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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Vox Popoli: Don't wait to have kids (Be sure to read the comments at the Vox Day blogsite.)


And listen to GenX, not the idiot Boomers. You'll be glad you did:

Kirstie Allsopp has slammed young couples who wait until their thirties to have children.

The Location, Location, Location presenter, 47, took to Twitter on Wednesday to urge women in their twenties not to wait until they 'have more money or feel ready', and to save their money for 'proper childcare', instead of splashing on lavish weddings and expensive houses.

Expressing her frustration at millennials who tell her they want 'a few more years of fun', she argued that 'nothing will ever be more fun than children'.

Kirstie also revealed her regret at waiting until she was 35 and 37 to have her sons Bay, 11, and Oscar, nine, admitting that she was 'too old' to have a third, and had only waited until her thirties to start a family as she hadn't met the right man.

However her impassioned Twitter thread sparked a heated debate, with many followers warning her that her message was putting unnecessary pressure on young couples, and could panic women into starting families.... Slamming the TV presenter's message, one follower wrote: 'Stop telling women in their late 20s they’re running out of time to have kids. It’s so damaging.' Another argued that millennials should be allowed to live their lives to the full while they were still commitment-free, so they wouldn't feel they missed out later.

The problem is that no one feels they've missed out more than a woman who focuses on having fun during her fertile years only to discover that she missed out on motherhood. Don't wait. You won't regret it.


The Diminishing American Economy - PaulCraigRoberts.org


Since June 2009 Americans have lived in the false reality of a recovered economy.  Various fake news and manipulated statistics have been used to create this false impression.  However, indicators that really count have not supported the false picture and were ignored.
For example, it is normal in a recovering or expanding economy for the labor force participation rate to rise as people enter the work force to take advantage of the job opportunities.  During the decade of the long recovery, from June 2009 through May 2019, the labor force participation rate consistently fell from 65.7 to 62.8 percent.  https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-labor-force-participation-rate.htm 
Another characteristic of a long expansion is high and rising business investment. However, American corporations have used their profits not for expansion, but to reduce their market capitalization by buying back their stock.  Moreover, many have gone further and borrowed money in order to repurchase their shares, thus indebting their companies as they reduced their capitalization!  That boards, executives, and shareholders chose to loot their own companies indicates that the executives and owners do not perceive an economy that warrants new investment. 
How is the alleged 10-year boom reconcilled with an economy in which corporations see no investment opportunities?
Over the course of the alleged recovery, real retail sales growth has declined, standing today at 1.3%. https://www.multpl.com/us-real-retail-sales-growth  This figure is an overstatement, because the measurement of inflation has been revised in ways that understate inflation. As an example, the consumer price index, which formerly measured the cost of a constant standard of living, now measures the cost of a  variable standard of living.  If the cost of an item in the index rises, the item is replaced by a lower cost alternative, thus reducing the measured rate of inflation. Other price increases are redefined as quality improvements, and their impact on inflation is neutralized.
Real retail sales cannot grow when “for most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades.”  https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/ 
For full-time employed men real wages have fallen 4.4% since 1973. https://www.businessinsider.com/record-median-household-income-is-hiding-a-chilling-fact-2017-9 
Economic shills explain away the facts.  For example, they argue that people are working more hours, so their real earnings are up although their real wages are not.
Others argue that the declining labor force participation rate reflects baby boomer retirements.  Of course, if you look around in Home Depot and Walmart, you will see many retirees working to supplement their Social Security pensions that have been denied cost of living adjustments by the undermeasurement of inflation.
Other economic shills say that the low unemployment rate means there is a labor shortage and that everyone who wants a job has one.  They don’t tell you that  unemployment has been defined so as to exclude millions of discouraged workers who could not find jobs and gave up looking.  If you have not looked for a job in the past 4 weeks, you are no longer considered to be in the work force.  Thus, your unemployment does not count.  
It is expensive to look for employment.  Scarce money has to be spent on appearance and transportation, and after awhile the money runs out.  It is emotionally expensive as well.  Constant rejections hardly build confidence or hope.  People turn to cash odd jobs in order to survive.  It turns out that many of the homeless have jobs, but do not earn enough to cover rent.  Therefore, they live on the streets.
The propagandistic 3.5% unemployment rate (U3) does not include any of the millions of discouraged workers who cannot find jobs.  The government does have a seldom reported U6 measure of unemployment that includes short-term discouraged workers.  As of last month this rate stood at 7.1%, more than double the 3.5% rate. John Williams of shadowstats.com continues to estimate the long-term discouraged workers, as the government formerly did.  He finds the actual US rate of unemployment to be 21%.
The 21% rate makes sense in light of Census Bureau reports that one-third of Americans age 18-34 live at home with parents because they can’t earn enough to supprt an independent existence. https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-more-americans-18-34-now-live-parents-spouse 
According to Federal Reserve reports, 40 % of American households cannot raise $400 cash. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/22/fed-survey-40-percent-of-adults-cant-cover-400-emergency-expense.html 
The US economy was put into decline by short-sighted capitalist greed.  When the Soviet Union collapsed in the last decade of the 20th century, India and China opened their economies to the Western countries.  Corporations saw in the low cost of Chinese and Indian labor opportunities to increase their profits and share prices by producing offshore the goods and services for their domestic markets.  Those hesitant to desert their home towns and work forces were pushed offshore by Wall Street’s threats to finance takeovers unless they increased their profits.
The shift of millions of high productivity, high value-added American jobs to Asia wrecked the careers and prospects of millions of Americans and severely impacted state and local budgets and pension funds. The external costs of jobs offshoring were extremely high. The cost to the economy far exceeded the profits gained by jobs offshoring. Almost overnight prosperous American cities, once a source of manufacturing and industrial strength, became economic ruins.https://www.claritypress.com/product/the-failure-of-laissez-faire-capitalism/  The “trade war” with China is an orchestration to cover up the fact that America’s economic problems are the result of its own corporations and Wall Street moving American jobs offshore and because the US government did nothing to stop the deconstruction of the economy.  
The Reagan administration’s supply-side economic policy, always misrepresented and wrongly described, cured stagflation, the malaise of rising inflation and unemployment described at the time as worsening “Phillips curve” trade-offs between inflation and unemployment.  No one has seen a Phillips curve since the Reagan administration got rid of it.  The Federal Reserve hasn’t even been able to resurrect it with years of money printing.  The Reagan administration had the economy poised for long-run non-inflationary growth, a prospect that was foiled by the rise of jobs offshoring.
Normally a government would be protective of jobs as the government wants to take in tax revenues rather than to pay out unemployment and social welfare benefits.  Politicians want economic success, not economic failure.  But greed overcame judgment, and the economy’s prospects were sacrificed to short-term corporate and Wall Street greed.
The profits from jobs offshoring are short-term, because jobs offshoring is based on the fallacy of composition—the assumption that what is true for a part is true for the whole.  An individual corporation, indeed a number of corporations, can benefit by abandoning its domestic work force and producing abroad for its domestic market. But when many firms do the same, the impact on domestic consumer income is severe. As Walmart jobs don’t pay manufacturing wages, aggregate consumer demand takes a hit from declining incomes, and there is less demand for the offshoring firms’ products. Economic growth falters.  When this happened, the solution of Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman at the time, was to substitute an expansion of consumer debt for the missing growth in consumer income.  The problem with his solution is that the growth of consumer debt is limited by consumer income.  When the debt can’t be serviced, it can’t grow. Moreover, debt service drains income into interest and fee charges, further reducing consumer purchasing power. Thus, the offshoring of jobs has limited the expansion of aggregate consumer demand.  As corporations are buying back their stock instead of investing, there is nothing to drive the economy.  The economic growth figures we have been seeing are illusions produced by the understatement of inflation. 
Much of America’s post-World War II prosperity and most of its power are due to the US dollar’s role as world reserve currency.  This role guarantees a worldwide demand for dollars, and this demand for dollars means that the world finances US budget and trade deficits by purchasing US debt.  The world gives us goods and services in exchange for our paper money.  In other words, being the reserve currency allows a country to pay its bills by printing money.
A person would think that a government would be protective of such an advantage and not encourage foreigners to abandon dollars.  But the US government, reckless in its arrogance, hubris, and utter ignorance, has done all in its power to cause flight from the dollar.  The US government uses the dollar-based financial system to coerce other countries to accommodate American interests at their expense.  Sanctions on other countries, threats of sanctions, asset freezes and confiscations, and so forth have driven large chunks of the world—Russia, China, India, Iran—into non-dollar transactions that reduce the demand for dollars. Threats against Europeans for purchasing Russian energy and Chinese technology products are alienating elements of Washington’s European empire.  A country with the massive indebtedness of the US government would quickly be reduced to Third World status if the value of the dollar collapsed from lack of demand.
There are many countries in the world that have bad leadership, but US leadership is the worst of all.  Never very good, US leadership went into precipitous and continuous decline with the advent of the Clintons, continuing through Bush, Obama, and Trump.  American credibility is at a low point. Fools like John Bolton and Pompeo think they can restore credibility by blowing up countries.  Unless the dangerous fools are fired, we will all have to experience how wrong they are.
Formerly the Federal Reserve conducted monetary policy with the purpose of minimizing inflation and unemployment, but today and for the past decade the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy for the purpose of protecting the balance sheets of the banks that are “too big to fail” and other favored financial institutions.  Therefore, it is problematic to expect the same results.
Today it is possible to have a recession and to maintain high prices of financial instruments due to Fed support of the instruments. Today it is possible for the Fed to prevent a stock market decline by purchasing S&P futures, and to prevent a gold price rise by having its agents dump naked gold shorts in the gold futures market.  Such things as these were not done when I was in the Treasury.  This type of intervention originated in the plunge protection team created by the Bush people in the last year of the Reagan administration.  Once the Fed learned how to use these instruments, it has done so more aggressively.  
Market watchers who go by past trends overlook that today market manipulation by central authorities plays a larger role than in the past. They mistakenly expect trends established by market forces to hold in a manipulated economic environment.

Hands off Iran - Tim Black


A war with Tehran would be a catastrophe, most importantly for the people of Iran.

Are we really here again? Is the US actually contemplating another military, nation-shaping intervention, this time in Iran?
President Trump shouldn’t have to look far to see grim testaments to the folly of such a move. He could look at the ongoing conflict in Syria, fuelled, fatally, by America’s decision in 2011 to back the ‘rebels’ against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Or he could look to Libya, a ruined, war-torn nation – a nation in name only, now – following the US-backed overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011. Or, of course, he could look to Iraq, the ne plus ultra of the interventionist creed, a territory ripped apart and plunged into chaos, disorder and Islamist terror after the Bush- and Blair-led invasion of 2003.
They all show the grotesque reality of the dream of ‘regime change’ — that you cannot emancipate a people on their behalf; that you cannot impose democracy from without; that you cannot bomb your way to a brave new world order.
And yet despite the horrific damage these interventions have wrought – the death and displacement of people, the destabilisation and disorder, the terrorism and the sheer suffering – it really does look as if there is a concerted effort being made by a coterie of politicians, think-tankers and pundits to go again; to blunder headlong into another conflict with another unpleasant regime.
Trump may have wavered, aborting a ‘cocked and loaded’ military strike at the last minute, and opting to celebrate a cyber-attack instead. But the threat of a war persists, because the will to a war persists. The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is still there, making the case for military action against Tehran. As is US national security adviser John Bolton, who continues to push, as he has done since the 1980s, for the ‘overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran’. And, around them the hawkish advisers and think-tanks continue to circle, dropping their reports and research into willing laps just looking for the slightest justification for war.

Because make no mistake — just as the advocates of invading Iraq in 2003 desperately went looking for a reason for doing so, seeing weapons of mass destruction where even UN inspector Hans Blix could see none, so the hawkish wing of the Trump administration is working overtime to invent a justification for striking at Tehran. And inventing they are, if reports are to be believed that the real reason Trump pulled back from the brink last week was because the downed US drone, or at least the one following it, had, contrary to America’s initial assertions, illegally entered Iranian territory. Iran was therefore entirely within its rights to shoot at it.
Not that anyone should be surprised at a botched attempt to manufacture a justification for getting stuck into Iran. Team Trump pursued precisely that course when attempting to justify pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, even urging intelligence agencies to find some evidence of Iran violating the deal’s terms – they found none. And Trump and his team have continued to do so after reneging on the deal, seeking to blame Iran, in advance of evidence, for any malign activity in the Middle East, from attacks on oil tankers to the sabotage of Saudi oil pipelines.
But then, that is what is so absurd and dangerous about this plunge towards conflict with Iran. It is driven not by any strategic or material objectives, but by an all-consuming animus. This hatred, this desire to ‘obliterate’ Iran’s ruling caste, precedes any good reason for doing so. Indeed, it desperately, cynically generates reasons for doing so, from preventing nuclear proliferation to freeing the Iranian people and Making Iran Great Again.
One can speculate as to the origins of the animus, its roots in the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81, when US diplomats were held captive for over 400 days while huge crowds shouted ‘death to America’. But it is the effect of the animus that is important. It has made too many blind. Blind to the hypocrisy of condemning the intolerant, nepotistic theocracy of Iran while cosying up to the intolerant, nepotistic theocracy of Saudi Arabia; blind to the role of other forces and interests, including those of Western states themselves, in the instability and conflict that continues to plague the Middle East; and blind, above all, to the utter human catastrophe that any war with Iran would bring.
Because that is what it would be: a catastrophe. Many critics of the anti-Iran sentiments gripping Beltway minds rightly invoke the Iraq War as a warning to Trump. But Iran is not Iraq. It is far bigger geographically, and far stronger militarily, with cruise and ballistic missile capability, a conventional army of about 350,000 soldiers, and the specialised Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, comprising another 125,000 troops. So a war with the Ayatollah’s Iran would not be like a war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. It would be far, far worse, with horrific ramifications for the whole region and beyond.
But above all, any move against Tehran would be a disaster for the Iranian people themselves. Not because there is widespread support for the Ayatollah, the government, or the Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian people know exactly what kind of regime they live under. They are becoming increasingly tired of the economic hardship, the Islamist intolerance, and the absence of civil and democratic freedoms. And it is no longer just the middle classes who feel this way, as it was during the Green movement of 2009. Increasingly, protests have emerged from within major northeastern cities, and in the provinces, and have involved Iran’s working class, long viewed as the cornerstone of the regime’s popular base. If anyone can and ought to carry out a bit of regime change, it must be these people — the people living under and struggling against the regime, the people who know best how it is they would like to live. Intervention will only derail and stymie their struggle, turning their future into something to be imposed upon them by ‘caring’ outsiders.
So hands off Iran. For the sake of the Iranian people.
Tim Black is a spiked columnist.
Picture by: xiquinhosilva, published under a creative commons license.
To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Google Buries Mercola in Their Latest Search Engine Update, Part 1 of 2 - By Joseph Mercola (Google now censors health information!)


Over the years, the government and business monopolies, including the likes of Big Tech, have formed a global alliance hell-bent on protecting and concentrating member profits. The price for keeping business going as usual is personal liberty and freedom of speech that may impact these fascist government-industrial complexes.
The major industries colluding to take over the government and government agencies include banking, military, agriculture, pharma, media and Big Tech.
The leaders of these industries have organized strategies to buy off politicians through lobbying and to capture regulatory agencies through revolving door hiring strategies and paid-for media influence through advertising dollars.
Big Tech has joined the movement, bringing in a global concentration of wealth to eliminate competition and critical voices — voices that bring awareness to the frightening future as our rights, freedoms and competition erode into a fascist sunset, all disguised as a means to protect you from “misinformation.”
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This year, we’ve seen an unprecedented push to implement censorship across all online platforms, making it increasingly difficult to obtain and share crucial information about health topics. If you’ve been having difficulty finding articles from my website in your Google searchers of late, you’re not alone.

Google traffic to Mercola.com has plummeted by about 99% over the past few weeks. The reason? Google’s June 2019 broad core update, which took effect June 3,1 removed most Mercola.com pages from its search results. As reported by Telaposts.com:2
“The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted the rankings of websites in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. Several aspects of the algorithm were changed which caused some sites to gain visibility and others to lose visibility.
Generally speaking, sites negatively impacted will see a drop in rankings for many or all of important keywords or key phrases which they used to rank well for … The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted sites across the web, however, I am personally seeing the most impact on News and Health sites.”
Mercola.com targeted in Google’s latest core algorithm update
Now, any time you enter a health-related search word into Google, such as “heart disease” or “Type 2 diabetes,” you will not find Mercola.com articles in the search results. The only way to locate any of my articles at this point is by searching for “Mercola.com heart disease,” or “Mercola.com Type 2 diabetes.”
Even skipping the “.com” will minimize your search results, and oftentimes the only pages you’ll get are blogs, not my full peer-reviewed articles. Negative press by skeptics has also been upgraded, which means if you simply type in my name none of my articles will come but what you will find are a deluge of negative articles voicing critiques against me in your searches. Try entering my name in Yahoo or Bing and you will see completely different results.
As explained by Telapost,3 a core update “is when Google makes several changes to their main (core) algorithm.” In the past, Google search results were based on crowdsource relevance. An article would ascend in rank based on the number of people who clicked on it.
Traditionally, if you produced unique and high-quality content that matched what people were looking for, you were rewarded by ranking in the top of search results. You would find Mercola.com near the top of nearly any health search results.
So, let’s say one of my articles on diabetes was seventh on the page for your search; if more people clicked on that link than, say, an article listed in third or fifth place, my article would move up in rank. In a nutshell, Google search results were, at least in part, based on popularity.
That’s no longer the case. Instead, Google is now manually lowering the ranking of undesirable content, largely based on Wikipedia’s assessment of the author or site.
Wikipedia’s founder and anonymous editors are well-known to have extreme bias against natural health content and authors. Google also contributes heavily to funding Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is near the top of nearly all searches — despite the anonymous aspect of contributors. Who better to trust than a bunch of unknown, unqualified contributors?
Wikipedia’s co-founder even admits these bad actors have made it a “broken system.”4 Why would Google give such credibility to a platform that even its own founder says is broken and overrun with bad actors?
Google’s new quality rater guidelines are a death knell for experts whose views threaten industry profits
Another major change was Google’s 2019 quality rater guidelines,5,6 released May 16. What are these guidelines? As explained by Telapost:7
“Google hires ‘quality raters,’ people who visit websites and evaluate their quality. Their feedback doesn’t directly impact your site; it goes to engineers who update the Google algorithm in an effort to display great websites to their users. The guidelines give us great insight as to what Google considers a quality web page.”
One significant change: Google now buries expert views if they’re deemed “harmful” to the public. As explained by The SEM post:8
“There has been a lot of talk about author expertise when it comes to the quality rater guidelines … This section has been changed substantially … [I]f the purpose of the page is harmful, then expertise doesn’t matter. It should be rated Lowest!”
Google used to rank pages based on whether an author could prove their expertise based on how many people visited a page or the number of other reputable sites that linked to that page. No more.
As you may have noticed, we’ve stayed on top of this, even creating a peer review panel of medical and scientific experts that review, edit and approve most articles before they’re published. This is in addition to my own medical expertise as a board-certified physician.
My articles are also fully referenced, most containing dozens of references to studies published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Alas, none of this now matters, as the very fact that the information I present typically contradicts industry propaganda places me in the lowest possible rating category.
Bait and switch
Different perspectives are essential to a healthy debate of ideas. When our voices are censored humanity loses and fascism wins. Pinterest has banned me, Google has mostly erased my information and many others are experiencing this same censorship. What makes me so dangerous to these industries that they need to censor me from those looking for my information?
Google had the brilliant idea of utilizing crowd sourcing, providing the best answers to your questions by pushing the most frequently selected content to the top of the search results — a truly democratic system to reward people for sharing information, and helping you locate this information by essentially sharing the most popular, highest quality content.
My information was frequently at the top of many health searches, because many people like you found it to be the most valuable. But as Google’s power grew to enormous proportions, the goal of providing this service to you changed. The goal now is to become even more powerful by uniting with other powerful industries and government to force their beliefs on the masses and manipulate the future itself.
Crowd sourcing has become crowd control. Google began by giving you everything you want so it can now take everything you have. Google has changed from looking at users as customers and giving them what they want, to making users custodians of their will — essentially making you a host of a virus to carry out their agenda.
Google has become the ultimate puppet master, infecting people and manipulating them without even knowing it. Their true goal is to be in complete control of all of us, directing our behavior — and should we rebel, they also have partnered with the military to create drones utilizing artificial intelligence to ensure resistance will be defeated.
This is eerily reminiscent of many science fiction books and productions, but we have proof of what Google is doing — and we cannot go along with it. Google refers to the goal of controlling humanity as “The Selfish Ledger,” described in the video below. Our lives are being exploited by Google and other large tech companies, and you have no idea how far they have come or where they are going. The truth is, they can already predict and control your behavior.
Natural health and healing threaten drug and vaccine industry profits
This sentence in the SEM Post article9 cited earlier is key to understanding what’s going on: “If the purpose of the page is harmful, then expertise doesn’t matter.” In other words, if a page is deemed harmful to the public, it gets the lowest possible rating regardless of expertise. And if pages don’t vanish automatically in the new algorithm, quality raters will go in and manually manipulate crowdsourced relevance to bury the page or pages.
Just what might Google and its industrial and government/military allies deem “harmful”? In short, pretty much anything that presents views differing from the PR created by said allies, and that most certainly includes alternative and holistic health, and articles revealing the truth about toxic industries, including the drug and vaccine industries.
Indeed, Telapost lists10 Mercola.com as one of the biggest losers in Google’s June 2019 core algorithm update, along with other natural health sites and Vimeo — a direct competitor to Google’s Youtube video platform. The article also notes that:11
“In the QRG [quality rater guidelines], Google notes that raters should conduct ‘research on the reputation of the website or creator of the main content.’
Later they say ‘… Wikipedia articles can help you learn about a company and may include information specific to reputation, such as awards and other forms of recognition, or also controversies and issues.’ If a news style website has a poor reputation, factors on their site could correlate with what Google is trying to push down in search results.”
I will delve into Wikipedia’s role in this censorship movement in Part 2 of this article, which will be published tomorrow.
Google is undoubtedly one of the largest and clearest monopolies in the world. In fact, the company monopolizes several different markets, including search and advertising. Bing, its closest search competitor, has just 2% of the market — hardly a significant threat to Google’s 90%.12 Google also controls about 60% of the global advertising revenue on the internet.
So, with this core algorithm update, Google is very effectively preventing a majority of people worldwide from learning about how to protect and support their health, which is nothing short of an attack on your civil liberties and right to pursue health and happiness.
I’ve written about the dangers of monopolies within the drug and agricultural industries on numerous occasions, but Google is without a doubt the greatest monopoly that has ever existed on the planet, and most people don’t even realize it.
The technology giant has injected itself ever deeper into our day-to-day lives, from childhood education to Android phones, to patented meat substitutes13 and health care. Google’s internet monopoly combined with its creepy personal information tracking and sharing poses a very unique threat to public health, privacy and well-being.
Anyone concerned about their health, food or environment and their ability to obtain truthful information about any of those issues needs to understand the role Google plays, and whose side Google is really on. I’ll delve further into this in part 2.
Who are the Google quality raters?
So, just who are these quality raters Google hires to decide who’s who and what’s what, and manually rank pages higher or lower? Ars Technica has written articles about the poor working conditions of these raters. In April 2017, senior tech culture editor for Ars Technica, Annalee Newitz, reported:14
“Few people realize how much these raters contribute to the smooth functioning act we call ‘Googling.’ Even Google engineers who work with rater data don’t know who these people are. But some raters would now like that to change. That’s because, earlier this month, thousands of them received an e-mail that said their hours would be cut in half, partly due to changes in Google’s staffing policies.
Though Google boasts about its army of raters, the raters are not Google employees. Instead, they are employed by firms who have contracted them to Google, full time, for years on end. These raters believe that Google has reaped significant benefits from their labor without ensuring their jobs are secure and stable. That’s why 10 raters came to Ars Technica to tell the story of what their lives are really like.”
At the time, Leapforce — which was incorporated in 200815 — was one of the largest companies supplying Google with raters. Most raters work from home and virtually everyone, including managers, use online pseudonyms, preventing employees from knowing who they’re really working with.
“To get a task, raters log into Raterhub and see what’s available. Some days plenty of tasks exists; on others, a rater might wait hours and be offered nothing … A typical task takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes, and the amount of time the rater can bill for the task is pre-determined by Google,” Newitz writes.16
In 2017, the hourly pay for a rater ranged between $13.50 and $17.40.17 Effective June 1, 2017, Google raters working in the U.S. could no longer bill for more than 26 hours a week, which meant those working full-time (about 20% of Leapforce raters) were reduced to part-time to minimize employee benefits.
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In response to panicked workers, Leapforce founder and CEO Daren Jackson18 told the raters “this is not a change we are able to control,” and that the abolishing of full-time work was due to “risk mitigation” related to “regulations.”
According to Newitz, a new Google policy stipulated they wanted to work with employee-based workforces, so to keep its contract, Leapforce converted its raters from independent contractors to employees. It was very likely unlawful to have so many people independently contracted for these positions in the first place.
However, Jackson told Newitz he couldn’t convert his full-time contractors to full-time employees “because Leapforce couldn’t afford health care for all of them,” as required under the Affordable Healthcare Act. After speaking to Ars about their work conditions, three of the raters were fired by Leapforce, Newitz reported in a subsequent article.19
Leapforce founder is a former Google employee
While Jackson claimed Leapforce had other clients beside Google (which he would not name when asked by Ars Technica), Google certainly appeared to be its largest. It should come as no surprise then that Jackson and Leapforce didn’t just appear out of the blue. In fact, as reported by Newitz, Jackson used to work for Google. She writes:20
“Jackson told Ars that he started Leapforce in 2008 after quitting Google, where he had been working on a project called EWOQ. EWOQ is the precursor to Raterhub, though its origins are shrouded in secrecy. We do know that, as early as 2004, Google had a quality rater tool … At that time, raters were hired directly by Google …
But by the time Google purchased the website Raterhub.com in 2012, all of Google’s raters were coming from contracting companies like Leapforce, Lionbridge, Appen, and ZeroChaos. Many of Leapforce’s raters still call the tool they use at Raterhub ‘EWOQ,’ though one told me that they have no idea why, nor what it stands for.”
In essence, the separation between Leapforce and Google appears to have been little more than a legal fiction that shielded Google from any legal liabilities for the way this workforce was treated.
In a subsequent article,21 published May 2, 2017, Newitz pointed out that Jackson had just created yet another rating company called RaterLabs,22 and was in the process of transferring raters from Leapforce to RaterLabs, but at reduced pay rates.
As reported by Newitz in a third article,23 published December 1, 2017, Leapforce/RaterLabs were ultimately acquired by a top competitor, Appen.24 She also reported that several Leapforce raters had filed complaints with employee rights groups. Two of the raters fired after speaking to Ars Technica filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Both cases were reportedly settled.
Google is not an independent actor in its censorship movement
While some argue that Google, being a private company, has the right to do whatever it wants, even if that means creating algorithms that censor important and relevant news and health insights while manually burying “undesirable” pages to protect the profits of its advertisers and other financial stakeholders.
However, being one of the biggest monopolies in the world, one could argue Google has really become more of a utility (like gas, water and electric utilities), and as such has a responsibility to serve the people. In fact, last year, U.S. House Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, suggested Google and Facebook be turned into, and regulated as, public utilities.25
After all, if you want to find an answer on the web what do you do? You Google it, you don’t just “search.” Google worked for many years to earn your trust, but it was just setting a trap to twist that trust into powerful control.
Unfortunately, even if such an idea were to gain traction (which it has not), it still wouldn’t solve the problem, as Google is not acting independently, but rather is merely fulfilling a role within a much larger complex that includes the U.S. government, its military and national security apparatus, as well as several of the wealthiest and most powerful industries on the planet. I’ll delve into these issues in part 2 tomorrow.
All of these “partners” have a vested interest in censoring information addressed by yours truly on a daily basis; information relating to nondrug options for the prevention and treatment of disease and/or warnings about dangerous treatments, drugs and vaccines, for example, or the benefits of regenerative agriculture over conventional farming and fake meat, or the hazards of toxic chemicals found in everyday products and food.
Again, as explained earlier, Google’s latest core algorithm update and quality rater guidelines bury all of this information, favoring instead information relayed by sites that are either part of this industrial-technological-military-government complex, or that peddle the desired talking points.
It doesn’t matter that I’m reporting on and referencing publicly available peer-reviewed research and have a whole panel of medical and scientific experts reviewing much of the information, because the science I highlight is the science industry doesn’t want you to see.
Few are ever going to take the time to dig up these studies even though they’re readily available, and thus by censoring me and other online sources like myself, the industrial-technological-military-government complex’s task of social engineering is significantly simplified.
The information I share about pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, GMOs, pesticides, junk food, fake meat, artificial sweeteners and other dangerous additives are prime targets for censorship for the simple reason that when you take control of your health, they LOSE control over you. By being informed, you take their power over you away from them.
What can you do?
I have been writing about Google for years because I knew this day would come. June 3, 2019, Google predictably removed my website and several other health sites from its search results.
It’s a wakeup call for everyone, and now more than ever we must work together to share this information with others by word of mouth, by text and email. We have built in simple sharing tools at the top of each article so you can easily email or text interesting articles to your friends and family.
My information is here because all of you support and share it, and we can do this without Big Tech’s support. It’s time to boycott and share! Here are a few other suggestions:
Become a subscriber to my newsletter and encourage your friends and family to do the same. This is the easiest and safest way to make sure you’ll stay up-to-date on important health and environmental issues.
If you have any friends or relatives that are seriously interested in their health, please share important articles with them and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter.
Use the internal Mercola.com search engine when searching for articles on my site. Nearly all major search websites except Yahoo! and Bing still use Google as their primary engines and have their own privacy issues. Then you have sites like StartPage and DuckDuckGo, which provide greater privacy than Google, but rely on Google’s search results.
Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:
Stop using Google search engines. Alternatives include DuckDuckGo26 and Startpage27
Uninstall Google Chrome and use Brave or Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.28 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN service (virtual private network) to further preserve your privacy
If you have a Gmail account, try a non-Google email service such as ProtonMail,29 an encrypted email service based in Switzerland
Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives30
If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts
Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition created by Citizens Against Monopoly
Sources and References
Copyright © 2019 Dr. Joseph Mercola