Category Archives: Government

It Only Costs Google $20 Million A Year To Control The U.S. Government

Google has fired six of its largest lobbying firms in an attempt to overhaul its global government affairs and policy operations amid greater government scrutiny of its business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Over the last few months, the company has changed its roster of lobbying firms, as well as its Washington policy team, and lost two senior officials who helped build its “influence operation” into one of the largest in the nation’s capital. The company had been paying about $20 million annually for lobbying, and the firms that Google has now let go made up about half of that cost.
https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/goog.png?itok=jDgdszSh

The shake up is part of a “continuing modernization” of Google’s influence operation and it comes at a time when government scrutiny has never been more of a factor. The Justice Department is reportedly getting ready to conduct an antitrust investigation into the company and Congress and state attorneys general are also reviewing its practices. Some politicians are even calling for the company to be broken up.

And so Google is taking the paltry $20 million per year that it has been using to control the government and trying to reallocate it. Among those who are no longer working for the company are “Charlie Black, a longtime Republican strategist, and firms that have relationships with senior Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Off Hill Strategies LLC, which has ties to fiscally conservative Republicans.”

People familiar with the restructuring say that it helps reflect the company’s global reach and will help it deal with regulators and lawmakers across regions and markets. The moves are also seen as a shake up by Google’s new head of policy and government relations, Karan Bhatia. 

Bhatia was brought in last summer to serve as Google’s VP of Policy and Government Relations and, since then, he’s been reassessing the company’s lobbying needs. Susan Molinari, a former Republican congresswoman, stepped down as Google’s head of Washington operations last year and the company has yet to name a successor.

Another executive leaving Google during the shake up is Adam Kovacevich, who ran the firm’s public-policy division. He led the company’s campaign to head off a 2012 FTC investigation into anti-competitive tactics and also helped launch several advocacy groups to help promote public policy matters that benefited the company.

In 2006, Google was spending about $800,000 on lobbying and had four firms on retainer. By 2018, the company had 100 lobbyists across 30 firms and spent $21.7 million to lobby Washington. This sum made it the largest spender on lobbying among US corporations, despite the relatively small dollar amount for the massive tech giant.

The company also spends millions on donations to think tanks, political entities, universities and other third-party groups that generate data and host conferences that help Google shape the debate into its business practices.

Meanwhile, Google employees helped the company become one of the largest sources of donations to the Democratic Party and candidates like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the 2018 elections, Google’s employee funded PAC donated $1.9 million to political candidates in both parties. Employees of the company donated a total of $1.6 million to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and after Obama took office in 2012, Google and its lobbying team “scored a string of victories” in Washington, like fending off the FTC from an anti-trust case.

Google also won favorable net neutrality rulings from the FCC and secured favorable legislation on self driving vehicles.

But over the last few years the company has continued to hit headwinds from both sides of the aisle while its public image has taken a beating over privacy concerns and critics claiming that it fails to police content. 

The new lobbying structure has regional leaders in the US, Canada, Asia, the Pacific, Europe and countries that the company views as emerging markets. It also includes teams that will continue to lobby governments in areas like privacy and handling controversial content.

Source: ZeroHedge

Advertisements

Former Trump Senior State Dept. Official Tells Beijing to Wait Until Trump is Removed…

A clear example of the Administrative State’s seditious alignment with global financial interests and DC indulgences.  This is the deep state at its deepest and most statist.

Mrs. Susan Thornton, the former acting assistant secretary of state in the Trump administration, tells her Beijing audience to stop negotiating until President Trump is removed from office in 2020.

https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/susan-thorton-2.jpg

Continue reading

China’s Mass Surveillance App Hacked; Code Reveals Specific Criteria For Illegal Oppression

Human Rights Watch got their hands on an app used by Chinese authorities in the western Xinjiang region to surveil, track and categorize the entire local population – particularly the 13 million or so Turkic Muslims subject to heightened scrutiny, of which around one million are thought to live in cultural ‘re-education’ camps

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/china%20uyghur-detainees1_0.jpg?itok=tDgTAr-t

By “reverse engineering” the code in the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” (IJOP) app, HRW was able to identify the exact criteria authorities rely on to ‘maintain social order.’ Of note, IJOP is “central to a larger ecosystem of social monitoring and control in the region,” and similar to systems being deployed throughout the entire country. 

The platform targets 36 types of people for data collection, from those who have “collected money or materials for mosques with enthusiasm,” to people who stop using smartphones. 

[A]uthorities are collecting massive amounts of personal information—from the color of a person’s car to their height down to the precise centimeter—and feeding it into the IJOP central system, linking that data to the person’s national identification card number. Our analysis also shows that Xinjiang authorities consider many forms of lawful, everyday, non-violent behavior—such as “not socializing with neighbors, often avoiding using the front door”—as suspicious. The app also labels the use of 51 network tools as suspicious, including many Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and encrypted communication tools, such as WhatsApp and Viber. –Human Rights Watch

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/hrw%20look%20for.jpg?itok=H4u3swit(full size image)

Another method of tracking is the “Four Associations”

The IJOP app suggests Xinjiang authorities track people’s personal relationships and consider broad categories of relationship problematic. One category of problematic relationships is called “Four Associations” (四关联), which the source code suggests refers to people who are “linked to the clues of cases” (关联案件线索), people “linked to those on the run” (关联在逃人员), people “linked to those abroad” (关联境外人员), and people “linked to those who are being especially watched” (关联关注人员). –HRW

*An extremely detailed look at the data collected and how the app works can be found in the actual report.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/chinese%20cops_0.jpg?itok=hR9nuBo2

HRW notes that “Many—perhaps all—of the mass surveillance practices described in this report appear to be contrary to Chinese law, and also violate internationally guaranteed rights to privacy, the presumption of innocence, and freedom of association and movement. “Their impact on other rights, such as freedom of expression and religion, is profound,” according to the report. 

Here’s what happens when ‘irregularities’ are detected:

When IJOP detects a deviation from normal parameters, such as when a person uses a phone not registered to them, or when they use more electricity than what would be considered “normal,” or when they travel to an unauthorized area without police permission, the system flags them as “micro-clues” which authorities use to gauge the level of suspicion a citizen should fall under. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/check%20point.jpg?itok=YeGm8y95

A checkpoint in Turpan, Xinjiang equiped with machines that verify ID, facial recognition and retrieve data from personal electronic divices for analysis.

IJOP also monitors personal relationships – some of which are deemed inherently suspicious, such as relatives who have obtained new phone numbers or who maintain foreign links. 

Chinese authorities justify the surveillance as a means to fight terrorism. To that end, IJOP checks for terrorist content and “violent audio-viusual content” when surveilling phones and software. It also flags “adherents of Wahhabism,” the ultra-conservative form of Islam accused of being a “source of global terrorism.

A former Xinjiang resident told Human Rights Watch a week after he was released from arbitrary detention: “I was entering a mall, and an orange alarm went off.” The police came and took him to a police station. “I said to them, ‘I was in a detention center and you guys released me because I was innocent.’… The police told me, ‘Just don’t go to any public places.’… I said, ‘What do I do now? Just stay home?’ He said, ‘Yes, that’s better than this, right?’” –Human Rights Watch

The IJOP system was developed by a major-state owned military contractor – the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC). The app itself was developed by Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering Company (HBFEC), a company that, at the time of the app’s development, was fully owned by CETC. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/Chinese%20muslim%20scanner.jpg?itok=MkGNt7Jr

3D portrait and integrated data capturing passage.

Meanwhile, under the broader “Strike Hard Campaign, authorities in Xinjiang are also collecting “biometrics, including DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood types of all residents in the region ages 12 to 65,” according to the report, which adds that “the authorities require residents to give voice samples when they apply for passports.

The Strike Hard Campaign has shown complete disregard for the rights of Turkic Muslims to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In Xinjiang, authorities have created a system that considers individuals suspicious based on broad and dubious criteria, and then generates lists of people to be evaluated by officials for detention. Official documents state that individuals “who ought to be taken, should be taken,” suggesting the goal is to maximize the number of people they find “untrustworthy” in detention. Such people are then subjected to police interrogation without basic procedural protections. They have no right to legal counsel, and some are subjected to torture and mistreatment, for which they have no effective redress, as we have documented in our September 2018 report. The result is Chinese authorities, bolstered by technology, arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang en masse for actions and behavior that are not crimes under Chinese law.

Read the entire report from Human Rights Watch here.

https://hcsblogdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/zip.jpg

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Federal Appeals Court Rules Chalking Cars For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution

The next time parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark your tires, they’re acting unconstitutionally.

https://www.edhat.com/sites/default/files/news_image/1-parkingticket.jpg

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that “chalking” is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The case was brought by Alison Taylor, a Michigan woman whom the court describes as a “frequent recipient of parking tickets.” The city of Saginaw, Mich., like countless other cities around the country, uses chalk to mark the tires of cars to enforce time limits on parking.

By the time Taylor received her 15th citation in just a few years, she decided to go after the city — and specifically after parking enforcement officer Tabitha Hoskins.

Hoskins, Taylor alleged in her lawsuit, was a “prolific” chalker. Every single one of Taylor’s 15 tickets was issued by Hoskins after she marked a tire with chalk, and then circled back to see if Taylor’s car had moved. That chalking, Taylor argued, was unconstitutional.

“Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle parked on a public street to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment,” Taylor’s lawyer, Philip Ellison, wrote in a court filing.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously agreed. Chalking tires is a kind of trespass, Judge Bernice Donald wrote for the panel, and it requires a warrant. The decision affects the 6th Circuit, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Fourth Amendment protects people from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” To determine whether a violation has occurred, the court first asks whether the government’s conduct counts as a search; if so, it asks whether the search was reasonable.

The court found that chalking is indeed a “search” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment, because government officials physically trespass upon a constitutionally protected area to obtain information. Just as the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that sticking a GPS tracker to a car counted as a “search,” so is marking a tire with chalk to figure out how long it has been parked, the court wrote.

And that search wasn’t reasonable, the court said. The city searches vehicles “that are parked legally, without probable cause, or even so much as ‘individualized suspicion of wrongdoing’ — the touchstone of the reasonableness standard,” the court wrote.

“We don’t think everyone deserves free parking,” Ellison, the attorney who brought the case, told The Associated Press. “But the process Saginaw selected is unconstitutional. … I’m very glad the three judges who got this case took it seriously. It affects so many people.”

Law professor Orin Kerr, noting that he had never seen a chalking case before, said parking enforcement officers could sidestep the constitutional issue altogether by simply taking a photo of the car rather than using chalk. “That way parking enforcement can learn the placement of the car [without] physically marking it,” Kerr wrote.

On her Facebook page, Taylor — the recipient of frequent parking tickets — delighted in the fact that future law students would get to read about her case while studying the Fourth Amendment. “That’s definitely the most exciting part!” she wrote. “I’ve helped change the law.”

Source: by Matthew S. Schwartz | NPR

USDA Lets Low-Income Americans Order Food Online With EBT Cards

The USDA is launching a pilot program in New York State which allows low-income Americans in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to buy and pay for their groceries online

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/ebt%20lady.jpg?itok=sJhqaLkZ

The two-year test pilot will launch with Amazon and Walmart, followed shortly by ShopRite early next week. 

ShopRite and Amazon are providing service to the New York City area and Walmart is providing online service in upstate New York locations. Additional retailers are slated to participate in the pilot in coming months. The pilot will eventually expand to other areas of New York as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. –usda.gov

While taxpayers won’t be on the hook for service or delivery charges, those costs could otherwise go towards more groceries, less the cost of transportation to the store and back. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/walmart%20lady.jpg?itok=LrPSceJ3

“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online. As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick and mortar stores.” 

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized USDA to conduct and evaluate a pilot for online purchasing prior to national implementation. The pilot phase is intended to ensure online transactions are processed safely and securely. USDA anticipates all eligible and interested retailers who can meet the requirements to process online SNAP transactions will eventually be able to take part, though the timeline is dependent on the progress of the pilot and any regulations which may need to be issued. –usda.gov

There are currently over 40 million Americans receiving benefits under SNAP, or roughly 12.4% of Americans. 

We wonder if there will be any safeguards in place to prevent people from ordering $141 in lobster, steak and Mountain Dew. 

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/lobster%20steak%20coke1.jpg?itok=KvCQP6NJ

Chapter Jackson – It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT (Explicit)

Source: ZeroHedge

Documentary: 5G APOCALYPSE EXTINCTION EVENT

Full length documentary by Sacha Stone exposing the 5G existential threat to humanity in a way we never imagined possible!

Please SHARE this as widely as you feel drawn… use it to target your local bureaucrats, technocrats, health practitioners, local and federal government agencies and more than anything else… your family and friends.

Featuring in this film: weapons development experts, biologists, molecular & cellular biologists, blood microscopists, activists, as well as good leaders out there on the frontline.

We know what this technology is – we know how it was conceived and we know where it is intended to take people and planet.

We are drawing the line here… and we are doing so with the full fire of consciousness.

Arise Homo sapiens!

Sheeple Branding: EU’s MANDATORY Biometric ID Card For 500+ Million People

https://cdn.nexusnewsfeed.com/images/2019/2/eu-biometric-id-1552488972782.jpg

A recent European Union (EU) announcement about national IDs will destroy millions of people’s privacy and create a near-global biometric database.

An article in State Watch News revealed that the EU has agreed to create a MANDATORY national biometric ID card.

Measures being negotiated as part of the EU’s ‘Security Union’ are moving ahead swiftly, with the Council and Parliament reaching provisional agreements on new rules for immigration liaison officers, the EU’s Visa Code and the introduction of mandatory biometric national identity cards; and the Council agreeing its negotiating position on the new Frontex Regulation.

Earlier this week, the Nepal government announced their plans to roll out a national biometric ID card that will affect 30 million people.

Last month, I wrote an article warning people about the global effort to restrict everyone’s right to travel. But what is happening across Europe and Asia should send chills down everyone’s back.

If you combine what is happening in the EU with America’s national biometric ID card, Real-ID, it becomes painfully obvious that everyone’s right to travel freely is in jeopardy.

512 million people will be forced to give up their privacy

A European national biometric ID card is all but a certainty.

All the EU needs is for 28 ambassadors to say yes, and just like that 512.6 million citizens will be forced to give up their privacy if they want to travel.

Today, representatives of the Council Presidency and the European Parliament reached an informal agreement on a regulation to improve the functioning of the European network of immigration liaison officers. It will now be presented to EU ambassadors for confirmation on behalf of the Council.

The Brussel Times claims that the member countries would have eight years to comply when the law takes affect.

How will this affect American travelers?

Any American wishing to visit any of the 28 countries that make up the EU will be profiled and given risk assessments by the “European Travel Information and Authorization System or ETIAS”

Since citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries. (Source)

If ETIAS sounds a lot like Homeland Security’s U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization System” and their secret No-Fly list give yourself a gold star, because that is exactly what it is modeled after.

If you and your family plan on visiting a country for an extended period of time, you will have no choice but to submit biometrics to the EU.

At the same time, the EU is also upgrading the Visa Information System (VIS) – which is currently used to hold information on all applicants for short-stay Schengen visas, but is being expanded to include information on long-stay visas and residence documents; to enforce mandatory biometrics in long-stay visas (currently a national competence); and to include the fingerprints of children from the age of six and up. All visa applicants will also be profiled.

Teenagers forced to carry national biometric ID cards

The Irish Times warned that children older than 12 years old would be forced to carry national biometric ID cards.

It proposed making biometric data mandatory for those countries with ID cards and said EU citizens’ ID cards (older than 12 years) and non-EU family members’ residence cards would now include biometric data, namely fingerprints and facial images, stored on a chip.

The State Watch article also warned that national biometric ID cards must be updated every 5 years and less for minors.

Identity cards will have a minimum period of validity of 5 years and a maximum period of validity of 10 years. Member states may issue ID cards with a longer validity for persons aged 70 and above. If issued, ID cards for minors may have a period of validity of less than 5 years.

Modeling ETIAS after Homeland Security’s, TSA is appalling. Forcing millions of people to carry national biometric ID cards has all the earmarks of a European police state.

Didn’t we learn anything from World War II?

Source: MassPrivatel