Saturday, February 23, 2019
Anyone who has followed this blog for the last twelve years knows that I'm no fan of the Corporate Media, aka, the Mainstream Media. Unlike the Trumpistas, however, my reasons for that dislike are grounded in reality rather than the psychological gaslighting of the current Oval Office Occupier.
A "free press" is known as the Fourth Estate, and it serves a valuable function in our society: making sure that government is accountable and transparent. In many/most democratic countries (including the USA), the Corporate Media comprise the Fourth Estate. Over many decades, their failure has given rise to the Fifth Estate: "acceptable" critics of the Fourth Estate. Examples here would be: PBS, NPR, The Intercept, Democracy Now, Reason.com, BillMoyers.com, David Stockman, Jim Rickards, Paul Craig Roberts, and many, many others.
Fake News does exist, but it's very rare and put out by pretty much unknown nutcakes. One exception: probably 99.999% of all Fake News (originating in the USA) comes from a well-known person--- our Fake President. It's not a practice of the Corporate Media. Their sin is putting out Incomplete News, and being mouthpieces for the Crony Capitalists and Corporatists in government. Examples follow.
I'll exaggerate for effect. When the Jobs Report comes out, it is reported something like this: "The Labor Dept. reports that a gazillion jobs were added last month. That will boost our current booming economy. Blah-blah-blah.". What's left out is the following. How many of those jobs are temporary, or part-time, or both? How many are low-paying? How many have any associated benefits to speak of? How many people still are grossly underemployed? Another example: "The economy is booming this year...blah-blah-blah.". What's left out is---booming for whom? In fact, there are two economies in the USA: the one that's booming encompasses only the top 15-20% or so of income earners. The rest of us are either barely hanging on, or in poverty, or both. Another example: violations of the Constitution of the United States are rarely ever reported. I easily could cite dozens & dozens more examples, but time and energy constraints prohibit that.
Sure, once in a blue moon, someone in the Corporate Media puts out a factually incorrect piece of news...inadvertently. Once in maybe twelve blue moons, the same thing happens...but on purpose. That person becomes thoroughly disgraced by the News industry. So, the current Fourth Estate rarely ever creates Fake News; but there's a serial liar in DC who does so on an almost regular basis. That's a common characteristic of gaslighters: whatever they falsely accuse others of doing is precisely what they are doing...knowingly.
Not only my opinion. Be Well
Friday, February 22, 2019
A day or two ago, there was a unanimous SCOTUS decision against excessive fines, fees, & civil asset forfeiture imposed by State, County, & City authorities. Texas, in particular, is infamous for such practices, plus "Debtor's Prison" if you can't afford the freight. Example: a fine of $569 (if I recall correctly) for grass too high in a vacant lot (the back lot of a residential double lot). The "court fees" are added to that...hundreds of dollars more. If you can't pay immediately, chances are great that you go to jail. In California, if you run a red light, the fine is $100; but $390 is added to that in the form of "fees". $490 for trying (and failing) to make a yellow light. Outrageous.
I didn't see this story on the Corporate TV News, but it was a lead story on Democracy Now. The Corporate Media seem to avoid any stories that have even a hint of the growing poverty in the USA.
In some local jurisdictions, you can be fined hundreds of dollars for having anything dangling from your interior, rear view mirror...including a simple, small chain.
Civil (not Criminal) Asset Forfeiture (CAF) applies even if you're not convicted of whatever "crime" or code violation is involved. Your assets can be seized in addition to fines imposed, or simply because they "look suspicious". When you apply to get your property back, it has already been auctioned off...& you get no cash compensation. This has been going on in the Land of the Free for about 25-30 years. It started because counties & cities lost huge tax revenue when manufacturing moved South of the border or overseas---Corporatist Globalization. So, excessive fines & fees AND CAF have been used to raise local revenue. SCOTUS finally ruled against it.
Apparently, even NeoCon Justices do something ethical once in awhile.
Not only my opinion. Be Well