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Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media

Posted by Admin on July 30, 2011

http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mind-control-theories-and-techniques-used-by-mass-media/

By  | April 28th, 2010

Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.

Image source deesillustration.com

Most of the articles on this site discuss occult symbolism found in objects of popular culture. From these articles arise many legitimate questions relating to the purpose of those symbols and the motivations of those who place them there, but it is impossible for me to provide satisfactory answers to these questions without mentioning many other concepts and facts. I’ve therefore decided to write this article to supply the theoretical and methodological background of the analyzes presented on this site as well as introducing the main scholars of the field of mass communications. Some people read my articles and think I’m saying “Lady Gaga wants to control our minds”. That is not the case. She is simply a small part of the huge system that is the mass media.

Programming Through Mass Media

Mass media are media forms designed to reach the largest audience possible. They include television, movies, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, records, video games and the internet. Many studies have been conducted in the past century to measure the effects of mass media on the population in order to discover the best techniques to influence it. From those studies emerged the science of Communications, which is used in marketing, public relations and politics. Mass communication is a necessary tool to insure the functionality of a large democracy; it is also a necessary tool for a dictatorship. It all depends on its usage.

In the 1958 preface for A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a rather grim portrait of society. He believes it is controlled by an “impersonal force”, a ruling elite, which manipulates the population using various methods.

“Impersonal forces over which we have almost no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave New Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously accelerated by representatives of commercial and political organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and feelings of the masses.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

His bleak outlook is not a simple hypothesis or a paranoid delusion. It is a documented fact, present in the world’s most important studies on mass media. Here are some of them:

Elite Thinkers

Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann, an American intellectual, writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner brought forth one of the first works concerning the usage of mass media in America. In Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann compared the masses to a “great beast” and a “bewildered herd” that needed to be guided by a governing class. He described the ruling elite as “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. According to Lippmann, the experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” are to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen.” The trampling and roaring “bewildered herd” has its function: to be “the interested spectators of action,” i.e. not participants. Participation is the duty of “the responsible man”, which is not the regular citizen.

Mass media and propaganda are therefore tools that must be used by the elite to rule the public without physical coercion. One important concept presented by Lippmann is the “manufacture of consent”, which is, in short, the manipulation of public opinion to accept the elite’s agenda. It is Lippmann’s opinion that the general public is not qualified to reason and to decide on important issues. It is therefore important for the elite to decide ”for its own good” and then sell those decisions to the masses.

“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”
–Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion

It might be interesting to note that Lippmann is one of the founding fathers of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most influential foreign policy think tank in the world. This fact should give you a small hint of the mind state of the elite concerning the usage of media.

“Political and economic power in the United States is concentrated in the hands of a “ruling elite” that controls most of U.S.-based multinational corporations, major communication media, the most influential foundations, major private universities and most public utilities. Founded in 1921, the Council of Foreign Relations is the key link between the large corporations and the federal government. It has been called a “school for statesmen” and “comes close to being an organ of what C. Wright Mills has called the Power Elite – a group of men, similar in interest and outlook shaping events from invulnerable positions behind the scenes. The creation of the United Nations was a Council project, as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”
– Steve Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States

Some current members of the CFR include David Rockefeller, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, mega-church pastor Rick Warren and the CEOs of major corporations such as CBS, Nike,Coca-Cola and Visa.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung is the founder of analytical psychology (also known an Jungian psychology), which emphasizes understanding the psyche by exploring dreams, art, mythology, religion, symbols and philosophy. The Swiss therapist is at the origin of many psychological concepts used today such as the Archetype, the Complex, the Persona, the Introvert/Extrovert and Synchronicity. He was highly influenced by the occult background of his family. Carl Gustav, his grandfather, was an avid Freemason (he was Grand Master) and Jung himself discovered that some of his ancestors were Rosicrucians. This might explain his great interest in Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology and symbolism. One of  his most important (and misunderstood) concept was theCollective Unconscious.

“My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
– Carl Jung, The Concept of the Collective Unconscious

The collective unconscious transpires through the existence of similar symbols and mythological figures in different civilizations. Archetypal symbols seem to be embedded in our collective subconscious, and, when exposed to them, we demonstrate natural attraction and fascination. Occult symbols can therefore exert a great impact on people, even if many individuals were never personally introduced to the symbol’s esoteric meaning. Mass media thinkers, such as Edward D. Bernays, found in this concept a great way to manipulate the public’s personal and collective unconscious.

1955 Time Magazine cover featuring Carl Jung. Looks a little like Avatar, doesn’t it?

Edward  Bernays

Edward Bernays is considered to be the “father of public relations” and used concepts discovered by his uncle Sigmund Freud to manipulate the public using the subconscious. He shared Walter Lippmann’s view of the general population by considering it irrational and subject to the “herd instinct”. In his opinion, the masses need to be manipulated by an invisible government to insure the survival of democracy.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

Bernay’s trailblazing marketing campaigns profoundly changed the functioning of American society. He basically created “consumerism” by creating a culture wherein Americans bought for pleasure instead of buying for survival. For this reason, he was considered by Life Magazine to be in the Top 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century.

Harold Lasswell

In 1939-1940, the University of Chicago was the host of a series of secret seminars on communications. These think tanks were funded by the Rockefeller foundation and involved the most prominent researchers in the fields of communications and sociological studies. One of these scholars was Harold Lasswell, a leading American political scientist and communications theorist, specializing in the analysis of propaganda. He was also of the opinion that a democracy, a government ruled by the people, could not sustain itself without a specialized elite shaping and molding public opinion through propaganda.

In his Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Lasswell explained that when elites lack the requisite force to compel obedience, social managers must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda.” He added the conventional justification: we must recognize the “ignorance and stupidity [of] … the masses and not succumb to democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.”

Lasswell extensively studied the field of content analysis in order to understand the effectiveness of different types of propaganda.  In his essay Contents of Communication, Lasswell explained that, in order to understand the meaning of a message (i.e. a movie, a speech, a book, etc.), one should take into account the frequency with which certain symbols appear in the message, the direction in which the symbols try to persuade the audience’s opinion, and the intensity of the symbols used.

Lasswell was famous for his media analysis model based on:

Who (says) What (to) Whom (in) What Channel (with) What Effect

By this model, Lasswell indicates that in order to properly analyze a media product, one must look at who produced the product (the people who ordered its creation),  who was it aimed at (the target audience) and what were the desired effects of this product (to inform, to convince, to sell, etc.) on the audience.

Using a Rihanna video as an example, the analysis would be as follows: WHO PRODUCED: Vivendi Universal; WHAT: pop artist Rihanna; TO WHOM: consumers between the ages of 9 and 25; WHAT CHANNEL: music video; and WHAT EFFECT: selling the artist, her song, her image and her message.

The analyzes of videos and movies on The Vigilant Citizen place a great importance on the “who is behind” the messages communicated to the public. The term “Illuminati” is often used to describe this small elite group covertly ruling the masses. Although the term sounds quite caricatured and conspiratorial, it aptly describes the elite’s affinities with secret societies and occult knowledge. However, I personally detest using the term “conspiracy theory” to describe what is happening in the mass media. If all the facts concerning the elitist nature of the industry are readily available to the public, can it still be considered a  “conspiracy theory”?

There used to be a variety of viewpoints, ideas and opinions in popular culture. The consolidation of media corporations has, however, produced a standardization of the cultural industry. Ever wondered why all recent music sounds the same and all recent movies look the same? The following is part of the answer:

Media Ownership

As depicted in the graph above, the number of corporations owning the majority of U.S. media outlets went from 50 to 5 in less than 20 years. Here are the top corporations evolving around the world and the assets they own.

“A list of the properties controlled by AOL Time Warner takes ten typed pages listing 292 separate companies and subsidiaries. Of these, twenty-two are joint ventures with other major corporations involved in varying degrees with media operations. These partners include 3Com, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Citigroup, Ticketmaster, American Express, Homestore, Sony, Viva, Bertelsmann, Polygram, and Amazon.com. Some of the more familiar fully owned properties of Time Warner include Book-of-the-Month Club; Little, Brown publishers; HBO, with its seven channels; CNN; seven specialized and foreign-language channels; Road Runner; Warner Brothers Studios; Weight Watchers; Popular Science; and fifty-two different record labels.”
– Ben Bagdikan, The New Media Monopoly

AOL Time Warner owns:

  • 64 magazines, including Time, Life, People, MAD Magazine and DC Comics
  • Warner Bros, New Line and Fine Line Features in cinema
  • More than 40 music labels including Warner Bros, Atlantic and Elektra
  • Many television networks such as WB Networks, HBO, Cinemax, TNT, Cartoon Network andCNN
  • Madonna, Sean Paul, The White Stripes

Viacom owns:

  • CBS, MTV, MTV2, UPN, VH1, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TNN, CMT and BET
  • Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, MTV Films
  • Blockbuster Videos
  • 1800 screens in theaters through Famous Players

“Disney ownership of a hockey team called The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim does not begin to describe the vastness of the kingdom. Hollywood is still its symbolic heart, with eight movie production studios and distributors: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, Buena Vista Home Video, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Buena Vista International, Hollywood Pictures, and Caravan Pictures.

The Walt Disney Company controls eight book house imprints under Walt Disney Company Book Publishing and ABC Publishing Group; seventeen magazines; the ABC Television Network, with ten owned and operated stations of its own including in the five top markets; thirty radio stations, including all the major markets; eleven cable channels, including Disney, ESPN (jointly), A&E, and the History Channel; thirteen international broadcast channels stretching from Australia to Brazil; seven production and sports units around the world; and seventeen Internet sites, including the ABC group, ESPN.sportszone, NFL.com, NBAZ.com, and NASCAR.com. Its five music groups include the Buena Vista, Lyric Street, and Walt Disney labels, and live theater productions growing out of the movies The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and King David.”
– Ibid

The Walt Disney Company owns:

  • ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, A&E, History Channel
  • Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Film Corp., Dimensionand Buena Vista International
  • Miley Cyrus/ Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers

Vivendi Universal owns:

  • 27% of US music sales, labels include: Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Island, Def Jam, MCA, Mercury, Motown and Universal
  • Universal Studios, Studio Canal, Polygram Films, Canal +
  • Numerous internet and cell phone companies
  • Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z

Sony owns:

  • Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics
  • 15% of US Music sales, labels include Columbia, Epic, Sony, Arista, Jive and RCA Records
  • Beyonce, Shakira, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera

A limited number of actors in the cultural industry means a limited amount of viewpoints and ideas making their way to the general public. It also means that a single message can easily saturate all forms of media to generate consent (i.e. “there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”).

The Standardization of Human Thought

The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive world view, engendering a “standardization of human thought”.

Even movements or styles that are considered marginal are, in fact, extensions of mainstream thinking. Mass medias produce their own rebels who definitely look the part but are still part of the establishment and do not question any of it. Artists, creations and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become self-evident norm.

In 1928, Edward Bernays already saw the immense potential of motion pictures to standardize thought:

“The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

These facts were flagged as dangers to human freedom in the 1930′s by thinkers of the school of Frankfurt such as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse. They identified three main problems with the cultural industry. The industry can:

  1. reduce human beings to the state of mass by hindering the development of emancipated individuals, who are capable of making rational decisions;
  2. replace the legitimate drive for autonomy and self-awareness by the safe laziness of conformism and passivity; and
  3. validate the idea that men actually seek to escape the absurd and cruel world in which they live by losing themselves in a hypnotic state self-satisfaction.

The notion of escapism is even more relevant today with advent of online video games, 3D movies and home theaters. The masses, constantly seeking state-of-the-art entertainment, will resort to high-budget products that can only be produced by the biggest media corporations of the world. These products contain carefully calculated messages and symbols which are nothing more and nothing less than entertaining propaganda. The public have been trained to LOVE its propaganda to the extent that it spends its hard-earned money to be exposed to it. Propaganda (used in both political, cultural and commercial sense) is no longer the coercive or authoritative communication form found in dictatorships: it has become the synonym of entertainment and pleasure.

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies — the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”
– Aldous Huxley, Preface to A Brave New World

A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche. Mass media, however, by its omnipresent nature, creates a living environment we evolve in on a daily basis. It defines the norm and excludes the undesirable. The same way carriage horses wear blinders so they can only see what is right in front of them, the masses can only see where they are supposed to go.

“It is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale. The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment. Mass media provides the essential link between the individual and the demands of the technological society.”
– Jacques Ellul

One of the reasons mass media successfully influences society is due to the extensive amount of research on cognitive sciences and human nature that has been applied to it.

Manipulation Techniques

“Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people (for example, politicians and performing artists), goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.”

The drive to sell products and ideas to the masses has lead to an unprecedented amount of research on human behavior and on the human psyche. Cognitive sciences, psychology, sociology, semiotics, linguistics and other related fields were and still are extensively researched through well-funded studies.

“No group of sociologists can approximate the ad teams in the gathering and processing of exploitable social data. The ad teams have billions to spend annually on research and testing of reactions, and their products are magnificent accumulations of material about the shared experience and feelings of the entire community.”
– Marshal McLuhan, The Extensions of Man
The results of those studies are applied to advertisements, movies, music videos and other media in order to make them as influential as possible. The art of marketing is highly calculated and scientific because it must reach both the individual and the collective consciousness. In high-budget cultural products, a video is never “just a video,” Images, symbols and meanings are strategically placed in order to generate a desired effect.
“It is with knowledge of the human being, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his automatisms as well as knowledge of social psychology and analytical psychology that propaganda refines its techniques.”
– Propagandes, Jacques Ellul (free translation)
Today’s propaganda almost never uses rational or logical arguments. It directly taps into a human’s most primal needs and instincts in order to generate an emotional and irrational response. If we always thought rationally, we probably wouldn’t buy 50% of what we own. Babies and children are constantly found in advertisements targeting women for a specific reason: studies have shown that images of children trigger in women an instinctual need to nurture, to care and to protect, ultimately leading to a sympathetic bias towards the advertisement.
.
Strange old 7up ad using the cuteness of babies
Sex is ubiquitous in mass media, as it draws and keeps the viewer’s attention. It directly connects to our animal need to breed and to reproduce, and, when triggered, this instinct can instantly overshadow any other rational thoughts in our brain.

Subliminal Perception

What if the messages described above were able to reach directly the viewers’ subconscious mind, without the viewers even realizing what is happening? That is the goal of subliminal perception. The phrase subliminal advertising was coined in 1957 by the US market researcher James Vicary, who said he could get moviegoers to “drink Coca-Cola” and “eat popcorn” by flashing those messages onscreen for such a short time that viewers were unaware.
“Subliminal perception is a deliberate process created by communications technicians, by which you receive and respond to information and instructions without being consciously aware of the instructions”
– Steve Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States
This technique is often used in marketing and we all know that sex sells.

Although some sources claim that subliminal advertising is ineffective or even an urban myth, the documented usage of this technique in mass media proves that creators believe in its powers. Recent studies have also proven its effectiveness, especially when the message is negative.

” A team from University College London, funded by the Wellcome Trust, found that it [subliminal perception] was particularly good at instilling negative thoughts. There has been much speculation about whether people can process emotional information unconsciously, for example pictures, faces and words,” said Professor Nilli Lavie, who led the research. We have shown that people can perceive the emotional value of subliminal messages and have demonstrated conclusively that people are much more attuned to negative words.”
– Source

A famous example of subliminal messaging in political communications is in George Bush’s advertisement against Al Gore in 2000.

Right after the name of Gore is mentioned, the ending of the word “bureaucrats” – “rats” – flashes on the screen for a split second.

The discovery of this trickery caused quite a stir and, even if there are no laws against subliminal messaging in the U.S., the advertisement was taken off the air.

As seen in many articles on The Vigilant Citizen, subliminal and semi-subliminal messages are often used in movies and music videos to communicate messages and ideas to the viewers.

Desensitization

In the past, when changes were imposed on populations, they would take to the streets, protest and even riot. The main reason for this clash was due to the fact that the change was clearly announced by the rulers and understood by the population. It was sudden and its effects could clearly be analyzed and evaluated. Today, when the elite needs a part of its agenda to be accepted by the public, it is done through desensitization. The agenda, which might go against the public best interests,  is slowly, gradually and repetitively introduced to the world through movies (by involving it within the plot), music videos (who make it cool and sexy) or the news (who present it as a solution to today’s problems). After several years of exposing the masses to a particular agenda, the elite openly presents the concept the world and, due to mental programming, it is greeted with general indifference and is passively accepted. This technique originates from psychotherapy.

“The techniques of psychotherapy, widely practiced and accepted as a means of curing psychological disorders, are also methods of controlling people. They can be used systematically to influence attitudes and behavior. Systematic desensitization is a method used to dissolve anxiety so the the patient (public) is no longer troubled by a specific fear, a fear of violence for example. […] People adapt to frightening situations if they are exposed to them enough”.
– Steven Jacobson, Mind Control in the United States
Predictive programming is often found in the science fiction genre. It presents a specific image of the future – the one that is desired by the elite – and ultimately becomes in the minds of men an inevitability. A decade ago, the public was being desensitized to war against the Arab world. Today, the population is gradually being exposed to the existence of mind control, of transhumanism and of an Illuminati elite. Emerging from the shadows, those concepts are now everywhere in popular culture. This is what Alice Bailey describes as the “externalization of the hierarchy”: the hidden rulers slowly revealing themselves.

Occult Symbolism in Pop Culture

Metropolis – a movie by the elite, for the elite?

Contrarily to the information presented above, documentation on occult symbolism is rather hard to find. This should not come as a surprise as the term “occult”, literally means “hidden”. It also means “reserved to those in the know” as it is only communicated to those who are deemed worthy of the knowledge. It is not taught in schools nor is it discussed in the media. It is thus considered marginal or even ridiculous by the general population.

Occult knowledge is NOT, however, considered ridiculous in occult circles. It is considered timeless and sacred. There is a long tradition of hermetic and occult knowledge being  taught through secret societies originating from ancient Egyptians, to Eastern Mystics, to the Knights Templar to modern day Freemasons. Even if the nature and the depth of this knowledge was most probably modified and altered throughout the centuries, mystery schools kept their main features, which are highly symbolic, ritualistic and metaphysical. Those characteristics, which were an intricate part of ancient civilizations, have totally been evacuated from modern society to be replaced by pragmatic materialism. For this reason, there lies an important gap of understanding between the pragmatic average person and the ritualistic establishment.

“If this inner doctrine were always concealed from the masses, for whom a simpler code had been devised, is it not highly probable that the exponents of every aspect of modern civilization – philosophic, ethical, religious, and scientific-are ignorant of the true meaning of the very theories and tenets on which their beliefs are founded? Do the arts and sciences that the race has inherited from older nations conceal beneath their fair exterior a mystery so great that only the most illumined intellect can grasp its import? Such is undoubtedly the case.”
– Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages

The “simpler code” devised for the masses used to be organized religions. It is now becoming the Temple of the Mass Media and it preaches on a daily basis extreme materialism, spiritual vacuosity and a self-centered, individualistic existence. This is exactly the opposite of the attributes required to become a truly free individual, as taught by all great philosophical schools of thought. Is a dumbed-down population easier to deceive and to manipulate?

“These blind slaves are told they are “free” and “highly educated” even as they march behind signs that would cause any medieval peasant to run screaming away from them in panic-stricken terror. The symbols that modern man embraces with the naive trust of an infant would be tantamount to billboards reading, ‘This way to your death and enslavement,’ to the understanding of the traditional peasant of antiquity”
– Michael A. Hoffman II, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare

In Conclusion

This article examined the major thinkers in the field of mass media, the media power structure and the techniques used to manipulate the masses. I believe this information is vital to the understanding of  the “why” in the topics discussed on The Vigilant Citizen.  The  “mass population” versus “ruling class” dichotomy described in many articles is not a “conspiracy theory” (again, I hate that term), but a reality that has been clearly stated in the works of some of the 20th century’s most influential men.

Lippmann, Bernays and Lasswell have all declared that the public are not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.” As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE and, indeed, necessary, to insure total leadership. An ignorant population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized. Many people ask me: “Is there a way to stop this?” Yes, there is. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP AND READ A BOOK.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”
– Thomas Jefferson

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China knows less about NKorea than thought

Posted by Admin on November 30, 2010

Logo used by Wikileaks

BEIJINGChina knows less about and has less influence over its close ally North Korea than is usually presumed and is likely to eventually accept a reunified peninsula under South Korean rule, according to U.S. diplomatic files leaked to the WikiLeaks website.

The memos — called cables, though they were mostly encrypted e-mails — paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand an isolated, hard-line regime in the face of a dearth of information and indicate American and South Korean diplomats’ reliance on China’s analysis and interpretation.

The release of the documents, which included discussions of contingency plans for the regime’s collapse and speculation about when that might come, follows new tensions in the region. North Korea unleashed a fiery artillery barrage on a South Korean island that killed four people a week ago and has since warned that joint U.S.-South Korean naval drills this week are pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.”

The shelling comes on the heels of a slew of other provocative acts: An illegal nuclear test and several missile tests, the torpedoing of a SouthKorean warship and, most recently, an announcement that in addition to its plutonium program, it may also be pursuing the uranium path to a nuclear bomb.

The memos give a window into a period prior to the latest tensions, but they paint a picture of three countries struggling to understand isolated and unpredictable North Korea.

In the cables, China sometimes seems unaware of or uncertain about issues ranging from who will succeed North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to the regime’s uranium enrichment plans and its nuclear test, suggesting that the North plays its cards close to its chest even with its most important ally.

Questioned about the enriched uranium program in June last year, Chinese officials said they believed that was program was “only in an initial phase” — a characterization that now appears to have been a gross underestimate.

China is Pyongyang’s closest ally — Beijing fought on the northern side of the Korean War and its aid props up the current regime — and its actions have often served to insulate North Korea from foreign pressure. It has repeatedly opposed harsh economic sanctions and responded to the latest crises by repeating calls for a return to long-stalled, six-nation denuclearization talks that the North has rejected.

But China would appear to have little ability to stop a collapse and less influence over the authorities in Pyongyang than is widely believed, South Korea’s then-vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted telling American Ambassador Kathleen Stephens in February.

China lacks the will to push Pyongyang to change its behavior, according to Chun, but Beijing will not necessarily oppose the U.S. and South Korea in the case of a North Korean collapse.

China “would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ as long as Korea was not hostile towards China,” Chun said.

Economic opportunities in a reunified Korea could further induce Chinese acquiescence, he said.

The diplomatic cables warn, however, that China would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the North-South border.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China would not comment specifically on the cables.

“China consistently supports dialogue between the North and South sides of the Korean peninsula to improve their relations,” Hong said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

In the leaked cable, Chun predicts the government in Pyongyang would last no more than three years following the death of ailing leader Kim Jong Il, who is seeking to transfer power to his youngest son Kim JongUn, a political ingenue in his 20s.

Chun also dismisses the possibility of Chinese military intervention if North Korea descended into chaos.

Despite that, China is preparing to handle any outbreaks of unrest along the border that could follow a collapse of the regime. Chinese officials say they could deal with up to 300,000 refugees, but might have to seal the border to maintain order, the memos say, citing an unidentified representative of an international aid group.

Chinese officials are also quoted using mocking language in reference to North Korea, pointing to tensions between the two neighbors in contrast to official statements underscoring strong historical ties.

Then-Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei is quoted as telling a U.S. official in April 2009 that Pyongyang was acting like a “spoiled child” by staging a missile test in an attempt to achieve its demand of bilateral talks with Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the leaked documents. Officials around the world have said the disclosure jeopardizes national security, diplomats, intelligence assets and relationships between foreign governments.

Five international media organizations, including The New York Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, were among those to receive the documents in advance. WikiLeaks is also slowly posting all the material on its own site.

 

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US relationship with Pak ‘complicated’: Holbrooke

Posted by Admin on October 3, 2010

Sat, Oct 2 12:25 PM
Amidst reports of strains in US-Pakistan ties in view of incidents like NATO air strikes in areas bordering Afghanistan, American special envoy for the region, Richard Holbrooke, has acknowledged that the overall relationship between the two countries is complicated.

“The overall relationship with Pakistan is complicated, more complicated than any strategic relationship I have ever been involved in. But at the end of the day, success in Afghanistan, however you define success, is not achievable unless Pakistan is part of the solution, not part of the problem,” he told ABC News.

“… we’re going to work with the Pakistanis, at least as long I’m involved in this because I believe it’s the right policy and I know that the administration does, too. That doesn’t mean we’re not without frustrations….” Holbrooke said when asked about a report in ‘The Washington Post’ which

said there is strain in relationship between the two countries.

On the current border situation, he said he does not believe that it is going to change the fundamental relationship between the two countries.

“There were apparently some events that crossed the border in an area which … is complicated and very rough terrain,” Holbrooke said.

“It was very unfortunate. And an investigation is going on in that by NATO as it should and the secretary-general of NATO has expressed his regret about it and I would echo that. But I do not think it will change the fundamentals of the relationship,” he said.

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From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence

Posted by Admin on June 20, 2010

by Riki Ott

Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor

11 June 2010

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/riki-ott/from-the-ground-bp-censor_b_6 08724.html

Orange Beach, Alabama — While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP’s spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP — not our president — controls the response. In fact, people on the ground say things are out of control in the gulf.

Even worse, as my latest week of adventures illustrate, BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability.

For example, while flying on a small plane from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot suddenly exclaimed, “Look at that!” The thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama.

“There’s only one reason for that,” the pilot said. “BP doesn’t want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. You should see the oil that’s about six miles off the coast,” he said grimly. We looked down at the wavy orange boom surrounding the islands below us. The pilot shook his head. “There’s no way those booms are going to stop what’s offshore from hitting those beaches.”

BP knows this as well — boom can only deflect oil under the calmest of sea conditions, not barricade it — so they have stepped up their already aggressive effort to control what the public sees.

At the same time I was en route to Orange Beach, Clint Guidry with the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Dean Blanchard, who owns the largest shrimp processor in Louisiana, were in Grand Isle taking Anderson Cooper out in a small boat to see the oiled beaches. The U.S. Coast Guard held up the boat for 20 minutes – an intimidation tactic intended to stop the cameras from recording BP’s damage. Luckily for Cooper and the viewing public, Dean Blanchard is not easily intimidated.

A few days later, the gig was up with the booms. Oil was making landfall in four states and even BP can’t be everywhere at once. CBS 60 Minutes Australia found entire sections of boom hung up in marsh grasses two feet above the water off Venice. On the same day on the other side of Barataria Bay, Louisiana Bayoukeeper documented pools of oil and oiled pelicans inside the boom – on the supposedly protected landward side – of Queen Bess Island off Grand Isle.

With oil undisputedly hitting the beaches and the number of dead wildlife mounting, BP is switching tactics. In Orange Beach, people told me BP wouldn’t let them collect carcasses. Instead, the company was raking up carcasses of oiled seabirds. “The heads separate from the bodies,” one upset resident told me. “There’s no way those birds are going to be autopsied. BP is destroying evidence!”

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property – the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public.

Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages – and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

NOAA should also be conducting carcass drift studies. Only one percent of the dead sea birds made landfall in the Gulf of Alaska, for example. That means for every one bird that was found, another 99 were carried out to sea by currents. Further, NOAA should be conducting aerial surveys to look for carcasses in the offshore rips where the currents converge. That’s where the carcasses will pile up–a fact we learned during the Exxon Valdez spill. Maybe that’s another reason for BP’s “no camera” policy and the flight restrictions.

On Saturday June 12, people across America will stand up and speak out with one voice to protest BP’s treatment of the Gulf, neglect for the response workers, and their response to government authority. President Obama needs to hear and see the people waving cameras and respirators. Until the media is allowed unrestricted access to the Gulf and impacted beaches, BP – not the President of United States – will remain in charge of the Gulf response.

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Reports accuse WHO of exaggerating H1N1 threat, possible ties to drug makers

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2010

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 4, 2010; 3:52 PM

European criticism of the World Health Organization’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified Friday with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond.

The WHO’s response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars, according to one report. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications, according to the second report.

The reports outlined the drumbeat of criticism that has arisen, primarily in Europe, of how the world’s leading health organization responded to the first influenza pandemic in more than four decades.

“For WHO, its credibility has been badly damaged,” wrote Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, a prominent British medical journal, that published one of the reports. “WHO must act now to restore its credibility.”

A spokesman for the WHO, along with several independent experts, however, strongly disputed the reports, saying they misrepresented the seriousness of the pandemic and the WHO’s response, which was carefully formulated and necessary given the potential threat.

“The idea that we declared a pandemic when there wasn’t a pandemic is both historically inaccurate and downright irresponsible,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl in a telephone interview. “There is no doubt that this was a pandemic. To insinuate that this was not a pandemic is very disrespectful to the people who died from it.”

The first report, released in Paris, came from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which launched an investigation in response to allegations that the WHO’s response to the pandemic was influenced by drug companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines.

“The parliamentary assembly is alarmed about the way in which the H1N1 influenza pandemic has been handled, not only by the World Health Organization (WHO), but also by the competent health authorities at the level of the European Union and at national level,” the 18-page draft report states.

“It is particularly troubled by some of the consequences of decisions taken and advice given leading to distortion of priorities of public health services across Europe, waste of large sums of public money, and also unjustified scares and fears about health risks faced by the European public at large,” according to the report.

The second report, a joint investigation by the BMJ and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is based in London, criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.

“We are left wondering whether major public health organizations are able to effectively manage the conflicts of interest that are inherent in medical science,” the report states.

Hartl dismissed those charges.

“WHO would say categorically that it believes that it has not been subject to undue conflict-of-interest. We know that some experts that come to our committees have contact with industry. It would be surprising if they didn’t because the best experts are sought by all organizations,” Hartl said. “We feel that the guidelines produced were certainly not subject to undue influence.”

Several other experts also defended the agency.

“Twenty-twenty hindsight can always second guess the decisions of public health officials,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a private nonprofit group. “But this kind of condemnation of public health officials who made the most prudent decisions based on available knowledge could well backfire in future emergencies: I fear that public health officials will draw the lesson that they should wait for greater scientific certainty before responding in the future — and we could pay for that overcaution with many lives lost.”

In response to the criticism, the WHO has launched two investigations, including one by an independent panel of experts led by Harvey Fineberg, who heads the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

“These reports raise questions about potential, inappropriate influences on WHO decision-making in the assessment and response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and, more generally, question practices employed by WHO to guard against conflict of interest among its expert advisers,” Fineberg said in an e-mail. “These topics are among those that will be fully considered by our review committee.”

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What does Israel fear from media coverage?

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2010

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aiming a gun on the deck of a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip, after Israeli soldiers boarded the vessel in international waters off the Gaza coast.

The New York Times, today:

A day after Israeli commandoes raided an aid flotilla seeking to breach the blockade of Gaza, Israel held hundreds of activists seized aboard the convoy on Tuesday . . . .Reuters reported thatIsrael was holding hundreds of activists incommunicado in and around the port city of Ashdod, refusing to permit journalists access to witnesses who might contradict Israel’s version of events.

Physically blocking journalists from reporting on their conduct is what Israel does (as well as others); recall this from The New York Times on January 6, 2009, regarding Israel’s war in Gaza:

Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza

Three times in recent days, a small group of foreign correspondents was told to appear at the border crossing to Gaza. The reporters were to be permitted in to cover firsthand the Israeli war on Hamas in keeping with a Supreme Court ruling against the two-month-old Israeli ban on foreign journalists entering Gaza.

Each time, they were turned back on security grounds, even as relief workers and other foreign citizens were permitted to cross the border. On Tuesday the reporters were told to not even bother going to the border.

And so for an 11th day of Israel’s war in Gaza, the several hundred journalists here to cover it waited in clusters away from direct contact with any fighting or Palestinian suffering, but with full access to Israeli political and military commentators eager to show them around southern Israel, where Hamas rockets have been terrorizing civilians. A slew of private groups financed mostly by Americans are helping guide the press around Israel.

Like all wars, this one is partly about public relations. But unlike any war in Israel’s history, in this one the government is seeking to entirely control the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy.

Isn’t it strange how Plucky, Democratic Israel goes to such extreme lengths to prevent any media coverage of what they do, any journalistic interference with their propaganda machine, in light of the fact that — as always — They Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong?  Is physically blocking the media from covering what happens the act of a government that is in the right?  Thomas Jefferson answered that question quite some time ago:

Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.

Israel is now not only detaining the victims of its aggression, but also threatening to prosecute and imprison them.  Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said yesterday:  “All those who lifted a hand against a soldier will be punished to the full extent of the law.”  So when Israel seizes ships in international waters and kills anyone who resists (and others standing near them), that is an act of noble, plucky self-defense.  But those who fail to submit completely to this lawless and barbarous act of aggression are the Real Criminals who will be prosecuted and imprisoned “to the fullest extent of the law.”  In other words, not only is Israel — which seized ships in international waters and killed civilians — the Real Victim, but the Real Criminals are those on the ship.  But doesn’t the victim of a crime usually want media coverage of what the criminal did?  How odd for the victim in this case to take such extreme steps to ensure that the world cannot hear from the witnesses.

* * * * *

Two other related points:  (1) as I noted yesterday, the real question for Americans is our own country’s responsibility for what Israel does; asvirtually the entire world vehemently condemns Israel’s conduct, the U.S. — as usual — acts to protect the Israelis at the U.N. and joins it in heaping blame on its victims; and (2) Robert Farley highlights a small though typical piece of false Israeli propaganda, this one from supreme propagandist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, which pervades our discourse in unchallenged form.

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Huge fireball likely large meteor that may have left debris

Posted by Admin on April 26, 2010

Huge fireball likely large meteor that may have left debris

April 15, 2010 9:53 PM

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/04/meteor-spotted-over-midwest.html

MeteorUW-Madison.jpg

The flash of what may have been a meteor over Madison, Wis., about 10 p.m. Wednesday, as seen from a weather observatory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences photo)

A fiery ball of light witnessed by thousands as it swept over the upper Midwest Wednesday night was almost certainly a large meteor that probably left a trail of debris across southern Wisconsin, asteroid experts say.

The path of the meteor was tracked by Doppler radar at two National Weather Service stations, in the Quad Cities and at LaCrosse, Wis. 

“It has the appearance that is completely consistent with being a bright meteor,” said Mark Hammergren, an Adler Planetarium astronomer who specializes in asteroids, after viewing the Doppler images.

The object, which lit up the sky shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday across parts of Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin, was very likely a piece of an asteroid, a rocky planetoid formation that orbits the sun, he said. Almost all meteors come from asteroids.

It almost certainly was not from debris trailing a comet or part of a meteor shower associated with a comet, as earlier reports have speculated, Hammergren said.

“We won’t know for sure until we get specimens” of whatever the object was, if pieces of it survived the fiery plunge through the Earth’s atmosphere, he said. But it was so large, he said he was fairly certain some may be found. Technically, if pieces of a meteor survive the impact, they are known as “meteorites.”

There was no “space junk” satellite debris that would have de-orbited into the atmosphere over that part of the U.S. Wednesday night, said William Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corporation in California, ruling out that it could have been a piece of an old satellite.

According to the weather service’s Milwaukee office, officials there, in LaCrosse, Wis., Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa, and in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo. received “numerous reports of a fireball” about the same time people began contacting Milwaukee area officials about the flare.

National Weather Service radar in LaCrosse, Wis. showed the object at between 6,000 and 12,000 feet, heading from northwest to southeast over Grant and Iowa counties.

(The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences has a series of time lapse photos of the event as seen from Madison; an Iowa sheriff’s department captured video of the flash that’s been posted on YouTube.)

Christine McMorris was in her Woodstock home Wednesday evening looking out of her kitchen window as she washed dishes and talked with a friend when she noticed a bright light coming from the sky.

“All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I saw this huge ball of fire and a huge light,” said McMorris. “I was like, what the hell was that?”

She had seen many shooting stars during her travels to the western United States. But last night put those to shame, she said.

“They are minuscule compared to this, it was enormous,” she said.

She said as the meteor traveled closer to the surface, its intensity diminished until she lost sight of it during the approximately five to 10 seconds it took to drop. She said it didn’t have a tail.

“It was truly spectacular,” she said.

Becky Hoffman, who lives on a farm near Dixon, said she and her husband were getting ready for bed when they looked out and saw a “big glow” in the sky. She found it strange because the air was clear of storm clouds. She said she is about an hour and a half from the Wisconsin border and noticed the light north of her home.

“We thought it might have been a transformer blowing up in the area,” she said, but she dismissed it because she did not hear any explosions.

She said it was a reddish orange glow to it and she didn’t think anything of it until she turned on the radio this morning and heard that it was a meteor.

“That’s what it was, I saw it,” said Hoffman. “I thought it was pretty exciting, I just want to know where it ended up at. Did it disintegrate into the skyline or did it actually hit ground?”

In a statement on its Web site, the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities said: 
“Just after 10 pm CDT Wednesday evening April 14th, a fireball or very bright meteor was observed streaking across the sky. The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east. 

“Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight. The fireball was seen across Northern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin. Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes. As of late Wednesday evening, it is unknown whether any portion of this meteorite hit the ground.”

Hammergren said the apparently large size of the meteor indicates pieces may well have survived and hit the ground.

“The strength of this was comparable to others where multiple fragments have been recovered, he said, guessing that as a meteor prior to hitting and exploding in the atmosphere may have weighed “hundreds of pounds”.

Similarly sized meteors have produced meteorite fragments from the size of grains of sand to fist size and football-sized chunks. 

Meteorites are so highly prized by scientists, collectors and dealers, that teams of searchers already are preparing to go to an area in southwest Wisconsin where fragments most likely would have crashed into the ground, he said.

WGN Radio’s Greg Jarrett and Jim Wiser contributed to this story.

— William Mullen, Liam Ford and Carlos Sadovi

Click HERE to see a WGN-Radio video and audio report on this story.

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Financial Crisis: The Next Big Bank Bailout is on the Way

Posted by Admin on March 24, 2010

Financial Crisis: The Next Big Bank Bailout is on the Way

by Mike Whitney

//
//

Global Research, March 17, 2010

Information Clearing House – 2010-03-16

Housing is on the rocks and prices are headed lower. That’s not the consensus view, but it’s a reasonably safe assumption. Master illusionist Ben Bernanke managed to engineer a modest 7-month uptick in sales, but the fairydust will wear off later this month when the Fed stops purchasing mortgage-backed securities and long-term interest rates begin to creep higher. The objective of Bernanke’s $1.25 trillion program, which is called quantitative easing, was to transfer the banks “unsellable” MBS onto the Fed’s balance sheet. Having achieved that goal, Bernanke will now have to unload those same toxic assets onto Freddie and Fannie. (as soon as the public is no longer paying attention)

Bernanke’s cash giveaway has helped to buoy stock prices and stabilize housing, but market fundamentals are still weak. There’s just too much inventory and too few buyers. Now that the Fed is withdrawing its support, matters will only get worse.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped the folks at Bloomberg from cheerleading the nascent housing turnaround. Here’s a clip from Monday’s column:

“The U.S. housing market is poised to withstand the removal of government and Federal Reserve stimulus programs and rebound later in the year, contributing to annual economic growth for the first time since 2006. Increases in jobs, credit and affordable homes will help offset the end of the Fed’s purchases of mortgage-backed securities this month and the expiration of a federal homebuyer tax credit in April. Sales will rise about 6 percent this year, and housing will account for 0.25 percentage point of the 3.6 percent growth, according to forecasts by Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist for Barclays Capital in New York…“The underlying trend is turning positive,” said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York.”

Just for the record; there has been no “increases in jobs”. It’s baloney. Unemployment is flat at 9.7 percent with underemployment checking-in at 16.8 percent. There’s no chance of housing rebound until payrolls increase. Jobless people don’t buy houses.

Also, while it is true that the federal homebuyer tax credit did cause a spike in home purchases; it’s impact has been short-lived and sales are returning to normal. It’s generally believed that “cash for clunker-type” programs merely move demand forward and have no meaningful long-term effect.

So, it’s likely that housing prices–particularly on the higher end–will continue to fall until they return to their historic trend. (probably 10 to 15% lower) That means more trouble for the banks which are already using all kinds of accounting flim-flam (“mark-to-fiction”) to conceal the wretched condition of their balance sheets. Despite the surge in stock prices, the banks are drowning in the losses from their non performing loans and toxic assets. And, guess what; they still face another $1 trillion in Option ARMs and Alt-As that will reset by 2012. it’s all bad.

The Fed has signaled that it’s done all it can to help the banks. Now it’s Treasury’s turn. Bernanke will keep the Fed funds rate at zero for the foreseeable future, but he is not going to expand the Fed’s balance sheet anymore. Geithner understands this and is working frantically to put together the next bailout that will reduce mortgage-principal for underwater homeowners. But it’s a thorny problem because many of the borrowers have second liens which could amount to as much as $477 billion. That means that if the Treasury’s mortgage-principal reduction plan is enacted; it could wipe out the banks. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Financial Times which explains it all:

“A group of investors in mortgage-backed bonds dubbed the Mortgage Investors Coalition (MIC) recently submitted to Congress a plan to overhaul the refinancing of underwater borrowers by writing down the principal balances of both first and second mortgages. The confederation of insurers, asset managers and hedge funds hope to break a logjam between Washington DC and the four megabanks with the most exposure to writedowns on second lien mortgages, including home equity lines of credit.

The private sector initiative coincides with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank’s open letter dated 4 March to the CEOs of the banks in question – Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo – urging them to start forgiving principal on the second lien loans they hold.

But the banks are unlikely to take action until they get new accounting guidance from regulators that would ease the impact of such significant principal reductions on their capitalization ratios.”

(Ed.–“Accounting guidance”? Either the banks are holding out for a bigger bailout or they’re looking for looser accounting standards to conceal their losses from their shareholders. Either way, it’s clear that they’re trying to hammer out the best deal possible for themselves regardless of the cost to the taxpayer.)

Financial Times again: “The four banks in question collectively own more than USD 400bn of the USD 1trn in second lien mortgages outstanding. BofA holds USD 149bn, Citi holds USD 54bn, JP Morgan holds USD 101bn and Wells Fargo holds USD 115bn, according to fourth quarter 2009 10Q filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

As proposed, the MIC’s plan entails haircuts to the first and second lien loans to reduce underwater borrowers’ loan to value ratios to 96.5% of current real estate market prices, according to two sources close.

For the program to work, HAMP would place principal balance forgiveness first in the modification waterfall. The associated second lien would take a principal balance reduction but remain intact through the process – ultimately to be re-subordinated to the first lien, the sources close said.

A systemic program to modify second lien mortgages called 2MP does exist but Treasury has stalled on implementation because the banks that hold them can’t afford it, six buyside investors said. The sources all said implementation of the program, called 2MP, would result in “catastrophic” losses for the nation’s four largest banks, which collectively hold more than USD 400bn of the USD 1trn in second lien mortgages outstanding.” (“Mortgage investors push for banks to write down second liens”, Allison Pyburn, Financial Times)

Hold on a minute! Didn’t Geithner just run bank “stress tests” last year to prove that the banks could withstand losses on second liens?

Yes, he did. And the banks passed with flying colors. So, why are the banks whining now about the potential for “catastrophic” losses if the plan goes forward? Either they were lying then or they’re lying now; which is it?

Of course they were lying. Just like that sniveling sycophant Geithner is lying.

According to the Times the banks hold $400 billion in second lien mortgages. But –as Mike Konczal points out–the stress tests projected maximum losses at just “$68 billion. In other words, Geithner rigged the tests so the banks would pass. Now the banks want it both ways: They want people to think that they are solvent enough to pass a basic stress test, but they want to be given another huge chunk of public money to cover their second liens. They want it all, and Geithner’s trying to give it to them. Wanker.

And don’t believe the gibberish from Treasury that “they have no plan for mortgage principal reductions”. According to the Times:

“Treasury continues to tell investors that any day now they will be out with a final program and they will be signed up”….“The party line continues to be they are a week away, two weeks away,” the hedge fund source said. ”

So, it’s not a question of “if” there will be another bank bailout, but “how big” that bailout will be. The banks clearly expect the taxpayer to foot the entire bill regardless of who was responsible for the losses.

So, let’s summarize:

1–Bank bailout #1–$700 billion TARP which allowed the banks to continue operations after the repo and secondary markets froze-over from the putrid loans the banks were peddling.

2–Bank bailout #2–$1.25 trillion Quantitative Easing program which transferred banks toxic assets onto Fed’s balance sheet (soon to be dumped on Fannie and Freddie) while rewarding the perpetrators of the biggest financial crackup in history.

3–Bank bailout #3–$1 trillion to cover all mortgage cramdowns, second liens, as well as any future liabilities including gym fees, energy drinks, double-tall nonfat mocha’s, parking meters etc. ad infinitum.

And as far as the banks taking “haircuts”? Forget about it! Banks don’t take “haircuts”. It looks bad on their quarterly reports and cuts into their bonuses. Taxpayers take haircuts, not banksters. Besides, that’s what Geithner gets paid for–to make sure bigshot tycoons don’t have to pay for their mistakes or bother with the niggling details of fleecing the little people.

The next big bailout is on the way. Prepare to get reamed! Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mike Whitney

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Huge quake hits Chile – Tsunami threatens Pacific

Posted by Admin on February 27, 2010

Huge quake hits Chile – Tsunami threatens Pacific

By ROBERTO CANDIA and EVA VERGARA, Associated Press Writer – 58 mins ago

TALCA, Chile – A devastating earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. A tsunami set off by the magnitude-8.8 quake threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe.

Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma said the most powerful quake to hit the country in a half-century killed at least 82 people, but the death toll was rising quickly.

In the town of Talca, just 65 miles (105 kilometers) from the epicenter, Associated Press journalist Roberto Candia said it felt as if a giant had grabbed him and shaken him.

The town’s historic center, filled with buildings of adobe mud and straw, largely collapsed, though most of those were businesses that were not inhabited during the 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. EST, 0634 GMT) quake. Neighbors pulled at least five people from the rubble while emergency workers, themselves disoriented, asked for information from reporters.

Many roads were destroyed, and electricity, water and phone lines were cut to many areas — meaning there was no word of death or damage from many outlying areas.

In the Chilean capital of Santiago, 200 miles (325 kilometers) northeast of the epicenter, a car dangled from a collapsed overpass, the national Fine Arts Museum was badly damaged and an apartment building’s two-story parking lot pancaked, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms rang incessantly.

Experts warned that a tsunami could strike anywhere in the Pacific, and Hawaii could face its largest waves since 1964 starting at 11:19 a.m. (4:19 p.m. EST, 2119 GMT), according to Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Tsunami waves were likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealandshores within 24 hours of the earthquake. The U.S. West Coast andAlaska, too, were threatened.

A huge wave swept into a populated area in the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles (660 kilometers) off the Chilean coast, PresidentMichelle Bachelet said, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Bachelet had no information on the number of people injured. She declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” she said from an emergency response center. She said Chile has not asked for assistance from other countries, and urged Chileans not to panic.

“The system is functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately,” she said.

Powerful aftershocks rattled Chile’s coast — 24 of them magnitude 5 or greater and one reaching magnitude 6.9 — the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

In Santiago, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

Several hospitals were evacuated due to earthquake damage, Bachelet said.

Santiago’s airport will remain closed for at least 24 hours, airport director Eduardo del Canto said. The passenger terminal suffered major damage, he told Chilean television in a telephone interview. TV images show smashed windows, partially collapsed ceilings and pedestrian walkways destroyed.

Santiago’s subway was shut as well and hundreds of buses were trapped at a terminal by a damaged bridge, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister told Chilean television. He urged Chileans to make phone calls or travel only when absolutely necessary.

Candia was visiting his wife’s 92-year-old grandmother in Talca when the quake struck.

“Everything was falling — chests of drawers, everything,” he said. “I was sleeping with my 8-year-old sonDiego and I managed to cover his head with a pillow. It was like major turbulence on an airplane.”

In Concepcion, 70 miles (115 kilometers) from the epicenter, nurses and residents pushed the injured through the streets on stretchers. Others walked around in a daze wrapped in blankets, some carrying infants in their arms.

Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, is 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

The quake also shook buildings in Argentina‘s capital of Buenos Aires, 900 miles (1,400 kilometers) away on the Atlantic side of South America.

Marco Vidal, a program director for Grand Circle Travel who was traveling with a group of 34 Americans, was on the 19th floor of the Crown Plaza Santiago hotel when the quake struck.

“All the things start to fall. The lamps, everything, was going on the floor,” he said. “I felt terrified.”

Cynthia Iocono, from Linwood, Pennsylvania, said she first thought the quake was a train.

“But then I thought, `Oh, there’s no train here.’ And then the lamps flew off the dresser and my TV flew off onto the floor and crashed.”

The quake struck after concert-goers had left South America’s leading music festival in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, but it caught partiers leaving a disco.

“It was very bad. People were screaming. Some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them,” Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called for “urgent action to protect lives and property” in Hawaii, which is among 53 nations and territories subject to tsunami warnings.

“Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near theearthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts,” the warning center said. It did not expect a tsunami along the west of the U.S. or Canada.

The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same area of Chile on May 22, 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left 2 million homeless. The tsunami that it caused killed people in Hawaii,Japan and the Philippines and caused damage to the west coast of the United States.

___

Eva Vergara reported from Santiago, ChileAssociated Press Television News cameraman Mauricio Cuevas in Santiago and AP writer Sandy Kozel in Washington contributed to this story.

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Associated Press spins more Climategate lies

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2010

Associated Press spins more Climategate lies

by John O’Sullivan on February 20, 2010

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Over at tree-hugging apologist mouthpiece, Media Matters they’re getting their panties in a bunch over a Fox News story. It seems Fox was biased for a “stale retread” over Climategate data rapist, Professor Phil Jones’ shocking admission that there’s been no statistically significant global warming for 15 years. How outrageous of Fox, I hear you scoff. But try and see it from Media Matters’ point of view–little green journos all now go into apoplectic spasm at every mention of unpleasant and unarguable climate facts.

So, thanks to the prompting by Media Manglers, I’ll now prove that the Associated Press (AP) is complicit in perpetrating further Climategate hype and lies. Thereby, our readers may judge for themselves how deeply the green-loving press has sunk themselves into the greatest scandal in science.

First, keep in mind that Fox News is the only American TV news broadcaster that has reported the Climategate story from Day One. Media Matters tries to spin the lie that the AP has been reporting on this epoch-changing event in a ‘just-the-facts fashion.’ But, as we shall see, in AP’s case ‘just the facts’ means doling out hype and lies supportive of the global warming hysteria.

Astonishingly, it is the leaked Climategate emails themselves that expose the complicitness of the Associated Press in the Climategate scandal. Keen eyes at that excellent skeptic blog, Watts Up With That (WUWT), first uncovered the facts exposing media conspiracy in reporting Climategate. Blogger, Anthony Watts, found that AP had a ‘man on the inside’ of information from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit three months before the leaked emails surfaced.

It is those leaked emails that expose AP reporter, Seth Borenstein as a Climategate collaborator. So it came as no surprise to bloggers when AP ran the following in a ‘just-the-facts fashion’ on December 12, 2009 after the Climategate story broke:

“E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.” source

And whom did AP put in charge of their “exhaustive review”? Yes, you guessed it, Seth Borenstein.

Borenstein has long been known among climate commentators as an avid green sympathiser. As a sample of Borenstein’s affiliations look no further than the leaked email dated Jul 23, 2009 when Seth ‘just-the-facts’ Borenstein emailed his Climategate chums, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt and Michael ‘Hockey Stick’ Mann, three months before Climategate:

“It’s Seth again. Attached is a paper in JGR today that
Marc Morano is hyping wildly. It’s in a legit journal. Whatchya think?
Seth
Seth Borenstein, Associated Press Science Writer
sborenstein@xxxxxxxxx.xxx”

Michael Mann’s reply:

“hi Seth, you always seem to catch me at airports. only got a
few minutes. took a cursory look at the paper, and it has all
the worry signs of extremely bad science and scholarship.”

Thus speaketh Michael ‘bad science’ Mann always available for a buddy like Seth. Whatchya think of that? To quantify how far AP journalism has fallen off it’s integrity perch just take a look here at their own code of conduct

Laughably, AP claims that:

“we avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest and compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.”

So if readers are troubled by AP’s “exhaustive review” you can phone or write and ask in a just-the-facts fashion at the following address:

The Associated Press, 1100 13th St. NW, Suite 700,
Washington, DC
20005-4076
Tel: 202-641-9454

Possibly related posts:

  1. Climategate: AP asks believers to give the all clear
  2. Climategate inquiry under way
  3. BBC to investigate itself on climate change bias
  4. Biased reporting on Climategate? Say it ain’t so!
  5. The corrupted nature of Nature

Tagged as: AP, Media Matters, Michael Mann, Seth Borenstein

John O’Sullivan is a British writer, retired academic and legal advocate who has ten years’ of experience litigating against government corruption in the U.S. federal and state courts.

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World’s biggest coal company brings U.S. government to court in climate fraud

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2010

World’s biggest coal company brings U.S. government to court in climate fraud

John O’Sullivan

Feb. 17, 2010

The world’s largest private sector coal business, the Peabody Energy Company (PEC) has filed a mammoth 240-page “Petition for Reconsideration,” a full-blown legal challenge against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The petition must be answered and covers the entire body of leaked emails from ‘Climategate’ as well as those other ‘gate’ revelations including the frauds allegedly perpetrated under such sub-headings as ‘Himalayan Glaciers,’ ‘African Agricultural Production,’ ‘Amazon Rain Forests,’ ‘Melting Mountain Ice,’ ‘Netherlands Below Sea Level’ as well as those much-publicized abuses of the peer-review literature and so called ‘gray literature.’ These powerful litigants also draw attention to the proven criminal conduct by climate scientists in refusing to honor Freedom of Information law (FOIA) requests.

Peabody is, in effect, challenging the right of the current U.S. federal government to introduce cap and trade regulations by the ‘back door.’ In this article we summarize Peabody’s legal writ.

PEC has pulled out all the stops to overturn the EPA findings ‘Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act’ made on December 7, 2009. Those findings were in turn premised on the Supreme Court decision of April 2, 2007 of Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), where the court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.

PEC argues inter alia that the law requires that the federal agency must articulate a “rational connection between the facts found and the choice made” as per the case of Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of the United States, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43 (1983).

The PEC arguments are based primarily on the release of email and other information from the University of East Anglia (“UEA”) Climatic Research Unit (“CRU”) in November of last year. Their civil action lists most of the principle scientists such as Professor Phil Jones, of the UK’s Climatic Research Unit, who recently admitted there has been no ‘statistically significant’ global warming for 15 years and agreed the Medieval Warm Period may have been just as warm, if not warmer than current global temperatures.

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