Fear Mongering: The Media on the Government Shutdown

Fear mongering isn’t just done by cultists and tyrants. Although many of the dictators of today and days past did have it down to a T, our media happens to be one of the best fear mongering machines around. How about the North Korea debacle of recent times? It was the only subject on the news, only to be dismissed again by the masses and forgotten until the news took another recent shot at it. And Syria? We have only been following news on Syria when there are horrendous events happening leading up to what seems to be an intervention initiated by the US. Fear mongering is central to every major subject covered by the media.

Related Article: Imminent Western Intervention in Syria

No wonder our government doesn’t tell us everything; we would be in a constant state of hysteria, running around and threatening each other to protect our family and property. Let’s say, for instance, that beyond the fear mongering hype we knew there was to be a global crash of all computer systems and all the data was to be reset because we were dawning on a new millennium. Oh right, the panic of Y2K. Oh HOOO!!! What if we knew precisely when the world was going to end? Ahh.. December 21, 2012. Boy did that rattle the cages.

Related Article: NOT Another 9-11 Article

Fear mongering is omnipresent in all facets of our lives. Maybe I can spin it another way to get you riled up [after all I am representing a media of sorts, and boy do we like to spin things (tops, pizzas, balls, mouse scrollers, clocks, globes)]. The media is making the government shutdown seem more severe than it needs to be. Let us explore a couple of facts about our government:

How about the fact that there have been 18 government shutdowns since 1976! Take a good look at that list of reasons why the government shut down. Most of them are political disputes that couldn’t be solved so they took the battle to the people, showing their supporters how they stood by their policies and wouldn’t budge. No possible fear mongering there.

How about the fact that neither you nor I were influenced by the shutdown? Nothing actually happened (to us and our daily lives) when the government took a break. In fact our government probably saved a whole lot of money during the shutdown.

Another fact is that Obamacare is in high demand, causing its own shut down of government websites resulting in a blindsided president? Wasn’t Obamacare at the root of the problem of politicians disagreeing in the first place? And yet here it is slowly starting to function and in extreme demand. If you’re going to practice fear mongering, start screaming about the failure of the Obamacare website.

Lastly, it is a fact that the stock market didn’t crash due to the shutdown, people didn’t withdraw all their funds to cause a high volatility in the market place, and investors just kept on investing. So much for all that fear that was being tossed around.. but the government shutdown did happen, and it may happen again if budget problems aren’t solved.

Related Article: TVs, Brains, and Zombies Oh My!

All the while the people of this great country will stand by and listen to live broadcasts in order to be the first to know of any revolts or uprisings taking place. And for what? To be prepared damnit! If the media practices fear mongering and says the situation is severe then we should go buy water and food supplies for the next couple of months, go get a gun to protect ourselves (not that we shouldn’t anyway), and of course find ways to secure our wealth and protect our property! All this for something that is purely word of mouth. If only the game “telephone” was this effective at getting a point across.

Oh misery! What is the point? I am not saying we should be oblivious to world events. In fact it is important that we embrace world events such as the recent protests in Egypt over governmental control, instead of blindly accepting the fear mongering that is fed to us. However, we often forget that a great deal of media is formed on opinion, and the stronger opinions always jump out at us more than the calm, forgetful opinions and facts. Maybe it is time to turn off the news? Maybe it is time to forget about the 9 o’clock updates of recent events on channel 9, 7 , 5, 2, etc. The saying “ignorance is bliss” perfectly pertains to the media and its relentless fear mongering.

Cheers to being ignorant of the media and its senseless fear mongering!

 

 

Research:

Government Shutdown in the United States

PRY: The danger of dismissing North Korea’s nuclear threat

North Korea on high alert, threatens US ships with “horrible disaster”

Y2K Bug Britannica

December 21 2012

Government shutdown? Panic on the markets? Buy stocks.

Obamacare website problems blindsided the President

ObamaCare Facts

 

Wondergressive: Clouds of Western Intervention Loom over Syria

Wondergressive: Imminent Western Intervention in Syria

Wondergressive: NOT Another 9-11 Article

Wondergressive: World Protests: Can You Hear Me Now?

Wondergressive: TVs, Brains, and Zombies Oh My!

Gossip Through the PRISM: The NSA’s Shenanigans

Pink_floyd_-_dark_side_of_the_moon

“Truth, through the lens of gossip” or “What is legal, through the lens of Law” (Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Album Cover)

When pressed to think about clandestine organizations, I’m often lead down the thought path towards action/sci-fi secret outfits such as Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D., James Bond’s MI6 (though this is actually a real government organization), and George Orwell’s dogs from Animal Farm. Often times I’ll even muse about how awesome it would be if one of these such organizations existed in real life.

In the last few days, these musings seem to have come to fruition with the recent uproar in regards to the awesomely named “secret organization” called PRISM.

I used quotes for two reasons. The first reason is that PRISM is hardly a secret. The plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months. By “local planning office,” I mean to say the internet and by “nine months,” I mean to say 5 years.

The second reason for my implicative use of quotation marks is that PRISM is a tool used by the National Security Agency (NSA).

PRISM is a kick-ass GUI that allows an analyst to look at, collate, monitor, and cross-check different data types provided to the NSA from internet companies located inside the United States.

So the NSA uses PRISM -my instinct here is to complain about acronyms. I’ve decided not to as my name is one of them- PRISM is a tool that collects data and this data is collected from internet companies.

Tech companies are legally required to share information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa). Those requests have to be made via a Fisa court …. The companies are not obliged to make the process easier for the NSA.

From the Director of National Intelligence’s June 8th memorandum (please read this):

Under Section 702 of FISA, the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

Most importantly the information used cannot and I mean cannot:

be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, or any other U.S. person, or to intentionally target any person known to be in the United States. Likewise, Section 702 cannot be used to target a person outside the United States if the purpose is to acquire information from a person inside the United States.

So if all of this is true, where is the scandal? Why the uproar? Nobody in the US is being targeted without a reasonable tie to an international terror institution. Well, let’s have a “chat” with Edward Snowden to find out.

Recently Edward Snowden took it upon himself to disclose practices and policies used by the NSA. Practices and Policies which, in Edwards opinion, were immoral and inappropriate.

What I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

In his recent revelation as the NSA whistle blower, Edward speaks out about the injustice he has witnessed.

The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,”

Supposing that the world was naive enough to believe that everybody followed the law as they should, there would be no problem with the NSA’s use of tools like PRISM.

The problem with this is that the NSA bends the laws to their own purposes. Just as lawmakers, cops, and even people avoiding speeding tickets do. Our legal system is a cacophony of loopholes and short cuts. When you work for the government, the law changes from “what shouldn’t I do” to “what all am I allowed to do” and “how far can I go with this.”

How can we challenge the gross misuse of United States Law?


Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

http://gizmodo.com/what-is-prism-511875267
http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Facts%20on%20the%20Collection%20of%20Intelligence%20Pursuant%20to%20Section%20702.pdf

http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1fx8zs/what_is_prism/

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57588253-83/what-is-the-nsas-prism-program-faq/

http://theweek.com/article/index/245360/solving-the-mystery-of-prism

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

Note: When sifting through information concerning current events, I’ve found that the “facts” seem to change on a daily basis. These changes come from all sides. It seems that the need to be first has far outweighed any sort of journalistic integrity and this is very, very disconcerting. The government, the people, and the generally unconcerned all have constantly changing opinions and sources of info. I would just like to ask everybody to please use their best judgment when spreading information. Gossip is the worst (out of all the things). Remember we are all in this life together. The only way to Be Always Growing is to be doing this together. That being said: I welcome any and all corrections that you may have. Thanks for reading-JR

Court Battle Begins Between David and Goliath, Bowman and Monsanto

 

On Tuesday the court case Bowman vs. Monsanto got underway in the Supreme court. Vernon H. Bowman, a 75-year-old farmer in Indiana has been sued for infringing on a patent that Monsanto holds on genetically modified soy beans.

Monsanto produces genetically modified seeds which are Roundup Ready and can withstand herbicides as well as weed killers. This makes for an increased volume of successfully grown corn, soy beans, etc., but it also leads to another problem, and that is farmers indiscriminately spraying herbicides and pesticides knowing that the GMO crops won’t fail to reach harvest. This has made Monsanto’s seeds very successful in the farming community.

According to Monsanto, the farmers sign an agreement in which they agree to use the seeds for a year, and have to buy new seeds for the following growing season. Mr. Bowman however circumvented this patent system for over 8 years by purchasing soybeans from a nearby grain elevator, and using them for his harvests. You can read more about this Supreme Court challenge by Bowman.

Here are some of the main questions that are being asked in regards to this case:

Does Monsanto hold rights to the DNA of a seed that is an offspring of an originally purchased seed?

This question intrigues just about everybody from Monsanto to the music industry, movie industry, and anywhere else where copyrights are a concern. First of all, what needs to be cleared up is whether Monsanto holds patent rights to the physical seed itself, or just the DNA molecules. If it holds patent rights to the DNA molecule chains, then it should allow the farmers to reuse the new seeds at a discounted rate. It was, after all, the farmer’s fertile soil that did the work to produce the seeds, relieving Monsanto of some overhead. On the other hand, if Monsanto holds the rights to the complete seed itself, then that raises the next question:

Does the lifetime of the contract when purchasing seeds extend beyond the original seeds and into the newly harvested seeds?

According to Justice Stephen Breyer, patent law holds that it is illegal to plant them:

What it prohibits here is making a copy of the patented invention and that is what he did.

Now I’m not a farmer nor an expert in agriculture, but I am familiar with the issue of pirating CDs, DVDs, copying music, software and so on. The aforementioned copying examples are completely controllable. You can quite simply just say to yourself, copying is illegal and I should not participate in such acts.

But in the case of Bowman vs. Monsanto, how can it be considered illegal to copy a seed (the patented invention) when seed reproduction is an inevitable process of harvesting? Not forgetting to mention that a seed itself is a form of a living organism, does Monsanto have the right to newly reproduced life? Can newly formed life be potentially patented? This is a topic all by itself.

I do not believe that Monsanto could hold rights to the new seeds, as they are not the ones who physically produced them. Therefore the lifetime of the contract should not be able to go past the originally bought seeds. It’s just like burning a music CD. The album producer does not hold rights to the physical CD itself, rather to the make up, the songs. Therefore I do not think that Bowman breached any contracts.

So in the end, what Monsanto can hold rights to are the intellectual property, which is the DNA within the newly reproduced seeds.

It’s cheaper to buy a music album on iTunes than the physical album in a store. It’s cheaper to download a movie legally (in most cases) than to purchase a physical disc at a store. It’s also cheaper to download an eBook than to buy the physical book itself from a book store. The big difference in the digital purchases is the overhead cost relief that producers get by licencing just the intellectual property, and therefore being able to sell the “intellectual property” at a lower price.

Why can’t Monsanto do something similar?

 

Sources:

New York Times
Huffington Post
Time Ideas
USA Today