Handwringing about the lack of “normal” people in British politics is fashionable, but what do we expect? There are lots of principled individuals out there who would relish representing their community. They take it as read that their beliefs would face heavy scrutiny; relevant personal characteristics, such as personal judgment, would also get a going over. But having the media snooping not just into your private life, but the lives of those close to you? Saying “throw what you like at me” is one thing, but it is deeply presumptuous to adopt such a posture on behalf of those close to you.
Skynet is real. Well, kinda. According to the latest report from Glenn Greenwald’s site The Intercept, the NSA has (or had) a secret program called Skynet. Unlike the Terminator version, which was a computer system that went rogue and attempted to annihilate humanity, the NSA’s Skynet uses metadata to try and identify people with terrorist connections. Specifically, in one recorded case, the program tracked the movements of people within Pakistan from cellphone records and raised a flag when those activities appeared to match the movements of suspected Al Qaeda couriers. By sniffing out couriers, the hope was to catch dangerous Al Qaeda leaders.
If you think lobbyists only exist in Washington and not in the EU you’ll want to see this documentary. In it Friedrich Moser and Matthieu Lietaert try to explain how the decisions made in Brussels have been and are being influenced by lobbyist organizations.
Four out of five policy decisions in an average EU country are made in Brussels. But who is actually making them? Behind the EU façade are more than 15,000 lobbyists, with a mission to influence the politics in favor of their clients interest. Every decision has a price. The question is who is paying.
In the film we follow two men, one is a political activist fighting against lobbying corruption by a watchdog organization in Brussels. The other is a “top of the league” lobbyist in European and international trade issues.