Archive for the Media Category

Reflections on tumblr, facebook and social media

Posted in alternatives, analysis, anthropology, Chomsky, consciousness, empowerment, inspiration, journalism, life, Media, media analysis, net, NSA, propaganda, psychology, reading, resources, social theory, sociology, sound-bite, Uncategorized, web, wellness with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by jtoddring

Going from specifics to depth and breadth, and from particularities to universals, here are some thoughts for your consideration, for anyone who may be interested.

I’ve come to love the social networking / blogging community / window onto the web which is called tumblr. That being said, tumblr is largely what you make of it. I like the basic format of tumblr, and within that format or structure, I’ve created a flow of beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking feeds. I love the stream of art, gorgeous nature photography, science, literature, quotes, history, politics, spirituality and philosophy which flows through my tumblr window on the world daily.

I could have picked feeds on celebrity gossip, or cats doing amusing things, but I didn’t. The content I’ve chosen to let in is either beautiful or thought-provoking, or both – not trivial tripe and banality. So I am daily fascinated, or at least uplifted, by what flows through this portal onto the world – or as often as I open it up, which is more occasional than daily.

Facebook is good for providing another means of connecting or staying connected with friends and loved ones – meagre and thin as that connection may be, or as superficial or illusory – but facebook has a number of glaring faults, in my mind.

First, facebook provides data mining and surveillance aid to the NSA – how disgusting and truly revolting is that?

Second, facebook hits you in the face with obnoxious ads every time you look at it – revolting offence number two.

Third, facebook’s layout and formatting is visually ugly, boring and banal, and crudely utilitarian compared with tumblr.

Four, facebook gives you tiny little boxes of content posts, unlike tumblr, which gives you large size posts, so you can really get much more of a feel or an impression from a photo, piece of art, political poster, cartoon or other image, which is largely lost on facebook, unless you take the time to click on the image and go to a larger version.

I find the formatting of twitter even more annoying. Who can say anything meaningful in 140 keystrokes or characters? Hyper-concision gone mad – that is twitter. See Chomsky on the dangers of a strictly enforced concision.

All in all, I’d say social media is a horrible waste of time and a surrogate for real relationships and real life. However, it can be used in ways that are useful, and even uplifting and life enriching.

You could say the same thing about youtube or TV – most of it is garbage, or worse than garbage: toxic sludge; and you have to be extremely selective to make it worthwhile, or even to avoid being poisoned by it.

(I hate TV, and haven’t had one in my home for years. I watch what I want from TV, when I on rare occasions I do watch it, either on Netflix or youtube, or I buy videos of the TV shows I like, and watch them  any time I want, commercial-free.)

But as far as comparing social media in their ability to handle truly life-enriching content with a minimum of commercial bastardization or constrictions, the structure and formatting of tumblr makes that easier to obtain that on facebook, I would say – and I simply like the formatting of tumblr far better than facebook – as well as the lack of ads.

I post interesting items to facebook, but I never “read” or follow it, because it’s just far too annoying. tumblr, I actually enjoy spending time on, and I learn more about art, science, history and the world while I relax and enrich my mind with beautiful images of paintings and photography at the same time.

But again, tumblr, like all social media, or the internet in general, or any media, is almost entirely what we make of it – as with life itself. If we want to obsess over celebrity gossip and sports trivia, we can do that. If we want to listen to the media presstitutes, as Gerald Celente rightly calls them, mouth the words that their corporate owners dictate to them – um, sorry, bosses, is the preferred term I suppose… or Johns – we can do that.

If we want to degrade or dumb down our minds, we can do that – and we are facilitated greatly, and eagerly encouraged by the corporate driven mass media to do just that. The Pied Piper plays daily and continuously, the sirens call, and the sleep-walking masses drool and respond in Pavlovian reaction, like obedient dogs, or sheep; as if they were well-oiled and carefully controlled machines, or puppets on a string.

We are free to fashion our own mind-forged manacles, as William Blake called them – and we can pretty them up with lace and garlands, or paint them with our own personal flourishes and filigrees, so they look ever so lovely; and we can show them off to all our friends and family, and be so proud, as we drown our minds in a tsunami of confusion, illusions, lies and deceit, or simply wander aimlessly in the wasteland of a civilization (sic) lost in a dark age – bewildered, alone, in pain, and not even knowing we are lost, much les where we are, where we have come from, or where we are going. Or, alternately, if we want to uplift, enrich and illuminate our minds, hearts and spirits, and our lives, we are free to do that.

Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of people want to squander their lives, and degrade their minds and themselves, rather than enrich, uplift or ennoble them. But that is their choice. I’d rather spend my time differently. Wallowing in a sea of excrement is not my idea of a good time. But to each his own.

Some people choose to spend their time “engaged” with media, listening to Fox News, CNN or Billow O’Reilly. Some would rather spend their time listening to the thoughts of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Gerald Celente or Matt Taibbi – or listening to the words of the greatest scientists, sages and true luminaries of all time and all the world. You can choose to spend your time watching cockroaches mate, or something on a level barely above that; or you can sit at the feet of the wise, and listen and learn, and be truly enriched by it. It is your choice. There are different mental worlds we can choose to live in, and they are truly worlds apart.

Some people want to live in Disney Land; some prefer the real world.

For myself, I’d like to stick as close as I can to the real world; and within that scope, which is vast, I’d prefer to mix the bracingly real and honest, with the beautiful and uplifting. To me, anything else would either be a distraction and a diversion from what is most important in life; or worse, a degrading, mind-numbing, soul destroying descent into the darkness of a world lost in confusion and pain.

Choose wisely, I would say.

There is a difference between honey, saccharine, and arsenic. Learning to distinguish which is which, is the first step toward nourishing yourself – and also, the first step in ceasing the self-poisoning which now daily occurs, and has become routine: a banality of evil, as well as an epidemic.

Life is precious. What we do with it matters. Reflect on this, I would urge you. Or not, as you like. We are free to rise to great heights, or to sink to the lowest depths. That is entirely up to ourselves to decide. For me, I’d rather choose an upward path, however winding, seemingly slow, or at times arduous or lonely, than choose the slide down the cliff-side which has become the pervasive and profoundly abnormal norm. Life is worth more than this. And I will live it, and not simply drift through it, like a speck of foam on a great river.

Social media can be grand. It can be sordid. Or it can be simply banal. Like life, it depends on what we do with it.

J. Todd Ring,

September 25, 2013

Occupy Wall Street: The emerging global pro-democracy movement, where it stands, what it means, and where we go from here

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, civil liberties, class, common ground, consciousness, conservative, conservatives, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, currency, democracy, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, ecology, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, human rights, imperialism, inspiration, labour, left, liberal, libertarian, libertarianism, Media, media analysis, money, must-read, oil, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, psychology, resources, right, right wing, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the right, the world's other superpower, Uncategorized, war, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by jtoddring

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which has already become a global grassroots populist pro-democracy movement, if we have eyes to see, has clearly already won a broad and growing base of support. What is needed now, I believe, is to further clarify and crystallize the issues – and I would say that many people now realize that the central issue is the question of whether we live in a plutocracy or a democracy, whether we have rule of the people, by the people, for the people, or rule by the super-rich 1% and the corporate elite. The second urgent task is to further broaden and build the emerging world-wide pro-democracy movement, and create a popular coalition that can reclaim democracy from the ruling corporate masters who are looting and pillaging at will, and who have usurped far too much power, politically, economically, and in the media. To this second aim, this brief reflection is geared. Unite the people now.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, or more accurately, the fast-growing global pro-democracy movement, has broad support from progressives, the left and labour, considerable support from students, youth, the environmental and peace movements and the liberal centre, and also, although it may be surprising to some, considerable support from the grassroots right.

What many do not understand is that the grassroots right is increasingly wary of and outraged by the same ruling corporate elite that the left has fought against for generations. A growing number of people who consider themselves conservatives are now highly aware that big business and the super-rich have taken over the political process as well as the economy and the media. They are not happy about this fact, to say the least.

There is common ground here, between left and right, liberal, conservative and progressive, and we should not be fooled by the corporate-dominated and corporate-owned media who always want to spin and sow division among the people. The power-hungry have always known that divide and conquer is the best and first line of defence of their vested interests and imperial powers. We should not be surprised when the corporate-run media both inflames and also inflates and exaggerates the divisions which do exist, and severely downplays the common ground that could unite the people. When the people unite, democracy will rule, and the ruling elite will be deposed from power – the elite know this very well, and therefore do everything they can to sow division and discord among the people. Do not let them win!

*

At the level of the grassroots, many people are fiscal conservatives, and many fiscal conservatives realize that spending $1.5 trillion a year on imperial wars, the military-industrial complex and CIA black ops – and this is the figure that has been acknowledged by the U.S. government, by the way – is completely unsustainable, and is in fact, economic suicide. While there are major differences of opinion and views between right and left, there is also strong common ground – common ground that is routinely overlooked, and that is vital that we acknowledge and come to realize. Many fiscal conservatives realize that the vast sums spent on war and empire are leading to a collapse of the currency and a bankrupting of the nation. Many also realize that it is the vested interests of the corporate elite – the big oil companies and military-industrial contractors, for example – that drive the wars and the imperial hubris and sheer insanity.

The grassroots right and conservatives are not as out to lunch as most liberals, progressives and people on the left tend to believe. Neither right nor left has a monopoly on truth, on intelligence, or on moral high ground. The sooner we realize that none of us are infallible, that we can learn from one another, and most importantly, that we have a strong basis of unity in common ground, the better.

If the left and progressives and liberals can get over their long-standing self-righteousness and presumed superior moral high ground and intelligence, they will find that they have allies in surprising places. If the right will overcome their habitual paranoia and rabid, overly zealous partisan hatred and hostility toward the left, and realize that the vast majority of people on the left today are neither Stalinists nor statist authoritarians, they too will realize that they have allies in surprising places. We need to realize this now: there is common ground; and unless we find it, we are all in for a very dark time ahead. Divided we will fall – make no mistake about it.

The right and the left may forever disagree, and disagree strongly, on many major issues; but when it comes to the core issues, the most central and fundamental of issues, most people on both right and left are in favour of constitutional democracy, limited powers of the state, civil liberties, freedom and authentic democracy, and are opposed to any form of elite rule. This fact, and this common ground, is critically important for us all to realize now.

*

On another line, many on the grassroots right and many who would call themselves conservatives, are libertarians. Traditionally, libertarianism has been a term that has been co-opted by the libertarian right. The libertarian right has traditionally been wary – rightly so – of excessive powers of the state; and it has also traditionally been laissez-faire, or willfully ignorant, as to the dangers of excessive powers in the economic realm. But this has been changing over the past two to three decades, and libertarians that were or are conservatives or rightist, have begun to realize what Thomas Jefferson knew very well two hundred years ago: excessive concentrations of either economic or political powers will result in tyranny.

A growing number of libertarians are now highly aware that in order to preserve constitutional democracy, civil liberties and freedom, the corporate elite must be pushed back, and firmly reigned in. Again, there is a good deal of common ground here between conservatives, liberals, progressives, right and left now, at least at the level of the grassroots.

Of course most politicians are partisan zealots: they have to uphold the charade that they represent widely differing views between widely differing political parties, and to mask the fact that both of the major political parties in the U.S., and most of the major political parties around the world, are bought and paid for by the same ruling corporate elite.  As George Carlin put it, “The politicians are there to give you the illusion that you have a choice. You don’t have a choice – you have owners. They own you. It’s a big club folks – and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the club. And by the way, it’s the same club they use to beat you over the head with every god-damn day, telling you what to think, what to believe.”

We are presented with a false set of choices, and asked to choose between corporate lap dogs A, B, or C. More and more, the people are aware that this is no choice at all, and that the entire system is failing us, and has been co-opted, high-jacked, by the same 1% who control and dominate the global economy and the major media, and are pillaging the earth and the people.

It is time for the people to fully see through the smoke screen, to recognize that the central question at hand is whether we have a plutocracy in which the richest 1% rule over the rest, or whether we have government of the people, by the people, for the people, and to reclaim our democracy, our lives, our world and our future.

*

Environmentalists are coming to realize that there will be no serious action to protect our environment or save our collective asses until and unless we depose the ruling corporate powers from their dominance over the political process, the economy and the media – that is, until we the people take the power back and reclaim our democracy and our future.

The progressives and the left generally realize that there will be no justice and no authentic democracy until and unless the people reclaim their power, take back their democracy, and push the corporate elite to the side, reigning them in and allowing decisions to be made, as they should and must, by the people, and not by the super-rich.

The labour movement is coming to realize that perpetual rear-guard action is necessary, but entirely insufficient to create a just and equitable society – that the goals of jobs, decent working conditions and pay, and a decent life for all, are impossible to attain until and unless the people reclaim their power and their democracy from the corporate elite who have usurped these.

The peace movement is beginning to realize that imperial warfare will never end until the military-industrial complex and the big oil companies, and more broadly, the reigning corporate elite, are deposed from power, and the people reclaim their democracy.

The traditionally wishy-washy and banal centre is coming to realize that the middle class dream of a peaceful, reasonably just, free and democratic society in which they and their children can do well and prosper, is a dream that is systematically being destroyed, that the middle class is being eviscerated and is falling into the underclass, and that these goals and values briefly exposited above are by now an impossibility until and unless the people say no to the corporate giants and the financial elite who have overstepped their bounds and come to dominate the entire political process, the economy and the planet. The habitually somnambulent and deferential centre is beginning to awaken.

This is already a broad coalition of interests, people and movements, and it will be even broader when the grassroots left, right and centre realize that they have a common foe: and that is the super-rich 1% and the corporate elite who are destroying democracy, civil liberties, constitutional rights and freedoms, waging unending, murderous and economically bankrupting imperial wars, and endangering all our lives and futures by continuing to disregard the environment in the pursuit of short-term profits and rape and pillage economics.

On the right, there may be 10-20% of the population that is authoritarian and quasi- if not wholly fascist. On the left, there may be 10-20% that is naively, cynically or stubbornly elitist and authoritarian. The 60-80% of the people who are in between these two extremes of right and left prefer and strongly are in favour of constitutional democracy and the rule by the people – and opposed to rule by any kind of elite. This is the majority which we must now unite, and this majority which supports constitutional democracy and is opposed to any form of elite rule, spans both the left and right, liberals, conservatives and progressives. We can and must unite the majority now, and reclaim our democracy from the plutocrats and the – frankly speaking, and to put it plainly – crypto-fascists.

Act now. The time is late. And the time has come for a change.

Unite the people. It is time for the people to take back their democracy and to renew the world.

JTR,
October 19, 2011

Public poll on the state of democracy: please respond – your views and your voice matter!

Posted in analysis, corporations, corporatism, democracy, economics, economy, Media, political economy, politics, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by jtoddring

Please answer the following question below, share this poll with friends, and leave your comments as well if you wish. (Naturally, of course you can only vote once! This poll aims to be as democratic as possible!)

The system is broken: strategic voting, coalitions, and the political regime under which we live

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, Chomsky, class, collapse, common ground, communism, conservative, Conservative Party, conservatives, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, Democrat, elite, empowerment, Feudalism, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, good news, inspiration, left, liberal, Media, money, nation state, national democracies, Noe-feudalism, people's movements, philosophy, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, propaganda, reading, Republican, Republican Party, resources, right, right wing, social theory, sovereignty, the right, tipping point, truth on May 28, 2011 by jtoddring

While I can of course see the rationale for strategic voting, there is much to be said for voting with one’s conscience. When we consistently choose the lesser of two evils, our choices are reduced to evil, and the results are evil. When everyone holds their nose and votes, essentially, for one of the parties or candidates of the status quo, believing no other option is feasible or can succeed, this collective act of despair becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: and low and behold, all other options are nullified – by our own act of choosing not to support them.

Put the blame where it belongs: the dominant parties are ensconced through the powers of the major media, which are controlled by the business and political elite who are in turn in bed with the party elite of the major parties: if we had a free press, and not a propaganda system, the people’s representatives would more closely resemble in action as well as words the views and values of the people, the great majority of whom by clear and consistent polls wish for more justice, equitability, sustainability, peace and compassion in the land and in the world.

How does a new party or a minor party build itself to a major force in politics? Certainly not by people choosing between the lesser of two evils and voting “strategically.” I’d almost be inclined to say that voting strategically is voting idiotically, for it is a vote of despair, a fatalistic action that presumes no major change is possible. While this is not entirely true, there is a great deal of truth to that picture painted. Maybe we should trust our conscience and common sense more often, and leave the horse racing to the track. This is not a game: it is our future.

Would it be better to vote for the devil if we thought he had a better chance of winning? Have we lost our reason and our faculties, our moral compass altogether? Politics is not about winning: it is about doing something virtuous in the world, for the benefit of all – or else it is truly a devil’s bargain, and we are both the prisoners and the captors ourselves. A vote is never wasted if it is the expression of our voice and true belief. Moreover, if it is an expression of our common sense and humanity, it would be a waste to thwart that and conceal it behind a shroud of “realpolitique” or imagined “realism.” When everyone defers to the present norm and the dominant powers, the present norm, no matter how profoundly abnormal or even pathological, becomes further entrenched, and real change, intelligent change, humane and sane and good-hearted change, becomes pushed ever farther off.

At the very least, we should make our views and values known, otherwise, democracy cannot function, and is reduced to a reification and endorsement of the existing structures of power and the dominant players. That scenario is dismal, to say the least. Let’s break it open. It is time to broaden the debate, broaden the discourse, and look to our options in a much wider field. The future is only as narrowed as our minds.

As to the dominant political parties in North America, they are all – Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal – beholden to the corporate elite who rule this continent. Whoever wins of this pack of four cronies and lapdogs, we get corporate rule; and whichever of them wins, we get either the fast-track or the sugar-coated program for bringing us a global neo-Dickensian corporate feudalism in which the elite rule, the privileged servile few prosper, and the rest suffer in misery and disenfranchisement. If we are serious about social change, then we need to break out of this stranglehold. A coalition is one way to break the hegemony of the forces of corporate power and their political lackeys, and that is something I would like to see emerge sooner rather than later.

What I believe could work, is now truly viable, and perhaps is our only hope within the arena of formal party politics, is a coalition that spans left, right and centre: it would be a coalition of everyone who prefers authentic democracy and rule by the people, to corporate rule and the rapidly emerging neo-feudal order. I will leave that to the organizers and political strategists to ponder, and hope that the call does not go unheeded. Our future is waiting.

For myself, while I admire the best and brightest of party activists, representatives and candidates – few and far between as they are – I have very little faith in the existing electoral and political system, for reasons of money and media corruption, and so, choose to focus my energies elsewhere. The system is broken. Everyone by now knows it, and the polls world-wide show a dramatic and profound crisis of legitimacy and loss of confidence in the political and economic structures and powers that rule us. To change this, the media monopoly must be broken, and serious, major and fundamental electoral reform brought in. However, the existing media powers and electoral financing system benefits the dominant political players and parties, so they are not willing to do what needs to be done, hence, the broken system perpetuates itself, via a self-serving political and business elite who dominate the political, economic and media spheres which are by now fully intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Choice under this political-economic system is largely an illusion: a small elite rule, and have for a very long time. As George Carlin so aptly put it, “You don’t have any choice – you have owners.” Or as John Lennon said, “You’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.” Democracy is a dream yet to be fulfilled. (See C. Wright Mills, David C. Korten or Noam Chomsky if this is not immediately self-evident.)

A break must come somewhere, and the growing and deepening global crisis of legitimacy of the ruling powers and systems guarantees that it will come. Remember the collapse of the Soviet Union and the entire Communist bloc just a few short decades ago: when a crisis of legitimacy reaches its culmination, a breaking point occurs, and the game is over: the entire edifice collapses, and something new – depending upon what the people do, arises to replace the old order. “Let them eat cake” did not stave off the demise of the old regime. In fact, such smug and cold arrogance hastened the coming change, and every repressive action in defence of the old and dying system, fuelled the fires of the imagination, of indignation, and of revolution. Stay tuned, stay alert, and keep your good heart. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over `till it’s over.” Remember Ozymandias. This is not the end of history, and democracy is yet being born.

J. Todd Ring,

May 27, 2011

An Outbreak of Democracy in America?

Posted in Barack Obama, Clinton, Democratic Party, free speech, Hilary, Media, Obama, police state, politics, Republican, Ron Paul, U.S. on May 17, 2007 by jtoddring

The Republican Party and corporate media are scared – actual democracy is threatening to break out in America.

Ron Paul is under attack by the Republicans – because he is a serious threat to business as usual. Who is Ron Paul? He is a maverick Republican candidate for the up-coming U.S. presidential election, and perhaps the only hope that the U.S. has of averting a full-blown police state. That may sound extreme, but it is quite possibly the case. No other candidate that stands a chance of winning the coming U.S. presidential election has any spine when it comes to abolishing the draconian and anti-democratic thrust of the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, which, along with executive signing statements and other maneuvers, have gone a long way toward institutionalizing executive privilege and the of undermining constitutional democracy.

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton both voted not only to instate the Patriot Act, which effectively nullifies the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also, more recently, to extend it and to make 14 of its provisions permanent. The mainstream Republican candidates are no better.

Anyone who has kept abreast of U.S. politics should know that America is in crisis, and democracy is at stake. Ron Paul needs and deserves support. If there are American citizens reading this, please learn more about Ron Paul. Whether or not you support him, if you value democracy or freedom of speech, then you must defend his right to participate in the electoral and democratic process without being blackballed, silenced or buried under the weight of corporate media influence. The grassroots love him, and he is apparently in the lead in polls for the GOP nomination. Speak now. Time is short.

With the corporate media shutting out the legitimate candidates in the American presidential race – the only ones with integrity, such as Kucinich and Paul – the internet has become the primary political organizing tool. If you are reading this, you are in the thick of it. Make it meaningful.

Below is the full email sent from the social networking Facebook group, Dr. Ron Paul for President.

Action Alert: Keep Ron Paul In The Debate
Neo-Con Republican Elite Seek To Silence Front-runner
Sign the petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/r0npaul/petition.html), jam the phone lines (1-202-863-8500), save free speech and the electoral process
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Prison Planet
Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Fox News, to GOPAC to factions of the Republican Party, the Neo-Con elite have sworn to crush free speech, kill the electoral process and kick the clear frontrunner – Congressman Ron Paul – out of the debates. Only by taking immediate action can we fight back against these anti-American enemies of freedom.

Ron Paul’s message of limited government, personal liberty, abolishing the IRS and bringing U.S. troops home for good resonates with the mass body politic of the American people – which is exactly why the establishment are attacking the Congressman and attempting to smear him from every angle.

Now the Michigan chapter of the Republican party wants to kick Ron Paul out of the debates altogether, despite the fact that he won both debates, crushed his nearest rivals in the polls and is clearly the frontrunner for the candidacy.

This is akin to an analogy where the Mafia owns nine of the ten horses in a race. The only horse that isn’t owned by them is the frontrunner and is a full length ahead. Now the mob boss simply wants to rig the race by shooting that horse dead in broad daylight.

Let these enemies of free speech know that there is an army of informed and outraged activists holding their feet to the fire and demanding that Ron Paul be included in all the subsequent GOP debates. If the Congressman is a “second tier” candidate as they claim then why are we witnessing a concerted effort to silence and censor Ron Paul?

Why are these bullies attempting to destroy the electoral process?

This is an action alert – we need everyone to flood the RNC phone lines with their support for Ron Paul and for keeping him in the debates.

ACTION: Call the RNC now at 1-202-863-8500 – jam their phone lines and let them know that we will not tolerate any effort on behalf of any faction within the GOP to silence Ron Paul or kill the electoral process!

Tell them you are extremely displeased with Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis who is leading this scurrilous, undemocratic, unpatriotic, un-American charge against a real hero.
Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/r0npaul/petition.html

PLEASE SPREAD THIS INFORMATION TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE INTERNET!

P.S. Please join all other Ron Paul support groups on facebook or elsewhere on the internet in solidarity with our fellow patriots.

Kudos to Alex Jones. I may disagree with him on many important points, but he is totally solid on this issue.

JTR

For more background on Ron Paul, see:

Ron Paul: Honest Abe Lives

For a critical perspective on Democratic lovable Barack Obama, as well as Hilary Clinton and the rest of the Democrat and Republican heirs to the dynasty see:

My Buddy Obama

Favourite Quotes

Posted in Buddha, Chomsky, economy, empire, fascism, FDR, Jefferson, Jesus, life, Martin Luther King Jr., Media, Mussolini, philosophy, politics, quotes, spirituality, Thoreau, truth, work on April 13, 2007 by jtoddring


I.

 

While civilization has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. – Thoreau, Walden

If necessary, let us forgo one bridge across the river, go `round a little there, and throw at least one span across the greater gulf of ignorance that surrounds us.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Walden, Henry David Thoreau


There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. – The Buddha


 

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~Albert Einstein

 

 

There is more to heaven and earth than is contained in your philosophy.

– Shakespeare

 

 

It is better to follow one’s own dharma, no matter how imperfectly, than to follow that of another. – The Upanishads

(Dharma in this context means one’s true nature, one’s true path.)

 

 

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

I sometimes despair of getting anything accomplished with the help of my fellow man; you would have to put their minds through a kind of powerful vice first, to squeeze their olds ideas out of them. – Thoreau, Walden


Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

When I reflect upon the ruts in a road, I am forced to think, how much deeper the ruts of the mind. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

It is never too late to give up your prejudices. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

Life is rounded by a little sleep.

– Shakespeare

 

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. – Thoreau, Walden

 

I do not wish, when I come to the end of this life, to find I had not lived.

– Thoreau, Walden


We select granite for the underpinning of our houses and barns; we build fences of stone; but we do not ourselves rest on an underpinning of granitic truth, the lowest primitive rock. Our sills are rotten. – Thoreau

 

 

The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything it is very likely to my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? – Thoreau, Walden


 

In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change or accident. – Thoreau

 

 

That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it. – Thoreau

 

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

Silence is the communing of a conscious soul with itself. If the soul attend for a moment to its own infinity, then and there is silence. She is audible to all men, at all times, in all places, and if we will we may always hearken to her admonitions. – Thoreau

 

The only Zen you find on the mountain top is the Zen you bring with you.

– unknown

 

 

I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The kingdom of heaven is within you.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth, and men see it not.

– Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat. – Jesus, Gospel of Thomas


 

I have never met a man who was fully awake; if I did, how could I look him in the eye? – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

 

 

 

II.

They are busy, as an old book says, laying up treasures that moths and rust will corrode, and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find out at the end of it, if not sooner. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify!

– Thoreau, Walden


 

Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. – Thoreau

 

 

Most men are engaged in business the greater part of their lives, because the soul abhors a vacuum, and they have not discovered any continuous employment for man’s nobler faculties. – Thoreau

How trivial and uninteresting and wearisome and unsatisfactory are all employments for which men will pay you money! – Thoreau

… I do not need the police of meaningless labor to regulate me…. – Thoreau, Life Without Principle (LWP)

Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. – Thoreau (LWP)

The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle or worse. If the laborer gets no more than the wages which his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man. – Thoreau (LWP)

The community has no bribe that will tempt a wise man. You may raise money enough to tunnel a mountain, but you cannot raise money enough to hire a man who is minding his own business. An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community pay him for it or not. – Thoreau (LWP)

If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage. I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living. All great enterprises are self-supporting. The poet, for instance, must sustain his body by his poetry, as a steam planing-mill feeds its boilers with the shavings it makes. You must get your living by loving. – Thoreau (LWP)

It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely holiest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual’s musings. Is it that men are too much disgusted with their experience to speak of it? The lesson of value which money teaches, which the Author of the Universe has taken so much pains to teach us, we are inclined to skip altogether. As for the means of living, it is wonderful how indifferent men of all classes are about it, even reformers, so called- whether they inherit, or earn, or steal it. I think that Society has done nothing for us in this respect, or at least has undone what she has done. Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off. – Thoreau (LWP)

If a man has spent all his days about some business, by which he has merely got to be rich, as it is called, i.e., has got much money, many houses and barns and woodlots, then his life has been a failure, I think; but if he has been trying to better his condition in a higher sense than this, has been trying to invent something, to be somebody, – i.e., to invent and get a patent for himself – so that all may see his originality, though he should never get above board – and great inventors, you know, commonly die poor – I shall think him comparatively successful. – Thoreau

 

A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. – Thoreau, Walden

(TV is perhaps the most ugly, pathetic and vacuous example, next to heroine. – JTR)

 

 

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. – Thoreau, Walden

 

 

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. But it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things. – Thoreau, Walden


 

It’s not enough to be busy. The question is: What are we busy about?

– Thoreau, Walden


 

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

– Thoreau, Walden

 

 

 

No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. – Thoreau, Walden


 

Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion–what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. – Thoreau, Walden


 

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. – Thoreau, Walden


 

 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Thoreau, Walden

 

Ultimately, men hit only what they aim for; therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim high. – Thoreau, Walden

III.

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

I have to believe the American people are the most systematically lied to people on earth – if I didn’t, I would believe they were the most evil.
– Former foreign minister for Nicaragua

 

 

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the media.

Noam Chomsky


 

I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.

Noam Chomsky

(The same could be said for the people of any of the “leading” industrial nations.)

 

 

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

– Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience

 

 

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

 

 

 

IV.

All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

 

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer. – Henry A. Kissinger

 


Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. – Henry A. Kissinger (One of the 90%.)

Quite generally, international affairs have more than a slight resemblance to the Mafia. The Godfather does not take it lightly when he is crossed, even by a small storekeeper.” – Noam Chomsky


“The Constitution is just a piece of paper” – G.W. Bush

“It is impossible to understand the current U.S. policy if the real scope of September 11 is underestimated. The attacks perpetrated at that moment were a coup d’état. The war on terror is based on a myth and has become a compulsory state religion since such developments took place. The only way to fight against neoconservatives is by destroying this myth.” – U.S. journalist Webster Tarpley

In many regions of the world, democracy, freedom and human rights are seen as cynical slogans, Orwellian double-speak, mouthed by those who want oil and other natural resources, and the strategic pathways, such as Afghanistan, that lead to these resources.

– James Laxer

The so-called war on terror is really a struggle in which the United States and its allies are attempting to impose their hegemony on a large part of the world.

– James Laxer

 

 

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretense of governing, they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves and sheep. I do not exaggerate…Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. – Thomas Jefferson, 1787

 

 

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment, inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose. – Thomas Jefferson

 

 

I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson

 

 

This country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institution and monied incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816

 

 

The bank mania…is raising up a monied aristocracy in our country which has already set the government at defiance, and although forced at length to yield a little on this first essay of their strength, their principles are unyielded and unyielding. These have taken deep roots in the heart of that class from which our legislators are drawn, and the sop to Cerebus from fable has become history. – Thomas Jefferson, 1817

 

Once a nation parts with control of its currency and credit…all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and democracy is idle and futile. – Mackenzie King, 1935

 

I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. – Thomas Jefferson, 1816

 

 

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism

because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

– Benito Mussolini

 

“Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy; it is only conceivable if the people have a sound idea of authority.”

– Adolph Hitler, speaking to a key meeting of Germany’s business elite, 1933.

 

 

The next election will be “the last one for the next 10 years, probably even for the next 100 years.” – Goering, following up on Hitler’s statement above, at the same meeting.

 

 

“We’re Philip Morris. We’ve got more money than God.”

– Guy Smith, Philip Morris executive.

 

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism: ownership of a government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

“Society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power.” – Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
Mohandas Gandhi

Socialists think profits are a vice; I consider losses the real vice.

– Winston Churchill

 

If you take all these bills together, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that what we have here is a road map for, essentially, I am not exaggerating, a military junta, really in the hands of four cabinet ministers who can delegate right down to the ground. That what’s happening. If you look at, and there’s no argument against this if you look at the legislation, it is so offensive…The last point I want to make about this globalization and the militarization of that agenda is that if you look at the definition of terrorism, what they have done is very reptilian, very slippery…how broad the net has been cast.

– Canadian constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati on the post-9/11 “anti-terrorism” laws


 

The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other–instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals. – Edward Abbey


 

“It should not be denied any longer: America is hurtling along the road to full-fledged fascism. To recognize this is the necessary first step in deflecting the juggernaut and creating the possibility of more peaceful tomorrows. It is legitimate and also necessary to correctly employ the power of naming.” – Barry Zwicker

 


If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. ~ James Madison

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. (…)

In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to “be liked” or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

– Preeminent post-war long-term strategic planner for the U.S. National Security Council, George F. Kennan, from the formerly top-secret, now de-classified 1948 State Department Brief: NSC 68


 

 

“The U.S. has routinely destroyed democracy throughout the globe while its leaders spout words about spreading democracy.

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

“During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

– Major-General Smedley Butler, 1933.

 

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 3rd American President

 

 

V.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

– Martin Luther King Jr.


 

The future holds ominous portent, and signs of great hope. Which result ensues depends largely upon what we make of the opportunities.

– Noam Chomsky

 

 

It aint’ over `till it’s over.

– Yogi Beara

 

 

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences… – Winston Churchill, on facing the threat of fascism (the first time)

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance of our neglect. “The moving finger write, and having writ moves on …”
We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

Martin Luther King, Jr, April 4, 1967


 

The coward will ask is it safe?…Vanity, is it politically expedient or popular? But conscience will always ask, is it right?

– Mahdi Bray

Those who would trade a little liberty for a little security, deserve neither. – Benjamin Franklin

Hope is not for wimps; it is for the strong-hearted who can recognize how bad things are and yet not be deterred, not be paralyzed. – Frances Moore Lappe

 

“Just because you bury your head in the sand doesn’t mean the headache will go away.”

– Italian saying

 

 

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. – Thomas Jefferson

“Liberty demands responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – GBS

 

 

There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden


 

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

– Emma Goldman

 

 

Despite everything, I still believe people are basically good at heart.

– Anne Frank

 

 

The unity of the race of man, not only in its biology but also in its spiritual history…has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony, with its themes announced, developed, amplified and turned about, distorted, reasserted, and today, in a grand fortissimo of all sections sounding together, irresistibly advancing to some kind of mighty climax, out of which the next great movement will emerge.

– Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.

– Indian writer Arundhati Roy,
World Social Forum, 2003

 

 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

– Geothe

 

 

 

 

Towing the Line with the Mainstream Media

Posted in activism, alternatives, corporations, deep integration, detention centers, Jefferson, journalism, Media, North American Union, police state, politics, Security and Prosperity Partnership, SPP on April 10, 2007 by jtoddring

 

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
Benjamin Franklin

The media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely interlinked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate and discussion accordingly.”

Noam Chomsky

 

As Chomsky accurately pointed out – merely stating what should be obvious – the major media set the boundaries of acceptable discussion. They serve the function, among others, of saying in effect, “Thus far, and no further.” To step outside these parameters is thus implicitly portrayed as stepping off the edge of the earth. Beyond these bounds we enter the irrational, lunatic fringe. However, as also should be obvious, the bounds of discussion are extraordinarily narrow. Five corporations control network media in the U.S., six in Canada. They share a common perspective and present an extremely narrow range of views. Major issues are framed within a common lens of spin, omission of certain critical, salient facts, and outright distortion. Other major issues are not covered at all, or buried on page 39, in a minor note, right next to a recipe for oatmeal porridge or some other riveting feature. It should go without saying that if we allow the corporate media to set the parameters of discussion, we are lost.

It is now a matter of public record that the U.S. government has contracted out to Haliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention centers in America. KBR itself announced this in their own press release, stating that the contract is “open-ended” in terms of time-frame and scale. This should be worrisome. We remember that detention centers have been built – and used – before. In the U.S. and Canada during the second world war, the Japanese detention centers left a horrible and grotesque legacy. And of course, we have the chilling memory of the Nazi prison camps. When the U.S. government, already moving rapidly in the direction of fascism, as any sane observer recognizes, starts building detention centers, we should take this as noteworthy. This is newsworthy, or nothing is. But if the major media don’t cover it, then we all feel it is unacceptable to talk about it.

It is now a matter of public record – not theory – that the executive branches of the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments, along with at least three extremely powerful corporate lobby groups, have begun, under the signed agreement called the Security and Prosperity Partnership, what is being called a “dialogue” to create “full regulatory harmonization” and “deep integration” within “Fortress North America” in “the new security environment.” This is a program that is far more broad and ambitious than NAFTA, CAFTA or the FTAA, yet it is being met with almost complete silence by the mainstream media. Are we to then accept that such a major program, which is being carried out without Congressional or Parliamentary oversight or debate, which will redefine the economies, military and security structures, laws, regulations, borders and political process of the three nations, is not fit for public discussion, is not a legitimate topic of debate or dialogue, is beyond the range of acceptable discourse? The answer is, of course – or should be – obvious.

If we concede to the major media setting the bounds of discussion, and thus accept that these are the limits to rational or legitimate dialogue, then we have conceded defeat. Must we accept such narrow and arbitrary terms on the bounds of sane and reasonable discourse? What are we, men and women, or cattle?

“Half the American population no longer reads
newspapers: plainly, they are the clever half.”
– Gore Vidal

“If words were invented to conceal thought,
newspapers are a great improvement of a bad invention.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation.” – Thoreau

 

“Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on a ukulele.” – Ben Bagdikian

“If you don’t want to work, become a reporter. That awful power, the public opinion of the nation, was created by a horde of self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditch and shoemaking and fetched up journalism on their way to poorhouse.” – Mark Twain

“Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.” – G B Shaw

“The average newspaper, especially of the better sort, has the intelligence of a hillbilly evangelist, the courage of a rat, the fairness of a prohibitionist boob-jumper, the information of a high school janitor, the taste of a designer of celluloid valentines, and the honor of a police-station lawyer.” – HL Mencken

“If you’re not careful the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X

“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers…[A despotic] government always [keeps] a king of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or what should look like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.”

– Thomas Jefferson, 1785

 

“I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time.” – Thomas Jefferson

 

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he who’s mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.” – Thomas Jefferson

As my father used to say, if everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you follow? Or more directly, if everyone else is content to eat shit sandwiches, do we have to do the same? Why do we tune into the corporate media at all? Surely we are more intelligent than this. I believe most are. And polls show that the great majority of people have a pretty clear sense of what’s going on; and further more, have a high degree of skepticism about the major media. Why then do we continue to tune in, to eat this stuff up, or to allow the mass media to define the parameters of debate and discussion? I have to guess, or conclude, that it is a matter of group think. Heaven forbid that we deviate from the herd.

“In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

As every intelligent observer knows, mainstream media in Canada and the U.S. are either corporate owned or corporate dominated, due to dependency on advertising revenues. As such, we cannot be surprised to find a very narrow range of perspective and a remarkable commonality of spin across the mass media, with disinformation, distortion and omission of vital information being the norm.

What I’d like to suggest is that we keep the obvious in mind at all times: if we are writers, bloggers, independent journalists or media workers, or for that matter, anyone who is involved with or interested in the actual goings on in our world, we must not allow the mainstream media to set the parameters of legitimate public discourse.

Nor can we allow the mainstream media – the corporate-dominated media – to set the tone. The tone in the mass media is tepid, timid, blasé, and not truly objective at all. The media gets itself worked up into a frenzy in order to vilify the proper enemies, or pronounce the corporate party line, but when it comes to reporting or commenting on the short-comings or failures of business as usual and the party line, the best they can muster is a valium stupor of spiritless, apathetic hand-wringing – and this only when the far more common response of rationalization, justification, spin and denial are not the reaction. Genocide in Africa, the race toward ecological self-destruction, risk of nuclear confrontation over Iran or other conflicts, the institutionalization of war crimes as defined by international law, the legalization and routine, systemic use of torture, the destruction of constitutional rights and liberties: these are just a few examples of subjects that demand more than a luke-warm response; at least, that is, if we are to retain our human decency, if we are to address ourselves to the issues in a sane or humane manner, or if we are to introduce into the debate and discussion any of these qualities.

Call it like it is. Euphemistic, wishy-washy reporting and commentary smacks of either intellectual timidity or simple laziness, as well as moral cowardice. The people I admire most in terms of writers are those who have a marked intelligence, or more simply, a basic clarity of mind, and far more importantly, a deep sense of compassion, combined with a willingness to frankly speak the truth, even when it is unpopular to do so. Chomsky, and even more so, Thoreau, come to mind along with others. What we need to hear more of is people speaking plainly and intelligently, with compassion, and also with spine. Journalism that sparks little more passionate response than three day old porridge is not what we need. The usual skirting of issues and bland hedging, is about as effectual at addressing the issues we face as is making love in a wet suit.

In either case, if we allow the mainstream media to set the parameters of debate, the framing of the issue, the bounds of discussion; or to set the tone of public discourse – then we are lost.

As should be self-evident, the relevant facts and evidence must be brought forth, even if this is outside the bounds of discussion as defined by the dominant corporate-controlled media; and the tone of our dialogue must be at least somewhat more impassioned than what is set as the norm of reasonable discussion by the same dominant media forces. To do otherwise is to lose before beginning.

Effective action, or even simple integrity, can be based only upon truth, and courage to speak the truth. It also requires a willingness to meet the issues of the day with more than a banal and blasé spiritlessness, pretending to objectivity, neutrality or “balance”. We need to break the barriers of the media monopolies, and firstly, within our own minds and discourse.

 

J. Todd Ring

April 10, 2007

 

Useful links:

Manufacturing Consent

Necessary Illusions

Thoreau’s “On Civil Disobedience”

Amazon.com: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies: Books: Noam Chomsky

Democracy Now!

Free Speech TV

Big Picture TV

oneworld tv

Project Censored

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

Who Owns The Media?”

Your Media: Preserve Freedom, Diversity, Independence