Archive for the ‘World Issues’ 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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Support ANONYMOUS – Stop Government Corruption!

January 26, 2013

I support ANONYMOUS in their actions against government corruption announced today. Read my announcement of my support with links to their video specifying how the Internet War against government corruption has begun.

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.

Let International Court at Hague Prosecute High U.S. Officials for Torture, Pardon Those Below Cabinet Level

July 12, 2009

I support President Obama in denouncing torture. I wish to share the following view with our administration, especially Attorney General Eric Holder:

We can not lead the world from a moral high ground if we violate our own fundamental principles. This only leads to more hate against America from around the world. This produces a more dangerous world. Under NO circumstances can we compromise our ethical principles. If we do so, then our enemies have reason to torture our soldiers when captured in war and we have NO ethical ground to stand upon.

I believe that America committed war crimes when then subjected prisoners to torture and renditions. However, our country should not be distracted by and be caused to spend a huge amount rehashing this issue. It is not an American issue. It is an issue for the world to be concerned about.

Therefore, I believe that President Obama should grant blanket pardons to all that participated in such crimes who are below cabinet level rank and urge the International Court at the Hague to do the same. We should let the International Court at the Hague decide whether to prosecute U.S. officials at the cabinet level or above, as this amounts to a crime against humanity that the world should be concerned about. If we request that others be prosecuted for war crimes, we should accept the fact that at times our officials should also be prosecuted for war crimes.

Pandemic – OH MY! – A / H1N1 – Other strategies

May 5, 2009

The word “pandemic” raises great fear and trepidation due to the experience of the 1918 “flu pandemic”, “Spanish flu”,  that killed over 40 million people around the world, more than war killed. The average persons equates “pandemic” with a “deadly disease”.  Our government, the CDC, and the WHO have not adequately explained to the public and press that pandemic does NOT EQUAL deadly disease.

The 1918 flu pandemic was caused by the same family of virus A/H1N1 that is spreading around the globe this past month. There are hundreds of members of this family (strains) each which are unique but related. H1N1 was the family for the “seasonal flu” strains that infected people yearly from 1918 to 1957 when a new family emerged as the seasonal flu. Each year the dominant strain rearranged a bit causing a new strain to emerge in the same family of virus.

In 1977 the H1N1 family emerged again, but has not necessarily been the dominant family in the seasonal flu. There have been several families causing the yearly flu strain.  This means that most people born before 1957 have a partial resistance to the A/H1N1 family which might explain why mainly young adults are getting sick with the presently mild A/H1N1 family-new this year strain or “swine” or “Mexican” flu.  

So it is not the fact that it is an H1N1 family virus that scared the public health officials.  It is the fact that this year’s strain was emerging at an unusual time and was coming from the Americas, in addition to the fact that it contained both swine and bird genes, as well as the fact that it was spreading so very quickly from  person to person as well as tending to infect young healthy adults and causing deaths in a few of these people. Therefore it had some similarity to the pattern in the 1918 pandemic. As the scientists and the public health officials DO NOT UNDERSTAND what causes a flu to become really deadly and toxic this made the public health community very nervous.

In the U.S. influenza (the strain going around that year – called ‘seasonal’ flu for the kind of illness not the strain) infects about 30,000,000 people a year (10% of the population) and kills about 30,000 per year on the average. Generally the deaths are among the very old and very young who are already sick or fragile with chronic illness or congenital disease. Of note, the child that recently died in Texas was a chronically ill and fragile child.

Well, how do they pick what strains to make vaccine to every year. A new vaccine is needed every year because last year’s strain does not fully protect against the new strains that emerge each year as the virus has a tendency to rearrange  taking components from other strains each year. The public health authorities and experts meet every year in around February to March and look at the strains that were spread around the previous year and guess at which strains will be around this year. Then they instruct the manufacterers to make a virus to a mix of strains that they think will occur the next fall. The guess is usually pretty good, but 1 out of 3 years they guess wrong and the vaccine is not completely effective. This year they had not expected this new A/H1N1 family – new strain to emerge so it was not included in the list. They are racing to include it or in the alternative if it is too late to include in the “seasonal vaccine’, then to make a vaccine specifically to this new strain. The vaccine should be ready between September and December. The vaccine however is not a cure all and can have complications – dozens of cases of Guillain-Barre syndrom an illness that causes paralysis and puts you on a respirator in intensive care occurred after the last “swine flu” vaccine was distributed.

The 1918 flu was unusual because it emerged in the spring as a very mild illness and then re-emerged in August as an intensely deadly illness. My grandfather during 1918 had this flu but he was in his thirties and recovered. He described people dying suddenly on the street – literally falling on the street with blood foaming out of their mouths. He also described getting on a troop train and young 18 year old soldiers going into massive respiratory failure, foaming blood at the mouth and dying during the few hours it took the train to get to its destination. It was very rapid onset and deadly and death was often due to a rapid onset and toxic viral pneumonia instead of from bacterial complications that often cause deaths in seasonal flu among the fragile. There were so many bodies they were stacked like cord wood in morgues and hospitals and on military bases where up to 80 % of the troops died. Herses in some cities stretched for miles with continuous funerals for weeks. A study revealed that closing schools in 1918 may have slowed the spread of the pandemic. The goal in closing schools is not to prevent people from getting sick but to slow the spread of the disease so that public health officials have time to mobilize, such as to distribute Tamiflu and masks.  It is uncertain if masks are actually useful as most people don’t use them correctly and take them off frequently because they are uncomfortable.

It is my opinion that preventing the spread right now is foolish. I would encourage people to get exposed to this presently mild illness so as to build up herd immunity in the population while the illness is mild. You will also avoid the chance of complications from the vaccine in the fall and from medications. Then if per chance it should evolve and becoming deadly in the fall many people will at least be  partially immune and we can use the medication (Tamiflu and Relenza) for the very ill and use the vaccine that is being developed in a more targeted fashion.  Closing schools, businesses, and public events, when the illness is very mild, to me seems foolish and just deprives the kids of an education.  I would encourage the medically fragile, severe asthmatics, and elderly who are chronically ill to stay home or avoid crowds for at least a few more weeks.

The most important thing to do to protect yourself against catching the influenza virus, not just now, but every year, particularly in the winter, is to WASH YOUR HANDS frequently. Washing/sanitizing schools is a waste of money, except it will remove bacteria that can cause infections. Influenza virus is very fragile and dies after a few hours at most on any surface.  It is useful to sanitize things that people touch frequently like knobs on bathroom sinks and door handles several times a day during the flu season especially.

I do not see the present “pandemic” which just means it has spread across the continents any differently than I see the yearly seasonal strains at the moment. Pandemic does not tell you anything about the seriousness of the strain. It only tells you how widespread it has become. It is an epidemiologic term not a medical term that describes the toxicity or seriousness of the disease.

Excess use of Tamiflu will only cause the flu strain to become resistant sooner. I urge not using it for mild illness in the healthy. Also remember that Tamiflu has complications including delusions. People on it should be around a family member who can help them if they become confused and delusional and should consider not driving unless they know they don’t have this complication.

Our Answers to Our Problems – You Tell Me!

January 11, 2009

 What we can do is only limited by our will and our imagination. We must think out-of-the-box. We must work together and resolve our differences. We use a very small portion of our intellectual potential. Anything is possible when there is respect, cooperation, long-term vision, and love for our fellow man – no matter his condition or position in our lives. Nothing is set in concrete. The fundamental beauty of man is our adaptability and creativity. It is a pity that it is usually wasted in petty materialism, bias, totalitarian restrictions, and hatred built by centuries of defamation. Man does not evolve in small steps, but there are significant leaps. I believe strongly, we are about to make one. Join in our national discussion – send me your suggestions for solutions to problems of our times. For a discussion of health care problems see:

http://www.ourpresidency.com/profiles/blogs/basic-principles-for-a


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