Tuesday, May 12, 2020

When Nations Become Mentally Ill

False narratives and fake news detours abound on the information superhighway known as the Internet. What harm can a few "fibs" cause? Most people can tell a fabricated story from the real thing, but what if they can't? How can false narratives shape their thought processes? And what happens when these unhealthy thought processes become more common throughout a country? Our guest blogger dives into this topic, one that is more important than ever before as some try to portray the coronavirus pandemic as a hoax, putting millions at risk.
Possibly the most destructive false narrative ever perpetuated.

When Nations Become Mentally Ill        
by Vegematic (Deluxe)

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 people in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%. Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5% or 10.2 million adults had a co-occurring mental illness. Those numbers are staggering.

Mental illness may be triggered by any number of factors. Fear of climate catastrophe, the decline in living standards, or the perpetual state of terror that comes from barely existing on the margins of a dysfunctional society. It may be triggered by mass surveillance or perpetual war. It may show itself as post traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, schizophrenia, or a myriad of other disorders all neatly categorized and classified.
Images like this convince conspiracy theorists.

Those with even a passing knowledge of the history of advertising will be aware of how Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, used Freud's theories of the unconscious to begin the modern advertising age. Although highly effective at the time, Bernays' efforts seem extremely primitive in comparison to the constant barrage of electronic propaganda and disinformation being spoon fed to us hundreds or thousands of times a day.

I have come to believe that today's increase in mental disabilities has been in large part created by the near constant exposure to electronic propaganda that becomes embedded in our subconscious from infancy. We are programmed to blindly accept the dominant false cultural narratives of the military industrial complex. We are told that above all, happiness may only be found in mindless materialism and slavish devotion to the corporate state. That honor and glory are to be found in military adventurism, that the police are always your friend, and that the poor deserve their lot in life.
Scare tactics to keep the public fearful and easily controlled?
These memes are sowing the seeds of future psychological disorders. The cognitive dissonance created when fiction is blindly accepted as truth does profound damage to the the human psyche. In order to cope with the mental discomfort, many build up worlds of fantasy and denial in a vain attempt to cope. It's easier to pretend to be a heroic freedom fighter than to accept the bloody facts about a war of aggression being fought for oil. This is why the suicide rates for returning veterans are off the charts. The veteran returns to the relative normality of civilian life, and despite the years of jingoism and programmed patriotism, he/she recognizes the horrible truth. Divorced from the military culture of the battlefield, he/she is forced to confront the inherently human belief that murder is always wrong.
Of course, such cognitive dissonance extends well beyond the military. There are countless examples of how dangerous, and psychologically damaging, belief in the dominant cultural narrative can be. Take the case of twenty-two year old Elliot Roger who, from all reports, lived a life of wealth and privilege. Roger was responsible for a series of killings in Isla Vista, California. The 2014 Isla Vista killings were by gunshot, stabbing and vehicle ramming. When it was over, he had killed six people and injured fourteen before killing himself. He had cultivated the belief that due to his wealth (and because he considered himself an "alpha male") he was entitled to have sex with women who had no interest in him. 

See how easy it is to create a false narrative?
Could it be that Roger had absorbed that twisted thinking by lifelong exposure to cultural and advertising memes? After all, advertisers for years have used our sexuality to sell us products. Buy this car and beautiful women will throw themselves at you. Be wealthy and you won't need to develop social skills. Of course it's simplistic to suggest that his hateful act was inspired entirely by cultural memes, but how much of a role did this narrative play?

We live in an age of increasing economic and social uncertainty. How do people react as they find out that contrary to the cultural narrative, hard work and playing by the rules does not equal success? That the culture they are living in is corrupt and sees their lives as completely expendable? I believe I know the sad answer to that question. Mental illness will continue to grow to epidemic levels.    

BIO: Vegematic Deluxe is back in the saddle again, creating lively and thought-provoking progressive weekly video podcasts on his You Tube channel. Check his videos out and tell him the TRC blog sent you:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2vzbyWki1kWC6SAzeqw_Iw

Other articles for your consideration:

How to Manage Your Mental Health When Feeling Stressed During COVID-19

Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain

UPDATE:  Why It's Important to Push Back on Plandemic and How to Do So

The following meme outlines the viral video Plandemic, pointing out its origins and its false narrative. If you have friends who argue that COVID-19 is a "hoax created in a Chinese lab," share this and the following Google doc link. You might save a life (or lives) if you can convince them to follow the CDC's guidelines.

Debunking Plandemic (Google doc)

Top Ten Conspiracy Theories


More examples of national insanity...
From Color of Change:

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging near his neighborhood in Brunswick, GA when he was chased down, shot, and killed in cold blood.1 
His executioners were a father & son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, two white men, who told police they believed Ahmaud fit the profile of a suspect in a series of break-ins in the area.2 The entire thing was filmed by a third person, Bryan Williams. But the truth is: Ahmaud’s murder was an act of hatred and white supremacy.

Worst of all, the two DAs who've recused themselves, District Attorney Jackie Johnson and District Attorney George Barnhill, played a key role in a blatant cover-up and delays in justice for Ahmaud and his family. DA Barnhill even defended Ahmaud’s murderers by making the outrageous claim that Travis McMichael acted in self-defense and his actions fell within Georgia’s citizen arrest laws.3

Instead of seeking justice, DA Johnson refused to bring charges against Ahmaud's killers and DA Barnhill abused his authority to exonerate the McMichaels in the media.4 Police are quick to arrest and throw our people in cages, but when we are killed, it's crickets for months from the legal system. For their complicity, both District Attorney Gregory Barnhill and District Attorney Jackie Johnson must immediately resign. 

Sign the petition. Demand DA George Barnhill & DA Jackie Johnson resign immediately.

Glynn County law enforcement is doing everything it can to ensure the McMichaels get away with Ahmaud's murder. Gregory McMichael is a retired police officer who worked with DA Barnhill's son in District Attorney Jackie Johnson's office.5 In the moments leading up to Ahmaud's death, the McMichaels stated they saw him stop by a house that was under construction and look through the window.6 But you actually have to be observing a crime or be in the immediate knowledge of a crime for self-defense or citizen laws to be applicable.7 Ahmaud was not committing a crime, he was jogging. Any effort to use citizen’s arrest or self-defense as an excuse for Ahmaud’s murder is a weak attempt to cover-up this injustice.

What’s clear is Gregory McMichael’s former affiliation with the local DAs office is allowing him to escape accountability. The McMichaels grabbed their shotgun and a pistol, chased Ahmaud in their truck, and when Ahmaud attempted to defend himself he was shot twice and killed. Nevertheless, Ahmaud's case has been tossed from one DA's office to the next. Every step along the way the police have been quick to shift the blame away from the McMichaels. Police even told Ahmaud’s mother that her son was involved in a burglary and there was a confrontation between Ahmaud and the homeowner and a struggle over a gun.8 THESE ARE LIES. Glynn County law enforcement has been quick to do nothing but ensure the McMichael’s are not held for this atrocity.

White supremacy and corruption are running rampant in Glynn County-- and both DA Barnhill and DA Johnson are perpetuating it. In his letter to the Glynn County police, Barnhill stated, "it appears {Travis and Gregory McMichael's} intent was to stop and hold this criminal suspect until law enforcement arrived. Under Georgia law, it is perfectly legal."Barnhill also went on to falsely claim that Ahmaud was prone to violence and that there was no need for arrest.10 It is because of Barnhill's suggestions to police that two months have gone by without an arrest or any form of accountability. Now, Tom Durden of Liberty County has finally decided to bring the case to a grand jury -- which doesn't convene until after June 2.11 And even he is doing his part to delay justice. Durden could issue an arrest warrant right now on a complementary charge if he wanted to, he doesn't need an indictment.12 Instead, he continues to protect the vigilantes' rights to utilize their weapons and their power to end Black lives. 

DA Jackie Johnson is known for letting corrupt officers off the hook. During her first six years in office, she had at least 16 cases where she's recused herself because of conflict of interest.13 In 2010 she protected an officer who later went on to murder his ex-wife and then himself.14 And earlier this year three former top officers and the police chief were indicted for ignoring evidence that an officer was working with drug dealers --  one was having sex with two confidential informants.15 The lack of police accountability in Glynn County has reached a fever pitch. Voters are even considering getting rid of the police department for good.16 And this year Johnson is vulnerable because she is up for re-election.17 Elected leaders must take the necessary steps to ensure our people are protected and free to live without fear of violence and destruction. That's why now more than ever, both DA Barnhill and Johnson must feel the pressure from us to resign. They need to know we are on to them -- we won't allow this corruption to continue in Glynn County. 

DA Barnhill and DA Johnson have got to go. Sign the petition. 

Every second Ahmaud’s executioners evade accountability shows just how little Glynn County law enforcement cares about Black lives. Under no circumstance should it be acceptable for these men to roam the streets and relax in their homes while Ahmaud’s family and community continue to mourn the premature loss of their son and loved one. Black communities deserve protection -- not to be preyed upon and hunted down in the street.

The most painful part of this injustice has been the fact that Ahmaud's murder took place almost eight years to the day after Trayvon Martin was slain by a racist vigilante. Time and time again, our communities face the highest rates of state-sanctioned violence -- whether it’s mass incarceration, police killings, ‘stop and frisk,’ or the all too familiar rhetoric of broken windows policing. Ahmaud's death is just another disturbing example of a violent society that marks Blackness as inherently dangerous -- where Black people are more likely to be seen as instigators rather than people in need of help in times of danger.

Demanding DA Barnhill and Johnson to resign is crucial to getting the justice Ahmaud deserves. Our leaders must stop treating Black lives as if we are disposable. We must stand up to this racist terror and that starts with holding local prosecutors accountable. Enough is enough. We are demanding justice for Ahmaud -- we refuse to lose any more of our loved ones to these reckless acts of violence.

Ahmaud deserves justice. Demand DA Barnhill & DA Johnson resign NOW. 

Until justice is real, 

--Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Clarise, Erika, Malachi, Marybeth, Madison, Leonard, Cheryl, and the rest of the Color of Change team

 1. "A Georgia man was chased and killed while jogging, his mother says." CNN. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245948?t=7&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
2. Ibid.
3. George E. Barnhill Letter to Glynn County Police Department. NYT. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245949?t=9&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
4. #iRunwithMaud. Our Prism. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245950?t=11&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
5. George E. Barnhill Letter to Glynn County Police Department. NYT. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245949?t=13&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
6. "A Georgia man was chased and killed while jogging, his mother says." CNN. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245948?t=15&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. George E. Barnhill Letter to Glynn County Police Department. NYT. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245949?t=17&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
10. Ibid.
11. "Status of Liberty County Jury Trials." Liberty County Office of the Clerk of Courts. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245954?t=19&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
12.#iRunwithMaud. Our Prism. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245950?t=21&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. "Glynn County police chief, 3 ex-officers booked into jail." News 4 Jax. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245952?t=23&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj16. "Legislation first step to abolishing county police department." The Brunswick News. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245953?t=25&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
17. #iRunwithMaud. Our Prism. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/245950?t=27&akid=42331%2E3399430%2EH3zyHj
From the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe:

As a further update, the hearing that was originally scheduled for May 7, 2020 for the preliminary injunction against the Department of the Interior (DOI) to halt its efforts to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's reservation, has been pushed to Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

The hearing will be held via video conference with public access available through the Court's public teleconference. Notably, for now, the DOI has agreed to extend the Tribe's Land in Trust status until June 5. 

Until that time, your efforts directed to Senator Hoeven, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, asking him to support the Tribe's pending legislation (HR312, the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act) will be especially helpful.  Here again is a script you can use:

My name is __________ and I reside at ____________ in [City], [State].  I am a proud supporter of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and am calling to voice my strong opposition to Secretary Bernhardt’s recent directive to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation and to ask Congress to act quickly to enact HR 312 -- the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Reaffirmation Act.  

They are the first peoples of this land and extended their hands to the European settlers in peace and friendship. I am calling to urge Senator Hoeven to lead the effort to protect their Reservation from being disestablished on his watch.      

I urge Chairman Hoeven to take the steps needed to pass the bi-partisan legislation, HR 312, that already has been passed by the House and now awaits Senate action. 

I want to ensure that my message reaches the ears of Senator Hoeven and is shared with the rest of the Senate Committee for Indian Affairs. Thank you. 

To call: (202-224-2551)
To email:  send to both
1.  Mike_Andrews@indian.senate.gov 
2.  https://www.hoeven.senate.gov/contact/email-the-senator

With gratitude and hope for a positive outcome.

From Beyond the Bomb

In the midst of a global pandemic, we need stable leadership more than ever. President Trump’s handling of the crisis has been unsettling, to say the least. Now is not the time for him to be beefing with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Take Action: Don’t Fire Fauci!

Trump’s coronavirus task force certainly isn’t the most inspiring, but Dr. Fauci is an experienced health expert who knows what he’s talking about more than anyone else in the administration. His expertise in this time of national and global crisis cannot be taken for granted.

That’s why it’s especially concerning that Trump recently retweeted a post with the hashtag #FireFauci in it. As a result, we’ve joined a number of other organizations to endorse a Daily Kos petition urging Trump not to fire Dr. Fauci.

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the inequalities already present in our country. Communities that have been exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons production and testing , like Navajo Nation, are already more susceptible to contracting coronavirus. Thus, unstable leadership on the coronavirus task force directly impacts the health of these communities. We’re ensuring that communities have the care they need during this time, and that’s why we’re calling on Trump to not fire Dr. Fauci. 

Please join us to demand that Trump not cut ties with Dr. Fauci, arguably the most competent member of the administration’s coronavirus task force. 
In solidarity,
Tristan and the Beyond the Bomb team


  1. Great to see Vegematic back in action again!

    1. It is! Veg always has brilliant insights to share. He's a great writer as well as artist and videographer.


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