Culture of Deception
Should the public be allowed to know how much damage is really being done to the environment?
Should the public be allowed to know about defective products that are dangerous?
Should the public be allowed to know more about preventive medicine?
Should the public be allowed to know where the candidates stand on the issues?
How many times do you hear the candidates say they are going to talk about the issues?
How many times do you actually hear them talk about the issues instead of just saying they are going to talk about the issues??
Withholding information from the public that they need to make rational decisions and vote for qualified candidates is a threat to Democracy no matter what the reason. Whether it is copyright laws, Indoctrination Tactics, Security reasons corporate secrecy or any other reason. If there is a good reason it should be clearly defined. If there is an enormous amount of evidence that the excuse for secrecy is being abused then a good hard look at the excuse is in order.
One of the most effective ways of keeping the public in the dark isn't a blatant obvious conspiracy but incompetence and lack of organization. Or at least it seems that way. Some of this incompetence is almost certainly intentional. When we have a Presidential administration marinated in oil are we suppose to believe that they are accidentally doing a lousy job protecting the environment and making information available to the public. Or for that matter the Corporate Media. Are we supposed to believe that this is the best job they can do providing information about the environment, the economy, the election or anything else.
Should the Economy be designed to improve the quality of life for most people in the most effective way possible or should the economy be designed to make sure that stock holders and CEO's get a cut out of every transaction?
Should health care be designed to provide the best care for the public starting with the best preventive medicine to prevent them from getting sick in the first place?
Should the electorate be looking for ways to control the elections or should they try to convince themselves that the "free press" is already doing a good job?
Imagine if you wanted to protect the environment save money reduce health care cost all at the same time. You ride a bike to work save gas money get exercise that improves your health and reduces health care and pollutes less. You win across the board but the corporations don't get a cut so this is considered bad for the economy. The corporations spend an enormous amount of money flooding the public with ads encouraging them to splurge on things that they don't need and the majority of the public falls for it every time.
The following Quote from Mein Kampf describes very effective propaganda technique that the English used in WW1 the Germans used in WW2 and advertisers are using today:
"The success of any advertisement, whether of a business or political nature, depends on the consistency and perseverance with which it is employed."
"In this respect also the propaganda organized by our enemies set us an excellent example. It confined itself to a few themes, which were meant exclusively for mass consumption, and it repeated these themes with untiring perseverance. Once these fundamental themes and the manner of placing them before the world were recognized as effective, they adhered to them without the slightest alteration for the whole duration of the War. At first all of it appeared to be idiotic in its impudent assertiveness. Later on it was looked upon as disturbing, but finally it was believed."
"But in England they came to understand something further: namely, that the possibility of success in the use of this spiritual weapon consists in the mass employment of it, and that when employed in this way it brings full returns for the large expenses incurred."
One thing Adolf Hitler knew how to do is manipulate people better than just about anyone else except perhaps God. A close and careful look at Hitler could teach people a lot about how he indoctrinated people and how to avoid it in the future. Many people will now consider it ridiculous to worry so much about conserving on small things and watching them add up. Hundreds of years ago this was considered a good idea by many but after a lot of corporate indoctrination they turned something stupid into something smart and vice versa or so it seems. The stupid things didn't change just the way people perceive them.
These same tactics can be used for good causes as long as the people that use them allow reality checks and keep in mind that they are trying to look out for the best interest of the public. The things that should be repeated the most often are the basics that many take for granted and forget instead of the things that are designed to benefit only the indoctrinator. For example the gambling industry always repeats slogans that convince you can win instead of reminding the public that the odds are fixed in favor of the house. If they put out an honest balanced message they would never be able to lure in so many suckers. It is also important to let the public know how tactics like this have been used to manipulate people in the past so that they can think for themselves.
Advanced technology has provided an enormous improvement in the Quality of life in many ways but often instead of making the most of these improvements people use them foolishly and often create a lot of waste that often cancels out a lot of what has been gained. Improved technology has always been introduced by the corporations and when they present it to the public they keep their own best interest in mind while they try to convince the public they're trying to put the best interest of the public first. Most members of the public fall for it every time they're just not accustomed to checking into things for themselves.
Corporations have a much better organized set of records than they are making available to the public. That especially includes the media and political organizations. Even comedy shows have better access to organized records than the public. Occasionally when a politician blunders someone goes through records of speeches and selects which speeches they will highlight for the public. With the internet they could put this information on line so that the average person can read it in the most organized way possible if they wanted to but they don't. Sure there is a lot of information available but it isn't nearly as well organized as it could be. there are clearly better records available to those that manipulate the public than those that at least want to do what's best for the public.
Under the current circumstances most members of the public wouldn't know what to do with this information even if it was presented to them in and organized manner but some people would know what to do with it and they can help educate the rest. In the long run a system should be set up to educate the public better so that they understand how important these organizational skills are.
Whenever there is a problem with the quality of a product the first people to know about is almost always the corporations producing that product. If the customer finds out first they tell the supplier first and perhaps a small amount of their friends. However if there are a lot of people having the same problem only the corporations know the full extent of the problem at first and typically they don't come out and tell everybody. If it doesn't cost to much they may fix it but if fixing it does cost to much they often cover it up. If they think they can continue making a buck selling it they do so and the public doesn't find out until it's so wide spread that they can't miss it and the problem is much bigger than it has to be. This happens over and over again partly because trade secrets are considered sacrosanct in our society. Trade secrets were supposed to be used to protect innovation not to cover up negligence but that's the way they're being used anyway.
Consumers and suppliers are both involved in transactions but it is only the suppliers that are protected by confidentiality laws. The consumers are not allowed to know much about the way things are built even when it involves a safety hazard to the consumer or fraud. smokers are not allowed to know what ingredients are being put in cigarettes even when they are toxic. For a long time consumers were not allowed to know that the more expensive contact lenses that lasted a longer time were the same as the disposable ones that you were supposed to throw away after a few days. If manufacturers increase the volume of water in shampoo and provide 20% larger bottles for the same price the consumer is not allowed to know. If they come up with new improved shampoo that goes back to the old formula a year later the consumer is not allowed to know.
We have a corporate media by the rich for the rich and of the rich and it is being presented as the "free press". They do a modest amount of token exposes so that the public will think they are looking out for their best interest but this is just a small amount of tokenism. The things they don't expose are much more extensive than the ones they do expose. The media is routinely trying to keep the public distracted so that they wont realize how much they are being conned by the "free press".
"Intelligence" is also being used as an excuse to keep secrets from the public. The word they should be using is espionage. The first casualty of war has always been the truth. Military secrecy has often been used to create the appearance of conflict even when it isn't there or to make existing conflicts seem worse than they are. This is a difficult problem since sometimes there really is a legitimate threat like Hitler who could have been stopped much sooner but it is hard to tell the difference even when you do have accurate information. If you don't have accurate information it is impossible. We're supposed to trust our government even though our government rarely if ever earns that trust. Instead governments routinely use indoctrination tactics to obtain trust.
In the short term the public should be encouraged to understand more effective ways to avoid wars starting with not inciting hatred by disregarding the rights of other countries. If we're supposed to be fighting for democracy abroad we should start by improving democracy at home. If our government isn't improving democracy at home it can't be trusted to provide democracy abroad.
Diplomatic methods should also be used this includes friendly activity like the peace corp., Habitat for Humanity, seeds of peace and other education based projects. If we are spending more time developing friendly relationships with others they would be less likely to want to kill us. If on the other hand we are constantly demonizing those we disagree with they might not like us so well. There are some cases where other countries really are a threat but even then diplomacy should be tried first not the cowboy attitude. If they don't respect anything but the threat of force then try that second. Don't distort the truth! If we start distorting the truth then others will follow. This doesn't mean that we should ignore real atrocities just not exaggerate them. When the Bush administration put out that flier of Osama Bin Ladin in a suit coat it was announcing that the US government will say anything to accomplish our goals and we can't be trusted.
USA copyright laws are also being used to restrict education. With the internet it is now possible to download classic books for free making many books available to people at a lower cost than ever before. But USA copyright laws are withholding some books until after the author has been dead for fifty years and in some cases ninety five years. This is clearly excessive.
Mark Twain had problems with bootleg versions of his books when he was alive and I can understand his complaints. Someone as good as Mark Twain certainly should be able to earn a decent living and until something better than copyright laws comes along they should be enforced while the author is still alive. When it comes to important educational books like Cosmos by Carl Sagan, In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall, The Canon By Natalie Angier etc. it would be better to find a better way to compensate the author so that they could be available to the public online for free sooner.
Until something better comes along twenty years after the authors death seems far more reasonable. It is in the best interest of society to make education as inexpensive as possible. when costs can be cut without a loss to anyone except the keepers of truth screw the keepers of truth.
More information on copyright laws plus thousands of free E books mostly Classics are available at this free online library:
The following article by the Boston Globe indicates where priorities are in the USA. They complain because China and Russia are making free text books available. They seem to be more concerned about protecting the profits of publishers than providing the best education for children. They should be more concerned about making information available as easy as possible. They can save an enormous amount of money by using digital textbooks. and pass it on to students. http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/07/18/textbooks_free_and_illegal_online/
Textbooks, free and illegal, online Use of pirated works hurting publishers
By Hiawatha Bray
Globe Staff / July 18, 2008
Faced with soaring prices for textbooks, cash-strapped students have discovered a tempting, effective, but illicit alternative - pirated electronic books, available for free over the Internet.
"We think it's a significant problem," said William Sampson, manager of infringement and antipiracy at Cengage Learning Inc., a reference book publisher in Farmington Hills, Mich. Sampson said that in any given month, 200 to 300 of the company's titles are posted illegally as free Internet downloads. Distributing books for free without permission violates copyright laws and deprives publishers of revenue.
It's not just textbooks that are being downloaded improperly. Ed McCoyd, director of digital policy at the Association of American Publishers in New York, said a survey in May located about 1,100 titles available illegally online, including novels and books on current events.
But textbook piracy is particularly seductive, McCoyd said, because students are often hard-pressed to pay for academic books that can cost more than $100, three times the price of most other books.
A 2007 graduate of the University of Texas who requested anonymity said he routinely downloaded pirated copies during his four years at college. "Textbooks were massively overpriced," said the student, who graduated with degrees in anthropology and English. He added that many books were rarely or never used in class. "All of these things . . . lead me to pirate textbooks off the Internet whenever possible," he said, adding that he continues to download illegally copied books.
McCoyd said publishers have begun offering less expensive paperback versions of some titles, and are themselves selling many legal electronic editions, or e-books, over the Internet. For instance, McGraw Hill Cos., a major textbook vendor, offers most of its titles in electronic form, at lower prices than printed editions. A McGraw Hill physics textbook that costs $135 in hardcover can be downloaded for $80 at the company's online retail store. A Utah company called CafeScribe sells electronic textbooks in a social networking format. CafeScribe's customers can discuss their coursework with others who have bought the same books.
Some instructors avoid textbooks altogether, while still making use of the Web. "I have over the last five years or so stopped the practice of assigning textbooks," said Vincent Rocchio, an assistant professor of communication studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "Instead, I publish a group of essays electronically on my course website."
Rocchio said "the outrageous cost of textbooks" makes it cheaper for him to purchase electronic publishing rights and pass the lower costs on to the students.
Still, young people who have grown accustomed to downloading music for free may be readily drawn to the prospect of getting their textbooks the same way. "If someone wants to avoid buying their textbook," said McCoyd, "this is a potential way to get it."
Some of the illegal texts available online are copied e-books, while others are paper editions that have been painstakingly uploaded page by page with digital scanners. "Is it some kid sitting in his basement doing the scanning? We don't know," said Allan Ryan, director of intellectual property at Harvard Business Publishing, an arm of Harvard Business School.
Once copied, some files are distributed through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks like the popular BitTorrent. To find a title, an Internet user could visit one of many BitTorrent index sites. The sites don't actually store the illegal files, but provide links to networks of users who have copies. Clicking a link starts a BitTorrent program that downloads pieces of the book from multiple sources to form a complete copy.
Other downloads come from file-hosting sites that store complete copies of books. One such site, Scribd.com, is based in San Francisco. Backed by $3.7 million in funding from venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures, Scribd calls itself "the world's largest document-sharing community," with 17 million visitors a month. Users sign up for free accounts, which allow them to post documents on Scribd for other users to read or download. Businesses and educators use Scribd to share legitimate documents, but some account holders post copyrighted materials, including books.
Jason Bentley, Scribd's director of community development and copyright agent, said that his site allows only legal file sharing and that any files posted without permission of the copyright holder are taken down. "We will remove the item or items within hours," Bentley said in an interview. "If you have more than two works taken down for copyright infringement, your account will be closed." A federal law shields websites from copyright lawsuits if they quickly comply with removal demands from the copyright holders. Earlier this month, Bentley told the Chronicle of Higher Education that Scribd gets at least one take-down request a day, including frequent ones from Harvard University Press and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.
McCoyd and other publishing industry officials agreed that Scribd and similar sites do remove books when a publisher complains. But with thousands of titles posted at such sites daily, publishers don't always know that their works are available. And Bentley said Scribd won't take down a file merely because it may have been posted illegally; the publisher must make a complaint.
A recent visit to Scribd revealed plenty of copyrighted materials there. For example, several titles published by Cengage Learning, like the $211 Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, were readily available for free. According to information on the site, more than 300 visitors had viewed the book. Any of them could have downloaded a complete copy.
Unlike the music recording industry, which has sued individuals who download pirated songs, book publishers haven't gone after readers who copy titles through the Internet. But they are pressuring websites that distribute the files. Peter Anaman, senior Internet investigations manager for the law firm Covington & Burling in London, tracks online book piracy for a number of publishers in the United States. Anaman and his colleagues routinely scour the Internet for pirated books, then contact website operators, warning of legal consequences if the files are not removed.
"There's a lot out there, but we've made a great deal of progress," said Anaman. "We've removed thousands."
Complicating enforcement efforts, Anaman said, many book swappers are based in countries such as China and Russia, where US copyright law carries little weight. McCoyd said the publishers' goal is "to keep this activity on the fringes and keep it from taking over the mainstream." But he conceded that fighting the pirates is a job that will not end. "You whack one down," said McCoyd, "and another one pops up."