The Correct Conclusions

If I had to choose, that day in 2010 would have been one of the most interesting days of my entire life. It had three components. First, it was the day I met Nate Scott, the most positive man I know. Then there was the High School Senior, an self-avowed Communist, who was lecturing me about why she refused to read anything the Founders or Framers had written about our government because the comunistas had already taught her that the reason the USA existed was that the Framers had looked into the future and devised a political system specifically designed to keep her from ever being in power. I think we dodged both a metaphorical and an actual bullet there. 

Thirdly that day was a panel discussion of writers discussing the process of writing of which I had been invited to be a part (I used to be a Modesto Bee Community Columnist). About ten of us sat on the dais. One was a anti-nuclear protester who wrote his own newsletter about non-proliferation. Another was a reporter from the Stockton Record. Of course I had my fun with the no-nukes guy, but it was the Record reporter who said the thing that still resonate with me today.

He was speaking about how to “slant” an article. And he said (and I quote), “It’s easy to write the story so that the reader comes to the correct conclusion about it.”

obama-trump-crowdsWe tend to think of “fake news” as a more recent phenomenon. Created, as we are led to believe, by unpropitious “Alt-Right” trolls living in threadbare New York apartments pounding out click bait stories of Hillary’s love for all things malevolent and hatred of unicorns and rainbows. Or perhaps its a creation of CNN which clearly would rather just make up news rather than pay a reporter?

In any case, the truth is always dark. That’s how we know it’s the truth. And “Fake News” has been around a whole lot longer than any of us want to admit. More importantly, it’s still here. And it isn’t in the “making up” of a story, it’s in how the story is reported. How it is presented to the public. Whether or not the story is designed to get the reader or viewer to “come to the correct understanding” or not. 

Two stories from this past Friday are instructive in the matter. First is the dust up over just how many people attended or did not attend the inauguration. Was it the biggest ever or an embarrassing flop?

But a few hours before the festivities got underway a man died in Manteca. He was shot at least twice. And the circumstances of his death have left an entire community angry, frustrated, sad and deeply concerned. Was it a homicide or an act of self-defense?

What is even more interesting to me, is the audience reaction to both stories. At the end of the day, the only way to fight “fake news” is to recognize that all news is biased. Only those as wise a serpents have any chance of reaching their own conclusions, instead of the one intended by the authors and editors, whoever they may be.

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The Slants

Dave & John take a look at the inauguration of the new President, and their own concerns about things going forward, particularly in the areas of free speech and freedom of the press.

1-19-17-popeyes-jerryFree Speech means that offensive terms and ideas are part of the entire deal. just because something offends you or me shouldn’t make it illegal. In fact, a case heard by the Supreme Court on Wednesday makes it clear that being intentionally offensive is protected speech. Which is good news for both The Slants, Popeye’s Chicken and the Washington Redskins.

The boys get into it all on this weeks episode of The Dave & John Show.

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Presidential Pardons

You may or may not know, but I have been flattened for the last three days by some sort of evil Martian Death Virus. It comes with a low fever, vicious chills and pain in every joint I have except my right knee. So there’s that…

bradley-manning-aiding-the-enemyAt any rate, with all the chatter about the various pardons issued by outgoing President Obama, including the Pvt Bradley Manning one, I thought that I would concentrate this Constitution Thursday on the Pardon power found in Article II. However, it’s possible that I will be in bed, shaking from chills and too sore to get up. So I figured I’d at least put up the show with John & I talking about the issue back in 2013. While this episode deals mostly with famous pardons up to that point, particularly Nixon, the process is the same; the effect is the same. And when this was recorded, I was also- as you can hear – quite sick! 

If I can get up, I will try to add some more up to date thoughts to it. But if not… at least you’ll have this before I am gone, taken by the Martian Death Virus. For which the CDC has issued no warning about and is unlikely to get the same headlines as THE EBOLA!!!!!!!

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The Ham In the Pan


4a_ci_last_ditch_chivalry_2094_cSo screamed the headlines yesterday as I battled fever and chills. The problem is that not only is that untrue, but the entire weeks events show us how we (corporately) can misinterpret history to our own advantage.

The old saying goes that “winners write the History Books,” but even that is no longer absolutely true. The New York Times ran an op-ed piece on Monday asking Which MLK Jr Are we Celebrating?”  Is he the social radical of the 1960’s? Or is he the Conservative icon of the 21st Century?

These two disparate and yet concurrent things are just a reminder that when we read history, if everything that we read agrees with our own bias and beliefs, then we either read it incorrectly (wrong) or we simply did not read it all. when

When Bradley Manning goes to be tonight, he will still be a coward. And a traitor.

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Troublesome Transitions

quote-what-is-most-important-of-this-grand-experiment-the-united-states-not-the-election-of-george-washington-65-9-0922Forty-Four times the nation has transitioned from one President to another. Some of those weren’t as much transitions as they were emergencies. Eight times, (18%) the Vice President has been called upon to become President after the death of the sitting President. John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson all took office after the death of the President put them in the White House. 

Twelve times (27%) a member of the same Political Part as the President took office following the end of the previous terms. On one occasion (2%), a Vice President took office when the President resigned (Ford). Read the rest of this entry

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