American Society Would Collapse If It Weren’t for These 8 Myths
Our society should’ve collapsed by now. You know that, right?
No society should function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a “Star Wars” movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself.
Worldwide, one in 10 people only make $2 a day. Do you know how long it would take one of those people to make the same amount as Jeff Bezos has? 193 million years. (If they only buy single-ply toilet paper.) Put simply, you cannot comprehend the level of inequality in our current world or even just our nation.
So … shouldn’t there be riots in the streets every day? Shouldn’t it all be collapsing? Look outside. The streets aren’t on fire. No one is running naked and screaming (usually). Does it look like everyone’s going to work at gunpoint? No. We’re all choosing to continue on like this.
Well, it comes down to the myths we’ve been sold. Myths that are ingrained in our social programming from birth, deeply entrenched, like an impacted wisdom tooth. These myths are accepted and basically never questioned.
I’m going to cover eight of them. There are more than eight. There are probably hundreds. But I’m going to cover eight because (A) no one reads a column titled “Hundreds of Myths of American Society,” (B) these are the most important ones and (C) we all have other shit to do.
Myth No. 8—We have a democracy.
If you think we still have a democracy or a democratic republic, ask yourself this: When was the last time Congress did something that the people of America supported that did not align with corporate interests? … You probably can’t do it. It’s like trying to think of something that rhymes with “orange.” You feel like an answer exists but then slowly realize it doesn’t. Even the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter believe that America has been transformed into an oligarchy: A small, corrupt elite control the country with almost no input from the people. The rulers need the myth that we’re a democracy to give us the illusion of control.
Myth No. 7—We have an accountable and legitimate voting system.
Gerrymandering, voter purging, data mining, broken exit polling, push polling, superdelegates, electoral votes, black-box machines, voter ID suppression, provisional ballots, super PACs, dark money, third parties banished from the debates and two corporate parties that stand for the same goddamn pile of fetid crap!
What part of this sounds like a legitimate election system?
No, we have what a large Harvard study called the worst election system in the Western world. Have you ever seen where a parent has a toddler in a car seat, and the toddler has a tiny, brightly colored toy steering wheel so he can feel like he’s driving the car? That’s what our election system is—a toy steering wheel. Not connected to anything. We all sit here like infants, excitedly shouting, “I’m steeeeering!”
And I know it’s counterintuitive, but that’s why you have to vote. We have to vote in such numbers that we beat out what’s stolen through our ridiculous rigged system.
Myth No. 6—We have an independent media that keeps the rulers accountable.
Our media outlets are funded by weapons contractors, big pharma, big banks, big oil and big, fat hard-on pills. (Sorry to go hard on hard-on pills, but we can’t get anything resembling hard news because it’s funded by dicks.) The corporate media’s jobs are to rally for war, cheer for Wall Street and froth at the mouth for consumerism. It’s their mission to actually fortify belief in the myths I’m telling you about right now. Anybody who steps outside that paradigm is treated like they’re standing on a playground wearing nothing but a trench coat.
Myth No. 5—We have an independent judiciary.
The criminal justice system has become a weapon wielded by the corporate state. This is how bankers can foreclose on millions of homes illegally and see no jail time, but activists often serve jail time for nonviolent civil disobedience. Chris Hedges recently noted, “The most basic constitutional rights … have been erased for many. … Our judicial system, as Ralph Nader has pointed out, has legalized secret law, secret courts, secret evidence, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security.”
If you’re not part of the monied class, you’re pressured into releasing what few rights you have left. According to The New York Times, “97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence.”
That’s the name of the game. Pressure people of color and poor people to just take the plea deal because they don’t have a million dollars to spend on a lawyer. (At least not one who doesn’t advertise on beer coasters.)
Myth No. 4—The police are here to protect you. They’re your friends.
That’s funny. I don’t recall my friend pressuring me into sex to get out of a speeding ticket. (Which is essentially still legal in 32 states.)
The police in our country are primarily designed to do two things: protect the property of the rich and perpetrate the completely immoral war on drugs—which by definition is a war on our own people.
We lock up more people than any other country on earth. Meaning the land of the free is the largest prison state in the world. So all these droopy-faced politicians and rabid-talking heads telling you how awful China is on human rights or Iran or North Korea—none of them match the numbers of people locked up right here under Lady Liberty’s skirt.
Myth No. 3—Buying will make you happy.
This myth is put forward mainly by the floods of advertising we take in but also by our social engineering. Most of us feel a tenacious emptiness, an alienation deep down behind our surface emotions (for a while I thought it was gas). That uneasiness is because most of us are flushing away our lives at jobs we hate before going home to seclusion boxes called houses or apartments. We then flip on the TV to watch reality shows about people who have it worse than we do (which we all find hilarious).
If we’re lucky, we’ll make enough money during the week to afford enough beer on the weekend to help it all make sense. (I find it takes at least four beers for everything to add up.) But that doesn’t truly bring us fulfillment. So what now? Well, the ads say buying will do it. Try to smother the depression and desperation under a blanket of flat-screen TVs, purses and Jet Skis. Nowdoes your life have meaning? No? Well, maybe you have to drive that Jet Ski a little faster! Crank it up until your bathing suit flies off and you’ll feel alive!
The dark truth is that we have to believe the myth that consuming is the answer or else we won’t keep running around the wheel. And if we aren’t running around the wheel, then we start thinking, start asking questions. Those questions are not good for the ruling elite, who enjoy a society based on the daily exploitation of 99 percent of us.
Myth No. 2—If you work hard, things will get better.
According to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey: “80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs” and “[t]he average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime.” That’s about one-seventh of your life—and most of it is during your most productive years.
Ask yourself what we’re working for. To make money? For what? Almost none of us are doing jobs for survival anymore. Once upon a time, jobs boiled down to:
I plant the food—>I eat the food—>If I don’t plant food = I die.
But nowadays, if you work at a café—will someone die if they don’t get their super-caf-mocha-frap-almond-piss-latte? I kinda doubt they’ll keel over from a blueberry scone deficiency.
If you work at Macy’s, will customers perish if they don’t get those boxer briefs with the sweat-absorbent-ass fabric? I doubt it. And if they do die from that, then their problems were far greater than you could’ve known. So that means we’re all working to make other people rich because we have a society in which we have to work. Technological advancements can do most everything that truly must get done.
So if we wanted to, we could get rid of most work and have tens of thousands of more hours to enjoy our lives. But we’re not doing that at all. And no one’s allowed to ask these questions—not on your mainstream airwaves at least. Even a half-step like universal basic income is barely discussed because it doesn’t compute with our cultural programming.
Scientists say it’s quite possible artificial intelligence will take away all human jobs in 120 years. I think they know that will happen because bots will take the jobs and then realize that 80 percent of them don’t need to be done! The bots will take over and then say, “Stop it. … Stop spending a seventh of your life folding shirts at Banana Republic.”
One day, we will build monuments to the bot that told us to enjoy our lives and … leave the shirts wrinkly.
And this leads me to the largest myth of our American society.
Myth No. 1—You are free.
And I’m not talking about the millions locked up in our prisons. I’m talking about you and me. If you think you’re free, try running around with your nipples out, ladies. Guys, take a dump on the street and see how free you are.
I understand there are certain restrictions on freedom we actually desire to have in our society—maybe you’re not crazy about everyone leaving a Stanley Steamer in the middle of your walk to work. But a lot of our lack of freedom is not something you would vote for if given the chance.
Try building a fire in a parking lot to keep warm in the winter.
Try sleeping in your car for more than a few hours without being harassed by police.
Try maintaining your privacy for a week without a single email, web search or location data set collected by the NSA and the telecoms.
Try signing up for the military because you need college money and then one day just walking off the base, going, “Yeah, I was bored. Thought I would just not do this anymore.”
Try explaining to Kentucky Fried Chicken that while you don’t have the green pieces of paper they want in exchange for the mashed potatoes, you do have some pictures you’ve drawn on a napkin to give them instead.
Try running for president as a third-party candidate. (Jill Stein was shackled and chained to a chair by police during one of the debates.)
Try using the restroom at Starbucks without buying something … while black.
We are less free than a dog on a leash. We live in one of the hardest-working, most unequal societies on the planet with more billionaires than ever.
Meanwhile, Americans supply 94 percent of the paid blood used worldwide. And it’s almost exclusively coming from very poor people. This abusive vampire system is literally sucking the blood from the poor. Does that sound like a free decision they made? Or does that sound like something people do after immense economic force crushes down around them? (One could argue that sperm donation takes a little less convincing.)
Point is, in order to enforce this illogical, immoral system, the corrupt rulers—most of the time—don’t need guns and tear gas to keep the exploitation mechanisms humming along. All they need are some good, solid bullshit myths for us all to buy into, hook, line and sinker. Some fairy tales for adults.
It’s time to wake up.
The results of the first ever study comparing the health of vaccinated children vs. unvaccinated children is out, and they are already causing controversy. For many – hundreds of thousands of families that have already been injured by vaccines – the results won’t be surprising, but to many others, the findings might be a little shocking. This is possibly why the scientific journal which originally published the results withdrew the study from publication.
The abstract of the study was published online in Frontiers in Public Health after being accepted November 2. The study compared children’s health via surveys of mothers who home-schooled their children aged 6-12 years. Nearly 40 percent of the children had never been vaccinated, so the control group was adequate to do a good comparison against children who had been vaccinated.
After heavy criticism from the public and scientific community due to the results of the study, though, it was retracted. Why? Those that were vaccinated were three times more likely to be diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
The abstract specifically stated,
“A total of 415 mothers provided data on 666 children, of which 261 (39%) were unvaccinated. Vaccinated children were significantly less likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with chickenpox and pertussis, but significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with pneumonia, otitis media, allergies and NDDs (defined as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and/or a learning disability).”
The study further concluded,
“In this study based on mothers’ reports, the vaccinated had a higher rate of allergies and NDD than the unvaccinated. Vaccination, but not preterm birth, remained significantly associated with NDD after controlling for other factors. However, preterm birth combined with vaccination was associated with an apparent synergistic increase in the odds of NDD. Further research involving larger, independent samples is needed to verify and understand these unexpected findings in order to optimize the impact of vaccines on children’s health.”
The initial backlash was significant. Public comments included, “this study is of poor design, though not impossible results. Study relies of self-report of moms, inducing bias,” and, “Another garbage vaccine study in Frontiers journal. Scientists, stop reviewing/publishing there.”
Science Blogs also quickly posted an article titled, “Antivaccinationists promote a bogus internet “survey.” Hilarity ensues as it’s retracted.”
When the paper was pulled, the publishers were also accused of not following a proper retraction process. Though the journal isn’t the first to pull a vaccine paper amid public criticism — in February, Vaccine temporarily removed — then soon retracted — a paper linking the vaccine for Human papillomavirus to behavioral problems in mice; a modified version of the paper was later republished, the retraction is suspect considering how quickly the paper was pulled. When the publishers were asked why this happened, they simply responded that the paper was submitted for review, but had not been approved.
Researchers like Catherine J. Frompovich likely wouldn’t think the study is so ‘hilarious’ as Science Blogs attests. She writes of a doctor in the UK who believes vaccines are indeed tied to autism. Dr. Graham Downing, who is a Neuro-musculoskeletal and Functional Medicine consultant in the UK has found that the vaccination of pregnant women increases inflammation in their bodies and also increases the risk of releasing inflammatory markers in their fetuses/infants. Such releases include phenotypes [the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.]
Downing also contends that the increased inflammation in cells caused by vaccines, also elevate in the fetal brain where cytokines release glutamates. The prefrontal lobes and the limbic system, which involves human emotions, are affected in fetuses from pregnancy vaccines administered to moms-to-be. So, not only are children outside the womb affected, but the neurological/immunological decline starts while they are still in the womb.
Downing also attests that vaccines are tied to the artificial intelligence rollout goals of the elite. As Frompovich writes,
“Dr. Downing says there are five-year and fifteen year goals for AI. The fifteen-year goal is to have AI run everything, including humans! You have to listen to his comments about that aspect—one word: “frightening!” To ‘authentic’ his remarks, Doctor cited a report issued by the White House, “A Federal Vision for Future Computing: A Nanotechnology-inspired Grand Challenge.”
Here’s what that 15-page report is about:
Create a new type of computer that can proactively interpret and learn from data, solve unfamiliar problems using what it has learned, and operate with the energy efficiency of the human brain. 
[Basically, it’s an artificial brain to replace the human brain. Also, they want to create a new soul for humans, too!]”
So, why are vaccine promoters so quick to dismiss, or make a drivel of a study based on mothers’ health reports of their children? Bias or no bias – it’s hard to dismiss a 300 percent increase in autism and neurological damage rates – but those reasons are left to your imagination.
Don’t let AI take our jobs (or kill us): Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk sign open letter warning of a robot uprising
- Letter says there is a ‘broad consensus’ that AI is making good progress
- Areas benefiting from AI research include driverless cars and robot motion
- But in the short term, it warns AI may put millions of people out of work
- In the long term, robots could become far more intelligent than humans
- Elon Musk has previously linked the development of autonomous, thinking machines to ‘summoning the demon’
Artificial Intelligence has been described as a threat that could be ‘more dangerous than nukes’.
Now a group of scientists and entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, have signed an open letter promising to ensure AI research benefits humanity.
The letter warns that without safeguards on intelligent machines, mankind could be heading for a dark future.
A group of scientists and entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (pictured), have signed an open letter promising to ensure AI research benefits humanity.
The document, drafted by the Future of Life Institute, said scientists should seek to head off risks that could wipe out mankind.
The authors say there is a ‘broad consensus’ that AI research is making good progress and would have a growing impact on society.
It highlights speech recognition, image analysis, driverless cars, translation and robot motion as having benefited from the research.
‘The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilisation has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable,’ the authors write.
Elon Musk previously linked the development of autonomous, thinking machines, to ‘summoning the demon’
But it issued a stark warning that research into the rewards of AI had to be matched with an equal effort to avoid the potential damage it could wreak.
For instance, in the short term, it claims AI may put millions of people out of work.
In the long term, it could have the potential to play out like a fictional dystopias in which intelligence greater than humans could begin acting against their programming.
‘Our AI systems must do what we want them to do,’ the letter says.
‘Many economists and computer scientists agree that there is valuable research to be done on how to maximise the economic benefits of AI while mitigating adverse effects, which could include increased inequality and unemployment.’
Other signatories to the FLI’s letter include Luke Muehlhauser, executive director of Machine Intelligence Research Institute and Frank Wilczek, professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Nobel laureate.
The letter comes just weeks after Professor Hawking warned that AI could someday overtake humans.
GOOGLE SETS UP AI ETHICS BOARD TO CURB THE RISE OF THE ROBOTS
Google has set up an ethics board to oversee its work in artificial intelligence.
The search giant has recently bought several robotics companies, along with Deep Mind, a British firm creating software that tries to help computers think like humans.
One of its founders warned artificial intelligence is ‘number one risk for this century,’ and believes it could play a part in human extinction
‘Eventually, I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this,’ DeepMind’s Shane Legg said in a recent interview.
Among all forms of technology that could wipe out the human species, he singled out artificial intelligence, or AI, as the ‘number 1 risk for this century.’
The ethics board, revealed by web site The Information, is to ensure the projects are not abused.
Neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, 37, founded DeepMind two years ago with the aim of trying to help computers think like humans.
Speaking at event in London, the physicist told the BBC: ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.’
This echoes claims he made earlier in the year when he said success in creating AI ‘would be the biggest event in human history, [but] unfortunately, it might also be the last.’
In November, Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Space-X and Tesla, warned that the risk of ‘something seriously dangerous happening’ as a result of machines with artificial intelligence, could be in as few as five years.
He has previously linked the development of autonomous, thinking machines, to ‘summoning the demon’.
Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in October, Musk described artificial intelligence as our ‘biggest existential threat’.
He said: ‘I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence.
‘I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.
‘With artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon. You know those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram, and the holy water, and … he’s sure he can control the demon? Doesn’t work out.’
The letter issued a stark warning that research into the rewards of AI had to be matched with an equal effort to avoid the potential damage it could wreak