Tag: Media

What’s Up With That Pervasive, “Too Much Big Government” Theme?

An example of pictorial anti-government propaganda. Corporations have applied the anti-big-government theme for decades to avoid government regulation.

This column was originally published August 26, 2012. It was revised on 12-30-2016 and again on 11-26-2018 to include some new graphics. It’s explains how Americans came to hate our own government, and is still as true as ever.

We hear it everywhere, all the time, like a mantra.

Candidates, TV pundits and political ads tell us we have “too much big government!” Candidates portray virtually any attempt to regulate or tax any industry as a government intrusion into our lives. Candidates are always for “less government.”

What’s up with this pervasive, anti-government theme? How and why did so many self-professed “patriotic,” flag-waving, red-blooded Americans start hating their own government?

“Government intrusion” is a powerful propaganda theme that has been around for a long time, and it’s an argument big businesses often use to subtly manipulate public opinion. As with so many other corporate-derived propaganda tools, the anti-government theme originated largely with the tobacco industry, which has relied on it for decades to get its way in public policy.

Western slope liberal “snowflakes” hope to make history with the area’s first flying banner

Energy against Trump is growing stronger throughout the country, including on the western slope.

Progressives and liberals in the Grand Valley who were thrilled by the anti-G@P billboards currently up on Broadway/Highway 340 just west of Grand Avenue will get yet another boost of support on Saturday, October 13 when, weather permitting, a huge flying banner that says “IMPEACHMENT NOW” will grace the clear blue skies over western Colorado  It will be the first time in local history that anyone can remember a banner being flown over the area.

Ray Scott relying on huge amounts of campaign financing from outside Mesa County

Ray Scott’s big smile might be because his campaign is being boosted by lots of money from big corporations based outside Mesa County.

A new campaign mailer arriving in people’s mailboxes takes digs at SD-7 candidate Dan Thurlow in an effort to boost Colorado Senator Ray Scott (R-Mesa County) in the primary election this month.

The pro-Scott mailer was funded solely by a group called “Citizens for Cost Effective Government” (CFCEG), whose address is in an unspecified suite in the 56-story Republic Plaza building on 17th Street in downtown Denver. Citizens for Cost Effective Government’s funding comes from just two sources, neither of which are in Mesa County. $25,000 of their total $45,000 in funding comes from Extraction Oil and Gas Company, which — whoops! — just happens to share the same address on 17th Street as “Citizens for Cost Effective Government.”

The other $20,000 of CFCEG’s funding comes from the Colorado Apartment Association based in Denver’s Greenwood Village, not in Mesa County.

It’s time to stop advertising guns.

In keeping with the culture of linking of firearms to masculinity, Daily Sentinel ran a Sportsman’s Warehouse’s ad promoting guns as gifts for Father’s Day, 2018

It’s time for our local paper, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and other publications to stop advertising guns. This is the rock-bottom minimum that can be done to end the glorification of guns and senseless proliferation of gun violence in society. It is the metaphorical lifting a pinky finger to take action against a problem, but it is necessary.

Given the rate at which gun massacres are happening in our country, as a matter of health and safety, it’s time to just stop promoting guns in any way, and nowhere is this more true than in Mesa County.

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction at Easter, 2018

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a new digital billboard up in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace on I-70 B just in time for Easter. It shows a child with a shocked look on his face holding a book that looks very much like a Bible. It says “Belief without proof is gullibility.” You can see the board as you are heading west on I-70 B.

WCAF wanted their spring billboard to have an educational component this year. The group wanted to emphasize that people deserve proof before believing what they’re told. They also want to urge people to come to logical conclusions based on verifiable facts rather than on lore, mythology or pure faith.

WCAF’s mission is to educate the public about atheism, promote acceptance of atheism as a rational belief system and preserve and promote the wall of separation between church and state.

The board is up through Tuesday, April 4. WCAF says anyone who takes their photo with the billboard and posts it on WCAF’s Facebook page will get a free package of M&Ms.  To donate to more billboards like this, go to WCAF’s Donation page.

The dangers of June Fellhauer’s 2018 talk by Caroline Leaf, promoted by District 51

WakeUp Ministries’ promotion of Caroline Leaf’s talk

Local self-styled Christian missionary June Fellhauer is back in 2018 and this time, her unregistered nonprofit Wake Up Ministries sponsored a talk at Two Rivers Convention Center on January 12 by  Dr. Caroline Leaf, another Christian missionary.

Caroline Leaf labels herself a “cognitive neuroscientist.” Her teachings are aimed at helping people “see the link between science and God as a tangible way of controlling their thoughts and emotions.”  Dr. Leaf’s talked are based on her own idea that “the mind controls the brain.” She teaches that thoughts are the sole controller of our physical and mental health, that “toxic thinking is the root cause disease” and that thoughts can change our DNA.

The problem is, most of Leaf’s teachings are debunked by science.

Daily Sentinel Completely Omits Coverage of G.J. Tax Day March

The small article to the left of the photo is the only “coverage” the Sentinel gave to a Tax Day march against President Trump keeping his tax returns secret from the American people, and it doesn’t even mention Grand Junction. The photo right is of a child at the Easter egg hunt at the Botanical Gardens. Almost 300 people marched through downtown in Grand Junction.

Sometimes, what newspapers don’t cover is as important than what they do cover.

Today’s Daily Sentinel is a case in point.

Hundreds of people marched in the streets of downtown Grand Junction on Saturday, April 15 yelling and protesting President Trump keeping his tax returns secret from the American people and claiming they don’t care, and the Sunday April 16 issue of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel carried no coverage of it at all. Zip. The only article in Sunday’s Sentinel about any Tax March at all was on page 3 of the first section, right below the “You Said It” column, and it mentioned Tax Marches held in Denver and Colorado Springs, but contained nothing at all about the big march in Grand Junction.

Daily Sentinel Threatens CO Sen. Ray Scott with Defamation Lawsuit

Publisher of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Jay Seaton, publisher of the Grand Junction, Colorado Daily Sentinel, publicly threatened Colorado State Senator Ray Scott with a defamation lawsuit in his editorial column Sunday, February 12, after Scott, in a tweet, charged the Sentinel with publishing “fake news.”

Long Ballot? Don’t Worry. Use AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide!

The entire November ballot is in today's Daily Sentinel, and it takes up 6 pages of fine print, like these two.

The entire November ballot is in today’s Daily Sentinel, and it takes up 6 pages of fine print, like these two.

Ballots were mailed today in Mesa County, and it’s a long one. The Daily Sentinel has published the entire November ballot in today’s paper, and it takes up six full pages of the paper, in fine print.

If you are worried about all the time it’s going to take to figure out how to vote on all this stuff, worry no more. We’ve done the research for you! We’ve looked into where the big money and corporate influence are coming from on all the issues, and how wealthy corporations are using ballot initiatives to try to trick you out of your rights, and weaken your influence and your ability to protect yourself and your families from their activities. We’ve looked at the ins and outs of all the issues, what’s fair and what’s not, and figured out how people can cast votes in their own interest.

Just go to AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide 2016 to see the recommended votes on the local, state and federal candidates and ballot issues. The rationale for the votes is toward the bottom of the post.

Happy voting, and remember, after this you can mute all those annoying election TV ads!

WCAF Hoping to Run 2016 Winter Holiday Billboard

The billboard WCAF hopes to run this December in Grand Junction. To donate to help make this board happen, go to WesternColoradoAtheists.org and click on "Donate."

WCAF members hope to run this billboard in December in Grand Junction. To donate to help make this billboard a reality, go to WesternColoradoAtheists.org and click on “Donate.”

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, the western slope’s longest-established secular advocacy group, is hoping (NOT praying) to run a winter solstice billboard on Grand Junction’s I-70 Business Loop this holiday season. The group voted unanimously to gather enough funds to make the board happen. They need only $265 to run it for one week, and they hope to run the board from December 18-24, 2016. One donor has already pledged $100 to make it happen, so the group is quickly moving towards making its goal a reality.

WCAF was established in 2007, and will be ten years old next February. The group now has hundreds of Facebook followers.

People wanting to donate towards the billboard can go to WCAF’s “Donate” page and donate through PayPal. There is no minimum donation, all donations are tax deductible and 100% of donations go to WCAF. You can use a credit or debit card, and you don’t need a PayPal account to donate.

Enigmatic Redlands Hill Continues to Speak to the Neighborhood

The mystery remains about who has been sending huge, cryptic messages using this hill on the Redlands for years now, and why

The mystery remains about who has been writing huge, cryptic messages using this hill on the Redlands for years now, and what drives him or her to do it

Back in December, 2014, I talked about the Mysterious Talking Hill Off South Camp Road. For years now, someone has regularly been climbing up this hill and scratching brief, huge messages into the green bentonite. The letters are probably at least 10-12 feet high. The writer changes the messages every other week or so. This task is far more challenging than using Twitter, which limits messages to 140 characters. The messages scratched into this hill are almost never more than four letters, tops. Repeatedly climbing up the crumbling scree to “erase” the old message and scratch in a new one can’t be easy, but some unknown person has been driven to do it frequently for at least six years now.

Sometimes the messages make sense. For example, around Mother’s Day it may say “MOM.” Near the end of December it may say “XMAS.” In May of 2014, when Google Street View caught a photo of the enigmatic hill, it said “USA.”

Mysterious talking hill of South Camp Road

Google Street View captured the hill in May of 2014, when it said “USA.”

Yesterday the hill said “TREK.”

Why?

We don’t know.

Maybe it had to do with the recent article in the Daily Sentinel about Jamie Bianchini, the man who went on an 8 year bicycle ride through 80 countries — an extended TREK. Or maybe the writer simply bought a new Trek bicycle and was glad as hell about it.

Here’s how to see the Talking Redlands Hill:

Take Broadway out towards the Redlands. Turn left at Monument Road, where the “W” gas station is. (Stop at the fabulous Trailhead Coffee House for Coffee if you have time). Continue on Monument Road toward the Colorado National Monument. When you get to South Camp Road, turn right and go a couple hundred feet to the dirt pullout directly opposite East Fallen Rock Road. There’s a big green electrical box there. Park and look for the dirt road heading generally northwest from the pullout, then look up at the Morrison formation hills just above it. Look a little to the right at a lower green bentonite hill lying between the two rock-covered peaks, as seen in the photo at the top of this article. See what it says and report back! And if you know who’s doing the writing, please do tell!

 

A Look Back: Philip Morris and the 1969 Movie “Cold Turkey”

Promotional movie poster from the 1971 movie, "Cold Turkey," starring Dick Van Dyke

Promotional movie poster from the 1971 movie, “Cold Turkey,” starring Dick Van Dyke

In August, 1969 all of the citizens the town of Greenfield, Iowa (pop. 2,100) attempted to quit smoking as a publicity stunt in connection with the on-site filming of the movie Cold Turkey, starring Dick Van Dyke.

 In an internal project they code-named “Bird 1,” Philip Morris (PM), the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, surveyed the citizens of Greenfield 8 months after their quit attempt.  PM used local Girl Scouts to hand-deliver the questionnaires to citizens to increase the acceptance of the packets. The Girl Scouts were instructed to knock on doors and hand a questionnaire packet to “every person who was 14 years old on Cold Turkey Day.”  PM paid five dollars to everyone who completed and returned a survey.

This tobacco industry document is the report containing Philip Morris’ analysis of the success of citizens’ efforts to go “Cold Turkey.”  PM’s descriptions are entertaining, highly chauvinistic and of course paint a very dismal picture of quitting smoking:

“Even after eight months quitters were apt to report having neurotic symptoms, such as feeling depressed, being restless and tense, being ill-tempered, having a loss of energy, being apt to doze off, etc. They were further troubled by constipation…As can be seen from Table 3, the…differences among male smokers were sizable, but the female data are the most startling. The anti-smoking campaign failed to persuade the women to quit. We can only conjecture at the reasons for the failure: –perhaps it is because women are better at running their husbands’ lives then their own… –perhaps it is because busy housewives are less exposed to anti-smoking arguments, or less responsive to logical argument, or less apt to participate in community affairs…It is also possible that [smokers who] wish to stay off smoking have learned from experience that alcohol weakens their resolve. A sad picture is painted of the quitter who used to enjoy himself at a party, now restricted to coffee, fruit juice and coke, turning his back on the swingers in the kitchen in order to hover around the candy and peanut tray among the staid old gossips in the parlor. After one or two such experiences he probably quits partying altogether…The net effect of the extra food at mealtime and the snacks of candy, nuts, ice cream and coke had its predictable consequence: the quitters report more trouble with constipation and much more trouble with weight gain. This is not the happy picture painted by the Cancer Society’s anti-smoking commercial which shows an exuberant couple leaping into the air kicking their heels with joy because they’ve kicked the habit. A more appropriate commercial would show a restless, nervous, constipated husband bickering viciously with his bitchy wife, who is nagging him about his slothful behavior and growing waistline.”

 See a PDF of the confidential internal PM document here.

Atheist Billboard Graces I-70 Business Loop at Easter

WCAF's billboard graces I-70 Business Loop right in front of Hobby Lobby, which sued the federal government to deny its female employees' coverage for contraception due to the company owners' personal religious beliefs.

WCAF’s billboard graces I-70 Business Loop right in front of Hobby Lobby, which sued the federal government to deny its female employees’ coverage for contraception due to the company owners’ personal religious beliefs. (Photo Credit: JT)

A new digital billboard is up on I-70 Business Loop in Grand Junction, Colorado, supports people who don’t believe in God by reassuring them that they’re not alone. The board was put up by Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), the area’s first secular group. WCAF was founded in February, 2007, to give western Colorado atheists voice in a part of Colorado where religiosity has historically dominated the culture and people were afraid to admit they didn’t believe in God.

WCAF billboard

WCAF’s billboard on I-70 Business Loop, just west of Chick-Fil-A. It reads, “Don’t Believe? You’re not alone,” and lists WCAF’s website at WesternColoradoAtheists.org.

“If you had told me 25 years ago a day would come in Grand Junction when a big, glowing atheist billboard would be up on the main highway into town on Easter weekend, I never would have believed it,” said Anne Landman, Board Member at Large of WCAF. “But times have really changed here. We’ve had a huge amount of support for this board. It’s all right now to be an open atheist in western Colorado, and that’s what WCAF is saying with this board. It’s fine not to believe in God. Lots of people don’t, and if you don’t, you’re joining a fast-growing number of people in the U.S. who don’t.”

WCAF meets regularly twice a month and invites people to visit its website at WesternColoradoAtheists.org for information on meeting times and locations.

New Video Seeks Support for Bradley Manning

A new YouTube video features big-name stars and historical figures soliciting public support for Private Bradley Manning, the military whistleblower who turned over a classified U.S. military video made public by WikiLeaks called “Collateral Murder” that shows an airstrike in Baghdad in which the U.S. targeted two Reuters war correspondents after mistaking their cameras for weapons. U.S. forces killed one of the journalists and injured the other in the strike. After a van appeared and unarmed people emerged and tried to carry the wounded correspondent to the van, the U.S. helicopter crew repeatedly begged for permission to open fire on the van and its occupants. Permission was granted, and U.S. forces killed the surviving correspondent and wounded two children who were sitting in the van’s front seat. Manning also turned over footage showing similar war crimes in Afghanistan. For exposing the truth about U.S. military actions in Baghdad and Afghanistan, Manning was imprisoned in solitary confinement for three years and charged with “aiding the enemy,” a capital crime. Manning’s trial is currently ongoing, and the prosecution is seeking a life sentence for Manning.  The video is a project of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Philip Morris’ Secret “Ninja Program” (1991)

ninjaIn this 1991 outline, Karen Daragan, Administrator of Media Affairs for Philip Morris USA, describes PM’s secret “Ninja Program,” in which PM recruited individual smokers across the country to act as seemingly independent media spokespeople who would oppose smoking restrictions and cigarette taxes.  Daragan described the rationale for the program:

“Smokers can respond better than we can to these zealots’ positions on smoking restrictions and excessive taxation. Basically, we can get them [smokers] to deliver our messages for us and it works beautifully because they don’t represent big bad tobacco co[mpany], have more credibility [and] can relate to the public better and talk about issues that are affecting them rather than have us talk for them like we did in the past. But they can also go a step beyond. They can…get the antis reacting to them which puts the antis on the defensive for a change.”

Daragan calls PM’s Ninja Program “a proactive media relations tool for us,” and describes how PM’s method of recruiting smokers as spokespeople differs from those of other cigarette companies:

 “We don’t manage smokers rights clubs and organize meetings like our competitors do. What we do is go out and find the most articulate and devoted activists. We call them our ninjas. We feed them with our most powerful information and arguments, media train them and then have our public relations agency go out and pitch stories and set up interviews for them…”

She continues, describing how PM finds their ninjas:

“Right now we have about 30 trained media ninjas across the country…We find them through correspondence with PM, through phone surveys and written surveys among the 12 million people on our database, through word of mouth, LTE’s, and visible activists among the already existing smokers rights clubs across the states.”

PM instructed its “ninjas” to carry specific, corporate-defined messages to the media: “accommodation,” civil liberties, fairness and self-determination.

Source: 1991 Philip Morris report/outline, Bates No. 2078755208/5213

 

Tea Party Links to Tobacco Industry Uncovered

TMAdoc

Excerpt from a Tobacco Manufacturers Association summary of tobacco-related activities in the western hemisphere, January, 20000

Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that arose spontaneously in 2009 as the media has led people to believe, the Tea Party developed partly as a result of tobacco industry efforts to oppose smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes beginning in the 1980s, according to a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco.  In 2002, long before the mainstream media widely discussed tea party politics, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a nonprofit funded in part by cigarette companies since 1987 to support a pro-tobacco political agenda, started its “US Tea Party project.” Its website, http://www.usteaparty.com, stated “Our US Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated.’’ In 2004, CSE split into the two tea party organizations: Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and FreedomWorks. Those two groups, say the study authors, have since waged campaigns to turn public opinion against tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and health care reform in general.  “If you look at CSE, AFP and Freedom Works, you will see a number of the same key players, strategies and messages going back to the 1980s,” said lead author Amanda Fallin, PhD, RN, also a CTCRE fellow. “The records indicate that the Tea Party has been shaped by the tobacco industry, and is not a spontaneous grassroots movement at all.”