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The Sovereignty Series – Reassessing Our Lives – The Value of Being Centered | Two Ice Floes

The Sovereignty Series – Reassessing Our Lives – The Value of Being Centered | Two Ice Floes.

Most of us will argue that on those occasions when we reach critical decision points in our life we believe they are successfully navigated. Just as important we believe the vast majority of our decisions are based upon current data, the present state of our personal affairs and how it all fits in with our perceived life goals.

Quite frankly, for many of us this is an illusion we embrace in order not to upset our sense of self and our positioning within the ‘real’ world we call ours. In reality we rarely deviate much from our present path, a path more often chosen for us by opportunity and circumstance then by directed thought and conscious decision.

When do we ever pull back and thoroughly assess where we are and what we want, not based upon debt or family pressures or even what our employment situation demands of us, but upon what we really truly desire of ourselves? Until recently, for this author at least, the honest answer was not very often.

In fact the last time I conducted this type of thorough self assessment was back in 1990 when I completely changed my career and life direction. While the decision was right for me at the time, it was now well past stale and moldy, the ‘sell by’ date long past expiration.

Since that critical juncture in my life I had not considered conducting another self assessment of this sort with any real seriousness. If anything I would engage in fantastical daydreaming about how neat this might be or how liberating living that way could be. To be frank I did not want to back myself into an emotional corner, to come to a conclusion contrary to where I was presently positioned in life and then not follow through.

No one wishes to face their own impotence, to fail their ‘self’ and then have nowhere to hide. It is best not to have tried rather than fail and be unmasked and miserable. Sometimes we are most embarrassed and ashamed when bare naked and fully exposed to our self.

This is the deeply conditioned slave mentality which I and so many others struggle with, a perspective that helps to explain quite well the present state of the zombie nation. We dull the ever present pain of our own failures with food, drink, drugs, TV, work, whatever it takes to forget if only for another moment more.

Gear - Clean1

did know that I was growing increasingly unhappy with my chosen profession and I wanted out. But like a deer in the headlights I was frozen in place and unable to make any significant decisions because of all the entanglements, real or otherwise, that I thought were tying me down.

Some I believed were financial, some physical, some emotional, but all were blown way out of proportion to the reality I was trying to avoid. One must build the walls of our own cage higher than we are willing to climb if we are to remain safely confined within our own mind.

In short I was unhappy enough to think about radical change, but just content enough (‘sated’ is probably a much better term to use here) with the status quo that I didn’t wish to upset my carefully stacked house of cards. Who really wants to gather up all their Jacks and fling them high into the air in order to see what comes up when they all fall down?

Mostly this was because I had never honestly asked myself “What it is that I desire most” or “How would I like to live”? Instead I would ask myself the normal questions society directs us towards; what is it that I want to ‘do’, or what do I want to ‘be’ when I grow up, get out of school, change careers or retire?

Think about one of the first questions you ask a stranger you are meeting for the first time in a casual social setting. Or what is asked of you during that same social function. “So….what do you do”? The honest answer is that we live in our own mental straitjacket with our body and life dragged along, securely attached via our own carefully constructed ball and chain.

For most of us the ‘life’ decision process, at least initially, works in reverse. We start off listing what it is we don’t want and move forward from there. And the number one item at the top of most lists of undesirables is the following……“I don’t wish to be poor”.

Since we are forever focused on the ‘money meme’ every decision radiates out from that central focal point. It may help to remember that the all controlling money meme permeates so deeply into our childhood that the tooth fairy brings money in exchange for recently removed used body parts.

Circle Ceiling

OK………well, if I don’t wish to be poor I will ‘need’ (as opposed to ‘want’) a good education followed by a decent job to start my career, then marriage, kids, cars, house etc. Before we know it our exercise wheel is up to speed and we are off to the races on our never ending run to nowhere.

Back in 1990 I changed everything in my life after nearly two decades wasted. Because I headed off the deep end just after graduating from high school, rather than money being my central focus it was another equally damaging obsession that I revolved around.

Seventeen years later, my life in tatters by my own hand but still well along in the process of living, I struggled to move forward while balancing single parenthood demands with the need to earn a living.

The decisions I made at that point suited my life situation, not my happiness. I did what needed to be done to finish raising my son, who was then only five years of age, and to begin the process of cleaning up the mess I had created which trailed far behind me.

When the time came for my son to leave home and move on, essentially thirteen years later with me still single and uninvolved, I settled in to begin the serious work of examining the world around me, something I never fully pursued earlier since life was demanding my attention after I finally got my act together.

Back in 1990 after I awoke from my stupor, I saw contradictions and cognitive dissonances as far as the eye could see, but I deliberately chose not to look too deep in order to maintain some semblance of stability in my son’s life, not to mention my own. It was years, actually more than a decade, before I felt stable enough to really begin to deeply examine what I perceived as wrong with the world.

Once we begin the process of questioning everything, eventually we begin to seriously question ourselves, a course of action that often derives its value from the procedure itself rather than any actual results obtained. If we find the courage to travel far enough down the rabbit hole we find ourselves face to face with……….well, with our ‘self’. It is then that we reach a decision point unlike any we have encountered up to this point in our lives.

Do we travel a path, the path, any path that ultimately frees us from ourselves (or at least gets us a little bit closer), one which opens up an entirely new panorama of choices, the road less traveled if you will? Or do we look into the abyss, experience only disorientation and fear, then rapidly retreat to the perceived safety of our existing familiar surroundings.

Circle Oval - Clean1

If we have remained in a continuous state of low level pain for a long enough period of time, the idea of making radical changes in order to relieve that pain is not as inviting as it might seem at first blush. The elevated level of pain we mentally and emotionally project will result from the change is nearly always believed to be much worse than it actually turns out to be.

A perfect example of this is the person with a nagging toothache who is frightened of the dentist. On an accumulated basis that person might experience ten times more pain over a month’s time before finally capitulating to the inevitable trip to the dentist, rather than if he had just ripped the tooth out at home with some pliers. Procrastination is just as much a process of bargaining with ourselves as it is fear and consequence avoidance.

This isn’t to say that one must change everything in order to begin the process of being true to oneself. Becoming personally sovereign in the middle of an insane asylum is a journey at best and not a destination. One can never be truly clean when we wash in filthy water, but we can begin to filter the water and improve the conditions under which we bathe.

The thing is that the end result for many who go down this road is not a product of any one decision, but of a series of half steps and reluctant conclusions that lead to a fundamental recognition. Eventually we come to understand that if we are to be true to ourselves we can no longer live in the manner we currently are. It is then that we discover if we have the courage to take a chance and move deeper down into the rabbit hole, or do we scurry away back to the perceived safety of the herd’s insanity.

I say this not to be judgmental of anything the reader is or is not doing. I live in a very fragile glass house with no intention of throwing stones or examining the quality of your life’s construction. Nor do I claim to have arrived at my destination and thus am qualified to give advice and direction. What I am doing works for me, and most likely will not work for you precisely because we are all unique individuals with distinctively different needs and life situations.

While I have clearly stated that personal sovereignty is a ‘State of Mind’, meaning we adopt a particular mindset that fully encompasses total personal responsibility for our ‘self’, it also requires that we be more centered than most of us presently are. If we are unhappy with our lives, or if we are in denial about our unhappiness which simply pushes us further and further away from our center, trying to adopt the personal sovereignty mindset is nearly impossible.

Take that first step; reassess where you are and why you aren’t somewhere else. Look deeply, ask those difficult questions of your ‘self’, push your outer boundaries and scale those cognitive walls. You have little to lose and everything to gain…..including your centering. Deliberately and consciously push that start button and begin the process within your ‘self‘.

03-15-2014

Cognitive Dissonance

On Button - Clean1

 

 

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Washington Has Set The World On A Path To War

Paul Craig Roberts

Why is Washington so opposed to Crimean self-determination? The answer is that one of the main purposes of Washington’s coup in Kiev was to have the new puppet government evict Russia from its Black Sea naval base in Crimea. Washington cannot use the government Washington has installed in Ukraine for that purpose if Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine.

What Washington has made completely obvious is that “self-determination” is a weapon used by Washington in behalf of its agenda. If self-determination advances Washington’s agenda, Washington is for it. If self-determination does not advance Washington’s agenda, Washington is against it.

The Washington-initiated UN Security Council resolution, vetoed by Russia, falsely declares that the referendum in Crimea, a referendum demanded by the people, “can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”

Washington could not make it any clearer that Washington totally opposes self-determination by Crimeans.

Washington claims, falsely, that the referendum cannot be valid unless the entire population of Ukraine votes and agrees with the decision by Crimeans. Note that when Washington stole Kosovo from Serbia, Washington did not let Serbians vote.

But overlook Washington’s rank hypocrisy and self-serving double-standards. Let’s apply Washington’s argument that in order to be valid any change in Crimea’s status requires a vote on the part of the population of the country that it departs. If this is the case, then Crimea has never been a part of Ukraine.

Under Washington’ s interpretation of international law, Ukraine is still a part of Russia. When Khrushchev transferred Crimea (but not Sevastopol, the Black Sea base) to Ukraine, Russians did not get to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s own logic it is invalid to recognize Crimea as part of Ukraine. That also goes for other parts of Russia that Lenin transferred to Ukraine. Under the logic of Washington’s UN resolution, large parts of Ukraine are not legitimately part of Ukraine. They have remained parts of Russia, because Russians were not allowed to vote on their transfer to Ukraine. Thus, there is no issue about “Russia annexing Crimea,” because, according to Washington’s logic, Crimea is still a part of Russia.

Do you need any more proof that the Ukrainian crisis is made up out of thin air by schemers in Washington who created the entire crisis for one purpose–to weaken Russia militarily?

No one was surprised that the New York Times published on March 14 the warmongering rant, written by neoconservatives for John McCain, which described Washington’s aggression in Ukraine as Russia’s aggression. The US government overthrows an elected democratic Ukrainian government and then accuses Russia of “invading and annexing Crimea” in order to divert attention from Washington’s overthrow of Ukrainian democracy. There is no elected government in Kiev. The stooges acting as a government in Kiev were put in office by Washington. Who else choose them?

What surprised some was Rand Paul joining the hysteria. Rand Paul wrote his propagandistic rant against Russia for Time. Rand Paul claims, falsely, that Putin has invaded Crimea and that it is an affront to “the international community.” First of all, the decision of Crimea to leave Ukraine is a decision of the Crimean population and the elected government, not a decision by Russia. But, for the sake of argument, let’s take Rand Paul’s lie as the truth: Is “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community” like Washington’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington-sponsored invasions of Libya and Syria, and Washington’s ongoing slaughter of Pakistanis and Yemenis with drones, and Washington’s violation of Iran’s sovereignty with illegal sanctions, and Washington’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by overthrowing the elected government and imposing Washington’s stooges?

If Putin is behaving as Rand Paul ignorantly asserts, Putin is just following the precedents established by Clinton in Serbia, by Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by Obama in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Washington’s argument is reduced to: “We, the exceptional and indispensable nation can behave this way, but no other country can.”

As some Americans have misplaced hopes in Rand Paul, it is just as well that he revealed in Time that he is just another fool prostituting himself for the neoconservative warmongers and the military/security complex. If Rand Paul is the hope for America, then clearly there is no hope.

As I have been pointing out, the propaganda and lies issuing from Washington, its European puppets, New York Times, Time, and the entirety of the Western media are repeating the path to war that led to World War 1. It is happening right before our eyes.

The Failure of Keynesianism – Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada

The Failure of Keynesianism – Ludwig von Mises Institute Canada.

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 by  posted in

keynesIt’s hard not to agree with the old aphorism “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” It’s nice to think we learn from our mistakes; yet we always seem to repeat them at some later date.

Reading the daily news, you would be hard-pressed to find mention that there is still an employment crisis unfolding in many industrialized countries. The New York Times recently reported that employers in the United States hired only 175,000 workers in February. This is apparently a cause for celebration among economists. The unemployment rate in the U.S. still remains at an historic high of 6.7%, and there appears to be no date in sight for a return of full employment, but no matter; the economy is supposedly gaining steam.

The only problem is, nobody seems to care much anymore. High unemployment is a constant reality now. Nearly six years of slagging job creation has created a cloud of apathy for most people. It’s just accepted that not everyone who wants to find work will be able to; or they will wander from low-wage job to low-wage job without any kind of security.

The current economic malaise is reminiscent of what the Great Depression was like. Persistently high unemployment with no conceivable end; massive government intervention in the marketplace; a changing industrial landscape; and even social and cultural transformation. We’re less than a century removed from the biggest economic hardship ever faced in America, and the same mishaps are unfolding in front of our eyes.

Then and now, something has remained perennial: the utter incompetence on government’s part to cure economic stagnation.

Newscasters, state officials, and academic economists all tell us government is capable of spending us into prosperity. No matter how much dough is thrown at the glob known as the “economy,” large numbers of people remain out of work. During the Depression, the glut of joblessness lasted for nearly fifteen years. Uncle Sam spent like a drunken sailor while swallowing up much of the economy in fascist scheme after fascist scheme.

The very same thing goes on today, all at the behest of Keynesian-type political actors who provide the intellectual ammunition necessary to justify government’s outstretched hand. With neatly obscure formulas and obtuse language, the apparatchik darlings of Keynes love branding themselves as deep-thinking scientists capable of engineering the perfect economy. When their policy is put to work, we get the opposite. Job creation stagnates, living standards slump, and misery spreads. The siphons of entrepreneurial growth don’t pump; they are bogged down with the grimy sludge of currency manipulation and government hubris.

After decades of constant failure, I mean this wholeheartedly: the followers of the Keynesian school don’t have a damn clue on how to fix the economy. Why my gauche phrasing? Their policy prescription is a complete and total failure. The Great Depression; the stagflation of the 1970s; the Great Recession we see today; in each instance, Washington was impotent to reverse the damage. Keynesians are either pathetically ignorant, or maliciously deceptive.

Taking rhetorical shots doesn’t mean much without some evidence. So let’s meet the Keynesians on their terms. First, economic science itself will be interpreted through the lens of positivism. That means data, in whatever form, will be used to justify whether something works or not. Of course the assumption will be made that spending is the driver of economic prosperity – not saving or investment. The same goes for boundless money printing, which is said to infuse the “animal spirits” with a rejuvenating elixir.

So what have they got for successes? Keynesians used to tout the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt (not so much Herbert Hoover, who was proto-Rooseveltian) during the Great Depression as vindication for their theory. I remember being told in no uncertain terms that Uncle Sam stepped up to save the downtrodden from excess capitalism in my American Presidency 301 class. Sure, it wasn’t an economics course; but it’s the same tale spun by economists anyway.

What does the data say? From 1931 to 1940, the unemployment rate never went south of 10%. From the onset of the Depression, Washington spending went up 97% under the Hoover Administration. According to the White House’s official statistics, the federal budget increased from $3.5 billion in 1931 to $13.6 billion in 1941, jumping in size year after year. A combination of deficit spending and tax hikes (admittedly not a Keynesian remedy) allowed for this gorge in consumption. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve goosed the economy by first stabilizing the monetary base and increasing the supply of money after the initial contraction during the Depression’s early years. According to the Historic Statistics of the United States, the Federal Reserve increased its holding of U.S. securities from $510 million in 1929 to over $6 billion in 1942. During the same period, the central bank’s balance sheet went from about $5.5 billion to $29 billion.

That’s no small stimulus. And yet the unemployment rate failed to drop significantly during the Depression years. Most of Keynes’s disciples admit that nearly fifteen years of high unemployment leaves much to be desired on the part of muscular government. The counterfactual is then deployed that Roosevelt’s domestic efforts lightened the economic burden foisted upon America. What finally put the Depression to bed, they argue, was the incredible amount of spending during World War II.

But as economic historian Robert Higgs shows, measures of economic performance were highly skewed during wartime. Unemployment fell and production ramped up, but this was due to the draft and building of armaments. Rationing was widespread to the point where basic foodstuffs and toiletries were scarce. If a wartime economy counts as prosperity, then the homeless today are the living embodiment of luxury.

World War II is a bunk fantasy that in no way proves the Keynesian theory correct. The same goes for the fascist orgy known as the New Deal. Fast-forward to today, and the same charlatans are preaching from the gospel of government interventionism. They implore Washington to fight back against the Great Recession with the same blunted tools: spending and money printing.

When the housing bubble burst and the economy began to tank, then-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and crew nearly tripled the central bank’s balance sheet. As of right now, the Fed’s sheet stands at about $4 trillion. In 2008, it was at $800 billion. Not to be outdone, the federal government ramped up spending by running nearly-trilliondollar deficits year-after-year. Once again, all this effort has only made a slight dent in the unemployment rate.

From a strictly empirical perspective, the Keynesian theory is a disaster. Positivism wise, it’s a smoldering train wreck. You would be hard-pressed to comb through historical data and find great instances where government intervention succeeded in lowering employment without creating the conditions for another downturn further down the line.

No matter how you spin it, Keynesianism is nothing but snake oil sold to susceptible political figures. Its practitioners feign using the scientific method. But they are driven just as much by logical theory as those haughty Austrian school economists who deduce truth from self-evident axioms. The only difference is that one theory is correct. And if the Keynesians want to keep pulling up data to make their case, they are standing on awfully flimsy ground.

James E. Miller is editor-in-chief of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada. Send him mail

World War 1 All Over Again — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

World War 1 All Over Again — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org.

World War 1 All Over Again
The same fools play the same game

Paul Craig Roberts

“If you reduce the lie to a scientific system put it on thick and heavy, and with great effort and sufficient finances scatter it all over the world as the pure truth, you can deceive whole nations for a long time and drive them to slaughter for causes in which they have not the slightest interest.” — Chief French Editor, Behind the Scenes in French Journalism, describing the organization of World War 1 propaganda in France.

Did US Secretary of State John Kerry ask you before he delivered an all or nothing ultimatum to Russia? Did he ask Congress? Did he ask the countries of western and eastern Europe–NATO members who Kerry has committed to whatever the consequences will be of Washington’s inflexible, arrogant, aggressive provocation of Russia, a well-armed nuclear power? Did Kerry ask Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa, China, Central Asia, all of whom would be adversely affected by a world war provoked by the crazed criminals in Washington?

No.

He did not.

The exceptional, indispensable, arrogant, self-righteous United States government does not need to ask anyone. Washington speaks not merely for itself. Washington represents the country chosen by history (and the neoconservatives) to speak not merely for itself, but for the entire world.

Whatever Washington says is truth. Whatever Washington does is legal, in accordance with both domestic and international law. When Washington invades countries and destroys them, sends in drones and missiles, blows up people attending weddings, funerals and children’s soccer games, Washington is practicing human rights and bringing democracy to the people. Whenever a country tries to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the country is engaging in terrorism, al-Qaeda connections, human rights violations, and suppressing democracy.

We are watching this audacity play out now in the confrontation with Russia that Washington’s coup in Ukraine has provoked. Obama and Kerry have been advised by the idiots that comprise the US government that Russia will surrender and accept Washington’s will if Washington is sufficiently insistent.

Apparently, no one has asked the advisors what happens if ultimatums are given, and the Russians do not submit.

Crimea To Abandon Hyrvnia, Switch To Russian Ruble On April 1st | Zero Hedge

Crimea To Abandon Hyrvnia, Switch To Russian Ruble On April 1st | Zero Hedge.

Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev has told RIANovosti that the region will abandon Ukraine’s Hyrvnia:

  • *CRIMEA TO SWITCH TO RUSSIAN RUBLE APRIL 1: RIA NOVOSTI

This is not a total surprise as Reuters reported the Crimean Deputy PM stating “we are ready to introduce a ruble zone,” a week ago.

For the last few years the UAH/RUB exchange rate has oscillated around 38 in an ‘almost’ peg anyway…

But this move would isolate Crimeans from the potentially large devaluation that capital flows would create should a default occur (which looks increasingly likely)

From Reuters last week:

The Ukrainian region of Crimea could adopt the Russian ruble as its currency and “nationalize” state property as part of plans to join the Russian Federation, a regional official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Interfax news agency cited Rustam Temurgaliyev, Crimea’s vice premier, as saying: “All Ukrainian state enterprises will be nationalized and become the property of the Crimean autonomy.”

Hoping Moscow would let Crimea become part of Russia, he said: “We are ready to introduce the ruble zone.”

Of course, this may lead to the emergence of an even more broad ‘black market’ for dollars or rubles in Ukraine as we are sure the Ukraine government would fight back with capital controls of some sort.

Crimea To Abandon Hyrvnia, Switch To Russian Ruble On April 1st | Zero Hedge

Crimea To Abandon Hyrvnia, Switch To Russian Ruble On April 1st | Zero Hedge.

Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliev has told RIANovosti that the region will abandon Ukraine’s Hyrvnia:

  • *CRIMEA TO SWITCH TO RUSSIAN RUBLE APRIL 1: RIA NOVOSTI

This is not a total surprise as Reuters reported the Crimean Deputy PM stating “we are ready to introduce a ruble zone,” a week ago.

For the last few years the UAH/RUB exchange rate has oscillated around 38 in an ‘almost’ peg anyway…

But this move would isolate Crimeans from the potentially large devaluation that capital flows would create should a default occur (which looks increasingly likely)

From Reuters last week:

The Ukrainian region of Crimea could adopt the Russian ruble as its currency and “nationalize” state property as part of plans to join the Russian Federation, a regional official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Interfax news agency cited Rustam Temurgaliyev, Crimea’s vice premier, as saying: “All Ukrainian state enterprises will be nationalized and become the property of the Crimean autonomy.”

Hoping Moscow would let Crimea become part of Russia, he said: “We are ready to introduce the ruble zone.”

Of course, this may lead to the emergence of an even more broad ‘black market’ for dollars or rubles in Ukraine as we are sure the Ukraine government would fight back with capital controls of some sort.

With 79% Turnout, Exit Polls Confirm 93% Of Voters Back Crimea Joining Russia; White House Rejects Results | Zero Hedge

With 79% Turnout, Exit Polls Confirm 93% Of Voters Back Crimea Joining Russia; White House Rejects Results | Zero Hedge.

With a voter turnout (79.09%) that exceeded every US Presidential election since 1900, the people of Crimea have spoken:

  • *CRIMEA JOINING RUSSIA BACKED BY 93% OF VOTERS: EXIT POLL
  • *U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: U.K. WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM

Ukraine’s leaders have called up 20,000 men for a newly-created National Guard as despite the so-called “truce” Russian APCs and Tanks are rolling. Pro-Russian supporters are burning books in Donetsk after storming anti-Russian buildings. The White House is already out rejecting the vote (before the final results are released).

Voter Turnout (by region):

As exit polls confirm overhwleming support for Crimea to join Russia…

  • Exit poll by Crimea-based Republican Institute for Political and Sociological Studies released by Kryminform news service.
  • 93% of voters back joining Russia: exit poll

Exit poll: ????? 93% ??????? ????? ????????????? ?? ????????????? ? ??

— ??? ??????? (@riabreakingnews) March 16, 2014

Despite the so-called truce, Russian APC and Tanks are moving…

Pro-Russian supporters are burning books in Donetsk

And Kharkiv is dominated by Pro-Russia supporters carry this huge Russian flag…

White House Statement:

Carney on Crimea referendum: “Russia’s actions are dangerous and destabilizing” pic.twitter.com/pfAmgxLTRG

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 16, 2014

The US is rejecting the vote:

The U.S. is rejecting the vote in Crimea even before the results are released.

The White House says Sunday’s referendum on succession is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution.

The U.S. says the world won’t recognize the results of a vote held under what it says are “threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.”

A written statement from the White House calls Russia’s actions in Ukraine “dangerous and destabilizing.”

The U.S. is urging other nations to “take concrete steps to impose costs” against Russia.

Secession was expected to be approved overwhelmingly.

And so is the UK:

  • *U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: U.K. WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM
  • *U.K.’S HAGUE SAYS CRIMEAN REFERENDUM UNCONSTITUTIONAL
  • *U.K.’S HAGUE SAYS THERE SHOULD BE CONSEQUENCES FOR RUSSIA
  • *HAGUE: `UNACCEPTABLE’ FOR RUSSIA TO TAKE MORE ACTION IN UKRAINE

And The EU:

  • *EU REITERATES CRIMEAN REFERENDUM IS ILLEGAL, ILLEGITIMATE
  • *EU SAYS IT WON’T RECOGNISE OUTCOME OF CRIMEAN REFERENDUM
  • *EU TO DECIDE ON ADDITIONAL MEASURES AGAINST RUSSIA TOMORROW

And the French:

  • *FABIUS SAYS CRIMEA REFERENDUM ILLEGAL, AGAINST UKRAINE CONST.
  • *FABIUS SAYS RUSSIA HAS RESPONBILITIES AS UN SEC. COUNCIL MEMBER
  • *FABIUS SAYS RUSSIA MUST RESPECT UKRAINE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY

Now it’s up to Putin… to weigh these potential “costs” against his gains…

With 79% Turnout, Exit Polls Confirm 93% Of Voters Back Crimea Joining Russia; White House Rejects Results | Zero Hedge

With 79% Turnout, Exit Polls Confirm 93% Of Voters Back Crimea Joining Russia; White House Rejects Results | Zero Hedge.

With a voter turnout (79.09%) that exceeded every US Presidential election since 1900, the people of Crimea have spoken:

  • *CRIMEA JOINING RUSSIA BACKED BY 93% OF VOTERS: EXIT POLL
  • *U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: U.K. WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM

Ukraine’s leaders have called up 20,000 men for a newly-created National Guard as despite the so-called “truce” Russian APCs and Tanks are rolling. Pro-Russian supporters are burning books in Donetsk after storming anti-Russian buildings. The White House is already out rejecting the vote (before the final results are released).

Voter Turnout (by region):

As exit polls confirm overhwleming support for Crimea to join Russia…

  • Exit poll by Crimea-based Republican Institute for Political and Sociological Studies released by Kryminform news service.
  • 93% of voters back joining Russia: exit poll

Exit poll: ????? 93% ??????? ????? ????????????? ?? ????????????? ? ??

— ??? ??????? (@riabreakingnews) March 16, 2014

Despite the so-called truce, Russian APC and Tanks are moving…

Pro-Russian supporters are burning books in Donetsk

And Kharkiv is dominated by Pro-Russia supporters carry this huge Russian flag…

White House Statement:

Carney on Crimea referendum: “Russia’s actions are dangerous and destabilizing” pic.twitter.com/pfAmgxLTRG

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 16, 2014

The US is rejecting the vote:

The U.S. is rejecting the vote in Crimea even before the results are released.

The White House says Sunday’s referendum on succession is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution.

The U.S. says the world won’t recognize the results of a vote held under what it says are “threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.”

A written statement from the White House calls Russia’s actions in Ukraine “dangerous and destabilizing.”

The U.S. is urging other nations to “take concrete steps to impose costs” against Russia.

Secession was expected to be approved overwhelmingly.

And so is the UK:

  • *U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: U.K. WON’T RECOGNIZE CRIMEAN REFERENDUM
  • *U.K.’S HAGUE SAYS CRIMEAN REFERENDUM UNCONSTITUTIONAL
  • *U.K.’S HAGUE SAYS THERE SHOULD BE CONSEQUENCES FOR RUSSIA
  • *HAGUE: `UNACCEPTABLE’ FOR RUSSIA TO TAKE MORE ACTION IN UKRAINE

And The EU:

  • *EU REITERATES CRIMEAN REFERENDUM IS ILLEGAL, ILLEGITIMATE
  • *EU SAYS IT WON’T RECOGNISE OUTCOME OF CRIMEAN REFERENDUM
  • *EU TO DECIDE ON ADDITIONAL MEASURES AGAINST RUSSIA TOMORROW

And the French:

  • *FABIUS SAYS CRIMEA REFERENDUM ILLEGAL, AGAINST UKRAINE CONST.
  • *FABIUS SAYS RUSSIA HAS RESPONBILITIES AS UN SEC. COUNCIL MEMBER
  • *FABIUS SAYS RUSSIA MUST RESPECT UKRAINE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY

Now it’s up to Putin… to weigh these potential “costs” against his gains…

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity's Test

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test.

Posted on February 28, 2014 by rboyd

 This is another of my draft chapters from the book, “Schizophrenic Society”, that I am working on. Please feel free to provide editorial feedback.

Since the advent of the printing press and general literacy, media organizations have constructed parallel realities for the general populace. Radio and silent films, followed by “talking pictures” and television went further by creating artificial worlds that can be seen and heard in the same way that the real world is perceived. The human mind  evolved in an environment with no access to such artificial worlds and thus even though a person may know that these worlds are not real their brain will in many ways treat such worlds as if they were. For example, a 1938 radio program in the United States depicting an alien invasion lead many to believe that there really was such an invasion taking place1.

Many psychologists have noticed the similarities between the mental state of dreaming and that of watching television or a movie2. Such a mental state bypasses some of the conscious mechanisms that people utilize to judge between reality and artificial representations, thus making them more susceptible to internalizing media output as if it were real. There have been many documented cases where the media has been shown to affect social reality, from the media emphasis on below-average sized women3 to the extensive usage of violence4 and the objectification of women5. Gerrig6 proposes that there is in fact no clean delineation in a person’s mind between the real and the artificial, with social reality being a combined construct of real world and media experiences.

Thus, media output acts in the same way as the images created by the mind of a hallucinating individual. Not being able to distinguish between the real and the imagined, the individual integrates the two into his conception of reality. The advent of computer games, with the individual transformed into an active participant within the game, only intensifies the challenges to the brain’s ability to assess what is truly real and what is only an artificial illusion. In many cases gamers even prefer their artificial existence to their real one. The same has been noted of participants in the Second Life artificial world.

As societies have grown in size and complexity, and the “local” has become highly integrated with other geographical areas, the individual has become more and more reliant upon the media to provide the information and conceptual structures with which to make sense of the larger world. This reality was captured vividly by Walter Lippman, “Inevitably our opinions cover a bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we can imagine.”7 Thus individuals rely upon the predominant media sources, such as television and film, to both inform them of events and general cultural trends, and help them construct the conceptual frameworks required to understand their meaning and importance. As Lippman noted, “The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event”7, and that mental image is heavily dependent upon the medias depiction of it.

With the power to directly affect the social reality through which individuals make sense of the world, and to decide what events and issues individuals should be made aware of, the media is a central force in the creation of the ruling societal discourse. In a fully working democracy one would expect extensive regulations and oversight to make sure that a great diversity of groups have fair access to media outlets and that such outlets represent a diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the media industry has become dominated by large private corporations funded by advertising revenue, together with government-funded organizations. Thus, unlike an individual’s hallucinations, the media-created hallucinations are consciously produced predominantly for material gain, or under political constraints.

As Herman and Chomsky have pointed out8, with the advertising revenue model media groups become vehicles to sell things to consumers, rather than the independent purveyors of information about the wider world. Anything that gets in the way of ongoing consumption, and thus the success of advertisements focused on increasing that consumption, will reduce the attractiveness of individual media organizations to the corporations paying for the advertisements. The issues of Climate Change, Peak Resources, and Ecological Degradation are certainly not ones that serve to increase an  individual’s consumption habits. In addition, a greater awareness and understanding of such things could lead to political action to force changes directly upon corporations. If media organizations started to focus heavily on such matters they would be “biting the hand that feeds them”, and thus a high degree of self-censorship would be expected. In many cases advertisers are also directly involved in the process of selecting and developing programs (hence the term “soap operas” which were at first funded by soap companies), allowing them to filter out any “problematic” subjects and themes.

Private media organizations may also be constrained by the need to maintain government licenses, and access for their staff to government officials. In addition, such groups may also want to keep good relationships with the government as they work to reduce regulatory restrictions and grow through mergers and acquisitions that require government approval. Government departments may also offer beneficial support through access to knowledgeable staff and expensive resources for media productions that further their aims. For example, the military have given significant support to television program, film, and even computer game productions that show them in a positive light9,10,11. They can also severely constrain what they see as “bad” reporting, as shown by the embedded journalist program during the Iraqi war, which was designed to eradicate the extensive negative journalism (from the U.S. government’s point of view) seen during the Vietnam war.

With the purchase of media organizations by non-media companies, such as General Electric, and Sony, there is also the increasing problem of not wanting to negatively effect other parts of the conglomerate. In the case of G.E., that may include staying away from contentious stories on nuclear power, the efficacy of mammogram machines, military spending, and foreign arms sales. As media organizations have been allowed to consolidate into massive global corporations focused on growing revenue and profits they also become part of the wealthy and powerful elites. Too much focus on the shortcomings of the economic and social system within which they have flourished, and too heavy a positive coverage of alternatives, would be threatening to their own future prospects.

Overall, the media groups that create our shared hallucinations will tend to be very conservative, protecting the economic and social environment within which they have thrived. This will be reinforced by both the corporations who pay for advertising space and governmental organizations. As humanity’s destruction of the environment continues apace, and becomes more and more visible, these media groups could be expected to work harder to protect the status quo and ignore or downplay inconvenient facts and occurrences. In this light, reductions in staffing and coverage of climate change by media organizations, while the impacts and science become more irrefutable, could be seen as quite logical actions.

In 2013 the TV evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC in the United States covered climate change for a joint one hour and forty two minutes, an improvement over 2012 but still below the 2009 level12. Media groups have also tended to report on weather events as stand-alone occurrences without mentioning climate change13,14. A number of media groups have also significantly reduced the number of journalists covering environmental issues in recent years15,16,17. In addition, a false sense of balance has been used to give climate deniers much more airtime than their representation with the scientific community, less than 5%, would warrant18,19,20, and one news agency has even appointed a “climate skeptic” as its managing editor21. Coverage of climate issues has also predominantly relied upon the use of politicians and social scientists, rather than providing an avenue for scientists to communicate their concerns and findings directly to the public.

The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace. To help affect the creation of social reality in their favor, they have created many so-called “independent” think-tanks, and hired public relations groups, to help create a perception of uncertainty on subjects such as climate change and to gain more access for skeptics to the media22,23.

Just as it may have made sense for the Mayan elites to call for more sacrifices to forestall their societies downfall, rather than accept the reality in front of them, it may make sense for the current elites to call for the magic of the “invisible hand” of economics and the wonders of human technology, rather than accept the current reality that so threatens their own wealth and privileges. The longer they practice such conscious ignorance, the more they stand to be accused and attacked, the more such ignorance will be seen as beneficial. Once the media spell is broken, and the duplicity of the elites understood, the wrath of the general populace may be truly horrific. The search for others to “pin the blame on”, and ongoing extensions to the means to monitor and control society, are completely rational actions in this context. If even the members of the police and armed forces come to blame the elites for not taking the actions required to stave off calamity though, nothing may save the rich and powerful from a brutal denouement.

Hence the desperate need to keep control of the construction of social reality, and have the general population live in a mental world made up more of misleading hallucinations than actual reality. Such a state can be maintained for lengthy periods of time, as has been the case with the North Korean population who have for decades existed in a social reality more made up of fantasy than reality. Many commentators also give significant weighting to the inability of the East German authorities to block the television signals from the much more prosperous West Germany in undermining the basis of the communist state. Those that consider the internet to be a democratizing antidote to media concentration and control both misunderstand the ongoing concentration within media 24,25,26 on the internet, and the ability of authorities to block sources they find threatening. Also, as has been shown by the details provided by such whistle-blowers as Snowdon27, our new connected age may make the tracking of dissident opinion-formers much easier for the authorities.

References

  1. Lovgren, Stefan (2005), War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic.Accessed athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html

2.     Rieber, Robert & Kelly, Robert (2014), Film, television and the psychology of thesocial dream, Springer.

3.     Stice, Eric & Shaw, Heather (1994), Adverse Effects of the Media Portrayed ThinIdeal on Women and Linkages to Bulimic Symtomatology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1994 13.3.288.

4.     Dill, Karen (2009), How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence,Oxford University Press

5.     Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl (2010), The Objectification of Women in Mass Media:Female Self Image in Misogynyst Society, Volume 5 2010.

6.     Shanahan, James (1999), Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research, Cambridge University Press.

7.    Lippman, Walter (2012), Public Opinion, Dover Publications

8.   Herman, Edward & Chomsky, Noam (1988), Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books

9.   n/a (2006), U.S. Military Helps Create Hollywood Films On War and Warriors,PBSNewshour. Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-july-dec06-hollywood_10-06/

10.   Rose, Steve (2009), The US military storm hollywood, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/06/us-military-hollywood

11.  Zakarin, Jordan (2012), ‘Act of Valor’ And The Military’s Long Hollywood Mission,Huffington Post. Accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/17/act-of-valor-military-hollywood_n_1284338.html

12.   Santhanam, Laura (2014), STUDY: How Broadcast News Covered Climate ChangeIn The Last Five Years, Media Matters. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/01/16/study-how-broadcast-news-covered-climate-change/197612

13.  Fitzsimmons, Jill & Theel, Shauna (2013), STUDY: Media Ignore Climate ChangeContext of Midwest Floods, Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/07/study-media-ignore-climate-context-of-midwest-f/193936

14.  n/a (2013), TV News and Extreme Weather, Don’t Mention Climate Change, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Accessed at http://fair.org/press-release/tv-news-and-extreme-weather-dont-mention-climate-change/

15.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk,InsideClimate News. Accessed at http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130111/new-york-   times-dismantles-environmental-desk-journalism-fracking-climate-change-science-global-warming-economy

16.  Ward, Bill (2013), New York Times Cuts Back Again: Farewell to Green Blog,TheYale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Accessed athttp://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/03/new-york-times-cuts-back-again-farewell-to-green-blog/

17.  Brainard, Curtis (2008), CNN Cuts Entire Science, Tech Team, ColumbiaJournalism Review. Accessed athttp://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/cnn_cuts_entire_science_tech_t.php?page=all

18.  Nucitelli, Dana (2013), Conservative media outlets found guilty of biased globalwarming coverage, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/11/climate-change-political-media-ipcc-coverage

19.  Valentine, Katie (2013), Britain Cuts Environment Staff As BBC Comes Under FireFor Giving Airtime to Climate Deniers, Climate Progress. Accessed athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/28/2847831/britain-environment-staff-bbc/#

20.  Hartman, Thom (2014), The Mainstream Medias Criminal Climate Coverage,TruthOut. Accessed at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22123-the-mainstream-medias-criminal-climate-coverage

21.  Robbins, Denise (2014), Report: Reuters Climate Change Coverage Continues ToDecline Under Skeptic Editor, Media Matters for America. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/02/26/report-reuters-climate-coverage-continues-to-de/198220

22.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), Climate Skeptic Groups Launch Global Anti-ScienceCampaign, Bloomberg. Accessed at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-19/climate-skeptic-groups-launch-global-anti-science-campaign.html

23.  Goldenberg, Suzanne (2013), Secret funding helped fund vast network of climatedenial thinktank, The Guardian. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

24.     n/a (2010), Media Concentration Around the World: Empirical Studies, Columbia University. Accessed at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/citi/events/mediacon2010

25.     Noam, Eli M. (2013), Who Owns the World Media?, Columbia Business School. Accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2242670

26.  Hindman, Matthew (2008), The Myth of Digital Democracy, Princeton University  Press

27.     n/a (2014), Snowden: Missions already accomplishedAl Jazeera. Accessed at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/24/snowden-mission-salreadyaccomplished.html

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test

The Creation of Society’s Shared Hallucinations | Humanity’s Test.

Posted on February 28, 2014 by rboyd

 This is another of my draft chapters from the book, “Schizophrenic Society”, that I am working on. Please feel free to provide editorial feedback.

Since the advent of the printing press and general literacy, media organizations have constructed parallel realities for the general populace. Radio and silent films, followed by “talking pictures” and television went further by creating artificial worlds that can be seen and heard in the same way that the real world is perceived. The human mind  evolved in an environment with no access to such artificial worlds and thus even though a person may know that these worlds are not real their brain will in many ways treat such worlds as if they were. For example, a 1938 radio program in the United States depicting an alien invasion lead many to believe that there really was such an invasion taking place1.

Many psychologists have noticed the similarities between the mental state of dreaming and that of watching television or a movie2. Such a mental state bypasses some of the conscious mechanisms that people utilize to judge between reality and artificial representations, thus making them more susceptible to internalizing media output as if it were real. There have been many documented cases where the media has been shown to affect social reality, from the media emphasis on below-average sized women3 to the extensive usage of violence4 and the objectification of women5. Gerrig6 proposes that there is in fact no clean delineation in a person’s mind between the real and the artificial, with social reality being a combined construct of real world and media experiences.

Thus, media output acts in the same way as the images created by the mind of a hallucinating individual. Not being able to distinguish between the real and the imagined, the individual integrates the two into his conception of reality. The advent of computer games, with the individual transformed into an active participant within the game, only intensifies the challenges to the brain’s ability to assess what is truly real and what is only an artificial illusion. In many cases gamers even prefer their artificial existence to their real one. The same has been noted of participants in the Second Life artificial world.

As societies have grown in size and complexity, and the “local” has become highly integrated with other geographical areas, the individual has become more and more reliant upon the media to provide the information and conceptual structures with which to make sense of the larger world. This reality was captured vividly by Walter Lippman, “Inevitably our opinions cover a bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we can imagine.”7 Thus individuals rely upon the predominant media sources, such as television and film, to both inform them of events and general cultural trends, and help them construct the conceptual frameworks required to understand their meaning and importance. As Lippman noted, “The only feeling that anyone can have about an event he does not experience is the feeling aroused by his mental image of that event”7, and that mental image is heavily dependent upon the medias depiction of it.

With the power to directly affect the social reality through which individuals make sense of the world, and to decide what events and issues individuals should be made aware of, the media is a central force in the creation of the ruling societal discourse. In a fully working democracy one would expect extensive regulations and oversight to make sure that a great diversity of groups have fair access to media outlets and that such outlets represent a diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the media industry has become dominated by large private corporations funded by advertising revenue, together with government-funded organizations. Thus, unlike an individual’s hallucinations, the media-created hallucinations are consciously produced predominantly for material gain, or under political constraints.

As Herman and Chomsky have pointed out8, with the advertising revenue model media groups become vehicles to sell things to consumers, rather than the independent purveyors of information about the wider world. Anything that gets in the way of ongoing consumption, and thus the success of advertisements focused on increasing that consumption, will reduce the attractiveness of individual media organizations to the corporations paying for the advertisements. The issues of Climate Change, Peak Resources, and Ecological Degradation are certainly not ones that serve to increase an  individual’s consumption habits. In addition, a greater awareness and understanding of such things could lead to political action to force changes directly upon corporations. If media organizations started to focus heavily on such matters they would be “biting the hand that feeds them”, and thus a high degree of self-censorship would be expected. In many cases advertisers are also directly involved in the process of selecting and developing programs (hence the term “soap operas” which were at first funded by soap companies), allowing them to filter out any “problematic” subjects and themes.

Private media organizations may also be constrained by the need to maintain government licenses, and access for their staff to government officials. In addition, such groups may also want to keep good relationships with the government as they work to reduce regulatory restrictions and grow through mergers and acquisitions that require government approval. Government departments may also offer beneficial support through access to knowledgeable staff and expensive resources for media productions that further their aims. For example, the military have given significant support to television program, film, and even computer game productions that show them in a positive light9,10,11. They can also severely constrain what they see as “bad” reporting, as shown by the embedded journalist program during the Iraqi war, which was designed to eradicate the extensive negative journalism (from the U.S. government’s point of view) seen during the Vietnam war.

With the purchase of media organizations by non-media companies, such as General Electric, and Sony, there is also the increasing problem of not wanting to negatively effect other parts of the conglomerate. In the case of G.E., that may include staying away from contentious stories on nuclear power, the efficacy of mammogram machines, military spending, and foreign arms sales. As media organizations have been allowed to consolidate into massive global corporations focused on growing revenue and profits they also become part of the wealthy and powerful elites. Too much focus on the shortcomings of the economic and social system within which they have flourished, and too heavy a positive coverage of alternatives, would be threatening to their own future prospects.

Overall, the media groups that create our shared hallucinations will tend to be very conservative, protecting the economic and social environment within which they have thrived. This will be reinforced by both the corporations who pay for advertising space and governmental organizations. As humanity’s destruction of the environment continues apace, and becomes more and more visible, these media groups could be expected to work harder to protect the status quo and ignore or downplay inconvenient facts and occurrences. In this light, reductions in staffing and coverage of climate change by media organizations, while the impacts and science become more irrefutable, could be seen as quite logical actions.

In 2013 the TV evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC in the United States covered climate change for a joint one hour and forty two minutes, an improvement over 2012 but still below the 2009 level12. Media groups have also tended to report on weather events as stand-alone occurrences without mentioning climate change13,14. A number of media groups have also significantly reduced the number of journalists covering environmental issues in recent years15,16,17. In addition, a false sense of balance has been used to give climate deniers much more airtime than their representation with the scientific community, less than 5%, would warrant18,19,20, and one news agency has even appointed a “climate skeptic” as its managing editor21. Coverage of climate issues has also predominantly relied upon the use of politicians and social scientists, rather than providing an avenue for scientists to communicate their concerns and findings directly to the public.

The fundamental problem with issues such as Climate Change and Ecological Degradation is that they stem from a core problem, the exponential growth of human demands upon the earth, and thus the only solution is an end to that growth. With the industrialized human societies having spent the past two centuries developing a tight fit to the exponential growth facilitated by fossil fuels, an end to that growth will require wrenching changes to how those societies are structured and operate. Such changes, while producing great concern to the general populace, will be extremely threatening to those that have succeeded under the current societal arrangements. These are the rich and powerful that have most control over media organizations, as well as other determinants of social reality such as the school system and the workplace. To help affect the creation of social reality in their favor, they have created many so-called “independent” think-tanks, and hired public relations groups, to help create a perception of uncertainty on subjects such as climate change and to gain more access for skeptics to the media22,23.

Just as it may have made sense for the Mayan elites to call for more sacrifices to forestall their societies downfall, rather than accept the reality in front of them, it may make sense for the current elites to call for the magic of the “invisible hand” of economics and the wonders of human technology, rather than accept the current reality that so threatens their own wealth and privileges. The longer they practice such conscious ignorance, the more they stand to be accused and attacked, the more such ignorance will be seen as beneficial. Once the media spell is broken, and the duplicity of the elites understood, the wrath of the general populace may be truly horrific. The search for others to “pin the blame on”, and ongoing extensions to the means to monitor and control society, are completely rational actions in this context. If even the members of the police and armed forces come to blame the elites for not taking the actions required to stave off calamity though, nothing may save the rich and powerful from a brutal denouement.

Hence the desperate need to keep control of the construction of social reality, and have the general population live in a mental world made up more of misleading hallucinations than actual reality. Such a state can be maintained for lengthy periods of time, as has been the case with the North Korean population who have for decades existed in a social reality more made up of fantasy than reality. Many commentators also give significant weighting to the inability of the East German authorities to block the television signals from the much more prosperous West Germany in undermining the basis of the communist state. Those that consider the internet to be a democratizing antidote to media concentration and control both misunderstand the ongoing concentration within media 24,25,26 on the internet, and the ability of authorities to block sources they find threatening. Also, as has been shown by the details provided by such whistle-blowers as Snowdon27, our new connected age may make the tracking of dissident opinion-formers much easier for the authorities.

References

  1. Lovgren, Stefan (2005), War of the Worlds: Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic.Accessed athttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html

2.     Rieber, Robert & Kelly, Robert (2014), Film, television and the psychology of thesocial dream, Springer.

3.     Stice, Eric & Shaw, Heather (1994), Adverse Effects of the Media Portrayed ThinIdeal on Women and Linkages to Bulimic Symtomatology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 1994 13.3.288.

4.     Dill, Karen (2009), How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence,Oxford University Press

5.     Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl (2010), The Objectification of Women in Mass Media:Female Self Image in Misogynyst Society, Volume 5 2010.

6.     Shanahan, James (1999), Television and its Viewers: Cultivation Theory and Research, Cambridge University Press.

7.    Lippman, Walter (2012), Public Opinion, Dover Publications

8.   Herman, Edward & Chomsky, Noam (1988), Manufacturing Consent, Pantheon Books

9.   n/a (2006), U.S. Military Helps Create Hollywood Films On War and Warriors,PBSNewshour. Accessed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-july-dec06-hollywood_10-06/

10.   Rose, Steve (2009), The US military storm hollywood, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/06/us-military-hollywood

11.  Zakarin, Jordan (2012), ‘Act of Valor’ And The Military’s Long Hollywood Mission,Huffington Post. Accessed at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/17/act-of-valor-military-hollywood_n_1284338.html

12.   Santhanam, Laura (2014), STUDY: How Broadcast News Covered Climate ChangeIn The Last Five Years, Media Matters. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/01/16/study-how-broadcast-news-covered-climate-change/197612

13.  Fitzsimmons, Jill & Theel, Shauna (2013), STUDY: Media Ignore Climate ChangeContext of Midwest Floods, Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/07/study-media-ignore-climate-context-of-midwest-f/193936

14.  n/a (2013), TV News and Extreme Weather, Don’t Mention Climate Change, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Accessed at http://fair.org/press-release/tv-news-and-extreme-weather-dont-mention-climate-change/

15.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk,InsideClimate News. Accessed at http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130111/new-york-   times-dismantles-environmental-desk-journalism-fracking-climate-change-science-global-warming-economy

16.  Ward, Bill (2013), New York Times Cuts Back Again: Farewell to Green Blog,TheYale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Accessed athttp://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2013/03/new-york-times-cuts-back-again-farewell-to-green-blog/

17.  Brainard, Curtis (2008), CNN Cuts Entire Science, Tech Team, ColumbiaJournalism Review. Accessed athttp://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/cnn_cuts_entire_science_tech_t.php?page=all

18.  Nucitelli, Dana (2013), Conservative media outlets found guilty of biased globalwarming coverage, The Guardian. Accessed athttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/11/climate-change-political-media-ipcc-coverage

19.  Valentine, Katie (2013), Britain Cuts Environment Staff As BBC Comes Under FireFor Giving Airtime to Climate Deniers, Climate Progress. Accessed athttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/28/2847831/britain-environment-staff-bbc/#

20.  Hartman, Thom (2014), The Mainstream Medias Criminal Climate Coverage,TruthOut. Accessed at http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22123-the-mainstream-medias-criminal-climate-coverage

21.  Robbins, Denise (2014), Report: Reuters Climate Change Coverage Continues ToDecline Under Skeptic Editor, Media Matters for America. Accessed athttp://mediamatters.org/research/2014/02/26/report-reuters-climate-coverage-continues-to-de/198220

22.  Bagley, Katherine (2013), Climate Skeptic Groups Launch Global Anti-ScienceCampaign, Bloomberg. Accessed at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-19/climate-skeptic-groups-launch-global-anti-science-campaign.html

23.  Goldenberg, Suzanne (2013), Secret funding helped fund vast network of climatedenial thinktank, The Guardian. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

24.     n/a (2010), Media Concentration Around the World: Empirical Studies, Columbia University. Accessed at http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/citi/events/mediacon2010

25.     Noam, Eli M. (2013), Who Owns the World Media?, Columbia Business School. Accessed at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2242670

26.  Hindman, Matthew (2008), The Myth of Digital Democracy, Princeton University  Press

27.     n/a (2014), Snowden: Missions already accomplishedAl Jazeera. Accessed at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/24/snowden-mission-salreadyaccomplished.html

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