WHAT THE ZUCK?
WHAT TO DO ON DUMPING DAY
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Last Friday, we witnessed something that happens in the media from time to time and that is News Dump Day or Take Out The Trash Day. Often, the White House sets the release of bad news and unflattering documents to late Friday afternoon. The Pentagon and other agencies also use the practice, a legacy of earlier administrations. It is also done so that the public can hear about the news and then forget about it after they have has a weekend to calm down.
The bombing in Syria triggered a lot of anger among conservative talk show hosts from Alex Jones to Michael Savage – there was a fast and furious declaration of compromise between what has been called the Deep State and Donald Trump.
The controversy over the bombing lasted about as long as it took to take out strategic targets. On Monday, the media was back at talking about the scandals that have been ginned up over Trump, prostitutes, lawyers and playboy playmates.
You can also see that the strategy to bomb on Dumping Day was a good idea because not only was the mainstream news back to the various Trump Scandals, but James Comey’s interview with George Stephanopoulos was also had top billing in the Monday morning distractions.
It may come as a surprise that current and former FBI agents are furious over the James Comey interview and the media’s focus on his book, “A Higher Loyalty.”
The Daily Beast reported Sunday night, that while the media was willing to forego the discussion of the attacks on Syria and feature the Comey interview highlights Monday morning, seven current or former FBI agents and officials spoke throughout and immediately after the broadcast. There was a lot of anger, frustration, and even more emojis—featuring the thumbs-down, frowny face, middle finger, and a whole lot of green vomit faces.
One official teed off saying that Comey is a self-serving jackass and another official with the FBI said it was strange how Comey seemed so pleased with how things played out. “It’s how happy he looked on TV while cashing in on the biggest mistake in history. His mistake,” they said. “Jim Comey made that mistake. We all just wonder what could have been and what we could’ve done to change it.”
Not all the current and former FBI officials had problems with the interview, however – as one official who spoke out in support of Comey said “I thought he was highly trustworthy and very transparent, like watching someone in confession,” the former official said. “It seems like he’s still wrestling with it.”
The majority, however, were all negative on the former Director’s interview – with one even souring as the interview progressed:
One longtime Team Comey source, who is still an FBI agent, sent thumbs-up emojis repeatedly during the first half hour, but even this loyalist began to lose patience by the halfway mark, sending a frowny face. A few minutes later there was a nauseous emoji, and then a poop emoji after the final segment.
As we can now see, dumping days in media are a goldmine for Twitter accounts and Social media diatribes.
In fact, with all the noise about Comey, there was one voice speaking up about the Syrian attacks that was buried in all the social media noise.
Ron Paul said that the attack on Syria was disastrous and added, “They say if you cannot learn from history you are condemned to repeat it. So I guess we are repeating it.”
He continued to report that President Trump will come to regret the day he let the neocons take over his foreign policy. Their track record is abysmal. His attack on Syria was clearly illegal and should his party lose the House in November he may find his new fair-weather friends in the Democratic Party quickly turning foul.
It appears that the only winner in the dumping day extravaganza was none other than Marl Zunckerberg. Not only did all of the dumping day news and views wind up on Facebook – Facebook investors drove up its stock price 5% after CEO Zuckerberg sat through tiring and awkward questions from senators and gave apologies to a Senate committee about the whole Cambridge Analytica data-privacy scandal.
Zuckerberg actually made $3 billion dollars just sitting like a robot in front of the camera sipping water and trying not to fall asleep.
The Senators of course came off looking very stupid – and anymore I am beginning to believe that the media, the politicians and even the President are just unaware of what the people really want.
Apparently, Facebook still knows what people are thinking about.
Facebook has become the world largest database on people. We all know this—it is estimated that 2 Billion people use it, all around the world and as people have been kicking around Mark Zuckerberg lately, I think that it is time to admit that in his own way he has become a de-facto world leader.
However, he got there with a little help from the alphabet agencies who had a gem of an idea, but just needed a pimply faced geek to write the code for something that looked a lot like MySpace, but had the underlying personality of a panopticon.
Maybe we can open up the discussion about the real Facebook conspiracy that has nothing to do with data being sold to Cambridge Analytica and whether or not it allowed Russians to shut down the Clinton campaign.
In the year 2003, James Breyer, a man who had really good connections with the DOD, DARPA, and the CIA, was working on a project with Anita Jones where they were trying to find a way to use the internet to get as much information on people as possible. Things like, where they are going, what they are doing, what airline are they using, who do they associate with, what type of books or movies have you been reading, how you feel about things politically, what makes you angry, and where you vacation – they wanted all these things in their database.
They even wanted to track things like internet activity, credit card purchase history, airline ticket purchases, car rentals, medical records, educational transcripts, driver’s license, utility bills, tax returns and any other available data.
Breyer was the founding CEO of In-Q-Tel the CIA’s venture capital arm founded by Gilman Louie.
So the conspiracy theory has it that the government actually bought Facebook back in 2003 via investments by James Breyer through Raytheon technologies – it was a yet unnamed data mining project.
It is what we now call, Facebook.
Jim Breyer rocketed the Facebook project with millions of dollars he tagged to Mark Zuckerberg.
With these CIA/DARPA connections, it’s no surprise that Jim Breyer’s investment in Facebook is not part of the popular mythology of Mark Zuckerberg.
It would not be a surprise to realize that Facebook, with its endless stream of personal data, and its tracking capability, is an ideal CIA asset?
When Zuckerberg founded his interesting little social network at Harvard, and then sought to turn it into a business, the data-mining possibilities were obvious to CIA personnel. So all it took was a few cut-out businessmen the exchange of money and a deal to make Zuckerberg the face of the company.
Now it appears that his handlers want the property they loaned him back.
It is with bad press and a congressional shake down people are now disparaging Zuckerberg. The military industrial complex wants to take it over and so lawyers and politicians want to “correct” or “clean up” Facebook.
In a similar agenda that is hitting the gun lobby – politicians that want full control are arguing the Internet is a platform that is far beyond the ability of the Founding Fathers to have anticipated.
The Internet and Facebook are now the AR-15 of the free speech control crowd and so we now have to change the meaning of the 1st Amendment, in order to make social media “more responsible” about the content they permit.
It is now the charge to shakedown Facebook and chastise it for “Russian meddling, allowing for fake news to be disseminated, and for not posting enough liberal ads to promote Hillary Clinton — or not – it all depends on which politician is butt hurt over not getting enough viral ads in the food chain.
The old boy’s network wants to determine what Fake News is with government appointed fact checkers.
Yes, the true founding fathers of Facebook are now standing in line to beat the whipping boy – for being a bit negligent, or flippant.
The other morning I took a break from Russiagate, Stormygate and all of the other scandals and decided to tune in to the grilling of Mark Zuckerberg by the Senate.
Senators quizzed Zuckerberg in a marathon five-hour hearing in an attempt to understand how Facebook had inadvertently let information about up to 87 million people fall into the hands of data-miners Cambridge Analtyica.
It seemed only right for me to do so as it helped me escape the unnecessary drama. What was really sad about the hearing is that it became an unintentional bit of comedy.
The senators were almost exclusively pretty old, and, not surprising, they had no idea how Facebook worked.
The only thing worse about watching the doughy-eyed Zuckerberg defend himself was that he was going through the nightmare of trying to teach elderly out of touch Senators how the internet worked.
It was also nauseating to see the hubris provided by none other than Ted Cruz and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s aggravating questions about Peter Thiel’s data firm, Palantir – this is where I started to empathize with Zuckerberg wondering, wasn’t the whole gathering about Facebook?
Republican Ted Cruz and Republican Utah senator and Mike Lee were determined to out Facebook as having a liberal slant. Even though the whole purpose of the meeting was to accuse Zuckerberg of not only sharing user information with Cambridge Analytica, which was allegedly was used to help Trump win the election.
It is also interesting to see Cruz being so tough when it was revealed that during the 2016 election Cruz also used Cambridge Analytica as data firm that gathered information about Facebook users who were conservative Christian voters.
To build its data-gathering operation widely, the Cruz campaign hired Cambridge Analytica in order to develop psychological models of voters. Cambridge surveyed more than 150,000 households across the country and scored individuals using five basic traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. A top Cambridge official didn’t respond to a request for comment, but Cruz campaign officials said the company developed its correlations in part by using data from Facebook that included subscribers’ likes.
Cruz is very lucky that his campaign is not under scrutiny and that all of the heat is going to the President to see Cruz’ tough guy speak to Zuckerberg made me cringe.
Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah asked Zuckerberg what sorts of legislative changes he would recommend to help solve the Cambridge Analytica problem, and Graham asked if he would submit some proposed regulations.
“There’s always the danger that Congress’s response will be to step and over-regulate,” Hatch warned.
“Regulations can … cement the dominant power,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan a Republican from Arkansas – once again hubris and muscle flexing made the affair unbearable to watch.
The hedging of speaking about monopoly was also annoying.
Zuckerberg struggled to answer Graham’s monopoly question, explaining that Facebook does indeed have competitors but that they fall into different categories based on different services.
He repeatedly proclaimed to be in favor of some sort of regulation of Facebook but demurred when asked for specifics. He often said his staff would get back to lawmakers with details and acknowledged that Facebook had previously underestimated the breadth of its responsibility but wants to do better.
Many of the congressional lawmakers who questioned Zuckerberg had obviously crammed with their staffs to prepare for the hearing.
However, it was painfully obvious that their staff could only provide them with all sorts of stupid “gotcha” questions taken from news stories about Facebook’s many alleged misdeeds.
It was hilarious because some of the questions were made from baseless misinformation about Facebook.
For instance, a number of senators referenced bogus reports about Facebook eavesdropping on conversations through the microphones on your smartphones.
Now, mind you the company’s apps will generally have permission to access the camera and microphone, because people film video and take pictures using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and/or Messenger.
However, it is obvious that the old Congress people cannot comprehend the sheer volume of information the social network has about a typical user and how with all of that data – they really don’t need to eavesdrop – people are handing over their information willingly.
More than a few of the Congress people also didn’t seem to understand that Facebook doesn’t wholesale its user data, but rather uses it to help advertisers target ads on Facebook and on partner sites.
Zuckerberg had that handled.
Many committee members seemed anxious to get through their actual questions so that they had time to lecture or better said chastise him during their five minutes of allotted time.
One senator even asked Zuckerberg if “Facemash” was still up and running.
Zuckerberg seemed bemused when he replied, “No Congressman, FaceMash was a prank website that I launched in college, in my dorm room, before I started Facebook.” It was actually a site that he started up in college to rate the looks of female co-eds.
There were also questions that were giving the impression that Facebook was breached or broken into – it wasn’t.
One Senator thought that Facebook was an internet provider – Senator Lindsay Graham thought that Facebook and Twitter were the same.
At one point, Zuckerberg said that there would always be a version of the site that is “free.” Free, of course, is relative.
You may not be giving Facebook money, but everything you do is tracked and fed into computers to figure out what you like and how to more effectively market to you. If the product is free, then you are the product.
This is basic, to just about anyone who uses the platform. But Senator Orin Hatch, having no clue about anything, said, “How do you sustain a business model when people don’t pay for services?”
Zuckerberg, with an almost audible eye-roll, replied, “Congressman, we run ads.”
Senator Roy Nelson of Missouri was weirdly proud of his ignorance. He proudly proclaimed that he was the first senator to use his Facebook address. Which… is not a big deal — he wanted to make sure to let everyone know that his son uses Instagram – Zuckerberg looked at him with his glazed eyes thinking – okay and what? You want a gold star? Would you like a cookie with that? A bowl of soup and matching tie?
Georgia Representative Buddy Carter asked “Did you know that the Motion Picture Association of America is having problems with piracy and…this is challenging their existence?” He then went on to declare the opioid sales are high Facebook.
Zuckerberg, was showing some phenomenal restraint…here I was, screaming at the TV – what the hell? Who streams illegal movies on Facebook ? NO ONE! – and Facebook is not Craig’s List !!
After watching the hearing, I think that Congress should keep their hands off the internet and Facebook. I really don’t think they know enough about the internet to write a bill that protects users and their data, much less agree on one.
In fact, it is becoming more obvious that our Congress is ineffective in just about everything they do.
Analysts are saying that this is not something out of the blue spasm. This is a result of a deep chaos syndrome that is marking the decline of our Republic.
Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees—that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time.
As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal; both in campaigns, and in the government itself.
No one wants to hear that there government is falling apart on its own — they want the blame to be placed on Donald Trump and the various scandals he is involved in. They want interviews from officials that will tell them what they want to hear and they still wish to feed off viral news that spreads on social media.
It is not that the chaos came from Donald Trump –it was the chaos that gave us Donald Trump.
Our intricate, informal system of political intermediation, which took many decades to build, did not commit suicide or die of old age; we reformed it and marked it for death.
For decades, well-meaning political reformers have attacked intermediaries as corrupt, undemocratic, unnecessary, or usually all of the above. Americans have been busy demonizing and dis-empowering political officials, because of identity politics.
The Constitution was the immune system of the government – when you spend decades abusing and attacking your own immune system, eventually, you will get sick.
Like many disorders, chaos syndrome is self-reinforcing. It causes governmental dysfunction, which fuels public anger, which incites political disruption, which causes yet more governmental dysfunction.
Reversing the spiral will require understanding it. Consider, then, the etiology of a political disease: the immune system that defended the body politic for two centuries; the gradual dismantling of that immune system; the emergence of pathogens capable of exploiting the new vulnerability; the symptoms of the disorder; and, finally, its prognosis and treatment.
It is then and only then, we will heal form the chaos that we are seeing today.