The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 5/5

July 13, 2012

Global Issues.org reported on War, Propaganda and the Media: “When it comes to propaganda for purposes of war, for example, professional public relations firms can often be involved to help sell a war… Media management may also be used to promote certain political policies and ideologies. Where this is problematic for the citizenry is when media reports on various issues to not attribute their sources properly.”

For example, to sell the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991, John Rendon, the founder of a Washington PR firm, told the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1996, “I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager…”

In varied ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover, and deception, and psyops [psychological operations].

“In March 2005”, Global Issues said, “the New York Times revealed that there has been a large amount of fake and prepackaged news created by US government departments, such as the Pentagon, the State Department and others, and disseminated through the mainstream media.”

In addition, smear tactics often used to discredit, stain or destroy the reputation of someone are increasing in sophistication. With the increasing popularity of the Internet, and search engines such as Google, smearing is taking on additional forms and techniques.

In fact, negative campaigning through the media in America was launched by two lifelong friends, John Adams (second US president–1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson (third US president–1801-1809), when they ran against each other for the office of President of the United States.

CNN.com says, “Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

“In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.

“As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

“But the key difference between the two politicians was that Jefferson hired a hatchet man named James Callendar to do his smearing for him. Adams, on the other hand, considered himself above such tactics.”

Jefferson’s tactics won him the White House but his hatchet man, Callendar, went to prison for slandering John Adams.

Fast forward to December/January 2005, and a piece in the American Journalism Review, which said this of Dirty Politics, “These political campaigns are corroding our electoral process. Who wants to participate in character assassination, Orwellian “doublethink,” dreamland oratory, and outright lies and inflated claims?… The news outlets that used to educate voters are no longer independent (and presumably neutral) sources of impartial information.”

I close this series of posts with the following questions—comparing the media in China and in America, how much of a difference is there in how the people get their news? Either way, can you trust what you read and hear? Is there a difference between a politician, a government official or corporate employee?

In China, the government owns the media and sensitive news is censored. In the US, politicians and the government-manipulate news fed to the media, which in turn manipulates the news to support the political beliefs of the corporate bosses that control the corporations that own the media.

In both countries, the Internet Blogosphere is a free-wheeling madhouse of opinions and news, which may be correct but there is no guarantee. In the end, American and Chinese citizens will believe whatever they want no matter what they read or hear from the media/government.

Return to The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 2/5

July 10, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, individual freedom of expression does not exist in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution only protects the opinions of citizens from persecution by the government. There is no freedom of speech in the schools or in business.

Speak out of line at work, and you may soon be out of a job without a paycheck to buy food or pay rent.

Defy a teacher by saying something that disrupts the learning environment, and you may find yourself in trouble and removed from the classroom or school.

Bully someone on the Internet, and you may end up in court and then in jail.

Slander someone publicly and get sued.

It’s easy to imagine a bumper sticker saying, “Go Ahead and Make My Day. Slander Me in Public and on the Internet.”

In addition, if you believe the American media is pure of heart and honest to a “T” since it is  protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, you are mistaken and out of touch with reality.

Cornell University Law School says, The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. [that is it!]”

In addition, nowhere does it say anything about honesty and accuracy in reporting the news or expressing opinions. However, the United States attempted to remedy this with the Fairness Doctrine in 1949, which died under President Reagan and when President George H. W Bush threatened to veto the Fairness Doctrine if Congress attempted to bring it back.

I majored in journalism and earned a BA in that field.  I then taught high school journalism in addition to English. Over the years, I learned that what the media reports is rife with mistakes and bias.  In fact, soon after President Reagan vetoed and killed the Fairness Doctrine, conservative talk radio was born, which is 100% biased and often misleading.

Continued on July 11, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 3 or return to  Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3/4

May 9, 2012

For another example of restrictions of freedom of speech in the United States, in times of war there may be reasons to restrict US First Amendment rights because of conflicts with national security.

We also do not have a constitutional right to tell lies that damage or defame the reputation of a person or organization and obscene materials do not enjoy First Amendment protection.

In addition, distribution of information should not impede the flow of traffic or create excessive noise levels at certain times and in certain places, and the Supreme Court expressed that public school administrators ought to have the discretion to punish student speech that violates school rules and has the tendency to interfere with legitimate educational and disciplinary objectives.

In Hazelwood, the Court relied heavily on Bethel to uphold the right of school administrators to censor materials in a student-edited school paper that concerned sensitive subjects such as student pregnancy, or that could be considered an invasion of privacy…

Public schools can limit speech based on a reasonable expectation that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of school activities or invade the rights of others and prohibit obscene or vulgar language.

Schools can also limit speech if it’s in the form of a threat. Not just any expression is a threat, though. Threats must be perceived as a threat by others; be clear and convincing, causing others to believe it will be carried out and cause other students to fear for their safety.

 
HBO Documentary of Freedom of Speech in five parts – Part 3

How about the private sector workplace?

The Chicago Tribune reported that freedom of speech at work is not protected by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, and reported, “You may be shocked to learn that a constitutionally protected freedom of speech for government workers doesn’t extend into the private-sector workplace.

“‘A private-sector employer has a lot of latitude as to what’s permitted or not with respect to political speech, or pushing any view for that matter,’ advises Brian Finucane, an attorney at Fisher & Phillips in Kansas City.”

Federal free speech protections apply only to the government. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, does not regulate private employers. However, it does come into play with respect to government employers.

Employers also may demand loyalty at the workplace. For example, an employee cannot avoid discipline in the name of free speech by being rude to customers, or by denigrating the employer’s business to customers while working.

Although the First Amendment is supposed to protect the right to speak freely without government interference and that people have the right to publish their own newspapers, newsletters, magazines, etc., one of the most glaring violations of this so-called right was called McCarthyism.

What do you consider freedom and does it really exist?

Continued on May 10, 2012 in The Illusion of Freedom – Part 4 or return to The Illusion of Freedom – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Illusion of Freedom – Part 2/4

May 8, 2012

Years ago, I was having dinner in a restaurant in Westwood, California and witnessed a grimy homeless person across the street rummaging in a trash can. He found a Styrofoam container full of food and was so happy to have something to eat that he found a shady spot under a tree and rolled around on some cool grass before he started eating the found food. Freedom to him may have been having no job, not paying taxes, and not having to worry about a mortgage or rent. I’ve met homeless people that claim this is the reason they stay homeless—for the abstract sense of freedom it brings.

The last element that led me to write this series of posts was an e-mail a friend sent with a link to Carolina Journal Online.com, which reported that “State Threatens to Shut Down Nutrition Blogger.”

It seems that Steve Cooksey, an American citizen, took advantage of what he believed were his freedom of speech rights in North Carolina and blogged about beating diabetes through diet and exercise.

However, now he may face up to 120 days in jail, because in North Carolina, it is a misdemeanor to “practice dietetics or nutrition” without a license. According to the law, “practicing” nutrition includes “assessing the nutritional needs of individuals and groups” and “providing nutrition counseling,” which it seems Cooksey may have done with his Blog.

In addition, it is illegal to use the word “cure” in the United States unless the F.D.A. gives you permission.


HBO Documentary of Freedom of Speech in five parts – Part 2

“Just talking about curing an illness is literally a criminal offense, because only the F.D.A. can grant permission to use the word ‘cure’, since this word supposedly constitutes making a “medical claim”, and F.D.A. contends that anything producing a positive health effect is automatically a (“unapproved”) drug, under their regulation. This is not a hypothetical risk either. There are doctors and laymen in prison now for curing diseases.” Source: The Health Wyze Report

Freedom Forum.org asks and the answers, Does the (US) First Amendment mean anyone can say anything at any time and the answer is “NO” because the US Supreme Court rejected an interpretation of speech without limits.

Over the years, the courts decided that a few other public interests—for example, national security, justice or personal safety—override freedom of speech.

In fact, the US First Amendment does not protect statements that are uttered to provoke violence or incite illegal action, and jurisdictions may write statutes to punish verbal acts if the statutes are “carefully drawn so as not unduly to impair liberty of expression”.

If the US can restrict freedom of speech in the national interest, why can’t China? When China locks up someone, such as Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese Activist, China’s government may feel that what he is saying publicly might provoke violence or incite illegal actions.

To learn more about Chen Guangcheng and the alleged accusations made against China in his case, see NPR’s Blind Chinese Activist Reported Under U.S. Protection.

What do you consider freedom and does it really exist?

Continued on May 9, 2012 in  The Illusion of Freedom – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Democracy and Freedom – A Difference of Opinion

December 19, 2010

I’m sure that most Americans (as well educated as they are, and I’m being sarcastic) think all democracies are the same.

They aren’t.

The World Atlas lists 192 countries on the globe and according to Made in Democracies.org, there are 58 democracies. If correct, that means 134 countries are not democracies. This list excludes countries that claim they are democracies but are sanctioned tax havens for secret bank accounts or allow child prostitution.

If you read the entry for Democracy at Wikipedia, you will discover there are many different types of democracies.

The Economists Democracy Index has four categories. The next index from Freedom House has three.

In fact, Freedom House has another chart for Electoral democracies, which shrinks the list further.

There is another for Parliamentary democracies.

The smallest category may be for “liberal democracy” where elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive. Even liberal democracies are divided into categories.

The United States is labeled as a federal republic along with India, Germany and Brazil.

The United Kingdom is listed as a constitutional monarchy along with Japan, Canada and Spain.

The biggest difference between China and most democracies is that China’s republic has one political party, which controls the state-owned media. Yet there are city and regional media in China that often publish opinions that do not appear in the national media. In addition, China’s Blogosphere is very active when it comes to expression and opinions.

In the US, six huge corporations own most of the so-called free media and an American corporation owns only one. Foreign corporations own the other five.

In America, freedom of the press means that conservative talk radio may manipulate public opinion and influence voters through lies and exaggeration, which it often does. We just saw that happen in the 2010 election.


This video explains how America became a democracy dominated by religion
.

In America, corporate lobbyists or special interest groups such as Evangelical Christians may influence elected officials to vote on bills that may not benefit the majority of the population such as confusing debates over abortion, global warming and the recent American health bill.

In China, the only way to influence a government official is by bribing him or her. If caught, that official may end up going to prison or face execution, which seldom happens in the US where bribed officials often go unpunished.

Although many call China a dictatorship, it is not. See Dictatorship Defined

Today, China is a one party republic, which is what the United States was under its first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams. In China, only Communist Party members may vote as part of a consensus and there are more than 70 million Party members.

In the American Republic created by the Founding Fathers in 1776, only white men that owned property were allowed to vote, which was about 10% of the population.

Critics of China claim that China’s 1982 Constitution allows for freedom of speech and religion. However, the truth is that there are limits on freedom of speech and religion that we never hear about from the Western media or politicians.

The US Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Chinese Constitution says, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration…”

Nowhere does it say in the Chinese Constitution, “the Party will make no law prohibiting the “free exercise of freedom of speech or of the press” as it does in the US Constitution.

In fact, the same article that says “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief” also says, “No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state.”

The Chinese Constitution also says, “The exercise by citizens of the People’s Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the state…” and “they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.”

That is why the Tibetan Dalai Lama lives in exile in India, the Falun Gong religious cult was banned in China in 1999 and Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is in jail. They all refuse to abide by the 1982 Chinese Constitution.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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