Where we stand today

Civilization's best defensive measures against war, terrorism, technological stagnation, and economic ruin

A Presentation of jrm&aFLUX


by J.R. Mooneyham
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Where we stand today

Note that in the poorly restrained capitalist economics and increasingly financially suspect politics of the early 21st century, things like war, terrorism, business monopolies and corruption, and pollution can all be commodities welcomed and even encouraged by many business and political interests-- so long as such elements can be successfully 'managed' by such entities to their own benefit.

War and terrorism especially can add drama and excitement to newscasts, boosting ratings and so advertising profits. They create fodder for endless Hollywood blockbusters. The fear and other emotions inspired by war or terrorism also help generate sales for other types of business, such as gun manufacturers, the medical and health industries, and military-industrial complex. War and terrorism add spice to political campaigns while also pushing to the back burner the usually more complex issues of peacetime. War and terrorism can help politicians quell the normal dissent and opposition they'd face to their own pet projects or policies; almost anything can seem justified and reasonable in an environment sufficiently filled with fear and uncertainty. Throughout history despots have repeatedly used such ruses to expand their own powers over a population. Secrecy was also a favorite tool of such criminals.

"...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

-- Hermann Goering, Hitler's chosen successor for ruling Nazi Germany during World War II; quote from the Nuremberg Trials 1945-1946

Artificially minimizing dissent in a society however also tends to minimize or compromise other essential elements of democracy in that society, and so too various checks and balances which typically keep the society reasonable in its governmental policies and responses to events. Thus, quieting dissent without actually resolving the reasons for dissent, for whatever purpose, and through whatever means, is always dangerous for a society to do. This is usually one of the first steps towards a people losing their democracy.

As for business monopolies-- they benefit most those who own the monopolies, of course-- often to the detriment of everyone else. But indirect beneficiaries of monopolies include certain politicians and government officials, who get generous campaign contributions or other compensation for their support of such market mechanisms.

The other element, pollution, increases health problems, which makes for more profits in health-related industries, and typically kills or sickens the poor masses long before the rich elite at the top of big business and government are materially affected. The more pollution costs a given business can get away with shifting onto other factions of society, the lower their typical bottomline costs will be, and so the higher their profits. Paradoxically, the worse things they do in secret, the better their investment value can appear in public.

The same can often be said for various corrupt financial practices on the part of both business or government. If the scoundrels are smart enough, they can 'cook the books' to steal $millions or $billions and get away scot free, with the majority of victims not even noticing until years later. In this way can corrupt government officials gain favor for a few years while afterwards their replacements must deal with the aftermath and often get all the blame as well. Similar things can and do occur frequently in business matters.

So be wary of times when media, business, and politicians seem to be pushing or encouraging war (especially wars on foreign soil), or hyping the potential consequences of terrorism at home; for they often have a vested interest in maintaining such conditions indefinitely (and often couldn't care less about casualties, except and until such casualties might spur significant opposition to their rule or influence on events). Likewise when various lobbyists push for minimal regulations or enforcement of same for polluters or criminal financial accounting practices-- they can debate all sorts of things like whether global warming exists or not, or how many jobs a particular new law might shift elsewhere-- but the argument always boils down to the same decision: do we want our families to eat, drink, breathe, and bathe in more poison or less on a daily basis? Just how big a dose of poison are we willing to accept? To expose our children to? Our grandchildren? Or, in respect to financial accounting practices, just how secure do we want our paychecks, bank accounts, investments, and retirement funds to be? Do we care if corrupt government officials or business execs can raid them at will?

It's also useful to keep in mind that in places like the super power USA of the early 21st century, enormous military and intelligence budgets and advanced technologies can often allow for truly exquisite management of foreign wars and domestic terrorism, and the public perceptions of same. A similar power of manipulation exists in American media-- and if and when the media and government coordinate their powers common citizens may have little chance to learn the truth of what's going on. So while ALL citizens of reasonably developed nations need to be wary of 'managed' war and anti-terrorist campaigns by political and business interests, citizens of America must be the most vigilant of all-- for they have the most to lose, and may be the most easily deceived by their government and media, of anyone worldwide.

All the photo retouching and video editing of the past 50 years which could be used to modify existing imagery or create all new and entirely fictional visuals, can now be performed in realtime, on live video feeds, even as they are being captured.

As a result, you can no longer trust your eyes without question any time you are viewing a photo or video presentation of an event.

Such realtime manipulation is being readily embraced by the news and entertainment media-- a fact which seems certain to erode public confidence in the medium. Any image imaginable, of anyone desired doing (or saying) whatever was wanted, can be fixed into viewable form, with little or no indication that the image is a concoction.

It appears likely the power to edit video in realtime for reasons of propaganda or others already exists in places like the military and intelligence agencies of USAmerica, as of mid-2000.

-- Jul/Aug 00: Lying With Pixels By Ivan Amato, Technology Review, July/August 2000

-- At MIT, they can put words in our mouths By Gareth Cook; 5/15/2002; page A1, the Boston Globe

-- Video research at MIT puts words into mouths, with startling results; Silicon Valley


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The above article(s) come from and make references to a collection copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by J.R. Mooneyham (except where otherwise noted in the text). Text here explicitly authored by J.R. Mooneyham may be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes in paper and electronic form without charge if this copyright paragraph and link to jrmooneyham.com are included.

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