Facebook Reveals its Master Plan – Control All News Flow

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 1.36.09 PMIn recent months, Facebook has been quietly holding talks with at least half a dozen media companies about hosting their content inside Facebook rather than making users tap a link to go to an external site.

The new proposal by Facebook carries another risk for publishers: the loss of valuable consumer data. When readers click on an article, an array of tracking tools allow the host site to collect valuable information on who they are, how often they visit and what else they have done on the web.

And if Facebook pushes beyond the experimental stage and makes content hosted on the site commonplace, those who do not participate in the program could lose substantial traffic — a factor that has played into the thinking of some publishers. Their articles might load more slowly than their competitors’, and over time readers might avoid those sites.

- From the New York Times article: Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content

Last night, I came across an incredibly important article from the New York Times, which described Facebook’s plan to provide direct access to other websites’ content in exchange for some sort of advertising partnership. The implications of this are so huge that at this point I have far more questions than answers.

Let’s start with a few excerpts from the article:

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Tunisian Terror Attack Suspects Trained in U.S. “Liberated” Libya

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Libya has turned into a complete and total disaster zone/terrorist training camp ever since America and its allies decided to liberate it. While certainly not perfect under Qaddafi, it was an infinitely better place before NATO intervention than after. Not only that, but the entire justification for the “freedom” delivered to it by Western powers was, naturally, based on lies and propaganda. I covered this last month in the post, The Forgotten War – Understanding the Incredible Debacle Left Behind by NATO in Libya. Here’s an excerpt:

In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.


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Video of the Day – John Oliver on Municipal Fines and Private Probation Companies

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When a nation’s economy becomes nothing more than an oligarch crime scene; a gross perversion of the free market best characterized by corruption, theft and in which the sole motivation is to grab as much as possible without regard to ethics, it’s no surprise that entire industries emerge designed to take advantage of the poor and disenfranchised. I’ve covered many examples of this over the years, with the latest example being earlier this month in the post: Profiting from Prisoners – How Jails Partner with Private Firms to Charge for Video Calls While Ending Visitation Rights.

John Oliver has done a fantastic job covering such topics, and his latest segment is both really sad and really important. It covers how private probation companies, specifically Sentinel Offender Services and Judicial Correction Services, parasitically feed off the weak in partnership with local governments. Take a watch:

For related articles, see:

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Just Another Tale from the Oligarch Recovery – $100 Million Homes Being Built on Spec

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Neoclassical economics and the trickle down policy framework that we have derived from it argues that there is a trade-off between fairness and growth. The general idea of trickle down economics is that the richer the rich get and the less constrained they are, less burdened in regulations, the more jobs they create, the better off everyone will be. It’s the concentrated accumulation of capital which is the principal driver of market capitalism.. So, rising economic inequality isn’t a bug, it’s a feature of the trickle down economics. It’s how you know things are getting better, right? Because the richer the rich get, the more jobs they create. This is a general principle of the thing.

– From Salon’s recent interview of Nick Hanauer: The 1 Percent Rigged Everything: Why No One Can End Ronald Reagan’s “Dead Wrong” Voodoo Economics

Just to give you a little sense of how all this wealth has been “trickling down” see…

More developers and investors are racing to build increasingly lavish homes on spec. Built on prime lots with master suites larger than most homes and spas and entertainment spaces comparable with those in hotels, many of these homes are also attempting to break new price records.

Real-estate agents say the surge reflects an ultraluxury housing market that is at an all-time high, fed in part by overseas buyers and house hunters looking to invest in trophy properties. 

“These are people who are going to buy these homes to park money,” says Jeff Hyland, of Beverly Hills-based Hilton & Hyland. 

Mr. Hadid declines to say what he’s spending on the home, but says the listing price will likely be in the $200 million range when the house is completed next year.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: The Race to the $100 Million Spec House

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to highlight a recent insightful interview Nick Hanauer gave to Salon. In case you forgot, Mr. Hanauer is the billionaire who came out and publicly warned of pitchforks unless our corrupt economic system is reformed. I highlighted his article and provided my own thoughts in the piece: The Pitchforks are Coming…– A Dire Warning from a Member of the 0.01%. If you never read that, I suggest taking a look now.

A very poignant point made by Hanauer in his latest interview, concerns how fake liberals like Barack Obama will pay lip service to income inequality as if it is simply some unexpected moral tragedy which happened accidentally within a well functioning economic system. Hanauer correctly points out that the economic system itself is corrupted. That all wealth is being funneled to a tiny oligarchy isn’t a a flaw within this system, it’s a deliberate part of the design itself replete with its own elitist hedging mechanism.

For example, whenever oligarch wealth is threatened, such as in the 2008/09 time period, all resources are immediately mobilized to bail them out. The interests of all other segments of society are consistently thrown to the wayside, with the exception of welfare merely meant to just lessen the probability of civil unrest, as opposed to actually lifting people into the middle or upper classes.

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Caught on Tape – SEC Director Grovels for a Private Equity Job for His Teenage Son While Speaking on Panel

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The following video clip will make you extremely sick to your stomach. Not that we didn’t already know the U.S. economy is nothing more than a rigged oligarch shell of its former self, but to see SEC Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, Andrew Bowden, grovel for a job for his son in front of a private equity industry audience certainly represents a new low.

If you recall, Andrew Bowden was first brought to your attention last year in the post, SEC Official Claims Over 50% of Private Equity Audits Reveal Criminal Behavior, which discussed how Mr. Bowden admitted in a talk that “more than 50 percent of private equity firms it has audited have engaged in serious infractions of securities laws.” This sort of honesty is never rewarded within a crony, corrupt economic system that depends so heavily on regulatory capture for riches. As such, he quickly recognized the gravity of his error, and has since decided to get on his hands and knees and pucker up to the private equity industry whenever possible.

Nowhere was this more apparent than at a recent event at Stanford Law School, where Mr. Bowden ended his resounding endorsement of the private equity industry by begging the audience to one day give his son a job. At this point the audience burst into laughter and someone can be clearly heard yelling “I would love to hire your son by the way.” More laughter.

The joke’s on us.

Watch the video below:

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Cisco is Shipping Equipment to Fake Addresses to Protect Customers; Meanwhile Amazon Refuses to Provide Any Transparency

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Examining the distinct ways in which various technology/internet companies have responded to revelations that the U.S. government is grossly violating American citizens’ 4th Amendment rights with its unconstitutional mass surveillance can be quite telling. A really interesting case in point came across my screen today.

On the one hand, we have Cisco, which seems to be trying its best to get hardware from one place to another without the NSA intercepting it and implanting malware. On the other hand, we have Amazon, which refuses to provide even the most basic transparency report when it comes to government data requests. Thanks for nothing Bezos.

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Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Who Pushed for Closer Ties to EU Revealed

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Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union.

In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn’t handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals “to modernize Ukraine,” according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine “a successful, free, modern country based on European values.” It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, “this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing.”

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Clinton Charity Tapped Foreign Friends

When I first came across the title to this article, I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I almost didn’t even click the link thinking it was just a repeat of a prior expose I highlighted in the post: Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 2 – Clinton Foundation Took Millions From Countries That Also Fund ISIS.

Fortunately, I did decide to take a look and pretty soon my jaw absolutely hit the floor. Although the Wall Street Journal didn’t play up the connection, I was stunned to see that of all the oligarchs connected to foreign governments who donated to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State, Ukraine was at the very top. I thought this to be strange, but as I read on I just couldn’t believe how connected the main donor was to the current regime in power. Considering this is the main geopolitical hotspot on earth right now, many, many questions need to be asked.

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Doing God’s Work – San Francisco Church Sprays Homeless People with Water to Keep Them Away

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.23.29 AMI’ve covered the plight of the homeless in America in recent years as another manifestation of the erosion of decency, empathy, morality and kindness throughout much of our culture. As a society, we’ve become increasingly obsessed with youth, materialism, power and short-termism, tossing aside wisdom, real joy, soulfulness and connectivity. One of the symptoms of this unfortunate transformation can been seen in how we treat the least fortunate and most vulnerable around us, particularly the homeless (see: In 33 U.S. Cities, Feeding the Homeless Has Been Criminalized).

Of all the institutions you’d hope to take a different stance toward the weak and struggling, places of worship would be at the top of the list. Not so for Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, which admittedly sprays sleeping homeless people with water in order to keep them away.

From CBS:

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Government Watchdog Warns – Fannie, Freddie Could Need Another Bailout

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It’s always nice to be reminded of how far we’ve come since the dark days of 2008/09 ,when American plebs involuntarily bailed out the oligarchy generally, and Wall Street specifically, to the tune of trillions. Sure, all the gains went to the 0.001%, but the wounds have healed, and we’re in the midst of a stellar economic recovery.

The latest proof of how far we’ve come was laid bare by an article in the Wall Street Journal:

Mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be at risk of needing more government bailouts, a watchdog said in a report set to be released Wednesday.

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Caught on Hot Mic – Janet Napolitano Says “We Don’t Have to Listen to This Crap” Referring to Student Protest

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 2.11.43 PMBefore I get to the meat of this post, let me provide a little background. Late last year, I covered how the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was pushing through a 28% tuition hike within the University of California system so that administrators can get huge pay raises. Naturally, students weren’t all that pleased and decided to get creative with their protesting. Big Sis didn’t like this one bit.

What’s amusing is that in a prepared statement she noted:

“They want to be sure that their voices are being heard and I want to commit to them that their voices are being heard.”

Sounds reasonable; however, she quickly lost her patience and was heard on a hot mic saying:

“Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”

Let’s just say this isn’t going to help improve her relationship with the student body. CBS reports:

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