CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “You Are Fighting In The Most Important Battle Of All Time”

“The people don’t use the strength of their numbers to force an end to the oppressive, ecocidal, omnicidal status quo, because they aren’t interested in doing so. Why aren’t they interested in doing so? Because their minds are being manipulated on a mass scale by the same people who have been granted immense power and wealth by the existence of that status quo.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

If you are reading this, it’s most likely the result of a series of events in your life which have drawn your interest and attention to the fact that our world is quite a bit different from what we’ve been told by our school teachers, by the news media, by Hollywood, and by politicians.

At some point, for whatever reason, you’ve come to realize that the consensus narratives in our society about what’s going on are false. The tools that people are taught to use to inform themselves about their government, their nation and their world are not just full of inaccuracies, but deliberate distortions, ranging from the reasons we’re given for why wars are started, to the way our political systems work, to where real power and authority actually lies, to the way nations and governments actually behave in the world.

This awareness has come with a degree of alienation. Not buying into the same consensus narratives about the world as your friends, loved ones and peers comes with an inability to relate to them on some levels, which can cause you to feel a lack of intimacy in those areas. You may have also found yourself the odd one out in conversations about politics or other controversial issues, maybe even lost old friends over it.

But you kept going anyway. For some of us, it’s more important to be true to the truth than it is to fit in. You’re one of those people.

So, I just want to say thank you. Sincerely. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m on-my-knees grateful to anyone who sets about untangling themselves and their species from the deceitful narratives which pervade our society. It is the most important battle that can possibly be fought. The most important battle that has ever been fought.

There is nothing more important than this fight. Our species is on a sure trajectory toward Orwellian dystopia if climate collapse or nuclear war don’t send us the way of the dinosaur first, and the only thing that has the power to steer us out of that trajectory is the people using the strength of their numbers to force an end to the oppressive, ecocidal, omnicidal status quo.

But they don’t. The people don’t use the strength of their numbers to force an end to the oppressive, ecocidal, omnicidal status quo, because they aren’t interested in doing so. Why aren’t they interested in doing so? Because their minds are being manipulated on a mass scale by the same people who have been granted immense power and wealth by the existence of that status quo.

All of mankind’s biggest dilemmas are ultimately due to the fact that propaganda is far more ubiquitous and far more advanced than most people realize.

And it’s not their fault. Not really. Nobody teaches you in school that throughout your entire life your plutocratic overlords will be working to control the thoughts in your head using a highly sophisticated arsenal of psychological operations funneled into your mind via their near-total control of the media. Nobody warns you as a kid that if you ever really want to grow up, you’ll first have to extricate the vast network of lies which have been deliberately sewn into your consciousness since birth.

But their tricks didn’t work on you. You found your way out of that matrix of deception. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t comfortable, but you did it. And now you’re ready to fight.

And fight you have. You have already been doing what you can to share information which counters the disinformation, doing your best to throw sand in the gears of the propaganda machine and show people the little gaps in the code of the matrix in the hope that some light sleeper might spot it and begin waking up from the dream. You don’t need me to tell you to do this, because it’s obvious to anyone who’s seen through the illusion. You’re doing it already.

And you’re going to keep doing it. And you’re going to get better at it.

You’re going to get better at it because you’re going to keep learning and gaining a better and better understanding of how the oppression machine operates, so that you can describe it more lucidly to others.

Discover the simple, yet specific steps to avoid being illegally spied on.

You’re going to get better at it because you’re going to keep practicing your craft: attacking the propaganda matrix at its weakest and most vulnerable points at every opportunity. Practice makes perfect, and the more you keep at it the more skillful you’ll get at spotting gaps in its armor and firing the most damaging truth bombs straight into them.

You’re going to get better at it because you’re going to keep doing your own inner work to expunge all lies from your system, from the most surface-level propaganda narratives all the way down to your most fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality itself. You understand that only turkeys are done, and that it will always be possible to get a little bit clearer inside every day. The less your vision is impeded by falsehood, the better you’ll be able to see on the battlefield.

You’re going to get better at fighting, and you’re going to keep fighting no matter what. Not because it’s an easy war, nor even because it’s a winnable war, but because you have made truth your highest value, and untruth is therefore intolerable to you. You will keep attacking the lie factory at every turn until it collapses into its own foundations beyond any possibility of repair. You will keep driving your sword through until you see it come out the other side.

And others will join you, because they have awakened to what’s going on too. And then there will be more of them. And more. And more.

There is no more important fight than this. The survival and well-being of our entire species depends upon it. The oligarchs and their government agency allies cannot be defeated as long as their propaganda machine is killing off all desire to defeat them.

You are already engaged in this fight, so my purpose here is only to thank you and to encourage you, and to urge you to redouble your efforts. Never doubt that your energy poured into this effort is well-spent. Never let anyone shame you into silence or make you believe that your efforts are in vain. Never doubt that you’re on the right path.

Your edge is your agility and your access to inspiration. No amount of social engineering can move as fast or shine as bright as the truth. You have everything you need to win, and there are more signs than ever that the win is on the horizon. What once seemed impossible now seems inevitable.

I love you.

Keep pushing.

 

~via WakingTimes.com

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “32 Tips For Navigating A Society Full Of Propaganda And Manipulation”

“As Carl Sagan once said, ‘It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.'”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

For as long as there has been human language, humans have been using it to manipulate one another. The fact that it is possible to skillfully weave a collection of symbolic mouth noises together in such a way as to extract favors, concessions, votes and consent from other humans has made manipulation so common that it now pervades our society from top to bottom, from personal relationships between two people to international relationships between government agencies and the public.

This has made it very difficult to figure out what’s going on, both in our lives and in the world. Here are thirty-two suggestions for navigating this complex manipulation-laden landscape, whether it be for navigating the manipulations you may encounter in your small-scale personal interactions, or the large-scale manipulations which impact the entire world:

 

1 – Understand the fact that humans are storytelling animals, and that whoever controls the stories controls the humans. 

Mental narrative dominates human consciousness; thought is essentially one continuous, churning monologue about the self and what it reckons is going on in its world, and that monologue is composed entirely of mental stories. These stories can and will be manipulated, on an individual scale by people we encounter and on a mass scale by skillful propagandists. We base our actions on our mental assessments of what’s going on in the world, and those mental assessments can be manipulated by narrative control.

2 – Be humble and open enough to know that you can be fooled.

Your cognitive wiring is susceptible the same hacks as everyone else, and manipulators of all sorts are always looking to exploit those vulnerabilities. It’s not shameful to be deceived, it’s shameful to deceive people. Don’t let shame and cognitive dissonance keep you compartmentalized away from considering the possibility that you’ve been duped in some way.

3 – Watch people’s behavior and ignore the stories they tell about their behavior.

This applies to people in your life, to politicians, and to governments. Narratives can be easily manipulated and distorted in many different ways, while behavior itself, when examined with as much objectivity as possible, cannot be. Pay attention to behavior in this way and eventually you’ll start noticing a large gap between what some people’s actions say and what their words say. Those people are the manipulators. Distrust them.

4 – Be suspicious of people who keep telling you what they are and how they are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about them.

Be doubly suspicious of people who keep telling you what you are and how you are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about you.

5 – Learn to see how trust and sympathy are used by manipulators to trick people into subscribing to their narratives about what’s going on.

Every manipulator uses trust and/or sympathy as a primer for their manipulations, because if you don’t have trust or sympathy for them, you’re not going to mentally subscribe to their stories. This is true of mass media outlets, it’s true of State Department press releases which implore you to have sympathy for the people of Nation X, and it’s true of family members and coworkers. Once you’ve spotted a manipulator, your task is to kill off all of your sympathy for them and your trust in them, no matter how hard they start playing the victim to suck you back in.

6 – Be suspicious of anyone who refuses to articulate themselves clearly.

Word salading is a tactic notoriously used by abusive narcissists, because it keeps the victim confused and unable to figure out what’s going on. If they can’t get a clear handle on what the manipulative abuser is saying, they can’t form their own solid position in relation to it, and the abuser knows this. Insist on lucid communication, and if it’s refused to you, remove trust and sympathy. Apply this to people in your life, to government officials, and to 8chan propaganda constructs.

7 – Familiarize yourself with cognitive biases, the glitches in human cognition which cause us to perceive things in a way that is not rational.

Pay special attention to confirmation bias, the backfire effect, and the illusory truth effect. Humans have an annoying tendency to seek out cognitive ease in their information-gathering and avoid cognitive dissonance, rather than seeking out what’s true regardless of whether it brings us cognitive ease or dissonance. This means we tend to choose what we believe based on whether believing it is psychologically comfortable, rather than whether it’s solidly backed by facts and evidence. This is a weakness in our cognitive wiring, and manipulators can and do exploit it constantly. And, again, be humble enough to know that this means you.

8 – Trust your own understanding above anyone else’s.

It might not be perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than letting your understanding be controlled by narrative managers and dopey partisan groupthink, or by literally anyone else in a narrative landscape that is saturated with propaganda and manipulation. You won’t get everything right, but betting on your own understanding is the very safest bet on the table. It can be intimidating to stand alone and sort out the true from the false by yourself on an instance-by-instance basis, but the alternative is giving someone else authority over your understanding of the world. Abdicating your responsibility to come to a clear understanding of what’s going on in your world is a shameful, cowardly thing to do. Be brave enough to insist that you are right until such time as you yourself come to your own understanding that you were wrong.

9 – Understand that propaganda is the single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society.

Everyone’s constantly talking about what’s wrong with the world, but hardly any of those discussions are centered around the fact that the public been manipulated into supporting the creation and continuation of those problems by mass media propaganda. The fact that powerful people are constantly manipulating the way we think, act and vote should be at the forefront of everyone’s awareness, not relegated to occasional discussions in fringe circles.

10 – Respect the fact that the science of modern propaganda has been in research and development for over a century.

Think of all the military advancements that have been made in the last century to get an idea of how sophisticated this science must now be. They are far, far ahead of us in terms of research and understanding of the methods of manipulating the human psyche toward ends which benefit the powerful. If you ever doubt that the narrative managers could be advanced and cunning enough to pull off a given manipulation, you can lay that particular doubt to rest. Don’t underestimate them.

11 – Understand that western mass media propaganda rarely consists of full, outright lies.

At most, such outlets will credulously publish the things that are told to them by government agencies which lie all the time. More often, the deception comes in the form of distortions, half-truths, and omissions. Pay more attention to discrepancies in things that are covered versus things that aren’t, and to what they’re not saying.

12 – Put effort into developing a good news-sense, a sense for what’s newsworthy and what’s not.

This takes time and practice, but it lets you see which newsworthy stories are going unreported by the mass media and which non-stories are being overblown to shape an establishment-friendly narrative. When you’ve got that nailed down, you’ll notice “Why are they acting like this is a news story?” and “Why is nobody reporting this??” stories all the time.

13 – Be patient and compassionate with yourself when it comes to developing your narrative navigating skills.

Like literally any skill set, you’ll suck at it for a while. If you learn you’ve been wrong about something, just take in the new information, adjust appropriately, and keep plugging away. Don’t expect to have mastered this thing before you’ve had time to master it. Like anything else, if you put in the hours you’ll get good at it.

14 – Find reliable news reporters who have a good sense for navigating the narrative matrix, and keep track of them to orient yourself and stay on top of what’s going on.

Use individual reporters, not outlets; no outlet is 100 percent solid, but some reporters are pretty close on some specific subjects.

15 – Don’t let paranoia be your primary or only tool for navigating the narrative matrix.

Some people’s only means of understanding the world is to become intensely suspicious of everything and everyone, which is about as useful as a compass which tells you that every direction is north. Spend time in conspiracy and media criticism circles and you’ll run into many such people. Rejecting everything as false leaves you with nothing as true. Find positive tools for learning what’s true.

16 – Hold your worldview loosely enough that you can change it at any time in the light of new information.

But, not so loosely that it can be slapped out of your head by someone telling you what to think in a confident, authoritative tone. As Carl Sagan once said, “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.”

17 – Speaking of confident, authoritative tones, be suspicious of confident, authoritative tones.

It’s amazing how much traction people can get with a narrative just by posturing as though they know that what they’re saying is true, whether they’re an MSNBC pundit or a popular conspiracy Youtuber. So many people are just plain faking it, because it works. You run into this all the time in debates on online political forums; people come at you with a supremely confident posture, but if you push them to present their knowledge on the subject and the strength of their arguments, there’s not actually anything there. They’re just accustomed to people assuming they know what they’re talking about and leaving their claims unchallenged, and it completely throws them off when someone doesn’t buy their feigned confidence schtick.

18 – Be aware that sociopaths exist.

There are people who, to varying degrees, do not care what happens to others, and these are the types of people who will use manipulation to get their way whenever it serves them. If you don’t care about truth or other people beyond the extent to which you can use them, then there’s no disincentive to manipulating.

19 – Be aware of projection, and be aware of the fact that it cuts both ways. 

Unhealthy people tend to project their wickedness onto others, while healthy people tend to project their goodness. Don’t let your goodness trick you into thinking there aren’t monsters who will deceive and manipulate you, and don’t let sociopaths project their own sinister motives onto you by telling you how rotten you are. This mixes a lot of good people up, especially in their personal lives. Not everyone is good, and not everyone is truthful. See this clearly.

20 – Be suspicious of those who excessively advocate civility, rules and politeness.

Manipulators thrive on rules and civility, because they know how to manipulate them. Someone who’s willing to color outside the lines and get angry at someone noxious even when they’re acting within the rules makes a manipulator very uncomfortable. Often times those telling you to calm down and behave yourself when you are rightfully upset are manipulators who have a vested interest in getting you to adhere to the rules set they’ve learned to operate within.

21 – Meditation, mindfulness, self-inquiry and other practices are powerful tools which can help you understand your own inner processes.

Which, in turn helps you understand how manipulators can manipulate you, and how they manipulate others. Just be sure that you are using them for this purpose, not for escapism as most “spiritual” types do. You’re trying to become fully aware of what makes you tick mentally, emotionally and energetically; you’re not trying to become some vapid spiritual bliss bunny. The goal isn’t to feel better, the goal is to get better at feeling. Better at consciously experiencing your own inner world.

22 – Be relentlessly honest with yourself about your own inner narratives and the various ways you engage in manipulation.

You can’t navigate your way through the narrative control matrix if you aren’t clear on your own role in it. Look inside and consciously take an inventory.

23 – Understand that truth doesn’t generally move in a way that is pleasing to the ego, i.e. in a way Hollywood scripts are written to appeal to.

Any narrative that points to a Hollywood ending where the bad guy gets karate kicked into lava and the hero gets the girl is manufactured. Russiagate and QAnon are both perfect examples of an egoically pleasing narrative with the promise of a Hollywood ending, either by Trump and his cohorts being dragged off in chains or by the “white hats” overcoming the Deep State and throwing all the Democrats and Never-Trumpers in prison for pedophilia. Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

24 – Try to view the world with fresh eyes rather than with your tired old grown-up eyes which have taught you to see all this as normal.

Hold an image in your mind of what a perfectly healthy and harmonious world would look like; the sharp contrast between this image and the world we have now allows you see through the campaign of the propagandists to normalize things like war, poverty, ecocide, and impotent electoral systems which keep seeing the same government behavior regardless of who people vote for. None of this is normal.

25 – Know that the truth has no political party, and neither do the social engineers.

All political parties are used to manipulate the masses in various ways, and nuggets of truth can and do emerge from any of them. Thinking along partisan lines is guaranteed to give you a distorted view. Ignore the imaginary lines between the parties. You may be certain that your rulers do.

26 – Remain always aware of this simple dynamic: the people who become billionaires are generally the ones who are sociopathic enough to do whatever it takes to get ahead.

This class has been able to buy up near-total narrative control via media ownership/influence, corporate lobbying, think tank funding, and campaign finance, and are thus able to manipulate the public into consenting to agendas which benefit nobody but plutocrats and their lackeys. This explains pretty much every major problem that we are facing right now.

27 – Understand that nations are pure narrative constructs; they only exist to the extent that people agree to pretend that they do.

The narrative managers know this, and they exploit the fact that most of us don’t. Take Julian Assange, perfect example: he was pried out of the embassy and imprisoned by an extremely obvious collaboration between the US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador, and Australia, yet they each pretended that they were acting as separate, sovereign nations completely independently of one another. Sweden pretended it was deeply concerned about rape allegations, the UK pretended it was deeply concerned about a bail violation, Ecuador pretended it was deeply concerned about skateboarding and embassy cat hygiene, the US pretended it was deeply concerned about the particulars of the way Assange helped Chelsea Manning cover her tracks, Australia pretended it was too deeply concerned about honoring the sovereign affairs of these other countries to intervene on behalf of its citizen, and it all converged in a way that just so happened to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for publishing facts. You see this same dynamic constantly, whether it’s with military interventions, trade deals, or narrative-shaping campaigns against non-aligned governments.

28 – Understand that war is the glue which holds the US-centralized empire together.

Without the carrot of military/economic alliance and the stick of military/economic violence, the US-centralized empire would cease to exist. This is why war propaganda is constant and sometimes so forced that glaring plot holes become exposed; it’s so important that they need to force it through, even if they can’t get the narrative matrix around it constructed just right. If they ceased manufacturing consent for the empire’s relentless warmongering, people would lose all trust in government and media institutions, and those institutions would lose the ability to propagandize the public effectively. Without the ability to propagandize the public effectively, our rulers cannot rule.

29 – Remember that when it comes to foreign policy, the neocons are always wrong.

They’ve been so remarkably consistent in this for so long that whenever there’s a question about any narrative involving hostilities between the US-centralized power alliance and any other nation, you can just look at what Bill Kristol, Max Boot and John Bolton are saying about it and believe the exact opposite. They’re actually a very helpful navigation tool in this way.

30 – Notice how the manipulators like to split the population in two and then get them arguing over how they should serve the establishment.

Arguing over whether it’s better to vote Democrat or Republican, arguing over whether it’s better to increase hostilities with Iran and Venezuela or with Syria and Russia, over whether you should support the US president or the FBI, arguing over how internet censorship should happen and whomshould be censored rather than if censorship should happen in the first place. The longer they can keep us arguing over the best way to lick the imperial boot, the longer they keep us from talking about whether we want to lick it at all.

31 – Watch out for appeals to emotion.

It’s much easier to manipulate someone by appealing to their feely bits rather than their capacity for rational analysis, which is why any time they want to manufacture support for military interventionism you see pictures of dead children on news screens everywhere rather than a logical argument for the advantages of using military violence based on a thorough presentation of facts and evidence. You see the same strategy used in the guilt trips they lay on third-party voters; it’s all emotional hyperbole that crumbles under any fact-based analysis, but they use it because it works. They go after your heart strings to circumvent your head.

32 – Pay attention to how much propaganda goes into maintaining the propaganda machine itself.

This is done this because propaganda is just that central to the maintenance of dominant power structures. Much effort is spent building trust in establishment narrative management outlets while sowing distrust in sources of dissent. You’ll see entire propaganda campaigns built around accomplishing solely this.

 

 

~via WakingTimes.com

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “The U.S. Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People — And The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching”

May 27, 2019

After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?”

As of this writing, the post has over 5,300 responses. Most of them are heartbreaking.

“My daughter was raped while in the army,” said one responder. “They took her to the hospital where an all male staff tried to convince her to give the guy a break because it would ruin his life. She persisted. Wouldn’t back down. Did a tour in Iraq. Now suffers from PTSD.”

“I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years,” said another.

Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them. This article exists solely to document a few of the things that have been posted in that space, partly to help spread public awareness and partly in case the thread gets deleted in the interests of “national security”. Here’s a sampling in no particular order:

Someone I loved joined right out of high school even though I begged him not to. Few months after his deployment ended, we reconnected. One night, he told me he loved me and then shot himself in the head. If you’re gonna prey on kids for imperialism, at least treat their PTSD.”

~

“After I came back from overseas I couldn’t go into large crowds without a few beers in me. I have nerve damage in my right ear that since I didn’t want to look weak after I came back I lied to the VA rep. My dad was exposed to agent orange which destroyed his lungs, heart, liver and pancreas and eventually killing him five years ago. He was 49, exposed at a post not Vietnam, and will never meet my daughter my nephew. I still drink to much and I crowds are ok most days but I have to grocery shop at night and can’t work days because there is to many ppl.”

~

“The dad of my best friend when I was in high school had served in the army. He struggled with untreated PTSD & severe depression for 30 years, never told his family. Christmas eve of 2010, he went to their shed to grab the presents & shot himself in the head. That was the first funeral I attended where I was actually told the cause of death & the reasons surrounding it. I went home from the service, did some asking around, & found that most of the funerals I’ve attended before have been caused by untreated health issues from serving.”

~

“My dad was drafted into war and was exposed to agent orange. I was born w multiple physical/neurological disabilities that are linked back to that chemical. And my dad became an alcoholic with ptsd and a side of bipolar disorder.”

~

“i met this guy named christian who served in iraq. he was cool, had his own place with a pole in the living room. always had lit parties. my best friend at the time started dating him so we spent a weekend at his crib. after a party, 6am, he took out his laptop. he started showing us some pics of his time in the army. pics with a bunch of dudes. smiling, laughing. it was cool. i was drunk and didn’t care. he started showing us pics of some little kids. after a while, his eyes went completely fucking dark. i was like man, dude’s high af. he very calmly explained to us that all of those kids were dead ‘but that’s what war was. dead kids and nothing to show for it but a military discount’. christian killed himself 2 months later.”

~

“I didn’t serve but my dad did. In Vietnam. It eventually killed him, slowly, over a couple of decades. When the doctors were trying to put in a pacemaker to maybe extend his life a couple of years, his organs were so fucked from the Agent Orange, they disintegrated to the touch. He died when I was ten. He never saw me graduate high school. He never saw me get my first job or buy my first car. He wasn’t there. But hey! Y’all finally paid out 30k after another vet took the VA to the Supreme Court, so. You know. It was cool for him.”

~

“Chronic pain with a 0% disability rating (despite medical discharge) so no benefits, and anger issues that I cope with by picking fistfights with strangers.”

~

“My parents both served in the US Army and what they got was PTSD for both of them along with anxiety issues. Whenever we go out in public and sit down somewhere my dad has to have his back up against the wall just to feel a measure of comfort that no one is going to sneak up on him and kill him and and walking up behind either of them without announcing that you’re there is most likely going to either get you punch in the face or choked out.”

~

“Many of my friends served. All are on heavy antidepressant/anxiety meds, can’t make it through 4th of July or NYE, and have all dealt with heavy substance abuse problems before and after discharge. And that’s on top of one crippled left hand, crushed vertebra, and GSWs.”

~

“Left my talented and young brother a broken and disabled man who barely leaves the house. Left my mother hypervigilant & terrified due to the amount of sexual assault & rape covered up and looked over by COs. Friend joined right out if HS, bullet left him paralyzed neck down.”

~

“My cousin went to war twice and came back with a drug addiction that killed him. My other cousin could never get paid on time and when he left they tried to withhold his pay.”

~

“It’s given me a fractured spine, TBI, combat PTSD, burn pit exposure, and a broken body with no hope of getting better. Not even medically retired for a fractured spine. WTF.”

~

“Y’all killed my father by failing to provide proper treatments after multiple tours.”

~

“Everyone I know got free PTSD and chemical exposure and a long engagement in their efforts to have the US pay up for college tuition. Several lives ruined. No one came out better. Thank god my recruiter got a DUI on his way to get me or I would be dead or worse right now.”

~

“I have ptsd and still wake up crying at night. Also have a messed up leg that I probably will have to deal with the rest of my life. Depression. Anger issues.”

~

“My grandfather came back from Vietnam with severe PTSD, tried to drown it in alcohol, beat my father so badly and so often he still flinches when touched 50 years later. And I grew up with an emotionally scarred father with PTSD issues of his own because of it. Good times.”

~

“Hmmm. Let’s see. I lost friends, have 38 inches of scars, PTSD and a janky arm and hand that don’t work.”

~

“my grandpa served in vietnam from when he was 18-25. he’s 70 now and every night he still has nightmares where he stands up tugging at the curtains or banging on the walls screaming at the top of his lungs for someone to help him. he refuses to talk about his time and when you mention anything about the war to him his face goes white and he has a panic attack. he cries almost every day and night and had to spend 10 years in a psychiatric facility for suicidal ideations from what he saw there.”

~

“My best friend joined the Army straight out of high school because his family was poor & he wanted a college education. He served his time & then some. Just as he was ready to retire he was sent to Iraq. You guys sent him back in a box. It destroyed his children.”

~

“Well, my father got deployed to Iraq and came back a completely different person. Couldn’t even work the same job he had been working 20 years before that because of his anxiety and PTSD. He had nightmares, got easily violent and has terrible depression. But the army just handed him pills, now he is 100% disabled and is on a shit ton of medication. He has nightmares every night, paces the house barely sleeping, checking every room just to make sure everyone’s safe. He’s had multiple friends commit suicide.”


“Father’s a disabled Vietnam veteran who came home with severe PTSD and raging alcoholism. VA has continuously ignored him throughout the years and his medical needs and he receives very little compensation for all he’s gone through. Thanks so much!!”

~

“I was #USNavy, my husband was #USArmy, he served in Bosnia and Iraq and that nice, shy, funny guy was gone, replaced with a withdrawn, angry man…he committed suicide a few years later…when I’m thanked for my service, I just nod.”

~

“I’m permanently disabled because I trained through severe pain after being rejected from the clinic for ‘malingering.’ Turns out my pelvis was cracked and I ended up having to have hip surgery when I was 20 years old.”

~

“My brother went into the Army a fairly normal person, became a Ranger (Ft. Ord) & came out a sociopath. He spent the 1st 3 wks home in his room in the dark, only coming out at night when he thought we were asleep. He started doing crazy stuff. Haven’t seen him since 1993.”

~

“Recently attended the funeral for a west point grad with a 4yr old and a 7yr old daughter because he blew his face off to escape his ptsd but thats nothing new.”


Take an additional $15 off $150 purchase. Use code: FIFTEEN

~

“I don’t know anyone in my family who doesn’t suffer from ptsd due to serving. One is signed off sick due to it & thinks violence is ok. Another (navy) turned into a psycho & thought domestic violence was the answer to his wife disobeying his orders.”

~

“My dad served during vietnam, but after losing close friends and witnessing the killing of innocents by the U.S., he refused to redeploy. He has suffered from PTSD ever since. The bravest thing he did in the army was refuse to fight any longer, and I’m so proud of him for that.”

~

“My best friend from high school was denied his mental health treatment and forced to return to a third tour in Iraq, despite having such deep trauma that he could barely function. He took a handful of sleeping pills and shot himself in the head two weeks before deploying.”

~

“Bad back, hips, and knees. Lack of trust, especially when coming forward about sexual harassment. Detachment, out of fear of losing friends. Missed birthdays, weddings, graduations, and funerals. I get a special license plate tho.”

~

“My son died 10 months ago. He did 3 overseas tours. He came back with severe mental illness.”

~

“I’m still in and I’m in constant pain and they recommended a spinal fusion when I was 19. Y’all also won’t update my ERB so I can’t use the education benefits I messed myself up for.”

~

“My dad served two tours in middle east and his personality changes have affected my family forever. VA ‘counseling’ has a session limit and doesn’t send you to actual psychologists. Military service creates a mental health epidemic it is then woefully unequipped to deal with.”

~

“My best childhood friend lost his mind after his time in the marines and now he lives in a closet in his mons house and can barely hold a conversation with anyone. He only smokes weed and drinks cough syrup that he steals since he can’t hold a job.”

~

“After coming back from Afghanistan…..Matter fact I don’t even want to talk about it. Just knw that my PTSD, bad back, headaches, chronic pain, knee pain, and other things wishes I would have NEVER signed that contract. It was NOT worth the pain I’ll endure for the rest of life.”

~

“My cousin served and came back only to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and ptsd. There were nights that he would lock himself in the bathroom and stay in the corner because he saw bodies in the bathtub. While driving down the highway, he had another episode and drove himself into a cement barrier, engulfing his Jeep in flames and burning alive. My father served as well and would never once speak of what he witnessed and had to do. He said it’s not something that any one person should ever be proud of.”


“I was sexually assaulted by a service member at 17 when I visited my sister on her base, then again at 18. My friend got hooked on k2 and died after the va turned him away for mental health help. Another friend serving was exploited sexually by her co and she was blamed for it.”

~

“I spent ten years in the military. I worked 15 hour days to make sure my troops were taken care of. In return for my hard work I was rewarded with three military members raping me. I was never promoted to a rank that made a difference. And I have an attempt at suicide. Fuck you!”

~

“I actually didn’t get around to serving because I was sexually assaulted by three of my classmates during a military academy prep program. They went to the academies and are still active duty officers. I flamed out of the program and have PTSD.”

~

“My father’s successful military career taught him that he’s allowed to use violence to make people do what he wants because America gave him that power.”

~

“While I was busy framing ‘soliders and families first’ (lol) propaganda posters, my best friend went to ‘Iraqistan’ but he didn’t come back. He returned alive, to be sure, but he was no longer the fun, carefree, upbeat person he’d previously been.”

~

“My husband is a paraplegic and can’t control 3/4 of his body now. Me, I’ve got PTSD, an anxiety disorder, two messed up knees, depression, a bad back, tinnitus, and chronic insomnia. I wish both had never served.”

~

“This is one of the most heartbreaking threads I’ve ever read.”

~

“I am so sorry. The way we fail our service members hurts my heart. My grandfather served in the Korean War and had nightmares until his death at 91 years old. We must do better.”

~

“My Army story is that when I was in high school, recruiters were there ALL the time- at lunch, clubs, etc.- targeting the poor kids at school. I didn’t understand it until now. You chew people who have nothing at home up and spit them out.”

~

“I was thinking about enlisting until I saw this thread. Hard pass.”

~

“I hope to god that the Army has enough guts to read these and realize how badly our servicepeople are being treated. Thank you and god bless you to all of you in this thread, and your loved ones who are suffering too.”

~

There are many, many more.

 

~via WakingTimes.com

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “The U.S. Government Is Like A Bad Dad”

“And the mother, well like most mothers she’s in charge of managing the stories the family tells about what’s going on. Whenever a neighbor turns up wounded or dead, she’s responsible for telling the children that it was the neighbor’s fault, and their father was only protecting them.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

There’s a house on the block where a large family lives, and it gets pretty abusive in there. The kids hardly ever get to see a doctor and there’s never enough money for them to afford decent clothes or go on holiday, and a disproportionately large number of them get locked in their rooms as punishment for silly, arbitrary offenses which could have been prevented with a little more care and attention. They don’t get out much and they have to spend their free time listening to scripture readings about how exceptional their family is.

Looking at these disheveled, mistreated children, one can’t help wondering what’s going on with their parents. Why aren’t they providing for their kids? Why isn’t money going toward giving their children quality healthcare and education and making sure they have everything they need? Are they poor? Is there some sort of substance abuse problem?

Actually, if you look at their house you can very quickly see where the problem lies. A huge, opaque fence with barbed wire surrounds the yard, and there are many expensive security cameras scanning the scene, facing both outward and inward. All the doors and windows are barred shut and rigged with fancy alarm systems, and there’s a giant stockpile of firearms in the master bedroom.

Every spare moment of his free time, the man of the house is either coming home with an expensive new piece of home security equipment or adjusting and tinkering with the ones he already has. He can’t be bothered with his needy children, who he angrily shoves away whenever they dare approach him asking for things.

“No time for that!” he yells while piling new redundant security systems on top of old redundant security systems. “I’ve got to protect the family from all potential intruders!”

When he’s not doing that, he’s prowling around the block bullying his neighbors. He forces them to join the neighborhood watch, which he controls with an iron fist and runs around the clock. He insists that they submit to his leadership and relate to their neighborhood with the same aggressive hyper-vigilance that he has, and if any of them refuse to bow to his demands, he sets to work on grinding them into compliance.

He sabotages their investments and works to get them fired from their jobs so they won’t have any money. He circulates pernicious rumors about them to undermine the possibility of anyone coming to their aid. He patrols the neighborhood with a large loaded pistol in each hand, and if anyone so much as looks at him funny he runs up to them and points both barrels in their face until they lay down on the ground with their hands behind their head and apologize. With particularly noncompliant neighbors he’ll burst into their house late at night and beat them within an inch of their lives until they agree to his demands, then get all his other neighbors to testify in court that he did it in self defense. Sometimes he’ll even stage events to make it look like a neighbor attacked him, then he’ll go to their house and murder them in cold blood.

He is feared by the entire neighborhood, by his allies and enemies alike. The neighbors who support him only do so because he’s got such tight control over the neighborhood, and they know that their lives will be made easy if they work with him and painful if they work against him. So they do what they need to do to avoid being targeted while secretly wishing that he has a heart attack in his sleep.

“It’s either us or them,” the father often tells his family. “I need to keep everyone around us in line, because there’s no telling who might come after us. We’ve earned a special place in this neighborhood, so it’s our job to lead it.”

Once in a great while, if someone’s feeling particularly brave, they might point out that the father is constantly doing the things he’s afraid of his neighbors doing to him.

“It’s different when I do it!” he always barks in response while adding their name to his personal blacklist. “Our family is exceptional, so we’re the exception to the rules.”

And the mother, well like most mothers she’s in charge of managing the stories the family tells about what’s going on. Whenever a neighbor turns up wounded or dead, she’s responsible for telling the children that it was the neighbor’s fault, and their father was only protecting them.

“Your father loves you,” she coos to them at bedtime. “You should be grateful to him for protecting your life and liberty. It’s good that he’s so strong, because if our family wasn’t in charge it would be the Changs around the corner or the Smirnovs down the road. We should always support everything he does and never question him, and never, ever wish for things to be different. This is the only way that things can ever be. Anyone who tells you otherwise is crazy and evil.”

But the children are growing older, and some of the bigger kids are beginning to open their eyes to what’s going on. They’re beginning to realize that their father is an abusive tyrant and their mother has been lying to them their whole lives. The younger kids are still indoctrinated and put their fingers in their ears when the big kids try to tell them different, but even they are beginning to have their doubts.

And the parents can smell it in the air. They know they’re beginning to lose control over the stories their children tell themselves about what’s going on in their neighborhood, and they know it will be a problem if they don’t nip that in the bud fast. The mother suddenly becomes far more forceful with her storytelling, saying that the Smirnovs are plotting a home invasion any minute now so the family must unite against them. The father begins making stricter and stricter rules about how the children are permitted to speak to one another, locking them in their rooms if they disobey or separating them from the others so they can’t speak their mind.

It remains to be seen if the father will succeed in shoring up control of his family or not, but things have definitely changed, and the whole neighborhood is watching.

 

~via CaitlinJohnstone.com

CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: “The Revolution Has No Hollywood Ending”

“People are hoping that Donald Trump gets arrested for conspiring with Russia and dragged off in chains and everything goes back to normal. People are hoping that President Trump drains the swamp, locks up Hillary Clinton, arrests most of Capitol Hill for child molestation, and destroys the Deep State. People are hoping there’s a violent revolution which restores individual sovereignty to the citizenry. People are hoping there’s a peaceful people’s revolution which ousts the ruling class and replaces the status quo with whatever their personal favored strain of leftism is. Everyone’s subconsciously looking for some big, momentous climax where the Good Guys are vindicated and the Bad Guys are brought to justice. 

And it just isn’t going to go down like that.”

~Caitlin Johnstone

 

After struggling against our own self-destructive tendencies throughout the entirety of recorded history, humanity is now at a point where that struggle is probably going to be resolved, one way or another, within the lifetime of most people reading this.

The movie about this struggle has been written with one of two possible endings. In the first, we are unable to overcome our self-destructive tendencies, and the last of our species dies by radiation poisoning or choking on the dust of an uninhabitable planet. In the second, we evolve beyond our self-destructive tendencies and move into a healthy relationship with our minds, our ecosystem, and each other.

Neither of these two endings would work in a Hollywood blockbuster. In the first, humanity dies off not with a bang but with a whimper as a result of nuclear fallout or climate collapse. In the second, conflict and drama as we know it will cease to exist as we pull up and away from the self-destructive patterns which brought us to this point. We’ll either keep along this same destructive trajectory and meet its inevitable end very soon, or we’ll deviate from that trajectory into something wildly different. In either case, there is no kissing the girl while the credits roll, no coolly striding away from the explosion, and no spin-kicking the bad guy off a cliff into lava after uttering a short, memorable line.

I say this because it seems like a lot of people are kind of hoping for a Hollywood ending in some way. People are hoping that Donald Trump gets arrested for conspiring with Russia and dragged off in chains and everything goes back to normal. People are hoping that President Trump drains the swamp, locks up Hillary Clinton, arrests most of Capitol Hill for child molestation, and destroys the Deep State. People are hoping there’s a violent revolution which restores individual sovereignty to the citizenry. People are hoping there’s a peaceful people’s revolution which ousts the ruling class and replaces the status quo with whatever their personal favored strain of leftism is. Everyone’s subconsciously looking for some big, momentous climax where the Good Guys are vindicated and the Bad Guys are brought to justice.

And it just isn’t going to go down like that.

If you’ve paid much attention to human behavior throughout your life, you know that we reliably repeat the same patterns until there’s inner healing and personal growth. If you’ve experienced inner healing and personal growth, you know that the actual experience of it is generally anti-climactic. True healing is always a game of subtraction, and it moves in the exact opposite direction of the egoically satisfying mental narratives which Hollywood has grown so skilled at providing us. When true inner healing takes place, it doesn’t usually make for a good story, and its effects often go unnoticed for some time, because they are evidenced not in the addition of something new but in the subtraction of something old. You look at your memories of your old unwholesome behavior patterns and think “Hmm, how strange that I used to do that sort of thing!”

If humanity transcends its unwholesome patterns at the end of this movie, it’s going to happen in much the same way. Not in an egoically gratifying way where we see our most hated political figures punished and our own ideological preferences uplifted, but in the simple falling away of old patterns. If human consciousness evolves to the point where we can avert our own destruction, then it will necessarily have dropped the egoic patterns of fear, greed and negativity which kept us bound to our old destructive behaviors. Were that to happen, we’d probably struggle to even remember what we used to stress and rage about when looking at the state of our world.

Nothing else will do the trick. If we do come to some dramatic, egoically satisfying climax, like where all the oligarchs and warmongers are guillotined and their wealth distributed among the needy or whatever, then it isn’t the end of the movie. We have not arrived at a point where we’ve transcended our old patterns, we’ve just seen those old patterns manifest in a way which happens to be egoically pleasing to us in this particular instance. And we will soon see them manifest in ways which we find far from pleasing again.

We will not arrive at our happy ending unless we collectively heal away those old egoic addictions to drama and conflict. Even if we did somehow manage to create a utopia without healing away those old egoic addictions, it would be quickly destroyed and the countdown to doomsday restarted by the gnashing, looping patterns which brought us to the brink of extinction in the first place.

Because guess what? From the perspective of our current state of drama-addicted and conflict-addicted collective consciousness, a world without drama and conflict is dull and worthless. Those addictions will keep leading us toward our destruction until we shed them, if for no other reason than our psychological inability to live in a peaceful, harmonious world.

Are you able to live in a peaceful, harmonious world? A world that is boring to the ego and unsuitable for Hollywood scripts? When I look at the behavior of a lot of activists on social media, it seems like a lot of them fear an end to drama and conflict more than they fear the end of the world. It sounds funny to say, but I think this is legitimately the case for many people. Our addiction to drama and conflict is so strong and our ability to just be at peace in the here and now so weak that keeping things from becoming harmonious can feel like an existential life-and-death need. And we all know people who are strongly predisposed toward stirring up drama to feed that illusory need.

To be able to live in a peaceful world where we collaborate harmoniously with our ecosystem and our fellow humans, we’ll have to transcend our inability to simply be. To have a world where all human ingenuity is pointed at making the world a better place instead of inventing new ways to create landfill for mass consumption and new ways to kill and exploit each other, we’re going to have to have minds that are able to survive in an environment with a lot less conflict, and, once our ingenuity really gets going, a lot less work as well. Minds that can rest comfortably without frenetic busyness or drama. Such minds are currently rare among our species.

The reason there are so many Hollywood movies about dystopian futures and hardly any about utopian futures is because there is no drama and conflict in utopia. Hollywood movies bring in the big bucks by being egoically pleasing to watch; it’s ego candy to watch heroes kicking villains off cliffs, because we can place ourselves in the role of the protagonist and imagine ourselves emerging triumphantly from the drama and conflicts displayed on the screen.

This is why I refer to myself as a “utopia prepper”. In order to have a peaceful, harmonious world, we’re going to have to have minds that are receptive to such a thing. I consider cultivating such a mind to be the most important thing I do in paving the way for paradise on earth, abandoning all attachments to our old ways of operating and opening a path within myself for something new. This will necessarily happen among us all if we’re to see the happy ending of this movie, and if we do it won’t be spectacular. It won’t be egoically gratifying. We’ll simply cease engaging in unwholesome patterns in a very anti-climactic way, begin channeling our ingenuity into making the world a better place, and perhaps once in a while look back on history and think, “Hmm, how strange that we used to do that sort of thing!”

 

~via WakingTimes.com