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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Freedom of the Press - Freedom without Protection


"A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens." - Nelson Mandela
I realized as I read this quote from Nelson Mandela, that we do not have a "A critical, independent and investigative press" any longer.  The cynical will tell me we never did, but that's not true. We did have a strong News system during in years past. Now, however, nearly every news source available to us is fully corrupted by outside interest and inside bias.

Every reporter will naturally have some bias.  This is the first thing taught to serious history students. No matter how hard you try, some bias will exist in your findings, because of the experiences and knowledge obtained by our individual backgrounds. We see more clearly those things which we have previously agreed are important before. We hear more clearly those words we have  previously heard and understood before -- but this is not the level of bias I am pointing out. I'm speaking of the level of bias that creates a News system whose reports are over 40% wrong, lies, or deceptions. I'm talking about a bias which will ignore important events because they are inconvenient for their constituents. I am talking about a bias of willful and orchestrated ignorance.


For example, no News service of any size has the ability to report the "actions"
of Congress on a daily basis. Not the thoughts, or the complaints or the musings -- which turn our front pages and broadcasts into what can only be described as a political "reality TV" show -- but stick to the News, and what they have actually done as congressmen and senators. What actions did they do as representatives of our country. They are not allowed to do this because Nothing was done. Nothing was done except to blockade the President and the Voters for another day. But that is the News, and those are the facts which we, the people, need to hear every day without the distractions and without the deflections. We need to hear and be informed that our government body is wilfully accomplishing as little as possible.

No news service is allowed to tell us this - Yes, they may report on it twice or perhaps three times a month, but only if the story is followed quickly with something the Speaker of the House as said, or what he complained about or what he mused about.  Then two more congressmen must tell us what the President has done wrong today. Then we must have three to four pundits explain to us the political schedule, and the tactical maneuvering of the forces at work. Our Reporters and Producers must bring to the stage "reality TV" where everything is drama and activity.

As I read this quote, my mind on other matters, it struck me like a fist that our Press has been under siege for decades, and our freedoms are decaying because of their oppression. Would NY and Eric have happened with a Free Press to report? No, because officers who were capable of such a tragedy would have been reported on repeatedly, over and over again until they were dealt with and the problems of training and bigotry addressed.

Over the wires and across the Internet I have heard these oppressed members of the Press cry out without understanding. I hear reported from them repeatedly that "everyone knows about it" when speaking of the mal members of the police department -- but have failed to connect their cry to the realization that we don't hear about it because our Press is gelded.

Would Ferguson still be happening? No, because a Free Press would have demanded both sides of the issue to state what they need, and what they want, instead of turning it into over 70 days of Reality TV, giving people only enough air time to blurt out some pain. Instead of being the conduit which is desperately needed in that city, the medium of communication -- the News -- they are pressured into being inciters, instigators and inept witnesses. Without the powers of a Free Press, Ferguson is doomed to protest without voice, and those they protest against are doomed to be held accountable without voice.
You may feel that I've over simplified both of these turmoils, but only if you haven't experienced the true power of a healthy press.

As I read this quote from Mandela I realize that we have given our Press Freedom, but no protection. As a means of illustrating the negligence I'm pointing out, our black population is Free as well, but continues to struggle with acquiring the protections the whites have. Our Women are Free as well, and again they too struggle for the protections our men enjoy.

These protections as I'm calling them have been named many things, such as privilege. I don't like that word because of the inaccuracy. I would use a far more cutting word if one was available, but a better term doesn't come to mind.
a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.
But we are not talking about a special right, we are talking about rights and expectations everyone should have. These qualities were taken, not created. The Declaration uses the term inalienable rights, which are rights which can not be taken away. Everyone has them. They are. Having them and being able to use them is a different matter. The black man has the right to vote, but may be .blockaded by
Sept-11-2014 : Earlier this week state Sen. Fran Millar got national attention when he railed against a decision by Atlanta’s DeKalb County to expand Sunday voting and open a new polling place at a shopping mall near black churches. “How ironic! Michele [sic] Obama comes to town and Chicago politics comes to DeKalb,” Millar railed in response, calling the move “blatantly partisan.” Of course Sunday voting is a national phenomenon, available to citizens of all races – although it must be said that once black churches began to organize “Souls to the Polls” events after church, it suddenly became controversial on the right, and states like Wisconsin have limited it sharply
the willful acts of other men. These willful acts are illegal, immoral and amazingly loud in their declaration of soul corruption and telling of the party which backs them, but there are dark souls who care nothing about a little light. But lets not confuse this with privilege -- which is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. 

There is no immunity granted, no special right a healthy system will grant. Yes, that's really what we are talking about here isn't it-- a healthy system. In this particular case the remedy should have been swift. Demographics tells us that there were 691,893 people residing in the county. 54.3% were Black or African American, 33.3% White, 5.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 4.5% of some other race and 2.4% of two or more races. 9.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). So it is not Privilege which gave Frank Millar a pass on his revolting acts. He should be standing in the unemployment line. A man that can't use the word "Ironic" properly shouldn't be a lawmaker anyway.

A little research however and we find a near blackout of reporting about the actions of Frank Millar in or around that area. There are several local pieces on the race, and that some of the voting polls may move, but nothing significant. Nothing eye-popping. Nothing that would attract the attention of the populous. Indeed, unless you searched specifically every day for Frank Millar doing bad things, you would not have noticed the single story done by the NYTimes,

The difference is, that our Press has been able to report some of those problems but has no one to speak for them. How can they speak for themselves? What would they say which wouldn't sound ridiculous at first?

If -- if by some set of extraordinary circumstances -- a reporter was able to get a message into our News which described their plight -- which wasn't instantly rebuked by their unwilling peers as untrue and debunked as a "personal crisis", so their jobs and careers could be safe -- would we accept it? Could we? We depend on the News to be Free, we need it to be accurate. Could we accept such a heinous state of oppression? I believe the answer is no. I believe that our need would respond with a solid wall of denial instead of accepting we are so vulnerable. Instead of accepting that we have made decisions based on propaganda and erroneous reports which are deeping important to our childrens lives -- instead of accepting that by doing so we have been the instruments of hurting our children by our actions -- we would deny the report. We would change the channel. We would mute the noise and go get something to eat.

After all, how can we know? What is there to juxtapose against the mainstream News reports, except other mainstream news reports? What do could we use as a means of compassion?  We can simply take such a report at face value. We need something, a foundation a way to see this chasm between what we believe and what is reality. Below the mainstream their are specialized reporting sites which are reliable, but too narrow to be used as a Peer. After that there are only the extremist mediums and those are hardly peers. What can we possibly use to clear the smoke and give this single, desperate, and amazingly lucky cry for help the context, the reference point required for our Nation's ears to hear the words and understand then depth of their meaning?

Nation, I give you John Stewart.