Jobs as Bad as Being in Prison

 

The Dystopian Technologies Being Used to Control Workers

By Thor Benson, a contributor to Truthdig, Slate, Vice, Fast Company, and many other publications. Follow him at @thor_benson. Originally published at In These Times

You’ve been fired. According to your employer’s data, your facial expressions showed you were insubordinate and not trustworthy. You also move your hands at a rate that is considered substandard. Other companies you may want to work for could receive this data, making it difficult for you to find other work in this field.

That may sound like a scenario straight out of a George Orwell novel, but it’s the future many American workers could soon be facing.

In early February, media outlets reported that Amazon had received a patent for ultrasonic wristbands that could track the movement of warehouse workers’ hands during their shifts. If workers’ hands began moving in the wrong direction, the wristband would buzz, issuing an electronic corrective. If employed, this technology could easily be used to further surveil employees who already work under intense supervision.

Whole Foods, which is now owned by Amazon, recently instituted a complex and punitive inventory system where employees are graded based on everything from how quickly and effectively they stock shelves to how they report theft. The system is so harsh it reportedly causes employees enough stress to bring them to tears on a regular basis.

UPS drivers, who often operate individually on the road, are now becoming increasingly surveilled. Sensors in every UPS truck track when drivers’ seatbelts are put on, when doors open and close and when the engines start in order to monitor employee productivity at all times.

The technology company Steelcase has experimented with monitoring employees’ faces to judge their expressions. The company claims that this innovation, which monitors and analyzes workers’

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AbSO-LUTE-ly FASCINATING. Sasquatch’s Existence Proven. I Kid You Not.

Do you want to see something fascinating?  Apparently an irregular group of highly accomplished professionals in a variety of fields has proven the existence of Sasquatch, and is now fighting against the cultural bias that doesn’t want to know.  Which is actually not hard to understand once you think about it.  The furry people are in every state, and they’re obviously people.  They have families and language.  Their mitochondrial DNA is 100% human.  The nuclear DNA, however — paternal  — is a completely unknown species.  No match to anything, anywhere.  So habitat preservation could run in the trillion$, and you couldn’t wipe them out, after what happened to the American Indian, people wouldn’t stand for it.
The problem is no body to show.  We have bones, hair, footprints, video, but the SSQ are so stealthy and intelligent, no one has a body.  Of course here are — uhh — people — trying to get one with guns and bear traps.  But the SSQ Genome team understands that would be unethical — murder.
Here’s their 2 hour press conference — JUST fascinating.

Kasskara: Sunken Land of the Hopi Ancestors (i.e. This Has All Happened Before)

I guess this message is hard to hear if your brain is deformed by having and grasping for power.  I’ve seen it in myself, it doesn’t take long.

Kásskara: Sunken Land of the Hopi Ancestors

Deriv; A drowned land of Kasskara - Hopi.

There used to be a fable, commonly imposed as fact on schoolchildren in the United States, that in Columbus’ time nearly everyone believed the Earth was flat. Fortunately, this untruth has been quietly abandoned, although it has been supplanted by another myth, this one crediting the ancient Greeks with having first disproved the “flat Earth” concept.

History professor Jeffrey Burton Russell noted that with few exceptions “no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century BC onward believed that the earth was flat—a position that is no doubt true yet still reflects a limited Western perspective. It fails to acknowledge that aboriginal and ancient people, spanning far back into the last ice age, knew the Earth to be spherical. They knew the nature of creation to be cyclical (or vortical), and they acknowledged, revered and cultivated understanding of universal law. Evidence of their seemingly impossible technological manifestations—the Great Pyramid being among the most widely recognized, with many others gaining attention—lies in ruins around the Earth, the implications largely ignored by experts who can’t adequately explain them within academically accepted contemporary models.

Evidence of their seemingly impossible technological manifestations—the Great Pyramid being among the most widely recognized, with many others gaining attention—lies in ruins around the Earth, the implications largely ignored by experts who can't adequately explain them within academically accepted contemporary models. Great Pyramid of Giza at night.

Evidence of their seemingly impossible technological manifestations—the Great Pyramid being among the most widely recognized, with many others gaining attention—lies in ruins around the Earth, the implications largely ignored by experts who can’t adequately explain them within academically accepted contemporary models. Great Pyramid of Giza at night. ( CC BY ND 2.0 )

The Hopi Indians of the American Southwest represent the oldest continuous Native American group in the current United States. Contradicting professional opinion, the Hopi claim they did not come to this continent across the Bering Strait but north from South America, according to Oswald “White Bear” Fredericks, whom I met twice as a teenager through my high school anthropology teacher. White Bear (1905–1996) was the primary Hopi consultant for Frank Waters’ Book of the Hopi, a common title in university libraries.

During our current period of history, the Bear Clan supersedes all other clans in authority and serves as the tribe’s historians. It preserves the knowledge and memory of Hopi migrations and history, so White Bear proved to be an unusually valuable source. Even if Western orthodoxy won’t accept the truth of his startling claims—that technological civilizations have previously arisen and fallen, and that beings from other habitable planets have visited Earth—it must be conceded that his claims are at least ethnographically valid. It’s true that the Hopi sincerely believe their tribal history, and it might benefit us to consider seriously what White Bear said.

Essentially, White Bear described a succession of cycles, over vast periods of terrestrial time, which involve the development and destruction of societies. Humanity, he said, advances for a long period—a golden age—then progressively loses connection with its true spiritual nature through egoism and avarice, and this disharmony eventually manifests in the three-dimensional realm as natural disasters, conflicts, wars, environmental degradation and disease. In the Western view, these things happen to us; but in the Hopi world-view, spirit and form intimately intertwine, so mankind’s disharmonious (evil) deeds manifest in the physical environment as crises.

In the late 1970s, a former NASA engineer named Josef Blumrich enlisted White Bear’s help in producing a book in German called Kásskara und die sieben Welten (Kásskara and the Seven Worlds), which has not been published in English. During the course of his research, Blumrich often stayed with White Bear and his wife, Naomi, at their home in Sedona, Arizona. The couple escorted Blumrich to ceremonies on the Hopi reservation, explaining to him what was happening, and arranged for him to interview elders of various clans. Blumrich recorded White Bear, and Naomi transcribed those recordings into a typed and coherent transcript. That manuscript is the basis for Blumrich’s book.

Oswald “White Bear” Fredericks and his wife, Naomi, photographed in 1985 at their home in Sedona, Arizona.

Oswald “White Bear” Fredericks and his wife, Naomi, photographed in 1985 at their home in Sedona, Arizona. (Source: © Henry J. Denny)

A few years ago, I received a partial copy of the document from Henry Denny, the teacher through whom I met White Bear. I recently searched the web for a complete copy, not expecting to find one, and was surprised to find two sources. I enquired, not hearing from one but learning from the other that she had acquired the document in the same way Henry had—directly from White Bear and Naomi. The quoted passages that follow are slightly edited for publication here.

Kásskara: A Land that Sank into the Pacific Ocean

The document begins with White Bear’s introduction. “This is the history of my ancestors and the clans who came to this land. The continent on which my people lived for a long time was sinking into the sea. The people had to leave it and go to a new continent in the east to make a new beginning.”

White Bear described Kásskara as a continent that sank into the Pacific Ocean. He said Hawaii is a remnant of the Hopi ancestors’ original motherland, and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is the last remaining of several islands that helped Kásskaran refugees cross the vast expanse of ocean to South America. Kásskara was submerging at about the same time as Atlantis was sinking, although Atlantis went down quickly, White Bear said, due to its heavier negative karma. Because Kásskara’s offenses were not as serious, the retribution that its people suffered was lighter and the destruction happened more slowly, allowing the population time to flee.

Ancient Hopi Village of Wolpi. Arizona, USA.

Ancient Hopi Village of Wolpi. Arizona, USA. ( Public Domain )

It was important and necessary, White Bear felt, to inform the world about Hopi history and the previous cycles of advancement and destruction the world has undergone, but he was heavily criticized by some Hopi who believed that he should not have revealed these truths to the masses.

White Bear said: “It is time to speak about our people and to tell you who we are and why we are here in the hope that

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Russian Facebook Ads Were a Private Sector Commercial Marketing Scheme

 

February 17, 2018

Mueller Indictment – The “Russian Influence” Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme

Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency on some dubious legal grounds. It covers thirteen Russian people and three Russian legal entities. The main count of the indictment is an alleged “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States”.

The published indictment gives support to our long held believe that there was no “Russian influence” campaign during the U.S. election. What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote. The size of the operation was tiny when compared to the hundreds of millions in campaign expenditures. It had no influence on the election outcome.

The indictment is fodder for the public to prove that the Mueller investigation is “doing something”. It distracts from further questioning  the origin of the Steele dossier. It is full of unproven assertions and assumptions. It is a sham in that none of the Russian persons or companies indicted will ever come in front of a U.S. court. That is bad because the indictment is build on the theory of a new crime which, unless a court throws it out, can be used to incriminate other people in other cases and might even apply to this blog. The later part of this post will refer to that.

In the early 1990s some dude in St.Petersburg made a good business selling hot dogs. He opened a colorful restaurant. Local celebrities and politicians were invited to gain notoriety while the restaurant served cheap food for too high prices. It was a good business. A few years later he moved to Moscow and gained contracts to cater to schools and to the military. The food he served was still substandard.

But catering bad food as school lunches gave him, by chance, the idea for a new business:

Parents were soon up in arms. Their children wouldn’t eat the food, saying it smelled rotten.As the bad publicity mounted, Mr. Prigozhin’s company, Concord Catering, launched a counterattack, a former colleague said. He hired young men and women to overwhelm the internet with comments and blog posts praising the food and dismissing the parents’ protests.

“In five minutes, pages were drowning in comments,” said Andrei Ilin, whose website serves as a discussion board about public schools. “And all the trolls were supporting Concord.”

The trick worked beyond expectations. Prigozhin had found a new business. He hired some IT staff and low paid temps to populate various message boards, social networks and the general internet with whatever his customers asked him for.

You have a bad online reputation? Prigozhin can help. His internet company will fill the net with positive stories and remarks about you. Your old and bad reputation will be drowned by the new and good one. Want to promote a product or service? Prigozhin’s online marketeers can address the right crowds.


Pic: A Russian influencerTo achieve those results the few temps who worked on such projects needed to multiply their online personalities. It is better to have fifty people vouch for you online than just five. No one cares if these are real people or just virtual ones. The internet makes it easy to create such sock-puppets. The virtual crowd can then be used to push personalities, products or political opinions. Such schemes are nothing new or special. Every decent “western” public relations and marketing company will offer a similar service and has done so for years.

While it is relatively easy to have sock-puppets swamp the comment threads of such sites as this blog, it is more difficult to have a real effect on social networks. These depend on multiplier effects. To gain many real “likes”, “re-tweets” or “followers” an online persona needs a certain history and reputation. Real people need to feel attached to it. It takes some time and effort to build such a multiplier personality, be it real or virtual.

At some point Prigozhin, or whoever by then owned the internet marketing company, decided to expand into the lucrative English speaking market. This would require to build many English language online persona and

Posted by b on February 17, 2018 at 03:09 PM | Permalink

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Russian Intervention in the U.S. Civil (1861-’65)

Russian intervention in U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)[1]

U.S. Civil War has become a popular topic of late, but as it turns out, what nearly everyone thinks they know about that event is wrong, in part – but this part is very significant. My high school and university history classes left me with the impression that the war was fought over the issue of slavery: the “North” (good guys) was against slavery and wanted it abolished; the “South” (bad guys) wanted to keep the slaves, so they all went to war. Good guys won, bad guys lost, slaves got their freedom, and the world was made a better place. That, in a nutshell, is what I thought I knew about the Civil War. I’m not sure why I had that idea so, to make sure I wasn’t mistaken I conducted an informal survey among my American friends and acquaintances, all university educated people, some of them with advanced degrees. I asked about a dozen of them what they thought U.S. Civil War was about. To a person, all of them unhesitatingly answered that it was about the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, none of them were aware that Russia played any role at all in the Civil War. It struck me that maybe my friends and I all had the same basic idea about that event because we were meant to have that idea, which is now pretty much part of the popular culture. However, the popular interpretation omits some critical aspects of history.

While slavery was one of Civil War’s pivotal issues, the notion that the war was fought over slavery alone is simply wrong. The main issue on the opposing sides’ agendas was the secession of the southern Confederation vs. the preservation of the Union. The issue of slavery was a distant second on President Lincoln’s agenda and he showed no intention to force the southern states to free their slaves. In his inaugural address he said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” Lincoln did not change his position even well into the war. In his August 22, 1862 letter to Horace Greely, he wrote, “My paramount objective is to save the union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the union without freeing any slave, I would do it.[2]

Far from being a domestic affair about the human rights of the slaves, Civil War was a momentous geopolitical event with massive international implications. In his 1960 book “War for the Union,” historian Allan Nevins wrote that, “It is hardly too much to say that the future of the world as we know it was at stake. … Anglo-French intervention in the American conflict would probably have confirmed the splitting and consequent weakening of the United States; might have given French power in Mexico a long lease, with the ruin of the Monroe Doctrine; and would perhaps have led to the Northern conquest of Canada. … The popular conception of this contest is at some points erroneous, and at a few grossly fallacious…[3]

Behind the veil of overt neutrality, British and French governments both worked to bring about the breakup of the Union, covertly siding with the Confederation. A powerful faction in the British cabinet, which included the Prime Minster Lord Palmerston, Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, and Foreign Minister Lord John Russell, strongly advocated British intervention on the side of the Confederation. However, for a variety of reasons, Britain had to be extremely cautious about taking any strong actions. For one thing, Britain was dependent on the U.S. and Russia for over 50% of all of her wheat imports. Any serious interruption to that trade risked bringing about famine and a social uprising at home. Another recurrent British worry was the risk that their troops might defect to the American side. After years of fighting multiple wars on three continents, the Empire already suffered a growing intervention fatigue. As a result, much of the British public and even Palmerston’s War Minister George Lewis opposed the prospect of yet another military adventure.[4] While extensive plans were made for the Royal Navy to bomb and burn the cities of New York and Boston, help the Confederation break the Union’s naval blockade, and even to foment a secession of Maine, war hawks in the British government needed a good pretext to overcome the dovish faction’s opposition to war.

Lincoln&AlexanderII_AllianceIn1860s

U.S. – Russian alliance as illustrated in the British magazine, “Punch.” Note that President Lincoln is portrayed as a troglodyte.

On October 23, 1862, Foreign Minister Lord Russell convened a cabinet meeting to discuss his plan of intervention between the Union and the Confederacy. France’s Napoleon III offered his own support in carrying out this plan and even invited Russia’s Czar Alexander II into the alliance. The idea was to pose an ultimatum to the warring sides to agree to an armistice, followed by a lifting of the Union’s blockade of Confederacy’s ports. The objective of Britain and France was to organize negotiations during which they would pressure Washington to accept Confederacy’s secession and recognize its status as an independent nation. Washington’s refusal would give Britain and France the needed justification to recognize the Confederacy’s independence and provide it with military assistance against the North.

On 29th October 1862, only six days after the British cabinet meeting, Russian Foreign Minister, Prince Gorchakov received Washington’s envoy Bayard Taylor in a very cordial meeting. Gorchakov informed Taylor that France and Britain asked Russia to

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From Someone Who Has Known Putin Personally

Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin

Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000, there has been a steady barrage of negative press and hostility from the West. With Putin up for reelection this year, Sharon Tennison tries to separate fact from fiction.

By Sharon Tennison

Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously has his faults and has made his share of mistakes. Yet, my experiences with him, as well as what I have heard over the years from people I trust –– including U.S. officials who have with him worked closely –– indicate that Putin is essentially a straightforward, reliable and exceptionally inventive man.

The Russian president is clearly a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became the Russian Federation’s second president.

I’ve stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered my thoughts and concerns, and included them in a book published in 2011.

Like others who have had direct experience with this little-understood figure, I’ve tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a “Putin apologist.” If one is even neutral about him, they are called “soft on Putin” by pundits and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, just an NGO program developer who has lived in Russia and the Soviet Union for the past 30 years. But during this time, I have had far more direct, on-the-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington’s officials.

Understanding Differences

I’ve been in country long enough to reflect deeply on Russian history and culture, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders.

As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.

In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous U.S. officials and American businessmen who have had years of experience working with him –– I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish,” or the other slanderous terms used to describe him in Western media.

I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St. Petersburg during the

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