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Pattern Dynamics: Writer -Researcher-Analyst. Everything ultimately settles into a Pattern Dynamic. Ric A Ohge, Writer-Researcher of Emerging Technologies1990 – Present (23 years)Wherever I am. Everything ultimately falls into a Patterned Dynamic. Analyzing how something evolved, seeing it's "Flash Points, Plateaus and where it has gone wrong, can give you a view of where it NEEDS to go to evolve to it's maximum potential. How about a set of "Non-Theocentric Laws" based on these principles: 1. Do not take another human life-unless it's requested and verified by witnesses. Why even allow THAT? Some people are dying, in unimaginable pain, and are tired of it being a burden for them and their loved ones. They are actually seeking peace. It wouldn't be my choice, but I get it, and refuse to pass judgment. 2. Treat Animals With Respect I'm not a vegan, but even as a meat eater, I have to acquiesce to the spirit of many indigenous peoples in their respect for the lives they must use. Hunting for sport? Try using a camera...getting up close and personal with a Bengal Tiger would require a WHOLE LOT MORE manning up, than with a laser-sighted 50 caliber sniper rifle. 3. Do NOT do anything to or with anyone they do not WANT, UNDERSTAND, OR are willing to do WITHOUT any kind of coercion or TRICKERY. Ask-and if you must explain the proposition-it's a "no" before you start...get it? 4. Do not destroy Nature OR Someone's Property, Home or Possessions without permission based on an understandable emergency, and only then with proper compensation for their loss. 5. Do NOT take anything from anyone, they do not want to give. Ask, if individual to individual, or SHARE, if a community can make a case prepared to offer better for ALL, than they, as individuals, may have to give up. By the same token, if you have something that could meet a real need, allow yourself to be asked without rancor or judgment, always leaning toward decisions that promote the good of the community, as well as the individual involved. Anything more than such “Laws” or “Tenets” always morph into a systems of evil, selfishness, and violence. I have all of History as my witness.
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  • Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/bernie-sanders-calls-fact-minimum-wage-worker-cannot-afford-2-bedroom-apartment-any
    Julia Conley, staff writer

    For a decade, U.S. lawmakers have kept the federal minimum wage at a level which increasingly leaves workers unable to afford housing.

    That's according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The group's 30th annual study of housing affordability found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25—which is unchanged since 2009—cannot afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States.

    The report, entitled "Out of Reach," details how a worker would need to maintain three full-time jobs involving 127 hours of work per week to afford such a housing situation, without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing.

    "Our rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years," wrote Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC, noting that housing assistance reaches fewer Americans than in 1989, when the group first compiled housing data.

    "Wage inequality has worsened between black and white workers at all wage levels, exacerbating the racial housing inequities that have long plagued the nation. Affordable rental housing for low-income people is significantly further out of reach now than in 1989, despite a massive increase in wealth for higher-income households."

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has worked alongside the national grassroots campaign Fight for $15 to push for a $15 minimum wage, called the report's findings "a national disgrace."

    According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) own data, Americans who pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage payment are considered "cost-burdened," and those who pay more than 50 percent of their compensation on housing are "severely cost-burdened."

    Yet while the federal government stipulates that households should pay no more than 30 percent on housing, another recent study by Harvard University found that lawmakers have allowed the number of cost-burdened families to rise rapidly over the past two decades.

    From 2001 to 2016, 3.6 million more households spent more than half their income on housing.

    "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis. In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away?"

    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)"Seventy-one percent of extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened," reads the NLIHC's report, "which forces them to cut-back on other basic necessities like adequate food, healthcare, and transportation and also puts them at risk of housing instability."

    The NLIHC found that even if a minimum-wage earner with a family were to squeeze his or her household into a one-bedroom apartment, that housing arrangement would hardly be more affordable than a slightly larger home.

    The worker would need to work 103 hours per week to afford the apartment without paying more than 30 percent of his or her income.

    Corporations and lawmakers aligned with corporate interests have in recent years railed against proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which have gained momentum thanks to Fight for $15 and progressives in Congress including Sanders.

    Yet NLIHC's report found that even this modest proposal would still leave many workers unable to afford a rental apartment in many parts of the country.

    A worker would need to earn an average of $22.96 to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. and more than $18 to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

    Even in the most affordable states in the country, a minimum wage job leaves workers unable to rent a small apartment.

    In Arkansas, where the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $742, a renter would need to earn more than $14 per hour to afford it—putting those homes out of reach for workers who earn the state's minimum wage of $9.25.

    The report also noted that rents are too high and wages are too low even for workers who earn more than the minimum wage.

    "Nationally, the average renter's hourly wage is $17.57, which is $5.39 below the national two-bedroom Housing Wage and $1.08 below the national one-bedroom Housing Wage," the report reads.

    In her preface to the report, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) slammed the Trump administration for worsening the housing crisis through direct attacks on anti-segregation rules, subsidies for low-income Americans, and undocumented immigrants who live in public housing.

    "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis," wrote Pressley.

    "In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away? This administration's callous attempts to rollback funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs has left more than half a million people without shelter on any given night."

    In light of the Trump administration's neglect and exacerbation of housing access issues, Pressley called on Congress to pass legislation to invest in affordable housing, including the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would pour resources into the National Housing Trust Fund and give special consideration to areas affected by redlining in the 20th century.

    "This isn't just a devastating trend, but rather a national public health crisis," Pressley wrote.

    "So long as there is a national housing shortage, the American Dream remains largely deferred."
    Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/bernie-sanders-calls-fact-minimum-wage-worker-cannot-afford-2-bedroom-apartment-any Julia Conley, staff writer For a decade, U.S. lawmakers have kept the federal minimum wage at a level which increasingly leaves workers unable to afford housing. That's according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). The group's 30th annual study of housing affordability found that a worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25—which is unchanged since 2009—cannot afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in any state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States. The report, entitled "Out of Reach," details how a worker would need to maintain three full-time jobs involving 127 hours of work per week to afford such a housing situation, without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing. "Our rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years," wrote Diane Yentel, president and CEO of NLIHC, noting that housing assistance reaches fewer Americans than in 1989, when the group first compiled housing data. "Wage inequality has worsened between black and white workers at all wage levels, exacerbating the racial housing inequities that have long plagued the nation. Affordable rental housing for low-income people is significantly further out of reach now than in 1989, despite a massive increase in wealth for higher-income households." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has worked alongside the national grassroots campaign Fight for $15 to push for a $15 minimum wage, called the report's findings "a national disgrace." According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) own data, Americans who pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent or a mortgage payment are considered "cost-burdened," and those who pay more than 50 percent of their compensation on housing are "severely cost-burdened." Yet while the federal government stipulates that households should pay no more than 30 percent on housing, another recent study by Harvard University found that lawmakers have allowed the number of cost-burdened families to rise rapidly over the past two decades. From 2001 to 2016, 3.6 million more households spent more than half their income on housing. "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis. In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away?" Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)"Seventy-one percent of extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened," reads the NLIHC's report, "which forces them to cut-back on other basic necessities like adequate food, healthcare, and transportation and also puts them at risk of housing instability." The NLIHC found that even if a minimum-wage earner with a family were to squeeze his or her household into a one-bedroom apartment, that housing arrangement would hardly be more affordable than a slightly larger home. The worker would need to work 103 hours per week to afford the apartment without paying more than 30 percent of his or her income. Corporations and lawmakers aligned with corporate interests have in recent years railed against proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which have gained momentum thanks to Fight for $15 and progressives in Congress including Sanders. Yet NLIHC's report found that even this modest proposal would still leave many workers unable to afford a rental apartment in many parts of the country. A worker would need to earn an average of $22.96 to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. and more than $18 to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Even in the most affordable states in the country, a minimum wage job leaves workers unable to rent a small apartment. In Arkansas, where the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $742, a renter would need to earn more than $14 per hour to afford it—putting those homes out of reach for workers who earn the state's minimum wage of $9.25. The report also noted that rents are too high and wages are too low even for workers who earn more than the minimum wage. "Nationally, the average renter's hourly wage is $17.57, which is $5.39 below the national two-bedroom Housing Wage and $1.08 below the national one-bedroom Housing Wage," the report reads. In her preface to the report, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) slammed the Trump administration for worsening the housing crisis through direct attacks on anti-segregation rules, subsidies for low-income Americans, and undocumented immigrants who live in public housing. "Despite clear and urgent needs, the Trump administration continues to starve communities of the resources needed to tackle this crisis," wrote Pressley. "In the richest nation on earth, how is it that three out of every four families eligible for housing assistance are turned away? This administration's callous attempts to rollback funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs has left more than half a million people without shelter on any given night." In light of the Trump administration's neglect and exacerbation of housing access issues, Pressley called on Congress to pass legislation to invest in affordable housing, including the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which would pour resources into the National Housing Trust Fund and give special consideration to areas affected by redlining in the 20th century. "This isn't just a devastating trend, but rather a national public health crisis," Pressley wrote. "So long as there is a national housing shortage, the American Dream remains largely deferred."
    Bernie Sanders Calls Fact That Minimum Wage Worker Cannot Afford 2-Bedroom Apartment in Any U.S. State 'A National Disgrace'
    "So long as there is a national housing shortage," says Rep. Ayanna Pressley, "the American Dream remains largely deferred."
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  • Straight to Wall Street Fundraiser After Leaving Poor People's Forum, Biden Tells Fat Cat Donors: 'You Guys Are Great'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/straight-wall-street-fundraiser-after-leaving-poor-peoples-forum-biden-tells-fat-cat
    Eoin Higgins, staff writer

    Just hours after appearing at Monday's Poor Peoples Campaign event in Washington, D.C. and promising to work for the less fortunate, 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden went straight to a Wall Street fundraiser in New York City where he solicited donations from, among others, a pro-Trump billionaire.

    The fundraiser was held at the Manhattan penthouse apartment of investor Jim Chanos.

    According to CNBC reporting, Biden told wealthy attendees "you guys are great" and "you guys are incredibly important" before singing the praises of working class Americans.

    Biden also "suggested" to the crowd that he had raised nearly $20 million already for his campaign, citing 360,000 donors that have contributed an average of $55, approximately $19.2 million.

    At one point during the evening, CNBC reported, the former vice president asked supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis for help, but the plea didn't result in any benefit for the Democratic frontrunner.

    Catsimatidis told Biden he was set on Trump and, on Tuesday, tweeted that he and his family—major figures in New York Republican circles—were all in for the president.

    Biden's appearance at Chanos's apartment came on the same day the former vice president took the stage in Washington to wax on his strategies to end poverty.

    But the former vice president's remarks concentrated mainly on his relationship with former president Barack Obama, The Washington Post reported, and his desire to work with the GOP—at one point leaning over moderator Joy Ann Reid to tell her that it was possible to "shame" Republicans into working with Democrats.

    "Joy Ann, I know you're one of the ones who thinks it's naive to think we have to work together," said Biden.

    "The fact of the matter is, if we can't get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive branch. Zero."

    Biden also used his time onstage to take issue with those calling for real change rather than incrementalism.

    "Folks, look, if you start off with the notion there's nothing you can do, well, might you all go home then, man?" Biden said.

    "Or let's start a real, physical revolution if you're talking about it."

    Biden continued to attend fundraisers in New York on Tuesday, according to Newsday's Emily Ngo, though it was unclear if he courted any additional deep-pocketed Trump backers.
    Straight to Wall Street Fundraiser After Leaving Poor People's Forum, Biden Tells Fat Cat Donors: 'You Guys Are Great' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/straight-wall-street-fundraiser-after-leaving-poor-peoples-forum-biden-tells-fat-cat Eoin Higgins, staff writer Just hours after appearing at Monday's Poor Peoples Campaign event in Washington, D.C. and promising to work for the less fortunate, 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden went straight to a Wall Street fundraiser in New York City where he solicited donations from, among others, a pro-Trump billionaire. The fundraiser was held at the Manhattan penthouse apartment of investor Jim Chanos. According to CNBC reporting, Biden told wealthy attendees "you guys are great" and "you guys are incredibly important" before singing the praises of working class Americans. Biden also "suggested" to the crowd that he had raised nearly $20 million already for his campaign, citing 360,000 donors that have contributed an average of $55, approximately $19.2 million. At one point during the evening, CNBC reported, the former vice president asked supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis for help, but the plea didn't result in any benefit for the Democratic frontrunner. Catsimatidis told Biden he was set on Trump and, on Tuesday, tweeted that he and his family—major figures in New York Republican circles—were all in for the president. Biden's appearance at Chanos's apartment came on the same day the former vice president took the stage in Washington to wax on his strategies to end poverty. But the former vice president's remarks concentrated mainly on his relationship with former president Barack Obama, The Washington Post reported, and his desire to work with the GOP—at one point leaning over moderator Joy Ann Reid to tell her that it was possible to "shame" Republicans into working with Democrats. "Joy Ann, I know you're one of the ones who thinks it's naive to think we have to work together," said Biden. "The fact of the matter is, if we can't get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive branch. Zero." Biden also used his time onstage to take issue with those calling for real change rather than incrementalism. "Folks, look, if you start off with the notion there's nothing you can do, well, might you all go home then, man?" Biden said. "Or let's start a real, physical revolution if you're talking about it." Biden continued to attend fundraisers in New York on Tuesday, according to Newsday's Emily Ngo, though it was unclear if he courted any additional deep-pocketed Trump backers.
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  • Ocasio-Cortez Hits Back at Liz Cheney: 'What Do You Call Building Mass Camps of People Being Detained Without Trial?'
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/ocasio-cortez-hits-back-liz-cheney-what-do-you-call-building-mass-camps-people-being
    Jake Johnson, staff writer

    After Rep. Liz Cheney expressed outrage at her statement that President Donald Trump's administration is "running concentration camps on the southern border," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday asked the Wyoming Republican what term she would use to describe "mass camps of people being detained without trail."

    "How would you dress up DHS's mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after Cheney suggested it is inappropriate and offensive to call U.S. immigrant detention facilities "concentration camps."

    The back and forth between Ocasio-Cortez and Cheney—the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney—came after the New York Democrat said during an Instagram livestream Monday night that "concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice" due to the Trump administration's mass detention of immigrants.

    In a tweet Tuesday morning, Cheney urged Ocasio-Cortez to "spend just a few minutes learning some actual history" and claimed that to compare immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps is to "demean" the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the Nazi holocaust.

    Cheney's tweet sparked a flurry of reaction, including from Jewish commentators who expressed wholehearted agreement with Ocasio-Cortez's statement, which has been echoed by historians and other commentators.

    "The Holocaust did not begin with the murder of six million Jews," writer Bess Kalb tweeted in response to Cheney.

    "It began with the same dehumanization, deportation, and internment we see today. You, sickeningly, invoke the Holocaust to minimize their suffering. Shame."

    Others joined Kalb in denouncing Cheney and backing Ocasio-Cortez:

    Gun control advocate and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg urged Cheney to "learn about what [her] father did to Iraq before commenting on genocide."

    Ocasio-Cortez is hardly the first to describe U.S. immigrant detention facilities and concentration camps, which—as several commentators pointed out in response to Cheney—are not the same as death camps.

    "Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz," Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, told Esquire in an interview last week.

    "Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they're putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way."

    Citing Pitzer's interview on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: "Concentration camps are considered by experts as 'the mass detention of civilians without trial.' And that's exactly what this administration is doing."
    Ocasio-Cortez Hits Back at Liz Cheney: 'What Do You Call Building Mass Camps of People Being Detained Without Trial?' https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/18/ocasio-cortez-hits-back-liz-cheney-what-do-you-call-building-mass-camps-people-being Jake Johnson, staff writer After Rep. Liz Cheney expressed outrage at her statement that President Donald Trump's administration is "running concentration camps on the southern border," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday asked the Wyoming Republican what term she would use to describe "mass camps of people being detained without trail." "How would you dress up DHS's mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after Cheney suggested it is inappropriate and offensive to call U.S. immigrant detention facilities "concentration camps." The back and forth between Ocasio-Cortez and Cheney—the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney—came after the New York Democrat said during an Instagram livestream Monday night that "concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice" due to the Trump administration's mass detention of immigrants. In a tweet Tuesday morning, Cheney urged Ocasio-Cortez to "spend just a few minutes learning some actual history" and claimed that to compare immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps is to "demean" the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the Nazi holocaust. Cheney's tweet sparked a flurry of reaction, including from Jewish commentators who expressed wholehearted agreement with Ocasio-Cortez's statement, which has been echoed by historians and other commentators. "The Holocaust did not begin with the murder of six million Jews," writer Bess Kalb tweeted in response to Cheney. "It began with the same dehumanization, deportation, and internment we see today. You, sickeningly, invoke the Holocaust to minimize their suffering. Shame." Others joined Kalb in denouncing Cheney and backing Ocasio-Cortez: Gun control advocate and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg urged Cheney to "learn about what [her] father did to Iraq before commenting on genocide." Ocasio-Cortez is hardly the first to describe U.S. immigrant detention facilities and concentration camps, which—as several commentators pointed out in response to Cheney—are not the same as death camps. "Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz," Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, told Esquire in an interview last week. "Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they're putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way." Citing Pitzer's interview on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez wrote: "Concentration camps are considered by experts as 'the mass detention of civilians without trial.' And that's exactly what this administration is doing."
    Ocasio-Cortez Hits Back at Liz Cheney: 'What Do You Call Building Mass Camps of People Being Detained Without Trial?'
    "Concentration camps are considered by experts as 'the mass detention of civilians without trial.' And that's exactly what this administration is doing."
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  • The Trust Project: Big Media and Silicon Valley’s Weaponized Algorithms Silence Dissent
    https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/06/18/the-trust-project-big-media-and-silicon-valleys-weaponized-algorithms-silence-dissent/
    Posted By Luther Blissett By Whitney Webb: Mintpress News 6/18/19

    After the failure of Newsguard — the news rating system backed by a cadre of prominent neoconservative personalities — to gain traction among American tech and social media companies, another organization has quietly stepped in to direct the news algorithms of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

    Though different from Newsguard, this group, known as “The Trust Project,” has a similar goal of restoring “trust” in corporate, mainstream media outlets, relative to independent alternatives, by applying “trust indicators” to social-media news algorithms in a decidedly nontransparent way.

    The funding of “The Trust Project” — coming largely from big tech companies like Google; government-connected tech oligarchs like Pierre Omidyar; and the Knight Foundation, a key Newsguard investor — suggests that an ulterior motive in its tireless promotion of “traditional” mainstream media outlets is to limit the success of dissenting alternatives.

    Of particular importance is the fact that the Trust Project’s “trust indicators” are already being used to control what news is promoted and suppressed by top search engines like Google and Bing and massive social-media networks like Facebook.

    Though the descriptions of these “trust indicators” — eight of which are currently in use — are publicly available, the way they are being used by major tech and social media companies is not.

    The Trust Project’s goal is to increase public trust in the very same traditional media outlets that Newsguard favored and to use HTML-embedded codes in favored news articles to promote their content at the expense of independent alternatives.

    Even if its effort to promote “trust” in establishment media fail, its embedded-code hidden within participating news sites allow those establishment outlets to skirt the same algorithms currently targeting their independent competition, making such issues of “trust” largely irrelevant as it moves to homogenize the online media landscape in favor of mainstream media.

    The Trust Project’s director, Sally Lehrman, made it clear that, in her view, the lack of public trust in mainstream media and its declining readership is the result of unwanted “competition by principle-free enterprises [that] further undermines its [journalism’s] very role and purpose as an engine for democracy.”

    Getting to know the Trust Project

    The Trust Project describes itself as “a consortium of top news companies” involved in developing “transparency standards that help you easily assess the quality and credibility of journalism.”

    It has done this by creating what it calls “Trust Indicators,” which the project’s website describes as “a digital standard that meets people’s needs.”

    However, far from meeting “people’s needs,” the Trust Indicators seem aimed at manipulating search engine and social-media news algorithms to the benefit of the project’s media partners, rather than to the benefit of the general public.

    The origins of the Trust Project date back to a 2012 “roundtable” hosted by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, a center funded by former Apple CEO Mike Markkula.

    That roundtable became known as the Roundtable on Digital Journalism Ethics and was created by journalist Sally Lehrman, then working at the Markkula Center, in connection with the New Media Executive Roundtable and Online Credibility Watch of the Society of Professional Journalists.

    Lehrman has explicitly stated that the Trust Project is open only to “news organizations that adhere to traditional standards.”

    The specific idea that spurred the creation of the Trust Project itself was born at a 2014 meeting of that roundtable, when Lehrman “asked a specialist in machine learning at Twitter, and Richard Gingras, head of Google News, if algorithms could be used to support ethics instead of hurting them, and they said yes.

    Gingras agreed to collaborate.” In other words, the idea behind the Trust Project, from the start, was aimed at gaming search-engine and social-media algorithms in collusion with major tech companies like Google and Twitter.

    As the Trust Project itself notes, the means of altering algorithms were developed in tandem with tech-giant executives like Gingras and “top editors in the industry from 80 news outlets and institutions,” all of which are corporate, mainstream media outlets.

    Notably, the Trust Project’s media partners, involved in creating these new “standards” for news algorithms, include major publications owned by wealthy oligarchs: the Washington Post, owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos; the Economist, directed by the wealthy Rothschild family; and the Globe and Mail, owned by Canada’s richest family, the Thomsons, who also own Thomson Reuters.

    Other Trust Project partners include The New York Times, Mic, Hearst Television, the BBC and the USA Today network.

    Other major outlets are represented on the News Leadership Council of the Markkula Center, including the Financial Times, Gizmodo Media, and The Wall Street Journal.

    That council — which also includes Gingras and Andrew Anker, Facebook’s Director of Product Management — “guides the Trust Project on our Trust Indicators.”

    These “Trust Indicators” are the core of the Trust Project’s activities and reveal one of the key mechanisms through which Google, Twitter and Facebook have been altering their algorithms to favor outlets with good “Trust Indicator” scores.

    Trust Indicators, on their face, are aimed at making news publications “more transparent” as a means of generating increased trust with the public.

    Though a total of 37 have been developed, it appears only eight of them are currently being used.

    These eight indicators are listed and described by the Trust Project as follows:

    Best Practices: What are the news outlet’s standards? Who funds it? What is the outlet’s mission? Plus commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections and other standards.

    Author/Reporter Expertise: Who made this? Details about the journalist, including their expertise and other stories they have worked on.

    Type of Work: What is this? Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports.

    Citations and References: What’s the source? For investigative or in-depth stories, access to the sources behind the facts and assertions.

    Methods: How was it built? Also for in-depth stories, information about why reporters chose to pursue a story and how they went about the process.

    Locally Sourced? Was the reporting done on the scene, with deep knowledge about the local situation or community? Lets you know when the story has local origin or expertise.

    Diverse Voices: What are the newsroom’s efforts and commitments to bringing in diverse perspectives? Readers noticed when certain voices, ethnicities, or political persuasions were missing.

    Actionable Feedback: Can we participate? A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public’s help in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, ensuring accuracy and other areas. Readers want to participate and provide feedback that might alter or expand a story.

    How the Trust Project makes these indicators available to the public can be seen in its new project, the Newsroom Transparency Tracker, where it provides a table of “transparency” for participating media outlets.

    Notably, that table conflates actual transparency practices with simply providing the Trust Project with outlet policies and guidelines related to the above indicators.

    For example, The Economist gets a perfect transparency “score” for having provided the Trust Project links to its ethics policy, mission statement and other information requested by the project.

    However, the fact that those policies exist and are provided to the Trust Project does not mean that the publication’s policies are, in fact, transparent or ethical in terms of their content or in practice.

    The fact that The Economist provided links to its policies does not make the publication more transparent, but — in the context of the Newsroom Transparency Tracker’s table — it provides the appearance of transparency, though such policy disclosures by The Economist are unlikely to translate into any changes to its well-known biases and slanted reporting towards certain issues.

    Trust Indicators manipulate big tech algorithms

    The true power of the Trust Indicators comes in a form that is not visible to the general public.

    These Trust Indicators, while occasionally displayed on partner websites, are also coupled with “machine-readable signals” embedded in the HTML code of participating websites and articles used by Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter.

    As Lehrman noted in a 2017 article, the Trust Project was then “already working with these four companies, all of which have said they want to use our indicators to prioritize honest, well-reported news over fakery and falsehood.”

    Gingras of Google News also noted that the Trust Indicators are used by Google as “cues to help search engines better understand and rank results … [and] to help the myriad algorithmic systems that mold our media lives.”

    A press release from the Trust Project last year further underscores the importance of the embedded “indicators” to alter social-media and search-engine algorithms:

    While each Indicator is visible to users on the pages of the Project’s news partners, it is also embedded in the article and site code for machines to read — providing the first, standardized technical language that offers contextual information about news sites’ commitments to transparency.”

    Despite claiming to increase public knowledge of “news sites’ commitments to transparency,” the way that major tech companies like Google and Facebook are using these indicators is anything but transparent.

    Indeed, it is largely unknown how these indicators are used, though there are a few clues.

    For instance, CBS News cited Craig Newmark — the billionaire founder of Craigslist, who provided the Trust Project’s seed funding — as suggesting that “Google’s search algorithm could rank trusted sources above others in search results” by using the project’s Trust Indicators.

    Last year, the Trust Project stated that Bing used “the ‘Type of Work’ Trust Indicator to display whether an article is news, opinion or analysis.”

    It also stated that “when Facebook launched its process to index news Pages, they worked with the Trust Project to make it easy for any publisher to add optional information about their Page.”

    In Google’s case, Gingras was quoted as saying that Google News uses the indicators “to assess the relative authoritativeness of news organizations and authors. We’re looking forward to developing new ways to use the indicators.”

    Notably, the machine-readable version of these Trust Indicators is available only to participating institutions, which are currently corporate, mainstream publications.

    Though WordPress and Drupal plug-ins are being developed to make those embedded signals to search engines and social media available to smaller publishers, it will be made available only to “qualified publishers,” a determination that will presumably be made by the Trust Project and its associates.

    Richard Gingras, in a statement made in 2017, noted that “the indicators can help our algorithms better understand authoritative journalism — and help us to better surface it to consumers.”

    Thus, it is abundantly clear that these indicators, which are embedded only into “qualified” and “authoritative” news websites, will be used to slant search-engine and social-media news algorithms in favor of establishment news websites.

    The bottom line is that these embedded and exclusive indicators allow certain news outlets to avoid the crushing effects of recent algorithm changes that have seen traffic to many news websites, including MintPress, plummet in recent years.

    This is leading towards a homogenization of the online news landscape by starving independent competitors of web traffic while Trust Project-approved outlets are given an escape valve through algorithm manipulation.

    The tech billionaires behind the Trust Project

    Given the Trust Project’s rich-get-richer impact on the online news landscape, it is not surprising to find that it is funded by rich and powerful figures and forces with a clear stake in controlling the flow of news and information online.

    According to its website, the Trust Project currently receives funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Google, Facebook, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (often abbreviated as the Knight Foundation), and the Markkula Foundation.

    Its website also states that Google was “an early financial supporter” and that it had originally been funded by Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.

    As previously mentioned, the Trust Project’s co-founder is Richard Gingras, current Google vice president of News.

    The Trust Project’s website described Gingras’s current role with the organization as “a powerful evangelist” who “can always be counted upon for expert advice and encouragement.”

    Newmark’s current role at the Trust Project is described as that of a “funder and valued connector.”

    Newmark, through Craig Newmark Philanthropies, who provided the initial funding for the Trust Project, and has also funded other related initiatives like the News Integrity Initiative at the City University of New York, which shares many of the same financiers as the Trust Project, including Facebook, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, and the Knight Foundation.

    The Trust Project is listed as a collaborator of the News Integrity Initiative. Newmark is also very active in several news-related NGOs with similar overlap. For instance, he sits on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a longtime recipient of massive grants from the Omidyar Network, and Politifact[dot]com, which is funded in part by Omidyar’s Democracy Fund.

    Newmark is currently working with Vivian Schiller as his “strategic adviser” in his media investments.

    Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former head of news at Twitter, and a veteran of well-known mainstream outlets like NPR, CNN, The New York Times and NBC News. She is also a director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.

    The Markkula Foundation, one of the key funders of the Trust Project, exercises considerable influence over the organization through the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, which originally incubated the organization and whose News Leadership Council plays an important role at the Trust Project.

    That council’s membership includes representatives of Facebook, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times and Google, and “guides the Trust Project on our Trust Indicators and advises on core issues related to information literacy and rebuilding trust in journalism within a fractious, so-called post-fact environment.”

    Both the Markkula Foundation and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics were founded by A. M. “Mike” Markkula, former CEO of Apple.

    The Markkula Center’s Journalism Ethics program is currently headed by Subramaniam Vincent, a former software engineer and consultant for Intel and Cisco Systems who has worked to bring together big data with local journalism and is an advocate for the use of “ethical-AI [artificial intelligence] to ingest, sort, and classify news.”

    The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is another interesting funder of the Trust Project, given that this same foundation is also a key investor in Newsguard, the controversial, biased news rating system with deep connections to government insiders and self-described government propagandists.

    There is considerable overlap between Newsguard and the Trust Project, with the latter citing Newsguard as a partner and also stating that Newsguard’s demonstrably biased ratings use the project’s “trust indicators” in its full-length reviews of news websites, which Newsguard calls “nutrition labels.”

    In addition, becoming a Trust Project participant is a factor that “supports a positive evaluation” from Newsguard, according to a press release from last year.

    Notably, Sally Lehrman, who leads the Trust Project, described the project’s trust indicators for news as ”along the lines of a nutrition label on a package of food” when the Trust Project was created nearly a year before Newsguard launched, suggesting some intellectual overlap.

    A previous MintPress exposé revealed Newsguard’s numerous conflicts of interest and a ratings system strongly biased in favor of well-known, traditional media outlets — even when those outlets have a dubious track record of promoting so-called “fake news.”

    It should come as no surprise that the Trust Project’s goal is to increase public trust in the very same traditional media outlets that Newsguard favored and to use HTML-embedded codes in news articles to promote their content at the expense of independent alternatives.

    A familiar face in the war against independent media

    The Democracy Fund, another top funder of the Trust Project and a bipartisan foundation that was established by eBay founder and PayPal owner Omidyar in 2011 “out of deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values.”

    It is a spin-off of the Omidyar Network and, after splitting off as an independent company in 2014, became a member of the Omidyar Group.

    The fund’s National Advisory Committee includes former Bush and Obama administration officials and representatives of Facebook, Microsoft, NBC News, ABC News and Gizmodo Media group.

    The Democracy Fund’s involvement in the Trust Project is notable because of the other media projects it funds, such as the new media empire of arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol, who has a long history of creating and disseminating falsehoods that have been used to justify the U.S. war in Iraq and other hawkish foreign policy stances.

    As a recent MintPress series revealed, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund provides financial support to Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together initiative and also supports Kristol’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund think tank that is best known for its cryptic Hamilton68 “Russian bot” dashboard.

    Omidyar’s Democracy Fund has also donated to the German Marshall Fund’s Defending Digital Democracy project and directly to the German Marshall Fund itself. In addition, Charles Sykes, a co-founder and editor-at-large of Kristol’s new publication The Bulwark, is on the Democracy Fund’s National Advisory Committee.

    An acolyte of Kristol’s who works at the German Marshall Fund, Jamie Fly, stated last October that the coordinated social-media purges of independent media pages known for their criticisms of U.S. empire and U.S. police violence was “just the beginning” and hinted that the German Marshall Fund had a hand in past social media purges and, presumably, a role in future purges.

    Thus, the Democracy Fund’s links to neoconservatives who promote the censoring of independent media sites that are critical of militaristic U.S. foreign policy jibe with the fund’s underlying interest in the Trust Project.

    Omidyar’s involvement with the Trust Project is interesting for another reason, namely that Omidyar is the main backer behind the efforts of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to become a key driver of which outlets are censored by Silicon Valley tech giants.

    The ADL was initially founded to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” but critics say that over the years it has begun labeling critics of Israel’s government as “anti-Semites.”

    For example, content that characterizes Israeli policies towards Palestinians as “racist” or “apartheid-like” is considered “hate speech” by the ADL, as is accusing Israel of war crimes or attempted ethnic cleansing.

    The ADL has even described explicitly Jewish organizations that are critical of Israel’s government as being “anti-Semitic.”

    In March 2017, the Omidyar Network provided the “critical seed capital” need to launch the ADL’s “new Silicon Valley center aimed at tackling this rising wave of intolerance and to collaborate more closely with technology companies to promote democracy and social justice.”

    That Omidyar-funded ADL center allowed the ADL to team up with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft — all of whom also collaborate with the Trust Project — to create a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab. Since then, these companies and their subsidiaries, including Google’s YouTube, have relied on the ADL to flag “controversial” content.

    Given the fact that the Trust Project shares with the ADL a key funder (Pierre Omidyar) and several external tech partners, it remains to be seen whether there is overlap between how major tech companies like Google and Facebook use the Trust Indicators in its algorithms and the influence of the ADL on those very same algorithms.

    What is clear however is that there exists an undeniable overlap given the fact that Craig Newmark, who provided the seed funding for the Trust Project and continues to fund it, is also a key donor and advisor to the ADL.

    In 2017, Newmark gave $100,000 to the ADL’s Incident Response Center and is a member of the group’s tech advisory board.

    Outsourcing censorship

    Of course, the most interesting and troubling donors of the Trust Project are Google and Facebook, both of which are using the very project they fund as a “third party” to justify their manipulation of newsfeed and search-engine algorithms.

    Google’s intimate involvement from the very inception of the Trust Project tags it as an extension of Google that has since been marketed as an “independent” organization tasked with justifying algorithm changes that favor certain news outlets over others.

    Facebook, similarly, funds the Trust Project and also employs the “trust indicators” it funds to alter its newsfeed algorithm.

    Facebook’s other partners in altering this algorithm include the Atlantic Council — funded by the U.S. government, NATO, and weapons manufacturers, among others — and Facebook has also directly teamed up with foreign governments, such as the government of Israel, to suppress accurate yet dissenting information that the government in question wanted removed from the social-media platform.

    The murkiness between “private” censorship, censorship by tech oligarchs, and censorship by government is particularly marked in the Trust Project.

    The private financiers of the Trust Project that also use its product to promote certain news content over others — namely Google and Facebook — have ties to the U.S. government, with Google being a government contractor and Facebook sporting a growing body of former-government officials in top company positions, including a co-author of the controversial Patriot Act as the company’s general counsel.

    A similar tangle surrounds Pierre Omidyar, funder of the Trust Project through the Democracy Fund, who is extremely well-connected to the U.S. government, especially the military-industrial complex and intelligence communities.

    And partnering with media outlets like the Washington Post, whose owner is Jeff Bezos, spawns more conflicts of interests, given that Bezos’ company, Amazon, is also a major U.S. government contractor.

    This growing nexus binding Silicon Valley companies and oligarchs, mainstream media outlets and the government suggests that these entities have increasingly similar and complementary interests, among which is the censorship of independent watchdog journalists and news outlets that seek to challenge their power and narratives.

    The Trust Project was created as a way of outsourcing censorship of independent news sites while attempting to salvage the tattered reputation of mainstream media outlets and return the U.S. and international media landscape to years past when such outlets were able to dominate the narrative.

    While it seems unlikely that’s its initiatives will succeed in restoring trust to mainstream media given the many recent and continuing examples of those same “traditional” media outlets circulating fake news and failing to cover crucial aspects of events, the Trust Project’s development of hidden algorithm-altering codes in participating websites shows that its real goal is not about improving public trust but about providing a facade of independence to Silicon Valley censorship of independent media outlets that speak truth to power.
    The Trust Project: Big Media and Silicon Valley’s Weaponized Algorithms Silence Dissent https://desultoryheroics.com/2019/06/18/the-trust-project-big-media-and-silicon-valleys-weaponized-algorithms-silence-dissent/ Posted By Luther Blissett By Whitney Webb: Mintpress News 6/18/19 After the failure of Newsguard — the news rating system backed by a cadre of prominent neoconservative personalities — to gain traction among American tech and social media companies, another organization has quietly stepped in to direct the news algorithms of tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Though different from Newsguard, this group, known as “The Trust Project,” has a similar goal of restoring “trust” in corporate, mainstream media outlets, relative to independent alternatives, by applying “trust indicators” to social-media news algorithms in a decidedly nontransparent way. The funding of “The Trust Project” — coming largely from big tech companies like Google; government-connected tech oligarchs like Pierre Omidyar; and the Knight Foundation, a key Newsguard investor — suggests that an ulterior motive in its tireless promotion of “traditional” mainstream media outlets is to limit the success of dissenting alternatives. Of particular importance is the fact that the Trust Project’s “trust indicators” are already being used to control what news is promoted and suppressed by top search engines like Google and Bing and massive social-media networks like Facebook. Though the descriptions of these “trust indicators” — eight of which are currently in use — are publicly available, the way they are being used by major tech and social media companies is not. The Trust Project’s goal is to increase public trust in the very same traditional media outlets that Newsguard favored and to use HTML-embedded codes in favored news articles to promote their content at the expense of independent alternatives. Even if its effort to promote “trust” in establishment media fail, its embedded-code hidden within participating news sites allow those establishment outlets to skirt the same algorithms currently targeting their independent competition, making such issues of “trust” largely irrelevant as it moves to homogenize the online media landscape in favor of mainstream media. The Trust Project’s director, Sally Lehrman, made it clear that, in her view, the lack of public trust in mainstream media and its declining readership is the result of unwanted “competition by principle-free enterprises [that] further undermines its [journalism’s] very role and purpose as an engine for democracy.” Getting to know the Trust Project The Trust Project describes itself as “a consortium of top news companies” involved in developing “transparency standards that help you easily assess the quality and credibility of journalism.” It has done this by creating what it calls “Trust Indicators,” which the project’s website describes as “a digital standard that meets people’s needs.” However, far from meeting “people’s needs,” the Trust Indicators seem aimed at manipulating search engine and social-media news algorithms to the benefit of the project’s media partners, rather than to the benefit of the general public. The origins of the Trust Project date back to a 2012 “roundtable” hosted by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, a center funded by former Apple CEO Mike Markkula. That roundtable became known as the Roundtable on Digital Journalism Ethics and was created by journalist Sally Lehrman, then working at the Markkula Center, in connection with the New Media Executive Roundtable and Online Credibility Watch of the Society of Professional Journalists. Lehrman has explicitly stated that the Trust Project is open only to “news organizations that adhere to traditional standards.” The specific idea that spurred the creation of the Trust Project itself was born at a 2014 meeting of that roundtable, when Lehrman “asked a specialist in machine learning at Twitter, and Richard Gingras, head of Google News, if algorithms could be used to support ethics instead of hurting them, and they said yes. Gingras agreed to collaborate.” In other words, the idea behind the Trust Project, from the start, was aimed at gaming search-engine and social-media algorithms in collusion with major tech companies like Google and Twitter. As the Trust Project itself notes, the means of altering algorithms were developed in tandem with tech-giant executives like Gingras and “top editors in the industry from 80 news outlets and institutions,” all of which are corporate, mainstream media outlets. Notably, the Trust Project’s media partners, involved in creating these new “standards” for news algorithms, include major publications owned by wealthy oligarchs: the Washington Post, owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos; the Economist, directed by the wealthy Rothschild family; and the Globe and Mail, owned by Canada’s richest family, the Thomsons, who also own Thomson Reuters. Other Trust Project partners include The New York Times, Mic, Hearst Television, the BBC and the USA Today network. Other major outlets are represented on the News Leadership Council of the Markkula Center, including the Financial Times, Gizmodo Media, and The Wall Street Journal. That council — which also includes Gingras and Andrew Anker, Facebook’s Director of Product Management — “guides the Trust Project on our Trust Indicators.” These “Trust Indicators” are the core of the Trust Project’s activities and reveal one of the key mechanisms through which Google, Twitter and Facebook have been altering their algorithms to favor outlets with good “Trust Indicator” scores. Trust Indicators, on their face, are aimed at making news publications “more transparent” as a means of generating increased trust with the public. Though a total of 37 have been developed, it appears only eight of them are currently being used. These eight indicators are listed and described by the Trust Project as follows: Best Practices: What are the news outlet’s standards? Who funds it? What is the outlet’s mission? Plus commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections and other standards. Author/Reporter Expertise: Who made this? Details about the journalist, including their expertise and other stories they have worked on. Type of Work: What is this? Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports. Citations and References: What’s the source? For investigative or in-depth stories, access to the sources behind the facts and assertions. Methods: How was it built? Also for in-depth stories, information about why reporters chose to pursue a story and how they went about the process. Locally Sourced? Was the reporting done on the scene, with deep knowledge about the local situation or community? Lets you know when the story has local origin or expertise. Diverse Voices: What are the newsroom’s efforts and commitments to bringing in diverse perspectives? Readers noticed when certain voices, ethnicities, or political persuasions were missing. Actionable Feedback: Can we participate? A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public’s help in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, ensuring accuracy and other areas. Readers want to participate and provide feedback that might alter or expand a story. How the Trust Project makes these indicators available to the public can be seen in its new project, the Newsroom Transparency Tracker, where it provides a table of “transparency” for participating media outlets. Notably, that table conflates actual transparency practices with simply providing the Trust Project with outlet policies and guidelines related to the above indicators. For example, The Economist gets a perfect transparency “score” for having provided the Trust Project links to its ethics policy, mission statement and other information requested by the project. However, the fact that those policies exist and are provided to the Trust Project does not mean that the publication’s policies are, in fact, transparent or ethical in terms of their content or in practice. The fact that The Economist provided links to its policies does not make the publication more transparent, but — in the context of the Newsroom Transparency Tracker’s table — it provides the appearance of transparency, though such policy disclosures by The Economist are unlikely to translate into any changes to its well-known biases and slanted reporting towards certain issues. Trust Indicators manipulate big tech algorithms The true power of the Trust Indicators comes in a form that is not visible to the general public. These Trust Indicators, while occasionally displayed on partner websites, are also coupled with “machine-readable signals” embedded in the HTML code of participating websites and articles used by Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter. As Lehrman noted in a 2017 article, the Trust Project was then “already working with these four companies, all of which have said they want to use our indicators to prioritize honest, well-reported news over fakery and falsehood.” Gingras of Google News also noted that the Trust Indicators are used by Google as “cues to help search engines better understand and rank results … [and] to help the myriad algorithmic systems that mold our media lives.” A press release from the Trust Project last year further underscores the importance of the embedded “indicators” to alter social-media and search-engine algorithms: While each Indicator is visible to users on the pages of the Project’s news partners, it is also embedded in the article and site code for machines to read — providing the first, standardized technical language that offers contextual information about news sites’ commitments to transparency.” Despite claiming to increase public knowledge of “news sites’ commitments to transparency,” the way that major tech companies like Google and Facebook are using these indicators is anything but transparent. Indeed, it is largely unknown how these indicators are used, though there are a few clues. For instance, CBS News cited Craig Newmark — the billionaire founder of Craigslist, who provided the Trust Project’s seed funding — as suggesting that “Google’s search algorithm could rank trusted sources above others in search results” by using the project’s Trust Indicators. Last year, the Trust Project stated that Bing used “the ‘Type of Work’ Trust Indicator to display whether an article is news, opinion or analysis.” It also stated that “when Facebook launched its process to index news Pages, they worked with the Trust Project to make it easy for any publisher to add optional information about their Page.” In Google’s case, Gingras was quoted as saying that Google News uses the indicators “to assess the relative authoritativeness of news organizations and authors. We’re looking forward to developing new ways to use the indicators.” Notably, the machine-readable version of these Trust Indicators is available only to participating institutions, which are currently corporate, mainstream publications. Though WordPress and Drupal plug-ins are being developed to make those embedded signals to search engines and social media available to smaller publishers, it will be made available only to “qualified publishers,” a determination that will presumably be made by the Trust Project and its associates. Richard Gingras, in a statement made in 2017, noted that “the indicators can help our algorithms better understand authoritative journalism — and help us to better surface it to consumers.” Thus, it is abundantly clear that these indicators, which are embedded only into “qualified” and “authoritative” news websites, will be used to slant search-engine and social-media news algorithms in favor of establishment news websites. The bottom line is that these embedded and exclusive indicators allow certain news outlets to avoid the crushing effects of recent algorithm changes that have seen traffic to many news websites, including MintPress, plummet in recent years. This is leading towards a homogenization of the online news landscape by starving independent competitors of web traffic while Trust Project-approved outlets are given an escape valve through algorithm manipulation. The tech billionaires behind the Trust Project Given the Trust Project’s rich-get-richer impact on the online news landscape, it is not surprising to find that it is funded by rich and powerful figures and forces with a clear stake in controlling the flow of news and information online. According to its website, the Trust Project currently receives funding from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Google, Facebook, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (often abbreviated as the Knight Foundation), and the Markkula Foundation. Its website also states that Google was “an early financial supporter” and that it had originally been funded by Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist. As previously mentioned, the Trust Project’s co-founder is Richard Gingras, current Google vice president of News. The Trust Project’s website described Gingras’s current role with the organization as “a powerful evangelist” who “can always be counted upon for expert advice and encouragement.” Newmark’s current role at the Trust Project is described as that of a “funder and valued connector.” Newmark, through Craig Newmark Philanthropies, who provided the initial funding for the Trust Project, and has also funded other related initiatives like the News Integrity Initiative at the City University of New York, which shares many of the same financiers as the Trust Project, including Facebook, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, and the Knight Foundation. The Trust Project is listed as a collaborator of the News Integrity Initiative. Newmark is also very active in several news-related NGOs with similar overlap. For instance, he sits on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a longtime recipient of massive grants from the Omidyar Network, and Politifact[dot]com, which is funded in part by Omidyar’s Democracy Fund. Newmark is currently working with Vivian Schiller as his “strategic adviser” in his media investments. Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former head of news at Twitter, and a veteran of well-known mainstream outlets like NPR, CNN, The New York Times and NBC News. She is also a director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian. The Markkula Foundation, one of the key funders of the Trust Project, exercises considerable influence over the organization through the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, which originally incubated the organization and whose News Leadership Council plays an important role at the Trust Project. That council’s membership includes representatives of Facebook, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times and Google, and “guides the Trust Project on our Trust Indicators and advises on core issues related to information literacy and rebuilding trust in journalism within a fractious, so-called post-fact environment.” Both the Markkula Foundation and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics were founded by A. M. “Mike” Markkula, former CEO of Apple. The Markkula Center’s Journalism Ethics program is currently headed by Subramaniam Vincent, a former software engineer and consultant for Intel and Cisco Systems who has worked to bring together big data with local journalism and is an advocate for the use of “ethical-AI [artificial intelligence] to ingest, sort, and classify news.” The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is another interesting funder of the Trust Project, given that this same foundation is also a key investor in Newsguard, the controversial, biased news rating system with deep connections to government insiders and self-described government propagandists. There is considerable overlap between Newsguard and the Trust Project, with the latter citing Newsguard as a partner and also stating that Newsguard’s demonstrably biased ratings use the project’s “trust indicators” in its full-length reviews of news websites, which Newsguard calls “nutrition labels.” In addition, becoming a Trust Project participant is a factor that “supports a positive evaluation” from Newsguard, according to a press release from last year. Notably, Sally Lehrman, who leads the Trust Project, described the project’s trust indicators for news as ”along the lines of a nutrition label on a package of food” when the Trust Project was created nearly a year before Newsguard launched, suggesting some intellectual overlap. A previous MintPress exposé revealed Newsguard’s numerous conflicts of interest and a ratings system strongly biased in favor of well-known, traditional media outlets — even when those outlets have a dubious track record of promoting so-called “fake news.” It should come as no surprise that the Trust Project’s goal is to increase public trust in the very same traditional media outlets that Newsguard favored and to use HTML-embedded codes in news articles to promote their content at the expense of independent alternatives. A familiar face in the war against independent media The Democracy Fund, another top funder of the Trust Project and a bipartisan foundation that was established by eBay founder and PayPal owner Omidyar in 2011 “out of deep respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s core democratic values.” It is a spin-off of the Omidyar Network and, after splitting off as an independent company in 2014, became a member of the Omidyar Group. The fund’s National Advisory Committee includes former Bush and Obama administration officials and representatives of Facebook, Microsoft, NBC News, ABC News and Gizmodo Media group. The Democracy Fund’s involvement in the Trust Project is notable because of the other media projects it funds, such as the new media empire of arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol, who has a long history of creating and disseminating falsehoods that have been used to justify the U.S. war in Iraq and other hawkish foreign policy stances. As a recent MintPress series revealed, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund provides financial support to Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together initiative and also supports Kristol’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund think tank that is best known for its cryptic Hamilton68 “Russian bot” dashboard. Omidyar’s Democracy Fund has also donated to the German Marshall Fund’s Defending Digital Democracy project and directly to the German Marshall Fund itself. In addition, Charles Sykes, a co-founder and editor-at-large of Kristol’s new publication The Bulwark, is on the Democracy Fund’s National Advisory Committee. An acolyte of Kristol’s who works at the German Marshall Fund, Jamie Fly, stated last October that the coordinated social-media purges of independent media pages known for their criticisms of U.S. empire and U.S. police violence was “just the beginning” and hinted that the German Marshall Fund had a hand in past social media purges and, presumably, a role in future purges. Thus, the Democracy Fund’s links to neoconservatives who promote the censoring of independent media sites that are critical of militaristic U.S. foreign policy jibe with the fund’s underlying interest in the Trust Project. Omidyar’s involvement with the Trust Project is interesting for another reason, namely that Omidyar is the main backer behind the efforts of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to become a key driver of which outlets are censored by Silicon Valley tech giants. The ADL was initially founded to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” but critics say that over the years it has begun labeling critics of Israel’s government as “anti-Semites.” For example, content that characterizes Israeli policies towards Palestinians as “racist” or “apartheid-like” is considered “hate speech” by the ADL, as is accusing Israel of war crimes or attempted ethnic cleansing. The ADL has even described explicitly Jewish organizations that are critical of Israel’s government as being “anti-Semitic.” In March 2017, the Omidyar Network provided the “critical seed capital” need to launch the ADL’s “new Silicon Valley center aimed at tackling this rising wave of intolerance and to collaborate more closely with technology companies to promote democracy and social justice.” That Omidyar-funded ADL center allowed the ADL to team up with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft — all of whom also collaborate with the Trust Project — to create a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab. Since then, these companies and their subsidiaries, including Google’s YouTube, have relied on the ADL to flag “controversial” content. Given the fact that the Trust Project shares with the ADL a key funder (Pierre Omidyar) and several external tech partners, it remains to be seen whether there is overlap between how major tech companies like Google and Facebook use the Trust Indicators in its algorithms and the influence of the ADL on those very same algorithms. What is clear however is that there exists an undeniable overlap given the fact that Craig Newmark, who provided the seed funding for the Trust Project and continues to fund it, is also a key donor and advisor to the ADL. In 2017, Newmark gave $100,000 to the ADL’s Incident Response Center and is a member of the group’s tech advisory board. Outsourcing censorship Of course, the most interesting and troubling donors of the Trust Project are Google and Facebook, both of which are using the very project they fund as a “third party” to justify their manipulation of newsfeed and search-engine algorithms. Google’s intimate involvement from the very inception of the Trust Project tags it as an extension of Google that has since been marketed as an “independent” organization tasked with justifying algorithm changes that favor certain news outlets over others. Facebook, similarly, funds the Trust Project and also employs the “trust indicators” it funds to alter its newsfeed algorithm. Facebook’s other partners in altering this algorithm include the Atlantic Council — funded by the U.S. government, NATO, and weapons manufacturers, among others — and Facebook has also directly teamed up with foreign governments, such as the government of Israel, to suppress accurate yet dissenting information that the government in question wanted removed from the social-media platform. The murkiness between “private” censorship, censorship by tech oligarchs, and censorship by government is particularly marked in the Trust Project. The private financiers of the Trust Project that also use its product to promote certain news content over others — namely Google and Facebook — have ties to the U.S. government, with Google being a government contractor and Facebook sporting a growing body of former-government officials in top company positions, including a co-author of the controversial Patriot Act as the company’s general counsel. A similar tangle surrounds Pierre Omidyar, funder of the Trust Project through the Democracy Fund, who is extremely well-connected to the U.S. government, especially the military-industrial complex and intelligence communities. And partnering with media outlets like the Washington Post, whose owner is Jeff Bezos, spawns more conflicts of interests, given that Bezos’ company, Amazon, is also a major U.S. government contractor. This growing nexus binding Silicon Valley companies and oligarchs, mainstream media outlets and the government suggests that these entities have increasingly similar and complementary interests, among which is the censorship of independent watchdog journalists and news outlets that seek to challenge their power and narratives. The Trust Project was created as a way of outsourcing censorship of independent news sites while attempting to salvage the tattered reputation of mainstream media outlets and return the U.S. and international media landscape to years past when such outlets were able to dominate the narrative. While it seems unlikely that’s its initiatives will succeed in restoring trust to mainstream media given the many recent and continuing examples of those same “traditional” media outlets circulating fake news and failing to cover crucial aspects of events, the Trust Project’s development of hidden algorithm-altering codes in participating websites shows that its real goal is not about improving public trust but about providing a facade of independence to Silicon Valley censorship of independent media outlets that speak truth to power.
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  • BREAKING: BERNIE RIPS IT & KAMALA SINKS in PPC Panel & EXPOSED: MSNBC OMITS SANDERS FROM POLL [Show Starts At 4:20 Mark]
    https://youtu.be/7vMBsB2Fn4A
    Convo Couch 6/17/19
    BREAKING: BERNIE RIPS IT & KAMALA SINKS in PPC Panel & EXPOSED: MSNBC OMITS SANDERS FROM POLL [Show Starts At 4:20 Mark] https://youtu.be/7vMBsB2Fn4A Convo Couch 6/17/19
    BREAKING: BERNIE RIPS IT & KAMALA SINKS in PPC Panel & EXPOSED: MSNBC OMITS SANDERS FROM POLL
    BREAKING: BERNIE RIPS it & KAMALA SINKS in PPC Panel & EXPOSED: MSNBC OMITS SANDERS FROM POLL ——————————————————— Keep Up With THE CONVO COUCH 馃泲 馃摵 Youtube: h...
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  • UNREAL! "DAYS Of NOAH" CONTINUE 2 COLORADO TORNADO (s) Tennessee Tornado Warning! Source Links On YouTube Site
    https://youtu.be/SasjPATpfw0
    In2ThinAir 6/17/19
    UNREAL! "DAYS Of NOAH" CONTINUE 2 COLORADO TORNADO (s) Tennessee Tornado Warning! Source Links On YouTube Site https://youtu.be/SasjPATpfw0 In2ThinAir 6/17/19
    UNREAL! "DAYS Of NOAH" CONTINUE 2 COLORADO TORNADO (s) Tennessee Tornado Warning!
    *IF YOU WISH 2 SUPPORT OUR CHANNEL LINKS BELOW* *PAYPAL* https://www.paypal.me/in2thinair *PATREON* https://www.patreon.com/In2ThinAir **PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO ...
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  • Climate Change Shifting The Ground In Northern Canada
    Permafrost is thawing, shifting the ground under people’s feet and altering the foundations beneath buildings.
    https://youtu.be/R8ynabSmGGs
    CBC News: The National 6/17/19
    Climate Change Shifting The Ground In Northern Canada Permafrost is thawing, shifting the ground under people’s feet and altering the foundations beneath buildings. https://youtu.be/R8ynabSmGGs CBC News: The National 6/17/19
    Climate change shifting the ground in Northern Canada
    Permafrost in Northern Canada is thawing, shifting the ground under people’s feet and altering the foundations beneath buildings. Welcome to The National, th...
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  • MEGA ALERTS IT CONTINUES #WEATHERWARFARE LIVE!! #ANALYSIS - All Source Links On YouTube Site
    https://youtu.be/RiyeMFLQl1s
    Mike Morales [Earlier Live Stream] 6/17/19
    MEGA ALERTS IT CONTINUES #WEATHERWARFARE LIVE!! #ANALYSIS - All Source Links On YouTube Site https://youtu.be/RiyeMFLQl1s Mike Morales [Earlier Live Stream] 6/17/19
    MEGA ALERTS IT CONTINUES #WEATHERWARFARE LIVE!! #ANALYSIS
    #QUAKES #HISTORIC #LEVEE# #EVACUATIONS #FLOODING #EVENTS #TORNADO #OUTBREAK #DAM #QUAKES #CYCLONE #WEATHERWARFARE LIVE!! #ANALYSIS #TORNADO'S #STORM SHOW LIN...
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  • Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live, Majikat - Earth Tour 1976) With My Poetic Response From 2003:

    In Response To Cat Stevens Earnest Question
    By Ric A Ohge (c) 2003
    Where do the children play?

    By thousands of sewers.
    running through the mud
    of shanty towns.

    In meadows of imagination
    beside the untiring machines
    of thousands of factories.

    In secret visions
    dreaming beneath the earth,
    or in steep pits wielding picks
    and hammers to yield the earth’s bounty.

    They laugh wondering at butterflies,
    brightly colored blossoms, and insects
    in the baking heat of the ripening fields,
    chasing maimed pets and friends
    among fields of land mines and the
    mass graves of a hundred wars,
    dodging the slings and arrows,
    automatic gunfire and artillery shells,
    seeing flights of angels in the thunder
    fire of jets circling the burning cities.

    They gaze in wonder as they stare back
    into the compound eyes of the relentless
    flies, while drifting to a still and final torpor
    in the dust of a third world pest hole,
    running…hiding among broken buildings
    with wooden guns, and their parent’s words,
    fighting bravely in mock battles,
    until errant projectiles topple them forever.

    They mostly run through the golden fields
    and shining hills of heaven where it seems
    to the angel of death, they arrive daily
    by boatloads-these war babies.

    That’s where the children play.

    This is a response to a song-actually one of my favorites, as in it's time it addressed a real quandary. However time keeps moving, the question needed some new answers in a world grown more dangerous to children and other living things. That was 2003...now we have Yemen, Gaza & Palestine-JUST for starters...the "angel of death" must gob-smacked by now.

    https://youtu.be/xunG9jWd1TY
    Yusuf/Cat Stevens 6/17/19
    Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live, Majikat - Earth Tour 1976) With My Poetic Response From 2003: In Response To Cat Stevens Earnest Question By Ric A Ohge (c) 2003 Where do the children play? By thousands of sewers. running through the mud of shanty towns. In meadows of imagination beside the untiring machines of thousands of factories. In secret visions dreaming beneath the earth, or in steep pits wielding picks and hammers to yield the earth’s bounty. They laugh wondering at butterflies, brightly colored blossoms, and insects in the baking heat of the ripening fields, chasing maimed pets and friends among fields of land mines and the mass graves of a hundred wars, dodging the slings and arrows, automatic gunfire and artillery shells, seeing flights of angels in the thunder fire of jets circling the burning cities. They gaze in wonder as they stare back into the compound eyes of the relentless flies, while drifting to a still and final torpor in the dust of a third world pest hole, running…hiding among broken buildings with wooden guns, and their parent’s words, fighting bravely in mock battles, until errant projectiles topple them forever. They mostly run through the golden fields and shining hills of heaven where it seems to the angel of death, they arrive daily by boatloads-these war babies. That’s where the children play. This is a response to a song-actually one of my favorites, as in it's time it addressed a real quandary. However time keeps moving, the question needed some new answers in a world grown more dangerous to children and other living things. That was 2003...now we have Yemen, Gaza & Palestine-JUST for starters...the "angel of death" must gob-smacked by now. https://youtu.be/xunG9jWd1TY Yusuf/Cat Stevens 6/17/19
    Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live, Majikat - Earth Tour 1976)
    SUBSCRIBE: https://yusufcatstevens.lnk.to/subscribe ENABLE 馃敂 to receive notifications BUY: https://catstevens.com/media/dvds/majikat-2003/ Yusuf / Cat Steven...
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  • Nobody Believes Trump Admin’s Story About Iran
    Credibility is a fickle thing, and when it comes to foreign policy, the United States has no credibility to speak of.

    More and more of our allies have come out and directly said that they do not believe the Trump administration’s account of what actually happened to the Japanese oil tankers near Iran, and they aren’t going to be lied into another war of US aggression.
    https://youtu.be/H68uhdqNnWo
    The Ring Of Fire-Farron Cousins 6/17/19
    Nobody Believes Trump Admin’s Story About Iran Credibility is a fickle thing, and when it comes to foreign policy, the United States has no credibility to speak of. More and more of our allies have come out and directly said that they do not believe the Trump administration’s account of what actually happened to the Japanese oil tankers near Iran, and they aren’t going to be lied into another war of US aggression. https://youtu.be/H68uhdqNnWo The Ring Of Fire-Farron Cousins 6/17/19
    Nobody Believes Trump Admin’s Story About Iran
    Credibility is a fickle thing, and when it comes to foreign policy, the United States has no credibility to speak of. More and more of our allies have come o...
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