Saturday, September 15, 2007

They Who Betray Us

This past week, before a General Petraeus was to give a report on the war on terror in Iraq, the New York Times ran an ad suggesting that the "General Betrays Us" -- as a play on words. That fringe elements in our society have expressed hatred, bigotry and prejudice is nothing new in a society that values freedom of expressions as one of its greatest goods, but the newspaper could have expressed their own “freedom of expression” and better judgment not to publish such an incitement that undermines the trust and confidence in such leaders, who have actually earned and merit such trust and confidence.

The same is true for publishing all the inflammatory and irresponsible letters and commentary that incite the divisions, conflict, suspicions and drama daily in their pages -- while NOT publishing all those who bring about understanding and conciliation in these times. Those voices have been virtually eliminated from the public consciousness, while the shriller voices undermining trust and confidence in fellow citizens, and inciting the divisions, arguments, outrage are given full and unlimited play -- as though there were no other.

The Press insists they are just being “fair and objective” in printing all submissions as a true indicator of all the points of view being expressed -- when it should be increasingly obvious to those who are truly the voices of peace and reconciliation (solutions), that their submissions mysteriously never “make the cut,” while the obvious (and also repetitious) missives inciting hatreds and suspicions of one against another (typically portrayed as Republicans against Democrats, conservatives against liberals, right against left, Americans against every other people, etc.) find prominence at all the local and national newspapers -- as “their great public service.”

However, one begins to suspect among all this unrelenting and escalating contentiousness, that maybe the “villains” are not the extremists themselves, who would have little or no visibility and credibility if it weren’t for the promotion and prominence of the newspapers -- to create these arguments, conflicts and ill-will among us -- while protesting their complete innocence, fairness and objectivity -- as only the messengers, and not the creators of such hateful and prejudicial messages.

Do people truly in fact spend all their time, energy, thoughts and passion undermining, attacking and distrusting their fellow citizens of every petty evil intent and purpose, or is it the creation of the news organizations to attempt to preserve their own job security, relevance and yes, power, in a time in which they have grown increasingly redundant and unnecessary to the information process and paradigm?

That is, are there really problems beyond their making us think there are so, in the way they make it seem hopelessly so, or is it now just their making us think that it is so -- to justify their continued existence, as though we really needed these daily dramas and extra problems or some might die of boredom otherwise? Surely we can redirect these misguided energies to better and more productive purposes.

14 Comments:

At September 15, 2007 7:19 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One would think that those in the positions of trust and confidence, would not be vulnerable to the abuses of power -- that they like to claim every other person but their “fair and objective” selves are prone to, but in fact, imagine the torment and resentment of those who went into “journalism” because they wanted to be around important people and events, and saw a constant stream of mediocrities and con-artists pushing their way to the forefront of consciousness without even as much talent and merit as themselves -- festering eventually into a gaping wound of bitterness, anger, outrage, demanding, “Why not me? I deserve to be a representative, governor, president, king, the master of the universe.”

Power corrupts, but not before maddening and destroying all one’s sensibilities.

They need to use that experience like our present governor and develop the insight to operate effectively in that environment -- rather than luxuriating in complacency in a guaranteed lifetime, no-cut no matter what sinecure, from which to use and abuse everybody else in society without fear of retribution and accountability.

 
At September 16, 2007 7:34 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The distinguishing characteristic of stupid people, is that they are always looking for arguments to get into to "prove" how much smarter they are than everybody else.

 
At September 17, 2007 8:45 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Perpetuating a state of ignorance:

http://honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070917/OPINION02/709170305/1104

TRANSPARENT PROCESS FOR HOMELESS SHELTERS

Reporter Jim Dooley's assertion ("Lingle emergency powers questioned," Aug. 31) that the governor extended an emergency homeless declaration to circumvent procurement law and award a contract to a developer is ridiculous and false.

Developer Stanford Carr is working collaboratively with the state to help solve the homeless problem. He is not making a profit from this project; no other developer has made such an offer.

The process under the emergency proclamation has been transparent. When the governor signed the emergency proclamation, the state issued a "request for interest" from anyone interested in helping to develop homeless shelters.

For the Villages of Maili, 10 meetings have been held with the community. A large majority of the community supports this project.

The governor issued the emergency declaration in July 2006 after Department of Health reports of possible health hazards resulting from people living without adequate sanitation facilities on Leeward beaches or in parks.

While the state has made progress in transitioning people off beaches and into shelters, health concerns remain. For this reason, the governor is using her authority to extend the emergency proclamation so the state can provide additional relief on an accelerated basis.

This proclamation enabled the state to complete the Onelau'ena shelter at Kalaeloa in less than four months, and the Pai'olu Kaiaulu shelter in Wai'anae in less than five months. These two shelters have served more than 900 people. Nearly 200 of these people have transitioned into permanent or alternative housing.

The Villages of Maili will serve another 250 people. There are two other projects in the pipeline that are under the proclamation that will house an estimated 400 people. We remain committed toward this important mission to rebuild lives, improve community spirit, and restore the beaches and parks for all to enjoy.

Kaulana Park
Homeless Efforts Achieving Results Together team leader, Leeward Coast

 
At September 17, 2007 8:46 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There might have been a time in which the reporters and editors at the newspaper weren't just shameless partisan and biased shills of the Democratic party -- but nobody can remember when that was anymore.

 
At September 17, 2007 9:29 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There's a simple explanation for the collapse of the credibility and influence of the mainstream (mass) media all over the world. Any viable organization (industry) has to hire talent and integrity or go out of business -- rather than redoubling their efforts to keep them out so they don't make everybody (that one is committed to guaranteeing lifetime jobs to) else look bad.

That's also the problem of politics in Hawaii -- that there needs to be an infusion of talented and bright people with new ideas -- rather than merely junkyard dogs who fought their way up out of the slums and that is the only thing they know and think leadership is about -- keeping everybody else down.

But beyond that, there needs to be a populace who can distinguish that talent and ability, and actually vote those people in -- rather than be fooled into thinking nothing makes a difference and nothing matters -- which is the mantra of the opinion/editorial/commentaries in the newspapers. Because just as bad as not being able to distinguish quality leaders (people), is condemning "all politicians are crooked," as the justification for the corruption and abuses of a few.

So corruption is not only in the elected offices but everywhere in the fabric of the thinking of any society -- making it less or more likely to occur. When the informants (media, schools, universities, eco-terrorists, etc.) pride themselves on their ability to make people think anything they want them to -- and nobody will notice, and if they do, they can be suppressed, censored or distorted to say anything they want them to say, everybody is at the control and mercy of such authoritarians.

I think that is the major task of any responsible citizen in society beyond just voting -- which has become pretty much a well-conditioned habit for many to unthinkingly press whatever levers their "controllers" tell them to -- as the ultimate expression of their freedom.

Obviously it is not -- under those conditions. So just getting people to recognize that, is the beginning of a real democratic society and not just the phony "Democratic" one.

This past Saturday, there was supposed to be the self-proclaimed world's largest anti-war protest in history in Washington D.C.,which drew a very small crowd despite the heavy promotion and pimping of all the liberal organizations including International ANSWER, MoeveOn, socialists, anarchists, eco-terrorists, as well as the mainstream media and the the usual suspects trying to exploit it for their personal self-aggrandizement.

It reminds one of George Orwell's classic 1984, in which at the very sight of picture of a personality they've targeted, the Ministers of Truth expect us to go into a hate frenzy on their well-conditioned commands and triggers.

But once people are aware that there is another way of being and even discussing these matters, they begin to recognize what freedom is really all about -- prefer it quite naturally and instinctively.

 
At September 17, 2007 9:51 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Here is what authentic citizen input looks like:

http://starbulletin.com/2007/09/17/editorial/letters.html

Let Superferry bring us out of Dark Ages

The Canary Islands, like the Hawaiian Islands, consist of seven islands in the middle of the ocean. These are volcanic islands like ours; the main industries are tourism and agriculture. They are part of Spain.

Fred Olsen Line has been providing car/passenger ferry service between these islands since 1989 with a fleet of five fast ferries of the same design as our Superferry. The largest travels at 42 knots (6 knots faster than our ferry), and carries 1,250 passengers and 400 autos. This fleet is vital to the commerce of the local population.

They have never hit a whale or harmed any marine life and invasive species have never been a problem. The major invasive species issue comes from the cruise/cargo vessels and airplanes arriving from foreign destinations.

The Superferry will take us out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st century and finally provide us with transportation between the islands at least comparable to those in Europe, Asia and even the third world countries in Africa and Latin America.

It is time for all the unfounded emotional arguments that are inflaming those ignorant of the facts to be set aside so all parties to come together to allow this huge improvement to our transportation system.

Donald R. Stiger
Waikoloa, Hawaii


The editorial staffs really need to abandon their policy that "Nobody can look smarter than us!" -- and let people speak for themselves.

 
At September 17, 2007 10:00 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Not to be confused with the Superferry -- or for the local daily newspapers, for that matter:

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?a512e4b7-1594-42e3-ba8b-86ca702efc7b

Barber’s Point Ferry to Fail — Again

By Cliff Slater, 9/17/2007 12:05:52 AM

Once more our elected officials are going to saddle us taxpayers with the upcoming City launch of a commuter ferry, TheBoat, to run from Barber’s Point to downtown to start today. Fortunately, they will only waste a few million dollars so it’s nothing to get too excited about.

However, there are lessons we can learn when it fails.

Let’s review the result of the last demonstration project in 1999 when we had plenty of parking. We covered that in the January 31, 2005, Honolulu Advertiser: “We are still in denial; this ferry won’t float.” Here is an excerpt discussing the 1999 effort:

“Then, to my astonishment, a ferry program was started again in October 1999 on the same route. I wrote at the time in (“Downtown ferry idea is all wet,”) that it hadn’t worked last time and, since they were not making any real changes to the program, what made them think it would work this time?

“As expected, it did not work; the same level of commuters showed up as in 1992 with the usual number of tourists out to get an ocean view of Oahu on the cheap.

“And while the ticket price was cheap, the out-of-pocket cost to us taxpayers was high. The cost is easy to figure out. Follow me: The ferry operated from 1999 to 2000 for 14 months and carried, at most, 50 commuters each weekday. For this period it cost $2.9 million.

“Officials tell me that about 30% of the money was spent on planning, promotion and other one-time costs. That leaves us with net spending of $2 million on operations. The 50 commuters divided into the $2 million for 14 months equals expenses of $34,000 per commuter per year. Savor that number for a minute; chartering helicopters would have been cheaper.

“But irrespective of the cost, the ferry did not attract commuters out of their cars — for either one of the projects.”

This new ferry project will cost only about $5 million in your federal income taxes and another couple of million of your property taxes and normally that modest amount would not get our attention. However, we do need to pay attention to the thinking, or lack of thinking, at work here.

After all, two state government studies have shown the ferry would not work and two federally-funded demonstration projects have validated the studies, and now we are going to do another “demonstration project.” As I said in my last article on this subject,

“Now proponents are once again pushing ferries. Is our collective memory so short that we don’t care about the failure in 1992 or the failure in 2000? Don’t they know that the evidence of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result?”

The first lesson we can learn is that most elected officials do not care about how sensibly your hard-earned taxes are wasted — or even how their own taxes are wasted. They only care about re-election or higher office — first, second, and third.

The second is that while the City may talk a ‘green’ story, they are launching a transit service that is the biggest energy hog of all. Ferries use twice as much energy per passenger mile as buses, rail, or automobiles and four times that of vanpools.

Failure and success mean different things to different people. To elected officials, success is only how the result of a project affects their re-election chances. To normal human beings success of a publicly funded project is simply whether the outcomes justified the expense.

So if you think elected officials are not being very smart about the ferry, why do you think the same mentality is not hard at work on rail transit? This time for billions of dollars, not just millions.

Cliff Slater, one of Hawaii's leading transportation experts, has more information at http://www.honolulutraffic.com

HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com

 
At September 17, 2007 10:17 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

In all fairness, here's demagoguing the new media way:

http://www.fool.com/investing/dividends-income/2007/09/17/a-market-crash-is-coming.aspx

A Market Crash Is Coming

By Selena Maranjian September 17, 2007

I hope this isn't news to you: Another stock market crash is on its way. That's the bad news. The good news is that it isn't necessarily right around the corner. While many financial prognosticators on TV will offer opinions on when the next big crash is due, I don't feel like I'm shortchanging you with my own opinion:

I don't know when it will happen.

This is the best answer anyone can offer, in fact, since the stock market's short-term movements are extremely unpredictable. (Long term, the arrow has usually pointed up.)

Still, there are some things we can learn by looking at past crashes. At about.com, I recently ran across Dustin Woodard's review of our 10 worst stock market crashes. Here they are:

I predict somebody, somewhere will die today -- but I don't know who that is and under what circumstances -- so you should all be prepared to meet this gruesome fate and plan your life around it -- Editor.

 
At September 18, 2007 8:14 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Finally, maybe they're starting to see the light:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003642421


Blankley To Editorial Writers: Sharpen Up!

By Joe Strupp

Published: September 18, 2007 12:59 PM ET

NEW YORK As he leaves his five-year post as editorial page editor of The Washington Times, Tony Blankley has some advice for his fellow opinion page guardians: Sharpen up!

Blankley, who announced Tuesday he would step down to join the Edelman public relations firm, and take a post with the Heritage Foundation, opined on the state of most editorial writing, finding it not always up to par.

“In some newspapers, the writing style is fairly distinct,” he told E&P. “It would probably be fair to say that an awful lot of editorial writing tends to be a little fudgy, and not quite as sharp as it could be. There is room for clarity and vigor in a lot of pages.”

Declining to cite specific newspapers in his critique, Blankley, a former Reagan speechwriter and press secretary to Next Gingrich, praised The Wall Street Journal. But he said most papers could use some sharpening up in writing style and getting to the point.

“I think that they have become more pompous and highly educated in the last 10 to 15 years,” he said of editorial writers. “It may reflect the background of journalism, which has become less of a trade and more of a highly-educated profession. Leading journalists tend to be highly educated. Journalism was strongest when it was a trade and they came from blue collar levels. The danger of a strong academic background is that our writing becomes academic.”

Although he acknowledged his strong educational background, which includes a law degree and certificates in international studies from Notre Dame and the University of London, Blankley contends editorial writing could use a boost with more of a voice of the people.

“Some papers more than others, some writers more than others,” he stressed. “But it is a general problem.”

Blankley also said simply giving a straight opinion is sometimes missing from many opinion pages: “They have got to be honest and sharp in their language. Not rude, but reach a conclusion. So many editorials work their way around and do not get to the point.”

Blankley said such concise opinion writing is more necessary than ever for newspapers given the growing competition from the Web.

“To some extent, with all of the other opinion available, editorial pages have to compete with the Internet,” he explains. “But there is still a substantial part of the older population that is not on the Internet. That calls for a clear voice and there is still an advantage for newspapers depending on the newspaper. The opinion of a newspaper standing alone is still more influential, whether it is The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.”

When asked about the impact of newspaper endorsements, Blankley contended they have never been extremely important in presidential races, having more effect on smaller campaigns: “The more visible the office, the less effect any endorsement has. I’m not sure how much a newspaper presidential endorsement, even in the 1950s and '60s, was that important.”

Joe Strupp (jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is a senior editor at E&P.

 
At September 18, 2007 8:16 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There is no demand for uninformed opinion; leave it for the amateurs -- who are absurdly mimicking the "professionals."

 
At September 19, 2007 8:45 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Recognize the propaganda?

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/richard-newcomb/2007/09/19/new-journalists-lack-moral-clarity

New Journalists Lack Moral Clarity
By Richard Newcomb | September 19, 2007 - 12:30 ET

Journalists are responsible for presenting the news of the day to ordinary citizens. Their requirements include objectivity and analysis. However, they are also expected to understand the difference between a mass-murderer who espouses a form of global slavery and an elected leader of the freest country on Earth. Unfortunately, it appears that Ryan Yeomans, of the Central Connecticut State University does not have that understanding. Writing today in the opinion pages of The Recorder, Central Connecticut State's college newspaper, Yeomans states,

As of late, if you were to bring up the president in a discussion you would find that many Americans disapprove of the decisions he has made. At the same time, Osama bin Laden presents many good arguments against the president and many of his reasons for disapproving of Bush are similar to those of anti-Bush Americans. Would it be wrong to assume that there is some kind of connection between feelings of the American people and those of Osama bin Laden? As I would love to make this connection, I ultimately cannot because of the actions of our president. If I were to say I agree with bin Laden, that would mean that I agree with a terrorist; under the Patriot Act, I could be labeled a potential terrorist and my phone could be tapped, and every move I make could be watched and analyzed.

In finding myself in this predicament, I questioned myself as to who the lesser evil actually is. I ask, “Who has done more damage to the lives of the American people?” Personally, I worry more about the next bad decision Bush is going to make than I worry about a potential Osama bin Laden organized terrorist attack.

One thing I have realized from these videos is that while Osama bin Laden remains free, Americans are slowly becoming bound by the decisions of the president to remove and restrict the rights given to us by our knowledgeable forefathers, without whom we would not be here. I can only hope that Americans will open their eyes and see what is in front of them, in order to prevent things from getting out of hand any further.

This writer displays such a lack of common sense that it is difficult to know where to start deconstructing. Let's take his statement that "Americans are slowly becoming bound by the decisions of the president to remove and restrict the rights given us by our knowledgeable forefathers". Mr. Yeomans, precisely what rights has the president removed from American citizens? I cannot think of a single right enumerated in the Constitution that Mr. Bush has either removed or restricted. In fact, the courts have created new rights for our enemies that have never existed previously, such as access to the US court system.

Yeomans also complains that although he agrees with bin Laden, "If I were to say I agree with bin Laden, that would mean that I agree with a terrorist; under the Patriot Act, I could be labeled a potential terrorist and my phone could be tapped, and every move I make could be watched and analyzed." Well, actually no. Free speech is protected, though advocating the assassination or other violence against the president is a federal crime and has been since long before the Bush Administration. I have not noticed any anti-war/pro-Islamic protestors being placed in prison for speaking their minds, and certainly the MoveOn.org folks who masterminded the 'Bush-as-Hitler' campaign are still free. If Mr. Yeomans were communicating with foreign nationals connected to terror via international phone calls, then yes, those calls could be and probably should be tapped. But tapping domestic calls (those are calls with both ends within the United States, as opposed to international calls, which have at least one end in a foreign country) require a warrant- no matter how many Democratic talking points bin Laden parrots.

However, the most startling aspect of this opinion piece is the complete lack of understanding betrayed by the writer. This is someone who will be entering the journalistic world and will be responsible for portraying the news to his fellow Americans. Yet, he displays the most astonishing lack of ability to differentiate between an elected leader who is bound (and who has followed) the law, and who has two other branches of the government overseeing him as well, and an unelected terrorist who wants a global Islamic caliphate, containing no rights whatsoever for non-Muslims. A leader who masterminded the attacks on September 11, 2001 that killed over three thousand American citizens. And Yeomans appears to be ignorant of how bin Laden's videos have increasingly adopted Democratic Party talking points, as he tries to elect a party that would be much easier to defeat than the current Adminstration.

It used to be that college students were taught the difference between murderous barbarians such as bin Laden and elective republics such as we. There is a difference between forces that refuse to wear uniforms, who hide amongst civilians and who behead and torture their enemies (the Muslims) as opposed to a society that adheres to a rule of law, wears uniforms, fights under a flag, and who actually provides their captives with food, Korans and exercise (the United States)- none of which privileges are granted to those unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of the Islamists. Mr. Yeomans has an understanding neither of history, which provides the context for bin Laden and his allies, nor for the proper use of force, which is often the only resort against aggression such as that espoused by bin Laden and his allies. Proper use of force saved Europe from Islamic aggression many times, beginning in 732 at the battle of Tours, and most recently in 1683 in the siege of Vienna.

If Mr. Yeomans is the future of American journalism, then American journalism has fallen a long way since the days of Ernie Pyle. Cross-posted on StoneHeads.

 
At September 19, 2007 8:54 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It's not only a problem with the new journalists but it is also the same with the old journalists who think they are young -- but haven't changed their thinking in the last 30-50 years.

They're still living in that "Walter Mitty" world in which media "celebrities" do the thinking for everybody else -- otherwise they wouldn't have their own television shows, bylines or blogs. And so when they come up with their pronouncements they think nobody has heard yet -- it turns out everybody else has already heard them and discarded them as useless and obvious deception and manipulation -- of which they are the last to know and recognize.

 
At October 01, 2007 10:41 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

This post is linked to http://homespunhonolulu.com/
and the following comment was added by me:

Thanks for including me among the participants in your carnival of cultural highlights.

One of the major questions thoughtful visitors and newcomers seek and seldom find in “Paradise,” are signs of intellectual activity -- and when they check out the logical institutions for them, the schools and universities, the only thing they seem concerned with is that they should get “more pay,” and we read almost no other contribution to the greater wisdom or consciousness of the world.

Culture is built upon ideas -- and not just entertainment, food, and recreation -- which seems to be the only things featured in the islands as “culture.” Politics on the other hand, are usually discredited by constant arguments about every petty difference -- and especially, about who is exclusively more important than everyone else -- and for whom everybody else ought to be “sacrificed” for. These are the vestiges of the earlier tribal societies -- for which leadership is almost entirely about who gets to subjugates and dominate everybody else -- and not that “leaders” are selected to represent the entire community.

And so such “democratic” societies devolve into tyrannies of the majority and the mob -- which is noted in the schools as the bullying and intimidation that is actually an integral part of the education (indoctrination). The whole object of this education is to get people to conform -- rather than to think for themselves, which is regarded as some kind of ultimate sin, punishable by banishment to the Mainland.

The euphemism for this coercion is “political correctness,” which is pretty much like the training one receives to mark the “right” answers -- as determined by the Board of Education, rather than by those who actually discover the truth of anything.

So the important division in today’s society is not whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, but whether one can think for themselves or not -- and not just repeat what somebody has told them is the truth, as though they thought of it themselves.

 
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