barack?)
Columbo’s ever-present and ridiculous for southern California raincoat, the ever-nursed “would you mind not smoking that here” cigar and a never-present gun!
God bless you, Peter Falk. I can use the catharsis from still seeing your Columbo give it to the smug, mendacious rat bastards, even if it is all on a small DVD or YouTube screen. Hail to your inspiring role-modeling of a strong and indomitable moral will, mischievous sense of humor and ever-dazzling display of connect-the-dots intelligence.
I would love to let loose a herd of us Columbo “channelers” on our millionaire/billionaire controlled Congress, courts, executive branch, and corporate gangster puppeteers with their sell out media hacks. Plain-speaking, citizen activists — people with humble life styles and a basic Golden Rule moral sensibility. People to help make that desperately needed paradigm shift from a US government of patriarchy to one of humanism. From might makes right, competition, win/lose violent engagements, profits over people killer gamesmanship to a social contract founded on humanism reflecting partnership, cooperation, win/win conflict resolution, empathy, and the manifestation of a collective soul and conscience rather than a xenophobic collective ego.
Alas, I gotta say, those are BIG, less than twenty dollar Columbo shoes to fill by those of us willing to exercise our consciences and courage.
Consider what we have to lose if we don’t take on such a fight, however.
“Ordinary humans can finally begin to make the world their own, guided not by sociopathic oligarchs but by an enlightened self-interest which realizes that the only way we can continue to survive is if we learn to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem for the common good.”
One of the most common labels people use to describe what I do is some variation of “anti-war journalist” or “anti-imperialist blogger”, and I’m always a tiny bit surprised when I see it. Not because I disagree with it; opposition to US-centralized warmongering probably constitutes a majority of my content, so it’s a reasonable description. I’ve just never explicitly had opposing war in mind when doing what I do. It’s been the main byproduct of my journey here, but it’s never been my objective.
I got started on this gig making Facebook posts in Bernie Sanders groups after noticing that the US mass media were actively sabotaging his 2016 primary race. My goal at the time was the same as it is now: to help jailbreak Americans, and thus the rest of the world, from the nearly invisible power structures which are oppressing us all and driving us toward extinction. When I first started writing about the 2016 presidential campaign I didn’t focus nearly as much on US foreign policy as I do now.
The shift toward emphasis on US-led warmongering wasn’t something I planned, it was just the natural consequence of my staring, day after day, at the puzzle of how to free humanity from its chains. I didn’t understand the mechanics of empire all that well when I started out, so I meticulously studied the behavior of government and media structures and watched for opportunities to expose glitches in the narrative matrix so I could highlight them for my readers. As I got better at noticing these glitches, I found that the opportunities to go “Look! See? They’re lying to you!” most often presented themselves around the issues of war and imperialism.
This is because it turns out that endless war is an absolutely essential component of the globe-spanning alliance between oligarchs and government agencies which is sometimes referred to as the “deep state”. Exerting more and more control over world affairs is how the largest power structures on earth continue to expand their power, and this is impossible to do without using the carrot of US military/economic alliance and the stick of US military/economic punishment. US economic control isn’t hegemonic enough on its own to overcome the influence of growing economic powers like China, so the threat of military violence is absolutely essential for maintaining the power alliance. It’s the glue that holds the entire empire together.
US Foreign Policy Is A War On Disobedience – Caitlin Johnstone – Medium
In an excellent new essay titled “We’re Not the Good Guys — Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?”, Tom Engelhardt criticizes the…
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So endless war is a 100 percent indispensable element in preserving existing power structures. The US-centralized empire cannot exist without it. The trouble for the empire, however, is that it can’t just come out and tell the public “Yeah we need to destroy everyone who opposes our resource control agendas and dominance in key geostrategic regions, so we’ll be forcibly eliminating this noncompliant government on Thursday.” The public would never go for it, because that’s a plainly sociopathic values system which we are taught since school age that our society evolved beyond many generations ago. People would lose trust in all government institutions, and revolution would quickly foment as a result.
For this reason, propaganda is necessary. Because America is where the empire has centralized most of its military firepower and billionaires, Americans are the most propagandized people on earth. There are thousands of people whose whole entire job is to convince Americans that it is good and desirable to keep trillions of dollars in military hardware moving around the planet and killing complete strangers who pose no threat to any American.
The challenge for the propagandists is that this is plainly bat shit crazy. It’s an assignment that is both absolutely necessary and extremely difficult. When the entire world order depends on convincing millions of people that something transparently insane and ridiculous is perfectly sane and rational, you’re naturally going to have difficulty smoothing over all the plot holes in the narratives you’re selling. That’s why you’re always seeing glaring discrepancies in the narratives used to promote US foreign policy agendas. In retrospect I’ve pretty much built my career on highlighting these discrepancies.
The primary role US-led warmongering plays in maintaining existing power structures, which I first started to notice during the 2016 Democratic primaries, is on even clearer display during the 2020 Democratic primaries. You see candidates like Bernie Sanders being frowned upon by hardline centrists for promoting domestic policies which would hurt the profit margins of the oligarchs, but overall he’s being treated as a legitimate candidate and receiving reluctant coverage on mainstream media networks. Then you look at the treatment of a candidate like Tulsi Gabbard, who is campaigning on a major overhaul of US foreign policy, and she’s treated as a raving lunatic and a traitor.
“Challenging domestic policy status quo in Washington can be controversial and subject you to some attacks. But those who dissent from DC’s foreign policy addiction to imperialism, militarism and support for repression are those who are always most smeared and maligned,” Glenn Greenwald tweeted a while back.
Challenging domestic policy status quo in Washington can be controversial and subject you to some attacks. But those who dissent from DC’s foreign policy addiction to imperialism, militarism & support for repression are those who are always most smeared and maligned: https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1095867007449223168 …
Omar has comported herself better than 99.9% of the political and media class this week, who by comparison look like a bunch of craven, group-thinking cowards
You can get away with promoting things like universal healthcare or student debt forgiveness with only moderate pushback from the establishment, but wanting to scale back the forever war will quickly see you branded a Russian asset or an antisemite and canceled. The empire won’t even tolerate you interfering with their narratives, let alone getting elected. Your voice will be targeted with an aggressive smear campaign until they make sure that hardly anyone is listening to what you have to say.
The fact that we’re so strictly forbidden from pursuing this line of attack is a clear sign that warmongering is the weakest point in the Empire’s armor. It’s the most essential component of the oppression machine, and its narratives are the weakest and most plot hole-riddled. If you’re interested in taking down the oligarchic machine which keeps ordinary people poor, sick and stupid, then attacking war propaganda is the most useful expenditure of energy.
American leftists and progressives have not been great at this; even those who identify as “anti-imperialist” tend to mostly stay focused on domestic issues. This is perfectly understandable, since Americans are the victims of the empire’s soul-crushing neoliberal exploitation and it is therefore the thing that is staring them in the face most often.
But the drivers of empire do not fear a push for domestic policy reform nearly as much as they fear a push for foreign policy reform. They know that the plebs can be kept poor and stupid enough to pose no threat to the oligarchs controlling all the money (and therefore all the power) by simply manipulating the system and herding everyone into controlled political opposition groups who will end up telling them “Ohh, sorry, we couldn’t get the congressional votes. Those damn Republicans!” A large public demand to end warmongering would be a much tougher challenge to manipulate around.
Caitlin Johnstone @caitoz
The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is “Isolationism”
The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is “Isolationism”
After getting curb stomped on the debate stage by Tulsi Gabbard, the campaign for Tim “Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?” Ryan posted a statement…
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It’s actually the same agenda anyway; the plutocratic class, which is incentivized to keep everyone else poor in a system wherein money equals power and power is relative, is the driving force behind both neoliberal exploitation and the forever war, and if you can end either of these things you will end the whole empire. It just happens that when you look at the whole picture, warmongering turns out to be the far easier and far more efficacious line of attack.
There are plenty of moral arguments against imperialism, but you don’t even need to enter into morality to see that it’s smart to make opposing war your foremost priority. The kingdom of the bastards who are grinding us all down and trying to make us poorer, sicker and stupider so we can’t muster the chutzpah to toss them out on their asses is fed by an umbilical cord of endless war, and we have the power to cut that cord by opposing war and attacking war propaganda together.
Change that, and we change everything. Ordinary humans can finally begin to make the world their own, guided not by sociopathic oligarchs but by an enlightened self-interest which realizes that the only way we can continue to survive is if we learn to collaborate with each other and with our ecosystem for the common good. This is all I’ve ever been pushing toward here. Deep down, it’s all any of us want.
The ground is constantly shaking in southern California right now, and this has many concerned that another large earthquake may be coming. I have been keeping my eye on Cal Tech’s recent earthquake map, and as I write this article it says that there have been 10,053 earthquakes in California and Nevada over the past 7 days. I have never seen that number so high, and southern California is being hit by yet another new earthquake every few moments. Most of the earthquakes are happening out in the Ridgecrest area where we witnessed the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that hit on July 4th and the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit on July 5th. But as you can see from Cal Tech’s map, there has been a tremendous amount of seismic activity along the San Andreas fault as well. As I discussed the other day, the San Andreas fault is “locked and loaded” and it is way overdue for “the Big One”. Could it be possible that all of this earthquake activity is leading up to something really big?
And it isn’t just earthquakes that we need to be concerned about. According to Fox News, “geologists are nervously eyeing eight nearby volcanoes”…
California’s uncanny “earthquake pause” is over. It should have already had several “big ones” by now. All that pressure has to go somewhere. Now geologists are nervously eyeing eight nearby volcanoes. And why has Yellowstone supervolcano been acting so weird?
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has warned Southern California to expect more big earthquakes to come. Some, they say, may even be more powerful than those experienced in the past few days.
“(These quakes do) not make (the Big One) less likely,” local seismologist Lucy Jones told The Los Angeles Times. “There is about a one in 20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake in the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence.”
Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a volcano suddenly erupted in California?
One angle that hasn’t really been talked about much is what would happen to California’s nuclear reactors if “the Big One” suddenly hit the San Andreas fault.
According to Natural News, there are currently five nuclear reactors right along the San Andreas fault and another one that is located directly along the coast…
A Natural News investigation into the geolocation of nuclear power facilities in California reveals that five nuclear facilities were built in close proximity to the San Andreas fault line, with some constructed right in the middle of earthquake zones that have up to a 50% chance of a severe earthquake every 30 years.
Who was the genius that decided to build those reactors near the San Andreas fault?
The potential for an unprecedented nightmare is definitely there. If a magnitude 9.0 earthquake were to hit the San Andreas fault, it would be 707 times more powerful than the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that we just witnessed.
And we live at a time when our planet just continues to become even more unstable. According to NBC News, the number of “great” earthquakes between 2004 and 2014 was 265 percent higher than during the preceding ten year period…
The annual number of “great” earthquakes nearly tripled over the last decade, providing a reminder to Americans that unruptured faults like those in the northwest United States might be due for a Big One.
Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this week in Vancouver, British Columbia.
But despite all of the unusual shaking that we have witnessed so far this century, the state of California hasn’t seen anything remotely close to the shaking that we have witnessed over the last 7 days.
Of course seismic activity is just one element of “the perfect storm” that is starting to unfold. According to the NOAA, the 12 month period ending in June was the wettest 12 month period in all of U.S. history. In fact, for three months in a row “the past 12-month precipitation record has hit an all-time high”. We just keep setting record after record, and the flooding in the middle of the country seems like it will never end. Millions of acres of prime farmland will not be used at all this year, and tens of millions of acres of crops are in extremely poor condition right now.
“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom.”—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Anyone who believes differently hasn’t been paying attention.
Politics, religion, sports, government, entertainment, business, armed forces: it doesn’t matter what arena you’re talking about, they are all riddled with the kind of seedy, sleazy, decadent, dodgy, depraved, immoral, corrupt behavior that somehow gets a free pass when it involves the wealthy and powerful elite in America.
In this age of partisan politics and a deeply polarized populace, corruption—especially when it involves sexual debauchery, depravity and predatory behavior—has become the great equalizer.
But then there are the extra-ordinary men, such as Jeffrey Epstein, who belong to a powerful, wealthy, elite segment of society that operates according to their own rules or, rather, who are allowed to sidestep the rules that are used like a bludgeon on the rest of us.
As the Associated Press points out, “The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager’s interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.”
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and gets away with it.
Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sex crimes, government corruption, or the rule of law.
It’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.
It’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.
For every Jeffrey Epstein (or Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.
The cop who shoots the unarmed citizen first and asks questions later might get put on paid leave for a while or take a job with another police department, but that’s just a slap on the wrist. The shootings and SWAT team raids and excessive use of force will continue, because the police unions and the politicians and the courts won’t do a thing to stop it.
The war hawks who are making a profit by waging endless wars abroad, killing innocent civilians in hospitals and schools, and turning the American homeland into a domestic battlefield will continue to do so because neither the president nor the politicians will dare to challenge the military industrial complex.
The National Security Agency that carries out warrantless surveillance on Americans’ internet and phone communications will continue to do so, because the government doesn’t want to relinquish any of its ill-gotten powers and its total control of the populace.
Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.
Police officers will continue to shoot and kill unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—will continue to dress and act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies will continue to fleece taxpayers while eroding our liberties. Government technicians will continue to spy on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors will continue to make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.
And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.
As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”
After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical. They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”
And absolute power corrupts absolutely.
However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.
We need to restore the rule of law for all people, no exceptions.
Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.
This culture of compliance must stop.
The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.
The state of denial must cease.
Let’s not allow this Epstein sex scandal to become just another blip in the news cycle that goes away all too soon, only to be forgotten when another titillating news headline takes its place.
Sex trafficking, like so many of the evils in our midst, is a cultural disease that is rooted in the American police state’s heart of darkness. It speaks to a far-reaching corruption that stretches from the highest seats of power down to the most hidden corners and relies on our silence and our complicity to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing.
If we want to put an end to these wrongs, we must keep our eyes wide open.
Where I live, BC, Canada, population under 4 million, we are losing approximately 120 per month because of creeps like this who chose profits over people.
“According to reports, the federal government has found the billionaire pharma executive, along with four of his co-defendants, guilty of illegally paying off doctors to prescribe opioid pharmaceuticals such as fentanyl, which directly contributed to the current opioid epidemic.”
According to reports, the federal government has found the billionaire pharma executive, along with four of his co-defendants, guilty of illegally paying off doctors to prescribe opioid pharmaceuticals such as fentanyl, which directly contributed to the current opioid epidemic.
In declaring Kapoor guilty of this crime, federal prosecutors sent a clear message that drug companies will no longer be getting away with conspiring to illicitly distribute dangerous and highly addictive opioids that are harming and killing Americans.
“Today’s convictions mark the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids,” indicated United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling in a statement.
“Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical executives responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.”
Because it’s rare for the federal government to pursue corporate executives like this using criminal charges, the case is said to set a new precedent for justice, particularly as it pertains to the activities of Big Pharma.
“This is a landmark decision that vindicated the public’s interest in staunching the flow of opioids into our homes and streets,” Lelling went on to say.
The Feds prosecuted Kapoor using the same tactics as they would the MAFIA
According to Brad Bailey, a criminal defense attorney from Boston and a former federal prosecutor who’s been following the case, the 10-week trial and the way it proceeded is incredibly rare.
“That’s always unusual. That’s always an attention grabber,” Bailey indicated about the decision by the Feds to go after Kapoor and his co-defendants with racketeering charges.
“The big issue is the use of racketeering charges, which had been originally designed to go after the Mafia,” he added, noting that the federal government has basically determined that what took place at Insys was organized crime.
And Insys certainly isn’t a lone target, as what was uncovered about the company during the trial mirrors what many other pharmaceutical companies are also doing to push the sale of opioids and many other drugs.
The court’s determination here was that Kapoor knowingly put the lives of patients at risk in order to increase his company’s bottom line, as well as his own personal bank account. According to the ruling, the scheme involved both bribing doctors and lying to insurance companies in order to extract maximum profits.
Insys under Kapoor reportedly targeted doctors “with a track record of liberally prescribing opioids,” and invited them “to participate in a ‘speakers program.’” Even if nobody showed up at these lectures, the doctors were paid “handsomely,” according to reports, just so long as they continued to prescribe as many opioids to their patients as possible.
Prosecutors say that many of these patients didn’t even need opioids, but that didn’t matter: As long as they were being prescribed, and Insys was making money, then nobody batted an eye.
Insys even went so far as to set up a call center where employees from the company pretended to work for doctors’ offices. These fake personas would make up diagnoses that they would then relay over the phone to insurance companies, ensuring that Insys was reimbursed for the cost of its prescribed opioids, which reports indicate “can cost tens of thousands of dollars a month.”
“We need to think much more deeply about how we regulate the pharmaceutical industry and how we prevent these kinds of practices from occurring in the first place,” contends Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University.
Taxation can be seen as a form of sanction. As such, the USA is being an arrogant and hypocritical tyrant that applies sanctions willy nilly, as long as it fits its dinosaurian ideology. Look at how it reacts to a foreign country trying to manage its own affairs. Hypocrites. Yo, USA, shove your anger where the Sun doesn’t shine!
The French parliament on Thursday passed a law taxing digital firms like Google and Facebook, which have been accused of exploiting global tax loopholes. The decision comes after Washington launched a probe into the tax.
The three-percent tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms. Any digital company with revenue of more than €750 million ($850 million) – of which at least €25 million is generated in France – would be subject to the levy.
Defending the new tax, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the country was “sovereign and decided its own tax rules.”
“I want to tell our American friends that this should be an incentive for them to accelerate even more our work to find an agreement on the international taxation of digital services,” he said.
The law, which has been already dubbed the GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) tax, has angered Washington, which had raised concerns that the tax would “unfairly target American companies.”
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered an investigation into the French tax to “investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce.”
The new tax will be based on sales generated in France, rather than on profits. It will be paid by all global multinationals – around 30 companies, mostly American – but also firms from China, Germany, Spain and Britain.
The tech giants argue that they are complying with national and international tax laws.
I may not like right-wingers and think they are a bunch of eejits, but I believe in freedom of speech. Facebook has no right to decide who and who isn’t right on anything. Facebook is a marketing company and they should stick to what it is they are, a chat and communication platform. Period. I don’t want to hear what Zuckerberg, the fake so-called genius who created FB with the help of the CIA and his Illuminati family ties, thinks or believes. Methinks he is merely a hypocritical marketer imbued with the power he does not deserve.
Facebook has issued an ominous new policy permitting death threats and calls for violence – so long as they’re directed against “dangerous” individuals or organizations, or someone accused (but not convicted) of a crime.
Facebook has updated its “community standards” to carve out a few exceptions to its “no death threats” policy. Calls for “high-severity violence” are now permitted, as long as they’re directed at individuals “covered in the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy” or individuals “described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses” by media reports. After all, are people banned from Facebook really people at all?
The change was spotted on Tuesday by commentator Paul Joseph Watson, who along with his former Infowars boss Alex Jones was one of a handful of mostly-conservative personalities banned from Facebook in May under its “Dangerous Individuals” policy. Back then, even mentioning one of the banned names could get a user banned – unless the mention was derogatory.
Facebook has apparently taken that “hate the haters” tactic and run with it. While the “Dangerous Individuals” policy supposedly only covers “terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, and organized violence or criminal activity,” none of the commentators banned – including Watson, Jones, conservative political performance artist Milo Yiannopoulos, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – were involved in any of those activities. But, Watson discovered, a person wearing an Infowars t-shirt is enough to get a photo removed from Instagram, and photos that include banned individuals – even if their faces are blurred out – have been deleted as well.
Equally ominous is Facebook’s decision to dispense with the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” that forms the core of the US legal system (Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California, and at least theoretically subject to US laws). Individuals need only be accused in the media of violent crimes and sexual offenses to become fair game for death threats – not convicted in court. For a company that claims to take the threat of “fake news” very seriously, Facebook is surprisingly cavalier about the potential for media misinformation to lead to violence.
But then, Facebook never even tried to prove Watson, Jones or any of the other banned users were “Dangerous Individuals,” either – its policy has always been that banned users are guilty until proven innocent, as any user who’s ever been forced to jump through its tech support hoops to restore a banned account can attest.
“The largest social media company in the world with over 2 billion users literally says it’s fine to incite violence against me, despite this being illegal,” Watson wrote at Summit.news, pointing out that sending death threats or threats of violence is, in fact, a crime under UK law (as it is under US law and the laws of most developed countries with substantial Facebook-using populations).
They are painting a target on my back.
Facebook even tracks off-platform behavior to determine whether users should be blacklisted as “hate agents,” according to internal documents seen by Breitbart, meaning merely showing up at the same event as a “dangerous individual” can potentially earn a user the designation. The site’s list of “hate agents” is reportedly quite exhaustive and includes British politicians Carl Benjamin and Anne Marie Waters as well as conservative commentators like Yiannopoulos and Candace Owens. Because all this classification goes on in secret, users have no chance to appeal their un-personing, and may never even know they are being judged, until they start receiving Facebook-approved death threats of their own.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone