Many of us often wonder how our system of government became so dysfunctional. Theories abound as to why, but one thing is certain. No matter what we do, it rarely seems like the government is listening to us. If anything, when they do pass or repeal a law that the vast majority of the voting public wants them to pass or repeal, it seems like they only do it when it happens to coincide with their interests (or the interests of their financiers).
The truth of the matter is that our government is corrupt (I know, big surprise). But more importantly, our corruption doesn’t always take the form of shady backroom deals like many of us imagine. It’s actually right out in the open for all to see. The reason why our system is such a racket, is that in America, corruption is perfectly legal.
Do you want the good news first or the bad news?
Alright, here’s the bad news: Google is about to start ranking sites according to their conformity with mainstream opinion. Or at least that’s what the headlines would have you believe.
The usual sources in the controlled corporate media are telling you that this is a good thing and that only “Anti-science advocates are freaking out about Google truth rankings,” but if that seems like a remarkably blase attitude to take when facing the prospect of a 1984-like reality where the modern-age Ministry of Truth (Google) is going to determine the “truth” of controversial subjects and rank search results accordingly, then keep in mind that such articles are written by the likes of Joanna Rothkopf, daughter of mini-Kissinger and author of “Superclass,” David Rothkopf.
New Scientist–the website that broke the story with their article “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links”–also framed the story, predictably enough, as “science” versus “anti-science,” starting their article by lamenting the fact that “Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire.” The article rejoices in the fact that the good chaps at Google have come up with a bulletproof answer to this mess: “rank websites according to their truthfulness.”
The slightly good news is that, ironically enough, the New Scientist article seems to be a perfect example of a fact-free story spreading around the internet like wildfire. While the story does link to a research paper from a Google research team that outlines a “novel multi-layer probabilistic model” for assigning a “trustworthiness score” to web pages, it neglects to mention that the idea is still very much a theoretical work-in-progress at the moment and is nowhere near ready to be launched. If you have a fetish for multivariate equations, dynamically selected granularity, and line graphs comparing calibration curves for various data analysis methods, have at it! For the rest of us who are not fluent in boffin-speak, the gist of it is this:
First, a page is harvested for its “knowledge triples.” These are connected triplets of information consisting of a subject, predicate and object. The paper itself helpfully provides the example: Obama – Nationality – USA. A “false value” (again according to the paper itself) would be Obama – Nationality – Kenya. These knowledge triples are assessed for their (Google-determined) accuracy and the page is assigned a KBT (Knowledge-Based Trust) score, which Google could use in place of (or perhaps in some combination with) the traditional PageRank score to determine how high in the search results the web page should place.
The paper uses a list of 15 gossip websites to demonstrate that using this method, sites with disputed and often incorrect information (gossip sites) might rank high in traditional search results, which are weighted toward popularity, but low in the KBT results. But even the paper itself admits there’s a long way to go before this KBT method would be usable by Google to rank billions of web pages.
This is good news for those alt media websites (and their readers) who realize that they are the ones directly in the crosshairs of this technology. Given that Google is nothing other than an American intelligence adjunct (and has been since its inception), would we expect anything resembling a fair assessment of the “truthfulness” surrounding the most politically controversial subjects of our time?
The Federal Reserve is a private cartel created by the banksters for the express purpose of manipulating the money supply and controlling the economy? CONSPIRACY THEORY! No Google for you!
Governments always and throughout history use false flag terrorism in order to justify their wars of aggression? SLANDER! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the bottom of the search results!
Google and every other major Silicon Valley firm is in bed with the DOD and/or the CIA and/or the NSA? BLASPHEMY! You have been excommunicated from the church of Google.
You get the idea.
But here’s the really good news: even if Google does launch such a system, it is doomed to failure. The internet is one of the last, best bastions of the free market in action that we have in our stultified, regulated, controlled, manipulated economy. Google’s popularity did not come about because government goons pointed a gun at everyone’s head and forced them to use it. They didn’t even create a licensing system for operating search engines, a favorite government trick for keeping genuine competition out of the market. It became popular because it was a million times more useful than AskJeeves or Yahoo! or any of the other outdated, clunky, dysfunctional search “portals” that dominated the web in the late 1990s. Granted, the power of Google’s PageRank may have come directly from the NSA’s own engineers, as some have speculated, but the fact remains: people use it because they can find what they want quickly and easily with minimal fuss.
At that point at which Google stops being useful for its intended purpose (helping people to look for information), people will start to look for alternatives. And alternatives do exist.
Ixquick.com is a privacy-protecting search engine that returns results drawn from a wide range of other search engines.
DuckDuckGo is another popular alternative search engine focusing on privacy protection that uses a number of innovative tools to make searching quicker and easier.
SigTruth is an “Alternative Media Search Engine for Liberty Minded People” that uses Google’s own custom search abilities against itself by returning only alt media website results on various topics.
And even the news that Google might at some point start using its “truthiness” score to downgrade the alt media has spurred others in the alt media (like Mike Adams) to announce the creation of their own search engines.
This is how the free market of ideas is meant to work, and if and when Google starts returning sanitized propaganda, those who are uninterested in sanitized propaganda will vote with their feet (fingertips?).
But here’s the best news of all: what this urge to categorize sites by “truthfulness” (and all of the back-slapping, high-fiving articles about this news from the dying establishment mouthpiece media) really shows is just how desperate the would-be gatekeepers are becoming in their fight to put the alt media genie back in the bottle. And even better yet, this is by no means the first sign that the gatekeepers are losing their war to keep the people in the dark on the topics that matter.
In 2008, arch-globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski started lamenting how, for the first time in human history “all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive.” This, as he stressed in speeches and articles at the time, means that it is no longer possible to dominate people in the same ways that they have been dominated for centuries.
In 2011, Hillary Clinton admitted that the US was losing the information war to alternative media outlets of all stripes.
In 2013, PopularScience.com had to turn off comments on all of their articles because, they said, a “decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics” like catastrophic manmade climate change.
And poll after poll after poll in year after year after year continues to chart the decline of the dinosaur print/radio/tv media and the rise of the internet as a source of daily news and information for the majority of the public.
Yes, there are dark skies and reasons to be concerned about what’s coming in the inevitable digital clampdown. But there are bright spots as well, and these deserve to be noted, highlighted and celebrated. After all, the people have had a taste for real information and now more people than ever before see through the increasingly clumsy propaganda of the establishment. And that makes the propaganda increasingly useless for setting the political agenda.
The internet revolution toothpaste is out of the bottle, and it’s going to be one heck of a job getting it back in. And that’s good news.
Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who made national headlines in 2009 when she ran away from her Muslim family after secretly converting to Christianity, writes in her new book that nearly six years after her escape she still lives in fear but does not regret her decision.
Born Fatima Rifqa Bary, the Sri Lankan native moved with her family to the US in 2000, when she was 8 years old, ostensibly to seek medical treatment after an accident involving a toy airplane left her blind in her right eye.
At age 12, Rifqa secretly became a Christian. When her devout Muslim parents discovered her conversion four years later, the teen fled her family's home in New Albany, Ohio, and sought refuge in Central Florida.
Bary, now 22, is a college student majoring in philosophy. She still lives in an undisclosed location for fear of retribution.
In her new book, Hiding in the Light: Why I risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus, released Tuesday by the WaterBrook Press division of Penguin Random House, Bary details her transformation from a girl growing up in a strict Muslim household to an apostate who, according to some people, shamed her family.
‘Those who do understand it, and understand it very well, are those who have wanted me dead. That’s why I have taken, and continue to take, precautions to protect my life and safety,’ she writes, according to Columbus Dispatch.
The book also sheds light on Rifqa’s strict upbringing, her first religious experiences as a Christian convert and a battle with cancer that nearly cost Bary her life at age 18.
In her memoir, the 22-year-old aspiring lawyer reveals that she had been molested as a child by a member of her extended family - an incident that ultimately prompted her parents to leave Sri Lanka and move to the US.
‘In some Muslim cultures, like mine, this kind of violation is a great source of dishonor,’ Bary explains. ‘Yet the shame is not attached to the abuser; it is cast on the victim.
‘So not only was I viewed now in my parents' eyes as a half-blind picture of imperfection, but I was also a shameful disgrace to the Bary name. My mere presence and appearance were a stain against the most important thing of all — our family honor.’
On July 19, 2009, Rifqa Bary boarded a Greyhound bus in Ohio and traveled nearly 1,000 miles southeast to Central Florida.
Police used phone and computer records to track her to the Reverend Blake Lorenz, pastor of Orlando, Florida-based Global Revolution Church, whom she had met through a Facebook prayer group.
When local authorities threatened the pastor and his wife with criminal charges for harboring the teenage fugitive, Rifqa turned herself in to police and spent two days behind bars at a juvenile detention facility.
Rifqa claimed her father threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity and her mother threatened to ship her off to a mental institution in Sri Lanka.
The teenage runaway told a Florida judge at one point she feared she would become the victim of an ‘honor killing,’ but investigations carried out by the Columbus Police Department and Florida Department of Law Enforcement failed to corroborate this threat, according to Orlando Sentinel.
After several rounds of court hearings, Bary was returned to Ohio where she bounced between foster homes until she turned 18.
In her book, Rifqa Bary writes critically of her family and their local mosque, suggesting that they were the deciding factors in her decision to turn her back on Islam and flee.
According to Bary, her parents and older brother routinely abused her and prevented her from spending time with friends because in Islam, she write, 'the place for women was at home close to their families, close to Allah.'
She also describes in the book how strict religious rules imposed by the leaders at the mosque attended by her family created a 'whiplash of abuse' at her home.
Fearing her family's wrath, Bary said she would hide her Bible and lie to her parents so she could sneak off to church services.
Bary's parents have repeatedly denied the allegations of abuse and claimed that they allowed her to freely practice Christianity.
Describing Bary as the 'apple of the eye of her father,' attorney Shayan Elahi said the family is heartbroken over her estrangement and wish Rifqa would reconcile with them.
Elahi, who represented Mohamed Bary, Rifqa’s father, in Florida during the custody battle, claimed that as a teenager she came to be exploited and manipulated by ‘Islamophobes’ pursuing their own political and religious agendas.
Rifqa Bary details in her autobiography how she was drawn to Christianity as a young girl because it offered her a chance to worship God in a more personal way, not by compulsion, and in a language she could understand.
‘To think that someone could pray in English about whatever they wanted to was both scandalous and fascinating to me,’ she writes.
Describing her first Christian chruch service, the 22-year-old college sophomore writes how she broke down in tears looking at a cross, which to her symbolized ‘freedom,’ ‘hope’ and ‘unyielding love.’
Upon her return to Ohio, Rifqa Bary was diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer and given a year to live.
After undergoing eight weeks of chemotherapy and several surgeries to remove the malignant tumor, Bary stopped treatment and refused to undergo a hysterectomy citing her religious beliefs.
Against overwhelming odds, today the 22-year-old is in remission.
But as she tries to lead a normal life, Rifqa says the fear of retaliation is always lurking in the background.
‘I still feel like my life is in danger,’ she says. ‘I don't live in fear all the time but I still have to be wise and cautious
Militarization Is More Than Tanks & Rifles: It’s a Cultural Disease, Acclimating Citizens To Life In A Police State | Zero Hedge
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