“This country’s been hijacked. You know it. I know it. People are scared. People are angry. They need a voice that echoes that discontent. Someone’s got to tell them ‘Don’t take any shit’”. Billy Joel speaking at John Mellencamp’s induction into the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Billy Joel’s and Naomi Klein’s words came several years after the Enron scandal, around the time of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and of the Great Financial Collapse with its bailouts from the public purse to private interests that had profited from manipulating complex financial schemes (hedge funds, etc.) through banking institutions that were considered ‘too big to fail’. Meanwhile Jo and Joanne Public (98% of the population) were easy targets and left to ‘fail’. Joel and Klein are talking about the effects of the nefarious neo-liberalist system that has hijacked the common good (res publica). Neo-liberalism’s only winners are the super-rich (<2%).
Neo-liberalism is a dogma that gained extra momentum after the fall of the Soviet Union when capitalism no longer needed to pretend it was humane. After the Reagan and Thatcher years it became entrenched under the Bushes and Clinton in the USA, and, in the UK, under Major and Blair. At the same time, the more emboldened and cynical it became (Enron, Madoff, Financial Collapse, etc.), the clearer it became to an increasing number of ordinary people that the system was, despite all the ‘freedom and free market’ propaganda, deeply flawed and painfully unjust. People’s lives were getting worse, not better. In many circles socialism unsurprisingly ceased to be a dirty word. Such longing for a just society and for real freedom —even if expressed in apolitical terms like ‘Yes, we can’ and ‘Sí, podemos’ — demanded radical counter-measures from the super-rich and the rabid right if they were to maintain their economic and ideological stranglehold on the populace (us). That’s where psychographics come in.
To understand the psychographics scourge and how it works, please read reports about the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica and its role in rigging both the UK Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. The reports, based on rigorous investigative journalism and on whistle-blower evidence, expose the iniquitous and largely illegal manipulation of public opinion. Here are just a few links to relevant info (all clickable).
The Cambridge Analytica Files — ‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: about whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, Cambridge Analytica and its links to both the UK Brexit campaign and to Team Trump in the 2016 US presidential election (info from The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times).
Cambridge Analytica and Facebook accused of misleading MPs over data breach
Breach leaves Facebook users wondering: how safe is my data?
No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more
It’s also useful to
Some of the key players (click names for info) in this insidious saga are:
A few words about Robert Mercer
It’s true: I have no “friends”
because I prefer real FRIENDS.
Cyber-corporations claim they know who my friends are. Bollocks. I have no ‘friends’ because the reality behind having ‘friends’ in their system of ‘social networking’ is for me and those ‘friends’ to provide, free of charge, the vultures of corporate sales departments with yet another personally tailored and neatly defined target group. That’s a no-brainer for capitalists wanting to make money out of us but no good at all for me or my (real) friends.
No service is ever free: you always have to pay some way or other. I prefer to pay up front for the service I need.
I'm sick of consumerism's propaganda pedlars pestering me to part with my cash for the benefit of the company they're working for. They say the product or service is on OFFER [not SALE], that I will SAVE [not SPEND], that I will WIN [not LOSE], that there's CASH BACK [money coming IN, not going OUT], that I’m getting something (that I probably neither want nor need) FOR FREE, that prices have been SLASHED to AS LITTLE AS 9.99, etc. They seem to take me for a moron.
I don’t want anyone who visits this site to be exposed, directly or indirectly, to the evil and infantile machinations of ‘advertising’. That’s why I pay for this site out of my own pocket and why I don’t do ‘social networking’ on line. I can make what I like and dislike public, as I’m doing here. I’ve chosen to do that even though (or maybe because) US government bodies access this site on a regular basis. I’ve already been refused entry to the USA for having been a member of the communist party and I would not let myself be intimidated if I were subjected to other measures taken in the interests of “freedom”.
Anyhow, if you want to tell me what you had for breakfast or to find out what I’m doing, why not contact me as a human being. Don’t piss against a public cyber-lamppost for any old surfing spy dog to sniff. If you’re a friend you’ll already have my phone numbers and email address anyhow. If you don’t, I probably won’t want to know what you had for breakfast or whether you like or dislike Adam and Kelly.
I apologise for the consumerist propaganda you’ll find alongside some of my YouTube videos. When I started uploading to YouTube in 2005 the facility was not stricken with the evil of ‘advertising’. In 2012 I’ wrote to Google/YouTube asking if I could pay to stop this commercial blight from being associated with what I produce. No reply so far (January 2018). So much for the integrity of what I create and so much for freedom of choice, even if I offer to pay for such basic liberties. No way, apparently. So now the majority of my edutainment videos are accessible on my site or posted on Vimeo. Advertising sucks (1). Say it again! Advertising sucks (2).
I hope Google greedy-guts (Google own YouTube) will consider joining the real world after making such arrogant fools of themselves in the great ogooglebar event! All respect and power to Ann Cederberg and Svenska språkrådet for standing up to the corporate bullies of Google’s legal team. Länge leve det humanistiska Sverige! Åt helvete med den kapitalistiska arrogansen! =Long live the humanist [parts of] Sweden! To hell with capitalist arrogance!
Public and private spheres (´pointless babble´)
In 2009 I Googled |+facebook +"I had for breakfast"|: about 1,200,000 hits. The equivalent result for MySpace was 600,000. Here are some other search results documenting the riveting content of social networking sites:
A helluva lot of personal details and opinion, here, most of them belonging clearly to the private, sometimes even intimate, sphere. This vast amount of private personalia is strewn all over the internet, just like all those ill-concealed yet strongly emphasised private parts plastered on billboards all over the cityscape. I don’t see why we should have to be exposed to it, even less why we ourselves would want to put the private parts of our own lives on public display.
I don’t want to know what someone I’ve never heard of had for breakfast, nor if they like or dislike celebrity X, nor what they look like in their underwear or in the nude. The web is, like it or not, a public space allowing comparatively democratic access to anyone wanting to take part in the global public forum it provides. This is my personal opinion about a public issue, not an exposé of my private parts or foibles. How can exposing your private foibles on line be considered substantially different from walking down town with your private parts on display? And how can it ever be of interest to 99.9999999% of internet users?
I think it’s sad and ironic that so many individuals using online ‘social’ networking seem to believe that the things of least interest to a general public are those they should publicise. It’s a crazy upside-down world in which the overriding mode of public presentation of human beings is one of decontextualised and desocialised individual subjectivities. The opportunity of online networking to organise and to make the world a better place seems to be the exception rather than the rule in the world of TwitFaced FaceTwits. Thank goodness this old man's glum view does not apply to thousands of other blogs and sites out there in cyberspace.
How many people really care about what I ‘like’? Not many, apart from capitalists targetting my tastes and foibles so they can sell me, and the friends they hijack through me, stuff that none of us have asked to know about. I don’t see why I should let marketing departments or the NSA hijack relationships of shared values between friends. Do you? Or do you only have ‘friends’ because you have no friends?
Asocial media: “friends” of yours?
2015-07-05 I reluctantly signed up for Twitter to see if it could reduce stress and information overkill. It didn’t help. It made my life more stressful. I abandoned Twitter again after a year’s trial.
spreading conspiracy theories. Since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 about the NSA, no-one’s accusing me of paranoia. If we didn’t have such spineless governments brown-tonguing finance capitalists and Washington I'd've campaigned to grant Snowden asylum in the UK.
It’s also worth putting the atrocious mass murders in Ankara, Bamako, Beirut, Brussels, Paris etc. and the fear they generate, into perspective. For example, in 2010, in the USA, you were 4 times more likely to be struck by lightning than die in a terrorist attack: that’s a 1 in 5½ miliion chance of dying from a lightning bolt against 1 in 20 million in a terrorist attack. The risk of dying in a bath tub was 1 in 800,000, in a building fire 1 in 99,000. The biggest death risk was traffic: you had a 1 in 19,000 chance of being killed that way (statistics). Does ‘cybersecurity’ protect us from those types of carnage?
Facebook is a great tool for intelligence gathering about individuals, says a CIA deputy director. It’s no joke. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. are seriously detrimental to our civil liberties. Unfortunately, I once felt obliged to set up a Twitter account but soon abandoned it.
Corporations like Microsoft and Facebook have agreed to share all user activity and content with US government agents who don’t need a warrant for such searches. It’s all in the name of cyber-security. I'm aware of enough repressive measures taken in the name of “our own safety” to know better than that.
(Huddersfield, 2010-07-30, upd. 2010-09-09, 2010-12-12, 2011-12-09, 2011-12-15, 2012-12-19, 2013-04-03, 2013-11-17, 2015-06-11, 2015-07-06,
2016-04-19, 2016-11-24, 2017-06-09; Liverpool, 2018-01-10, 2018-01-28)