Politics

Secondary Effects

Yellow Flower on a Wooden Table

The first week of June, I received an e-mail from one of my best friends in London. Her flatmate had committed suicide. Across the world, rates for attempted suicide are growing dangerously amid the continued lockdowns. Serious child abuse emergency room visits have risen by by over 35%, while surveillance into abuse incidents is hindered with many schools remaining closed. The civil unrest, riots and other secondary effects are from the response to the pandemic, but not the virus itself. So far, every indication shows the fatality rates for this virus are in decline. Yet despite what should be good news, leaders from around the world seem to be doubling down on the existing narrative of fear to justify continued behavior modifications, despite the growing secondary effects of the lockdowns.

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War is Hell

Burnt Out Police Van. Chicago. May 30 2020.
Burnt Out Police Van. Chicago. May 30 2020.

To those of you who want a civil war, I say to you: you have no idea what you’re asking for. The causalities of war are high. You do realize that being the most moral or righteous does not in any way guarantee victory? There is literally no justice in war, only souls convinced of their rigorousness with promise of nobility. It is vanity to see glory in war. It is hubris exemplified! No American is asking for the war you want. No minority gives a shit about your white guilt. No looter studies the theory of stealing for its socioeconomic ends. And who are you fighting? Despite the stagecraft of the divisiveness of our government, they are unified in holding the nation they control and have the backing of a military who would slaughter any opposition. The people in our nation with the majority of the firearms would not be fighting against them.

“War is hell,” is the understatement of the century. It is the disillusion of any hope. It is soldiers running over children in Iraq, because if they stopped, their vehicles would be overturned by improvised bombs. It is families devastated by the ideology of might. The spoils of war can be seen every day when you open your wallet, and find that it is filled with oil and blood.

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This Is Not a Time of Honor

Heros by Davide Edoardo Cassano
Heros by Davide Edoardo Cassano

Humanity may need to come to grips with the reality that our life expectancy may now be dramatically lower. Have we reduced our life expectancy by a few months, a few years, or a decade? Will it be worse that smoking? Better that heart disease? It may be too early to tell. What we have seen is large swaths of human beings acting unilaterally across an entire planet, in a way that is simply unprecedented. We wade waste deep in a world of data, tracking, and 24/7 hate that could be lifted directly from a George Orwell novel. Far into the future, we do not know how humanity will look back upon this era, but we do know that right now, this is not a time of honor.

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All Corona All the Time

Screenshots of many mainstream media websites claiming Coronavirus is not more dangerous than the Flu

There’s been a lot of information coming out about the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19. We were told people outside of China shouldn’t panic about the Coronavirus, except after March 16th when the same people told us what we do and don’t know about the deadly Coronavirus outbreak. CBS was found using their footage from emergency rooms in Italy to describe the situation in New York City (mirror). There’s a lot of information out there, so let’s take a very shallow look at what else the news media has told us.

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Twitter is Trying to Erase the Past

Twitter Logo

I recently got an e-mail saying I had violated Twitter’s rules for hateful conduct. I immediately thought my account password had been compromised, or that this was a phishing attempt. I rarely post to Twitter anymore, except to promote this website or other personal projects. The e-mail was real though, and Twitter locked my account for a Tweet I made nearly a decade ago!

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Outrage and Distractions: The Case of Kavanaugh and Ford

Supreme Court by Claire Anderson (CC0)
Supreme Court by Claire Anderson (CC0)

There are a lot of people with opinions about Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, yet the majority of those people didn’t actually watch the congressional hearings where both of them testified. They watched highlights and excerpts from their favorite news networks, which filtered that information to match the narrative their audience wanted to believe. I watched several hours of the hearing directly from C-SPAN, and what bothered me most wasn’t the testimony given or the accusations themselves, but instead how both the Democrat and Republican senators used the entire hearing as a grandstanding event. They both used Ford for their political advantage, and then all the parties involved continued to lie to themselves and America in saying that nothing presented was politically motivated.

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Facebook, Politics and Orwell's 24/7 Hate

Photo by Thought Catalog
Photo by Thought Catalog

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.

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The New Era of Corporate Censorship

Photo: Censorship - Dimitris Vetsikas CC0
Photo: Censorship - Dimitris Vetsikas CC0

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?

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America and the Mexican Drug Trade

Border between United States and Mexico

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.

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Returning to America and the (Un)Affordable Care Act

Photo: Hoshino Ai - CC0
Photo: Hoshino Ai - CC0

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.

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