Category Archives: Press

Myths… True or False?

There is a foolishness within the human being.  Either it is played out in drama as in myths of those so imperfect gods like those of the Greeks, or it plays out in our parodies of myth,   political myth,  which we find manifested as untruths that citizens  choke down grave-faced.    The first can lead to a great belly laugh.   The latter in time, to war.

Gary Hart recently wrote:

Myths play a central role as metaphor in many world religions, according to Joseph Campbell. In The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth he studied the world mythologies, found common themes in a wide variety of cultures, and reached a startling conclusion: myths, he said, come from dreams and, therefore, people around the world have common dreams. It is a profound and still controversial insight for religion, psychology, and human culture. Students in all these fields continue to consider the power of myth.

Myths in politics, however, play a much different role. “Widely held but false idea” is one dictionary definition of myth in common usage. For reasons that are still unclear, myths abound in recent American political history. Perhaps the most glaring and consequential was the myth that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

There are other cases in point. Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya and therefore not an American citizen. These are myths, yet they are widely believed in certain circles. Poor people are poor by choice. A classic myth. A rising tide lifts all boats. Much more true when we were an industrial society and manufacturing products created jobs. Much less true when the economic tide is one of finance and money manipulation which lifts the gilded yachts but not the rowboats of the rest of us. Jobs are not created when crackpot financial schemes make hedge fund managers rich. Thus, a myth.

Myths in politics are dangerous. In an important speech at Yale University during the Cold War, John Kennedy said:

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

He was speaking of the myths on both sides that perpetuated a Cold War in a dangerous way.

Exactly 50 years later, no assessment comes closer to describing much of our current political world. Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth.

If this strange world were the product of mere laziness it might be understandable. But today’s political myths are more perverse. They are a conscious hiding place from a changing, challenging, and often uncomfortable new world. Globalization, immigration, cultural and racial diversity are threatening and frightening to many who wish to freeze the former comfortable world in time and prevent any change.

Myths which have no basis in truth, or which do not operate as metaphors for religious truth, eventually fade away with the passing of those who perpetuate them and in the face of reality and fact. But the most dangerous myths create demons where none exist, the demons being anyone who disagrees with the myth-makers. In the meantime, however, they serve not only to delude the deniers but to frustrate our Founders’ belief in the progress of the human mind.

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David adds,  Citizens who expect to be informed for free, on the largesse of the commercial interests are bound to find themselves in a pool of opinion and unsubstantiated so called facts.  A society that cannot agree on facts, or whose facts do not correspond with reality is indication of being within political myth. Only by funding and protecting reporters with the citizen’s interest in mind, will the ‘freedom of the press’ guaranteed by the constitution be more than a vacant promise.   Freedom of the commercial press is what we have today, and as any schoolboy can see, that does not result in freedom, but ongoing war.

I am developing a list of political myths…   please send me your ideas.
both those that go down, nice and smooth,  and those that stick in your craw.
Thanks
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Civilized Breakdown

The examples below indicate the breakdown in communication in the western world.   We cannot agree on the Facts of how many US Troops died in Afghanistan.   These facts are concrete.   Our service men and women dying are nameable and countable.  And in that reporting… 2,000 died as of Sept, 30, 2012; but No! that was Aug 21, 2012 according to the New York Times, and yet another date provided by icaualties.org .   None of these 2,000 count articles noted the truly alarming rates of serviceman & veteran suicides that eclipse the battle deaths by 18 times.

Look at the reporting:

US military deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 after 11 years of war

By Patrick Quinn, The Associated Press | Associated Press – Sun, Sep 30, 2012

According to Brookings, hostile fire was the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 31 per cent of Americans killed.

In Toll of 2,000, New Portrait of Afghan War    ….  August 12th, not Sept 30th

By JAMES DAO and ANDREW W. LEHREN

Published: August 21, 2012  New York Times

Suicides Outpacing War Deaths for Troops

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS

Published: June 8, 2012  New York Times

The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame

better:

Veterans Death at own Hand, the Nation’s Shame

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Published: April 14, 2012

HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

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News

American Forces Press Service       (a product of the Department of Defense)

Battaglia Calls Reducing Suicides a Top Priority

By Karen Parrish

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2011 – Military leaders are committed to reducing suicides in the ranks, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the Defense Department’s top enlisted leader, said here Dec. 9.

Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters after the recent release of a report on military suicides by the Center for a New American Security.

The report concludes that suicide among service members and veterans challenges the health of America’s all-volunteer force. From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours, according to the report. It also states that while only 1 percent of Americans have served during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day.

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Put another way, while 3 million of our men and women serve in the armed forces, out of our total population of 310 million,  they commit suicide at a rate equal to that of 60 million civilians.

While roughly one soldier dies in battle a day in Afghanistan, on that same day 18 veterans kill themselves.  A day.   Are we aware of this? …. is this worthy of comment by presidential candidates, none of which have served?   And where is the Press?    This information is available from DoD sources.

In short, these are potent and concrete facts.   And we cannot get them reported straight.   Without the straight truth, is there any wonder that our politics is dysfunctional.   Could it be otherwise?

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The conclusion by reading these pithy headlines, noting the differences in dates and omissions leads me to surmise that the democracy that we have fought to preserve for 236 years cannot remain if we cannot agree on simple facts.    The AP and New York Times cannot seem to agree.  Isn’t that obvious?   Bloody Obvious.    Without a unity and veracity in facts, our opinions shall never knit.

This is the heart of my communication on the eve of presidential debates where the candidates are each willing to spend a Billion dollars  (One thousand million dollars) to advertise that their opponent is an idiot.     Admittedly, so far, a down-beat message.

So, let me leave you with an antidote:   Our press system has failed because its funding model of display advertising has been eclipsed by Google’s intentional advertising.  Newspapers are dying and broadcasting is become vapid.  The press is strangled without funds.   Google’s motto is “Do no Evil”.    Killing the funding of the press so it can no longer provide the function of Saying Truth to Power, and staying on the point, might be considered evil.    Thus, given the corrupt condition of money, politics and corporate lobbying let me suggest this tonic:     To have Google, and and all who agree with this challenge to continued existence of our country lobby for having a portion (for example one half) of Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) revenue be applied to content.   i.e. Creatives and Reporters be paid for what they provide in some proportional way that allows reporters to be protected and culture makers to be paid for providing sources of social inspiration.

Give it a think.

yours,   David Bean………..      and please at least, pass this along.

The News Shadow

Ever wonder what is really happening? When the US spends millions of dollars and months of diplomatic time to fly the Secretaries of State and Treasury to China and have all the coverage about a blind man?

Or to send the President to the Latin American Summit to discuss the failed US drug war policy that all the latin leaders want to end…. and have all the coverage about secret service men rooking hookers?

The PR pros call it distraction. We News Readers call it the News Shadow.

How do you get around it? You read the foreign news. Best in the local language, but here at least is the China story that is hidden:

CHINA denied that the yuan is undervalued and pressed Washington to ease controls on exports of high-tech goods on the first day of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged China to let the currency strengthen and open its markets wider.

However, Trade Minister Chen Deming denied the yuan was undervalued and pointed to China’s shrinking global trade surplus. China reported a US$5.3 billion surplus in March, down from a monthly level of at least US$15 billion for most of 2011.

“Given that China’s global trade is basically balanced while running a surplus with the US shows that the exchange rate plays a minimal role in trade,” Chen told reporters.

Geithner urged further appreciation of the yuan while acknowledging China’s plan to overhaul its financial system to increase support for private enterprise and reduce special treatment for state-owned companies.

“The United States has a strong interest in the success of these reforms,” he said.

“A stronger, more market-determined currency would reinforce China’s reform objectives of moving to higher value-added production, reforming the financial system and encouraging domestic demand,” he said.

The yuan has gained more than 13 percent over the past two years since China announced an acceleration of exchange rate reform. With the yuan standing at around 6.3 against the dollar, Chinese authorities said earlier that the yuan had approached a relatively fair value.

from:
http://english.eastday.com/e/120504/u1a6531142.html

In other words, the Chinese have granted a strengthening of their currency, as requested agains ours, but Timothy Geithner says that is not fast enough. Now. What kind of headline would that make?

Thus our News Shadow is covering domestically what the world at large is learning. Whenever there is a big story that is inane and goes on incessantly, such as the OJ Simpson story, or ‘baby Jessica’, or any of Michael Jackson’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s or uncountable celebrity’s stories, one must ask, ‘What is being hidden behind this screen?’: The News Shadow.

It is my opinion that still too few of us realize the depth of propaganda in which we are immersed. The way out of it is so simple, yet requires collective action. We must fund the free press by free citizens. This is not free: gratis. If free individuals pay for more than 60% of the press, whatever it is, that press is free to investigate where the facts lead. If commercial interests pay for more than 50% of a publication of media source, it limits the realm of coverage. The old saw: ‘Do not bite the hand that feeds.’ is ever true. It may not be formal commercial censorship… the simple common sense of an editor wishing to keep his or her job and please the employer is all that is required.

No offense to blind Chen Chuangchen, Michael Jackson, or the news splash personality of the moment. Independent of their plight, they are, and have been used by forces far bigger than they. It will tend to border upon some wedge issue of the moment; that emotion makes it all the more effective distraction.

Today, as flagged by the News Shadow, one can tell when events are drawing toward some item that requires veiling. So consider it a hint when the news is especially vapid. Or is the wedge is an issue that enflames your emotions, especially infuriating.

Elections Niagara, here we come, I can hear the Roar.

Our political stance , before and after this election  is a slow cartoon.

We are a canoe crosswise to the current , upstream from Niagara Falls and half of the paddlers are paddling right, half are paddling left, and our captain is saying right, left, right…..      What is next?

This mid-term election cost Three Billion dollars,one billion more than the last presidential election… which  shouts what we call elections have become auctions.  They are not elections but bribe-a-thons… and why?  Because they Pay.

The elections tell us that people are very unhappy.  They recognize they are getting screwed. Fine.  and yet seemingly are economically ignorant.   We have the largest Republican majority since 1928.  Dear reader of history… what does that portend?  Look up what happened between 1928 and 1938 and you will find The Great Depression.    No offense, but releasing the entrepreneurial spirit when nobody has any money and  what you get is Mexico, not Nirvana.   Except Americans(Yankees), in general are neither as happy nor generous nor as entrepreneurial as our neighbors to the south. (Drug war exploits, which have a US mainspring, to the contrary).         History will not repeat itself, as Mark Twain said… but it will rhyme.       And piking will not change this trend.

Yet there is a definitive reason that catalyzes our current dilemma, which we could call the failure in the experiment in democracy.   The free press has failed the electorate.  It is an amnesia engine.  Why?  We have confused free-gratis with free-liberty.   We expect our news to be free of charge (gratis ) and forget the dictum, he who pays the piper calls the tune.     Billionaires determine the “mainstream” news channels, fund the pundits and we allow them to do so, with newspapers that are shoppers (advertising vehicles) with a prepurchased editorial slant, and No effective investagitive reporting.   Why?       He who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.     The tune is divided government, and thus corporate freedom, paid for by the Koch brothers and the crew that has driven our economic bus over the cliff.  Hello New York.  Hello Hedge Funds.  Hello Insurance, big Pharma and the usual suspects.   On this point FDR and Benito Mussolini agreed: “Corporatism is Fascism”.     Here we are with corporations calling the shots, foreign wars a-breeding with their very predictable profit centers, and domestic population in disarray.

The private equity people are doing just fine though, thank you – they say, for all this 1/4% money.   The economic lingo for our current situation is called the “consolidation phase” of the business cycle.   That is where the agents that have good access to credit (i.e. friends of the money center banks) buy up all the ‘troubled assets’, meaning anybody that is having a tough time in this tough economy.  Are you one of these private equity folks?   I doubt it.  Less than 1% of us are.

The cure in my view is threefold.  a)First we must cure our collective amnesia.  We need a functioning free (liberty) press that is funded by free (liberty) people. We must  rekindle having two ‘newspapers’ in each city, meaning a news gathering organization that is strong enough to fund, support and defend investigative reporters, and those ‘newspapers’ need to be funded by You, Dear Citizen…. not special interests, business interests, or any other none geographic, non-human interest.  And funded by your neighbors as well, with whom you are willing to discuss the events of the day.   This could easily be done with some thoughtful legislation (sic) requiring that one half of your ISP bill be paid to content.  The People must fund the Press from their own pockets.

b) Second we must recall the first three words of the US constitution and make them real:  “We the People”.  It does not begin with we the corporations, we the lawyers, nor even we the supreme court justices.   This government gets its authority from the consent of the governed  and its creations, such as the military, the CIA, the corporations, and the banks are subordinate to that.  Currently we have this upside down.  If you, fellow citizen are willing to lie down and accept that money is speech, and corporations are people, then the Constitution, which all of our military personnel and all federal officials swear to protect and defend, is dead.   It is moribund at this state, you must agree.   I assert, as a veteran and a man in his 65th year that At No Time during my life has the Congress Declared War though the US has initiated some big ones, Viet Nam, Iraq I, Iraq II, Afghanistan  and many smaller ones and it seems on the eve of this election an new one with Yemen.    Yet in order to assert our rights under the constitution, we must effectively communicate as a political community, civilly, and with respect of each other and for the differences that are a natural outcome of human perspective.    We shall either be free(liberty) or oppressed, and the trend is not good.   We will likely be oppressed if one half of the electorate believe the other half are idiots.

and C) We must reclaim our money.   We must recognize, realize, and reclaim the power that comes with the creation of money and make it a community property.  Yes we must haveh checks and balances to be certain it is not abused.  Few understand the archana of the Federal Reserve System with its twelve districts, and many presidents, and boards of directors as well as boards of governers and its firehose of informations and it’s one perminent member of the Open Market Committee.    Yet while its original plan may have been well intended (or not) as a balance of public and private interests in creating our money, the result is five money center banks call the shots.  They make ungodly sums the would make a hedgefund director blush, and with that engage in social control.  They fund the auction/election process lamented at the top of this article as well as funding the empire which instigates the wars also mentioned above.  Electoral funding reform is a downstream solution.  A key to reclaiming our money is exemplified by the bank of North Dakota, a state bank in which the citizens of that state receive the benefits from that money circulated and created in that state.  Your interest write off my make your mind figure that bank money is free to you… but your wallet remembers.  The banks have swallowed up the tax space.  Ellen Hodgson Brown has done a wonderful job of explaining this very subtle, yet powerful way of harnessing for the good, the immense power within the creation of money.   The power of money must, with checks and balances, support the domestic public.  Not empire and the purchase of elections and wars abroad.

As the US acts as a crazy sick-person. Now What?

If the United States were to be a person… who would it be?

My guess is a sick crazy-person.

Crazy, because our societal nerves do not work. The Press:
the Newspapers, who do the deep reporting, are dying because opinions are free on the internet, and folks don’t seem to miss the absence of fact in our public discourse. And people will not pay for what is already free.

The press is the equivalent to a person’s nervous system. How one knows oneself.
And what sickness would the society of the United States, if it were a person, have?

Well, we act anemic, blind, schizophrenic, depressed and way out of joint. Our nerves are shot and we are addicted to some drug called blackberry, iphone, ipod, texting, tweeting, sports or TV.

What does that mean?
anemic because there is no blood surging in our veins ( call it income)

blind: because we have no vision.

schizophrenic: because half of us believe the other half is nuts and absolutely devoid of common sense.

depressed: not only because we have no vision, but the pres. and the press are telling us everything is swell when we know it is not.

out of joint: because the left hand cannot coordinate with the right. Is global warming real or not? Is it stimulus or deficit reduction? We fight two wars which are absolutely important on the other side of the globe while the war near our border in Mexico is not.

So the question is…. how do you treat a sick crazy-person?

I would say that you treat the crazy part first, or he will not accept treatment. What is that? To fix the press.

What is wrong with the press? It’s funding model has been broken and does not work. Why? It used to be funded by the display advertising model, and Google outdated that with its intentional marketing model. It works better to sell stuff. No problem there. The problem is that no funding has emerged to replace the missing display model funds, and there is no money to pay reporters to investigate unknown stories and dredge up new facts. Thus all we have today is the pander press, as old stories and trivia recirculate.

What would fix this? Simple. A free people must liberate themselves from a pun. Instead of considering the “free press” in the gratis column, the same as “free beer”, the people would hold to the same standard as colonists held themselves during Ben Franklin’s time and realize that a free press meant liberty (not gratis) and must be funded by a free people to the tune of $30 a month (That is the current value of the $1.50 a month the colonists paid.)

So simple. One half of a family’s internet bill to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) would go to pay for content…. $30/month. And recipients of pay for content would reintroduce the fairness doctrine, that requires an airing opposing views, so that we give up our current pathology of talking past one another and believing with conviction that the other half of America is dumb as a stump. Democracy will not work in the context of a mutual castigation society.

It is said the majority of Americans today believe we should receive better services and yet, are unwilling to pay for them. In our current formulation, there is no cost for being incoherent. None.

The Republicans want to fund two wars, extend the Bush tax cuts, and yet are not willing to extend unemployment insurance when roughly 20% of Americans are out of work. People must wait until the ripe old age of 18 before they vote, seeming because we do not let children make decisions of state. Yet when adults act as infants, and produce entirely incoherent positions, what are we to do?

And this is not to exonerate the Democrats who are equally incoherent in their positions, for example they too support a war in Afghanistan, apparently to give voting rights there for women in a population that is 80% illiterate and who live in a forth century goat herding culture in profoundly mountainous terrain, when we are firing teachers in our home states because we cannot afford to pay them.

But all this refers back to the press not functioning, because it is not reliably funded, and thus is pandering for eyeballs and wishes not to offend.

The truth shall set us free. Are we each, willing to pay for it?
I contend it must become the ethic of a free people to fund a free press.

That’s what I think. Do you have a better idea?

As the US acts as a crazy sick-person. Now What?

If the United States were to be a person… who would it be?

My guess is a sick crazy-person.

Crazy, because our societal nerves do not work. The Press:

the Newspapers, who do the deep reporting, are dying because opinions are free on the internet, and folks don’t seem to miss the absence of fact in our public discourse. And people will not pay for what is already free.

The press is the equivalent to a person’s nervous system. How one knows oneself.

And what sickness would the society of the United States, if it were a person, have?

Well, we act anemic, blind, schizophrenic, depressed and way out of joint. Our nerves are shot and we are addicted to some drug called blackberry, iphone, ipod, texting, tweeting, sports or TV.

What does that mean?

anemic because there is no blood surging in our veins ( call it income)

blind: because we have no vision.

schizophrenic: because half of us believe the other half is nuts and absolutely devoid of common sense.

depressed: not only because we have no vision, but the pres. and the press are telling us everything is swell when we know it is not.

out of joint: because the left hand cannot coordinate with the right. Is global warming real or not? Is it stimulus or deficit reduction? We fight two wars which are absolutely important on the other side of the globe while the war near our border in Mexico is not.

So the question is…. how do you treat a sick crazy-person?

I would say that you treat the crazy part first, or he will not accept treatment. What is that? To fix the press.

What is wrong with the press? It’s funding model has been broken and does not work. Why? It used to be funded by the display advertising model, and Google outdated that with its intentional marketing model. It works better to sell stuff. No problem there. The problem is that no funding has emerged to replace the missing display model funds, and there is no money to pay reporters to investigate unknown stories and dredge up new facts. Thus all we have today is the pander press, as old stories and trivia recirculate.

What would fix this? Simple. A free people must liberate themselves from a pun. Instead of considering the “free press” in the gratis column, the same as “free beer”, the people would hold to the same standard as colonists held themselves during Ben Franklin’s time and realize that a free press meant liberty (not gratis) and must be funded by a free people to the tune of $30 a month (That is the current value of the $1.50 a month the colonists paid.)

So simple. One half of a family’s internet bill to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) would go to pay for content…. $30/month. And recipients of pay for content would reintroduce the fairness doctrine, that requires an airing opposing views, so that we give up our current pathology of talking past one another and believing with conviction that the other half of America is dumb as a stump. Democracy will not work in the context of a mutual castigation society.

It is said the majority of Americans today believe we should receive better services and yet, are unwilling to pay for them. In our current formulation, there is no cost for being incoherent. None.

The Republicans want to fund two wars, extend the Bush tax cuts, and yet are not willing to extend unemployment insurance when roughly 20% of Americans are out of work. People must wait until the ripe old age of 18 before they vote, seeming because we do not let children make decisions of state. Yet when adults act as infants, and produce entirely incoherent positions, what are we to do?

And this is not to exonerate the Democrats who are equally incoherent in their positions, for example they too support a war in Afghanistan, apparently to give voting rights there for women in a population that is 80% illiterate and who live in a forth century goat herding culture in profoundly mountainous terrain, when we are firing teachers in our home states because we cannot afford to pay them.

But all this refers back to the press not functioning, because it is not reliably funded, and thus is pandering for eyeballs and wishes not to offend.

The truth shall set us free. Are we each, willing to pay for it?

I contend it must become the ethic of a free people to fund a free press.

That’s what I think. Do you have a better idea?