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Years ago I made a resolution not to let the latest headlines of the day distract my attention from the real important issues in society.  I realized that the incestuous relationship between corporate conglomerates, which act as cartels, and the mass media they've taken control over, resulted in a media environment that disseminates false narratives, misinformation, sensationalism, and outright propaganda, all to the benefit of the parasitic corporate cartels who owns it.

I covered this topic in-depth in a previous diary (click here to view).

The most important topics that need widespread news coverage are issues like how the Bush administration lied to take the country into a war of choice for illegal reasons, including personal vendettas and the enrichment of military contractors associated with the Bush regime.  Also, how allegations of what were clearly war crimes were not properly investigated, by choice.

Other important topics include the unprecedented looting of the national coffers by Wall Street, and the subsequent government cover-up, again, because of the symbiotic relationship between powerful moneyed interests and their puppets in government.

And then there is the nationwide legislative trend to enact increasingly punishing and draconian laws, pushed by private prison corporations who will benefit direclty.

Nothing affects the lives of average citizens than the pervasive, endemic, and widespread cronyism that has infected cities and states across the entire country, again, driven by the ability of corporatist cartels to buy off politicians with special favors, campaign contributions, lucrative jobs, and many times, old-fashioned bribery and influence peddling.

Nothing is more damaging to society than the existence of a two-tiered legal system, where average citizens are subjected to increasingly punishing and draconian laws, while the rich and powerful get pass or a slap on the wrist.

And finally, there are the issues related to our disappearing constitutional rights, the widespread expansion of a total-information-awareness surveillance security/police state, and again, a lot of it pushed by nefarious corporate interests, acting behind close doors, hidden from public scrutiny.

Something that should be very concerning to progressives is the trend on the so-called liberal media, which has now become obsessed with reporting on every single "outrage" committed by Republicans and the right wing.  The reporting mainly serves to inflame emotions of the "liberal" viewers, but really have very little effect on addressing the real issues we should be confronting.

It sets up an us vs. them (Democrats/Liberals vs. Republicans/Conservatives) narrative which leads to mindless tribalism, which at the ends distracts from real important issues, like confronting the widespread revolving door corruption and cronyism in government (regardless of political party).

Initiative

In order to address this issue, I came up with an idea I'd like to share with readers in the hopes of getting as much participation as possible.  I'd like to build a database of news, specifically about government corruption across the country (in towns/cities, states, and at the federal level).  In addition to news about outright corruption, I'm also particularly interested in revolving door cronyism, of instances when government officials leave public service to go work for lobbying firms, or any instance in which it is believed that the entity hiring the former public officials in doing so because of that official's prior public service (for profit motives).

As part of this initiative, I will be reaching out (recruiting) volunteer analysts to identify patterns, sources of corruption, and regional, national, and international trends.  The findings will then be made available to anti-corruption activists to arm themselves with detailed information in order to put pressure on corrupt government agencies to clean up their acts.

I'd like to make this as easy and as simple as possible.  All you have to do is submit the title of the news article, and the URL (web address): Click here to submit news about government corruption.  

If you are interested in joining my network (click here to join) of social justice and anti-corruption activists, please join my mailing list.  You don't have to do much to be an "activist."  If you just share news about important issues once in a while, that would be just great.  Of course, I'm also interested in connecting with people who have more time and resources to get more fully involved.

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Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook | Social Justice National Ad Campaign



Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:51 PM PST.

Also republished by TrueMarket.

Poll

Do you trust the U.S. news media to provide accurate and truthful information?

1%1 votes
98%83 votes

| 84 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is extremely important to remember that (21+ / 0-)

    the entire political spectrum, from the craziest rightwinger, through just plain everyday people, through left anarchists despises -- and that's the exact word -- Mass-Reach Media as we have it.

    We must must must use this fact to form an issue-centered coalition if we are ever to see our political life made vital; no longer the tail end of whatever the power-holders have decided without us.

    One of the very few successes of the claim that we're a democracy in the last ten years was when Colin Powell's son (can't remember his name), at the FCC, was proposing laws which allowed greater consolidation than ever before.

    In the space of a week over a million (maybe 2 million?) letters and phone calls and emails flooded the Congress who then acted to kill the rule. (At least, at the time.)

    Our political life is so entirely falsified at this point by Mass-Reach Media, I don't see how we can possibly get any representative government happening without breaking up, and breaking into, their monopoly on political narratives. This "deficit/debt" nonsense, for example, is only possible because people holding that sacred are the only voices allowed on Mass-Reach Media.

    PS: I stopped watching television news the week before the Iraq War Crime started, almost exactly ten years ago. Yet I comment on what the news is doing to us here and elsewhere, and nobody has ever said, "you don't know what's going on." That's because the problem has existed for so long, and it hasn't changed a wit, internet or no internet.


    We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

    by Jim P on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 06:35:41 PM PST

  •  the problem is very old (7+ / 0-)

    I remember my extended family members, who survived WWII, mocking Voice of America over the coverage of post-war Germany in the early fifties. Voice of Americ was always selling something. Not many believed in it. Most turned to the BBC, even back then. It was the Kennedy era and the civil rights movement that changed that towards the positive.

    But in general VoA was always considered a propaganda instrument. I don't think there are many foreigners, who are not suspicious of it.

    Luckily we can hear other voices today through the internet and those are usually highly admired. They were in the sixties and seventies. It was just hard to hear them.

  •  How does a diary with 6 recs get on the rec list? (0+ / 0-)

    That's like Redstate. lol

  •  Rootstrikers (7+ / 0-)

    Larry Lessig of Harvard Law and Rootstrikers (http://www.rootstrikers.org/) is concentrating on corruption.  He might be a person who would be interested in such an idea.

    There's also the Sunlight Foundation (http://sunlightfoundation.com/)

    ProPublica (http://www.propublica.org)

    And don't forget Common Cause (http://www.commoncause.org)

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:13:03 PM PST

    •  Yes, I was thinking that on the revolving (4+ / 0-)

      door of corruption, and probably some other issues Ray outlines, it's not necessary to try to reinvent the wheel from scratch. While I think new energy and new idea's like Ray's are desperately needed, let's also  look at what's already out there and try to organize with that as well.

      I think one of our problems on the greater "Left" is that there are so many individual groups doing close to the same thing (and often the exact same thing), and they don't seem to be working together enough. For example, on the issue of trying to overturn Citizens United, I was getting so many advocacy emails from so many different groups I had to finally take myself off some email lists (because I simply couldn't keep all the groups straight) even though I was totally behind what they were trying to do.

      While I don't support massive top-down organizations (for several obvious reasons), there's got to be some way for us to do a better job of working together.

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

      by Oaktown Girl on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:16:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Problem is the Free Press Concept Itself. (9+ / 0-)

    The framers themselves were shocked at how it worked in practice when some of them first began to serve under the press freedom they codified. The press have been lying the nation into wars and thrown trials, perpetrating character assassination of people at all stations, and defrauding the people with bogus economic schemes since the ink was still wet on the parchment.

    As with so much else about our system, the one period when the founders' concept worked much better was the New Deal Anomaly when severe business regulations were imposed. Also the new medium of broadcast was required to frequently provide evidence of public service programming, which it did by providing journalistic news insulated from the outlets' sales departments. This had a ripple effect on print journalism.

    It made the press sufficiently journalistic that the nascent rightwing revolution was unable to get its voice out thru mainstream channels. And so job 1 for the revolution was what job 1 for us must be, establishing our own communication back-channels for reaching, informing and motivating the people.

    At some point, we need some forward looking people to work backwards from the communication and information environment a civilized democracy needs to be safe and beneficial to society, and responsive to reason, and try to extract principles we can build into a sane relationship between government, the people, and information.

    "freedom...of the press" approaches the opposite of what is needed. It merely swaps one tyrant for another.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:17:43 PM PST

    •  I think there is an understanding by many that (8+ / 0-)

      the media is on the take.  The challenge now is to bypass it, starting by subjecting ourselves to it as little as possible (or not at all).  I stopped watching network news years ago also.  Now when I try even 5 minutes I'm totally appalled at how debased it is.

      There are ways to bypass it.  We just need to unite and create another media paradigm.

      •  There's where the esteemed Gooserock and (4+ / 0-)

        your honorable self aim too low, in my opinion. We don't need no stinkin' bypass. Revolution 101: Seize the Presses.

        I think it most productive to take the Internet as a beachhead on the land of Mass Communication. As  a lesser "landmass," a base of operations from which to reach into the Continent and start affecting the political narratives everyone hears about.

        Whether they use tv/radio or not; whether they are on the left, right, or nowhere in particular; the 1%'s narratives reach every single one of us, and quickly.

        What we should be doing is breaking directly into Mass-Reach Media and its operations.

        A focused thing to do, for instance (and there are very many), would be to fund a genuinely useful website*  and advertise that website on tv.

        That would be a direct "break-in." There's then legal, political, consumer actions to take. Thing is, everybody who follows politics and society wants the Media Cartel broken up, although for different reasons.

        We've got the popular American will; the Cartel is vulnerable from several angles. Why not organize to just do the deed, rather than create a machine to, one day, leverage the bigger machine?

        Anyway, my two cents.

        ======
        *Genuinely useful website? Whatever, it's gotta be non-partisan and completely citizen/human-oriented. For instance, maybe the data you propose collecting.

        Or: It's Your Bill of Rights; Dirty Tricks Politicians Play with Words; Cutting Back Your Electric Bill; Alternate Energy You Can Use Today...


        We live in a nation where doctors destroy health; lawyers, justice; universities, knowledge; governments, freedom; the press, information; religion, morals; and our banks destroy the economy. -- Chris Hedges

        by Jim P on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:13:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm in total agreement. In fact, I have a similar (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, Words In Action

          idea where I'm proposing forming a people-funded advertising agency.

          And yes, I believe in taking the non-partisan, people oriented approach.  I know that this can be done.  People are clamoring for it.  We just need to unite, organize, strategize, and come up with ways of reaching as many people as possible; change the narrative; help people understand what's going on, and most importantly, find ways of presenting a united front against the mind-numbing American corporate media.

          What I'm trying to do with my latest series of diaries is to form a loose think tank to attract as many people as possible, and then we'll tighten things up as we move forward...

        •  Another for the "Or:" list at the bottom of your (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador, Jim P

          comment:

          Direct Actions You Can Take to Influence Change

          (e.g., 10 ways to reduce demand for petroleum by purchasing and using less plastic...)

          (5 ways to support higher wages for the 47%...today.)

          (10 ways to make more and better use of local services.)

          An infinite number of more and better Democratic legislators will make little substantive difference in the Class and Climate Wars.

          by Words In Action on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:45:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  annoyed with the phony outrage (10+ / 0-)

    i agree with that sentiment ray. its the same thing drudge does, find some liberal somewhere in this nation of 300 million crushing someone's human rights and play it large. its a common logical fallacy to take an anecdote and extend it to a pet theory.

    one swallow does not a summer make.

    matt taibbi and bill moyers are my anti-corruption heroes. i would suggest evaluating everything they do.

    war is immoral. both parties are now fully complicit in the wars. bring everyone home. get to work.

    by just want to comment on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:20:42 PM PST

  •  Ray (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, Musial

    I think you need to dig deeper.  You're just looking for the tips of the icebergs.  You need to use sonar to map the depths.

    Every level of politics consists of certain "in-groups" who practice self-dealing and cronyism.  It's not enough to simply document the egregious examples that turn up as criminal indictments or open embarrassments.  What you need to know is, frankly, who knows and blows whom.  As my friend whose family used to be Maryland political insiders says, "Even the smokescreens are smokescreens".  So the place to start isn't the news reports.  It's the Society pages and social registers.

    For instance, at Virginia Commonwealth University every building is named after a major university player.  Take the Hermes Kontos Ambulatory Care Center.  Kontos was the Dean of Medicine for about twenty years.  Knowing that, you look for the Kontos name in Richmond and quickly find that his son, Michael, is still practicing cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia.  If you recognize that ONLY a Greek would have the name Hermes Kontos, you also know that the family must attend the only Greek Orthodox church in town, the Cathedral of St. Constantine and St. Helena.  Mark that.  It's going to be a center of interconnection for a variety of upper-middle rank business owners, doctors, lawyers, and accountants.  Back to VCU.  Remember that this is the single largest employer in the City of Richmond, a state government agency, and a massive recipient of federal funds.  Michael Kontos is the Director of the Pauley Heart Center, which was endowed by Dorothy and Stanley Pauley through their family foundation for $5 million.  This will be local aristocracy, with a mere $5 million of unused cash lying around to indulge their favorite charity.  Let's see who Dorothy and Stanley are in the rest of their lives . . .

    Anyone who studies history knows that you learn as much or more about politics from studying the family trees and the household accounts, as from any chronicler of world events.  It's the CONNECTIONS that tell you what's really going on.

  •  Whenever I see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    one of these polls with one option that only a loon would choose that is actually chosen, I have to wonder if that vote represents a jokester who just likes to monkey-wrench poll results, a wingnut troll or a moderate who really does view things through a different prism...

    An infinite number of more and better Democratic legislators will make little substantive difference in the Class and Climate Wars.

    by Words In Action on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:40:35 AM PST

  •  media reform could come in a (0+ / 0-)

    package of election reforms with the abolition of private campaign funding, end of media profit from campaigns, check and balance against Court review by the exceptions clause, as a single issue movement and demand approximately of a voters revolt, suggested as a starting point for public debate within the electorate, at moneyouttapolitics.org.

  •  Ray, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    you need to look at THESE diaries.  Not because they have an obvious surface connection to the task of elucidating the precise connections of corruption, but in regard to your overall purpose.  Fiction, myth and symbol, as you know, have much more power to move human thought than mere argument.

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