Television May Be Doing Your Thinking

Television May Be Doing Your Thinking

by Lynn Berry

(NaturalNews) – The world’s biggest leisure activity is watching television. Not walking or reading, not playing games with our children, not engaging with others in outdoor activities. Most of us like to think that television has absolutely no effect on how we think or what we do. We believe that it is a way to relax. Many of us may be surprised to know that television is a controlling medium, relaxing us enough to switch off our analytical brain (the left side of the brain) so that we uncritically, or unlogically, process the information beaming from the television. This means we are less able to make decisions or judgments about what we hear on television.

Our brains undergo a similar process under hypnosis. The similarity between hypnosis and the effects of watching television is unveiled in Dr Aric Sigman’s book called Remotely Controlled. Sigman describes hypnosis as “an altered state of consciousness”; a form of sleepwalking where our mind is influenced by another (the hypnotist or practitioner).

Under hypnosis we become more open to the suggestions of the practitioner and this happens as we are asked to refrain from being critical and relaxed. As we do this, the frontal lobe in our brain alters becoming less connected with the brain so that we switch off. Hypnosis effectively causes a change in the brain so that we use the right side of our brain. What we switch off is the left side used for critical thinking.

While hypnosis may be considered an extreme or unusual solution to certain conditions, it only takes 30 seconds for us to be in a similar state when we switch on the television. Such were the findings from Professor Herbert Krugman in a study conducted in 1971. His conclusion was that we do not think about the information transmitted via television. In other words the way television communicates is a form of brainwashing.

Left in this state for some time can mean that we become less inventive in problem-solving and less able to concentrate. This suits some environments. In the UK, television is used to keep prisoners quiet. It is regarded as one of the best types of control mechanisms by the General Secretary of the Prison Governors’ Association. Prisoners are subjected to the tranquillising effects of television which subdues behaviour, and the other benefit is that it is a cheap and effective way to do that.

The frontal lobe also alters in the brain when watching television. The frontal lobe is an important part of the brain as it is a management type system ensuring that our self-control, moral judgment and attention is planned, organised and sequenced. The concern is that the frontal lobe may be damaged by watching television and this may happen in childhood because the frontal lobe is in a continual stage of development until around 20 years of age.

When children watch television, the frontal lobe is not doing anything with the result that over a period of time this part of the brain doesn’t develop which can then stunt development. A study in The World Federation of Neurology outlined concerns about the impact of visual electronic media (including television) on children because of stunted frontal lobe development which also impacts on their ability to control antisocial behaviour. Playing and interacting with others is recommended to encourage the fibres in the frontal lobe to develop and thicken and to make stronger connections to neurons.

It is not the information itself that causes the problem, but rather the medium. Somehow we are electrically wired to the television enabling information to be absorbed – any information. The medium induces within us a passive state for communication. If we are unconsciously absorbing information, then what is this information doing to the way we think and act? Of course, the medium is a perfect match for advertisers.

How much are we influenced by the opinions of others presented on TV? Ask how you came by that opinion – was it someone else’s opinion that you’ve unconsciously accepted. Is your view of the latest international news event – consider the Russia vs Georgia crisis – shaped by what you hear? For example, I started to believe what I was hearing regarding this ‘crisis’ (ie that one country was the problem), until I was reminded of the history and other related events. Do you find yourself arguing forcefully about an issue then wondered how, or even why, you had that point of view?

The other aspect of television to consider is the amount of negative information that is transmitted. There are a few stories that are uplifting and empowering. Some groups recommend staying away from television particularly the news because of what they see as it’s potential to negatively impact on enthusiasm, positive thinking, and self esteem. Do an experiment and stop watching television for a few days or a week, then assess how you feel in general. Once you start watching television again, reassess.

While we may look after our physical body, eating well and exercising, we also have a duty to look after our mental body, feeding it with positive stimulation. In a positive environment, we become positive, influencing others to be positive.

Source: ‘Weapons of Mass Induction’ an article in Kindred based on an excerpt of a book by Dr Aric Sigman called Remotely Controlled (Kindred 22: Aug 2007 see http://www.kindredmagazine.com.au)

Translating Propaganda and Thinking the Unthinkable

Translating Propaganda and Thinking the Unthinkable


By Max Kantar


When you go to a foreign country, it is common to bring a translation dictionary to help curb the confusion that comes with trying to understand a foreign language. Likewise, in American politics, we also need a translation guide to understand mainstream discussion given the universal double standards, egotistical national chauvinism, and internalized elite values.

Propaganda in the US rests mostly in what is not said, but rather assumed. Such a system of indoctrination is extremely powerful as it serves the purpose of making certain thoughts not so much undesirable, but unthinkable, strikingly reminiscent of Orwell’s depiction of totalitarian control and manipulation of the English language in his novel, 1984.

The language of US propaganda is indeed a foreign tongue to anyone who takes seriously the factual historical record, the nature of powerful institutions, and fundamental human decency with respect for human rights.

Included here is a list of commonly used terminology in American politics and the mainstream media. The definitions provided are the unspoken, assumed meanings of the terms, which are in fact quite different, sometimes diametrically opposed to their dictionary definitions.

For any serious social and political discussion to materialize, it is imperative that we understand the vocabulary put forth by our cultural managers in order to dismantle the prevailing system of thought control and indoctrination.

US Foreign Policy, Israel, and International relations

Peace Process

: Whatever the US is doing at the time [1]

Department of Defense:

Department of aggression and acceptable terrorism

Terrorism

: 1) Legitimate resistance to the terror/aggression of the US and its clients, or 2) Terrorism committed by those out of favor with Washington

Counter-Terrorism

: Terrorism and aggression carried out by the US and its client states

War on Terrorism

: Any violence the US or its client states use to advance the US agenda of global dominance by stifling independent nationalism, assuring control over natural resources, squashing ‘good examples’ of independent economic development, and creating conditions to benefit foreign (US) investors instead of the populations at hand. Basically the ideological twin and subsequent replacement of the rabid anti-communism of the Cold War.

Terrorist:

1) Anybody that the US fights against, 2) People who defend themselves from US attack, and 3) Perpetrators of terrorism whose terror doesn’t serve US power

Privately Contracted Security Forces:

Mercenaries or paid killers unaccountable to the public

“Protecting our way of life”

: A justification for US-based violence and economic exploitation that is driven by a desire to ‘protect’ private concentrated wealth of the richest 1% (‘our’) of the country. ”

Failed policy”

: Usually refers to an unlawful war policy which has come to cost too much money. It reinforces yet again, the imperial rights of the US to use violence at will in violation of human rights, the public will, and international law.

Blunders, Mismanagement, Mistakes, etc:

Terms used to describe US foreign policy when large sectors of business power and the population turn against [the respective policy]…the implication being clear that US initiatives are by definition, rooted in morality and altruism, despite natural human errors of strategy, not of motives, meaning that US foreign policy “means well.”

To “Spread Democracy”:

To extend US control over a foreign country, usually in an attempt to undermine popular democratic efforts that threaten US political, business, and ideological interests.

“Support the Troops”:

Support our policy of unlawful aggression

“The Surge worked”

: The perceived success of the US escalation of the illegal occupation of Iraq renders our initial/continued illegal aggression legitimate according to this proclamation. Nevertheless, this catchphrase also ignores the actual reasons for the decrease in violence including the non-related cease fire maintained by the Shia resistance, increased segregation through extensive ethnic cleansing, and most importantly, significantly less people to kill as half the country is dead, exiled, displaced, mangled, or in prison. [2]

Democracy:

Refers to a foreign government that favors the interests of elite foreign (US)

investors instead of the respective population

Moderate:

a foreign leader who follows orders from Washington [1]

Extremist:

a foreign leader who pursues a course independent from Washington’s orders [1]

Human Rights:

Things that the US supports and that our enemies violate

Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Weapons (sometimes nonexistent ones) that are held by states out of favor with Washington. Notice that the US and its clients by definition do not possess anything or pursue anything that would cause “mass destruction.” Therefore the definition of WMD’s is purely ideological, void of physical facts.

Free/Fair Trade:

Trade policies that favor the ultra wealthy and trample labor rights, ignore environmental regulations, and prevent independent development for the poor nations involved and prevent meaningful democracy for the populations of both the rich country and the poor country in any given case.

Communist, Marxist, Socialist

(concerning foreign political parties or governments): Governments that pursue independent economic development without concern for foreign investor interests or the neoliberal development model.

Unilaterally:

A term used to describe the final measure taken by the US resort to lawless violence. In other words, when the Clinton administration noted they would act “unilaterally” if they “must,” they meant that the US will act in violation of the UN and international law if international law and the UN don’t support and conform to US military actions and US will.

Anti-American

(concerning various international opinion): 1) Those who oppose US crimes and exploitative economic policies, and 2) Open supporters of applying the standards of international law universally.

Anti-Semitism:

An accusation usually used to deflect criticism of Israel’s ongoing war crimes as cited uncontroversially by the UN, Israeli/Jewish human rights groups, and Amnesty International, all in accordance with the Geneva Conventions on human rights.

Israel’s “Right to Exist”:

Israel’s right to continue outwardly racist policies against its Palestinian-Arab citizens within its borders and Israel’s right to maintain a racist apartheid civil/military system in the Palestinian West Bank, a genocidal siege on the heavily populated Gaza Strip, and an illegal military occupation of both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas ‘Militants’ or ‘Terrorists’:

Anybody Israel kills in the occupied territories

Nuclear weapons:

Benevolent instruments of peace for US and client states, tyrannical instruments of genocide when held by everyone else.

Arab/Muslim:

Terrorist, usually inherently irrational, violent, and deceitful. A hater of freedom, democracy, Christians, and Jews.

Well, who is NOT an Arab then?:

According to the honorable McCain, “decent, family men” who we may or may not have “disagreements” with. By implication, an Arab then cannot be “decent” or family orientated. For further elaboration, see the above definition.

Domestic Politics: Economic policy and Authority

Wall Street Bailout:

Well, this means exactly what it sounds like, which is why the public was opposed to the whole thing. Publicly funded (we pay) bailouts for wall street, and polite condolences for workers, children, the poor, and the sick.

Socialism, Communism, Marxism

(concerning public policy and advocacy): Policies where the public’s tax money is spent on the public welfare, as opposed to transferring public funds to the ultra wealthy.

Market Based Solutions:

“Solutions” to social problems that put profit as the driving force, rather than human need by eliminating the public role in decision making, transferring additional and un-calculated costs to the public and forcing working families and the poor to bare most of the burden of market forces.

Business Community:

The richest of the rich, the elite millionaire/billionaire corporations, investors, and banks—the ones who own the country and are unaccountable to the public. Not a “community” in the friendly sense that we understand it to be. (Does not include small business owners like your local friendly family-run restaurant.)

Labor Flexibility:

Due to a significant level of desperation and sizable unemployment in the labor force, conditions are ripe for business managers and owners to slash living wages, cut benefits, disregard reasonable working condition standards, and destroy workers’ unions in order to increase their power and profits.

Entitlement:

The use of this word in referring to social programs for the public is chosen specifically to imply that those receiving the much needed social benefits are “freeloaders” and “sponging off of the government.” Refers exclusively to the poor, working class, and middle class. Entitlements for the wealthy, such as tax breaks and other gifts, are not included in this categorization.

Welfare:

Huge sums of money stolen from the pockets of taxpayers received mostly by rich blacks who cheat the government and are too lazy to work.

Corporate Welfare/Subsidies:

What? There’s no such thing! And if there was, it would never be exponentially larger than social welfare…

Personal Responsibility:

Social Darwinism or the ‘law of the jungle’ for the working class, poor, uninsured, and disenfranchised. Note that “personal responsibility” doesn’t apply to the elite, who enjoy government protection and public safety nets.

Economic Freedom:

Unrestricted free reign for multinational corporations, billionaire investors, and massive banking institutions to run the country in their interests at the expense of the general population whose role is to work, go into debt, and supply the funds (taxes) to erect barriers to market forces for big business. Also commonly known as “liberty“.

Small Government:

A massive government designed in the interests of military dominance and in the interests of the rich, while making sure public dollars cannot be spent on public interests and much needed social programs. Simply put, big government for sectors of power, small government for the needy.

Free Enterprise, Free Market:

An economic system of “public subsidy and private profit,” where the government intervenes in the market regularly to protect elite business interests from market forces. [1]

Privatization:

The removal of economic institutions from the public sphere into private, unaccountable hands. By definition, a radical reduction of democracy.

‘Hope or Change’:

Change of face and rhetoric, maintenance of the status quo

Democracy, Democratic Process:

Elections every few years between two factions of business representatives, public ratifications of concentrated power.

Balanced Media Coverage:

A lively debate between a “liberal” and a “conservative” within a narrow framework of assumptions that serve the interests of power.

Crime:

Refers exclusively to small criminals from the lower classes like drug dealers, petty thieves, some violent behavior. Does not include the massive crime and corruption on Wall Street, or the much bigger and more serious war crimes (which have kill millions of people) committed by presidents and congress.

War on Drugs:

a one-trillion-dollar-and-climbing policy of insanity (by Albert Einstein’s definition) which shamefully and disproportionally targets Blacks and Latinos…a policy which is no more a “war” on drug use than the t.v. show “Cheaters” is a “war” on infidelity.

Full Investigation:

a term used by government officials to calm down an angry population in light of police brutality, political corruption, government misconduct, etc. The “investigation” either produces no results or simply sacrifices a scapegoat for PR reasons, while neglecting to address the deeply rooted institutional problems. [3]

Getting public unrest “under control”:

Subjugating, often using violence, those who attempt to participate in decision making outside the ballot box.

Anti-American

(in the case that the accused is an American): 1) Those who love their country and aspire to improve it by challenging their government, and/or, 2) Americans who do not identify themselves or their moral values with the Washington-Wall Street power structure.

National Security:

An all purpose catch phrase used to justify US military aggression and restriction of civil rights.

National Interest:

Corporate interests [1] and lastly,

Universities:

Fronts for socializing the cost of Research and Development for corporations and the military. They also serve the invaluable function of making sure that the educated community understands the right version of history, world affairs, and of course, the proper meaning of relevant terminology and the rules of polite discussion.

Notes

1 Chomsky, Noam, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Odonian Press, Berkeley, CA, December 2002.

2 Blum, William, “When is a holocaust not a holocaust? Counterpunch, October 2008

3 Abu-Jamal, Mumia, All Things Censored, Seven Stories Press, New York, July 2003.

The GM – Ford Deathwatch

The GM – Ford Deathwatch

By Alex Taylor, II I- Senior Editor, Fortune

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GM plunges 31% as outlook dims

GM and Ford face credit downgrades after new report projects U.S. auto sales will hit recession levels this year; Ford slides nearly 22%.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Investors cast a shocking vote of no confidence in the future of U.S. automakers Thursday.

After dropping sharply early in the day, GM (GM, Fortune 500) stock closed down 31% to $4.76 a share, while Ford (F, Fortune 500) fell nearly 22% to $2.08. A flurry of bad news was to blame, of which the latest was a declaration by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that it was putting GM and Ford on credit watch negative “because of the rapidly weakening state of most global auto markets” and weak capital market conditions.

The stock selloff effectively puts both companies on death watch, and it’s easy to see why. The ratings warnings followed a new report by Global Insight that shows U.S. auto sales hitting recession levels this year – and then sinking lower in 2009.

“We won’t get back to where we were in 2006 until 2013,” said George Magliano, director of forecasting for North America for Global Insight. The economic forecasting and consulting firm based outside Boston is forecasting sales of 13.8 million units this year and only 13.4 million in 2009, compared with 16.1 million last year.

The impact of oil prices at the beginning of the year was mild compared to the squeeze from the credit crunch. As Nigel Griffiths, Global Insight’s managing director of global forecasting, points out, expensive oil merely meant that wealth was being transferred to oil-producing countries like Russia from oil-consuming ones like the United States. Now, the credit crunch is destroying wealth and making it impossible for customers to buy.

“The impact is worse than if the price of oil had been sustained at $200 a barrel,” he said.

No help from foreign markets

It turns out that auto finance companies were as guilty as mortgage lenders in providing loans to subprime borrowers – and their generosity is coming back to haunt them. Lenders dramatically cut standards for credit worthiness at the beginning of 2008 and now delinquency rates have been shooting up to levels not seen in 30 years.

“Some 18% of sales volume came from people with bad credit scores,” said Magliano. “Now the subprime buyer has been squeezed out.”

There is little relief overseas. According to Global Insight, at least half a dozen countries in Western Europe experienced greater house-price appreciation over the last 10 years than did the United States. Ireland led the way with a nearly 250% rise and the United Kingdom was not far behind. With that kind of wealth accumulation unlikely to be repeated, sales experienced a “total collapse” in July and have gone into a “violent downshift.”

Nor is Asia likely to provide a safety net. Sales growth in China is slowing markedly and vehicle demand in India is also ebbing. Even the much publicized $3,000 Nano car developed by India’s Tata Motors is off to a slow start. Plans for an assembly plant in India have been scuttled by local opposition and Global Insight says Nano “will only see a big build-up in volumes from 2010.”

“When will the credit crunch free up enough to allow consumers to finance again?” asked Griffiths. “That is the several-trillion-dollar question. It is the core assumption on which all forecasts will be based and it is unforecastable.”

To combat this flood of negative news, GM has adopted the Sarah Palin approach: bypassing the media by communicating directly with customers and investors. GM executives can now be seen in videos posted on its Fast Lane Web site talking about the company.

In the first video, posted Sept. 22, chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner responds to the question “What’s GM’s future look like?” by saying “GM’s future is actually quite bright.” After ticking off progress on new models, technology and sales in developing markets,” he concluded by saying, “though times are challenging, we’re really making sure that we keep planting the seeds for what we think should be a very exciting future for General Motors.”

Three weeks later, you have to wonder what he’d be saying today?

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/09/news/
companies/taylor_death_watch.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008100917

Argentina’s Economic Collapse-A Model for the People’s Response

Documentary on the events that led to the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001 which wiped out the middle class and raised the level of poverty to 57.5%. Central to the collapse was the implementation of neo-liberal policies which enabled the swindle of billions of dollars by foreign banks and corporations. Many of Argentina’s assets and resources were shamefully plundered. Its financial system was even used for money laundering by Citibank, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan. The net result was massive wealth transfers and the impoverishment of society which culminated in many deaths due to oppression and malnutrition. If you want to stop the same thing from happening here, and it is happening here, right now, please join the revolution at the Kick Them All Out Projet http://www.KickThemAllOut.com and the Fire Congress Campaign.

Pentagon Wants Bugs That Can Tell If You Are Trying To Escape

robots.jpgThe latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human”.

One thing that really bugs defence chiefs is having their troops diverted from other duties to control robots. So having a pack of them controlled by one person makes logistical sense. But I’m concerned about where this technology will end up.

Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed? I asked two experts on automated weapons what they thought – click the continue reading link to read what they said.

Both were concerned that packs of robots would be entrusted with tasks – and weapons – they were not up to handling without making wrong decisions.

Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University is an expert on police and military technologies, and last year correctly predicted this pack-hunting mode of operation would happen. “The giveaway here is the phrase ‘a non-cooperative human subject’,” he told me:

“What we have here are the beginnings of something designed to enable robots to hunt down humans like a pack of dogs. Once the software is perfected we can reasonably anticipate that they will become autonomous and become armed.

We can also expect such systems to be equipped with human detection and tracking devices including sensors which detect human breath and the radio waves associated with a human heart beat. These are technologies already developed.”

Another commentator often in the news for his views on military robot autonomy is Noel Sharkey, an AI and robotics engineer at the University of Sheffield. He says he can understand why the military want such technology, but also worries it will be used irresponsibly.

“This is a clear step towards one of the main goals of the US Army’s Future Combat Systems project, which aims to make a single soldier the nexus for a large scale robot attack. Independently, ground and aerial robots have been tested together and once the bits are joined, there will be a robot force under command of a single soldier with potentially dire consequences for innocents around the corner.”

What do you make of this? Are we letting our militaries run technologically amok with our tax dollars? Or can robot soldiers be programmed to be even more ethical than human ones, as some researchers claim?

Paul Marks, technology correspondent