Showing posts with label manipulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manipulation. Show all posts

February 7, 2021

Did You Sell Your GameStop?


Well, I couldn't resist. 

Around midday today, I peaked my head into the local GameStop.

There wasn't 1 single customer in the store. 

Not 1!

There were two workers.

When I asked if they had any GameStop stock. 

The manager said he had been offered some when he got promoted, but unfortunately turned it down. 

Well the stock was a manic bubble for a short time these last few weeks, and it could've made him a bundle. 

Based on what you see today, do you think you should own GameStop?  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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January 31, 2021

GameStop Is What I Call A Sh*t Store

For those of you who have been in GameStop, you know what I mean. 

Let's face it, it's a sh*t store!

They have videogames (some that I like) that you can buy online for half the price and crappy toys and collectables (i.e. "made in China" trinkets)!

Hey, I think you can get some action hero socks on sale for $5. 

The company makes nothing!

Their intellectual property is virtually nill!

Their assets are some leases in strip malls and shopping centers that have less and less traffic due to e-Commerce and Covid!

For those who drove the stock up from a year-low of $2.57 to a high this week of $483.98, congrats on showing that the market can be completely irrational and manipulated by the social media masses. 

Like right before the dot.com bubble of 2000, showoff your brokerage statements and brag about your beefy balances, I remember the local yocals from the barber shop doing the same back then--when everyone was a stock maven and becoming a multimillion from the likes of Pets.com.

But GameStop and AMC (another almost dead company unable to face Netflix, Amazon Prime movies, and all the other streaming plus Covid) are probably worth in concept less than good 'ol Pets.com or the Tulip Mania of the 17th century (at least flowers are beautiful). 

This will end in tears for the ever "greater fool" who's following the herd.  

Let's hope they and the spiraling, out of control national debt don't take down all of us with them!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 6, 2020

We Are The 99%!

This election demonstrated one thing...that we are the 99%!

The too often proverbial suckers under the heel of the power and money elite in society. 

Fed phony and biased information to try and turn us against each other and manipulate us to believe and act in ways beneficial to those who want to retain, and endlessly grow, their wealth and status. 

Like good soldiers, the underclasses are the pawns in the global games of Power Chess and Monopoly. 

The 99% are completely expendable. 

They are blind and will follow orders. 

The 1% likes them dumb and works hard to try and keep them that way!

Anything, if the rich can get richer and the powerful can get more power. 

The schnooks at the bottom looking up, with begging eyes, get the scraps thrown off the table and unto the floor where they fight for a morsel, while killing each other for it. 

The elite use the media, Hollywood, polls, and radicalism, so that they can sit up high and mighty and watch the rest of us with a wide smirk of disdain on their fat, arrogant faces, as we drink it all in. 

How long will the 99% be fooled and played?

Exploited and even thrown under the bus by the narcissist and greedy 1%. 

Where is the democracy in that?  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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November 5, 2020

Truth or Lie?

Our election system is the envy of the world?

Our pollsters know what they are talking about?

Our news media is honest and unbiased?

Our political system is rational, mainstream, and values integrity? 

Our democracy is safe and not under serious threat from within?

Oh dear, Pinocchio has died of an overdose! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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November 4, 2020

If The Other Side Wins The Election

Still no firm results on who will be the next President of the U.S. of A. 

I think this is how a lot of people feel...

    if the other side wins the election (look where he's picking from)!

A picture is worth a thousand words. 

One thing we know for sure is that the polls and the "Fake News" media got it all wrong again! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 28, 2020

Overwhelming Public Fatigue

China Fatigue

Covid Fatigue

Election Fatigue

Exaggerations Fatigue

Extremism Fatigue

Fear Fatigue

Facebook Waste of Time Fatigue

Lies and Corruption Fatigue

Media Manipulation Fatigue

Power Politics Fatigue

Racism and Hate Fatigue

Riots and Looting Fatigue

Fatigue Fatigue ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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January 27, 2020

Life Equated With Hate

Does anyone get this sign from the Pro-Life rally last week?
Pro-Life is Pro-Hate

But equating Pro-Life with hate doesn't add up.

It actually seems the opposite that if you want to sanctify and protect life that you are loving people, not hating. 

Sometimes to make a point, people will just say anything. 

It's related to "gaslighting" where they want to manipulate you into questioning your own beliefs, values, and sanity.

Perhaps, throwing around terms like hate just dilutes the real meaning of it similar to making other false accusations against people. 

We need to argue the issues, and not attack each other. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 20, 2017

I Got The Call

I got the call!

But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 

No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 

He said:
"You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash--no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you're real friends are."

So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.

This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time

Person:
"You know you're like family to me Andy...I need $2,000--in cash--by 7 pm. I'll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday."

Me (Stunned):
"What--is this a joke or something?"

Person:
{Repeats again the request}

Me:
"OMG. What's wrong--is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?"

Person:
"Uh, everyone's fine...don't ask me any questions--there's no time for this now."

Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:
"Oh, only $2,000--I thought maybe you needed $2 million--that's no problem, of course."

Person:
"Please don't make jokes now Andy--this isn't funny!"

Me {Trying once again to get some more--any--information}:
"Can you just explain to me what's going on--I really want to understand, so I can help you."

Person:
"Do you have the cash or not?"

Me: 
"To be frank no. I don't keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more...} Could you take a check or something else?"

Person:
"No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?"

Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:
"Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,"

Person {seeing they weren't getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:
"Okay, well if you can't help, I'll just call someone else--thanks {hanging up on me}!" 

WOW!

Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.

But I wasn't sorry...my college professor was right on, thank G-d--I do know who my friends are!

Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people--outside of any sane and normal context--that are seeking to "friend" you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 22, 2016

Hope vs. Change

So we were promised hope and change, but what's the difference?

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal says, "Hope is the helium -filled ballon of politics. Governing in office is the gravity that pulls it back down to earth."

Many politicians are giving the false impression that "giving people the rhetoric of hope, lifting them with words, is more important than delivering results, which some might call change."

Despair is when we are told that there is hope and promise, but we don't get meaningful, impactful, and lasting positive change.

The hard work of leadership is not just providing a beautiful Garden of Eden vision for people to salivate over and to get their votes, but rather it is making something REAL happen that makes people's lives and the world better. 

As they say is plain english, "Words are cheap!"

We don't need any more fancy oratory skills--Hitler had those too and it led to the murderous genocidal Holocaust and disaster of World War II. 

Time for some elbow grease and some results that aren't fake like the news we've been getting. 

We've heard too many lies, too much spin, and been subjected to language control of the "media echo chamber."

Just one prominent example has been regarding terrorism and radical Islam which is not and never has been "workplace violence" and traffic accidents. 

Who is the President of the U.S. fooling when he says that theres been "no foreign-planned terror attacks in 8 years."

Gee, ISIS and their numerous terror supporters seem to violently disagree about the many terrorist attacks we indeed did have on U.S. soil in the last 8-years, including Orlando, Garland, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, MinnesotaOhio University, and many more.  

It's time that we stop being fed a bunch of false hope and political malarkey and instead we get some genuine change, improvement, and progress in our lives and the nation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 28, 2016

Who You Gonna Trust?

We start out life as innocent children with inherent trust in those that care for us. 

It is nice to feel safe, loved, and cared for by people who dote over your every gurgle, smirk, fart, and spaghetti sauce smear on the face. 

As people grow older and have negative experiences however, they become more guarded and jaded by what they learn about other people's motives and agendas and how vulnerable and hurt they can get. 

Unfortunately, these days kids have to fear from pedophiles, parents that are addicts and wildly abusive, and teachers that let out their emotional problems on children that look up to them for guidance and education. 

As we get older, there are bullies in school and thugs on the street. 

And even in the office, there are those that abuse their positions of power and can make life miserable for the regular hard-working Joes not looking for any problems.

In relationships, spouses that cheat on one another and the resulting breakups have heart-wrenching effects on families. 

But perhaps, what is even worse than individual people that can hurt us are when the very institutions that are the bedrock of our society become corrupt and abusive of their authority and result in our loss of trust in them.

Already in 2010, trust in government was reaching new lows of 19%.

By 2014, trust in corporate America had eroded to just 36%.

Similarly, in 2016, trust in the news media fell to all time lows of 32%.

Reading about the clutching unto power of Fidel Castro's dictatorship for half a century in Cuba did not seem that far a stretch after seeing the powerful and dangerous political machine here in our own U.S.A. working to keep people in the seat of power almost at any cost to the country and the people. 

What was good for people was clearly last place to what was good for the ruling elites not just in Cuba anymore!

Similarly, the notion of a fair and balanced media went out the window with this last election, where investigative journalism became an oxymoronic term and idea. 

As for corporate America, outsourcing, shoddy goods, inflated advertising, short-term profiteering, rigged governance, and oversized pay packages to the C-suite left a handful of socially-conscious corporations stranded on a desert island of greed and raw capitalism.

Neither children nor adults are victims or sheep to be bullied or manipulated by abusers and manipulators in society. 

A free press so needed to keep corruption in check in the rest of public and private sector society has itself been infected by the bug of bias, bigotry, and personal agendas. 

Who can we trust when evil can overtake good temporarily to break bodies and souls of it's victims?

Ultimately, the people have the final say in keeping the wrongs in society from taking deep root and not letting nasty "big brothers" do the really bad things and take us down the wrong paths.

There are good people with integrity that we can trust, maybe just not everyone we'd like to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 9, 2016

14 Lessons Learned from the Political Process

So here are some things that I learned from this awful, drawn out election:

1) Keep it positive - Negativity, divisiveness, and hate hurt you more than it does anyone else.

2) Don't play the *ism card - Using racism, religion, gender, and sexual orientation to divide people and get what you want from them is dirty politics and empty promises for votes; stick to the facts and the issues. 

3) Focus on service to others - "Public service" is about service to others, not self service; it is more important to give than to receive any of the fame, fortune, and favors. 

4) No one is above the law - Corruption, collusion, and cover-ups are a boomerang that eventually come back to hit you in the proverbial head.


5) Action speaks louder than words -- What you actually did, accomplished, and how you behaved is the much louder message than what you say you did or claim you will do. 

6) People are not sheep - Regardless of how strong and biased a position the media and others take, hammering and hammering away, in the end people are not sheep and can and do think for themselves. 

7) Polls, statistics, position papers, conventions, and debates - There are many tools for manipulating the masses and they, like the people who prepare and administer them, have biases and lie. 

8) Branding yourself and others - Creating an image for yourself and others by weaving a tall tale narrative only goes so far unless the words and deeds are consistent and ring truth. 

9) Speak from the heart - Preparation and practice make perfect, but a perfect what?  Prepared lines and zingers are great sound bites, but speaking from the heart goes to the heart. 

10) Moral high ground - Just saying you are taking the moral high ground does not make it so; you actually have to have integrity to stand that ground. 

11) The political machine - Politics and the money and operatives behind it, are very strong and dangerous, and those that wield it can and will do anything to gain and stay in the much coveted positions of power. 

12) Don't think you're so deserving - Be humble and compassionate on others, instead of believing you are so great and the world owes it to; the more you run after something, the more it tends to elude you.

13) Listen to your gut - There are great orators, writers and influencers out there, but you've got to listen more to your gut and moral compass than to anyone else trying to bend your mind and will. 

14) Star power - Bringing out the big gun superstars to speak, sing, and endorse you is some nice added glitz, but the real superpower is the one Almighty who ultimately decides who wins and loses. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 9, 2016

Losing All Political Perspective

So here we go again into our politicians pants to uncover every locker-room lewd remark they have made. 

Yes, it's abhorrent and criminal for our politicians, religious leaders, coaches or anyone for that matter to rape or inappropriately sexually touch someone else against their will. 

The problem is that we are losing all common sense and perspective. 

When we are focusing almost exclusively at this point on getting that next verbal sexual gotcha on a hot mic from people running for office, instead of on what they've actually done (good and bad) in their lives, then we are being lead astray by powerful elites fighting for and to keep the power they most greedily worship.

Words do have meaning, don't get me wrong, especially when we hurt someone with them or when they demonstrate true moral lapses in the person.

But when words are taken out of context, exaggerated, or dug up from decades ago just to sling dirt then we have a powerful political machine that is working to hurt and not help our political process. 

What's even worse is that we are becoming the laughing stock in the world in the process of the mud fest. 

An article yesterday in China mocks the chaotic U.S. political system as a highly flawed "political show."

If we and the media remain gripped in people's political pants here, then the real and potentially catastrophic issues will continue to not be on the table or our lips. 

The effect is that rather than being able to effect positive change at home and in the world, we are heads down in the sand, as for example:

Russia deploys nuclear-capable missiles on Poland's (and NATO's) doorstep

ISIS continues it's global reign of terror and remains strong and determined

War crimes are being committed and "red lines" crossed daily in Syria

- Iran and North Korea continue their nuclear hated-filled march on the U.S. and western allies

- Bioterrorism is an increasingly dangerous threat as agents are "relatively inexpensive, easy to produce, conceal and transport" 

- Cyberwarfare is now being considered an existential threat, even as our democratic elections themselves are under attack by the latests hacks from Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks. 

Our national debt has increased $9 trillion (almost doubled) in the last 8 years and is threatening key pillars of our social entitlement system, including social security and medicare. 

The global economy is on the rocks as the impact from easy credit sputters and future growth is stunted.

As these and other risks increase to the U.S., our leadership remains in a narcissistic fugue with their desire for power and sham legacies, and politics have become grotesquely about killing off the opposition by actual death or by a thousand cuts of verbal mutilation.  

Sex sells and has us mesmerized, but we are missing out on all the real world drama, danger, and any meaningful dialogue. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2016

Stealing The U.S. Election

So I've never seen anything quite like this before.

The liberal media is completely trying to destroy Trump, and this is a true crisis of democracy.

They are jumping on him like a gang of bandits, ruthlessly punching and kicking him into the pavement, while reveling in the ascendancy of their absolutely do no wrong Queen of the 2nd Impeached President of The United States of America.

The saying that all publicity is good publicity, has now been proved totally false!

Sure, does Trump have a big mouth and say stupid and offensive things, absolutely.

Is it possible that the guy is flawed, but really doesn't mean it the way it comes out, as awful as it does?

Never-the-less, the power elite behind the Hillary machine have seized on these things to label him a fascist, racist, Nazi, demagogue, black soul, evil, and even today in the respected Wall Street Journal, a sociopath

(Hopefully the stupidity of the people saying these wild-a*s things is forgiven, so G-d forbid one day we shouldn't have a candidate who really is like that!)

On Sunday, in the New York Times Review Section, it is not uncommon to find 3 articles on a single page dumping on Trump and almost the entire section dedicated to his downfall. 

And of course, this treatment of one candidate, Trump, is not over-the-top at all, and completely fair and balanced thinking and coverage (sarcastic), as we wholly forgive Hillary for (alleged) lying, collusion, corruption, foundation money laundering voter rigging, and year after year of failed global policies (anyone out there been following that 80% of the people are dissatisfied with the direction of this magnificient nation). 

Add to that the murder-suicides of dozens of people associated with the Clinton's from Vince Foster in the Whitewater scandal to the killing of DNC staffer, Seth Rich, out of the blue just last month in DC. 

Now let me say right out that I am the first one to condemn Trump's outrageous and off-the-cuff statements about a disabled reporter, a POW Senator, and the the Muslim parents of a fallen soldier--yes, these are truly despicable and stupid things. 

But yet, when I watch the tapes and hear the guy speak, I think that very possibly he is just a huge, nutty-type of eccentric, like these very rich people, under the covers, tend to be. 

I think his mouth gets away from his brain, and yes while this is obviously not a good thing for an ostentatious Presidential candidate, why has the opposition been so successful at completely demonizing the guy (and don't just say that he did it to himself) and giving a bright shiny nickle to the other candidate?

Is saying stupid things (even very stupid and grossly offensive things) really the equivalent of being a Nazi and sociopath--and is he truly worse than someone involved in lying, collusion, corruption, and global leadership failures that literally can threaten our nation's security and take us down a path of true global disorder (how's that relationship with the powerful Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Korea as well as the state of unabated worldwide terrorism doing these days)?

The left, including many prominent media outlets, have jumped on the band-wagon to label the opposition and they have been unrelenting and ruthless at destroying only one of the candidates, Trump, while they continue to give Hillary more or less of a free pass--does anyone wonder about this? 

Rather than a fascist candidate, maybe what we really have is an an outrageous attempt at a fascist election system!

I wonder whether the people supporting this ones-sided narrative and single party election will come to regret their boundless political wisdom, hard and fast professional assessments, and vicious character assassinations, once we are well into the next term of President. 

What will the pundits and media say when the economic bubble tears, when major terrorism strikes big and bad, when global upheaval dangerously spreads, and all we get is more spin, deception, inaction, and leadership from behind--are you so sure that is better than a candidate with a big mouth, but also who can build big skyscrapers and skylines over a new horizon for this country? 

Will the pundits, media echo chamber, and the elites absolutely forcing Hillary to the top have a reckoning of thinking and conscience, with their air of puffery knocked out of them--will they have the presence of mind to question for a moment their choice of a candidate with a life-filled of scandal over a big-mouth, clumsy New York billionaire builder. 

Finally, when one thinks of insane and evil, aren't the activities that Hillary is accused of exactly those. 

Perhaps this is truly the crooked pot calling the big mouth kettle black, and the biggest election coup and voter fraud taking place right under your mightily socially engineered noses. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2016

Lives That Matter Not

With the presumed racially bigoted killing of Black people, we got Black Lives Matter. 

Now with the sniper attack murdering 5 police officers, we have Blue Lives Matter. 

From the unfortunate political response to both, it seems that No Lives Matter. 

With all the violence, and revenge violence, and cycles thereof, it was amazingly sad to hear our President say last week, "I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested."

Oh, really!

From Trayvon Martin to Freddie Gray to the five police officers killed last week--there sure seems to be a lot of bloodletting for a country that is not all that divided. 

The problem is that the serious racial divisions are only a part of it. 

Economic inequality is another big factor in the equation with the top 1% owning more than 50% of global wealth, and the gap continues to widen. 

And on top of that you have the political elites who perhaps are not only above the law, but are so much intertwined with the law of the land that they can be "100% confident" on doing what they want and not getting in any trouble.  

So does the 99% matter? Perhaps only as much as your vote and/or donation count for the 1% to get and keep their beloved and worshiped money and power. 

One thing that is amazingly clear across the spectrum from the likes of Donald Trump to that of Bernie Sanders is that the system is rigged.

Yet as disparities and inequalities exist in treatment from black to blue, the elites are most able to manipulate the "echo chamber" with loads of spin to give the perception of calm and stability and some breadcrumbs for all. 

Everyone has a chance to live and to prosper except when they don't.  

Still we can gloss over the spilled blood and the ridiculous inequality with some promises, gestures, and maybe even a few handouts--and make you 100% confident that you do matter so very much. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 9, 2016

Fooling The Media And The American People

So finally the truth got spilled about the true rationale for the Iran deal that lifted critical nuke weapon sanctions on the world's leading sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses.  


The narrative of a Nuke deal with a "moderate" Iranian President Rouhani at the expense of hardliners was "deliberately misleading."


So what was once touted as a "good day" for America is now quite malevolent and disheartening, indeed. 

Moreover, rather than a "new political reality" with Iran, we have ongoing and increasingly hostile Iranian actions against the U.S., leading to the House Intelligence Committee opening an investigation into how Congress and the American public were misled by the administration on Iran. 

What happened to the promised transparency and truth espoused for the American people? What of Abraham Lincoln's sacred and compelling vision of a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Now instead of earnest dialogue, we get a blowharded "retail[ing]" of a predefined manipulated narrative--a "far-reaching spin campaign"--for the simple media "echo chamber" and hungry public consumption.

Iran has won a big round at the expense of Democracy and as we now know our National Security. 

Maybe the worst part is that no one even seems to care, because we're now in a new election cycle for the next President (and possibly chief manipulator). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 23, 2015

Taking The Spin Off Things

Ok, so here is what I learned over the years about communication...

Question everything, believe nothing (except in G-d).

It's not just that a lot of people out there are full of sh*t--yes, that is true too. 

But also that many powerful people are experts at manipulation and spin. 

Take just some recent some examples:

- We didn't just give America and Israel-hating "suicidal, apocalypse-seeking" Iran a clear path to the bomb and in just half a generations' time (along with hundreds of billions to continue funding global terror and a lifting of the weapons and ballistic missile embargo), instead we have a "comprehensive long term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

- With the hackers who not only showed how to take wireless control of a moving Jeep Cherokee, but also released information on how to do it, they didn't put another tool in the toolkit of the cyber attackers and terrorists out there, instead "they are bringing atttention to an issue auto makers have for too long ignored."

Could go on and on to issue after issue...

The point is that from a young age we are primed to respect, listen, and automatically believe figures of authority and experts--when our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders or a policeman or fireman says something, we naturally believe them, who they are, and in them. 

This is what politicians and executives and other people in power prey on--that we will believe them over everyone else or any other facts to the contrary. They have the title, the uniform, the badge, or whatever, and so they must be good, honest, and trustworthy.

However, good parents and teachers make sure to tell children not just to take people or what they say at face value. For example, if someone comes to the door and says they are delivering a package, don't just open the door.  Look through the peephole, ask for identification, or have them come with a neighbor, etc. 

I remember in the very first movie of "Death Wish" with Charles Bronson, where his wife and daughter answer the door expecting a simple delivery from the supermarket that they were just at and instead they get a brutal gang that murders the wife and rapes the daughter. 

Similarly, in cases where women get pulled over, attacked, and raped by someone with flashing lights, siren, and even a fake uniform/badge--even as you believe you are obeying the law, others are taking advantage and fooling you.

As comforting as our beliefs are and perhaps even that we just want to believe--things often are not as they appear or what we want or expect them to be--what goes on behind the scenes and the spin that comes out in front are designed to intoxicate the masses. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kristian Niemi)
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June 15, 2015

Ex Machina Will Even Turn The Terminator

So this was a really cool display at the Movie theater yesterday...

They had this head of the Terminator in a enclosed case and roped off. 

Shiny metal alloy skull, buldging bright evil red eyes, and really grotesque yellowed teeth. 

This certainly gets the attention of passerbys for the upcoming new movie, Terminator Genisys (coming out July 1). 

Anyway, Terminator is the ugly dude especially when compared with the robot/artificial intelligence of Ava in Ex Machina that we saw yesterday. 

The Turing test is nothing for Ava!

She can not only fool them as to her humanity, but also outmanuever them with her wit, sexuality, and a good dose of deceit and manipulation. 

Frankly, I think AI Ava could even turn the terible Terminator to her side of things--my bet is that movie to come in 2017. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2014

The *S*p*y* Named Snowden

So was Edward Snowden a whistleblower (some even call him a patriot) or one of the most ruthless spies this country has ever known?

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Edward Jay Epstein makes a strong case that Snowden was a spy galore, and the whistleblowing was his cover.
  1. What he stole? - 1.7 million documents from the NSA with "only a minute fraction of them have anything to do with civil liberties or whistleblowing." Instead, the vast majority "were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures"--otherwise known as the "keys to the kingdom." Moreover, it seems clear that a "top priority was lists of the computers of U.S. adversaries abroad that the NSA has succeeded in penetrating."
  2. When he stole them? - Snowden took the Booz Allen Hamilton job as a contractor for NSA in March 2013--this was at the "tail end of his operation." Moreover, the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) court order for Verizon to provide metadata on U.S. phone calls for 90 days had only been issued in April 2013. And Snowden told reporter James Rosen in October 2013, that his last job at NSA gave him access to every active operation against the Chinese and "that is why I accepted the position."
  3. Where did Snowden end up? - First in Hong Kong and then under the protection of the FSB (aka the old KGB) in Russia, which "effectively compromises all the sources and methods" and ties all too nicely with what he stole. A former cabinet official has indicated that the Snowden heist was either Russian espionage, Chinese espionage, or a joint operation. 
If Snowden really was a spy as indicated, then the Whistleblowing of domestic surveillance in the U.S. was a most brilliant ploy by his operators to distract our nation from the true nature of the exfiltration and the harm done to our national security. In a way, it falls right in line with Russia's creative storyline/coverup in taking Crimea in saying that they were only protecting ethnic Russians. Score 2 for Russia!

Are we so easily lied to and manipulated...is public opinion really just jello in the hands of the global spymasters.  

We've got to be smart enough (i.e. critical thinkers) to interpret the noise in the intelligence signals, political speeches, and news stories to unveil the truth of what is really going on. In advertising, when exposing the truth of products and companies, this is sometimes referred to as culture jamming. Can we apply this to the complicated intrigue of global politics and get past the storyline that is fed to us to expose truth?  

It's high time to outmaneuver those that may seek to manipulate the public (whether from outside or even sometimes from within) with some brilliance of our own--in not believing every snippet that is fed to us and instead looking at the bigger picture of political theater, special interests, and national security to see who is now zinging whom and why. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 6, 2014

Not Bias, Just Plain Old Hatred

I read a book review in the Wall Street Journal on Profiles in Denial by William Storr about David Irving the notorious Holocaust denier. 

He is a "'revisionist' of all things World War II," but apparently is particularly keen on Holocaust denial, as someone who according to Wikipedia is an "anti-semite, and racist who...promotes neo-Nazism."


The Holocaust denial goes deep for Irving and even upon visiting Majdanek concentration camp, he tells his group "This is a mock-up of a gas chamber. Those cylinders are carbon dioxide not carbon monoxide...There are handles on the inside of these doors," so the prisoners could let themselves out. 


Actually, the door was locked with huge bolts right on the outside and was sealed airtight, but to Irving it's as if these didn't exist. 


The book discusses how cognitive biases such as confirmation biases help people "find confirming evidence for our beliefs, ignoring or rationalizing away all discriminating evidence."


But I think this is really beyond the point with someone like Irving, who according to The Guardian is a discredited British historian and Nazi apologist" and was actually jailed for a "three-year prison sentence in Vienna for denying the Holocaust and the gas chambers of Auschwitz."


The State Prosecutor said of Irving "He's not a historian, he's a falsifier of history...this is about abuse of freedom of speech."


Judge Peter Liebtreau called Irving "a racist, an anti-semite, and a liar."


So this is no simple bias or mind game for Irving, but apparently a convenient way for him to pursue his hatreds under the guise that everything was and is really okay. 


So rather than "Never forget," is is far more beneficial for those that would wish it to happen again that they lull people to believe that it never even was to begin with. 


Interesting that another famous Holocaust denier is no less than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, was a "myth" (Washington Post). 


By the way, Ahmadinejad also said "9/11 was an inside job."


People like Irving and Ahmadinejad are not about confirmation bias, but rather about distortion of truth to further their own evil destructive aims.


In the case of Ahmadinejad, it's that he wishes to see Israel be "wiped off the map" (New York Times).


And in the case of Irving, he has said, "there will...probably be another holocaust in the next thirty years...oh, and if the Jews are lucky, there will be a David Irving or Adolf Hitler [may their names be obliterated] to protect them" (The Independent).


Oh, G-d forbid! 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 27, 2014

10 Keys To Influencing And Selling Anything


Brilliant video by Kendra Eash for McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

It is made entirely with stock footage from Dissolve.

What is amazing is how with some great video, nice background music, and a soothing confidant voiceover--we can sell, or be sold on, just about anything.

The 10 Keys to influencing and selling anything, including B.S.:

1. Vague words that show progress (innovation, hope, motherhod, and apple pie--I'll have some of that)

2. Beautiful footage and sound (who wouldn't want to be there type?)

3. High-technology and science (we can solve the world's problems and make money, yippee)

4. Research and development (we're investing in the future and you should invest in us)

5. Global and U.S. (we're beyond borders, but still "made in...", headquartered, or otherwise a U.S. entity)

6. Environmentally conscious (clean water, breathable, air, lush forests, who can argue with that?)

7. High-speed (movers and shakers, we don't stand still, join us or be left behind)

8. Attractive people (this is for real human beings, human kind, we care about you!)

9. Diversity and equality (we love and help everyone--including you and your family)

10. Inspiring (we're thinking big and bringing positive change--buy from us, support our cause)

Throw/superimpose any company, product, country, person, or cause on this video--and poof, you've got an awesome brand--whether you deserve it or not!

This is how we're manipulated one brand at a time, hundreds of brands a day. ;-)
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