Posts Tagged ‘conditioning’



Bezos runs Amazon. Bezos contracts with CIA. Coincidence?


Amazon’s Jack Ryan Focused on Venezuela Denounced as ‘Over-the-Top and Ridiculous’ US Propaganda
Did Not Know It Was Possible For a Show to Be This Stupid



by Jeff Cohen

While the U.S. media has some spirited debate over politics and social issues – i.e. Fox News vs. MSNBC – there remains a broad consensus about foreign adversaries whose behavior is almost always cast in the harshest light, a reality that colors how America reacts to the world.

I spent years as a political pundit on mainstream TV – at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. I was outnumbered, outshouted, red-baited and finally terminated. Inside mainstream media, I saw that major issues were not only dodged, but sometimes not even acknowledged to exist.

Katy Perry during the children's concert at the Washington Convention Center in celebration of military families
Today there’s an elephant in the room: a huge, yet ignored, issue that largely explains why Social Security is now on the chopping block. And why other industrialized countries have free college education and universal healthcare, but we don’t. It’s arguably our country’s biggest problem – a problem that Martin Luther King Jr. focused on before he was assassinated 45 years ago, and has only worsened since then (which was the height of the Vietnam War).

Image: The Daily Show host Jon Stewart is one of the few voices on American television who occasionally breaks with the national security consensus.

That problem is U.S. militarism and perpetual war.

In 1967, King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” – and said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Nowadays MSNBC hosts yell at Fox News hosts, and vice versa, about all sorts of issues – but when the Obama administration expanded the bloody war in Afghanistan, the shouting heads at both channels went almost silent. When Obama’s drone war expanded, there was little shouting. Not at MSNBC, not at Fox. Nor at CNN, CBS, ABC or so-called public broadcasting.
We can have raging debates in mainstream media about issues like gun control and gay marriage and minimum wage, but when the elites of both parties agree on military intervention – as they so often do – debate is nearly nonexistent. Anyone in the mainstream who goes out on a limb to loudly question this oversized creature in the middle of the room known as militarism or interventionism is likely to disappear faster than you can say “Phil Donahue.”

doc506b5edf440875155838331I know something about mainstream journalists being silenced for questioning bipartisan military adventures because I worked with Phil Donahue at MSNBC in 2002/03 when Bush was revving up the Iraq invasion with the support of Democratic leaders like Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. That’s when MSNBC terminated us for the crime of JWI. Not DWI, but JWI – Journalism duringWartime while Independent.

JWI may be a crime in mainstream media, but it’s exactly the kind of unauthorized, unofficial coverage you get from quality independent media today and from un-embedded journalists like Jeremy Scahill, Dahr Jamail and Glenn Greenwald.

Unfortunately, many liberal journalists who were vocal about war, human rights and civil liberties during the Bush era lost their voices as Obama continued and, in some cases, expanded Bush’s “War on Terror” policies. It says something about the lack of serious national debate on so-called national security that last month one of the loudest mainstream TV news questioners of the president’s right to assassinate Americans was Sean Hannity on Fox. That’s obscene.

And it says something about mainstream TV that the toughest, most consistent questioners of militarism and defenders of civil liberties are not on a news channel – they’re on the comedy channel. A few weeks ago, I watched a passionate Jon Stewart taking on the U.S. military budget: “We already spend more on defense than the next 12 countries combined, including China, including Russia. We’re like the lady on Jerry Springer who can’t stop getting breast implants.” (On screen was a photo of the Springer guest.)

What our mainstream media so obediently call the “War on Terror” is experienced in other countries as a U.S. war OF terror – kidnappings, night raids, torture, drone strikes, killing and maiming of innocent civilians – that creates new enemies for our country. Interestingly, you can easily find that reality in mainstream media of allied countries in Europe, but not in the mainstream media of our country. Needless to say, it’s our country that’s waging this global perpetual war.

In a democracy, war must be subjected to questioning and debate. And not just on the comedy channel.


Jeff Cohen is founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and an associate professor of journalism there. His latest book is Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. He founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986. This column is adapted from remarks made April 6 at the National Conference on Media Reform in Denver.


by Joe Giambrone

This blog ran into some very strange and ironic issues with the first review we posted of the film Compliance (2012).  Suffice to say, I won’t be posting any poster or still images, as some copyright troll company seemed to claim that these constituted “movie piracy.”  What’s more, these ridiculous, baseless and specious claims (by an entity with absolutely no proven actual authority in the matter) were taken as a serious threat by WordPress.

I finally watched Compliance and have some thoughts.

David Sterritt wrote:

 “And the stupidity of the story is as offensive as its callousness. By the ten-minute mark I’d been struck by several obvious questions.”

Yes, the stupidity of the story is a factor, but at film’s closing we are told that 70 similar incidents have happened in real life, in 30 different states.  Is the stupidity the fault of the filmmakers, or of the low-level corporate cogs who naturally defer to authority, as they have been trained since birth?

It is possible the film veers way too far into exploitation, and that none of the real life incidents went that far.  That part is unclear.  The events of the film are implausible, and yet a similar version has happened on numerous occasions.

I’d prefer to tackle what the filmmakers were obviously going for with this story, and that is corporate/government fascism in practice.  The worker/servant class is stripped and left without rights or recourse, at the mercy of arbitrary power.  On that lavel, the film has something going for it.

This is similar to the Millgram Experiment, where people were told by an authority figure to electrocute others.  The victims were acting and not actually being shocked.  However, a significant number of volunteers would continue shocking people to death if the authority figure told them to.  The results were that, “65 percent (26 of 40)[1] of experiment participants administered the experiment’s final massive 450-volt shock, though many were very uncomfortable doing so…”

Dr. Millgram would later write:

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

Governments know this well.  Fast food employees, not so much.  As we battle against the tide of authoritarianism and government tyranny, we may need to see more films like Complance to get these facts to register.  It is a disturbing film, but not for who they are, the specific villain of the film for example, but for who we are.  We’ve already complied with the stripping of civil liberties, and rape scanners in airports.  We are under CCTV surveillance and internet spying in absolute violation of the 4th amendment.  We are like Becky sitting naked in a storage room, just waiting for some legitimate authority to show up.  Compliance is a post 9/11 film that should be seen and talked about.


Hurrah! We Did It! Protests, Petitions, Articles, Letters Got NBC to Cancel Deplorable War is a Game Show
Joan Wile

Did any of you have the fortitude to sit through NBC’s new, erroneously labeled a reality show, “Stars Earn Stripes“? If you did, you would have seen the most chaotic, violent, sleazy, reprehensible program this viewer (who could only stomach half a show) has yet encountered on television. And, that speaks volumes inasmuch as so much of TV is chaotic, violent, sleazy and reprehensible.

But, this one takes the cake, because in addition to all those qualities, it was a recruitment commercial in disguise and a resounding slap in the face to all those engaged in and victimized by our current wars in Afghanistan and God knows where else.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark hosted this show, commanding a motley crew of third-rate “celebrities” including Laila Ali (anti-war hero Mohammad Ali’s daughter) and Sara’s husband, Todd Palin (how he earned the title of celebrity is a mystery). The “celebrities” were pitted against some ex-armed forces and police personnel in a contest in which they had to perform simulated military maneuvers such as killing enemies and blowing up ships using LIVE AMMUNITION. War as fun and games.

The performers all extolled their actions as showing them what it was really like to be in battle. A somewhat immodest claim given that there were no bullets or bombs aimed back at them. Gen. Clark looked pathetic giving orders to shoot and kill to the phony combatants — to think I supported him for President in 2004 because he represented himself as being against war. And, here he was strutting around in what appeared to be a fifth-rate Hollywood piece of propaganda to seduce young people into seeing war as a game and joining up in what would likely ultimately result in their being maimed or worse.

Well, we in the anti-war movement didn’t like it one bit. Luckily, we were forewarned by the endless stream of commercials NBC ran for the show during the Olympic broadcasts and thus had a little heads up to prepare to counteract it, even, we hoped, get it canceled.

A New Jersey mother of a son deployed in Afghanistan who was a member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) contacted a New York City MFSO member expressing her alarm about the proposed program. From there, overnight in a flash, a number of peace groups organized a protest campaign at NBC headquarters in 30 Rockefeller Center to begin on the same day as the show’s debut, Aug.13. It was amazing how quickly practically every anti-war organization in New York City came together for this action, a rarity in an often-splintered movement where every group tends to go its own way.

At the same time, David Swanson writer and head of Roots Action and the web site, War Is a Crime, began a petition to NBC, as follows:

“Dear NBC,
Your entertainment show “Stars Earn Stripes” treats war as sport. This does us all a disservice. We ask that you air an in-depth segment showing the reality of civilian victims of recent U.S. wars, on any program, any time in the coming months.”

The petition swiftly went viral, obtaining over 18,000 signatures by the first broadcast and by the fourth and last, over 50,000. See

A further pressure was created when Jody Willliams, a Nobel Peace Laureate, received an email from the NYC chapter of Code Pink announcing the scheduled protest for Aug. 13. She notified other Peace Laureates, and nine of them, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, immediately sent a strongly-worded letter to NBC demanding cancellation of the show. In part, the letter read :

“We call upon NBC to stop airing this program that pays homage to no one, and is a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

The presence of Tutu’s name on the letter sparked a world-wide publicity blitz as thousands of media and press outlets picked up the story.

On Aug. 13, the day of the first broadcast of “Stars Earn Stripes,” approximately 70 of the City’s peacenicks were outside NBC’s studios with signs, barriers and their own anti-war songs continuously sung by the Raging Grannies.

In the three subsequent protests through our final one on Sept. 3 when the last segment was broadcast, we gave the huge petition to an NBC official, had highly compelling street theatre and a model of a drone one-fifth its actual size. We chanted “War Is Not a Game Show” and handed out fliers to people passing by. We did all this under the watchful eyes of at least six security personnel standing nearby. At one point, during the third protest, they tried to barricade us, but one of the protest leaders, Barbara Harris of both Code Pink and the Granny Peace Brigade, succeeded in talking them out of it.

I guess we were pretty effective, because before the fourth airing, NBC announced that it would be the last one. Our protests, David Swanson’s petition, and the Nobel Peace Prize winners’ letter combined to do the trick. Wow, united citizen action CAN work!

Perhaps this will serve as a deterrent to other producers contemplating Rah Rah Let’s Play War shows. More remotely, perhaps it’s the beginning of a renewed, hopefully more effective era of opposition to the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere?

JOAN WILE — author of newly-published book, GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR: GETTING OFF OUR FANNIES AND STANDING UP FOR PEACE (Citadel Press, May 2008 — available at and in book stores), which is an account of her founding of the anti-war group, Grandmothers Against the War, who famously were arrested and jailed when they tried to enlist in the military at the Times Square recruitment center. She is a lyricist-composer-singer-musician for TV, cabaret, jingles, theatre, recordings, concerts, movie film scores. Winner, ASCAP POPULAR AWARD, and WESTPORT-WESTON ARTS COUNCIL AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING NEW MUSICAL. Runner-up AMERICAN SONG FESTIVAL AWARD. She’s had 5 musicals produced off- and off-off-Broadway. Joan has received numerous civic awards for her work with the grannies and is listed in Who’s Who in America and all its various spin-offs. She is a grandmother of five.