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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

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Donald Trump and I were born around the same time. We are both “baby-boomers.” We’ve got a lot to look back and reflect on. So it is, that when he asks us to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” I find myself wondering, “just what period in our country’s history is he referring to?” As children I am sure we both devotedly watched “The Lone Ranger. ” As the show opened, the mellifluous voice of Fred Foy invited us to “return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.” Perhaps that was his big influence. American greatness was embodied in a TV cowboy hero. But as young as we were at the time, there was no yesteryear for us to remember and relive.
 
More likely, Trump remembers a time when a President could openly have an extra-marital dalliance with the most recognized movie star of the day under the eyes of a compliant press. Or a time when you could board an airplane with only a ticket for a seat and light up a cigarette. Back then flight attendants were attractive stewardesses… no men, no aging moms, no fat or short people, just pretty women dressed in bright colors of the latest styles of the type you might see on Jackie Kennedy. But pondering more substantive matters, we would have to go back to before he was born if winning a war figured into his scheme for greatness. The last war we won ended in 1945.
 
All those dates are too hard to align. No, a better way to determine his concept of American greatness is to examine the policy arc of his administration.
 
In choosing his cabinet he has placed individuals in each position that are sworn to the devolution, the dismemberment of the very entity they control. Making America Great Again means to eliminate consumer protections, roll back environmental protections, endanger protected species, privatize our national parks for exploration, facilitate climate warming, allow more pollution, destroy NATO while forming alliances with our enemies, reduce taxes for the wealthy, run the highest deficit in the history of our nation, create an environment where racism and white nationalism can prosper, savage election polling, frustrate gun-rights legislation, foster friendly friendships with murdering dictators, trust mid-east peace to his real-estate son-in-law, support the suppression of voting rights, women’s rights and gay rights, and confirm a misogynist to the supreme court. His failed solutions to immigration have been to ban brown skinned peoples, first the Muslims and then Latinos seeking asylum. Now that we have successfully filled our privatized jails with Black Americans, Trump’s answer to greatness is to send Latinos to privatized holding pens to await deportation while removing their children thousands of miles away, unaccounted for. Punitive greatness. His greatness does not recognize “advise and consent” just “consent.” Reading is just so blasé in the age of television, so are briefings. He deplores intelligence briefings and includes his own intelligence agencies and advisors in his list of enemies—the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, Homeland Security, the DNI. Airforce One is just his private vacation jet for golf outings, weekends at Mar-a-Lago, or campaigning and fundraising under the guise of official business.
 
Perhaps he just longs for the days of our first TV President, that broad-smiled cowboy of economic destruction, Ronald Reagan. Back in those days Reagan had his wingman, Oliver North to cover his tracks in Iran-Contra. While North, through the school of the Americas, was training the goon squads of Central American countries in the delicate art of eliminating dissident voices—priests, nuns, journalists, schoolteachers and union leaders—all in the interest of aligning the government of those nations with American corporate interests, he was running cocaine to Los Angeles to fund his illegal operations. Midnight raids with a machete and bodies strewn on the side of rural farm roads were as much an answer to the problems of dissidents then as methods employed today by the strongmen so admires, Putin, Kim Jong Un Duterte and Mohammed Bin Salman. Previous administrations had their corrupt, strongmen allies too… The Shah of Iran, Noriega, Sadam Hussein to name a few. Perhaps this is the greatness he admires.
 
For anyone over fifty, it is a near certainty that you have more days behind you than ahead. Most of us will not live to be one-hundred. Unlike their children, most of these Americans represent the moderate and conservative points of political view. They are the easy marks for a plea for past greatness. It’s easier to look backwards than forward. Backwards is a certainty and memory colors our self-awareness with a nostalgic yearning to be who we once were… to experience that first love, that first kiss, those early accomplishments, our dearest friends and family, as we grew together and apart. What lies ahead is uncertainty… what will become of me? All that is certain is loss, decline, pain and death. We look for something to ameliorate that certainty, perhaps if we could only be great again.
 
And so it is that I am wary of any candidate that asks us to look backwards. Our nation is about to cross a very busy intersection and we are its pedestrians. Which way do you look when crossing an intersection? I’m sure it’s not behind you. That is why I reject Biden’s attempt to retread the Obama administration through his campaign, asking us to look backwards to a better time, a time before Trump. If Biden cannot stand on his own and must rely on his association with Obama, then he has admitted to being his surrogate or proxy. He is asking us to look backward to someone other than himself. I like Joe, just not for President. He’s too little, too late. He’s not Obama.
 
 
 
 
 

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Editorials

Welcome to the New Powered by You: An Evolution in Media Whose Time is Now

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January 16, 2022

Hello,

Every day, I wake up and ask myself a question: How can we create the future when the world is upside down?

If we look at the “corporate” news, that is, the stories paid for by advertisers and large corporations, one would want to crawl back into bed.  But in reality, there is something brewing under the radar, that is, unless, one focuses on the next generation of systems and services that’s emerging.

Our world is changing. And with these changes, there is an increased demand for relevant knowledge to guide us towards optimal health and well-being for people and the planet.

But the ways of the past are not capable of bringing us to a healthier tomorrow.

While it seems that the world is turned upside down, in reality, we are going through the largest seismic shift in our lives.  

While some people are looking to fix potholes, there are those of us who are building better roads; better paths;   

As the corporate and political worlds try to maintain their stranglehold on public systems, services and policies, there is a whole new world being born, a world where systems are based on natural synergy, equilibrium—balance and integrity.   

As we are experiencing the end of a civilization based on greed and plundering natural resources, people have woken up to the reality that the greatest natural resource is a well-informed public, and the convergence of technologies and system change has opened up a rare one time ina lifetime world where we the people can come together and unite and consciously create the systems, services and policies that serve all life–including the health of our planet, with systems, services and polcies that are dedicated to prosperity without harming our beautiful blue planet.

The age of enlightened conscious creativity.

We have an important choice to make: 

We can continue as we have been going, putting our trust in failed leadership and their systems driving us off a cliff, 

Or we can come together, united in Solidarity for the health of all life.   

What if we can harness collective power and wisdom to create a healthier planetary co-existence?

Mobilized is a nationally broadcast Television series with weekly conversations and a collaborative website dedicated to overcoming our misunderstandings to work and co-exist better together.

Please join us as a collaborator in creation.

Thank you.

Steven Jay

 

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Editorials

As the Golden Globes lose their luster, can we create a better version of Hollywood?

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Something interesting is happening in Hollywood. People are walking away from the Golden Globe Awards.

And for good reason.

Anyone who has ever worked in the filthy abyss of Hollywood, New York, or any major entertainment city will know first hand how these systems work. Sycophants, parasites and moguls and talent agents willing to step all over each other just for the sake of another prize. Some will even kill for a shot at the brass ring.  And industry divided cannot succeed.

The only good thing I found in the Golden Globes was watching Ricky Gervais lampoon the stars and their handlers from the stage. Bravo to Gervais, it doesn’t make a difference what you think of him, afterall, he had something that most of Hollywood doesn’t have. Balls. Guts. And a way of delivering amusing reality dosed insults to their face only to find he’s been re-instated as the show host for the next years showing.

 

The annual Golden Globes ceremony has been unable to find a broadcasting partner or any celebrities willing to present or collect its awards after a Hollywood boycott over its diversity and ethics scandal, resulting in a pared-down event with the emphasis on philanthropy.

According to Variety, the Globes’ talent bookers have failed to persuade any big Hollywood figures to attend the 2022 edition of the awards ceremony, a hitherto glittering annual event that traditionally kicked off the lucrative awards season. In March 2021 more than 100 public relations firms announced they would withdraw cooperation with the Globes, a series of high-profile Hollywood figures, including Tom Cruise and Scarlett Johansson, made stinging public criticisms, and TV network NBC cancelled its broadcast of the 2022 edition. (-The Guardian)

 
eguardian.com/film/2022/jan/09/golden-globes-lose-their-shine-as-a-listers-shun-unethical-ceremony

But this years showing not only lacked the luster of Hollywood today, but doesn’t even have a Network or Livestream to cover it.  I guess we’ll have to rely on celeb Twitter Feeds.

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Arts

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

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By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, January 5, 2022

Propaganda is most impactful when people don’t think it’s propaganda, and most decisive when it’s censorship you never knew happened.

 

When we imagine that the U.S. military only occasionally and slightly influences U.S. movies, we are extremely badly deceived. The actual impact is on thousands of movies made, and thousands of others never made. And television shows of every variety.

The military guests and celebrations of the U.S. military on game shows and cooking shows are no more spontaneous or civilian in origin than the ceremonies glorifying members of the U.S. military at professional sports games — ceremonies that have been paid for and choreographed by U.S. tax dollars and the U.S. military. The “entertainment” content carefully shaped by the “entertainment” offices of the Pentagon and the CIA doesn’t just insidiously prepare people to react differently to news about war and peace in the world. To a huge extent it substitutes a different reality for people who learn very little actual news about the world at all.

The U.S. military knows that few people watch boring and non-credible news programs, much less read boring and non-credible newspapers, but that great masses will eagerly watch long movies and TV shows without too much worrying about whether anything makes sense. We know that the Pentagon knows this, and what military officials scheme and plot as a result of knowing this, because of the work of relentless researchers making use of the Freedom of Information Act. These researchers have obtained many thousands of pages of memos, notes, and script re-writes. I don’t know whether they’ve put all of these documents online — I certainly hope they do and that they make the link widely available. I wish such a link were in giant font at the end of a fantastic new film. The film is called Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood. The Director, Editor, and Narrator is Roger Stahl. The Co-Producers are Matthew Alford, Tom Secker, Sebastian Kaempf. They’ve provided an important public service.

In the film we see copies of and hear quotations from and analysis of much of what has been uncovered, and learn that thousands of pages exist that nobody has yet seen because the military has refused to produce them. Film producers sign contracts with the U.S. military or CIA. They agree to “weave in key talking points.” While unknown quantities of this sort of thing remain unknown, we do know that nearly 3,000 films and many thousands of TV episodes have been given the Pentagon treatment, and many others have been handled by the CIA. In many film productions, the military effectively becomes a co-producer with veto power, in exchange for allowing the use of military bases, weapons, experts, and troops. The alternative is the denial of those things.

But the military is not as passive as this might suggest. It actively pitches new story ideas to movie and TV producers. It seeks out new ideas and new collaborators who might bring them to a theater or laptop near you. Act of Valor actually began life as a recruitment advertisement.

Of course, many movies are made without military assistance. Many of the best never wanted it. Many that wanted it and were denied, managed to get made anyway, sometimes at much greater expense without the U.S. tax dollars paying for the props. But a huge number of movies are made with the military. Sometimes the initial movie in a series is made with the military, and the remaining episodes voluntarily follow the military’s line. Practices are normalized. The military sees huge value in this work, including for recruitment purposes.

The alliance between the military and Hollywood is the main reason that we have lots of big blockbuster movies on certain topics and few if any on others. Studios have written scripts and hired top actors for movies on things like Iran-Contra that have never seen the light of day because of a Pentagon rejection. So, nobody watches Iran-Contra movies for fun the way they might watch a Watergate movie for fun. So, very few people have any notions about Iran-Contra.

But with the reality of what the U.S. military does being so awful, what, you might wonder, are the good topics that do get lots of movies made about them? A lot are fantasy or distortion. Black Hawk Down turned reality (and a book it was “based on”) on its head, as did Clear and Present Danger. Some, like Argo, hunt for small stories within large ones. Scripts explicitly tell audiences that it doesn’t matter who started a war for what, that the only thing that matters is the heroism of troops trying to survive or to rescue a soldier.

Yet, actual U.S. military veterans are often shut out and not consulted They often find movies rejected by the Pentagon as “unrealistic” to be very realistic, and those created with Pentagon collaboration to be highly unrealistic. Of course, a huge number of military-influenced films are made about the U.S. military fighting space aliens and magical creatures — not, clearly, because it’s believable but because it avoids reality. On the other hand, other military-influenced films shape people’s views of targeted nations and dehumanize the humans living in certain places.

Don’t Look Up is not mentioned in Theaters of War, and presumably had no military involvement (who knows?, certainly not the movie-watching public), yet it uses a standard military-culture idea (the need to blow up something coming from outerspace, which in reality the U.S. government would simply love to do and you could hardly stop them) as an analogy for the need to stop destroying the planet’s climate (which you cannot easily get the U.S. government to remotely consider) and not one reviewer notices that the film is an equally good or bad analogy for the need to stop building nuclear weapons — because U.S. culture has had that need effectively excised.

The military has written policies on what it approves and disapproves. It disapproves depictions of failures and crimes, which eliminates much of reality. It rejects films about veteran suicide, racism in the military, sexual harassment and assault in the military. But it pretends to refuse to collaborate on films because they’re not “realistic.”

Yet, if you watch enough of what is produced with military involvement you’ll imagine that using and surviving nuclear war is perfectly plausible. This goes back to the original Pentagon-Hollywood invention of myths about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and runs right up through military influence on The Day After, not to mention the transformation — paid for by people who throw a fit if their tax dollars help prevent someone freezing on the street — of Godzilla from a nuclear warning to the reverse. In the original script for the first Iron Man movie, the hero went up against the evil weapons dealers. The U.S. military rewrote it so that he was a heroic weapons dealer who explicitly argued for more military funding. Sequels stuck with that theme. The U.S. military advertised its weapons of choice in Hulk, Superman, Fast and Furious, and Transformers, the U.S. public effectively paying to push itself to support paying thousands of times more — for weapons it would otherwise have no interest in.

“Documentaries” on the Discovery, History, and National Geographic channels are military-made commercials for weapons. “Inside Combat Rescue” on National Geographic is recruitment propaganda. Captain Marvel exists to sell the Air Force to women. Actress Jennifer Garner has made recruitment ads to accompany movies she’s made that are themselves more effective recruitment ads. A movie called The Recruit was largely written by the head of the CIA’s entertainment office. Shows like NCIS push out the military’s line. But so do shows you wouldn’t expect: “reality” TV shows, game shows, talk shows (with endless reunifications of family members), cooking shows, competition shows, etc.

I’ve written before about how Eye in the Sky was openly and proudly both completely unrealistic nonsense and influenced by the U.S. military to shape people’s ideas about drone murders. A lot of people have some small idea of what goes on. But Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood helps us to grasp the scale of it. And once we’ve done that, we may gain some possible insights into why polling finds much of the world fearing the U.S. military as a threat to peace, but much of the U.S. public believing that U.S. wars benefit people who are grateful for them. We may begin to form some guesses as to how it is that people in the United States tolerate and even glorify endless mass-killing and destruction, support threatening to use or even using nuclear weapons, and suppose the U.S. to have major enemies out there threatening its “freedoms.” Viewers of Theaters of War may not all immediately react with “Holy shit! The world must think we’re lunatics!” But a few may ask themselves whether it’s possible that wars don’t look like they do in movies — and that would be a great start.

Theaters of War ends with a recommendation, that movies be required to disclose at the start any military or CIA collaboration. The film also notes that the United States has laws against propagandizing the U.S. public, which might make such a disclosure a confession of a crime. I would add that since 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has required that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

To learn more about this film, view it, or host a screening of it, go here.

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Mobilized TV

Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

Fridays 9:30 PM Eastern (USA/Canada)

Saturdays:  6:30 PM (Eastern USA/Canada)

Sundays:  8:30 AM Eastern (USA/Canada)

January 7, 8, 9, 2022

Leading Environmental Justice Attorney, Thomas Linzey of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights is a leading force helping communities implement successful rights of nature laws. Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

 

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