Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bern Baby Bern

I'm a pretty easy going guy, always have been.  Just ask anyone who knows me.

They'll say, "Ya, he's a pretty easy going guy."

I'm also all for everyone.  Do what ya want, say what ya want, think what ya want, eat what ya want, be what ya want, believe what ya want, have sex any way ya want, with whatever ya want, more power to ya.  Just be nice, be kind.  Kinky, but kind.  Do no harm and respect your neighbor.  The golden rule, that's my standard to live by.

I also believe that if you have a certain belief that you not aggressively impose that belief onto a non-receptive person.  Sure, everybody gets a chance at making a sale.  But once the door's been closed, time to walk away.  Leave it alone.  There's always another sucker down the road.


It takes a lot to get me rankled too.  But boy, if you do.  Just ask anyone who knows me.

They'll say, "Ya, it takes a lot to get him rankled, but boy, if you do..."

I also don't generally discuss politics.  Especially these days and especially online.  There's rabid dogs on both sides of the fence and I'm just not into vehemence.  But I'm rankled, so I'm going in.  The stakes are too high.
If you haven't been able to tell by the title to this post, I would probably be considered a moderately liberal democrat these days.  If I were to be politically labeled.  It wasn't always this way.  I mean, I was once a registered Republican and voted for Reagen.  Twice.  I also think Nixon was a pretty good President.  I mean, except for the obvious.  But other than that, check his record.

And they all lie.  Bugging Democratic headquarters or just a Democratic bugger getting head, they all lie.

I'm now a registered Democrat, but then I've pretty much crossed party lines my entire voting career.  To me Republican and Democrat are merely labels.

Obviously one's personal life as well as situations happening in one's country and the planet evolve and change over time.  Hopefully our perception and understanding can evolve and change along with it all.  If not, more than likely, we're gonna get grumpy and want to throw food at somebody.  

Besides a little change in perception and understanding, sometimes called growing older, another interesting thing developed over the last couple decades which allowed my political affiliations to change with ease.  And that would be the incredible ultra right wing conservative evangelical shift in comprehension and ideals of the GOP.  Believers imposing beliefs.  Posers and impostors.  Main stream Democrats these days are what moderate Republicans used to be a couple decades ago. Wasn't that socialist leaning Eisenhower considered a Republican a half century ago?   Hell, he'd probably be considered a mid-stream Democrat today.

And then there are the candidates the GOP is rolling out this year.  Seriously.  I mean, half those people put the "bat shit" in crazy. The other half are too.  And they all lie.

Now I could certainly and quite blissfully go parabolicly derisive, lord knows there's enough material to do so.  And that's typically the direction most conservatives go when they are confronted with what they deem is liberal drivel when in fact, more than half the time, it is much more centrist and factual truth.  But I'm not going to froth at the mouth while I scornfully blast off facts because I don't want to completely alienate any conservative readers before they get to the end of this post.  If I haven't already.

I'm pretty certain the majority of my readership is going to like this post.  You may even cheer.  But I also know I'm going to piss off a few, but please, bear with me.  It's not the fact you have a different opinion I have a problem with.  It's how you arrived at your opinion. 

Look, folks are gonna disagree, I know this.  That's where spirited debate comes in.  And discourse, based on solid facts, is an intelligent way to convey and maybe even sway another's opinion.

But here's where and why and how I get rankled.  So many of the rude and vehemently derisive conservative comments, points, jabs and jeers I see and hear made these days are simply not true.  They're not true.  And it seems like one of the more popular sources of these ideas and lies is FOXNews.

Now I know what you conservatives are gonna say, "The liberal stations are just as bad.  They lie too."

Certainly.  They're all in bed with someone.  But let's take a look some facts anyway.  Just to humor me.

Punditfact, a branch of Politifact, an independent fact-checking and Pulitzer prize winning journalism website, put together profiles for CNN, CNBC and FOXNews.  In it they detailed just how honest each of the stations are.  I think the study was done in 2014.  While it's not a completely comprehensive profile (it would be almost impossible to fact check every single item said on each network) it's a reasonable measure of each station's truthiness.

Pundifact found FOXNews only told the truth 18% of the time for the statements they checked (15 out of 83).  Out of that 18%, only 8% of what they said was completely "true".  The other 10% was "mostly true."

60% of FOXNews comments were found to be either "mostly false," "false" or "outright lies" (50 out of 83).  The other 22% were rated "half true."

To compare, CNN was found to have been honest about 60% of the time while only having 18% of their comments found to be false.  MSNBC was found to have been honest about 31% of the time while 48% of their comments found untrue.

They all lie, one more than others, but they're all stretching the truth to support their owner's agendas.  And the problem with all the lies is that disharmony flourishes between both sides of the electorate while real potential solutions get lost in the subsequent less than circumspect quagmire.  People also get shot with real bullets.

World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA),   conducted a survey of American voters that shows that FOXNews viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.

This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of FOXNews viewers with regard to health care.

These are not isolated views.  The lack of veracity of their journalism has been corroborated time and time again by a variety of sources.  Here's Jon Stewart's clip 50 Lies in 60 Seconds, which I would be remiss not to include.  And I mean, come on.  Typically you don't become fodder and an easy target for a comedian unless you're doing something blatant.

Like, "Zimbabwe".

Naturally my conservative friends will dismiss this all as liberal drivel.  With facts obtained from a liberal source.  Certainly, they will say, any other source of information out there, no matter what or where it is, if it's not from FOXNews, Rush, Drudge or some other ultra conservative evangelical media, it must liberally biased propaganda.  That's part of their program, you know, constantly stating everything else out there is a lie. 

But another much more formidable obstacle to the truth, as pointed out by our brilliant PhD son-in-law, any individual would have in changing another person's opinion regarding their political ideals is called Selective Exposure.  Yeah, I know, I'm going to get all psycho babble on you now.  I hadn't heard the term before, so I had to do some research.  You know, find some facts.

Back in 1957, a psychologist named Leon Festinger wrote a book called "A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance."  In it he laid out a theory why human beings contort evidence to fit their beliefs rather than conform those beliefs to fit actual evidence.  He suggested that once a person settles on a core belief it seems to shape how they gather information.  As part of the process they are likely to try and avoid encountering information that challenges their belief.  Otherwise, cognitive dissonance might occur, and then they might want to bang their head against a wall or cut off a toe in order to ease the discomfort in their cranium.

Basically, when folks who hold a strong core belief (like the Bible for instance) are presented with evidence that works against that belief the new evidence has trouble being accepted.  You know, Darwin.  Science.  Stuff like that.  It creates an uncomfortable feeling, or cognitive dissonance.  And because it is so important to protect that core belief folks will rationalize, ignore or even deny anything that doesn't fit within its perimeters.   

Instead, they go looking for information that affirms their belief.  The technical term for this is selective exposure.  This means that folks selectively choose to be exposed to information that is compatible with their beliefs, and to avoid “inconvenient truths” that are not so compatible.  So, you know, their brain doesn't misfire and sputter.  And they feel uncomfortable.  You know, with truth and stuff.

So in this big truthiness feel good game, FOXNews imparts conservative misinformation.  And they attract conservative viewers that seek a station which imparts what ever, just as long as that whatever coincides with their beliefs.  They come into the relationship with FOXNews misinformed but also predisposed to become more so.  They're also inclined to be very confident about their nonfactual beliefs and they definitely have no problem imparting those nonfactual beliefs to others.

Vehemently at times.

This should not suggest that FOXNews isn’t guilty of actively misinforming viewers.  It is.  We've covered that.  Muslims, black lives matter, global warming, nit wits in Oregon taking over a bird sanctuary, the list is long.  But it takes two to tango.

PIPA did another study regarding misinformation in the 2010 election.  That study didn’t just show FOXNews viewers were more misinformed than viewers of other channels, it also showed that watching more FOXNews made believing in nine separate political misconceptions more likely.  And that was a unique phenomena, unlike any observed with the other news channels that were studied.

“With all of the other media outlets, the more exposed you were, the less likely you were to have misinformation,” explains PIPA’s director, political psychologist Steven Kull. “While with FOXNews, the more exposure you had, in most cases, the more misinformation you had.  And that would strongly suggest they were actually getting the misinformation from FOXNews.”

At the same time, it’s important to note that FOXNews viewers are also disinclined to watch any other news source.  FOXNews constantly keeps in their mind the idea that the rest of the media are “biased” against them.

Seriously, all of them?  That sure smacks of  "cultdom."  Ever hear of Jim Jones and the People's Temple?  Maybe it's time to drink something other than FOXNews koolaid.

According to Public Policy Polling’s annual TV News Trust Poll, 72% of conservatives say they trust FOXNews.  They also say they strongly distrust NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN.  In contrast, liberals and moderates trust all of these outlets more than they distrust them.

FOXNews ultimately is an enabler.  And deceiver.  It's co-dependent.  Besides promoting a foreign owner's ultra conservative right wing agenda, its existence gives conservatives an opportunity to exercise their biases. They get some truth, mostly lies.  They get it all by diving into the diabolical FOXNews misinformation stream.  There they can imbibe FOX-style koolaid which can then fuel more biased reasoning about politics, science, and anything else.  Backed mostly by nothing more than adjectives and verbs.  Maybe a couple of nouns.

There are certainly rabid liberal media sources out there too, but come on folks, it's not that hard to find the truth.  And I think it's imperative, if you love this country, to seek the truth at any cost.  Instead of just picking up a sensationalized rabid report from any conservative OR liberal media source, maybe seek out another opinion.  Or two.  I mean, last time I checked both Democrats and Republicans were still considered American.  Somewhere along the line I would hope we can find some common ground.

I mean, I'm pretty certain all my readership falls into the 99% economically.  I do have a couple friends who have done quite well financially, but let's explore some numbers just to humor me.  Again.

These numbers might not be entirely accurate, but they're gonna be close.  And for most of us, who cares?  We're no where even remotely close.  I garnered these numbers from a variety of online sources.  A few of them have been deemed reliable, but who really knows.  For sure.

Depending on your source, back in 2013 it took a net worth between 6 and 8 million to enter the magic 1% kingdom.  Out of that 1%, 99% are worth under 25 million.  They're just scratching the surface of the mega million itch. 

Which means, and I'm pretty sure of this, everyone I personally know falls into the original 99%.  Yeah, I have a couple millionaire friends, but I don't think their net million worth is above 6.  And I know for darned sure they ain't in that 1%1% club.  Otherwise I'm certain they would have taken me to lunch.  Probably more than once even.

So, unless you or your children are a musical or athletic prodigy, you are the next Picasso, you win the lottery or I write a best selling book, I think it's fairly safe to say all my readership falls within the 99% club.

So we have that in common. 

What about "crony capitalism", where big corporations (like Haliburton) get sweetheart deals from the government in exchange for lobbying and campaign contributions?   Nobody (except Cheney) should be in favor of that.

What about "Citizens United", which enables big corporations to act like a human being and contribute gobs of money to specific campaigns?  Can you say buy elections? 

What about the Trans Pacific Partnership?  Shouldn't that NOT happen for a hundred different reasons?

What about our veterans?  Shouldn't they be cared for better?

I have a feeling there's more common ground than conservatives and liberals might imagine if we can just get past the misinformation, half truths and bullshit.  This is our country folks and it used to be a democracy.  It's rapidly becoming an oligarchy. You can all see that, right?

Speaking of hype and horse shit, there certainly is a lot of both hovering about the 2016 presidential campaign.  And, as far as I'm concerned, there is only one candidate worth considering.  So let's address a political label which I am sure FOXNews is having a howling hey day with. 

"Democratic Socialism, which is actually the radical idea that those who create wealth should control it. If we had a truly democratic political system, the U.S. economy would work for ordinary people instead of just the greedy few who have rigged the game.

Those who advocate democratic socialism are not interested in creating a one-party centralized state. They simply believe that everyone deserves a real voice at every level of society.  

In the capitalist way of running our economy, the rich get richer while the rest of us get poorer. Because our vision of a deeply democratic society challenges corporate profits, the 1% tries to discredit democratic socialism by equating it with authoritarianism.  It's a weapon they can use over and over again to prevent any reforms to rein in corporate power.
Bernie Sanders challenges the "greed is good for everyone" mantra and isn't scared of being linked with the socialist label. That makes him extremely dangerous to those who prefer our economy to remain unbalanced and unequal." ~Maria Svart, National director of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Besides Trump, Bernie is the only presidential candidate without a super pack or corporate sponsorship.  And as opposed to Trump, he is the ONLY candidate that's making any kind of sense.

I don't care what political affiliation you have, you gotta admit whatever is going on in this country surely ain't working for the majority of folks.  Which is like 99% of the population I believe, including all of us.  We already did the math.  So really, if you think about it, even if you have ultra conservative beliefs, if you are not part of the 1% you're getting screwed too.  By Republican or Democrat.  It doesn't matter.  They're all bought.  Every single candidate with a Citizens United Super Pack corporate sponsorship owes somebody something.  Right? 

Except Bernie.  He's not bought by anybody except millions of fed up Americans.  And he has real ideas on real issues, not Trumped up fallacies and rudimentary rationale.

You may not have heard too much about Bernie on the television, he's not getting a lot of coverage.  It's no wonder.  Mainstream media, 90% of which is owned by just 6 corporations, a couple of which are heavy Hillary contributors, have all but blacked him out.  But his internet presence is huge, and he will be the one to bring out and capture the millennium vote.

"The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.

Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.  The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time."~Bernie Sanders

If you aren't familiar with Bernie Sanders and his rational and reasonable position(s) on the urgent issues of our time, check out his website.  Try to trudge past that Democratic Socialist label and see where he really stands. 

And please, for the sake of our country, our children and grandchildren, seek the truth.  Find the facts before garnering an opinion.  Our freedom depends on it.

or liberals, it’s not exactly “breaking news” to find out that Fox News is mostly comprised of misinformation or flat-out lies. Anyone with even a shred of common sense can watch just a handful of their featured shows and see that the entire channel is nothing more than a propaganda mechanism for the Republican party.

Read more at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/fact-checking-site-finds-fox-news-tells-truth-18-percent-time/