(News & Editorial/ Edited for your pleasure. Please continue grazing)
A. News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier
12 Apr 2013, TheGuardian.com, by Rolf Dobelli
Excerpts pasted from: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli
News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether
News misleads. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.
News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business.
News has no explanatory power. News items are bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world. Will accumulating facts help you understand the world? Sadly, no. The relationship is inverted. The important stories are non-stories: slow, powerful movements that develop below journalists’ radar but have a transforming effect.
News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress.
News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias… Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.
News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension.
News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books.
News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic.
News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter.
Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.
B. Vladimir Putin on Cover of Time Magazine All Around the World – EXCEPT in the United States…
16 September 2013, BeforeIt’sNews.com,
Pasted from: http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2013/09/vladimir-putin-on-cover-of-time-magazine-around-the-world-except-u-s-2454442.html
More and more Americans are looking to the ‘foreign’ press to get not just the truth about what’s going down, but what other people around the world are saying about it. Americans are still regarded as ‘provincial’ and out of touch but that seems to be changing as the-fastest-growing-online-newspaper-in-america-is-the-guardian-published-in-england.
………. Tom Dennen
Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and South Pacific editions:
It’s pretty much standard.
When the rest of the world is discussing serious matters concerning World Peace or threats to America, Americans are given another six-pack, a another “anxiety burger” and asked to chew on why we should pay college athletes more…
[We all know how why those greedy petroleum company executives are called to a Congressional hearing when “the price of gasoline goes too high”.
When those corporate executives are being grilled by Congress for admissions of guilt, which for good reason they can not admit to, you know we’re being looked after by our elected representatives, protected from those few greedy, gouging international oil companies and their shareholders.
There is however one fly in the ointment, please note:
The next time you see the price of gasoline increasing, remember that the government (Federal, State and Local) take six times more from the price of every gallon than the refiner makes as profit. When was the last time you remember any level of government reducing their “take”? Remember, the news always presents the problem as being “someone else’s fault”, ie.: the Arabs (with several derivations), OPEC, greedy oil executives, refinery problems, a storm, guerilla activity in Africa (for example), cold winter in northern Urals (or somewhere), etc, but its never a situation exacerbated by our own government’s fiscal activities, it’s never anything they can “fix” by being flexible under the circumstances. The news media doesn’t spent much time on this fact, despite the impact that this relative over taxation has on our lives and how easily the sleight of hand blame game is passed from multiple layers of government to business. See the following article. Mr. Larry]
B. Who makes more from sales at the pump – industry or government?
8 August 2012, ExxonMobilePerspectives.com, Posted by Ken Cohen
Pasted from: http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/2012/08/08/who-makes-more-from-sales-at-the-pump-industry-or-government/?utm_source=Outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Perspectives_-_Tier_1
A lot of factors go into determining the price of gasoline, so it’s worthwhile every now and again to review them.
A good piece in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal does just that, asking simply why gas costs what it does. The author – an analyst for a taxpayer watchdog group – gives a quick rundown of the basics, like crude oil costs, which can account for roughly three-quarters of the price consumers pay at the pump. Then there are expenses for refining, distribution and marketing.
[Wall Street Journal article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443687504577563383982418536.html%5D
But he also reveals one slice of the gas price pie routinely overlooked by those who criticize energy companies or gas station owners for high prices. He writes, “The truth is that governments rake in a larger profit at the pump than anyone,” including companies like ExxonMobil.
A range of government authorities share in the tax revenue from the gasoline consumers buy. To start, there’s the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. A variety of state and local sales and excise taxes help boost the price as well. All told, American motorists pay an average of nearly 50 cents per gallon in taxes every time they fill up.
Looking at it this way, the author concludes that “government makes far more from gas sales than all of the oil companies put together.” ExxonMobil, for instance, earned just 8 cents on each gallon of gasoline and refined products sold in the U.S. during the first two quarters of 2012.
All things to keep in mind the next time you hear criticism of oil companies for the cost of filling up.
[The following is another story is one you never hear in the news: The novel idea here is that our politicians are actually responsible for the problems we have; that conditions are the way they are because our elected Federal officials want them this way.]
Are the only people in the world who CREATE problems and then campaign against them.
Pasted from: http://www.the-office.com/545.htm
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings of the 300 million people in this country. It is those 545 people who are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses…
… Consider, if you will;
If both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
If all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing us that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits….. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does. And THAT problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.
Special interests and lobbyists have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. The House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible…
D. Excerpt copied from: The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America’s Money, by Smith, Craig R.; Ponte, Lowell (2012-11-01); Idea Factory Press. Kindle Edition, available in book form and Kindle e-reader from Amazon.com.
“…Food stamp use has also grown because Obamanomics has driven the nation into what for millions of low income families seems like a Great Depression. Most Americans do not see this because Depression-era soup lines have been replaced by a welfare check or food card in the mail.
- If today’s more-than-46 million food stamp recipients were gathered into a Progressive Soup Line, with each person taking up only one foot, this line could stretch from New York City south to Atlanta, then west to Los Angeles, then north to Seattle and east again to New York City, encircling most of the nation. Enough food stamp recipients would then be left over to create a second line that stretched from Los Angeles east to Chicago and then from Chicago south to Houston.
- If each person took up two feet, the Obama Depression soup line would stretch 17,564 miles, more than 70 percent of the distance around our planet.
Such an immense soup line would be evidence of Mr. Obama’s Invisible Depression, which is why you will never seen it illustrated this way on the mainstream media.
[From the information given above: 46,000,000+ people receiving food stamps divided by 5,280 feet per mile = a 8,712 mile long “soup line” of people that forms once a month. The hardship-handout-public support freebie remains invisible because the money goes into an account and the recipients aren’t required to stand in a public line at a charity station. Mr. Larry]
I read several UK news web sites daily to catch and track events for my 4dtraveler post. I find the UK news often provides a wider horizon, more depth and a less Disneyesque discussion of US and World news. My current favorites are: