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Mon, 23 Sep 2019
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Mozilla wants to hear your tales of YouTube radicalization so unwanted videos get censored

youtube eye
© Reuters / Dado Ruvic
Firefox maker Mozilla is trying to shame YouTube into "fixing" its recommendation algorithm, soliciting horror stories from users sent down radicalizing "rabbit holes." Trouble is, most users don't want more censorship.

"Once, at 2 a.m., you searched YouTube for 'Did aliens build Stonehenge?' Ever since, your YouTube recommendations have been a mess: Roswell, wormholes, Illuminati," Mozilla laments in its call for submissions, asking users for their "YouTube regret" so that they might "put pressure on YouTube to do better."

"YouTube's recommendation engine can lead users down bizarre rabbit holes — and they're not always harmless," the company warns. "Sometimes they drive people toward misinformation and extreme viewpoints."

Putting aside the inanity of blaming YouTube for its users' regrettable viewing choices - no one forces a user to click on the platform's "recommended" videos - Mozilla seems confident that there is an army of YouTube users out there who are itching for stricter censorship on the platform. The media establishment, after all, has been screaming for months that YouTube is radicalizing people, and no one wants to be radicalized.

Comment: See also:


Here we go again: Banks seeking to lower credit score requirements, targeting over 50 million new subprime borrowers

financial bubble
When the next bubble bursts - and it will - be sure to take a look back at this article. It might help explain some things. Lenders, seemingly unhappy with the vast avalanche of debt they've issued over the last decade, are now looking to "move the goalposts" in order to be able to lend even more money to even less creditworthy individuals.

Gone are the old days of relying on a consumer's borrowing history to determine creditworthiness, and instead lenders now look at such bizarre trivia as magazine subscriptions and phone bills to decide how much should be lent to potential borrowers. Banks like Goldman Sachs Group, Ally Financial and Discover are now experimenting with the new metrics.

keeping score
The changes are seismic for many large banks, who spent the last 10 years targeting only extremely credit-worthy borrowers. But, as we all know too well, when that pool runs out the show must go on by any means possible. And that is how we got to no-doc loans and subprime CDOs just before the last bubble burst.

At stake is a lot of potential money: banks are targeting the estimated 53 million U.S. adults that don't have credit scores and 56 million that have subprime scores. The banks claim that many of these people don't have traditional borrowing backgrounds, often times because they pay in cash or are new to the U.S. That doesn't make them bad debt slaves prospects, however. Quite the opposite.

Comment: And just what history is the author referring to here...


Lawyer says Assange case "sets terrifying precedent" against journalism

Jennifer Robinson

Lawyer Jennifer Robinson
During a recent visit to Australia, Jennifer Robinson, legal adviser to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, sat down with MEAA to explain the implications for all journalists of the US government indictment against Assange, and why it is important for MEAA members to campaign against his extradition on press freedom grounds.

Assange, faces up to 170 years in jail if extradited, tried and found guilty of espionage charges laid by the United States government.

Assange, who is an Australian citizen and a member of MEAA Media, has been indicted by the US Justice Department with 18 charges under the Espionage Act for his role in receiving and publishing classified defence documents both on the WikiLeaks website and in collaboration with major publishers including The New York Times, and The Guardian.

Assange is currently an inmate of the Belmarsh Prison in England for unrelated offences, and the US government is expected to begin extradition proceedings next year.

Comment: The bought-and-paid-for media shills for the corprotocracy could not care less about the implications of Assange's persecution - because they arguably do not practice real journalism - and place little to no value on reporting the crimes of their governments.

See also:


Not-so-shocking poll: Americans dislike the government almost as much as they dislike Big Pharma

big pharma
In a new and not shocking poll, Americans said they hate the government almost as much as they hate big pharma. Considering both are in each other's back pocket, that makes complete sense and no one should be surprised by this.

America hates big pharma and the government. No surprise there. But the pharmaceutical industry is hated slightly more. It ranked last in favorability among Americans, according to a new poll conducted by Gallup. This year marked the lowest net positivity rating (the difference between people who say they like the industry and those who dislike the industry) that the pharmaceutical industry has had since Gallup started polling in 2001. Big Pharma's -31 net positivity rating was so low, only a handful of industries had been ranked lower. Other hated sectors include the federal government, and oil and gas companies
America's distaste for the scandal-plagued pharmaceutical industry isn't without reason. Earlier this year, Congress grilled pharma leaders for the high cost of prescription drugs. An Oklahoma judge recently ordered Johnson & Johnson pay $572 million for its role in the opioid epidemic. Novartis and other major pharma companies stopped developing life-saving medicine for lack of profit. -Middle Town Press

Comment: See: Gallup: Big Pharma sinks to the bottom of US industry rankings

Bizarro Earth

French identitarians to be fined and jailed for opposing illegal immigration

Illegal Immigration

Prison for Non-Violent Opposition to Illegal Immigration: GI activists Clément Galant, Romain Espino, and Damien Lefèvre.
The pro-European and anti-immigration movement Generation Identity (GI) has achieved a worldwide notoriety through its often spectacular actions, whether by occupying EU and government buildings or manning their own ship to halt migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean. Such actions are not without risk however.

In spring 2018, French GI activists - frustrated by the French government's inability or unwillingness to get the migrant crisis under control and prevent illegal immigration into their country - decided to take matters into their own hands with symbolic but effective nonviolent action.

GI blocked the Col de l'Échelle, an Alpine mountain pass near the border with Italy, through which migrant crossings were known to occur. The activists deployed banners, fences, and even helicopters to prevent the migrants from entering France.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal #26: Globalization vs Nationalism - The Hidden Causes of The Yellow Vest Protests in France


Felicity Huffman's 14-DAY sentence shows you can get away with ANYTHING if you're rich & famous

Felicity Huffman
© Reuters / Robert Galbraith GMH / PN
Felicity Huffman accepts her Emmy award.
That actress Felicity Huffman will go to jail for only 14 days over college entrance fraud shows there are really two justice systems in the US: one for the rich, famous and politically correct - and another for everyone else.

The 'Desperate Housewives' star pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to falsify her daughter Sophia's SAT - a college admissions test - and was sentenced to two weeks in jail, 250 hours of community service, a $30,000 fine and a year of supervised release. Altogether, a slap on the wrist to a Hollywood celebrity.

It did not take long for her case to be contrasted with the fate of Tanya McDowell, a Connecticut woman who falsified a residency document in 2011 to enroll her son in a better school. McDowell ended up getting jailed for five years for first-degree larceny, and would have faced an even longer sentence had she not made a deal with prosecutors.

Comparing the two cases is absolutely apples to apples. That McDowell was later charged with selling drugs to undercover police officers and given a concurrent sentence does not change the severity of her initial punishment - 130 times longer than was meted out to Huffman.


'The Great Scattering': How Identity Panic Took Root in the Void Once Occupied by Family Life in the West

family photo
Of all the issues that divide us, none seems as inimical to reasoned discussion as identity politics. Conservatives excoriate such politics as politically opportunistic theater, the acting out of coddled "snowflake" students. Liberals and progressives put forth an opposing grievance-first narrative, arguing that identity politics emanates from authentic wounds.

But what if both contenders have a piece of the truth? What if many identity-firsters today are claiming to be victims because they and their societies are victims — only not so much of the abstract "isms" they denounce, but of something else that till now has eluded description?

Let's try a new theory: Our macro-politics have become a mania about identity because our micropolitics are no longer familial. This, above all, is what happened during the decades in which identity politics went from being a phrase in an obscure quasi-radical document to a way of being that has gone on to transform academia, law, media, culture and government.

Bizarro Earth

Florida teen tries to use parents' money to kill them

Alyssa Hatcher
A 17-year-old Lake County girl is behind bars after investigators said she tried to hire people to kill her own parents.

Deputies said she stole their debit card and took out more than $1,400 to try and pay two different people to kill them.

Alyssa Hatcher is a student at Umatilla High School. Deputies said a tip by another teenager led them to discover her plan to have her parents killed.

"Her of all people, that was very shocking to me," a student said. "She's such a sweet girl. She's very caring."


Is the US playing a 'double game'? Some border residents upset with US safe-zone patrols, YPG

US/Turk patrols
© AP/Turkish Defence Ministry
US and Turkish patrols around Syrian town Manbij in November, 2018.
Over the weekend the United States and Turkey began their first joint patrols in the northern part of Syria along the border with Turkey. This comes after Ankara and Washington agreed last month to set up a "safe zone" along the Syrian-Turkish border that would serve as a buffer between the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG.

The American-backed YPG militias have led the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against Daesh, but many residents of border towns and villages are suspicious of Turkey's cooperation with the United States because they do not regard the US as a real ally of Turkey due to American support for the Kurdish forces.

Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group and an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting to establish a Kurdish autonomous region in southeast Turkey since the early 1980s.

Locals in the Turkish border towns of Akçaoba, Akçakale, and Ziyaret are in favour of creating a buffer zone but under the control of Turkey without US involvement. They believe that America is playing a double game and is in the region to further its own goals. That's the view of local resident Mahmut Sönmez:
"We want Turkey to control the 'safe zone' because this issue is directly related to our security and the security of our country. We live right on the border, and the presence of YPG here worries us all very much. Our security will be ensured when the YPG units are withdrawn from the border and the Turkish military takes their place. Turkey should create a 'safe zone' as soon as possible, and not follow the United States lead, which deliberately drags out time."

Take 2

William Peter Blatty's counter-countercultural parable in The Exorcist

exorcist child
In her new book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics (excerpted in Quillette on August 27), essayist and cultural critic Mary Eberstadt documents just how damaging the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and its normalization of divorce in particular, has been to America's children. She mentions many publications that comment on "the correlations between crumbling family structure and various adverse results," particularly for the children of divorce. The authors she cites include former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, social scientist James Q. Wilson, and Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce.

A writer she doesn't mention, however, is William Peter Blatty, author of the blockbuster 1971 horror novel The Exorcist. Those who have never read the novel, or are familiar only with its 1973 cinematic incarnation, probably believe the book to be a potboiler about demonic possession. But it is also an allegorical warning about the importance of the traditional family unit and the devastation wrought when it breaks down. Curiously, this aspect of the novel went largely unnoticed by the book's earliest reviewers.

Back in 1971, the advent of no-fault divorce laws in the United States was seen in liberal circles as an unalloyed benefit for society. Thus, the book critics for most of the mainstream publications that bothered to review The ExorcistTime, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, etc. — treated the book as either a modern day pastiche of Poe and Mary Shelley, or else as a traditional story of the battle between Good and Evil. What's odd about this is that Blatty made no effort to hide his social conservatism. You don't have to be a postmodern literary detective to find it in the subtext. Blatty was not a subtle writer, and he set his message out on the page for all to see, although very few have ever remarked upon it.