All signs point to getting back on the same path that led us to Trump.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore | CC-BY-SA

While nobody should have believed that Trump would be anything but corrupt himself, there was a reason that his “drain the swamp” message, and his talk of ending the wars, landed with so many in 2016. Now, Biden appears to be going right back to the old status-quo swamp that set up the situation for a fake-populist figure like Trump to thrive in.

On the foreign policy front, Tony Blinken has been confirmed as Biden’s pick for Secretary of State, and it looks as though Michèle Flournoy is “a lock” for Defense Secretary. These two make quite a pair for such influential posts, signaling an almost certain continuation to U.S. imperialism. As Dan Cohen wrote in The Grayzone, these two “have played central roles in every U.S. war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.” Lest anyone think that they’ve changed at all, both Flournoy and Blinken have recently expressed support for continued U.S. militarism abroad, and currently hold positions in which they benefit from it. …

His transition team, his own record, and a bad history with whistleblowers.

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Photo: CartoonPeril2011 | CC-BY-2.0

Of course, Biden won’t go after the corporate press like Trump has, but that doesn’t mean press freedom is entirely safe. The years of the Obama administration have been called “a period of unprecedented whistleblower prosecutions,” and it appears that several of the same people who were involved in that administration are now back in various capacities under Biden, either as future cabinet members or as part of the transition team. …

Following win in California, talk of plans to undermine workers’ rights in the U.S. and abroad.

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Photo: Open Grid Scheduler | Public domain

Following their successful propaganda campaign in California, in which Uber, Lyft, and other gig companies spent over $200 million to convince California voters that they deserve exemption from labor laws, a report from Megan Rose Dickey in TechCrunch confirms that they intend to continue this fight elsewhere:

“On Uber’s earnings call this week, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would ‘more loudly advocate for laws like Prop 22’ throughout the U.S. and worldwide.”

The report also contains a quote from a group called Gig Workers Rising:

“Billionaire corporations just hijacked the ballot measure system in California by spending millions to mislead voters. The victory of Prop 22, the most expensive ballot measure in U.S. history, is a loss for our democracy that could open the door to other attempts by corporations to write their own laws.” …

It’s not the left’s fault that people don’t want to vote for the status quo.

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Photo: Daniel Lobo | Public domain

So-called “moderate Democrats” have, unsurprisingly, decided to continue to blame progressives and “socialism” for their inability to appeal to voters by offering them nothing. Rep. Jim Clyburn apparently said that if they “are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win,” which is kind of funny, considering that none of the people who reportedly shared his view in the call that quote came from actually ran on any of those things. …

Some issues we’ll need to keep an eye on, no matter who becomes President.

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Photo: David Mark from Pixabay

Regardless of who we end up with after the election, there are several things that bear watching. These are issues that most would probably agree Trump is likely to be worse on, but that Biden has also given us reason to be concerned about.

Police Brutality

There is no doubt that Trump’s open support of white supremacy is adding fuel to this particular fire. However, Biden’s recent, rather callous, comments about the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., as well as his history in this area, give little hope that things will improve much with him in the White House. As for the police themselves, the fact that they have met protests against their actions with further brutality, and still can’t seem to stop, shows us how likely they are to want to de-escalate the situation themselves. …

Ballot measure seeks to continue gig economy loopholes

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Photo: Stock Catalog | CC-BY-2.0

In a propaganda campaign described as “the most expensive in the state’s history,” Uber, Lyft, and others have spent nearly $200 million to try to convince California voters that “gig companies” deserve to be exempt from the law passed there earlier this year which closes loopholes that allow such companies to skirt labor laws, such as minimum wages, by not treating their drivers as employees. …

A reminder, in light of recent coverage of them granting him permanent residency

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Photo: Opposition 24 | CC-BY-SA

This week, I saw articles from Forbes and The Register about Russia granting permanent residency to Edward Snowden. I couldn’t help but notice that they left out a couple of key details, and especially since people in this country tend to hold a certain view of Russia and anyone who is associated with them, and since we seem to have such short memories, I thought I would remind people why Snowden ended up in Russia in the first place.

At least Forbes correctly describes him as a whistleblower, where The Register uses the rather less flattering term “leaker.” However, Forbes then goes on to describe Snowden’s actions as “leaking information on the extensive domestic and international surveillance operations undertaken by U.S. intelligence agencies which included eavesdropping on foreign leaders,” which seems to gloss over the part about the NSA’s mass surveillance of U.S. citizens on home soil, which he was recently vindicated on in a federal appeals court. The part that was one of the main subjects of, and the source of the title for, his book Permanent Record, which I will never miss a chance to bring up. …

The new angle on the Section 230 argument is just another way to push internet censorship.

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Image: | CC-BY-SA

I won’t comment on the Hunter Biden story itself here, other than to say that it sure would be nice if everyone worried this much about editorial standards when it came to manufacturing consent for war. That said, the furor around this story and the steps taken by social media companies to limit its reach seems to have provided a new avenue for conservatives to push an old agenda: internet censorship.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced that he plans to examine “whether tech platforms’ legal liability protections under the 1996 Communications Decency Act should be scaled back,” as reported in Politico. Several conservative leaders also recently issued a press release in which they say that “big tech companies refuse to be transparent about their practices and too often unfairly censor right of center voices,” which is half true. However, they then go on to say something else which seems to give away the game: “At what point do these platforms take on the responsibility of publishers, and should they be treated as such?” …

…unless you’re a weapons dealer.

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Photo: Center For A New American Security | CC-BY-2.0

Recently, Jake Sherman of Politico tweeted out a list of likely Biden cabinet members. Other sources have reported on this previously as well, and for anyone who’s been paying attention to U.S. politics for any length of time, this is some truly chilling stuff, or at least, it should be.

There’s a lot of frighteningly familiar names in that list, but this article will concentrate on the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense positions, because there’s some especially troubling details there.

The first name that may jump out to many is Susan Rice, due to her long experience in politics. That might sound good, but much of that experience is involvement with U.S. militarism abroad. She supported the invasion of Iraq, backed warlords in Africa during the Rwanda genocide, and was a driving force in the U.S. …

Governments saying that encryption poses “significant challenges to public safety” is scary.

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Image by succo from Pixabay

Despite the recent vindication of Edward Snowden in a U.S. federal appeals court, it appears that we can’t breathe easy.

The nations belonging to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, plus India and Japan, released a statement on Oct. 11 “calling on tech companies to allow law enforcement to gain backdoor access to communication that uses unbreakable end-to-end encryption,” as reported by Siladitya Ray in Forbes.

The statement begins by admitting that “Encryption is an existential anchor of trust in the digital world,” but then goes on to say that “particular implementations of encryption technology, however, pose significant challenges to public safety.” The trouble with this is that there is no case of “particular implementations.” Something is either encrypted, or it isn’t. There may be different methods of encryption, sure, but that isn’t what they seem to be talking about. What the statement is really saying is that there are places where we shouldn’t be allowed to have end-to-end encryption in our communications, and thus, no real privacy. …


Kevin Breidenbach

Mountain hermit turned rabble rouser. Maker of strange noises. Deeply disturbed, but not surprised. He/him. Patreon:

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