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Paved with good intentions: When showbiz & charity become political instruments

By Sam Gerrans | RT | January 5, 2016

Public opinion is increasingly influenced by mixing politics, business and entertainment with good causes. When Mark Zuckerberg announced he was giving away most of his money, people got excited. But charity and good causes are rarely what they seem.

Politics – as the adage goes – is show business for ugly people.

If by ‘show business’ we mean the implementation of a script worked out in advance by people the public never hears about and dressed up to resemble a spontaneous and passable substitute for reality, then I would agree.

What I see, though, is just as all other norms are being redefined and merged with their polar opposites to form a new mush designed to confuse and debilitate, so the beautiful people are being blended with the ugly ones to form a new compound agent.

The first feet over the line appeared in the 1960s. They belonged to JFK who was the first TV president star, and Muhammad Ali, the first major sports star activist.

Since then, the trickle has turned into a deluge, with a lot of the traffic coming from Hollywood and big business.

Just to be clear: I’m not bemoaning the injection of a lack of purity into the political discourse. I have no time for any politician in power of any stripe who does not actively and openly work to wrest power away from international bankers. Outside of Iceland, I’m still waiting.

But today, it is commonplace – almost expected – for a star or an industrial magnate to get behind a cause.

Charities, philanthropies and foundations

Charities and philanthropies have two attractive qualities if you’re in the business of pushing through an agenda quietly. Firstly, they are tax-exempt. Secondly, they are beyond criticism.

People’s naiveté is staggering. They believe that industrial magnates and investors – men who have spent their lives screwing people over – suddenly and for no reason fall under the influence of benevolent fairy dust.

They want to believe that the Warren Buffetts and George Soroses – men whose careers are characterized by reflex ruthlessness – are suddenly compelled to go out and do random acts of kindness.

What, in fact, is happening is that these men are creating foundations: corporations that will never pay any tax and which will continue to advance an agenda none of us voted for – in perpetuity.

A foundation will hire and retire generations of directors and workers, all of whom will be suborned to the Articles governing that foundation at the time it was created. The DNA of the founder is enshrined in a legal entity, given boundless amounts of money, and then allowed to follow an agenda invariably directed towards ‘change’ – change no one ever heard about, never mind voted for.

What foundations (and charities or so-called philanthropies) do not do is give away money. What they, in fact, do is allow money to be released to persons or organizations, which must then do very specific things with it. In short, they subcontract out the implementation of their guiding Articles to the recipients of their ‘charity’.

If it is still hard for you to embrace the notion that what is termed ‘charity’ or ‘philanthropy’ could be anything but benign, I recommend watching Norman Dodd interviewed by the excellent G. Edward Griffin. Norman Dodd was, in 1954, the Staff Director of the Congressional Special Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations. He knew how they really work.

Agenda 21

Mainstream media works hard, generally speaking, to defuse criticism of Agenda 21. Similar to philanthropy, it uses warm, fuzzy terminology. It talks, for example, about ‘sustainable development’ – and who could be against that?

Glenn Beck nailed it when he said: “Sustainable development is just a really nice way of saying centralized control over all of human life on planet earth.

Bill Gates has gone from knowing how to make computer software (which defies any intelligent attempt to use it and now spies on you), to being an expert on the environment (i.e. how all of us should live), which is at the core of Agenda 21.

He couldn’t make an operating system that didn’t crash and turn blue every time you wanted to do something, but he’s got the solution to the problem which was identified by his buddy Al Gore, who went from almost inventing the internet and almost being president of the United States to almost winning the Nobel Peace Prize (he shared it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and who – like Bill – is an expert on how we all should live.

Bill explains with nerd-like zeal the need to reduce carbon emissions to “almost zero” (which, since humans are carbon-based life forms, would require our virtual extinction), and among his toolkit for achieving this aim is “a really great job on new vaccines.”

Bill Gates also has a tax-free foundation. Knowing how – and, in fact, if – the rest of us should have children is something of a family business for Gates. His father, W. H. Gates, was a director of Planned Parenthood, and also a ‘philanthropist’.

Eye candy

Actors and pop stars get adoration and money – at least the successful ones do. And if you live in a grim area and work in a boring job that can seem like the zenith of all possible joy.

However, the appeal wears off after a while. You don’t just want to speak other people’s words. You want to say something significant yourself. You’ve spent your life scrambling up a greasy pole to get respect, only to find yourself secretly afraid that people don’t take you seriously.

Such people, then, are nothing if not vain. That’s partly why they went into the business in the first place.

So it’s not difficult to utilize both their vanity and their proven skills in delivering dialogue they didn’t write and don’t understand, in order to push forward agendas they could never grasp.

Such people are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett writ small. Very small. Because while they might seem like gods to you, they have no real power. They are only ever one misjudged comment away from never working again, and they are all terrified of having to go back and live with the unwashed masses.

People such as Gates and Buffett and Gore are pretty dull to most people. Joe Public is not accustomed to listening to suits. But he has thousands of hours invested in giving his rapt attention to Hollywood stars and musicians.

This makes them useful to those who really do understand power; who can make where the rubber meets the road – where vanity meets inanity – serve to push forward the agenda the grown-ups came up with.

Pop people are basically used by the system to sell a new weaponized culture to the target audience. It is an obvious move to use those tried-and-tested puppets to sell more of that same agenda.

So Angelina Jolie was gushed over by the Telegraph, in part for her intrepid journey to Darfur and then for lecturing the Council on Foreign Relations (a place where real power resides) on the need to do the things in Darfur – stuff the CFR was planning on doing anyway, but was unable to express in a way that did not send people to sleep.

Bono, for his part, has gone from anthems against the establishment to eulogies in its praise. He is big friends with Bill Gates, for example, and likes to chew the cud with him on the ‘charity’ they are both involved in.

You name the star, they’ll have a cause. From Emma Watson (who at the age of 25 is already an ‘activist’) to George Clooney to Scarlett Johansson – they are all out there treading the boards of seemingly worthy narratives, looking authentic and concerned, and investing dullness with magic.

The fact that few if any of them could write an undergraduate paper unaided on the subject they are supposedly experts in doesn’t matter. People follow the stars. And the people who control the stars know that.

Very occasionally, someone goes off-script; someone claws his way to a position of prominence by sheer grit and talent and then just says what he thinks. Tyson Fury comes to mind.

Then the media is less interested in causes and more interested in damage limitation, wringing its hands at the incongruity of someone capable of Wrongthink being fantastically good at something.

Something tells me Mr Fury isn’t going to be invited to share his thoughts with the Council on Foreign Relations or to hug trees with Bill Gates.

I also wonder how long we’ll have to wait to find a star using the Oscars to speak out in favor of no sex before marriage or tipping buckets of cold water over themselves to highlight the evils of usury.

I’m thinking Hell will freeze over first.

Read more:Gates Foundation focuses $3bn agro-fund on rich countries, ‘pushes GMO agenda in Africa’

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Oxfam’s PR firm helping to greenwash Sodastream

By Tom Anderson | Corporate Watch | April 2, 2014

There has been a lot of negative media attention in the last few months on Sodastream, an Israeli fizzy drinks company with a factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim. A partnership between Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson ended recently after an international campaign put pressure on the charity to end its relationship with Johansson because she was undertaking ongoing work for Sodastream.

However, a high profile US public relations (PR) firm, which boasts of its “ethical business practices”, is providing services to both Sodastream and Oxfam America. Fenton Communications states on its site that “We do not take on clients that we do not believe in ourselves” and claims that it works “for companies and foundations advocating social change”. Fenton’s corporate social responsibility rhetoric and greenwash doesn’t bear more than a few minutes of scrutiny. The PR firm has a client list which includes large multinationals such as General Mills and Unilever. General Mills jointly own the General Mills (Pillsbury) plant in the Atarot settlement Industrial zone, while Unilever only pulled out of the Barkan settlement industrial zone after years of pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Both companies are also responsible for selling, marketing and lobbying hard for processed foods globally, which are damaging to people’s health. One of Fenton’s other clients is Oxfam America.

In response to the public campaign about Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam stated: “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador… Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.” Why then does Oxfam America find it acceptable to work with a PR firm that includes Sodastream on its client list?

It is not surprising that Sodastream feels the need for a PR firm. The company sells consumer products, marketing them as ‘green’. It relies on maintaining a positive public image. The international boycott campaign against the company has been growing apace and is taking its toll. Sodastream has reported a loss in the last three quarters and its share price is suffering.

Why not contact Oxfam encouraging them not to work with a PR firm doing business with a company working in Israel’s settlements:

Oxfam America office

226 Causeway Street 5th Floor

Boston, MA 02114-2206

United States

info@oxfamamerica.org

+1 617 728 2594

+1 617 482 1211 (Toll-free 1-800-77-OXFAM)

 

Oxfam GB office

Oxfam House

John Smith Drive Cowley

Oxford OX4 2JY

United Kingdom

enquiries@oxfam.org.uk

+44 1865 472 600

+44 1865 473 727

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roger Waters Asks Scarlett Johansson to Reconsider Sodastream Support

Pink Floyd’s bass player Roger Waters stated on his FaceBook page that he has written several letters in private to actress Scarlett Johansson due to her support of the Israeli company Sodastream which is located within an illegal Israeli settlement.

The following is from Waters to Johansson:

Scarlett? Ah, Scarlett. I met Scarlett a year or so ago, I think it was at a Cream reunion concert at MSG. She was then, as I recall, fiercely anti Neocon, passionately disgusted by Blackwater (Dick Cheney’s private army in Iraq), you could have been forgiven for thinking that here was a young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love. I confess I was somewhat smitten. There’s no fool like an old fool. A few years down the line, Scarlett’s choice of SodaStream over Oxfam is such an act of intellectual, political, and civil about face, that we, all those of us who care about the downtrodden, the oppressed, the occupied, the second class, will find it hard to rationalize.

I would like to ask that younger Scarlett a question or two. Scarlett, just for one example, are you aware that the Israeli government has razed to the ground a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in Southern Israel 63 times, the last time being on the 26th of December 2013. This village is the home to Bedouin. The Bedouin are, of course, Israeli citizens with full rights of citizenship. Well, not quite full rights, because in “Democratic” Israel there are fifty laws that discriminate against non Jewish citizens.

I am not going to attempt to list, either those laws (they are on the statute book in the Knesset for all to research) or all the other grave human rights abuses of Israeli domestic and foreign policy. I would run out of space. But, to return to my friend Scarlett Johansson.

Scarlett, I have read your reposts and excuses, in them you claim that the Palestinian workers in the factory have equal pay, benefits and “Equal rights.” Really? Equal Rights? Do they?

Do they have the right to vote?

Do they have access to the roads?

Can they travel to their work place without waiting for hours to pass through the occupying forces control barriers?

Do they have clean drinking water?

Do they have sanitation?

Do they have citizenship?

Do they have the right not to have the standard issue kicking in their door in the middle of the night and taking their children away?

Do they have the right to appeal against arbitrary and indefinite imprisonment?

Do they have the right to re-occupy the property and homes they owned before 1948?

Do they have the right to an ordinary, decent human family life?

Do they have the right to self determination?

Do they have the right to continue to develop a cultural life that is ancient and profound?

If these questions put you in a quandary I can answer them for you. The answer is, NO, they do not.

The workers in The SodaStream Factory do not have any of these rights.

So, what are the “equal rights” of which you speak?

Scarlett, you are undeniably cute, but if you think SodaStream is building bridges towards peace you are also undeniably not paying attention.

Love R.

February 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

An ugly ending to Oxfam-Johansson saga

By Jonathon Cook | January 30, 2014

Here is Oxfam’s official and very brief statement on the ending of its eight-year relationship with Scarlett Johansson, who served as a “global ambassador”. It seems clear that Oxfam – very belatedly – gave her an ultimatum following her recent decision to accept another ambassadorship, this time promoting SodaStream, whose factory is in an illegal settlement in the West Bank.

Oxfam states Johansson’s “role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador”. It was either us or them. Johansson stepped down, making clear she prefers to work for a company that breaks international law over an organisation concerned with humanitarian issues.

Oxfam’s dithering and its final efforts to allow Johansson to present this as a resignation rather than a dismissal reinforces the point I made yesterday about how money talks, even for Oxfam. The charity needs pretty ambassadors to raise funds and to gain media attention. Treating Johansson harshly, even now when the relationship is over, might put off other Hollywood starlets who hope to burnish their humanitarian credentials – at least as long as the work doesn’t interfere with their opportunities to make money, even when it comes at the expense of other people’s freedom.

No one comes out of this affair looking good.

www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/oxfam-accepts-resignation-scarlett-johansson

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hollywood Attacks Hugo Chavez

By Razio Cazal, Ciudad CCS / Alba Ciudad |  March 30th 2012

It will be released this Friday 30 March and they’re selling it as “the comedy of the moment”. It’s about a house in a zoo, a Cameron Crowe movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, which sounds very attractive for selling well at the box office.

However, despite being a family film with a story full of adventures, it includes a scene out of context (in the first minute of the film), that aims to ridicule the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, as well as branding him as dangerous and a dictator.

The story, produced by 20th Century Fox, begins well when – with voiceover – the main character Benjamin Mee (played by Damon) is introduced as a journalist who has specialised in writing adventures. After this it’s indicated that he has interviewed “dangerous dictators”. Then a strange deviation is taken from the film’s main storyline when a man enters with a mole on his forehead and a red shirt being interview by Mee.

“Look, take this message to that American cowboy [in reference to ex US President George W Bush], that we already gave a ten billion dollar credit to China, in oil!” declares the supposed Hugo Chavez, who then stands, and with an angry expression shouts into the journalist’s microphone “Swallow that, Mr. Danger!”

Next Mee (very calmly) asks him what his favourite film is, to which the actor personifying Chavez responds, coolly, “Toy Story”. The aim of this scene to show a president with sudden and radical mood changes. The 27 second scene ends when Chavez asks his presidential train (also dressed in red shirts and hats) if they can remember if he likes number one or two of the film. “The second,” one of them responds.

The Subliminal Message

This is being sold to the public as a family friendly, adventure, and even comedy film, when with this message at the start it is inducing the world’s hate against the Venezuelan president. However, in addition to this, one of his presidential train (seated just behind Matt Damon) is shown with a visible tattoo on his neck below the beard, which would appear to be a marijuana plant.

This image could allow the world to understand that Venezuela and its government endorse the sale and consumption of drugs, when it is a film to entertain families, including children and adolescents.

What also makes an impression is that the distributors indicate in their publicity that the film is “based on an incredible real life story,” as it’s about a widowed writer and father to a fourteen year old male teenager and a seven year old girl, with whom he undertakes the adventure of moving to a house inside a zoo. That’s fine, but in looking at the life of Benjamin Mee, in a review he said that “he was used to interviewing experts, passing their advice through a sieve and choosing the essential parts of their opinions”. It’s not said anywhere that he interviewed “dangerous dictators”.

In twenty-seven seconds during the first minute of the film the public is manipulated with respect to the issue of the violence of the head of state toward the journalist, about the relation that Venezuela has with China (portraying it as a spending spree), and, of course, for some reason national oil is mentioned, adding to the subliminal image.

Minutes later Mee offers his boss McGinty a piece about the end of the world from the point of view of the generation who is going to save it. For it he would go to a volcanic eruption. His boss makes fun of this and offers Mee a column: “Life is like that now, if the newspaper goes bankrupt or is sold, you’ll still have a job”.

In response, Mee quits, but what they try to show is that the private media boss is compassionate and protective.

You can watch the scene here.

Translated by Ewan Robertson for Venezuelanalysis.com

March 31, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment