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  • WHO WE ARE-Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street. Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I…
  • The Hunting Ground: Human Truths of Campus Rape

    Susan Rose
    CALIFORNIA MOVES AGAINST RAPE-On May 13, California moved aggressively against rape on campuses, issuing a directive to all state colleges to “notify authorities when a sexual assault is reported.” Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.C. president Janet Napolitano jointly issued a set of guidelines to encourage collaboration between campuses and…
  • Santa Barbara Spill Underscores Why We Can’t Allow Arctic Oil Drilling

    Ryan Schleeter
    PLANET WATCH-Last week, a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County made headlines after a ruptured pipeline dumped as much as 105,000 gallons of crude oil on the California coastline. The spill stretches across roughly nine miles of state beach with tens of thousands of gallons entering marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean. The spill took…
  • How Will David Ryu Honor His Campaign Pledges?

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In a race that focused on local issues, outsider David Ryu (photo) outpolled City Hall insider Carolyn Ramsay by almost 10 points (54.8% to 45.2%), representing a margin of over 2,300 votes. Yet, since less than 16% of Council District 4’s 153,000 registered voters bothered to vote, Ryu was supported by less than 9% of those eligible…
  • $15 an Hour: If This Ain't Socialism, Then What SHOULD We Call It?

    Ken Alpern
    CONSIDER THIS-Funny how when you accuse, or even suggest, to a liberal (or is it "progressive"? or is it "reformist"?) that he/she is socialist, they get all bent out of shape. One reason that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is so respected is that he says it like it is--he's a sincere socialist who means what he says and says what he means. One…
  • California Dreaming: Booms to Busts, the Optimists are Still Searching for the Gold

    James Preston Allen
    AT LENGTH-At a meeting I attended recently with the management of the Port of Los Angeles, a civic leader voiced his enduring optimism for a bright and successful future. I gave the unsolicited reply, “an ounce of skepticism is worth a pound of optimism.” Others at the meeting said aghast, “Oh, no. How would anything ever get accomplished?”…
  • LA’s Homeless: Not a lost Cause

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-I was both surprised and rather pleased about the reaction to my recent article. Apparently, many people in Los Angeles are realizing that the Homelessness isn’t just City Hall’s challenge but affects all of our neighborhoods. Even more important, it doesn’t just affect us economically but impacts our sense of humanity and fair play. Yes,…
  • Senate Race: Choosing Kamala or Loretta Comes Down to North vs. South … California

    Joe Mathews
    CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-Are you a Kamala or a Loretta? Attorney General Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez—the two leading candidates for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat next year—confront Californians with a choice. But it’s not a choice about competing policies or political visions. Californians don’t have political arguments about…
  • From Tragedy, Healing

    Mike Newhouse
    GUEST WORDS-In the days after Brendon Glenn was killed, in the heart of Venice, I was starkly reminded of one of our community's biggest challenges. But, my perspective may surprise you. What first came to mind was not how we police. It was not about racism or homelessness. It was not about mental illness, or the insidious nature of drug or…

 

  • Can Marijuana Really Kill Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    Marijuana enthusiasts have been speculating for years that pot can actually combat certain types of cancer, but it wasn’t until recently that…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…




Alert! World’s 10 most dangerous animals

Smashing good job. World’s leaders beating each other up

Trevor Noah warming up for takeover of the Daily Show

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

The F Word

IS AMERICA SMARTER THAN A 1ST GRADER? - You know how in every heist movie they get past the security cameras that show the hallway leading to the diamonds by jamming the screens with a fake signal of everything looking safe and quiet? Usually a guard coughs so they don't notice the blip from switching to the bogus feed. Then they break in and the guards still see an empty hallway on their monitor. Well America's watching an empty hallway. At some point the news was replaced with fake news that shows a lot of distraction, tit for tat arguing or a message that "everything's fine" over and over again.

It's news that's owned by six media-opolies so it's no surprise they would be more interested in ratings and not be wild about stories questioning corporate personhood or the lowest post-loophole corporate tax rates in fifty years.

So instead of useful information we get opinions decorated with misleading info. And the result is that we are a shockingly misinformed country. A recent study shows that people that don't watch any news at all know more than people who watch FOX.

There's another study about how American's grossly underestimate class inequality; or overestimate crime rates or the amount spent on foreign aid. And we all remember how 70% of the country thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Also, in March 2009 the European Journal of Communication asked citizens of Britain, Denmark, Finland, and the US to answer questions on international affairs. The Europeans clobbered us.

Sixty-eight percent of Danes, 75 percent of Brits, and 76 percent of Finns could, for example, identify the Taliban, but only 58 percent of Americans managed to do the same -- even though we've led the charge in Afghanistan.

And these studies can't even take into account the most destructive element of our media: straight up omission. Every week there are shocking stories that directly relate to the health of our democracy that go under-reported or ignored. Voter suppression, negating the power of local elected officials in Michigan; lobbying groups that take money from foreign interests; wildly destructive trade deals being negotiated in secret, etc etc.

And even when issues are discussed we get discussions about whether or not the president was born in Keyna and flown Mission Impossible-style to a hospital in Hawaii. Sometimes we talk about gay people planning to secretly take over our schools and teach gayness to our kids. And meanwhile a handful of sociopathic billionaires and transnational corporations are robbing us blind.

There's only one answer to this information famine and it's hammer-to-the-head simple.

We must return to facts.

Hardcore, no doubt about it, facts.

No more name calling, labels, or baseless assertions like "Obama is destroying this country!" or "Teachers are living high on the hog!"

The only thing any of us should be concerned with is how is Obama destroying this country. And where are the numbers and facts that show that destruction? And then if there aren't any, let's move on. And if teachers are living high on the hog, show me the numbers. And then explain to me how sleeping and living on the highest point of a pig is a good thing (different topic).

The truth is, there's an information blockade in America and it must be broken. In order to find crucial facts, numbers and outside perspectives a person must spend an hour searching and cross-searching on the computer.

But in a country that works the longest work weeks of any industrialized nation with among the lowest vacation and work leave times the kind of time and focus needed to fact check or question sources is not easy to come by. So people rely on word of mouth and the pundit they identify with.

Depending on what state you live in you may only have right-wing talk radio and FOX or CBN with MSNBC three hundred channels down the dial. And none of those networks are going to give you the hardcore facts each and every person needs to stop voting like you're half-drunk on your cell phone picking a finalist for So You Think You Can Beat Box (how has that not be a show?).

And we're not even getting into the thousands and thousands of political ads that run constantly from shadow groups featuring market tested emotional issues designed to scare or outrage citizens or at the least confuse them into not voting.

There is only one way to fight back against this multi-billion dollar wall of white noise and lies.
We must create an INFORMATION BUCKET BRIGADE (twitter.com/InfoBucketBrigade or twitter.com/FWord).

Once a week every one of us must pass on a rock-solid fact with context at the ready to someone else we know. If it's someone who disagrees with you, you get bonus points. Whether it's through email, Twitter, Facebook, text, or conversation, all that matters is that fact is passed on and the person you pass it on to passes it on.

The set up shouldn't be confrontational. No "Suck on this you Ditto head..." or "Time to wake up you socialist...." Just say "Here's something worth knowing...." or "Did you know....?" That's it.

Sometimes they will already know. Sometimes they will appreciate the info. Sometimes they will call you horrible names. But the beauty of facts is that they don't go away. They just are.

And we never know which fact will be the tipping point for someone jumping on board a collective problem solving American effort. As opposed to this ridiculous us vs. them junk that has screwed our country up and gridlocked our government.

To start with I offer this fact. It's simple and basic but I've found that a surprising amount of people don't know it.

Taxes for the rich are lower than they've been in 80 years. (Except for a year and a half when Reagan took it to 28% and quickly had to raise it back.)  Before you write this off as some number or small point think about what it means. It means that every time a politician says the reason for not raising taxes for the rich is that we need to protect the "job creators" it's bulls--t.

Every time a congressman or pundit says its "class warfare" to increase taxes on the wealthy it's a massive lie.

It means that when someone says we must cut programs for the neediest among us because it's the only way to reduce deficits they are full of it. Remember, this chart doesn't include the Bush tax cuts.

But the trend is clear. During the fifty years of greatest American growth we had fair taxes for the rich. Now we don't.

I've brought these tax rates up to people and most of the time people change the subject or just call me a liberal. That's all good and fine but the fact remains: taxes are lower for the rich then they've been in eighty years.

This fact must make its way to the people who need it. So I propose this Information Bucket Brigade. Pass this fact on. Person to person to person.

Will people twist facts and find bizarre sources to counter with? Of course they will. But a battle of facts is infinitely better than the name calling waste of time we have right now.

We are a country that has been disconnected from real information. NAFTA, GATT, Citizens United, the Federal Reserve, trade tariffs, credit default swaps ... these are the issues that define this era.

Shouldn't we at least know the basics of what they're about?

(Adam McKay is a film director and co-founder of Funny or Die. This blog appeared most recently at huffingtonpost.com)
-cw

Tags: Adam McKay, media, ignorance, media monopolies, Fox, Fox news








CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 51
Pub: June 26, 2012

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