My entire extended family and our various respective ancestral heritages, plus professions, are part of a larger story that is being created, which marks a pivotal turning point in both the history and future of planet earth: the dawning of a New Epoch has arrived. In the long run, it strongly suggests both a ‘Return to Eden’ socio-environmental conditions AND intergalactic colonizations (in multidimensional forms), and unbeknownst to most people. Truly the stuff of sci-fi films and novels.
The vast majority of the world’s population may likely be whittled down to a precious few — with even some of those being eventually weeded out, interbred, or otherwise ‘redefined’ and re-engineered (much of which is being anticipated, or can be achieved already, through various DNA and genetics research; genomics and systems biology; biomedical engineering; even GMO foods or, alternatively, heavily polluted food and water supplies can both impact or alter one’s own DNA makeup, as well as affect one’s progeny, down the line (see powerful film, Toxic Trespass (2007), by woman film art iste; and details here) — never mind the ways to taint one’s food or beverages to either create health ailments or produce physiological changes and defects. Evidence of which is loosely portrayed in not-so-fictional TV programs and streaming videos.
There’s a whole plethora of cutting-edge scientific advances, which likely will never reach public knowledge — this ‘living lab’ of boundless experiments may comprise a cross-mix of both the modern and ancient realms. For example: leading-edge research and scientific discoveries in every area known to humankind; plus, endless experimentation opportunities and methods of data collection (eg, widespread surveillance + state-of-the-art digital media creation combined with advanced marketing analytics, in-depth psychological profiling, etc); computational modeling; a massive and growing database of knowledge — all of which likely delve into obscure or primordial human practices, plus supranatural phenomena. Anything from old-school alchemy, to metaphysical energies and paranormal abilities (think verified psychics, mentalists, yogis, witches, warlocks, and such, dating back to early Egypt, Mayans, Aztecs, and so on); plus primitive or classical practitioners (eg, medicine wo/men, herbalists, voodoo specialists, etc); and then, what happens after death and where does one’s ‘energy’ or spirit-soul go — and to also keep things real here, there are many decades of contemporary mind-control and neuroscience research (eg, Nazi Germany, secret camps in China, CIA, and for the latter — UK, US, Finland, South Korea, Australia) — the possibilities are limitless. Heck, even simple surgeries are available right now (eg, recolouring the cornea of one’s eyes, etc). It’s a space age revolution, with a Darwinian-Aryan twist! Lol
I used ‘L’ for the note indicators, since the topic is nuclear power, and my immediate ‘nuclear’ family and I, on some planetary and cosmic level, are angry devils incarnated (more so, my father and I) — and yet, at the same time, we are fairly useful folks. Long story. (See other post.)
My entire extended family and our various respective ancestral heritages, plus professions, are part of a larger story that is being created, which marks a pivotal turning point in both the history and future of planet earth: the dawning of a New Epoch has arrived. In the long run, it strongly suggests both a ‘Return to Eden’ socio-environmental conditions AND intergalactic colonizations (in multidimensional forms), and unbeknownst to most people. Truly the stuff of sci-fi films and novels.
And yet, the vast majority of the world’s population will be whittled down to a precious few — with even some of those being eventually weeded out, interbred, or otherwise ‘redefined’ and re-engineered (much of which is being anticipated, or can be achieved already, through various DNA and genetics research; genomics and systems biology; biomedical engineering; even GMO foods or, alternatively, heavily polluted food and water supplies can both impact or alter one’s own DNA makeup, as well as affect one’s progeny, down the line (see powerful film, Toxic Trespass (2007), by Barri Cohen; and details here) — never mind the ways to taint one’s food or beverages to either create health ailments or produce physiological changes and defects. Evidence of which is loosely portrayed in not-so-fictional TV programs and streaming videos.
There’s a whole plethora of cutting-edge scientific advances, which likely will never reach public knowledge — this ‘living lab’ of boundless experiments may comprise a cross-mix of both the modern and ancient realms. For example: leading-edge research and scientific discoveries in every area known to humankind; plus, endless experimentation opportunities and methods of data collection (eg, widespread surveillance + state-of-the-art digital media creation combined with advanced marketing analytics, in-depth psychological profiling, etc); computational modeling; a massive and growing database of knowledge — all of which likely delve into obscure or primordial human practices, plus supranatural phenomena. Anything from old-school alchemy, to metaphysical energies and paranormal abilities (think verified psychics, mentalists, yogis, witches, warlocks, and such, dating back to early Egypt, Mayans, Aztecs, and so on); plus primitive or classical practitioners (eg, medicine wo/men, herbalists, voodoo specialists, etc); and then, what happens after death and where does one’s ‘energy’ or spirit-soul go — and to also keep things real here, there are many decades of contemporary mind-control and neuroscience research (eg, Nazi Germany, secret camps in China, CIA, and so on) — the possibilities are limitless. Heck, even simple surgeries are available right now (eg, recolouring the cornea of one’s eyes, etc). It’s a space age revolution, with a Darwinian-Aryan twist! Lol
Still editing below…
Forgive me for being ever argumentative and ungracious (especially towards those who deserve it least), yet certainly the problem with having nuclear anything (see L1)** is something that everyone ought to be concerned about — and what is the collective society, and more importantly, what are our ruling governments, going to do about this serious dilemma?
Here are a few questions in that spirit:
Whom do we hold responsible for nuclear power’s existence, development and proliferation?
Is it the person who first invented nuclear fission?
Is it those who sought to apply the science towards making the first nuclear weapon (atomic bomb) for what was an understandable and necessary attack?
Is it those who then, also understandably, wanted to harness this incredible energy to power cities and nations?
Is it the governments or state leaders, who set out these directives and requirements — in terms of wanting to both build nuclear power generators (supposedly ‘clean energy’) and manufacture nuclear arms?
Or do we conveniently lay blame on and demonize the frontline workers?
And thereby prevent holistic, constructive and innovative discussions on how to actually achieve sustainable, earth-friendly changes — in terms of energy supply, but also, all areas of human or sentient existence. (Although I realize these are all now moot points, as everything necessary to create a transformed and ever-lasting healthy planet is finally ‘in the works’, thank goodness!)
In my father’s case, as a mechanical engineer working on one of Ontario’s nuclear power plants (see L2),** he did quietly envision using green and renewable energy sources since the 1960s (per his various books on the subject); and yet, he is not an unwise, outspoken rabble-rouser, like myself. So instead, he met the demands of his job and seemingly exceeded expectations by managing a nearly $1 billion budget, as well as overseeing some of the design, to help create secure housing for those nuclear reactors. Basically, that has helped ensure the equipment runs smoothly, and that everyone remains safe. Canadian nuclear power plants are considered among the best and safest in the world.
(In other words, he was not an incredible inventor or important decision-maker for nuclear’s many uses — and I am not trying to detract from any of that — yet, he was a supervisor helping to carry out the task at hand. Having myself experienced overwhelming and disproportionate blame, guilt, judgements, plus more — for a number of things, by various groups and people; and for merely trying to participate in and help further good and important causes that were dear to my heart — kindly forgive me for being a bit feisty and longwinded, here. Lol. See L3 to L5.)**
From a more esoteric perspective, we could highlight the never-ceasing proliferation of nuclear weapons.
For one thing, since those first atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945, proved so highly successful, why wouldn’t other nations seek to create their own missiles, etc?
(I don’t agree with it; but look at how massively I have misjudged myself, others, the condition of humankind; how it all relates back to spiritual texts, etc. And anyway, the above question was another point I had noted, back in the day (1999) — which is, how one nation I had travelled to never really gained status as a global power or held a bargaining chip, until they started manufacturing their own nuclear arms. They were potentially a toothless tiger. Yet, like every wise underdog and highly talented diaspora, they and others from around the region now hold power over much of the world’s data, lol; not to mention essential, digitally-based services. While I was there, I met awesome folks from a number of different nations: Israel, Russia, Kenya, Malaysia, and so on. Yet, I have no doubt those photos also proved fruitful in tracking people down, examining their lives and lifestyles, philosophy, politics, viewpoints, etc to gain a global perspective on the “co-operative movement” aka “The Third Way.” See L6.)**
So to go back to the first point, at the top: Whom do we blame for this global state of affairs around nuclear power and weaponry?
What is justifiable violence or death-dealing?
And who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’ from a spiritual perspective? (This may dictate much of where things are headed, in the long run.)
Do we hold God the Creator responsible for all of this?
And why did God bother creating those ‘other’ groups of people, who seem to be outside of the main line of descendants (according to the foremost spiritual texts of the past several millenia)?
Is there only one Creator? And, as my friend A often says, ‘Who created the Creator?‘ (Kindly look up ‘multiverse’ — see L7.)**
Not to get too lost in the macrocosmic Big Picture…but I agree that governments and the citizenry of every nation definitely need to halt all reliance upon and proliferation of nuclear power and various nuclear weapons, and decommission these — as soon as possible.
LOL! As usual, I’m unable to access any ‘real’ images of whatever topics I’m trying to explore. Internet censorship? This is one supposed rendition of the ‘multiverse’.
**L1: There’s also the issue of nuclear medicine, and how so much of modern-day health sciences rely upon radiation and radioactive substances or treatments (which wouldn’t be so necessary, if we foregrounded more natural, alternative, integrative, and/or holistic forms of healing, and also made health-maintenance lifestyles more affordable (which could take any number of forms, from designing people- and sustainable transport-friendly towns and cities; to ensuring affordable healthy eateries and activity-oriented community zones; to researching and supporting health practitioners and techniques that help restore and maintain health naturally, etc).
**L2: Full disclosure: I myself worked at was then known as Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation, or OPG). All of us summer students seemingly had family working there; yet, I also had decent qualifications. (Not to toot my badly demoralized and defeated horn, against a backdrop of much personal shame and mockery — but I was often a first choice job candidate, way back when; and I had also turned down another job offer from an equally reputable, large organization, in favour of Ontario Hydro.)
**L3: Some may know of my then-supervisor at Ontario Hydro, or at least, his daughter, who disappeared in the early 90s, with only blood traces left of her. Her boyfriend was prosecuted and eventually released; but she also happened to be friends or acquainted with convicted serial-killer Paul Bernardo.
**L4: In terms of my seemingly covert status as a possible ‘Leviathan’ — I might be less of an actual threat, and more like a well-used socio-political tool and psycho-spiritual study subject, PLUS a highly entertaining baited fish being pulled around for all to see (both in stages of personal devolution and sexual audio-video surveillance footage). In short, a real wild child, lol. Or a Cursed Child.
**L5: The gleanings from my life — and particularly, my communications proposal for centralizing information management with its 2-way communications flow, and incorporating an editorial review board (Information Networking Committee (INC)) to oversee information output and also decide what should be public-ready info and what is strictly internal data, etc — which ‘INC’ could be loosely translated into a ‘worldwide network of competencies,’ as Steve Denning of Forbes.com calls it in one of his articles — may have essentially seeded the transformation of the once highly democratic World Wide Web / Internet into a steadily and fully curated or ‘managed’ back-end operations of information management since 2001. (This topic obviously deserves a lot more discussion and research, but probably best to avoid it.) Anyway, all of these things have proven to be highly useful to Big Brother. Some might even say, globally transformative.
(See post, ‘Selfish, And Yet More?‘, which has been actively blocked twice from posting. If NOTE 1B on the misrepresented facts about the History of the Internet appears, then you will be seeing the updated version.)
Here’s a worthwhile article by a leadership and innovation expert, Steve Denning:
“21 Lessons In Measuring Innovation: Truth Is Often The First Casualty”
**L6: There are a multitude of ways in which people, information or data, online experiences, knowings and knowledge, devices and technologies, homes and environments, one’s deepest psyche and ‘inner demons’ (Shoshana, 2020), energies and overall spirit etc, can be manipulated and controlled — and even, in the latter case and to some degree, be partly manifested or greatly enhanced; or conversely, left unresolved on purpose to help achieve other aims.
**L7: ‘The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called “parallel universes”, “other universes”, “alternate universes”, or “many worlds”.’ (Wikipedia — Multiverse.)
This morning, I briefly reread one of my many, no doubt,inflammatory, highly offensive and abominable attempts at writing gosh knows what, to whom, and for what purposes. I am deeply sorry to one and all.
As I am able, I will be removing as many of my nasty comments as possible. It will take some time and effort — plus, it’s like expecting a toad to play classical music, lol. But I will try my best to honour and acknowledge those who have been far more compassionate, kind, patient and giving than I could possibly ever deserve. Thank you, from a mean-spirited, feeble-minded, dark-hearted, ungrateful, ungracious, and myopic fool.
Apologies for my other post. I kind of got triggered, when others are automatically presumed incapable of any wrongdoings — while yet others who actually have committed heinous crimes (especially one who is linked to my past) are virtually given a clean slate, dusted off, and practically deemed inculpable of truly disturbing wrongdoings: pedophilia and child pornography (maybe even rewarded, as being exactly the type of sexual predator we want on ‘our’ team, lol). Oh, well.
[media to come]
Those were exactly the kinds of (dare I say, double standard) attitudes and overall social environment I experienced so intensely many years ago, full force (before any of the tragedies of my surveillance years; and of course, why should someone as awful as me have any PTSD tendencies from that time: apparently, I am devoid of all humanity); and
The main goal seems to be to paint me as the ‘root of all evil’ — regardless of actual truths (believe me, with the fluid state of media and online information, there have been many ‘set-ups’, which lead to a distorted picture). And what is inconceivable to me, is that I am apparently worse than Hitler himself. Wow…
In many ways, I am more foolish (stupid), naive, gullible, and politically inept than the most bumbling animal or creature that one could possibly imagine. But nevertheless, I was and have been driven to absurd extremes, and blamed for homocidal, psychopathic actions planned and premeditated well in advance. Geez, who’s the stooge here?
The Whole Picture?
Let’s be honest, here:
I am someone not even believed by my own parents or companion and friends about various personal experiences, or concerns — never mind, socio-environmental-economic ideas;
I have zero power, and almost no resources;
I have NO ‘followers’ whatsoever — and never have, nor ever wanted any; I tend to believe in the motto: ‘Think for yourselves, and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too‘ (Voltaire; https://www.quotes.net/quote/39697);
Despite being cast as a chronic liar, I actually have a huge appreciation and desire for truth, honesty, real facts and authenticity in all its forms — all of which have completely devolved in our current world; and I have been hoodwinked by the best of folks. Somehow, open and direct communication seems to be too much to ask for. (Let’s shroud every single action or desired outcome in a game of a million manipulations and veils of every sort.)
I have a ‘pathological need for attention’ about as much as at least 20% of the population, I would guess.
And FYI — part of the reason I get so frequentlyand easily angered or irritated is because:
a) I know some people are part of the ‘Assymetries of Knowledge‘, and their BS in my personal life bugs me (I’ve literally been surrounded by and dealing with ‘moles‘ and ‘plants’ or planted people since 2001);
b) The stress of being under surveillance and bearing silent witness to so many happenings (including tragic ones) — while simultaneously being disbelieved by almost all — is perpetually upsetting and invalidating (and I get ‘triggered’);
c) As difficult as this may be to imagine (although the articles I referenced clearly mention it, and far more articulately), ‘powers from above’ are indeed possible, and I’ve had to deal with the intimate people in my life behaving, saying and doing things that are completely out of character — and seemingly designed almost to block or frustrate me and my efforts: remote mind control and spirit possession.
(Oh, we watch TV shows about such things, but don’t actually believe it could happen in daily life. And yet, the all-encompassing and powerful nature of surveillance technologies — combined with the ever-expanding explorations into how the physical and energetic, telepathic, supernatural, or spiritual worlds may connect — should not be overlooked or denied. A man first travelled into outerspace 61 years ago (Yuri Gagarin of Russia in 1961), and today, scientific and technological discoveries and developments are happening at lightning speed.)
d) I can’t even trust the information I am referencing and relaying is not merely more strategic propaganda — history being ‘rewritten’, and a different kind of ‘cancel culture’. Lol
In espionage jargon, a mole (also called a “penetration agent”, “deep cover agent”, or “sleeper agent“) is a long-term spy (espionage agent) who is recruited before having access to secret intelligence, subsequently managing to get into the target organization. However, it is popularly used to mean any long-term clandestine spy or informant within an organization (government or private). In police work, a mole is an undercover law-enforcement agent who joins an organization in order to collect incriminating evidence about its operations and to eventually charge its members.
A mole may be recruited early in life, and take decades to get a job in government service and reach a position of access to secret information before becoming active as a spy [emphasis added]. Perhaps the most famous examples of moles were the Cambridge Five, five upper-class British men recruited by the KGB as communist students at Cambridge University in the 1930s who later rose to high levels in various parts of the British government. By contrast, most espionage agents, such as CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames and FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who spied on the US government for the KGB, were either recruited or offered their services as spies after they were in place as members of the target organization.
Because their recruitment occurred in the remote past, moles are difficult for a nation’s security services to detect. The possibility that a top politician, corporate executive, government minister, or officer in an intelligence service could be a mole working for a foreign government is the worst nightmare of counterintelligence services. For example, James Angleton, director of counterintelligence for the CIA between 1954 and 1975, was reportedly obsessed with suspicions that the top levels of Western governments were riddled with long-term communist agents and accused numerous politicians such as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Canadian Prime Ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and many members of Congress before he was removed in 1975. Fears of such moles in prominent positions in American life led to overreactions such as McCarthyism.
Moles have been featured in numerous espionage films, television shows, and novels.
NOTE: This blogpost title is a quote from MSNBC TV broadcaster Stephanie Ruhle, appearing on The 11th Hour (May 23/22).
My Attempts To Explain
I do tend to get lost in rambling descriptions of both past and current events, for a variety of reasons:
Feeble memory (both inherited and acquired) and weakened brain faculties;
Being a poor writer/editor;
Trying to piece together disparate and sometimes *crazy* details and events in a meaningful, coherent way — within an even larger context (and cover-up, however necessary, noble, well-intentioned it may be, etc) — while preserving a degree of privacy and anonymity for all concerned, which oddly enough does mean something to me, in spite of everything I may freely blather (‘data surplus‘) OR I have had widely shared about my life by others (and indeed, I went to extreme lengths to try to protect my privacy, and I still do; but look where that has gotten me/us);
And most of all, I wonder constantly why *I* — a complete NOBODY, not believed or listened to by anyone, and repeatedly invalidated — find myself on trial, explaining or correcting/revising every detail of my life and my half-assed writings, when certain perpetrators and institutions have not taken one shred of accountability for breaking many major laws and, frankly, a few of the Ten Commandments, if we’re going to include religious righteousness into the mix. Nor have any of those responsible allowed themselves to be named or identified in any way, and thus, never had their lives and actions etc scrutinized and judged. Pretty convenient.
Whether or not, as it may seem, they are indeed covertly ‘protecting the Republic’ (to quote Liz Cheney in her remarks at the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award Ceremony, May 22/22, for whom I have the highest respect for her non-partisan decision to join and really help spearhead and add credibility to the 1/6 Committee, as one of only 2 Republican members, along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger; see NOTE 1)**, these unknown and anonymous persecutors (except for one individual) have nevertheless gone above and beyond to…ack, why bother explaining or describing. And reliving.
If you may be one of those ‘in the know’, it is more than likely you have no clue what I and others have been through or sacrificed. Unless, as in my case, you have had an experience of being terrorized inside and outside your home AND also endured hellish odysseys, across a 22-year span — as incredible as that sounds.
As for the latter, there are increasingly well-researched ‘hoodoo’ type practices around the world that simply work, in spite of science’s many attempts to discredit and deny them until recent decades. And FYI, various police forces across North America do use psychic mediums, for example, to solve crimes (usually murders). (One such character is depicted as being rather effective on the popular New York City-based TV police series, Blue Bloods; I believe they are drawing upon the real-world examples mentioned above.) Anyway, if you still think that I and others have not been through enough… (shaking head). Wow.
**NOTE 1: I was pretty sure Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Republican – Illinois) was on the January 6 Select Committee. Just goes to show how well this widespread Internet disinformation campaign works — I got my info from a top-ranked search source and one of the main weblink articles on the awards ceremony that Rep. Liz Cheney had attended and was recognized at.
Wow, I hope people aren’t referring to my 6-month internship in India with the International Co-operative Alliance’s Regional Office of Asia & the Pacific (ICA-ROAP), sponsored through the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), in 1998-99.
Perhaps this is a good moment for a somewhat ‘TMI’ description of my personal and working relationship with someone I will call ‘AA’, during my internship. And to point out that an advertising company I had once dealt with in Hong Kong, when I had been formerly employed with Cathay Pacific Airways as a Marketing Publications Coordinator, generously provided in-kind donations to ICA-ROAP. The latter situation led to the former.
Upon contacting the ad agency, the designers kindly took the photos, graphics and text I provided from ICA, and they created 2 excellent, full-colour publications (a leaflet and booklet), free of charge. These were eventually distributed to ICA-ROAP’s 27 member countries.
While working to finetune and finalize these booklets, I became intimate with AA (see NOTE 2).** After completing the internship, I enthusiastically wanted to apply my co-operative work-study experience in a ‘practical’ way, by possibly getting a project off the ground that might somehow include, support or benefit a women’s co-op in India. (Eg, Any of the many local members of ICA-ROAP.)
Having no business negotiation skills whatsoever, I impetuously bought a large assortment of pashmina shawls from AA’s business friend.
AA and I then flew from India to HK, where I approached a prospective business contact about selling the shawls (who later felt I tried to hoodwink them and had wasted their precious time, because the prices on the shawls were so high; it turns out AA’s friend had charged me full retail prices — not wholesale). During our short stay, I asked some kind friends if we could stay with them (hotels in HK are very pricey).
I did all this mainly to see a women’s co-op-related project get going, with AA as the middleman (as they had obvious business experience); and if it worked, yes, I’d hope to possibly get a finder’s fee to cover my initial costs (ie, airfare, the shawls, my time and efforts) — but nothing exhorbitant. I wasn’t looking to be on a payroll, or anything.
Despite all of this — giving a boost to AA’s work portfolio and business credibility through these small but well-designed booklets (hence, why they insisted on keeping exclusive rights to the computer files — even though they were entirely sourced through my efforts and connections); trying to potentially help expand AA’s business ventures; hoping that this HK trip may even broaden AA’s personal horizons (their first trip abroad), plus finding a place for us to stay; and having been fully intimate with this person prior to this misadventure (only the 2nd person I had ever been so with, in my life) — guess what?
AA’s business friend refused to provide a refund on the mostly unsold shawls, which (again) they sold to me at full retail prices: so, it was a project doomed to fail from the start. And I’m certain they had said they would take back the ‘unsold stock’; otherwise, I would not have purchased so many. I forget how many, but if anyone was the biggest FOOL, it surely was me.
(As the Devil apparently incarnated, I seem to be pretty darn dumb. No two ways about it, lol. See NOTE 3A.)**
What did AA do? Whom I had been so personally involved with and tried to be helpful or supportive towards, and even gave of my body (sorry, TMI!). NOTHING. Some companionship and a few car rides home, before this debacle. And to add insult to injury, as I said, AA even refused to give me a copy of the computer files I procured (based on a positive past relationship) and had worked hard on — claiming they now belonged to AA’s company (see NOTE 3B).** This seems to be a familiar pattern in my life; and no doubt for many average citizens, as the out-sized monopolies grow and collusion spreads. Too late!
In Big Brother’s case, I’ve been a highly useful, exploited puppet, who eventually became a raging STOOGE (‘inner demons’ aside). (‘Surveillance capitalism‘ is a term coined by Shoshana Zuboff, 2020. Essential reading!)
The experience with AA (who is now seemingly lauded in spiritual circles) reminded me of situations in Hong Kong, where storekeepers and market vendors would rather shortsightedly rip me off for a quick buck — rather than try to gain my repeat business, and have me potentially recommend them to others. Far too common an experience in Asia. It’s the complete opposite of how I would do things, and what I grew up with, for the most part, in Canada (see NOTES 4A-C and 5).**
As a non-designer, it took me hours to edit the text and graphic elements in both the booklet and leaflet — and especially the photo collage, which I believe I had requested and, then, edited extensively. It’s so tiny. Our supply of good quality stock photos depicting co-ops from across the region was extremely limited. Balance and inclusivity were both top of mind (surprise, shock???!); yet, some pics were simply clearer or more appropriate, etc.
Anyway, what little savings I had and used towards this haphazard venture was gone. They still wanted to sleep with me, though! And manhandled me, trying to get me in their car. And yes, the whole thing kind of farked me up.
Frankly, up until that point in my life, I had never felt so utterly betrayed in my life. I wonder if the RCMP have a recording of that phone conversation, with me hollering at AA on the phone. I know — sounds so melodramatic, ho-hum. Especially in light of everything. And yet, once upon a time, I was quite sensitively attuned to people and their vibes; I was even caring (if not naturally so? I thought I was; I cried like others, felt fear, anger, joy, compassion — see later blogpost, “To Be Compassionate”, etc).
I don’t care what anyone says, because believe me I myself have tried — but when a woman gives her body it does have an emotional and energetic impact on her afterwards. Probably related to the whole child-bearing aspect, protecting the womb, etc. It takes a toll, when betrayed. (Elizabeth Gilbert dedicated a whole chapter, I believe, on her traumatic breakup with her husband in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (2006).) And so, my hats off to sex workers, especially those who do such work out of pure economic necessity and may not have the nicest clients. And most definitely my heartfelt anguish for women who are in abusive relationships; or are being or have been raped and/or pimped out against their will; or are sold into sex trafficking; or are child sex abuse victims and survivors (one I knew, killed themselves), and so on.
**NOTE 2: Sexuality in India is a complicated topic. The social and religious restrictions around it seems to intensify one’s desires. The slightest touch by a stranger can be so ripe with meaning and feeling. There are MANY differences between India and North America, or western countries, in general. And there’s a real dichotomy between some of the pretty free-spirited and sometimes provocative Bollywood films that are popularly seen, and the pious (confining?) everyday society they arise from. Anyway, with this particular person ‘AA’, I felt like I *owed* them sexual favours, as they had helped to get the booklets completed; and they had driven me a few times (which was a great luxury and convenience in India, at that time). We had spent quite a bit of time together on that project, and I just kind of let it happen. There’s almost a wearing down of your defenses, plus a lack of freedom, natural exhuberances, and various social outlets that we may take for granted over here in North America — or maybe it’s simply for some women, like me? (Eg, being rowdy or outspoken; drinking at bars or at home; dancing; playing sports; hugging and casually touching people, even folks you’ve just met, etc). I say all this with a caveat. As is the case around the world, the privileged middle and upper classes are somewhat freer and more shielded from certain oppressive social practices or limitations. And probably people from India don’t view it like this, at all. I am just describing how I experienced things. Like men slipping pages of pornagraphic literature under my door (see NOTE 6A)**. Or my trying to talk to Indian women, and yet, the men are always answering for them — even among the middle-class –unless you met people from much more cosmopolitan and educated circles, but even then. And btw, today on TV, there was an interview with a pair of teens from the Ukraine seeking asylum here in Toronto — and I won’t say how I really perceived it, based on my various experiences — however, despite several questions being posed to both the guy and girl, only the male answered, while the female looked on demurely and smiled. It didn’t appear to be simple reticence or shyness; it was like they were purposely projecting specific gender roles. Again, for those ‘in the know’, I would say that any ‘return to Eden’ will not be seeing women as full and equal partners and doers, in the long run. Perhaps for the interim, they’ll hype up women’s can-do survival skills and conquer-all attitudes; but ultimately, I have good reason to believe it will be a highly traditional and patriarchal social structure, with a rolling back of gender roles, independence, progressive values, and so forth. Only those at the top really know what things will eventually look like on planet earth.
**NOTE 3A: I have boundary issues, as well as an at-times “transactional” approach to things — among many other issues, obviously. (I believe my overseas experiences amplified these traits; and then, became exacerbated by complex PTSD and ongoing harassment. Personally, in a balanced and positive state, I see it as an inherent desire or wish to create ‘win-win-win’ solutions.) In light of all this, my companion D’s immediate or extended family may think that I had or have ulterior motives, and sought to gain something from them. Whereas I deliberately avoided being indebted in any way; and yet, I desperately began to need help with D. [ D being older than me, and myself being “crisis-driven”, I tended to panic, as my instinct is to avoid or prevent major health issues. I have a strong belief in holistic, alternative, innovative or natural approaches to health and healing — but, unfortunately, these are often costly in our sometimes backwards society (not helped by govt healthcare cutting; or myopic and tunnel-visioned views about health, and how to achieve it); and also, finding relevant practitioners, methodologies, and suitable healing aids of all kinds can be difficult in Canada (another lengthy topic, which Big Brother is also pulling strings on). ] I have spent a bundle on hyped-up supplements for both D and I. And yes, D’s downhill slide did cause me a lot of stress, anxiety, depression, anger and frustration. The one thing that healed all of that in a flash was a simple hug, and an appreciative comment from D’s family member. Gosh, this conniving master planner and violent, deranged psychopath doesn’t ask for much — or do I?? It took me ages to get my head together and properly reach out to D’s family (my initial spur-of-the-moment emails and one phone call were far from appropriate; but I JUST COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE) — D was telling them one story, while I had to live with the actualities. Plus, I have so many personal issues going on myself, clearly. Oh, well. Moot point. Almost past caring. Easy to judge from the sidelines — your entire life and mere existence are not in question, and turned into a 21-year psycho-social science experiment.
**NOTE 3B: Please see NOTE 6A.
*NOTE 4A: People may not think I’m an honest person, in light of all the 24/7 videos recorded, and twisty ways I have responded to various situations (like a rat in a cage, given what’s been imposed upon me); but I wasn’t always this way. Complex PTSD is one definite factor that began ever so slightly in Vietnam, and became full-blown during my early ‘surveillance years’; but there’s so much more to it. Also, what may not be widely communicated are the times that I did demonstrate integrity. Like at my 2018 bartending job, I ensured the bar manger received his cut from our tips on several occasions, when others clearly forgot or were inclined to let it slide. I’m sure there are other moments. In a former life, while selling cutlery that I’m still an avid fan of, there were 2 occasions where I paid for the products myself, and left them with prospective customers to try out at their leisure. Returning to school soon, I didn’t have much time to collect the items, so they got free cutlery — totalling around $300. A fair chunk of change, for a university student, 30+ years ago. At another job that I tried out for a day, also during university, I helped double my assigned partner’s daily sales. And instead of taking my fair share of the cash, I simply let her keep all the money, as I decided this job was not for me — easy money, but questionable ethics. Speaking of ‘ethics’, there was another job I left in 2003 (?), because it involved preying upon economically-disadvantaged or uneducated / unaware people in the U.S. Anyway, this whole topic of personal and professional integrity is worthy of further discussion.
“What Are The 17 Symptoms Of PTSD” — which my persecutors have repeatedly exploited, time and again, for 21 years!! (So, who’s also “exploitative and manipulative”, or threatening and abusive, I wonder?)
**NOTE 4B: Believe me, very few people in my life have ever tried to “regain…[my] approval”. I can only think of one notable person, which is D, but this entails a huge discussion about systemic oppressions, over-giving, and being taken for granted. If anything, it describes how I’ve been treated, thus far, for the glory of God or a Creator.
**NOTE 4C: Wow. The key words above are: “they are just as ruthless”. Who’s taken advantage of who?? And who remains damaged, and virtually powerless?? Aggressive, yes; I’ve certainly shed all possible social masks, and it’s not a pretty sight.
**NOTE 5: Money and finances may be recurring themes in my 2022 blogposts — but that’s what happens when one has had many economic struggles, and looks back over one’s life: everything starts to be seen through a *finance filter*. Some people never fully recover from the psychological impacts of economic scarcity; hence, the lifelong thriftiness of those who survived the Great Depression (1929-1939), or others who have experienced personal bankrupties, and so on. Can’t find the quote. Some “Famous Quotes About Poverty“. My overall situation is much better now. But the years 2001 to 2005 were intense; and I became rather downtrodden in a weird way, given my unusual path — from someone working at a decent corporate job, to serially employed hospitality worker (waitress, bartender, dishwasher), to virtually unemployed mental health survivor. It is not unlike the stories I once read about people who became homeless, and the few such individuals I spoke to back in the early 2000s — another insightful gleaning for Big Brother. I am still $36,000 in debt, and my income is well below the poverty line.
**NOTE 6A: My life has been an open book for Big Brother, partly because I have a nostalgia for people and events from my life, as well as an attachment to things I have worked on. Per the centralizing information management proposal I mentioned in another blogpost, ‘Selfish, And Yet More‘ (June 10, 2022), I actually paid to ship 2 heavy boxes of documents supporting my proposal, from HK to Toronto — post-resignation — so they were utterly meaningless. But I kind of thought, ‘What If’ they decided to implement the idea after all, and they need more info, etc. Silly, huh? That’s me, or how I used to be: obsessively and wholeheartedly invested in people, projects, ideas and things…until I turned a corner.
On the other hand, people may be judging me for being on social assistance, as a person who suffered a nervous breakdown and had an extreme downward spiral over many years (an utterly compromised, bestial shadow of the person I once was — probably not even that); and that was followed by a rollercoaster mental health recovery journey.
Well, I can only say it has all happened with the help and full blessings of those who drove me into hospital and onto certain medications, so that I lose every ounce of my credibility possible. And my various conditions have affected both my capabilities and my limited employability, unfortunately.
I haven’t sought to profit from the social assistance — although one is allowed to be self-employed (had I that kind of capability) and to own one’s primary residence. At this point, I am simply seeking to pay off my rash and irresponsible major debts (at least half of which were incurred by trying to fend off invasions of both home and privacy, plus hacking and overall gaslighting; I frankly don’t know which one is the worst).
(First written May 13, 2022; and edited June 7-13, 2022.)
Although quite a portrait has seemingly been painted of me so far in my life (to many), here’s what I also know:
EXAMPLE 1: Airline Communications Idea
When I worked for an airline back in 1995-1997, I laboured for well over a year on a proposal that would have improved the entire company, and benefitted all of its internal and external customers around the world. I DID SO, EVEN IF IT MEANT PUTTING MYSELF OUT OF A JOB. (I always figured there is always other work to be done. And I used to believe in improving things for their own sake.)
My boss literally spluttered at me: “Are you trying to get us all fired?!?” Then, she promptly kiboshed the whole thing.
Yet, centralizing information management would have vastly enhanced both internal-external communications in all types of media, across 7 languages, globally — and it would’ve meant 100% accuracy, accessibility and accountability — plus more flexibility, efficiency, improved productivity and staff relations / morale, strengthened customer service, and a better bottom line. And it would’ve cost ZERO DOLLARS to implement.
With all the technical and scheduling information, alone, and communicating with such disparate parties as their subsidiary companies, loyalty club, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 52 airports worldwide, thousands of travel agents / agencies and tour operators, hotels, mass media, the budding internet (in the form we now know it; see NOTE 1)**, and so forth — well, you can imagine that accurate information is absolutely imperative. And yet, that wasn’t necessarily happening. Or, it was very difficult and cumbersome to maintain; and there were a lot of information silos. It was a simple solution to an obvious problem; and it didn’t take a lot of brains to see it.
Still, I worked my ass off — slaving away through holidays; staying late regularly; and even pulling all-nighters at the office. I also put my own funds into creating the proposal; recruited friends to help me; and started to sprout gray hairs by age 27.
And what was in it for me? Maybe a pat on the back and reimbursement for my efforts (as they were darn frugal) — but most of all, it would’ve made my own job easier and less labour-intensive. Eventually, defying my boss’s orders, I did invite various middle managers together to present the idea to. In hindsight, I should’ve just gone straight to senior management — as one of those managers, who had attended my presentation, eventually tried to do with my proposal, after I had tendered my resignation, and minus all the research and evidence I had accumulated to support the key ideas.
The only cost involved with this communications proposal would have been to reassign one of their crème de la crème management trainees to be the central information coordinator in the Corporate Communications Department. A few of the managers immediately suspected me of trying to create this new position for myself; but no.
What I do know is that in the early years, the Internet or World Wide Web was highly democratic and functioned more as a bulletin board, in some ways. Anyone with internet access could post anything — and people tended not to edit things compulsively (as I did), once posted (eg, online news sites posted authors’ articles and dated it, and that information remained reliably static — even years later); but not so, now.
This Forbes quote from Steve Denning captures the essence of my own orientation toward that 1996 communications proposal:
My communications proposal, above, also included an Information Networking Committee (INC), which would serve as a multi-departmental (or multidisciplinary) editorial review board to both ensure the accuracy of information being received and circulated AND to determine what is public-ready or strictly internal information, and so on. This puts quite a different capitalistic *spin* on how one might view and ‘manage’ a similar or parallel Internet universe:
1) gathering information from infinite sources;
2) having a single, unified team of worldwide experts, professionals, programmers, digital media creators, writers, etc, networking together and reviewing (or rewriting and revisioning) all online content to craft a ‘final product’;
3) curating what weblinks and information people are actually able to see and access through their search engines; and even redirecting people, or ‘splitting’ what one web address allows different visitors to see; and
4) all of this then becomes infinitely more tailored on social media, which as per the surveillance capitalism article, is purely about marketing research, data gathering, and ensuring greater rates of purchase and profit extraction — especially repeat business, or products requiring refill or subscription parts and items (I forget what this is called; billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban made the comment on Shark Tank — and I see…more disinformation, here: https://allsharktankproducts.com/mark-cuban-shark-tank/ .
Anyway, welcome to the 10.0 version of the Information or Digital Age.
EXAMPLE 2: Petition Letter
At another job, prior to above, the management merged both the engineering department and design section (basically , the office part of the company) with the factory — and then, simply rolled back the employee benefits of the former two.
Obviously, people were upset, and I agreed to write a letter that was signed by I forget how many people (20-35?). A few people tried to quietly suggest that I was putting myself at risk. And indeed, the company did use various intimidation tactics to get people to hastily sign and accept their new contracts, so the concerns for me were not unfounded.
I had more to lose than to gain, yet I did care about my fellow co-workers and respecting basic rights — despite my now having devolved into someone who is at times arrogant, and sometimes self-obsessed and unempathetic towards others.
EXAMPLE 3: O Canada!
It is an understatement to say that I have been closely watched, studied, psychoanalyzed, defamed and defrauded — with just a scattering of indirect proof that any of this has gone on — starting in 1998 and lasting until now, 2022. The most recent assault of digital hacking and tampering of my key accounts and device (eg, email, banking, blog, FB, my phone, etc), to various problems in our homes and vehicles (trespassing, minor theft, seeming vandalism) have been happening since April 1, 2022 (April Fool’s Day; so appropriate, lol). And yet, most of it (the at-home stuff) is so trivial as to be absolutely ridiculous! And yet, undeniable.
I’m not going to go into all that. Just trust me that others have witnessed some of the goings-on and/or believe in the illegal surveillance activities and targeted harassment after so many years. And upon seeing the albeit *breadcrumb* evidence, they are likewise baffled by it.
Seemingly inexplicable things have happened to and around me, but how, why or by whom doesn’t make sense to people — unless they critically analyze the whole thing from a sociopolitical perspective, know my story and how things evolved, and most of all, understand that the “surveillance state” isn’t just a news segment on W5 — it’s actively happening to all of us. I just blundered into a bad situation — and am hopelessly outspoken, critical, and defiant — and unfortunately, dragged in others (though I’m trying to learn to do differently).
In any case, I’ve been cast as a ‘hater’ of all sides and groups, by my own country — one that I have deeply loved and cared for, and believed so much in. My love for Canada ran deep, until they spited even that last bit of care out of me. Admittedly, though, I was nostalgically holding onto a Canada that seems to have rapidly disappeared.
Elsewhere in this blog, I mentioned how I love having a balanced diversity and inclusivity — but I also mean one that is in keeping with this nation’s unique history of both the First Nations people and the European settlers (initially British and French colonizers; then, others — and obviously, minus the residential schools abuse and killings, and so on — see NOTES 2A-B)**.
Yet, I also said many years ago that I believed we should “work with what we have” — whilst stemming the tide of uneven immigration, or even too much immigration. I have repeatedly suggested that the original Canada I once knew and loved is being dissipated and weakened; that it needs to keep fortifying itself from within — its own historical roots, customs, values, practices and overall rich heritage — before it can take on so many newcomers.
(Former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s multiculturalism policies were good in theory; yet, in practice, it has in some ways undermined Canada’s backbone and contributed to a cultural mosaic that: a) is less than integrated with Canadian society, practices and values; b) fosters or enables crime and violence [partly due to c)]; and c) has sectioned Canada off along ethnic lines, pitting group against group — rather than being an evenly distributed ‘salad-bowl mix’, which I believe then-PM Pierre Trudeau had envisioned. The latter was, in fact, how things were during my childhood — we were all Canadians first, and people were happily interspersed in various neighbourhoods (in Scarborough, Ontario, anyway); it was less ethnically-divided or cloistered than what we are seeing today. Of course, there were ‘ethnic neighbourhoods’, back in the day, and always will be — which can be positive in more commercial districts. Yet, those early multicultural policies actually led to the funding of many projects that encourage insularity, in my view, and a “psychology of separatism,” which Ger Mennens argues is not the case (wherever he is reporting from; it’s unclear, and no links or references are provided). Immigrants will naturally find ways to preserve their ancestral cultures; there’s no need to sponsor so much of that (with aboriginal First Nations being an obvious exception). Canada is probably the only country that attempts to provide costly translations and support services in so many different languages, and to so many different groups (while nevertheless failing to recognize the diversity within those groups, and so on, and so forth). Heal the Divide: foster true community and an integrated diversity that is strongly rooted in Canada, first and foremost (though they may ditch you later). See NOTES 3 and 4.)**
In a way, I guess I wished to preserve and also revive the primarily Eurocentric Canada (see NOTE 5)** that had made it such a shining example of excellence, quality, integrity, humanitarianism, and unique character and courage, both at home and on the world stage — but I had wrongly hoped this might be done with its lawfulness and some recourse to justice still intact.
[EDIT JUNE 7/22: However, this is unrealistic in a rapidly changing global society that is also swiftly attempting to colonize outerspace (and galaxies beyond), whilst polluting it with ‘space junk’ and harming the atmosphere, too, let’s face it. I’m sure there’s an abundance of information out there (or perhaps not) about the multitude of human, scientific, technological, and cultural developments heading in infinite directions.]
(Anyway, the same issues mentioned above are being struggled with in the U.S., who unfortunately is even more fragmented and polarized than we are; plus, they disperse their efforts and resources in so many different ways and in places around the world. Driving up their debts, and owing so much to China. And both the 2 major wars they have fought since the 9-11 attacks in New York (2001) and the vast funding of the military — plus the after-effects on their veterans, like lost limbs, biochemical poisoning, PTSD, suicide, drug addiction, homelessness, etc — damages or kills so many of their fine young people. Used up and spit out, while those in power reap the rewards of their soldiers’ loyal efforts. Gun violence is another crazy problem plaguing that great nation. They literally have the equivalent of 1-1.5 mass killings per day, annually. And all their schools have safety drills, in case a shooter shows up — what a way to grow up!)
Like many other fellow native-born or long-time Canadians, I recognize that many people who have lived and worked in Canada all of their lives, or who have served as veterans for example, are getting short shrift — especially those in their retirement years — as compared to, say, new refugees who get a generous leg-up and tend to network in ways that many people who are originally from here don’t.
Like many conscious Canadians, I believed in a certain vision of Canada: a strong, healthy, peaceful, safe, prosperous, well-functioning,ecologically-flourishing, highly advanced (see NOTE 6A)**, and responsible, diverse society that could be a model to other nations — even if it meant facing and enduring a lingering amount of systemic racism and oppression in my own life, on a daily basis — given the fact that I am Asian-Canadian, bisexual, feminist, a former activist, underemployed, a mental health survivor, etc.
[SIDENOTE: It’s because of my ethnicity that I was racially-profiled for an incident involving a legal document, which initiated the surveillance, in the first place (see NOTE 6B).** Through a series of coincidences, it eventually became a ‘team effort’. With all that stress, and no real kindred spirits or community, I became increasingly marginalized and a social pariah. For my surveillers, I was an easy sociopolitical target and, ultimately, made for an *interesting* case study.
I knew that the latter was a pivotal reality, and that my personal situation — plus all the learnings for Big Brother — had become generalized and extremely widespread in the broader society; yet, I did not have it fully confirmed and clarified, until June 6, 2022.]
These are all very complex issues, and I am admittedly very ignorant about it all. But I was once upon a time quite passionate about collaborating with others on innovative solutions to address these pressing problems — especially from a healthy, holistic, transformative and sustainable environmental perspective.
EXAMPLE4: Toxic Trespass (2007)
Tiny, but telling, I think.
While volunteering with an organization called, Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN), in 2006-2008, I was co-editing an accompanying guidebook for an award-winning, environmental health documentary film called, Toxic Trespass (2007), by intrepid filmmaker Barri Cohen, and produced by the National Film Board (NFB). As I was typing in the credits, I realized my name would’ve come first, alphabetically, as being one of the editors. Yet, I felt so uncomfortable with this that I put it last, instead. Silly, of course. But there were only a few names, so it might not be clear there was an alphabetical order, etc.
I know, I know — more minutiae from Hitler’s apparent prodigy. And FYI – my Adidas were not my favourite shoes; and I have reason to believe the background story in weblinks about Adidas being mixed up with a Nazism past is not altogether true.
EXAMPLE 5: Hair Donations
I donated my hair twice to children’s cancer organizations; although I did not cut it for that reason. Still, I didn’t broadcast it on social media, or tell relatives and friends about it.
**NOTE 2B: It’s a documented fact that the human eye finds ‘mixed caps’ easier to read, and thus, retains such info better than ‘all capital’ letters. The variance between my headings wasn’t a subconscious error, or more “aspirational puffery,” or conversely, a subliminal put-down — ‘O Canada’ simply looks better this way. However, I’ve made everything uniform now, to avoid any conjecture.
**NOTE 3: Pierre Elliott Trudeau was the 15th prime minister of Canada (serving in 1968-1979 and 1980-1984); he is also the father of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015-present 2022). Article: “Like father, like son: Can Justin Trudeau remake himself, as his father did?” (Oct. 26, 2019). And is this a crushing of the female uprising? Darn, those aspirational female decision-makers and leaders. (Note: then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould held strong to *ethics* in a Liberal cover-up, led by Trudeau; which is not to detract from their overall good work of legalizing pot, and recently banning handguns.) Excerpt, below…
(Vicky was “[once] described as the ‘Wayne Gretzky of women’s hockey,” and they both share Ukrainian heritage, too, lol. Humble and humorous as heck, is how I would describe her. Being culturally-erased or omitted isn’t a new phenomenon, and definitely are where things are headed for the future. Anyone linked to me may also be unduly affected or strategically impacted, which I’ve observed over the years.)
**NOTE 5: Despite my advocating for a Eurocentric Canada, in evolutionary biology co-evolution (or cross-breeding) can strengthen a group, and I would suggest it is likely to be all the Caucasoid groups (ie, Europe + Middle East, West / Central / South Asia, South America, North Africa) bolstering each other, yet still heading towards a European model in future. A return to Eden, and vastly less populated.
**NOTE 6A: Although I brought back portable solar charging panels from Hong Kong (none were available in Canada, in the late 1990s), plus other information or possible ideas for strengthening ‘green development’ (maybe not a whole lot of papers, but what I could personally share through my experiences in various places and countries, had I been able to have those conversations with similarly- concerned others) — I did / have become extremely antagonistic and resistant towards technological and cultural advancements, or ‘progress’, in general. Understandable, given that I was blindered from the Master Plan (and still am), while being subjected to so many kinds of attacks made possible through technology. However, I believe the real sticking point for myself and many people — especially activists — is the *ethics* behind what is being done. Especially in the areas of cutting-edge science and medicine, Big Business, technology and computers, engineering in any discipline (“200 types”, according to my father’s alma mater, on a webpage called “Indigenous Futures In Engineering at Queen’s University” aboriginalaccess.ca — more offshoots from my personal history and family photo album?), plus, multimedia — or anything that has significant impacts on, or relevance to, humans (and all life) or our shared environments, ecologies, and ecosystems — scrutiny is necessary. Or was. With extreme power and / or secrecy, it can be very easy to bypass or bend rules, laws, and regulations that are intended to protect people and society. I have no issue with ‘advancements’ — it’s the accountability and long-term impacts or consequences of any area of human endeavour that has always had me concerned: The Precautionary Principle. (Like asking my engineer father one simple question, during a tour of a nuclear power plant, at age 11: But what do we do with it after?? (ie, The highly toxic and radioactive spent nuclear fuel (or used uranium rods) after being stored in cooling bays for many years. It takes potentially 200,000-plus years for nuclear waste to degrade.) Plus, the many nuclear weapons, which continue to proliferate around the world. Perhaps the higher beings are able to neutralize those, when the time comes.)
Just a few of the many fields where engineering is applied:
Haven’t fact-checked either of these articles, and it no longer matters. But these still give an idea, help provide context, and may even suggest what is possible for future:
The bottom line is: as with the above 5 examples, I believe that I do care and think about a lot more than myself. I may be self-oriented and, in times of prolonged stress or crisis moments and all-out suppression and oppression, I may be inclined to either pump myself up, or put myself first — but somewhere inside is a loving heart, and someone who wished well.
(Note: I am most definitely not a stay-at-home mom or caregiver type.)
I am guilty of very manythings — including over-glorifying myself and engaging in ‘aspirational puffery’ (a term loosely coined in TheIntercept.com article by Sharon Lerner, about bottled water giant BlueTriton). And yet, I believe there are also some minute grains of ‘other’ truths, above. Me, pre-surveillance days.
THOUGHTS ON OPPRESSION, MEDIA, SELF
About systemic oppression: many people don’t fully appreciate how soul-destroying and yet intangible it can be. How it hits some harder than others, depending upon so many factors. I can give just one tiny example of a Jewish guy whom I knew briefly.
This wonderful young man introduced himself and later oscillated between giving us the anglicized version of his surname and his actual one — although neither would have been seen as anything but anglophone, which is exactly how it came across.
And yet, it was clear to me, in that moment, that he bore the full weight of his ancestry, with all its historical persecution (see NOTE 7)** — even though, he has ‘white privilege’; was among supportive, open, friendly people; had no language barriers or accent (or acquired speech + vocabulary difficulties, in my case); wasn’t identifiably Jewish in any way, including his last name(s); and so forth.
Yet that is how burdensome both systemic and internalized oppression can be, often suffocating people in so many layers of experienced negativity — usually by being identifiable, not accepted or discriminated against, and thus, often unable to surpass certain sociopolitical or economic barriers — both obvious and hidden ones. It is so painfully real that some may even twist themselves into knots just trying to be seen for who they ARE, or what they CAN DO — without prejudice or stereotypes, and being somehow pushed down, cast aside, blocked from top positions (as in former British parliament); shunned; isolated, either personally or collectively (as in ghettos); beaten; jailed; made ill; poisoned; maimed; tortured; killed!).
Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler truly mastered the media and propaganda-making machine — and how to recruit youths to their cause. Today, both traditional and digital / social media are so massively powerful and globalized that people’s reputations, fame, fortune, and overall fates can be decided by one viral video or news article. And of course, digital media and electronic records — which most / all of the world relies on — can also be abused, manipulated and totally faked, with complete news stories perpetuated, for example — even headlining ones! And technology is so sophisticated now that they even have the ability to resurrect people from the grave in life-size 3D talking, moving holograms (see 60 Minutes segment). All this is yesterday’s news, yet somehow we become repeatedly and easilyassuaged into believing and trusting what we see and hear.
However the ‘powers that be’ and my many detractors may showcase me in laugh-worthy memes, or videos of my various (grotesque, desperate?) failings, and the like — I obviously made some kind of impact, and was an unwitting catalyst for certain developments in the ‘global village’ turned surveillance social bubble. ‘Big Brother’ a la 1984 by George Orwell (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four).
(I’m having deja vu, covering territory I discussed in 2020.)
At the very least, I emboldened ‘the watchers’ in certain ways, and perhaps even helped speed or facilitate the transition of business and industry as ‘socio-environmental saviours’ — rather than the increasingly conflicted view of them as exploitative, greedy and oppressive (see Occupy Wall Street 1%).
Marrying corporate efficiency and its results-oriented and performance-dependent survival with left-wing activism and values, is something I tried to advocate for in 2000 onward (although the seeds of it began in 1993; and in 1997, I left my corporate job to pursue my socio-environmental ideals). In 1998, partly led or influenced by books my friend Richie sent (mostly spiritual reading, but one on ‘circles‘ — a wisdom-gathering, personal healing, and conflict-resolution method originating in aboriginal tribes around the world; see NOTES 8 and 9)**, I concluded that fostering more (democratic-style) cooperatives would be an ideal counterbalance to unchecked global capitalism. Social enterprise and beyond.
I also was studying Organizational Change and Action Learning, and pointed out that the government is an organization like any other, which needs to be made efficient and effective. No surprise there. But it’s the How. And, unfortunately, the conservative Right have indeed closed that gap between business and government — but not by promoting smaller government, as they once claimed, but rather, an ultra-powerful one that serves their cronyism, and business + political objectives. Bending all laws and rules, as it suits their interests. (I used to have an apt quote about how sometimes Big Business feels government regulations simply get in their way.)
Worst of all, it seems government has been totally turned away from being in any way responsive to the people’s needs — despite any appearances to the contrary — and instead, into the worst kind of self-protected and self-interested towering entity. A far cry from being accessible, accountable and transparent. It’s honestly like a futuristic movie. Anyway.
**NOTE 7: The persecution and exile of Jews, and in more recent times, systemic discrimination and attempts at extermination (ie, the Holocaust of World War II, 1939-45), has actually been going on for 2.5 millennia. There are many examples, but I remember being surprised as a young person at quite a few. And later, a Yahoo news article on that subject, which I attempted to post to an older, activist blog, got pulled the next day. So much for freedom of the press. Anyway, here’s one historicalexample of Jewish oppression, and the Wikipedia page on the Persecution of Jews.
**NOTE 8: The “Assymetries of Knowledge” are really apparent if you use different search words about ‘circles’ and ‘circling’ and ‘aboriginal roots or history’.
Thank goodness for Jimmy Roberts today on MSNBC News — refreshing. And like so many other guest commentators who say exactly what they think — without behind the scenes political machinations. Several of his comments rang especially true about the “hyperscrutinization” of people falling “under public scrutiny”; and “I hope you don’t come up with a video of me from 28 years ago,” etc.
[For those ‘in the know’…] My ‘other’ email in my Inbox was not for me to be ‘on top’ of all the others. They were simply comments I wanted to make note of, for those who scrutinize and control all my online accounts; and I had no way to place it in its ‘rightful place’ (ie, bottom of the barrel). Sorry. Having trouble living up to 24/7 moment by moment hyper-control, which has been ongoing for over 2 decades.
Oh, and remote mind and body control are very real possibilities — sometimes just to stoke the fire. I think it was the night before, and AM was listing off a bunch of people from the Select Committee, and my eyes darted to look at him when JR was briefly mentioned, but this happened before I even heard the name. So yeah, way to make it look like I’m bearing a grudge against that person.
My parents have been under remote mind control and spirit possession for well over 15 years — particularly my father. Well, both actually. Behaving, saying and doing things that I know is not how they normally are, or what they would say and do, or how they would behave towards me. All for the great show!
It’s like log-rolling: you never know where you’ll end up.
Indeed, I’ve experienced and been subjected to WP all my life. You might want to look into Ross Stratton (my former roommate’s bf, who stayed overnight with us various times).
Mike, as we knew him, had the largest collection of child pornography ever seized in Canada, including violent sexual abuse images and videos of 6 month olds up to 18 year old teenage girls.
1) “Child molestor jailed 12 years for ‘shocking’ crimes’ (Dec. 7, 2010; Toronto Star)
Of course, the few news articles that remain now have no ‘identifying’ pictures included. And he’s been released from jail. I believe pedophilia is one of those ‘incurable’ disorders.
However, it does seem that redemption and forgiveness are possible — even for some of the *worst* among us. But as usual, a whole lot depends on social connections — who’s in, and who’s out — as has been discussed in various media outlets.
This may be one of the most important articles you will read this year: It also summarizes my 22 years as a surveillance subject and a socio-psycho-political lab rat. Kindly read, if you care anything about your freedom, privacy, independent thinking, and overall life for yourself and future generations on planet earth. My own experiences are at the bottom (most fitting, lol). And, I always said the damn TV sets are spying on us, in every possible way — just like my old computer monitor! (Which I realized too late, I could’ve kept as evidence. But to whom could I turn? No right-minded individual or company would go against the authorities, which is where my situation all began. — LC, June 6, 2022)
The debate on privacy and law at the Federal Trade Commission was unusually heated that day. Tech industry executives “argued that they were capable of regulating themselves and that government intervention would be costly and counterproductive.” Civil libertarians warned that the companies’ data capabilities posed “an unprecedented threat to individual freedom.” One observed, “We have to decide what human beings are in the electronic age. Are we just going to be chattel for commerce?” A commissioner asked, ‘‘Where should we draw the line?” The year was 1997.
The line was never drawn, and the executives got their way. Twenty-three years later the evidence is in. The fruit of that victory was a new economic logic that I call “surveillance capitalism.” Its success depends upon one-way-mirror operations engineered for our ignorance and wrapped in a fog of misdirection, euphemism and mendacity. It rooted and flourished in the new spaces of the internet, once celebrated by surveillance capitalists as “the world’s largest ungoverned space.” But power fills a void, and those once wild spaces are no longer ungoverned. Instead, they are owned and operated by private surveillance capital and governed by its iron laws.
And like our forebears who named the automobile “horseless carriage” because they could not reckon with its true dimension, we regarded the internet platforms as “bulletin boards” where anyone could pin a note. Congress cemented this delusion in a statute, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, absolving those companies of the obligations that adhere to “publishers” or even to “speakers.”
Only repeated crises have taught us that these platforms are not bulletin boards but hyper-velocity global bloodstreams into which anyone may introduce a dangerous virus without a vaccine. This is how Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, could legally refuse to remove a faked video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and later double down on this decision, announcing that political advertising would not be subject to fact-checking.
All of these delusions rest on the most treacherous hallucination of them all: the belief that privacy is private. We have imagined that we can choose our degree of privacy with an individual calculation in which a bit of personal information is traded for valued services — a reasonable quid pro quo.For example, when Delta Air Lines piloted a biometric data system at the Atlanta airport, the company reported that of nearly 25,000 customers who traveled there each week, 98 percent opted into the process, noting that “the facial recognition option is saving an average of two seconds for each customer at boarding, or nine minutes when boarding a wide body aircraft.”
In fact the rapid development of facial recognition systems reveals the public consequences of this supposedly private choice. Surveillance capitalists have demanded the right to take our faces wherever they appear — on a city street or a Facebook page. The Financial Times reported that a Microsoft facial recognition training database of 10 million images plucked from the internet without anyone’s knowledge and supposedly limited to academic research was employed by companies like IBM and state agencies that included the United States and Chinese military. Among these were two Chinese suppliers of equipment to officials in Xinjiang, where members of the Uighur community live in open-air prisons under perpetual surveillance by facial recognition systems.
Privacy is not private, because the effectiveness of these and other private or public surveillance and control systems depends upon the pieces of ourselves that we give up — or that are secretly stolen from us.
Our digital century was to have been democracy’s Golden Age. Instead, we enter its third decade marked by a stark new form of social inequality best understood as “epistemic inequality.” It recalls a pre-Gutenberg era of extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues to such knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself [emphasis, LC]. The delusion of “privacy as private” was crafted to breed and feed this unanticipated social divide. Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself. Distracted by our delusions, we failed to notice this bloodless coup from above [emphasis, LC].
The belief that privacy is private has left us careening toward a future that we did not choose, because it failed to reckon with the profound distinction between a society that insists upon sovereign individual rights and one that lives by the social relations of the one-way mirror. The lesson is that privacy is public — it is a collective good that is logically and morally inseparable from the values of human autonomy and self-determination upon which privacy depends and without which a democratic society is unimaginable.
Still, the winds appear to have finally shifted. A fragile new awareness is dawning as we claw our way back up the rabbit hole toward home. Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus [emphasis added]. They rely on psychic numbing and messages of inevitability to conjure the helplessness, resignation and confusion that paralyze their prey. Democracy is slow, and that’s a good thing. Its pace reflects the tens of millions of conversations that occur in families, among neighbors, co-workers and friends, within communities, cities and states, gradually stirring the sleeping giant of democracy to action.
These conversations are occurring now, and there are many indications that lawmakers are ready to join and to lead. This third decade is likely to decide our fate. Will we make the digital future better, or will it make us worse? Will it be a place that we can call home?
Epistemic inequality is not based on what we can earn but rather on what we can learn. It is defined as unequal access to learning imposed by private commercial mechanisms of information capture, production, analysis and sales. It is best exemplified in the fast-growing abyss between what we know and what is known about us.
Twentieth-century industrial society was organized around the “division of labor,” and it followed that the struggle for economic equality would shape the politics of that time. Our digital century shifts society’s coordinates from a division of labor to a “division of learning,” and it follows that the struggle over access to knowledge and the power conferred by such knowledge will shape the politics ofour time.
The new centrality of epistemic inequality signals a power shift from the ownership of the means of production, which defined the politics of the 20th century, to the ownership of the production of meaning. The challenges of epistemic justice and epistemic rights in this new era are summarized in three essential questions about knowledge, authority and power: Who knows? Who decides who knows? Who decides who decides who knows?
During the last two decades, the leading surveillance capitalists — Google, later followed by Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft — helped to drive this societal transformation while simultaneously ensuring their ascendance to the pinnacle of the epistemic hierarchy. They operated in the shadows to amass huge knowledge monopolies by taking without asking, a maneuver that every child recognizes as theft [emphasis, LC]. Surveillance capitalism begins by unilaterally staking a claim to private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Our lives are rendered as data flows.
Early on, it was discovered that, unknown to users, even data freely given harbors rich predictive signals, a surplus that is more than what is required for service improvement. It isn’t only what you post online, but whether you use exclamation points or the color saturation of your photos; not just where you walk but the stoop of your shoulders; not just the identity of your face but the emotional states conveyed by your “microexpressions”; not just what you like but the pattern of likes across engagements. Soon this behavioral surplus was secretly hunted and captured, claimed as proprietary data.
The data are conveyed through complex supply chains of devices, tracking and monitoring software, andecosystems of apps and companies that specialize in niche data flows captured in secret. For example, testing by The Wall Street Journal showed that Facebook receives heart rate data from the Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, menstrual cycle data from the Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, and data that reveal interest in real estate properties from Realtor.com — all of it without the user’s knowledge.
These data flows empty into surveillance capitalists’ computational factories, called “artificial intelligence,” where they are manufactured into behavioral predictions that are about us, but they are not for us. Instead, they are sold to business customers in a new kind of market that trades exclusively in human futures. Certainty in human affairs is the lifeblood of these markets, where surveillance capitalists compete on the quality of their predictions. This is a new form of trade that birthed some of the richest and most powerful companies in history (see NOTE 3).***
In order to achieve their objectives, the leading surveillance capitalists sought to establish unrivaled dominance over the 99.9 percent of the world’s information now rendered in digital formats that they helped to create. Surveillance capital has built most of the world’s largest computer networks, data centers, populations of servers, undersea transmission cables, advanced microchips, and frontier machine intelligence, igniting an arms race for the 10,000 or so specialists on the planet who know how to coax knowledge from these vast new data continents.
With Google in the lead, the top surveillance capitalists seek to control labor markets in critical expertise, including data science and animal research, elbowing out competitors such as start-ups, universities, high schools, municipalities, established corporations in other industries and less wealthy countries. In 2016, 57 percent of American computer science Ph.D. graduates took jobs in industry, while only 11 percent became tenure-track faculty members. It’s not just an American problem. In Britain, university administrators contemplate a “missing generation” of data scientists. A Canadian scientist laments, “the power, the expertise, the data are all concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”
Google created the first insanely lucrative markets to trade in human futures, what we now know as online targeted advertising, based on their predictions of which ads users would click. Between 2000, when the new economic logic was just emerging, and 2004, when the company went public, revenues increased by 3,590 percent. This startling number represents the “surveillance dividend.” It quickly reset the bar for investors, eventually driving start-ups, apps developers and established companies to shift their business models toward surveillance capitalism.The promise of a fast track to outsized revenues from selling human futures drove this migration first to Facebook, then through the tech sector and now throughout the rest of the economy to industries as disparate as insurance, retail, finance, education, health care, real estate, entertainment and every product that begins with the word “smart” or service touted as “personalized.” [OR “private / privacy” and “secure / security“; addendum mine, LC.]
Even Ford, the birthplace of the 20th-century mass production economy, is on the trail of the surveillance dividend, proposing to meet the challenge of slumping car sales by reimagining Ford vehicles as a “transportation operating system.” As one analyst put it, Ford “could make a fortune monetizing data. They won’t need engineers, factories or dealers to do it. It’s almost pure profit.”
Surveillance capitalism’s economic imperatives were refined in the competition to sell certainty. Early on it was clear that machine intelligence must feed on volumes of data, compelling economies of scale in data extraction. Eventually it was understood that volume is necessary but not sufficient. The best algorithms also require varieties of data — economies of scope. This realization helped drive the “mobile revolution” sending users into the real world armed with cameras, computers, gyroscopes and microphones packed inside their smart new phones. In the competition for scope, surveillance capitalists want your home and what you say and do within its walls. They want your car, your medical conditions, and the shows you stream; your location as well as all the streets and buildings in your path and all the behavior of all the people in your city. They want your voice and what you eat and what you buy; your children’s play time and their schooling; your brain waves and your bloodstream. Nothing is exempt.
Unequal knowledge about us produces unequal power over us, and so epistemic inequality widens to include the distance between what we can do and what can be done to us. Data scientists describe this as the shift from monitoring to actuation, in which a critical mass of knowledge about a machine system enables the remote control of that system. Now people have become targets for remote control, as surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in behavior to tune, herd and modify action in the direction of commercial objectives. This third imperative, “economies of action,” has become an arena of intense experimentation. “We are learning how to write the music,” one scientist said, “and then we let the music make them dance.”
This new power “to make them dance” does not employ soldiers to threaten terror and murder. It arrives carrying a cappuccino, not a gun. It is a new “instrumentarian” power that works its will through the medium of ubiquitous digital instrumentation to manipulate subliminal cues, psychologically target communications, impose default choice architectures, trigger social comparison dynamics and levy rewards and punishments — all of it aimed at remotely tuning, herding and modifying human behavior in the direction of profitable outcomes and always engineered to preserve users’ ignorance. [Emphasis, LC. And also, I would question whether it is just profit-making? What about politics, politicians and voting trends? Or driving people towards specific new people and interests, and either radical or conservative social attitudes and values? The list of possibilities for moulding people and countries / societies is endless, as per below.]
We saw predictive knowledge morphing into instrumentarian power in Facebook’s contagion experiments published in 2012 and 2014, when it planted subliminal cues and manipulated social comparisons on its pages, first to influence users to vote in midterm elections and later to make people feel sadder or happier. Facebook researchers celebrated the success of these experiments noting two key findings: that it was possible to manipulate online cues to influence real world behavior and feelings, and that this could be accomplished while successfully bypassing users’ awareness.
In 2016, the Google-incubated augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, tested economies of action on the streets. Game players did not know that they were pawns in the real game of behavior modification for profit, as the rewards and punishments of hunting imaginary creatures were used to herd people to the McDonald’s, Starbucks and local pizza joints that were paying the company for “footfall,” in exactly the same way that online advertisers pay for “click through” to their websites.
In 2017, a leaked Facebook document acquired by The Australian exposed the corporation’s interest in applying “psychological insights” from “internal Facebook data” to modify user behavior. The targets were 6.4 million young Australians and New Zealanders. “By monitoring posts, pictures, interactions and internet activity in real time,” the executives wrote, “Facebook can work out when young people feel ‘stressed,’ ‘defeated,’ ‘overwhelmed,’ ‘anxious,’ ‘nervous,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘silly,’ ‘useless’ and a ‘failure.’” This depth of information, they explained, allows Facebook to pinpoint the time frame during which a young person needs a “confidence boost” and is most vulnerable to a specific configuration of subliminal cues and triggers. The data are then used to match each emotional phase with appropriate ad messaging for the maximum probability of guaranteed sales.
Facebook denied these practices, though a former product manager accused the company of “lying through its teeth.” The fact is that in the absence of corporate transparency and democratic oversight, epistemic inequality rules. They know. They decide who knows. They decide who decides.
The public’s intolerable knowledge disadvantage is deepened by surveillance capitalists’ perfection of mass communications as gaslighting. [Mine has also been real in-home gaslighting; particularly from 2001 to 2005; occasionally between 2013 to 2019; then, distinctly from October 2019 to April 2020, and April 1, 2022 to the present, June 2022. — LC] Two examples are illustrative. On April 30, 2019 Mark Zuckerberg made a dramatic announcement at the company’s annual developer conference, declaring, “The future is private.” A few weeks later, a Facebook litigator appeared before a federal district judge in California to thwart a user lawsuit over privacy invasion, arguing that the very act of using Facebook negates any reasonable expectation of privacy “as a matter of law.” In May 2019 Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, wrote in The Timesof his corporations’s commitment to the principle that“privacy cannot be a luxury good.” Five months later Google contractors were found offering $5 gift cards to homeless people of color in an Atlanta park in return for a facial scan.
Facebook’s denial invites even more scrutiny in light of another leaked company document appearing in 2018. The confidential report offers rare insight into the heart of Facebook’s computational factory, where a “prediction engine” runs on a machine intelligence platform that “ingests trillions of data points every day, trains thousands of models” and then “deploys them to the server fleet for live predictions.” Facebook notes that its “prediction service” produces “more than 6 million predictions per second.” But to what purpose?
In its report, the company makes clear that these extraordinary capabilities are dedicated to meeting its corporate customers’ “core business challenges” with procedures that link prediction, microtargeting, intervention and behavior modification. For example, a Facebook service called “loyalty prediction” is touted for its ability to plumb proprietary behavioral surplus to predict individuals who are “at risk” of shifting their brand allegiance and alerting advertisers to intervene promptly with targeted messages designed to stabilize loyalty just in time to alter the course of the future.
That year a young man named Christopher Wylie turned whistle-blower on his former employer, a political consultancy known as Cambridge Analytica. “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles,” Wylie admitted, “and built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.” [Emphasis, LC.] Mr. Wylie characterized those techniques as “information warfare,” correctly assessing that such shadow wars are built on asymmetries of knowledge and the power it affords. Less clear to the public or lawmakers was that the political firm’s strategies of secret invasion and conquest employed surveillance capitalism’s standard operating procedures to which billions of innocent “users” are routinely subjected each day. Mr. Wylie described this mirroring process, as he followed a trail that was already cut and marked. Cambridge Analytica’s real innovation was to pivot the whole undertaking from commercial to political objectives. [Emphasis, LC.]
In other words, Cambridge Analytica was the parasite, and surveillance capitalism was the host. Thanks to its epistemic dominance, surveillance capitalism provided the behavioral data that exposed the targets for assault. Its methods of behavioral microtargeting and behavioral modification became the weapons. And it was surveillance capitalism’s lack of accountability for content on its platform afforded by Section 230 that provided the opportunity for the stealth attacks designed to trigger the inner demons of unsuspecting citizens. [Emphasis, LC.]
It’s not just that epistemic inequality leaves us utterly vulnerable to the attacks of actors like Cambridge Analytica. The larger and more disturbing point is that surveillance capitalism has turned epistemic inequality into a defining condition of our societies, normalizing information warfare as a chronic feature of our daily reality prosecuted by the very corporations upon which we depend for effective social participation. [And our hacked digital devices, etc; ibid, LC.] They have the knowledge, the machines, the science and the scientists, the secrets and the lies. All privacy now rests with them, leaving us with few means of defense from these marauding data invaders. Without law, we scramble to hide in our own lives, while our children debate encryption strategies around the dinner table and students wear masks to public protests as protection from facial recognition systems built with our family photos.
In the absence of new declarations of epistemic rights and legislation, surveillance capitalism threatens to remake society as it unmakes democracy. From below, it undermines human agency, usurping privacy, diminishing autonomy and depriving individuals of the right to combat. From above, epistemic inequality and injustice are fundamentally incompatible with the aspirations of a democratic people. [ibid, LC.]
We know that surveillance capitalists work in the shadows, but what they do there and the knowledge they accrue are unknown to us. They have the means to know everything about us, but we can know little about them. Their knowledge of us is not for us. Instead, our futures are sold for others’ profits. Since that Federal Trade Commission meeting in 1997, the line was never drawn, and people did become chattel for commerce. Another destructive delusion is that this outcome was inevitable — an unavoidable consequence of convenience-enhancing digital technologies. The truth is that surveillance capitalism hijacked the digital medium. There was nothing inevitable about it.
American lawmakers have been reluctant to take on these challenges for many reasons. One is an unwritten policy of “surveillance exceptionalism” forged in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when the government’s concerns shifted from online privacy protections to a new zeal for “total information awareness.” In that political environment the fledgling surveillance capabilities emerging from Silicon Valley appeared to hold great promise.
Surveillance capitalists have also defended themselves with lobbying and forms of propaganda intended to undermine and intimidate lawmakers, confounding judgment and freezing action. These have received relatively little scrutiny compared to the damage they do. Consider two examples:
The first is the assertion that democracy threatens prosperity and innovation. Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt explained in 2011, “we took the position of ‘hands off the internet.’ You know, leave us alone … The government can make regulatory mistakes that can slow this whole thing down, and we see that and we worry about it.” This propaganda is recycled from the Gilded Age barons, whom we now call “robbers.” They insisted that there was no need for law when one had the “law of survival of the fittest,” the “laws of capital” and the “law of supply and demand.”
Paradoxically, surveillance capital does not appear to drive innovation. A promising new era of economic research shows the critical role that government and democratic governance have played in innovation and suggests a lack of innovation in big tech companies like Google. Surveillance capitalism’s information dominance is not dedicated to the urgent challenges of carbon-free energy, eliminating hunger, curing cancers, ridding the oceans of plastic or flooding the world with well paid, smart, loving teachers and doctors. Instead, we see a frontier operation run by geniuses with vast capital and computational power that is furiously dedicated to the lucrative science and economics of human prediction for profit.
The second form of propaganda is the argument that the success of the leading surveillance capitalist firms reflects the real value they bring to people. But data from the demand side suggest that surveillance capitalism is better understood as a market failure. Instead of a close alignment of supply and demand, people use these services because they have no comparable alternatives and because they are ignorant of surveillance capitalism’s shadow operations and their consequences. Pew Research Center recently reported that 81 percent of Americans believe the potential risks of companies’ data collection outweigh the benefits, suggesting that corporate success depends upon coercion and obfuscation rather than meeting people’s real needs.
In his prizewinning history of regulation, the historian Thomas McCraw delivers a warning. Across the centuries regulators failed when they did not frame “strategies appropriate to the particular industries they were regulating.” Existing privacy and antitrust laws are vital but neither will be wholly adequate to the new challenges of reversing epistemic inequality.
[It’s way too late: a seemingly playful, highly invasive and competitive, potentially lethal for some, and fundamentally unequal and unjust global fascism is already here. A Garden of Eden, eventually, for those on the right side, or in the correct groups, or have certain status (power, wealth, etc), or are simply ‘in the know’ — LC, June 6, 2021]
These contests of the 21st century demand a framework of epistemic rights enshrined in law and subject to democratic governance. Such rights would interrupt data supply chains by safeguarding the boundaries of human experience before they come under assault from the forces of datafication. [Haaahaaaha!!! — LC] The choice to turn any aspect of one’s life into data must belong to individuals by virtue of their rights in a democratic society. [Bahahaaa!!! — LC] This means, for example, that companies cannot claim the right to your face, or use your face as free raw material for analysis, or own and sell any computational products that derive from your face. The conversation on epistemic rights has already begun, reflected in a pathbreaking report from Amnesty International.
On the demand side, we can outlaw human futures markets and thus eliminate the financial incentives that sustain the surveillance dividend. This is not a radical prospect. For example, societies outlaw markets that trade in human organs, babies and slaves. [Does that work effectively? NO! — LC] In each case, we recognize that such markets are both morally repugnant and produce predictably violent consequences. Human futures markets can be shown to produce equally predictable outcomes that challenge human freedom and undermine democracy. Like subprime mortgages and fossil fuel investments, surveillance assets will become the new toxic assets.
[There’s far too much voyeuristic pleasure, entertainment value, and better-than-thou satisfaction involved for ‘surveillance assets’ to become ‘toxic assets’ or ever be outlawed and eliminated. — LC]
In support of a new competitive landscape, lawmakers will need to champion new forms of collective action, just as nearly a century ago legal protections for the rights to organize, to strike and to bargain collectively united lawmakers and workers in curbing the powers of monopoly capitalists. Lawmakers must seek alliances with citizens who are deeply concerned over the unchecked power of the surveillance capitalists and with workers who seek fair wages and reasonable security in defiance of the precarious employment conditions that define the surveillance economy.
Anything made by humans can be unmade by humans. Surveillance capitalism is young, barely 20 years in the making, but democracy is old, rooted in generations of hope and contest.
Surveillance capitalists are rich and powerful, but they are not invulnerable. They have an Achilles heel: fear. They fear lawmakers who do not fear them. They fear citizens who demand a new road forward as they insist on new answers to old questions: Who will know? Who will decide who knows? Who will decide who decides? Who will write the music, and who will dance?
Shoshana Zuboff (@ShoshanaZuboff) is professor emerita at Harvard Business School and the author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.”
It is truly upsetting (and both angering! and humiliating?) to say this — but this ONE article has completely encapsulated what I have tried so desperately to communicate to people in various half-crazed rants about my surveillance situation for so many years (21 to 24 years, to be exact).*
*NOTE 1: The surveillance seemed to begin in 1998, following a misunderstanding over my passport. In time, with my eclectic and unconventional interests, as well as a strong activist bent and outspoken, yet evolving political views — plus, a year away in India and Hong Kong — the surveillance of my home and game-playing activities became highly noticeable in 2001, just prior to the 9-11 attacks. However, after Sept 11, it gradually escalated into a pitched battle for personal privacy, freedom, survival and safety (or protection from invasions).
And all because of my absolute foolishness and selfish dramas (somewhat understandable, if you don’t like having your home, privacy and every intimate activity, computer, belongings, personal history, and social networks totally infiltrated), so many unnecessary tragedies took place. I can understand people’s scorn towards me now. Pathetic; self-obssessed; completely uncaring about others, and so much more.
There is also some devilish imp inside me**, which has been actively provoked for so long through these highly calculated, data-generated attack strategies, stirring up my ‘microexpressions’, etc. I don’t know why so! They were indeed “shadow wars…built on [total] asymmetries of knowledge and [power]” (to loosely paraphrase author Shoshana Zuboff), which resulted in major oppression, traumas, subjugation and an eventual mental meltdown on my side. I am truly sorry for everything. Yet, the imp remains.
**NOTE 2: Pastor John Osteen, father of Joel, describes very well his experience of spotting a demon in the eyes of a female congregant, in his CD “Living With Compassion, I believe it’s called.
***NOTE 3: Author Shoshana Zuboff stated: “markets, where surveillance capitalists compete on the quality of their predictions. This is a new form of trade that birthed some of the richest and most powerful companies in history.“
Here are a few benign experiences of seeming data extractions and profile analyses during my / our early surveillance years:
In 2006, I was watching an episode of CSI: Miami, which showed young, hip, well-off yacht guests taking and making bets on when different celebrities would die etc. I figured it must be a hot new trend. It also explains to me, in light of the article above, why the online gambling industry is flourishing and being so actively encouraged, nowadays. It’s fun, yes; but may also be an excellent source pool of predictive behaviours, risk-taking tendencies, skills in bluffing, etc — old as the dawn of humanity, and God’s infinite creations. Moreover, it’s worth noting my long-time friend’s PhD thesis in corporate finance law and derivates, also makes the fine distinction that gambling and lotteries ought to fall under a separate category — even though, technically, “Derivatives are gambling like “poker” is gambling” (Quora.com). This was/is an industry-disrupting conclusion he came to after researching and comparing similar legislation in the U.S., Britain, and Canada to Australia’s laws. This finding could likely affect the country’s regulating body and any legal cases filed, right up to the highest courts.
I know nothing about finances and investments; yet, my friend is an excellent teacher, who helped me to understand that this was the crux of his thesis. As well, a couple of years prior to the CSI: Miami episode, someone I know was randomly invited to join an online poker site to win free prizes. I knew, then, this was most likely an ‘information gathering opportunity’ created by my surveillers. A few years later, I, too, received a random email inviting me to participate in a very intriguing environmental contest, which kept me highly engaged and actively participating. I supposedly won from out of 1,000 initial participants that were eventually reduced down to 25. Anyway, this is what the past 22 years have been like: sensing inside so many ‘constructed’, (or to me) ‘contrived’ and ‘manipulated’ events, yet being unable to say, do or prove anything about them. The above are all extremely positive, benign examples; and yet, so many others have been dark, extremely stressful, or even tragic. — LC; June 6, 2022]
Elsewhere noted in my ‘confessional posts’ that I have strongly believed in holistic approaches and social inclusivity in sustainably solving global and socio-environmental problems for quite some time — despite those admittedly bad f**k-ups (in 1982; 1988; 1996). (I do have further proof that I haven’t been a self-centred, seemingly self-serving sociopathic narcissist all my life.)
Quite a few folks I encountered in both the social and green movements seemed to be antagonistic towards other areas of human endeavour, like technology, Big Business, the megabuck world of professional sports, Olympics, space exploration, etc — or perhaps, like me, felt there could be a rebalancing of the socioeconomic-environmental et al equations, through the participation, engagement and support of all sides — or, particularly, it seems, the general masses and ‘the powers that be’.
Yet, it would seem greater awareness of a Master Plan, and wiser, far-seeing involvement and co-operation from those who wielded the most power has been key; possibly, but not limited to:
): To help create a win-win-win situation for all (or maybe some, in the end). The fact is, you can’t (or shouldn’t) keep people from excelling in whatever areas they may gravitate towards (not that murder, hate, etc, should be encouraged) — and truly we are seeing divergent worlds come together and support mutual areas of concern and human development. Awesome!
corporate leaders / managers;
digital media creators, personalities, and influencers of all kinds;
computer programmers, tech experts of all types;
scientists, particularly ‘data scientists’;
successful and strategic activists;
waymakers and pathbreakers in all spheres, etc
And a key activator has been Big Brother, behind the scenes (a co-operation among countries).
(Stay tuned for “surveillance capitalists”.)
Perhaps everything in the multiverse comes down to numbers and algorithms; but also systems, ecosystems, and galaxies working in co-ordination with one another: An ‘all that is’ INTERCONNECTEDNESS? Though that, too, has its hierarchies.
It’s been happening, and is part of the New Dawn of Civilization (?). For example: Every tree on earth will eventually be microchipped for data, and monitored from satellites above; and every sport and athlete a bunch of computations, etc. And yet, gambling, too, feeds the algorithmic data collection; plus, strategic stoking of primal instincts among citizenry (eg, survival, conquest, game-play, sex, etc), and evolution-enhancing partnerships. Wowza.
(I’ve been in such a restrictive ‘digital information bubble’ for so long, I actually asked my cousin last year what ‘STEM’ was (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). References had vaguely crossed my path a few times (in print, mostly), but I didn’t pay attention. Lol)
And you just have to watch an episode of Bull to get an idea of both trial analysis science and trial consultants – kind of ‘gaming the system’. (NOTES: Interestingly, Bull is going off-air now, Spring 2022; I believe the remote earphone technology they use in the show was already possible 20 years ago; and btw, you will increasingly find certain internet articles don’t display a publication date, along with other ways information is being jumbled):
“No Bull: True Tales of Real Life Trial Consultants” (full article, below)
Can’t find the original news segment on hockey and AI. I think the date changed on one of the articles, below. Anyway, they are in search rank order.
Apr 6, 2018
AI-Powered Hockey Analytics: A Game Changer
Analytics are all the rage in professional sports. The concept can be traced back to American statistician Bill James, who introduced his “Sabermetrics” method for in-game baseball analysis in the 1970s. When the NBA’s Golden State Warriors decided to favour three-pointers over two-point shots in 2016, the winning strategy sent a shockwave through professional basketball. This was a “data-driven decision” based on higher score probability, explains Alex Martynov.
Martynov is the 24-year old founder of ICEBERG, a Canadian startup using AI algorithms in sports analytics with a focus on ice hockey. Three years ago, Alex shared the idea of an AI sports analytics company with his investor father, who helped him kickstart the idea with $25,000. Not much, but it was enough for Alex to gather programmer friends in Toronto and Moscow and put together a working prototype.
ICEBERG installs a set of three FLIR thermal cameras around the rink before the start of each game. The video has lower resolution than an iPhone recording, but provides the constant full-ice view the company’s algorithms require, as broadcast feeds typically leave 50 percent or more of the ice surface and players out of frame.
Artificial neural networks are trained to recognize all moving entities on the ice surface: 12 players grouped by jersey color, on-ice officials, and a small black puck that can reach speeds of 160 kph (100 mph). Computer vision algorithms previously trained on a dataset containing 10,000 variations of numbers from all angles can identify each player by jersey number.
By tracking player and puck coordinates 10 times per second, a sixty-minute game will generate one million data points. The algorithm matches individual player coordinates with those of the puck to record their passes, body checks, giveaways and takeaways, shots, and goals. Typically, about 7–9 percent of all shots result in goals, and variance here predicts higher or lower goal probability.
ICEBERG’s AI tracks a total of 500 different metrics which correspond to player and team behavior, and the company sometimes finds statistical nuances that are counterintuitive to hardcore fans or watchful coaches.
In a match between favorite Canada and underdog Switzerland, Iceberg’s AI found that Switzerland skated 1.7 more kilometers and were 5–10 centimeters closer to the puck in micro-episodes. The Swiss also had longer puck possession and generated 2.48 more expected goals (xG). Switzerland’s superior metrics should deliver a win seven times out of ten. But Canada won the game 3–0. Why?
Martynov explains that “about 40 percent of all game outcomes is luck, but the other 60 percent can be predicted, which is what we are trying to do — predicting what isn’t random. Our clients can play five games and lose five times in a row, but data will show that they could’ve won every time. The coach will call our analyst, and we tell them, ‘calm down, it’s just the variation, you will get back to the mean, if you continue playing like this you will win five games in a row’.”
ICEBERG uses NVIDIA’s GPU and marketing expertise and Microsoft Azure’s cloud storage. The company also participates in NVIDIA’s Inception Program.
Portal subscription fee ranges from US$400 — $800 per game. If a team plays 60 games in a season that’s approximately US$30,000. Clients receive a report the morning after each game and can access detailed game numbers from the portal. ICEBERG also has on-call analysts to answer clients’ questions.
Finding clients can be a long process of convincing the coach, the manager, and the owner. ICEBERG’s deal with Austria’sRed Bull Salzburg required four months of negotiation. “There are coaches who are confused, asking ‘why do I need this?’” says Martynov. “We are not trying to replace the coach or the manager, but give teams an edge. It makes hockey more intellectual.”
There are also cases like Swedish teams Växjö Lakers and Färjestad BK, who signed contracts in five minutes. The competitive edge of data analytics is too good to be ignored.
“Currently, We have a market share of 5–7% of global professional hockey teams. But it’s not moving as fast as I would like,” says Martynov, “We want to go into the soccer market after this. If you get two percent of the soccer market, that’s approximately the same as the entire hockey market. We started in the niche market, but hockey is also a very complicated sport where players skate fast, collide often, change every minute, not to mention the puck is very small. Technically, it’s easy to downgrade from hockey into other sports.”
Journalist: Meghan Han | Editor: Michael Sarazen
“Rage Against the Machine [Learning]” Hockey vs. Data Science
A strong understanding of math is one skill commonly needed to be a successful data scientist. Some of the most successful data scientists have a vast array of mathematical skills they can use — along with programming expertise — to run a data science project.
Often when Cyberans discuss machine learning and data science with business leaders and those in the start-up community, we try to find real-world applications to provide as examples. Over the last few years finding examples has become easier. Data science has become more common with the increase in availability of increased computing power and cost effective cloud infrastructure like cloud resources.
For instance, in January of this year, Alex Tennant — one of our data scientists — asked himself the question, “when discussing data science and machine learning, what is a relatable example for Canadians and Albertans?” The answer: hockey!
With machine learning, we frequently hear how automation will replace humans in decision making. So, to put this to the test, Alex programmed an algorithm that would choose the best fantasy hockey picks. For those who aren’t familiar with fantasy hockey, it essentially all boils down to math. You select players, referred to as “picks”, with the purpose of putting together a team of NHL players that will give you the most “fantasy points” in each game during that season. Points are awarded based on real-life player wins, goals, assists, +/-, saves by a goalie, etc. This was an especially interesting challenge for Alex to take on, because he doesn’t know a lot about hockey, but is good at math.
The Draft and an Abrupt End
After much trial and error, Alex trained six “bots” using different selection parameters to test several theories on how to make efficient picks. He then recruited a couple people at Cybera to test these theories: one who knows quite a bit about hockey and is good at math; and myself, who watches hockey — but is nowhere near an expert —, and is okay at math (I guess that made me the control).
We did a mock fantasy draft where us humans and the bots all picked separate players. Each week, all participants would manage our team line ups, based on which player we thought would garner more points. The bots would take into consideration things like injuries, previous years’ points, and present performances. The humans would do the same (admittedly myself, very poorly), with a pinch of gut instinct and humanity playing a role in our choices.
Our test abruptly ended when COVID-19 struck, leading to the remainder of the NHL season being cancelled. Despite this, the test became a relatable tool for introducing people to the world of data science and machine learning. It was used in several introductory workshops that Cybera presented last winter across the province.
COVID Ended the Demo…What’s Next?
What did we learn after the abrupt end? One of the Cybera’s employees (who went by the name “Bron Tiiu” in the fantasy pool) fared very well against the bots. They beat five out of the six machines, and came awfully close to being victorious over the AI. This human participant had a fundamental understanding of the factors that might make a hockey player successful. They took into consideration if a player had momentum (hot streak) , or if the player’s team was facing challenges. They could also take the performance numbers into consideration, and look at how those come into play against other extenuating circumstances.
Frequently, when discussing machine learning and data science, the topic “subject matter expertise” arises. You can have the best data scientist in the world. However, if the data scientist doesn’t have the background knowledge about the subject they’re working on, they won’t understand the context around the data, which can sometimes lead to the project failing. So as “Bron Tiiu” showed us, having context to the numbers was vitally important. If Alex had some of that expertise, his bots might have performed better. This is a perfect example of why you should leverage your data in unison with a subject matter expert.
So, what’s next? Alex has used the data that was collected to refine the bots. With the NHL’s 24 team post-season having begun this month, we’re now testing two bots against a wider group of Cybera employees. This will be a very interesting test, because the way the NHL is conducting the postseason (running all games in just two locations) has never been done before, which makes using “context” to determine outcomes challenging. There are other factors that may drive outcomes, including fluke wins, players having not played for months, and previously hurt players having had months to recuperate. Either way, we will find out if a machine can fully overcome the knowledge and experience of a human.
“I change people’s minds for a living. Especially the juries” Dr. Jason Bull CBS-TV-BULL
Hollywood’s entertainment industry has long had a fascination with the legal system. From Perry Mason and Matlock to Law and Order, lawyer dramas have dominated the television airwaves. But now there is a new player on the small screen, a one-hour drama on the CBS Television Network created by former trial consultant turned TV personality, Dr. Phil McGraw. The title character, a charming rogue named Dr. Jason Bull, played by actor Michael Weatherly, is a Psychologist with degrees in 3 disciplines who leads a litigation consulting firm named Trial Analysis Corporation. TAC inhabits a high-tech New York City office and features a staff which includes new generation characters such as; a smart, driven young woman assistant; a young Hispanic former prosecutor who leads mock trials; an oddly named Millennial hacker; a tough, female former FBI investigator and a male Vogue stylist. Together they practice what is often called Trial Science, a multi-discipline study of behavioral sciences, linguistics, mass communications, training, and education techniques and more. The episodes have been introducing the audience to the characters and the work they do, building dramatic tension, sharing backstories and giving examples of topics which form the basis of many real-life studies which are conducted by real-life trial consultants.
But it is impossible to tell a complete story in 43 minutes, where acts and scenes are written with commercial breaks in mind. And sometimes entertainment considerations may take precedence and a certain dramatic license may shade a story arc. So when I see a “trial consultant” who instructs his staff to hack into a juror’s computer and plant a fake news story, I just have to say “what the…” and remember that I am watching a television drama. And if I am offended by this portrayal of a profession I embrace I just listen to the words of the show’s producer Dr. Phil, who, when interviewed about the show tells folks including real-life Trial Consultants, “It’s Hollywood. Get over it.”
THIS IS NOT AN ARTICLE ABOUT A TELEVISION SHOW.
This is more, an introduction to a respected profession which embraces a wide variety of practices and the national organization that promotes that profession. I would like to introduce you to the Very Wide World of Trial Consulting.
“We’ll know what a jury’s going to come back with. We’ll know because that’s what we do. That’s what trial science is.” Dr. Jason Bull
Because an accurate explanation requires expert knowledge I thought it best to use the words of some of the nation’s top trial consultants, testifying as it were, about what they see as their profession and their roles in the justice system. They come from very diverse backgrounds from research science to the law, from applied work in psychology to marketing, advertising, and public opinion research. From professional communication applications, from drama, training and education to mass communications, behavioral science, linguistics and more. But there is one common thread which binds this group of professionals, the ASTC.
Founded in 1982 as the Association of Trial Behavior Consultants, the American Society of Trial Consultants is the only national body to create professional standards and practice guidelines for Trial Consultants; to bring together an extensive repository of reference materials, and provide training and continuing education, business development and networking opportunities for ASTC members and attorneys. The goals of the Society are presented in its Mission Statement:
The ASTC Mission. “Our legal system is based on the principle that each party putting forward the best case – making the most of facts, law and presentation skill – allows the truth to win out far more often than not. In that kind of a system, the goals of the ASTC lie at the very heart of the law’s ability to deliver justice. We help litigators become better at persuading jurors and other fact-finders, and that makes the system work in a way that is more meaningful, more reliable, and ultimately, more fair.”
ASTC has a membership from across the country (currently 45 states). Membership has grown from 19 in 1983 to a diverse group today that is over 400 strong. Members bring skills forged in a number of academic disciplines (including psychology, communication, theatre, sociology, law, and many others) to the tasks identified by the Society in 1982.
Member consultants provide some or all of the following services: case theory and presentation, community attitude surveys, continuing legal education seminars, deposition preparation, expert testimony, focus groups, graphics and demonstrative evidence, jury selection, language and the law, media relations, mediation and arbitration (ADR), mock jury trials, negotiations, opening statement and closing argument preparation and evaluation, post-trial juror interviews, presentation strategy, pro bono services, trial simulations, trial technology, voir dire strategy, change of venue studies and witness preparation. The Society recognizes there are many avenues and aspects of trial consulting. As the ASTC has grown over the years, it has addressed a number of issues crucial to all professions, while continually improving the skills, visibility, and standing of the profession of litigation consulting. To that end, members have created the ASTC Code of Professional Standards.
The Code provides enforceable standards and offers guidance in many areas common to trial consultants working in this diverse field. The Code provides for: ETHICAL PRINCIPLES, PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS , and PRACTICE GUIDELINES.
Under ETHICAL PRINCIPLES is: COMPETENCE: Trial consultants strive to maintain high standards of competence in their work. They recognize the boundaries of their particular competencies and the limitations of their expertise. When in the role of trial consultant, the member does not practice law but seeks to enhance the practice of law by facilitating the skills of the legal practitioner. Trial consultants are dedicated to providing the legal community with information on litigation related behavior and communication. They provide only those services and use only those techniques for which they are qualified by education, training, or experience. They maintain knowledge of relevant professional information related to the services they render.”
Under the heading of GENERAL PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS are categories which include: Consultant-Client Relationship, Training and Provision of Services and Conflicts of Interest.
And for PRACTICE GUIDELINES the Society has created specific Standards and Guidelines in major fields of practice including Venue Survey, Witness Preparation, Small Group Research, Jury Selection, Post-Trial Juror Interviews and Online Research.
BUT REALLY, WHAT IS TRIAL CONSULTING?
One of the biggest disciplines in Trial Consulting is Jury Selection and Persuasion. Daniel Dugan, Ph.D. an ASTC member and Trial Consultant with Trial Science, Inc. in Reno NV compares his approach with bicycling in time trial competitions, where each rider starts at their own assigned time and race against the clock. During the race, you have no idea what place you are in and results are not posted until everyone is finished. Kind of like a jury trial to verdict. As Dr. Dugan describes it:”Our clients have one chance to put on their case in front of a jury. All the practice arguments, powerpoint slides, animations, etc., that we test in front of focus groups and mock jurors are performed to hone in on making our telling of our story the best that it can be. We are sophisticated in our practice and rehearsal techniques and we learn [usually by trial and error and feedback from our test audiences] what works and what does not. The feedback shapes our final effort. Our clients are allowed to have a fair and impartial jury hear their case. We cannot advise who to put on the jury, but we can suggest who to take off. Our science, however, we practice it as professionals, is to be very good at finding even the tiniest bit of bias that a prospective juror might have against our client and to suggest to our attorney who that person is and why they might hurt us. Most of the time we are faced with finding relative levels of bias and challenging the most biased while having to settle for some remaining bias among other jurors. The point is, our job is to eliminate bias as much as possible and just because we are very good at what we do does not mean we have manipulated anything at all. Then we have to sit back and wait for the outcome. We have no control over what the other side might do, what jurors decide is important or not to them, or how the dynamics of the deliberations are going to play out. We do our pre-trial work to be fully prepared for our one shot at a decision and the rest is out of our control or beyond manipulation.”
CAN A JURY REALLY BE MANIPULATED?
Often, people speak of “manipulating” juries, that trial consultants, using scientific techniques and tools can somehow mysteriously cause jurors to believe the unbelievable. David Illig, Ph.D., of Litigation Psychology in Portland Oregon writes: “A valuable thing to teach both witnesses and attorneys is that we should analyze communications in terms of BOTH ‘intent’ and ‘impact.’ You can have all the certainty you want about what your intention is, as a speaker. However, the impact is located in the audience, not the sender. ‘Manipulation’ is most often associated in people’s brains (audiences) with ‘improper’ influence, ‘unfair’ influence, and ‘incorrect’ impact. It is more often associated with being dissociated from the ‘truth,’ rather than associated with getting to the truth. Furthermore, saying that both attorneys and litigation consultants are attempting to manipulate the juries is damaging to the image of the court system. Symbols make a huge difference. Humans are symbolic creatures.”
And another voice on the topic of manipulation is Charlotte “Charli” Morris, M.A. of Raleigh, NC, co-author (with the late Dr. Richard Crawford, ASTC Past President) of The Persuasive Edge (Second Edition) and founder of Legal Communications Consulting. Charli writes:”I find it disrespectful toward jurors to talk about manipulating them. I don’t take them for granted. I don’t believe we control their minds or their behaviors or their decisions. I want to know what they believe before they sit on my client’s case so I can think about ways to connect our message to their experience and attitudes. I want to eliminate folks who reveal the bias that is most harmful to our case so they can’t unfairly manipulate the outcome of a trial. But that is an open and honest exchange that our attorney-clients can have during voir dire. And that is a direct connection we can make between our evidence and arguments and a juror’s life experience and attitudes. That is a healthy and non-manipulative connection we can make between our case and who they are.”
ASTC: GIVING BACK TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION
Another goal of the ASTC is the collection and distribution of knowledge and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, opinions, techniques, experiences and research results in the area of trial consulting. And the results are outstanding. The ASTC has recognized that both the members and the broader academic and legal community have a strong interest in what trial consultants know, the research we rely on, and the experience we have gathered from study, research, and experience. The ASTC has brought its publications to the membership and to an ever-widening audience. These communication outlets include:
ASTC Web – our general public and members-only website found at http://www.astcweb.org where you will find, among other features, a Consultant Locator and links to publications including:
Deliberations ASTCBlog: The purpose of Deliberations is to provide consultants and litigators from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to disseminate and discuss important information about the field of litigation consulting to the broader legal community. Deliberations provides a forum to discuss not only “tips of the trade,” but also important (and sometimes controversial) information regarding the application of the social sciences to the practice of litigation. It has been an American Bar Association “Top 10” blog and cited as an excellent source for legal information. Deliberationsaverages almost 8000 hits per month.
The Jury Expert – a quarterly trade skills magazine featuring social science research applied to the legal field. It is written primarily for attorneys and others in the litigation community. ASTC members and guest authors translate relevant research into practical information and techniques for litigators. TJE had been published by ASTC since 2005 and provides access to hundreds of articles on such topics a: Bias, Case Preparation and Presentation, Voir Dire and Jury Selection. It appears in an online format here.
A permanent ASTC Pro-Bono Committee and committed ASTC members provide access to Trial Consultants around the nation. But the members and Society aim much higher. In the words of ASTC Past-President Kenneth Broda-Bahm, Ph.D. of Persuasion Strategies of Denver CO, whose own blog, The Persuasive Litigator, was honored by the ABA Journal with the highest recognition they have for bloggers—the Blawg 100 Hall of Fame.
“We are trial consultants, and our profession comes down unambiguously and unapologetically on the side of the Constitution, civil rights, and an open and tolerant society. If we can help it, any promised rollback on these rights will not come easily. Civil rights are already strained on a number of fronts in this country and the situation is likely to get worse in coming years. We are entering what’s likely to be a prolonged time where ideas like routine stop and frisk, ‘extreme’ vetting, ‘enhanced’ interrogation, registration based on religion, voting suppression, deportation forces… it goes on…. are all being tossed around like they’re normal political ideas. Some of these battles will be fought in the courts. Accordingly, now more than ever, there should be a greater role for experts in legal psychology and persuasion to add knowledge, research, and effectiveness in an organized and purposeful defense of American civil rights, an experienced group that is expressly committed to offering targeted low- or no- fee work on behalf of identified challenges to civil rights, working with groups like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, with the goal to regionally identify cases and then offer the right people to help.”
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TRIAL CONSULTING?
First off, don’t believe the BULL. Take it as it is, a 45 minute hour of entertainment. I find it amusing that Dr. Bull not only leads his team to a victory for their client but he has often gone far beyond the Trial Consultant’s duty to help solve the crime, then watches as the true villain is brought to justice in the final act. His actions often “break the law” but in the world of television entertainment, should be seen as a very fanciful take on a peaceful profession that respects the law. For the real deal just visit the ASTC Home Page.
Ian A. McWilliams is a videographer, trial presentation technician and member of the American Society of Trial Consultant. He helps Trial Attorneys present their evidence in venues throughout the United States. And in 2005 he was dubbed Captain Video by the Hon. Carol S. Ball during a civil trial in Suffolk Superior Court.
Being with my lover (plus friend and mentor), another tiny detail crossed my mind that I thought I should clarify, and be clear with Sandra about. I had read all the information about camping, then missed the deadline, and wasn’t planning on going to the event anyway, so I deleted the email — it wasn’t personal. (However, based on what I’ve written below, it will probably seem like an intentional slight. Yet, I was processing all the aforementioned, and am just in a major declutter mode.)
If an email doesn’t hold any useful information, or important correspondence, or have nostalgic relevance, etc — especially now that I’m so inundated — I try to get rid of as much as possible, asap. While I do store or file an awful lot (see below), I actually try to keep my Inbox emails to a bare minimum (my main account is overflowing and hasn’t been decluttered in years; but my PM account, pre-March 2022, is a better example of how I prefer things to be; and at one time, I had planned to move everything over there — even though I knew back in 2002-ish that basically paid privacy services of any kind are basically a sham, and a type of honeypot, but with equal spying on all legal users, as well as on any prospective criminals or illegal activities — see below**).
And for the record, early on in my relationship with Sandra, I tried to do right by her (inviting her whenever possible; offering lifts; enquiring about her mental state; trying to potentially be a listening ear to perhaps facilitate her healing process, and help keep her on a stronger, more stable track, since she had shared with me her traumatic experiences). Yet, as with so many things since 1999 (and earlier), I’m basically just a puppet on a much larger stage, or a fly in a big web, lol.
This article below is 25 years too late — and anyway, there has never been much public interest in the topic of online privacy and security — even though it means your offline daily life and personal safety can be affected in a heartbeat; plus, 99.999% of users lack the know-how to stay on top of this all-encompassing reality; the few true tech-savvy privacy-defenders and freedom-fighters have been safely ‘put away’ or co-opted (by 2001?); and any oversight body formed would be toothless, or any information they might provide merely offers a false sense of security:
Just another pointless activity to keep people occupied, and distract them from what’s really going on, lol.
Government Surveillance = Corporate Gain…And So Much More
All this is actually related to another thing that Big Brother observed about others and myself early on (ie, prior to Gmail’s soft launch in 2003), which I believe may have contributed to the clear and sudden change in tack by Big Business email providers. Whereas many of the larger companies at the time (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc) were limiting their users to a really small amount of data storage, and then charging them to add more — and naturally, most customers regularly deleted their emails asap to maintain free service — I tended to keep many or all emails for reference.
Big deal, right? But when you’re living under a microscope, and your email habits, content, and activities are far from typical — this can all become highly useful, even creative, fodder. Kind of like an all-access *case study* — psychological profiling of an imperfect, but innocent person, who becomes driven to extreme and desperate measures. Result: an at-times deviant or possibly devious sociopath. (I would say that I oscillate between being too blunt and personal, to being seriously indirect and not knowing how to broach issues or ask for help, especially when it mattered most.)
After 9/11 happened, Homeland Security in the U.S. were allowed to expand their powers limitlessly, and various large-scale data mining operations etc were launched. However, encouraging companies to allow customers to keep more of their emails does (or did) lighten the workload for them, and also offers a clearer picture about every individual citizen they may decide to home in on anytime (ie, their mindset, behaviours or habits, filing systems, and whatever) — both from a security and marketing perspective, lol.
Anyway, that’s all old-school. The metaverse of digital media and communications is infinite — and likewise, all electronic (and print) information may be compromised, mirrored, ghosted, captured/intercepted, redirected, edited, and/or otherwise manipulated in billions of ways — even retroactively.
No sense getting into the macro or micro of it all. Some of the information, explaining these highly concerning technical issues in layman’s terms, is probably no longer even readily available on the internet. Online content is being curated to such an extent, that 2 people can go to the same website and see different information; or, your social media content can be deliberately limited to a small audience; or, an article and weblink you saw yesterday, suddenly disappears the next day (or in my case, sometimes within minutes). Life in the bubble, lol.
[Frankly, this is a first: Seeing my birthday connected with something *remotely* (and supposedly) positive. Yes, pun intended. But of course, all the typos, nonsensical sentences and simplistic language kind of suggest that it is squarely aimed at me. LOL…]
Excerpt from article: “Towards multiverse databases“
A typical backing store for a web application contains data for many users. The application makes queries on behalf of an authenticated user, but it is up to the application itself to make sure that the user only sees data they are entitled to see.
Any frontend can access the whole store, regardless of the application user consuming the results. Therefore, frontend code is responsible for permission checks and privacy-preserving transformations that protect user’s data. This is dangerous and error-prone, and has caused many real-world bugs… the trusted computing base (TCB) effectively includes the entire application.
The central idea behind multiverse databases is to push the data access and privacy rules into the database itself. The database takes on responsibility for authorization and transformation, and the application retains responsibility only for authentication and correct delegation of the authenticated principal on a database call. Such a design rules out an entire class of application errors, protecting private data from accidentally leaking.
It would be safer and easier to specify and transparently enforce access policies once, at the shared backend store interface. Although state-of-the-are databases have security features designed for exactly this purpose, such as row-level access policies and grants of views, these features are too limiting for many web applications.
In particular, data-dependent privacy policies may not fit neatly into row- or column-level access controls, and it may be permissible to expose aggregate or transformed information that traditional access control would prevent.
With multiverse databases, each user sees a consistent “parallel universe” database containing only the data that user is allowed to see. Thus an application can issue any query, and we can rest safe in the knowledge that it will only see permitted data.
The challenging thing of course, is efficiently maintaining all of these parallel universes. We’ll get to that, but first let’s look at some examples of privacy policies and how they can be expressed.
Expressing privacy policies
In the prototype implementation, policies are expressed in a language similar to Google Cloud Firestore security rules. A policy just needs to be a deterministic function of a given update’s record data and the database contents. Today the following are supported:
Row suppression policies (e.g. exclude rows matching this pattern)
Group policies, supporting role-based (i.e., data-dependent access controls)
Aggregation policies, which restrict a universe to see certain tables or columns only in aggregated or differentially private form.
Consider a class discussion forum application (e.g. Piazza) in which students can post questions that are anonymous to other students, but not anonymous to instructors. We can express this policy with a combination of row suppression and column rewriting:
Maybe we want to allow teaching assistants (TAs) to see anonymous posts in the classes they teach. We can define a group via a membership condition and then attach policies to that group:
Write policies (not supported in the current implementation) permit specification of allowed updates. For example:
An aggregation policy could be used to rewrite any matching aggregation into a differentially-private version. The basis for this could be e.g. Chan et al.’s ‘Private and continual release of statistics’. Composing such policies with other policies remains an open research question.
A multiverse database consists of a base universe, which represents the database without any read-side privacy policies applied, and many user universes, which are transformed copies of the database.
For good query performance we’d like to pre-compute these per-user universes. If we do that naively though, we’re going to end up with a lot of universes to store and maintain and the storage requirements alone will be prohibitive.
A space- and compute-efficient multiverse database clearly cannot materialize all user universes in their entirety, and must support high-performance incremental updates to the user universes. It therefore requires partially-materialized views that support high-performance updates. Recent research has provided this missing key primitive. Specifically, scalable, parallel streaming dataflow computing systems now support partially-stateful and dynamically-changing dataflows. These ideas make an efficient multiverse database possible.
So, we make the database tables in the base universe be the root vertices of a dataflow, and as the base universe is updated records move through the flow into user universes. Where an edge in the dataflow graph crosses a universe boundary, any necessary dataflow operators to enforce the required privacy policies are inserted. All applicable policies are applied on every edge that transitions into a given user universe, so whichever path data takes to get there we know the policies will have been enforced.
We can build the dataflow graph up dynamically, extending the flow’s for a user’s universe the first time a query is executed. The amount of computation required on a base update can be reduced by sharing computation and cached data between universes. Implementing this as a joint partially-stateful dataflow is the key to doing this safely.
By reasoning about all users’ queries as a joint dataflow, the system can detect such sharing: when identical dataflow paths exist, they can be merged.
Logically distinct, but functionally equivalent dataflow vertices can also share a common backing store. Any record reaching such a vertex in a given universe implies that universe has access to it, so the system can safely expose the shared copy.
Just as user universes can be created on demand, so inactive universes can be destroyed on demand as well. Under the covers, these are all manipulations of the dataflow graph, which partially-stateful dataflow can support without downtime.
Since the prototype is serving reads from a pre-computed universe stored in memory cached results are fast and make for a very favourable comparison against MySQL. Writes are significantly slower though (about 2x) – much of this overhead is in the implementation rather than essential. Memory footprint is 0.5GB with one universe, and 1.1GB with 5,000 universes, introduces a shared record store for identical queries reduces their space footprint by 94%.
These results are encouraging, but a realistic multiverse database must further reduce memory overhead and efficiently run millions of user universes across machines. Neither Noria nor any other current dataflow system support execution of the huge dataflows that such a deployment requires. In particular, changes to the dataflow must avoid full traversals of the dataflow graph for faster universe creation.
Support for write authorization policies (with some tricky consistency considerations for data-dependent policies) is future work, as is the development of a policy-checker (perhaps similar to Amazon’s SMT-based policy checker for AWS) to help ensure policies themselves are consistent and complete.
Our initial results indicate that a large, dynamic, and partially-stateful dataflow can support practical multiverse databases that are easy to use and achieve good performance and acceptable overheads. We are excited to further explore the multiverse database paradigm and associated research directions.
After choosing ‘this month’ and ‘May’ as a banking security clue and answer on my hacked device, to refund someone their money on May 31, 2022, I recently wrote these (slightly edited) comments:
I wonder what security question and answer others might have given, that was quick and easy, with a relative stranger? I did it split-second; not a lot of forethought, and the least typing or awkward wording possible, lol. (Concision is typically one of my many shortcomings!)
Also worth noting that May 31st is the birthday of my longest-standing friend (until recently) of 26 years, and they are the one person (platonic-wise) whom I have gotten along best with in my entire 53 years of life: we gabbed for 7 hours straight, the 2nd time we met!!
(Though as my mental faculties and job opportunities suffered — for so many reasons that I’ve already outlined elsewhere — they held up much more of the conversation. They cared about me, and I do about them; nothing manipulative and exploitative, or narcissistic and sadistic about the relationship, at all. Harkens back to a far happier and better time in my life, obviously, when we first met (1995). And God forbid anyone should go out into the world to travel, explore, and learn. I know an awful lot of Canadians who have done so, whose loyalties to the country never get questioned once. I, in the face of oppressions well beyond average and life-threatening persecutions, have continued to love a country that certainly does not love me back. Lol. PS – Big Brother would not have gained some of the ‘insights’ they have, and boldly helped to manipulate and advance things in “the Land Down Under”, *without* the ‘Australian connection’ (between my friend and I; plus, a talk given by one of Canada’s foremost lawyers, Clayton Ruby, during the height of my early surveillance years; my own interest in and attempts to emphasize certain points about that country’s historical developments; observations about Aussie life and comparisons to Canada; plus, praise for my friend’s highly innovative work in financial law, and so forth). So yeah, Yay Australian Greens!! Again, you’re welcome. “Australian Greens hail ‘best result ever’ with dramatic gains in lower house and Senate” (May 21, 2022).)
Equally important is that May is the birth month of so many important people from my life, whom I still hold in the highest regard and bear no negative feelings towards (although I have many regrets and sincere remorse with 3 individuals, 2 of whom are from the ‘surveillance years’).
And, of all the astrology signs throughout the year — which always fall across 2 different months — I get along best with other Geminis: and particularly, those born in May. I’ve had a number of memorable friends, lovers, associates, or past romantic crushes (one of which was deeply regrettable), who are May-born Geminis. I usually find they are highly intelligent, visionary, quick-witted, excellent communicators, and really creative, yet grounded. Literally, I know May-born Geminis for each day: May 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 — with several of them sharing the same birthdays.
This includes my current companion of 7 years, D (May 22; though our relationship has gone rather downhill, and he’s not the person I once knew). Anyway, Geminis I know also tend to vibe with other Geminis, including D — as we do like to talk!
All that being said, however, the person I have perhaps loved best and one of the longest is a June Gemini — and he is most definitely a wise and humorous communicator!
Like I said, typing ‘this month’ and ‘May’ were the simplest security clue and answer. I only considered after my creative impulse that it could have a negative connotation — which some could read it as; yet I definitely do not. …For those ‘in the know’.
May-June Gemini Comparison?
I like to understand both myself and others. The article below may sound airy-fairy, but, oh well…
May Gemini vs. June Gemini: What’s The Difference?!
Feb 16, 2022 ·
If you have met a fellow Gemini born in May, while you were born in June, there is a big chance to spot the differences between the two of you right away. This might come slightly confusing to you because supposedly the “four” of you should be very much alike since you share the same Sun sign.
Well, without a doubt it will tend to be a little “crowded” in the room with two Geminis since both of you share that positive and chatty nature, but there is also a big difference between the two of you.
If you have wondered what are the biggest differences between one Gemini born in May, and the other in June, continue reading this article, as we take you on a journey where we reveal all that separates one Gemini from the other one….
Why Are May Gemini and June Gemini Different?
May Gemini Is A Typical Illustration Of The Sign
Since Gemini born in May is solely ruled by Mercury, which is the ruling planet of this sign.
They tend to be the perfect illustration of Gemini in all ways possible. June Gemini, due to the fact that they are born in the second or third decan, might be more under the influence of their secondary planets.
You will see in May-Gemini intense curiosity to learn and understand everything. Their mind is like a sponge absorbing everything around them, Gemini born in May is very much like a walking Google.
They know it all! Some can even ask how is it possible for the human brain to keep that much information and top of all, to remember everything!
June Gemini Is More Friendly
There is no Gemini that is not friendly, but June-Gemini is like your best friend although they might just have met you.
This comes as a result of the influence of Venus and Uranus since they are born in the second or third decan. June-Gemini is thriving in life based on their friendships, and they always give priority to this area of their life.
You will notice a June-Gemini is more outgoing and interested in teamwork, while May-Gemini might prefer one on one work.
Gemini born in June always has big groups of friends, and guess who is the star of that group, of course, it is them.
You will spot them telling jokes making everybody laugh and repeating constantly that friends are their family. And they mean it!
May Gemini Tend To Be More Disobedient
All Gemini hate the rules, but Gemini born in May tends to be more disobedient and rebellious than their fellow June-Gemini.
It will be hard to make these people follow tradition or any other rules that don’t relate to the modern way of living life.
You can easily notice a Gemini born in May in the way they talk about subjects such as weddings, marriage, work and the traditional way of people accomplishing them, they will certainly not approve of it!
These people are all about accepting changes and living in a non-traditional way.
They often have children without being married, do weddings at unique locations without even wearing white, or work jobs that have nothing to do with the common 9 to 5 concept of work.
June Gemini Is Extremely Creative
Although all Geminis are creative, the one born in June thanks to creative Venus and innovative Uranus as their co-ruling planets, tend to win when it comes to creativity compared to their fellow May-Gemini.
It is not uncommon for Geminis born in June to work as writers, journalists, inventors, poets, singers, or any other creative profession.
If they don’t create they tend to feel stressed, nervous, and sometimes even become strongly aggressive.
Indulging in creative work is like therapy for Gemini born in June. One should never interfere when June-Gemini is in their creative phase.
If you try to interrupt them they can turn into truly hostile people, and show you the other Gemini, the one you should never want to meet.
May Gemini Is More Adaptable
There is no doubt that Geminis in general are highly flexible and they can make the most of everything, even in extremely difficult situations.
However, in this category, the winner is May-Gemini since they are the ones more adaptable to any circumstances.
Look at May-Gemini like the water, there is no way that they will not manage to adjust and fit into any given situation. Gemini born in May has an extremely high mechanism for coping up with all sorts of changes.
This makes the Gemini extremely strong, as there is nothing that makes you grow up and become stronger as you adapt to change.
If you have a May-Gemini fellow they are your best advisor, to help you cushion the transformation that is going on in your life, and give you tips on how to cope with changes.
June Gemini Is More “Wild”
Gemini born in June will be more into the idea of trying bungee jumping, parachuting, or any other extreme sport.
You can easily spot them by the way they drive. Speeding tickets is something they are quite familiar with.
At parties, June-Gemini will for sure insist on staying later than planned or going to the after-party.
June-Gemini tends to take life more lightly than their fellow May-Gemini, although we can say for all Geminis in general that they are indeed the light of the party.
May Gemini Is Better At Multitasking
You can spot a Gemini by them being always engaged with more than one activity at a time.
The difference between May-Gemini and June-Gemini is the slightly bigger advantage May-Gemini has since they have the full influence of Mercury.
This planet influences Gemini with extremely high mental power, and when you see them working, you might think they have more than two hands. It is a true masterwork watching May-Gemini multitask.
June Gemini is more sensitive.
When it comes to emotions and feelings, June-Gemini is the one who will be the first to shed a tear on a sad movie or in unfortunate circumstances.
Gemini born in June cares deeply about justice and if they spot social injustices it can make them sensitive and ready to fight against it.
It is not that May-Gemini is not sensitive, but they tend to think more with a cold head, and are better at controlling their emotions in difficult situations.
I/we thoroughly enjoyed Il Volo: Ten Years Together on TLN (May 28/22; originally aired in 2019), though we had to cut off some great news broadcasts. Fantastic singers, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, and wonderful musicians!!!
So in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting, I was watching MSNBC today with Yasmin Vossoghian (May 22/22), and she asked a very thought-provoking question; hence, the title of this post: “Is Racism A Mental Health Issue?”
I don’t know the short answer to that question. But, I do know you can take a relatively caring, halfway normal or decent person, and they can become a deviant monster of sorts through both systemic oppression (racism and sexism, but also, loss or deprivation of work opportunities and/or co-opted work colleagues (as far back as 2003); collusion among or between govt / authorities / big business; absolute invasion of one’s privacy AND trespassing, theft, vandalism, threats to health, etc), and just repeated undermining of one’s personhood and sense of integrity — including human tragedies and constant assaults on one’s humanity and sensibilities.
Also, one can be intrigued by a person (or topic), without subscribing to the values or racial hatred that they may represent or actively propagate. That happened to me as a child, and now, I may be being cast as an anti-Semite or hater of various groups. Yet, I truly did not have some kind of one-track mind on the ideologies of that hateful state leader (Adolph Hitler), whom I first read about at age 10. These biographies were about him and his life journey, rather than about the Holocaust, itself. I didn’t have a full appreciation of the terror and horrors he executed upon 6+ million innocent Jews; plus, the half million others, who also died in concentration camps (ie, gypsies; Poles and Slavic peoples; homosexuals/queers; people with disabilities; people of colour, etc) — until later in life.*
The few bizarre ‘karmic incidents’ from my childhood/teen years are definitely shocking to me now, in hindsight. Yet, I never had negative thoughts about Jewish people (except one scenario, see below); nor did I knowingly or intentionally treat any people particularly differently based on race/ethnicity, during the first half of my life (despite those ‘karmic’ events).**
Besides a precious sleeping baby I once held, which is still one of my most precious, peaceful, and hope-giving memories — I’ve had employers, managers, co-workers, fellow activists and volunteers, health professionals, classmates, significant romantic crushes, flirtations, and best of all, dear friends and lovers, who happen to be Jewish or of Hebraic ancestry. I’ve been grateful to them all, with the exception of one or two, just to be very honest (see below) — especially as my life is likely well-documented now through the seeming surveillance of many years (long story). In fact, I have felt a profound resonance with, or enthusiasm for, many individuals who happen to be of Jewish or Hebraic ancestry; and over time, I came to recognize qualities that may explain why in fact they are considered God’s Chosen People.
Yes, there were 2 interlinked people, whom I once held a bitter grudge towards (an overall mental state that began to set in during the late 1990’s) — and it is (or was, for me, then) much like my companion’s very negative feelings about the surgeon who permanently screwed up his prostate and, hence, his once extremely active sex life, forevermore). What dawned on me as I went through life’s experiences, is that the ‘old boys network’ had been at work; but these things happen.
Also, I will reiterate the fact that the one person (and probably others), whom I left out of a farewell and thank-you note/page, had nothing whatsoever to do with their family’s ethnicity or surname. It didn’t even cross my mind. I really felt we were peripheral friends and that I didn’t matter to them much. In hindsight, and shortly after it was published, I realized that I was completely wrong. To be honest, I had no idea just HOW WRONG I had been, and how much we had actually done together at school, until just recently. So, I apologized to them — but 34-years too late, as the damage is now done.
The irony is that around my mid-teens onward, I became very much concerned about social inclusivity — to the point that I even wanted to understand murderers and rapists. My belief is that everyone has a valid viewpoint and legitimate thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences — regardless of who they may be. Which is not to support or perpetuate hatred, violence, anger, intolerance, or maliciousness, of course. Though I have exhibited the latter three quite frequently, in part due to systemic oppressions I was experiencing and traumas I’ve endured (and also subjected others to), mixed together with various mental health issues. (That’s a whole other discussion altogether, given what I know about myself; what I’ve been diagnosed with; and what has been studied and analyzed about me by ‘Big Brother’.)
So, with respect to racism and mental health issues — I guess it really depends what kind of mental health issues one is talking about. There are certainly intellectually-challenged or otherwise differently-abled people, who can be bigoted. And the spectrum of human beings who have mental health issues can range from individuals with mild depression or personality disorders, to people with suicidal ideation or who are on suicide watch, to full-blown homicidal maniacs with an axe to grind (eg, jilted lovers or separated spouses, who kill their former partners; angry ex-employees who go on murder sprees at their former workplaces; or utterly tragic school shootings, etc). Many of these examples take place in the U.S., frankly, due to the profusion of, and easy access to, guns of all kinds there — worst of all, are the assault-style weapons, like the AR-15’s.
For many years, I became focused on socio-environmental healing because democracy and equality (before the law) can be slow processes and cumbersome ideologies, full of growing pains — and, I also desperately needed it for myself. On the one hand, I am ‘thin-skinned and fragile’, with low self-esteem; yet, I can also be incredibly arrogant, cold, and uncaring (especially under stress).
Anyway, without the healing of social divisions and fostering mutual co-operation, I figured you couldn’t truly make environmentalism a priority for all, and by all — with shared responsibility among, say, giant corporations to governments to the everyday citizen — thus, leading to effective, widespread ecological restoration or transformation; the saving of so many threatened or endangered species, and so on. But guess what, you can! That was just naive me thinking or problem-solving organically, and believing that we had to work with who and what currently exists, here on earth.
*I may have been curious about Hitler at an early age (and, frankly, those books simply stood out on the bookshelf) — but I didn’t embrace his actual racist and bigoted views: I myself would’ve fallen into the “racially-inferior and degenerates” category. Yet, somehow, my life has a hauntingly predestined and karmic aspect to it — much to my deep dismay and regret (see other posts). Ultimately, the fact is that so many of the people that I like/love and greatly appreciate, respect, or admire, happen to be of Jewish or Hebraic origin. That’s not hyperbole. And not to generalize — but a wide-ranging number of people whom I have known of Jewish ancestry are truly intellectually-, emotionally-, and spiritually-advanced. Like, I mean superior calibre — possibly even beyond this earthly realm, if one can conceive of such things. (Am just saying it like it is, from my own experiences.) All of which makes the horrific tragedies of the World War II Holocaust even greater, and of paramount importance — and why it can never be allowed to happen again; and certainly never will.
This person puts it more humbly, in describing both the importance of the Kabbalah** (a mystical, yet fundamental branch of Judaism) and the profound relevance of Jewish people and culture on planet earth: “All this serves to remind us of the wide, rich cultural heritage of the Jewish people amidst the nations of the world” (Ethan Taub, Zurich; in a discussion thread on Chabad.org, May 18, 2022 — essential reading!).
** “Kabbalah: That which is received. That which cannot be known through science or intellectual pursuit alone. An inner knowledge that has been passed down from sage to student from the earliest of times. A discipline that awakens awareness of the essence of things” (“Kabbalah Defined”, Chabad.org).
(Note: I was trying to set that as the Featured Image; yet, somehow my blog control settings never function properly and seem to have a back-end hacking life of their own. Lol.)
On U.S. Memorial Day (May 30, 2022), we watched Love and The Constitution, featuring Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin (Maryland district) and his dedicated fight to upholding the U.S. Constitution in the face of the ‘1/6’ insurrection (January 6, 2021) and, also, against the corrupt whims of leaders like former U.S. president Donald Trump. The project came about at the request of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and is a legacy for his son Tommy Bloom Raskin, who tragically passed on December 31, 2020. Congressman Raskin’s in-depth knowledge of U.S. constitutional law, and his passion for standing up for justice is clear. An immensely moving, excellently crafted documentary — a real must-see.
Congressman Raskin made several statements that stood out to me:
“An honest reckoning…”
“The facts — the cold, hard facts…”
A quote attributed to French author, Voltaire (1694-1778): “‘Any one who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities.‘”
There are various other translations of the statement (and more, below):
One Campaign: ‘Mobilizing For The Future’
One Campaign: ‘Mobilizing For The Future’
QuestionsIn The Aftermath of 1/6:
Here are a few concerning questions arising out of Congressman Jamie Raskin’s recollection of the January 6th insurrection (‘1/6’), surrounding their use of safety gas masks, which were apparently to be found underneath each member’s respective seat in the House Chamber of the United States Congress:
When were the gas masks first installed?
Why were the Congress members and all relevant people not advised they were there, until the moment a crisis set in?
Would people not be instructed on how to wear or use these devices well in advance, with appropriate drills — at least once a year, at minimum?**
**People travelling by plane, for example, are shown how to use their oxygen masks at the beginning of each and every flight.
Despite my 2 emails about Ukraine — one under very flustered circumstances (besieged as I’ve been with accounting errors by financial institutions, stores overcharging me, etc; plus a slew of donation requests; and my own expenses incurred by having to keep up with this barrage of incidents across 2 months, on my limited income of $1,275/mo); and the other in dialogue with a highly intelligent, good-hearted friend, who maintains a healthy level of skepticism about all things — my initial and overall response remains one of profound respect for Ukraine’s courageous President Volodymyr Zylenskyy.
At first, Ukraine’s battle to fend off Russia’s totalitarian regime and imperial forces looked like a genocidal slaughter waiting to happen and a sure defeat. Yet, President Zylenskyy dug in his heels and stood up for this great and strategically important nation — where 99% of politicians and state leaders might have deserted their posts, and left the citizens and army to fend for themselves. KUDOS to President Zylenskyy and Ukraine’s brave people!!!!!!!
I might’ve seemed impatient, frustrated and doubtful, as the war waged on — as I’ve mentioned before, my companion D. watches between 8-12 hours of news per day, and it can become quite repetitive — with few, if any, creative solutions for constructive or optimal change. That doesn’t mean I don’t stand in solidarity with good people fighting for a just cause (!).
Canada, itself, is compromised of many people of Ukrainian heritage (I’ve been blessed to know a few), and the Canadian prairies — the ‘breadbasket’ of the nation — would not be what it is without the early settlements of Ukrainians. Likewise, Canadian “culture, the economy, politics and sports,” etc, would be poorer without people of Ukrainian ancestry: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/ukrainian-canadians.
(NOTE: I became aware of a soldier / fighter / warrior bent to my own nature in the mid-1990s (age 27), which became increasingly pronounced as various, sometimes-intense, experiences and forces of oppression or trauma ensued (particularly between 1997 to 2005). As chaotic or seemingly destructive as I may have become, at times, I nevertheless applaud and salute those who fight for important causes, like freedom and democracy, socio-environmental-economic restoration / healing / justice** (see below), quality healthcare and education, and so on. Also, I am like many people who wish to shine or excel in their own respective ways. Yet, I have never sought to be ‘on top’ or ‘out in front’ — this has only been a frustrated response to my being subjugated and assailed in so many different ways by a veritable army of people: the entire scope of which, few will ever know. If I’ve ever taken the lead, it’s only because no one else was doing so. Also, to clarify: I believe restoration and healing are more pressing; but social, environmental and economicjustice are the predominant terms.)
I’m excited to share the results of my 13th annual Best of Photos project. 112 photographers from around the world (amateur and professional alike) have shared their best photos of 2019. I’m always amazed at the quality of work shared and I hope it’s a source inspiration to you for the coming year. For those who are new to my blog project, photographers ta […]
Thanks for checking in to see my best photos of 2019. This year for a variety of reasons I didn’t have many opportunities to get out and pursue photography to the degree I’d have preferred. Some of the reasons why were good (new house, settling in, kid activities with both boys being in elementary school for the first time, etc.) and some were downright bumm […]
It is time to kick off the 13th annual best photos of the year blog project! I’m proud to say over the years that hundreds of photographers have taken part (see Best Photos of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007). It’s great to see the community of photographers that have developed around this blog project. As always I […]