Category Archives: Event Paths

Comparing historical events.

Crossing the Line with Hate Speech

crossingtheline

by Rick Bretz

During the congressional hearings on Facebook management responsibilities concerning data,  one of the questions to CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “What is hate speech?”  Zuckerberg hesitated for a moment and the congressmen interjected, “I can tell you what it isn’t, hate speech is not something you disagree with.”

[Amendment I.] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The congressman wanted to drill down on the accusation that Facebook selectively let liberal political viewpoints get through their algorithms designed to block hate speech and bullying type posts and but also block conservative slanted articles. .

Who knows how their code is written and what type of firewall configurations they use? The more interesting part of the exchange was “What is the clear definition of hate speech?”  Do you know it when you see it and is it actual hate speech?

The representative had a point but he wasn’t completely right because most people also disagree with certain forms of hate speech.  Hate speech can have a general definition but the details concisely and clearly defined.  As Mark Zuckerberg testified at his hearing, “Details matter.”

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

The Supreme Court defined it this way in 1942. In the case of Beauharnais v. Illinois , Justice Frank Murphy explained where free speech can be judged as outside the accepted normal speech. These instances include,  “lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words — those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

All hate speech and free speech does not fall into the verbal or written bucket.  Hate speech can also be an act or symbol such as a burning cross on a yard.  It is noteworthy the Supreme Court has sided with the defendants or refused to hear the cases over such hateful acts as Nazi marches and a cross burning on yard.

Adolf Hitler’s escalation of the subtle hatred to the blatant gave him time to build his military and economy before waging war with Europe, Eastern Europe, Britain and its commonwealth, Africa and the Soviet Union.

From Adolf Hitler’s speech in 1937, given on January 30th, the anniversary of the Nazi takeover of power in 1933, nuried deep within the pages of the text comes this, “.…the failure to recognize the importance of conserving the blood and the race free from inter-mixture and thereby the racial aspect and character which are God’s gift and God’s handiwork. It is not for men to discuss the question of why Providence created different races, but rather to recognize the fact that it punishes those who disregard its work of creation.

And further along this, “…so the blood-and-race doctrine of the National Socialist Movement will bring about a revolutionary change in our knowledge and therewith a radical reconstruction of the picture which human history gives us of the past and will also change the course of that history in the future.”

He was talking about the Jewish communities and culture and also was warning everyone who paid attention that his words would be followed by action.

This passage is notable because of his words after 1940 when giving speeches.   These words were spoken later during World War II, speaking to a crowd at the Sports Palace in Berlin, January 30 1942, “And we say that the war will not end as the Jews imagine it will, namely with the uprooting of the Aryans, but the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews.”

Hitler’s party and propaganda ministry later published a pamphlet with the offensive title, “The Jew as a World Parasite” in 1944 for “educational” purposes.

Hate speech in America could be just as vile when referring to races, gender and sexual orientation from groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other organizations.  Hate speech can be and often is protected by the First Amendment.

Freedom of speech ceases to be protected when it incites violence against people resulting in injury or death.  The crossing of the line should be recognized when it initially occurs.

Recognizing hate turning into violence several years later as in the case of Germany and the holocaust, or in the case of way the United States treated the Indian Nations in the 1800s can be disastrous for a whole section of society.   Issues remain concerning  the Trail of Tears episode and President Andrew Jackson’s decision.  Many countries have their records that force their citizens to hang their heads in shame when reading the pages of history.  The British have theirs, and so do the Russians, Australians and the Japanese.

What is important is that leaders and citizens learn from it so the world will be a better place.  It’s a constant struggle as we all can see when turning toward the Middle East or more recently when looking back at the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Facebook is confronting tough questions about what is permitted on their social network as well as what they do with their data metrics.  Discerning real hate speech from different viewpoints is an issue that must be resolved so bad actors don’t have a platform for recruitment.  These are questions that should answers by getting all of the right people in a room.

Some people talk or post and then go back to their cave.  Some people talk and then they turn it into action.  These are the people we all have to guard against and prevent them from carrying out a plan that could maim or kill innocent people.

 

Notable Links:

http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does

https://www.recode.net/2018/4/10/17216734/live-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-testimony-senate-hearing-data

https://www.thoughtco.com/hate-speech-cases-721215

https://www.npr.org/2011/03/03/134239713/France-Isnt-The-Only-Country-To-Prohibit-Hate-Speech

http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/hitler1.htm

http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/weltparasit.htm

http://www.worldwarii.org/p/hitler-speeches.html

http://ww2history.com/key_moments/Holocaust/Hitler_talks_of_Jewish_annihilation

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/nazi-statements

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/anti-semitism

 

 

First? Ohio or North Carolina

By Rick Bretz

Driving the nation’s Interstate Highways you may have noticed Ohio and North Carolina license plates trumpeting their aviation claims to fame.  Ohio license plates show the state is the “Birthplace of Aviation” while North Carolina license plates have a “First in Flight” motto on their plates.

ohiplate

first in flight

Over the years, a disagreement among these states developed concerning the one that can claim the birthplace of aviation.  The disagreement formed because Orville and Wilbur Wright lived in Dayton, Ohio, and engineered and tested their prototypes near there.  However, the Wright Brothers first documented powered flight occurred on the Outer Banks near Kitty Hawk, NC, where the sea wind could help them achieve their goal.

To this important issue the Federal government stepped in and Congress decided the issue in 2003 by voting Dayton, Ohio, as the birthplace of aviation by 378-3.  You can probably guess which state the “Ney” votes came from, North Carolina.

It makes sense that the home of Wilbur and Orville Wright is the birthplace of aviation. Dayton is where they grew up, went to school and set up their bicycle shop.  They tested their plans in a field near there, fine tuning the engine and the wings, before moving the plane to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

the-wright-brothers

This is explained in great detail by a book written by David McCullough, “The Wright Brothers.”   The book describes how meticulous and mechanical they were while developing a prototype.  McCullough also explains in detail the challenges involved in developing an engine that would produce enough power and speed to lift an airplane.  The engineering also had to take into account stability and aerodynamics.  All of this while other inventors and engineers around the world were racing to produce the first documented flight.

The author also gives us an insight to the personalities of Wilbur and Orville Wright.  McCullough’s literary genius and research portrays the Wright Brother’s parents and family members while giving us insight into their work ethic and passion for research.

After reading the book,  the Wright Brothers would be pleased to have their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, named as the Birthplace of Aviation.  However, the argument over Ohio versus North Carolina would have amused them.  They saw moving to North Carolina as a practical matter not only for testing their plane but also as financially sound due to budget constraints. the were pragmatic and were interested in solving issues.  The license plate mottoes for both states are correct.  Ohio is the birthplace of aviation while North Carolina can boast that it is the state where the first documented flight began the new age of flying.  To cement their status in aviation, as an afterthought, Ohio can boast the largest number of astronauts, 24, including John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.  If you are keeping score, the most astronauts from colleges are The United States Naval Academy, The United States Air Force Academy, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in that order.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RriKI7u72Xs

 

Notable Links:

https://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0310/p02s01-usgn.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ohio-defends-status-birthplace-aviation-dispute-article-1.2219588

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/16/flight-wright-brothers-gustave-whitehead-connecticut-ohio-north-carolina

http://www.wral.com/3-states-tussle-over-bragging-rights-to-1st-flight/13031320/

https://www.ncpedia.org/aviation/overview

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/06/14/loc_ohioflight14.html

https://www.britannica.com/technology/history-of-flight

 

The 10,000 Day War and Ken Burns’ Vietnam War PBS Series

by Rick Bretz

Before analyzing these two documentaries, it is important to note the definition of a documentary.

From the Oxford English Dictionary–Documentary: Using pictures and interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.

Documentaries strive to be objective but their reliance on human beings makes that goal honorable but a little out of reach. People have their own views and biases as witnesses to history and those who write their first draft of history are subjective.  Documentaries are the truth according to who produces them. In the end, documentaries can be a source for information but just like all forms of research, a scholar must seek other sources and make his or her own conclusions.

Vietnam War (1)

Many Vietnam War documentaries have been produced but two stand out.  One was done more than 30 years ago while the other aired recently on PBS.   One was produced by a Canadian journalist and narrated by Richard Basehart while the other was produced by the noted documentary producer Ken Burns and narrated by actor Peter Coyote, airing recently on PBS.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-16568035

http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/timelines/vietnam_timeline.htm

 

The Vietnam story goes back centuries before the United States became a nation. The people of  Vietnam were conquered and abused by the Chinese and French before the American government and military were major players in the Vietnamese struggle for independence.  Ho Chi Minh wanted to speak with Woodrow Wilson after World War II in Paris.  However, politics and diplomacy married with class defined government protocols can be complicated.  Not seeing then how Ho Chi Minh could be a leader is understandable.  What is not excusable is how the United States could ignore the Vietnamese leader after working with him during World War II to defeat the Japanese.  It’s only because they believed France’s Charles de Gaulle when he suggested the communist ideology would be taking a foothold in Western Europe.   Leaders saw the dominoes falling and became worried about the Red Menace.  This was also the time that the United States government thought that communism was infiltrating American society from Hollywood to the local unions.  The Korean War and the influence of Communist China was also dominating foreign policy strategy during the early 1950s.

12th_Inf,_4th_Inf_Div,_Vietnam_War_Hill_530

They documentaries interview key players or use interviews recorded years ago.   The 10,000 Day War is less passionate and more forensically produced.  It tries to stay away from making judgments and conclusions.  The recent Ken Burns documentary uses more editorial language and interviews veterans and other key players to illicit an emotional response.  Both of them use archival news footage and photographs.

They were both ambitious in their attempt to explain why the world, an especially the United States, became entangled in a war many people thought we had no business waging.  They both make the point that our commitments to our allies like France’s Charles de Gaulle and the strict following of the Truman Doctrine led to sending advisers that eventually led to more than a half million servicemen fighting there in the 1960s.

In both documentaries, the Presidential Administrations that were a part of the Vietnam problem don’t look good.  The early administrations, Eisenhower and Kennedy, look better than others because they were wary of the South Vietnamese leadership in the early stages.  In addition,  the US wasn’t fully committed yet and the early administrations conclusions were that “this is their war and the South Vietnamese were going to have to win it.”

The one criticism of The 10, 000 Day War is that it is a US dominated production and doesn’t give any other country’s diplomatic view, and that it doesn’t take to task the French Government’s insistence in occupying Vietnam after World War II when France was liberated themselves from Nazi rule.  The Ken Burns’ series points out that the only reason France wanted to control Vietnam was national pride and the economic exploitation of its resources.  The PBS series points out that the French occupiers treatment of the local population gave rise to Ho Chi Minh’s recruitment efforts.  The Burn’s PBS series also makes a better attempt to explain the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese points of view.

Ho Chi Minh for is part couldn’t understand why the Americans couldn’t see his side of wanting to gain his country’s freedom from colonial rule.  He reasoned the United States was in the same position 200 hundred years ago so they must be able to relate to his struggle.  He didn’t count on America’s fear of communism and the spread of it across the globe. What is fascinating to know from the PBS series is that Ho Chi Minh’s influence in the decision making process was diminished late in his life.

The 10,000 Day War documentary is called that because it lasted that long.  Scholars might say the United States is still fighting the war by the decisions they make concerning other wars and because they are trying to make up for the ill-treatment of the Vietnam veterans after they came back.  The PBS series does a good job of telling the veterans story and their experiences there.

Vietnam veterans are looked upon wrongly as fighters who went over, lost the war, were there to do drugs and commit war atrocities.  As with many events, negative headlines become the perception and finally the reality.  The movies from Hollywood never helped the perception.  This is far from the truth.  The majority of Vietnam veterans were honorable and went over there to do a job and come back alive. They were put in a situation they had little, if no control, over. They made the trip, they didn’t skip out or make excuses.  Some of them came back alive but 58, 220 didn’t make it.  That’s a high price to pay for a generation.

Both documentaries are worth watching but they are both just additional sources. Do your own research and make your own conclusions.  You walk away from both of them shaking your head and wondering why decisions were made and why opportunities were not explored, especially after World War II.

Notable Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam:_The_Ten_Thousand_Day_War

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvo3yeTYvNc

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/vietnam-ten-thousand-day-war/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174323/

https://undertheradar.military.com/2013/04/revisiting-the-ten-thousand-day-war/

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vietnam_War_(TV_series)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ken-burnss-vietnam-war-is-no-profile-in-courage/

http://kenburns.com/films/vietnam/

 

 

When War Invades Your Personal Universe

tanks rolling through town

 

by Rick Bretz

“The Gate of Hell has opened and shrapnel came through the windows,” a Gaza resident said today. The Gaza resident’s statement could apply to any war throughout history.  One hard truth remains: Once the gate of hell opens it is difficult to close.

When people can’t settle their differences through diplomacy, civilians inevitably see the failed results at their front door step. History has proven that leaders and generals believe adversaries surrender when spears and arrows find their way to a civilian’s living space. News channel broadcasters describe horrific tragedies from current events daily.  It happened in Persian Gulf and Afghanistan Wars, the Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, World War I all the way back to the first earthly disagreement over territorial rights.

It’s happening now in the Ukraine and in the Middle East while Hamas and Israel fire rockets at each other. For most non-combatant civilians, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. Some civilians even pick a side until they see at what a cause costs. What matters then is the smell of death has entered their universe and they want it to stop.

The First Battle of Manassas Battlefield
The First Battle of Manassas Battlefield

July 21st marks the anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas or the First Battle of Bull Run as the Union Government called it. The battle marked the first major fight between the Armies of Virginia. If there is one truth other than death inside the universe of battle and that is the fight will always involve civilians on the battlefield. Such is the case at the Battle of First Manassas or Bull Run depending on your loyalties during the Civil War.  The Confederates refer to the battle as Manassas while the Union called it Bull Run.  The signs leading to the battlefield today read “Manassas” as you travel down Interstate 66 in Virginia just outside Clifton and Centreville, Va.

Judith Henry's grave site along with her children.
Judith Henry’s grave site along with her children.

A key part of the Manassas battle occurred on Henry Hill around the Henry House. Judith Carter Henry, 84 or 85 years old, stubbornly refused to leave her upstairs bedroom while the battle continued around her house. Judith Henry was killed by a Union cannon shell meant for the snipers who were using her house. She was the first civilian killed at First Battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861. The house had been in the family for a number of years and grave markers remain on the battlefield in front of the house rebuilt in1870.

General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's monument.
General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s monument.

The battlefield is a place where you can get a sense of the “Universe of Battle.”  This is where armies and governments from both sides may have formulated the idea that this war would be over later than sooner as General Tecumseh Sherman predicted at the beginning.  Another dynamic general,  General Thomas Jackson got his name that would go down in history when General Bernard Bee yelled, “There is Jackson standing there like a stone wall.”  So it was General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as the name remained throughout history. Some accounts have claimed that the statement was meant as a criticism of Jackson’s refusal to move and help his fellow units. However, history proves that Jackson’s unit suffered many casualties during the battle.

When walking most battlefields including this one, the observer gets the sense that communication must have been difficult. They used flag signal codes and runners for communication. Command and control as well as integrating battle elements such as cannon units, cavalry and infantry must have been difficult. Today’s satellite communications and almost instant intelligence data from the field gives today’s commanders more time to make decisions.

The phrase “Universe of Battle” suggests different meanings to a person’s point of view. It can represent the horrors of war invading a civilian’s universe as in the case of the recent downing of Malaysian  Flight MH17 or the conflicts in the Middle East between Hamas and the Israeli defense forces.

The universe of battle could also mean the particular space you’re living in when fighting in a battle. The kind of universe where all your senses reach a new level  from hearing every audio wave,  and smelling the cannon’s gunpowder to seeing the blood on wounded soldiers and civilians.  It’s a bubble atmosphere until it’s all over.

IMG_3295

I choose to visit battlefields to honor those who find themselves, through the accidental fate or personal choice, in a situation where they have to fight or die for a cause, defense of a country, for the elimination of a social system,  for a particular religion or for the continuance of mankind’s maturity.  Maybe there will be a time when people will cease creating new battlefield parks.  Imagine.

 

Notable Links:

http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/bullrun.html

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

http://www.nps.gov/mana/historyculture/first-manassas.htm

http://civilwarwiki.net/wiki/Henry_House_(Manassas)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_A._Haskell

http://www.stonewalljackson.org/

 

 

 

 

American Battle Monuments Commission

I just learned a few weeks ago that one of my distant relatives from my Mother’s family tree was killed during the Civil War,  near the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania. After I heard that, I started thinking about the Arlington National Cemetery and all of the other Veteran’s Cemeteries. They  remind us that several have put on the uniform and put their lives in danger so that others can have a chance at the American dream. The headstones in the cemetery usually designate their religion of choice. For me, when I visit the cemeteries, I first notice two things. I note when they were born and when they died. Most of the time, the age is under 30 years old. I always think about the realization that when I am having a bad day, some people don’t have a day at all.

When I think about it that way, driving home in a traffic jam doesn’t seem so bad at all.

The US military cemetery at St. Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France
The US military cemetery at St. Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

Memorial Day is when we stop to remember our veterans and especially the courageous souls that gave their lives to support America and, more importantly, to prevent their battle buddies from getting killed on their missions. We honor those who came back but we should especially remember military men and women who gave everything and never returned. These people rest in several overseas cemeteries that honor our fallen. It is striking  to see the number of service men and women buried in foreign lands, almost 125,000 souls resting in 25 burial cemeteries throughout world.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial

Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission in 1923. The Executive Branch organization honors the service, achievement and sacrifice of the US Armed Forces. The commission establishes and maintains US military memorials, cemeteries and markers where the US Armed Forces has served since April 6, 1917.

Here is a list of the American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries the organization maintains along with other pertinent information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Battle_Monuments_Commission
also
http://www.abmc.gov/
I am a veteran and my wife is a veteran. My father is a Korean War veteran. Several of my family members are veterans. Several of my friends from all the services who served with me are no longer alive today. I miss them and I honor them every day.  I honor and remember all of my Armed Forces brothers and sisters who gave their lives.

 

Notable Links:
http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/10/travel/american-cemeteries-overseas/index.html

1984-Thirty Years Later

nsa-operations

by Rick Bretz

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, published in 1949, has been reestablished as the go-to book for all things wrong with government privacy invasion and society’s ills.   With government-funded security professionals scrutinizing some or all of the internet usage and phone conversations that are happening today, it does reflect the worst themes of 1984. Of course it is more complicated than the government watching over people. September 11, 2001, showed us that proper vigilance can go a long way toward keeping people safe from terrorists who want to prove a point by killing innocent people. Orwell’s novel remains a commentary on communist practices in the Soviet Union and modern relationships between governments, media and citizens throughout the world.

Some of the themes of 1984, nevertheless, seem to be blanketing our society as we live and work carrying our information devices. Smart Phone and internet monitoring are instances of privacy concerns. In spite of this fact, millions of people publicize their every move on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media. This fact makes it difficult to take the side of a person wronged by the invasion of privacy. People want privacy only on their terms. Like the movie star or celebrity who craves success but doesn’t want the paparazzi baggage that comes with it. If you want safety and security and still need your family and friends to know about last night’s pizza party, you have to compromise a little, maybe a lot.

Below is a 1984 to present comparison.

1984 Themes Today
Invasion of Privacy-1984————————2014> Phone Surveillance, internet tracking
Constant Surveillance1984———————2014> GPS Trackers in Vehicles, Cameras on Streets and at traffic lights. Aerial Surveillance
Torture (Room 101)-1984———————–2014> Pick a country
Double Think-1984——————————2014> Advertising, college professors
 

Cult of personality1984————————-2014>

World Leaders, celebrities, musicians, talk show hosts, and televangelist
Tele-screens (two-way Monitors)-1984——2014> Overhead surveillance, street cameras, two-way camera software
Class System (Proles, Outer Party)-1984——-2014> The 1 Percent, Poor, Working Class, Blue Collar, Middle Class, the Power Elite, Educated Elite, Fortune 500 CEOs, Government Officials (Elected and Appointed)
News Speak-1984——————————-2014> Affordable Healthcare Act, (government catchphrases used as titles for legislation)
Ministry of Plenty (Food Supply)-1984———-2014> Rising Oil Prices, Government Regulation, Inflation
Ministry of Peace (War)-1984——————-2014> World Leaders and Defense Ministers
Ministry of Truth (News)-1984——————2014> CEOs and managing editors of news organizations dictate the headlines and stories seen by consumers. Federal Communications Commission. Advertisers
Ministry of Love (Dissidents)-1984————-2014> Whistle blowers usually pay a price
Poverty, Vices-1984—————————–2014> Making vices like alcohol and drugs (marijuana) available control the public and provide needed revenue.
Censorship-1984——————————–2014> If a show or story does not please a power player, they have monetary and power influences to make it disappear.
Controlling the Middle Class-1984—————2014> Taxes, regulations and travel restrictions or religious and government organizations (Republican and Democratic Parties)

 

There are many ways to track a person today. It would be difficult to get lost when the hunter really wants to find you. Let me count the ways: GPS Device, Car Computers, Credit Cards, Smart Phone, Home Phone, Social Security Number, Driver’s License, Aerial Reconnaissance, Drones, and Toll Roads just to name a few.

Cars today have what is called a “Breaking Coach.” It tells you that you have driving skills. Don’t kid yourself. It is a way to determine how safe our driving habits are in case we are in an accident. Insurance companies and law enforcement officials really want to know this.

Your MAC (Media Access Control) address is a unique set of digits that identifies your particular computer or Network Interface Card, and with the IP (Internet Protocol) address, can determine your internet history. It’s a digital signature.

When you drive through a toll booth, a camera records your drive through and your license plate and if you have a toll sticker on your window it identifies that too.

Officials in several states are studying the feasibility of adding hardware to vehicles to track the number of miles a car travels on the highway to determine a road tax.

And the hits just keep on coming.

 

Notable Links:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-orwells-nineteen-eighty-four-is-published

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Folly of Perception over Reality

by Rick Bretz

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what is real but what people think is real.

The list is long about what the majority of the population thinks is true about someone or some event that turns out to be nowhere near what the reality is.  The perception doesn’t line up with reality.

Vietnam, Nixon, the Economy, the Depression, Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, Liberals, Occupy Wall Street, Elections,  Law Enforcement, and many others are subject to internet falsehoods and a long history of bad information being passed from one person to another.

Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 cam...
Hoover addresses a large crowd in his 1932 campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, the reputation of Herbert Hoover as someone who didn’t care for the working man and never lifted a finger to help the struggling poor while being solely responsible for the Great Depression is way off the mark.  This perception is mostly due to his policies in reaction to the great depression and the unfortunate name given to outdoor shanty towns, Hoovervilles.  However, that perception couldn’t be further from the truth.  As Food Administrator during World War I, he was responsible making sure enough food rations were sent over to Europe to keep the war effort rolling.  After the war, Europe was left without enough food to feed its population for the winter. Hoover organized food shipments to Europe and sent food to Russia as late as 1921 so that millions of people could survive.  Concerning the depression, He also warned President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 about the folly of excessive stock market speculation. He knew that practice would catch up to the health of the economy and it did in 1929.  After the depression, he also took steps to try to end the depression such as moving construction projects ahead of schedule, cutting taxes, and increasing the funding for public works.

After, being treated like an outsider by his own party and the democrats for several years, one person invited in for his organizational skill and history of helping people in need.  In fact, President Harry Truman invited former President Hoover to the White House to organize the war relief effort after World War II.

So, for someone who gets the majority of the blame for the great depression, it seems he was one of the first to warn us about Stock Market speculation that was a major cause of the crash.  He was also more concerned with helping people in need than what is in generally perceived.

English: Elvis Presley meeting Richard Nixon. ...
English: Elvis Presley meeting Richard Nixon. On December 21, 1970, at his own request, Presley met then-President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office of The White House. Elvis is on the right. Waggishly, this picture is said to be ‘of the two greatest recording artists of the 20th century’. The Nixon Library & Birthplace sells a number of souvenir items with this photo and the caption, “The President & the King.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The phrase “perception is reality” is an expression used to convey the idea that how you look sometimes matters more than what you do. As Billy Crystal’s character said on SNL, “You look Maahvelous!” It got a laugh but with most first-rate comedy it has a ring of truth.  The best dressed office worker who portrays confidence may get a first look when it comes to a promotion and a key position over someone who looks average but performs at a high level.

History is supposed to correct perceptions and publicize the greater truth.  The following is a list of subjects with perceptions and realities listed.  Is it better to look good than to feel good?  I prefer both.

  Perception Reality
President Herbert Hoover Cause of Depression, didn’t care about working class Warned government about stock market speculation, organized war   relief efforts
Vietnam United States lost war We won all of the ground battles, including the Tet Offensive.  Withdrew due to Nixon/Kissinger peace   agreements.
The economy President responsible for state of the economy Several factors influence economy more so that POTUS, Wall Street,   Federal Reserve Chairman, Treasury Secretary, Global economies, and overall buying   public
President Richard Nixon Failed President Accomplished several initiatives while POTUS, establish EPA and Dept,   Natural Resources, improved relations with China and USSR. Ended Draft.   Signed into law Title IX.
North Ultra liberal, jaded urbanites, elite college intellectuals who   consider themselves at the top of a class divided society Although liberal candidates win a majority of the elections, places   like NJ, and Massachusetts sometimes elect conservative candidates. Many   northern states enjoy a vast rural areas.
South Mostly rural.  Uneducated, lazy   populace, rejection of evolution in favor of religious dogma. A majority are   bigots. Technology Companies do business there. Many Northern professional   transplants. Most accept evolution outright and a majority understand both   views.  There are just as many bigots,   racists and segregationists in the North as in the South. Just as many opened   minded progressives live in the South as in the North.
Teachers Overpaid and ineffective A majority are effective, underpaid and forced to teach using local   policies and to pass tests
Communism Failed social and government experiment True communism never practiced or implemented
Lawyers Responsible for higher costs, cost money with little or no return People are fine  lawyers when   they need one
Law Enforcement Power Hungry government representatives out to harass populace A majority of law enforcement professionals are subject to rules of engagement and internal investigations.
 TSA Airport Security Government reps who invade your privacy.  Security professionals assigned to do an impossible job following government protocols and rules.
 Veterans and Active Military Not intelligent enough to get a commercial job.  Aggressive people who are blood thirsty. Damaged by war and can’t function in society.  More often than not, people in the military have some college education or a degree. People trained to make logical decisions in a split second. A majority of veterans have integrated within the work force.
 This Blog Post  Highly Entertaining  Highly Entertaining

Today’s traditional broadcast and print media coverage of a particular topic is constantly challenged by the public’s use of social media.   However, with PR firms, marketing representatives, and spokespeople, getting out in front of an issue or an event is just a matter of your story being told before someone else’s version. History shows that the victor gets to write its version of events.  Sometimes it’s the truth and sometimes it’s just a shade of it.

Notable Links:

http://www.hoover.archives.gov/

http://people.howstuffworks.com/communism.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htm

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/richardnixon

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/key-legacies-president-richard-nixon-100th-birthday/story?id=18160523#4

http://www.alternet.org/story/154794/5_big_media_stereotypes_about_the_south_(and_the_real_story_behind_them)

http://www.teaparty-platform.com/