Learning journey for facts and truth

I’ve spent most of my life with the belief that I understood the world around me. A belief that our newspapers and television news stations delivered information that was worthy of us to know and wouldn’t alter or change the details to serve other motives or purposes. Several months ago I came across an article on a fringe news site (it was fringe to me at the time) that put serious doubt into my mind about the validity of the news that I had been convinced was truthful. My interest in the possibility that things were not as they seemed was ignited and I started on a learning journey that has helped me expose a lot of the misinformation I had previously thought was the truth. Call it what you will; fake news, misinformation, semi-truthful, etc., it wasn’t the whole story and I was starting to see the holes.

The path to learning started, for me, when I was opened to an alternative idea that questioned my current sources of news and information. No longer did I see what was being presented to me as the whole truth, further pushing me to find the details, information, and facts that I now desperately wanted to learn. Around this time I had started seeing posts from several people I followed that were having the same type of awakening of the mainstream media being not quite what they portrayed themselves to be. I decided to reach out, away from WordPress, to learn where they were at and sort of compare notes. I’m glad that I did, because what they were able to steer me towards helped accelerate my learning and I quickly became obsessed with the new sources of information presented to me. Each article that I consumed opened my mind a little more and pushed me to better understand what was going on around me that had been hidden from me by the mainstream media.

There have been missteps, incorrect conclusions drawn, discovery that a good source was actually biased and of course, most news agencies tracked back to one of 5 or 6 large corporations. The hardest part of seeking out facts, without bias or lean, has been finding sources that demonstrate they dont’ have bias or lean. Unfortunately, the truth is that every news source, regardless of independent or mainstream, has a little bias or lean depending on the authors and readers. I had to update my approach to find sources that were predominantly in the middle, or moderate, that reported with equal bias to both the left and the right depending on the story being reported. To date individual bloggers have been the greatest source of facts as there is an inclination of authors to support their opinions with the sources that led them to their conclusions. In Saner Thought, The Ripening Wanderer, Learning to Speak Politics, R.R. Wolfgang; all are passionate about their own views and will support them with their own sources. There are many more, and to those that I’ve had deep exchanges of comments with that aren’t included, I’m updating my blogroll over this coming weekend.

I don’t always get it right. Some of the conclusions I come to are off base, but not because I don’t understand or am blind to the actual facts or truth. Some of my conclusions are based on experience, of which, I don’t have a lot to draw from within my new reality. I’ve been privileged to have several followers, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, leave comments that help me understand where I wasn’t quite right while at the same time offer an alternative. Helpful and intuitive comments that make me look forward to seeing orange dot in my WordPress application or get a ding on my mobile phone. Rarely do I get any negativity that prompts me to trash a reply, in fact, I’ve only had two in the 5 years I’ve had this particular blog. From what I understand, that is rare and uncommon, however with only 100-ish followers between WordPress and Twitter, it’s plausible.

Undoing 30 or so years of filtered news will take some time and I’m certain that I will continue to not get it right all the time. I’m hopeful that there are others going through the same type of learning journey that I’m on right now and thankful that the people I’ve come to admire online share my open-mindedness. I will freely admit when I’m wrong, and as demonstrated already, I’ve managed to get it right and offered an alternative to someone else that allowed them to change their own minds. This is an interesting community on WordPress, so many different types of people who, if in real life, I would probably not have ever connected with. I can honestly say to my family and friends that I have met people (online) that live all over the world and connected through words. My learning of the world around me will continue, and as such, I hope others will join me as we all find our own truth.

#friends, #learning, #mainstream-media, #online-connection, #politics

There’s a news source for everyone

In my search for better news sources in the sea of leftist, rightist, moderate, etc., I have discovered that the news you read is typically aligned with your belief of what resonates as truth. Having had several interactions with people on Twitter lately, I’ve found a very disturbing trend that I think is part of the problem. There are several people who have now blocked me on Twitter after accusing me of being a troll. Whether I’m a troll or not remains to be seen, it meant something different back in the day when I did online gaming. A troll on Twitter seems to be a person that disagrees with your viewpoint or opinion. Oh, were you waiting for a more detailed description or definition? Yeah, me too. My experience is that it has now become impossible to have a debate on Twitter with someone else since it has now become so easy to filter and block out anything or anyone that makes your opinion questionable. No wonder the online space has become so polarized and divisive.

Taking sources of news out of the picture for this paragraph, it would appear to me that a rogue report or stray tweet that seems legit based on the number of retweets and likes will often be taken as fact. Upon further scrutiny though, the report or stray tweet doesn’t hold up and replying as such to the originator of said tweet gets probably one or two volleys before you’re called a troll and summarily blocked. How can that be considered anything other than seeing the world through your own set of rose-colored glasses? Everything requires scrutiny, checking, re-checking. The scientific method is applicable to almost everything in that you can pose a hypothesis, develop a theory, test it, and repeat as often as needed. I ask myself the question “is this real?” as many times as articles and tweets I read. Two or three verifiable sources with multiple facts to back those sources, then checking the facts further generally will yield results that can be trusted. This of course takes time and patience, and as we all are aware, both are in short supply for the majority of the American public.

Now, turning the sites onto the news sources (mainstream media), there is a news source for every walk of life. News is published when there are people to consume it. A site like CounterPunch.org leans right. New York Times and Washington Post leans left. The truth I’ve discovered is that there isn’t any unbiased, non-left, non-right news source out there. They’re all slanted one way or another based on the audience they’re publishing the news for. If you’re aware of a news source that isn’t biased in any way, please share as I’m looking for something that is literally just the facts. As most of my news is typically op-ed’s, I have to take large swaths of time to make sure that what I’m reading is the truth. To share or not to share, that is the question?

No one is really right, or wrong. Technology has created this ideology of an information island. You surround yourself with people that think, feel, and express themselves in the same way. You congregate in blogs, forum groups, Twitter feeds and share news with each other that reinforces the beliefs of the group; in other words, self-reinforcing group-think. Those of us who find their way onto your information island that aren’t cut from the same grain, an anomaly in the matrix, a sneaker in a closet of wing tips; are properly dismissed and thrown to the sharks to find another information island to invade. What we’ve lost the ability to recognize is that in order to grow and learn as a people, we need to question the norm and listen to others that don’t agree with us. The founding fathers, I’m sure, had their detractors and enemies, but they persisted by working together to create the Declaration of Independence; eventually signed by everyone. Abraham Lincoln pushed The Emancipation Proclamation at a time when a war was being waged over the very subject of slavery. I know he had his detractors and enemies, but persisted by finding solutions that forced compromise on all sides for the greater good. The trend to reject a different idea or opinion because technology makes it easy is extremely troubling to me and something I make every attempt not to get sucked into.

I’m proud to follow In Saner Thought and John Liming’s Blog because they both have opinions, views, and ideas that more often than not differ from my own. Regardless of whether I choose to alter my view or not, I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer my own comments, receive comments in return, and in some cases we agree to disagree. That’s OK. We’re entitled to have disagreements and differences, that is truly what makes us such a remarkable species. No one is threatened, no one is fighting. Amazing what adults can accomplish when their minds are open enough to accept that we’re all different in our own ways. The news should be straight facts, like it used to be, so that we can discuss our views and opinions in a healthy manner without the threat of violence. That’s something we’ve started to lose on a scary scale.

#in-saner-thought, #mainstream-media, #news, #the-ripening-wanderer, #trolling, #trolls, #twitter

Real news makes me nauseated

 

counterpunch Inside the Invisible Government; War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump

So, I read this over lunch today.  I stopped eating, having gotten sick to my stomach.  What I can’t figure out is whether the American people are so trusting that they believe everything they see on mainstream media (MSM) or they just don’t want to discover the truth through a collective TL;DR mentality.  I read Counterpunch.org on a daily basis now.  I choose now to not fall into line with the rest of MSM and what they’re feeding the American public because I think its important we know what is actually happening.  If all the details aren’t known, the opinion you form on what *is* known is fundamentally flawed and incomplete.

MSM is so good at delivering news to us, usually in the background, that broadcasts almost have a lulling type of cadence to them.  Speech is measured, tone is even and dull, anyone listening is lured into a false sense of security and understanding.  Where is all the reporting of even half of what’s in the above article on Iraq, Iran, Honduras, Syria, Yemen?  Why aren’t people angry over the fact they’re getting played for idiots?  Well, not being one of them, I can’t give an honest answer; I’m reading real news, I’m angry, I’m talking to anyone who’ll lend me half their attention to shake the fog that has descended over the American public.  Knowledge is the power the MSM, government, politicians, and rich white privileged people don’t want “commoners” to have.  The propaganda spin machine is full throttle and speeding along faster than ever in the last 100 years.

counterpunch Roaming Charges:  Comfortably Dumb

Here is the opposite side of MSM and it’s minions.  When things are happening that are hard to hide from, you just ignore them.  No comments, no reports, no opinions.  Just play “dumb” to the few scant reports that actually get through the paid-off, sort of self-imposed, media blackout of the events.  HRC has a long and verifiable history of dodging claims of impropriety, greed, war mongering, and the such.  When you know the media is owned and controlled by people that are in collusion with you to feed the propaganda machine, it’s frightening easy to make up whatever story that suits your needs.

I think I’m going to create the CounterPunch diet.  Read real news, everyday, and you’ll lose weight because you won’t WANT to eat anything.

#clinton, #counterpunch, #mainstream-media, #politics, #propaganda, #trump, #war

Manipulation of the masses

I watched the “news” this past weekend for the first time in a long time. I’ve exclusively been getting news from 3-4 online sources that I’ve found to be truth leaning and have demonstrated that they’re not controlled by standard mainstream media channels. Sitting there and watching the 30 minute show (actually 17 minutes if you take out the commercials), I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of disgust and anger. At the end of the half hour, I had a disturbingly clear picture of WHY people don’t believe the truth even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary right in front of them. Americans have been conditioned to believe that anything worth reporting on the news is important, and anything that doesn’t make the cut isn’t worth their time. I’ve already realized that 17 minutes of news is ridiculously inadequate. The manipulation has been so gradual, so subtle, that to think that all mainstream media has been in on this manipulation of the American people is literally a slap in the face of our collective intelligence.

After watching Rigged 2016 recently, I fully understand the total and complete impact of misinformation being shoveled at us through massaged and softened “news” from mainstream media. Most of who I know well get their news from sources that do not include newspapers, local news, or American world news (if you can call it that). From my own observation, which isn’t anywhere near scientific, it would appear that around 45-ish is a divide between television/newspaper (older) and online sources (younger). I understand the reason for this, especially when reading sites like CounterPunch, Wikileaks, and the such. Americans are not stupid, and quite the opposite, they are starting to wake up and realize that their parents and grandparents method of information isn’t reliable. The Internet has allowed for unfiltered and near real-time reporting of incidents that have no chance of being altered before delivery. The documentary explained that the establishment has been backed into a corner where their manipulation has been exposed and people are starting to reject their mainstream thinking. While I’m disappointed that this didn’t happen this year, I can sure as bet my life that 2020 is going to be a monumental and history making election year provided that, at the very least, Libertarians obtain 5% or more of the popular vote. My hope is that the Libertarian and Green party manage to get at least 5% of the popular vote. That would set the stage for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Greens on the debate stage. A figurative middle finger to the two-party system indeed!

One important lesson I’ve learned recently is that you can’t force someone to change their opinion no matter what evidence you present to them. A Clinton fan will be a fan no matter what they know to be true or not. There is a belief that anything negative is viewed as conspirator rhetoric done on purpose to attack their credibility or character. My own view has been changed and I see her for what she is, a manipulative war-loving elitist that will do everything she can to remain in power (and wealthy). The fact that Trump has no political experience isn’t much better and is as much a part of the corrupt system as Clinton, however he is seeking more power where Clinton is seeking to keep her current power. We are on the verge of an awakening in this country that is causing more and more Americans to question the “business as usual” politics and economics of the last 50 years. Americans are tired, frustrated, and angry of having to struggle every day just to make ends meet. Content released by Wikileaks has been enough to put doubt into the minds of a lot of people around the world. It is no longer accepted that politicians are looking out for our best interests, quite the opposite, they’re looking out for their own interests. I’m angry that we, as a people, have allowed this to take place, but I can accept why it’s happened in the first place. At no point in our history have we had so much information available to us through the Internet, and the failure of the political systems in place to recognize this is our chance to actually make a REAL difference in the course of our country.

Our actions this year and over the next four years are crucial so as to break the stranglehold of the two-party system in our country. Americans are not dumb, despite what Clinton and Trump have said through leaked emails and transcripts. Americans are waking up and have started to take a position that is polarized AGAINST what the Democrats and Republicans have established in the last 50 years. All the racial tensions, all the anger, all the frustration is a symptom of the problem: a government that is too big and corrupt to get out of their own way. I’m a believer that we can affect the change necessary to start making things better. That starts with the recognition that third parties are not just “footnotes” or “afterthoughts”. Third parties are, after this year, a viable alternative to the deplorable two-party system we’ve had shoved down our throats. A really good metaphor from the Rigged 2016 documentary that truly resonated with me: “The political parties are like car manufacturers. People no longer buy Fords or GMs because their parents did. People are making their own choices now.” That resonated with me because my Dad is voting for Trump (because he’s not Clinton) and my Mom is voting for Clinton (because she’s not Trump). I think there is a better choice and I’m choosing to vote third-party. Mainstream media can go to hell, I’m aware of your game, and I will no longer accept your brand of thinking.

giphy

#america-waking-up, #gary-johnson, #green, #jill-stein, #libertarian, #mainstream-media, #rigged-2016, #wikileaks

Being uninformed is not bliss

Inspiration: Media to Voters: Drop Dead, We’re Getting Hillary Elected

How can we fight this? The mainstream media has implied, we as voters, are stupid. Sheep following the Sheep Dog, obeying every nudge in the direction of the fenced corral that leads to slaughter. Mainstream Media (MSM) is now a juggernaut controlled by the will of a few people to manipulate what we see, read, hear, watch all over this country. Mountains of damning evidence has been posted to WikiLeaks (WL) in the past week with barely a mention on any of the major news networks or sites. This is what happens when the majority of MSM is owned by people with special interests and something to gain by selectively reporting on certain news to support their private positions.

For the last week, I’ve been reading CounterPunch and The Intercept several times a day. I’ve discovered, not to my surprise, that MSM has selected to report only on the information it receives and is approved to report on. Several WL emails released are literal proof that this is happening and is hard to ignore. CounterPunch more than anywhere else, is reporting news in a format that all MSM has lost the ability to or been prevented from doing. As an example, here is a listing of articles that have recently been posted to CounterPunch:

counterpunch

For contrast, here is Bing News and Google News:

bingnews

googlenews

What is unfortunate though, is that the majority of people who *do* end up going out to vote are typically the older generations of 50 and over. This group of people have traditionally received their news from newspapers (local and national) and the local news outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc.). I’ve not seen a newspaper or watched local media for several years, so am far from an expert on what they’re choosing to report and broadcast. What I can observe are my parents, whom still get a daily paper and watch ABC primarily, spout off nonsense details that, to an informed individual, are obviously nonsense. Appeals to their individual intelligence supported by facts that can be proven go unanswered and unwavering support for a “lesser of two evils” candidate continues.

My real fear in all of this discovery, is that until a generation used to getting their news from print and local media outlets goes away, we’re going to continue down this path of monopolization. At what point do people finally decide to question whats going on and start to make a change? I’ve made my change, I’m questioning everything until I’m able to verify it from multiple sources. E.g., the “official” warning that claimed that the Podesta emails were forged and tampered, without proof to back that statement, is a flat-out manufactured LIE to deceive and divert a public to other stories. It was successful though, as you don’t see a single WL news link in anything from Google or Bing. My simple point here is that in order to change this MSM monopoly, enough people have to choose to NOT read what MSM is spewing. We have to choose to be informed and find news sources that allow that to happen.

The appeal I’m making is not focused on getting people to listen. Rather, its focused on getting people I know to just read a few articles on CounterPunch or The Intercept and then DECIDE for themselves if its worth their time to continue. Some do, some don’t. The ones that don’t, I stop trying. The ones that do, however, generally are open to some discussions that continue the conversation towards an informed consensus. What conversations are you having?

#clinton, #counterpunch, #mainstream-media, #news, #podesta, #the-intercept, #trump, #wikileaks

Crazy idea to fix the economy, FTW!

Every day, during my lunch, I read several news sites including MSN. I know, MSN isn’t exactly the best source of news, but I’m an avid music fan and find some of their coverage interesting. The rest of main stream media is a joke now that I’m onto them and their filtered brainwashing of individuals pushing “news” that is subliminally lulling them into a false sense of comfort. There is so much that goes on around the world that just isn’t covered anywhere in American media. When Gary Johnson asked “What is Aleppo?” on Fox News Morning Joe, I was at first surprised but quickly realized that his platform isn’t primarily focused on foreign policy, rather domestic policy. News outlets instead hammered him for not knowing about Aleppo and made correlations to someone not knowing about Sarajevo in the 90’s or Iran-Contra in the 80’s. It’s crap if you ask me. Yes, I’m a third-party supporter, however I’m not biased enough to not recognize a mistake as we all make them. No one is perfect.  He does have a few ideas on his platform that suggest it would improve the economy, but don’t go far enough I think.

The entire monetary system, as it exists right now, is predicated on borrowed money. It was created out of thin air, by the Fed, after the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. A system so broken and propped up by debt can’t sustain itself for too long, and none of the plans by any Presidential candidate really lives up to the promise of being able to fix it. The rich elite run the country and until they don’t, nothing will fundamentally change. Here is a quick and dirty plan I came up with after reflecting a short period of time. I’m not an economist, but do understand the concept of credit/debit systems and religiously balance my register every month.

For all households making less than $250,000/year

  • Forgive all property asset debt
  • Forgive all consumer credit debt
  • Forgive all student loan debt

That might seem like a high annual income amount, however only 3% of American households make over that amount per year. Essentially, you would be removing the two largest amounts of debt for almost 97% of the entire country. An enormous amount of spending power would return to almost 97% of households to where the question or food vs. utilities would not need to be thought of again. The catch, and there’s a catch, is that anyone with a forgiven property asset or consumer credit debt would not be permitted to take on any new debts of those types for a minimum of 12 months. For the majority of the country, I don’t think that would be a problem. This one simple and drastic measure would remove the following amounts of debt from the U.S. financial system:

  • $13.8 trillion in mortgages (EOY 2015)
  • $929 billion in consumer credit (May 2016)
  • $1.2 trillion in student loans (April 2015)

Essentially, when you add it all up, it would remove more in currency than the Fed added to stabilize the economy during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The amounts are staggering especially considering that the group of people in the U.S. that hold that debt are NOT part of the elite class that can afford do a house outright, don’t carry credit in most cases, and typically go to college for free with a “donation” to the University being attended. Forgiving this debt would in turn give the economy a shot of adrenalin to get it jump started in the right direction. How would your view of the country change if you didn’t have to make your monthly mortgage, credit card, and school loan payments. How much would your lives change for the better?

The other side of this problem is with the law and regulatory requirements that would need to be changed. The financial sector could no longer be allowed to self-regulate as they’ve shown over the last several decades they only care about making more money. Any law put in place in the last 30 years would need to be reviewed, analyzed for effectiveness, and then repealed or updated to align with the founding fathers view of law. The law is what grants all citizens the equality that is required to be a true democracy. Laws that favor the elite and/or don’t apply to the elite need to be removed completely. Here’s an example: a guy with a pound of marijuana is sent to jail for 5 years with 5 years probation (legal in some states) while a government official complicit in sharing top-secret emails that threatened national security is mildly scolded. Another example: executive office officials are brought up on charges for destroying top-secret documents, charged, and served jail time while the President that ordered this to take place is pardoned following his resignation by his former Vice-President.

No idea is too crazy once you’ve passed the proverbial point of no return. Yeah, it will be a whole hell of a lot of short-term pain in terms of the financial market, shifting of power, etc. When you weigh it against the long-term potential of doing the above plan and keeping the system working or letting it go and having the system crash globally, seriously, what would the better choice be?

#credit-card-debt, #debt-forgiveness, #economy, #elite, #mainstream-media, #mortgage-debt, #non-elite, #politics, #student-loan-debt