Archive | August, 2016

67. Is Our Press Losing Its Ideals?

25 Aug

I just saw an interview with former Governor Howard Dean. He expressed a thought that I have had for several years now: that much of USA Press has been corrupted and does not fairly and intelligently present the news. Of course, many individual reporters and commentators do a very good job. Some of the best and bravest are Eleanor Clift, Fahreed Zacharia, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, and a number of others. But there is a major trend to present news that is sensational and sells, rather than an accurate and fair presentation of facts. And often there is a clear avoidance of anything that might offend our rich “Royalty Class”, which includes most leaders of industry and government.

In the case of Hillary Clinton, there is a tendency to overly emphasize innuendo. They repeat over and over things that could be wrong but in fact are not wrong. If, for example, Hillary meets with a company CEO or major donor, it is often reported with an implication of suspicion. The Washington Post (usually an excellent paper) is emphasizing the large number of charitable donors that she meets with, implying that something is wrong. An article title calls her “shady”.  The Clinton Foundation does wonderful charitable work and why the Washington Post wants to tarnish her is beyond me — and it does not help that buried deep in an article they say everything is OK. Further, Hillary is very good at getting political donors and that also is ridiculed by the media. All the best elected officials are great at getting donors and it is not their fault that this is necessary. In these times, a huge amount of financial support is required for all high governmental positions. Message to liberal press: ease up on Hillary or suffer a Trump presidency.

The misinterpretation of emails by everyone including the press is deplorable. For example, an email states that someone (suspicious?) is trying to contact the Secretary of State. The mere fact that someone is trying to make a contact is not worthy of reporting, but it is often reported with unwarranted speculation.

Nasty unreasonable speculation excites the readers and sells newspapers and advertising, but can have the effect of devastating character assassination. Suppose you were walking down the street and a notorious crook just asks if you have the time. What if a reporter sees this and states that you have had a contact with this gangster. At the end of the story the reporter may clarify that there is no proof of wrongdoing — but the damage has been done. People often just remember the headlines and never get to the clarifications.

Sometimes the facts are totally misrepresented or important details are omitted. Wolf Blitzer once remarked that Al Gore called President Obama a failure. The fact is that Al Gore only said that Obama failed in promoting climate-change remedies. Many people, of course, only remember the first statement and never got to the clarification.

In another example, Obama was criticized for not immediately visiting the flooding in Louisiana. This was often reported without mentioning that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards suggested the delay, as a presidential visit could interfere with rescue efforts. Presenting only part of the story can be very damaging.

One of the most annoying errors is the reporting that Democrats want to raise taxes, implying that the raise would be for everyone. What Democrats actually say is that they want to raise taxes for very rich people and not at all for the rest of us. This can have a profound influence on voters choices.

I have observed Chuck Todd (of Meet the Press) badgering Trump about more superficial issues, but rarely have I seen him attack on the most important issues such as taxation. It seems that most reporters and commentators are afraid to bring up financial issues, perhaps because they could offend the rich owners of their media . Why do they let Trump get away with obvious lies like Hillary is a co-founder of ISIS? He repeated this on several days and finally said he was being “sarcastic.”

We would hope that the Press, a necessary part of any democracy, would be able to help people separate the lies from the truth. I watch many news programs and see spirited discussions of trivia while the profound and history-making issues are ignored. Ask yourself what Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite would say about Trump and today’s reporting of issues.

In researching for this blog, I came upon a couple of wonderful quotes by Walter Cronkite (CBS news anchor from 1962 to 1981) listed on a Google search page.
“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”
“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.”
I guess the current problems have been around for a long time. Maybe it is Trump’s bizarre candidacy and his manipulation of the Press that has exacerbated the apparent corruption.

66. To Trump Voters: Really?

13 Aug

Why are you voting for Trump? He thinks you are stupid. He says that his fans are so devoted that he could kill someone in downtown N.Y. and they would not care.

He tells you obvious lies because he thinks that you don’t reason very well and will not detect them. For example, he says that Hillary enabled her husband Bill in his affairs. That is not what she said and his numerous apologies at the time, suggest otherwise. Trump’s lie comes from a distortion of the fact that she helped him with bogus lawsuits. This exemplifies his method of changing facts to support his rants.

You originally voted for him because he said that he was entirely self-supporting and could not be corrupted. Now he is accepting and soliciting donations. This is clearly reported in the news.

He says that our military is a disaster. Another lie — military leaders and other experts feel that our military is as strong as ever and best of all nations.

He developed a procedure of communication that assumes that you will not research anything that he says. He thinks that you are so ignorant that you will just accept everything he says.  He proposes a gigantic expensive wall that will be paid for by Mexico — ignoring the fact that Congress would have to approve it, which they would not do. Mexican leaders have already said that they absolutely would not pay for it. He does not discuss all the ways that this expensive wall could be circumvented — like flying over, digging under, going by sea, going through checkpoints with false ID, coming in from other countries, etc, etc. He just assumes that you can’t figure this out.

He lied about an early condemnation of the Iraq war, he lied about Hillary wanting to raise taxes for the middle class, he lied about his business successes, and he refuses to let you see his income tax returns. He has insulted women, Mexicans, NATO allies, Muslim nation allies, many Republican leaders, disabled people, military men, and others. His emphasis is on revenge rather than on making productive alliances.  He supports torture even though President Reagan was against it.

But you say you don’t care about all these things, because when he takes office he will really be on your side and do wonderful things for the middle class. But why would you think that? He tells countless lies so why would you believe anything he says. He often changes his mind. His past behavior is selfish and full of failures where he profits and other are cheated (like those joining Trump University). His original written budget lowers taxes so much for rich folks that our country would soon be bankrupt.

He claims all sorts of abilities, but all these are related to business and not to a presidency. Creating construction jobs has no relation to the way a president would have to create jobs, which is by a complicated promotion of favorable economic conditions and job creating projects. He would have to work with Congress to achieve this and he has already alienated numerous congressmen.

So if you still are for Trump, have you really considered why? Ignoring what he says (words are cheap), has he actually done anything that would suggest a presidency that would help you? Have you researched the facts? Maybe your problem is limiting your choices to Republicans. Maybe the other party can do more of what you want.

65. Hillary Deserves Your Trust

8 Aug

I spend many hours listening to presidential election news programs and searching the Internet for information.  I am continually annoyed at how simple facts become unnecessarily complicated and confused. The commentators, reporters, the candidates, and others appear to be either poorly informed or to express themselves poorly on camera.   The reporting on Hillary Clinton seems to be particularly egregious.  So, here are some very important issues fully and clearly expressed in simple terms.

Hillary Emails:
She repeatedly said, in every situation, that she did NOT send any emails marked as classified. Also, investigations showed that her email system was never hacked, but that the Department of State email system was hacked.

FBI director Comey said that three of 30,000 emails sent were classified. But he did agree that they were incorrectly marked because they were missing the classification banner at the top of the page.

So Comey, in effect, agreed that Hillary did not send any properly marked emails.

Comey, historically a Republican, also said that she was truthful in his official interview of her.

End of story. These are the only pertinent facts. You can confirm all this by reading transcripts of relevant testimony. It is a mistake to form an opinion solely based upon biased political speeches.

Hillary and Benghazi tragedy:
She was subjected to eight expensive and time-consuming investigations that did not result in a finding of wrongdoing.

There were no lies told, only one change in early interpretations as facts developed.

The U.S. ambassador was a heroic diplomat who made a decision to enter a dangerous war-zone to conduct important business. To blame Hillary for his death would be like blaming President Bush for all the U.S. soldiers killed in battle while he was in office.

The primary protection for any embassy is provided by the local forces and not US troops.  The actual number of embassy guards was determined by lower officers and not the Secretary of State.

Republican House speaker-in-waiting, Kevin McCarthy, by mistake indicated a political reason for repeated congressional inquiries. The political error was so serious that he had to withdraw from consideration.

Contributions to Hillary campaign
It is true that the Hillary campaign took contributions from very rich donors, and that she has spoken to Wall Street organizations for fees. You could conclude that she would alter her policies to support the goals of these wealthy parties. Here is why that would not happen. She clearly receives more money from progressive Democrats so that there is more motivation to support their ideas. Further, the U.S. President is surrounded by the Secret Service, cabinet members, White-House staff, etc and is under constant observation. To secretly support any rich donor would be virtually impossible. Hillary Clinton has a long consistent history of helping people and supporting middle class needs. She never changed her mind about this basis goal. This is in stark contrast with Trump whose history only includes clever methods of making money for himself; often to the detriment of others.

Hillary is a decent reasonable person that some people mistrust, only because of a massive character assassination by the opposing Republican party. After her two terms in the Senate and being Secretary of state, her ratings by the people were very high — around 68%.