Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have spent 8.9 million taxpayer dollars to develop an app that can predict the “psychological status” of anyone with a smartphone. This real time behavior monitoring app is the latest in a long string of pretty bizarre experiments, where the federal government is attempting to manipulate how the American public behaves.
Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order approving the use of behavioral experiments on the American public. The order directed federal agencies to hire behavioral scientists to design programs that will allow the government to manipulate the way the public feels about public policy and legislation.
Part of that Executive Order Reads:
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights — research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them — can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people.
In 2014, the feds spent an estimated $760 million to hire private advertising firms, according to USASpending.gov. That’s your tax dollars being used to influence the way you think, something we once called propaganda and something that was illegal until the government quietly repealed the longstanding ban on using it in 2013.
How much money is being spent on government approved propaganda is a little hard to say, since the $3 trillion executive branch funnels your money to hundreds of different agencies, programs, and government funded studies, including the NIH study that helped build the real time behavior monitoring app.
NIH study led to mobile system for “real time behavior monitoring” that can serve a “therapeutic delivery of an intervention via a mobile device.”
While the mainstream media is trying to sell this as an evolution in the way we treat healthcare issues, the fact is, the government is dipping its hand into some pretty scary territory. According to the NIH, who is now actively trying to sell its invention to private companies, this new technology can track a person’s behavior in real-time and can be used for the “therapeutic delivery of an intervention via a mobile device.”
Researchers developed the system from a project that tracked the mood and cravings of drug users in Baltimore. The $8.9 million federal study sought to develop algorithms that could “automatically detect behavioral events (such as episodes of drug use or stress) without requiring self-report.”
The NIH says the app is currently being used for drug addiction interventions, but admits the “inventors are also seeking to test the technology for other health applications.”
Government Spends Billions on Propaganda meant for the U.S. Public
While government propaganda is certainly nothing new, its use has been intensified during the last two administrations. During the George W. Bush Administration, the White House used several covert propaganda programs to promote the President’s legislative goals. Under President George W. Bush, so-called “public relations” spending reached an all-time high of $161 million in 2003.
In 2004, USA Today reported that the Bush Administration paid Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same. In 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was caught hosting a “sham” press conference, where public affairs staff pretended they were reporters and asked then-FEMA Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson fake questions.
According to a report from The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Obama administration has taken propaganda to a whole new level. The report detailed numerous examples of how the Obama administration used taxpayer money to illegally influence how the public felt about public issues.
The Report Claimed:
Since January 20, 2009, the White House has orchestrated an unprecedented number of propaganda and lobbying activities to promote the President’s agenda. The Obama Administration’s tactics are innovative ways of accomplishing familiar propaganda objectives. Like the VNRs and sham press conferences favored by recent administrations, the Obama Administration’s propaganda is covert and expensive to taxpayers.
The White House has relied on two basic types of propaganda to disseminate the President’s agenda:
1. Misusing the resources of federal agencies to publicize the President’s agenda; and,
2. Multiplying traffic to websites containing propaganda by capitalizing on the visibility of the President and pre-existing campaign relationships.
By 2010, a Congressional Research Service Report found that government agencies “spent more than $900 million on contracts for advertising services in FY 2010, a figure that does not include all agency expenditures.”
But shockingly, that $900 million advertising figure did not account for “in-house” work by a governmental agency’s internal communications staff. For that reason, the Congressional Research Service admitted it was “unclear how much the executive branch, let alone the federal government as a whole, spends on communications each year.”
By 2012, that spending had reached unprecedented levels.
According to the Associated Press, almost $700 million dollars was spent to promote Obamacare to a skeptical public. How much of that money came from taxpayer dollars is unclear, but we do know that the Obama administration spent at least $23 million on public relations efforts to push the law in 2012.
When he took office, President Obama made a pledge of openness and transparency to all Americans:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Unfortunately, what we got was not transparency. What we got was a deliberate attempt to control how the public thinks.