Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

America Is Under Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FaceBook criticism is nothing new. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which began, interestingly enough, in 2007 – a mere two years after the company, under CEO Mark Zuckerberg, settled a lawsuit with brothers Cameron, and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claiming that he had stolen the idea for the company, which at the time was valued at US$10 Billion. It’s now worth more than 40 times that.

FaceBook’s IPO was May 21, 2012, opened selling at $26.21 per share, and now trades around the $150 mark. The last time it was near that price was June 12, 2017, while the highest it’s ever been was $190.28 on January 29, this year. So this momentary decline is a mere hiccough, or passing fancy of algorithmic computer-based trading, from which humans are largely excluded. FaceBook’s market capitalization, aka 
“market cap” is very nearly $450 billion, which is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares.

Less than a year later, in 2013, FaceBook was resoundingly publicly criticized for not having protections in place to guard against online stalking, child sexual predators, and bullies after loosening restrictions on who could use the service, and began encouraging 13-year-old children to tell about themselves openly online. The bottom line and driving force, however, was and remains money, and advertising. And even though FaceBook has claimed it has changed default privacy settings for teens, ironically, the net effect has been to increase sharing, not decrease it. Lawmakers have attempted to move in the opposite direction, but have effectively done nothing to protect Americans’ online privacy. In the mean time, Facebook has reduced children’s privacy.

It’s interesting to consider the enormous value of a company which has no real product, makes no tangible goods, neither provides service to the community, nor creates anything that can be sold, and so, it’s extraordinarily amazing to consider that FaceBook is worth more than ExxonMobile, the oil/gas exploration and refining company. In fact, the only thing of any value FaceBook has to offer is information.

But unlike a university, scientific or research institution, FaceBook’s only information is on its users.

Properly termed as “demography” – meaning the study of people, their habits, and predilections – since 1967, the term has been applied as meaning the science of divining from demographic statistics, and was originally used in reference to television audiences and advertisers.

When marketers and others use such information, it’s called demographic data, and describes age, sex, ethnicity, nationality, education, political preference, family status and members, weight, height, eye and hair color, medical information, net worth, home ownership status, banking and financial relationships, employment, neighborhood, dietary preferences, travel – where, and when, automobile ownership, businesses frequented, how much spent, and so much, much, much, much more.

Were one to walk up to a total stranger and begin asking about such information, many – if not most – would hastily rebuff, think it creepy, and run away. However, Americans freely and voluntarily give up their privacy, and eagerly give away information on themselves because they perceive they’ll receive something of value in return for it, never realizing that once they give it away, they relinquish control over that information, and that it is then bought and sold like so much chattel on information trading markets, even on Wall Street itself.

Americans clamor at the word “FREE,” and will fall over themselves, and trample others, to obtain something, or anything “FREE.” Whether it’s a sample of a dried-out cookie, a soggy morsel of salty cooked meat at the grocer, or checking the air pressure in their tires, Americans want something for nothing. But in the process, they trade the birthright of their privacy for a bowl of porridge.

Since 2015, European Union member nations have adopted the Data Protection Directive (DPD), which substantially protects and safeguards their citizens’ online privacy, and in May this year (2108), the General Data Protection Regulation, a more stringent and comprehensive law protecting the privacy of data/information on children, families, and individuals, will become effective.

In mid-December 2015, the Wall Street Journal published a news item about the DPD, which stated in part that, “U.S. companies in industries ranging from advertising to health-care have embraced the opportunity to analyze vast amounts of data collected from sensors, apps and other sources. The new law places substantial roadblocks in their way, companies say, by specifically targeting data mining and user profiling.

“The new law is expected to include tighter rules on a practice called profiling, or sorting users into buckets based on their online behavior. For instance, insurers use sensors attached to cars to price their premiums, and social networks use face detection technology to identify individuals in their users’ photographs.

“The law gives users the right to know why they are being profiled, what buckets they are sorted into, who receives the data, the logic involved in drawing conclusions and “the consequences of such processing.””

Thus, it becomes much more clear why the ordeal involving the British firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) has particular bearing on Americans, many of which have become mere data points to be mined and manipulated, particularly during election campaigns.

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix said the company was involved in 44 U.S. elections in 2014, in 2015, Texas Senator Ted Cruz hired CA to analyze data for his Presidential Campaign, while in 2016, Donald Trump hired them for his presidential bid.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon founded Cambridge Analytica with a significant cash infusion from multi-billionaire information scientist Robert Mercer and his daughter. Mercer was the single largest contributor to Ted Cruz’ failed presidential campaign, and then to Donald Trump’s.

CME Group will shut its New York trading floor at year’s end as computerized trading claims another victim from the world’s old-school financial system.
Options pits, where trades in commodities like gold, silver and oil take place face-to-face instead of electronically, will close a year after the CME shut most of its futures pits in New York and Chicago due to shrinking open-outcry volumes.
The closures will leave products listed at the company’s Nymex and Comex exchanges available only for electronic trading.
Date: April 14, 2016
Traders work in the crude oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Oil surged to $100 a barrel in New York for the first time in two years as Libya’s violent uprising threatened to disrupt exports from Africa’s third-biggest supplier and spread to other Middle East oil producers. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fitting the classical profile of a “computer nerd,” the reclusive Mercer first started working at IBM, and then developed “revolutionary” discoveries in language processing, as described by the Association for Computational Linguistics. His work was later critical in developing Artificial Intelligence, and he later became joint CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that made its money using algorithms to model and trade in financial markets. Wall Street mavens have marveled at how a once-clamoring publicly traded stock market has become eerily quiet, now that computers are buying, selling, and trading, rather than the once-familiar stock traders yelling across the crowded floor.

Medallion, one of Renaissance Technologies’ funds, manages only its employees’ money, and is the most successful in the world – and has $55 billion. And since 2010, Mercer has donated $45 million to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50 million to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. He is a billionaire who is trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs.

Because he is so reclusive, rarely speaks publicly, and never to reporters, one must examine what he buys to understand him. All of his yachts are named “Sea Owl,” his toy train set cost $2.9 million, he is a Climate Change Denier, and funds a so-called think tank called the “Heartland Institute,” and his favorite pastime is mainstream media disruption as evidenced by large donations to the Media Research Center, which mission is correction of “liberal bias.” But at the center of it all, the veritable center of Mercer’s media galaxy is Breitbart, into which he infused $10 million to propel Breitbart’s online voice into becoming a radical rightwing extremist version of Huffington Post.

Right-wing radical journalist Andrew Brietbart who lived in Los Angeles, founded the dot com site bearing his name died aged 43 in 2012, told Bannon in 2004 after viewing his Reagan-fawning film “In the Face of Evil” at a Beverly Hills film festival that, “we’ve gotta’ take back the culture.”

Breitbart launched Milo Yiannopoulos and other radical right-wing extremist’s careers, and regularly hosts antisemitic and Islamophobic views, and after an enormous campaign, has been boycotted by over 1000 brands in response. Despite that, Breitbart has been phenomenally successful. It is the 29th most popular site in America with 2 billion page views per year, is bigger than its inspiration, the Huffington Post, and bigger even than PornHub. And, it’s the biggest political site on Facebook, and the biggest on Twitter.

While Cambridge Analytica is under scrutiny by the UK for violations of privacy law, and will undoubtedly come under scrutiny by American Special Counsel for the Department of Justice Robert Mueller in the course of his investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” there is another much larger company which CA has spun off – SCL Group – which describes itself as a ”global election management agency,” “provides data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations worldwide,” and for over 25 years, has “conducted behavioral change programs in over 60 countries & have been formally recognized for our work in defense & social change.”

In military parlance, that is psychological operations, or “psyops,” which seeks to create effective propaganda and works by playing upon people’s emotions, rather than rational, logical thought. And among those counties where SCL has worked are Pakistan, and Afghanistan – long known as corrupt hotbeds of political disarray, where nepotism, tribalism and subterfuge are par for the course, and where Western liberal ideas of constitutional government, and one person-one vote, means little to nothing.

Nigel Oakes, whose background includes television advertising, and production, originally founded Behavioural Dynamics Working Group in 1989 which effort was “dedicated to the psychology of influence,” claims he worked with Adrian Furnham, a University College London psychology professor, though Furnham disputes his claims and wrote, “He has made up many stories about working and studying here which are untrue. A colleague and I (Prof Barrie Gunter) did some desk research for him but cut ties because of his behavior. He seemed little interested in evidence.” And though the SCL website claims Oakes “was educated” at UCL, there is no record he ever attended, despite his claim otherwise.

SCL Group was subsequently founded in 1990 by Oakes as Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDi) with the purpose of manipulating and covertly overthrowing governments. According to an older version of their website, “In 1993, Nigel set up Strategic Communication Laboratories and ran election campaigns and national communication campaigns for a variety of international governments.” Their clients have included 1.)South Africa, 2.)USA, 3.)St Vincent & the Grenadines, 4.)Antigua and Barbuda, 5.)Indonesia, 6.)Thailand, 7.)Philippines, 8.)Grenada, 9.)Nepal, 10.)Pakistan and 11.)Switzerland.”

Clearly, the picture beginning to emerge is one of extremely wealthy people and their overt, and covert efforts to overthrow government, or in more direct terms, to exact Regime Change according to their dictates and private beliefs. By employing psychological operations to effect widespread fear, and manipulating minds and public opinion with propaganda, and then, in civil nations where the people have a voice in their self-governance through the democratic process of elections, SCL Group, Steve Bannon, Brietbart, Robert Mercer and others are manipulating not just public policy, but nations, and expropriating the democratic public governing process to achieve their private objectives.

As Pogo Possum, the central character in late cartoonist Walt Kelly’s (1913-1973) “Pogo” comic strip which ran from 1948-1975, said in the “Earth Day 1971” strip, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Our United States, it’s constitutional process, and democratic principles, are under attack from within.

 

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