mirage of freedom

If you are one who writes, or speaks, or thinks, or yet has the ability to feel your compassion, the continued imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange should send shivers down your spine. 

Assange’s ongoing persecution should trouble everyone who thinks freedom of the press, freedom of information, and free speech actually matter. Assange is in the vanguard of those protecting these precious rights. These are things that have been disappearing before our eyes, with terrifying implications, and yet we remain docile and somnambulant. 

That journalists do not rise up as a body against this injustice speaks volumes about the extent to which these freedoms are already lost. That they demur makes another reason to support indie journalists doing the actual work even as various platforms ban them, carrying water for this curtailment of freedoms.

It is long overdue that the US drop the charges against Assange, and the UK halts his extradition. This man, an Australian citizen, should be freed to go home to his family, and thanked and honored for his brave work.

Then, who knows, we might turn our attention to the actual crimes, and hold our government leaders to account for once. But, oh, I forgot, “nothing will fundamentally change,” will it? 

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fourth estate

I don’t know about you, but, for me, the news, even as it dominates our daily lives, has become absolutely worthless. It’s become nonstop coverage of government, government figures, government data, government posturing, government restrictions, government policing, government cover-ups, government blah-blah-blah. Oh, and, still, a whole lot of sports. 

I’m really sick and tired of government 24-7. I have no use for glorified sports. And it all looks like propaganda to me.

Remember what news used to be? 

Good old-fashioned newspapers used to have a local, community focus. Yes, you could read what your local government was up to, but you could also read about businesses, about community programs, about social events, about local concerns. There used to be whole sections devoted to features — glimpses into what cool things people in your community were into, along with what churches were up to, what was going on in the schools (actual education, not just controls and sports), art, music, books, movies, cooking, and more. Columnists were local people writing about the community, or about how big issues impacted the local community. 

These newspapers actually served to connect us with our communities and society and ideas.

Now, there isn’t much community to be had — in newspapers or elsewhere. Most community newspapers were swallowed up by national media entities which reduced them to a local story or two surrounded by a wealth of wire stories on the usual government and sports crap. They might still include some local crime information because that’s useful, divisive propaganda. They might throw in a dose of a generic wire feature to give the illusion there’s real people out there — somewhere.

I look at the last vestiges we have of local news, and it’s all pretty much worthless whether online or in print. It’s just garbage. 

The big news outlets, obviously, amount to garbage, serving only to remind us on a daily basis how extremely propagandized we are. 

Hence, there’s the usual sorting through of blogs and social media, much of which is now conveniently censored. 

It all serves to erode and oppress community and agency, and, God forbid, ideas. And it’s no accident. Nevertheless…

seems like an opportunity.

seeking truth

veru11_14_18aThe physicist Werner Heisenberg noted that ‘the act of observing changes the thing observed.’ This is oh so true when it comes to government and corporate activities.

It’s extremely important to watch what our government and corporations are doing. The very act of watching them affects their behaviors, which always and necessarily have an effect on the people.

As we all know, even when we are watching them, governments and corporations do unpopular, dishonest, damaging, and illegal things. If we stop watching, the sky’s the limit – and that won’t work in favor of the people.

The press is essential in our efforts towards a free country.

Yes, media corporations bring bias from various angles to the process. That means we need more voices, not fewer. It also means that we, the people, have a responsibility to be educated, discerning readers and citizens who support good, truth-seeking reporting. Independent media is more important than ever in our efforts to seek truth.

The President and members of his administration have led a lengthy and ongoing campaign to besmirch and cripple the press. Interestingly, the constant cries of “fake news” come from folks absolutely depending on the coverage of the alternative facts, outright lies, even doctored videos, deliberately and consistently generated.

This comes after the previous administration which reached new heights in threatening, disparaging, and silencing truth tellers. We have already been long and thoroughly coached to hold truth tellers in contempt – even when it has obviously served us in important and positive ways.

We should all be concerned when government/corporate powers so obviously and openly seize, control, and distort the messaging, and brazenly silence those attempting to report the truth of their activities.

As citizens, neighbors, parents, we have a responsibility in this. We must support those attempting to seek and report on the truth. We must demand relevant information. We must educate ourselves, and think critically about what we learn. It does not do to depend one on source for information.

It’s a matter of paying attention to what matters, and holding people accountable. We all have a part to play in seeking and defending the truth for the purposes of creating a just and peaceful society and to safeguard our ever more imperiled world.