We are faced with educating the 40% of the population who are grist for the propaganda mill.
By Dr. Stephen R. Keister / The Rag Blog / August 4, 2009
In the 1950s and 1960s there was considerable academic research about mind control, largely sponsored by various agencies of the U.S. government. These studies were largely carried out by out by Dr. Ewen Cameron at McGill University and were deemed MKUltra and evolved into the Kubark Counterintelligence handbook. These studies are well documented by Naomi Klein in her excellent book The Shock Doctrine.
Concurrently Professor Stanley Milgram was involved in much more innocuous research at Stanford University. Milgram was a psychologist whose research proved conclusively that obedience to authority was so ingrained in the average U.S. citizen that they were prepared to do even lethal harm to others when instructed by those in authority to do so. This was in spite of the fact that before the trials were initiated the participants were asked if they felt capable of harming other human beings, and as a group they answered, “No.”
At one point Dr. Milgram wrote,
“With numbing regularity good people were seen to knuckle under the demands of authority and perform actions that were callous and severe. Men who are in everyday life responsible and decent were seduced by the trappings of authority, by the control of their perceptions, and by the uncritical acceptance of the experimenter’s definition of the situation, into performing harsh acts. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and within limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.”
This brings us to the tea-bag gatherings blessed by the occupants of 133 C Street in Washington, D.C. Gatherings organized to misrepresent the concept of universal health care coverage for the approximately 50% of Americans who even now fail to understand that, unlike most civilized nations, the United States has not assumed the moral and ethical task of providing first class health care to its entire population.
Paradoxically, the majority of folks who do not have decent health care are under the influence of the insurance cartel and its political hangers-on and are being persuaded that health care reform will increase their taxes, which it will not, as tax increases are considered in current legislation only for the top 1.2% of earners. They are being persuaded that “bureaucrats” will manage their health care, even though under Medicare and the VA they do not have any managed care.
The Republican and Blue Dog Democrat politicians initially opposed the Medicare system and now would like to destroy it by enacting such plans as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Plan D prescription insurance. (I am always amazed how many of the elderly say, “I don’t want government medicine, I have Medicare.”) They will be told gross lies and distortions about the nature of of health care in Europe and Canada. We will see ongoing anti-health care ads on TV performed by professional actors.
On July 31, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by “angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior” at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protestors surrounded Rep .Tim Bishop (D-NY) and police officers had to escort him to his car for safety. The growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Recently, right wing demonstrators hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md) in effigy outside his office. Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relation firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama’s reforms.
This activity appears to have been organized through a Political Action memo put out by the political right entitled “Rocking The Town Halls — Best Practices.” Details are included in this article. It would behoove any and all advocates for universal health care to be aware of these instructions. Adequate counter measures must be considered in advance.
The proponents of universal health care, whether single payer — which would be much more inclusive, more economical by far, and more easily administered — or the “public option,” must face this situation during the Congressional Recess. We are badly outnumbered; I would estimate that health care activists constitute only about 10% of the population. They are basically liberals who are guided by precepts of Christian doctrine, progressive Judaism, or by secular ethics and morality. They sincerely want what is best for the population as a whole, not for their own advantage, since I would estimate that most of the proponents already have decent health care. Many are motivated out of shame, knowing that our health care ranks 39th in the world.
One underlying problem in the liberal community is the fact that, though wishing well for others, they cannot agree among themselves. Most are well educated and tend to resist authority. Generally, we cannot set aside our idealism and communicate with the 50% who need to be educated. We sure as hell had better cooperate, set aside academic disputes, and unite, or we will surely lose. And the politicians must set aside this absurd foolishness about “bipartisanship” which appears a certain way of shooting ourselves in the foot.
Further, the political proponents of universal care must stop equivocating and state our position boldly. We must point out in large letters; “MEDICARE IS GOVERNMENT SPONSORED AND SUBSIDIZED MEDICINE” and it, with the Veterans Administration and military hospitals provide first class medical care.
We are faced with educating the 40% of the population who are grist for the propaganda mill. Many are totally divorced from reality. These are the folks who are waiting to be led, not by reason but by slogans and dogma. These are the folks who will turn out in droves at tea-bag rallies and campaign against their own best interests, the interests of their families, and their communities. I would suggest that any and all of the pro-health care community rush to the neighborhood bookstore and purchase a copy of Eric Hoffer’s classic The True Believer.
We will see all of the lackeys of the right wing, the present day equivalent of Germany’s 1930s brownshirts, let loose at discussion groups creating distraction for those who really want information. This will be augmented by The Republican Party, the prostituted Democratic Senators and the Blue Dog Congressmen, as well as by the NRA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the pharmaceutical Industry, the insurance cartels, the conservative media, and certain, minority members of the medical establishment.
It seems as if the vast majority of physicians recently have undergone an epiphany and now support universal health care. Perhaps they are tired of being serfs to their masters in the insurance industry or are sick of being called “providers” rather than physicians. This fact flies in the face of a recent statement by a Republican Congressman that all doctors are opposed to universal health care. Fact: in polls, 65-70% of physicians support universal care.
Two recent encouraging developments are the Mad As Hell Doctors Tour, organized by a group of physicians in Oregon — an automobile caravan to Washington supporting single payer health care. They call it “Mad as Hell. Health Care for People — not Profit.” More about them can be found here. Nancy Pelosi is said to have promised Congressman Weiner of New York that HR 676 would be introduced, debated, and voted on by the full House in September.
We still hear screams of indignation from the right regarding costs of universal health care, but an article by Professor Chalmers Johnson might help put that in perspective. Titled “Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire,” it is a well reasoned, lengthy article, well worth perusing. From the second paragraph: “According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas territories.
We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories. In just one such country, Japan, at the end of March 2008, we still had 99,295 people connected to U.S. military forces living and working there — 49,364 members of our armed forces, 45,753 dependent family members, and 4,178 civilian employees. Some 13,975 of these were crowded into the small island of Okinawa, the largest concentration of foreign troops anywhere in Japan.” I have read elsewhere that over 100 of these bases have 18 hole golf courses! And they say that the United States cannot afford universal health care !
Here’s another thing to keep in mind during August. The August 1 Washington Spectator reported that the Alexandria, Va. PR firm, Creative Response Concepts, coordinating the anti-health care movement, has a history of partisan advocacy that extends beyond its widely reported role in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attack on Sen. John Kerry in 2004. It also coordinated the confirmation campaigns of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. It worked to discredit the 60 Minutes story questioning George W, Bush’s service in the Air National Guard. CRC’s media campaigns are run by Pat Buchanan’s former communications director Mike Russell, who previously worked for the Christian Coalition, another DRC client.
One final thought from Professor Noam Chomsky:
“For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understanding the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of ‘brainwashing under freedom’ to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling instruments.”