How the Sexual Revolution Affects Politics Even Today.

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“The price of civilization is instinctive renunciation.”  Sigmund Freud

“Sexual freedom, sexual liberation. A modern delusion. We are hierarchical animals. Sweep one hierarchy away, and another one will take its place, perhaps less palatable than the first.”   Camille Paglia

With the possible exception of television nothing influenced the course of society in the USA and Europe in modern times more than the birth control pill. Yep, it’s true. And its appearance on the market in the 1960s came at just the right time for those who desired radical changes in traditional society. These generally left-leaning intellectuals had recognized the power of sexuality to drive not just reproduction, but also people’s basic ideas on how society should be structured. So to understand where we are today we must look back on not just the “sexual liberation” of the Sexual Revolution, but also its deeper implications.

In my recent science fiction novel, “The Destiny of Our Pasthttp://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng the ruling bloodline families employ sexual indulgence as a means of social integration, but also to pacify and distract the masses from their ultimate aim – their eventual extinction. Sex is a powerful tool. Freud recognized in “Civilization and its Discontents” that unleashed libido would threaten the foundations of society which were, after all, based on repression of sex and aggression. To have a successful civilization one must subjugate the animal instincts and direct them into socially acceptable pursuits, including marriage and reproduction.

Of course the inverse could be true, as one of Freud’s students recognized. Wilhelm Reich believed sexual repression was responsible for authoritarian society. Even the traditional family was a microcosm of such repression that contributed to the functioning of the society. So in a sense the family unit that Freud felt was vital was recognized as a cell in the body politic. A formula to change society would be to unleash the dam that Freud felt was vital to maintain social order. Others, particularly on the political left, who felt their message of economic change was being rejected by the working and middle classes, saw sex as the means to bring the assumptions of society into question. So following the notion of “the personal is the political” they sought to encourage a more liberated view of sexuality, and the advent of the pill found many young people more than willing to step out of the norms of their parents and grandparents generations; not primarily for any political reason but rather as a means for fun and exploration. Little did they realize that they were taking part in a movement that fell right into the desires of those wishing to make more changes than how many people one could have sex with on a spring break.

So as academia and entertainment presented a whole new world of possibilities to young people, and as birth control such as the pill became more available, we saw the experimental phase of the 1960s and early 1970s take hold. The Freudian super-ego (rules of proper behavior) was now in direct competition with the id (pleasure principal). So in a sense tradition (traditional family norms, religion and customs) were at war with pleasure, excitement and the youthful desire to push boundaries.

Of course there are a variety of mechanisms the human mind can employ when faced with the conflict that occurs between the super-ego and the id. And as guilt generally develops when people break norms set by parents, religious figures and society one easy way to deal with it is to renounce the sources of the guilt, which of course were pillars holding up the general society. And while we may look back on the hippie era as a societal expression of freedom and liberation from constraints, it was not just hippies that began to adopt the new patterns of thinking. So even as people traded love beads for business suits and designer purses the social order was seeing the inevitable division; many people deciding against social institutions such as marriage and raising children, some questioning religion and many who had embraced the new values gravitated to politics.

The early 1970s saw the emergence of various schools of feminist thought that challenged gender role assumptions, the legalization of pornography as well as abortion in the USA and much of Europe. This was a major cultural shift for the western world. And in places such as the United States the political landscape would be changed forever. Before the 1972 Democratic Convention there was not that much difference between Republicans and Democrats, and social issues were not even on the table. After the split in the Democratic Party between conservatives and generally younger liberals the seeds of a re-alignment were planted. Younger Democrats took more the center stage, chipping away at the southern Democrats. The last time the latter would have a major influence was in the election of jimmy Carter in 1976.

Yet by the late 1970s social issues such as prayer in schools, abortion, and gay rights had become political issues. Southerners began to gravitate to the Republican Party more and more, and as the party shifted to a more conservative stance on social issues by 1980 some of the eastern, more liberal Republicans, began to lose power. And while groups like “Moral Majority” gained influence Reagan’s broad appeal kept the social liberal/fiscal conservative Republicans and the social conservative newer Republicans in the party. However, in time, the Republican Party began to evolve into the party associated with tradition, conservative religion and patriotism while the Democratic Party became more the party of new directions and maybe “patriotism-light.” Re-alignment was inevitable.

Today we see Republicans connecting more with traditional families and middle-America while Democrats do better with single people living in urban areas. And in a sense, they live in far different worlds than one-another with different views on foundational values…which in many respects is based on their differences on cultural expectations rooted in family models and thus human sexuality (although few conservatives will admit it). Republicans now win areas with more traditional views (smaller cities and rural areas) and Democrats win in large urban areas and university towns.

And yet has sexual liberation provided a new utopian dream beyond perhaps winning this round of the culture wars. And ironically enough, many of conservatives may state opposition to new, liberal values, but most have incorporated aspects of the new norms – for instance how many young conservatives want families of four or more kids in western society? It depends on how you look at it where we are at todayin regards to utopianism. Do we have an egalitarian society that men and women can work harmoniously together to build a better future or do we have a growing rift between the sexes, leading to record-low marriages and birthrates? If we truly have respect for each other’s merits why do we still have advertising that aims to cut us down, build up our fears, and sell us a false hope of perfection and admiration? And one could argue that codes against speech on campuses, almost entirely a manifestation of the left, are creating a climate of authoritarianism. None other than former president Barack Obama gave a speech where he urged students to remain open to debate and allowing people to share ideas.

So overall the impact of the 1960s revolution of ideas and behaviors is probably where one must look back on to find out how we wound up where we are today. Biology makes people and psychology determines how and if people get made and what views they will grow up with. Yet what we must remember is that as Paglia states, humans are hierarchical creatures, and while even if the forces of more conservative thought would eventually just fade away wouldn’t we expect the architects of the new world order that would come into being to fashion a society that would wind up just as strict and uncompromising as the one that Reich was opposed to back in the early 20th Century? Sure, the rules might be different—but they would still be rules. And maybe, as in a dystopian nightmare scenario, sexuality would become a component in insuring compliance to the aims of that state.

The 6 Stages of the Evolution of Robots. Will We Become Cyborgs in the End?

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“Unless mankind redesigns itself by changing our DNA through altering our genetic makeup, computer-generated robots will take over our world.”  Stephan Hawking

Robots are going to take all our jobs!  We see headlines to this effect almost every day. Robots will be our new lovers! Fans of “Westworld” might find that plausible.  Robots are going to destroy humanity! Well, more than a few scientists have presented this as a dystopian view of the future.  Overall, all these predictions may come about.  It is my belief that we will, before we reach utopia, dystopia or the fulfilment of a sexual fantasy world, see six stages in regards to robotic revolution.

In my science fiction thriller, “The Destiny of Our Past” http://amzn.to/2nrU3Ng  the society there banned robots in favor of creating lab-grown humans for simple maintenance jobs or sexual slavery.  These people have no parents, thus they are denied human rights and safeguards.  However, when it comes to technology we have a ways to go before we can choose between organic and synthetic workers.

So what about the possible route to synthetics replacing our workforce?

Stage 1:  Yes, we are in Stage 1 in regards to robotics.  Remember the scene in Terminator 1 where Arnold is chasing Sarah Conner in the factory and encounters a primitive assembly-arm robotic device.  It is as if he is looking back at a primitive ancestor.  For the most part we are still at this level.  Our robots are more hydraulic, can be used to assemble items, and are mainly programmed to do simple tasks.  They have at this point replaced many factory workers who used to pick up car doors and bolt them onto a car, or some similar task, but we are most likely at the end of this stage.

Stage 2: We are seeing this more at the experimental level now, but it will come in soon.  To get more versatility we will have to have better mobile energy packs and more flexibility – already we are seeing material that is less like the gears on your car and more like muscle tissue being developed.  Add to this at least rudimentary problem-solving skills and here is where you will see robots resembling the ones in “I,Robot” working with people.   Naturally these machines will be far stronger than humans and will do heavy construction tasks.  Humans will still be necessary for more precision work.

Stage 3:  Here is where artificial intelligence advances and production of human-like robots begins.  At this point we will see robots taking over more service-oriented jobs.  People generally want to see human faces when they enter an establishment.  When robots begin to look more like us, blink their eyes, speak like us, we will adapt to synthetic servants.  These will be used to take care of the kids or cater to people who have more carnal wishes in mind.  Pornography has fueled much of the developments in computer graphics and people’s desire for human substitutes or additional companions will undoubtedly accelerate the development of robots that will look more, feel more, and act more and more, like humans.

Stage 4:  By this point just about any job will be handled by robots, and artificial intelligence will have advanced to the stage that you have robots more akin to the fictional “Westworld.” Here is when robots replace fashion models, nurses, doctors, teachers and pretty much all professionals. In fact, our military may by this point be entirely robotic.  Naturally this may tip the balance of power from population to the ability to manufacture stronger and more intelligent soldiers and pilots.

Stage 5:  We invented machines to enhance our ability to produce more items in our economy.  Once we reach stage 5 people may still want to feel equal to their replacements.  This is when people will electively choose augmentation be it replacing healthy limbs, organs or neural tissue with superior synthetic alternatives.  By this time we may see a guaranteed wage that will be financed by taxes on items built by robots but bought by people.  Here we may also see eugenics play a major role in humanity as the birthrate will collapse due to the “living wage” as it will be called will not afford you the big house in the suburbs with a yard, dog and two cars.  As many males will turn to synthetic alternatives to real women, and most people will live in small urban apartments, we may see a form of polyamory where women merely find one male to network with, sharing his reproductive services with several other women, or merely turn to donations to have their one child.  Governments will encourage these social developments because people will be unnecessary for the economy. Of course by this time we may see advances in virtual reality programs that allow single people to spend their spare time in worlds where their imaginations are the limit.  Again, I believe more males than females would opt for this life.

Stage 6:  By this time computers will do all our inventing, all our planning; and all our work will be accomplished by robots that look, and act, just like us.  Here is where people may take the next step to replace humanity itself.  Some scientists have speculated that our first encounter with an alien species will be with robots as other civilizations will have gone through the evolution I have described.  Sure, people may be born fully human but once they reach adulthood the idea of staying 100% organic may lose its appeal as peers become superior through trading in limbs, organs or entire bodies for synthetic replacement.  And what if people find a way to download the brain into a synthetic version?  The entire body might then be disposable.

So will there be hold-outs who refuse to alter themselves; futuristic hippies? I am sure there will be, but the benefits of integrating into a society where you no longer have to work or train for an occupation, and still get money, though at a price, will be enticing to most.  And would one feel the same way for their wife or husband if all that existed of the person that you originally met was some brain tissue encased in an artificial cranium and maybe some reproductive cells frozen for possible use at a later date?  Before the end of this century we may find out.

Genetically Engineering Our Destiny?

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“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

Unknown author

A scene all too familiar to fans of science fiction movies is a mad scientist working on a project that society would see as unethical. He or she usually is successful, only to unleash a series of events that the symbolic hero of the film must counter or destroy.  The lesson conveyed to an audience? Well, fear of taking curiosity and exploration too far.

There are many ethical questions we are going to face in the near future in regards to the science of genetic engineering.  As we advance in our knowledge of how DNA operates, what genetic combinations give us specific personality traits, intelligence, aptitudes and physical abilities we will also be able to manipulate those blueprints.  It is safe to say that we are nearing the end of regular man-meets-woman, they form a relationship, have sex and create a child based on a random pairing of a particular egg and sperm cell.  In the future conception will be conducted in the laboratory, with nothing left to chance. Designing our children will be the next step of the industrial revolution in which we use tools to determine who our children will be and what traits they will possess.

I deal with this issue in my new book “Destiny of Our Past,” (follow link here: http://amzn.to/2jzfyNE) a science fiction detective thriller set in the age of Noah. And no, it is not a book in which Noah is an interacting character, rather he is a scientist who is known to people in the society for rejecting the extent people have used genetic engineering to create what some might consider a dystopian world, while others would see it as utopian. Longevity is measured in centuries, not decades, one can mix human and animal DNA to create hybrids or chimeras, agricultural production insures all people have ample food and nobody lives in poverty. However, due to these advances the ruling elite bloodlines have established a police state that has all the trappings of democracy…but is anything but.

So how far would we take genetic engineering, and what would be the impacts on society?  Take for example two traits people admire, intelligence and beauty. If only 10% of couples chose to undertake designing their children with these attributes what would be the result? Well, those children as they grew up would be envied for their appearance as well as their success in academics and later in life. They would have incredible advantages, and others would decide that nature’s way of making babies was obsolete and decide designing their children was no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Then again, maybe we would see a eugenic division develop in society in which those who availed themselves of such technologies would become almost superhuman while those who either could not afford such technologies, or who had a philosophical objection to it, would be at a great disadvantage in the competition that is life.

And what of enhanced longevity?  Eventually we will be able to identify which genes are responsible for aging as we know it. The next step will be to either alter the actions of those genes or compensate for aging of the human body.  How would that change our entire social structure? Well, for one thing, and as envisioned in my book, the state might decide to regulate all reproduction so as not to create overpopulation. And if the government can decide when you can have a child, and how many, then they would likely control all other aspects of human life as well. Some would welcome this if prosperity were also and attribute of the society. Of course the elite would undoubtedly exempt themselves from the rules, as elite always do, but as long as the people enjoyed bread, circuses and seemingly endless youth I doubt many would object.

And lastly, what of crossing species? Some scientists have predicted that the future could see any of the mythical species of Greek or Sumerian lore actually be possible to create. Who would not be curious as to what it would be like to create a centaur or mermaid? Yeah, ethics…but wouldn’t our current views evolve over time as the possibilities of creation of new life could be endless? Scientists could make creation itself a new art form held back only by human ingenuity.  Oh wait, now we get to those interesting references to this sort of thing, found in the Book of Jasher, claiming this was the reason for the flood.  Maybe the idea of a science fiction novel set in those days is not so far-fetched after all?

The science of genetic engineering is advancing at a rapid rate and so the possibilities will indeed be limited only by what we know at different stages of the assentation to full mastery over the blueprints of life. What would humans do once they attained such abilities? Again, the possibilities will be infinite.

What Constitutes a “Conspiracy?”

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Conspiracy:  “The activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.”
Cambridge Dictionary

Since the entrance of the internet onto the center stage of human consciousness the term “conspiracy” has mushroomed. What used to be the domain of small groups (left and right wing), and what used to be topics one might find in a newsletter left on a campus table, or leaflet in front of a post office, are now topics that captivate the minds of…well, just about everyone. Just ask a 14 year-old what they think of “the Illuminati.” They will probably at least know about the eye of providence or even something about various fraternal societies.  Many people have views that deviate from the standard 9-11 narrative. And who could forget the term “vast right wing conspiracy” term created by Hillary in the 1990s, and now replaced with allegations of…well, you get the point. So are there conspiracies? That depends.

My new book, “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power” delves into this. The anti-heroine, a former vigilante serial killer, Melanie Lindberg, is elected to congress. However, soon after her arrival she gets an invitation from a powerful business leader to visit his estate. Soon she discovers that she is in the midst of some of the most powerful people in the world, all members of a secret society, with perks of power, sex, freedom from laws normal people must follow and revolving around engineering a new world order.  As long as she is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, she can have it all. More detailed description here:

http://amzn.to/2ijEBAe

So is it fantasy? Is it reality? Well, some people have asked if I might be closer to such topics than merely academic.  Then again, if I were, wouldn’t that mean I would want to keep it secret?

Of course, if we were to define conspiracy within the context of people joining together and promoting an agenda, without the public knowing or consenting, then this goes on all the time.  Edward Bernays, the father of modern PR and advertising, noted decades ago:

“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. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Are you a woman? If so you probably shave your legs, underarms and, well, let’s just concentrate there.  Why do you and the vast majority of western women do this? Would you believe it all started with a magazine back in 1915 making the case as clothing styles became more revealing? Of course who came up with the idea to show off more of the body? Yep, fashion designers. So a combination of designers, media, and later, lingerie and finally porn finished off most body hair on women, as well as many men, in recent years.  Want more examples? How about what we define as “breakfast foods” or proper table manners? These have their origins, but few people know of them. Even something as personal as reproduction; most western people saw the ideal family as 3 or 4 kids back in the early 1960s. What changed? Well, many will say it was economics but there are far poorer nations with much higher birthrates than we see today in the US and western world in general.  What changed is that those in a position of power, with great influence on media, education, etc. re-educated people as to how they should view the ideal. And now that is so institutionalized that all it needs is reinforcement. These are all examples of Bernays observations of how things really work.

So how do those in a position of influence get us to do what they want us to do? Sure it can involve education, but as psychiatrist and marketer Clotaire Rapaille has noted,“Emotions are the keys to learning, the keys to imprinting. The stronger the emotion, the more clearly the experience is learned.” http://bit.ly/2hr23i3 He has also stated, “I don’t care what you are going to tell me I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins.” http://to.pbs.org/1xDCDyR  What Rapaille refers to is that humans may say they make decisions based on rational motives and outcomes, a cost-benefit analysis, but in reality they are governed by instinctive drives and emotions. The people that Bernays refers to as the “invisible government” realize this, so when they undertake a program of changing people’s attitudes, and thus, behaviors, they know the way to do this is to use emotional strategies. And what if the changes desired run counter to sub conscious drives, i.e. the desire to reproduce? Then you need to re-define the goals, shape them, and then allow societal pressure, as people adopt the new ideals, to work (people do tend to want to conform as it is psychologically easier than to rebel). So model the behavior on popular TV shows (small families, marriage in the 30s rather than early 20s, people putting career goals first, etc.) and in one generation people will adopt the new norm. And as some societies that initially sought to reduce birthrates have discovered, now that the rates are far lower than they ever expected them to go, getting people to suddenly want to have more children is going to be a very difficult undertaking.

Once a target behavior is reached, once it is institutionalized, people will force conformity on each other.  If you are a woman just try to stop shaving your legs and underarms, and see what happens. You will probably get people question your intent and motives, especially other women, and you will obviously get stares at the beach. And of course people will seek to categorize you, as in if you are a hippie or vegan or whatever. What if you decide you would like to have a family of four or five children? Again, you will be questioned, your behavior becoming a defining point of how people judge you, and they will seek to categorize you, as in if you are merely making a large family out of some sort of conformity to a religious dictate.  Or you can try eating pizza for breakfast. You see, no matter what, when you break from the norm, people will question you. People feel comfort in conforming and your non-conformity makes them uncomfortable.

So overall, do conspiracies exist? Actually, yes. They may or may not take on the sorts that one sees in a movie like “Eyes Wide Shut” but undoubtedly those who have a great deal of access to media and other important avenues of social engineering capabilities are able to change how we view life, view each other, and even what we see as “proper” within our own existence.  Knowing this, and the techniques involved, at least can give one an easier ability to break from conformity within the society, and not feel anxiety and fear when living outside the norms created by those in power.

The Price of Power

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Imagine this for a plot to a psychological thriller: A politically ambitious heroine finds herself thrust into the world of national politics. She has a rather violent past she must conceal, as well as a rather, well, complicated family structure that, too, must be kept secret. At the same time she gains the assistance and mentorship of a Mormon man who just happens to be a retired CIA assassin. And on top of that her first day in Congress she tangles with a sexist congressman bent on putting her in her place. Of course things really get interesting when she gains the attention of a mysterious financier who is quite generous, but expects a great deal in return.

Before anyone attempts to read into this any sort of commentary into American politics this book has been in pre-publication mode for a couple of years.  So as they say, “All characters and events are fictitious.”  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dive right into the sequel in the “Freedom from Conscience” series: “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power.”

Melanie Lindberg is a classic anti-heroine. She started out an outcast in high school who is introduced into vigilante serial killing by her teacher and two friends. As the series develops she gains her degree in psychology, gets back into trying to rid society of undesirables, winds up gaining and losing friends and lovers as she confronts a series of evil adversaries, and eventually finds herself winning a seat to the US Congress (and thus the focus of the new sequel).  A note: Each book stands on its own and one does not need to have read all the previous works to get into the storyline. Some people say they have started with the newest book and then read the others in descending order.

What really makes this book unique, aside from portraying women in the dominant roles throughout the novel, is the introduction of the character William Livingston, father of Malin Livingston, a critical component of the struggle that will occur in the story. He holds a leading position in a secret society, “The Pegasus Symposium,” which is comprised of the most powerful men and women in the world. For some reason he has taken a strong interest in Melanie and insists on her joining the organization. Of course what he offers her is guaranteed power and influence, but at a terrible price.

As for his daughter Malin, she befriends Melanie, and attempts to introduce her to a new world far removed from Melanie’s impoverished childhood or her middle-class life before her election. Malin is not happy, despite her privileged upbringing. Yet once both meet they form an instant connection.  The conflict Melanie faces as she attempts to juggle her family responsibilities, her new position, and Malin form the basis of the story’s emotional appeal as Melanie is faced with temptations that she never could ever have dreamed possible.  And throughout the story you are teased with the question as to why Melanie is being maneuvered ever-so-closer to William Livingston’s desires for her, as well as Malin’s.

One could say this story takes on the elements of a Greek tragedy, but I cannot say which one it connects to the most without giving away a major component to the developments which take place. Traditional readers will enjoy the roller coaster of the mind it takes one on, people who like mystery will appreciate the various sub-plot streams that eventually come together, people into conspiracies and politics will probably be asking, “How does the author know, this…is he Illuminati?” and people who like philosophy and psychology will appreciate the way Melanie’s character has to grapple with deep aspects of the individual’s relationship to society and vice versa.  If power is defined as, “The ability to direct or influence other people and the course of events” then who of us is truly free in a modern, complex world? For further information on this book check here:

Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power: https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Conscience-Price-Power-5/dp/1612967701/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479639866&sr=1-2&keywords=freedom+from+conscience+the+price+of+power

Unleashing Our Potential Power to Replace Corporate Media.

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“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”  Malcolm X

I recall that before the 2008 elections a talk-show host noted that it would be a YouTube election due to how the medium had revolutionized political discussion. Never before could people record political speeches and share them to such a wide audience; never before could politicians custom-make messages to share with supporters; never before could someone armed with a video device reach out with their own takes on politics. Obama recognized the potential and capitalized on it, and other social media platforms, far better than Hillary, McCain and later Romney.  A revolution was born: social media, as well as alternative media, mushroomed in the following years. Fast forward to 2016 and we find these sources of information are more important than the corporate media. One could say, and many are, that the real winner of the 2016 election was not only Trump, but also alternative media. The real loser was not only Hillary, but corporate media. Yet for those who would like to democratize information disbursement even more they should recognize that, like a seemingly vanquished villain in a horror movie, it is not yet over when the opponent first appears down and out.  Now is actually the time to take action to the next level.

In the 2016 election the supporters of Bernie Sanders learned early on that the media was not on their side. They found their massive rallies ignored, their ideas misrepresented and their characterization to the public as lazy millennials living in their mother’s basements. The supporters of Donald Trump too saw their rallies ignored, or worse, a bad apple here and there characterized as symbolic of their whole movement, their ideas misrepresented and they were presented (wrongly I would add as election results demonstrated) as nothing more than uneducated, racist, insecure men. The media early on made it clear they wanted this to be a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. The problem was, they were no longer trusted as the “4th estate gatekeepers” anymore.  People could watch a Bernie or Trump rally, tweet links to family and friends, and as the media continued to present an image to the public that did not fit what they were seeing on the internet, as well as the growing alternative media outlets, the distrust grew of long-established sources. The last straw was the polls that showed how badly Trump would lose…polls and analysis everywhere – except in the alternative media.  And guess who was right: yep, the new media.

Of course what is “alternative” or “independent” media? Well, it can be hosts who are becoming increasingly recognized as movers and shakers even by the corporate media, or it can be a teenager with a blog and a YouTube channel with a few hundred subscribers. It is everyone who is dedicated to sharing information, regardless of their “press credentials.”

I got into this when my first book was published, “Freedom from Conscience – Melanie’s Journey” http://finest.se/jasmincroft/ and http://moaklang.tumblr.com/post/47194554291/book-review-title-melanies-journey-author .  I was interviewed on dozens of radio and internet platforms, but on one the host actually encouraged me to set up my own program to get information out about my books as well as commentary on psychology, the public mind, and manipulation. I soon was given a program on UCY-TV Productions. Now I have a weekly show and convert most of my programs to YouTube to get the word out even more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XJz3ZkzIW5sjpaaX3pp2Q .  Visits to my channel number in the thousands each week from around the world, not including hits on my blog or direct listeners to my program.

Americans, and people around the world, are getting more and more fed up with a media that is out-of-touch with the interests and concerns of the regular working/middle class people.  It should be no surprise though.  How many people at the top of the media pyramid do not come from an elitist background? How many would feel at home interviewing people at a bowling alley in Fresno as opposed to a vegan café in The Hamptons? And this does not even consider how many millions of dollars national news celebrities might earn: http://radaronline.com/photos/the-17-highest-paid-media-figures-on-tv/  Can an industry comprised of people who might feel more excited going to an avant garde art show on the lower east side of New York, than a 4th of July celebration in Salt Lake City, truly believe it is capable of analysis of the minds, values and concerns of regular people?

So here is the question: If most people who now comprise the alternative media are just regular people, most doing it without any monetary compensation, then have you considered the possibility of becoming part of this growing phenomena?  Some of the most powerful YouTube videos have been of a person giving their reasons they support, or oppose, a certain policy.  All they did was turn on a video devise and film themselves.  That is the new democracy. And whether you reach 50 people or 50,000 you are having an impact…a lasting impact as the video will remain there as long as you like.  Then there is blogging. If you like writing commentary on Facebook and other social media why not write your opinions in a few paragraphs and share them as a link when in debates or whatever?  Also, if you are under 18 you can’t vote but you can influence people who do vote.  And people listen to people they feel they share something in common with, or see them as having special insights. So be you a blue-collar male mechanic, a 20-something female psychology major who worked for Bernie, or a Hispanic Mormon housewife who worked to get Donald Trump elected you can reach people in a way someone else might not.

So even though election-2016 is over this is the best, yes best, time to take up the cause of providing an alternative to mainstream corporate media.  Many people still have nominal trust in the corporate media, not full trust but they will still tune in through habit, and that habit can be broken if thousands of people take up the cause and chip away at its legitimacy through true “fact checking” and sharing.  This is not an encouragement for people to challenge corporate media just to take down the powers-that-be.  The very premise of a functioning representative government is to have accurate information. The corporate media has proven their arrogance and unwillingness to cover issues in an unbiased manner so our only recourse is to replace them.  And thanks to our available technologies we can all make our individual impacts. Remember, a roaring river is the result of individual raindrops coming together and exerting power.  Isn’t it time to get wet?

 

Dr. Helen Coldicott on the Insanity of Believing You Can Win a Limited Nuclear War.

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American politics usually revolves around emotional “trigger” issues; many being quite trivial.  For instance, during the primaries, the media actually made an issue out of one of the Republican candidates eating pizza with a fork.  Often when the more macro-societal issues do come up, they are replied to with carefully-prepared sound-bites. The media is gets a headline, the press aides get a cookie and the public gets something akin to a mind-meme to discuss around the proverbial water cooler. Yet what about an issue such as human survival? Seems important, right? Yet not much about it in the mainstream western media even though there are several trouble-spots that could erupt into a nuclear confrontation. Which brings me to my interview last week with noted physician Dr. Helen Coldicott, who has made it a mission to warn people of the dangers of nuclear weapons, as well as the notion that a nuclear war could be won.

What I found most intriguing about Dr. Coldicott’s interview was her observation that there are many in the US government who believe that a nuclear war might be winnable. Perhaps one could use weapons on a limited scale…only to defeat the foe and claim victory after a first strike.  She thoroughly was able to put that notion to rest. It is, as she noted, “psychopathic” to both believe it could be justifiable to inflict such a weapon on an enemy as well as to expect to win.  I would note that my book series, “Freedom from Conscience” my heroine is a psychopath, http://finest.se/jasmincroft/  but she does care for her family and loved ones. Have any of our leaders, who fail to see nuclear war as completely unacceptable, considered what it would do to their families?

Dr. Coldicott emphasized that even a war, for instance between only two nations hostile to each other such as India and Pakistan, involving perhaps 100 nuclear explosions, would have catastrophic effects upon life on earth.  First, the direct casualties: A direct hit on a city would vaporize the people within the center of that city. Remember, the temperatures would reach levels greater than the sun. All people within a few miles from ground-zero would be disintegrated, leaving nothing but shadows on cement walls that manage to survive the blast. Also, a pyroclastic cloud-type surge of super-hot gasses, speeding at hundreds of miles per hour, would burst out in all directions, killing everything several miles outside the initial blast zone. But that’s not all. People miles away from that would be blinded by the light, as would any livestock and pets.  The devastation would be unimaginable.

However, that’s not all. Of course the task of caring for survivors would be next to impossible. Everything that we consider part of civilization would be gone in the immediate war zones.  Things have just started though.  Massive amounts of dust, smoke and water vapor, yes radioactive, have now been pushed high into the stratosphere. Forget about global warming, this will produce a cooling effect (blocking of sunlight) in the northern hemisphere that would destroy the means to produce crops for the populations and livestock for at least several years. If you cannot then feed your livestock they die. If you have no food production you die.

Okay, maybe all life does not end with such a war but could a war involving the USA and Russia ever be limited?  Coldicott discussed how such would be a very unlikely outcome if nuclear weapons were used.  Would either side call it quits and surrender? That is unlikely. What we would probably see develop is the ultimate extinction event. She notes that up to twelve nuclear bombs are targeted at New York. And we can be sure Moscow is targeted by the USA. Maybe some people believe that knocking out the Russian government would cause their defense forces to crumble. They might want to consider what she calls “The Dead Man’s Switch.” This is a system located deep in the Ural Mountains that, upon losing contact with Russian military leaders, and detecting major weather disturbances and radiation surges, would conclude a nuclear war has started. At that point their entire nuclear arsenal is launched. Mankind is therefore doomed. Magnify the results of the “limited nuclear war” geometrically and life on earth is no longer a certainty.

So why are we here; why are we at the point that Russia and the USA are doing less talking and more saber rattling? Maybe as Caldicott notes this has to do with events following the break-up of the Soviet Union.  Prior to the end of the Cold War you had two sides squared off against each other but their leaders realized just how insane a direct confrontation would be. Coldicott notes that she met with then-president Ronald Reagan. Reagan became aware of what nuclear war, even a limited one, would wreak upon earth and humanity. Well, in 1991 the USSR fell. Many thought that this would usher in a new era where we could divert money from war to more worthy endeavors. Well, while the Russians were promised NATO would not strive to advance towards Russia’s borders the corporations that benefited from bloated military budgets pushed for NATO enlargement into Eastern Europe, and up to Russia’s borders.

US foreign policy in Ukraine is seen as a direct threat to Russia. Of course Syria is another hot spot where east-meets-west could lead to devastation. And what happens if Hillary gets elected? Coldicott notes that Hillary has never seen a war she did not like. Any number of scenarios could lead to the unthinkable.

Since my interview with Dr. Coldicott matters have only escalated. Threats have been made by various actors within the US political apparatus towards Russia. The USA has suspended contact with Russia over what is taking place in Syria, and if the USA attacks the Syrian military, and Russia defends its ally, we could have WW3.  Time will tell whether relations will continue to collapse…time will tell whether humanity, or what small portion is left of it, gets sent back to the stone age or not.

The Threat to Freedom of Speech!

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“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”                    George Washington

“If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked.  So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you are in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”                    Noam Chomsky

Americans generally take the ability to express their views for granted…after all, we are taught in grade school that the U.S. Constitution, specifically the 1st Amendment, guarantees that even if you have a very unpopular opinion you have the right to express it.  This is a right that we are born with, not one granted by some king or head-of-state.  As someone who likes to express views on everything from psychology to public policy I appreciate not having to worry about someone knocking at the door at 2am and hauling me off to a detention center for expressing an opinion contrary to what the president at the time believes in. I appreciate, as a writer of fiction that touches on controversial matters (check here for some of my works: http://finest.se/jasmincroft/ ) I can be free to be both creative and explore issues that may not be what would be considered proper topics during a dinner-function at your grandmother’s house.  Lately, however, there are some dark clouds on the horizon in regards to this fundamental feature of American law and culture and people need to be very concerned.

Recently Julian Assange has expressed fear that a Hillary Clinton victory could lead to crackdowns on freedom of speech. In a recent interview he noted that Hillary has been using some sort ofanti-Russian conspiracy (involving those who, coincidently are critical of her) as a campaign issue. You know, fear leads to hate…hate leads to curtailing rights: “”We have the ruling party … running around, calling the opposition leader, in fact multiple opposition readers, and the critical press, foreign agents,” he said. “What kind of press climate is going to exist afterwards, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected? It will be perceived to be a validation of that hysteria…So the press afterwards will be cracked down upon, and online publishers, and people on social media,” Assange added. “It will lead to a very harsh climate where the First Amendment will be eroded.”” http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/assange-clinton-victory-will-validate-speech-crackdown/article/2601346

A few years back, as secretary of state, Hillary warned that the USA was losing the “information war.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1p-E2xmpjA  If what she meant was that the US no longer had a monopoly over its own citizen’s sources of information she was right.  When Hillary grew up there was only black and white TV sets and you were lucky to get the three major networks at that time. Cable was not an option. You probably only had a daily newspaper in your community as well. To maintain the narrative was not so difficult then. For instance, the media in the early 1960s knew of John F. Kennedy’s affairs but did not report on them. There was a sense that this could reduce the prestige of the president at a time when the Cold War was at its height. There were alternative sources of information to be honest, but those were often just newsletters that reached a very specific cliental. So again, while there was the right to say as you pleased, and to read and listen to whatever you chose, your access to such sources was quite limited.

As for Hillary’s warning, she is quite aware that the internet makes that monopoly of ideas impossible.  A person can hear about an event but then check out videos on YouTube or Liveleak and see if what they heard is what really happened. They can access British news sources on the US political process and see if there is something being left out of the story being presented by the US corporate networks. In fact, they can access American-based information sources from all across the political spectrum (left, right, middle, alt-right, green or whatever) or even access RT or other foreign outlets.  The world is at our fingertips.

However, this is seen as a threat by many within the American power structure. In the past you could pepper the news with stories intended to slowly demonize your objective until everyone insisted you do something to stop [insert foe]. Today the people who turn to the internet can easily see through the deception and refuse to give their consent. That makes it extremely difficult to mobilize the public. Think of the impact having today’s internet choices during the run-up to the war Bush instigated against Saddam in 1990. I really doubt Bush could have persuaded the public to go along with it.

Of course domestic agendas are difficult to promote as well.  Many freedoms have eroded away since 2001 but one can only imagine what the situation would be like had there been no means by which to bypass the corporate media or official government pronouncements.

So is Hillary the only one who would likely erode the freedom of speech in what Assange calls a new age of McCarthyism? No, she would have to have support not only from the other branches of government but also from the media itself. What of a Trump victory? Well, did he not have some nasty things to say about whistle blower Edward Snowden? Regardless, just as the media has been used to promote wars, or not speak up in regards to domestic surveillance, if you can frame issues into an “us” v. “them,” or as Bush said, “You are either with us or you are with the terrorists” then you can work to sell the idea that people should give up some freedom in the name of security. And to go further, if you can sell the idea that some speech is too radical to be tolerated then you can start the process of going after both the left and the right, as well as the politically incorrect and those who support groups like Wikileaks or individuals such as Edward Snowden. Might sharing a link to a leaked email be considered an act of aiding and abetting in the future? Might opposing an action of war against Russia and/or China be seen as sedition?

There are a lot of things out there in cyberspace I do not like (including videos featuring horrid pop music). However, as Voltaire famously said, “I might disagree with your opinion, but I am willing to give my life for your right to express it.”  Freedom of expression is one of those things that is difficult to restore once lost. People tend to be insecure and so the powerful can easily play to fear to justify not allowing it again. It is then crucial that people of all political persuasions put their individual aims aside in regards to this issue and unite to maintain those freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

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The Business of War: The Psychopathic Dimensions.

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We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

How do we think of war?  My father was stationed in the Pacific in WW2. He hated the way Hollywood glorified war in movies and TV. He would not even allow a gun in our home when growing up – and, like many other men who served in that war, refused to discuss his experiences while a young man from 1943 – 1945. When he was growing up very little of the nation’s resources were directed at building up war, in fact much that was left over from WW1 had been scrapped.  Americans would rise up and fight, as the Japanese learned after bombing Pearl Harbor, but they were not militaristic in any sense.  WW2 would change that, but not in the way most history books would suggest i.e. Americans accepting some sort of role as world policeman as their destiny.  Instead, the economy that had been converted to a war-time economy to defeat the Axis Powers, has remained in that war-time state since, and many forces work to keep it that way.

The war fired up American factories and was the reason for the end of “The Great Depression.” After the war, the economy prospered, and innovations fueled a boom in manufacturing and services. However, as the Soviets became a recognized threat there was a reluctance to return to the pre-WW2 state of a minimalist military. Yes, even Eisenhower pointed to the need to maintain an effective counter to possible aggressions. However, he recognized that this created a dynamic that posed a threat to the nation – and that is the point he was making with his warning above. When you create an unholy alliance between ambitious politicians and companies fighting not just to attain lucrative defense contracts, but also facilitate a “need” for new contracts, you give rise to an out-of-control feedback loop that both guarantees expanding national debts, but also facilitate the possibility of wars developing.

Let’s look at how the system has evolved.  You have huge corporations that make fortunes off military contracts; and if those contracts were to end, then what? Of course the answer would be to innovate and improve production of non-weaponized products, but military contracts are like junk food, easy to splurge, justify and far more tasty than something more nutritious. Oh, and let us not forget sub-contractors, the people who make components, the little things, that are necessary to create a tank, missile or warship.  These smaller businesses also have a vested interest in maintaining military spending.

Speaking of the alliance of corporations even the US media oligopoly has interest in maintaining a state of fear against Russia and other nations. You see, corporations are more connected than roots in a terrarium. On the surface the plants can look separate and distinct but if you try to remove a single plant you will find its roots interwoven with the others to where it is impossible to untangle them.

In my, “Freedom from Conscience book series” I begin dealing with these issues in, “Freedom from conscience – Descent into Darkness” and the upcoming sequel “The Price of Power.”  In the former the heroine discovers how things truly work in politics after an encounter with a sex trafficking ring. In the latter she discovers, after being elected to congress and being invited into a secret society of power elite, how the public’s perception of reality is shaped by these people’s use of the corporate media.  http://finest.se/jasmincroft/ Yes, it is fiction, but based on how things really are.  In fact, one could never capture just how deep the system perpetuates the status quo, but one can shed more light on it. Sadly, the corporate media won’t do it anymore.

You see: the journalists we used to count on for exposing corruption and taking on the establishment have, in large part, been co-opted by the estate they were supposed to keep an eye on. Now news pertaining to “threats” from other nations, or any coverage of war-related news, comes from the government itself. Why spend a bunch of money on war correspondents when the Pentagon or State Department can provide you with all you need to know, with eye-catching film?  Oh, and it does not stop there. Speaking of eye-catching film have you ever asked how Hollywood movies get to have such good pictures of jets in mid-air or the decks of aircraft carriers? Product placement…that’s right, movies showing how awesome our military is help to serve to justify billions and billions of dollars of expenditures as well as operate as recruitment for young people watching the end-product. Hollywood’s cozy relationship with the military did not end with WW2 propaganda cartoons, not by a long shot.

So why is this article titled, “The Business of War: The Psychopathic Dimensions?” Well, again, let’s look at what is taking place with Russia. If you are old enough you probably remember when the US news media, which was a totally different creature than it is today, ran stories that actually showed Russians (at the time Soviets) as real people.  Do we see that today?  Aside from some travel show you might run into on a cable network, the cute stories of Russians you saw in the 1980s just don’t exist. Why? Why would we want to push tensions to a possible breaking point? Well, money. When German re-unification was being discussed the west had promised Moscow that it had no intention to expand NATO eastward.  Problem was (during the Bill Clinton years and afterwards) NATO did expand right up to Russia’s border. Of course one can understand how some of the former eastern nations, after decades of control by the Soviets, might like some guarantees it would never happen again, but what about defense contractors? What could they get from such expansion? Well, new customers.  That was the case in the 1990s and it also the case today. In fact, the more one can get the public to fear “Russian aggression” the better it might be for some key industries. https://theintercept.com/2016/08/19/nato-weapons-industry/

In addition, what if the threat of Russia is, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, more a creation from our own government, pressured by financial interests behind the scenes working on both the White House and the House of Representatives, and magnified by the media? What could go wrong with that? I mean…nuclear war? What if we become convinced by our own darkest suspicions of the Russians and begin to think nuclear war could be a viable option?  Anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Coldicott recently noted that many in the US government think nuclear war is winnable! While most psychopaths are contributing members of society there is an element of invincibility, of recklessness, and a form of ruthlessness in achieving goals that characterizes psychopaths. To push an ethic that sees the preservation of an atmosphere of fear as desirable, even if it could lead to at the very least negative economic consequences and at worse getting to live the dream of a zombie apocalypse, plus radiation, seems to be a manifestation of psychopathy at its very worse.

Perhaps we could learn a bit from former Mormon Church president Spencer W. Kimball who stated, “We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel — ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching…”

In light of events since the beginning of this century one could easily say, even without affixing special title to Mr. Kimball, that his warning was truly prophetic.

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How Do Those In Power View Life Differently Than You?

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“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.”   Edward Bernays

Imagine yourself at the grocery store. You see a young woman in front of you purchasing cookies, candy and ice cream.  When the items are scanned she promptly hands the checker a food stamp card. What are your thoughts, and maybe those of the people standing next to you? I will bet most are thinking negatively about her, about her purchasing “junk food” with taxpayer money and this reinforces any stereotypes of people on food stamps.  Naturally you don’t consider that her husband may be in the military and has been deployed for six months, and her oldest child turns five that day… and she is giving him a party with his friends as a rare treat.  No, we as a species tend to judge and to judge negatively.

Okay, the point of this is not to deal with judging per se but rather how we view others, and specifically how the elite view the 99.9% of the American population. That is why I made reference to the woman in line. As much as we might feel “superior” to others based on social class, or the use of a WIC or food stamp card, the elite are just as harsh towards the middle and working classes. Heck, the super-rich even look down on the “modestly” rich.  And by elite I do not just mean those with names like Rockefeller but also those who make our movies in Hollywood or control the media that creates our “news” and TV entertainment.  These people are as removed from regular people who work 9-5, and struggle to pay their mortgage, as a geneticist at a prestigious university research center is to a villager in the most remote Brazilian rain-forest.

In a sense Hunger Games could be seen as a satire on modern consumeristic society, and a reflection on the divide between the regular people and the elite. You have districts that are responsible for producing for the people of Capital City who live in their bubble of extravagance and entertainment. And of course who creates the entertainment? Those in power of course. In my latest thriller coming out in the Fall of 2016, “Freedom from Conscience – The Price of Power.” the heroine of the series (a former vigilante serial killer) gets elected to the US Congress. Soon afterwards she is mysteriously befriended by a member of an elite secret society who fancies himself her mentor. This gentleman does the obligatory “villain’s monologue” and explains to her why his comrades must eventually purge the world of those they see as genetically and culturally inferior to them, and how they will go about the process through brainwashing the public to go along with it.

Okay, this is fiction, right? I mean the people who control the people who control the media who control the message are just like the rest of us, right? Not really.  And while I am not claiming that in real life they have any sort of genocide planned their reality is far removed from yours, and thus their worldview.  They are segregated in affluence. In fact, their lives are not even like the “robber barons” you may have read about in high school history class. At least those captains of industry sometimes came from less-advantaged families. They also built factories and put people to work, and while quite wealthy they often visited their factories and still saw themselves as competing against others in the “social Darwinistic” context.  Today the super-wealthy are isolated. They and their children graduate from the same prestigious institutions, which reinforce a particular social ideal.  And while they travel the world they live in isolation and here a very distinct sub-culture evolves.  In fact some evolutionary psychologists have suggested that the inbreeding of the elite will lead to a genetically distinct group, no longer separated by wealth and influence alone but maybe even a new ethnic class emergence.  Of course that is merely speculation. Reality, however, is that economic power and influence over society are undeniably correlated.

Take for instance language. Radio, and then Television, has in great measure pulled all the various dialects in the USA to a common “mainstream” idea of what American English is perceived as.  To a large degree this was due to the centralization of telecommunications in the early and mid-20th Century. Yet just as with language one can see how the people who control the much-more pervasive media of today have both enormous power over the sources of the message (today one can only use the term “oligopoly” to describe the industry) but also the values that their industry can lay down as the new norm.

Of course the elite cannot turn out entertainment that only tells their stories. That would turn off regular viewers and not generate much profit. They rely on the “flyover” regions for revenue generation.  And while most live in exclusive suburbs their base of operations is in the cities. They seek writers and directors, who generally come from urban environments, and while not top elite they perceive themselves as sharing the same ideals of those with position. So of course they write plots that rely more on oft-used caricatures of what people outside their enclaves must be like. And of course the people who make the final determination as to what goes into movies and TV shows are closer to the elite and are even more separated from authentic reality than the writers and directors.  Interestingly enough the majority of American audiences appear not to mind having simplistic images fed back to them; and one could speculate that many adopt the behavioral “norms” fed to them on TV as authentic as they grow up on these media images.

Furthermore, how about an example of how powerful images in media can be? Are you aware that one of the big reasons for the sharp decrease of birthrates in Brazil has been TV entertainment? The idea was that if people see small families presented as positive, and the norm, in what they see on TV they will absorb those norms into their own minds. And whether you see this as positive or not one cannot argue that entertainment can have a huge impact on people’s internal values, maybe even more than religion; thus the average person in Brazil, although Catholic, generally uses birth control. And it works that way everywhere, yes, even in (especially in?) the USA and western world. The elite will want to use their entertainment selections to promote the way they think people should live. After all, in a more modern application of social Darwinism isn’t there a notion that those with degrees from prestigious learning institutions should use their position to help “enlighten” the masses?  So while plots on prime-time may be quite simplistic there is always a message. As Orwell noted, all art is ultimately propaganda.

So be it issues relating to religion, outsourcing of manufacturing, family dynamics, life goals, even, as Edward Bernays noted what we wear…these and many more issues may only be interpreted on the macro-societal level from the perspective of what the .1% most wealthy perceive as optimal.  And while there has been an explosion of independent media in recent years facilitated by the internet, the monolith of the dominant networks and national newspapers makes it difficult to offer unique perspectives so that genuine discussion can take place at the national level.

One can resist merely conforming to whatever the “popular” group-think is within society but that requires taking an active role in both getting information as well as analyzing the very basis of ones beliefs. The latter can be a scary process for some. I mean, something as simple as table manners originated with some person of royalty deciding how people should eat. And what of other manners, habits and beliefs – might also have been incorporated into how you experience life without any serious reflection on if they were beneficial or not…based on some higher ideal of religion or philosophy, or any other more authentic source than someone within the powers-that-be just deciding what should be the norm for everyone?