“Fake News”

11 12 2016

“Fake News”.

You mean like, “Dewey Defeats Truman”? (Chicago Tribune 1948)deweytruman12

Or “Hands up, Don’t Shoot”? (all network TV outlets, 2014)

Or maybe, the scary “Another Ice Age” (Time 1974)

How about the story about the hot air balloonist who crossed the Atlantic in 3 days in 1844 reported by the New York Sun?

I remember Dan Rather waxing eloquent in 1991 about how the US Military could not win (Operation Desert Storm) against Saddam Hussein’s “battle hardened warriors”. It took all of 100 hours to annihilate the “elite Republican Guard”.

I heard a caller last night on a radio program advocating for Congress to pass a law requiring journalists to “give only the facts”. That was supposedly a “conservative” caller. He echoed Hillary’s call for Congress to act against the “epidemic of ‘fake news'”.

First of all, any such law would be un-Constitutional according to the 1st Amendment. Second, do we really want a “Bureau of Media” policing the content of newspapers, TV, and internet news sources?

Oh, I agree, there is a lot of BS out here in cyber-world, and one must be eternally vigilant when “reposting” or passing on “news” or other opinion/editorial information. Little aggravates me more than really smart people passing on “fake news” that comes off some parody or satire site, thinking it is valid. I don’t often post these sites, for this reason, but I have done it on occasion, if particularly entertaining, with a “disclaimer” comment, and have still had well meaning folks comment as if it were a true article.

There has been “fake news”, “false stories”, or “hoaxes” since Gutenburg invented the printing press (I imagine; don’t quote me on that – it’s just a figure of speech!). Let’s all “take a chill pill” here and breathe deeply for a few days and consider the risk of a “Free Press” as opposed to a restricted State run media (something like PBS, or Prada).

No, Hillary, “fake news” did not cost you the election, but you can help the President push the “fake news” narrative that Russia hacked our polling places. In fact, I would venture a statement here that Donald Trump did not even cost you the election… The President’s policies, your failure as Sec of State, the Democrat National Committee, the Republican National Committee, and an establishment controlled Congress, along with a very friendly media complex, all cost you the election. Donald Trump is not a creation of redneck America; He is a creation of “Establishment Failure”. That establishment includes the “Media Complex”.

However corrupt that media complex may be, restriction of the internet, media police, state approved networks, or whatever other enemies of free speech may be presented, cannot be considered as the answer. Free speech restricted is not free speech at all. On the other hand, freedom requires responsibility; something not many in today’s society are willing to bear. But responsibility lies not only on the writer, reporter, editor, but responsibility must also be borne by the reader, listener, the consumer and user of the information provided.

In this little essay you will find facts along with some opinion; some immutable truth and objective reporting woven throughout some subjective editorializing.

So you decide: “Fake News” or worthy of a “Share”.

Frankly, I do not care what you think. I  have just exercised my God given freedom of speech as enumerated in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America!

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Turkish Connection II

26 04 2010

Based outside Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gulen has established numerous institutes and forums around the United States. The Fethullah Gulen Community (FGC) is very active in Turkey and the United States as well as many other countries. He is listed by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre as number 13 of 500 of the world’s most influential Muslims.  If you do a Google search on him, you get well over a million results.

Gulen is the driving force behind Turkey’s “Justice and Development Party (AKP) which is transforming society and politics in Turkey at this very minute.  Both current Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tyyip Erdogen and President Abdullah Gul, a former Welfare Party member, are AKP members of which Erdogen is the chairman.  The AKP succeeded the Islamic Welfare Party (RP) which was broken up and banned by the government in 1998 for violating the constitution’s secularism principles. That’s when Fethullah fled to the US. He seems to have more power than ever now that AKP has become the elected majority party in Parliament  in 2007.

The Turkish military has always been used as the tempering factor in preserving the secularization of the government.  In February of 2010, forty nine officers were arrested on allegation of plotting a coup against the government. These included top brass, both retired and active duty generals and admirals, and other high level commanders. They were accused of planning to bomb historic mosques in Istanbul and shoot down its own planes in order to justify the coup, as laid out in a 5,000 page memo produced by their accusers.

When Soner Cagaptay, author and Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, asked a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey for his views on this news, the ambassador thought the scenario was ridiculous. (See Cagaptays article at Foreign Policy magazine) It has become unpopular if not dangerous to verbalize opposition to the AKP or Fethullah Gulen in Turkey.

A BBC News website article about this “Ergenekon” conspiracy quotes Turkish news investigator Irfan Bozan for NTV News channel out of Istanbul as saying, “I think the government moved now to dirty these people’s names and reputations. It’s a warning that they’re under watch.” Bozan believes this is an attack on those who are anti-government.

Back in the United States, Gulen seems to be as available to high level American political and civic leaders as they are to him.  The Gulen Institute, Institute of Interfaith Dialog, Turquoise Center, and more locally the Raindrop Turkish Houses, along with others either directly or indirectly affiliated with Gulen have, as their apparent mission, to seek out leadership positions and officials at all levels of government and shape bonds of friendship and trust by providing a myriad of social functions from breakfasts to award dinners, to summit meeting with dignitaries and civil servants alike. One of the frequent provisions to these folks is the all expense paid trip to Turkey for the official and family members for a vacation of a lifetime. Some elected Kansas legislators recently returned from one such junket.

On the world stage, the Institute has hosted many high profile names such as James Baker, Kofi Annan, Madeline Albright, and received praise from Bill and Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and others.

FGC built and runs hundreds of schools and seven universities around the world. Just one phalanx of what is known as “education jihad”, these schools mainly focus on secondary and college level students, imposing and inciting discipline and good social order, (that’s all good, but…) all the while extolling the virtues of the Islamic religion. This is a calculated effort and will indeed have huge effects on American culture and society in a generation or two. There are currently 130 such schools inside the United States.

As one peruses the websites of the many FGC organizations, a few familiar phrases begin to surface. (Much like the new media these days seem to capture and repeat the same phrase or word such as “gravitas” over and over again.) I have heard these same phrases begin to emerge in just the last two or three years.

For example, “Social justice” is a phrase that began to get a lot of ‘speak’ leading up to and during the last Presidential election cycle and has been used by progressives since Woodrow Wilson. It is an ideology which has infiltrated American institutions from the schoolhouse to the church to the media. “Social justice” is one of the core values of Fethullah Gulen’s “Turkish Movement”. Stands to reason as this is one of the key principles of Islam. In case you’ve been living in the trunk of a Hemlock tree, “social justice” translates as “income and/or property redistribution”. How about that for a revelation? Now you know why Muslim’s vote Democrat.

Another phrase that is used continuously is “Interfaith Dialogue”. This one began to get air during the Bush administration post 9-1-1. In 2002 the Institute of Interfaith Dialog was established by Turkish Americans to “eliminate or reduce false stereotypes, prejudices and unjustified fears through direct human communication. Toward these goals the Institute organizes academic and grass roots activities such as conferences, panels, symposia, interfaith family dinners and cultural exchange trips. Many participants of the Institute’s activities are inspired by the discourse and pioneering dialogue initiatives of the Turkish Muslim scholar, writer and educator Fethullah Gulen.  Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the Institute has branch offices in five states and representatives throughout the South-Central United States.” (direct quote from IID website)

I have realized that this phrase “interfaith dialog” almost always translates, “Christians and Jews must accept the fact that Islam is the superior faith”.

More to come…





Euramerika: Part ll; The Matrix

14 03 2010

There have been, in the course of American History, different periods of development; an “evolution” or “progression” if you will, of our society. Today’s American citizenry would not recognize the Founders’ America any clearer than those American Founders would recognize today’s society. We exist on the same Continental soil, but beyond that, pitiful little have we in common.

Those periods of societal evolution can be traced, in large part, to a few historical events that had prodigious effects on American society, both politically and culturally. We shall explore only the most obvious of those in the next two installments for the sake of brevity.

Of course, to begin at the beginning, we must precede the beginning.

The Colonial Period:  The Mayflower Compact was the first document in the New World which set forth and outlined the commitment to rule of law and self governance for the good of society, in the absence of a ruling power. (While they agreed to status of “loyal subjects of the King” of Britain, the Pilgrims were on their own, as there was no pre-existing structure of government and law enforcement.) Only the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” would be enforceable in this wilderness settlement for several years, until the Colony became established. Survival was the immediate goal; all else would become secondary. Self governance of the individual would become the key to the survival of the community.

This principle carried through the entire colonial period and served to galvanize the American culture as the frontier was settled. As the Colonies became more prosperous, the British Crown exacted more governance, the end of which was the eight year long American Revolutionary War and subsequent independence.

Post Revolution: The ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights emphasized those same principles of self governance, delineating the limitations of Federal government, and charging the Federal and State governments with protecting and preserving the rights of the individual. Continuing the American tradition of “Rule of Law”, the individual citizen continues to recognize the importance of self control and the intrinsic value of citizenship. Not “citizenship” as in simply “born in America” therefore due an equal portion, but citizenship as in exercising ones God given rights,  not to mention ones duty, in civil matters as well as socially. The cooperation of responsible individuals makes for responsible communities.  Likewise, the responsible community holds the individual accountable, and the personal accountability is rooted in belief and faith in a Supreme Deity which is the ultimate Judge and Lawgiver. In Western civilization, that faith foundation is and has been for Millennia, Judeo-Christian.

James Madison, Member of the 1st Congress and 4th President of the United States said this concerning self governance: “The future of America lies not in the Constitution, or anything but our ability to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”  That sentiment is echoed in the words of former Speaker of the House (1847-1849) Robert Winthrop: “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.

John Adams, the 2nd President had this to say, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other.” This was not an uncommon sentiment in early America. In fact, it had so saturated American culture that in 1838 the New York State Legislature issued this statement:

With us it is wisely ordered that no one religion shall be established by law, but that all persons shall be left free in their choice and in their mode of worship. Still, this is a Christian nation. Ninety-nine hundredths, if not a larger proportion, of our whole population, believe in the general doctrines of the Christian religion. Our Government depends for its being on the virtue of the people, — on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion; and that religion is the common and prevailing faith of the people. “[Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic, 1864, B.F. Morris]

Can you imagine any governing body today, let alone a state legislature, issuing such a statement?!

This was the period (early to mid-1800’s) known as the “Second Great Awakening”; when Christian Revival swept across the land. It lasted up into the Civil War years. (“The Great Awakening” was 100 years earlier, fostered by missionaries and itinerate preachers like Charles Finney and David Brainerd.)

The Civil War/War Between the States: The war that divided America was a particularly horrendous event, which if Europe had not been previously devastated by war itself, could very well have been used by European nations to regain the entire North American Continent.  This time in American history has always been a point of fascination for me personally.

The technological advances of weaponry during the Civil War were so rapid that the antiquated tactics of massing forces to take a battlefield resulted in massive bloodshed. Casualties would mount into the tens of thousands during a single battle. Three days of fighting at Gettysburg in 100 degree July heat would result in 51,000 casualties; dead, wounded, or missing from both sides. “The Bloodiest Day” at Antietam Creek saw 26,000 Americans dead or wounded. Sometimes it took weeks to bury the dead.

This was the most horrendous 4 years in American history. Over 600,000 American soldiers, North and South, died during this time. That is more than all the subsequent wars fought since, combined.

The newest journalistic tool in 1862 was the camera. Matthew Brady exposed hundreds of plates burnishing the images of bloated dead American men, many where he found them on the field, into the minds of civilians who never heard a shot fired. These images haunt us yet today.  Find them. Study them.

I once heard a historian say that the Civil War defined us as a people. I disagree. I believe this was a tragedy of such magnitude that America became shell shocked and never fully understood who she was afterward. This war was not fought on some remote field in another land; it happened on our front lawns, our corn fields, and in our living rooms. We witnessed it first hand; saw our sons butchered in muddy ditches that drained into creeks thickened with their blood. We picked up their severed body parts from among our dead livestock. Our brothers returned maimed for life, and many of our fathers and husbands simply never came home.  Hunger and disease took its toll on civilians across the land. America never recovered from this emotional trauma. [Note: The Civil War was a politically complicated affair and had the Confederacy gained its independence as a sovereign nation, there would certainly have been another war (over western expansion) that could very well have been much worse than what was.]

The economic destruction from the war was no less debilitating if not crippling. Politically, a sea change had occurred as a result of the Civil War. A stronger and much more centralized Federal government sprang forth from the ashes and was fertilized by the stench of death. Perhaps most importantly, the spiritual breath had been knocked out of American society.  The faith of the American people had been shaken; their resolve and purpose brought into question, and answers were in short supply.

As a result, for the next 3 decades, many Americans trying to put the war years behind them, turned westward.  Whatever happened in Washington or the East was of little or no concern to a war weary population.  Homestead land allotments offered many Americans their first taste of government subsidization. The taste was sweet. The promise of a new start was even sweeter in “your America”.








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