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Posts published in “Day: July 6, 2017”

The truth is not self-evident

richardson

Independent journalism has been critical to our country’s past; and it is absolutely essential to our country's future.
  
Today, we have a White House that calls real news fake and fake news real. It was bad enough when a nominee for the nation’s highest office trafficked in conspiracy theories, manipulated the media, and lied with impunity to the American people. Now that the nominee is our president, we have a recipe for disaster. And we – all of us – must rise to the defense of the Fourth Estate.

Unfortunately, the truth does not speak for itself. It is not self-evident. In our modern society, we must rely on ethical and independent journalists to tell us what is happening, to report – not distort – the news.

But this president has put a bull’s eye on the back of every credible mainstream journalist. He calls the media “totally dishonest,” “disgusting,” “corrupt,” “scum,” and – most horribly “the enemy of the American people.” His goal is simple: He wants to bully, silence, discredit, and coopt the media. If a reporter will not sing his praises – he aims to silence them – no matter the cost to our republic, no matter the damage to the First Amendment.

We know what happens in countries where the media is a nothing more than a mouthpiece for the regime. We know what happens to journalists who dare to report facts that reflect poorly on the potentate in power. They are abducted, exiled. They go missing and are imprisoned. They are killed.

In Washington, D.C., there is a place called the Newseum. It is a museum – about news. If you visit this museum, you will see a glass memorial, two stories tall. Etched in that memorial are the names of the 2,291 editors, reporters, broadcasters and photographers who died covering the news.

Not all of them died in global hotspots like Syria, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Gaza and the Ukraine. But many of them did.

“Alternative facts” are, of course, not facts at all, but lies. Make no mistake, the Breitbart trained brown shirt that holds sway in the White House is a modern and audible echo of Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. It is important to remember the lessons of history.

At a rally on the campaign trail, the president – then the GOP nominee – discussed Vladimir Putin’s treatment of the press in Russia. After repeatedly bellowing that he hates journalists, he said he would never “kill” them. But then he seemed to reconsider saying, “Uh, Let’s see, uh, no I wouldn’t. But I do hate them.”

When reminded by Joe Scarborough that Putin kills journalists and political opponents, the response was pathetic: “At least he’s a leader.” It would seem that our president not only admires Putin, but seeks to emulate him.

No, the media is not the enemy of the American people; rather it is the reckless demagogue who stubbornly, stupidly, and wrongly makes that claim.

As the president seeks to undermine our free press, it is more important than ever that we take concrete steps to check his actions and support a diverse and independent media. There is much we can do. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten suggestions.

1. Support public television and public radio.

2. Subscribe to progressive, independent news publications – both local and national, and give gift subscriptions to your family members and friends.
3. Support public libraries.

4. Write and submit letters to the editor and/or reader’s view commentary.

5. On social media, share only stories that you know come from a credible source. If you find that you have inadvertently shared a false story, delete it and note a correction.

6. Support the Committee to Protect Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Society of Professional Journalists, and/or Common Dreams – Free Press, all non-profits that advocate for the rights of reporters to do their jobs free of intimidation, censorship, arrest, imprisonment, torture and death.

7. Support net neutrality.

8. Encourage public school administrators and trustees to emphasize media literacy at all stages of education. Also encourage public school administrators and trustees to prioritize the humanities and social sciences. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM subjects) are important. But not every student is going to need advanced training in these areas. However, every citizen is eligible to vote at age 18 and needs to be prepared to responsibly exercise the franchise.

9. Contact your U.S. Senators and Members of Congress. Tell them that you strongly oppose the president’s assault on the First Amendment and that you expect them to publicly denounce his authoritarian tactics.

10. Support candidates for public office – local, state and national – who honor the First Amendment and speak out strongly and consistently against those who, like the president, undermine it at every turn.

Make no mistake. The president’s latest tweet showing him beating up a person upon whose head the CNN logo has been superimposed is not, as his apologists assert, simply "a tongue in cheek" joke. It will, in fact, incite violence against members of the press.

It is slowly dawning on him that he will be found out. That is why he has so rapidly escalated the viciousness and frequency of his attacks on the media. He mistakenly thinks that the only way to salvage his presidency is to thoroughly discredit the free press.

In coming days, I expect the First Amendment will be subjected to unprecedented assaults from the White House. The Fourth Estate needs our support now more than ever.

The woe on drugs

bond

Tramadol?

Rhymes with damnit-all. I want to meet the creator of this newest opioid in Hell and slit his/her throat wide open. Two days of that shit was enough.
All I was looking for was a way to alleviate my intermittent back pain as arthritis encroaches. I don't care for the effects of opiates so scratch me off as a junkie. But this Tramadol crap will double-you up in so much pain, you’ll forget why you took it.

I'd take aspirin but it's hard on the stomach-lining and exacerbates the sillicic crystals that fill up our joints and cause us such pain.

Unadulterated codeine fills the bill just fine and I don't "need it" every day. Hell, in Canada you can buy it OTC, and I don't hear of a rampant codeine problem there.
Here, in the U.S., its prescription puts you and your doc on the DEA watch-list.

Why can't we just abolish the DEA entirely, grow Oriental poppies and some weed in the back yard, and if we need a little pain relief, there they are without all of Big Pharma's help. Oh, wait, you can't patent a plant. Thus is an industry born.
I am particularly unamused by licensed physicians treating 90-year-old patients who are in agony with pain with "pain management," their reasoning being that they wouldn't want their geriatric patients to get hooked on something that actually worked.

"Just say No" - one of Nancy Reagan's greatest contributions to the dementia underlying the War on Drugs and empowering the Drug Enforcement Agency with more weaponry and thug-power than the CIA could imagine in its wettest of dreams - tell that to an addict, or somebody in severe pain.

She and Ronnie launched the largest black market since the Brits blew up China 100 years ago in order for Europe to recoup its losses in their rent-serving thousand-year-old trading agreements, hooking young Chinese on powerful opiates to regain the silver China had been paid for its advanced technologies.

(The US was no innocent bystander, either. We didn't build our famed fleet of Clipper Ships for dead-head runs to the Orient. They hauled refined opium to China and returned fully-loaded with confiscated silver and a modicum of tea. Spend some time in China and look at the villages and monuments we Americans torched and wrecked.)
After a brief shelling exchange in Canton Harbour where the Royal Navy demolished China's shore batteries, the Empress sought a truce with England: Quit bringing refined opium into our ports and selling to our youth and quit stupefying them, and we'll give you Hong Kong.

So yeah, the opium argument swings both ways. It can be, like fire, incredibly harmful or incredibly helpful. But there is a huge middle-ground about these naturally occurring plants. Are the consequences of a lost relationship with Mexico and the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths worth it? Just as importantly, are our lost liberties to the DEA, the USDA and all else worth it?

My solution is simple: outlaw refineries and put Big Pharma out of business. When our civilian military are done with that, abolish them, too.