Freedom of the press

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. as depicted on the co...

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. as depicted on the cover of Times Magazine in 1934. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Brass Check, A Study of American Journalism was written by Upton Sinclair, Jr. in 1928 relating his experiences with American newspapers and the wire services that supplied newspapers with “news.” Upton Sinclair, Jr. is considered a “muckraker,” and he lived from 1878 to 1968. His most famous book is The Jungle, about the Chicago stockyards and published in 1906. Although Teddy Roosevelt held a low opinion of Sinclair, he sent investigators to Chicago to inspect the meat packers and prepare a report. That report was submitted to Congress and led ultimately to the present day FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Sinclair wrote many books and recently I wrote about another worth reading, Oil!.

It was Sinclair’s contention that for-profit newspapers would never, or hardly ever, publish stories that might harm their advertisers. The owners of newspapers were and are members of the 1% and are members of the same social set. So there is social pressure to go along to get along and there are advertising dollars that can be used to pressure newspaper editors in their editorial decisions. The only way to avoid these pressures, to my mind, is obtain your news from non-profit sources that are not dependent on advertising revenue. Two sources of news that I recommend are http://www.truthout.org and http://www.readersupportednews.org. Both are free, but both deserve your support so that they may remain viable. I encourage you to consider donating to either or both periodically or regularly.

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Obama’s tone

The former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Mic...

The former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Michael Steele, former chairman of the RNC, it’s not what President Obama says, it is more a lack of strength of tone. In other words, the GOP no longer believes in Teddy Roosevelt‘s speak softly and carry a big stick. When given an opportunity to criticize the President, the GOP will use any excuse they can, even the ridiculous one of not speaking with sufficient gruffness and the swagger of a George W. Bush.

Where the right went wrong

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait.

Dwight D. Eisenhower photo portrait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why did the GOP, the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower, go so far off the rails and lately threatening to walk off a cliff?

The GOP has always been the party of the wealthy, but they were wise enough to realize that there were not enough votes to keep them in power if they counted only on the votes of the rich. Thus the smart money in the GOP, pun intended, welcomed minorities and a variety of opinions. Those days are long gone.

The GOP now represents a Christian denomination that says my way or the highway. Nostalgia for the past now dominates the GOP, and fear of difference beliefs and histories and ethnicities power their programs. He/she doesn’t look like us.

The 1% created the TEA Party to disrupt the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. Now the 1% have lost control of the TEA Party members of Congress. The tail is now wagging the dog, to the dog’s discomfort and to the dismay of more rational voters.

There has always been a tug-of-war in society between the conservative and the liberal, between a patriarchal view that father knows best and a liberal view that children need to grow by exercising responsibility and judgment. Historically, both parties have included both views. Now the GOP is in the final stages of purifying itself by eliminating liberal and moderate members. You are either one of them, or you are a RINO and pushed out of the party.

The Wind and the Lion

The Wind and the Lion

The Wind and the Lion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wind and the Lion was a film released in 1975 starring Sean Connery as Raisuli and Brian Keith as Teddy Roosevelt. Candice Bergen played a female version of Perdicaris. In real life, the Moroccan Raisuli was a bandit who kidnapped the Greek-American Perdicaris for ransom and territory. The incident was made into a slogan, Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead, that galvanized the GOP and led to Roosevelt’s election in 1904. Obama’s 2012 slogan of Osama dead and GM alive reminded me of the incident. The film was very enjoyable and worth renting if you have not seen it.

2 guiding principles

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President o...

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Deutsch: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von 1901 bis 1909, Friedensnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a member of the GOP all my life, but recently I have been catching some flack for not subscribing to current GOP dogma. I have evolved over the years from being a severe conservative to someone approximating a progressive or liberal. I suppose I could describe myself as a Republican in the model of Teddy Roosevelt. The criticism started me thinking about where I rank party loyalty in my life’s goals, and these are my current thoughts on the matter.

The two principal principles in my life are the search for truth and my concern for the welfare of my fellow-man/woman or all humanity. These two items are tied for first place; one does not outrank the other, and neither is able to stand alone. Truth guides my concerns for humanity, and without concern for my fellow-man, truth has little value. If  I were a religious person, I would elevate religion to a third principal principle, equal to the search for truth and my concern for my fellow-man. These two principles are followed by my concern for country and only then my regard for party. Thus my party membership takes a backseat to my other concerns and ranks last among them.

My search for truth is ongoing and never-ending. New information is assimilated and is welcomed, whether it confirms previously held beliefs or challenges them. By humanity, I mean all human life on the planet. I make no distinction by race, color, creed, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic status.