Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Affluenza Virus

The clinical psychologist Oliver James has always been critical of conventional psychiatric approaches toward mental health. His methods and views have been highly criticized in the past. Such was the case in his 2005 piece in the Guardian concerning how many people find the thought of climate change too depressing to think about, and therefore find it easier just to pretend it doesn't exist. Oliver states that most people live in a world of unreal positive illusions.

Oliver wrote on the myth of prosperity in Moving the Goalposts. He notes that most of the time most people are at best not unhappy. And the truth is that we've been deceived into believing that our pursuit of happiness and fullfillment is meaningful. Happiness is very transient and is quickly replaced by the feeling of unhappiness and unfullfillment. By placing happiness as our primary goal, we set ourselves up for depression because our feeling of happiness is short lived and we must constantly set new goals for other forms of happiness. What a frickin vicious circle!
Despite our astonishing technological advances and far higher average standard of living, when I looked at the statistics, they revealed that we are dramatically more likely to be depressive, compulsive and violent compared with in 1950. All mainstream political parties make economic growth the central tenet of their electoral manifesto. "It's the economy, stoopid," we are told - except that, as far as psychopathology is concerned, it's not.

The World Health Organisation did a study of fourteen different nations' health. From their study they found that Americans were six times more likely to have a mental illness than people in Shanghai or Nigeria. According to Oliver, we're all sick with a middle-class virus which is brought on by material envy. He calls this illness Affluenza, which just happens to be the title of his new book. Through media advertising onslaughts, we tend to get hooked on the earn more, spend more, want more cycle of consumerism. Once hooked, our mental health deteriorates and there isn't much chance of any extended happiness and there is a much greater increase of mental illness.
I named it the "affluenza virus" and its symptoms are characterised by the placing of a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame. It results in an obsessive, envious keeping-up-with-the-Joneses state of mind that increases our vulnerability to emotional disorders, and is responsible for rising levels of depression, addiction, violence and anxiety in the developed world. It is, I believe, a contagious disease of the middle classes.

So are we doomed to just keep repeating this consumerist cycle over and over until we basically destroy each other? Once we have been infected with this epidemic mindless consumeristic virus, can we hope for a cure? In Oliver's words, "An epidemic of mindless consumerism is sweeping the world with the compulsive pursuit of money and possessions making people richer but sadder." And not just sadder, but much more self destructive it seems! I truly want to believe the people will come to their senses in time, but my depression over the direction we've taken keeps telling me there is not a chance!

Video Madness

Here are a few links to some very interesting and some not so interesting documentaries hosted by Google Video or YouTube. (I guess they're one and the same now). I'll probably create a permanent link in the sidebar for later reference. Enjoy!

The Naked Truth

American: Freedom to Fascism

Mahatma Gandhi

Conspiracy of Silence

Getting High: History of LSD

History of Freemasonry

9/11: Press for Truth

Out of the Blue

A War on Science

Shamans o the Amazon

Money Masters Part I
Money Masters Part II

Ruby Ridge

Real War on Terror Part I
Real War on Terror Part II
Real War on Terror Part III

The Art of Flight: Sudan, Darfur Refugees

The Secret Government: Constitution in Crisis

Codename Artichoke: CIA Experiments on Humans

The Power of Nighmares Part I
The Power of Nightmares Part II
The Power of Nightmares Part III

The Century of the Self Part I
The Century of the Self Part II
The Century of the Self Part III
The Century of the Self Part IV

CIA Remote Viewing

Baghdad ER

Why We Fight

The Iron Wall

Pilger Breaking the Silence

Pilger New Rulers of the World

Stoned in Suburbia


Bush Family Fortunes

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Truth: Genetically Modified Foods

Slavery: A Global Investigation

A Gathering of Shamans: Fire on the Mountain

Independent Media In a Time of War

Waco: A New Revelation Part I
Waco: A New Revelation Part II

Monopoly Men: Federal Reserve


The Boy With the Incredible Brain
Gitmo: New Rules of War

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Indian War (1970)

I came across this seven part documentary of the Vietnam War which took place in the Spring of 1970. As you view these videos, compare the reporting of the war back then to the embedded reporting of the war we are immersed in now.


March 1970 - June 1970

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII

There were 27 Medal of Honor ribbons awarded to First Team Troopers during the Vietnam War. The recipients of the MOH can be viewed here.

The 60th Annual 1st Cavalry Division Association Reunion will be July 11-15 2007. For information concerning the reunion, please visit the association's Reunion Page.

Media's Future and It's Ownership

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein Rocks as he attends the National Conference on Media Reform in Memphis. Adelstein who is one of five Commissioners on the FCC, has attended many public meetings across the country over the last few years gathering information about the publics views concerning the FCC media ownership rules.

The Internet has offered us human beings the opportunity of participation. Citizen Journalism or participatory journalism allows us citizens to play an active role in the entire process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. According to We Media, given the means, people are smart enough to sort things out for themselves and find their own version of the truth. And the Internet has given the people those means! Access to information is no longer only for the powerful institutions and wealth dominated associations. The people have been thrust to the forefront of knowledge and along with this knowledge comes more responsibility.

The gatekeepers of journalism which have dominated society in the past are now threatened not only by competitors, but by their audience themselves! And even though our social networks continue to develop among our friends, family, and neighbors, the times they are a changing!

Internet and mobile technologies do have the potential to have significant, fundamental impact on the types of relationships we maintain, on where we live and work, on when and how we are educated, on how we entertain ourselves and spend our leisure time, on our politics, and on how we conceive of time.

The people are venturing into digital storytelling and the technology for other forms of citizen media continue to advance at a phenomenal rate. This is an awesome era in civilization! Never...(let me repeat that)...Never have the people had such an opportunity to shift the balance of power into their own hands. Using technology available, we can augment or fact-check any media through collaboration and this is what creates transparency. This is how we determine true information from dis-information! And this is how the people will actually create the winds of change!

People are shifting away from television and newspapers and relying on their connections throughout the Internet. And the old rules of politics are being reshuffled by online activists. Grassroots is key in determining the new political rules which future candidates had better grasp or suffer the consequences. The potential to broaden people's perspectives and even change their mind on certain issues is apparent. What a great tool we have in the Internet, and what a great opportunity to turn this mess around for the benefit of the people. Let's make history!

Friday, January 12, 2007


NCLB doesn't really mean No Child Left Behind. It actually means something much more sinister. No Consumer Left Behind!

Our economists argue that human capital is the critical driver of our country's economic development. And our experts agree that some of our citizens are far better positioned than others when it comes to adapting to the business world. Some of us are more capable of recognizing the importance that our educational system plays in the country's economical future it seems. According to our experts there are only eighteen states whose department of education has adopted a distinct definition of workforce readiness.

The Conference Board, a business-education research group, took a survey of 431 human resource officials last year. The group found that seven out of ten employers deemed the professionalism and work ethics of high school graduates deficient. And according to these human resource professionals, eight out of ten high school graduates lack critical thinking, problem solving skills, and written communication skills which the corporate workforce will require in the near future. The Conference Board states how our educational system is critical to workforce preparedness around the world and to advancing the international marketplace.
“Greater communication and collaboration between the business sector and educators is critical to ensure that young people are prepared to enter the workplace of the 21st century,” says Richard E. Cavanagh, the president and chief executive officer of the Conference Board.

I'm not making all this up! It comes straight from the Education Week website. Even the National Education Association concentrates on adapting our country's youth to workplace issues and responsibilities. And the NEA works hand in hand with the EEOC in order to teach our children how to be responsible employees! America's business executives are telling the people what they want from our children. They set the standards that our children need for their workplace! There is no room for thinkers in a consumer society...only producers!

There is an article in Education Week by the president, Charles Kolb, of the Committee for Economic Development. The CED is a business-led public-policy organization founded in 1942 and based in Washington. In his article Kolb begins with reference to an issue of "Financial Times" and quotes a particular paragraph from the Times' article.
“Young U.S. Business Recruits Lack ‘Basic Skills’ in English.” The article reported results from a survey of more than 430 business leaders, conducted by the Conference Board and the Society for Human Resource Management, that reflected a concern that our country might be “losing its competitive edge to economies such as India and China.”

Last year the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development produced a report on children's education throughout the world.
It is not only parents who obsess about their children’s education. Politicians, policymakers and business leaders are just as good at working themselves into a sweat over whether young people are being taught properly and are obtaining the skills national economies require.

You see, it's all about managing business' human resources...their human capital. By completely commodifying our youth and the parents as well, they have transformed our education system into a farming operation. An operation where growing and cultivating our youth for the benefit of the corporate sector of our society is the primary concern of our educational system. Our children don't need to learn to think, they need to learn to produce in the business world of consumerism. Thinkers create problems! Thinkers rebel against injustices! Kolb goes on to talk about human capital.
If our goal is to enhance the country’s human-capital development, we need to think about the expenditure of every education dollar as a dollar invested, not a dollar wasted...Without improvements in education, demographic changes will make it difficult to cultivate the skilled workforce needed.

So, it's all about investment! Education is merely an integral part of the business world! Perhaps it's just me, but all of this seems to contaminate our educational system. Our current system doesn't need reforming; it needs to be torn completely down and rebuilt! We should be concentrating all our efforts on developing independent thinkers, not cultivating our children into human capital for the corporate world. Is it so hard to see what we have allowed them to do to our country? As citizens, is this corporate commodification what we should be supporting? Should we be offering our children as sacrifices to the corporate economical volcano?

The No Child Left Behind Act is a farce. Or rather, it's a corporate agenda cloaked in corporate platitudes. The frosting of the NCLB seems sweet, but once we get past the frosting, the cake is hard to swallow and it's easy to find ourselves choking on it's dryness. And the LEAs, Local Educational Agencies, are forced through the passing of the NCLB to allow military recruiters access to our secondary school students. Now isn't that interesting?
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