Category: Techno-politics


Healthcare.gov

Vermont and Massachusetts are taking steps to get their money back from CGI Federal, the government contractor that built the health insurance marketplaces in those states as well as the federal marketplace Healthcare.gov. State officials say CGI Federal delivered the websites late and with defects, reports the Boston Globe. The state marketplace, Vermont Health Connect, wasn’t working fully until two months after it opened. Vermont officials are withholding payments of more than $5.1 million and disputing more than $1 million in additional charges. The Massachusetts Health Connector, revamped to accommodate the Affordable Care Act, has also suffered technical difficulties. State officials are reviewing the possibility of taking legal action against CGI. The state has paid the company $11 million of its $69 million contract, but will not pay any more until a finished product has been delivered.

Read the full story at The Verge.

PRISM

A letter signed by some of the most prolific US-based technology companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google has been sent to the Obama administration and Congress today asking for greater transparency over national security-related data requests. The alliance, rumored yesterday to be readying the document, is now urging the US government to give them permission to publish regular reports that would indicate at least some of the type and quantity of information being collected. This would include the number of requests for information – related to their users – submitted under specific legislation such as Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. It would also cover the number of individuals, accounts and devices that were requested by each authority, as well as the total amount of requests for data related to user messaging or calls.

Read the full story at The Next Web.

Death of the Mainstream Media

They are far more servants to political power than adversarial watchdogs over it, and what provokes their rage most is not corruption on the part of those in power (they don’t care about that) but rather those who expose that corruption, especially when the ones bringing transparency are outside of, even hostile to, their incestuous media circles.

- Glenn Greenwald

Everywhere you turn, when the mainstream media is examined in terms of audience, we see a precipitous decline in the size of the audience. Newspapers, news magazines, cable news, broadcast news… you name it.

One wonders how the MSM is staying in business; it is not unreasonable to suggest that it is being secretly subsidized by the government. Advertising is not paying the bills – at least my understanding suggests that is the case.

But why would the government subsidize the MSM?

The answer leads us down the rabbit hole. The MSM serves those in power; Chris Hedges called the MSM “courtiers of power.” For an example, look at how the NSA story is being handled.

Rather than really digging in on the substance of the NSA snooping/spying/violations (and collusion with the private sector), the story that is covered endlessly is whether Snowden is a whistleblower or traitor. The real story has been diverted.

As long as the MSM serves political and economic powers, it will be subsidized. It is charged with framing the acceptable boundaries of discourse. Its function is to divert attention and define what we are supposed to talk about at the water cooler. But, by and large, it is not working!

A year ago, I wrote about how the MSM continues to decline. The pabulum served by the MSM is not sustainable. The NSA scandal and how the MSM – from Fox to MSNBC and everything in between – handles it insists on making Snowden the story. The real issues concerning the NSA are left to online, alternative media sources. And while they may not be subsidized and have questionable business models, alternative media is covering the real story unabated.

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