106th Madeira Consorcio Meeting 11.5.2019

May 12, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

We met in RESTOCK again, a smaller group because some of our members couldn’t come.

The video we saw:

Carole Cadwallar – Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy

https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy

Later it was discovered that Russian Troll factories had produced the  “Leave” mis-information on behalf rich influencers.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/10/17/russian-iranian-twitter-trolls-sent-10-million-tweets-fake-news/

The journalist went to Wales to find out why the population voted for “leave”, although the area received a lot of financial support for from the EU. She found that Facebook had manipulated the vote with lying ads (“The Turks are going to join Europe” and the like), and that this is a criminal offense in Britain

Carol’s presentation was heartfelt, but also seen as weak because she attacked Facebook and not the Government which should be doing something about this. Governments are at fault if something like this happens.

The second thought some of us had was that the population is “dumb” and that these people should not be allowed to vote…

Although the place in Wales received lots of funds from the EU, one young man said that “the EU has done nothing for me”. Maybe it is really about jobs and money for the simple folks. Soccer stadiums or swimming pools are not it.

Ca. said that the British Government has not explained the advantages of the EU membership properly, and that the British still have an island mentality and still dream of independence from the continent. They think they can keep their resources to themselves and keep immigrants out.

Facebook was asked by nine Governments to report about the ad campaigns they ran in the respective countries. But the questions Mark Zuckerberg received in the US Congress showed that the Government is not capable of asking the pertinent questions so he could avoid any blame.

Cl. suggested that Facebook should be broken up to weaken its market dominance, like other big private companies; this has been done before. Governments have the power to do this.

Facebook has the wealth of 96 of the world’s countries combined.

Cl. said that the “people” have always been lied to by their Governments, it used to be lies in the papers, now it is lies in the Internet. We don’t know what effect these lies had and have, this cannot be measured. We are talking only about election fraud and manipulation because of the “Leave” vote, otherwise nobody would inquire about the manipulations which happened.

Ca. said that there is a tool to manipulate viewers, also in TV, hyper-information (sorry, no info in Wikipedia). Fast snippets of ads or statements are flashed to the viewer’s; this information is passing too fast to be recognized by the “conscious” brain. This way, the information goes right into the subconscious and is not being filtered by any brain control system. So people may not be dumb, they are just receiving information and statements without being aware of it, and they are taking wrong decisions based in this dis-information.

It doesn’t help that too much information is available by too many channels. The people don’t know how to choose a point when the variety is overwhelming; they resort to info they can easily identify with, and exclude the rest. Life has become too complex, slogans are easy to follow.

Politicians confuse us deliberately, to stay in power and get high salaries.

People distrust the politicians because most if them are well-off or millionaires now. On the other hand, they cannot hide their misdeeds nowadays as easily as before, Some are even kicked out if they seem to be morally corrupt (Iceland)

U. spoke about a working piece of democracy, the “participatory Budget” in Funchal. Unfortunately, the respective website http://op.cm-funchal.pt/ has not been updated, yet. U.  called the City Hall, they are saying that they are delayed. U. will write to the Jornal to have them ask the City Hall and maybe write about the delay.

Ca. said that the Greek theatre was a democratic tool in ancient Greece. Theatres were quite big in the cities, and plays, dramas as well as comedies, were used as metaphors to display and transport values, they were viewed by almost the whole population. The plays started discussions in the population about pertinent issues, and everybody was better informed because of this.

A philosopher said “the world is made up of stories” https://www.wisdompubs.org/book/world-made-stories

Freedom is not a given state for a country, we need to defend freedom and democracy against Facebook and the like. The EU is a strong group, only strong groups can resist the might that China and Russia in confronting Europe.

Politicians and big companies should be held to account. U.  suggested that, as in jury duty, citizens selected by lottery should be empowered for six months or so to check public administrations and politicians, accompanying the day-to-day business to see how they are working, with the power to administer changes and even fire people. This would give the power by to the people.

Our resumé: Democracy is about money.

 

Other info:

Another interesting video about the dangers to democracy:

Yuval Harari – Nationalism vs. fascism

https://www.ted.com/talks/yuval_noah_harari_why_fascism_is_so_tempting_and_how_your_data_could_power_it#t-1090412

Yuval says that governments are not in power anymore, the companies which have our data are now in power.

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