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Wednesday September 10th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 7:14am PDT   •  

nsf_logo_white_200In 1950, Congress created the National Science Foundation “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.” In fiscal year 2014 the NSF deploys a budget of $7.2 billion, and remains the “major source of federal backing” for “mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.” One of their recent projects gives new meaning to the NSF motto: “where discoveries begin.”

“The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track ‘misinformation’ and hate speech on Twitter,” notes Elizabeth Harrington of Fox News. To that end, the NSF is bankrolling a web service that will monitor “false and misleading ideas,” with a focus on political activity. Researchers at Indiana University used the NSF money to create the “Truthy” database, a service that, according to the grant, “could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate.”

That certainly qualifies as “science.” As we noted, with the current federal administration, “hate speech” can mean anything at odds with the views of the President of the United States and his vice-president. In current conditions, hate speech can mean advocacy of individual freedoms, limited government, accountability, and lower taxes. What we have here is another case of the government deploying federal agencies against the people, as with NSA intrusions and the IRS targeting scandal. Even if the “Truthy” squad sought or found an actual terrorist plot it remains unlikely whether they would do anything about it. Federal snoops knew full well that U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan was planning an attack but did nothing to stop the Army psychiatrist from gunning down 13 and wounding more than 30 at Ford Hood in 2009. Then the government called this “workplace violence,” not even “gun violence.”

“Truthy” boss Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University. As Katherine Rodriguez of CNS News points out, Menczer also “proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action,, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.” So cronyism is also going on “where the discoveries begin.”

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September 2014