TV

It's all a spectacle: Reality TV teaches acceptance of the police state

© Drunkenclownclothing.com
"Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books."

- Etienne de La Boétie, The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude: How Do Tyrants Secure Cooperation? (1548)
Americans love their reality TV shows - the drama, the insults, the bullying, the callousness, the damaged relationships delivered through the lens of a surveillance camera - and there's no shortage of such dehumanizing spectacles to be found on or off screen, whether it's Cops, Real Housewives or the heavy-handed tactics of police officers who break down doors first and ask questions later.

Where things get tricky is when we start to lose our grasp on what is real vs. unreal and what is an entertainment spectacle that distracts us vs. a real-life drama that impacts us.

For example, do we tune into Bruce Jenner's gender transformation as it unfolds on reality TV, follow the sniping over Navy sharpshooter Chris Kyle's approach to war and killing, or chart the progress of the Keystone oil pipeline as it makes it work through Congress? Do we debate the merits of Katy Perry's Superbowl XLIX halftime performance, or speculate on which politicians will face off in the 2016 presidential election?

Here's a hint: it's all spectacle.

Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch - and I would posit that it's all reality TV - the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce. Unfortunately, Americans have a voracious appetite for TV entertainment. On average, Americans spend five hours a day watching television. By the time we reach age 65, we're watching more than 50 hours of television a week, and that number increases as we get older. And reality TV programming consistently captures the largest percentage of TV watchers every season by an almost 2-1 ratio.

Comment: Researchers have also found that watching television actually has a negative effect on cognitive function and damages the brain structure in children. Watching television - police state induced stupidity at it's best.
MRI brain scans showed children who spent the most hours in front of the box had greater amounts of grey matter in regions around the frontopolar cortex - the area at the front of the frontal lobe.

But this increased volume was a negative thing as it was linked with lower verbal intelligence, said the authors, from Tohoku University in the city of Sendai.

They suggested grey matter could be compared to body weight and said these brain areas need to be pruned during childhood in order to operate efficiently.

'These areas show developmental cortical thinning during development, and children with superior IQs show the most vigorous cortical thinning in this area,' the team wrote.

Kids & TV: linked with lower verbal intelligence, brain damage


Eye 2

Ukraine government admits to targeting civilians in Donbass region

Unofficially, the Ukrainian Government acknowledges that its war against its Donbass region is an ethnic-cleansing operation.

The pro-regime Ukrainian TV station Hromandske TV - which is funded by the U.S. Government, the Dutch Government, and George Soros (via his International Renaissance Foundation or 'Fund') - has reported that the Ukrainian Government is specifically targeting civilians to die in the Donbass region in the former Ukraine's southeast. It's being done in order "to clean the cities."

This is open acknowledgement that the operation, which the U.S. is financing (and Ukraine is bankrupt so it can never reimburse its donors), is actually an ethnic-cleansing campaign.

Previously, on Hromadske TV, a proponent of doing just that (ethnic cleansing) was interviewed. He said: "If we take, for example, just the Donetsk oblast, there are approximately 4 million inhabitants, at least 1.5 million of which are superfluous. ... Donbass must be exploited as a resource, which it is. ... The most important thing that must be done - no matter how cruel it may sound - is that there is a certain category of people that must be exterminated."

Here is how it's done:
Sherlock

Turkey's fingerprints in the Western war against China and Russia

While the world's attention has been fixed on France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, the subsequent manhunt, and the political fallout from the incident, a number of important news items have quietly been pushed off the front pages of the world's major newspapers, and out of the lead segments of television news programs all over the globe. In Nigeria, Boko Haram reemerges with a vengeance, committing one of the worst atrocities in the recent history of the region. In Syria and Iraq, the war against the Islamic State continues unabated. In Greece, an all-important election that could have dire implications for the future of the European Union is set to take place.

And quietly, with almost no fanfare from international media, reports surfaced from China indicating that Chinese authorities had arrested at least ten Turkish suspects alleged to have organized and facilitated the illegal border crossings of a number of Uighur [Muslim ethnic group in Western China] extremists. It has further been revealed that the Uighur extremists were planning to travel to Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to train and fight with fellow jihadis.

While the details of the investigation have not been fully revealed as yet, the incident points to a much larger issue than simply a few Turks being involved in document forgery and illegal immigration. Rather, the story is still further evidence of a well-funded, well-organized international terror network operated and/or facilitated by the Turkish government and Turkish intelligence. From the hosting of extremist fighters along the Syrian border to providing material support to terrorists in China, Turkey has placed itself at the center of an international terror war aimed at countries that oppose NATO and stand in the way of the Neo-Ottoman vision that President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu have for Turkey.
Network

Boston Bombing: Why Russia matters in Dzhokhar's defense

dzhokhar putin fbi
Are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyers trying to defend his case on the facts at all, or are they just trying to save his life?

Based on the overwhelmingly lopsided advantage the government holds, with a virtual monopoly on investigative evidence, it's safe to assume the latter.

Whether the intent is to deny Tsarnaev a) any infinitesimal chance of proving his case - or even lessening the charges against him - or b) to prevent embarrassing information from leaking out at trial, the government has brought the legal version of "full spectrum dominance" warfare to a knife fight.

But a close look at the nature of the information Tsarnaev's defense team has repeatedly requested from prosecutors in motions to the court suggests Tsarnaev's lawyers are trying to pry loose something about the government's relationship with the Tsarnaevs prior to the bombing on April 15, 2013.

Comment: Whatever was really going on, probably a key piece of the puzzle can be found in the fact that the Tsarnaevs' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, was previously married to the daughter of CIA agent Graham Fuller. Fuller is alleged to be knee-deep in Operation Gladio B: the use of proxy terror organizations to wage 'asymmetrical warfare' in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The 'enemy' in Gladio's cross-hairs? Russia.

Hourglass

Eurocrats say no chance of Greek debt write-down: US-led EU slouching towards war?

Europe, which the EU is supposed to represent, is fighting a double war that could ravage it beyond recognition - against Greece within its own borders, and against Russia in Ukraine.

An exhibition in Rome could not - inadvertently - be more graphic in defining the zeitgeist: "The Age of Anxiety - from Commodus to Diocletian." Well, Roman emperors could barely imagine it would get much worse under the EU.

The tantalizingly tense face-off between Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem and new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has set up the battlefield; the EU won't accept a "unilateral" Greece, and Greece won't accept a bailout extension or the diktats of the troika (EU, ECB, IMF).

Legend has already taken over; after Varoufakis was firm on the "no troika" talk - as in no more economic terrorism - at the end of their press conference in Athens, Dijsselbloem murmured something in his ear that Greek officials have interpreted as a Pulp Fiction-style "I'ma get medieval on your ass."

So now it's all-out Athens against the Masters of the Universe (the EU division). Independent observers would be tempted to see it as post-modern Perseus trying to slay the EU Medusa - a monster so frightful that no living thing could behold her without being turned into stone.

The Medusa is now the troika. Medusa Queen Merkel and her minions - like Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble ("we won't be blackmailed"), plus the usual faceless officials using sub-Homeric metaphors such as "tied to the mast of confrontation" - are ramping up the pressure with no debt reduction. After the Dijsselbloem-Varoufakis face-off, it would be up to the European Commission (EC) bureaucratic nightmare to come up with a feasible alternative for a Greek debt write-down.
Books

Norman Finkelstein: On the origins of Israel's modern propaganda (and Alan Dershowitz's legal troubles)


Joan Peters, the author of the book
From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict over Palestine, died on January 5th, at 78. As David Samel wrote following her death,"The bizarre chapter of Joan Peters's contribution to the Middle East debate does not end with her death. Her arguments, both those she adopted from others and those she formulated herself, still constitute a huge portion of the go-to hasbara repertoire." I interviewed Norman Finkelstein and asked him to reflect on her work and legacy, as he played a central role in debunking much of her work as described in his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Adam Horowitz: Could you start by saying a bit about how From Time Immemorial was received?

Norman Finkelstein: First of all the important primary factor is the context. Israel in 1982 took its first major public relations hit since the 1967 war. It was a public relations disaster for Israel. One of the reasons being I think, as Robert Fisk pointed out in Pity the Nation he said unlike all other Arab states Lebanon did not control the press and so mainstream reporters were able at that time to roam freely throughout Lebanon. Mainstream reporters, I should say who had credibility, were able to roam freely through Lebanon during the Israeli attack, and what they were reporting was quiet horrifying. It's forgotten now but even against the Israeli attacks in recent years on Lebanon, on Gaza, they all pale in comparison to what Israel did in Lebanon in 1982. The usual figures are between sixteen and twenty thousand Lebanese and Palestinians, overwhelmingly civilians, were killed during the Israeli attack. All the Lebanese killed in 2006 plus the three massacres in Gaza that doesn't even come to half of the figure that happened in Lebanon.

So now you had credible reportage of what Israel was doing and it was a major public relations setback for Israel. You could say the first layer of Jewish support for Israel, the first layer, peeled away and that was the layer of what you would call the Old Left, mainly those were identified with the Soviet Union and therefore identified with Israel because the Soviets supported the creation of the state of Israel in '48 and also because a lot of the signature institutions of Israel in that era were of a socialist leftist orientation, most famously the kibbutzim.

And so before 1982 the pro-Soviet, pro-Communist Old Left even those who were disaffected from the Soviet Union which still fell within the umbrella of the Old Left, they were still pretty much pro-Israel, there were just really a tiny handful of exceptions. The best known being of course Professor Chomsky. There was also Maxime Robinson in France, but in general the support was totally for Israel, overwhelmingly for Israel.

Comment: And the dynamic plays on: Israel continues to manufacture justifications to attack Palestinians (and other groups) and defends itself with hasbara manual talking points based on books like From Time Immemorial - that are designed to obscure, twist and mangle the truth for those less suspecting consumers of news.

See also:

Handcuffs

The Police State is upon us

Anyone paying attention knows that 9/11 has been used to create a police/warfare state. Years ago NSA official William Binney warned Americans about the universal spying by the National Security Agency, to little effect. Recently Edward Snowden proved the all-inclusive NSA spying by releasing spy documents, enough of which have been made available by Glenn Greenwald to establish the fact of NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying, spying that has no legal, constitutional, or "national security" reasons. Yet Americans are not up in arms. Americans have accepted the government's offenses against them as necessary protection against "terrorists."

Neither Congress, the White House, or the Judiciary has done anything about the wrongful spying, because the spying serves the government. Law and the Constitution are expendable when the few who control the government have their "more important agendas."

Bradley Manning warned us of the militarization of US foreign policy and the murderous consequences, and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks posted leaked documents proving it.

Were these whistleblowers and honest journalists, who alerted us to the determined attack on our civil liberty, rewarded with invitations to the White House and given medals of honor in recognition of their service to American liberty?

Comment: Well said Dr. Roberts. It's truly a despicable state the Americans are in. History repeats until we learn our lessons.

Attention

'Empire of Chaos' in the House of Saud

Obama n Salman
© Reuters/Jim Bourg
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman (R) at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015.
No one in Western corporate media will tell you why US President Barack Obama is hitting Riyadh with a high-powered delegation to "pay his respects" to the new House of Saud potentate, King Salman.

Talk about a who's who - including CIA head John Brennan; General Lloyd Austin, head of US Centcom; Secretary of State John Kerry; leading House Democrat Nancy Pelosi; and even senile Senator John "Bomb Iran" McCain.

It must have been heart wrenching for most in this crowd to skip a visit to the Taj Mahal in India so they would be part of the last-minute, "unscheduled" stop in Riyadh.

This is how the astonishing mediocrity that doubles as US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, spun it; "Principally, I think this is to mark this transition in leadership and to pay respects to the family and to the people of Saudi Arabia, but I'm sure that while we're there they'll touch on some of the leading issues where we cooperate very closely with Saudi Arabia."

The White House and the Pentagon did not bother to "pay their respects" in person to the people of France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The House of Saud - "our" top bastards in the Persian Gulf - is of course much more valuable.

Comment: See also: SOTT Exclusive: Schizophrenia alert! West wails over death of cruel tyrant and state-sponsor of terrorism

Arrow Down

Handcuffs, leg shackles and tasers: The new face of punishment in US public schools

"In many parts of the country, teachers are viewed as beyond reproach, much like doctors, police officers, or clergy ... and, therefore, are rarely challenged about their classroom conduct. In some cases, this means that actions that would be considered criminal if committed by a parent remain unchallenged by law enforcement if they occur in a school setting." - Senator Tom Harkin, "Dangerous Use of Seclusion and Restraints in Schools Remains Widespread and Difficult to Remedy: A Review of Ten Cases"
Schools and Prisons
© agovernmentofwolves.com
Roughly 1500 kids are tied up or locked down every day by school officials in the United States.

At least 500 students are locked up in some form of solitary confinement every day, whether it be a padded room, a closet or a duffel bag. In many cases, parents are rarely notified when such methods are used.

On any given day when school is in session, kids who "act up" in class are pinned facedown on the floor, locked in dark closets, tied up with straps, bungee cords and duct tape, handcuffed, leg shackled, tasered or otherwise restrained, immobilized or placed in solitary confinement in order to bring them under "control."

In almost every case, these undeniably harsh methods are used to punish kids for simply failing to follow directions or throwing tantrums. Very rarely do the kids pose any credible danger to themselves or others.
Blue Planet

Message from Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to the youth in Europe and North America


Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader
In the name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful
To the Youth in Europe and North America,

The recent events in France and similar ones in some other Western countries have convinced me to directly talk to you about them. I am addressing you, [the youth], not because I overlook your parents, rather it is because the future of your nations and countries will be in your hands; and also I find that the sense of quest for truth is more vigorous and attentive in your hearts.

I don't address your politicians and statesmen either in this writing because I believe that they have consciously separated the route of politics from the path of righteousness and truth.

I would like to talk to you about Islam, particularly the image that is presented to you as Islam. Many attempts have been made over the past two decades, almost since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy. The provocation of a feeling of horror and hatred and its utilization has unfortunately a long record in the political history of the West.

Comment: Strange, he doesn't sound so crazy and evil. Funny how the western media does not let our supposed enemies speak directly to westerners. One is reminded of the 2006 letter from Ahmadinejad to Bush.

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