Wednesday, November 30, 2005

They Just Don't Get It, Do They?

The colossal arrogance of the newspaper editors in Hawaii, is that instead of telling Linda Lingle how to be governor, they should be asking her how to run a successful newspaper.

The only thing that gives newspapers any value at all is the perception that they are fair and unbiased sources of information -- and they have gone out of their way to destroy that perception, by trying to get over the most perceptive readers with more deception, manipulation, bias and impartiality -- thinking that the newspapers will die a slow death, just as it has the last thirty years, and by then, they'll be collecting fat pensions and it'll be somebody else's problem.

But there comes an inflection point at which one day, predictably soon, everybody realizes the newspaper hs no credibility, no integrity, and no one of honest ability, talent or insight . At that point, there is no further reason for being -- and everybody recognizes that.

Authenticity is their only hope -- and they're already asking, "How can we fake that?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Shame that is Our Local Newspapers

Al Gore's 'Invention' Exposes Anti-War Media
By JB WilliamsNov 29, 2005

Elected representatives in Washington are intended to be the mouthpieces of the people who elect them. Though they are constitutionally obligated to the will of the people, most Americans feel unrepresented by either political party today. That’s because politicians are no longer beholden to the people who elect them. They are instead, beholden only to those who control their power (their money), namely the two major political parties, their respective political platforms and their agendas of division.

The press is supposed to be the eyes and ears of the people, keeping a close watch on our elected officials and reporting unfettered facts so that the people (our real government) can keep those elected mouthpieces doing the peoples work in the interest of those people. Instead, we have a press operating with its own agenda and the people’s eyes and ears on Washington are failing us miserably as a result.

We hope the press will help keep politicians honest, at least as honest as any politician is capable of being. Help us rid ourselves of the dishonest politicians from time to time in order to assure the interest of the people. But it turns out that the one group we can trust less than politicians is the so-called mainstream press. Both make trial lawyers seem like decent folks. So who keeps the press honest?

EXAMPLE: Who made this case for forced regime change in Iraq? “In the four years since UN inspectors left [were thrown out] of Iraq, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.”

“It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capability to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter to political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, effects American security.”

“This much is UNDISPUTED!”

According to the lame-stream press, this was in a nutshell, the pack of “lies” told by the Bush administration leading us wrongly into war with Iraq; WMD remember? But these are not the words of George W. Bush or any member of his administration, though they do mirror those words almost to a letter. These are the words of a prominent Democrat senator from New York who had just spent the previous eight years of her life reading intelligence reports in the White House. These are the words of Hillary Clinton, as she made her case for voting to authorize military action in Iraq in 2002. Did she tell a lie?

The once mainstream press would have once told the American people this important tidbit of information, particularly once anti-Bush partisans began accusing the administration of “misleading” us into war. But not today… The press has an anti-war, more accurately, an anti-Bush agenda of its own and telling the people these facts won’t help that agenda at all.

The press actively promotes the false idea that the Bush administration used faulty “manipulated” intelligence to secure congressional authorization for action in Iraq. But the press has not told the American people that Democrats demanded an updated intelligence briefing of their own during the debate to authorizing action in 2002.

They have not told the American people that the Clinton appointed Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, delivered that updated report, known as the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concerning Iraq in October of 2002, which indicated that the intelligence against the Hussein regime was as Tenet put it, a “slam dunk”.

They have not told the American people that literally none of the Democrats currently critical of pre-war intelligence bothered to even read that report before casting their vote to send American troops into harm’s way.

When asked in a recent press briefing if he had read the NIE before casting his pro-war vote in October 2002, Senate Democrat Harry Reid said “The answer is - if you ask me, I didn’t read it.”

When Senator John Kerry was asked the same question, he answered “I got briefings.” (Which means no, I didn’t read it.)

When prospective Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton was asked, she responded “I’m not going to say anything about that. Just let the intelligence committee do their work, okay?” (Which translates to, my answer won’t help the Democrat agenda to regain political power, so I have nothing to say about that.)

It was only a 92 page detailed summary which was issued at the demand of senate Democrats and according to their own admissions, few of today’s Iraq war critics bothered to even read it… In fact, according to Senate Democrats, only six did read it and they all voted to support the action in Iraq.

You would think that congressional Democrats now critical of pre-war intelligence, voting to send troops into harm’s way without even reading the special intelligence reports they demanded, would be headline news. Not in today’s news rooms it isn’t.

Instead, the press helps Democrats promote yet another investigation into DNC alleged “misleading” pre-war intelligence for political purposes. The press has not told the American people that such investigations have already been performed or what those investigations concluded.

The press doesn’t want the people to know that two investigations into pre-war intelligence have already found no evidence of any manipulated, invented or even exaggerated intelligence concerning Iraq. They don’t want the people to know what the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence did find in their 2004 investigation. Proof of why the Clinton administration was wrong in assuming we no longer needed intelligence assets on the ground, wrong to limit our intelligence to that provided by the United Nations, as the Clinton administration had once thought adequate.

The press hasn’t and won’t tell the American people that to the extent we had any pre-war intelligence failures - it was the direct result of degrading our intelligence community throughout the 90’s and not the result of anyone’s efforts to intentionally mislead anyone. Telling the truth is not helpful to the anti-war anti-Bush agenda prevalent in today’s news rooms. So you won’t find this story in any lame-stream headlines today.

The American people are losing their will to win the war on international terror as a direct result of intentional disinformation in the press. The same thing happened regarding Vietnam and in that respect alone, it is a déjà vu experience for many Americans, soldiers in particular, who have seen this tactic before.

Forget what political party you thought you belonged to, would any real American support an elected official who voted to send American troops to war without even reading the special intelligence reports they requested first, no matter what party they belong to? Apparently, some Americans would…because some do.

Americans see hospitals and schools reopening in Iraq. They see Iraqi citizens thanking America for freeing them from the world’s most brutal regime of our time. They see children once imprisoned for their parents’ anti-Hussein speech, released and returned home by American soldiers. They watch as more Iraqis turn out to vote than do in America today, even though they risk life and limb to do so. Yet some still buy the media propaganda that the mission in Iraq is some sort of monumental failure. Why?

The average American does not have international experience, a depth of knowledge concerning world history in the Middle East, a direct understanding of terrorism or any direct expertise concerning issues of national security, foreign policy or military planning. Yet most of them are very opinionated on all of these topics, and their opinions are derived from media assessments alone, almost all of which are agenda driven reports based on disinformation or at best, selective information.

Many Americans sense that their system of self-governance is failing them. But few realize how they have contributed to that failure, or at least accepted the media’s contribution.

The people’s eyes are blinded by socialist liberal ideology; - their ears deafened by the drumbeat of anti-American sentiment above the fold right here at home. They no longer believe in their leaders, or their country. They no longer believe in true American principles because those principles have been under attack in the American press and on American campuses for more than 40 years now.

The level of disinformation delivered by today’s lame-stream press is unconscionable and everything America is or has ever been is in jeopardy as a result.

Some Americans have figured it all out and they are tuning out ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NPR and MSNBC as well as canceling their subscriptions to old media news rags in numbers that threaten the future viability of all mighty media. They are turning more and more to the internet as a means of researching and cross-referencing information on their own in order to find the truth that no longer exists in the once mainstream outlets.

One would think this would drive the old media to rethink its agenda of socialist anti-American propaganda, but it hasn’t. It has only served to increase the venom with which they seek to deliver the disinformation. People who don’t like America much are all too happy to drink from the poisonous trough set before them by the old media. They too work to undermine everything American.

Where will it all end? When will enough Americans get their fill? What disaster must to happen before the people will take back their press, their politicians and their government? Only time will tell. But those once counted upon to be the eyes and ears of the people are counted upon a little less with each passing day.

Taking America back from blind partisans begins with first taking the flow of real fact based information back. I trust the majority of Americans will always do the right thing once armed with the real information. The old media must reform to reality or it will continue to die a slow but certain death.

America’s future hangs in the balance. The American people are slowly catching on and they don’t like what they see. Al Gore didn’t invent the internet, but Thank God he did help make it available to every individual.
Little did he know it would become the catalyst for his political undoing.
JB Williams is a business man, a husband, a father, and a no nonsense commentator on American politics, American history, and American philosophy.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Speaking of Pandemics

I'm a former print reporter and newspaper editor. I could see the death of newspapers coming in 1995, when I quit for good. This yahoo (using the old sense of the word) doesn't have a clue about the cause of the death of the print newspaper.

For me, the last gasping breath came when the school district workers told me about Newt Gingrich trying to kill children by doing away with the hot lunches. I investigated and wrote a story saying that school district workers were acting as shills for the Democrats and lying to the public about changes in the funding for school lunches. My editor pulled me into the office and accused me of trying to be Rush Limbaugh, which I took as a compliment. Multiply this story hundreds of times over and I could see that the print media had abandoned both its readers and its community.

You can see that in this disjointed little screed from Philadelphia.

The writer complains "newspapers raced to post content on the Net for free, which is like burning furniture to warm your house." What he doesn't understand is that technology now allows anyone to be the publisher, editor, reporter, advertising director, circulation manager, secretary, paper boy, photographer, and pasteup crew all by yourself. The content can be posted for free because the software, hardware, and Internet are available at such a low charge that it might as well be free. (For less than 12 bucks a month you can open an account on Yahoo! for a website; you can get a computer for under $500; if you're really cheap, you can get ragtag freeware for everything else. Who needs Knight-Ridder or Gannett?) The writer veers into this truth when he writes "newspapers are hobbled by the labor-intensive technology of Ben Franklin" without realizing that Franklin did most of it himself. We are now returning to Franklin's vision of the press.

Another example of cluelessness: "Anyway, most people now say they get their "news" from the Internet and TV... That's why everyone is so smart and so well-informed about the world around them." Yep, people are just stupid. We need major media outlets to tell those dolts what to think and how to think it. At journalism school they called this the "gatekeeper" theory of information, where the media serves as a monitor to pass on relevant information to the people who need it to be their best in a free society. Nice idea; the last time I checked, the gatekeepers were still doing what I witnessed in 1995 - acting as shills for one side of the political spectrum while claiming objectivity. At least the right wing of the spectrum is bluntly honest about their point of view.

So we're reduced to ellitism. "If there were no stodgy newspapers to set the agenda with boring stuff like government, world news, politics and finance, TV news would be free to give viewers what they want - more weather, cute animal videos, traffic accidents, house fires and "special reports" on the dangers (or promise) of cosmetic surgery." If it wasn't for the papers, you morons would be reduced to vapid entertainment without any clue about the really important information you need. Again, press=smart and informed, public=dull and stupid.

No wonder they're losing readers. Imagine telling your customers that they're so stupid that they need you more than ever. On a personal level, you can get punched in the head for this kind of approach. Economically, the customer moves on to a place where he or she gets respect.

I love this: "Blogs are an excellent source of "news," much of it overheard and passed along by the blogger's girl friend. If she's sick, the blogger can make something up. No editors or accountability gum up the works." The writer has it completely upside down. On the Internet, the writer and the reader are in close contact. If I write something here (or anywhere) that is foolish, ill-informed, or just plain wrong, a dozen people who know better can chime in and correct me. Want to see how well it works? Visit wipipedia and see how the seamless flow of information from all over the planet filters out the nonsense and leaves nuggets of fact.

On the newspaper where I worked, a reader had to get through a phalynx of support staff before they got to me - and even then, a correction or better information had to wait a while before it was printed. On the Internet, that interaction is instant.

If I had to speak with this writer, I'd sympathize with his utter lack of understanding. He's like a blacksmith watching the Model T Fords fill the roads. Instead of seeing how the flow of information and ideas are changing - I think in a manner more suited to truthtelling - he lashes out with anger and fear.

He asks: "Without newspapers, who will provide the content?"

When I was young reporter, I always carried with me a quote from Horace Greeley telling his nephew that his newspaper should be "the perfect mirror for the community it serves." The content comes from us; the newspaper should merely reflect that.

Once I had an old-fashioned publisher tell me he knew his paper was good because a reader could open it and know exactly what his town was like. Not anymore. The newspaper in one city is basically the same paper in every city; I know, because I still read them. When the newspapers chose instead to reflect their advocacy, their ideology, their selective reporting of the news, then the readers left. A lot of us who were good reporters left, too.

47 posted on 11/28/2005 8:28:41 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What's Wrong with the Media, Schools, and Universities

Obviously, the major victims of the information and communication (r)evolution, are the institutions that had a monopoly in the old paradigm -- which are the media, the schools and the universities, heavily unionized to maintain those exclusivities. That works when they are the only game in town and the cost of new entrants is prohibitive.

The Internet, as even these institutions have to eventually acknowledge, has leveled the playing field, nullifying those overwhelming advantages, so that now, even the New York Times, is just another blog, or website competing for attention on merit -- and not seniority. Seniority, tradition (inertia), precedent, in the new era of information and communications, is a liability rather than an inherent advantage -- because the old wants to carry on the old, and not create the new. So it ends up on the wrong side of the tide of history and evolution -- sweeping them aside, or more likely, just bypassing them altogether.

Maintaining their institutions and tactics of control, suffocates them -- but not their competition. The competition can outrun them by a wide margin -- while they insist they are still in charge, calling the shots, transmitting culture, enforcing the rules, maintaining the norms and mores, etc.

It is true that the modern information processor can go through the entire literature and knowledge of entire disciplines and curricula these days -- because there are no material barriers to information, as in the old days, dominated and controlled by the old publishers and publications. Universities were powerful because they controlled the publications for virtually all the academicians -- which greatly constrained thought to only a self-designated, powerful few. In the age of Internet publications, they are considerably less powerful rather than more, while the public at large is more powerful and influential -- if they have the ability to be so. The former derived and had the greatest vested interest in keeping information scarce -- and controlled exclusively by themselves.

For those used to such power and its abuse and misuse, the new age is their worst nightmare -- but to true egalitarians everywhere, it is a world without limits and infinitely greater possibilities.

The problems of the media, schools and universities that they see so pervasive, is because they are the wrong people, at the wrong place, at the wrong time. So all they see are eternal agonies, miseries, and dysfunctions -- that they still demand to project and impose on everybody else -- living, working, laughing and playing in the world beyond their control.

Monday, November 21, 2005

District 21/23/25 Newsletter

Since the 4th Wednesday of this month is the day before Thanksgiving, the regular monthly meeting will instead be held the following Wednesday, November 30, at the usual 6 pm, Hawaii Republican Headquarters, 725 Kapiolani Blvd. Bob Kessler is back from his busy schedule of cruising the world, and so has been freshly inspired to invite all the known candidates to replace Galen Fox, as the 23rd District's representative, to speak.

Hopefully, Galen will be continuing his active leadership with the Party, although nobody could blame him if he decided to drop out of the political scene for a while, as he's put in a lifetime of public service already. As everybody realizes, it is the most stressful positions to hold these days -- unless one is pretty much born a natural politician. But that's true of whatever field one enters these days -- and why it is so important to find out what it is, each individual loves to do and was meant for. Not to realize that in these times, is the major source of unhappiness in a world of affluence and prosperity.

A few weeks ago, Bob and I had an opportunity to meet with several other district chairs and meet some of the candidates and other people who will be playing major roles in the coming election cycle. What was particularly encouraging to see, were so many young people -- who will undoubtedly be the generation to which the torch of the Republican Party is passed onto. Kristi Sue-Ako was one of the youngest -- and is an applicant for the 23rd District representative. She was an aide for Senator Gordon Trimble during the legislative session but is better known now as the treasurer for the lieutenant governor's campaign of James Aiona. She graduated fairly recently from Wellesley College.

The Republican Party more than the Democrats, is the party of opportunity for young people -- so if you know someone young in spirit and interested, the world is wide open to them. Public office undoubtedly appeals most to those who like being in a highly visible position -- and well-known. Surely there must be a few American Idol types -- who could shift their focus to a forum that offers a much greater possibility for lifelong meaningful involvement, limited only by their own creativity and dedication.

Another candidate showing a lot of creativity in making himself well-known is Nolan Kido, out in District 18 (Aina Haina). He's another refreshingly young -looking person who then reveals he is a legislative aide for Councilman Charles Djou, a business professor at Chaminade, and has already met most of the residents in his district. People who already have this public spirit and involvement, are leaders and representatives -- whether they run for public office or not. Voluntary public service is as important and necessary as holding an elective office -- if that is the role one is made to play, and is the most fulfilling. Some people don't have the time and patience -- and so contributing to the Party or campaigns is their own calling and service.

In a former time, every educated and ambitious person thought their mission in life, like everybody else's, was to be the President of the United States, and if one wasn't, one was an obvious failure, and many thus became resentful, bitter and envious of whoever was. I think that largely explains the animosity many people who should know better, seem to have an irrational inclination to criticize and undermine every effort of the current president (or governor), who quite probably, will go down in history of one of the great leaders of all-time. One would never know that from reading the newspapers or seeing talking heads on television convincing us that their thoughts and opinions -- are the only things that matter. And invariably, what concerns them is some petty distraction.

While it is good to have opinions, they are no substitute for having facts -- or being able to distinguish opinions from facts. Facts are what each individual can verify for themselves -- independent of any influence or coercion from anyone else. Opinions are facts planted in one's head by others -- who don't believe one ought to find out the truth of anything for themselves. The mass media will try to convince us the opposite is true -- that the truth one finds out for himself, is only an opinion -- and what they tell us, are the facts. I trust most of you know the difference and so I encourage you in this election cycle, to get as much information as you can, directly from the principals, rather than what people tell you about others -- which these days, is likely to be the exact opposite of what is real and true.

For those who haven't attended a political or campaign function recently, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that some real authentic people are asking to represent us as elected officials. Not being one of these political types myself, I think every role played is representative of who we are as a people. So whether you show up at the district monthly meeting, attend a city sponsored forum on transportation, or whatever community concern interests you, that's also being representative of the thinking people in Hawaii -- that shapes public policy and creates the moral and intellectual context of society. Everything we do makes the difference.

Notes from Headquarters:

Eliza Talbot wants those who wish to attend the annual Voter Registration Training on Wednesday, Dec.7, 12 noon to contact her by Dec. 5 at or 593-8180. Food provided.

Joanne Bretschneider/Sam Aiona want to remind us the big events for the Party are the district caucus in January, the county caucus in April, and state convention May 26-28. At the January meeting, we elect new district officers for the year -- which we hope will be the next generation of leaders in Hawaii getting their start. If you know people who would make great citizen-leaders, please have them join us.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Life in the 21st Century

Many people are still shocked on hearing that expression, because they grew up in an age in which the 21st century was so far away into the future -- that it is shocking to think that it could be now, and even yesterday. They’re just getting used to things in the 20th century -- as the latest and greatest, state-of-the-art.

Undoubtedly, in many places, they’re still awaiting the first industrial revolution -- that the majority of civilization went through in the 19th century, resulting in one of the first widespread liberation movements. All but a few are aware that not only was a much celebrated civil war of liberation fought in the United States in that century, but there were similar revolutions in Russia, France, China -- that were changing the status of slaves, serfs, rabble and peasants. Naturally we assume that people everywhere have experienced that psychological evolution of liberation.

Those who haven’t, still have what we deride as the “plantation mentality,” which is the acceptance of overseers to do their thinking for them. It is familiarly the top-down organization chart and information flow. What we know, has to be passed on down from the top, and it is not allowed, to do one’s own thinking unless one is at the top. So all one’s time, energy and efforts, were expended to get to the top, but once one got there, one could do anything one pleased, and the only thing that had to be done, was to keep another from being similarly on the top.

The shift in the 21st century is the realization that if everybody can be king, then anybody can be king -- including oneself, and all but a few would agree, that is the society they wanted to live in and create. A few argued, “What was the point in having a society like that if one could not be above everybody else?” That is the old mindset at work. It thinks that the only way anyone can win, is for everybody else to lose.

Nowhere is this more evident than editorials and letters to the newspapers -- pitting one individual and faction against another, creating the unnecessary arguments that distract and detract from productive focus and work. Most of that society’s energies are sapped in this constant battle to prove who is on top -- and then maintain that status quo by preventing others from similarly riding on top.

That is the old culture and mindset dying away at this time. It should not be the model for modern conditioning activities provoking competition -- even with oneself. It is psychologically damaging to have this mindset that “one is not good enough,” as one’s motivating drive because that is the message one is reinforcing in oneself. It should also not be the paradigm for contemporary relating and communications -- reinforcing a hierarchy of the knowledgeable over the ignorant.

What that does is discourage people from acknowledging their ignorance -- which distinguishes the intelligent person; in him, there is no shame in not knowing, because that is his motivation for finding out.

What's Really Happening (That the Media Won't Let You Know About)

House Happenings for This Week
posted by Denny Hastert @ 11:33am (11/18/05)

I hope everyone is well. It’s been a busy week and a long night. We stayed up and passed a bill that’s going to go a long way towards restraining spending and reducing the deficit. I’m proud that we got it done.

I had all these great prepared remarks for the debate but then I heard the Democratic Leader get up there and completely misrepresent the situation. Let me tell you, it was frustrating. I mean, the reason the economy is standing on its feet now is because of Republican policies. We were in a recession under President Clinton – the bubble was bursting. And then 9-11 came and just hit our economy hard. Republicans instituted pro-growth policies. Republicans did it. And look at the economy now – we are reducing the deficit. Homeownership is up. People have jobs. Unemployment is at like 5 percent right now.

So when the members on the other side of the aisle get up and misrepresent, it’s just wrong. And that gets me going.

They complained about the legislation we passed last night because they don’t want to do anything. But here’s the way I see it, the American people have trusted us to do the right thing. Americans are working too hard to have us up here playing with the money and writing blank checks.

This bill – the Deficit Reduction Act – puts us closer to a more efficient, smarter government. That’s what the people want.

Let me give you an example. On Medicaid, the governors – and I’m talking about Republicans and Democrats – have been begging for some market based reforms. These are the folks out in the states – they see the problem up close. And they’re paying 43 percent of Medicaid’s cost. In this bill, we give them the reforms they’ve been wanting. We’re going to allow a demonstration project so that states can offer health savings accounts for Medicaid benefits. It’s something the governors have wanted and it’s in this bill.

The Democrats keep saying we’re “slashing” and “cutting” programs such as Medicaid. If the Democrats would just be honest with everybody, they would be taken more seriously. We are going to pair back the growth rate in Medicaid from 7.3 percent to 7 percent – that’s not even a full percent! And we’re making some needed reforms like the program I just mentioned. We’re making a program better that the Democrats have just sat and watched get bigger and bigger. The Democrats have done nothing – even as Republican and Democrat governors have been begging for reforms!

Like I said, these are commonsense reforms in the bill. But it’s going to make government better and allow states to run better. You know, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have taken to saying lately ‘we can do better.’ Well, I say let the states do better. They don’t want dictates from Washington. But that’s all the other side wants to do: raise taxes, spend and send orders down to the states. And we all know a tax increase has never created a job – not one.

Let me tell you something else this bill does – it finds $50 billion dollars in savings. It’s going to keep our economic engine roaring. It’s restraining spending. That’s what we need. We don’t write blank checks for our home budgets; we shouldn’t do it with taxpayer money either.

This vote was really about letting members put the money where their mouth is. And now we know where the other side stands. And it’s not on the side of the American people.

You know they seem to have made an agenda out of misrepresentations. Yesterday, I was watching tv and saw (Rep.) John Murtha up there talking about Iraq. He called the Iraq policy an illusion. Now don’t get me wrong, I have respect for John Murtha and his service to our country but that was the biggest show I’ve seen on television in a long time. And I don’t think it was an accident that it was done while the President was out of the country. Our President was on foreign soil and the Democrats were up there criticizing him on the War!

I’m saddened because the Democrats seem to have adopted politics over policy and decided that it’s best to just cut and run from the War on Terror. I don’t see how they can do that because we all saw the devastation of September 11th. The terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people killed on U.S. soil in 45 minutes! And Democrats say it’s time to come home, wave the white flag to the terrorists, give up. We need to be strong and consistent for our men and women serving overseas. They’re protecting us from terrorists.

So I guess on the War on Terror and the budget – all the things important to Americans – the other side wants to debate politics over real policy. It’s sad. But it lets me know the point we’ve come to.

Our Republican members have been meeting and we’re united on this: we want to do right by the American people. We’re not just spouting off this political rhetoric mumbo jumbo. That’s the difference.

Okay, until next time. This is Denny.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Nobody Can Say It Better Than Themselves

Wed Nov 16 2005 18:56:46 ET

Excerpts As Prepared For Delivery Tonight by Vice President Cheney

THE VICE PRESIDENT: "As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it’s like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully.

In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

And the suggestion that’s been made by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city...

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.

They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn’t afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder.

Those are facts.

What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.

We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Understanding on a Whole Other Level

Somebody sent me this article as an example of their exasperation with how the newspaper editors and headline writers have no idea of what their own reporter has written, and their proclivity for making any news, bad news -- or the opposite of what was actually conveyed.

It’s headlined:

“Economist sees red flags for isle economy
The outlook is strong but housing costs and the tight job market could slow expansion
By Allison "

But then the article reveals:

“ECONOMIST Leroy Laney, speaking at First Hawaiian Bank's annual business outlook forum yesterday, forecast a positive future for the state, and said economic indicators are still strong.

A construction boom is continuing to change the face of the islands as lower interest rates have made building more affordable. Real estate values are rising. Businesses are creating jobs, people are getting hired and they're buying homes and cars.

"After emerging from the doldrums of the 1990s, Hawaii in 2005 is in its ninth year of economic expansion," Laney said. "Things continue to look upbeat for 2006 as well." "


There's no end to bad news, if that's all that one wants to see -- and will undoubtedly see it in any information and development. But far more troubling is this predisposition in the mainstream media to mold our thinking into believing that what is not true, is happening, through the manipulation of our perceptions, such as this.

A positive person or even a fair-minded person would have entitled the article, "The Future Looks Bright," and let the problems develop and solve themselves without editorial prejudice about the dismal prospects for civilization they want to propagate in every article.

That's why people are turning off and tuning out the mainstream media; they have no future to offer but doom and gloom, divisiveness and contentiousness. Who wants to sign up for that?

There's a brave new world taking shape as we live our lives -- but we have to open our eyes to see it.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Read All About It!

A future of empty doorsteps? Dark days for US newspapers
Nov 13 9:53 AM US/Eastern

Dark days are ahead for American newspapers, as sales tumble, a warp-speed news culture leaves lumbering dailies behind and scandals over flawed reporting taint heavyweight titles.

US papers are battling an explosion in online information, a news agenda powered by bloggers and 24-hour cable news, and they can't seem to connect with young readers.

Credibility questions hang over several papers and journalists are under more scrutiny than ever in the highly polarised US political climate.

Doomsayers say changes in modern lifestyles mean the days when American homeowners open their front door every morning and haul in a thick multi-section paper may be numbered.

Latest figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations found a 2.6 percent drop in circulation for 786 newspapers across the country in the six months to September -- meaning that 1.2 million people deserted their paper.

Several US newspaper giants suffered heavy circulation drops -- figures which mirror the declining readership across the globe.

The San Francisco Chronicle saw circulation fall 17 percent for its Wednesday to Saturday editions, while another big beast of the newspaper jungle, the Boston Globe, slumped 8.2 percent to a weekday average of 414,225.

Bucking the trend, two papers -- USA Today and the New York Times, the closest to national dailies in the United States -- gained readership of just under one percent.

The Columbia Journalism Review, in a recent editorial titled "The American Newspaper at a Crossroads," outlined a vicious circle, where falling circulation figures prompt further cost cutting.

"This can work for a while, but at some point it has to erode the quality of the product, which further erodes readership, because who needs a paper when the reporters producing it are too rushed to get beneath the surface," CJR said.

Some big-budget papers like the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun and the Boston Globe have cut jobs in the newsroom or the advertising department.

Meanwhile, a generation gap is widening, and unless younger Americans quickly get into the habit of reading a daily paper, circulation figures seem sure to dip even lower.

In a survey last year, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found only 23 percent of people under 30 read a daily newspaper, compared with 60 percent of older people.

The number of people going online for news, or getting their fix from cable television, was growing, the survey found, a trend that was also hitting traditional television network news.

Executives at a World Association of Newspapers meeting in Madrid on Thursday were told that the traditional newspaper has no future without online editions.

With that in mind, many US papers are trying new ways to chase fast-moving readers, expanding online content and offering portable "commuter" papers.

Some are also experimenting with design and considering a tabloid rather than a broadsheet format, in a tactic tried by several top papers in Britain.

That has been a sea change in an industry where great papers are typically dryer, more traditional and wordy and less irreverent than counterparts, for instance, in Britain or Australia -- more Neue Zurcher Zeitung or Le Monde than the London Times or the Sydney Morning Herald.

But predictions of doom are "completely premature," said Randy Bennett, vice president of the Association of American Newspapers.

"I think some people have a very narrow view and look at decline in circulation numbers and see the end is near," he said. "But it is a very incomplete story if you are not looking at how newspapers reach people across a variety of media platforms."

Some readers already get their newspaper exclusively online, in an easy commuter version, or even have favourite sections e-mailed to them.

Though there is much talk of bloggers and websites superseding "mainstream media," most offer links to established sources with the resources to chase down the news.

"People point to the success of Yahoo News and Google News. If you look at the stories they are pointing to, they are from local newspapers which still have the greatest editorial capacity (of) any other media," said Bennett.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What Really Turned Hawaii (and the World) Around

As much as I think Linda Lingle is the best governor Hawaii has ever had, and has done more than all the others put together, the real reason for Hawaii's turnaround in prosperity, is President Bush's decision, not to take it anymore, and go after the forces of terrorism that had tormented the international scene increasingly since the end of the Vietnam War.

I remember walking the streets of Waikiki on 9/12/01, thinking as many others did, that that was the nail in the coffin for the Hawaiian economy that had been drifting hopelessly into despair for at least the last ten years. On that day, it was clear to everyone around, that the tourism industry was dead in the water -- if people were afraid to fly anymore. For a week thereafter, people flew out of Hawaii, and few people flew in. Businesses that had been under strain for so long, recognized that as the straw that broke the camel's back.

But then a most surprising and remarkable decision by President Bush, changed the course of the world. We were not going to take it anymore. We were not going to be more tolerant and understanding of these attacks anymore, as we had experienced helplessly since the Carter years undermined this nation's ability to do anything competently and believe in its own power to do anything -- and particularly, to respond to attacks and threats.

If Al Gore was president, the lines would have been long to get into the town hall meetings to arrive at a consensus for a response. President Bush had thought and prayed long and hard over these world events and trends, and decided decisively, the United States must assume world leadership -- or the terrorists, by now, would rule the world. That would never be -- under this President's watch.

The prosperity we see led by the tourism industry in Hawaii, has been a barometer of the success of civilized people over those whose only prescription for mankind is fear, loathing and terror. And so this Veterans Day, we reflect with gratitude, on all the individuals who have made all this possible through their courage and sacrifice.

We have been blessed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Understanding Media

Multimedia and Digital Commentary Online
Excerpts from George Gilder's Life after Television, New York: Norton, 1994.

TV defies the most obvious fact about its customers -- their prodigal and efflorescent diversity. people perform scores of thousands of different jobs; pursue multifarious hobbies; read hundreds of thousands of different publications. TV ignores the reality that people are not inherently couch potatoes; given a chance, they talk back and interact. People have little in common except their prurient interests and morbid fears and anxieties. Necessarily aiming its fare at this lowest-common-denominator target, television gets worse and worse every year.

All these developments converge in one key fact of life, and death, for telecommunications in the 1990s. Television and telephone systems -- optimized for a world in which spectrum or bandwidth was scarce -- are utterly unsuited for a world in which bandwidth is abundant.

The very nature of broadcasting, however, means that television cannot cater to the special interests of audiences dispersed across the country. Television is not vulgar because people are vulgar, it is vulgar because people are similar in their prurient interests and sharply differentiated in their civilized concerns. All of world industry is moving increasingly toward more segmented markets. But in a broadcast medium, such a move would be a commercial disaster. In a broadcast medium, artists and writers cannot appeal to the highest aspirations and sensibilities of individuals. Instead, manipulative masters rule over huge masses of people.

Television is a tool of tyrants. Its overthrow will be a major force for freedom and individuality, culture and morality. That overthrow is at hand.

From the personal computer to the fiber-optic cable, from the communications satellite to the compact disc, our generation commands the most powerful information tools in history. Yet the culture we have created with these machines is dreary at best. Why doesn't our superb information technology better inform and uplift us?

This is the most important question of the age. The most dangerous threat to the U.S. economy and society is the breakdown of our cultural institutions -- in the family, religion, education, and the arts -- that preserve and transmit civilization to new generations. If this social fabric continues to fray, we will lose not only our technological prowess and economic competitiveness but also the meaning of life itself. The chief economic challenge we now face is how to apply the new technologies in a way that preserves the values and disciplines that made them possible in the first place.

No fiscal or monetary policy, however brilliant, will be able to promote enduring economic growth and competitiveness in a society in which children spend four hours a day wallowing in the nihilistic swamp of television. Families and schools cannot succeed unless our culture upholds moral codes and disciplines and hard regimens of study. In the U.S., culture means TV. It means an endless flow of minor titillations with barely a major idea or ideal.

The force of microelectronics will blow apart all the monopolies, hierarchies, pyramids, and power grids of established industrial society. It will undermine all totalitarian regimes. police states cannot endure under the advance of the computer because it increases the powers of the people far faster than the powers of surveillance.

The new law of networks exalts the smallest coherent system: the individual human mind and spirit. A healthy culture reflects not the psychology of crowds but the creativity and inspiration of millions of individuals reaching for high goals. In place of the broadcast pyramid, a peer network will emerge in which all the terminals will be smart -- not mere television sets but interactive video receivers, processors, and transmitters.

In the world of the teleputer, broadcasters, educators, investors, and filmmakers, who thought they could never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people, are going to discover they were wrong.

T. S. Eliot addressed the problem in this poem The Rock:

Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
One might add: Where is the information we have lost in data?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Democrats, the Media, and Demagoguery

November 07, 2005, 10:04 a.m.
Political Paralysis
Democrats and demagogues.
By Steve Salerno

Ever wonder why one hears so little talk of right-wing demagoguery? Oh, now and then some particularly dyspeptic liberal will lodge such charges against Rush, or get in a snit over some other outspoken conservative stalwart. But the Right has no true counterparts to the likes of Jesse Jackson, Terry McAuliffe, Patricia Ireland, Al Sharpton, et al. There simply is no conservative whose stock in trade is the chronic spewing of grandiose pronouncements or pithy sound bites having no purpose other than to remind constituents of how much they need him in their corner.

And there’s a good reason why. Although people at all points of the political spectrum seek strong voices to articulate their respective interests, demagoguery, in its classic form, actively fans the fires of oppression, creating whole categories of needs, if not “rights,” that people never knew they had (and, in truth, probably don’t have). The demagogue gains his standing by cultivating victimhood. He inflates his power by reminding you of your impotence, your personal and political irrelevance. He tells you that society is responsible for elevating you, not the other way around. Collectively, those are not notions that fly very well among a conservative audience.

The culture of blame, though much-chronicled, seldom is traced back to its roots in pop psychology — specifically, the recovery movement and its twelve steps. Step one in traditional twelve-step lore consists of accepting that you’re powerless over your addiction. Step two is placing your fate in the hands of a higher power. To be fair, as conceived in 1935 by the mother of all twelve-steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, this powerlessness was problem-specific (i.e., booze) and the higher power was explicitly spiritual (i.e., God). Over the years, though, as recovery was bastardized to encompass any number of addictions, dysfunctions, conditions, syndromes, and so-called diseases, it inevitably bled over into the culture at large. Powerlessness, at least in some quarters, became an all-pervading mantra. The higher power, meanwhile, grew more secular and pragmatic: It was anything external to you that could help get you to where you needed to be (inasmuch as you couldn’t, in your weakened state, get there on your own).

This notion of looking outward, not inward, for advancement has always held special appeal for blocs of people who already felt disenfranchised in one way or another. A shrewd liberal political activist can readily see the potential in encouraging these blocs to regard him as their higher power: He plays to the paranoia of those who feel downtrodden and persecuted, and consolidates his franchise by encouraging them to go right on feeling that way.

And, having surrendered themselves to their favorite higher power, today’s self-styled victims follow blindly and unquestioningly. No matter how outré the platform a liberal demagogue promotes, no matter what hypocrisy he may be caught in, his followers — who, remember, no longer really think for themselves — swear continued allegiance, offering the most improbable of justifications for their loyalty. As Wendy Kaminer observed in her fine book I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional, this lemming mentality on the part of “people who feel victimized and out of control. . . hardly makes for responsible political leadership.” Ergo, Marion Barry. You will recall that Barry, always wildly popular among his African-American voter base, served as mayor of Washington, D.C., for a dozen years, until his videotaped crack-fest landed him in prison in 1990. Upon his release, Washingtonians made him a councilman and gave him another shot as mayor. This same principle helps explain why legions of women, including feminists, stood by Bill Clinton through his adulterous antics and his camp’s shameless, near-misogynist vilification of his paramours. Clinton was their higher power. That’s all they needed to know.

Of course, when we survey the landscape of victimization and demagoguery, we have more than just fuzzy logic to worry about. One of the sobering risks of a full-blown demagogic outreach is that it may end in maddeningly imprecise, surreally expensive legislation, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As the ADA took shape, it became clear that the law would ignore almost no one: The information sheet accompanying the bill noted that it would effect 43 million Americans, one sixth of the population. Subsequent challenges to the ADA’s “restrictions” have threatened to expand its purview to as many as 160 million people, nearly two thirds of the population. This is what happens when demagogues stumble upon a cause that enables them to make almost everyone feel helpless.

Worst of all, the rise of the modern demagogue has spawned a self-perpetuating class of forever-victims. Americans historically showed profound sympathy for the underdog, in large part because we assumed that underdog status was a temporary condition that people aspired to overcome. If our patience with some of our distressed neighbors has sometimes worn a bit thin, it is because the nature of the bargain changed: The longstanding dynamic between demagogue and constituent created a permanent underdog caste that keeps voting for the party that rewards its victimization. It’s a never-ending cycle, an infantilizing one, too.

There is no doubt that victimization’s founding vision, of a society comprising millions of unfortunates stymied by both nature and nurture, helped solidify the notion of government-as-surrogate-parent. In this dismal conception of American life, it falls to Washington — the ultimate higher power — to ameliorate any gross disparities between the “lucky” and “unlucky” children in the family of man.

— Steve Salerno is author of SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

High Cost of Living? Unnecessary Waste and Consumerism? Unnecessary Fuel Consumption?

One of the easiest solutions for all of the above, if not actually a panacea, is to cancel your newspaper subscriptions. Once one does that, fully 90% of the problems in one's life will disappear immediately. The sole function of today's newspapers, is to create problems even when they don't exist -- because they make a living exploiting them.

Politics doesn't necesarily have to be the biased partisanship it has become in their editorial pages and reporting now. In fact, what we should desire from our political leaders is that they more than anybody better, reperesent the interests of all the people -- and not just pandering to each special interest group.

Each day now, a thousand new blogs are created -- and a thousand people cancel their subscriptions to their home-delivered newspaper. We are soon coming into an era in which people will inform and communicate with each other directly -- rather than having to go through the media middleman -- who now mainly serves to control, distort and manipulate those transmissions. That might have been acceptable in a previous era -- but is the reason driving the growing popularity of the blogs and other forums in which people share information (intelligence) without the distortions of the media middleman.

In today's letter to the editors of the Star-Bulletin, they (naturally) publish a letter promoting the need for two rather one newspaper -- when obviously, the logical advance, is for no newspapers.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Don't Expect to Read All About It in the Local Newspapers

The manipulation of ignorance
By Tony Snow

Harry Reid and Co., in accusing Team Bush of manipulating intelligence, have managed to pioneer an even more egregious abuse of the American political system: the manipulation of ignorance.

Righteous ignorance has become a hallmark of the Howard Dean Democrats: Lacking any sensible doctrine with which to combat the continued growth of American conservatism, they have been reduced to a state of unshakable hysteria, beginning with the conviction that George W. Bush is the most vicious, evil, conniving president in American history.

Bushophobia bobbed to the surface most recently when Harry Reid, abetted by Sen. Dick Durbin, tried to link the recent indictment of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, to alleged prewar underhandedness by the president, vice president and defense secretary.

Said Reid, "The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroyed those who dared challenge its actions."

Unfortunately for the Democratic leader, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald slapped down the Libby-war link: "This indictment is not about the war, not about the propriety of the war. This indictment will not seek to prove that the war was justified or unjustified, this is focused on a narrow transaction."

The manipulation of ignorance continued with Reid's claim of "manufacturing" intelligence — a phrase often used, but never linked to a specific piece of intelligence or prewar administration statement.
In fact, Democrats were every bit as bellicose as the president before the war. Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller, Carl Levin, Joseph Biden, Joseph Lieberman, and John Edwards (among others) all asserted that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed a real threat to American citizens and national interests.

Sen. Rockefeller captured the prevailing sense of urgency when he told his colleagues on Oct. 10, 2002, "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!"

He added, "The president has rightly called Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction a grave and gathering threat to Americans."

Next comes L'Affaire Plame — the assertion that the administration ferociously "outed" a "covert agent," Valerie Plame.
Joe Wilson himself made his wife a public figure by yowling about her supposedly rough treatment at the hands of the meanies working for the president. But there was no roughing up.

When exposed, she was not "covert" and hadn't been for years. A number of reporters, including Michael Isikoff of Newsweek and Andrea Mitchell of NBC, described her CIA work as an "open secret" in Washington.
In addition, a CIA investigation concluded the Plame revelation didn't place her at risk and didn't compromise any ongoing intelligence operations. As Bob Woodward noted, "there was no physical danger to anyone and there was just some embarrassment."

So why would Democrats create a stir by clearing out the Senate chambers and demanding secret hearings? For the same reason condemned men scowl at executioners: They want to look defiant when facing their doom.

Strategists from the left wing of the party (James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum) and the right-wing (Will Gallston and the Progressive Policy Institute) have concluded that the "We Hate Dubya" faction is destroying the party and that ideas, not insults, drive political movements.

But consider what's taking place. World events seem to be vindicating George W. Bush's vision and tactics. Iraq soon will install an elected, constitutional government. Syria has begun handing over bad guys. Arab nations are taking baby steps toward democracy. Iran has embarked on a campaign of scaredy-cat bellicosity. And Osama bin Laden's henchmen have been reduced to cadging cash from one another.

Does that not provide a stunning contrast to the attempts by Harry Reid et al to discredit the war at the very moment our troops seem to have made real strides toward finishing the job?