Take Your Head Out of My Shopping Cart

So this was funny today at Harris Teeter. 


I’m checking out on the express line with a few things. 


First some tofu.


The lady at the cash register goes:

Hmm.  Healthy!


Then some Meal Mart Buffalo Style Chicken Wings.


Again, the lady at the cash register comments:

Have you tried that?  Is it good?  It looks good!


Politely, I replied:

Yes, they are really good.


At the same time I was feeing smart-alecy, like what the heck, should I open the package on the conveyer belt and let you taste one–right here, right now.   


Sure privacy is a big issue when it comes to technology, social media, and all sorts of surveillance these days


But even when one simply goes to the grocery store–there is the very basic privacy about what one is buying. 


Yes, I see people looking into my cart, with eyebrows raised eyeing my goodies.  I can hear them thinking:

What is he buying?  Is it marked Kosher? (Uh, actually it is!]  That doesn’t seem like a balanced diet!


Another time, the checkout person asked me when I was buying a bunch of something:

Oh, are you having a party? What’s the occasion?


While I appreciate the good-natured banter and people being friendly, it seems more than weird in a way to be discussing what I’m buying, why, and for whom.  


Not quite Big Brother, but maybe that’s the leftover small town feel in our lonely urban and high-tech living.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Trump Vs. Pelosi — The Citizens Lose

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, majorly dissed President Trump by attempting to cancel his State of the Union address for Tuesday, January 29 citing lack of resources to secure the National Special Security Event (NSSE) due to the government shutdown. 


In turn, CNN applauded Pelosi for having:

– Just pulled a major power move on Donald Trump’s State of the Union

Today, President Trump reciprocated by refusing to provide military aircraft for Pelosi’s trip aboard citing the same shutdown. 


In this case, The Guardian condemns President Trump stating that he:

– Escalates shutdown row by cancelling Pelosi trip

I am not taking sides (seriously), but just can’t help but notice the incredible bias in the “Fake News” that we are all being fed in the massive media “echo chamber.” 


Again, Pelosi cancels Trump and its reported on as she did a great thing, while when Trump responds and cancels Pelosi, then that is reported on as he is escalating the situation. 


Something is very wrong in this country–regardless of which politicians and parties you love or hate and whether you agree with a border wall or not–shouldn’t we get news that is honest and even-handed. 


The system is broken and we are the masses that are being controlled in our thinking and our voting.  


This is not democracy–it is social control and b*llsh*t brainwashing! 😉

A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame

This story continues to fascinate me. 


China’s social credit system started in 2015. 


China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as “information collectors” (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing–good and bad. 


Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 


If you do good things in Chinese society–helping people, cleaning up, being honest–you get points added. 


If you do bad things in China–fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest–you get points deducted. 


Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble–and can get blacklisted!


A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 


But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts–it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 


While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of “Big Brother”!


On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn’t that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?


Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?


It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.


Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people’s knickers is another. 


This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. 😉

How Do You Lock A Tree

So this is one of the craziest things in Washington, D.C. 


There is a tree with a lock on it. 


Yes, with a Master Lock on it. 

Hidden in plain site. 


It has letters and numbers or symbols on each button. 


Have you ever seen anything like that before?


Uh, what do you think that is:


– A lock to prevent the tree from being stolen?


– A Maxwell Smart (shoe) phone?


– A surveillance device in the tree bark or along the limbs?


– A secret compartment?


Hmm, is there something locked in the tree?


What could it be?  😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Dr. Insane and Meshuggenah Island

So I want you to know that there is a very thin line between fantasy and reality. 


There are those who want you to not only question reality, but also to accept alternative deceptions. 


They want to substitute fantasy and conspiracy and their version of “truth” for what is happening and real or intentionally phony. 


But (more) fake news and lies are not real news and truth. 


They ask questions, and they provide “answers.”


But the answers are more often contrived to make you think they are a reality when they are brainwashing and mindf*cking you. 


They show you maps and pictures–it is nothing but entertainment to sow fear and for mass hysteria and distortion. 


Dr. Insane is running her own Meshuganah Island. 


You can easily get caught up in it. 


But I caution you that there is a thin, thin line between fantasy and reality. 


It’s not a game.


The game and joke are on you. 


Misinformation, psychological operations throw you off track. 


Yes, there are secrets–there have to be. 


Not everything is for everyone to know at the moment.


But the world is not run on: I say, he says, she says. 


There is power. There are plans. There is execution. 


Randomness sometimes. 


Intent sometimes. 


Corruption all too often. 


You can’t really know. 


Were we smart or just plain lucky?


Someday, the unknown becomes known, but not on rants and raves. 


Follow the data carefully and question it to make sure. 


In the end, the King of Kings is guiding everything and therefore there is no reason to fear. 

 

The world is going according to plan.


Fear leads to you wanting to gain control. 


Some people want to vent or to pretend they know something when they don’t. 


There is no reason to conjecture and cross with Dr. Insane into Meshuganah Island.


Making things up makes things worse.


What we do have to do is to keep good winning over evil with truth. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Weaponizing Your Privacy

So this was the funniest War of the Roses on the Kane Show that I ever heard. 


They use the Alexa personal assistant from Amazon (voiceover) to call the cheater. 


In this skit, we really see the potential power of these home computing devices. 


Alexa hears and knows everything that goes on in the house (including the cheating).


Alexa confronts the cheater and calls him a few descript names for his infidelity.


Alexa punishes the cheater by going online to purchase items with his credit card. 


Alexa betrays him by calling his girlfriend and telling her about the cheating. 


Cheating aside, maybe this is a great lesson how we should all be considering our privacy in our homes and on our persons before we install Alexa, Siri, Cortana, the Google Assistant or any other personal or home surveillance systems. 


With all the bad actors out there and people that want to steal everything from your money, identity, secrets, and maybe even your wife–these devices are a direct line into your personal life.


This is called weaponizing your privacy!


Tell me, do you really believe that no one is listening or watching you?  😉

Social Media Totalitarianism

The Chinese government has the most brilliant as well as frightening use and control of social media. 


I am not just talking about blocking Internet sites and free information flow. 


They actually have mastered the use of social media for tracking and rewarding or punishing citizen behavior.


Their social credit system rates people’s behavior online for everything they do!


Similar to likes and dislikes, you are either labeled a “model citizen” sought after for jobs and good housing or you can be an “enemy of the state” treated as a social outcast who can’t even leave the country anymore. 


Everything about you is now based on what you are rated (whether true or not)!


Now in China the government has added a snitching tool/app where people are encouraged through a points system that offers rewards like store discounts, coupons for coffee, taxis, and music streaming, in order to get them to report covertly on their neighbors–are their fellow citizens fighting, is there mental illness, are people cheating on their taxes, etc. 


You’re being surveilled not just by the grid system, where every 300 households are watched and checked-in on by a “grid manager,” but you are subject to daily intrusion by anyone that wants to report on you. 


Communication to “Big Brother” is way overvalued, while privacy and respect of the people are no longer important values or concerns. 


Instead of a Security Operations Center to monitor and command response to life-threatening catastrophes and emergencies, now there is a “Social Governance Integrated Command Center” to display video and biometric surveillance from throughout the country as well as to show what are the “moods” and which “issues” are trending. 


Talking about having a finger on the pulse of what’s going on…


I say this is all brilliant and malign, because social media which can be a tool for connecting people and for the free flow of information and progress is instead used for near ultimate control and enslavement of the masses–both their minds and their behaviors. 


People should not be treated as servants of the state and subjected to ever-encroaching social media surveillance and control that is not carefully balanced directly to absolutely necessary national security. 


Rather the state and its levers of people’s supreme power should be subject to the wants and needs of its people who must freely decide on their collective futures and maintaining human rights. 


Totalitarianism by police state, imprisonment, torture and “re-education” is now unfortunately facilitated by social media monitoring,  and credits system where truly you are watched by Big Brother in the flesh and in the bytes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)