The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

I have a daughter who is now eight years old. Given that I have an inherent bias, just going by the endless and consistent comments from when she was just a baby, she is a beautiful  Young girl and always has been.  Like most girls, she fell in love with the Disney princesses and very quickly had all of them at both her mom’s and my house, along with the requisite Disney castles.  We have enjoyed them all, with her naturally having favorites, but she really did like Disney’s Mulan movie.  She didn’t seem to like to play with the Mulan doll as much as Arial or Cinderella, but there’s no doubt she enjoyed the movie. As kids are known to do, she’s watched it many, many times.

But for  current Vice President, Mike Pence, Disney is up to something far more nefarious than just entertaining and highly profitable children sounds. in fact, Disney is subversive Propaganda for your children, says Christian extremist, Mike Pence. He wants to convince you women should not be in the military & that Disney’s “Mulan” is propaganda to teach young girls it’s okay to be in the military. In fact, she can succeed and even achieve glory in battle.

Here is the piece Mr. Pence wrote on the dangers of Disney’s “Mulan.”  I have always been uncomfortable with the impossible physical attributes given to Disney’s female characters. It’s impossible for a woman to have a waist as thin as any of them. If you read the short Op-Ed from Mr. Pence, you will see his interpretation is very different from mine.

As a parent of a daughter just eight years old, who has already made comments about her waist size, which I assure you is anything but perfectly normal,  One has to wonder if she grows out of it or be detrimentally affected by this ‘body image’ issue that girls & women never really escape all her life? Just look at the magazine covers in the checkout line – nearly all unrealistic unless you happen to be a hard-core athlete, work out like a champion, have the right genetics, and/or are extremely cognizant of proper nutrition.

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But with the completely unrealistic body’s on most cartoons and Disney Channel shows with child actors, all of whom seemingly have ultra thin figures, and the dolls themselves especially, it is very easy to see how body image problems develop. These mostly unrealistic figures given to all Disney princesses can be confusing to a young girl and as they grow older.  It would seem natural to ask, why doesn’t my body look like that?

Continue reading The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

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Hurricane Trump… hold on!

A Barrage of lies and Propaganda… Un-American Policies Executed with the Incompetence Demonstrated Throughout Trump’s Campaign & That Weaken Our Security at Home & Abroad.

This is absolutely insane! This president seems to attack or alienate, disparage and weaken all of our most important alliances, the latest being with Australia. Of course, Republicans like Sen. Kori Gardner of Colorado refused to say anything but talking points regarding how they feel about trumps “diplomacy” with our allies – not our adversaries – these are our long-standing allies.

In 20 days we’ve seen conflict with Mexico – we’ve threatened to send US Troops into Mexico if they can’t address their drug problem, a personal insult to Germany’s Angela Merkel, our strongest ally in remaining in Europe, a public disagreement with the majority of the rest of the world as evidenced like that of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who had the audacity to say Canada will welcome Syrian immigrants (mostly women and children) fleeing to escape the horror in Syria, a horribly hostile call with an ally that has been in every war with us since World War II – of all countries to fight with, we fight with our best ally.

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America & the World hold on as Hurricane Trump’s rapid fire barrage of hot-air has them scrambling: BNPS

 

I fully believe this is an intentional strategy from Steven Bannon, a strategy is to constantly change the subject with one controversial move or ill-advised tweet, in an effort to get the media to shift focus. That is precisely why Trump moved up his announcement of the Supreme Court nominee to distract from the Muslim Ban. Now we know that he may have, without Trump’s knowledge or consent, slipped into the “Modernization” of the National Security Council (NSC) a permanent seat on the NSC, while taking permanent seats away from the Direction of National Intelligence – the highest intelligence officer in the Nation whose job is to advise the President on Intelligence issues.

As you try to follow and think about the ramifications are of this machine gun of errors, it is almost impossible to keep up much less write a serious piece with links to the examples of the constant lies from this administration. I was glad Kellyanne Conway finally admitted that the President was offering “Alternative Facts.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is no such thing as alternative facts. In the real world these are LIES and correctly called lies. There are way too many lies to even keep up with them all, but let’s just look at the very first White House Press Briefing the Trump Administration had.

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In the very First Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose job is to speak for the President. Spicer too no questions but read from a statement excoriating the media and flat-out lied to the American People four (4) times:

  • There were 3-5 million votes cast by illegal in the election;
  • That it was the “Largest crowd in history” to have seen an inaugural ‘both in person and on TV’;
  • There were magnetometers on the mall that slowed people joining the crowd before; and
  • The Parks Service never used white grass protectors; making it seem like the crowd was smaller.

Taken in reverse order, it took just a few minutes to debunk the last lie from Sean Spicer’s mouth: 4) was proven a lie after a simple Google search revealed images shots of workers placing the white grass protectors on the ground during President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013. 3) Though the Secret Service generally does not issue statements demonstrating the President LIED to the American people, the did issue a statement to verify there were NO magnetometers on the National Mall. (2) Trump Inauguration was not even remotely close to either of President Obama’s inauguration and even George W. Bush after another peculiar electoral process had a larger audience.

Let’s be honest, no one in their right mind thought Trump had anywhere near the crowd of either of president Obama’s 2009 crowd of 1.8 million and 2013 was only 1 million. Just having functional eyes and a brain is all that one needs to discern that assertion is so completely ridiculous it barely deserves discussion. YET that story dominated the new President’s thoughts for at least a week. His thin skin is so bad that he has to make up a completely obvious lie, that no one outside Trump believes and points to the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast… otherwise he could have won the popular vote. The most laughable assertion he has made yet. It is no coincidence the Oxford word of 2016 is “Post-Truth.”

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I believe shorter, single issue posts is the way to try to keep up with the barrage of steps this “learn-on-the-job president keeps firing at us hoping there is no time to focus on one thing before the next distraction is manufactured by the big “ratings machine -DJT.”

I also think reposting other very well done posts is a great idea as well. The more the truth is circulated to defy the Trump Propaganda machine modeled after his idol, Vladimir Putin, and his use of propaganda and now fake news. Trump also has the first “news” channel that is solely devoted to making him look good, making everything Democrats do as evil and un-American, and freely spread the fake news and lies the right uses to confuse so people don’t know what to believe. All of us are guilty of echo-chambers because social media is designed that way… that makes the more extreme politicians attractive to badly misinformed voters and stoked by Right-Wing Media so we get “the party of NO.”

The same is true for Democrats though maybe not quite so bad – but I want democrats to really Stand for Something again – like being the party of the middle class in Deed and not just in word. The party left the unions… heck they let unions be weakened to the point of extinction. Now Corporate Interests dominate the media, political system, and they are executing their takeover of the Courts, which we see is the last line of defense in the brilliant Separation of Powers our Founding Fathers established. Unfortunately is has been slowly gobbled up and now serves Corporate interests rather than being “beholden to The People, alone.”

Democrats need to repay the GOP for the awful Republican treatment given to President Obama by the right – like Mitch McConnell saying on 1/20/09 that his “number one priority is making Barack Obama a one-term president.” Remember, that was said as the Country was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month. He didn’t want to help the President that actually had an electoral mandate guide the country through the Great Recession. Thankfully he succeeded without any Republican help at all. Despicable.  As much as I despise Trump, I want him to somehow become a great president because that means American is doing well.

Unfortunately, the only evidence available is not encouraging. As a result, all Americans should watch like they never have before and educate themselves on what is really happening despite what ALL the Corporate media tells people. But this does not mean the Democrats should work to make compromises unless it pertains to issues that are actually good for America, and make him expend every bit of political capital on fights that distract him from killing Americans by just ending The Affordable Care Act (ACA or ‘Obamacare’) or starting a war with an adversary or even an ally because Trump’s has no idea to act with grace and diplomacy which he sees as weak… the rest of the sane world calls it good governance.

Trump Will Tell You He’s Keeping Us Safe from all the Terrorist Attacks Suffered Under Obama & Bush? Problem is, what attacks justify this Executive Action – which Republicans would have called ‘an Imperial fiat from King Obama’ while they are now silent as Trump equates the morality of America versus Russia. Guess he means the ‘Lone-Wolf’ attacks  the Muslim Ban would not have prevented.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

The ancient Greeks were adamant that philosophy (literally translated to Love of Wisdom), be a deeply useful skill that should be learned and practiced by all as instructive to humans living and even dying well. The very well-known PLATO (circa 423-347 BC), believed in the usefulness of philosophy more than most of his contemporaries. Plato viewed philosophy was a kind of therapy for the soul. One of the most compelling and widely known of the stories or dialogues Plato wrote on the usefulness of philosophy in what is now known as the Allegory of the Cave; perhaps the most famous allegory in all of philosophy. The purpose of the allegory was to “compare the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.”

As part of his masterpiece, The Republic, Plato describes The Cave – a prison where people are born as prisoners and are to remain for life. Without the ability to ever venture outside the cave in which they are chained, they are deprived of natural light in the cave so all that the inhabitants can see are shadows of things projected on the wall by the light of a fire behind the objects and prisoners. Being the only reality they know, the cave dwellers become fascinated by the shadows of animals, plants & people. Moreover, they believed the shadows were real and, if studied, will provide them with knowledge to allow them to succeed in life. Obviously, the dwellers have no idea they see only shadows… mere phantoms of the thing it purports to represent. The dwellers even begin to talk among themselves about the shadowy things and take great pride in their sophistication and wisdom.

Then something very unusual happens when one of the cave dwellers happens to find his way out of the cave into the blistering noon sunlight. At first his eyes are overwhelmed but adjust soon enough. For the first time in his existence, he finally sees things as they really are when properly lit by the sun. Gradually he begins seeing ‘real’ objects and begins to recognize these are the things he has previously only as shadows on the cave wall. His finally adjusted eyes see actual flowers, the colorful sky and its many birds, and he touches and feels for the first time the foreign texture of everything he touches as everything is new to him. The night comes and he is flabbergasted by the stars and gradually begins to contemplate the vastness and sublime nature of the universe. As Plato put it, “[p]reviously he had been looking at only phantoms; now he is nearer to the true nature of being.”

From a natural feeling of wanting to share his discoveries with his former cave-dwelling companions still blinded by the confusion and error of the shadows, he decides to leave the sun-lit world and return to the dark and damp cave he used that used to make up his world. His eyes area again required to adjust from bright light of the outside world and he struggles to acclimate to the cave. He stumbles and, unable to see clearly, to his companions seemed very awkward and confused. He clearly did not impress his companions as one bestowed with knowledge of “the real world.” He quickly realizes his former cave-dwellers were unimpressed with him and he is equally unimpressed with them. The animosity heats up badly enough that when he insists on explaining what the sun is, or what a real tree is like, the cave-dwellers initially get very sarcastic and poke fun at him. His persistence engenders anger as they feel the newly enlightened escapee has perhaps lost his mind. They then get angry with him and the discord leads to an eventual plot to kill him.

Plato Those that see beyond shadows

The solution, according to Plato, was a broad, carefully administered philosophical education. He understood the effectiveness of a method of inquiry pioneered by his master Socrates, which is where the type of  inquiry is now known to us as the Socratic Method. Done properly, it should be a gentle process. One must avoid condescending lecturing at or forcing pupils to read a particular text. Instead, start with a general pronouncement of intellectual modesty. Be honest with each other in admitting that no one knows very much, and that true wisdom starts with owning up to that ignorance.

Simply confess that you don’t know what policies the government should implement, what war is meant to achieve or how relationships work. Then attempt to get the other person to state what they think and you together start a journey to find the answers. It is likely the other person will be confident, sometimes even overconfident. They may quickly tell you the answer you seek is rather simple and most people know the answer already. This is where real patience is needed to deal with this type of bravado. If the inquiry goes off-topic, you cheerfully bring them back around and be prepared to have many discussions with them, often over many days.

This method of is based on a confidence that with the right encouragement, people have the ability to work things out themselves and eventually learn to detect errors in their own reasoning. But dialogues often go awry unless you gently and quietly draw your interlocutor’s attention to sticky and difficult points without ever casting blame or getting annoyed. You cannot teach anything by making your pupil feel stupid, even if they are at first.

We ALL must begin in our Cave, but it was Plato’s deepest insight that we need not remain in the darkness and ignorance of the cave by remaining. Plato enlightens us by informing us that the way out of the darkness is philosophy. Philosophy is the beacon whose light we learn to slowly follow until the true nature of things become clear.

How Does This Apply To Me?

This allegory has never been more applicable than in modern society and in a most serious way. More than  ever America is stringently divided into echo-chambers where no one is even exposed to other views much less presented with a coherent argument of all sides of the many complicated issues we face so one can arrive at an informed opinion through their own informed, well-reasoned thinking. Sadly intellectual laziness pervades and far too many are content to be told what to think and the mental muscles used in critical and/or analytical thinking are atrophied to uselessness.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, people knowledgable on just one side of a debate believe themselves to be unrivaled experts on the subject. That misguided belief is most often accompanied by an arrogance justified only in a true expert that has spent years in study and/or training to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities of an honest expert. This is why we use a surgeon to repair a damaged body, a lawyer to argue a complicated case before a judge, and a mechanic to repair our cars. The glaring distinction is the true expert has devoted immense time and effort to obtain the knowledge, and her well-developed knowledge is constantly updated and sharpened by the inquiries and challenges by more accomplished experts. The end result is someone with unique ability and knowledge to address a particular problem needing a remedy.

By contrast, the pseudo-expert does not have her ideas and beliefs challenged but only reinforced, no matter the ideas proximity to truth. After constant reinforcement these unrefined ideas eventually seem infallible. This is a dangerous and growing phenomenon made more complicated by the recent phenomenon of “fake news” to further cloud the issues. How is an individual living his or her busy life, even a relatively well-informed citizen, expected to devote the time and energy required to become adequately & thoroughly informed and to make a decision on a complex or nuanced issue? Without making an immense individual effort to discern fantasy from reality, which not every citizen has the time, energy or ability to do, it is tough for one to locate and study the right sources to address the inquiry even if inclined to do so in the first place. There are trustworthy sources that are reliable and factually accurate, even some still using the journalistic standards that we used to be able to take for granted but no more.

It now takes time and effort to determine whether a source is reliable or if it also has an agenda that colors the objectivity of the reporting or analysis built into everything they report on or if its accurate but it can be done and, I would argue, must be done as we go forth in this brave new world of post-truth politics we have quietly entered. Let’s reign in this monster before it becomes an accepted as the “new-normal.”

I do not know if you agree but I cringe at the idea of living in a “post-truth” world and that becoming the new normal. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

It is understandable to be tempted to throw up your hands, say “to hell with it” and just disengage. Should that happen, we will quickly slide into a permanent state of post-truth politics and the power of the people will be a thing of the past – which I believe is precisely what the establishment wants. flag-eagle-constitution

Sometimes circumstances dictate the action one must take and this is one of those times. To be clear, I cannot emphasize enough how much I truly hope I’m wrong. I want President Trump to act for the benefit of all Americans and successfully build on President Obama’s work in steering the Ship of State out of the Great Recession and building on the stable economic foundation of slow but steady economic growth (free of bubbles), drastically reduced unemployment and focusing on increasing real household incomes that have been stagnant since the 80’s – a trend that finally started to reverse as we saw a considerable increase in household incomes in recent months.

Making matters exponentially worse, our gridlocked political system has been put up for sale to the highest bidders, which are inevitably the wealthiest families & large corporations. As a result, our elected officials that should be “beholden to the people alone” are rather blatantly beholden to their donors and ignore the needs & desires of the people. This explains why members of congress spend up to 70% of their time fund-raising and yet we the people are supposed to naively believe the unlimited millions donated to their campaigns, their leadership PACs, and SuperPACs give these mega-donors no greater access to or influence over our elected officials than you or I have? An utterly absurd notion.

Corruption has always been a part of politics but there is no longer even a superficial attempt to conceal it. Where our politicians used to try to hide their conflicted interests, they now barely pay lip service to their constituents while publicly and without a hint of shame, do the obvious bidding of their donors. I believe it is because they know – or at least believe – that there is nothing “we the people” can or will do about it.

As it stands, the only ones with the power to change the rules are the ones grossly enriched by those rules. We have allowed the Fox to take possession of our Hen House and does anyone believe the Fox will voluntarily change the rules and ban Foxes from the hen-house?

Or do you suppose he will now gorge himself until sick then hand out the rest to cronies? I think it is the latter. The best book I know on the subject is “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It.” It is such an enlightening work I wish I had the power to require every voter to read it and to compel the people to implement a plan to end corruption.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Now is the time to remind ourselves that our great Republic depends on an informed electorate. I add to that what I believe the founders took for granted – an energized and participating electorate. Apathy was painfully evident in the 2016 election. Decisions to stay home and not participate could easily have changed the outcome of the contest. The decision lies with each one of us. We can choose to stay in the echo-chamber that is the Cave we have made for ourselves or fallen into that keeps us insulated from the thoughts and opinions of others. In the alternative, we can make a choice as an act of our individual will to get out of the Cave and move into the light to become part of a truly informed electorate for the benefit of our nation and our children’s future. What will you do? Only you can decide, but I humbly suggest get you leave the intellectual comfort of the Cave, move into the light and accept the challenge to think for yourself so you can arrive at your own well-informed and well-reasoned decisions as our Founding Fathers intended. Now decide.