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The Lost Art of "Critical Thinking"

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I wanted to know just what is making the American voting public tick. Sometimes I wish I didn’t want to understand anything, but I do, and for that I find myself wearing an albatross that is of  part and parcel of my stupid need to make sense out of things. If I were just a little more intelligent, I would just bury myself in a good book and forget about what is happening in this country. Life went on just fine before I arrived on the scene and it will do so after I’m gone. Sometimes looking at things that go on and trying to connect the dots can make one go insane. I’m rapidly approaching that point.


Why would I say something like that? The truth is that I was watching CNN (I should have listened to my Mother who years ago told me that “TV will rot your brain”. She didn’t know how right she was.) The talking head with a microphone was asking people coming to the Iowa Caucuses’ what their prime concern was regarding the nation. The answer that the majority of people gave was “immigration”. Immigration? Not the war, not terrorism, not the loss of liberty that we as a people have endured since 9/11, not the misgivings of the 9/11 Committee report, not the weakened dollar, not even the outsourcing of most of America’s manufacturing jobs. The answer they gave was immigration. Think about this, we aren’t talking about Arizona or California, we’re talking about Iowa. How is it that immigration became such a huge problem there?


I’m originally from New York. I spent ten years in Florida, thirty miles from Miami. I’ve seen waves of immigrants from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, Russia and God knows where else they came from. Many, many of the people I’ve met came here without the proper documentation. It was well known then as it is now. This “flood” of immigrants is nothing new, about the only thing “new” about it is the coverage that it gets from the “mainstream media”. This is a media that is no longer responsible for bringing the unvarnished truth to the American people. It is now owned by a select few people due to deregulation by the FCC and the mega-wealth of the richest 5% that control 90% of this nation’s riches. The mainstream media is obligated not only to its corporate owners, but is also obligated to the people that sponsor their programming. Now more than ever, despite the seemingly bad taste of some of the programming they air which lends itself to the belief that censorship is a thing of the past, nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are that bringing up subjects such as the war in Iraq, the instability of the dollar and the declining industrial base of the United States, the concerns about a cover-up relating to the events of 9/11, and the rampant rise of militarism by this country and the erosion of our personal freedoms since the inception of “The Global War on Terrorism” could potentially embarrass the government and the corporations that have made billions from the contracts awarded because of it.


Corporate corruption is virtually ignored as huge corporate donations by the defense industries like Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, General Electric (which is also one of the largest shareholders of many of these very same media outlets as is Westinghouse) and many others that buy huge amounts of airtime. The financial institutions that have added to the sub-prime mortgage crisis that threatens to undermine the dollar aren’t called on the carpet for the same reason, that is just some of the examples of why immigration is one of those few issues that doesn’t threaten to alienate the corporate owners of the media outlets or the potential advertisers that buy airtime. To constantly stoke the fires of this “immigration crisis” and beat the drums for ratings and to appear “on top of the news” while ignoring the corruption in Washington and the quagmire that is Iraq is good business. Raising the specter of illegal immigrants using the school systems and causing hospitals to declare bankruptcy doesn’t hurt corporate America, it is a ‘safe” subject that brings no unwelcome attention from the owners or advertisers, or the government. This is one reason that so many of the Iowa voters raised the subject of immigration as one of their prime concerns.


The facts are, if one watches only the big media outlets on a daily basis, the other problems that I mentioned don’t show up that often on their radar screens. With the violence against American troops down in the last few months, one would hardly know that we are embroiled in not one, but two overseas wars. The message that John Edwards, Ron Paul and Dennis Kuchinich are trying to get across to mainstream America that the corporate entities are running America falls unfortunately on deaf ears. Most Americans don’t exactly know what they are talking about. Speaking of John Edwards, if you didn’t look at the numbers on the chart when watching CNN last night, you would think that the race for the Democratic nomination was between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barak Obama. Edwards hardly had a mention even though he came in second. This has been the case since the beginning of the race. Edwards, Paul and Kuchinich have all but been forgotten by the media. Yet nobody complains.Has it really gotten to the point where we just expect the media to play favorites? When Fox TV excluded Ron Paul from tomorrow’s forum because he doesn’t have the support that the others have, even though he polls ahead of Thompson and has raised more money than the others in the last few months, why do we just go along with it?


It seems that Americans have lost the art of critical thought. At one time the networks had to give fair and balanced coverage of all the issues. It doesn’t appear that this is the case anymore. The reason is apparent to anyone that takes the time to wonder why. If people don’t take the time to understand what the issues of the day are, you will never know which issues have been excluded from the coverage of the news. If you only watch or listen to the mainstream media, you will never know what they aren’t talking about. It’s a sad commentary on this nation of ours when I have to write that you must dig to know the truth. You can find it on the internet, through foreign media, or by listening to knowledgeable individuals. You won’t find it on the mainstream media. There, you will only hear what they want you to know.


That’s the way that I see it.  

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Tim Gatto is Ret. US Army and has been writing against the Duopoly for the last decade. He has two books on Amazon, Kimchee Days or Stoned Colds Warriors and Complicity to Contempt.

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