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YES LOGO | The McKibben-Klein Doctrine

Sept 6, 2013

WKOG admin: This is an excerpt from the investigative report Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II, by Cory Morningstar. (Originally published by Counter punch, June 4, 2013.)

We republish this excerpt today in response to Klein’s article Green groups may be more damaging than climate change deniers published Sept 5, 2013 by Salon. It is a welcome criticism of “big greens,” albeit ironic, coming from a woman who sits on the Board of Directors of one of the most powerful social engineering NGOs of all, 350.org/1Sky. Klein wants us to believe in her and more importantly, to believe in 350.org/1Sky. The irony is pushed further as Klein, who endlessly jets around the planet spewing carbon high in the atmosphere, claims the “other” corporate foundation-fed “greens” (“It’s not 350.org, because it didn’t even exist yet.”) are “irrelevant” when the REAL pipeline is already completed (the focus of 350.org being the Stop the KXL campaign) and all that’s left is the unnecessary Phase 4 that Obama will cancel to bleatings of “victory” from Klein and her ilk.

“It is sad, and to be blunt, tragic, to witness a woman of Klein’s ability, pretend to be so utterly unaware of her own surroundings.”

In the meantime, the growth in oil via rail continues to skyrocket and pipeline projects are booming. One can safely assume that both Obama and Buffett are ecstatic. Working for Warren has never been so eagerly embraced by the environmental movement. As 350.org/1Sky remain silent on Obama’s fracking adventure, they are publicly, albeit quietly, endorsing biofuels via the “Flying Clean” campaign. No word yet on the root causes of climate change (the industrialized capitalist economic system), the necessity to eradicate militarism (as 350.org board members beat the drums of war), or even what must be achieved before the planet can even begin to cool – virtual zero emissions. The future will show that 350.org, with Avaaz and a handful of other key NGOs, will be in the vital, leading role of ensuring that the illusory green economy is palatable to, and ultimately embraced by, the masses. One need look no further than the 350.org Board of Directors, International Advisory Council, U.S. Advisory Council, financiers and the history of 1Sky creators to see where this is going. It’s really not rocket science.

It appears that Klein wants to have her cake and eat it, too. Klein presents herself, and her 350.org/1Sky NGO, as a new kind of brand – a radical RINGO. (Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, spoke March 19, 2010 at Innovative Philanthropy for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing: “In this second phase of philanthropic innovation, our Rockefeller Foundation predecessors helped establish the non-governmental organization sector as the ‘missing middle’ between giving and direct impact. This included support for entities – we call them RINGOS, Rockefeller Foundation Initiated NGOs.”)

It is sad, and to be blunt, tragic, to witness a woman of Klein’s ability, pretend to be so utterly unaware of her own surroundings.

Writer/playright Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill documents how the left loves to be seduced and that “[A] seduced person, a person who is loving the thrill of being seduced, no longer has any use for truth or facts.”

As of today, Donnchadh Mac an Ghoill appears to be correct. As for the future, time will tell.

And speaking of No Logos, 350’s “forward on climate” logo is a mere retouching of Obama’s as the excerpt below elaborates on.

YES LOGO | The McKibben-Klein Doctrine

 obama3 shep_large2 poster_forwardonclimate

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Above: 350.org DC rally signs (far right and bottom two) clearly promote the powerful Obama brand. Above left: MoveOn.org (founder of Avaaz), front group for the Democratic Party. Image to right of MoveOn.org poster: 350.org “Forward on Climate” poster/logo. Top image: Obama 2012 campaign poster/logo.

“Together, the team has marshalled every tool in the modern marketing arsenal to create and sustain the Obama brand: the perfectly calibrated logo (sunrise over stars and stripes).” — Naomi Klein, author of No Logo (10th Anniversary Edition). Klein now sits on the board of directors of Rockefellers’ 1Sky/350.org

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“… A lot of times when he’s at a podium what you’ll see is, centered right beneath him, at the very top of the blue field that usually says something like ‘Change You Can Believe In,’ it’ll be just that little symbol, functioning in the same way the Nike swoosh does. People look at that and know what it means, even though it’s just an ‘O’ with some stripes in it…. The thing that sort of flabbergasts me as a professional graphic designer is that, somewhere along the way, they decided that all their graphics would basically be done in the same typeface…. If you look at one of his rallies, every single non-handmade sign is in that font. Every time you look, all those signs are perfect. Graphic designers like me don’t understand how it’s happening. It’s unprecedented and inconceivable to us. The people in the know are flabbergasted.” — Expertinent: Why the Obama “Brand” Is Working, Feb 27, 2008

“Attitude” branding is essentially defined by the ability to elicit/represent/instill a larger, more powerful feeling on an emotional, subconscious level. It need not be connected with the product or the consumption of the product whatsoever. At a deeper level, attitude branding drills into the consumer psychology of (“attitude”) choiceas much as the term “choice” is applicable in the 21st century of accelerating social engineering. The brand “Obama” does not represent nor sell a president, rather it embodies an emotional chimera of “hope” and “change” that we can choose to believe in. One could quite safely describe attitude branding as a very sophisticated and calculated method of indoctrination, perhaps one of the highest (and most subtle) forms of psychological manipulation/brainwashing.Corporations excelling in “attitude” branding include Apple and Nike, to name two. Branding a person is not fundamentally different from branding a product. In 2008, Obama-the-brand beat out the aforementioned Apple and Nike, capturing first place for Advertising Age’s marketer of the year.

The Obama brand utilized by 350.org et al for the Forward in Climate – Reject Keystone XL Pipeline was strategic and cunning. Anyone who believes otherwise is beyond naïve. Perhaps this feat could be considered a unique and compelling example of the indoctrinating attitude branding that Naomi Klein describes as “fetish strategy” in her 2000 book No Logo.  

Video: John Pilger – Obama is a Corporate Marketing Creation (running time: 5:29)

Although it is obvious that the No KXL campaign logo shares remarkable and purposeful semblance to the infamous Obama logo (sunrise over stars and stripes), allowing the pro-Obama, pro-Democrat veneer to illuminate at almost 100% transparency, a natural line of defence by 350.org would be that of course they utilize what 350.org board member, Naomi Klein, refers to as “the perfectly calibrated logo” to their advantage, as, they would argue, the Obama administration is the target of their campaign.

And anyone who understands advertising, social engineering and the power of the brand, such as Klein, would understand that this line of defense is bullshit.

The KXL campaign imagery absolutely reinforces Obama’s ubiquitous “brand.”

“Brand recognition is most successful when people can state a brand without being explicitly exposed to the company’s name, but rather through visual signifiers like logos, slogans and colors.” — Investopedia

The money that the modern power elite have pumped into 1Sky/350.org via their tax-exempt foundations has proven to be an investment with such incredibly high dividends, it would make even Warren Buffet blush. [“Reports make it official: Oil and gas are booming…. the Railroad Commission issued 3,722 permits during the first two months of the year, ‘the strongest start to a year in the entire history of the TPI [Texas Petro Index],’ he said.” [April 4, 2013]

The Obama branding/marketing campaign was planned and executed with clinical precision. The Obama marketing team established brand leadership by ensuring Obama owned the “change” ideology in the voters’ minds. The KXL campaign successfully reinforced/reinforces the illusion that this same iconic “change” is still sitting right in front of us, ours for the taking, if only we believe. Like the Obama brand, the 350.org brand (along with many thousands of other NGOs) recognizes and focuses on the desire for an authentic “product,” which simultaneously reinforces our society’s collective thirst for the lies that enable the populace to continue to ignore reality – and perhaps more importantly, disregard our collective role in it.

On 16 January 2010 the Guardian publishes the article Naomi Klein on how corporate branding has taken over America. Ten years after the publication of No Logo, Naomi Klein switches her attention from the mall to Barack Obama and discovers that corporate culture has taken over the US government [Extracted from No Logo (10th Anniversary Edition) by Naomi Klein, to be published by Fourth Estate on 21 January at GBP 9.99]

When Obama was sworn in as president, the American brand could scarcely have been more battered – Bush was to his country what New Coke was to Coca-Cola, what cyanide in the bottles had been to Tylenol. Yet Obama, in what was perhaps the most successful rebranding campaign of all time, managed to turn things around. Kevin Roberts, global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, set out to depict visually what the new president represented. In a full-page graphic commissioned by the stylish Paper Magazine, he showed the Statue of Liberty with her legs spread, giving birth to Barack Obama. America, reborn….

So, it seemed that the United States government could solve its reputation problems with branding – it’s just that it needed a branding campaign and product spokesperson sufficiently hip, young and exciting to compete in today’s tough market. The nation found that in Obama, a man who clearly has a natural feel for branding and who has surrounded himself with a team of top-flight marketers. His social networking guru, for instance, is Chris Hughes, one of the young founders of Facebook. His social secretary is Desirée Rogers, a glamorous Harvard MBA and former marketing executive. And David Axelrod, Obama’s top adviser, was formerly a partner in ASK Public Strategies, a PR firm which, according to Business Week, “has quarterbacked campaigns” for everyone from Cable­vision to AT&T. Together, the team has marshalled every tool in the modern marketing arsenal to create and sustain the Obama brand: the perfectly calibrated logo (sunrise over stars and stripes); expert viral marketing (Obama ringtones); product placement….

Indeed everything Obama and his family touches turns to branding gold…. “We have the best brand on earth: the Obama brand,”…. “Our possibilities are endless”….

Obama, in sharp contrast not just to social movements but to transformative presidents such as FDR, follows the logic of marketing: create an appealing canvas on which all are invited to project their deepest desires but stay vague enough not to lose anyone but the committed wing nuts (which, granted, constitute a not inconsequential demographic in the United States). Advertising Age had it right when it gushed that the Obama brand is “big enough to be anything to anyone yet had an intimate enough feel to inspire advocacy”….

Yet rereading No Logo after 10 years provides many reminders that success in branding can be fleeting, and that nothing is more fleeting than the quality of being cool. Many of the superbrands and branded celebrities that looked untouchable not so long ago have either faded or are in deep crisis today. The Obama brand could well suffer a similar fate. [Emphasis added]

The task at hand is to ensure Obama does not suffer this similar fate that Klein aptly describes. Hence, the millions funneled into MoveOn.org, the front group/non-profit organization for the Democratic Party. MoveOn.org takes the visible pro-Democrat position, at the forefront of the non-profit industrial complex which, for the most part, keeps their political ideological leanings hidden in order to appear both non-partisan/independent and legitimate. One should note that MoveOn is the key founder of Avaaz along with Res Publica. Both MoveOn.org and Avaaz are partners of 350.org, Avaaz being a 350.org key partner/affiliate. [FURTHER READING: AVAAZ: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War] 

When Klein stated that Obama followed the logic of creating “an appealing canvas on which all are invited to project their deepest desires but stay vague enough not to lose anyone but the committed wing nuts,” who would have known she was describing, with astounding accuracy, the very faction that she affiliated herself with, the following year on April 7, 2011. Whether Klein’s words were a self-fulfilling prophecy or simply bad judgment, one can only speculate. However, one thing is certain, the “committed wing nuts” Klein speaks of have only become more delusional in the years that have followed as Obama leads the world in the race to the bottom. Who knew that fascism, invasions, occupations, corruption and drones could be so appealing?

Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Brilliant is the person that could inspire a nation to stand up and systematically destroy the system that is killing us. These people are not brilliant. Rather, they are diabolical. The foundations that support them depend upon industrialized capitalism to grow their investments. The non-profit complex can only be sustained if the foundations’ wealth continues to reap the “rewards” of infinite growth. It is unsustainable (not to mention deadly). Without infinite growth,the non-profit complex will collapse. Gone will be the six-figured salaries of the progressive greens. Yet, every day that this system remains intact, turning Earth’s remaining natural resources into monetary capital, we are one day closer to our collective annihilation. There will be no winners in this game of 21st century Russian roulette.

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Further reading:

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part I

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse – Part II


6 Comments

  • Kat on Nov 21, 2014

    Sorry, I don’t think I understand. Part of this seems like “No true Scotsman”. Is your main problem really the branding or are there other things you dislike about 350?

  • maria on Sep 06, 2013

    Awesome piece. Good going, Cory. Need to expose the ways in which Klein and McKibben are misleading the public about what is and is not sustainable. Van Jones pimping for the war! Disgusting.