Closing Thought–26Feb20

How to counter fake news…..well Ethiopia has passed a new law to do just that…counter fake news…..

Ethiopia’s parliament, the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR), has passed a law aimed at combating fake news and curbing hate speech.

The passage comes three months after the cabinet led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, approved it and forwarded it to the house. It is known as the Hate Speech and Misinformation Law and was approved with a majority vote, 23 against and 2 abstentions.

Core planks of the new law include:

  • Prevent individuals from engaging in speech that incites violence, promote hatred and discrimination against a person or a group.
  • Promote tolerance, civil discourse and dialogue, mutual respect and understanding and strengthening democratic governance.
  • Control and suppress the dissemination and proliferation of hate speech, disinformation and other related false and misleading information.
  • Prohibits disseminating hate speech by means of broadcasting, print or social media using text, image, audio or video.

“It is deemed necessary to enact the law because the nation cannot address problems arising from hate speeches and fake news with existing laws,” a November 2019 statement issued from the council of ministers said.

Social media has been identified as one of the main avenues used to incite ethically tinged violence leading to deaths and displacements in East Africa’s most populous nation. The law also comes with months to keenly awaited elections.

The country is currently listed among global leaders in the area of internally displaced people. Ethiopia, as Africa’s second most populous nation, had a restrictive media space prior to April 2018 and the coming into office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Sticking by his reform promise, Abiy released hundreds of political prisoners, jailed press men and opened up the media landscape. Under his watch, media outlets previously banned were allowed to return and operate in the country.

Social media has however been a blessing and headache for Abiy. His office has effectively used Twitter and Facebook to project work being done by government.

But the platform has also been blamed for the rise in the spread of fake news and the peddling of hate speech. As expected the new law continues to receive backlash from journalists and human rights activists especially.


But then who decides what is true and what is fake?

That eternal question….and fodder for so many blog posts.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020 Dem Debate #10

This is the last chance voters will get to hear from these candidates before Super Tuesday, 3 March…..

But first here is a thought…..our forever wars has made little appearance thanks to the corporate control of these debates….so a few facts before I go to the analysis of this debate….

Donald Trump’s tax scam will cost $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years—with the lion’s share going to the top 1%.

George W. Bush’s tax cuts cost over $4 trillion over the same time frame.

And since 2001, our forever wars in the Middle East have cost nearly $6 trillion.

You wouldn’t know any of that from watching CNN or Meet the Press. And yet every time a presidential candidate supports Medicare for All or the Green New Deal, the corporate media want to know exactly how every red cent will be paid for.

Just a thought.

Now on to the night of debate…….

And the dumbest question of the night was the one about the filibuster rule change…..(more to come)…..

Now thoughts on the debate last night…..

Seven Democrats took part in a fiery debate in South Carolina Tuesday night—one more than in last week’s primary debate. Tom Steyer joined Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Bloomberg in the Charleston debate, co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. Analysts expected Sanders, the frontunner, to be a target and in the opening minutes, the senator was attacked by Bloomberg over reports that Russia plans interference to help his candidacy, by Biden over his record on guns, by Buttigieg for being divisive, and by Warren for his team “trashing” her after she “put in the work” on reining in Wall Street, Politico reports. “I’m hearing my name mentioned a little bit tonight. I wonder why,” Sanders quipped. Some highlights:

  • After Bloomberg said Russia was supporting Sanders so he could lose to President Trump, Sanders directly addressed the Russian president. “Mr. Putin, if I’m President of the United States, trust me, you’re not going to interfere in any more American elections,” he said.
  • Biden was asked about polls that show his support among black voters is falling ahead of South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary, the Guardian reports. “I’ve worked like the devil to earn the vote of the African-American community,” Biden said. Asked if he would continue his campaign if he loses the state, Biden said: “I will win South Carolina.”
  • When addressing Bloomberg’s “stop-and-frisk” policy as New York City mayor, Buttigieg admitted that his own record as mayor of South Bend had shortcomings and said: “I’m conscious of the fact that there are seven white people on this stage talking about racial justice.”
  • Bloomberg was visibly angry after Warren said he once told a pregnant employee to “kill it.” “I never said it. Period,” he said. Warren also slammed Bloomberg for donating to Republican candidates. “Who funded Lindsey Graham’s campaign for re-election last time? It was Mayor Bloomberg,” she said. “He is the riskiest candidate standing on this stage.”
  • Klobuchar and Steyer both attacked the cost of Sanders’ proposals, saying Democratic voters would not support massive spending increases, the Washington Post reports. “The math does not add up,” Klobuchar said.
  • Biden criticized Steyer for investing in private prisons. When the billionaire said he no longer supported them, Biden gave him a Trump-style nickname: “Tommy come lately.”
  • Asked about his record on gun control, Sanders was booed when he tried to start criticizing Biden’s record on trade deals, the Guardian reports. Sanders admitted there were some “bad votes” on his record but stressed that he only had a D-plus record from the NRA.
  • Biden vowed to take on the NRA. “If I’m elected, NRA, I’m coming for you, and gun manufacturers, I’m going to take you on and I’m going to beat you,” said Biden, who claimed, incorrectly, that gun violence has killed 150 million Americans since 2007.
  • Warren and Buttigieg both targeted Sanders for his opposition to changing Senate rules to stop legislation being filibuster, the New York Times reports. “How are we going to support a revolution, if you don’t even support a rule change?” Buttigieg asked.
  • Tom Steyer got some cheers when he said he was the only candidate onstage that supported reparations for slavery. The policy is one that he mentions “when he’s asked why he’s doing so well among black voters in South Carolina,” FiveThirtyEight notes.
  • As the debate became increasingly bad-tempered, with candidates desperate for speaking time talking over each other, Buttigieg was asked to “honor the rules of the debate.”
  • Bloomberg, seeming slightly more relaxed than he was in last week’s debate, cracked a joke when asked about New York’s anti-obesity tax on sugary drinks, CBS reports. “What’s right for New York City isn’t right for every other city, otherwise we’d have a naked cowboy in every city,” he said.
  • Bloomberg said he supported decriminalizing marijuana because the “cat is out of the bag,” but said legalization should go slowly because “until we know the science, it’s just nonsensical to push ahead.”
  • On the coronavirus outbreak—which Bloomberg was the first candidate to bring up, more than an hour in—Biden stressed that he had been part of the administration that dealt with the Ebola outbreak. Klobuchar advised worried viewers to check the CDC’s website.
  • When asked whether she would allow China to build parts of America’s infrastructure, Warren pivoted to attacking Bloomberg. “We know that Mayor Bloomberg has been doing business with China for a long time, and he is the only one on this stage who has not released his taxes,” she said.
  • Asked about his remarks on Fidel Castro’s education policy, Sanders said he rejected authoritarianism and he had merely been making the same point Barack Obama did, the Times reports. Biden said his former boss “did not in any way suggest that there was anything positive about the Cuban government.”
  • Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president, called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “reactionary racist” and said he would consider moving America’s embassy back to Tel Aviv. US foreign policy should ensure the “independence and security of Israel, but you cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people,” he said.
  • The final question was a two-parter: Candidates were asked what the biggest misconception about them was, and what their motto is. Klobuchar said the biggest misconception about her is that she is boring. Warren said one misconception “is that I don’t eat very much because I eat all the time.” Bloomberg joked about his height, while Biden promised to put a black woman on the Supreme Court.

All in all the game plan that the media had set about to create was followed to the letter by the candidates.

The night was a waste of time…..but the moderators did what they set out to do….have the candidates assassinate their opponents….the voter learned nothing new or for that matter anything at all.  I am still waiting for a substantial conversation n immigration…..a little in Nevada but now…..(sound of crickets)….

I did like Biden’s Reagan-esque attempt to look tough… failed.

But if you need a winner and losers then this should help……

  • Joe Biden. The former vice president was among the winners, analysts say. South Carolina is a must-win for him, and he “kept his hopes alive with one of his strongest debate performances,” writes Niall Stanage at the Hill. Biden—”sharper and more vigorous” than in previous debates—sought to portray himself as someone with the political and strategic chops to get things done rather than merely talk about aspirations,” Stanage writes.
  • Bernie Sanders. This was not the senator’s strongest debate performance, but facing a barrage of attacks from rivals, he held his own well enough to be considered a winner. “As the primary’s commanding frontrunner, Sanders’s chief objective Tuesday night was to exit with only mild bruising and limited blood loss. And he met that goal,” writes Eric Levitz at New York. “The sheer messiness of the proceedings … allowed the Vermont senator to escape without suffering any viral humiliation or headline-worthy blow,” he writes.
  • Elizabeth Warren. The senator made it into most lists of debate winners with a performance considered strong, but not the game-changer she needs. “She was dominant in last week’s debate “but she did not replicate that performance, and some strategists criticized her decision to once again focus on Mr. Bloomberg instead of the front-runner, Mr. Sanders,” writes Maggie Astor at the New York Times. “But she did have several strong moments, and commentators praised her ability to cut through the free-for-all onstage.”
  • Pete Buttigieg. The former South Bend mayor received mixed reviews, though Chris Cillizza at CNN ranks him among the winners. “He found several occasions to make direct contrasts with Bernie Sanders—most notably on the dangers for Democrats of nominating a democratic socialist and the differences in their health care plans—which is a win in and of itself,” Cillizza writes
  • Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar had a reasonably good night, analysts say—but not on a par with her New Hampshire debate performance, and probably not good enough to keep her campaign alive for much longer. “Klobuchar had a good night,” Geoffrey Skelley writes at FiveThirtyEight. “She looked competent and knowledgeable about a host of issues. She also made some appeals to the African-American community, which were very important given her almost nonexistent support among that voting bloc.”
  • Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor turned in a slightly better performance than last week—but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of the losers’ column. “Bloomberg did little to make an affirmative case for himself, even on the electability front,” writes Aaron Blake at the Washington Post. And he offered mealy-mouthed rebuttals to some of the attacks against him, including again downplaying the women who complained about their treatment at his companies.
  • Tom Steyer. “The commentariat didn’t have much bad to say about Mr. Steyer,” Astor notes at the Times. “But the hard truth was that they didn’t really have much to say about him at all.”

For me the biggest loser was Bloomberg…he still cannot grasp the idea of a debate.

The winner was Bernie….he took flak all over the stage and still did not lose his composure….the rest were just typical blah blah blah…….

Not to worry there is more to come.

A thought–the whole debate process should be reformed to the point of outlawing slogans and theatrics… a real debate not a regurgitation of talking points.

Saturday’s South Carolina vote and then next Tuesday is the Super Tuesday vote…..

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Fake News And More Fake News

Let me start with a thought for my readers…..”Information is NOT Knowledge”…..

If you are smart enough to watch the events of the nation and world then you are bombarded constantly by fake news/disinformation and maybe you would like to learn more on how to separate fact from bullshit……then I can help….do not take my word for what is real or fake…..there is a process…..

Fake news has been around a long time….let me help with a short history lesson…..

“Sensationalism always sold well. By the early 19th century, modern newspapers came on the scene, touting scoops and exposés, but also fake stories to increase circulation. The New York Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835 claimed that there was an alien civilization on the moon, and established the Sun as a leading, profitable newspaper.”

False and distorted news material isn’t exactly a new thing. It’s been a part of media history long before social media, since the invention of the printing press. It’s what sells tabloids. On the internet, headline forms called clickbait entice people to click to read more, by trying to shock and amaze us. What’s more outrageous to read about than fake things that didn’t actually happen?

And then there were  some fake news that people believed without question….and I have 10 of the best…….

Today, people are worried about fake news, and its effect on politics and social issues. And with fake news sites getting better and better at looking legitimate, so it is a serious concern, especially with the rise of deepfakes making it harder to distinguish a fake person from the real deal. However, most fake news stories are actually just designed to get a rise out of people, or for a quick laugh and sophistication is rarely necessary. The truth is that people often believe things that confirm their own deeply held biases, without ever making sure the new “fact” is actually true, and we will go over ten examples of this phenomenon in today’s article. 

10. Kids Smoking Bed Bugs To “Get High”

Awhile back I had a talk with my granddaughter after she asked me about fake news…..and I told her to keep in mind this graphic…..

How to Spot Fake News

If you would like this is the post about that talk we had…..

Social media has turned the lies of fake news into an art form…..and that is truly sad…..turning ignorance into usable tactic to influence.

More information……

“The freedom of press makes its influence felt not only upon political opinions but also on all men’s opinions. It modifies customs as well as laws.”
—Alexis de Tocqueville

Could that explain the popularity of disinformation?

Why are conspiracies so prevalent? Why are facts and truth so elusive to so many today? Why are people so susceptible to disinformation? Why is the current political climate so peculiar, turbulent, and divided? It is clear that there is a relationship between the disinformation that people ingest and the vitriol that some seem to spit out. These puzzling circumstances may be the result of a growing trend of postmodern thought in the United States and the world.[i] Unsurprisingly, recent reports indicate that Russia is currently interfering in the 2020 election. Though difficult to estimate, and since the country has done virtually nothing to combat it, the Russians consider their past interferences highly successful, if at nothing more than just sowing the seeds of discontent and chaos in US domestic politics.  That said, the questions still remains: why is disinformation so effective on the US population? The rise in effectiveness of Russian disinformation is directly related to the increase in postmodern thinkers amongst the US population, because postmodern thinkers are easy to manipulate. To be clear, Postmodernism is not some form of trendy, divergent thinking, but rather a serious intellectual, conceptual, cultural, psychological and philosophical engagement which challenges humanity’s engagement with itself and the world.[ii] Just as the enlightenment brought us modern thought, reason and science, postmodern thought attempts to obliterate it. It is in the national interest, for strategists to pay close attention because they will be responsible for developing strategies to survive in a postmodern strategic context. What follows is an attempted explanation of what may be the cause of many issues and phenomena in our political climate today.

A closing thought–“Stupidity Is The Deliberate Cultivation of Ignorance”

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Professor’s Classroom

Sorry for the delay…there is so much happening in this country that I overlooked the quiz for a Monday…..please enjoy chuq

In Saner Thought

OSIM! Time for the quizz you all have been waiting for! (not really! The quizz I have been wanting to post).

Here is the question of the day. It has two parts.

Which president is the only one to have a PHD, then which president never went to college?

Not a difficult question, so just turn in your papers when finished and you may leave.

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It’s That Regime Change Thing Again

****A bit late with so much happening this draft was moved around until a more appropriate time was found.****

At the SOTU speech brought his butt buddy Guido (yes I know that is not his name) and made sure that he got his moment in the light for Venezuela will be the next attempt at regime change….or as I call it….a colossal waste of money and people….

We Americans seem to always think that we can build a better nation for other people….and most times it is always a failure…..

Forcible regime change, or using military force to overthrow a foreign government, can be enticing when a regime appears to be threatening U.S. security. The logic is that when a regime continues to work against U.S. interests, replacing the regime can be a quick and easy way to change this pattern rather than sustained military action or diplomatic negotiation.

The problem, however, is that a resounding amount of research has shown that regime change rarely succeeds. Regardless of the goal, regime change mostly fails to produce better economic conditions, build lasting democracy or promote more stable relations to advance U.S. interests. From Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the 1910s, to South Vietnam in the 1960s, to Iraq in the 2000s, the United States failed to achieve these goals over 110 years of regime-change missions.

And when regime change does not achieve these goals, it can provoke a civil war — as it did in Congo following the regime change mission in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) in 1960 to oust Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba — degrade respect for human rights and create more instability. Worse, rather than being a quick and easy policy success, the instability created after a regime is deposed often leads to lengthy nation-building projects that policymakers never intended.

It is like a forced conversion….seldom has a lasting effect or belief…

By far the dumbest thing that Americans tend to believe is the successes of regime change……

By far the dumbest thing in all of US politics is the fact that Democrats tend to support regime change in Syria, while Republicans tend to support it more in Iran. I am not talking about the elected officials in those parties; I’m talking about the ordinary rank-and-file Joes and Janets who stand absolutely nothing to gain from toppling either Damascus or Tehran, but who have been brainwashed by lifelong media consumption into supporting one or the other anyway.

Whenever I write against the US government’s longstanding agenda to replace the leadership of Tehran with a compliant puppet regime, I know with absolute certainty that I’m going to spend the rest of my time online arguing with Trump supporters and lifelong Republicans. Whenever I write against the US government’s longstanding agenda to do the same in Syria, I know with absolute certainty that I’m going to be arguing predominantly with so-called centrist liberals.

At no time has this ever failed to occur.

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The whole idea of regime change is just plain silly and at best a damn LIE.

The United States has, at various times in its history, used military force to promote regime change around the world in pursuit of its interests. In recent years, however, there has been a growing scholarly consensus that these foreign regime‐​change operations are often ineffective and produce deleterious side effects. Whether trying to achieve political, security, economic, or humanitarian goals, scholars have found that regime‐​change missions do not succeed as envisioned. Instead, they are likely to spark civil wars, lead to lower levels of democracy, increase repression, and in the end, draw the foreign intervener into lengthy nation‐​building projects.

But yet both parties champion one or the other…..and never half to pay for being a dismal failure.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”