…Say Something

We expect the ordinary.  As much as we crave excitement and thrills, as much as we would love to live on a steady diet of novelty, we usually assume nothing special will happen in our lives.  All those controversies we read about happen to other people—until they happen to us.  Those of us in lower Manhattan on the morning of September 11th, 2001 certainly have had a change of heart on this matter.  Some of us—including some of us in the seekingGood collective—hold positions “inside” various government, educational and financial organizations in which all kinds of things could occur.  These potential events include a variety of nefarious machinations that should be brought to the light of public scrutiny.

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ProPublica, one of the best, most respected investigative journalism organizations, has done much to shine a light on shady dealings in various corners of society.  They have provided specific methods so we can  anonymously submit to them anything we might uncover.

So if you see something…

 

 

A New Normal

Have you ever heard the phrase “defining deviancy downward”?   In the early 90’s, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan sparked controversy by using this phrase to address what he and others believed was a devolution of our socio-cultural standards.  Essentially, Moynihan suggested that we were allowing behaviors previously defined as “deviant” to become accepted as “normal” behavior.  He suggested that American society was beginning to accept what was previously unacceptable.  In a May 23rd video, Robert Reich describes various facets of contemporary instances of what he sees as defining deviancy downward, a devolution that is occurring right before our eyes.

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As always, this seekingGood blog encourages you to think for yourself.  Better yet, do some research to expand your knowledge of this issue of devolving values.  Perhaps you do not agree with these ideas at all.  Especially if you do agree, you might want to take a look at a dissenting view which appeared in a 1994 edition of Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture.


Robert Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. If you find this video interesting, you might want to check out Professor Reich’s YouTube channel for frequent videos of this kind, posted under the name ResistancE is FertilE.


NOTE: This video was originally posted on YouTube on May 23rd, 2017. Mr. Reich makes references to what were then “current” events.

 

Monitoring News Bias

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You want to know the “truth”, right?  As such, surely you spread your reading across news sources of varying political perspectives, right?  One can only hope your quest for truth is, indeed a quest and not self-administered salve to soothe intra-psychic fears about your future and the future well-being of those you hold dear.  “Truth” is larger than that.

Should you venture into the wild, attempting to get differing perspectives on current events, how can you know if what you are reading is valid?  If understanding the political leaning of any given site is important to you, check out Media Bias / Fact Check.  (MBFC), a news outlet evaluation site which describes itself as the following:

  • Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) is an independent online media outlet. MBFC News is dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.
  • MBFC News’ aim is to inspire action and a rejection of overtly biased media. We want to return to an era of straight forward news reporting.
  • Funding for MBFC News comes from site advertising, individual donors, and the pockets of our bias checkers.
  • MBFC News follows a strict methodology for determining the biases of sources. Dave Van Zandt is the primary editor for sources. He is assisted by a collective of volunteers who assist in research for many sources listed on these pages.
  • MBFC News also provides occasional fact checks, original articles on media bias and breaking/important news stories, especially as it relates to USA politics.

Just type in the name of any site you are interested in and see what MBFC has to say about it.  Try searching for sites you know.  Try “The Guardian”, “Reuters” or “Breitbart”.  You can also get a list of many outlets that MBFC classifies together – Right-Bias, Pro-Science, Left-Center-Bias, etc. (nine categories in all, including “Conspiracy-Pseudoscience”).   Of particular interest is the category which MBFC considered the Least Biased.  You will notice that these MBFC lists are quite long as they included media outlet from all over the world (ever considered getting your news from the Bangkok Post?).

One of the advantages of MBFC is its employment of differing evaluation criteria during its daily analysis of various news outlets.  For instance, MBFC analyses a site’s relative factual reporting as one criterion.  This criterion focuses on whether the information presented by the site is verifiable.  However, a different criterion considers whether a site presents “biased” stories, which is not the same as accusing the site of “false” reporting. A site might present actual facts, but presents those facts couched in a slanted presentation, presumably with the attempt to sway the interpretation and opinion of readers of those facts.  Such bias can be seen in the use of loaded words, the choice of which stories to tell, what details to reveal and which to omit, for instance, all of which skew the whole truth of the situation.  Comparing even these criteria–and there are others–can be helpful for identifying the nature of the proposed “truth” being presented.  Perhaps MBFC’s greatest value is that the site presents many listings which provide direct links to outlets you might not have heard of (and might find quite informative).

The Media Bias / Fact Check site could be quite useful for anyone, regardless of socio-political orientation.  Give it a look.  You might learn something.

 

Expand your horizon and your mind! 
Read something you do NOT believe and see what happens!


DISCLAIMER: The seekingGood blog does not necessarily endorse the MBFC site except as a possible help in the evaluation of media sources.  As always, do your own research and think for yourself.

Summer Plans for the Tea Man

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We introduced Guisepe Spadafora, the Tea Man, several months ago.  Guisepe and his traveling Tea Bus continue to spread hope, to lend a hand and to spur community organization in several western U.S. states.  If you are not familiar with his work, take a look at his website or the videos and news coverage of his endeavor (which has been on-going for more than a decade!).

Guisepe is putting together his plans for summer 2017 and would like our input as noted below.

  • I want to know where we should visit, whom we should see, and where we should serve tea.
  • Second, I am looking for a place to call home base for the summer in Colorado. Where can Edna, myself, and Ally plug into that wants good company, a handy man, and a community organizer?
  • Thirdly, I am looking for a good project or two to plug into for a month or two. I would love to help fix or build anything, especially if it has to do with small-scale, mobile, off-grid, low-cost, DIY, eco-friendly, and reclaimed projects.

Guisepe is the kind of person who infuses the phrase “we, the people” with real, tangible meaning.  Thank you, Guisepe!

If you really want to help us become Us, explore Guisepe’s story.  Take it as a model of personal initiative in the name of us all.  If nothing else, you might simply find the inspiration that sparks an idea of change for yourself.

 

Reich on Resistance

Hportrait - Robert Reich.jpgow are you feeling these days?  Are you depressed, weary, feeling lost, even hopeless? Are you feeling as if every other day you finch at the seemingly uncanny events erupting in Washington, DC?  Perhaps you believe the mainstream media’s coverage of DC events beleaguers and distracts from a crusade to rid the country of “neo-liberal” political machinations designed not to help, but to dominate. Perhaps you are feeling that sometime in the future–certainly not now–that the country we call “land of the free” will feel that way again?

If you are feeling something—anything—take a look at a May 22 video by Robert Reich.  Mr. Reich offers encouragement, admonition, challenge, information and clarification. You might agree or not.  Let his words be a catalyst for you to form your own opinion and decide what you want to do about it.

If you agree, please do not take this as a feel good moment, to sit back, comfortable in your complacency.  Take up the challenge to act in accordance with your current opinion.

If you do not agree, please do not just utter your usual epithets against those “others”.  Rather, understand that Mr. Reich genuinely seeks Good for us all.  That he, taking the phrase “We, the People” very seriously, asks us to think about how (if) we care for one another and how we might insure that our government does the same.

If you feel somethings…do somethings!


Robert Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.  If you find this video interesting, you might want to check out Professor Reich’s YouTube channel for frequent videos of this kind, posted under the name ResistancE is FertilE.

 

A Win for Investigative Journalism

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In a previous post, seekingGood highlighted the need for more investigative journalism.  ProPublica has voiced a similar concern. As the first online site to receive the Pulitzer Prize— ProPublica is known for the depth and thoroughness of its stories. However, the articles posted by ProPublic can be challenging for the average reader.  Enter Vox.  As reported by ProPublica, Vox, a news and opinion website noted for its explanatory journalism, has teamed up with ProPublica to provide visual access to their material.  This might help clarify the message of more complicate stories.  Sharing resources and research, the ProPublica-Vox collaboration can only be a good thing for investigative journalism and, ultimately, for us.

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality—the right to access all Internet content freely without your Internet provider slowing down or even blocking content at its whim—is fundamental to our democracy. As communities across the United States fight to speak out on contentious political issues, the citizenry needs to know that government-subsidized monopolies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon aren’t dictating which website we can access.  ~Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

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(Image from Ars Technica)

You have probably heard the flap about John Oliver and the FCC.  While his comedic delivery might be entertaining for some, his recent video presents details of a potential threat to all Internet users. The threat involves a proposed alteration of current laws governing the behavior of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  If the change is enacted, net neutrality might be in danger.

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