The Power Of Propaganda ©

They and he plot, plan, and then the ploy . . .
Pay pundits to pass on the message.
Massage the message through the media.
Create what appears to be a news-broadcast, and is in actuality,
An advertisement for their, for his, agenda!

They and he do this with programs such as Medicare.
They and he seek the support of those most involved and most influential.
The American Association of Retired Persons,
An organization that was once an advocate for those that worked hard all their lives,
So that they might enjoy their elder years,
Is now, another authorized insurance establishment,
One with their own interests in mind, and just as his,
Making more money is behind their actions.

They and he present programs that stress success,
[Please read further for the rest of my reflections. See below.]

Also offered are these reports on Medicare Reform, ‘No Child Left Behind,’ and Social Security.
Please review "GAO: Bush Administration Illegally Used Taxpayer Funds for Medicare Propaganda"
Please weigh the words in “The San Diego Union-Tribune, Who will profit from Medicare reform?"
Please pursue further, ‘Every Child Left Behind,’ By Britt Robson"
Please ponder this offering, "Washington Post, Administration Paid Commentator, By Howard Kurtz"
Please read and reflect, New York Times, Social Security Bashing: A Historical Perspective

After, Another, "Max Speaks" on Social Security and more listen

Particularly the success of our youth, for they are our future.
Their words and his well in our hearts, “leave no child behind,”
Yet, once the structure is in place, throughout the country, children are being left further behind.
No matter. For they and he know how to set the stage and construct as they desire.
There are ample protests,
Professional educators, after experiencing the delivery and inequity of this plan,
Dissent most loudly.
They propose addressing the uniqueness of situations, schools, and students.
Nonetheless, the program is his pride.
Present an offer to a public figure, one with a wide audience; an offer that he cannot refuse.
Well, he could if he were a man of ethics; however, he is as he is.
Have him present the propaganda, the plan, and the precedent.
Have him sing the praises of “No Child Left Behind,”
Then, let the people decide;
However, give them only the information that is deemed desirable.

Now there is Social Security.
Slam the substance; damn the dynamics of history, and inflate the hype!
Say that there is no security in Social Security
Ignore that we are strong and stable with certainty for at least another thirty years.
That is if we do not dip into the funds to deflate our deficit.
Dismiss the changes that were made more than a decade ago, those that shaped a surplus.
Forget the folly of the past, the less-than-predictable market,
Overlook the monies available to each and every individual to invest.
Say that the system is in crisis; create it through the words,
“Say it often enough, and they will believe” this too.

The Relationship; We Meet . . . [Chapter One]

© copyright 2005 Betsy L. Angert

It began on April 15, tax day, and while many may think that it was quite taxing, quite a burden, even a bludgeoning, I wonder if it was not my beginning.  It began with an introduction, a request to keep company, at least for the time it takes to eat a meal, and then after a four-hour conversation, it became much more, much, much more.

We met in a restaurant, one that I ate in daily and had for years.  Actually, though I thought that April 15 was the date of our first meeting, he informed me that it was not.  Apparently, weeks earlier, when he was there with another woman, his friend, what he later revealed was his “best friend,” he passed by my table, my usual table, and shared a few words and a smile.  I did not recall this clearly, for in the many years of my dining at this locale, strangers stopped by my table frequently.  They smiled and shared a few words; yet, rarely were their words or their ways memorable to me.  His and he were as the rest, not meaningful and therefore barely worthy of my remembering.  They and he were merely moments.

However, this night was different.

He stopped; he leaned over the partition, brushed up against the plants that lined the divider, and asked if he could join me.  He asked “Would you like company during your dinner?”  I said “Yes, that would be nice.”  He gathered his food from the smorgasbord and sat down.  I do not recall our first words or why the conversation went as it did, yet I do recall that the discussion was animated and active, each of us sharing our awareness for all aspects of life.  We discussed in depth, politics, philosophies, psychology, people, and our parallels.  We discussed our differences; we discovered that our deepest divide was political.  He was always Right and I was and am always Left.  Would this predict my being left behind or left more balanced and authentically aligned?

We spoke and laughed for hours, three hours and forty-five minutes to be exact.  Then it was time for the table talk to end.  The restaurant was closing.  We walked to the parking lot and it seemed so cosmic to me, his car was parked close to mine.  Though it was late, we could not stop chatting; going our separate ways was delayed.  We spent another fifteen minutes engaging and laughing.  He asked for my telephone number.  I willingly gave it to him.  He did not write it down.  For he, as I, can recall telephone numbers easily, from memory.  Then, we parted ways.

I left the lot first.  He was close behind me.  We each drove south on Culver.  As I approached the first intersection, the light turned yellow and I stopped.  In his stupor, possibly reflecting on the energy of the evening, he did not realize that I had stopped and he or his car, almost slammed into mine.  I heard, saw, or felt the near impact.  Looking back, into my rear view mirror, I saw that he was waving and smiling, slightly embarrassed.  When the light turned green we each turned left.  He turned right at the next corner as I proceeded on, heading for home.

Five minutes later, when I arrived at my apartment, I checked my answering machine for messages; there was one.  It was from him.  He asked me to call; he wanted to see me again.  He left his number.  I called, immediately.  We arranged to get together two days later, on Friday, for dinner.  I wondered why I was doing this.  I did not feel as though I was interested in him and yet, the energy.  I was intrigued.

[Chapter One in a series]

Mandate or Minimal? ©

He says that he has a mandate; he has capital to spend.
He would know, for when he asks, Congress authorizes its printing, the capital that is.
Yes, he does have capital!
The capital he has, is the majority on Capitol Hill.
Moreover, there is a mandate and it is monumental, monumentally minimal!
Of all second-term Presidents throughout history, he has the smallest margin of victory!
The forty-third, now forty-fourth President of the United States can claim a success like no other.
No other President was ever re-elected with less of an edge.
Yet, there is a power to this president.
He persuades!
As the Bush Administration so frequently states,
“Say it often enough and people will believe it.”
– Conceived of on Election Eve and Expelled on Inauguration Eve

Later, I read an interesting piece.  Please read and reflect upon The Left Coaster.
  “Despite Contrived Images Yesterday, Bush Is On Shaky Political Ground”

How Many More? ©

How many reports must credible sources release before we recognize what is?
How many pills must the pharmaceuticals produce before we accept that these do not cure our ills?
How many persons will lose Medicare benefits, before we realize that people will die?
How many persons will not receive Social Security, not for fatal flaws,
But because we have used the funds to fill in for budget blunders?
How many children will be left behind, now that there is the false hope of “No Child Left Behind?”
How many persons will be without the benefits of full employment, now that the economy is expanding?
How many uninsured will it take til we know, that too many people cannot participate in preventative medicine?
How many more military industrial complexes will it take til we know that these are not democracy?
How many worldwide deaths will it take til we know that too many people have died?
How many gaffes will George W. growl, before we realize that these are as he intends?
The answer my friend is blowing in the whirlwind, the answer is blowing in the media, political whirlwind.
  – with thanks to Bob Dylan

Please consider other sources, such as, “Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine”
Please ponder other presentations, ‘Medicare Reform: The Real Winners,’
Please read and reflect, New York Times, Social Security Bashing: A Historical Perspective
Please consider information, such as, ‘Every Child Left Behind,’ By Britt Robson"
Please contemplate the concerns of many, ‘Coalition Casualty Count’
Please also consider, “Iraq death toll ‘soared post-war’
Please peruse another reference, . . . ‘bring ’em on, is the Bush doctrine!,’ By Craig B Hulet
Please read an MSNBC report, reflect, and . . . ‘Bush regrets language that hurt diplomacy,’

The Use of “You” . . . The Disciplines Differ, As Do We! ©

“Invest.”  [Might this imply “you need to invest?”]?
“Try!”  [Possibly, this implies “you need to try, or you need try this!].
“You must” . . . think, say, do, feel, or be as the speaker believes is right and correct.

What might these expressions arouse?
What might these statements stimulate?
How might these words alter the dynamics between the speaker and the person that these are said to?
Then there are these similar statements . . .

“You need to . . .”
“You should . . .”
“Might I suggest to you . . .?
“Have you thought to . . .?”
Were these words ever said to you?  Did you truly believe that the words were said with love, care, concern, and compassion?  Were these words intended as constructive criticism?  Might you have convinced yourself that these were expressions of kindness, knowing, or wanting to believe that they were spoken by someone that you would imagine, loves you?  Did these words create a connection between you and the person that passed these judgments?  Did you sense the serenity of [mutual] understanding?

Possibly, when words such as these are said to you, you feel that the speaker is outside your mind, heart, body, soul, and spirit; they could not possibly know what is best for you, or why you choose as you do.  Did they consider that you had thought of these possibilities prior to their sharing?  Did they ask?  Do they truly care or know of your thoughts, feelings, experiences, or did they simply state what they believe is best and therefore desirable [for them]?

Their words may seem as dictums.  Psychologists, social scientists, and those that research human development caution us all to consider the use of the word “you” when speaking with others.  The use of “you” may be and is often experienced as a command, a demand, and often creates defensiveness.  People tend to react when they are told what they might “try,” “invest in,” “must,” “need to,” or “should,” think, say, do, feel or be.  Reactions are the result of fear or hurt, and I wonder why would we wish to speak in a manner that might cause fear or hurt another.  Why would we presume, assume, or believe that we could possibly truly know the history, thoughts, feelings, experiences of anyone, even ourselves.  Are we not each evolving, even within?

When words wield as a judgment, as though another knows what is best for us, we resent, rebel, revolt, and often react in destructive manners [those that are destructive to others and to ourselves.]  I believe that beings are interesting souls; they believe that they know what is best for themselves and others and often, if they choose to be reflective, they discover that they are in error.

What, for me, initially created what I now experience as an error in my own use of the word “you,” began in elementary school.  In early English classes I was told, as many of us were, never to write in the “first person.”  Only those that are egocentric, self-centered, or even the dreaded “conceited” use the word “I.”  Who among us would wish to bare the burden of these labels; it certainly is not me.  For decades, I followed this decisive didactic.  I wrote and spoke in generalizations, using “you” to speak of the whole, considering that this represented an openness to the universal, us, as a whole, we . . . you [and possibly, an implied, “I”.]  I did as I was taught to do, and I trusted that the words of others [educators and those elders that must know] were correct, caring, and constructive.

Then the worst occurred, and I discovered that it was the best for me.  I met a man and it began, a relationship that was so bad that I did not even realize that I was in a relationship!  [More writings on that will be offered later, in future bloggings.]  This man has life experiences far different than my own; he was the black to my white, the dark to my light and yet we were similar.  I saw myself in him, just as when one looks in a mirror, the reflection is reversed.  He shared that his world, beginning as a child, was one of criticism, cutting comments, and cruelty in the name of kindness or so his history seemed to him.  Therefore, these became his filter; he interpreted his feelings through this expectation, even if these were not the intent of another’s expressions.

The depth of my feelings and the extreme manner in which this man might interpret my meanings created a need or a want for me to consider what I had never known, what a word means to us, is not what it means to another!  What we believe is natural, universally understood, or “as it is,” is not, for another.  For the most part, when we as beings relate, we do so through our own unique history, our own emotions and experiences, and the essence of how these effect us.  We forget or we are not aware that another’s world is not ours, that when we use “you” we are generalizing from our own “self.”  While we as beings may be similar, none of us is ever the same as another.

Meeting this man, having this experience, was the cause for my reading, research, reflection, and realizations.  The depth of my caring caused me to consider what I had not.  I considered what part I play in a partnership.  I realized that every exchange is a partnership.  With this reflection and realization, I could not help but conclude that when I use the word “you” in speaking with, or writing to another, I am eliminating empathy.  When I use the word, “you” it seems a dictum and creates defensiveness.  The person reading or hearing “you” may feel slightly disturbed, truly dismissed, diminished, and denied of their unique thoughts, feelings, experiences, and worth.  Granted, people have perfected not necessarily revealing their reactions; however, there is a reaction.

Intellectually, I knew that the disciplines of English and Psychology differ in their assessment of the use of “you” and the reactions that these might create.  I knew, and yet . . . for me, the knowledge was not integrated into my awareness or actions.  Personal experiences alone offered ample opportunities for me to assess that people prefer to choose what is right or correct for them and that the use of the word “you” does not seem to offer that freedom.  Nonetheless . . .

For me what is folly, fascinating, and even funny is that your, mine, or our actions, reactions, often occur without awareness.  It seems that what many of us think, say, do, feel, and are, is often not consistent, integrated, nor have we internalized what we intellectually know.  We claim to be sensitive to others, and to our selves, and yet we often do not realize that what you, I, or we choose creates the chaos, trauma, and drama that intellectually we would never wish for.  Do you, I, or we consciously consider that our own choices will create what comes?  How often do your, mine, or our choices create calm, serenity, and peace?  Might we not prefer peace?  How often do choices create the contrary?  How often do we create what, consciously, we do not crave?  Humans, for me, are quite humorous!!!

If we think through the humor of our own edicts and errors, I believe that we all will experience the comedy of life and learning.  I did, and I am.  The emotional effects of my experience with this man were enormous and the affect was life altering, hooray!!!  Happiness grew, I grew, all in my world was more whole, more wonderful, more meaningful, and I experienced an enlightenment that I never imagined.  I learned that empathy is the best educator and the truest teacher!

To empathize I must realize that I can only speak for myself.  I can and do care for and of you when I do not speak for you!  Therefore, I propose that using “I” may not be egocentric; it is the contrary.  If I speak for “you,” if I state what “you must, need to, or should” think, say, do, feel, or be, than am I not egocentric, believing that I know what is best for you?  Now, I believe that when “I” consciously choose to honor “you,” I must express my beliefs as my own, acknowledging that we are different, just as the disciplines are.  When I write in first-person I am expressing that my thoughts, feelings, sayings, doings, and being are mine alone!  I cannot choose for “you” or for others and thus, “I” use “I,” rather than speak for, or choose for, "you!

Towards a desire to grow and glow greater, together, I write this reflection.  A comment, a constructive criticism, a communication, and one that I consider the catalyst for a possible convergence, stimulates this sharing.  The comment was offered  . . .
Anonymous said…

“Invest in the uses of adding ‘oomph’, and maybe a little humor, to your writings.  An essay is not just words to mull over; they must inspire.
You refer to yourself constantly – for example: ‘I am a person that chooses consciously not only to be; I choose to think.’  Try:’ You must not only choose to be; you must also choose to think.’ -av²”

Ah, what we do not know and assume, when we do not ask another of their history, heart, and head, when we presume to know what is within another and or best for them.  My hope is that sharing this personal reflection will inform.  Yes, I have researched, read, reasoned, and reflected, thus realizing that the use of the first-person point-of-view is, for me, vital.  The process that led to this preference was an avid pursuit.  When the effects of wisdom and words became personal, my pondering began.  The evolution was more than interesting; information was internalized.

Anonymous, possibly “you” too will reflect and realize what happens when people profess to know “”you”,” to know who “you” are and what is best for “you.”  Possibly, “you” might experience how “you” can accidentally hurt one that “you” love when “you” profess to know what is best for them, as though “you” know what they “must,” “try,” or “invest in” better than they might know for themselves.  Possibly, “you” will, as I did, recognize that only we know what is best for us.  Possibly.  Then, “you” too will internalize information that “you” know intellectually.  Whether “you” do or do not, I thank “you” for being the cause for this possible need to clarify.  I experience that every exchange is a cause.  There will be an effect, though frequently invisible, and this effect will affect each of us for the better, “you,” and me.

“It is with the heart that ones sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,”
From The Little Prince, By Antoine de Saint-Exupery
? Exploring the Invisible and the Intellectual, Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman

Destruction, Devastation, Debt, and Delivery ©

In this time of turmoil I am torn.  There is so much death, so much destruction, so much devastation; it is more than the human mind might imagine.  Yet, for me, the death and destruction that natural disasters cause is not nearly as confusing as that which humans inflict upon each other.  We humans inflict pain upon each other in many manners.  We impose pain that is physical and pain that is psychological.  We cause pain when we destroy, devastate, create debt, and do not deliver.

An aside: Sadly, it seems that we often believe that we give more then we do.  The contrast between what we believe we bestow upon others and what we do differs.  In recent days, there have been numerous discussions of this discrepancy.  Mostly, the focus is on charitable contributions.  In America, it seems that many think that their country is the most magnanimous.  Yet, while the intentions may be wonderful, the actions often do not reflect these.  Apparently, this can be a personal truth and one that is public policy.  America allocates less than one percent of its’ budget to Foreign Assistance.  The distribution of these funds is not as many of us might believe.  There is a stark contrast between those for diplomacy, those for defense, and those set aside for natural disasters.

Please read and reflect upon the Overview of United States Foreign Aid Budget.  Pages 19 and 22  may be of interest.

While natural disasters destroy, devastate, and bring about debt, they deliver.  They deliver life in a loving manner.  Natural disasters cause us to evaluate, to create, to build, and to do it all better than we had done before.  Natural disasters cause people to build physical bridges over land and sea; they also cause people to build bridges and bonds with each other.  People torn asunder long ago, and remaining so for decades, come together during natural disasters.  People living in abject poverty, and given little or no attention, little or no assistance during the “good” times, are helped during natural disasters.  People that prefer to ignore the poor, the needy, the deprived, and the destitute, view these same persons differently when they become survivors of a natural disaster.

Communities and countries extend financial assistance during natural disasters.  Even when the giving of the money causes the giver debt, people are willing and wanting to give; they are willing and wanting to spend time and money.  They want to extend themselves, to extend their hands and their hearts, and ultimately, they do.  While they may initially hesitate for any and many reasons, hearts, minds, and pocketbooks do open.  The money is well spent, well meant, and well worth the debt.  For what is created from this flow of cash comes back, and back, and back again.  This debt, serves, satisfies, and supplies such meaning.  This debt is not truly debt; it is true devotion.

Yet, for me, in this time of ample destruction, devastation, and debt, our devotion is in question.  Will we deliver?  Currently, there is death and destruction on many fronts, some imposed by man, some imposed by nature.  We have committed ourselves to contributing to each.  Yet, I wonder.  There are numerous reports that, in the past, money that was committed during a natural disaster did not come in full.  However, money that was and is committed for war flows freely.  This truth causes me turmoil!

We claim to be devoted to principles, purposes, to profundity, and or to the powers that be and yet, our actions, more accurately, our reactions demonstrate that we are not, at least not always.  We claim our devotion to good, to love, to peace, to sharing prosperity equally; we claim to be devoted to our ideas or to the ideal.  Some claim a devotion to God, to Allah, to the Almighty, to Mohammed, to the Lord Jesus, to Hashem, or to Buddha.  Each of these espouses equity, empathy, honor, and harmony and yet, though we often say that we believe in these, we do not always act as though we do.

In times of natural disaster, we state our care and our concern.  We commit ourselves; we declare that we will contribute.  We promise to provide cash.  We volunteer to send medicine to cure the ills that occur under circumstances such as these.  We commit to reconstruction; we realize the need for homes, hospitals, and schools.  Yet, while we often begin these projects and intend to extend, as time goes on, as the extent of destruction and the devastation from a natural disaster fades from the minds of those far away, those at a [physical or emotional] distance, they/we no longer choose to deliver.

We focus on what we prefer, what we incite, what we instigate, and what we are intent upon.  Often these are our wars.  When we opt to war, we freely offer funding.  The destruction and devastation of war causes great debt, yet this debt does not flow back in the form of human kindness and growth.  Yet, when we war, we deliver.  Funds sent to a war effort are more stable then those sent to assist after a natural disaster.  We are willing and do invest funds more freely when the intent is destruction.  Funds intended for construction do not flourish.

It is for this reason that I ask; how can we say that we will support the survivors of earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis, and when often, we do not fulfill our commitments, fully?  Possibly this time will be different, however history often repeats itself.  We may wish to believe that we learn from the past, yet, there are centuries of evidence to support that often we do not.

We fought the war to end all wars, twice, and we all know that we may live to fight it again.  History repeats.  We commit to the principles of love and devotion, over, and over, and over again.  Then we war, we wound, and we wield weapons, vowing never to do this again.  History repeats.  We actively work for peace then continually cause conflict.  We do this repeatedly in our personal, professional, and political lives.  History repeats.  Therefore, I ask, this time, may we learn from our past?  May we do as pledged and as we promised?  May we lessen the turmoil that tragedy can bring and begin to build in ways that we never have?  May we not repeat history, at least this time?  May we experience destruction, devastation, and debt, during a natural disaster and still choose to deliver?

Please consider other sources, among these  . . . ‘The Aid Charade,’ By Jody K. Biehl.”

He Plays Hard. He Works Hard? For Power ©

His first year in office, actually after less than a year, he took time for a month’s vacation.
During that August break, the fate of America was reported to be at stake.
Yet, in his whimsical way, he wiped his brow, and did not consider the possibility of how this could be.
He considered it all a ploy, and he continued to play.

A month later, while posing with pupils, the planes struck, and he was stuck.
He knew not what to do.

He did as he does; he continued to play!
President.

Presidential and presiding over the most powerful country, 
He pondered.
This “man of action" did not act; he did not noticeably react.
He hesitated, in hopes of postponing the problem.
Yet, time marches on and it did!

The first tower was hit, and there was no response.
Time marched on . . .
The second tower too was a target.
Time marched on . . .
He needed time,
For he knows how to play, how to pose,
He knows how to create the ploys that help him to appear powerful
Yet . . .
This "man of action" . . .
Reacts, responds, recognizes, and realizes slowly, very slowly.

Then the earthquake came,
The tsunami rolled in,
People panicked with reason.
Many countries came to the aid of the eleven nations concerned.
They did so immediately.
He waited.
He hesitated.
This happening might hinder his play.
He was accused of being slow to act . . .
Then, through his representatives, he offered fifteen million,
People thought this less than what a “man of action,” an all-powerful nation would do.
Thus, defensively he responded to what he felt offensive,
He then offers twenty.
Realizing that his belated benevolence was still be questioned, he offered more,
Now thirty-five . . .
Since the initial writing of this,
The amount has increased ten-fold, and he bestows the services of his brother.

Just as with the war, when there is a need to prove his power,
To prove that he is presidential, that he is a “man of action," money is no object!
Yet, just this week further cuts to Medicare were proposed.
Suffering schools are expecting further reductions; their budgets stop short of serving students well.
Money to his pride, “No Child Left Behind,” is also not funded fully.
Deficits are not built in a day; billions go towards building this one, each and every day.
Billions are spent in Iraq alone daily, searching for weapons of mass destruction,
Occupying or is it liberating,
Imposing or is it delivering democracy.
Yet, is not one of largest weapon of mass destruction delay, delivered by a man that prefers to play?