the citizen has become a pawn in a high-stakes game of political maneuvering that has morphed from the competitiveness and rhetorical give-and-take of 40-plus years ago, to something more closely resembling combat, with countless new and old deceptive strategies continually being auditioned and evaluated for their mass appeal. Elections 1952 and 2012 are rather like the difference between the classic 1980s video game, “Pac-Man,” and later concoctions such as “Grand Theft Auto.” The old classic was challenging entertainment; the new renditions incorporate intimidation and are wholly calculated to make the players (as well as any onlookers) uncomfortable.
Pick any issue of political significance—education, for example—and you will find yourself awash in a high-stress, depersonalized battle. But it will be one that you, the ordinary “player,” have virtually no chance of influencing one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the ever-expanding civil-service “machine” churns out a familiar hodgepodge of rules, regulations and controls, zealously guarding old turf, while greedily appending new offices, bureaus and directorates.
Consequently, today’s political contests bear no resemblance to the post World Wars I and II eras. Rather, there exists a calculated effort, by all sorts of demagogues, to sow dissention—to alienate, demoralize and, if possible, neutralize entire potential pools of voters, with all the negative energy such a scheme entails: coercion, ostracism, intimidation, loss of status or job, and outright censorship. In this scenario, the agenda becomes all-important; the individual recedes into expendability.
This book was initially conceived as a response to readers’ requests for help in communicating effectively with local, state and federal representatives on complex issues. Concerns like national health care, the budget, energy policy, educational standards, foreign wars and job creation all have many aspects. Unfortunately, they are awash in the nuanced language of attorneys, politicians and special interests. This makes it not only difficult for the layperson to comprehend the subject at hand, but to link it to other, tangential topics that necessarily affect discussion.
Efforts to contact representatives for a one-on-one conversation are roundly discouraged, save for exceptionally wealthy individuals—and then only because such persons might be cajoled into donating tens of thousands of dollars. Anyone not belonging to that category can expect to encounter a phalanx of screening mechanisms—receptionists, “executive” assistants, aides, and “contact me” forms on websites that require some 30-minutes’ worth of menu options and mandatory inputs aimed more at identifying new campaign contributors than ascertaining constituent viewpoints. The “comments” box is calculated to discourage the addition of explanatory remarks and, in any case, the message is reviewed by someone other than the intended recipient, and only rarely is it passed along.
Today’s political leaders are quite satisfied with this process. They are not keen on engaging in a logic-laden exchange of ideas with those they pretend to serve—that is to say, average voters. While their minions tweet, dig up dirt on opponents for ad campaigns and help political marketing firms set up irritating robo-calls, legislators themselves are busy consulting with their speechwriters and practicing brief position statements that will sound good on the stump and in televised pseudo-debates. Such debates are typically moderated by TV commentators or newscasters—most of whom are more concerned with their own celebrity than eliciting the views of office-seekers.
Recognition of this sad state of affairs led to a re-examination of this book’s purpose. In struggling to simplify concerns such as health care options, foreign policy, environmentalism and education, so that typical taxpayers could communicate knowledgeably with elected representatives and local authorities, it became increasingly apparent that the voting public is being “played.”
From Agenda Games, expected release: August 2012
April 11, 2012 on CBS‘ “60 Minutes”: “Is Sugar Toxic?” In the segment, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, who insists that once the fat was taken out, most foods tasted so bad that “the food industry replaced it with sugar.”
Mr. Bacon offered three fairly on-target predictions, not so much about the harmful effects of sugar—which he took with a grain of, um, salt. (After all, school children’s breakfast diets from the early 1900s through the 1950s were the equivalent of Frosted Flakes. Or, if mom was a stickler for complete breakfasts, she might have presented her loved ones with cholesterol-laden eggs, sausage or bacon, grits, hash brown potatoes, and maybe a stack of pancakes drowned in syrup. But guess what? Her children not only thrived, but were more polite in class, didn’t swing from the lampposts, or need to be constantly reminded to concentrate and pay attention. That only started happening in the post-war years—the Boomer generation.)
Whether the government chooses to fixate on sugar, trans-fats, obesity, substance-abuse, contraceptives, health -insurance mandates, Medicare, mental-health screening, the mom-packed lunch sack, or outright denial of treatment, we see the same agenda game at work: health in the service of bigger, more intrusive, government.
From Beverly's upcoming book: Agenda Games
For many years, there have been back-and-forth warnings for and against certain foods and beverages, to the point where old-timers don’t pay much attention to them, and young parents are totally confused. Alcohol was supposed to be terrible—until some sage figured out that wine, in moderation, actually aided digestion. Meat was a killer, except that it contained protein that was difficult to get in another form. Bacon was a heart attack waiting to happen, but a certain type and amount of fat in the diet was good for you. Then the axe was laid at the foot of the cow: whole milk, much less cream, was to be avoided. Buttermilk was ripped from the grocery shelf because nothing was “fattier” than that—except how would anyone ever again make a tasty pancake or waffle? Finally, dairy sections were filled with no-fats: no-fat yogurt, sour creams, milk, puddings, etc., until one day doctors discovered that many people couldn’t digest no-fat dairy products!
Every first Lady, of course, has to have a gimmick, and Michelle Obama’s is obesity. Not satisfied with having schools teach about the major food groups and their merits (parents thought teaching something in health classes besides sex might actually be a good move), but school lunches suddenly became nightmarish events that discouraged eating altogether and led to food fights. Indeed, the food police at one school recently examined the contents of a pupil’s lunch sack and, finding a nicely wrapped turkey sandwich, compliments of mom, threw it out in disgust and exchanged it for…chicken nuggets—which, last anyone heard, contained the dreaded “f” word: f-r-i-e-d. Who knows? Maybe the food police boil them. Plain. Without salt.
Which brings up an interesting article by James A. Bacon (yes, no kidding!), written April 6, 2012, for The Washington Times. The piece was only somewhat tongue-in-cheek. He starts with the sensible question: What good has all this food-related badgering by the government done? “Americans are more overweight, more prone to diabetes and more at risk of heart disease than ever before,” he wrote.
- For the first time in American history, average citizens are worrying about being targeted by their own government—not from police looking down the barrel of a gun, but from bureaucrats sharing intelligence from a computer or illicit wiretap.
- Thanks to satellites and an Interpol-on-steroids mindset, personalized data collected on every conceivable subject can be transmitted worldwide in seconds. The only data we can’t seem to transmit is that on illegal immigration, which passes through a Swiss-cheese “fence,” protecting less than half the Southern border. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s leaders consider illegal immigration an asset to their careers, if not necessarily the inhabitants of their respective states.
- The presumption is made that people who have nothing to hide won’t mind a bit of bureaucratic overkill in the name of security. The nothing-to-hide argument implies the freedom to opt out. In practice, of course, there are repercussions for refusing. The 2007 $9.75 million lawsuit brought by law student Stephen Dunne against the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dramatically highlighted the nature of these repercussions, just as the lawsuit against the TSA by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura demonstrated that refusal is not an option.
- The trouble with curriculums like “conflict resolution,” which dates back to the late 1970s, is that young students failed to understand that some people don’t want their grievances resolved. When educators mentioned this at all, they labeled such people “mentally ill.” But, as the various terrorist organizations have shown us, their “sickness” is one of spirit. They have not lost their mind, they have lost their conscience. Unfortunately, the same students whose attitudes were shaped by those conflict-resolution courses in high school sit as national security and foreign policy decision-makers.
- Read more in the upcoming book: Agenda Games
Spring is here! Time for Spring Cleaning, for taking a step back and looking with news eyes, a time for new beginnings. It's a year in which Americans will once again exercise a freedom few in the world possess - to vote, to have a say in what happens to them. The voting public needs to be informed, to understand what their vote means in the grand scheme of things. Beverly's book should, therefore, be found in every pocket, purse and briefcase in the US.
We at Midnight Whistler Publishers felt it needed a new cover with which to step into the election year.
We have a few of the old cover left, if you want one, but you can go to Amazon and click to get the new one. Your choice. You're an American; you have a choice.
First, the “it” girl. Followed in frenzied succession by a series of “it” hairdos, “it” fashions, songs, foods, even exercise regimens. Now comes the “it” year. The instant when everything changes.
My first up-close-and-personal experience with the “it” phenomenon occurred while sitting with a neighbor in a café over lunch the week before Christmas. Though this neighbor was never a close friend, given our wildly divergent political views, in America a long-time acquaintance can still be called a pal, of sorts, if not necessarily a confidante.
Then an odd thing happened—as if 2011 couldn’t get more bizarre than it already was, politically speaking. As the year chugged to a close, the “resident Commie”—that’s what many said behind the woman’s back, inasmuch as she once openly admitted to being a Marxist in those hippie-dippy, protest days of our 1960s youth—confided, to my astonishment, that she was leaving the “happening” lifestyle of our home in the Nation’s Capital for supposedly fairer fields in the Great Southwest.
“But why?” I asked, perplexed.
Because, she said, she “didn’t like the turn the lifestyle has taken here,” and she saw “no change in sight, regardless of who was elected.”
Blissfully unaware, apparently, that the District of Columbia and its surrounding bedroom communities exemplified the very lifestyle for which she had once demonstrated, marched and chanted slogans during our mutual coming- of-age years, which was the only time that really mattered back then, given that ours was on the cusp of becoming the “It Generation,” the Ones Who Changed the World—the disappointed, graying visage looking at me from across the table came as something of a shock. Instead of being a smug representative of the “It” generation, there was only “Me.”
Despite her multiple PhDs in cutting-edge disciplines such as women’s studies, political “science” and environmentalism, in my neighbor’s mind, the “Its” had accomplished next to nothing, leaving the “Me Generation” in charge.
Like most young people our age, I was never part of the “It” crowd, having stupidly declared a major for a financially responsible (and maybe even emotionally satisfying) career, looked around for (and gratefully found) Mr. Right, rewarded my parents with respectable, if not exactly stellar, grades and “ate my peas,” so to speak. Thus, I was mightily disturbed to hear that now, nearing retirement age, anybody at all was actually in charge, much less this “Me Generation.”
“It” was all very confusing… When did “It” turn into “Me”?
Was it merely “all so simple then,” as per the song from the tear-jerker film, The Way We Were, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford? Well, from the way my neighbor was now shaking her graying head, things certainly hadn’t turned out as expected: “Too many rules…,” she complained. “And surveillance cameras—can you believe it, @#$% surveillance EVERYWHERE?
Can’t even take your dog for a romp in the woods without some @#$% know-it-all pig snooping around making sure you have a baggie clipped to your belt! And no trash cans! All these taxes, and not a single @#$% garbage bin to dump your baggie full of droppings! Do they really think people want to walk for an hour in the great, green outdoors with a bag full of p_ _p in their hands? And speaking of TAXES! For what? The lights go out every time we have a little rain! I mean, this isn’t 1940! Aren’t we due a few upgrades for all this money we’re shelling out? And my prescriptions….”
By now neighbor’s voice had reached enough pitch to draw attention: “Do you believe that just two weeks after being hospitalized for a hysterectomy, my pharmacy gets grief from the frigging government over a two-bit bottle of pain medication! I mean, you’d think I was asking for crack, when all I wanted was a refill that my doctor had already approved!”
I smiled. In commiseration…among other things….
Any conservative voter looking around for a pep talk right about now either hasn’t got a clue as to the morass this nation has fallen into or—more likely—simply hasn’t the stomach for a fight and isn’t up to the job.
Deep down, all the “Me’s”out there, kids like me who were never “Its,” already know what needs to be done: that we need to throw a national hissy-fit. So, what’s stopping us?
The answer lies somewhere between what our highly educated betters call “peer conditioning” (a.k.a. “the herd mentality”)—a comfort zone we’ve all grown rather accustomed to, with “a little help from our friends” in the mental-hygiene movement—coupled to just the right combination of fatalism mixed with “Stockholm Syndrome.” That’s all our nation’s therapeutic propagandists, or maybe “minders” is the more appropriate term, need to keep us “in our place.” Your counselor (a.k.a. “therapist”) is your friend…just like the nice policeman of our youth used to be, an amiable being that can be trusted to tell us what to do, what to think, and who our candidates will be.
We have rules, after all, and we’re all equal under those rules…some, of course, more so than others (for openers, start with the forthcoming movie of Marion Barry, ruefully known locally and nationally as Washington, DC’s mayor-for-life, a man who still pontificates from his perch on the Washington’s city council, after being caught red-handed in a hotel room high on the most potent of illicit drugs—and with a prostitute, too).
The fact is, if you need to ask how to proceed in Election Year 2012, you don’t really want to know. Whether one wishes to admit it or not, the 60s and 70s-era classmates we knew variously as communists, Marxists, Leninists, Stalinists or just plain agitators and upstarts—were frequently connected in some way, knowingly or unwittingly, to the likes of priggish riffraff such as A. S. Neill (author of one of the first radical-chic texts on schooling); “campus organizers” like Herbert Marcuse (author of the free-love/anti-marriage tome Eros and Civilization); and rabble-rousing entertainers like the open Communist, Pete Seeger, or mega-vocalist Joan Baez; not to mention any one of dozens of professional manipulators posing as researchers, all disciples of old masters like Kurt Lewin, Emma Goldman, and Max Kallmann, now conveniently “lost” to a rewritten history. These pros knew exactly when and how to incite a riot.
In a twist of irony, it occurred to me, listening to my neighbor railing over lunch, that many of the superstars-cum-protestors we once so admired— unlike today’s glitterati (Christine Aguilera and Britney Spears come to mind) really could sing, and in perfect pitch, too—only now they would not be allowed to perform the songs of their heyday. Take one old favorite—“Stewball,” about a racehorse that died on the race track: PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has become so rabid that it would literally get poor Joan Baez booed off the stage before she’d strummed the first chord.
And woe be unto Simon & Garfunkel! Had the duo been starting out in the 21st century, they could kiss “Bridge Over Troubled Water” goodbye, what with its biblical allusions. As for the iconic 60s anthem “Michael”: Ya gotta be kidding, right? With its land of “milk and honey on the other side”? Only its ongoing popularity with die-hard aging Boomers has kept the song from the fate of “Dixie.” Speaking of which: the great Joan Baez, fantastic set of pipes or not, would never have made it past the auditorium door with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The word “Dixie,” in any context, is so politically incorrect today that it cannot be uttered.
The terms “husband,” “wife,” “fiancé,” and “spouse”are next on the chopping block; even TV ads refer to couples only as “partners,” giving the boot to the old Christmas standby, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
What, then, of the “Me Generation”: those hopelessly nerdy outcasts of the 60s who were never “brave” enough, or “popular” enough, or self-serving enough to qualify for the “It” crowd?
Yet, back in the 60s we still were in the majority—on our way to independence, self-sufficiency, self-reliance—in no way outnumbered by the lefties. Unfortunately, press accounts pretended otherwise, so we didn’t know the truth. "Changes"… "they were a-comin," we were told.
So, we, the true “resisters,” if one could have called us that, threw in the towel instead throwing down the gauntlet.
Fast-forward 45 years: My neighbor and I, far-leftie and right-winger, together bewail a Transportation Security Administration “playing dress-up in uniforms and badges they did not earn,” as noted by Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn on December 15, the same week she introduced the Stop TSA’s Reach In Policy (STRIP) Act. A pretentious “security” force that has yet to catch a single terrorist, as per an editorial in The Washington Times, among other places. A likely precursor to Hitler’s SS, or Stalin’s KGB, or the dreaded Stasi, that our parents, dubbed the “Greatest Generation,” worked so tirelessly to ensure wouldn’t happen here. Now, “traffic”-cum-surveillance cameras are the stuff of my neighbor’s nightmares.
She will not escape them in the Great Southwest—no matter whether Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is elected. The Parties and the Big Media have decided who shall be our candidates— no matter who, technically, sits atop the heap.
Unless we do the unexpected. Unless we turn off the TV. Unless we stay focused and on-message, stop relying on the mostly phony polls, and re-acquaint ourselves with constitutional principles instead of feel-good promises.
Because this time the message we send is more important than the man (or woman) we “elect.” The game is this: If a Democrat wins, the nation moves sharply Left, no matter who promises what. If one of the “preferred” Republicans win (Executive or Legislative branch), then things will go along pretty much as they have, ever leftward, but more slowly, until the Democrats prevail again, in due course, at which point another sharp left turn can be expected, on and on, endlessly—until anything remotely patriotic, traditional or “conservative” is kaput.
Men and women of principle have to throw a serious monkey wrench into this little setup, and it has to be NOW.
So, turn off the Tube. Get your act together. Get serious. Just for one year: 2012.
Because this is really “It”!
© 2012 Beverly Eakman - All Rights Reserved
As Election 2012 moves ever closer, hundreds of fans have written to request either a follow-up to my popular seminar manual, How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics (updated last summer), or have asked me to explain how the various media, as well as professional "perception managers" -- yes, that is a real term, just do a word search, including one on the Dept. of Defense's own website -- are working to "throw" the election, hoping to ensure an outcome in which nothing changes, save for a few new faces and a bit of rhetoric. A series I wrote for the American Daily Herald last year gave me an idea for merging both of the above requests, and the events of the past four months did the rest.
My new book, AGENDA GAMES, still in the editing stage, will soon be out, in plenty of time for a thorough study prior to the election. Each chapter of the book will identify and discuss one of the "games" currently being played on the public in the service of one, overriding agenda, thereby rigging the political process, with all its tangential issues, ahead of voting time.
Coupled to my updated Tactics manual, the reader will be able to recognize, and hopefully shut down, the games, replacing them each time with arguments and ideals that will help bolster candidates who share the sense of urgency most Americans feel today toward taking back the reins of this country -- meaning, its local, county, state, regional and federal governments. These governing bodies, in turn, control the agencies and bureaucrats that currently are overpowering and harassing American citizens.
Both this new book, AGENDA GAMES, and the updated How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics, cover the latest efforts that have been used to undermine and intimidate good citizens -- using educational institutions, environmental regulations, "security threats" health care, cultural icons, a crumbling infrastructure, energy "scarcity," entertainment mediums, and more. Meanwhile, I continue to receive plenty of feedback from leaders of committees, focus groups and task forces detailing their successes with the Tactics manual.
This time around, the message we send is going to be more important than the man (or woman) we “elect.” The game is this: If a Democrat wins, the nation moves sharply Left, no matter who promises what. If one of the “preferred” Republicans win (Executive or Legislative branch), then things will go along pretty much as they have, ever leftward, but more slowly, until the Democrats prevail again. Read this:
The parodied lyrics which comprise part of this very short, just-published piece—prompted by yesterday’s repeat performance of the shootings at Virginia Tech—stand on their own. It occurs to some that this new version of “I Wanna Be Around” could conceivably influence the direction of Election 2012. I challenge anyone with ties to a current (patriotic?) recording label to pick up the ball and run with it: http://www.thenewamerican.com/opinion/972-beverly-k-eakman/10123-i-wanna-be-around-when-they-pick-up-the-pieces
! If so, you’ll need to move quickly!