Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Dangers of social media controlling minds – ‘A web of totalitarian control’

January 31, 2018

By Linda Shelton; extracted from SOROS SPEECH AT DAVOS 1/26/18 and The Guardian report of speech = ” A Menace to Society”.

Social media companies influence how people think and behave without them even being aware of it.

Social media monopolies control minds-a few people in world determine what you will read.

Social media induces people to give up their mind autonomy – believe anything that is Tweeted without checking facts.

This is a most subtle form of mind-control. They tell you what you want to hear as long as you are encouraged to not check facts or understand the deeper issues.

Social media converts populations’ thinking into mindless whipped-up sheep to the slaughter or mob mentality.

Social media acts like snake-oil salesmen who convince all the housewives in a neighborhood to buy a useless product because of their charisma & targeted generalized statements about how they need the product= brainwashing gullible.

Social media , “monopolistic behavior” has made them a “menace” to society, damaging democracy, and encouraging “addiction” akin to gambling companies

Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don’t have. Social media is no different.

Social media can be very harmful, particularly for adolescents, manipulating impressionable minds.

This similarity between internet platforms and gambling companies is a ‘A web of totalitarian control’.

There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance.

Internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions.

Social media has far-reaching adverse consequences on the functioning of democracy, particularly on the integrity of elections.

We can draw a line between the growth of tech company fortunes and rising inequality.

Companies earn their profits by exploiting their environment. Mining and oil companies exploit the physical environment; social media companies exploit the social environment.

Facebook and Google have grown into ever more powerful monopolies, they have become obstacles to innovation, eating up start-ups, and they have caused a variety of problems of which we are only now beginning to become aware.

The distinguishing feature of internet platform companies is that they are networks and they enjoy rising marginal returns ; the more people that use them, the higher their profits.

Facebook and Google effectively control over half of all internet advertising revenue.

To maintain their dominance, they need to expand their networks and increase their share of users’ attention.

Currently they do this by providing users with a convenient platform. The more time users spend on the platform, the more valuable they become to the companies.

Content providers also contribute to the profitability of social media companies because they cannot avoid using the platforms and they have to accept whatever terms they are offered.

The exceptional profitability of these companies is largely a function of their avoiding responsibility for– and avoiding paying for– the content on their platforms. 

They claim they are merely distributing information, but don’t let known that they merely seek the highest bidder for mind-control for profits.

The fact that they are near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.

The business model of social media companies is based on advertising.

Social medias’  true customers are the advertisers.

Gradually a new business model for social media is emerging, based not only on advertising, but on selling products and services directly to users.

They exploit the data they control, bundle the services they offer and use discriminatory pricing to keep for themselves more of the benefits that otherwise they would have to share with consumers.

This enhances their profitability even further – but the bundling of services and discriminatory pricing undermine the efficiency of the market economy.

Social media companies deceive their users by manipulating their attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes.

They deliberately engineer addiction to the services they provide, leading to ever seeking higher numbers of users. Facebook got 1 billion users in 8 yrs, 2 billion 4 yrs later, & will run out of potential users in 3 yrs.

Profits of Facebook and Google come largely because they refuse to take responsibility for (“and avoid paying for”) the content on their platforms.

Social media companies are inducing people to give up their autonomy.

The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies. It takes a real effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called “the freedom of mind.” There is a possibility that once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it. This may have far-reaching political consequences.

People without the freedom of mind can be easily manipulated.

This danger does not loom only in the future; it already played an important role in the 2016 US presidential elections.

But there is an even more alarming prospect on the horizon. There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance.

This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined.

The countries in which such unholy marriages are likely to occur first are Russia and China. The Chinese IT companies in particular are equal to the American ones. They also enjoy the full support and protection of the Xi Jingping regime. The government of China is strong enough to protect its national champions, at least within its borders.

US-based IT monopolies are already tempted to compromise themselves in order to gain entrance to these vast and fast growing markets. The dictatorial leaders in these countries may be happy to collaborate with them since they want to improve their methods of control over their own populations and expand their power and influence in the United States and the rest of the world.

The concentration of social media share ownership in the hands of a few private individuals plays some role but the peculiar position occupied by the IT giants is even more important.

They have achieved monopoly power but at the same time they are also competing against each other.

They are big enough to swallow start-ups that could develop into competitors, but only the giants have the resources to invade each other’s territory.

They are poised to dominate the new growth areas that artificial intelligence is opening up, like driverless cars.

The impact of innovations on unemployment depends on government policies.

The European Union and particularly the Nordic countries are much more farsighted in their social policies than the United States. They protect the workers, not the jobs.

They are willing to pay for re-training or retiring displaced workers. This gives workers in Nordic countries a greater sense of security and makes them supportive of technological innovations than workers in the US.

The internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions. That turns them into a menace and it falls to the regulatory authorities to protect society against them.

In the US, the regulators are not strong enough to stand up against their political influence. The European Union is better situated because it does not have any platform giants of its own.

The European Union uses a different definition of monopoly power from the United States.

US law enforcement focuses primarily on monopolies created by acquisitions,

EU law prohibits the abuse of monopoly power irrespective of how it is achieved.

Europe has much stronger privacy and data protection laws than America.

US law has adopted a strange doctrine: it measures harm as an increase in the price paid by customers for services received – and that is almost impossible to prove when most services are provided for free. This leaves out of consideration the valuable data platform companies collect from their users.

Commissioner Vestager is the champion of the European approach. It took the EU seven years to build a case against Google, but as a result of her success the process has been greatly accelerated.

Due to her proselytizing, the European approach has begun to affect attitudes in the United States as well. social media near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.

Regulation and taxation will be their undoing and EU Competition Commissioner Vestager will be their nemesis.

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Suggested plan to stop gun violence in America

December 29, 2012

SUGGESTED PLAN TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA

TO BE DEBATED AND DISCUSSED BY EXPERTS IN ALL FIELDS

INCLUDING LAW, MILITARY, NRA, HEALTHCARE, MENTAL HEALTH, POLICE, PRISONS  AND JAILS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS, AND PUBLIC INTEREST GROUPS ON ALL SIDES OF THE DEBATE IN A TRANSPARENT MANNER!

  1. America has 5% of the world population but its citizens own 50% of the privately owned guns the world. Tax ammunition outrageously like we tax cigarettes. Considering outlawing owning more than a few weapons needed by one person to be a member of a militia unless they have extensive mental health examination and background check.
  2. Half of gun deaths are suicides.  Triple mental healthcare spending and  vastly improve access to mental healthcare.
  3. Vastly increase opportunities for teens and young adults for jobs and after school activities. Idle minds are the devil’s  playground. Re-instate the Civilian Conservation Corps started in the Roosevelt era.
  4. Outlaw high capacity ammunition magazines and give deadline to turn them in – do not grandfather them. An untrained person having      to change clips would slow down mass murders.
  5. Find better high tech way to ID guns so that if their numbers are filed off they can still be traced.
  6. Research and discuss ways of tracking and controlling the sale of ammunition and the sale of more dangerous types of ammunition, with consideration of putting limits on certain types of ammunition or finding ways of tracing the sale and usage of certain types of ammunition that are more deadly or meant for military mass murder situations, rather than hunting.
  7. Tax guns at enormous rate with goal of decreasing ratio of guns to number of Americans to half as many within 5 years. Increase availability of voluntary turn in of weapons without consequences.  Destroy weapons turned in and do not resell them.
  8. Outlaw semi-automatic rifles and handguns. Have a panel of experts including military and NRA representatives determine this issue. No grandfather clause.  Maybe allow some stored in gun clubs to mentally certified people, who have  undergone careful background check as to mental health as well as had an  interview by a trained psychologist. Do not allow storage of these weapons in a home where everyone is not certified.
  9. Massive education effort to teach not to stigmatize  mentally ill and to recognize need for mental healthcare.  Teach that most mentally ill people are  harmless, most gun deaths are NOT caused by the mentally ill, but that serious mass murders may be caused by a few very disturbed people who need  help BEFORE they murder someone.
  10. Research and find ways to identify loners and help them integrate into society, as well as find ways to identify when they are falling into psychotic mental illness and becoming dangerous to society like with the shooters in Oregon & at the Colorado theater.
  11. Massively increase training requirements for law enforcement officers and prison guards to include training about mental illness and psychology (at least one year of classes and rotation through  mental health facilities as part of code gray teams and counseling teams).  Three months of post high school      training is not adequate to be employed as a jail or prison guard.  This will take a 5-10 year transition as our police forces are so incredibly undertrained. Parole officers should be required even more training. Study how many peace officers were involved in murder with their own guns or whose guns were used for suicide or accidental shootings.
  12. Vastly improve our education system in the U.S. to  include domestic violence and pre-marital counseling, financial  responsibility, and child development, as well as mental health issues.  Require students to volunteer to help the elderly, the disabled, or the mentally challenged so they understand that the disabled and mentally  challenged are not automatically dangerous.
  13. Close loopholes so that NO gun may be exchanged or sold without check with a national database.
  14. Have intense discussion/analysis as to what diagnoses or mental certification should cause inclusion in database as the vast majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous. Forcing all that  have been treated or hospitalized for mental illness into a database would be grossly unfair.
  15. Judicial reform to take corruption out of our court system and vastly reform family courts thus lowering the extreme suicide rate among veterans and the population due to false defamation of character and wrongful termination of child custody rights.
  16. Do not put all felons in database as most are not  dangerous concerning guns – analyze this more carefully.
  17. Make national effort to put in place system to help wrongfully convicted felons overturn their convictions so that the database is not overtaxed by excessive numbers of people who are mentally  stable but wrongfully accused of being mentally ill or have been defamed and wrongfully convicted felons, or non-violent felons.
  18. Make higher penalties for storing weapons without trigger locks and other appropriate safety measures.

Newton, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine – type shootings WILL NOT STOP and WILL ESCALATE until we educate about, make access easy to, and fund mental health care

December 16, 2012

I am a retired pediatrician in Chicago.  I also have a PhD in pathology and trained for six months in forensic pathology observing and participating in autopsies including many gunshot victims. In addition I was medical director of a mental health care group practice. I know what I am talking about as I have treated babies and children who have been boiled, beaten, shot, and shaken.  I have smelled their burned flesh and held their brain tissue in my hand.  I have attended their autopsies. The destruction of tissue by high-powered weapons is unbelievable.  Tissues explode inside of you as the tissue is vaporized and the bullets wobble and gas from heated vaporized tissue expands the damage. There is absolutely no reason for high-powered, high magazine capacity weapons for civilian use. I fear though that it will take decades to confiscate them all as there are millions out there and millions of high capacity magazines.  Too many people do not secure their weapons and too many can buy them without background checks. The ratio of weapons to people in this country is so astonishing it is beyond belief.  No weapons ban will fully work until we start taking this ratio down.

However we have to start somewhere like limiting the availability of high-capacity magazines and certain types of bullets.  Although limiting guns in UK and Australia has worked well, it won’t work so easily in America where 5% of the world population has 50% of weapons owned  by civilians!  What are we going to do?  Have a massive confiscation campaign?  Eliminate the 2nd Amendment? NO!  We must close the loopholes concerning background checks.  We must start banning semiautomatic weapons to some extent and slow down their  proliferation.  The number in this country already is more than we will ever need. We must link all background registries at the national level. BUT! How are we going to  define mental illness that makes a person dangerous and that deserves to put them on the registry?  How are we going to help wrongfully convicted felons clear their names.  Are all felons deserving of having a ban on owning fire arms?  I think NOT!

I was wrongfully  convicted of aggravated battery of an officer for “bumping” him with my wheelchair and sentenced to two years in prison, a false charge as Sgt. Anthony Salemi actually attacked me in my wheelchair, falsified his records and committed perjury. Now Chief Judge Evans in Cook County is banning all cell phones from courthouses as the eavesdropping law was declared unconstitutional so no citizen can document corruption of Sheriff officers and judges in courthouses even outside of the courtrooms!

We have no choice with this amount of weapons in our country and t he impossibility of banning them due to the numbers already out there, but to make schools as secure as courthouses.  This is the sorry reality and it will cost us dearly – causing fear in our children and enormous government expenditures. Our 2nd Amendment with the technological advances in weapons and astonishing proliferation of weapons in the hands of citizens in America make us a dangerous overly armed population.

We MUST increase the requirements for police officers training and education.  We have a pitifully under trained and corrupt law enforcement legacy in this country. Read my blogs in the following.  We are now even killing a whole lot of people unnecessarily with Tasers!

We also must MASSIVELY increase our funding for mental health care.  We need 30,000 certified child psychiatrists but only have about 5,000 in this country.  We have been forced to choose between drugging people and providing cognitive or talking therapy.  Drugging won as our healthcare system won’t pay to talk to anyone.  I believe however that talking therapies are critical and drugging often does more harm than good!

Those doctors who do procedures (cardiac and ortho surgery for example) get obscenely high payments while psychiatrists, psychologists, and general practitioners, as well as pediatricians and family practitioners are the lowest paid.  We also pay by the pound.  My patients (Vincent triplets) are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “lightest triplets in the world” (1997 edition), yet I was paid $50 to put in central lines into ultra premees while vascular surgeons were paid $500 to put in central lines into adults! Go figure! Our priorities are goofy.

Our justice system is so corrupt that honest  harmless people like me are wrongfully convicted (in my case in retaliation for whistle blowing against corrupt police and officials – see my other blogs links to the right) and criminals know all the loopholes.  Some of the most dangerous people are very intelligent and also mentally ill yet are not even in the mental healthcare system.

I fear the backlash against most mentally ill people who are harmless.

I fear that people with post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) will be discriminated against and labeled wrongfully as dangerous. I suffer from PTSD and although I am a non-violent pacifist, I cower and swing my arms in front of my head trying to defend myself against flashbacks of being beaten by corrupt  police (I have been beaten several times and falsely accused of attacking these officers – see my blogs: http://cookcountysheriffdeputies.wordpress.com and http://cookcountyjudges.wordpress.com). This massacre in Newtown has caused me to have more flashbacks revisiting seeing wounded and dying children in the emergency rooms where I worked in Chicago 10-20 years ago.

There is NO mental health care in America; no understanding, respect and compassion for the mentally ill; no support for their families; no help available; just disdain, disrespect, hatred, blame, and ignorance. LaPierre’s and others’ descriptions of mentally ill shooters as “lunatics” and other derogatory terms I would rather not repeat makes the defamation against the mentally ill even worse.

Would you blame a person for becoming sick with cancer or being born with a deformity?  Yet we blame the criminally insane and defame them as evil!  We are a very sick society!

I treated a boy who attempted suicide and when I was releasing him from the hospital, the major university children’s hospitals in Chicago and its suburbs said they didn’t take these kids in transfer who didn’t have insurance (Loyola University, Northwestern University Medical Center, Rush Medical Center, Christ Hospital affiliated with the United Church of Christ and part of Advocate Healthcare) they had a year-long waiting list (Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Center), they only took transfers to their mental health unit of persons on Medicaid who lived in their zip  code (University of Chicago); or such other lame excuses all due to the country refusing to pay for mental health care.

I tried to testify in juvenile court that an aunt who was trying to help her nephew, whose parents were in prison for murder, had a child who was dangerous due to his mental illness, a liar and that the aunt was not a child abuser. Instead the child needed hospitalization and mental health care for life. He may grow up to be a mass murderer.  His aunt was falsely labeled a child abuser due to the child’s lies without a legitimate fair due process court hearing. The aunt lost custody of the boy and his brothers. The children were placed in foster care or given to their criminal drug dealing and gang member relatives who the aunt had protected them from. He has already become a rapist and was in prison for a year. His brothers have become burglars and teen drug dealers under the wings of their relatives and the lives of the brother who were doing well with the aunt have been ruined by the Cook County judges and court system.   We need extensive judicial reform!  I would love to testify before Congress.

Instead the judge threw me out of the courtroom, declared I was not a reliable witness, instead listened to a child welfare worker who had a few months training after getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, ended up destroying my career and now corrupt officials arrested me on many false criminal charges and jailed me in retaliation after I began this campaign to get help for these  people.  Read my other blogs: here, herehere, here & here. The corrupt officials who divert Social Security Title IV-D funds from helping families to judicial pensions and fees for incompetent court-appoint hacks who claim to do mental health evaluations and claim to evaluate family situations (child representatives and guardian ad litums in divorce and custody cases), vilify anyone who tries to change the system and get the country to really look at mental health care, custody decisions, divorce courts, and misuse of government funds because we threaten their illegal funding stream. Read about that here.

Until the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known as “Obamacare”, patterned after “Romneycare” in Massachusetts, is in full swing and expanded to deal with mental health care and cover all Americans as a universal single  payer health care system, none of these mothers will have help and the shootings will continue. Victims also need access to mental health care.

See my suggested 15 point plan to address gun violence and gun deaths in America here: https://twitter.com/DrLindaShelton (1/2 of them are suicides and most are not mass murders but are murders by people known to the victims – 11,000 per year in the U.S.  – compared to about 35-50 in either England or Australia who have both banned and confiscated weapons after mass murders in schools).

Please consider joining the group “Newtown United” on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/NewtownUnited

The following is a MUST READ that has begun this conversation: http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/2012/12/thinking-unthinkable.html

The following poem expresses all of our grief and sadness: http://newtown.patch.com/blog_posts/dear-santa-7cbef59a

Statement by former Representative and victim of shooting Gabby Giffords husband Kelly at her shooter’s sentencing excoriating the government and Gov. for not dealing with gun violence and mental illness: http://jezebel.com/5959149/gabby-giffords-husband-stares-down-her-shooter-gabby-and-i-are-done-thinking-about-you

Bin Laden now answers to 343 New York brother’s souls, 3000+ civilian souls, standing with God!

May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is dead. A small surgical strike by an American special forces team took him out in a wealthy neighborhood in Abbottabad, a town in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.  The hunt is over!

How appropriate he was taken out on May Day – an international celebration of the unity of working people. It was the relentless dedication of thousands of dedicated workers in the intelligence community and military as well as in governments around the world, dedicated to bringing him to justice for the murder and maiming of thousands and the threats against millions of workers, along with retired persons, housewives, disabled and children, of all religions, races, and nationalities, that led to this outcome. We thank them! Our world is a little safer today. The message is clear. Terrorists can not hide!

Justice has been done and Bin Laden will now answer to his victims. He has been buried at sea in accordance with Muslim religious customs out of great respect to his religion, which he ignored and denigrated by stating that his cause was a holy war. Even in death, he was given more respect than he gave to his victims. This will prevent his final resting place from being a place of sick celebration.

We must NEVER blame the Muslim religion. Bin Laden was a terrorist murderer who murdered Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Buddhists and others without regard to race, age, religion, nationality or morality.

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said it best:

“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, had the very grave responsibility of spreading division and hatred amongst the people, causing the death of countless of people, and of instrumentalizing religion for this end,” he said. “In front of the death of man, a Christian never rejoices but rather reflects on the grave responsibility of each one in front of God and men, and hopes and commits himself so that every moment not be an occasion for hatred to grow but for peace.”

It is my prayer that this act of justice will unite the world, bring a measure of closure to his victims and remind us all that diplomacy, debate, compassion, understanding, civil discourse and gentle non-violent protest and persuasion will solve the world’s problems and allow the peoples of the world to move forward.

There is no place for violence and war in a modern world. They are destructive and move us backwards instead of forwards.

Let us all pray that our leaders come to understand this fact that was so well understood by Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and the many peaceful protesters in recent years on the streets of towns in Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Madison and elsewhere.

To the people of the world – UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL – IN PEACE

Today is a good day! Peace be with you all!

_______________________

Note: Abbottabad is a wealthy suburban area about a mile from the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, in northern Pakistan. This proves that terrorists can hide ANYWHERE, even in our best neighborhoods, next door to us. The neighbors report that the people living in the large house with 12-18 foot walls and barbed wire were secretive. The fact they burned their garbage and had no telephone, Internet, or other connections with the outside world was a tip-off to the intelligence community.

It is not unusual for family compounds in wealthy areas of Pakistan to be fortified due to the terrorists activites. Neighbors would not necessarily be tipped-off by the fact this huge house/compound in that part of the world was fortified. Many retired military brass live in that community. What better  place to hide than right in front of the face of your enemy – the least likely place that anyone would look for him! 

We must all start to know our neighbors better. In America surveys have shown that 70 % of people do NOT know their neighbors. This was very different 50 years ago. It is time that our communities reverse this trend. Terrorism cannot survive if our communities are knowledgeable and united. I call upon our churches, community organizations, clubs and municipalities to be creative about reversing this sad trend. It truly takes a community and not individuals alone to fight terrorism and keep the peace.


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