“Truth cannot be given the same level of coverage as falsehood. We shouldn’t make them equivalent. It’s not partisan for the media to be partisan towards the truth.”
-EJ Dionne, American journalist, political commentator, and long-time op-ed columnist for The Washington Post.
A message to the Fourth Estate: Don’t amplify the lies. Report truth.
“A truth is a useful, reliable statement of how the world is. You can ignore it, but it will cost you, because the world won’t work the way you hope it will. You can dislike the truth, but pretending it isn’t true isn’t an effective way to accomplish your goals or to further our culture.
Most of the kinds of truth we experience are about the past and the present, and these are the easiest to see and confirm, but there are also truths about cause and effect.
Identity is the truth of description. A circle is round because we define a circle as round. You can say, “a circle is rectangular in shape,” and all you’ve done is confused us. Words only work because we agree on what they mean.
Demagogues often play with the identity of words, as it distracts us.
Axiomatic truth is truth about the system. The Peano axioms, for example, define the rules of arithmetic. They are demonstrably true and the system is based on these truths. Einstein derived his theories of special and general relativity with a pad of paper, not with an experiment (though the experiments that followed have demonstrated that his assertions were in fact true.)
There were loud voices in mid-century Germany who said that Einstein’s work couldn’t be true because of his heritage, and many others who mis-described his work and then decried that version of it, but neither approach changed the ultimate truth of his argument.
Axiomatic truth, like most other truths, doesn’t care whether you understand it or believe it or not. It’s still true.
Historic truth is an event that actually happened. We know it happened because it left behind evidence, witnesses and other proof.
Experimental truth may not have the clear conceptual underpinnings of axiomatic truth, but it holds up to scrutiny. The world is millions of years old. Every experiment consistently demonstrates this. Experimental truth can also give us a road map to the future. Vaccines do not cause autism. The world is not flat. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising.
If you want to challenge an experimental truth, the only response is to do a better experiment, make it replicable and show your work.
Personal experience truth is the truth that’s up to you. How you reacted to what happened can only be seen and reported by you.
And finally, consider cultural truth, and this is the truth that can change. This is the truth of, “people like us do things like this.” Which is true, until it’s not. And then people like us do something else.”
A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.
But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.
-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island 
Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.
-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening 
There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.
-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind 
We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.
‘From today forward we are living in Constitutional time. Which news organizations will rise to the moment?’
-Jay Rosen, NYU
[A basis of democracy that encourages citizens to actively participate in social processes.]
‘Democracies rarely collapse suddenly, with tanks rolling through the streets out of a blue sky. It’s a slow death of a thousand cuts to rights, norms, the rule of law.
The groundwork is to turn the people & leaders against institutions of democracy: the free press, political opposition, independent judiciary & law enforcement, the truth. The infallible leader is the substitute for all of it.’
Human Rights Foundation
The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation. The Watergate scandal of the 1970s saw the application of these procedures, first when Gerald Ford replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president, then when he replaced Richard Nixon as president, and then when Nelson Rockefeller filled the resulting vacancy to become the vice president. Read more from the Congressional Research Service…
“The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes of all political and social life a mass illness. Without this housecleaning we cannon begin to see. Unless we see, we cannot think. The purification must begin with the mass media. How?”
-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander 
And the lonely voice of youth cries, ‘What is truth?’
Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
‘What is truth?’
Wonderful documentary recently released on Netflix about a particular time in the life of President Richard Nixon, Johnny Cash, and American conflict during the Viet Nam war, politics, and a divided country. Cash ‘walked the line’ representing both sides and common struggle, putting country over ideology while embracing empathy for those without voice.
All the World is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming. -Helen Keller
Much of our anxiety and inner turmoil comes from living in a global culture whose values drive us from the essence of what matters. -Mark Nepo
As spiritual beings, we have within us the inherent power to rise above any circumstance. -Rev. Jane Beach
‘When the White House Can’t Be Believed’
This essay isn’t about spin, or splitting hairs, or differing opinions.
This involves a reality check about our expectations of the people who act in our name. About credibility at the highest levels of our government. About people whose words are heard abroad as speaking for our nation. About the public and the media that try, however imperfectly, to serve it.
You could call what she [Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen] said a deception, an evasion or a technical nicety. NPR will not call what Nielsen said a lie because it cannot gauge her intent.
I report about the media for NPR and in so doing, I periodically cover NPR and its policies. I don’t speak for the network. I would say the word “lie” fits here.
But what you call it almost doesn’t matter.
More important is that the media and the public register a fundamental fact: Top people speaking for the United States aren’t telling us the truth — starting with the president.
Columbia Journalism Review
Advocates are becoming journalists. Is that a good thing?
As the media landscape continues to fragment and many outlets struggle to afford more ambitious reporting projects, non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups like the ACLU and Human Rights Watch are increasingly taking on the role of reporter—breaking stories and in some cases even helping to change policy. But even those leading the new NGO-as-muckraker efforts acknowledge that they’re no replacement for traditional news organizations.
The line between advocacy groups and media organizations has been blurring for some time.
Journalism professor Dan Gillmor wrote a decade ago about the work the ACLU was doing around Guantanamo Bay, and the reporting Human Rights Watch did on issues such as domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. A number of academics have also written about the increasing overlap between NGOs and journalism.
“As traditional journalism companies are firing reporters and editors right and left, the almost-journalist organizations have both the deep pockets and staffing to fill in some of the gaps,” Gillmor wrote. He also encouraged NGOs to concentrate on applying journalistic principles such as fact-checking and transparency.
Of course, traditional media organizations often get accused of distorting the news in similar ways—of selectively including certain facts or quoting certain individuals—because those facts or views fit a certain worldview. In some cases it’s done in order to generate traffic and advertising revenue, but there can also be ideological elements at work (Fox News, or at least the version of it that exists in primetime, springs to mind).
In the end, the world of journalism and the world as a whole are probably better off now that there are activist organizations that are trying to use the tools of modern media to tell stories. The more sources of information there are, especially from remote or developing nations, the better. In some ways, that’s one of the biggest benefits of a democratized media environment—anyone anywhere can become a news source, and that’s fundamentally a good thing, even if some take advantage of it for their own purposes.
d: At this moment in our democracy, we do indeed need moral thinkers serving as activists; both-sides journalism, and for-profit media prior and post the 2016 presidential primary, have delivered us to this point of massive deception and gaslit lies. Perhaps only journalists as activists, and ‘democratized media’ will deliver us from the deception and recurrent lies being generated from this nation’s highest offices.
Society of Professional Journalists
- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work.
- Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort.
- Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage.
All mass crimes in history start with a justification, a necessity rationalization, a sick form of nationalism and racism.
Administration of Hate: The Snatching and Caging of Immigrant Children. It is Happening Here.
This week on Intercepted: The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux talks about his recent reporting in the border state of Arizona and paints a harrowing picture of the human toll of family separations by ICE. Alice Speri lays out her investigation of sexual abuse by ICE officers and contractors in immigration detention centers. Sohail Daulatzai discusses his new book, “With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire,” and explains why the film “The Battle of Algiers” is still relevant more than 50 years after its release. The legendary resistance singer Barbara Dane shares stories from her 91 years on earth fighting militarism, racism, and economic injustice. Plus, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen competes on Jeopardy! and we hear a cover of “The Partisan” from composers and musicians Leo Heiblum of Mexico and Tenzin Choegyal of Tibet.
White Civil Rights Rally Approved for D.C. in August
The National Park Service has approved an initial request for organizers to hold a second “Unite the Right” rally, this time across the street from the White House in August — one year after white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Va.
The park service has given initial approval to an application from Jason Kessler to hold a “white civil rights rally” on Aug. 11 and 12, as first reported by WUSA9. Kessler, along with white supremacist Richard Spencer and others, organized the 2017 rally, during which a woman was killed. The park service has not yet issued a permit for the event.
Meet the Favorite Philosophers of Young White Supremacists
A new book explores how philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger have inspired a new generation of fascists.
As Donald Trump basked in his presidential election victory in 2016, white supremacist Richard Spencer unleashed a round of Nazi-inspired praise for Trump’s victory — sentiments echoed by Alexander Dugin, a Russian neo-fascist whose writings reached a broader-English-speaking audience thanks to Spencer and his wife, Nina Kouprianova.
These three, writes University of Toronto political science professor Ronald Beiner, all trace their fascistic views back to a pair of German philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, both of whom played outsized roles in either inspiring
As Beiner writes in Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right, the recent resurgence of the far-right and white supremacy didn’t occur in any kind of philosophical vacuum. Rather, it’s rooted in a long lineage of fascists who have leaned on Nietzsche and Heidegger to excuse and expand their own racism, anti-Semitism, and personal quests for power.
Decades later, the two philosophers have gained newfound prominence thanks to the growing impact of neo-fascists and white supremacists on both sides of the Atlantic. ThinkProgress spoke with Beiner about the effect Nietzsche and Heidegger have had, and what may come next for the young white supremacists who have found their philosophical heroes in a pair of German thinkers.
Nietzsche and Heidegger despise the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution — they resolutely, deliberately, and bitterly reject that legacy, that inheritance of the modern West. I’d say they violently reject [them]. Why is that? Take the French Revolution. Really what it stands for is the idea that people should not be locked into pre-dictated roles in life, scripts they’re meant to live out. The idea is to give individuals space to map out their own ideas of life, to live freely. Well, Nietzsche totally rejects that.
The project is: destroy liberalism. Destroy the moral and political horizons of modernity. Destroy everything from the ground up. And if it takes a nuclear explosion and just starting all over again, they’re happy with it.
d: Then, if we really want to sober up, we read this:
In Raven Rock, Garrett Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound (called Raven Rock) just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents, and nationalize industries.
Equal parts a presidential, military, and political history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government’s plans and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the present day. Relying upon thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, Graff brings readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we’re prepared to respond if it is. [Amazon]
—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Einstein:
Garrett Graff has given us a colorful and frightening account of the American government’s plans for doomsday, and the secret bunkers where official could go to save themselves. These early plans still have their counterparts today, and they reveal a lot about how warfighting doctrine evolved. Read it and be fascinated—and a little scared.”
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviewed Graff in 2017, and re-aired her interview on Friday, June 22nd. The book was just released in paperback.
Graff is a former editor of Washingtonian magazine and Politico Magazine. He also is a contributing writer to Wired magazine. Terry interviewed him last year when his book was published. It’s now out in paperback.
Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. I mean, it’s a free-standing city inside, you know, with individual buildings – three-story buildings built inside of this mountain. And it has everything that a small city would. I mean, there’s a fire department there. There’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day. It’s a 24-hour facility. And it has been – it was sort of mothballed to a certain extent during the 1990s as the Cold War ended and then was restarted in a hurry after 9/11 and has been pretty dramatically expanded over the last 15 years and, you know, today could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.
GROSS: So you have these underground bunkers the size of cities in case of nuclear attack to protect members of government and keep the government going. You say that these places are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
GRAFF: Yes. They are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it’s not just the bunkers. Right as we are sitting here talking today, there is a presidential doomsday plane, these converted 747s that are known as the Nightwatch planes. There are four of them. They’ve been in existence for the last quarter century. And one of them is sitting on a runway in Omaha, Neb., at Offutt Air Force Base right now. Its engines are on. It’s fully staffed with everyone that you would need to lead a nuclear war. And it’s ready to launch in a 15-minute alert in the event of an emergency and rendezvous with the president, wherever he may end up being, and evacuate him.
d: And then we remember who occupies the Oval Office.
“Beauty, whoever we find it, is the salve that keeps us vital and fresh. But Truth, in its uncompromised and naked story, no matter how harsh, has a Beauty all its own that is cleansing. […] Like X and Y chromosomes, they make up the fundamental elements of life that no one can do without. They are the yin and yang of existence–one cleanses the wound, while the other heals the wound.”
Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty
That is all you know on earth,
and all you need to know.
“This is why we must remember the Holocaust and other atrocities exactly as they were. This is why it is essential to bear honest witness to our own naked stories.
Still, as wise as the message he came upon is, there is an equal lesson in how young Keats came upon it. For only by voicing our tender pains can we find our way to the deer Beauties and Truths that like ropes and wheels can carry us.”
“Breathe fully and, in the next breath, allow the beauty around you to revitalize the place in you that is raw.”
Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a number of academic positions at various American universities until her death in 1975.
We are truth, not “facts.” Verbs, not nouns. We evolve. We are life. We are alive. The realest truth, with galaxies in our eyes.
Let’s bring back:
‘When we fiercely hate one another, we make ourselves vulnerable to propaganda and demagogues. Hate blinds people to the truth.’
Jimmy Carter’s advice for President Trump: “Keep the peace, tell the truth”
Seek truth & share from your soul. Real truth is felt before told.
“It is incumbent on all of us to constantly protect it and the only way to do that is to exercise it. We can always choose to love rather than hate, support rather than withdraw, speak out rather than stay silent, and stand up for what we believe rather than lay down to a collective pressure that does not reflect our belief. Every time we choose not to do this we give it away.” Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon
“If we see a person who is being crushed by a rock, the goal is not to get under the rock and feel what they are feeling; it is to help remove the rock.” Dalai Lama/The Book of Joy/p. 259
“I know that when I speak this word for myself, there is a direct reaction toward me. I know that when I speak it for others, there is a direct reaction toward them. There is no doubt or uncertainty in my consciousness.” Rev. Dr. Marilyn Leo
‘When all you have is the truth, if you degrade that truth, then you have nothing. […] Either be forthright or be silent. Proffer examples, testimony of things that have happened. […] Boldness, bravery and intellectual fearlessness – these are the qualities (we) need if we are to storm heaven.’ Mitch Horowitz/Science of Mind-July, p. 16
“‘Oh, no,’ we exclaim as we stand directly in the path of Source.’ ‘I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced, not the right size, shape or color, not educated enough, not lovable enough.’ Only when we let go of this nonsense and get out of our own way can our blessings come.” -Anne Bock
“When you give your attention to anything, you are building that thing into your consciousness, for good or evil. Free your mind of negativity. Rather build into your consciousness what you wish to see in your life. Recognize that you’ve been unconsciously creating all along and decide now that you will create only love, joy, prosperity, health, happiness and all the good things readily available to all of us. Build in mind the house you want to live in joyously ever after. It is your choice. Nothing is stopping you except your excuses for why it’s not possible.[…] Before the house is built, the architect draws the plans.”
Rev. Karen S. Wylie
Science of Mind
‘Let’s be honest
which doesn’t mean
being harsh, but gentle.
Let’s be clear
which doesn’t mean being dispassionate, but
holding each other up
in the face of what is true.’
The possibilities that exist between two people, or among a group of people, are a kind of alchemy. They are the most interesting thing in life. The liar is someone who keeps losing sight of these possibilities.
Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other
Truthfulness, honor, is not something which springs ablaze itself; it has to be created between people.
Truthfulness anywhere means a heightened complexity. But it’s a movement into evolution.
The unconscious wants truth, as the body does.
When we discover that someone we trusted can be trusted no longer, it forces us to reexamine the universe, to question the whole instinct and concept of trust. For a while, we are thrust back onto some bleak, jutting ledge, in a dark pierced by sheets of fire, swept by sheets of rain, in a world before kinship, or naming, or tenderness exist; we are brought close to formlessness.
‘Truth’ is the central ethical problem within the field of communication ethics. Even as the standard of justice belongs in a particular sense to politics and the norm of stewardship to business, so truth, or truth telling, is the fundamental issue in communications.
How is human dignity manifested? For whom and under what conditions are speakers establishing the vernacular? How are worldview articulated?
Dear God, lead us to the truth, but save us from those that have found it.
-Dr. Clifford Christians
How will Post-truth and alternate fact dialogic interaction on a national platform seep into our common and everyday interpersonal communication?
[Illustration by Ralph Steadman for Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451.’]
“Character is higher than intellect. Thinking is the function. Living is the functionary… A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
[A] great influence into the spirit of the scholar, is, the mind of the Past, — in whatever form, whether of literature, of art, of institutions, that mind is inscribed. Books are the best type of the influence of the past… The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again… It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.
I do not see how any man can afford, for the sake of his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake. It is pearls and rubies to his discourse. Drudgery, calamity, exasperation, want, are instructers in eloquence and wisdom. The true scholar grudges every opportunity of action past by, as a loss of power. It is the raw material out of which the intellect moulds her splendid products.
Character is higher than intellect. Thinking is the function. Living is the functionary. The stream retreats to its source. A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think…’
More framer Cultural Ambassador Maria Papova/brainpickings:
‘It is more useful to realize that we each carry a Jesus and a Nicodemus within us; that is, we each have a divine inner voice that opens us to truth and a mediating social voice that is reluctant to show its truth to others.
…quiet pain comes from not honoring what we know to be true, even if all we know to be true are the questions we are asking.
True and False Self (D. W. Winnicott) – – it is the True Self that lets us know what is authentic and what has become artificial, while the False Self is a diplomat of distrust, enforcing a lifestyle of guardedness, secrecy, and complaint.
In everyday terms this means that each time we experience a change in reality as we know it, we must choose whether to declare or hide what we know to be true. At such moments we either need to bring the way we have been living into accord with that shift of reality, or we need to resist the change […] having to admit that what was essential is no longer essential and then needing to summon the courage to make the act of living essential again.’
Truth is of the people
By the people
For the people.
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
I believe that we are waking up from the spell
That those that profit from the fear
Cast so well
And good people of the earth now can tell
There is no us and them
If not now, when
If not today then
What happens tomorrow
All is love
All is choice
Everyone and every voice
All of life that you see
All are possibilities
As above so below
To wed the sense into the soul
This is truth
Practice: The Broken Truth
A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, tells a story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again. I invite you to read this tale as a child might, with wonder and imagination.
One night, in a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” a truth falls from the stars. As it falls, it breaks into two pieces; one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day, a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.
A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once-peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it and, when they find it, the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally, a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower, where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.