When did you first realize a lot of it was propaganda?

When I went to elementary school, I was about the most patriotic kid in my class. A lot of the students at that school were Mennonites who believe in total pacifism. They groused about saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I said it with pride. They complained about singing “The Grand Old Flag” in music class, so I sang it even louder.

Playing army was about my favorite activity growing up.

Around me, the Cold War was raging. We saw film strips in school of a colorful, vibrant West Berlin where people were happy. Then we saw the slide from East Berlin where everything was dark and gloomy, photographic proof of the goodness of us and the iron booted tyranny of them.

We were asked to pay any price and bear any burden in defense of liberty, and I and my 10 year old buddies were ready, able and willing to do that.

We stockpiled army surplus stuff–helmets, canteens, and even a coveted old bayonet–in a bunker we hand dug on my farm (in a convenient gravel pit with loose soil). Let the Russkies come! We were ready . . . partisan, guerrilla war by ten year olds against the Red Army? No problem; we were ready. Bring it on!

But then, little by little, the facade of propaganda started to peel away.

I read in my 6th grade history book about the Opium War with China. The English with their military might forced the Chinese to buy opium. I was certain that the textbook had made an error–surely it was the Chinese who were dealing drugs and the English (you know, people like us) were fighting to stop them.

I was told over and over again that in America I was truly free and in Communist countries they weren’t . . . and I believed it, strongly.

Then I saw these pictures on TV of black folks marching. One of them held up a sign in front of a diner in some place like Birmingham–I’ll never forget it–“Krushchev could eat here, but I can’t.”

Hmmm . . . that was a very good point. Why should a commie be able to eat at a restaurant but a black American can’t?

Then came the Reagan administration–busting unions, Iran-contra, the invasion of Granada for heaven’s sake.

But the final dagger in the back for me was Bush v Gore. When the Supreme Court of the United States can violate everything this country is supposed to stand for–one person, one vote–and tell democracy to drop dead while they install the rich man’s candidate who got fewer votes, that was it.

The reality of what America is, and how far away from what it is supposed to be, was just too much.

You can’t say after Bush v Gore that we’re a good country with good intentions that might not always be able to follow through on them.

You can’t say we’re just a flawed country that needs a little leadership to get back on to the right road.

The evidence is clear and unmistakable–government of the people has been co-opted by government by and for the rich and powerful.

America hasn’t just lost her way, she has been tied up and left for dead.

It’s time to find that country that we believe in and bring her back.

That is all . . . and have a good day.


Filed under American Society, George W. Bush, Original writings

63 responses to “When did you first realize a lot of it was propaganda?

  1. George Carlin warned us!

    • CapnAmerica

      Hehe, classic.

      “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

      I love this guy.

    • wicked

      Thank goodness his words have been recorded. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to download videos like these and save them. Sometimes we tend to get complacent and forget.

      • indypendent

        We all do tend to get complacent – but have you noticed that is usually when the crazy kissin cousins get into power……


  2. Bush v Gore was that moment for me too. Citizens United put the cherry on top.

    Sometimes I know that if we all organized (took lessons from the young people in Egypt) we could overcome. Because great wealth is held by a small tiny number of people who really do have us all by the balls.

    • Dream big dreams, fnord. I guess it’s my dark mood today, but as long as there are the seeming large number who truly believe, rightly or wrongly, that they will have a chance to be one of the testicle holders to the exclusion of others, it won’t happen here.

    • indypendent

      I am very cynical but I do still believe in the basic goodness of the average people. And I’ve seen throughout history that when it comes down to throwing the rich and powerful out the door – the average people can do it – if they stick together.

      Currently, our country is so divided by politics, economics and religion – there does not seem to be a big enough group to mount a real threat to the rich and powerful.

      But the more the rich and powerful try to clamp down and dominate – I think there will be a backlash. And I also think if the young people in this country join in – then, and only then, will something be done on the level of Egypt’s protesters.

      The Mayan calendar has 2012 as the age of enlightenment – maybe that is simply saying it is time for the little people to rise up and take back what is rightfully theirs?

      • indypendent

        pepple = people

        I have not had my second cup of coffee yet……

      • Oh, I believe there will be a backlash, indy, a very violent one, with the result more akin to Baharain than Cairo. JMO.

        And what, exactly, is that which is “rightfully theirs” in reference to the little people? Just wondering how you see it. To me, the “rightfully theirs” has no meaning in an environment where capital, in the form of goods and money, is scarcer and thus of higher value than capital, in the form of labor honestly performed. There are way too many people alive and physically able in this world for the opposite result to attain.

      • CapnAmerica

        pepple . . . fixed it


      • indypendent

        When I used phrase ‘rightfully theirs’, I was referring to the basic ideals of what we say our country stands for – guaranteed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        Under that big umbrella of rights – is also the right to representation within our own government. If we do not like what is going on, we have the right to peaceful protest.

        And I see the Republicans going after the little people’s right to collective bargaining as trying to squash any dissent.

        I know there are people who are greedy in all walks of life – but for the most part, the average working person just wants a job that pays their bills and allows them to educate their children.

        And in a country that professes to be run by We the People – those basic rights and needs should be foremost.

  3. To answer, it might have been Buckley v. Valeo. I really think, though, it was a conversation my dad and I had in 1962 or so about the then-budding U.S. involvement in Vietnam, wherein my Dad (politically somewhere to the right of John Birch) remarked darkly that the whole thing was a bunch of B.S., including all the flag waving, etc., that was beginning to occur.

    • CapnAmerica

      Yup. How can anybody live through Vietnam and then turn around and do the same damn thing in Iraq?

      Just unbelievable.

      I just finished a book about the Kennedy assassination called “JFK and the Unspeakable” which lays out a very good case that the whole event was indeed a CIA plot.

      I didn’t buy it when I saw Stone’s JFK movie. But it turns out, there is a LOT of evidence that the Warren Commission didn’t include — like an almost identical plan to shoot Kennedy had been discovered in Chicago when JFK was supposed to have attended an Army-Navy football game there.

      It was the same MO. A disaffected former Marine was supposed to have been the patsy then too . . Hmmm.

      And wasn’t it just a little too conVENient that Oswald had renounced his citizenship and called himself a Marxist and then shot Kennedy? Or his extremely noisy demands in Mexico to be granted a visa to Cuba . . . which could not have failed to set off alarm bells at the CIA and FBI (if it really happened)?

      Wouldn’t that be exactly what you’d want if you were a bitter cold warrior looking to whip up war hysteria against the Soviets?

      Fortunately, the grief and shock overwhelmed the rage against Cuba and the USSR as the planners had hoped, and instead of a first strike against the USSR, we got Kennedy’s domestic programs, “The Great Society.”

      • indypendent

        I often wonder how our country would be today if Kennedy had not been killed. No matter what flaws the Kennedy clan had, I do think this family did have the general welfare of every American as it’s core belief.

        Now the Bush family………..always green with envy of those Bostonians with all that money????

  4. indypendent

    hey, what are you talking about no black person could eat in a restaurant but a damn commie could? (sarcasm)

    Didn’t you listen when Michelle Bachmann stated the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to get rid of slavery?

    Didn’t you listen when Haley Barbour the governor of Mississippi stated that there were no racial problems in his state when he was growing up?

    When we are still trying to resolve our country’s problems with folks who think like Bachmann and Barbour, there will never be anything solved.

    Hell – the Social Conservative Republicans also think Andrew Schafly (son of Phyllis Schafly) is okay when he arrogantly is rewriting the Bible.

    Hey – if these folks are willing to rewrite God’s words – I don’t want to be anywhere around them on Judgment Day without a fireproof suit!

    In the mean time – we have to deal with these folks. And it does not look like any of them value education on that side of the aisle.

    • Education is the enemy of ignorance, a condition that is required to exist in order for the aforementioned to gain and maintain their positions.

      • indypendent

        you’re right….

        Do you think that is why so many Conservative Republicans seem to hate public education and want to abolish it?

      • wicked

        Absolutely no doubtaboutit.

      • wicked

        Just take a look at our Republican governor and congress and see what they’re doing. Keep ’em dumb and keep ’em poor. That’s the words they live by. Take everything away, and people will be happy to do as they’re told.

      • indypendent

        wicked – you forgot one thing, women are to be kept dumber than than the men and they are to be kept in the kitchen making supper for their master….

        I have actually heard so-called Christians make the statement that our society is doomed because women got the vote and then got an education. God forbid…..I did not know educated women were the ruination of our society – did you?

        I guess it had nothing to do with those so-called Christian men all tom catting around – huh?

      • wicked

        No, indy, I don’t forget. I was married to a CON for 24 years.

  5. indypendent

    These are very scary and difficult times. I wonder why anyone would even want to run for president because all they get is grief.

    I have not liked everything Obama has done or said but I keep thanking God we are not talking about President McCain or worse – President Palin.

    Like I said – scary times…..

  6. indypendent

    6176 – an environment where capital, in the form of goods and money, is scarcer and thus of higher value than capital, in the form of labor honestly performed. There are way too many people alive and physically able in this world for the opposite result to attain.

    I agree the rich and powerful have all the capital at the time. But when the wealthiest are sitting on billions and still not creating jobs (as was promised by Republicans when the Bush tax cuts to the wealthies were continued) – then that does seem to be a catalyst for the little people who need jobs to take a second look at how the system is being gamed.

    And the memories of those Wall Street bank bailouts is still fresh. Then these banks are not loaning money to companies willing to expand – that is just one more step to the little people being stomped on – again.

    How many more times will the little people get stomped on until they have had their fill?

    The poor and the rich in this country are taken care – it is the middle class that is fighting for their lives. This is also the group that , for the most part, have done what is expected of them – they work, they pay their taxes, they raise their kids – but yet these the ones the rich and powerful are now wanting to get rid of?

    Reagan started the war on the Middle Class – and GWB just about got the job finished.

    But I still believe in the human spirit – and I think it is about time something is going to happen. I’ve been told for many years there is a race war coming. I don’t think it will be just a race war. I think it will be an economic war with racial tones thrown in.

    And it certainly does not help when we have the Religious Right wanting a holy war with Muslims thrown in on the fire.

    • Look, the domestic market is no more than an afterthought in today’s economic world. Thus, it is in the best interests of the multinationals (the ones with the alleged billions) to concentrate on expanding markets, new markets, and create jobs (at lower costs) to produce the goods to be sold in these new and expanding markets.

      Yes, it will be an economic war with racial overtones. This has been clear (to me, YMMV) since I began considering this in 1970 or 1971. Looks like to me we, as a people, are on schedule for it to erupt about 2020.

      • indypendent

        YMMV? what is this…

        I agree the domestic market is down and will probably never return to what it was at one time…..

        but then shouldn’t we welcome Obama’s proposal to emphasize on education and innovation for the future markets.

        The days of manufacturing of any signficance in the USA is long gone. But it would help if our trade deficit with China and other foreign countries was not stacked in the foreigners’ favor.

        Those trade agreements need to be looked at again – and amended. But that take political guts and I’m afraid both sides of the aisle are short of those particular guts.

  7. indypendent

    Another chalk board lesson from the Beckster. Oh where to begin with my comments…….

    I wonder how many millions this got into the coffers?


  8. indypendent

    This is chart showing women’s pay as compared to men’s pay. There is also a mention in the article that many more men lost their jobs during the recession than women.

    Hmmmmm…..do you think maybe it is because corporations like paying women less than men – so they don’t care if more men lost their jobs.

    It’s a win-win for the corporations – and tax breaks and/or subsidies – hey what a deal…


    • Rational decision to keep the lower paid while eliminating the higher paid, which has the effect you noted, indy.

      • indypendent

        what do you think this corporations will do if they were to suddenly lose those tax breaks and/or subsidies?

    • indypendent

      Another thought – illegal immigration. What effect would clamping donw on illegal immigration have on the current unemployment situation.

      First of all, anyone with one brain cell working knows that we could never deport all the illegal immigrants currently in the country.

      But let’s just say employers do get clamped down on for hiring illegals – what, if any, effect would that have?

  9. indypendent

    Now this should restore your faith in the world -Joe the Plumber has his own t.v. show.
    Now I can rest easy knowing the world is once again a sane place and everything is going smoothly.


    • Even though my physician won’t let me have alcohol (something to do with potentially fatal side effects due to one of my prescribed meds), this news causes me to want a Scotch on the rocks – a double, please, bartender…

      • I don’t like that word fatal when it pertains to YOU!

        I visited a tiny bit with tstb last evening. He is making progress, working hard, not where he needs to be yet..

      • I’m sure tstb is frustrated. It was my experience, different though it was, that at about two weeks, one hits a wall, so to speak. Either one fights through it and again begins to show improvement, or noises begin to occur that the patient might be discharged…

        Change of topic (a bit), saw a piece about Rep. Giffords’ rehab on TV news (believe NBC) the other evening. Very familiar, especially the shopping cart bit; I felt right at home. 🙂

      • indypendent

        How long has it been for tstb? I remember the day he first went into the hospital he was out shoveling snow – but I do not remember when he was moved to rehab.

        Rehab is a very long and frustrating process. And 6176 is entirely correct (as he should know from personal experience) there is a time when the patient seems to hit the wall.

        With all our prayers and positive energy flowing to tstb for his recovery – let’s make that wall nothing more than a big bunch of fluff.

        I’m sure everyone on this blog feels the same way – I look forward to seeing our good friend tstb back on the blog sharing his wise knowledge and opinions.

        Prayers and positive energy can do miracles……..

      • His heart attack was on January 10th (I think that was one day after the shootings in Arizona). Seems like he was moved to rehab here in town in less than two weeks and went home for a few days before being admitted to the out-of-state rehab. So it’s been around 6 weeks total.

      • This will give you a chuckle because it sounds soooo much like him. Here’s what he wrote:

        “Working at it Linda! Ok most times I am just trying to fit in with the other mental defisances! LOL kind of like blogging…”

  10. indypendent

    Nothing surprising here. GOP House voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

    I remember the year that the ‘soccer mom’ was supposedly the demographics that George W. Bush won in order to be president.

    And in 2010 – it was the Tea Party groupie that was the flavor of the month.

    I wonder if 2012 will be the year of the ‘angry woman’. If the neanderthal GOP males keep on going the way they have been – those angry women are not going to show any mercy to anyone with the little R behind their names.

    I am just waiting for the GOP males to come up with a proposal to take away the women’s right to vote. Don’t laugh – I think some of these GOP old geezer men and younger Religioius Rightie men would try to do it if they could.

    Let’s see how far the arrogance and ignorance will take them?


    • wicked

      Let’s hope the Senate has some sense, and if not, Obama does. This could just as easily go the way of the Republican’s health care denial.

      Isn’t it nice that they’re bound and determined to shut down programs that help people. They don’t realize that it isn’t abortion that they’re “putting a stop to,” because government money doesn’t fund Planned Parenthood abortions. It funds help for STDs, cancer, birth control, and everything else under WOMEN’S HEALTH. They manage to twist and turn it and lie their sorry a$$e$ off, to keep as many people as possible without a place to turn.

      Republican credo:
      If you’re poor, you should just die.

  11. “Anyone else noticed how the political protests in Wisconsin — as well as the game of hide and seek there — have turned the political rhetoric upside down? A year ago, during the health-care fight in Washington, Democrats maintained that elections have consequences. Now it’s the Republicans in power in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) who are saying this. A year ago, Republicans complained of partisan legislation being quickly crammed through the system (though that process took an entire year), and now it’s Democrats who are voicing this complaint in Wisconsin. And a year ago, Republicans used every parliamentary trick in the book (cloture, votes up until Christmas Eve) to stop or slow down the health-care legislation. Now we’re seeing the Democrats use what’s at their disposal (like fleeing to Illinois to deny a quorum) to stop or slow down the legislation in Wisconsin. Bottom line: Those in political power do every thing they can to pass their priorities, and those out of power do every thing they can to stop them.”


    • From the same link —

      “The situation in Wisconsin is also another reminder that Newton’s third law of motion — for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction — applies to American politics. When George W. Bush, after winning re-election, tried to partially privatize Social Security in early 2005, he woke up a despondent Democratic base. When Barack Obama, at the height of his popularity, decided to take on health care, the Tea Party and an energized GOP rose to combat it. And now the physics of politics is playing out in Wisconsin, where Democrats and organized labor are resisting new Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) effort to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights. The question to ponder in Wisconsin — as well as in the battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida, or in the Capitol Hill fight over Planned Parenthood — is whether these combative efforts end up energizing Democrats as we head into 2012. After all, there is probably not a more unifying force than being out of power.”

  12. indypendent

    With all this talk about anti-union proposals by Republicans and the current protesting in Wisconsin got me to thinking about Ronald Reagan. I’ve always known Reagan as the president that tried to bust the air traffic contollers union but isn’t it interesting to note here that Reagan was president of the SAG – Screen Actors Guild.

    Look at how under Reagan’s leadership – the Guild got the first health and pension benefit…

    I guess Reagan really was not against people striking and collective bargaining for health and pension benefits when the he was going to get thosse benefits – huh?

    Typical Republicans – demonizes unions but yet his own past – guess what…….they use unions to get what they wanted…


    • indypendent

      And whenever a CON disses a liberal Hollywood actor – remind them of good ol’ St. Ronnie Reagan.

      He was not only a Hollywood actor – he was their leader!!!!!

      • But, but, but, he was a Democrat then, before he saw the error of his ways. /sarcasm

      • indypendent

        I always thought he changed parties because the Democrats were too educated to buy into his voodoo economics.

        But the elephants were the most receptive audience for all that voodoo….

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Well, my recollection is that he changed party affiliation around the same time that Barry Goldwater was ascending within the GOP in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

  13. CapnAmerica

    On edit–Frago posted this first (above) . . . I didn’t recognize that it was the same URL until I saw it again . . . oops, oh well, it’s worth posting twice.

    We should probably run this as its own thread–

    Liberal-anarchist hacker group “Anonymous” targets Fred Phelps’ haters.


    There’s no central HQ or formal hierarchy. There are no ‘members’.

    Doc, an Anon quoted in a 2008 Baltimore City Paper story slugged Anonymous Takes On Scientology, probably summed it up best >>>

    Anonymous is the first internet-based superconsciousness. Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they’re a group? Because they’re travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.

    Anonymous is now recognised by governments and corporations around the world as a force to be taken seriously.

    But its activities aren’t confined to mass global protests, as the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, is discovering.

    . . . .

    Anonymous warning: Your demonstrations and your unrelenting cascade of disparaging slurs, unfounded judgments, and prejudicial innuendos, which apparently apply to every individual numbered amongst the race of Man – except for yourselves – has frequently crossed the line which separates Freedom of Speech from deliberately utilizing the same tactics and methods of intimidation and mental & emotional abuse that have been previously exploited and employed by tyrants and dictators, fascists and terrorist organizations throughout history.

    ANONYMOUS cannot abide this behavior any longer. The time for us to be idle spectators in your inhumane treatment of fellow Man has reached its apex, and we shall now be moved to action. Thus, we give you a warning: Cease & desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public Web sites.

    “Should you ignore this warning, you will meet with the vicious retaliatory arm of ANONYMOUS”, it says, adding:

    “We will target your public Websites, and the propaganda & detestable doctrine that you promote will be eradicated; the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover. It is in your best interest to comply now, while the option to do so is still being offered, because we will not relent until you cease the conduction & promotion of all your bigoted operations & doctrines.

    “The warning has been given. What happens from here shall be determined by you.”


    Well . . . let’s see who’s side God is on this time, hehehehe . . . .

    • wicked

      While I’m sure Shirley will have plenty to say (I doubt Fred even has a brain left, considering his babbling), if they’re smart, they’ll do as they’re told and then find a large rock under which they can hide. “Anonymous” ain’t kidding.

      • 6176746f6c6c65

        Or, they’ll ignore Anonymous, and then do something in a Court to restrain the group. Fred, in his earlier days, was quite adept at filing actions based upon novel litigation theories, many of which were accepted by the courts, at least accepted enough to force a settlement from the other side in many, many cases. Shirley has shown a bit of this talent as well, so I feel a bit of restraint upon our enthusiasm is in order.

  14. lastlightbreaking

    “Tied up and left for dead”

    Or, we are as close to Democracy as we want to be.

    The blunt fact is that there are enough liberal, progressive, independent voters in America to throw the right-wing conservatives out of office in 2012. They just have to want it bad enough.
    Republican, conservative politicians like Boehner and McConnell exist because liberal and mainstream voters let them exist. It isn’t the voting power of the Right that keeps them in power, it’s the apathy of the left.
    But they don’t see it this way, and play to the extreme Right to stay in power. That’s a mistake.

    Wisconsin is an example of that mistake. The conservative right awakened an enemy that is too powerful for them to control.

    • wicked

      Good point.

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      “The blunt fact is that there are enough liberal, progressive, independent voters in America to throw the right-wing conservatives out of office in 2012. They just have to want it bad enough.”

      Playing Devil’s Advocate:

      This may well be true nationally, in the aggregate. It is, however, a matter of distribution of these voters. Thus, if there is an overwhelming number of such voters in, e.g., California, New York, and Oregon, it matters not if these classes of voters are outnumbered in, e.g., Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, etc. The latter states will continue “as is”. There is also an implicit assumption that independent voters will vote as a bloc against the “right-wing conservatives”, an assumption I do not believe is valid. To me, at any given time, there will be a split among independents generally breaking a few points either side of even. This, of course, assumes no third-party affection within the group labelled independent. Should this exist, the deviation from roughly equal between the two majors is, bluntly stated, shot in the ass.

      In my youth, I’d likely be in full agreement; the passage of multiple decades results in my Devil’s Advocate argument.

  15. prairie pond

    Speaking of propaganda…

    Who could be surprised by this! Wisconsin gov’s campaign was funded by THE KOCH brothers!


    Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has caused an uproar among state employees, might not be where he is today without the Koch brothers. Charles and David Koch are conservative titans of industry who have infamously used their vast wealth to undermine President Obama and fight legislation they detest, such as the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health care reform act, and the economic stimulus package. For years, the billionaires have made extensive political donations to Republican candidates across the country and have provided millions of dollars to astroturf right-wing organizations. Koch Industries’ political action committee has doled out more than $2.6 million to candidates. And one prominent beneficiary of the Koch brothers’ largess is Scott Walker.

    According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker’s gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign’s second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch’s PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used politicial maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker’s opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      It surely didn’t hurt.

    • CapnAmerica

      Not only that, I was on another blog today, PP, and it had a pop-up ad saying “sign the petition to support Gov. Walker!” . . . so I clicked through, and guess where I ended up?

      At the fricking AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY site. That’s one of their main astro-turf (fake grassroots) organizations!

      I feel like writing them a letter and asking them if they would consider using their super-powers for good instead of evil . . .

  16. Zippy

    LLB makes a good point (by the way, thanks for showing up and sticking around). Apathy is a killer.

    But I think the even bigger problem is ignorance, tied with the willingness to believe almost anything that fits one’s preconceptions.

    Facts mattered in the Egyption revolution (and still do), and they matter, on the ground ,everywhere.

    And I think true cynicism, 6, is the realization that fighting back is a not a choice.