John Stossel Gives Us a Glimpse of Narrative-Building

If you can make your way through the right-wing garbage in this clip of Stossel and O’Reilly talking about the Kor-ANN and other matters, you may also get a glimpse of how the right wing continues to built their incredible narrative.

John Stossel was tasked to do man-on-the street questions asking “Would you be OK if a Muslim were president?”.  At the end of the segment, after BO had got his story across the way he wanted to present it, Mr. Stossel let us behind the scenes in a way that completely pulled the rug from the entire segment.   Here is what  he said as the music had been qued to go to break…

Stossel:  (4min 25 sec into segment above) “I just wanted to add ….  I asked 25 people.  I thought most would have an objection [to a Muslim President] and your editor just split it 50/50.  But almost everyone said, ‘no, no problem’ without hesitation.”

O’Reilly:  “This is N.Y City. *slams pen into table* If you go down to Mobile, Alabama you’ll find a little bit of a different find.  Alright?”

Stossel:  “Probably”.

Awesome!  Do you get what just happened there and why it’s so important?  O’Reilly had a story to tell – he wanted to “analyze” this whole “Muslim controversy” as a “trumped up deal!” (emphasis Bill’s).  He sent out John to find out “what the folks think”.

Turns out the media’s reaction to Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson’s bigoted remarks wasn’t a “trumped up deal” at all – at least based on Stossel’s actual reporting.

But, since O’Reilly and his editor know that people in Mobile, AL feel as Carson do, they were obligated to skew the evidence.

In sum, it’s the story Bill, his editor and FOX want to tell that is more important that the news.

Liberals instinctively get that FOX is doing this.  It is the difference between news and politically-biased infotainment.

I can just hear conservatives and those that had really had it up to their necks with the political back-and-forth saying “yeah – but MSNBC does the same thing”.  The truth is they don’t – or if they do there is a misguided host or editor it isn’t the raison d’être of a real (or liberal) news organization.

If a liberal news organization got caught doing this  – it’s readers/listeners/viewers would demand accountability.

“Really?” you might ask.  Yup.

And yes, this is important to me right now as credibility is front and center locally thanks to our locals who might be kindly described as skeptics of big government and big unions.  What the left needs to get across is there is really a difference here.  Reality does have a liberal bias and there are important reasons why. There are also important reasons why we all (left, center and right) have an obligation to change our country’s and county’s  misleading conservative narratives.

Thanks to Media Matters for heads-up.

Charles Blow on Ben Carson’s soft bigotry

BTW: Ben Carson’s soft bigotry:

  “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”


The Humboldt Consequential – a new local anti-government fever-swamp, Rose Welch of Watch Paul,  Fred Mangels and John Chiv all jumped on what was clearly a fake email which “purportedly” came from my union – AFSCME.  From Rose’s blog (emphasis mine)…

“The latest post there includes what is (purportedly) a VERY NASTY letter from a AFSCME, threatening our Board of Supervisors.”

– Rose Welsh

Thank you LoCO for calling this out and good on LoCO for linking to their posts.

This blogosphere flare-up is important because it gets down to what I believe is the nub, or what could be the unit, of politics – credibility.  Credibility is critical to our opinions and our internal narratives.  We all understand this – to our core – even if we don’t consciously understand when our internal judgements are taking place or have taken place.

[Aside:  Could the unit be called the “cred” as in… John Fullerton has -4 creds with me while Verbena has earned 42.]

We want to know who to believe.  When confronted with real decisions – like Eureka was with Measure R last November – I believe it’s resounding failure with the voters who showed up was not due to it’s merits, but rather due to whom people trusted.

In the end the very small portion of the electorate decided to trust John Fullerton, Charlie Bean and the Chamber of Commerce. Or, was it that people fell victim to their distrust of the main proponents of Measure R.  People like my friends James Decker and Verbena – people fighting for the forgotten in our society.

So when moments like this come about, it’s important to take note.  This is not about truth, this is not about what is real.  What this is about is whom to believe.

If you have any question, please note THC’s response to LoCO’s article that at least allowed both Rose and John to step back from their anti-union fever a bit.

“AFSCME is straight-up lying to you. Do not believe them.”

(emphasis mine.  THC later referred to AFSCME as “AFSCMafia” – just so you know where they are coming from.) This is under THC’s header-motto “The truth is you should be mad”.  And by being a frequenter of their anti-governemnt blog I think what they want you to be mad about is … government … and it’s overspending and outlandish salaries.

Just had to take a break from my unintentional blogging hiatus to mark this waypoint on the trail of Humboldt’s blogosphere credibility to call out the purporting.  And please note that this purporting was followed on THC by a diatribe on AFSCME and it’s members. I hope those of you who are paying attention and may be on the fence are taking note.   How many creds should anything following a purport be given?  I don’t think there is any doubt the imaginary number would be negative.

Why #AllLivesMatter Is Incongruous

It’s simple.  #AllLivesMatter isn’t true until #BlackLivesMatter.

From the Washington Post (click image): “The Black Lives Matter sign outside the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation was vandallized to remove the word “Black” in July. (Courtesy of Rev. Nancy Ladd/)

The right wing  is all over the #AllLivesMatter counterpoint.  Even liberal standard-bearer Senator Bernie Sanders has botched this.

Here is a typical thought that I’ve heard spammed all over KINS over the past weeks as they glory in the #blacklivesmatter movement rightfully taking it to the bastions of contemporary liberalism – Netroots Nation and Bernie Sanders rallies.

But the confused and pointless anger of the Black Lives Matter crowd is a turn-off for the swing voters the Democrats will ultimately need in 2016, even though Democratic candidates won’t say so.

– Ed Rogers in the Washington Post “The Black Lives Matter movement is bad for Democrats

In that same article Mr. Rogers, whose politics can be understood with the following … he formed a lobbying group with former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, wrote this

The Black Lives Matter movement appears to be louder and more pointed, but is perhaps even more aimless than Occupy.

What Mr. Rogers doesn’t get is that Occupy is still with us.  The language and memes of Occupy has shifted our country’s thinking.  Occupy, along with the continuing reality it was reacting too, is what is allowing for Bernie’s candidacy to take off.

#BlackLivesMatter will be similarly successful in the future, but will similarly suffer from the fact that the difficult changes necessary in our society will not come overnight.

At least Mr. Rogers understood one thing.  He wrote…

The Black Lives Matter movement is misguided, much like Occupy Wall Street. Their dishonest, anti-police views belong exclusively in the Democratic Party. Gasp! Yes, I said it.

You did say it Ed, and you are right.  Both Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter are exclusively in the Democratic Party.  The Republican Party enthusiastically remains the party protecting the rights of entitled, bigoted, angry, white, real estate developers who have inherited their wealth.

In the meantime Bernie and Democrats need to understand and continue the arc of history that has taken us from the Civil War through the Voting Rights Act to today.  We need to continue this progression remembering that in order for all lives to matter, we must include black lives.

Black lives like Trayvon Martin (killed: 2/26/2012), Michael Brown (killed: 7/17/2014), Eric Garner (killed: 8/9/2014), Tamir Rice (killed: 11/22/2014), Walter Scott (killed: 4/4/15), Freddie Gray (died: 4/12/15),  Sandra Bland (died: 7/15/2015), Samuel DuBose (killed: 7/19/2015).  These lives mattered among hundreds or thousands more.  Millions in America matter today.  Let’s build a justice (not to mention economic) system that demonstrates that #BlackLivesMatter.

So, again, why is #AllLivesMatter incongruous?  NYT columnist Charles Blow summed it up brilliantly.

That is why when people respond to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter,” it grates. All Lives Matter may be one’s personal position, but until this country values all lives equally, it is both reasonable and indeed necessary to specify the lives it seems to value less.

All Americans need to recognize this, and our history…yesterday.

Think Progress:  Report: Black Male Teens Are 21 Times More Likely To Be Killed By Cops Than White Ones

Vox:  This chart explains why black people fear being killed by the police

Washington Post: From Trayvon Martin to “black lives matter”

Brave New Films: Racism is Real

Brave New Films:  Prison System by the Numbers

Breaking . . .The Civil War Was Fought Over Slavery!

In politics, the Civil War is still with us. It was with us during the Cold War and it was with us through the culture wars.

Here are a couple of particularly timely examples from today.

a) #blacklivesmatter.  No, not #alllivesmatter until we include black lives too.

b) Perhaps this is less about the Civil War specifically and more about wars generally, but one of the first info-graphics in this important history reminder was this..

Why the Controversy?

Many people don’t want to believe that the citizens of the southern states were willing to fight and die to preserve a morally repugnant institution.

Morally repugnant institution aside, listening to KINS’s Bill Bennett this morning there was what was a moving phone call advocating against the Iran nuclear deal from an Iraq War veteran who was arguing that one of the reasons we don’t want a nuclear pact with Iran was so his comrade, and our soldier, did not die in vain.

That, while moving and tragic is simply wrong.  That is the lost-cause mentality and future soldiers would love it if we stop the killing now if at all possible.

And it is possible, even probable with strong leadership like that demonstrated by President Obama who understands this region perhaps better than any other President before him.

Caveat: Even thought this video is via the Daily Kos it was produced by right-wing radio smooth-talker Dennis Prager and his “University” of you-tube videos, this is via Daily Kos.

Warren: The Plan to Defund Women’s Healthcare

From Senator Warren, 2 min in…

“So Mister Pres..Madam President, let’s be really clear about something.  The Republican scheme to defund Planned Parenthood is not some sort of surprised response to a highly edited video. Nope! The Republican vote to defund Planned Parenthood is just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical, orchestrated, right-wing attack on women’s rights.  I’m sick and tired of it. Women everywhere are sick and tired of it. The American people are sick and tired of it.”

The plan failed again (thank you filibuster?), but it is an ongoing political battle that is being billed from the right as life vs. death, innocence vs. unadulterated evil (selling baby organs for profit).

People of the left like Senator Warren understand the Frank Luntzian politics of changing “fetus” to “baby” and counting and comparing practices of Planned Parenthood to The Third Reich.  The goal ultimately is to move the bar back to the place where men had more control over the women in their lives (to include their daughters).  It really is as simple as that and all the rhetoric is simply political gamesmanship.

If the right was serious about ethics in medicine, they would be behind a needed national conversation about how we are to grapple as a society with new moral and ethical dilemmas our society confronts not only as our society progresses technologically but also as our culture becomes increasingly consumer driven.  But that isn’t the tact they are taking.  Instead their message starts at the pulpit and spreads from there, and the message is plain to see.

Also, if the religious right was serious about reducing the need for abortion than they would be extremely outspoken about legislating easy access to prophylactic contraceptives.  However, this is not a two tiered strategy to reduce “baby” “deaths” in America, this campaign is part of a complex yet elemental gender-based power play.

“We like the power structure the way it is.  We don’t need to change.  Young woman, do you need a clinic? There is one just over the state border.”

(From Senator Warren’s clip above (4 min in)…”more than half of Planned Parenthood centers are in areas without ready access to healthcare”.)

Thank you Senator Warren for standing up with so much clarity on this issue.  America stands with you standing up for Planned Parenthood.

Tonight: Intentional Sustainable Villages By Liz Harwood.

Humboldt Permaculture Guild

Sorry this is last minute, but it’s a great idea if it could work.  More power to Liz Harwood who is contributing lots of time, energy and possibly more.  Good luck Liz, it’s a great idea.

Directions to CCAT.

Generations of Democrats Will Continue to Learn from 1968

Egberto’s Image. Click on it to navigate to the article. “Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party that must happen”

We can fight for Democratic ideals and we can be smart enough to make sure our differences will not result in the absolute worse result – control returned to those who fundamentally don’t believe in governing.

Between now and when the national candidates and their supports rally behind a single candidate we will be fighting for the soul of the only party remaining that is willing to take on reality and the challenges it presents.

Egberto Willies of DailyKos wrote a thoughtful and, it seems to me, relatively fair reminder to Democrats and others left-of-center on what lies ahead in 2015 and 2016 as we chose not only the next leader of the free world but also all those down ticket.

Those on the right have thrown in the towel on governing for all and depend on pet issues and memes to hide their true agenda – fighting for the rights of those already powerful.  They do it by a faux-populism fueled by infotainment and specialty-advertising – not to mention the wealth of an incredibly tiny percentage of Americans.

This campaign season, our task as Democrats and people who care on the left-of-center will continue to come down to these simple words with which Egberto ends his essay…

It is time for Democrats to first build a base by widespread community engagement and identifying the different needs of all communities, needs that are not just economic. Democrats must then choose a direction based on all the the needs of the various communities. That direction will identify who makes the best candidate. That best candidate will win irrespective of money if the electorate is engaged for a change.

We need to engage the electorate and help them to see through the paradoxical veneer of individual optimism and/or hopelessness that seems to be behind the draw of the right wing demagogues and the politicians that depend on them.

Hillary and Bernie supporters, if you have the time please read Egberto’s piece and I’ll see you out on the campaign trail.  Fighting money is an uphill battle, but we have time and people on our side and as Democracy depends on people pulling the lever, we do have a built in advantage if we are willing to work for it.

Dear Fox News Viewer… The ACA (aka ObamaCare) Continues to Work

OK, this is fourth hand (on Liberal Humboldt via Kevin Drum via Andrew Sprung via Covered California) but here is the distilled wisdom.  It looks like we will have decreased increases in insurance rates and some of the reasons California is better off than other states include…

Now, California isn’t necessarily a bellwether for all the other states. Because it’s the biggest state in the union, it has lots of competition that helps drive down prices. A big population also means less variability from year to year. Also: California’s program is pretty well run, and the California insurance market is fairly tightly regulated. All this adds up to a good deal for consumers.

-Kevin Drum @ Mother Jones.

For those of you interested in the numbers (like any EW’s (eeeeww’s) or health-care shoppers who might be reading this) check out Andrew Sprung’s analysis.  He goes into the Silver vs Bronze Plans and Cost Savings Reductions (CSR).  It’s informative and fascinating and is an important waypoint in our attempts to manage out of control healthcare costs.  Here is an example…

For many low-income buyers, silver plan premiums are a hard swallow, and cheaper bronze plans, with their sky-high deductibles, are a serious temptation. But those with incomes under 201% FPL are leaving a really valuable benefit on the table if they fail to access CSR (for those at 200-250% FPL, CSR is much weaker and so more rational to forego).

– Andrew Sprung @ xpostfactoid

Finally, despite Republicans throwing everything at us to include the kitchen sink (King v Burwell), it looks like we will be able to prove again that sometimes the more government the more better.  (Universal health care anyone?)

If only conservatives and Republicans could take a breath, they might be able to appreciate that in part this was originally their idea (Obama’s ACA was based in part on Romney’s MassachusettsCare which was based in part on a Heritage Foundation plan which was a reaction to HillaryCare in the early nineties).  But they won’t and they can’t because it goes against their raison d-etre –  money belongs in the private sector where it can more easily line their pockets.

Today’s post sponsored in part by …. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

My name is Jon Yalcinkaya.  I happen to be an eewww (EW) (Eligibility Worker) with Humboldt’s DHHS.  I love my work and my union-supported job.  The opinions here happen to be my own and no one else’s (including DHHS management).

BTW: FPL = Federal Poverty Level.  200% FPL is ~ $23,500 for a single person.

Times-Standard Letter-to-the-Editor on Our Treaty with Iran

By Chip Skarpe of Bayside…

Iran deal a path to negotiated security 

Who are these people who want to undo an agreement arduously
negotiated to safeguard us and others from precipitous threats of war and nuclear arms? I’m tempted to dismiss them as nervous Nellies made paranoid by living with daily news of ever increasing cruelty and horror.

But that would be too kind.

Underlying these strident objections to a deal with Iran are partisan ambitions of people who choose to ignore that this is a plan carefully crafted by seven nations to hold Iran accountable and block future development of nuclear weapons. These are politicos who believe that they have benefited from past wars. They disregard the immense suffering and lasting mayhem brought us by their wars.

For eons before Ronald Reagan made famous the Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify,” peacemakers have been hammering out verification plans that will allow adversaries to avoid the horrors of war. For love of country and all that is holy, we should all be gratefully supporting this agreement.

So well said.  Thank you!

And on this subject from Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum: I Want to Hear a Good Argument Against Obama’s Deal With Iran …

I don’t want Iran to build a nuclear bomb. It would quite likely set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which is the last place on the planet that we want to have one. And as near as I can tell, this deal is our best chance to keep Iran nuclear free for a good long time. If any conservative can offer a better plan, I’m all ears. Either:

Describe a tougher deal that you can reasonably argue Iran would have accepted.


Explain why some other course of action would be better at keeping Iran nuclear free than a negotiated deal.
No name calling, no comparisons to Neville Chamberlain, no complaints that Iran hates Israel, and no blather about appeasement. Make an argument. A real argument about a course of action that would be better than the deal currently on the table. Let’s hear it.

5000 Years: Beautiful Dynamic Map of the World’s 5 Major Religions

2 minutes of easily-accessible Saturday a.m. brain food.

I can watch this over and over.  So much history captured here I would like to know more about.

What percentage of any day’s  international headlines relate directly to this map?

What do you find fascinating or did you learn?

Me – ●Hinduism in South America,   ●The rapid and discontinuous spread of Judaism in Europe,  ●Googling Judaism and Caspian Sea – The Khazars, ●The intransigence of the Malay Peninsula to Hinduism, then, Buddhism.

Look, I get it’s simplistic and there is a lot going on within the broad colors, but the satellite view over time does give a little perspective, no?  Credit to Alex Kuzoian of, wait, Business Insider? WTH?  Anyway, great job.  It’s a keeper.

Religion:  Is there anything outside of loved ones we feel more deeply and personally connected to?  But as this video demonstrates, is there anything more outside of our personal control?  Religion is more a function of our tribe than ourselves, isn’t it?

We’ll see where the future will lead us and how these maps change over time.