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Big League Economics

MYTHEOS: Of Course The Obama Administration Made Everything Political

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Obamagate is real, and the Nunes memo, which has detonated like a bomb in the face of official Washington, forced a reckoning. While evidence of political interference in the intelligence and national security sectors by the Obama administration has piled up relentlessly over the past few weeks, it wasn’t until the infamous memo that those stories became impossible to sweep under the rug, and demanded a response. And, of course, Republicans in particular have wrung their hands over that. “We are shocked, shocked,” many of them intone seriously, “that the Obama administration tried to politicize every inch of their administration.”

Really? You’re shocked? Because I thought the Obama administration’s willingness to play politics with seemingly impartial branches of government was well-established. Granted, the scale of the offense in this case is greater than most previous offenses. Yes, the story of how flagrantly the Obama administration corrupted the intelligence community is impressive for its sheer brazenness, and rightfully deserves the comparisons to Watergate it’s getting. But when it comes to politicizing America’s government infrastructure, we’ve known the Obama administration was this brazen for a while. In fact, when it came to achieving the preferred policy outcomes of their donors, the Obama administration already showed it was perfectly willing to leverage national security years back.

To explain this, let me take you back to 2011, when it emerged that Gen. William Shelton, then the head of Air Force Space Command, had been pressured by the administration to alter testimony before Congress in order to favor the interests of Democratic donor Philip Falcone. Specifically, Shelton was asked to voice support for policies that would have favored Falcone’s then-new company, LightSquared. Shelton refused, and told his story to reporters, who ran it as a tech-oriented coda to the then-developing Solyndra scandal.

As it turned out, Shelton’s decision to blow the whistle was very, very wise, because LightSquared soon became a Solyndra in its own right. You see, after receiving billions in government funding, as well as illegally-granted licenses, from the Obama-era FCC, Lightsquared ended up forced into bankruptcy when multiple other federal agencies had the bad taste to point out that its entire business model not only would fail, but could end up indirectly taking the GPS industry with it thanks to its poorly thought out technological plans. Without getting too far into the weeds, LightSquared’s business model relied on using a particular band of spectrum (essentially, the equivalent of a lane in a highway, but for digital data, not for cars) that GPS companies also used to make their products work. The problem was that what Lightsquared was doing was more or less the equivalent of a drunk driver swerving around the lane, and would’ve eventually caused the digital equivalent of a thirty car pileup. And yet, the Obama administration tried to conscript Air Force Space Command into being an apologist for one of their many sugar daddies. With that kind of disregard for basic prudence, is it any wonder they also thought they could get away with turning intelligence agencies into opposition research arms of the DNC?

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Like so much else that was puerile and ugly about the Obama administration, the Trump administration now has to clean this up. And they won’t just have to do it at the FBI. In the intervening years, Lightsquared has emerged from bankruptcy under a new name – Ligado – this time backed by Obama bundler Reed Hundt. And much like the rest of the Obama and Clinton brigade, Hundt appears to be incapable of learning from past mistakes, because while Ligado has paid lip service to playing nice with its fellow tech companies, it has apparently gotten tired of this flirtation with repentance and is once more asking the FCC for special favors. This, despite the fact that their business model remains just as precarious and unsafe as it was in 2011.

Fortunately, this time they’ll have to convince not a scraping Obama-era flunky, but the FCC’s Honey Badger himself, Ajit Pai. And if he stays true to form, Pai will prove that just as cronies like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page got drained out of the swamp by the Trump administration, so too will the likes of Ligado get hoovered out.

But let that pass, for ultimately, the Lightsquared/Ligado fiasco is nothing more than a canary in a coal mine: a coal mine whose dark and twisted tunnels ended with the bleak and blatant politicization of America’s national security apparatus. Perhaps we should have paid attention when the Obama administration subjected even arcane topics like spectrum policy to a “politicization today, politicization tomorrow, politicization forever” approach. But we didn’t, and now there’s that much more swamp to drain. With any luck, as House Speaker Paul Ryan put it, the compromised decision-making process of the Obama administration will be cleansed from the federal government altogether.

 

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Big League Economics

VIDEO: C.J. Pearson Opens Up About His Suspension From Twitter, First Day Of Internship

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Conservative commentator C.J. Pearson opens up about his suspension from Twitter and the first day of his business internship. Big League Politics spoke with the rising Republican who is actually putting his time where his mouth is: and he learns the first rule of business.

Watch Today’s Episode of Howley Reports with C.J. Pearson

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Big League Economics

Why Is George Soros Buying Up The New York Times?

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According to recent filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), billionaire globalist George Soros, through his investment firm, Soros Fund Management LLC, has purchased over $3 million-worth of stock holdings in the New York Times.

This purchase is the first that the liberal financier has made since 2007, when Soros bought $470,000 worth of shares in the newspaper. This recent investment includes purchasing 126,400 shares valued at $3,046,000. Soros’s purchase was for Class A stock holdings which are publicly traded-as opposed to its Class B stock, which are privately held.

The May 15th filing can be viewed here: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1029160/000114036118023894/xslForm13F_X01/form13fInfoTable.xml

Vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, Dan Gainor, found that in 2011, Soros pushed a minimum of $48 million into media ventures that included “journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations” over the course of just eight years. “Soros has long had influence or given direct funding to a wide range of journalism operations from NPR to ProPublica,” Gainor said. “This is still a big step to be buying a $3 million stake in the top liberal outlet in America.”

The controversial billionaire’s influence in mainstream media doesn’t stop there. The Hungarian-American self proclaimed “philanthropist” has ties to over 30 mainstream news outlets – including the Associated Press, Washington Post, NBC and ABC. Soros’s Open Society Institute is reported to have funded seven different investigative reporting projects including the Columbia University’s School of Journalism-receiving $600,000 from Soros, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity and the New Orleans’ ‘The Lens’. Soros also funds the Committee to Protect Journalists, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

His fascination with controlling the media is something that the billionaire has always shown interest in, but now as one of the world’s richest men, he’s able to fulfill his dreams all while using it to unapologetically, and openly attack the right.

In author and New York Times veteran, Michael T. Kaufman’s book entitled “Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire,” Soros has been intrigued by media since he was a young child with early interests into the field including “history or journalism or some form of writing.” He also had his own newspaper in his native Hungary, ‘The Lupa News’, which he served as “editor-in-chief and publisher”.

With all the billions of dollars that Soros has invested into trying to shape American politics and media, he is being forced to acknowledge his limits of influence.

Soros recently told The Washington Post that he was blindsided by President Donald Trump’s election. “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble.” He went on to explain why he thought Hillary Clinton lost the election, saying, “She was too much like a schoolmarm,” and that she was always “talking down to people…instead of listening to them.”

You can be sure of one thing, this is not the last we’ve heard from Soros who plans to reshape the public opinion through mainstream media publications and financially back a candidate in 2020 who shares his globalist agenda.

“The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it,” added Soros. “So in that sense, yes, I redouble my efforts.”

Judicial Watch president, Tom Fitton said in a recent statement, Soros is a businessman and “shouldn’t be receiving taxpayer support to advance his radical left agenda to undermine freedom here at home and abroad.”

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Amazon Feeds Facial Recognition To Law Enforcement, Congress Wants Answers

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Congress and civil rights groups demand answers from Jeff Bezos no later than June 20th regarding Amazon’s new facial recognition software, Rekognition, which allows consumers to search millions of images in a matter of seconds. With rates lower than the cost of a value meal at your local fast food joint, this service is fast, affordable, and available to anyone signed up with Amazon Web Services.

The multi billion dollar company’s facial recognition software, named Rekogniton, works by using Amazon’s cloud computing network AWS (Amazon Web Services). The software compares images provided by the customer to an already existing database of images also provided by the same customer. In addition to identifying humans, Rekognition can be used to search for inanimate objects like cars, text, and furniture.

Congress has raised concerns about Amazon Rekognition and some have written a letter to Jeff Bezos demanding to know how the software is being used by law enforcement agencies. In the letter dated May 25, 2018, Bezos is asked to provide information concerning bias and error rates and wants to make sure Rekognition is not being used to “facilitate systems that disproportionately impact people based on protected characteristics in potential violation of federal civil laws.” The letter asks Bezos to respond no later than June 20th, 2018.

Read the letter in its entirety:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4484636-Ellison-Cleaver-Letter-to-Jeff-Bezos.html#document/p1

The ever growing market for facial recognition software and other image-scanning technology emboldens many privacy concerns. The possibility of having your photo taken without your knowledge or consent by cameras at traffic stops, individuals taking photos with their smartphone in a public venue, security cameras at different businesses and the like, leaves individuals vulnerable-especially when these images are loaded into a database that can scan and recognize you without your knowledge.

According to a blog from 2017 on Amazon’s website, they claim the software can “accurately capture demographics and analyze sentiments for all faces in group photos, crowded events, and public places such as airports and department stores.”

The ACLU obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that state Rekognition can identify up to 100 people in a crowd in databases of tens of millions of photos. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent May 22, 34 groups said people should be “free to walk down the street without being watched by the government. Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom.”

Full document: https://www.aclunc.org/docs/20180522_ARD.pdf#page=8

These civil rights groups are most concerned with Rekognition’s use amongst law enforcement agencies. Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties Director for the ACLU in Northern California stated, “Once powerful surveillance systems like these are built and deployed, the harm can’t be undone. We’re talking about a technology that will supercharge surveillance in our communities.”

The Jeff Bezos owned behemoth of a business has all but given away these new facial recognition tools to law enforcement agencies including the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, outside of Portland Oregon.

Orlando police chief, John Mina initially claimed the software was only being used at their headquarters, but later admitted at a news conference that three of the city’s downtown IRIS cameras were equipped with the software, and insisted that Rekognition being ran on these public cameras was still only able to track the seven officers that volunteered to test the system.

Matt Cagle, ACLU attorney said in a statement: “After misleading the people of Orlando, the Orlando Police Department has finally confirmed that it is indeed using Amazon’s face surveillance technology on public cameras. Now, it’s up to Amazon. Will it stop selling dangerous technology to the government?”

Amazon is not the only business selling facial recognition software, with both Google and Facebook having their own facial recognition services. Revealed by Forbes in April, one of the largest surveillance providers in the world, Israel-based Verint runs a large database of Facebook photos for facial recognition.

How much is this service? Between $6 and $12 a month. Yes, you read that right. $6 to $12 a month-which has always been a part of Amazon’s normal business model: start dirt cheap and the customers will come flooding in. Basically, you only pay for the number of images or minutes of video that you analyze–there are no upfront commitments or minimum fees applicable.

According to the document obtained by the ACLU, the Orlando Police Department only paid $30.99 for processing of 30,989 images. If you sign up to be part of the AWS Free Tier, you’re able to analyze 1,000 minutes of video for free each month for the first year.

Businesses and police agencies aren’t the only ones who have access to Amazon Rekognition, the average consumer can set up an account and use the software for just pennies on the dollar. Under the FAQs page on Amazon’s AWS website it gives a detailed description of how to sign up and get started using the software right away.

One last important note that should raise major concerns, as stated on Amazon’s AWS FAQ page: as long as you’re compliant with Amazon’s Rekognition Service Terms and have provided them with required verifiable parental consent under COPPA (Children’s Privacy Protection Act), you may use Amazon Rekognition in connection with websites, programs, or other applications that are directed or targeted, in whole or in part, to children age 13. Not only are adults vulnerable to the software, but images of children under 13 can also be scanned into the database.

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