Monday, September 5, 2016

Why The Mainstream Media Isn't Covering (insert topic)

I've been hearing a lot of news about the pipeline protests, and yes, I've seen the video. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then chances are, you're watching NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX or some other large corporate media entity to get your news. You may even listen to talk radio or watch some comedy "news" broadcasts to stay informed. The problem is, their money all comes from the same place.

If you ever find yourself asking "Why isn't this on the front page of NBC?" when you see a video on liveleak or some other uncensored internet backalley, you're not alone. Going back to the pipeline protest it's obvious why the mainstream news doesn't cover it, just like they didn't cover all of the election fraud. All you have to do is watch the commercials. Turn on Good Morning America, Nightly News, or any other news entertainment and during the commercial breaks you are guaranteed to see at the very least, one bank or investment commercial and probably a car commercial or two as well. It's the same banks, investment groups, and auto companies that notoriously fund the Hillary Clinton campaign, and I'm sure they have a LOT of interest in seeing the pipeline go through as well.

The branding is obvious. Television and the internet is a visual media so watermarks and logos can be found everywhere, especially during weather forecasts, the most watched portion of the daily news. This is where in-broadcast watermarks can be placed without disrupting the segment, especially if it's tied into the graphics that surround the weather map.

The bank, utility, and auto sponsors are clear, and ALL have an interest in oil pipelines.

When the media is funded by banks and utilities, you're never going to get the whole truth, especially when it would damage the interests of the sponsor. Unless you pay attention to smaller sites like "occupy", "freethoughtproject", and others you're very likely to suffer from "media blackouts". You never heard about Iceland rounding up and arresting their bankers on American mainstream news until well after the fact, and only in passing because, once again, they have bank sponsors. They wouldn't want Americans getting any strange ideas, now would they? Unfortunately without these same massive sponsors, the alternative news sources that did write about this event, sometimes have to post clickbait articles that are more tabloidal than informative just to get ad revenue to survive. This erodes their trustworthiness in the eyes of their readers and sends many right back to NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC....

The problem is, all you have to do is threaten to pull funding, or if you're the government, threaten to pull a broadcasting license and they'll shut up about whatever news is a problem for your interests. What would a corporation like NBC do if they suddenly couldn't broadcast and had to rely solely on cable to deliver their content? It would be the end of the company, and so they bow to pressure. "Freedom of the press" only applies to print and was never expanded to cover the airwaves.

And with "news" in the precarious position it's in right now, it's hard to blame them. Everyone reads news for free online now, and a lot of us use ad blockers, so they're not making nearly as much money as they used to in print maybe 20 years ago. They're getting desperate, so they've upped the entertainment value with orchestral stings and advanced CG, and they've become far more sensational, only covering the worst news to keep people afraid, and watching. Sponsors will still leave if people stop watching their ads though, even if they keep quiet about all of the "inappropriate" topics. They still need "asses in seats", as the old entertainment saying goes.

That's exactly what it's become, too. It's not news anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. News doesn't make money anymore. It's a real eye opener when you come to that realization. What we're watching is just another form of entertainment on the hypnotic rectangle we all keep in our living rooms, and ratings rule reality.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

They Always Get What They Want

Way back on January 18th 2012 the fight against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act had reached it's end when the bill was unceremoniously dropped. The people had won. Led by major sites like Wikipedia and Google blackening their pages in protest, and key people like Aaron Swartz leading marches and rallies, they had bombarded congress with calls and letters. Fearing for their jobs (it was an election year), almost all support for the bill ended abruptly. The next day however, on the 19th, was taken down by the FBI and members of its staff were charged with copyright infringement.

Many members of congress had been pushing SOPA and PIPA, backed by the movie and music industries for whom sites like Megaupload had been a problem for years. The CEO, Kim Dotcom, and the site staff disavowed all responsibility for what their members uploaded and did precious little to appease these media giants or help in their fight to curtail piracy. Had these laws passed, this website and many more like it would've been shut down immediately, but they didn't pass. Seeing their failure, authorities moved on a plan they already had in place anyway, regardless of it's questionable legality and did what the failed laws would've allowed, had they passed.

It's this "lose and win anyway" tactic the government employs that we find over and over throughout history and now it's been brought out again. On August 21st 2013, the Ghouta chemical attack in Syria killed anywhere from 281 to 1729 people and caused international outrage. The Syrian government claimed the rebels had done the attack even though 51 of the dead were rebels themselves, and the rebels blamed government soldiers. Leading members of our government, the loudest of whom being John McCain pushed for airstrikes and even further military action in response.

The people however, weren't ready for a third war after 12 years of continuous fighting. They poured out into the streets with "No War In Syria" signs and along with admonishment from Russia, vast letter and call campaigns pushed the President and congress to back down from their aggressive stance. John McCain and many other hawks in congress were "disgusted" and called the administration "spineless" in it's enforcement of the ban on chemical weapons.

A year after the chemical attack in Syria, almost to the day on August 19th 2014, a journalist named James Foley was beheaded by ISIS militants. We've been in Syria fighting them ever since.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Clinton Dynasty

When the United States of America was founded, it was immediately after a violent revolution that expelled British colonial rule. We didn't like kings, and we certain didn't like one person and their family making decisions for everyone else. The dynastic rulers of most of Europe at the time were shocked and appalled that we would allow the people to... vote. It was seen as the greatest instability possible. To not have one vision for a nation and it's people that carried on for centuries would invite indecision and weakness and would quite possible destroy entire cultures should this sort of revolutionary idea spread. It did, of course, and they were wrong.

Dynastic rule was oppressive, unmoving and backward, and the "culture" and "tradition" they maintained were more like shackles on the people. To be rid of this and to have the general consensus of the population controlling what a nation does was unique in the world at the time and if the people who had signed the Declaration of Independence knew that for close to 40 years this nation would be ruled by just two political families... let's just say the founding fathers are probably 50 feet deeper in their graves from all the spinning.

The election in 2000 really showed the world what had been happening. It was supposed to be a smooth transition from Bill Clinton to his vice president Al Gore so they could continue what Bill ran out of time building. That whole Monica Lewinsky thing had taken up years of his time, carefully orchestrated by his political enemies to destroy his character and end his faction's political ambitions. Unfortunately for Bill, and all of the Wall Street cronies he had made promises to, it worked and they were defeated in a nail-biter by George W. Bush, not to be confused with his father George H. W. Bush who was president just 8 years before.

The outcome was viciously fought in the courts, coming down to one state where the Bush family had an ally. Brother Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida, and George Bush was soon declared the winner of that state's election, which carried him to the presidency. Seeing no use for Al Gore anymore, the wife of the president, Hillary Clinton was handed a senate seat in a state she never lived in to build up her political resume. She was originally supposed to take over for Gore in 8 years to continue the Clinton dynasty and now they had to wait those 8 years. 8 years while the previous dynasty had control again. 8 years while Bush gave away the money they had built up as a surplus, and had plans for... This was a tit-for-tat response to the damage done when Clinton had ruined the Reagan-Bush plans earlier.

After the new Reagan-Bush term was over, Hillary was positioned to take office. With a senate term under her belt and an appropriate resume to take over, the Clinton establishment was shocked when an Illinois state senator with similar credentials by the name of Barack Obama surprisingly won the nomination because he was far more likeable. She was supposed to be the first woman president and the path had been paved for an easy victory, but Obama would be the first black president. With the history of this nation, that was a far more profound victory for the people, and they voted in kind. The first woman would have to wait. The DNC, ever on her side and still run by the last Democratic president's people forced this newcomer to appoint her Secretary of State, arguably the second most powerful office in the country, so she stayed relevant. They would wait another 8 years.

Dynasties, it seems, are the way things work these days. Bill Clinton had cut off George H. W. Bush's planned 8 years and ended many of his policies in what was seen as a political coup at the time. Bush Sr., was himself a continuation of the Reagan dynasty having been his vice president for two terms, and head of the CIA even before that. During his own 4 year term, he continued Reaganomics and much of Reagan's political agenda and to be pushed aside was the beginnings of a new political family feud. This sort of politics, the back and forth swing of the pendulum with ruling families trading power and abruptly ending each others' policies, has always proven to be dangerous in America because a lot of powerful people end up losing a lot of money. Today, counting the terms of our current ruling families, they have held power in this country for close to 40 years, if not longer when you count CIA ties.

Now we're seeing the revival of the Clinton claim to the American throne again, and all of the skullduggery that the DNC is using to make it happen. It's no secret that the Trumps and the Clintons are family friends and have been for many years. In an article on Politico from a few months back it was detailed how Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump had to stop being seen in public together because of the current election. The Clintons were at several of Trump's weddings and over the years have built what can only be called a warm friendship.

It could be, that Trump is the raving, sexist dragon that's been built up for Hillary to slay on her way to becoming the first woman president, again. She's conservative which is a problem, but they've pitted a rabid dog against her so she looks liberal in comparison. Everything was tightly orchestrated to be a compelling story that the American people would eat up and HAVE to vote for, and it went off the rails when Bernie Sanders showed up, almost exactly the same as how Obama showed up 8 years ago. He would have been the first jewish president and this undermined her novelty in the same way. Without that, she's just not likeable enough to play the role set up for her, and has too much baggage to fit it.

But they're still pushing her again. Too many promises made during the Clintonian era need to be honored and a lot of banks and rich wall street people are riding on her success. The main Bush family rival, Jeb, is out and the only other Clinton aside from Bill's loser brother is Chelsea and she's not old enough to run. It must be Hillary or all is lost for those who've been waiting on a Clinton promise for close to 20 years now. If she doesn't win this time, I guarantee we'll see Chelsea or some other Clinton family friend they've been hiding in an attic somewhere running in 2020, but how could she lose? She's best friends with her opponent.

Will Trump play his part though? Or will the power, something he's always pursued, be too much of a temptation? We've got our own "Game of Thrones" happening right now.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Facebook Activism

During the Arab Spring, social networking was essential in organizing the masses that rose up and eventually toppled the governments of Egypt and Libya. People used it to track the locations of military and police forces so protesters could steer clear and to schedule the daily rally locations. It became such a threat that the governments of both countries shut down the internet entirely in a vain attempt to squash the growing protests. Cut off from the news in their homes, the average person went out into the street to have a look around and see what was going on, and would subsequently join the protests themselves. Both governments fell soon after.

But would the same thing happen in America? The ubiquitous nature of social media in this country and the cultural attention deficit of a population that's been spoonfed sensational headlines and manipulative advertising for their entire lives has made Facebook and Twitter the perfect place to receive bits of information. The average person rarely delves deeply into any subject, preferring to skim the surface reading headline after headline, and clicking "like" on images they find agreeable. Add an Anonymous mask and a black background to some trite message or quote and you'll soon get a knee-jerk flurry of likes and shares. With so much information at our fingertips, most of us just don't have the time to read entire books about a subject anymore, preferring a synopsis whether it comes from wikipedia or some article/blog post (ahem). People are considered educated if they read the news where daily events are boiled down to a headline, that if clicked, contains an article consisting of a few paragraphs that attempt to sum up events that entire novels would've covered not 50 years ago. This general "summing up" of the information we take in has made Twitter and Facebook the perfect thing to plug into so you feel connected to what's going on, without having to know much about it. But there's more to it than that.

The Arab protesters used their networks as a tool, but here social media is not just a means of communication, but rather a place for many of us to cherry-pick our reality. It's a place where someone can say things they may have trouble saying in person. It's a place where we can carefully craft our image and filter out most negativity. And it's a place where you can easily find a group of like-minded people and discuss politics, and disseminate reading material and art to a group of people that all agree with you. For the average person, standing on street corners and handing out pamphlets or taping them to electric poles and the sides of buildings would be unthinkable. They'd rather create or pass on an image over facebook where hundreds, if not thousands of people can see it instantly. It may even go viral where millions will see it. All the past ways of making a revolution a reality have been transferred to the digital world, where people get into heated discussions and get outraged reading story after story about the abuses of their own government and police force. They write comments, they share the articles, and then... they do nothing. The act of "informing the public" and "waking people up" gives them the sense that they've helped, and that they're a part of something.

The slow transfer of discussion and action from the real world to the digital one has made facebook not so much of a promoter of activism, but rather a container for it. Easily indexed and searched by governments and other nefarious entities. Easily censored and manipulated. The caf├ęs and taverns that the people of the French and American revolutions of the past would have to meet at to discuss politics could only be accessed by first, leaving your house. And if the politics got heated enough it was easy for the people to spill out into the streets together. A facebook group is a collection of random people usually all separated by miles with no chance at all of coming together and accomplishing anything real. They keep each other informed, click "like" and "share", and wonder how if everyone agrees with them, their government is still corrupt and their police are looking more and more like their military.

We weren't the only ones watching the Arab Spring protests. Our government was studying them intensely, learning the various ways the revolutions began and spread. Modern facial recognition and full access to all facebook data by entities like the NSA means they know exactly what's going on, and who's doing it. Far more tech-savvy than the fallen governments in the middle east, they know social media is a goldmine for data and would encourage you to get online and exercise your first amendment rights. Besides, they saw what happens if you shut it off and the last thing they want is for the container of our activism, to become the catalyst for revolution.

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CG is the Future, And the Future may be CG

Not long ago, I saw a movie called "The Running Man" starring Arnold Schwarzenneger. It was an 80s movie adapted from a Stephen King book of the same name and it's opening premise, a soldier framed for murder via government tampering with evidence couldn't be more relevant today. I'm sure at the time, it was just science fiction. A helicopter pilot ordered to fire on civilian protesters refuses, is overpowered, the civilians are killed anyway, and he is framed for the murders with advanced video manipulation showing him relishing in the carnage.

Have a look at this video and remember that the face of the woman talking isn't real.

- Lifelike "CG Emily" Animation -

Now look when it was posted. Over 6 years ago. That is a LONG time when technology is concerned. In fact, our capabilities at this point are so advanced that almost entire action movies are done with CG with only the random dialogue sequences being true filmed footage. Your average person just can't tell the difference. Before we know it, actors may never have to leave their homes to star in a film. They'd just have to license their image to a studio and you could have "Rocky 12" starring a young Stallone, or we could bring back Elvis, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe to star in the next "Back to the Future" with a young Michael J Fox.

This all sounds fun, and it would be, but remember who's hands all technology eventually falls into, if they didn't create it themselves. If movie studios can produce believable video imagery that never actually happened, what's stopping our government from doing the same? What's to stop anyone from creating sophisticated graphics and distributing them to news stations as real footage? There are virtually no means to detect this sort of thing aside from a good eye and the "Uncanny Valley".

Already, no videos of purported UFO sightings can be trusted because there are scores of amazingly realistic videos on Youtube of CG UFOs flying through, under and over clouds and weaving between skyscrapers. What else should we be wary of? Pictures in magazines have been "touched up" for decades and video wouldn't be much different. What events have we already seen.... that may never have happened at all?

The scariest part of all of this, is that my example from the Schwarzenegger movie is already possible, and being done. In this Video you can see realtime facial and speech manipulation on world leaders. They can show us anything they want, and not the people, watchdog groups, or the media would ever know the difference.

In closing, have a look at these images.

This woman is entirely computer generated.

Once again, all CG.

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American Dream - The Greatest Generation Myth

The "Greatest Generation". These were the proud Americans of the 1950s, the men and women who fought "the last good war" and toppled a dictator. They stared evil in the face and triumphed not once but twice, being one of the few, if not the only nation to ever win a war fought on two fronts. We were just that badass! Now home from war the young men and women of this nation were no longer proving their superiority on the battlefield, but on wall street, the factory floor, and the bedroom. Spawning the baby boom generation, these were the folks that owned a new car, lived in a new house, had a single income that could pay their bills AND their child's college tuition. This was America, as it should be.

And it was a myth. A myth still believed by too many people who attribute the successes of the 50s people and economy to social climate and morality rather than economical circumstance. With the vast majority of male youth volunteering or being drafted into WWII, upon their return, the GI bill gave them ALL an opportunity for free higher education, and they took it. Most of the returning soldiers came from families that had never had a college graduate in their recent history and it was an honor to be the first in their family to have a real chance at what they had all been promised for so long. The American Dream, and they were owed it.

After 4-5 years, just as 1950 rolled around, the percentage of educated Americans skyrocketed since practically all of the returning soldiers, being most of the male population of the country, now had an education. Doors opened, and you could do pretty much anything you wanted. Professionally, the sky was the limit. Add to that, the fact that America's major competition in industry, Japan and Germany, were in ruin so virtually all steel production moved here. The American automobile industry had gains like never before. Also, all of Germany's scientists defected during and after the war and now our chemistry, space, and aeronautics programs were light years ahead of the rest of the world. Things were really looking good for America, which took virtually no infrastructural damage during the war. All of Europe, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and Asia was in shambles, but not us.

But then the world did what it always does. It rebuilt. That carpetbombing? It removed vast areas of outdated factory room, equipment... and operators. It was replaced with the shiny and new, and younger, fresh minds to operate it. By the end of the decade we were on the back foot. Russia beat us into space and the industrial output of nations that were in ruin just 15 years before rose exponentially. So we outsourced. Cheaper goods means better lives for us all right?

We all know what outsourcing does and I won't lecture on that. But needless to say, over the next 40 years we wrecked our own economy with one political blunder after another. We tried to stop the spread of communism, the force that beat us into space. The big red scary monster that was outpacing us in every way. Then the "Red Scare" happened. McCarthyism had us afraid of our own neighbors. Anyone could be a communist and we had to stamp it out NOW. First in Korea we tried to stop it's advance, but we didn't have the stomach for another war so soon after the big one. It ended in a stalemate. Then in Vietnam, we had to use the draft again and that ended in a humiliating defeat when the baby boomers who were sent to fight it had no reason to be there, unlike their fathers who had real reason to fear Germany and Japan and still held onto that fear. The protests against the war, a product of progressive views and education in general... that same education their parents paid for with their spoils of war, were seen as unamerican and amoral.. and probably communist... The "moral fabric" of the nation was tearing and it was the youth, who had no reason to fear the world, that we turned on. Fundamentalism took hold and began to ascribe what amounted to divinity to the bygone age of profit and power... but it had passed.

Fast-forward to today, and just as before WWII, hardly anyone can afford college, which was the catalyst that drove us forward, for a time, in the 50s. Now the chances of the average American becoming successful due to their own perseverance are so much lower than 60 years ago. The Dream is dead and conservatism looks back fondly on the glorious 50s as a time when the country had solid moral footing, despite jim crow laws. The "moral decay" of the present is to blame for all our troubles and politicians push this view to milk easy votes out of today's vastly uneducated populace.

The hard truth remains, if we ever want to get that same boost that made America great, it would take another world war, a full on draft, and then a similar gift to the survivors across the board again, to achieve another golden age for this nation. Or massive education subsidies.. but that'll never happen. We could educate the entire nation again as the rest of the world is still doing... but we'd rather give our money to corporations in the hopes that they might hire someone again.. some day.

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The End of the World

For the last few years, word of massive bee die-offs has hit various news sources and the internet fringe has picked the story up and run with it. These are the same people that shout so loudly and constantly about the end of the world that you'd think they're actually hoping it happens. There are images and memes being created constantly blaming everything from Monsanto's nicotine-based pesticides to the now defunct HAARP program.

But there is a small fact that nobody mentions. There are other species of insect that also can pollinate and nature has a way of filling voids. If all the bees die, the insects they were pushing out of the way to get to that sweet nectar would begin consuming it, as NO food source goes unused in nature, especially almost pure sugar. They would get covered in pollen in the process, the same as bees do now, and pass it on to the next flower. Bees happen to fill this niche because they are bigger and more aggressive than other insects that would take their place if they were no longer here. Underestimating the mechanisms that have kept this planet green and life-sustaining for millions of years seems to be the norm these days and people forget that plant life not only existed, but thrived well before the bee came onto the scene and grew with such abundance that gargantuan dinosaurs could feed constantly and never worry about depleting their food supply.

There's a lot of fear-mongering going on, and while it is distressing that bees are dying by the billion across the country, I'm not so sure it will be the end of days if they die out. Perhaps it would cause problems initially, but many plants are wind pollinated too... quite a lot of the plants we eat actually. Of course I'm not saying nothing should be done to stop the problem, but I also wouldn't let fear get in the way of rationality and judgement. I just find it odd that people are always so eager to declare that the world is ending, and that brings me to my main point.

This list is from Wikipedia and shows a timeline for every recorded end of the world prediction and it's fascinating how the end of the world was just around the corner since the beginning of recorded history.

End of the world predictions.

One of the worst examples of "End of the world" proselytizing was the story of the Millerites. William Miller headed a fairly large congregation as a lay-preacher and through some complicated, obfuscated, and entirely proprietary math, determined that the world would come to an end on April 28th, 1843 after many years of studying events and timelines in the Bible. This would later be revised to October 22nd, 1844. On that date, his congregation sold all their possessions, and stood all day on the edge of a cliff hoping to see their savior ride down from heaven on a white horse to begin a new age.

Unfortunately for them, that never happened and many were left destitute, disillusioned and quite a few lost their faith entirely. The event came to be known as The Great Disappointment and this was not the last time this exact set of events would be played out, with the antics of Harold Camping being one of the more recent examples.

So why do we have this insatiable desire for the world to end and for everything to be destroyed? Arguably one of the biggest genres in modern fiction is the "Zombie Apocalypse" with shows like "The Walking Dead" being the largest grossing television series in the history of the medium. Movies like "Deep Impact", "Armageddon", "Independence Day", "World War Z", all 50 or so living dead and zombie films, "The Road", and "I am Legend" are just a miniscule fraction of these along with book series like "Metro 2033" and "Left Behind". I'm sure you can find massive lists of apocalyptic books, TV, and movies across the net but putting an entire list of such media here would be beyond exhaustive, so I won't. There's just something about the struggle to survive that is innately compelling to the average person, almost as if there was some deep yearning for a simpler life where all vestiges of the modern world melt away. Why else would images of abandoned buildings and ghost towns be so popular as works of art?

The one thing we can be sure of, is that the world is not ending. At least not until our star goes supernova and expands to consume the planet in 5 billion years. Until then, as George Carlin put it, "The world isn't going anywhere, We are".

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