Saturday, July 21, 2018

An Enemy of We The People

There was a time - back in the early 80s - when I abandoned the MSM. The new kid, CNN, proved themselves over and over to be more reliable when it came to reporting facts. For close to a decade my news came from CNN. Then they too changed directions. When FOX News was launched in 1996, I tuned in hoping for that missing ingredient - factually based reporting - and found it. They have floundered occasionally, but FOX is still the best choice today.

So I contest your assertion that Trump has, in any way, worked to "destroy one of the very pillars on which our democracy was founded." That is all on the press itself. Yes, "Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution because the Founding Fathers knew a democracy cannot exist without it." But keeping the respect of the people, which the press has to earn with EVERY story it produces, is wholly the responsibility of the press itself.

If the press finds itself being attacked - by whomever - it should only have to hold up the story over which it is being attacked in it's defense. If a single word of spin is required, the story itself is inadequate and questionable. As soon as that is the rule rather than the exception, the press has made itself "an enemy of the people" because lies and half truths do not serve We The People.

The quotes above are from "Reagan aide: Condemn Trump's 'enemy of the people' rhetoric"

Thursday, July 19, 2018

An open letter to social media hosts

It is becoming standard practice to remove statements that are considered "fake news". Perhaps it is time to consider an alternative.

Instead of removing controversial statements, I propose social media hosts (Facebook, Google, etc.) label them as incomplete or inaccurate or outright false (a great big watermark?) and provide a link or links to factual information that refutes the statement.

(I cannot see how this would work on Twitter.)

This would be beneficial in several ways. First, nobody's free speech is hindered. Second, it would publicly identify the statement as questionable and link to factual information resolving the controversy. Third, there would be no ascribing motives to the social media host for censorship because all they have done is provide a link. If the host makes a mistake, it is there for the world to see.

Another benefit would be the inability of others to link to the statement as a final thought. This will, ideally, prevent it from being used to further spread the statement because any reference back to it would also provide immediate access to a link or links to facts countering it.

Directing the reader to factual information would allow the social media host doing the review to show that they are not being biased. Facts are facts.

The individual or group disseminating the "fake news" is effectively shamed publicly every time someone sees the post - in much the same fashion sex offenders are by being registered.

Everyone wins except for the purveyors of "fake news" IMHO.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do


I find it both amusing and interesting that the accepted premise is that Greece will pull out of the euro first.  Frankly, I can't imagine they'll be the ones to bail on the only real source of financing they currently have.  No, I expect they'll do the honorable Greek (okay, Spartan) thing and leave on their shields.  In other words, only once they realize there will be no more bail outs coming their way.  Then again, maybe it will be with a German boot up their ass.

There is an article in the online BBC News Magazine titled 'Five ways the eurozone could break up.'  Apparently, a Lord Wolfson says "..there is a serious need for a solution to any euro break-up" and is offering a monetary prize to the economist who comes up with the best plan (is that an oxymoron?).  Personally, I'm going with the current number three: All return to national currencies.

Of course, this brings us back to the question of who will leave the eurozone first.  My best guess?  Germany.  I mean, really, who wants to pay for their neighbor's debts forever.  More importantly, how on earth could Chancellor Merkel justify it to her constituencies?

"Yes, my people, we are now supporting Frenchmen who are retiring two years earlier - at 60.  You, however, shall work until 78, or until you drop.  It is your duty to both your country and the rest of the eurozone!"

Riiiight.  I can see that going over really well, kind of like asking Texas to support the land of fruits and nuts as they go bust.

The alternative is even more amusing: Germany negotiating its way to the top.  In other words, conquering Europe economically.  Somehow, I just can't see the other eurozone members acquiescing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Looking for America

Years ago I had the opportunity to spend the day in New York City. I was young and, to be blunt, had absolutely no desire to waste my time gawking at a bunch of high-rise buildings. (The group I was with wasn't exactly planning on visiting the Museum of Natural History.) Still don't. (Though I am interested in seeing the aforementioned museum.)

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to spend a couple days sightseeing in our nation's capitol and didn't. When asked (with a certain amount of incredulity) why, I came up with the lame excuse of traffic (which was awful but not insurmountable). The truth is, I had no desire to be part of the spectacle.

Yes, I would thoroughly enjoy standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting on the magnitude of that man's life on mine and then strolling down the mall towards the Washington Monument. I can imagine my awe at standing before the actual documents that are the foundation of our great nation (the blood, sweat and lives that went into them are, on the other hand, unimaginable).

To me these are actions that require time and solitude. I have no interest in being rushed or crowded. My image of the perfect way to see these sights is devoid of other people.

Yet, it is We The People who make all these sights worth seeing. America is nothing without her people.

I drove almost 1900 miles to get to where I was near Washington - not to sightsee, but to work. Still, the trip itself was a reminder (just in case I had forgotten) of who Americans are and what America is because of them.

No, I have no intention of boring you with my perceptions and opinions on the matter. In truth, they are irrelevant. What I do want to impress upon you, however, is that you need to look - actually see - the people around you. Each individual is a part of what we call America. Together, We are The People.

Bother yourself to learn the name of your waiter or waitress, if only for the few minutes you are seated in their section. Smile at everyone - not just with your mouth, but with your eyes and tone of voice. Use the magic words 'please' and 'thank you'.

Remember a couple little details about each person whose life intersects your own on a daily basis. They will remember you.

John, the cashier at the grocery store, is a veteran who wears vet related pins on his apron. Have you ever asked him about them?

Participate in the lives around you. Find your America.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Proof that limiting collective-bargaining rights for workers’ unions IS the right approach.

Bloomberg.com's editors seem to think that the recent "give backs" by unions in Conneticut and New York prove that Wisconsin and Ohio were wrong to take the steps that they took. I believe they have it exactly backwards.

Bloomberg's Editors say "On the part of organized labor, the deals showed a welcome recognition of the depth of voter concern over budgets and, perhaps, a new appreciation that it is going to take shared sacrifice to get the U.S. out of this economic mess." The truth is, that perspective is nothing but spin.

The only reason organized labor gave an inch is because of the "wins" in Wisconsin and Ohio. Yes, it is a "welcome recognition of the depth of voter concern over budgets" but the "new appreciation" is that voters are paying attention to exactly what their elected representatives are doing at the barganing table. The results of the negotiations in Conneticut and New York would never have been what they were had Wisconsin and Ohio gone the other way.

In the long run, Wisconsin and Ohio will be better off for having done away with collective bargaining. On the other hand, you can bet your bottom dollar that the moment the unions and their 'bought' government representatives who sit across from them at the bargaining table believe the electorate is no longer paying attention they will reinstate whatever the unions "gave up."

Mobile Blogging

The whole point of this blog was/is to speak out and I have to admit I have been less than voluble. I could blame it on the fact that I don't carry my laptop around with me, but...

So now I'm trying mobile blogging. Ugh! I touch type and the keyboard on my new (relatively speaking) iPhone 3GS just isn't set up for that. Nonetheless... Will be using this post to test various apps so don't be surprised if it looks weird!

Using BlogSpace app. Hmmm... Tried saving to my GS but that didn't work; good thing I also saved a draft online!
  • doesn't save to my GS reliably

  • can't see any of my drafts

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cut, Cap and Balance

The Pledge
I pledge to urge my Senators and Member of the House of Representatives to oppose any debt limit increase unless all three of the following conditions have been met:
  1. Cut - Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
  2. Cap - Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
  3. Balance - Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.
Well, it sounds good.

Unfortunately, it is not an acceptable basis for negotiating the raising of the debt ceiling.  I mean, just imagine going to Visa or MasterCard and telling them you wanted them to raise your credit limit and that you would "cut, cap and balance" your budget in return.  I'm not sure which would hurt more; the deafening sound of them slamming their phone down or the peals of laughter you heard just before that happened.

How about we eliminate the deficit?  What happened to zero-based budgeting?  No, I do not mean zero-sum budgeting.  Zero-sum is how we-the-people deal with an increase in our expenses when we don't have a commensurate increase in our income.  I'm talking about zero-based budgeting for every aspect of government.  I'm talking about our elected representatives actually doing some work and making the hard choices on a regular basis.  No more 'budget' votes that only reference the amount of the increase.  No more calling an increase less than projected a budget 'cut'.