Category Archives: American Thought

World Economic Forum Pushes Facial Recognition Technology ⋆ Brownstone Institute

World Economic Forum Pushes Facial Recognition Technology

By John Mac Ghlionn   May 27, 2022   Technology   4 minute read SHARE | PRINT | EMAIL

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, has just ended. The theme of the five-day event, “Working Together, Restoring Trust,” was both vague and troubling, in equal measures.

Remember, this is the WEF we are discussing here, an international organization actively pushing “The Great Reset.” The theme could just as easily have read: “Suffering Together, Restoring Compliance.”

Among the many issues discussed, members focused on the spread of misinformation and disinformation. How, they asked, can the proliferation of harmful content be combatted? It’s easy, they answered, how about introducing digital IDs?

The WEF recently rolled out the Global Coalition for Digital Safety, an initiative designed to “accelerate public-private cooperation to tackle harmful content online.” In an effort to remedy the scourge of malicious material, the WEF has brought together a “diverse group of leaders who are well placed to exchange best practices for new online safety regulation and help millions of connected citizens improve digital media literacy.”

These “diverse leaders” include head executives at the likes of Google, Microsoft, Interpol, and a number of government ministers. Another coalition member is Yoti, a company that strives to make the internet a safer place. How so? Through the use of digital IDs.

The dangers posed by digital IDs cannot be emphasized enough. As the researcher Brett Solomon—a man “who has tracked the advantages and perils of technology for human rights” for well over a decade—previously noted, the mass rollout of digital IDs “poses one of the gravest risks to human rights of any technology that we have encountered.”

As we rush “headlong into a future where new technologies will converge to make this risk much more severe,” we must prepare ourselves for the dawn of “near-perfect facial recognition technology and other identifiers, from the human gait to breath to iris,” according to Solomon.

According to the tech researcher, biometric databases of the not-too-distant future will be centralized in nature. Opaque in the extreme, our data will be harvested by the people in the highest positions imaginable—you know, the kind of people who travel to Davos for polite debates.

Moreover, added Solomon, throw geolocation of identifiers into the mix, and you have a recipe for absolute chaos. Such identifiers track you—more specifically, the digital you—in real time. You can run all you want, but you cannot hide.

The Panopticon Gets a Digital Upgrade

Canada, a country with close ties to the WEF, is actively considering the use of digital IDs. According to the Canada Gazette, the country’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has spoken with airlines about introducing “digital identity documents” and “biometric travel documents.”

Catherine Luelo, Canada’s chief information officer, has also spoken about the need for digital identity. Luelo is currently spearheading Canada’s digital innovation strategy, which seeks to introduce digital IDs across the entire public sector.

Canada’s plan is part of a broader plan, one that was initiated by the World Economic Forum. In a white paper released last year, authors at the WEF discussed the many ways in which digital ID programs will become an integral part of the financial services industry.

Resistance is futile. Digital IDs may soon be the norm. In the United States, as analysts at Reclaim The Net recently reported, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing for the introduction of digital IDs. The USPS wants to “have a more prominent role in biometric data collection and digital ID services.”

More worryingly, the USPS has already partnered with the General Services Administration (GSA) and the FBI, two prominent “biometric data collection pilots.”

The bad news doesn’t end there. As I have discussed elsewhere, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also wants your face.

Digital IDs Are Not Compatible With Democracy

Freedom House, an international group that was established to promote the idea of democracy, recently warned that when it comes to respecting democratic norms, like the right to privacy, the United States is going backward.

The country’s “democratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan pressure on the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, harmful policies on immigration and asylum seekers, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence,” Freedom House argued.

Yes, but what about digital surveillance? What about the government’s desire (and the organizations closely affiliated with the government) to spy on the American people? What about the push to mine people for data and use the information gathered to manipulate and control?

For those who doubt that the United States is backsliding, please note that Argentina and Mongolia now rank higher on the democracy ladder, according to a Freedom House 2021 report. Who is to blame for the regression? The very people elected to keep citizens safe.

The United States is fast becoming a first-world country with third-world protections for its people. No one should be happy about this. Well, almost no one, except, perhaps, the elites in Davos.

Reposted from the Epoch Times

Author

  • John Mac Ghlionn With a doctorate in psychosocial studies, John Mac Ghlionn works as both a researcher and essayist. His writing has been published by the likes of Newsweek, NY Post, and The American Conservative. He can be found on Twitter: @ghlionn, and on Gettr: @John_Mac_G
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School Shootings Aren’t About Gun Laws But The Collapse Of The Family

Until we are willing to address the breakdown of family and community, nothing will change, the massacres will continue.

At a press conference Wednesday in the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott almost said something profound. Almost.

Asked by reporters about gun laws in Texas, Abbott responded by talking about the need for more “mental health-resources” — a catch-all term often bandied about by Republican politicians in the wake of mass shootings like the one in Uvalde, in which 19 elementary school kids and two teachers were killed by a deeply disturbed 18-year-old.

Abbott, though, began going in a different direction with his response. He noted that 18-year-olds have been able to buy rifles in Texas for more than 60 years, and then asked: “Why is it that the majority of those 60 years we did not have school shootings and we do now?”

But then he stopped short, saying, “The reality is I do not know the answer to that question.”

Maybe Abbott really doesn’t know. Maybe it’s too much to expect an unimaginative politician like him to delve into the myriad forces of social and cultural decay that produce 18-year-old mass murderers. Maybe he was just trying to deflect questions from a hostile press corps.

After all, in the wake of school shootings, GOP politicians tend to snap into a defensive crouch as predictably as Democrats tend to regurgitate irrelevant talking points about gun control, as President Biden did earlier this week. So maybe that’s all this was.

But whether he meant to or not, Abbott’s comments approached the heart of the matter. Indeed, he could have made an even more expansive claim. Texas has been awash in firearms of all kinds for two centuries, ever since the first American empresarios began arriving in Texas at the invitation of the newly formed Mexican Republic. For the past 60 years or so, there have been no major technological advances in firearm lethality. So why is it that only now, over the past two decades, do we see the kind of mass shootings we saw this week in Texas?

Abbott can pretend not to know, but I suspect that he, along with most everyone else in America, knows perfectly well the answer to that question. It has nothing to do with gun technology or gun control laws and everything to do with our corrupt culture, and especially with the collapse of the family.

Indeed, the Uvalde shooter was a walking advertisement for the moral bankruptcy of modern America and the hollowing out of the American home. Salvador Rolando Ramos was apparently raised without a father and until recently lived with his single mother, who reportedly struggled with drug addiction. Neighbors recall blowups between her and Ramos, and police occasionally being called to the house. For the past few months, Ramos had been living with his grandmother, who called the cops after he shot her in the face and left her for dead.

Ramos has been described by former classmates in news reports as a loner who was bullied over a speech impediment, got into fights at school, and took solace in video games and chatting with strangers online. It was to one of these online strangers that he apparently confessed or hinted at what he was planning to do just before the attack on the elementary school.

A broken home, no father or father figure in his life, no church or community of any kind, no real friends except those he met through social media. Here we have, in brief sketch, not just a profile of a school shooter, but an indictment of our entire culture. It was the same in Parkland, and Sandy Hook, and many other places. Something is very wrong out there, and it is manifesting itself in the proliferation of mass shootings by alienated young men.

Politicians and pundits don’t want to talk about these things partly because there’s no law we can pass to fix it. It’s not a problem with an obvious solution. But they need to start talking all the same. We need to confront, collectively, the social maladies that create young men who murder indiscriminately, and chief among these maladies is the collapse of family and community.

Two years ago in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, amid nationwide protests and riots led by Black Lives Matter, corporate media were eager to talk about so-called “systemic racism,” police brutality, and a host of other perceived social ills. But almost no one, except a few conservatives like Glenn Loury, was willing to talk about the number one social ill afflicting black communities in America: the absence of fathers and the prevalence of single-parent households.

To his credit, Loury argued that until we’re willing to talk about that, we’re not really serious about helping black Americans or reviving black communities, we’re just using them for political advantage. He was right.

So too with school shooters like Ramos. Uvalde is a small town. People know each other there, as press reports have revealed in stark and heartbreaking ways in recent days. The brutal killing of so many schoolchildren has touched nearly the whole town in some way.

But for as tight-knit as Uvalde now seems, Ramos himself was not very well known, not tied to others in the community by strong bonds. He was on his own, and left to his own devices he became consumed by evil intent.

This is not to single out Uvalde, but to call to mind communities like it across the country, where other young men like Ramos are struggling in obscurity. It’s a difficult thing to confront, this failure in our neighborhoods and towns and communities, because it’s above all a failure of charity, of neighborly love, and we are all guilty of it.

Our leaders, though, bear special responsibility for making these cultural problems worse. Ramos had just turned 16 years old when the Covid lockdowns and school closures began. Those policies, enacted by leaders who don’t really care about the weak and powerless, made all the problems teenagers like Ramos face unfathomably worse.

As Anna Zeigler argued in these pages recently, “The total disregard for the welfare of children, children who were isolated, ignored, and needlessly masked for two years, is not unrelated to the matter of school shootings.” We could secure our schools the way we secure “places that are frequented by adults deemed to be important people,” she writes, but we don’t. “We do exactly what was done for the last two years: ignore the needs of children and cater to caterwauling unions.”

It’s quite possible that the response to the Uvalde massacre will be meaningless gun legislation that assuages the consciences of our political leaders but does nothing to address the underlying causes of such violence, just as the Covid school closures assuaged their consciences while making life worse for everyone else. You’ll be able to tell the politicians who understand the real problem and take it seriously; they’ll be talking about the need for fathers, intact families, and neighborly love.

Abbott says he doesn’t know why we have school shootings today when we did not have them 60 years ago. But he knows. We all know.

https://thefederalist.com/2022/05/27/school-shootings-arent-caused-by-faulty-gun-laws-but-by-the-collapse-of-the-family/

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Coffee & Covid. Wednesday, May 25, 2022: PROTOTYPES

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

😷 The UK Daily Skeptic ran a story yesterday headlined, “Mask Requirement for Healthcare Workers to Be Dropped From Monday.” The story reports that the UK’s National Health Service will lift the mask mandate starting next week.

💉 One step forward, two steps back. ZeroHedge ran a story yesterday headlined, “CDC Now Recommends COVID Testing For All Domestic Air Travel, Including The Vaccinated.”

Haha, suckers! You actually believed that taking the jab would get you out of testing.

The story reports that the CDC quietly changed the guidance on its website yesterday, now recommending that people traveling within the US — not just internationally — get tested as close to departure as possible, and now, regardless of vaccine status. The prior guidance only suggested testing for disgusting unvaccinated people.

A little over a week ago on May 19th, a CDC agent told AFAR Magazine that “People who are up to date with their covid-19 vaccines may feel well and not have symptoms but still can be infected and spread the virus to others.” It only took a year for the CDC to admit that.

Anyway, the testing recomendation not a mandate, not yet. I suspect such a mandate would be an unconstitutional restraint of freedom of movement.

💉 The Epoch Times ran a story earlier this week headlined, “Pfizer Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit From COVID-19 Vaccine Trial, Citing ‘Prototype’ Agreement.”

The gist is that whistleblower Brook Jackson sued Pfizer last year alleging that the vaccine maker violated federal laws governing procurement of new drugs and clinical trial regulations. But Pfizer just filed a motion to dismiss Brook’s lawsuit, arguing that those laws and regulations don’t apply to its vaccine contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, because its agreement was executed under a special provision for “prototype drugs,” allowing contractors to skirt many of the rules and laws that typically apply to normal drug development contracts.

In the “Background” section of its Motion to Dismiss, here’s exactly what Pfizer argued:

Because of pandemic-related exigencies, the agreement was not a standard federal procurement contract, but rather a ‘prototype’ agreement executed pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 2371b[.] … The [contract’s Statement of Work] describes a ‘large scale vaccine manufacturing demonstration’ that imposes no requirements relating to Good Clinical Practices (‘GCP’) or related FDA regulations.

So there you have it. It wasn’t a “rushed experimental drug.” According to PFIZER, it was an “exigency-driven prototype manufacturing demonstration not subject to good clinical practices and related FDA regulations.” It’s totally different from an experiment. This was a “demonstration.”

It took me a while to stop laughing. I’m old enough to remember when calling the jabs “experimental drugs” could get you thrown in Facebook jail. Now PFIZER is shirking liability for its shoddy trials by calling its own drug a “prototype” and a “demonstration.” That would’ve made for a good marketing slogan, right? “Our drug isn’t experimental, it’s a prototype!”

The bottom line is a prototype isn’t something you give to consumers. It’s a mock up, a test. This argument is a joke. It might work, but it’s a joke, a joke they played on all of us.

Pfizer said a lot of other dumb stuff in its motion. For those of you with legal interests, here’s a downloadable copy of the Motion to Dismiss. Even non-lawyers can understand the introductory section. https://tinyurl.com/3ue6rpz3.

🙈 The Economist ran a story yesterday headlined, “Where is monkeypox spreading fastest?” The story provided a helpful heat map showing where monkeypox is spreading most. It’s also a helpful guide for the sexually adventurous. Spain looks to be the networking hot spot just now.

🙈 Trending Politics ran a story yesterday headlined, “Wuhan Laboratory Found to Have Conducted Novel Monkeypox Research One Year Before Global Outbreak.”

What awful disease WEREN’T this crazy Chinese scientists working on in that Wuhan lab?

The article reported that a February 2022 study published in Virologica Sinica, the official journal of the Chinese Society of Microbiology, explained the process for artificially enhancing a monkeypox virus. The kicker is that the study’s authors include, you guessed it, scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which continues happily tinkering with dangerous viruses to this day.

It gets better. The study’s lead author and publisher is Editor-in-Chief Zheng-Li Shi, now the DIRECTOR of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who you may recall was widely known in 2020 as the “Bat Lady” who researched how to increase transmissibility of coronaviruses at the lab. Looks like she got a promotion for all that excellent work.

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently suggested that the new monkeypox virus may also have gained increased transmissibility functions, somehow. Attkisson wrote, “This isn’t like previous encounters with the [monkeypox] virus. The widespread nature of the outbreak and evidence of frequent human-to-human transmission has researchers questioning whether the virus has changed to become more transmissible.”

Yes, but HOW could it have changed to become more transmissible? One day we’ll have to look into what’s really going on inside that Chinese lab. If only we had a huge federal health agency that could … oh never mind.

🔬 A new study just published in Applied Mathematics and Computation titled, “Modelling HIV/AIDS and monkeypox co-infection.” The researchers studied whether there was any link between HIV and monkeypox infections. Guess what they found:

[I]nfection by HIV greatly enhances monkeypox infections, as in the absence of HIV/ AIDS most people will naturally recover as noted but that is not the case for the dually infected.

So.

🔬 A 2015 study published in the Journal of Virology was titled, “Evasion of the Innate Immune Type I Interferon System by Monkeypox Virus.” The researchers concluded in that study that “On the other hand, MPXV (monkeypox) is not pathogenic in most strains of inbred mice, unless IFN signaling is abrogated.”

In August 2021, a different pre-print study titled “The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 reprograms both adaptive and innate immune responses,” concluded that mRNA “vaccination decreased IFN-γ production[.]”

Abrogated IFN = decreased IFN. A weird coincidence.

Just saying.

🔥 Bloomberg ran a story last week headlined, “Omicron Is Turning Out to Be a Weak Vaccine.” The article is just a lot of fear porn about how “nobody” has immunity, especially gross unvaccinated people, and ANYBODY can catch a covid reinfection. It’s these variants, you see. It just keeps changing.

The article features no data, no numbers, no reference to any particular city, state, country or even continents. It doesn’t consider or even mention whether subsequent infections might be milder. It’s just a vague “zero covid” threat advisory.

But there was ONE sentence that jumped out at me. I wonder if this one sentence is the reason they wrote the article. It said, “public health experts also point out that in rare cases people are getting reinfected within weeks.

Wait, what? Reinfected WITHIN WEEKS? Why, it’s almost like those people’s immune systems aren’t working right or something. Is this a narrative tweak to hide multiple rapid reinfections under a big bushel of “everybody gets reinfected?”

Anyway, just to SEE, I searched Twitter for “reinfected.” I had to stop after a few seconds because jab-happy people are so terrifying.

🔥 A variety of sources broke a story this week showing — and you’ll never believe it — Bill Gates is the source of hundreds of millions of dollars funding leftwing activist groups, from well-known ones like BLM, Media Matters, and NARAL, to a whole raft of other shady behind-the-scenes groups. It turns out that Gates’ “philanthropic foundation” has spent vastly more on leftist activism than it has spent on health, education, or welfare.

The story began with an Elon Musk tweet. Twenty-six lefty groups had signed an open letter calling for companies to boycott Twitter if Musk’s purchase goes through. So Musk tweeted about it, asking his followers to help figure out who funds them, singling out one of the signers in particular, a 501(c) called “Accountable Tech.”

Musk was curious because the Washington Free Beacon had just investigated “Accountable Tech” and only found an empty office. The Free Beacon explained the company is just a “registered trade [name] for the North Fund, a shape-shifting nonprofit group that uses aliases to push an array of left-wing causes from a shell office in Washington, D.C.”

The Beacon was able to figure out that Accountable Tech/North Fund gets its money from two other non-profits, the “Sixteen Thirty Fund” and the “New Venture Fund,” which themselves use more than 50 patriotic-sounding fictitious names, like “Fix Our Senate” and “Floridians for a Fair Shake.” Breitbart then figured out that the New Venture Fund gets its cash from … the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. So Accountable Tech was actually funded by Gates through a bunch of cut-outs to disguise where the money came from.

So far, 11 of the 26 signers of the anti-Elon letter are Gates funded entities.

The article has LOTS of other details. If you like this kind of thing, read more in the Brietbart story headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: Bill Gates Poured Millions into Dark Money Fund Attacking Elon Musk.” Link: https://tinyurl.com/2p8npd7a.

I hope Microsoft Windows justifies creating this monster. I never liked Windows anyway. I’m a Mac user. Don’t judge me.

💉 28-year old Queens special ed teacher Areti Boukas had a stroke while teaching class earlier this month. Mount Sinai posted a heartwarming video about her journey to recovery last week. Apparently her stroke was caused by a blood clot in her brain that Sinai hospital was fortunately able to clear, and it looks like the young teacher is doing well.

🦸‍♂️ Governor DeSantis held a press conference earlier this week, again touting “Infrastructure Improvements,” which means investments in rural cities and counties. Unlike yesterday’s story about the home buying help, which I felt somewhat ambivalent about, I like this effort. DeSantis has been at this for several weeks now. Using the budget surplus to build up Florida’s smaller towns and rural counties could have enormous long-term benefits to the state.

Normally, the political gravity of the large metro areas would suck in all the extra money. It’s politically courageous for DeSantis to use the money to help rural communities.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for more.

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Flying Baby Formula In From Europe: ‘Turned Us Into 3rd World Nation’

OK, so you didn’t like the previous administration. I’m happy to hear how this is better. mrossol

By  Ryan Saavedra,     DailyWire.com
 

Democrat President Joe Biden was mocked over the weekend for bragging about flying 70,000 pounds of baby formula from Europe to the U.S. as his administration has faced criticism for the shortage of baby formula across the country.

“Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana,” President Biden tweeted Sunday. “Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”

Biden originally claimed on Twitter that his administration had brought in “70,000 tons” of baby formula which was later deleted, but not before it went viral on social media.

Biden faced a mix of mockery and intense criticism online for bragging about the situation.

“Over 10,000 children are born daily in the US, 20% of which will use formula within the first days of life,” Nicole Saphier, MD, wrote on Twitter. “The shipment is great, but let’s be honest, the supply won’t last more than a couple days.”

The popular conservative Twitter account Comfortably Smug wrote, “Biden has turned us into a third world nation where other countries are sending us relief aid.”

Other notable responses included:

  • Stephen L. Miller, political commentator: “Another Biden Admin historic airlift.”
  • Julie Gunlock, director of Independent Women’s Network: “The Biden admin created this mess…but sure, folks, take a bow.”
  • Ellen Carmichael, president of The Lafayette Co.: “Will never not be discomfiting to see other countries bailing us out for stupid policy decisions. This is America.”
  • Jesse Kelly, radio host: “The government causing a baby formula bottleneck with ridiculous regulations and then causing a baby formula shortage with incompetence and then acting like a hero for flying in baby formula is the most government thing in the history of government things.”
  • Preston Byrne, attorney: “If you just allowed European formula to be sold to US distributors you wouldn’t need the military to fly in pallets for show Abolish the FDA.”
  • Victoria Coates, former White House official: “Honestly I think it might have been better to just sit this one out and hope folks weren’t paying too much attention on a Sunday morning to your previous effort?”
  • James Jay Carafano, Heritage Foundation Vice President for Foreign & Security: “Only this White House could attempt to make virtue out of its incompetence.”
  • Tammy Bruce, Fox News: “You have officially turned our great country into Blanche DuBois, unstable and completely reliant on the kindness of strangers.”
  • Hans Mahncke, political commentator: “Probably the most humiliating tweet of all time (made even more humiliating by the fact that the millennials who wrote it are oblivious to how humiliating it is).”
  • Zack Kanter, political commentator: “It’s a reverse Berlin Airlift, where we’re blockading ourselves and flying in our own shipments to prevent the starvation that we’re at risk of causing.”
  • Sean Spicer, former White House official: “There has been a baby formula shortage in the US since January – we a[re] less than 10 days from June.”
  • John Cardillo, political commentator: “This senile idiot is impressed that third world countries are solving problems he and his handlers created.”
  • John Cooper, The Heritage Foundation: “How bad are things under Joe Biden? We have to fly in baby formula from Germany to make sure American babies don’t starve.”

https://www.dailywire.com/news/biden-slammed-for-bragging-about-flying-baby-formula-in-from-europe-turned-us-into-3rd-world-nation?utm_campaign=dw_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=housefile&utm_content=non_member_op_ed

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