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New Bill Would Make It Legal To Target Propaganda And “Psychological Operations” Directly At U.S. Citizens

Should it be legal for the U.S. government to spend billions of dollars on propaganda designed to change public opinion in the United States?  Should it be legal for the U.S. government to use television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and Internet forums to conduct “psychological operations” targeted at the American public?  An amendment that has been added to a new defense bill in Congress would make it legal to target propaganda and “psychological operations” directly at U.S. citizens.  The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act would overturn the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987.  Those two laws essentially make it illegal for propaganda that is used to influence public opinion overseas to be targeted at U.S. citizens back here at home.  If those two laws are struck down, there will be essentially very few limits to what the U.S. government can do to shape our opinions.  The government would be able to bombard us with propaganda messages on television, on the radio, in our newspapers and on the Internet and there would not even be a requirement that those messages be true.  In fact, just as happens so often overseas, it would likely be inevitable that the government would purposely disseminate misinformation to the American public for the sake of “national security”.  That is why it is imperative that this bill not become law. (Read More...)

How Will History Remember You?

How are you going to spend your life?  When it is all said and done, how will history remember you?  Unfortunately, these days most people do not spend much time thinking about those kinds of questions.  Most people just kind of stumble through life without any clear direction or meaning.  Sadly, our society makes it far too easy to remain “comfortably numb” the vast majority of the time.  We are absolutely addicted to entertainment and there is more of it available today than ever before – television, movies, music, video games, sports events, food, gambling, shopping – the outlets for feeding our addictions are seemingly endless.  But do you really want to spend your life feeding your addictions and keeping yourself entertained as much as possible?  The following is a saying that has stayed with me my entire life: “Life is like a coin – you can spend it any way that you want, but you can only spend it once.”  If the fact that we are all hurtling through space on this giant rock is just some kind of cosmic accident and life really does not have any meaning, then yes it would make sense to fill up our lives with as much pleasure as possible before we die.  But if life really does have meaning and the things that we do today can have a permanent impact on the future, then perhaps many of us need to start thinking about what kind of legacy we are going to leave behind once we are gone. (Read More...)

The Dark Side Of Halloween: The Kind Of Stuff That Real Life Nightmares Are Made Of

On October 31st, tens of millions of Americans will celebrate Halloween by going trick-or-treating or by attending costume parties.  For most people, Halloween is a fun evening of dressing up and eating too much candy, and it is a holiday that is becoming more popular than ever.  According to a recent report from the National Retail Federation, seven out of every 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year.  That is the highest level that the National Retail Federation has ever recorded.  This year, it is being projected that Americans will spend $6.86 billion on Halloween.  Every year Halloween just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  But there is also a dark side to Halloween.  It is not “politically correct” to talk about this, but the truth is that the way that many people choose to celebrate Halloween is the kind of stuff that real life nightmares are made of. (Read More...)