The Programming of America: Pt II, Selling War

This is part II of my series on how Americans are programmed to think in certain ways without thinking, without questioning. If you missed part I regarding marketing in various forms (not always called marketing and advertising, sometimes called many other things), you can find part I here.

In part II of this series, I focus on war (military adventurism) and how it is sold like everything else in this country, though in a more complex form. We are sold warfare as a positive from early childhood until death. This is something I have written about previously, though often split between different subjects and articles.

Corporate (Military Industrial Complex) influence does not begin with the news media, as far as our life exposure is concerned. It begins in grade school. Think back to history classes and how past US wars were presented to you. Heroism throughout. Never the slightest question that each and every conflict we have been engaged in was justified and ethical. Never a hint that our soldiers and officials issuing orders have committed war crimes, which they absolutely have when you omit “patriotism” as a rationale. Protests against Vietnam barely gain mention and the protests which happened against WWII, Korea and Iraq are never mentioned in grade school. For all I know, they’re not even mentioned in college. Nor is it mentioned that the Nazi and Communist parties had wide support in the US prior to WWII. The Communist and Socialist parties had wide support in the US right up until McCarthyism.

For this, we have to look at the tangled ties between textbook publishers, politicians and the deep pockets of weapons manufacturers who donate to the politicians. Then the politicians set the standards by which textbooks are chosen. This is stage one of selling war to the American public, beginning with childhood.

Then the next stage comes as teenagers. Partly through movies and TV which glorify warfare without showing images of the reality involved. Military recruiters at schools and patriotic displays at sports events. Commercials showing someone in a uniform, then transitioning to that person in civilian life, uninjured, no PTSD from horrors they have witnessed or directly taken part in. They are all smiling, clean, drug-free, no therapy.

Who pays for all those displays and commercials? You do. Who pays for those textbooks? You do. Who acts as consultants to Whollyweird for the movies and TV shows? The military. Who pays for them to act in that role? You do. If a movie tries to show the military in an unflattering light, the military will bring pressure against the studio. That pressure can include coercion by coordinating with local authorities for licensing purposes. The military has “consulted” on tens of thousands of movies and shows over decades. Who pays for their “consultations”? You do. Who pays to prosecute and incarcerate peaceful antiwar protesters? You do.

Only after considering all the above do we reach the point where we can consider corporate “news” media and their paid portrayal of our military endeavors. Try and name a US military conflict which the media has ever opposed. I’ll wait. I’m 57 years old and have never seen the media object to a US military action. Look at the reactions we have seen when it was even suggested decreasing military presence in Middle Eastern countries or any peace efforts with Russia and North Korea.

No, you will never see anything more of the devastation wrought by US warfare beyond a few ruined buildings, blamed on “terrorists”. You will not see children splattered on walls and streets by our bombs. You will not see victims with limbs torn off and open head injuries showing exposed brain tissue. You’re more likely to see video of our missiles and aircraft launching, preferably in low light so it highlights the afterburner effect to make it visually appealing or exciting. You will hear rave reviews about drone warfare which makes warfare bloodless and without physical risk for our soldiers. You will not hear that drone pilots get PTSD too. You will not hear that children in the countries being bombed by drone warfare are terrified of blue skies because that’s when the drones are most likely to strike.

Cue the advertisements for Boeing, Raytheon and Northrup-Grumman. Paid sponsors of your favorite corporate news outlet. Who pays for the ads you see from them? You do. That is your tax dollars at work. Who pays for the drones? You do.

Up next, interviews with high ranking military officials and veterans speaking of how we need more bombs, more guns, more drones, more troops to kill more terrorists (children, mothers, grandparents living in their own countries, sitting in their own living rooms). It’s their own fault for living there. Their existence on top of “our” oil fields makes them enemies. Saying we need to invade another country and another. Never once do you hear a diplomat saying we need peaceful negotiations to end a conflict.

When the media and politicians talk about manufacturing weapons, they consistently do so couched in terms of “creating jobs”. What they fail to mention is that building bridges also creates jobs while not intentionally killing people. Universal healthcare would creates tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of jobs while improving and extending lives. Yet that we cannot afford. They fail to mention that to keep producing weapons means we must keep waging wars for as long as possible. When one war ends (if ever), another one must be started and another and another. We keep paying for each and every one of those conflicts with money ripped from our social support programs and educational system. We pay with creating more enemies and with trade losses. They fail to mention that producing weapons is only part of the cost. Then we have to pay for shipping those weapons, providing security for those weapons, targeting systems with training and salaries to operate them, and launching those weapons with training and salaries.. They fail to mention that weapons manufacturing frequently does extensive environmental damage long before the damage from using those weapons. Domestic environmental damage which we pay for in dollars, ill health and deaths. Yay, jobs..

Cue ads for oil companies who profit from our seizure of resources in the countries where we murder innocent civilians.

Next up, a report on how we cannot afford universal healthcare but we need to give more money to the VA for their limited socialized medical system which spends tens of billions per year on drugs and medical equipment. Wecan consider those VA costs to be subsidies for the oil companies, military contractors and drug companies who bribe politicians and advertise on corporate media to sell you on the next war. Who pays for the VA, even if you receive no care from them? You do. Who pays for the advertising? You do.

Cue ads from drug companies and medical insurance corporations. Maybe with big flags in the background telling you to support the troops. Yay, ‘Murca.

Up next, a report on the homeless epidemic. Many of whom are veterans. An epidemic, stated as though it’s a disease. As though the homeless are a disease, rather than victims of a diseased system which rapes them violently, bleeds them dry and leaves them to die by the roadside like bags of garbage thrown away by our government.

We have the VFW, the VA, insurance companies that specialize in veterans, magazines targeting veterans, Memorial Day, Labor Day… Have you ever noticed we do not have a single day or nationally recognized organization dedicated to the propagation of peace?

From childhood to death Americans are sold sterilized images of warfare. Shoved into developing minds in between basic math and English, as though mass slaughter is a mere fact of life. As long as it happens in other countries, not our own. Deaths at the hands of our war machine are sold as entertainment. The next war is sold as “humanitarian intervention” yet we are never shown the results when the bombs have stopped. Disease, famine, poisoned water, decimated economies, destroyed lives. Effects which take generations to “recover” from, as if recovery is possible. No reviews of success or failure, just advertising for the next war, the next “threat” which is never actually a threat, the next country we must save from themselves, the next investment opportunity.

Never question the advertising, the programming of your children or of yourself. Cheer for the veterans, pray for the widows, widowers and children of veterans but never ask why the war was fought. If you ask questions or object, you will be branded a traitor, un-American, unpatriotic, a pariah. Maybe a Russian troll.

Asking questions means you are brainwashed, not questioning means you think for yourself. Just believe, have faith, wave your flag and hold your hand over your.. eyes and ears. Keep telling yourself, “We’re the Good Guys©” until you convince yourself. Then keep watching the marketing machine, keep cheering as you act as free advertising for the death machine.

The Programming of America: Pt I, Marketing

This is my first installment of a series regarding how marketing pervades our lives in ways most do not realize and what the negative effects are. Be sure to subscribe to know when a new installment drops.

I continuously see Americans claiming to think for themselves while their words, opinions, attitudes and behaviors tell a far different story. This is no surprise. We live in a society that is ruled far more by marketing (advertising) than most Americans ever grasp. That’s because they fail to understand the very nature of marketing at it’s very core.

If you study marketing, what you find is that the core structure of marketing lies in a distorted study of psychology with the express intent of manipulation. In other words, it’s brainwashing on a massive scale.

If you look at a syllabus or course description of college marketing programs, you find references such as “customer engagement”, “consumer behavior and analysis”, “expanding value” (in other words, exaggerating claims) and so forth. You may have already heard such things as “creating a market”, “identifying a need”. What these things come down to means convincing people they need something they did not need last week.

Yet even that does not go far enough to explain how people are manipulated. One must understand that corporate news and political campaigns are forms of marketing. I’ve said before and say again, follow the money. Look at who is paying for advertising on a network. Look at who is donating money to campaigns.

Marketing is most frequently based on emotion. The emotion used most frequently is fear. Fear of social isolation. Is your breath fresh enough? Is your shirt white enough? Is your cologne as good as the next guy? Does your bra lift enough? (Look at old bra commercials, claiming to lift and separate and compare to push-up bras today.) Fear of pain. New insoles? How much pain medication can your liver withstand? Fear of illness. Fear of depression. In other words, using emotions to make you fear your own emotions.

Political campaigns use many of the same tactics and people with the same training in marketing techniques. That’s a large part of what campaign managers do. Identify “needs” of voters. Identify or manipulate fears to exploit.

The most interesting part of this is that it takes very little effort to convince people to be afraid and immense effort to convince them their fears are unfounded. The vast majority of people are programmed to react emotionally, rather than think critically.

Know who else makes extensive use of the exact same psychological techniques? The “intelligence” agencies. The CIA, NSA and FBI are well known to use propaganda in other countries and to have used propaganda in the US itself. For some reason, Americans think that any such manipulations inside this country are things of the past. Citizens also think they are not prone to being controlled by these techniques, even as they tune in to corporate media and watch people like James Clapper being used as a source of information on major networks. Even as “intelligence” agency veterans run for public office.

There are no Jedi mind tricks at play here. People are actually easy to understand, easy to manipulate. Most people want some authority figure telling them what to do, what to think. More “likes” means something is valid. Bigger is better. More viewers means higher quality. Join the crowd, march in line, buy the most popular items, watch the latest blockbuster on opening weekend, vote for the popular candidate but keep telling yourself how you’re different from all the rest.

Even here on what is supposedly independent media I see articles from major media sources with the highest views, likes and comments. Nothing about those articles are any different from what is published on the core websites of those corporate sources. So, why are readers even bothering to be on independent media sites if all they are going to do is follow corporate media?

Does it make any sense? Or have they just programmed themselves by their own choice?

Facebook Blocks “In The Now”

Facebook has blocked In The Now, a popular Progressive YouTube channel which many people in my own feed had shared videos from.

As of this writing, it appears that YouTube has also blocked the channel. The main page states, “This channel has no content”.

Funding is the only rationale. The reason for the channel being blocked is that it was partially funded by RT. That’s it. No other reason. In the reports on MSM about the channel being blocked, in no place do they mention anything about the content on the channel. That is because the rationale has nothing to do with the content. The sole rationale is who funds the channel.

Subject matters. The content on In The Now focused primarily on such subjects as anti-war, anti-regime change messaging, anti-racism, environmental protection and the Yellow Vest Movement, meant to be attractive to younger viewers and Millennials, though their content was popular with many Progressives, garnering over 2.5 billion views and over 2 million regular subscribers. So if the name of the channel is familiar, it’s because you have probably personally seen some of their content.

Compare. Now, try going on FB and YT and searching for content from any corporate MSM source. Not a single one of them is blocked. Do we hear questioning or objections to their bias or agenda while they accept funding from military contractors and oil companies? Do they divulge that bias? Their bias has been proven time and again for decades.

Not just social media. It is not only social media conducting censorship. Google and Yahoo conduct their own censorship in the form of altering algorithms to push any Progressive content far back in the rankings, even if certain Progressive sites have far more traffic than their detractors. If you search for information regarding In The Now this moment, the only things you will find several pages deep are articles and videos which proclaim In The Now and RT as “Russian propaganda”, rather than a news channel. None will mention the content of the channel in a positive way. The corporate media literally tries to make environmentalism and anti-war content sound like a negative and some form of anti-American propaganda.

This is fascism. Some people think it is okay to allow censorship to occur when it is done by a corporation. When corporations own the media, when corporations have conspired with the government, when corporations own the means of communications, then corporate censorship is government censorship.

Question yourself. Americans seriously need to ask themselves why it takes Russian funded media sources to openly discuss Progressive ideas and ideals. Ask themselves why there are no anti-war voices allowed on MSM unless they are being attacked and called unpatriotic. Why is war patriotic? (I ask this as a veteran from a long, long, long string of veterans.) Why is censorship patriotic? Why is environmentalism anti-patriotic?

Funding sources have nothing to do with it. Anti-war voices have been silenced by our media for as long as I can remember. Chris Hedges was fired from the NYT for opposing the Iraq invasion. Phil Donohue was fired from MSNBC for giving a platform to anti-war voices. Jesse Ventura had a contract for a show canceled on MSNBC and was bound by a gag order for years for opposing Iraq. In recent months, FB and Twitter have conspired to simultaneously block numerous voices, mostly anti-war. Such as the Ron Paul Liberty Report and Antiwar.com.

It does not stop with anti-war voices. Other voices have also been censored. Police The Police, which reported on domestic police abuse of power, was removed by FB. FB and Twitter have repeatedly blocked certain voices while MSM attempts to discredit Progressives as being “Russian trolls”, anti-patriotic, etc. Such lucid voices as Julian Assange, Caity Johnstone, Glen Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Jimmy Dore and anyone else who refuses to support the warmonger, corporate supremacist oligarchy.

We have no heroes. My voice has not yet been censored that I know of. That is only because I have not yet gained enough of an audience. For now, that may be best. It is up to us, the general populace, to share our message, either by using our own words or copying and pasting the words of others who oppose war and corporate rule. To raise our voices loud against censorship, against imperialist warmongering, against the US becoming a feudal state under martial law, which is what we are fast approaching.

I have written these words many times before and will repeat them:

We have no heroes. We are our own heroes. It is time to start acting like it. We cannot wait any longer.

Bernie Sanders and Alleged Progressives Need To Listen.. This Time

I will admit that the way things are shaping up, I am actually getting a bit excited for 2020 now. Not for the Establishment candidates already being pushed on us like Harris. I am excited for the growing response to them.

Socialism in various forms have taken solid hold in the political landscape. Most are Social Democrats like myself but ideologies run the gamut all the way to true Marxist Socialism. Not in the form of what happened in other countries, which is what is used as a constant hand-wringing threat. We have the advantages today of information and communication, which previous societies did not have. We also have the advantage that should Socialism take hold in America more than it has, we do not have to deal with the capitalist US government and military apparatus to sanction our own country. Of course they can try but you want a civil war? That’s how you get a civil war.

Now we have several candidates claiming various levels of Social Democracy. Though they do not go far enough and they all still subscribe to certain propaganda which holds them back. Bernie Sanders is the most obvious and has the greatest following.

Of course, the issues I am referring to are election fraud and Russiagate. Millions of his former followers will never vote for him as long as he continues to subscribe to and promote Russiagate and ignore DNC election fraud.

Maybe, just maybe this will finally start dying down. I’ve written numerous times that Russiagate was dead. At this point the House and the Senate bipartisan investigations on Russia have closed their probes with the statement that there is no evidence. Meanwhile Mueller has had to rein in press claims and none of his indictments have shown anything. His case filed against the 13 trolls resulted in him trying to deny providing evidence to the defense in discovery, which was denied by the federal judge. Since then I have not heard anything about it. Mueller was not expecting them to have representation in court. The rest of the indictments had nothing to do with Russia, only regular DC corruption. Not to mention his “investigation” has never once looked at the DNC servers, which is the scene of the alleged crime. The scene of the crime is where any true investigation begins.

Russiagate began with claims of Russia hacking the DNC servers. Somewhere along the way that simply disappeared. Funny how that happens. There were some initial claims that the DNC emails were falsified. Until people started demanding to see the originals. That’s when the DNC servers were no longer part of the equation. Then it became that Russia hacked the election. Until it was proven and stated by Obama that that was not technologically possible. Then it became collusion, which a select few people still loosely hold onto. Nobody could ever even define collusion and has not to this day. Then it became interference. The best they could come up with was what amounted to a maximum of $50,000 spent before the election, which was split between promoting Trump, Hillary, Bernie and Jill. I am making the assumption that the reader is actually informed on the real numbers. In an election process which saw at least $2 billion spent between candidates, that comes to $1 of every $40,000 spent on campaigning. Even for those that subscribe to the claim of $100,000 spent by “Russians” you’re still talking about $1 for every $20,000 of campaign spending.

Yes, those are the numbers. That’s how stupid Russiagate is.

Now, Bernie and Tulsi and other candidates who even remotely lean away from the establishment are seeing the Russian claims turn against them. Call it karma but they are once again seeing claims that they are tools being manipulated by Russia.

For what purpose? To provide us all with healthcare? Damn those Russians!!!

No alleged Progressive candidate is going to have the backing of the millions and millions of us who oppose Russiagate. Poll after poll have shown that most of us do not believe the Russian allegations, do not think Russia is any threat to us and that we have much more pressing concerns. The more informed anyone is on the subject, the less there is to be believed in the allegations. What we do know is how much risk there is in continuing this charade. The risk of war with Russia is something we do not care to allow to advance. The cost of always increasing spending for “defense” while more Americans go homeless, jobless and without medical care.

I’ve already covered how the claims of job growth are all lies, here.

So, is it time we can put this to rest yet? Can we start focusing on policies and dispense with the propaganda? Can we stop covering for blatant election fraud? I doubt it. Not as long as people continue tuning in to MSM for their daily or hourly dose of fear, offense, anger and bigotry. Not as long as our media and our elections are governed by military contractors and oil companies. As long as the media is making profits from the lies and parties can distract you from the issues with bullshit, it will continue.

Until this stops, we will still hear about “investigations” which steal time and resources that should be spent on governing, on representing us. We will continue paying money for these things. We will keep spending more on “defense” while placing the entire globe at risk. We will keep listening to how candidates are “resisting” not with policies that benefit us, our economy and our very lives but with even more “investigations”.

Turn off MSM, cancel subscriptions to WaPo, NYT, etc. Text, write, call, email, tweet to the candidates of your choice that you demand that they stop with Russiagate immediately. That they directly confront election fraud and promote ways to stop the profit motive while repairing our electoral process. Tell them to focus on policies like Medicare For All, raising wages, ending wars instead of trying to start more wars. Do it now. Don’t wait until 2020.

Russiagate Weakens This Country (And Is A Sign Of Weak Minds)

I’ve been following Russiagate since it’s inception in July of 2016. There was no valid evidence then. Two years later, there is still no evidence, even as rumblings say that Mueller is about to end his farcical “investigation” that never examined the DNC servers, where the allegations first began.

Seriously, what investigation never examines the alleged crime scene or summons the witnesses (Hillary, DWS, Donna Brazile, John Podesta) to testify under oath? That never asks the FBI why they never examined the servers?

In the 2 1/2 years since this began, we have watched the media, the DNC and DNC cultists try to resurrect McCarthyism in full force. Anyone who questions or does not march in lockstep with the DNC agenda is summarily convicted of being a Russian asset trying to destroy this country.

Progressive candidates. Russiagate is now being used to attempt to invalidate potential presidential candidates before the 2020 race begins. The Russian asset accusation has been leveled at Tulsi Gabbard, who is a US military veteran and has been in office for years. She stepped down from a DNC top position in 2016 due to improprieties in the DNC process which have since been proven absolutely true and in opposition to the democratic process. However, this is something of a matter of karma. She and Bernie Sanders have been vocal proponents of Russiagate and now it is biting them in the ass.

Who is doing the real damage? She is just one and this is not intended to be a list of names who face false accusations. This is about the damage that Russiagate, not Russia, does to our country. Because if you want to look at damage being done to our country, things which divide us, stop looking at Russia. The McCarthyite accusations do far more damage than Russia could ever hope to achieve if they had such an urge to do so.

Silencing of dialogue. One of the major goals of allegations of Russian alignment is the silencing of dialogue. There is no greater threat to democracy than the silencing of opposing voices or refusing to debate actual issues. Russiagate is being used as a “one size fits all” response to any dissenting opinion which does not fit the “authorized” narrative. Democracy itself is based on the ability of different voices to be heard. Yet the adherents of the Russia narrative use the accusation that some person or some viewpoint is dictated by Putin and no further discussion will be allowed.

Defensive posture. The expectation is that the voice being accused will be forced to go on the defensive to prove they are not a Russian asset in some way. Instead, the absolute best response to these accusations is no response at all. Stick to the issue being discussed and ignore that the accusation was ever made. Force the accuser to discuss the issue.

It doesn’t matter where discussion begins. Let’s make a really simple statement. Russia didn’t cause any of our problems. I have seen accusations that Russia is behind numerous issues in recent years. From Black Lives Matter to universal healthcare to ending warfare to defense spending that goes beyond any sense of reason. Election process and campaign spending. Taxation of the rich. These are real problems that deserve real debate, not false accusations in an attempt to make it seem as though the problem itself does not exist because some candidate, party or media source does not want to address it. So, even if there were any truth to the claim that attention to an issue began with Russia, discussion must begin somewhere. So the best response when someone says an issue came from Russia would be, “Who cares? Let’s talk about it any way.”

Defense spending. We always hear politicians and media pundits talking about “a strong defense” when discussing defense spending. I’ve pointed out before that when all is added together, we spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth combined. I have demonstrated that weapons sales to other countries cost us more money than they make. In only 2 years we have increased defense spending by over $90 billion every single year, with no reduction planned. Ever. Meanwhile we have Americans dying from lack of medical care, exposure from homelessness, suffering chronic health issues from poor nutrition. Suggest addressing those problems and face, “How are you planning to pay for that?” Talk about building or dropping more bombs and you never hear that question. Neither major party opposes spending more on “defense”. Neither one opposes regime change in practice. No corporate media outlet ever opposes the next war or the next or the next.

Weakened alliances. Russiagate has led this country to impose sanctions on other countries. Sanctions are never one sided. They work very much like the trade war affected US farmers. In the case of soybean farmers, China sanctioned us. When we sanction sales of goods to Russia, we punish their trading partners in other countries. Such as farmers in Europe. Or European people who must pay more for oil and gas which they cannot buy from Russia thanks to US Sanctions. Then we threaten our own allies if they choose to avoid sanctions which were never approved by the UNSC. All of this weakens our alliances with other countries, who are turning their backs on us more every day.

Taxing the rich. The media would have you believe that higher taxes on the rich is a Russian idea. First of all, try and explain how this would benefit Russia. It doesn’t. Then, try and explain why taxes on the rich in the US were highest at the height of the Cold War. Which aligns precisely with the time that the middle class had the most growth, the most wealth, the greatest benefits and the most bargaining power in the history of this country. Labor began losing all of this when taxes on the rich were decreased. Not to mention that ever since, small business has seen the highest rate of failure.

Increased wages. If you challenge someone to explain how increased wages in the US benefits Russia, I’d love to listen to their reply. In the same time frame I mentioned above, middle class wages in relation to cost of living were at their highest. Know what else was highest? Cost of production. Because Americans were paid well, had good benefits and taxes were high, cost of production was higher than ever. Yet the economy was doing extremely well. Our national debt was nowhere near as high. Business was expanding because markets were expanding or at least stable. So don’t blame Russia for corporate layoffs to preserve profits for stockholders. That is capitalism doing that.

Universal healthcare. The media and many politicians try to convince you that universal healthcare is a Russian concept. While Russia has universal healthcare, so does every other developed country other than the US. Every one of them has lower cost of care, lower rates of individual financial failure due to medical costs, longer life expectancy and higher quality of life. Since 2012, Mexico has had universal healthcare. Here? No. So try and explain how this is Russia’s fault. We had discussions about universal healthcare in this country in the early 90’s and that was not the first time. Did Russia incite those discussions then?

The real enemy. The real truth is that if Russia or any other opponent, be it a country or non-state power wanted to destroy us, they would be more effective doing so by increasing income inequality, destroying healthcare, increasing defense spending and dividing the populace against each other. Right now, all they have to do is sit back and watch this country implode.

The real enemy is here and has been here all along. The oligarchy, WAR Street is the enemy. They are destroying this country from the inside out and profiting every step of the way. Each time Americans tune in to corporate media, vote for corporate slave candidates, attack imaginary enemies that do not exist, promote Russiagate, refuse to focus on issues, cheer for corporate censorship, vocalize advocacy for wars we have no business in, endorse sanctions that backfire on us, allow our own people to die or go hungry, we are doing the job of any potential enemy, internal or external.