Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

“The trick has been to publicly embrace its opponents’ concern for the environment while privately fighting attempts at regulation.” (Source)

Below is the Op-Ed in the local weekly, Newport News Times, twice-a-week newspaper, flagging, for sure, like many-many local rags are. Most rags are either DOA, or have been purchased up by small, mini or medium-sized newspaper or media groups. Those “groups” are not your neighbors, and in many cases, those groups’ members are not stalwarts of offending any official or CEO or member of a cabal or lobby or political organization or military-surveillance-policing conglomerate. You have to find truth, or look at those levels of truth tied to cultures’ evolution and the standard bearer of common sense: looking at systems.

That a whole other issue or set of issues tied to the death of the message, the murder of the messenger.

Yep, it’s Black Friday, but look hard at the piled up consumer rushes of fear and panic about not having enough, not keeping up with the Joneses or Garcias or Wongs or Patels.

Aaron Mate’s father, Gabor, talks a lot about addiction and how shopping is part of that brain-mind-body-hormone exchange around panic, hyper awareness, hyper senstivity and hyper diligence tied to shopping. Sort of a hoarding game.

The scam is much more deeper than just Edward Bernays and  the other Marketers and Madmen. It is Milton Friedman, and it is the processes of retail and consumerism.

The scam is multilayered. The scam is all tied up to nefarious actors on the world stage who are part of the pollution-forever chemical-chronic illness-depletion of natural resources complex, which is supercharged by media and marketing, and which is supported by big finance and protected by surveillance and military and theft Capitalism.

The Story of Stuff, well, it is now a panoply of “stories”:

You can read any number of things here at DV or anywhere, like the Environmental Working Group, Center for Biological Diversity and thousands of programs and universities and nonprofits who have a deeply profound mission to actually protect humans-animals-soil-plants-air-stratosphere which point to the nefarious aspect of making money anyway possible. Any group that colonizes a thing, a product, a service, a constellation of things, well, beware: those are Faustian Bargains and Eichmann Madmen and Enforcers and Economic Hitmen. Worse.

So how do we get through those barriers, since the Military-Medical-Education-Finance-Banking-Insurance-Ag-Chemical-Mining-Education-Media-AI-Digital-Prison-Legal-Banking-Real Estate-Congressional Complex* has deployed tens of millions of enforcers and propagandists and scientists and technocrats and armies to push their insane agendas. REALLY.

The foundation is pretty rotten to the core when we look at how to upwind the lies and cut through the marketing and psychological techniques that have embedded into the societies in general.

I remember teaching advertising and marketing and subliminal messaging and deployment of armies of behaviorists and psychologists and sociologists and others to get people to buy things they don’t need, want or can withstand economically or physically. Oh, the things airbrushed into ice cubes to get you to think you want that bourbon, or those spliced in burger images in the movies theater or so much on color, angle and flashing edits to get the mind to move toward anxiety, hyper-dilligence and fear, which creates a mirroring effect of addiction, or buying. Junk.

Subliminal messages are visual or auditory stimuli that the conscious mind cannot perceive, often inserted into other media such as TV commercials or songs. This kind of messaging can be used to strengthen or heighten the persuasiveness of advertisements, or to convey an altogether different message entirely.

The year of my birth, here it is — 1957 revealed overtly the practice of subliminal advertising and persuasion which became known beyond scientific and academic circles, with Vance Packard’s book, The Hidden Persuaders, brought the concept of subliminal messages to the mainstream.

Subliminal advertising Gilbey's Gin sex icecubes ad
Subliminal advertising Benson & Hedges cigarette ad
Subliminal advertising Marlboro F1 barcode design

In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, many professional sporting organizations and regulatory bodies expressed concern about the prevalence of cigarette advertising in Formula 1 racing. Until that point, virtually all of the world’s top drivers raced in cars emblazoned with cigarette brand logos, but the sudden ban on cigarette company sponsorship in Europe precipitated an exodus of cigarette brands leaving the sport.

To circumvent this inconvenient restriction, the marketing team at Marlboro came up with a dastardly ingenious idea; they would use subliminal visual messaging to convey the Marlboro brand without using the typographical logo of the company itself.

Marlboro accomplished this by using a barcode-style design that, at the high speeds at which F1 cars travel around the track, was almost as recognizable as the logo itself. (source)


Oh, the good old days. Now, the sophistication and the lack of regulation and the carcinogenic aspect of selling-buying-selling-buying-scamming-plying-messaging-focus grouping have colonized almost every corner of earth. It is legalized, the complete takeover of the public. SCOTUS or local judges. You can see this with — “Chevron Prisoner Steven Donziger Speaks From House Arrest”!

This is the nutshell case study in unfortunate living murderous color: Really. So, Chevron uses greenwashing and green porn and armies and murder and legal eagles and scientists to get that black gold, and that is a grand example of the Complex* listed above!

This is brainwashing, baby, and it is so pervasive we are unable to tell the difference between our own emotions and truths and what the world of the Complex* tells us.


Eco-pornography is akin to scientism and Vaccine Porn. Really. So, this Holiday Season we will be part of that pornographic system of nanosecond by nanosecond enslavement for goods and services.

America is awash in a wave of environmentalism, and corporations are loudly proclaiming themselves green. As Time recently observed, “companies are spending big sums to develop an earth-hugging image.” Products of every type and description are labeled “environmentally friendly,” while consumers struggle to determine who and what really is. Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III, head of a multi-state attorneys general task force on environmental advertising, recently told FTC Commissioners, “Our task force has been grappling with the green revolution. The word revolution is a strong one-but it is not an overstatement. In all my years as both a consumer, and a consumer advocate, I have never seen a marketing movement anything like this one. (Source)

Post-Black Friday tidings (shop until we drop?) [Source]

With all those advertisements piling up, we as citizens of the central coast and USA have many choices for enhancing (or not) our lifestyles.

Terms like “Black Friday” ramp up consumer sales. Marketers have deceptive ways of pulling us in. In 1961, the Philadelphia police force used the term Black Friday to describe heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic as people “hunted” for deals after Thanksgiving. In the United Kingdom, the Black Friday before Christmas means more people are out shopping and drinking.

There are a set of emergency services contingency plans to cope with the chaos. I saw this decades ago, in London, when mobile field hospitals near City Center nightspots were set up.

As a former sustainability coordinator for a small college, Spokane Falls Community College, I worked with students on all manner of things tied to consumerism. We studied ecological and water use footprints. We delved into the idea of planned and perceived obsolescence. We tackled complex lifecycle analyses.

Those were Halcyon days, in the mid-2000s. Imagine, robust all-encompassing school teach-ins where hundreds of students and the public joined to listen to policy, tribal, environmental, scientific and anthropological experts give 10-minute spiels each as people made their way to 20 stations for rapid information sharing.

These took place before the two end-of-the-year holidays. We’d have local merchants selling locally made or fair trade manufactured goods and foods. People explained what was the local multiplier effect of buying in Spokane at mom and pop stores, versus ordering from Amazon or a box store.

We watched the short film, “The Story of Stuff,” on the big screen. Then panel discussions about the effects of our consumption-crazed culture unfolded. Perceived obsolescence means marketers decide what style is “in” for the year, and what is “out.” That creates huge waste streams because the jeans are the wrong style, or the color of the couch is no longer cool.

Then marketers working for titans of manufacturing design products’ planned obsolescence — cellphones no longer work, toasters break down in a year of use, automobiles last only a few years before components start falling apart.

Life cycle analysis really gets students into the weeds — we evaluate the environmental effects associated with any given industrial activity, which basically is, according to scientists, “from the initial gathering of raw materials from the Earth until the point at which all residuals are returned to the Earth.”

Cradle to grave! A coffee maker contains rare earth metals, diodes, copper, wiring, plastics, steel. Students study the sources of the nickel, aluminum, copper and injected plastic. Maps of the world are then pinned with digital tacks and yarn to show the entire energy and supply chain.

Students look at the sourcing, the manufacturing and milling locations, and study conditions for the workers, as well as supply chain nuances and energy for transportation, packaging, marketing.

With a sustainability mission, I shepherded students to study who is growing that coffee and what the communities look like; what sort of economic hardships exists; what sort of political climate is occurring; and what sort of inequities exist.

Here are a few questions we should ask during this year’s season of shopping: Who gets the majority of the profits? What are the working conditions for the laborers? How does the product benefit humanity? What sort of external negatives are involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing and shipping of the big screen TV?

Here’s a start. The Story of Stuff website is full of sustainability-related documentaries — “The Story of Plastic” is the latest project.

Recall right after the Sept. 11 attacks, George W Bush told us to “go shopping for your families,” and he encouraged Americans to “go to Disneyworld.” This is not a cheap shot at Bush, but emblematic of the American way of life, even now in this new pandemic “normal.” There is national obsession with the stock market and “the economy.” For a depressed coastal region, a little drop in sales spells disaster for many local businesses.

Again, life cycle analysis looks at the true value of a local bricks and mortar general store versus a national chain, or an online store, brought to you by Amazon or Target, et al.

Students discover marketing as a great deceiver, and all industries — corporations and companies deploy armies of lawyers and propagandists, i.e. marketers. Another saying pops up when I contemplate this buying season’s hawking of goods, wares, foods, things: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Do we get what we pay for? Most citizens would rather not have “stuff” that breaks down or falls apart within a month or year of purchase. Most people would rather not have their children’s health and safety compromised with products that off-gas toxins or contain carcinogens.

We still fall under the spell of Black Friday and pre-Christmas sales. Shopping is an addiction facilitated through the same brain pleasure center cocaine addicts succumb to.

Too bad we’ve lost our old ways of being addicted to giving, addicted to helping and addicted to saving and preserving. Let’s hope we get back to these basics, for our own and the planet’s sake.

**Paul K. Haeder is a novelist, journalist, educator and author of “Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam,” Cirque Press.**

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