By John Stanton
"The most effectual engines for pacifying a nation are the public papers... A despotic government always keeps a kind of standing army of news-writers who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, invent and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." Thomas Jefferson
"Freedom of the press is another of the principal slogans of pure democracy...The capitalists have always use the term freedom to mean freedom for the rich to get richer and for the workers to starve to death. In capitalist usage freedom of the press means freedom of the rich to bribe the press and freedom to use their wealth to shape and fabricate so-called public opinion. In this respect, too, the defenders of pure democracy prove to be defenders of an utterly foul and venal system that gives the rich control over the mass media. They prove to be deceivers of the people, who, with the aid of plausible, fine-sounding, but thoroughly false phrases, divert them from the concrete historical task of liberating the press from capitalist enslavement..." V.I. Lenin
According to Stars & Stripes, United States Air Force Captain William Dubois-30 years old--was killed when the F-16 he was piloting on a mission against the Islamic State crashed. Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, 19, of Riverside, California died in Iraq from a noncombat related injury. Marine Cpl. Jordan Spears, 21, of Memphis, Ind., was lost at sea while conducting flight operations in the North Arabian Gulf.
Does anyone care or even notice?
These deaths were part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the American military operation designed to eliminate the Islamic Caliphate and the Syrian government run by Bashar Assad. Operation Inherent Resolve is a minor sub-plot in the grand opera/geo-strategy of the United States of America. The final act of the geopolitical opera envisioned by the grand brains of the United States is to either contain or destabilize Russia and China, and corral the lesser BRICS (Brazil, India, and South Africa).
Over the past two decades the United States and Western Europe have been burned badly by the shoddy thinking of its strategists, economists, financiers, policy makers, politicians, academicians and military leaders.
They chose to sacrifice trillions of dollars (US) in treasure and millions of lives (soldiers, civilians killed, wounded, displaced) only to lose the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya. They have created chaos in the Middle East/Persian Gulf apparently by design.
They stood idly by while Palestinian children were slaughtered by Israel. They clapped quietly as a military coup was undertaken in Egypt that restored the dictatorial status quo there meaning arms transfers and military cooperation could return to normal.
The Americans and West Europeans incited revolution in Ukraine and looked the other way as Nazi's brazenly assisted in the overthrow of a democratically elected government there. When Russia balked and smartly seized Crimea the Americans and Europeans were embarrassingly out maneuvered. When China allowed Edward Snowden (NSA whistleblower) to leave Hong Kong and Russia decided to allow him to stay in Russia, the Americans and Europeans were aghast at knowing they were, once again outmatched.
Further, the dunderheads in America and Western Europe finally succeeded in bringing an old Cold War nightmare to reality: their self-aggrandizing actions caused Russia and China to embrace in the form of economic and military trade deals that cut out the United States and Europe. Once again Russia has bested the Americans and Western Europeans by ditching the South Stream pipeline in favor of a pipeline to Turkey leaving Southern Europe in energy jeopardy.
In the cities and towns of the United States and Western Europe citizens are on edge about matters of life-security: employment, food, shelter, clothing, health insurance, education. Millions are unemployed or just culled from the statistical tables, forgotten. Children are going hungry. Immigrants are feeling the brunt of national anxiety/jingoism as they always do before street violence and war take place.
Class warfare is visible from the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to Detroit, Michigan. The classic hit song "Monster" by Steppenwolf sums it up "The cities have turned into jungles and corruption is strangling' the land. The police force is watching the people and the people just can't understand. We don't know how to mind our own business 'cause the whole world's got to be just like us. Now we are fighting a war over there, no matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost." The United States of America can't even field a high speed bullet train.
Only a global economic and kinetic war is going to satiate the hunger for revenge that the top echelons of American and Western European leadership currently display.
American President Obama will initiate the big war and President Jeb Bush will accelerate it. During the American presidential election all citizens will agree that the big war for American dominance is a given and not up for debate. The flood gates of cash will be opened by the US Congress even as social security and safety net benefits are slashed. It has all been decided in advance.
And now's the time for war. Who is going to cover the war for the masses? How will anyone really know what's going on?
Is it not genius that the media that would have provided the public with war news has been crippled through the prosecution and intimidation of journalists like James Risen, or of whistleblowers like John Kiriakou languishing in a federal prison? Then there is the collusion between the American government and media concerns like the New York Times which makes determining what is propaganda and actionable news difficult. The world knows that the US government, through the National Security Agency, is listening in: Those who might lead antiwar rebellions, or write contrarian reports, can be tracked and eliminated.
According to the Pew Research Journalism Project 25 percent of the 952 local television stations in the United States do not produce their own news products relying instead on contractors or sharing arrangements with third parties. Newsroom reductions in force continue across most mainstream media brands which--in spite of the hype over niche news outlets like Buzzfeed, Mashable, Politico, Vice News and Vox--still produce the bulk of the news products that Americans feed off of. And mainstream media continues to cut its news sectors. According to the Pew Research Journalism Project, "Full-time professional newsroom employment declined another 6.4% in 2012 with more losses expected for 2013. Gannett alone is estimated to have cut 400 newspaper jobs while the Tribune Co. announced 700 (not all of them in the newsroom)."
A clear and present danger to the reading, listening and seeing public is the growth of sponsored/biased journalism masking as news. Native advertising is a multibillion dollar industry and growing. Nearly every news organization in the United States is in on the game in which requiring journalists/reporters write with the sponsor/advertiser in mind, not the public and national interest.
According to the Pew Research Journalism Project "the overlap between public relations and news noted in last year's State of the News Media report became even more pronounced. One of the greatest areas of revenue experimentation now involves website content that is paid for by commercial advertisers - but often written by journalists on staff - and placed on a news publishers' page in a way that sometimes makes it indistinguishable from a news story. Following the lead of early adapters like The Atlantic and Mashable, native advertising, as it is called by the industry, caught on rapidly in 2013. The New York Times, The Washington Post and most recently The Wall Street Journal have now begun or announced plans to begin devoting staff to this kind of advertising, often as a part of a new "custom content division." eMarketer predicts that native ads spending will reach $2.85 billion by 2014. Many of these publishers initially expressed caution over such ads, with Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker even describing it as a "Faustian pact." In the end, though, many publishers eventually came down with a conclusion similar to Baker's, who said that he was "confident that our readers will appreciate what is sponsor-generated content and what is content from our global staff," according to a statement released by The Journal. That may be the case, and it could also be the case that stories created for and paid for by advertisers do not bother consumers as long as they are a good read. At this point, though, there is little if any public data that speak to consumer response one way or the other."
A similar model has long been in operation with heavyweight think tanks like the Brookings Institution who receive funding from foreign sources/sponsors to, ultimately, influence policy makers in Washington, DC. Once again the notorious non-profit NGO's reveal their true colors: "Show us the money and we'll justify anything!
Perhaps the day will come when the pundits, journalists, think tank mavens, and retired war machine veterans will be required to dress like NASCAR or Formula One race car drivers whose clothing is littered with patches advertising this and that corporation/sponsor.
Mind, Soul and Dreams Owned by Disney, Comcast, Fox, CBS, Pearson
Do you spends hours watching television until you drift into sleep? Do you read a newspaper or magazine during breakfast or lunch? Do you frequent websites that only cater to your ideology? What feeds your mind and creates your identity?
Who, really, are you? It's an important question to ask yourself.
In the original Total Recall Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a character named Quaid. He thinks that he really is Quaid, a construction worker married to a beautiful wife played by the Sharon Stone. Events transpire that reveal Quaid is really Hauser, a sinister government agent (also played by Schwarzenegger) in collusion with the oppressive Governor Cohaagen of a Mars mining colony. After a violent encounter with Cohaagen's henchmen, Quaid discovers he has killing skills he was unaware of. A rough and tumble scene with Stone follows and ends with Stone revealing to Quaid: "Your whole life is just a dream...implanted by 'the agency.'"
Later Quaid comes to find out that he really is Hauser. This revelation comes via Hauser speaking to Quaid from a prerecorded video displayed on a laptop television: "Hauser: Howdy, stranger! This is Hauser. If things have gone wrong, I'm talking to myself and you don't have a wet towel around your head. Now, whatever your name is, get ready for the big surprise. You are not you, you're me."
Here is a sampling of the vertically integrated companies that make you not you, but them: Disney owns ABC News, ESPN, Touchstone Pictures, Marvel Comics, Cruise Lines, Hyperion Books and Reedy Energy Services. Comcast owns NBC Universal, the Philadelphia Flyers, and is attempting to acquire Time Warner Cable. Fox News Corporation owns the Dow Jones & Company (Wall Street Journal, Barron's, DJX, etc.), Harper Collins Publishers, Move, Inc. (real estate news), 20th Century Fox, Fox News Channel, and Amplify (educational products for K-12). CBS owns Simon & Schuster, CNET, the Smithsonian Network, and 130 radio stations. Time Warner owns CNN, Time magazine, HBO, MAX, Sports Illustrated Kids, and People Magazine. Pearson influences the course of American education through its publishing houses, digital learning platforms, and a 50 percent interest in the Economist Magazine, Penguin Random House and the Financial Times.
Millions of 19, 21 and 30 year olds-civilians and not--are going to going to be killed, maimed, wounded and displaced in the coming years. Try to find out why.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at email@example.com
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