Posts Tagged ‘perception management’

Political Ads, Robo-Calls, “No Call” Lists, Confidential Information, and Privacy?

Political ads are not a part of any fair or honest debate process.  One of the primary reasons they are not, is that so many of them seem to be lies, half truths, and innuendos.  There are no honest judges present to throw out invalid sources, and no rebuttal of questionable statements allowed unless the person wishing to give rebuttal can come up with the money to pay for it.

Then, it won’t be positioned in any timely manner that might offset the “perception management” strategies (propaganda), but placed according to the governance of the media it is purchased from.  The media is happy to sell the space for these ads, as it is very profitable for them to do so.  It comes down to which dominator-bully can collect the most donations (bribes?), and hire the cleverest political science writers to script their self-inflated lists of accomplishments, and fear-mongering, doesn’t it?

The rhetoric, all being parts of the speech to persuade, prey upon the phobic nature of the masses–most of whom are passive thinkers at best; scientifically illiterate, and not very familiar with their own history.  While what is happening is disgusting, I remain disappointed, but not surprised.  It’s all about money and power, and common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

And while the Supreme court has ruled that any person, groups of persons, or corporations can, in effect, buy the influence of public office without it being considered bribery, we are inundated with mail and phone calls, not just from the campaign offices of the lying politicians themselves, but from every crack-pot organization in the country, even when it is just a local election.  Again, I say it’s all about money and power, and common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

In business, there are laws intending to prevent false advertising and overt actions that would deceive the public. People still break these rules on occasion, but from time to time those who do get held accountable.  And this accountability is not considered by the public to be any infringement on “free speech”, but an intended safeguard against unethical greed and avarice taking unfair control over the lives of what would-be free and independent ordinary citizens.

Yet, we have no such rules in politics that prevent false advertising.  We have no rules in place that have any teeth that would prevent politicians from deceiving the public.  We have allowed politicians to be above the law, so to speak, in almost all measures that we would hold ourselves to in all of our other business affairs.

In the business world, people who dispense favors to venders and suppliers who have provided that officer with gifts or other consideration are often fired, and also viewed in their own business community as unethical, dishonorable, and therefore not trustworthy to handle the affairs or money of businesses, or that of the owners or stockholders of such businesses.  But in governance, it is an acceptable practice?

As a boy, I heard my grandfather say:

“A half-truth is no truth at all. And the intent of it is to lie.”

The average citizen is warned in courtrooms not to lie.  They are instructed to “…tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  And of course, you understand why we have such a rule as that, without having to have ever heard any opinion about it from my grandfather.  Unless the judges and juries can operate on some belief that witnesses are compelled to be truthful, there would be no reason to depend or act upon testimony.

If people lie, or misdirect focus to things that never happened, or reported to have happened differently that what is factual, arguments about equity and consideration would make no sense, and guilt could never be presumed beyond reasonable doubt.  In other words, the system would fail.

What you’d have left would be ruthless gangs struggling for power, and expect those gangs once they get such authority, to render each and every civil right of the individual now protected by the constitution null and void.  Yet we have come to accept this pattern to exist and be “the way things are” in the Congress, the Senate, and in the legislative bodies of all fifty states.

How is it then, that we have come to expect, almost without exception, those who ask that they be allowed to hold the sacred trust of public office to be liars, when we’d send a common citizen to jail for committing perjury?  Why is it that “freedom of speech” be construed to allow misinformation that equals slander, deception, and even the cover-up of criminal behavior when the intent of it is so harmful to the public, when it is not to be allowed in the private sector?  So how is it that perjury, or the equivalent of it, is allowed in politics?

Why should politics enjoy such an immunity, when your local service station is not allowed to lie about the number of gallons their meter says you’re pumping?  Folks, this all goes way beyond differences of opinion, or even differences of interpretation of statutes.  It is by all rational, moral, and any ethical sense, criminal behavior based on bandit decisions.

Further, how is it that we have laws on the books that allow private citizens to put their phone number on a “No Call” list that exempts these political liars, and all of their favor-purchasing friends who wish to call on the politician’s behalf?  Don’t they realize most intelligent people are offended by this practice?  Is that the presumption?  They should only have to worry about offending the smart people?  What does that say about their opinions of the the people they are supposed to represent?  Unfortunately, I suspect that indictment might stand up under rather superficial scrutiny.

We all are aware by now, the “No Call” list is a joke.  The FCC is underfunded and understaffed, and state law enforcement agencies don’t have enough time or money as it is to even pursue all the violent crimes reported to them.  So, nobody is going to stop the people who’ve been calling you multiple times a week for the past several years to tell you “this is your last chance to change to lower the interest rate on your credit card account” even though the caller has no idea what your interest rate is, or who your account is with.  Further, the statement that it’s your “last chance” is a lie.  They will not stop the callers who intend to defraud you by implying you’ve won some free service (that may only cost you a few thousand bucks to accept).

So, don’t expect phone companies, all of whom make huge profits just because the sky is blue on occasion, or government offices, where if any real work takes place at all, is done by a staff of clerks who are often not paid very well, and live in the fear of offending somebody who “donates” to some powerful authority figure.  The system is corrupt, and broken possibly beyond reasonable repair.

Here are a few more thought you might care to note:

If you’ve voted in recent elections, I’d imagine you get junk mail often from the offices of people you have voted for.  Oh, you also get mail from their opposition, but haven’t you recognized that the majority of it seems to indicate the way you voted in a “secret ballot” process somehow does not seem to have remained much of a secret?  Imagine that!

There are few secrets.  Medicare and Medicaid fraud is a huge problem, not because citizens are collecting benefits they don’t deserve, but because patient lists are illegally and unscrupulously sold to all kinds of “clinics” that submit fraudulent claims for services and products that have never been provided.

You can do your own research about the scandal of fraudulent medicare billings submitted by Columbia/HCA and implications about co-founder Rick Scott, if you wish.  He was not found guilty of anything; got to keep his money, and is, at the time of this writing, now the governor of Florida.  Additionally, he has a good chance of being re-elected, because the members of his own party are willing to believe all the charges against him are the willful intent of his opposition to discredit him.

People will vote for the Devil himself if the Devil gets their party’s nomination.  Such memetics result in belief disorders, which is the predominant cause of the continuing problem.  And it would be delusional to believe that those who represent not the people, but those who line their pockets, should be expected to care about who gets to call your house at all hours for whatever reason, even though they call you on your private number that you pay dearly to have.

You buy a piece of real estate? All of a sudden, you’re inundated with offers from people who want to lend you money, and sell you more real estate. Make a donation to a charity?  You’re inundated “opportunities”, by junk mail and by telephone, to donate even more money to other charities, some legitimate, and some not so much.

And since it is evidently quite a successful method of fleecing well meaning citizens of good intent, and since the public is so gullible and easily swayed to act on information and misinformation just the same, the process will continue unabated until we have a population educated enough to think for themselves, and take action to do something about it.

I have absolutely no confidence in expecting such as that to happen. One of the reasons I don’t, is because we have politicians in office who have benefitted from the transfer of confidential and personally private data about you, and your neighbors.  I’m not talking about invasions of your privacy by The National Security Agency, but by clerks that just might be employed by your personal physician or your local hospital.  In the past, several of them have been “clever” enough to receive large sums of money in exchange for lists including names, addresses, social security numbers, insurance policy numbers, and specifics about your personal medical history.

Once again, it’s all about money and power.  Common decency and ethics have absolutely nothing to do with it.

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Is Not Conservation Essentially the Quintessential Conservative Position?

When it comes down to the politically polarized issues about our environment, a good many people seem to be arguing about things outside their understanding.  It isn’t a new practice; it’s been going on for thousands of years–millions perhaps if you go back to the early beginnings of the hominids.  About 95% of our population is scientifically illiterate (according to Dr. Carl Sagan), and consequently fearful about what they don’t understand.

It is because of what they don’t know (and do not want to know), that they will presume to get their conclusions from other people.  The overwhelming majority are phobics, and as a large subset, get their opinions, not from research, or study, but from accepting the ideas presented to them by their bullies (dominators).  And as long as certain dominators are blinded by the prospects of a hugely profitable immediacy, the inability to postpone gratification, one of the basic character flaws found in individuals and societies as a whole, they will passionately pursue those profits, and support a campaign program of perception management to keep their phobic followers seeing everything as simple, and in some way similar to a pep-rally at a high school football game.  To them, it is just easier to see it as a game.  And during games, they will yell: “Hooray for our side!”

Some are not convinced, in the face of data they literally do not understand, that if we must err, it would be wiser to err on the side of caution.  Strangely enough, they have been convinced (which should give any reasonably bright person a clue to what is happening) that protecting the earth, air, and water in some natural way that can sustain life is some kind of communist plot. At the same time, the delusion has now spread so far as to insist conservation itself, which is the ultimate conservative position, is somehow a bad idea.

Furthermore, it is presumed bad by those who externalize good and bad to things outside themselves, especially if they do not understand them.  What makes it easy for dominators to benefit from such idiocy is the very nature of the phobics.  It is common for them to fear what is framed as “the opposition”, and fear it vehemently more so if it is not understood, or if at all, not very clearly.

And what irrational fear seems so profoundly expressed so loudly and so often?  What more so than the in-your-face insistence of an idea from someone seen to be of an opposing political or religious ideology?  In fact, since that very angst drives humans to become passionate about war, it appears that fears associated with threats they recognize (though not always rationally) to the fabric of their beliefs, will overwhelm even the fear of the loss of life and limb.  You’ve seen it in lots of places.  I’ve seen it on fields of battle.  You can find lots of evidence to support what I just said, if you’ll just look for it.

In the meantime, while incidences of melanoma continue to rise, while a glacier in Nova Scotia continues to melt risking thermal dynamic alterations to The Gulf Stream, while crude oil still leaks into the lower part of that Gulf Stream, while humans and their children have flammable liquids come into their homes through their kitchen faucets, since what was once thought to be an unlimited source of food in our oceans seen now to be endangered and very finite, while we continue to breathe air so unlike the air from just a mere century ago, people turn their backs to the problem, primarily because…they don’t even understand it?  And all of these things are happening whether anyone is willing to admit it, or not.

Oh, these issues are likely to bring sickness, pain, and death to some of the children and grandchildren of our people, but it is much easier to just not think about it than to risk the odd chance of becoming aware of the possibility that some things may have already gone too far.  And to turn our backs and not stand up to face these adversities is not a very responsible, or even a brave thing to do.  When others are seen to be not facing, and even hiding from things that could threaten them, it is often observed as the essence of cowardice, isn’t it?  Maybe we here in the home of the brave, should think about that a little bit.

I thought of some apparent confusions about irrational fearfulness and bravery the other day while looking at a photograph of a man carrying an AR-15 with him to the grocery store.  Imagine so many other people going to buy their daily bread without so much as a pocket knife on them.  Is it that they do not understand all the imminent dangers omni-present all around them?  Or instead, are they just enjoying the freedom that is found only in a peaceful mind?  And perhaps to some, is that not a peacefulness passing far beyond what others might have developed as skills, or ever made habits to even begin to understand?  Well, of course it is.

Human life exists on this planet, as does lots of other kinds of life, due to delicate balances within nature itself.   Some want to believe all this life, all this nature, is the good work and good gifts to us from an unerringly good Deity, yet they would trash it?  Hardly makes sense when you think about it.  But to think about it and want to understand requires an effort.  Those who are lazy with ideas and only want to stand on those built by someone else, some authority they’ve acquiesced their rights to self-reliant thought processing, will not think about it without becoming irrational, thus angry and even hateful.  Peacefulness, a by-product of understanding, is not the business of those willing to be enslaved by their own misunderstandings.

So the fearful will be sedated by the empty promises of their dominators, and remain faithfully in hope of being lead to safety.  And absolutely nothing outside those empty promises will be of any long-term benefit to the phobics, or to their children.

“Stop worrying about these rumors you’re hearing about Agent Orange.  It’s just a defoliant, and cannot cause any harm to people or other animals.”
 ~ Lt. Commander (name withheld), Civil Engineer Corps, USN, 1969, just outside DaNang, Vietnam.  I remember it well.

Significant, Worthy, and Safe

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”                                                    ~ Mark Twain, from “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”

Remember the commercial comparing thick and thin with a close up image of a pearl dropping through two comparative liquid shampoos?  Do you know what makes shampoo (and all liquid soaps and detergents) thick instead of watery thin? Solids–the cheapest of which is SALT.  It was also the biggest trick when the janitorial industry started measuring the percent of solids instead of just buying by the gallon.

Need more gallons?  Add more water.  Need more solids?  Add more salt.  All you have to do is keep an eye out for that mere 5% of the population that’s even borderline scientifically literate.  The other 95% will (and do) buy almost anything if you make the commercial sexy enough.

Consider how these three concepts can become primary illusions that will convince most people to buy.  And while you are thinking about it, also imagine a corollary to the delusional motivation behind mass murderers and serial killers as well.  To some degree, they feel their actions, or their acquisition(s) of product(s) will somehow help them to become:

1.) Significant;

2.) Worthy,

3.) Safe.

The intent of all advertising (also true for all propaganda) is perception management.  To accomplish that, the message must allude to the hope that the (product or behavior) will not only make them so, but also make them appear to be so in the eyes of others as well (therefore, “cool”, or especially so not to be “uncool”).

So, there is that subtle hook to be aware of–not just what a person wants, but particularly mindful of what they don’t want.  And that is done by planting the idea that buying the competitor’s product can cause you to become (or remain) insignificant, unworthy, or that something important to you might be or become unsafe.

(Note: psychopaths may feel no need themselves to be “worthy”at all, but recognize that need in others, especially in arenas where sanctification, dogma, and patriotism are considered honorable.  And can be quite persuasive, thus causing others to hope they are seen as worthy by the very psychopaths that manipulate them.)

I think it fair to point out that “safe” is often just as important (in some cases, much more so) to people about their ideologies and beliefs as it is about themselves or their loved ones’ personal safety.  If a person doesn’t feel their beliefs to be secure and correct, a self perception of “significant and worthy” would be difficult to maintain.  People will kill thinking they are protecting what they believe.

We may very well be hard wired somehow to be drawn to this kind of thinking–perhaps some evolutionary pattern of survival being threatened by becoming insignificant, unworthy, and of course, unsafe.  If ideologies and beliefs were not tied to these values, think about how difficult it might be to convince human beings to participate in wars.  By war, I’m not talking about an individually dominant person standing in the face of adversity, I’m talking about armies organized to march against other armies–navies against navies.

(Some dialogue taken from the movie “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”)

Capt. Jack Aubrey:  “Do you want to see a guillotine in Piccadilly?”
Crew:  “No!”
Capt. Jack Aubrey:  “Want to call that raggedy-ass Napoleon your king?”
Crew:  “No!”
Capt. Jack Aubrey:  “You want your children to sing the ‘La Marseillaise?’
Crew:  “No!”

Imagine a study of some people watching the following commercial message.  Do you think the initial responses of all the observers would very favorable towards the product?  If you say yes, you would most likely be correct.  But consider a possible interesting twist in the way men and women might respond differently:

How many of you believe women leaned toward the idea of being safe?  How many think men would be cognizant of a desire to not be unworthy–thus risking some significant reward for being worthy?

In other words, how might the female passenger in the car behave later towards the man who avoided running over the squirrel?  Without this possible difference being pointed out, how many women would think there is nothing sexy about this commercial?

It’s a sporty car (of course).  The desired effect for being seen driving a sporty car is to be seen as having sex appeal. Look at the headlights and grill of this (and practically all cars)–see the “death’s head” or skull face?  Most people cannot begin to verbalize the subtle erotic sensations associated with it, as they are usually very suppressed.  And finally, listen to the closing words:
“…or nothing.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMxw6H6DUTA