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Blighted Christmas - Give the truth this year

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This year Americans are confronting a melting economy, the massing of troops within our own borders, aimed at us. We are losing our homes to foreclosure and the Chinese are coming over with the faux dollars issued by the FED to buy them up. The shock waves of reality are hitting even those who normally lose themselves in football.

This Christmas give the only thing that can make a difference. America was founded on truths, truths that those in power have endlessly tried to suppress. Those truths show us what happened so we can take action. They don't want that. Our First Amendment has its roots in the common law principle that no one has a right to use their power to suppress the truth. The Zenger Case, heard in New York in 1735 was in the minds of the Founders when the subject was debated. John Peter Zenger was a publisher who printed the truth about the corrupt Royal Governor of New York. He was jailed. Eight months later a jury, exercising their right to determine the validity of law and pass on the facts, freed him.

Know the truth. The Truth will set your mind free to act on the facts.

Christmas, and our futures and those of our children and their children, have been blighted through lies that allow the abuse of power. When you see the monumental scale on which this has been perpetrated you understand. You see what must be done.

While we focus on the stories of just a few the reality is that nearly all of us have been harmed by the grasping deceit and abuse of power by corporations and their partners in government. Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, made himself wealthy by abusing the trust of ordinary people. Credited as the father of PR, he said,

"If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway", he said. In order to promote sales of bacon, for example, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a heavy breakfast.

Bernays also drew upon his uncle Sigmund's psychoanalytic ideas for the benefit of commerce in order to promote, by indirection, commodities as diverse as cigarettes, soap and books.”

Bernays is responsible for many of the ills of our century and for promoting the ugly assertion, now reaching its full fruition, that in contradiction to the founding principles of our right to the truth that it is proper for government and those whose profits depend on government, for instance corporations, to lie to us.

Bernays bears responsibility for a mind boggling number of manipulations of opinion, including the perception that smoking among women was a strike for freedom.

In the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company, he sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade. He then told the press that a group of women's rights marchers would light "Torches of Freedom". On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the eager photographers. The New York Times (1 April 1929) printed: "Group of Girls Puff at Cigarettes as a Gesture of 'Freedom'". This helped to break the taboo against women smoking in public.”

The most prevalent correlation between heart attacks in people in early middle age is that of their mothers having smoked during pregnancy. My mother smoked. Of her five children I am the oldest yet living. Earlier this year my brother, who had suffered a heart attack and brain hemorrhage, died after four years of hardship. He was stricken with aphasia, unable to see, speak, or care for himself in his late 50s. My sister Carol died at 36 of a heart attack in 1974. My sister Anne died of a heart attack after suffering brain death in 1994. My younger brother had a triple bypass in his early 40s. I have had two heart attacks.

Carol was the mother of a young son. She had bucked the glass ceiling to achieve success in the corporate world in the 50s and 60s. What else might she had accomplished for herself and those she loved?

Anne was a mathematician, an early programmer who ran a successful business. She had two children but will never know her grandchildren, or they her. She was a force for good in her community.

Charles was a systems analyst in the Governor's Office in California. He had been decorated many times while serving in Vietnam. He went on to a law degree and then to serve his state, trying to stem the ever rising costs that have destroyed the financial integrity of California. His wife and two children lost him far too early and, believe me, they miss his fey sense of humor, his abiding care, and his courage.

Every day I live with the fact I may die before I am able to ensure the continuing care of a disabled son. My younger brother lives with the uncertainty his condition brings to his own family. Our mother smoked all of her life, thanks to Bernays manipulation. If she had known, if smoking had not been misrepresented to her and her generation, that is a choice she would not have made. We are not going to sue, but we will be heard. Smoking and profiting from false advertising is only one relatively minor issue. But consider what it cost our one family.

Lies and deception kill as they enrich the worst among us. Worse, they destroy our ability to see what is is true so that we can invest our lives in what will sustain us and bring joy to ourselves, our families and our larger communities. I miss my siblings every day, no matter how long it has been and will until the day I die.

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Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father (more...)

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