Weekly Axis Of Easy #211
Last Week’s Quote was “Today, with many things that are printed and sent around the world, one would not do well to ask: What does this person mean? – but rather: In whose service does he stand? Who is paying for this or that opinion?” was Rudolf Steiner, in a lecture series on “The Karma of Untruthfulness” delivered in Dornach, Germany throughout January, 1917.
This Week’s Quote: “History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.” … by???
THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted to the blog – the place to post the answer is at the bottom of the post, in the comments section.
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.
There was no AxisOfEasy last week. We’ll catch you up here as best we can.
- NPR decries the evils of Free Speech, Taibbi responds
- “Reputation” companies use fake DMCA requests to deplatform critics
- The Taliban now possesses Afghan biometric databases
- Australian lockdown measures randomly test citizens to enforce stay-at-home orders
- New details emerge on NIH funding of Wuhan gain-on-function research
- LAPD to collect social media details of persons stopped on street
- Ontario to launch digital ID program by end of year
- Yet another Windows 0-day flaw being actively exploited by hackers
- Ivermectin critic deplatformed by Youtube
- Rolling Stone all but retracts Ivermectin hit piece after hospital denies key assertions
- Mysterious radio signals emanating from centre of the galaxy
- Researchers find oxygen therapy can treat, reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms
- The Network State: A Primer
- AxisOfEasy is looking for a new voice: is it you?
NPR decries the evils of Free Speech, Taibbi responds
The US taxpayer funded National Public Radio (NPR) ran a panel in their “On The Media” on the dangers of free speech. Taking the anti-free speech side was Andrew Marantz, author of an article called, “Free Speech is Killing Us,” P.E. Moskowitz, author of “The Case Against Free Speech,” Susan Benesch, director of the “Dangerous Speech Project” and some professor who shredded John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty.’
On the pro-free speech side they had (checks notes) …nobody.
So it’s a good thing Matt Taibbi put in a brief but brilliant rebuttal on his Substack (while it’s still permissible) on how people who actually believe this think it’s inconceivable that what they think and say would ever run afoul of the boundaries of decorum.
“The essence of arguments made by all of NPR’s guests is that the modern conception of speech rights is based upon John Stuart Mill’s outdated conception of harm, which they summarized as saying, “My freedom to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose.”
Because, they say, we now know that people can be harmed by something other than physical violence, Mill (whose thoughts NPR overlaid with harpsichord music, so we could be reminded how antiquated they are) was wrong, and we have to recalibrate our understanding of speech rights accordingly.”
As I frequently quip: everybody wants freedom for themselves, and accountability for everybody else.
“Reputation” companies use fake DMCA requests to deplatform critics
We have a customer based in Europe who works with civil society groups and dissident journalists there and they frequently find themselves the target of myriad deplatform attacks. Sometimes suspected to be government agencies, sometimes even by actors impersonating other agencies [orig. in Spanish]. It keeps us on our toes, which is why our default position is usually “go to hell” whenever we’re told to take down something based on editorial, prose-based content.
In the latest incident a so-called “reputation protection” company called Eliminalia registered hundreds of cut-out domains and then stood up websites on them with content they are targeting back-dated in an effort to make their sites appear to be the original content. They then filed DMCA Takedown Requests with service providers hosting the target. While easyDNS is a Canadian company and not a party to the DMCA, we do enforce copyright takedown requests via our Terms of Service. But only when they’re not fake.
The Taliban now possesses Afghan biometric databases
The MIT Technology Review is reporting on how biometric data on Afghan government employees and Western-aligned citizens are now in the hands of the Taliban.
“A US-funded database known as APPS, the Afghan Personnel and Pay System…Started in 2016 to cut down on paycheck fraud involving fake identities, or “ghost soldiers,” APPS contains some half a million records about every member of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.”
Apparently the data contains up to 40 points of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) per subject, nobody knows the data retention policy (how long the records would be kept for) and there was no contingency plan, say for the remote possibility that The Taliban would steamroll the country and sweep back into power in a stunningly short time frame.
Australian lockdown measures randomly test citizens to enforce stay-at-home orders
Even the left-leaning magazine The Atlantic thinks the Aussie government lockdowns measures are a little over-the-top, from their recent piece “Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty:”
“People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”
Uh, yeah… no.
This is in the same state where subjects are only permitted to be outside their residences one hour per day, two, if you’re fully vaxxed, (in a couple weeks). Oh, and they’re also rationing alcohol into apartment complexes and inspecting inbound shipments into buildings there to enforce it.
New details emerge on NIH funding of Wuhan Coronavirus research
The Intercept released more details via their ongoing campaign of FOIA requests on how the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded myriad Coronavirus research projects in Wuhan.
It turns out the NIH funneled grant money through the Ecohealth Alliance which funded “controversial” research in humanized mice and chimeric cells. There is some “how many angels can chance on the head of a pin”-type discussions among experts cited throughout the article on whether any of it constituted so-called “gain-on-function” research. Which is taking viruses into a lab and making them more contagious to humans.
What is curious is that NIH head Anthony Fauci and Ecohealth Alliance president Peter Daszak are among the two voices most vociferously downplaying the lab-leak hypothesis despite internal emails revealed in previous leaks that they both received information that this was entirely possible (“Methinks thou doth protest too much…”)
Newsweek called Anthony Fauci’s statements to Congress “untruthful,” which is a synonym for “lies.” Also, when you do that in testimony to the US Congress (like when Fauci told them in May that the NIH did not fund any research in Wuhan), it’s perjury. That’s why Senator Rand Paul says Anthony Fauci should go to prison and referred the matter over to the US DoJ.
Daszak, for his part was lead author on the now infamous Lancet letter penned by 27 eminent scientists who dismissed any notion that COVID-19 came out of Wuhan Lab:
“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin…Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus. We support the call from the Director-General of WHO to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture.”
An investigation by the UK’s Telegraph found that 26 of the 27 scientists who put their name to that letter had ties to the Wuhan Lab from which the virus is suspected to have leaked from.
“Despite declaring no conflicts of interest at the time, it has since emerged that the letter was orchestrated by British zoologist Peter Daszak, president of the US-based EcoHealth Alliance, which funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
LAPD to collect social media details of persons stopped on street
In a piece by The Guardian’s Los Angeles correspondent Sam Levin, the LAPD has been directed to fill out a “field interview card” for every civilian they stop in the course of their duties, and to collect information on the subject’s social media activities. This is to occur regardless of whether or not they’ve been arrested or accused of a crime.
Copies of the “field interview cards” that police complete when they question civilians reveal that LAPD officers are instructed to record a civilian’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts, alongside basic biographical information. An internal memo further shows that the police chief, Michel Moore, told employees that it was critical to collect the data for use in “investigations, arrests, and prosecutions,” and warned that supervisors would review cards to ensure they were complete.
The Brennan Center For Justice, a police watchdog reviewed the policies of 40 other forces and found at least one other that has a similar policy. They also found other records that raises issues around the LAPDs surveillance activities into Black Lives Matter.
Ontario to launch digital ID program by end of year
Hot on the heels of the announcement of vaccine passports which take effect Sept 22, (even though the technical implementation of it won’t be ready for weeks after), the Ford government has announced that a digital ID which merges your driver’s license, health card and, my guess, your vaccination status will be out by the end of the year.
The announcement comes as the UK’s health minister abruptly announced that plans for a vaccine passport in Great Britain have been scrapped.
Yet another Windows 0-day flaw being actively exploited by hackers
“Microsoft Corp. warns that attackers are exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability in Windows 10 and many Windows Server versions to seize control over PCs when users open a malicious document or visit a booby-trapped website. There is currently no official patch for the flaw, but Microsoft has released recommendations for mitigating the threat.”
This is cataloged as CVE-2021-40444 and as I write this, there is no patch from Microsoft to fix it, but apparently the workaround is to disable all ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer (which you shouldn’t be using anymore anyway).
Ivermectin critic deplatformed by Youtube
Every time I write about Ivermectin I get a few emails from people telling me to literally “f*** off” and that I’m a “f***ing idiot”. Thanks for that. I hope you have a nice day too.
Perhaps I do a bad job explaining that the controversy around Ivermectin isn’t really about Ivermectin, it’s about narrative and it’s about media integrity and it’s about credibility.
Here we have a critic of Ivermectin who made a documentary examining the claims of proponents of it who was deplatformed from Youtube “for distributing medical misinformation” even though everything within that documentary would be considered in complete conformity with current guidance and policy regarding the drug.
The subtext here is profound: David Fuller, the author of the documentary told Matt Taibbi that he
“Deliberately chose to tell the story on Rebel Wisdom rather than pitching it to a legacy media outfit,” he says. “I didn’t want to give Bret’s [Weinstein] fans the chance to paint it as an ‘MSM smear.’”
Good call, ordinarily, because as Taibbi noted,
“Fuller was making a conscious effort to use an independent editorial approach, as a means of side-stepping the credibility concerns that some audiences have with mainstream outlets.”
Taibbi is making a rare use of understatement. The MSM has lost all credibiility. This is something I’ve been saying is a serious problem for a couple hundred issues of this god forsaken newsletter now.
It appears as if the algos seem to simply zero in on anything talking about Ivermectin that isn’t from a mainstream media outlet. It’s the latter part that is more worrisome than the former.
““These topics, especially ivermectin, have become swallowed whole as culture war signifiers.” As a result, “we’re now in a world where the mainstream won’t ‘platform’ alternative claims for fear of ‘false equivalence’ and are trying to keep alive a broken system of gatekeeping.””
Anyone following along at home knows how I feel about algorithms and this societal love affair with “AI”, which doesn’t exist, and will never exist in the context we understand it. If it did, we wouldn’t have Facebook algos tagging videos of black men as “primates.”
Rolling Stone retracts Ivermectin hit piece after hospital denies key assertions
Speaking of MSM embarrassing itself, Matt Taibbi’s former employer, Rolling Stone, among others, had to retract a hit piece about Ivermectin after the Oklahoma hospital they featured as “having no beds to treat gunshot victims because they were overrun with Ivermectin overdoses” issued a statement that they had zero patients with Ivermectin overdoses and plenty of room for gunshot victims.
Rolling Stone’s headline when they picked up the story from a local TV station:
“Gunshot Victims Left Waiting as Horse Dewormer Overdoses Overwhelm Oklahoma Hospitals, Doctor Says.”
Rolling Stone’s headline after:
“One Hospital Denies Oklahoma Doctor’s Story of Ivermectin Overdoses Causing ER Delays for Gunshot victims.”
Not quite as punchy, wouldn’t you say?
This faux pas in lack of fact checking was written up by the Washington Post, ironically.
Researchers find oxygen therapy can treat, reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms
Via Technology.org magazine:
“A team of investigators from Tel Aviv University (TAU) has succeeded in restoring brain trauma by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This is the first time that non-drug therapy has been proven effective in preventing the core biological processes responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
From reading the article it appears as if the treatment works by increasing blood flow to the brain, and with it delivers more, higher quality oxygen to it. Hyperbaric chambers are special enclosures with higher atmospheric pressure and 100% oxygen, they are already used in other treatments, according to the Mayo Clinic “serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that may not heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.”
Mysterious radio signals emanating from centre of the galaxy
A forthcoming paper in The Astrophysical Journal will describe a new class of radio signals emanating from the centre or our galaxy. Currently cataloged as ASKAP J173608.2-321635:
“The nature of the emitting object is not known, since it does not coincide with anything known.”
Were detected six times between January and September 2020 and again in February of this year. It’s conjectured that advances in radio imaging studies have revealed a new class of celestial object. A similar type of radio signal, also coming from the center of the galaxy was detected in this way in early 2020.
The Network State: A Primer
Someone asked me recently what exactly I meant by “the Network State.”
That’s the idea that our current default governance structure, the nation state, is in the process of being obsoleted by them. In many ways network states will be more oppressive than nation states. But what is also occurring are variations of the network state, enclaves built on decentralized crypto-currencies and principles of individual autonomy.
I think of this phenomenon as an emerging league of crypto-sovereignties or “crypto-claves.”
In this piece I talk about how these three governance structures emerge, how they contrast with one another and how they will all compete for the future of governance.
AxisOfEasy is looking for a new voice: is it you?
We’re looking for a freelancer to step into the AxisOfEasy and take over writing the weekly edition. This is a paid position and would be perfect for a freelancer who already covers technology, policy and associated issues.
YOU: are a great writer with panache, who understands the technology sector as it impacts culture, discourse and society in general.
If you’re reading this, you already know that our topics cover: free speech, censorship, cybercrime, cyber security, privacy, surveillance capitalism – but we also want to cover the positive aspects of technology: what it enables and what is the full potential.
This could be a great freelance gig for one of:
A) somebody starting out who has an edgy voice and who gets tech
B) semi-retired, seen it all, Veteran Of A Thousand Psychic Wars who has forgotten more about tech than most people will ever know
C) You’re already a writer covering tech and looking for a weekly freelance gig to add to your beat
AoE differentiates itself by being interesting, engaging newsletter that people actually read.
If interested, please send your CV and some writing samples to: