Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

Iceland’s palm oil Christmas commercial banned

November 9, 2018

Palm oil plantations are among the biggest driver of deforestation, threatening the orangutan with extinction. — Iceland Foods

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil plantations, it is an oxymoron.

Palm oil plantations are monocultures devoid of life apart from the plantation trees.

Palm oil plantations are destroying rain forests.

Palm oil is high in saturated fat, higher in saturated fat than pig fat. At room temperature palm oil is solid. It used to be known as axle grease as that was what it was used for. The only reason it is liquid at room temperature is because it has been chemically processed.

Palm oil is used to bulk out products from foods to cosmetics. It is used because it is cheap.

It is ok to advertise and sell products containing palm oil, even though bad for people and planet. Even to mislead people that it is healthy.

Whole Earth peanut butter is padded out with palm oil.

M&S are selling so-called healthy spreads where the main ingredient was palm oil, and yet called olive spread.

Oxfam shops a couple of years ago were selling peanut butter in a plastic jar padded out with sugar, palm oil, and salt.

OK to advertise palm oil products, but try to air an advert that highlights why palm oil is bad, and your advert will be banned for being political, as Iceland learnt when their Christmas advert was banned.

We have an obesity epidemic. We have a type-two diabetes epidemic. But it is ok for McDonald’s to promote their junk food, Coca-Cola their sugary drinks, but not to suggest we eliminate palm oil.

M&S have a stupid Christmas advert claiming they went around the country asking people what they wanted for Christmas.

Would it have not been better to have toured their shops, sorted out their piss-poor service, tills not manned, lights turned out ten minute before store closes, fresh produce wrapped in plastic?

But then M&S is a failing retailer, and with this level of contempt for customer service, it is easy to see why.

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Conversation on a train

September 21, 2018

Overcrowded late running LNER train into King’s Cross. Two guys engaged in conversation in the buffet car on their way to Peterborough from a beer festival in York. Topic of conversation Brexit, Donald Trump, EU, Jeremy Corbyn, austerity.

You want to join in?

To understand Trump, have to understand Trump is a brand, Brand Trump, everything he does is to enhance the value of Brand Trump. He could have lost the Presidential race, it would not have mattered, he would have enhanced Brand Trump. Trump is an oligarch in the mould of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Vladimir Putin. Were it not for the media giving him the oxygen of publicity, Trump would have sunk without trace.

To defeat Trump, have to devalue the value of Brand Trump.

In the Presidential Race, a poor choice, Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. The Clintons are seen as corrupt, in the pocket of Big Oil, Banks and Big Business. Like money-grubbing war criminal Tony Blair, out to line their own pockets. Bill Clinton was responsible for destruction of American jobs, a legacy of rusting steel mills, crumbling factories, Barack Obama continued the same policies, failed to be tough on the banks.

The banks were bailed out, with nothing in return.

To understand the EU, have to go back to the end of the Second World War. Germany was defeated, Europe lay in ruins, the currencies worthless. The only two countries with viable currencies, US and Switzerland. US had a monetary surplus.

It was not the New Deal that rebuilt the US economy after the Great Depression, it was the war economy. The New Dealers feared not another world war but a return to the Great Depression.

Bretton Woods established IMF and World Bank. J M Keynes proposed a third body that would recycle monetary surpluses, in this case US surplus, but Americans would not accept a body controlled by Europeans who had just started two world wars and it was their money. Keynes returned from Bretton Woods a broken man and died not long after.

The Americans would guarantee European currencies tied to the dollar, which in turn was tied to gold, the Gold Standard.

The Americans created the EU, its forerunner, they had a choice who to deal with either Communists or those who had contempt for democracy, they chose the latter, helped create a cartel for big businesses, eurocrats with a contempt for democracy.

America faced two crisis, coming off the Gold Standard and the Oil Crisis. America switched from a country that recycled its own surpluses to a country that recycled other country’s surpluses.

Post-WWII until mid-1970s economies saw steady growth, since then decline and stagnation.

Banks ever keen to make money, created dodgy financial instruments, worthless, but treated and traded as solid as gold, until they were seen to be worthless, the banks that had invested heavily, collapsed.

Banks were bailed out, the poor paid the price, austerity used as a cover for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services. The rich grew richer, the poor poorer.

When we are told there is no money for public services it is a lie, deal with the tax dodgers.

The euro by design intent or not, drains money from southern Europe into Germany.

With fixed exchange rates, southern Europe cannot devalue and balance the books, German intransigence means there is no recycling mechanism.

The massive loan to Greece was a classic example of extend and pretend, the money flowed into Greece and back out to French and German banks. The conditions imposed turned Greece into a debt colony of the EU, forced sell off of state assets, rape and pillage of Greece. The price as always paid by the poorest and most vulnerable of Greek citizens, benefits have been cut, pensions cut, youth unemployment high, public hospitals collapsing.

Greece was destroyed for daring to challenge the EU, to set an example to other vassal states thinking of challenging the EU.

This should have served as a warning to the UK, but has not.

Following the EU Referendum, there should have been open public meetings to draw up a consensus of where we go, then all political parties work together to take on the EU. Instead petty political squabbling. It does not matter who negotiates with EU, unless it capitulation and appeasement, they will say no. We could have same trade tomorrow as today. This would be to the benefit of all of Europe. The EU is determined to punish the UK to set an example, no matter what the cost to Europe.

A second referendum will solve nothing. If a draw, what then, best of three?

Further reading

No is Not Enough — Naomi Klein

The Global Minotaur — Yanis Varoufakis

And the Weak Suffer What They Must? — Yanis Varoufakis

Adults in the Room — Yanis Varoufakis

Facebook is not a social network

April 10, 2018

Watching Mark Zuckerberg walk through the corridors of power escorted by Capitol Police was like watching a perp walk, when the police tip off the media. The only difference, he was not facing any charges (yet) and was not handcuffed.

Showing his usual contempt for facebook users he ignored questions fired at him by journalists.

Appearing on his first day before questions from a committee of politicians, it was as though Facebook had sent not a human but a malfunctioning avatar. Was this a human or an avatar representing Facebook?

He claimed facebook was inspirational. Claimed the credit for facebook for any action by democracy activists. Anything bad, that was bad actors. And yes facebook had made mistakes letting in the bad actors to play on their platform.

The only reason Zuckerberg was there was because of the collapse of facebook stock market value. He is still showing contempt for British facebook users by refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Select Committee, refusing any requests for media interviews.

Facebook is not a social network. Facebook is not a community. What we are seeing is not down to a few bad actors or facebook letting them gain access to their platform. Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

The bad actor is facebook.

If Cambridge Analaytica is a bad actor, how many more bad actors, how many more facebook apps harvesting our personal data?

  • facebook has to be regulated
  • facebook has to be broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp
  • facebook has to be handed to the users

Users have to do their bit.

  • overwrite then delete all personal data
  • turn off location tracking
  • disable facebook apps
  • do not tag friends
  • do not use Instagram
  • do not use WhastApp

What facebook has engaged in is digital rape.

It beggars belief there are still facebook users who have not yet taken these very basic measures.  Are they naive or just plain stupid? Maybe they do not care about their own data security, but what of those they are connected to?  Their behaviour is equivalent in the digital realm to someone spreading HIV/Aids.

Cambridge Analytica Brexit and election fraud

April 2, 2018

We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles. — Christopher Wylie

We couldn’t have done it without them [AIQ]. — Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave campaign manager

I voted Leave for reasons of sovereignty and democracy. Isn’t it ironic that this is exactly what we’ve now lost? — Shahmir Sanni

Facebook exists to collect and abuse personal data.

Facebook apps, surveys, quizzes, games, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica used a facebook app to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users then used that data to manipulate them.

Two weeks ago, Channel 4 News broke the news of what Facebook and Cambridge Analytica were doing with the data, the lengths to which Cambridge Analytica was prepared to go to rig elections. The Channel 4 scoop of the decade has subsequently reverberated around the world, US, UK, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mexico.

Compelling evidence has been presented by Channel 4 News, Carole Cadwalladr, Christopher Wylie, Shahmir Sanni and others of waht appear to be criminal activity between AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Vote Leave, BeLeave, senior Tories and their advisers, to rig the European Referendum.

Carole Cadwalladr:

‘Find Christopher Wylie.” That instruction – 13 months ago – came from the very first ex-Cambridge Analytica employee I met. He was unequivocal. Wylie would have answers to the two questions that were troubling me most. He could tell me about Facebook. And he would know about Canada.

What Christopher Wylie knows about Facebook, the world now knows. Facebook certainly knows – its market value is down $100bn. But the Canadian connection remains more elusive. What it is. Why it matters. And why it triggered my search for Wylie.

Did this alleged criminal activity sway the Brexit result? I think not, despite the persuasive  testimony from Christopher Wylie.

Carole Cadwalladr:

In total, £3.9m of leave campaign funds were spent with AIQ. Four different groups used the firm, even though all these campaigns were supposedly separate and could only “work together” if they shared their spending limits. Vote Leave spent £2,697,000. There was the £675,000 via BeLeave. A sum of £100,000 that Vote Leave donated to Veterans for Britain, which Veterans for Britain then paid to AIQ. AIQ also received £32,750 from the Democratic Unionist party. Whichever way one looks at it, AIQ would seem to be fundamental to the data-driven targeting of “persuadables” in the final days of the campaign.

These four campaign groups mysteriously and independently found the same tiny data analytics firm, located in a sleepy town on an island off the west coast of Canada, 5,000 miles away.

In April 2017, Dominic Cummings told me by email that Vote Leave had found the firm “on the internet”. Darren Grimes told the Electoral Commission the same thing. The only problem? Online archives show that AIQ’s website didn’t show up in Google searches until after the referendum. “I looked at the time,” says Sanni. “I was, like, ‘Who is AIQ?’ And there was nothing. No website. Nothing.”

Both sides lied to swing the result. From what little we have seen, IAQ told the truth.

European Union was established as a cartel for Big Business, a democracy-free zone. And nothing has changed. An Empire that centralises power, that brutally crushes any dissent on the periphery, as we have seen with Greece.

No Empire lasts for ever. The EU is on the verge of implosion. We must plan for that eventuality, to create a Europe-wide network of cooperating democratic sovereign countries.

Where though I do agree with Christopher Wylie, is where there was cheating, those involved must be held to account. And that also applies to the overspending by Tory candidates in the last but one General Election uncovered by Channel 4 News for which there has still to be criminal prosecutions.

Deathly silence from Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook stock valuation started to crash. He is still showing contempt for facebook users by his refusal to testify before a House of Commons Select Committee.

Facebook must be regulated to stop the collection and abuse of personal data, broken up, stripped of Instagram and WhatsApp, and ultimately handed to over to its users to function as global commons and open coop.

No one disputes the value of facebook as a social network, what is at issue is the collection and abuse of personal data.

The activities of companies like Cambridge Analytica, a threat to democracy, must not be permitted to operate.

Facebook users must also take personal responsibility for the safeguarding their personal data. They would not hand personal data to a stranger in the street, leave cash lying around, why therefore so careless with personal data.

Facebook users need to act now. Overwrite then delete all personal data, never post live links where you are, disable all facebook apps, disable location, do not use Instagram, do not use WhatsApp.

The most valuable data on facebook, is your personal data, where you are.

Facebook apps, games, surveys, quizzes, harvest personal data.

Instagram is owned by facebook. Pictures posted act as bait to draw into the Facebook walled garden. Instagram claims ownership rights to the pictures. The pictures are not visible on twitter. If you wish pictures to be visible post direct to twitter.

There are superior alternatives to WhatsApp, for example Skype.

Cambridge Analytica the Mexican connection

March 30, 2018

Facebook collects and abuses personal data.

Facebook apps, quiz, survey, game, harvest that data.

Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users, then used it to manipulate the very people whose data they had harvested.

Russian hackers, Russian bots, were blamed for interference in elections. We now know it was much closer to home, Cambridge Analytica were operating in our own backyard, unnoticed, until Christopher Wylie‏ blew the whistle.

Cambridge Analytica has its tentacles every where, US, UK, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico.

They go in, do the hard sell, we can swing the election your way. They are like ghosts, go in, do the dirty work that politicians cannot soil their hands with, then long before discovered, if ever discovered, have crept back out.

This is only one Facebook app.

And yet people are still leaving their personal information on Facebook, have not overwritten then deleted, are leaving live links of where they are, have not deleted Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook collection and abuse of personal data

March 29, 2018

Facebook business model is collection and abuse of personal data.

Facebook apps, every quiz, survey, game, harvest the data facebook collects, all your personal data, that of your friends, every single thing you do on facebook.

One such app was used by Cambridge Analytica, was used to harvest the data of 50 million facebook users. They then used that data for manipulation, bragged they swung the US Presidential election and won it for Donald Trump.  It has also been claimed they meddled in the EU Referendum.

Facebook claim a breach of trust.  No, the only breach of trust was facebook collecting data on its users.

Facebook and  Cambridge Analytica both claim the data that was harvested, data of 50 million Facebook users, has been deleted.

Not true says Christopher Wylie‏ a whistle blower at Cambridge Analytica.

Not true says Channel 4 News, who in the scoop of the century broke the original story last week.

Channel 4 News found it all too easy to obtain this data. They then knocked on a few doors to see what the good folk of Colorado thought of the collection  and abuse of their personal data.

They were shocked, they did not wish to discuss or appear on camera. One exception was a lady who said she was aware of how Facebook operated.

It beggars belief people are still leaving their personal data exposed on facebook, still leaving live links of where they are, are still using Instagram and WhatsApp.

All personal data should be overwritten with false data then deleted.

Never post live links of where you are.

The most valuable data you post on facebook is your personal data and where you are.

In settings disable apps, disable location data.

Do not use Instagram. Rights are claimed to your pictures, it is owned by Facebook, you are acting as bait to draw others into the facebook walled garden, the pictures posted are not visible on twitter.  Post pictures on twitter or google maps, but not Instagram.

Skype is a better alternative to WhatsApp.

 

Demonstration outside Spanish Embassy

October 21, 2017

A demonstration outside Spanish Embassy in Athens to condemn the Fascist regime and its treatment of Catalonia.

The look on Trump’s face

July 6, 2017

The look on Trump’s face is brilliant.

Jeremy Corbyn headline act at Glastonbury

June 24, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn given the reception at Glastonbury that most performers could only dream of.

Mail has become a parody of itself.

A 4×4 is what you use to get around a farm. Not as posers use around Chelsea and Kensington.

No mention of course that Jeremy Corbyn travelled to Glastonbury by train as an ordinary passenger.

Express, another rabid rag, this time owned by a Dirty Des a pornographer, complained Jeremy Corbyn failed to support Armed Forces Day, not true, but then what is the truth when it is more important to run a Jeremy Corbyn smear campaign.

We support our armed forces not with jingoistic parades, but by providing them with the right equipment when we send them into conflict, by supporting when demobbed.

No mention by the BBC that Theresa May was booed when she attended Armed Forces Day in Liverpool.

Later Jeremy Corbyn was pulling pints at the Solstice Bar.

Times they are a changing, as Bob Dylan would have sung.

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.