Truth propaganda message technology brain wash television warning world news current events 2020
Truth propaganda message technology brain wash television warning world news current events 2020
The Unz Review
December 10, 2019
In the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain.
In a number of books he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed “public relations” (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites. Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New York City.
There is a fascinating exchange at the beginning of Adam Curtis’s documentary, The Century of Self, where Bernays, then nearly 100 years old but still very sharp, reveals his manipulative mindset and that of so many of those who have followed in his wake. He says the reason he couldn’t call his new business “propaganda” was because the Germans had given propaganda a “bad name,” and so he came up with the euphemism “public relations.” He then adds that “if you could use it [i.e. propaganda] for war, you certainly could use it for peace.” Of course, he never used PR for peace but just to manipulate public opinion (he helped engineer the CIA coup against the democratically elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954 with fake news broadcasts). He says “the Germans gave propaganda a bad name,” not Bernays and the United States with their vast campaign of lies, mainly aimed at the American people to get their support for going to a war they opposed (think weapons of mass destruction). He sounds proud of his war propaganda work that resounded to his credit since it led to support for the “war to end all wars” and subsequently to a hit movie about WWI , Yankee Doodle Dandy, made in 1942 to promote another war, since the first one somehow didn’t achieve its lofty goal.
As Bernays has said in his book Propaganda,
The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.
He was a propagandist to the end. I suspect most viewers of the film are taken in by these softly spoken words of an old man sipping a glass of wine at a dinner table with a woman who is asking him questions. I have shown this film to hundreds of students and none has noticed his legerdemain. It is an example of the sort of hocus-pocus I will be getting to shortly, the sly insertion into seemingly liberal or matter-of-fact commentary of statements that imply a different story. The placement of convincing or confusing disingenuous ingredients into a truth sandwich – for Bernays knew that the bread of truth is essential to conceal untruth.
In the following years, Bernays, Lippman, and their ilk were joined by social “scientists,” psychologists, and sundry others intent on making a sham out of the idea of democracy by developing strategies and techniques for the engineering of social consensus consonant with the wishes of the ruling classes.
Their techniques of propaganda developed exponentially with the development of technology, the creation of the CIA, its infiltration of all the major media, and that agency’s courting of what the CIA official Cord Meyer called in the 1950s “the compatible left,” having already had the right in its pocket. Today most people are, as is said, “wired,” and they get their information from the electronic media that is mostly controlled by giant corporations in cahoots with government propagandists. Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks increased or decreased over your lifetime. The answer is obvious: the average people that Lippman and Bernays trashed are losing and the ruling elites are winning.
This is not just because powerful propagandists are good at controlling so-called “average” people’s thinking, but, perhaps more importantly, because they are also adept – probably more so – at confusing or directing the thinking of those who consider themselves above average, those who still might read a book or two or have the concentration to read multiple articles that offer different perspectives on a topic. This is what some call the professional and intellectual classes, perhaps 15-20 % of the population, most of whom are not the ruling elites but their employees and sometimes their mouthpieces. It is this segment of the population that considers itself “informed,” but the information they imbibe is often sprinkled with bits of misdirection, both intentional and not, that beclouds their understanding of important public matters but leaves them with the false impression that they are in the know.
Recently I have noticed a group of interconnected examples of how this group of the population that exerts influence incommensurate with their numbers has contributed to the blurring of lines between fact and fiction. Within this group there are opinion makers who are often journalists, writers, and cultural producers of some sort or other, and then the larger number of the intellectual or schooled class who follow their opinions. This second group then passes on their received opinions to those who look up to them.
There is a notorious propaganda outfit called Bellingcat, started by an unemployed Englishman named Eliot Higgins, that has been funded by The Atlantic Council, a think-tank with deep ties to the U.S. government, NATO, war manufacturers, and their allies, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), another infamous U.S. front organization heavily involved in so-called color revolution regime change operations all around the world, that has just won the International Emmy Award for best documentary.
The film with the Orwellian title, Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World, received its Emmy at a recent ceremony in New York City. Bellingcat is an alleged group of amateur on-line researchers who have spent years shilling for the U.S. instigated war against the Syrian government, blaming the Douma chemical attack and others on the Assad government, and for the anti-Russian propaganda connected to, among other things, the Skripal poisoning case in England, and the downing of flight MH17 plane in Ukraine. It has been lauded by the corporate mainstream media in the west. Its support for the equally fraudulent White Helmets (also funded by the US and the UK) in Syria has also been praised by the western corporate media while being dissected as propaganda by many excellent independent journalists such as Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Catte Black, among others. It’s had its work skewered by the likes of Seymour Hersh and MIT professor Theodore Postol, and its US government connections pointed out by many others, including Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal at The Gray Zone. And now we have the mainstream media’s wall of silence on the leaks from the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons (OPCW) concerning the Douma chemical attack and the doctoring of their report that led to the illegal U.S. bombing of Syria in the spring of 2018. Bellingcat was at the forefront of providing justification for such bombing, and now the journalists Peter Hitchens, Tareq Harrad (who recently resigned from Newsweek after accusing the publication of suppressing his revelations about the OPCW scandal) and others are fighting an uphill battle to get the truth out.
Yet Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World won the Emmy, fulfilling Bernays’ point about films being the greatest unconscious carriers of propaganda in the world today.
Who presented the Emmy Award to the film makers, but none other than the rebel journalist Chris Hedges. Why he did so, I don’t know. But that he did so clearly sends a message to those who follow his work and trust him that it’s okay to give a major cultural award to a propaganda outfit. But then, perhaps he doesn’t consider Bellingcat to be that.
Nor, one presumes, does The Intercept, the billionaire Pierre Omidyar owned publication associated with Glen Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, and also read by many progressive-minded people. The Intercept that earlier this year disbanded the small team that was tasked with reviewing and releasing more of the massive trove of documents they received from Edward Snowden six years ago, a minute number of which have ever been released or probably ever will be. As Whitney Webb pointed out, last year The Intercept hosted a workshop for Bellingcat. She wrote:
The Intercept, along with its parent company First Look Media,recently hosted a workshop for pro-war, Google-funded organization Bellingcat in New York. The workshop, which cost $2,500 per person to attend and lasted five days, aimed to instruct participants in how to perform investigations using “open source” tools — with Bellingcat’s past, controversial investigations for use as case studies…Thus, while The Intercept has long publicly promoted itself as an anti-interventionist and progressive media outlet, it is becoming clearer that – largely thanks to its ties to Omidyar – it is increasingly an organization that has more in common with Bellingcat, a group that launders NATO and U.S. propaganda and disguises it as “independent” and “investigative journalism.”
Then we have Jefferson Morley, the editor of The Deep State, former Washington Post journalist, and JFK assassination researcher, who has written a praiseworthy review of the Bellingcat film and who supports Bellingcat. “In my experience, Bellingcat is credible,” he writes in an Alternet article, “Bellingcat documentary has the pace and plot of a thriller.”
Morley has also just written an article for Counterpunch – “Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’” – in which he disputes the claim that the April 7, 2018 attack in the Damascus suburb was a false flag operation carried out by Assad’s opponents. “I do not see any evidence proving that Douma was a false flag incident,” he writes in this article that is written in a style that leaves one guessing as to what exactly he is saying. It sounds convincing unless one concentrates, and then his double messages emerge. Yet it is the kind of article that certain “sophisticated” left-wing readers might read and feel is insightful. But then Morley, who has written considerably about the CIA, edits a website that advertises itself as “the thinking person’s portal to the world of secret government,” and recently had an exchange with former CIA Director John Brennan where “Brennan put a friendly finger on my chest,” said in February 2017, less than a month after Trump was sworn in as president, that:
With a docile Republican majority in Congress and a demoralized Democratic Party in opposition, the leaders of the Deep State are the most—perhaps the only—credible check in Washington on what Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls Trump’s “wrecking ball presidency.”
Is it any wonder that some people might be a bit confused?
“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum; “but it isn’t so, nohow.”
“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
As a final case in point, there is a recent book by Stephen Kinzer, Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb And The CIA Search For Mind Control, the story of the chemist known as Dr. Death who ran the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control project, using LSD, torture, electric shock therapy, hypnosis, etc.; developed sadistic methods of torture still used in black sites around the world; and invented various ingenious techniques for assassination, many of which were aimed at Fidel Castro. Gottlieb was responsible for brutal prison and hospital experiments and untold death and suffering inflicted on all sorts of innocent people. His work was depraved in the deepest sense; he worked with Nazis who experimented on Jews despite being Jewish himself.
Kinzer writes in depth about this man who considered himself a patriot and a spiritual person – a humane torturer and killer. It is an eye-opening book for anyone who does not know about Gottlieb, who gave the CIA the essential tools they use in their “organized crime” activities around the world – in the words of Douglass Valentine, the author of The CIA as Organized Crime and The Phoenix Program. Kinzer’s book is good history on Gottlieb; however, he doesn’t venture into the present activities of the CIA and Gottlieb’s patriotic followers, who no doubt exist and go about their business in secret.
After recounting in detail the sordid history of Gottlieb’s secret work that is nauseating to read about, Kinzer leaves the reader with these strange words:
Gottlieb was not a sadist, but he might well have been…. Above all he was an instrument of history. Understanding him is a deeply disturbing way of understanding ourselves.
What possibly could this mean? Not a sadist? An instrument of history? Understanding ourselves? These few sentences, dropped out of nowhere, pull the rug out from under what is generally an illuminating history and what seems like a moral indictment. This language is pure mystification.
Kinzer also concludes that because Gottlieb said so, the CIA failed in their efforts to develop methods of mind control and ended MK-ULTRA’s experiments long ago. Why would he believe the word of a man who personified the agency he worked for: a secret liar? He writes,
When Sydney Gottlieb brought MK-ULTRA to its end in the early 1960s, he told his CIA superiors that he had found no reliable way to wipe away memory, make people abandon their consciences, or commit crimes and then forget them.
Variously dubbed as a “mad scientist” — “The CIA’s scapegoat” — and “America’s Dr Mengele”
As for those who might think otherwise, Kinzer suggests they have vivid imaginations and are caught up in conspiracy thinking: “This [convincing others that the CIA had developed methods of mind control when they hadn’t] is Sydney Gottlieb’s most unexpected legacy,” he asserts. He says this although Richard Helms, the CIA Director, destroyed all MK-Ultra records.
He says that Allen Dulles, Gottlieb, and Helms themselves were caught up in a complete fantasy about mind control because they had seen too many movies and read too many books; mind control was impossible, a failure, a myth, he maintains. It is the stuff of popular culture, entertainment.
In an interview with Chris Hedges, interestingly posted by Jefferson Morley at his website, The Deep State, Hedges agrees with Kinzer. Gottlieb, Dulles, et al. were all deluded. Mind control was impossible. You couldn’t create a Manchurian Candidate; by implication, someone like Sirhan Sirhan could not have been programmed to be a fake Manchurian Candidate and to have no memory of what he did, as he claims. He could not have been mind-controlled by the CIA to perform his part as the seeming assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy while the real killer shot RFK from behind. People who think like this should get real.
Furthermore, as is so common in books such as Kinzer’s, he repeats the canard that JFK and RFK knew about and pressured the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro. This is demonstrably false, as shown by the Church Committee and the Assassinations Record Review Board, among many others. That Kinzer takes the word of notorious liars like Richard Helms and the top-level CIA operative Samuel Halpern is simple incredible, something that is hard to consider a mistake. Slipped into a truth sandwich, it is devoured and passed on. But it is false. Bullshit meant to deceive.
But this is how these games are played. If you look carefully, you will see them widely. Inform, enlighten, while throwing in doubletalk and untruths. The small number of people who read such books and articles will come away knowing some history that has no current relevance and being misinformed on other history that does. They will then be in the know, ready to pass their “wisdom” on to those who care to listen. They will not think they are average.
But they will be mind controlled, and the killer cat will roam freely without a bell, ready to devour the unsuspecting mice.
Technology has advanced to the point that many Americans have artificial intelligence devices in their homes. But what the majority of the sleeping masses don’t realize, is that AI is watching us and judging us.
This should concern everyone because it isn’t just tyrannies like China that are employing AI as a way to control and further enslave the population. The United States government is doing it also – and for the same reasons – complete domination over everyone.
Artificial intelligence has tremendous power to enhance spying, and both authoritarian governments and democracies are adopting the technology as a tool of political and social control.
The potential of AI surveillance is the subject of the third installment of the Sleepwalkers podcast. The episode examines how AI consolidates power and control and asks if we can limit this troubling trend.
Data collected from apps and websites already help optimize ads and social feeds. The same data can also reveal someone’s personal life and political leanings to the authorities. The trend is advancing thanks to smartphones, smart cameras, and more advanced AI. -Wired
In fact, a 2017 algorithm developed at Stanford claimed to be able to tell if a person was gay. Even if it’s inaccurate, it will eventually be used by governments as a tool of persecution. Imagine being told AI could tell you political affiliation and whether or not you approve of the current or future regime. The outcome would be complete authoritarianism and enslavement regardless of which government chooses to use it. And we are NOT safe from it here in the U.S. Sadly, most Americans are embracing AI with open arms.
“Take this type of technology, feed it to a citywide CCTV surveillance system, and go to a place like Saudi Arabia where being gay is considered a crime,” says Lisa Talia Moretti, a digital sociologist.
“Suddenly you’re pulling people off the street and arresting them because you’re gay because the computer said so.”
Even if China’s AI capabilities are exaggerated, the AI boom there is having a chilling effect on personal freedom, says Ian Bremmer, an expert on global political risk and founder of the Eurasia Group. “You just need a government that is starting to get that capacity and make it known, and have a few people that are sort of strung up as examples, and suddenly everyone is scared,” he says. -Wired
Law enforcement in the U.S. is embracing AI. The podcast concludes with the New York Police Department testing technologies including facial recognition. Although AI promises to make the department more effective and even more accountable, whether we accept this troubling trend may determine whether the West sleepwalks towards its own form of technological tyranny, reported Wired. “In America, the liberty we take for granted is hard-won and fragile,” says Oz Woloshyn, the host of Sleepwalkers. “So much hangs in the balance, and the decisions we take will affect our lives profoundly, and echo through the lives of our children.”
An investigation by the Wall Street Journal has confirmed many of the central allegations made by the World Socialist Web Site in 2017 regarding Google’s censorship of the internet.
In an extensive article published Friday, the Journal concludes that, contrary to Google’s repeated assertions, the company maintains blacklists of individual websites and intervenes directly to manipulate individual search results.
On July 27, 2017, the World Socialist Web Site reported that changes to Google’s search algorithm, internally dubbed “Project Owl,” had drastically reduced search traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive websites.
The WSWS based its assertions on Google’s public declarations that it was seeking to “surface more authoritative content” and demote “alternative viewpoint[s],” as well as detailed data from the WSWS’s analytics systems and data provided by other websites and publicly available web and search traffic estimators.
Based on these data points, the WSWS concluded that Google was operating a blacklist of opposition news outlets, the primary impact of which was to restrict access to left-wing and antiwar websites.
The WSWS was a central target of this initiative. As we explained: “Google has severed links between the World Socialist Web Site and the 45 most popular search terms that previously directed readers to the WSWS. The physical censorship implemented by Google is so extensive that of the top 150 search terms that, as late as April 2017, connected the WSWS with readers, 145 no longer do so.”
On August 25, 2017, David North, the chairperson of the WSWS International Editorial Board, published an open letter to Google asserting:
Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting. The obvious intent of Google’s censorship algorithm is to block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree. Political blacklisting is not a legitimate exercise of whatever may be Google’s prerogatives as a commercial enterprise. It is a gross abuse of monopolistic power. What you are doing is an attack on freedom of speech.
These assertions have been dramatically confirmed by the Wall Street Journal investigation. Its report concludes:
Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results. These moves are separate from those that block sites as required by US or foreign law, such as those featuring child abuse or with copyright infringement, and from changes designed to demote spam sites, which attempt to game the system to appear higher in results.
The report went on to substantiate its claim that the company’s actions were in contradiction to its public statements:
Google has said in congressional testimony it doesn’t use blacklists. Asked in a 2018 hearing whether Google had ever blacklisted a “company, group, individual or outlet … for political reasons,” Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, responded: “No, ma’am, we don’t use blacklists/whitelists to influence our search results,” according to the transcript.
But the newspaper’s investigation concluded that Google takes “what the company calls ‘manual actions’ against specific websites,” adding, “The company could also blacklist a website, or remove it altogether.”
The Journal report argues that Ben Gomes, “one of Google’s early search executives,” was an early advocate of direct, manual intervention into search terms. It was Gomes who announced what would later be known as “Project Owl” in an April 25, 2017 blog post under the title, “Our latest quality improvements for Search.”
In that blog post, Google claimed that its efforts to promote “authoritative” news sources were an extension of its attempts to combat efforts to “’game’ our systems in order to appear higher in search results.” But the investigation by the Wall Street Journal reveals this to be a total fraud.
“There’s this idea that the search algorithm is all neutral and goes out and combs the web and comes back and shows what it found, and that’s total BS,” the newspaper cites an unnamed former executive as saying. “Google deals with special cases all the time.”
The report documents how the company maintains its blacklists:
Engineers known as “maintainers” are authorized to make and approve changes to blacklists. It takes at least two people to do this; one person makes the change, while a second approves it, according to the person familiar with the matter.
The Journal reviewed a draft policy document from August 2018 that outlines how Google employees should implement an “anti-misinformation” blacklist aimed at blocking certain publishers from appearing in Google News and other search products.
Its report continues:
Google’s culture of publicly resisting demands to change results has diminished, current and former employees said. A few years ago, the company dismantled a global team focused on free-speech issues that, among other things, publicized the company’s legal battles to fight changes to search results, in part because Google had lost several of those battles in court, according to a person familiar with the change… “Free expression was no longer a winner,” the person said.
The investigation by the Wall Street Journal raises serious questions about the coverage of Google’s censorship in the New York Times. After publishing a report on September 27, 2017 on the front page of its business section concerning the WSWS’s open letter opposing Google’s censorship, including an interview with David North, the Times went on to attempt to discredit accusations that Google was carrying out political censorship.
In a follow-up article, Daisuke Wakabayashi, who conducted the interview with North, sought to whitewash Google’s censorship regime, echoing the company’s self-serving denials without any serious examination of the facts. Wakabayashi wrote: “Google said political ideology was not a factor in any aspect of its search results. Google said that whether a user is conservative or liberal is not part of the information collected by the company, and that it didn’t categorize web pages by political leanings.”
This, too, was a fraud. Google’s decision about which sites were “authoritative” was clearly political in nature.
In 2018, Google set up a “news initiative” to “Clean Up False News,” as the New York Times reported. Among its partners are the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, all of which circulated false statements by the Bush administration regarding so-called “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, among countless other lies.
Google’s statements about promoting “authoritative” news outlets is code for promoting news outlets that support US foreign policy and the lies that underpin it, because, as the Journal writes, “search is a zero-sum game: A change that helps lift one result inevitably pushes down another.”
Aside from the initial report in the New York Times and a report by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, the vast majority of corporate news outlets simply ignored the WSWS’s reporting.
But notably, before he was gagged and arrested, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange penned a letter to an online event organized by the WSWS warning about the dangers of internet censorship. It stated:
While the internet has brought about a revolution in people’s ability to educate themselves and others, the resulting democratic phenomena has shaken existing establishments to their core. Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are socially, logistically and financially integrated with existing elites, have moved to re-establish discourse control… I commend WSWS for drawing attention to this phenomenon.
In the three years since Google announced its efforts to bury “alternative viewpoint[s],” the censorship drive by major technology corporations has only intensified. In multiple mass deletions, Facebook and Twitter have removed left-wing accounts and pages with millions of followers.
Last month, Twitter announced that it would ban all political advertisements on its platform, while Facebook, despite the declarations by Mark Zuckerberg that it will not carry out political censorship, announced that it would remove any posts that include the name of the alleged CIA “whistleblower” in the Trump impeachment inquiry.
The motivation for the relentless efforts at political censorship promoted by all factions of the political establishment is their fear of the growth of working-class opposition all over the world, which is bound up with the growing audience for socialism.
Why do you believe what you believe? Some people have a really solid answer to that question, but much of the population never thinks much about deeper questions such as this.
In fact, for most Americans it is simply easier to let others do their thinking for them.
Today, most of us spend multiple hours each day absorbing information through a screen, and most of the content that is fed to us through our televisions, phones, tablets and computers is controlled by the elite. And if you allow anyone to feed information into your mind for several hours every day, it is going to have a dramatic impact on how you view the world.
When I was younger, one of my favorite movies was “The Matrix”, and I think that it is a really good metaphor for what is going on in our society today. In the film, nearly the entire human population was plugged into a system which continuously fed a computer-generated reality into their minds that wasn’t real at all.
Later on, I eventually came to realize that we are willingly doing the same thing to ourselves. Our personal interactions with one another are extremely limited, but we willingly “plug in” to the enormous matrix of news, information and entertainment that the elite have constructed for many hours each day.
According to numbers that were released earlier this year, the average American spends more than three hours watching television and more than three hours on mobile devices every single day:
“It’s official: This year marks the first time that Americans will spend more time staring down at their phones and tablets than they will watching television.
“The average U.S. adult will spend three hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices this year, according to EMarketer Inc., which is eight minutes longer than the three hours and 35 minutes that will be spent in front of the TV.”
If Americans from previous generations could visit our society right now, they would probably be horrified that we are all constantly staring at our screens like some sort of zombies.
And perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if we were feeding our minds healthy things, but instead most of what we are absorbing is garbage that has been produced by the elite.
Today, nearly all of the news, information and entertainment that Americans consume is produced by a small cluster of giant corporations. The following summary of the current state of affairs comes from Wikipedia:
“In the United States, movie production has been dominated by major studios since the early 20th century; before that, there was a period in which Edison’s Trust monopolized the industry. The music and television industries recently witnessed cases of media consolidation, with Sony Music Entertainment’s parent company merging their music division with Bertelsmann AG’s BMG to form Sony BMG and Tribune’s The WB and CBS Corp.’s UPN merging to form The CW.
“In the case of Sony BMG, there existed a “Big Five” (now “Big Four“) of major record companies, while The CW’s creation was an attempt to consolidate ratings and stand up to the “Big Four” of American network (terrestrial) television (this despite the fact that the CW was, in fact, partially owned by one of the Big Four in CBS).
“In television, the vast majority of broadcast and basic cable networks, over a hundred in all, are controlled by eight corporations: Fox Corporation, The Walt Disney Company (which includes the ABC, ESPN, FX and Disney brands), National Amusements (which includes CBS Corporation and Viacom), Comcast (which owns NBCUniversal), AT&T (which owns WarnerMedia), Discovery, Inc., E. W. Scripps Company, Cablevision (now known as Altice USA), or some combination thereof.”
When you have an almost totally monopoly on news, information and entertainment, it is not too difficult to manipulate a society. At this point, most of the population is made up of extremely pliable “NPCs” that are more than happy to go along with whatever “societal norms” are set by the elite.
The term “sheeple” has been used to describe those that allow the elite to do their thinking for them, and we need to do what we can to help those individuals wake up and to get them to start thinking for themselves.
Let me give you an example of the immense power of the media. One recent survey found that those that watch Fox News tend to think that the U.S. economy is in great shape, while those that watch MSNBC tend to be quite pessimistic about the economy:
“American voters face the same set of economic facts, from low unemployment to the risks from a trade war, but the survey’s index of overall sentiment – at 108 just above the 100 line that separates positive from negative impressions of the economic outlook – masked the huge divide between those who approve of Trump, whose views measured a far rosier 136, and those who disapprove of the president, with a reading of 88.
“The results, weighted by factors like age, race and sex, to be nationally representative, were similarly skewed based on media consumption. Viewers of conservative-leaning Fox News registered 139 for current sentiment about the economy; viewers of MSNBC, an outlet often critical of Trump, registered 89. Readers of the New York Times sat in the middle at 107, near those who get their news from Facebook (110) and Twitter (112).”
But the truth is somewhere in between. We haven’t officially had a recession in recent years, but the U.S. economy has definitely not been “booming” either.
In fact, we haven’t had a full year of 3 percent GDP growth since the middle of the Bush administration. That is the longest stretch of slow growth in American history by a very wide margin, and now it appears that the next recession is rapidly approaching.
And without a doubt, tens of millions of American families are deeply struggling right now. As I noted yesterday, 50 percent of all American workers make less than 33,000 dollars a year, and a survey that was just released found that 70 percent of Americans “have cried about money”:
“Pass along the tissues, because Americans aren’t afraid of letting the tears roll when it comes to finances.
Seven in 10 Americans said they have cried about money in their lifetimes, according to a recent online survey of 1,004 Americans by Compare Cards.com. Many cited worries over their job or making ends meet.
And household debt, which peaked at $13.86 trillion in the second quarter, weighed the heaviest on Americans. Almost a third admitted to crying over this looming concern, according to the survey.”
One of the reasons why my articles upset so many people is because I just don’t follow the herd.
In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. Because if you don’t actively take control, the elite will be more than happy to do your thinking for you.
Question everything. Everyone that is feeding you news, information and entertainment has an agenda, and in most cases it is not a positive agenda.
We are in a battle for hearts and minds, and the elite have an overwhelming edge because of the colossal system that they have created.
But we have the truth on our side, and in the end the truth shall prevail.
Nov 7, 2019
Slava Zilber: Chris, you are “a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a New York Times best-selling author, a professor in the college degree program offered to New Jersey state prisoners by Rutgers University, and an ordained Presbyterian minister.” Moreover, you write a weekly column for the website Truthdig and host the show, “On Contact,” on RT America.
What defines you most? How do you see yourself?
Chris Hedges: As a writer. That’s what I’ve always been. So, although I enjoy doing the show and I enjoy teaching, my primary focus is on books.
But you started your “career reporting on the Falklands War from Argentina for National Public Radio.” Why did you go in this direction? Was writing your primary interest at the time? Why did you choose something so dangerous instead of the safety and wealth of being, for example, an anchor at a major network?
Well, first of all, during the Falkland War I was in Buenos Aires. So it was not dangerous. I was not on the Falklands. Anchors on television are actors, news celebrities. They are not writers. I mean I wrote since I was a young child. I was very influenced by George Orwell. He would be one of my great intellectual mentors. I wanted to go to Latin America. This was in the early 1980s when the military junta ruled Argentina during the Dirty War, Pinochet ruled in Chile, the death squads in El Salvador were killing between seven hundred and a thousand people a month and I thought this was as close as I was going to come to fighting fascism in my lifetime like Orwell. So I married writing with this commitment towards exposing injustices and even atrocities and giving a voice to people who were under severe oppression and persecution. That’s why I went to Latin America and stayed there for six years, most of that time covering the wars in Central America. But it was always as a writer. I did work for National Public Radio, but that’s when I was a freelance journalist. And I always knew that my primary interest and passion was writing, not for radio, but for newspapers and magazines.
You mentioned fighting fascism and the atrocities committed by these groups. Now, US government official Elliott Abrams claimed that US support for them was about winning the Cold War and you have personally spoken to people who – it appears – honestly believed it. How do you respond?
People like Elliott Abrams did not understand the political, economic and social dynamics that led to rebellions in Central America just as Dick Cheney and Richard Perle and others did not understand the dynamics that underlay the situation in Iraq or in the Middle East. So these are people who lack linguistic, historic and cultural literacy and then start intervening in conflicts creating the kind of … I mean El Salvador to this day is along with Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the world. And so it’s the unleashing of military force as we have seen in the Middle East that essentially opened a kind of Pandora’s box of evils. And it was kind of simplified or justified, as you correctly point out, as a battle within the Cold War. But the whole idea that Salvadoran peasants, half of whom were landless, were rebelling because of Moscow or communism was false. Not that Marxist ideology didn’t play a part in the FMLN rebels, but it was the control of the economy by roughly a dozen oligarchic families, who treated most of the country as if they were serfs, and the inability to carry out non-violent protest by the labor unions and student groups and others. I mean at one point in 1979 the police just set up machine guns on the roofs in downtown San Salvador and opened on the crowd. So when a political system just refuses to reform and refuses to address the very dire needs of its population, then it inevitably leads to violence. That’s not a particularly new story. But that does not mean that it was run by either Nicaragua or Moscow or Cuba.
Chris, you have taught at numerous prestigious universities. And in the talk Death of the Liberal Class, you said: “The very system – having taught at Princeton – by which these students get into a school as competitive as Princeton ensures that they are utterly subservient and compliant to authority.” Could you please talk about it? Why has it not affected you and your beliefs?
First of all, because of my experiences overseas. I spent twenty years on the outer reaches of empire and understand very well the nature of empire. The mask of empire was ripped off and I watched the empire function in Latin America, in Africa, in the Middle East. And so the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves were exposed. You can’t go through that experience and come back to the United States and accept the myth of American exceptionalism and of American virtue, which you know full well do not exist. Empire is largely about the theft of natural resources and the subjugation of foreign labor on behalf of a capitalist class or on behalf of corporations. So this is something students at elite universities, who are there to essentially perpetuate the plutocracy, either don’t understand or don’t want to understand. Princeton or Harvard, where I went to school, are schools that exist and have always existed to train the ruling elites. Most countries have them. In France, it’s ENS. And those students – C. Wright Mills writes about this – are essentially groomed to maintain empire and to become part of the ruling class. In a way, these school – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, all of them – do a poor job of educating students to think. And they create filters. They do that through standardized tests, advanced placement classes, private schools, high-prized tutors. And the kind of student that gets into these schools is a student who has paid complete deference to authority. They are so competitive and they’ve allowed authority to define them. And if you don’t pay that deference to authority, if you don’t achieve on this kind of measures, then you don’t get in. And what they become are essentially systems managers. They are trained to manage the system of corporate capitalism. So by nature these institutions are very distrustful of authority and distrustful of people who are fiercely independent. They don’t fit into those institutions. They organize learning around very specialized disciplines, very narrow answers, rigid structures that are designed to produce a very specific result. A place like Princeton is a funnel for Goldman Sachs and Wall Street as is Harvard. They train specialists. They thwart universal understanding and it dices up the disciplines into very tiny specialized fragments. I mean the largest major at Princeton as at Harvard is computer science. And then these people, who have not been taught to question the system – they don’t even know how to ask the questions –, are funneled into the system to perpetuate it. That’s not particularly new. That goes back to the founding of these institutions.
I would like to talk about the people who do not fit and who question authority. During the presentation “American Anomie” a year ago, you spoke of “anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist critics [being] branded as agents of a foreign power.” What has your own experience been? How has the political discourse been affected?
What’s happened is the ideology of neoliberalism or unfettered capitalism has been exposed as a fraud, a con game. And the ruling elites don’t really have a counter-argument. We saw the critique of the system embodied in 2016 in the two insurgent candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, although Donald Trump, of course, had no intention of thwarting the oligarchic rule. In fact, he has accelerated it. But he spoke to the reality that has gripped the American working class. And because the elites don’t have a counter-argument anymore, they have taken critics of corporate capitalism who were already marginalized and pushed them further and further into the outer reaches of the internet by imposing algorithms – Facebook has done this and others – supposedly to combat foreign influence and specifically Russian influence which is just ridiculous. I don’t think I have ever written a nice word about Putin in my life or written much about Russia at all. But you saw a campaign directed at left-wing sites, all of which have been targeted in an effort to essentially, if not silence, at least ghettoize these critics who do not appear on the mainstream. People like Noam Chomsky, for instance, who I would argue is probably America’s greatest intellectual, are virtually blacklisted. And so all of us who critique imperialism and corporate capitalism have been pushed off, even on the supposedly ‘liberal’ networks like MSNBC because these corporate elites don’t have an answer anymore.
President Trump appears to have significant support among evangelicals. How would you as a theologian comment on this?
Many people raise the issue of Trump’s relationship with the evangelical community and express surprise. In fact, Trump and the evangelical community are very similar. I have reported out of these megachurches in my book “American Fascists.” The white, male pastors that run these churches share most of Trump’s dishonesty, manipulation, sense of narcissism.
Trump doesn’t have an ideology and that ideology is being filled by the Christian right, this Christianized fascism which is organized. It has not only its megachurches, but schools, universities, law schools, a huge radio and television empire and that has become an important ally for the White House. And so we have to look back over the last few decades where the Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for a long time. Most of these judges that Trump is appointing including Gorsuch on the Supreme Court are the anointed of the Christian right. So we’ve seen Trump give the Christian right what they want in his efforts to restrict abortion, to defund planned parenthood, to discriminate against LGBT community in the name of religious liberty, to allow churches to become active in politics by revoking what is called the Johnson Amendment and, as I mentioned, the nomination of these judges that are championed by the Federalist Society and the Christian right along with the ban on Muslim immigrants. He has appointed several major figures in the Christian right within his administration: Mike Pence, of course, as Vice President, Jeff Sessions who was at the Justice Department, Gorsuch who was on the Supreme Court, Betsy DeVos to the Department of Education, Ben Carson to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. These people all come out of the Christian right. And they all embrace this white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, religious intolerance and racism that define the Christian right, as well as the kind of magical thinking and conspiracy theories that define the worldview of the Christian right, which always sees itself as under attack from satanic forces of secular humanism, which they argue, are perpetuated by the media, academia, the liberal establishment, Hollywood and, of course, the Democratic Party. And in this world, the reality is not an impediment to what they believe: Climate change isn’t real. Barack Obama is a Muslim. Millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. In fact, there is a kind of very symbiotic relationship between the character of Trump and Trump’s worldview and the Christian right, which is why he has such broad support among the Christian right.
And I will just add as a former seminarian that these people are Christian heretics. They’ve perverted Christian gospel to acculturate it with the worst aspects of American capitalism and American imperialism. Jesus did not come to make us rich. Jesus did not come to bless the dropping of fragmentation bombs all over the Middle East. Jesus does not celebrate the white race and particularly the American white race above other races. This is just all heretical and, unfortunately, the liberal church has not called these people out for who they are.
But as things deteriorate you will see in essence under a Trump administration an increase in the power and authority of the Christian right. And I think that we have to look back at the fact that this movement preys on desperate people in the same way Trump preyed on desperate people through the slot machines in his casinos or his sham university or his real estate deals. The mega pastors just do it in another way: by extracting ‘seed offerings’ or love gifts or ties or donations or selling miracle healings, with prayer cloth, self-help books, and audio and video recordings. In essence, the Christian right has done in their megachurches exactly what Trump did in his businesses. They have created despotic, little thiefdoms where those who rule these thiefdoms cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on his reality television show “The Apprentice.” I look at the kind of personal piety that is the cover for this movement as a complete fraud. And the personal life of these mega pastors is marked by the same hedonistic squalor including mansions, private jets, limousines, bodyguards, personal assistants, servants, shopping sprees, lavish vacations along with sexual escapades that rival those carried out by Trump. And so, yes! There is a natural alliance between Trump and the Christian right.
Could you please comment on the trial of the Plowshares activists in Georgia? On October 24th, they were found guilty. They protested against nuclear weapons at a nuclear submarine base.
This comes out of the Catholic worker movement, non-violent Christian anarchism, which I’ve always been close too. My father was a minister and very close to them. And what they are seeking to do is – and they face up to 20 years in prison for this – use non-violent civil disobedience to decry or bring attention to the weapons of mass destruction. And this submarine base is, I think, the largest nuclear weapons submarine base in the world. They want to raise the point that if we don’t curtail and ultimately abolish these weapons one day they will again be used as they have been in the past. The United States has used them. We are talking about the end of civilization and most of humanity. And so they very courageously entered this base illegally. They carried vials of their own blood to pour on the nuclear weapons and spray-painted messages and hung banners and have now been found guilty and face up to twenty years in prison for four counts of destruction and depredation of government property.
You mentioned that George Orwell has influenced you. Could you please talk about other influences on your work.
I come out of seminary. So I am certainly deeply influenced by major theologians and ethicists. I spent eight years in the university, so I read most of them: Kant, Hannah Arendt, Karl Popper, of course Noam Chomsky, Sheldon Wolin who was probably our most important contemporary political philosopher, the theologian James Cone, writers like Primo Levi, Dwight Macdonald, Randolph Bourne, Walter Benjamin, James Baldwin, John Ralston Saul, the great Canadian intellectual, Max Weber. So I am pretty steeped in all of these works and they’ve all been extremely important influences in helping me understand systems of power and how they function.
What is next for you?
I am writing a book on prisons. I have been teaching in prisons for ten years. So I am writing a book on mass incarceration which is the most important civil rights issue of our time in the United States.
*(Top Image: Chris Hedges. Credit: Michabo Sustainable Harmony/ YouTube)
Internet access is already notoriously restricted in China, but things are about to get a whole lot worse. Chinese citizens are currently forced to show their ID Card in order to get the internet installed in their house, but that identification database will soon be tightened with facial recognition technology.
Starting on December 1st, Citizens of China will be required to scan their faces before gaining access to the internet or buying a smartphone.
— TomoNews US (@TomoNewsUS) October 4, 2019
The new regulation is a part of China’s controversial social credit system, which records the actions of every citizen and scores those actions according to their compliance with Chinese laws and customs.
If a person’s credit score drops too low, they can be banned from flying or using public transit systems, have their internet access restricted, or have their children blocked from going to the best schools. Low social credit scores can also result in being fired from a job, banned from hotels, and even having pets taken away. On the other hand, high social credit scores will result in better interest rates at banks, lower energy costs and even prioritized listing on dating sites.
According to a report from the Associated Press, millions of people have already been blocked from buying airplane and train tickets due to their social credit score. In some cases, people could have their name, photo, and violations listed in LED billboards in busy city areas.
The issue with these experimental R&D AI/FRT projects is that they use real production systems and data. Realtime security footage from governmental buildings and actual police data sets used in open systems grating access to active third party mass surveillance systems in China. pic.twitter.com/ohLc7pbkuc
— Victor Gevers (@0xDUDE) October 5, 2019
According to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, requiring citizens to submit to facial recognition in order to access the internet is intended to improve the country’s internet security and help to fight against “terrorism.” However, it is important to note that the Chinese government has labeled peaceful protesters in Hong Kong as “terrorists,” so it is likely that this measure will be used to stifle dissent as well.
The recent protests in Hong Kong may have even provoked the Chinese government to implement these measures as soon as possible, to keep news of the protests away from citizens of mainland China, especially those who may not be entirely loyal to the regime in the first place. Restricting internet access in this fashion was surely a part of the social credit system plan all along, but the timing is suspect, considering the situation that the Chinese government is dealing with in Hong Kong
While China may be the testing ground for a social credit system, governments all over the world have been considering similar measures, including Australia and Canada.
John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.
For decades many critics of broadcast television labeled it ‘The idiot box’. As Ed Norton said in a Honeymooners episode “Maybe the phrase fits.’” Well, today, perhaps more than ever before, we all must be idiots to continue viewing it.
Let’s first examine the news and news talk shows that seem to almost go 24/7 along with their cousin, the sports and sports talk shows. You stroll down the dial and you get mostly millionaire and wannabe millionaire pundits labeled as journalists, political analysts, Democratic or Republican strategists (how I just love that term), or contributors to their channel of servitude – usually CNN, Fox or MSNBC.
Amazing how every single one of these people gladly and regularly serve the Military Industrial Empire! The only delineating factor is if they are with the Republicans or Democrats… period! What in God’s name could any of these wealthy people understand how we working stiffs, or worse than that, unemployed or homeless Amerikans are going through? Really! They sit there and pontificate on the subject of a Medicare for All ideal, always finding some fault in it, whether they be from either of the two corrupt and hypocritical parties. If anyone reading this is a millionaire, or goodness, a mega millionaire, paying out $ 15- $ 20k a year for what they call a Cadillac Health Plan would be a drop in the bucket (of course we taxpayers subsidize the plan our elected officials get gratis). So, how can they ever comprehend the stress that NOT having such a plan means? Ditto for paying rent to an Absentee Landlord when that figure eats up too large a portion of one’s wages. Need I go down the list of the costs of raising a child or children on the wages most of us have to survive on? The faces we see on that idiot box do not, in most cases, have even a clue!
You turn on the sports talk shows, as I used to do too much of the time, and the dribble that comes out of the mouths of those sports journalistsis overwhelming! This economic system is so skewed that any working stiff should now realize the futility of it all. All of these sports talk shows readily accept the fact that the pro sports like football, basketball and baseball pay these players mega millions of dollars. Imagine the debates that these sports talk shills have on about some above average player demanding a salary of $ 300 million dollars over 10 years. They don’t argue that the whole enchilada is ridiculous, when guys are earning that much to throw or catch a ball or make a basket while we suckers pay through the nose to watch.
No, to these whores of the sports media the more these guys get paid, the more they can get paid as water carriers. Of course, to them and to the players this all is fine and dandy, because the owners of both the teams and the media channels are raking in billions! Going to a game in person, with a couple of kids, will cost, just for middle of the road seats, at least hundreds of dollars! For one game! As a baby boomer, I can recall taking my two sons to a Met game in the 1970s and paying out maybe $ 75 for everything: parking , tickets, food and drinks and programs.
How about the people you vote to represent we working stiffs? This is from the 2018 Roll Call listing:
In 2018, to rank among the top 50 wealthiest members of Congress required a net worth of at least $7.5 million.
Source: Roll Call (2018)
When you tune into that idiot box just remember that you are viewing a club of super rich people. It does not matter if it is news, politics, sports or any type of entertainment… these folks do NOT have a clue as to what you and your family and friends are up against each and every day. They all are NOT representative of anything worth appreciating. So, who are the real idiots here?
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Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 300 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image is from Newsbud
The social media giant has offered mainstream outlets as much as $3 million per year for the privilege of using their headlines, article excerpts and stories, according to people familiar with the deal who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The Journal’s parent company Dow Jones was reportedly one of the companies approached, along with the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and ABC News.
Facebook plans to launch its “news section” in the fall, the insiders claim, though it is not known which – if any – of the outlets accepted the licensing offer. Many of them could certainly use the money. More than 3,200 jobs have been lost across online news media in 2019 alone, and many outlets are struggling to stay afloat with platforms like Facebook taking an increasing share of online advertising revenues. Facebook may have made these outlets an offer they can’t refuse.
Mark Zuckerberg’s platform has come under fire for cannibalizing ad revenues that once accrued to individual news outlets. Facebook and Google together took over 60 percent of US digital advertising revenues in 2018. Google alone made $4.7 billion in 2018 off the backs of news publishers, according to the News Media Alliance – and the journalists and publishers who created and posted that content didn’t see a cent of it.
Facebook has made a concerted effort to shore up mainstream media’s declining popularity, however, both by deplatforming alt-media competitors and by bankrolling expensive but sparsely-watched shows for its Facebook Watch internet TV platform featuring establishment darlings like CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Last year, Facebook partnered with the notorious Atlantic Council to fight the lurking threat of “fake news” – just a few months before enacting a massive purge of popular political pages, some with millions of followers. The shuttered pages represented a wide variety of views from both the left and the right, with little in common other than their aversion to the mainstream narrative.
With the 2020 election a little over a year away, the social media behemoth no doubt has a few more tricks up its sleeve as it seeks to tighten control of the narrative in the hope of avoiding a repeat of 2016 – after which Facebook (along with everyone from actress Susan Sarandon to FBI chief James Comey) was blamed for failing to prevent Hillary Clinton’s election loss, and has been doing penance for it ever since.
Britain is in grave danger of a rapid transformation into what could be recognised as an apartheid state. The number of people in a precarious position is so great that one failure of the extremely fragile status quo would likely cascade into an avalanche of catastrophes. The current political and economic influences are inherently bereft of any mechanism to avert such a collapse. Society has been sucked dry of any reserves to mitigate such a disaster. It is not within the prevalent available political paradigms to understand how to redistribute the economics to avoid a complete meltdown.
Stock markets, mortgage markets, and banking crises are all examples of how, when the bottom layer collapses, every subsequent layer attempts to mitigate their potential losses by pulling their resources out of the market. As welfare payments fail to meet rent, gas, electric, water, food, and travel requirements millions of people will rapidly face evictions which the courts can’t manage and destitution will rise and the almost fictional ‘job market’ will evaporate causing millions more to be out of work and without an income. In no time at all the country will have millions of homegrown ‘refugees’ which would lead to refugee camps and ultimately concentration camps if there were not already a superior way to manage the crisis.
I doubt the conscious desire to create concentration camps is in the minds of the wealthy overlords. After all, someone will have to pay for them. It is more a case of the wealthy overlords simply focusing on grabbing as much wealth as they can whilst the ship sinks. I proposed many years ago that Israel was simply a research and development establishment for the US and the UK and that Palestine is Israel’s laboratory. As the fabric of UK society collapses the right-wing political powers that be have all the equipment and expertise developed by Israel to ‘manage’ Britain as a divided society. Concentration camps will not look like Auschwitz with neat railway delivery infrastructure but rather will appear in a virtual form like extending sinews and invasive tendrils of a black cyber fungus devouring the detritus of superfluous humans silently in their own homes isolated from social connections and hidden from view for the still functional corporate drones servicing the hyper-wealthy oligarchs.
The current political trend can only escalate this process. The Tories are out of control, they are destroying the entirety of British society, and it is urgent that they are disposed of and a social paradigm of circulating financial resources within society is immediately put into place. Failing that the situation may be unrecoverable.
John W. Whitehead, Rutherford
June 10, 2019
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.
It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.
Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.
“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”
We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell
Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.” Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”
And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report—we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.
What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.
Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.
Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”―George Orwell
The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm
We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.
What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.
In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.
The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the “security/industrial complex”—a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance—has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.
Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.
Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” ― George Orwell
How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.
In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.
Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.
In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.
And in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
All three—Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell—had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell’s Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984:
The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as “This dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free,” since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts….
Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.
This is the final link in the police state chain.
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell
Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights. In fact, the addiction to screen devices—especially cell phones—has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one’s every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, “Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity.”
Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go.
We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us—the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” as one official termed it—the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.
“Big Brother is Watching You.”―George Orwell
Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.
The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.
Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any “threatening” words are detected—no matter how inane or silly—the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.
In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.
“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” ― George Orwell
Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.
Say hello to the new Thought Police.
Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.
No information is sacred or spared.
Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, “citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.”
Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).
Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”—Orwell
So where does that leave us?
We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.
It won’t be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.
To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.
Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.
So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?
We’re running out of options.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.
Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited: “Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.”
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article (The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction) was originally published. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.
The word “halitosis” is a household term which everyone knows means bad breath. But did you know that the word has been around for less than a hundred years, and was invented not by the medical field, but by advertisers?
Back in the 1920s, people didn’t worry about body odor as much as they do now. They didn’t bathe nearly as often, they didn’t wear deodorant, and some bodily smells weren’t necessarily considered socially catastrophic. A family antiseptic company called Listerine was able to increase its revenue from $115,000 to $8 million over the course of seven years by helping to change that.
Listerine had been around since the 1880s, marketed as a household cleaner, a medical antiseptic, and a treatment for gonorrhea, among many other uses. Forty years later, the company’s owner and his son came up with the brilliant idea to look up a fancy latin word for bad breath that sounds like a medical condition and then market it as though it’s an actual diagnosable disease that is crippling everyone’s social life. They ran advertisements telling wives that their halitosis was making them unappealing to their husbands, telling husbands that their halitosis was making their wives not want to kiss them, telling young women that they’d remain unmarried and unwanted forever if they didn’t cure their “unexcusable” condition with Listerine, even telling mothers that their breath may be grossing out their own children.
And it worked. People began throwing their money at this company, suddenly desperate to cure a horrible medical condition that they’d only just found out was a thing. By manufacturing demand for their product using artificially instilled shame and fear, Listerine made a fortune.
This type of advertisement is now commonplace, because it works. Mothers are told that they may be endangering their children by not using X cleaning product. Fathers are made to feel as though they’re not protecting their family because they don’t own home security system Y. Wives and girlfriends are made to feel self-conscious about how their lady parts might smell if they don’t use feminine hygiene product Z. Screens, billboards and magazine ads blare constantly, “Did you know that you are deeply flawed? You are! But don’t worry, Panaceavox can fix you!” In America they’re allowed to straight up say “Hey, have you ever felt kind of emotionally not okay? Well there’s a diagnosis for that. Ask your doctor if Thorazac is right for you.” People are manipulated into fretting about a problem they didn’t know they had til two seconds ago, then sold the solution.
What people think of as “sin” is a lot like Listerine’s halitosis marketing ploy, except unlike bad breath, sin doesn’t actually exist. And, for those who profit from religion, it’s also been exponentially more lucrative.
Sin is completely made up; we’re all a bunch of large-brained primates moving around in the world and experiencing the consequences of those movements, no more, no less. As a Catholic, I was told that all babies were born sinners, with tiny little blackened souls that would go straight to hell if the priest didn’t get to them first and dunk their deceptively pretty little demon heads in magic water tout suite. It didn’t stop there either. You had to celebrate an ancient Nazarene zombie who came back from the dead because somehow that made our sins go away for a little while, just as long as you turned up each week to drink zombie blood and eat zombie body in some kind of pretend cannibal ritual. The weirdest thing about it was that I thought it was perfectly normal. That’s how you avoided being a sinner.
When you unplug those stories from the power of belief, it’s a laughably transparent marketing scheme.
“Guess what? You know how you feel like you’re basically fine? Well you’re not! You’re infected with Sin, and only this One True Religion™ can rescue you from it! That’s right, it slices, it dices, it protects your soul from eternal hellfire, it’s the One True Religion™! Follow the One True Religion™ and you will be freed from the burden of Sin, and you’ll go the the best place you can possibly imagine (*cough* when you’re dead). Refuse to follow the One True Religion™, and all that sin will cause literally the worst thing you can possibly imagine to happen to you (after you’re dead, we can’t show it to you here). Act now, supplies are running out, here comes the tithe basket, buy your way into the One True Religion™ today!”
Ridiculous, manipulative hogwash.
Fear isn’t the only thing factoring into people’s belief in sin, of course. It can be egoically gratifying to believe that the real assholes in our world will spend eternity writhing in a state of eternal torture for their transgressions. Also, more significantly, it can feel very comforting to have a set of prescribed “do”s and “don’t”s in a world that is otherwise a completely boundless and open-ended improvisation exercise, with no ultimate rules or guidelines of any kind. It can feel very comforting to have a set of guidelines to live by for which you have no responsibility, which were handed to you from On High by a flawless omniscient and omnipotent deity underlying the fundamental ground of reality.
But that’s just it: you are responsible. It absolutely is your responsibility to figure out how best to move around in this wide open universe, and you don’t get to abdicate that responsibility to some douchebag in a funny hat or some imaginary zombie carpenter. Sin and sanctity are made-up bullshit concepts, which means that the only understanding of how to behave in this world that has any relevance to you at all is your own understanding.
This responsibility can be daunting, but taking it seriously is the first step to becoming the kind of human being that can overcome the huge challenges that our species is facing in the near future.
To act with responsibility in life, you don’t get to rely on anyone else’s rules. You’ve got to get really clear on what you value, what kind of world you want to live in, what kind of life you’re trying to craft for yourself, and begin taking actions toward making those assessments a reality. There is no ultimate right and wrong inscribed on the fabric of reality; you’ve got to make it up for yourself, based on your own clarity of vision and your own will for your surroundings.
People say, “Well if we didn’t believe in absolute right and wrong behavior, we’d all just be a bunch of hedonistic criminals!” Rubbish. If you had the ability to make a movie and have the movie contain anything you want to see, it wouldn’t be full of rape and murder and destruction; you’d try your best to create a thing of beauty. Our lives are the same way. We’re all trying on some level to craft beautiful lives and help create an enjoyable world, which never entails going around hurting people and destroying things. And the clearer our seeing becomes, the more skillful we become in doing so.
The only exception to this would perhaps be sociopaths and psychopaths and people with other severe personality disorders, but their type has never truly believed in sin anyway. Sin is a construct of social manipulation, and manipulators recognize manipulation. A sociopath only cares about the concept of sin to the extent that they can use it to get what they want. Only emotionally and empathetically normal people are impacted by the concept of sin.
The popular acceptance of the concept of sin is a consequence of the way we are psychologically hardwired and the way that that wiring has been manipulated, and you see that same wiring fiddled with in similar ways in many other areas. The way centrists browbeat leftists for not falling in line with Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the 2016 US elections, for example, often looked barely distinguishable from a gaggle of church ladies abusing one of their sisters for wanting to leave the church or get a divorce. Instead of the promise of hell it was the promise of Donald Trump ending the world, and instead of sin being disobedience to God it was disobedience to the mainstream liberal orthodoxy. But the same kind of shaming, manipulation and groupthink herd bullying was present in both cases. The notion of personal sovereign responsibility was violently rejected as anathema by the Church of the Blue Donkey.
Sin is a tool of social manipulation just like advertising, and just like propaganda. Religion, advertising and propaganda all pull the same psychological strings. Since as far back as recorded history stretches, those with wealth and power have been using whatever tools they have at their disposal to control the ways people think and behave. When religion held more psychological weight, they used that to justify book burnings, heretic burnings, and the destruction of anything that challenged the ruling order. Now that humanity is vomiting up the plague of religion from its DNA, propaganda and advertising are taking its place.
But it’s the same kind of manipulation in each case, the same disease, and the cure for that disease is the same too. By insisting on your own sovereign perspective, all attempts to manipulate you out of that perspective begin to stand out like a black fly on a white page. By standing firmly in what you know to be true, what kind of life you know you’re trying to live, and what kind of world you know you’re trying to help create, you give yourself a clear picture of the path that you are on. With that clear picture, any attempts to manipulate you off of that path in any way are easily seen for the unwelcome intrusions that they are, whether they take the form of “You are sinful and you need Jesus,” “You are flawed and you need this product,” or “Trust Big Brother to do what’s right for you.” And you can shrug off the manipulators and stride toward the bright consequences you wish to generate with your actions.
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“We’re developing a new citizenry. One that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.”—Rod Serling
Have you noticed how much life increasingly feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone?
Only instead of Rod Serling’s imaginary “land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas,” we’re trapped in a topsy-turvy, all-too-real land of corruption, brutality and lies, where freedom, justice and integrity play second fiddle to political ambition, corporate greed, and bureaucratic tyranny.
It’s not merely that life in the American Police State is more brutal, or more unjust, or even more corrupt. It’s getting more idiotic, more perverse, and more outlandish by the day.
Somewhere over the course of the past 240-plus years, democracy has given way to idiocracy, and representative government has given way to a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) and a kakistocracy(a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens).
In Georgia, political organizers posted a “Black Media Only” sign outside a Baptist Church, barring white reporters from attending a meeting about an upcoming mayoral election.
In Arizona, a SWAT team raided a family’s home in the middle of the night on the say-so of Child Protective Services, which sounded the alarm after the parents determined that their 2-year-old—who had been suffering a 100-degree fever—was feeling better and didn’t need to be admitted to the hospital.
In Virginia, landlords are requiring dog-owning tenants to submit their pets’ DNA to a database that will be used to track down (and fine) owners who fail to clean up after their dogs poop in public.
In Texas, a police officer who allegedly gave a homeless man a sandwich with dog feces won’t be held accountable for his actions.
In Illinois, Chicago police used a battering ram and a sledgehammer to crash into a family’s home with weapons drawn, terrorizing the young children gathered for a 4-year-old’s birthday party, only to find that they were at the wrong house.
In Kansas, a 61-year-old back man in the process of moving into his new house found himself held at gunpoint and handcuffed by police, who refused to believe he was a homeowner and not a burglar.
If you’re starting to notice a pattern here, it speaks to the fact that nearly 50 years after Serling’s creative brainchild, The Twilight Zone, premiered on national television, we’re still fumbling around in the dark, trying to make sense of a world dominated by racism, cruelty, war, violence, poverty, prejudice, intolerance, ignorance, injustice and a host of other social maladies and spiritual evils.
The Twilight Zone was an oasis in television wasteland: a show that captured imaginations; challenged moral hypocrisy and societal prejudices; and railed against inhumanity, racism, prejudice, the mechanization of human beings by way of their technology, tyrants of all shapes and colors, a passive populace, war, injustice, the surveillance state, corporate greed.
Fifty years later, with so much having changed legally, technologically and politically, so much still remains the same. Fear is the same. Prejudice is the same. Ignorance is the same. Hate and war and tyranny are unchanged. Police officers are still shooting unarmed citizens. Bloated government agencies are still fleecing taxpayers. Government technicians are still spying on our communications. And American citizens are still allowing themselves to be manipulated by their fears and pitted one against the other.
All of these themes can be found in The Twilight Zone.
Serling, a truth-teller who pulled no punches when it came to calling out the evils of his day, channeled his moral outrage into storytelling. As his daughter Anne explained, “The Twilight Zone was more than just the strangest show on TV, with the best theme song, but back in the 50’s Rod Serling was serving up social commentary through science fiction.”
That social commentary disguised as entertainment tackled some of the most pressing issues of Serling’s day. “It dealt with human issues which I guess is why it’s lasted so long, because it dealt with racism and mob mentality and scapegoating and things that are still very, very prevalent and relevant today sadly,” said Anne. “We don’t seem to be able to move ahead and change.”
Serling would have no shortage of material to draw from today, given the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.
“I can tell you [my dad] would be absolutely apoplectic about what’s happening in the world today. And deeply saddened,” said his daughter Anne Serling. “There are moments that I’m glad he’s not here to see.”
It boggles the mind how relevant The Twilight Zone and its unique brand of truth-telling are to an age in which truth has become a convenient fiction for those in power, what researchers refer to as “Truth Decay.”
As a report from the Rand Corporation explains, “Truth Decay is defined as a set of four related trends: increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and declining trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.”
Serling would have had a lot to say about the lies that masquerade as truth today.
I’m not sure that Serling would have been surprised by current events, though. After all, this was the man who concluded that people are alike all over: that was the kernel of truth in one of Serling’s episodes about a pair of astronauts who journey to Mars only to find that while they may have landed on an alien planet, inhabited by alien creatures, the ignorance, fear and prejudice of the “foreigner” was the same.
So many truths, packaged in 156 episodes that aired from 1959 to 1964.
Serling took pride in the writing, penning 92 of the 156 episodes himself. For the rest, he enlisted some of the best writers of the 20th century to lend their talents to Zone episodes: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Earl Hamner, to mention a few. As such, the Twilight Zone became the embodiment of great story-telling.
If you want to watch something that fuses time and space into reality by way of a fictional setting, then I suggest that you tune into The Twilight Zone.
Director Jordan Peele has taken Serling’s material out for a new spin in a reboot airing on CBS All Access, but if you haven’t experienced the original series, do yourself a favor and spend some time with them.
There are so many to choose from, but the following are 12 of my personal favorites:
Time Enough at Last: Mild-mannered Henry Bemis (Burgess Meredith), hen-pecked by his wife and brow-beaten by his boss, sneaks into a bank vault on his lunch hour to read. He is knocked unconscious by a shockwave that turns out to be a nuclear war. When Bemis regains consciousness, he realizes that he is the last person on earth.
I Shot an Arrow into the Air: Three astronauts survive a crash after their craft disappears from the radar screen. They find themselves on what they believe to be a dry, lifeless asteroid. Only five gallons of water separate them from dehydration and death. And temperamental crew member Corey (Dewey Martin) goes to great lengths to ensure his survival.
The Howling Man: During a walking tour of Europe after World War I, David loses his way and comes to a remote monastery. He is turned away but passes out, and the monks take him in. David regains consciousness and hears a bizarre howling. He eventually finds a man in a jail cell who the monks say is the Devil himself, kept in his prison by the “staff of truth.”
Eye of the Beholder: Janet lies in a hospital bed, her face wrapped in bandages, hiding the hideous face that has made her an outcast all her life. This is her eleventh hospital visit and the last allowed by the government. The faces of the doctors and nurses are also hidden by shadows and camera angles. Janet’s bandages are finally removed, and the medical staff retreat in disgust.
The Invaders: A haggard woman (Agnes Morehead) hears a strange sound on the roof. She climbs up to see a miniature flying saucer and tiny spacemen who invade her home. Their small ray guns sting, but she fights back.
Shadow Play: Adam (Dennis Weaver) is on trial, and the judge gives him the electric chair. Adam chortles that it’s all a joke, a recurring nightmare in which all the participants are bit players in a scripted play. But will anyone listen?
The Obsolete Man: Romney (Burgess Meredith) is a God-fearing librarian in a totalitarian state in which books and religion have been banned. Romney is judged obsolete by the government chancellor but is granted several requests before he dies. He chooses to have a television audience watch his execution. Forty-five minutes before he is to die, he invites the chancellor to his room and locks them both inside.
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Robert (William Shatner) boards an airplane after having been discharged from a mental hospital for a nervous breakdown. He looks out his window during the flight and sees a weird creature on the wing. Alarmed, he alerts others. However, when they look out, the creature disappears. Robert eventually realizes that what he sees is a demon trying to dismantle the plane so it will crash. Robert decides to act.
Living Doll: Erich (Telly Savalas) is angry at his wife for buying his stepdaughter an expensive doll. Erich has a nasty disposition and soon discovers that the doll has a life of its own and it dislikes him. In fact, the doll tells him so. Talky Tina says emphatically “I hate you” and “I’m going to kill you.”
The Masks: On his deathbed, Jason Foster calls his four heirs to his side on a Mardi Gras evening. Each heir has a character flaw—self-pity, avarice, vanity or cruelty. Foster demands that each wear a mask he has fashioned for them. If they refuse to keep the masks on until midnight, they will be disinherited. The masks are hideous, and the heirs do not want to don them. But out of greed, they slide them onto their faces.
It’s a Good Life: Peaksville, Ohio, a small community, has been “taken away” from the so-called normal world—ravaged by 6-year-old “monster” Anthony (Billy Mumy). By mere thought and/or wishes, Anthony can make things and people disappear or turn into hideous creatures. All of the adults kowtow to his every desire.
To Serve Man: The Kanamits—nine-foot-tall, large-headed creatures—come to Earth from outer space, bringing gifts, spouting peace and promising to end famine. After some initial resistance by earthlings, the world relents and humans become entranced by the visitors. However, government agent Mike (Lloyd Chambers) soon discovers a sinister and shocking plot being hatched by the Kanamits.
The Twilight Zone was a paradox.
Although the series is often seen as science fiction, ultimately it was not science fiction.
Whatever weird or far out setting may have been involved in a particular episode, the focus was always on the angst, pain and suffering we face in the so-called “real” world. As author Marc Scott Zicree writes:
The Twilight Zone was the first, and possibly only, TV series to deal on a regular basis with the theme of alienation—particularly urban alienation…. Repeatedly, it states a simple message: The only escape from alienation lies in reaching out to others, trusting in their common humanity. Give in to the fear and you are lost.
Fifty years after the original The Twilight Zone series questioned whether we can maintain our humanity in the face of authoritarian forces trying to reduce us to mindless automatons, we’re still struggling with the demons of our age who delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism.
Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we don’t have to be stranded in this alternate universe, this twilight zone of tyranny, brutality and injustice.
We still have the power to change our circumstances for the better.
However, overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness.
As Serling concluded in his remarks to the graduating class of 1968:
“Toughness is the singular quality most required of you… we have left you a world far more botched than the one that was left to us… Part of your challenge is to seek out truth, to come up with a point of view not dictated to you by anyone, be he a congressman, even a minister… Are you tough enough to take the divisiveness of this land of ours, the fact that everything is polarized, black and white, this or that, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is one of the challenges. Be prepared to seek out the middle ground … that wondrous and very difficult-to-find Valhalla where man can look to both sides and see the errant truths that exist on both sides. If you must swing left or you must swing right—respect the other side. Honor the motives that come from the other side. Argue, debate, rebut—but don’t close those wondrous minds of yours to opposition. In their eyes, you’re the opposition. And ultimately … ultimately—you end divisiveness by compromise. And so long as men walk and breathe—there must be compromise.”
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com.
John W. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries are available for publication to newspapers and web publications at no charge. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain reprint permission.
On the subject of world ending machinations by the ruling elite, news Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Michael Bloomberg want to save is could spell “The End.” The men who pull all the media, political, and business levers in much of the world, they now want to pretend to save us from ourselves by backing GMOs and other questionable technologies. Read on to discover what these gatekeepers have in store now.
A Business Insider story by author Aria Bendix caught my eye this morning by framing Bill Gates and his compatriot billionaires as “planet saving” heroes. According to the story, the same men who have made trillions off super-capitalism, and created a cabal that controls many governments, they’re now investing in six agricultural startups through Breakthrough Energy Ventures. One look at the investors should send shivers down any reasonable person’s spine. Let me frame this for you, painted with a sarcasm so I retain my sanity.
Gates Loves Us to DEATH
Everyone knows how much Bill Gates loves humanity, he’s sold trillions of dollars worth of software, tablets, crummy smartphones, and even Monsanto poisons to us over the past few decades. But who among us can even fathom the warm and fuzzy adoration His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia feels for the world? Why look! Right alongside Gates, Al Talal, and Amazon’s Bezos, there’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, just to mention a few of our most loving philanthropists. Yes, my friends, we are doomed by their fuzzy malevolence for certain.
The “mission” of Breakthrough Energy Ventures is to “commercialize energy innovation at scale,” at least according to the group’s narrative. I guess this means the fund is not about philanthropy after all (sorry, I am growing to hate these people). Let’s get to the point here, I do not want to waste your time or mine. Gates and these others are engaged in profit-making on a scale the Roman emperors would not have fathomed. Let me quote from The Guardian story and a statement by Seattle-based Agra Watch – a project of the Community Alliance for Global Justice on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Monsanto play:
“Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well being of small farmers around the world… [This] casts serious doubt on the foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa.”
In this story from way back in 2010, Gates’ investments in the faceless agri-giant Cargill were also brought into the light. Furthermore, the Microsoft zillionaire was being portrayed as humanity’s savior through GMOs and agri-tech back then, as well. But let’s concentrate on Gates and these other loving caretakers today.
Believeth in Me
In a blog post by Gates recently, the world’s second richest man (on paper) talks about cow farts and soil being huge where excess greenhouse gasses are concerned. Reading Gatesnotes, I get the chills when I realize how crazy this evil genius and his billionaire pals have become. Instead of pointing to the fossil fuel dependency of our food production, Gates goes deep into technobabble to conceal many facts, and to set the stage for what these psychopaths really have in store for the world. Before I get to this, read this from the revealing “We should discuss soil as much as we talk about coal.” Gates just plays out his hand by recommending GMO solutions he and these others are investing in.
“Microscopic nitrogen factories that replace fertilizer: What if we could fertilize plants without releasing so much harmful nitrous oxide into the air? BEV is invested in a company called Pivot Bio that has genetically modified microbes to provide plants with the nitrogen they need without the excess greenhouse gases that synthetic alternatives produce.”
Take note here, this “movement” by the elites is alternative climate change adjustment outside what we generally consider “alternative energy” solutions. This is because big oil and big energy are involved with Gates, Bezos, and Bloomberg in funding these GMO innovations. Also consider, to date the multinational agrichemical companies make profits from both the herbicide-resistant seeds and microbes Gates brags about, as well as from the herbicides some are designed to resist. But this is not what is so horrific about their plan for humanity. New “strains” of good old fashioned lima beans and cucumbers should not be our major fear here. Total food dependency should.
Do you think it is interesting that all of Bill Gates’ solutions for us involve playing God? Not once have I read anything from this man or his contemporaries about returning to nature or modifying our habits. Take his story The Future of Food. Again we read Gates recommending companies he has invested in as the solution to all our problems. A company called Beyond Meat is but one example of how Gates backed mad-science is always preferable to mother nature. And this takes us to the real mission of our billionaire benefactors. Total control over what we, eat, drink, breathe, buy, and sell. A movie some of my Baby Boomer readers may remember, Soylent Green starred superstar Charlton Heston as a man caught up in corporate control of a food supply based on recycled human flesh. Before you call me crazy or a conspiracy theorist, read this Bloomberg story about Gates, Cargill, and Sir Richard Branson backing the growing meat made from cow stem cells grown in the lab.
The Devil at Davos
Today, the world is almost totally dependent on products and services under the control of the richest 1%. They control our electricity and our transportation. They control the markets for the clothes we wear, for the diamonds we buy as engagement rings, and they run the politicians who rewrite our truth and decide our futures. None of us like admitting this, but the truth of elitist control of our lives is unarguable, equivocally true, and we all know it. The only facets of our existence we can control involve primal survival when all is said and done. And our survival is inextricably linked to food, air, and water. These people are at work making our planet into a concrete jungle where every square centimeter holds a profit for them. The Amazon is disappearing. Oil consumption is higher than ever before. The planet is polluted to a point some experts warn is a tipping point. And now the same people who have profited from our births, lives, and deaths, they claim they will “help us” some more by creating artificial or modified food! Before I continue, please read the “cabal” commitment statement:
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is committed to building new technologies that change the way we live, eat, work, travel and make things so we can stop the devastating impacts of climate change. We believe that forging deep partnerships between governments and our members will lead to more investment earlier and more energy solutions for more people faster.
The lesson I would like to spur the reader with is that the moment these aristocrats of industry tell us they’re “for us” is the moment we must put the magnifying glass on them. For supportive evidence of this, I present the case biofuels mess Gates colleague and Breakthrough Energy Ventures backer Vinod Khosla brought to the state of Mississippi. In this one, Kosla supposedly tried to create the “Exxon of biofuels” with a venture called KiOR, which went bankrupt leaving IPO investors holding worthless stocks. Kosla and these other globalist elites have more up their sleeves, but let’s move on to examine what they mean when they say “deep partnerships” with governments. Right here, ponder for a moment what these globalist elites discuss in the mountains of Switzerland when they meet at Davos. Then, try and imagine their warm adoration for all of us.
In October of 2018, a few months ago, the EU announced a joint investment with Gates and his pals. The partnership reminds me of the state of Mississippi’s investment in Khosla’s bio-fuels shell game that ended up costing everybody involved, only the stakes are much higher in the European sideshow. It is with this “investing guarantee” that I am torn between whether or not Gates and his colleagues are just downright crooked and evil, or incompetent and wanting company. Take Khosla and another startup called Jawbone, which hit the dead-pool running in 2017 after snagging over $930 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and others. Moving over to the alternative energy side, another massively funded and state-supported startup called Abound Solar went belly up after $641 million in funding, as well as backing from the U.S. Department of Defense. BP Alternative Energy Ventures was involved in that one too, in case you are looking at interesting connections. Other promising startups like Aquion Energy (Bill Gates), held great promise once, which leads me to another theory of mine on these technocrats and globalist billionaires. I think they are hedging all their bets to downright own us.
Researching the Investment Fund (EIF) I immediately keyed on the fact the the SME’s the fund is supposed to help, they represent 99% of all business conducted in the European Union! You read this correctly. The fund established to help small business with capital, it’s also backing Bill Gates and the people with huge vested interests in doing BIG business. Now Gates and his Breakthrough Energy Ventures are hand-in-hand and positioned to control whatever emerging technologies rise up to challenge their HUGE businesses. In a brilliant (and evil) move to control these industries from the onset, Gates and the others can either buy into the next solutions or literally cause them to die. This is what I believe KiOR was all about, but nobody has proven anything but mismanagement and too much hype there. But watching how the stock market is played these days, it is not inconceivable that these billionaires are playing every angle to suck money out of the system. Now factor in the obscure dealings of this huge investment bank, and the risk this Wall Street Journal story says EU citizens may be exposed to. Author Max Colchester refers to something called “financial engineering” when he describes exactly the kind of guarantee Gates and his billionaire buddies just got from the EIF. I’ll address the potential of this Gates and Co. engineering project in a later report. For now, I must sum up on the major concerns here.
Fiddling as the World Burns
The liberal world order I constantly reference to is not some Illuminati conspiracy theory or an invention of my overactive imagination. This white paper from the World Economic Forum I found from the Global Agenda Council unabashedly admit the post-World War Two order that has run things since 1945. This Global Agenda Council, for those unfamiliar, is chaired by Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institute and Karen Donfried of the German Marshall Fund of the US. The paper produced by these world order leaders, reveals the real agenda behind the investments of these billionaires I’ve discussed. To encapsulate:
“The US is leading a revolution in energy – with profound implications for America’s standing in the world, its relations with other major powers and for global order. In less than a decade, US oil and gas production exploded as new technologies released abundant fuels from shale rock formations across the country. This revolution and other global factors contributed to a nearly 50% decline in the global price of oil since June 2014.”
While Gates and the others profess their undying commitment to saving us from bad old climate change, their friends at the rulemaking end of the liberal world order are bragging about America’s newfound “energy security,” based on the most unsustainable policies possible. Furthermore, the colleagues of our billionaire benefactors are unashamed to be the cause of Cold War II, as this statement shows:
“As the United States emerges as a major player on the global energy supply market, it can exert influence in ways that weaken some of its most important adversaries.”
This is the narrative of many of those attending the infamous World Economic Forum, let me remind you. The paper calls on the American people to defend this liberal world order with any “military, political, economic, and cultural means necessary.” Robert Kagan is also on the Council of Foreign Relations and writes a column for Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. And the paper delivered at the World Economic Forum contains hidden warnings for the people of Europe to pay attention to.
“People in other nations need accelerators and venture capital, but above all, they need a culture that accepts both the frequent flame-outs and the creative destruction that entrepreneurial innovation generates.”
A New Final Solution
Does this sound like a preparatory strategy paper to assist this liberal order and these billionaires? “Frequent flame-outs” may not be something the already crippled EU economy is ready for. I’ll leave you to read about the liberal order bragging that one-third of Kenya’s gross national product flows through a startup called M-Pesa, which was initially funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK, which works with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and even USAID through DAI Global in Bethesda, MD. Readers will also be interested to know that Bill Gates Tweeted how wonderful M-Pesa is:
“Kenya’s M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered, they will use digital tech to innovate on their own behalf.”
In 2015, DAI received $272,429,308 of contract funding from USAID, and another £58.3 million from the U.K. Department for International Development. The Venezuelans say DAI is a CIA front organization, and my research turns up nothing to prove the contrary. This WikiLeaks cable labeled “Secret” reveals USAID and DAI cooperating to create insurgency in Venezuela when Chavez was still alive back in 2006. I’ll not delve in too deeply here, since our focus is on Gates and the other billionaires. The point is, the collusion between the technocrats, government agencies, the deep state, and their higher order partners is not obscured.
When Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and his captains came up with what was called “The Final Solution” – there must have been some rationale that justified such horrors as eradicating a people to solve the “Jewish Question.” Today, the code name for the planned murder of all Jews within reach of the Third Reich could be applied to the deep planning of these elite globalists. They control the media, the money flow, industry, government, and pull levers on all aspects of life in the west. All that is left is food and water. And with the control of these commodities we can simply be rounded up and herded to slaughter like animals. Think about it. This is not a stretch of the imagination. What other purpose is there? What alternative end do you think these powerful men seek? Oh, I left out their God fearing devotee consciences. We all feel this devotion daily here in Greece. Soon, very soon, I fear the warmth will reach deep into the Americas and the rest of Europe.
Let me hear your thoughts, while you still have a voice.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Our predicament is simple to describe.
Since the dawn of civilization, powerful individuals have controlled the stories people tell themselves about who they are, who’s in charge, how a good citizen behaves, what groups should be loved, what groups should be hated, and what’s really going on in the world. When you study what we call history, you’re mostly just reading the ancient proto-propaganda of whatever kingdom happened to win the last war during that period of time. When you study what we call religion, you’re mostly reading stories that were advanced by ancient governments explaining why the people should be meek, forgiving taxpayers instead of rising up and killing their wealthy exploiters.
This continues to this day. We fill our children’s heads with lies about how the world works, how the government works, how the media works, and, on a deeper level, how their own consciousness works, and the entire process is shaped to funnel power toward the people who control our stories. The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller, widely considered the wealthiest person in modern history, in order to create generations of docile gear-turners for the industrial plutocratic machine. Modern schooling is essentially mainstream media in a building; it promotes authorized narratives day in and day out to ensure that children will have a reaction of cognitive dissonance and rejection when confronted with information which contradicts those narratives.
This funnels the populace seamlessly into the narrative control matrix of adulthood, where childhood indoctrination into mainstream narratives lubricates the way for continual programming of credulous minds with mass media propaganda. All the print, TV and online media they are presented with supports the status quo-supporting agendas of the same plutocratic class that John D Rockefeller dominated all those years ago. This ensures that no matter how bad things get, no matter how severely our spirits are crushed by end-stage metastatic neoliberalism, no matter how many stupid, pointless wars we’re duped into, no matter how much further we are drawn along the path toward extinction via climate chaos or nuclear war, we will never revolt to overthrow our rulers.
That’s three paragraphs. Our predicament is simple to describe and easy to understand. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve.
Everyone has at some point known someone in some kind of an abusive relationship, whether it be with a partner, a family member, or a job, and we all know that helpless feeling of being unable to help someone who refuses to walk away from the source of their abuse.
“Just leave him!” we say in exasperation. “The door’s right there! It’s not locked!”
But it’s never that simple. It’s never that simple because, although the abusee is indeed physically capable of walking out the door, the thoughts that are in their head keep them from choosing that option.
This is because no abuser is simply violent or cruel: they are also necessarily manipulative. If they weren’t manipulative, there wouldn’t be any “abusive relationship”; there’d just be someone doing something horrible one time, followed by a hasty exit out the door. There can’t be an ongoing relationship that is abusive unless there’s some glue holding the abusee in place, and that glue always consists primarily of believed narrative.
“I didn’t mean it. I love you. I just get frustrated sometimes because of your stupidity.”
“You can’t leave; you’ll never make it out there on your own. You need me.”
“I’m the only one who’ll ever be there for you. Nobody else will ever love you because you’re so disgusting.”
“Your children need their father. You have to stay.”
“I need you! I’ll die without you!”
“I’m not doing that. You’re paranoid and crazy.”
“Your inability to forgive me means something is wrong with you.”
They seldom say it so overtly, because if they did its malignancy would be easy to spot, but those are the ideas which get subtly implanted into the abusee’s head day after day after day by way of skillful manipulation.
“It’s her own fault for staying,” someone will inevitably say.
No it isn’t. Not really. The abuser is at fault for the overt abuse, and the abuser is also at fault for the psychological manipulations which keep the abusee in place in spite of terrible cruelty. It’s all one thing, and it’s entirely the abuser’s fault.
Humanity’s predicament is the same. I often hear revolutionary-minded thinkers voicing frustration at the mainstream public for choosing to stay within this transparently abusive dynamic instead of rising up and forcing change, and yes, it is self-evident that the citizenry could easily use its vastly superior numbers to do that if it collectively chose to. The door is right there. It’s not even locked.
But the people aren’t failing to choose the door because they love being abused, they’re failing to choose the door because they’ve been manipulated into not choosing it. From cradle to grave they’re pummeled with stories telling them that this is the only way things can be, in exactly the same way a battered wife or a cult member are pummeled with stories about how leaving is impossible.
The difficulty of our times is not that we are locked up; we aren’t. The difficulty is that far too many of us are manipulated into choosing a prison cell over freedom.
The fact of the matter is that a populace will never rise up against its oppressors as long as it is being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen. The majority will choose the prison cell every time.
You’d expect that more dissident thinking would be pouring into solving this dilemma, but not much is. People talk about elections and political strategies, they talk about who has the most correct ideology, they talk about rising up and seizing the means of production due to unacceptable material conditions, they wax philosophical about the tyranny of the state and the immorality of coercion, but they rarely address the elephant in the room that you can’t get a populace to oust the status quo when they do not want to.
Nothing will ever be done about our predicament as long as powerful people are controlling the stories that the majority of the public believe. This is as true today as it was in John D Rockefeller’s time, which was as true as when Rome chose to spread the “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” submissiveness of Christianity throughout the Empire. The only difference is that now the powerful have a century of post-Bernays propaganda science under their belt, and a whole lot of research and development can happen in a hundred years.
So what’s the solution? How do you awaken a populace that is not just manipulated into choosing its prison cell every time, but is also manipulated into believing that any suggestion that they’re in a prison cell is a crazy conspiracy theory?
Well, what do you do when a loved one is in an abusive relationship? It never works to shake them and scream “You’re being abused!”; that just causes them to tighten up and dig in deeper with their abuser’s narratives about how this is the only way things can be and anyone who says otherwise is crazy. What works is to lovingly help that sovereign spark within them gather evidence that the narratives they’re being fed by their abuser are lies. Point out every time where reality contradicts the stories they’ve been told. Weaken their trust in the old stories while strengthening their confidence in their own perception and their sense of entitlement and worthiness. Help them to see that they’re being lied to, and that they deserve better.
This breaking of trust needs to happen within the respective partisan echo chambers of those who are being propagandized. It’s useless to increase the distrust of CNN and MSNBC among Trump’s base, for example, but it’s very useful to increase their distrust in right-wing narratives. It’s useless to increase Democrats’ distrust in Trump and Fox News, but it’s very useful to get them skeptical of the narrative control machine they’ve been plugged into. Each head of the two-headed one-party system needs to be attacked in a way that makes sense inside each of its respective echo chambers.
Mostly, though, what we need is we need is for more thinkers to be more focused on the real problem. I know some influential minds read this blog; if they can help seed the idea out among the movers and shakers of dissident thought that propaganda is our first and foremost problem, we just might get somewhere. We need a major shift of focus onto the narrative control matrix and the obstacle that it poses to revolution, and everyone can help shift us there in their own way.
The propaganda machine won’t be adequately disrupted without intensive effort, and until it is we’re going to keep selecting the prison cell every time.
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With permission from
by Harry Cockburn, guest writer
Jan 9, 2019
Officials say aim is to make it ‘difficult to move’ for those deemed ‘untrustworthy’
Millions of Chinese nationals have been blocked from booking flights or trains as Beijing seeks to implement its controversial “social credit” system, which allows the government to closely monitor and judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their behaviour and activity.
The system, to be rolled out by 2020, aims to make it “difficult to move” for those deemed “untrustworthy”, according to a detailed plan published by the government.
It will be used to reward or punish people and organisations for “trustworthiness” across a range of measures.
A key part of the plan not only involves blacklisting people with low social credibility scores, but also “publicly disclosing the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis”.
The plan stated: “We will improve the credit blacklist system, publicly disclose the records of enterprises and individuals’ untrustworthiness on a regular basis, and form a pattern of distrust and punishment.”
For those deemed untrustworthy, “everywhere is limited, and it is difficult to move, so that those who violate the law and lose the trust will pay a heavy price”.
The credit system is already being rolled out in some areas and in recent months the Chinese state has blocked millions of people from booking flights and high-speed trains.
According to the state-run news outlet Global Times, as of May this year, the government had blocked 11.14 million people from flights and 4.25 million from taking high-speed train trips.
The state has also begun to clamp down on luxury options: 3 million people are barred from getting business class train tickets, according to Channel News Asia.
The aim, according to Hou Yunchun, former deputy director of the development research centre of the State Council, is to make “discredited people become bankrupt”, he said earlier this year.
The eastern state of Hangzou, southwest of Shanghai, is one area where a social credit system is already in place.
People are awarded credit points for activities such as undertaking volunteer work and giving blood donations while those who violate traffic laws and charge “under-the-table” fees are punished.
Other infractions reportedly include smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.
Punishments are not clearly detailed in the government plan, but beyond making travel difficult, are also believed to include slowing internet speeds, reducing access to good schools for individuals or their children, banning people from certain jobs, preventing booking at certain hotels and losing the right to own pets.
When plans for the social credit scheme were first announced in 2014, the government said the aim was to “broadly shape a thick atmosphere in the entire society that keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful”.
As well as the introduction in Beijing, the government plans a rapid national rollout. “We will implement a unified system of credit rating codes nationwide,” the country’s latest five-year plan stated.
The move comes as Beijing also faces international scrutiny over its treatment of a Muslim minority group, who have been told to turn themselves in to authorities if they observe practices such as abstention from alcohol.
Hami city government in the far-western Xinjiang region said people “poisoned by extremism, terrorism and separatism” would be treated leniently if they surrendered within the next 30 days.
As many as a million Muslim Uighurs are believed to have been rounded up and placed in “re-education” centres, in what China claims is a clampdown on religious extremism.
As the Left-wing social media giants continue to target Infowars and Alex Jones, banning his channels and pages and disrupting his ability to earn a living, some analysts and experts say the CEOs who run those companies are crossing a legal line and ought to be held accountable.
Paul Craig Roberts, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan, told USA Watchdog’s Greg Hunter in an interview this week that the only way Leftist elites in government and the private sector can promote their “awful” ideas is to censor and ban free speech from anyone who disagrees.
“The agendas of the elite are hidden,” Roberts said. “They are not something the American people would support. The elite are fearful that their cover stories are so thin that if truth can be shown on their agendas, they will be discredited.
“They will lose their abilities to impose their agendas,” he continued. “So they are closing down truth tellers in order to maintain control over explanations. Alex Jones is a threat to the elites’ control over the explanations… They are sending the message that says get on board with the official explanations or we will terminate you.”
Recently, Jones was notified that Facebook and YouTube had banned Infowars’ and Jones’ pages, while tech giant Apple removed entire libraries of Jones’ podcasts, along with Spotify.
And while not every agrees with Jones’ content, many of them do not support the censoring of his content. “I don’t support Alex Jones and what Infowars produces,” said Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, Fox News reported.
“However, banning him and his outlet is wrong” because it will inevitably lead to similar actions being taken against anyone or any organization outside the Left-wing acceptance bubble.
In fact, the censorship and banning had already begun. Twitter “shadow bans” conservatives, while many Right-leaning media have noted that their referral traffic from Facebook has dropped as much as 90 percent in some cases.
Violations of the law
But Roberts says there is a legal remedy to all of this censorship and banning – it’s just not being used, for some reason.
“Why is this possible?” he told Hunter in reference to the censorship. “It is possible because the antitrust laws of the United States have not been enforced. These are all monopolies. Monopoly is against the law. It’s against the Sherman Antitrust Act, but they don’t enforce it because they’re so powerful.”
He adds that the media-tech companies have grown so large that they no longer feel they have to operate in a fair, unbiased manner.
“They should be broken up,” he said, “or they should be nationalized or actually they should be arrested … they are part of a plot” to overthrow POTUS Donald Trump. Included in the plot, he said, were several traditional media including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and even NPR.
“There is not an ounce of integrity in the media,” Roberts continued.
As to his monopoly allegations, Roberts has a point. As of June, according to the statistics website Statistica, Google accounted for an astounding 78.81 percent of all search traffic, giving the platform incredible influence and control over results. Google is even more pervasive in other countries, rising as high as 94.39 percent in India, where more than a billion people live.
The site also noted that Google receives nearly one-third – 32.4 percent – of all digital ad revenue.
Facebook’s share is far greater. Statistica reports that the platform’s ad revenue market share in 2018 is 79.2 percent.
Imagine you’re a high school student doing a homework assignment on the Federal Reserve. You go to YouTube and type in “Federal Reserve” in the search bar and find “Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve.” The horror! Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that, because now that MSNBC and Mother Jones have ganged up, it’s being scrubbed from the search results! Welcome to the world of soft censorship, folks!