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Conspiracy Theory

No system can fight fake news for us. We’re on our own.

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No system can fight fake news for us Were on our own

On January 27, 1838, a 28-year-old Abraham Lincoln made his famous Lyceum Address before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, in which he stated, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

It’s incredible how relevant the entire speech is to the present-day United States. I don’t want to gush too much about Lincoln’s wisdom, but it’s not an exaggeration to say I could write a hundred articles about the problems affecting our nation today and be able to quote the speech in every one of them. In it, he warns that the only real threat to the United States are the people within who disregard the values that define our nation and undermine the institutions put in place to defend those values. He warns that our decisions must be guided by reason, not emotion, or else we’ll allow demagogues and tyrants to take control of our government and destroy us, if not in a literal sense, then certainly an ideological one.

Emotions like anger and fear can cause us to make passionate decisions without considering the consequences they’ll have in the long run. When exploited properly, these emotions can even be used to make us willingly act against our own best interests. History is littered with stories of leaders who were able to gain immense power by convincing people there was a threat to their well-being that only a strong leader with unchecked power would be able to protect them from. It’s how men like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were able to transform democratic nations into fascist dictatorships; they were masters at using people’s emotions to control them.

While I highly doubt a leader like Hitler or Mussolini would ever rise to power in the United States, the methods they used to take power can still be used by our government to expand its authority. In fact, the government has been doing that very thing for decades, particularly when it comes to exploiting people’s emotions, and there’s no better example of this than the Patriot Act.

Americans were angry and terrified in the aftermath of 9/11. They wanted to make sure the people responsible for the attacks were brought to justice and, more importantly, that no attacks of that magnitude happened again. The government promised to do both of these things for us, the only requirement being that we allow it to expand its power at the expense of our own liberty and privacy. It seemed like a small price to pay at the time and many Americans were happy to make the trade, but it’s been nearly two decades and we’re still paying for it. Once the government got that nice, stable foothold in the form of the Patriot Act, it gradually but continuously expanded its power even further than was initially required.

The power was taken bit by bit, slowly enough that most people aren’t even aware just how much things have changed since 9/11. Hell, many adults aren’t even old enough to remember what America was like before 9/11. Each individual loss of freedom seems too small to be worth fighting against, but it all adds up. How many other concessions have we made to the government in exchange for assurances of safety, or even convenience? Americans continue to allow emotions like anger and fear to influence their decisions and we’ve become less free as a result.

Even when people don’t like a change, so long as the change is too small to warrant much of a fuss, everyone will eventually become accustomed to it and forget that it even happened. Once the change becomes the norm, another small change can be made, which will eventually also become the norm, and the cycle repeats. This is known as creeping normality, and it’s terrifying how effective it is. Entire societies can be make to accept things that, previously, they would have found unthinkable. They can have their mindsets completely altered so long as the alterations are made gradually over a long period of time.

That’s why it’s so important for us to let reason, not emotion, influence our decisions. The government will take a mile for every inch we give them and it’s incredibly difficult to get that mile back, so we need to be careful not to give it another foothold it can use to expand its power even further. We made a mistake with the Patriot Act, but mistakes can be some of the most effective lessons. Hopefully we learned from this one because I don’t think it’ll be long before we need to avoid making a similar mistake.

The growing epidemic of fake news has been stirring up a lot of emotion in the United States. As I described in a previous article, Russia is conducting a social engineering operation in the United States in an effort to destroy us from within, and it’s working. Not only are Americans angry that Russia is so brazenly manipulating us, they’re afraid of how effective that manipulation has proven to be. They’re becoming more and more desperate for solutions, and the most popular solution I’ve seen proposed is one that’s about as slippery as a slope can get.

The solution I’m referring to is to create a system that identifies and labels, or even removes, fake news on the Internet. This idea genuinely terrifies me, because who is going to create the system(s) we use to combat fake news? Will it be tech giants like Facebook and Google? I certainly hope not considering how the two of them effectively have a duopoly on web-based information already and have demonstrated numerous times that they’re willing to use that power to push their own agendas. Will it be a consortium of news outlets? Most major news outlets are owned by billionaires or huge media conglomerates that are even more willing to push their agendas than Facebook and Google. Will it be a government agency? That’s quite literally the worst-case scenario and if I need to explain why then you’re on the wrong website.

Plenty of individuals and organizations on every point of the political spectrum are already using the term “fake news” as a weapon to dismiss whatever news or opinions they don’t like. Imagine what kind of weight the term would have if it were an official label branded by an organization that had social influence or, God forbid, legal authority. How powerful do you think an organization that literally gets to define “truth” would be? That’s what I mean when I say this is a slippery slope. We need to avoid creating such a system at all costs. No matter how bad fake news is, a solution like that would be a million times worse.

So if autocratic and oligarchic systems of combating fake news are too risky, what does that leave? A democratic system? Perhaps we could create a platform that compiles links to as many articles and videos as possible and then relies on users to vote on their truthfulness. Maybe instead of voting on articles, users vote on the writers or news outlets themselves. The idea is certainly worth exploring, but I think a democratic system would be far too vulnerable to manipulation to be reliable. No, I don’t think any system, not even a democratic one, will provide us with a solution to the fake news epidemic without causing more problems than it solves. So, when organizations and systems are unable to help us, what do we do?

Well, we just need to learn to help ourselves. Americans need to learn how to find the truth themselves instead of having someone else’s version of the truth spoon-fed to them. They need to put in the research and thought required to actually become informed about important topics instead of regurgitating someone else’s biased, oversimplified take on those topics. They need to start conversing with people they don’t agree with instead of condemning them. They need to let their decisions be influenced by reason instead of emotion. Our democracy can only function properly when the people participating in it are informed and rational, guided by facts and logic. It’s our own responsibility to ensure we meet those requirements and we can’t rely on other people to do it for us. Relying on some system, especially a government one, to do the job for us just undermines the very democracy we’re trying to contribute to.

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Conspiracy Theory

Free speech and the anti-vaxxer movement

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Free speech and the anti-vaxxer movement

Put aside, for the briefest of moments, whatever you believe about vaccines. I’m not going to try to convince you one way or the other about vaccinating children and the alleged health risks posed by vaccines. I’m not even going to get into the debate about whether or not parents should be compelled to have their children vaccinated. I want to talk about free speech (technically, freedom of thought) and whether or not human adults can be trusted with making their own choices.

I’ve done my own research about the science in favor and against the anti-vaxxer movement. I made my decision based on this information. What my decision was isn’t relevant for this discussion. The point that needs to be first considered is the fact that there is data is out there for people to read. The videos are there for people to watch. The opinions are available for people to digest.

But that may not be the case for long. Those opposed to the anti-vaxxer movement are urging everyone from tech companies to the federal government to the United Nations to essentially outlaw any information that does not conform with the majority opinion. Much of these efforts are driven by the pharmaceutical industries themselves, but most is driven by concerned citizens who believe parents should not have a choice about their children’s healthcare as it pertains to vaccines. Their argument is a good one: When anti-vaxxers put their own children at risk, they put other people’s children at risk. This is a textbook argument about one person’s rights impeding on another person’s rights.

The counter argument is that if vaccines are so effective, then there’s no reason for those who have their children vaccinated to worry about being exposed to children who are not vaccinated. Again, it’s a good argument.

And that’s the point. There are good arguments on both sides when it comes to rights. The science is heavily weighted towards favoring vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean the science that talks of risks of vaccinations should be stifled.

As is usually the case, I am referring specifically to freedom of thought rather than freedom of speech, since technically there’s no freedom of speech issue here with private companies banning anti-vaxxer information. They are private companies, and while they inappropriately enjoy certain protections as content platforms while simultaneously invoking their privilege as content aggregators, the bottom line remains the same: thoughts are being suppressed because they’re considered dangerous by some.

This isn’t a 1st Amendment issue because as of right now, the government isn’t involved in the suppression as far as we know. That means the battle over whether or not information from anti-vaxxers should be shareable on social media, searchable on Google, and discussion-worthy on mainstream news outlets is becoming a series of oversteps on the part of the companies helping with suppression. This should concern everyone regardless of their choices and beliefs regarding vaccinations.

Those who have followed this topic over the past few months are likely aware Google and Facebook, among others, have embraced certain types of policies with varying levels of transparency behind them in an effort to make anti-vaxxer information as inaccessible as possible. Those opinions are quashed now and the crackdown hasn’t even reached its apex. Now, GoFundMe is no longer allowing fundraisers for anti-vaxxer organizations on their platform, either.

It’s extremely important to understand this point: I would rather a government say vaccinations are mandatory than for the “information czars” of social media and search engines to quash ideas that are unpopular with the majority. That’s not an opinion swayed by my personal perspectives on vaccinations; I’d feel this way whether I was a Big Pharma lawyer or Charlie Sheen. But we’re adults. We can discern information and should be allowed to do so. Some will choose wisely. Others will not. It’s not the responsibility of tech companies or governments to tell us which information is too dangerous for our petty little minds to access.

Just give us the facts and let us make up our own minds.

When government says vaccinations are mandatory, there’s recourse for those against them. When Facebook, Google, or GoFundMe think anti-vaxxer advocates are worth hiding or removing altogether from their platforms, there’s no recourse.

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Conspiracy Theory

Easter is a pagan holiday

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Easter is a pagan holiday

And here we are once again, that annual gathering of family and friends. We’re dressed in our best attire for the occasion. The smell of old oak pews and perfume fill the air. The Sunday morning sunrise is beautiful this time of year. Indeed, this time of year is different. We’re surrounded by tulips, lilies and marshmallow bunnies galore. Our hands still have a remnant of the blue, red, yellow and green from the night before.

We just never asked out loud. What would they think if we started nosing around… it’s all about Jesus isn’t it?  After all, the kids were happy that their baskets were full of candy. We had fun as a family dying the eggs, so what could be wrong with that? It’s the intent that counts.

It’s not the intention that’s dangerous. It’s the blatant ignorance, one that we happily share with family and friends year after year. The questions have crossed our minds surely on more than one occasion. What does a bunny have to do with Christ’s death and resurrection anyway? Why do we dye eggs and hide them?

When a child asks the most simple of questions about this special event, our answer will usually be along the lines of, “well, it represents new life, a re-birth.” That’s what we were told. It sounds good, and most times those answers subdue the confusion, at least for the time being.

I do believe the tale of the Easter bunny is very fitting for this time of year, actually – tall tale that we convince our children is real until it no longer makes sense. Quite simply, it’s a lie. Is it any wonder that our children don’t trust us when we tell them of God? Is God just another Easter bunny or Santa Claus that they eventually find out never existed?

I did the unheard of one year not long ago. I read the Bible to get the answers to the questions about Easter. I figured it must be in the Bible somewhere…right? Jesus’ death was certainly recorded, so then the holiday we celebrate to honor that event must be too. And it was. I found it, right there in His words. But the weird thing is, it’s not called Easter. No bunnies. Lo and behold, no eggs either! Nothing about candy or sunrise services. Not even a gathering on Sunday. But, a very special meal that was prepared early specifically because Jesus wanted to celebrate it with His disciples before He died.  And He did this to give the reason for celebrating it in the first place. It was for the purpose to remember the Lamb of God, the sacrifice, and the fulfilled prophecy. This celebration of remembrance was continued year after year by those who followed Him. Thus, it would be sufficient for us to celebrate as well. In fact, a blessing!

Then came more questions. Jesus answered all of them and then some. His answers were not what I was expecting. He gave me an ear full, as if He had been waiting for that very moment all my life. And that’s when I realized who was really to blame for me being so ignorant. All I had to do was ask.

This time, my answers came from the mouth of the One whom I thought I was honoring and what I learned was hard to accept initially. It wasn’t because I would no longer dye and hide eggs. It was because I had been doing the very thing God had said not to do.  Being that we are Gentiles makes no difference if we too do exactly what Jesus warned His own people of.  Doing that was harder to live with than telling my family I couldn’t be there.  It’s a decision we have to make. Not just whether we will participate in “religious” holidays that in reality have nothing to do with Him, but whether or not we are willing to let go of the easier path for Him.

It won’t be easy if you make such a major change in your life. And believe me, many Christians will put you down for it. They will argue their justification until you’re worn down. But, stick to His word and you shall not be deceived. It can’t be argued against. However, with that said, we are not claiming that any Christian is a “true” Christian just because they are aware of the truth and abandon false traditions. Nor does it mean those that chose to continue in those traditions are not real believers. We are simply trying to point you back to the word – His word – as your only justification for any tradition that is for the purpose of honoring our Messiah.

His answers are not meant to subdue the confusion for a short time, but to enlighten us for eternity.

In reality, it’s a part of the deceptions that are gaining more traction to push those who want to be followers of Yeshua away from the truth of the word. I find it rather curious as to why all these traditions we have involve candy. Don’t you? It’s somewhat indicative of the temptations we face, a lure if you will that gets us involved and interested at a very early age. What kid doesn’t like candy?

Don’t take our word for it. Research it yourself.

Below is an image we created from the words of David J Meyer of Last Trumpet Ministries International. Please verify with the Lord what we are sharing with you. Do not ask man to answer questions that they themselves have. Ask the One who really knows. I figured it might be a good idea if we took the time to actually honor our Messiah by reading what He had to say. Maybe then we can better understand what eggs and bunnies really have to do with it.

We hope that with finding out the truth you will be able to have a true relationship with our Lord and Savior, one that is much deeper and more profound than what man could ever imagine with his made up stories and traditions.

Easter Ishtar

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Conspiracy Theory

Surveillance nightmare: Huawei P30 Pro’s 50x zoom lens makes anyone a spy

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Surveillance nightmare Huawei P30 Pros 50x zoom lens makes anyone a spy

Peeping Tom’s, amateur spies, and the generally creepy have a new smartphone to crave. The Huawei P30 Pro boasts a 50x zoom camera that is going viral on social media and making tech publications scream in every direction imaginable.

In reality, cameras with this capability have been around for a long time, but not on a smartphone. There’s something sinister about a smartphone with these capabilities that have people saying, “This is awful and dangerous… I want one!”

Opinion

This may seem like no big deal to some, but the way technology has become a useful tool to those with nefarious intentions is growing as a problem in western society every day. This isn’t just a better camera on a smartphone. This is a benchmark issue, one that will drive other companies to improve their own camera capabilities until they become truly dangerous.

If Huawei can make such a wave, imagine when Apple and Samsung match or exceed them.

The paranoid and the private must be more careful as this technology improves. It’s easy to imagine someone far enough away to not be easily seen with the naked eye spying on someone at the computer or in their dressing room revealing things they don’t want others to see. On top of that, it’s a smartphone with the capability of transmitting images and videos in real time.

I understand the desire to have these capabilities, but I’m also terrified by the implications of such technology in the hands of bad people.

Quote

“It can zoom in like a DSLR, and it can quickly snap low-light photos that would normally require a tripod and a lot of patience. It has every feature you can imagine, and then some. In short: The phone can take photos that other smartphones can only dream of.” – Stan Schroeder

Final Thoughts

Technology is empowering people to do things they only dreamed of being able to do in the past. With privacy concerns already a big issue in western society, the Huawei P30 Pro will add more fuel to that raging fire.

Image Source: Camera Jabber

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