Source matters

I strongly believe that source matters, and that it’s on the original poster to do the checking first. Failing that, it’s on the rest of us to call out untrustworthy sources. Two tools have proven to be really helpful for both.

I use Newsguard combined with the attached from Ad Fontes Media to understand two important things.
1. Journalistic integrity
2. Bias

Here’s how I use these two, FWIW.

In my first example, note that Daily Kos sorely lacks in journalistic integrity according to Newsguard’s analysis. Their browser plugin makes that really easy to determine this wherever you see their links, including on each post that appears in Facebook.

 

Per Ad Fontes, Daily Kos is also hyper-partisan left and rates very nearly at the bottom in terms of reliability on fact-based reporting.

 

A right-wing equivalent is Red State.

 

IMO, trusting – and posting – anything from either only contributes to the level of misinformation we must sift through constantly.

And for the record, no, I do not subscribe to the “stopped clock” approach to any of this.

Walter Cronkite could rise from the dead and write for Daily Kos – or Red State – and it would NOT change the institutional lack of journalistic integrity of either source, nor would it change their reputation for bias and lack of attention to facts.

Other tools I use include Snopes, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org. They’re great for checking individual claims that look suspicious or specious.

I hope this is somehow helpful, and again, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to install the Newsguard plugin and to keep the attached Media Bias Chart handy.

Opposed to Vote Blue No Matter Who? Then own it.

Joe Biden said he would be a target of the "Bernie Brothers" CREDIT: AFP
Joe Biden said he would be a target of the “Bernie Brothers” CREDIT: AFP

It has been so frustrating to watch the Left lose to the Right throughout my 58 years. The Right is about vile and unworkable ideas like unfettered capitalism, trickle-down economics, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, science denial, and the list goes on.

And yet, Democratic voters have failed to outvote Republicans except in the very bluest of states. Why is that?

I know some will say it’s because Democratic politicians aren’t progressive and liberal enough; that they have abandoned the principles and values of heroes like FDR. I wish that were the only reason.

Because if it were the only reason and their reasoning was sound, it also seems reasonable to presume we’d already have President Sanders in the White House regardless of how “the establishment” conspired against him.

After all, Progressives and Liberals are too smart to be duped, yes? Progressives and Liberals are better informed because we listen to and watch truth-tellers like Jimmy Dore, right? (Clarification: Dore is an intellectually dishonest comedian-turned-pundit(?) who used to be part of the TYT propagandist cabal. He’s not someone I trust at all. He and TYT, regrettably, are shared with some frequency to a FB Group I’m in, and where this post originally appeared.)

Best of all, Progressives and Liberals outnumber everyone else and will show up in overwhelming numbers in the primaries and general to sweep our candidates into office………….. except we don’t.

Why is that? Is it a conspiracy?

Or, is it for the same reason Sanders has lost ground to Biden; we Progressives and Liberals don’t actually outnumber the rest of the rank-and-file Democrats who are voting in the primaries?

Not every Progressive, Liberal, or Democrat believes as we do, to say nothing of all the other Americans who don’t label themselves as such.

So, why do we lose?

Lately, it seems to be the internecine fighting too many of us on the LEFT insist on.

Some of us – no, let’s be real; some of *you*, my fellow Sanders supporters – still don’t seem to have learned that purity testing followed closely with attacks on everyone who doesn’t pass the test is one of the hallmarks of a cult.

Not a movement. A cult.

The last thing we need right now is the resurrection – or continuation, depending upon your point of view, I guess – of the Bernie or Bust Cult.

Trump didn’t win 2016 by himself. Puritanical voters in PA, MI, and WI won it for him by refusing to recognize the difference between an imperfect ally and an actual enemy.

I voted for Clinton. I’d do it again without hesitation if she were running against Trump.

Bernie is still my first choice, but he’s not my only choice. I’ll vote for Joe, and I’ll do it loudly and proudly if he wins the nomination because it’s the only sane, rational, and intelligent thing to do to ensure that trump loses.

Staying home, refusing to vote for the Democrat, or casting a “protest vote” are all just votes for trump. You can delude yourself into believing otherwise, but there will be two legitimate choices in November just as in every other past election. One will be trump. The other will not. It’s binary. You don’t have to like it, but there it is.

I get it. It’s cathartic, comforting, and gratifying to go around patting oneself on the back for not compromising. Just remember, there’s only one face looking back at you in the mirror, and only one face you’ll have to show when future generations ask, “What did you do to stop trump from a second term?”

I already feel sadness and pity for anyone who answers that with anything but, “I voted for the Democrat because your future was more important to me than my ego.”

As with all things, it’s your decision. No one can make it for you. No one should.

All you have to do is own it.

When did Busters become Breitbart believers?

Dick MorrisA friend recently asked if I’ve watched or read Clinton Cash, Crisis of Character, or Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary

The answer is simple. I don’t pay attention to right-wing propaganda. What mystifies me is why such an intelligent, well-informed, and well-reasoned individual would.

Here’s the more detailed response. Feel free to copy and paste it as your response to your Buster friends who are asking you these same questions.

“In the meantime, did you see or read Clinton Cash yet?”

No, and I’m not planning to watch it. It’s right-wing propaganda just like Citizens United’s “Hillary: The Movie” was.

Why would I give a shit what another hit piece has to say, especially knowing it comes from the likes of Peter Franz Schweizer, a “right wing political consultant,” “president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and a former William J. Casey Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is also Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large.”

“How about Crisis of Character?”

No. Similar reason as above, and to wit:

“The book was denounced by the non-partisan Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service for making “security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.”[2] Members of that Association also said that Byrne’s job and role at that time would not have given him the level of access that many of the book’s tales would be dependent upon.[2] Media Matters wrote that in places Byrnes’ account in the book stood in contradiction to his sworn testimony before the Independent Counsel during the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.[4]”

” Or former advisory to Clinton Dick Morris’ book, Armageddon.”

You mean the Dick Morris described below? No. Same reason. It’s right-wing bullshit that I can’t believe you’re buying into.
“Morris said that he would leave the United States if Hillary Clinton were elected president in 2008.[11]
“Morris was the strategist for Republican Christy Mihos’s campaign in the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race[12] and supported Mitt Romney in 2012, predicting that he would achieve a landslide victory. Blogger Andrew Sullivan has named an annual award after Morris, given for “stunningly wrong political, social and cultural predictions.”[13] He has appeared in the past on the Fox News for political commentary, especially appearing on The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.[14][15] After the 2012 election, Morris did not appear on Fox News for three months, and the network ultimately opted not to renew his contract.[16]”

UPDATE:

It’s worse than I thought…..

“Now he is the chief political commentator and correspondent for The National Enquirer.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/style/hillary-clinton-dick-morris-national-enquirer-donald-trump.html?_r=0

“How much smoke do you have to be surrounded by before you conclude there’s a fire?”

(To be clear, that’s my friend’s question to me. He knows that I was once a very vocal and active Sanders supporter who, like Bernie, now supports Hillary.)

I think you’re seeing fog, not smoke from a fire. What you call smoke, I call the intentional fog of propaganda and brainwashing. Repeat something enough times and people begin to believe it’s true. It’s how it works.
So, the answer to your question might be, “When it’s really smoke from a fire that some right-winger didn’t light.”

Here’s my only question to you (and to all the Busters who refuse to support Hillary):

When did you start becoming a fan and amplifier of this sort of propaganda?

And, please, don’t come back at me with some personal attack, ok?

I answered your questions as you asked. Now I’m asking you. Why do you trust these sources? Is it because they support the narrative you have about Clinton?

40 years in public life and nothing has stuck. After 40 years of trying, if there was even one ounce of ‘there’ there, wouldn’t something – anything – have stuck to her by now?

No, I am not saying she’s an innocent. Not by a long shot. Sadly, one doesn’t get to where she and Bill are and have been in American politics by being pure. What I am saying is that the entire weight of conservatism has been piled against her, and still no jumpsuit.

What bothers me most is watching some of my friends echoing right-wing propaganda.

 

You can live your lives or live your fears

To those who think this meme, in some way, is a serious suggestion as to how any nation should respond to terrorism anywhere, I have a serious question.

bombs for ISIS

Where are these armaments of conventional war to be directed, Paris?

At least one of the attackers was a French citizen.

The Western world seemed to pay no attention to the 40 people killed and more than 200 injured in two separate suicide bombings in Beirut the day before the Paris attacks. So, should we bomb Beirut?

Maybe we can use this map? It presumably gives us all of their locations. Should all of this territory just be leveled, believing that the continuation of the so-called – and so-well-marketed – “War on Terror” will suddenly lead to peace? Where’s the evidence that that approach is working or ever has?

What am I missing?

Doesn’t more war driven by greater and greater fear simply mean that the terrorist are accomplishing their mission?

Adam Gopnik’s piece in the New Yorker yesterday sums it up well for me.

 But there is also a will in France, familiar to New Yorkers, not to be annihilated, not to be turned by terrorism into a citizenry that can no longer recognize itself. New Yorkers learned that you can live your lives or your fears, and that it is always wiser to live your lives. 

No, I don’t have some magic answer. I just know that it’s not going to be found in fear or war.

Young (and Old) People: Do Not Be Fooled by Rand Paul

I’m all for….
….putting the NSA and the CIA back in their cages,
….taking drones out of the hands of presidents,
….spending tax revenues in wiser ways,
….legalizing marijuana (which, btw, Paul is NOT in favor of doing; see here and here) and
….shrinking our global empire.

That does NOT make me a libertarian. It shouldn’t make anyone else believe they might be one, either.

I want to encourage everyone, but especially young people, to not be fooled by Rand Paul just because he successfully delivered some none-too-surprising applause lines, “…thanks, presumably, to the first-come, first-served ticketing system used by the student-run Berkeley Forum, which sponsored the event in collaboration with the Berkeley College Republicans.”

What he didn’t have the courage to do was to address, “….Republican red-meat subjects like abortion, Obamacare and gay marriage.” To his credit, he did say, “Clapper lied in the name of security; Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy.”

As with every politician, he played to the audience before him. Sure, a little silver lining was visible.

After all, not all libertarian ideas are bad ideas, just like not all Green, Republican, Democratic, or any other political party’s ideas are all bad.

While we might all find some amount of common ground everywhere, we should not mistake that for support.  Yes, I share some ideas with libertarians, but make no mistake about it. I consider hardcore libertarianism as not only bad for America, it’s bad for humanity and for civil society.

In fact, the only ones who actually benefit from libertarianism are the wealthy corporatists.

Milton Friedman, the University of Chicago economist who, it's now known, was discoveed by the Buchanan Committee in 1946, to have arranged along with with George Stigler, an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout. (http://www.alternet.org/visions/true-history-libertarianism-america-phony-ideology-promote-corporate-agenda)
Milton Friedman, the University of Chicago economist who, it’s now known, was discovered by the Buchanan Committee in 1946, to have arranged, along with George Stigler, an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout. (http://www.alternet.org/visions/true-history-libertarianism-america-phony-ideology-promote-corporate-agenda)

Milton Friedman would either have to agree or lie to our faces about that fact.

Why do I say that? Well, I wonder how many self-proclaimed libertarians and so-called “libertarian populists” actually know about their movement’s history?

Let me share some here.

“Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The FEE’s board included the future founder of the John Birch Society, Robert Welch; the most powerful figure in the Mormon church at that time, J Reuben Clark, a frothing racist and anti-Semite after whom BYU named its law school; and United Fruit president Herb Cornuelle.

The purpose of the FEE — and libertarianism, as it was originally created — was to supplement big business lobbying with a pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-economics rationale to back up its policy and legislative attacks on labor and government regulations.

This background is important in the Milton Friedman story because Friedman is a founding father of libertarianism, and because the corrupt lobbying deal he was busted playing a part in was arranged through the Foundation for Economic Education.

The True History of Libertarianism in America: A Phony Ideology to Promote a Corporate Agenda, Sept. 6, 2013, Mark Ames

Seems that lobbying and corrupt lobbyists aren’t new ideas, and that even movements who profess to want smaller government aren’t above lobbying that very same government under the table.

In a recent Politico article, Ready for Rand? Americans hate Rand Paul’s libertarianism. They just don’t know it yet, Kevin D. Williamson explains succinctly why Rand Paul and his flavor of libertarianism will fail. (Note the dripping sarcasm below. It strikes me as meant mostly for conservatives.)

The problem for libertarian politicians is that Americans hate libertarianism. They like Social Security and minimum-wage hikes, they are still somewhat wary of free trade and they resent that the world is full of conniving and frequently swarthy foreigners who are scheming to provide us with goods and services in exchange for little green pieces of paper.

Smaller government. Unfettered and unregulated free trade. Ending the Fed, the IRS, the EPA, the DOE, the ED. If not eliminating, at least privatizing federal social safety net programs. Banning abortions. Putting more and more decisions like voting rights, gun laws, and marriage equality into the hands of locals.

These are libertarian ideals, and they are an anachronism. It is a way of thinking about and seeing the world, people, society, and governance that belongs more to the 18th century than it does to the 21st.

Unregulated markets have proven time and time again to be a recipe for environmental and economic disaster. It is exactly what is causing our ever-widening wealth gap, and it is precisely to blame for what looks more and more like a caste system in America.

As for the social issues, we have seen time and again what locals do the minute they are given the chance to turn their parochial thinking and ideology into legislation.

We never would have had the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act had it been left to the states. The latest and most obvious example of the abuse of power at the state level is voter suppression. Some states leapt at the first chances they’ve had since the 60s to institute the very same voter suppression laws that the feds have denied to them for years because those laws aim squarely at limiting minority voters. States are getting it wrong.

Yes, the movements for marriage equality and marijuana legalization, as well as for reforming gun laws if the majority of Americans ever find the courage to stand up to the gun manufacturers, the lobbyists, the NRA, and the minority of Americans who oppose them, are movements today at the state level. They are meant to do one thing: Make these federal issues and, eventually, federal law because each state should NOT get to decide who marries whom, what vices we choose to indulge in, or whether or not the person in line with us at the grocery checkout – or in the pew next to us on Sunday – is carrying a concealed weapon. That’s not only parochial, it’s uncivilized.

So, young people, please do not be fooled or seduced by Rand Paul. Just because he went to Berkley and just because he’s talking the talk on domestic spying, drones, and military interventions does not make him your friend, your ally, or your advocate. (And remember, he’s NOT for legalizing weed. He just thinks you should spend *less* time in jail if you’re busted.)

Conservatives of all ages need to know that Rand is not your friend, either, at least not according to those ostensibly speaking for that ideology like Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.

In fact, Paul might have created what has become a rarer and rarer occurrence. He’s created agreement between extremist tea partiers and their intra-party nemeses, the so-called “mainstream” Republicans, that he’s not a conservative.

(Editorial note: The 2012 presidential election results prove that the GOP is anything but mainstream. All one has to do is look at the demographics. Data does not lie.)

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul fields questions following his talk at International House. (Photos by Kevin Ho Nguyen)
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul fields questions following his talk at International House. (Photos by Kevin Ho Nguyen)

Rubin excoriated Paul for how he insulted the intelligence of Berkley students and young people everywhere, first by wearing “baggy jeans” to Berkley (btw, what is it with conservatives and jeans?) and then for, “…pretending to be an undergrad who’d just rolled out of bed,” something Rubin says Jack Kemp wouldn’t have dreamed of doing.

On the more serious issues, Rubin exposes Paul’s, “…lack of forthrightness about conservative policies and solutions when it might prove uncomfortable – the desire to be something very different than what he’ll be in Iowa or New Hampshire.”

But what about CPAC and Paul’s straw poll victory, you ask?

Well, in this Bloomberg video (by way of The Christian Science Monitor) Dr. Larry Sabato tells us what Paul’s 31% straw poll win at CPAC means: Nothing.

First, there’s the math. Sabato reminds us that 7 in 10 at CPAC voted for someone else.

Next, he reminds us that CPAC is not the GOP. It is, he says, where, “…one goes to show a little leg – the right leg.”

Finally, he leaves us with this, and it’s something that everyone must understand about Rand Paul and libertarianism in general: Paul is very conservative on social issues like abortion, and he ran a very conservative campaign when he ran for Senate, but he is anything but conservative on homeland security issues like defense spending, the Patriot Act, and trials for Gitmo detainees.

What this all means – and what Sabato is pointing out to us – is the obvious about what Rand Paul is trying to do now. Rand Paul is simply trying to meld libertarianism with conservatism to appeal to younger voters.

Do not fall for it, younger voters.

The only kind of governance that would be worse for you than straight-up libertarianism would be libertarianism melded with conservatism.

Don’t believe it? Don’t think that’s what he’s doing, and don’t think it would necessarily be a bad thing if it were true?

Then understand this about what merging libertarianism and conservatism might mean. It comes from Paul’s own words from page 78 in his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:

In talking to Palin, one of the primary things I wanted to do was allay her fears about social issues, telling her, “My opponents call me a libertarian but I want to assure you that I am pro-life.” Palin responded, “Oh, we all have a little libertarian in us.”

Palin and Paul. Try that on. Take it for a little walk.

Now, is that even an idea with any appeal at all, and to whom?

Again, my advice is don’t be fooled by Rand Paul or any hard-core libertarians, for that matter. They are not your friends, they are not our friends, and they are no friend to young people. They are, in fact, no one’s friend or champion except for those who believe the corporatist ideology and propaganda that comes out of places like The Cato Institute.

It’s way too early to be prognosticating 2016. Between then and now, I encourage everyone to put a little time and effort into keeping yourselves informed.

If you’re curious and want a more in-depth analysis of the GOP’s 2016 contenders – and you may be surprised at what you find! – then check out Dr. Sabato and the UVA Center for Politics. Start with this March 20th report, 2016 Republican Presidential Update: A New, Familiar Name at the Top

For more details on Rand Paul – or any politician, for that matter – my advice is to avoid their web sites. You simply won’t find deeper and faster spinning pits of political bull chips anywhere in the universe.

Stay away from cable news and most corporate media, too. They are corporatists with a single goal: To attract and retain your attention in service to advertisers and their shareholders.

Instead, look for independent and non-partisan sources. Here’s a site I came upon recently. It’s called OnTheIssues, and I’m already finding it to be pretty helpful.

You should also join the conversation with your fellow citizens of all stripes and ages. Below are a few organizations I like and recommend.

The future is yours, young people, and, like it or not, someday you’ll be in charge. It’s up to you.

For what it’s worth and speaking on behalf of the Baby Boomers willing to tell you the truth, we effed things up royally, and we’re very, very sorry. We were the generation that bought the lies of trickle-down economics, worshiped the “greed is good” ethos, and have been governing and running businesses with sadistic selfishness and unbridled narcissism born of Ayn Rand’s perverse Objectivism.

For your own sake and for the sake of the planet and humanity, please don’t miss the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and please don’t make the same ones we did.

http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/
http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/

10/1/2016: For the record, I no longer support CoffeePartyUSA as they have become a corrupt organization led by people who pick and choose whom they allow to have a voice and whom they allow was voting members as their way of holding onto power. Click here to read more.

http://www.wolf-pac.com/
http://www.wolf-pac.com/
https://represent.us/
https://represent.us/
https://movetoamend.org/
https://movetoamend.org/