Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Ongoing Opposition and Alternative Voices

May 6, 2013

Announcing the Green Shadow Cabinet … intended to provide an ongoing opposition and alternative voice to the dysfunctional government in Washington D.C. It includes nearly 100 prominent scientists, community and labor leaders, physicians, cultural workers, veterans, and others. As with shadow cabinets in other countries, the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States plans to respond to statements and actions of the existing U.S. government, and hopes to demonstrate that another government of these United States is possible, practical, and beneficial. The Cabinet is currently led by the 2012 Green Party presidential nominees: Dr. Jill Stein, and Ms. Cheri Honkala. It is explicitly not a project of any political party, however, and invites participation by all who support sensible government politics and policies.

This may not be the first instance of such an idea, but it’s the first one I’ve ever heard of, and it’s a great one.

Now there stands a real possibility that some or all of the bought-and-paid for, short-sighted, small-minded, self-serving, and wrong-headed statements and decisions by the “official” U.S. government can be seen in the light of smarter, better ideas and policies put forth by experts and specialists who have a larger view and a predilection for helping the vast majority of Americans rather than the wealthy and privileged few.

Here’s a link to a list of current Shadow Cabinet members:

Here’s a link to some early statements by Shadow Cabinet members:

Here’s a link to where you can sign up for the Shadow Cabinet’s electronic newsletter:

Here’s a link to where you can donate to support the Shadow Cabinet:

Fortunately, contributions are not tax-deductible. If they were, and if the Shadow Cabinet were to obey the tax laws, it would be barred from trying to influence government policies or elections. Plenty of right wing organizations and religious organizations claim their tax deductibility, but go right ahead and lobby, advertise, and otherwise try to peddle their influence. At least the Green Shadow Government is starting from a position of honesty.

With thanks to Winston Churchill: This Shadow Cabinet may not be the be-all and end-all of efforts to reform and revitalize our broken U.S. government. It may not even be the beginning of finding the be-all and end-all of such an effort. But it may be the end of the beginning!


America Appreciates Diversity

October 22, 2010

No matter how many times the Forces of Darkness assert that America is a Center-Right country, it isn’t.

Here’s just some of the evidence:

Public Opinion Snapshot: The Public’s Lack of Enthusiasm for Cutting Government
The public is dissatisfied with government performance, but that dissatisfaction doesn’t translate into government-cutting mania
Public Opinion Snapshot: Where’s the Anger on Health Care Reform?
The public isn’t rising up in opposition to the new health care law as conservatives expected
Public Opinion Snapshot: How Conservative Are Americans Becoming About Government?
Conservatives may say the country is taking a right turn, but polls show that government dissatisfaction does not reflect ideological conversion
Public Opinion Snapshot: Tax Cuts for the Middle Class Are Good; Tax Cuts for the Rich Are Bad
The public sends a strong message to Congress in a new poll about the tax cut debate
Public Opinion Snapshot: Who’s to Blame?
The public hasn’t forgotten who’s the most responsible for our economic ills

The list goes on and on. Poll after poll shows that we Americans want the help of our government to have a better life, we welcome people from other cultures, we accept others’ religious practices and beliefs, we recognize that cutting taxes is not the answer to every problem, and we respect fair play and honesty.

No matter how fervently the Forces of Darkness wish us to change our beliefs, we know the difference between right and wrong.

Ignorance is not knowledge. War is not peace. Hatred is not love. This is not a restrictive, authoritarian, fear-based, angry nation. We respect each other and ourselves, we welcome diversity, and we support each other in our quest for equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal freedom to live as we see fit without undue interference from narrow selfish interests.

In the timeless words of Captain Renault, in the classic film “Casablanca”: “We cannot legislate the feelings of our people.”

Photo credit: 1horsetown

Note: WordPress has automatically linked to some WSJ material with which I disagree. Please disregard it. My inability to block this kind of automatic linking is a major flaw in the WordPress system for which I apologize.

Media Keep Pouring Old Wine — Even From New Bottles

October 16, 2010

It was only a few days ago that a huge segment of the world’s population united in a positive and literally uplifting experience: the rescue of 33 South American miners from half a mile under Chile’s Atacama Desert, where they had been trapped in a 125 year old gold and copper mine not only by a huge cave-in, but by the mine owner’s failure to install required escape ladders, ceiling supports, and other safety measures.

Undiscovered for the first 17 days of their record-setting 69 day underground ordeal, the 33 men not only behaved professionally and competently — clearing away rubble that tumbled into their sealed-off cave from the drilling efforts of their rescuers, improvising plumbing to improve their sanitary conditions, and assiduously maintaining their health, their discipline, and their hope under what were obviously very daunting conditions — they maintained their solidarity as a group.

In fact, they agreed not only to withhold their stories from the media until they came back aboveground, these 33 working-class heroes agreed to share the large amounts of revenue promised them by promoters eager to book them on talk shows, publish their memoirs, obtain their product endorsements, and even release their remarkable story of survival in the form of TV shows and feature films.

Yes, that’s right: share all revenues among the group. Agreeing to this arrangement were the talkative ones, the charismatic ones, the responsible ones, and even the ones deemed most “media-genic” by conventionaly Hollywood-type suits eager to generate the largest possible audiences for irresistible presentations of this remarkable story of survival against all odds.

But for the suits, and their on-air representatives, that agreement was a major snag. The idea of media darlings refusing to bask in the spotlight, of potential “stars” insisting on sharing their popularity and their resulting incomes unselfishly with their less-attractive comrades, was too much for the media classes to bear.

First, the news media simply didn’t make a big deal of that angle, preferring to spend more time speculating on what the miner’s had eaten while isolated from the world above, or how they had exercised while trapped underground.

And second, pundits and reporters alike immediately sought to undermine the miners’ solidarity. They did this first by speculating about the emergences of cracks in that solidarity and — later — by trying to foment infighting, jealousy, and rivalries within the group.

The story of how the media brought — and continue to bring — us this story provides perfect opportunities for us to see that the media really do work hard to shower us with the same old stories (old wine in new bottles) which reinforce the same debilitating “consumerist” cultural trends and values they relentlessly spew forth as often as possible, regardless of any underlying truth. It’s also a rare chance to see that the media can’t stand to deliver anything different, and will even subvert an event or a pattern that doesn’t conform to one of the time-tested story lines they’ve become so successful at promoting.

So here’s a wonderful story of people organizing themselves to survive against adversity, and succeeding, even when that adversity is not just half a mile of sold rock, but a solid phalanx of cultural warriors who would like nothing more than to break the miners’ ranks of solidarity and prove them to be just as money-grubbing, selfish, and eager for short-term stardom as all the other people at whom the media habitually aim their spotlights.

New York Times Tripped Up, Doesn’t Regain Balance

March 23, 2010

Here’s where the New York Times’ “public editor” admits that the Times published incorrect information, based on inuendo and unwarranted assumptions, in the story about how ACORN supposedly helped pimps and prostitutes break the law.

If you remember, that’s the story that prompted Congress to withhold ACORN’s funding and led directly to the demise of ACORN’s national organization, although most of the state-level organizations continue to survive. Later, ACORN was cleared of all accusations of wrong-doing (at least in Brooklyn, NY) by Kings County, New York, District Attorney Joe Hynes, who stated: “On Sept. 15, 2009, my office began an investigation into possible criminality on the part of three ACORN employees. … That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.”

But wait! I detect a curious lack of symmetry in the news.

When the New York Times reports that ACORN helps pimps and prostitutes, the story hurts ACORN. Even though the New York Times later admits it published as “facts” events that did not actually take place, the ACORN story remains whole and untarnished not only in the Halls of Congress, but in the minds of most Americans.

Now let’s flashback to revelations that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a few errors in its major report on global warming. For example, it got wrong the date that Himalayan glaciers are expected to disappear (they are still expected to disappear, but more slowly), and it misstated the ability of ocean wave-generated electricity to meet humanity’s needs for power, to name a couple of these errors. There was a separate flap about the emails of some Global Warming researchers.

Experts are vehemently proclaiming that these errors do little or no damage to the case for Global Warming. Other experts say that James O’Keefe’s wholesale editing of the video recordings he made in and around ACORN offices undermine the truth of that whole story. (Look into the facts yourself and make up your own mind.)

Yet the mainstream news media readily discard the overwhelming science in support of Global Warming, while continuing to embrace the now questionnable evidence in support of ACORN’s law-breaking.

It’s just not a level playing field, folks. And the New York Times, once a proud bastion of accuracy in news reporting, is now just another loudmouth source of information that may or may not be true.

The Truth About Truth

March 18, 2010

I saw this quotation today:
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
– G. K. Chesterton

It doesn’t resonate with me. Why must a bad novel tell the truth about anything? It may tell us something about the author, but it may not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?