In Superman the Movie (1978), Chris Reeves in red and blue cape and tights gets into a green screened wind tunnel and hangs by wires to simulate Superman flying around the world so fast that he reverses its spin and moves time backwards in order to save Lois Lane.
Sadly, we don’t have that kind of power. If we did, I would be tempted to start by reversing BREXIT and TRUMPXIT but would quickly realize that I’d have to be more like Arnold Schwarzenegger going back to 1984 to kill Linda Hamilton before she can give birth to the leader of the resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines ten years from now, in 2029. I’d need to go back to 1984 and take out Mark Zuckerberg’s mom before he can grow up and steal the Facebook idea from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
In The Great Hack, a film currently streaming on Netflix that every voter should watch, it is revealed that we have not had a fair election in many years and that in all likelihood — absent a thorough overhaul of every electoral system in the world — we never will again.
The Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim documentary examines BREXIT and TRUMPXIT through the lens of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, Parsons School of Design social media professor David Carroll who sued CA to see his own gathered data, CA whistleblowers Chris Wylie and Brittany Kaiser, and Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr.
Cambridge Analytica, it is revealed, used the data they mined off Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg’s blessings to create psychological profiles of every UK and US voter. They then bought a broad sweep of social media ads to seed manipulative videos, fake news, and influencer memes into the daily news feeds of swing voters deemed by the algorithms to be most susceptible. In the case of TRUMPXIT, it only required a few swing voters in 3 states to win the election.
Trump’s 77,000 margin, giving him the electoral college, was acquired by filling the social media diet of “influenceables” in those three states with hefty doses of “Crooked Hillary” stories and videos, some concocted by astroturf non-profits made up for just that purpose. It was the power of the Big Lie. Influenceables read the same fake news over again so many times they came to think it was true, and voted accordingly. Millennials are a herd of sheep.
All this traces back to a time even before Zuckerburg got to Harvard and started conning the Winklevoss twins. White House plumbers Donald Segretti, Tim Elbourne, Ronald Louis Ziegler, H. R. Haldeman, and Dwight Chapin had co-developed ratfucking — creative tricks and underhanded tactics at fraternities, sororities, and underground fraternal coordinating organizations — to swing student elections at the University of Southern California during the Reagan governorship. That attracted the attention of USC Trustee and Director of Central Intelligence John McCone and also of future Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon. As President, Nixon installed the ratfuckers in the basement of the West Wing, but long before that, McCone used some of their tactics in the Dominican Republic to take out President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina; in Laos to lure the Hmong (then known by the derogatory name Meo) to fight a counterinsurgency which backfired into a complicated three-way civil war that hit the Hmong hard; in Ecuador, to overthrow President José Velasco Ibarra and subsequently his replacement; in British Guiana, using the labor unions to take down the democratically elected Cheddi Jagan; in the 1964 Brazilian coup d’état; and in Mongoose, a secret campaign to assassinate Castro.
Zuckerburg’s platform has made all that so much easier.
Amer and Noujaim lay out a chilling case, using Carroll as the representative of an everyday person who just wants to know what info the Dark Cloud state has on him, and Kaiser, who went from handling Obama’s social media image to join with Nix to help the “Leave” party win in the Brexit election, and then had no problem working with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, in the process buying herself a lifestyle of yacht parties in the Bahamas, massages beside infinity pools in Thailand, and power lunches with A-list celebrities. Despite showing how weaponized social media is now right-wing-shifting governments on six continents, Amer and Noujaim don’t completely connect the dots between CIA ratfucking, Steve Bannon, and Charles Koch.
“ Kochland is a dazzling feat of investigative reporting and epic narrative writing, a tour de force that takes the…
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In a new biography of the Koch Brothers, Kochland, Christopher Leonard explains how Charles and David Koch acquired huge businesses, insulated their liability, created a vast political influence network to remake the Republican Party, and thwarted climate change legislation by being the smartest guys in the room, if not particularly wise.
Speaking with Terry Gross on the Fresh Air podcast, Leonard explained that rather than use their vast holdings in oil and gas pipelines to earn transport revenues, they used them to mine data. With supercomputers in their Texas headquarters, they tracked every exchange, marking quantities, prices, and trends. They fed in weather data to predict shifts in supply and demand. Then they made tens of billions of dollars on shorts, puts, and derivative instruments in futures markets. When they got into politics, they used Big Data with equally great effect, quickly establishing the Tea Party to undermine Clinton and Obama and bludgeoning pro-climate Congressmen into towing their climate denier line.
After defeating cap and trade legislation supported by both parties, the Kochs bought up leases in the Permian Basin and became the world’s number one atmospheric methane pump. James Howard Kunstler writes:
The Permian Basin in Texas is very large, but the best plays are developed in the so-called “sweet spots” and there’s a limited amount of them. They are the places that the producers developed first, and when they are played out, the next round of plays will be in spots not-so-sweet (or productive) — possibly not worth drilling. The character of the shale oil wells is also way different from the old conventional classic oil wells. The old wells cost about $400,000 (in current dollars). It involved just sinking a pipe into the permeable source rock. The oil came out under its own pressure at the rate of thousands of barrels a day. Eventually, you put a simple pump-jack on the well (the “nodding donkey”) and it produced for decades, like running a cash register. Shale oil wells cost between $6-12 million. They require technically demanding horizontal drilling and fracking, with additional costs in highly technical labor, water for fracking, sand to hold open the fracks, chemicals to aid the process, and a gazillion truck trips to deliver all the water and sand (and take the oil away). Shale wells produce maybe a few hundred barrels a day for one year, after which they typically deplete by over 60 percent. After four years, they’re done. The oil is also different. Shale oil is typically ultra-light. It contains little-to-none of the heavier diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, and heating oil distillates, making it less valuable.
Trouble in the credit markets could shut down shale production for a period of time and create dire problems for the American economy. That could happen in 2019 as poorer-performing companies fail to get new financing. As mighty as it seems to be, the industry is fraught with fragility. Meanwhile, discovery of new, producible oil has fallen to the lowest level since the 1940s, after three recent previous record low years. Current low oil prices at around $45-a-barrel may give Americans a false sense of security. Low prices are mostly indicative of the collapse of the demand for oil at the global margins and among the large US demographic that cannot afford it anymore — that is, the impoverished former middle class. As the damage becomes more obvious, we could hear calls to nationalize the oil industry. The attempt to do that would collide with the aforementioned trend for government to become more strapped for revenue, more impotent, and more incompetent.
The Kochs made their move early when the sweet spots could be optioned for pennies because everyone assumed a carbon tax was coming. As Leonard told Gross:
Within months of the defeat of cap and trade, Koch Industries started making a series of large investments in South Texas where the fracking revolution was opening up all these sources of crude oil. The investment went pouring into that. Koch created a crude oil superhighway in South Texas that went directly to its refinery in Corpus Christi.
From 2012 to 2015, Steve Bannon was recruited to be Vice President and co-owner of Cambridge Analytica by the Mercer family that co-owned Bannon’s alt-right Breitbart News. Bannon and the Koch Brothers had been supporting the campaign of Ted Cruz, but when Donald Trump upset Cruz to gain the Republican nomination in 2016, the entire Big Data, big money, ratfucking operation shifted to Trump Tower. While Rachel Maddow may rant about some Russian troll farm and Wikileaks stealing the 2016 election, the hacking of the DNC server — snaring Clinton and Podesta in email hell — the FBI later learned, was an inside job involving a confidant’s data dump to a thumb drive. That was not Russia. That was ratfucking plumbers. Kaiser describes to Amer how the “Crooked Hillary” handcuff logo with the cuffs appearing in the two ‘o’s in “crooked” was dropped onto the Facebook timeline, Pinterest, Linked-In, Snapchat, and Twitter feeds of thousands of Facebook-data-derived “influenceables” in battleground states. The expenditure, possibly employing Koch backing and server farm crunching, was hundreds of times that which Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment attributed to the Russian troll farm.
Skynet needs to send a terminator back to 1984 and take out Mark Zuckerberg’s mom before he can grow up and steal the Facebook idea.
After a short stint in the White House following his slam-dunk victory, Bannon announced his intention to become “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement,” and took his brand of Big Data savvy and Big Finance backers to national populist conservative political movements around the world.
These include France’s National Front (now the National Rally), Hungary’s Fidesz, the Italian League, the Five Star Movement, the Brothers of Italy, Alternative for Germany, the Polish Law and Justice, the Sweden Democrats, the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Swiss People’s Party, the UK Independence Party, the Flemish Vlaams Belang, the Belgian People’s Party, Spain’s Vox, the Finns Party, the pan-European identitarian movement, Republika Srpska’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the Brazilian 2018 Jair Bolsonaro presidential campaign, and the Israeli Likud. Bannon believes that these movements — along with Japan’s Shinzo Abe, India’s Narendra Modi, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, China’s Xi Jinping, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and America’s Donald Trump, as well as similar leaders in Egypt, the Philippines, Poland, and South Korea — are part of a global shift towards nationalism.
Is there a way back from this precipice? You can bet that any law banning political advertising on social media would be struck down by the Koch-built Supreme Court. It may already be too late to put the cork back in the bottle. The trickster is out. Artificial intelligence, if not yet sentient, is in control. Call it Segretti’s Revenge.
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