The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
In my last letter I “promised” to address the myth of a liberal press and the ideological bias against social consensus (reality) contained in names such as Rand (Paul) and John Galt (and Atlas Shrugged).
First up, the “liberal press”: There are two ways to look at the Republican right-wing assertion that the mainstream media has a liberal bias. First (and most importantly) is definitional, and ideological. The neo-Republican tea party regards any tacit acceptance by the press of the political and social consensus that has guided American social and political policy since 1932 as “liberal” and (with the collapse of Communism) increasingly also as “socialist” (and thus illegitimate). The counterrevolutionary Republican Party now (as it always has) opposes Social Security, federal income taxation, Medicare/Medicaid and most social and environmental programs as illegitimate uses of “confiscated” wealth (taxes) by the federal government. The second is a more mundane lie/assertion, not based on fact. Several studies during the past several years have found that more ink, column space, articles, editorial opinions, Sunday political talk show guests are given over to right-wing ideas, commentators and politicians than to Democrats or “liberals.” The idea of a liberal press is a “Big Lie” strategy that has become the “common knowledge” of political discourse.
Further, the mainstream media (generally conservative in ownership and editorial opinion) has a “bias” toward giving equal time to fiction, in order to “prove” its balance by providing fiction equal time with factual assertions. The press generally asserts a “plague on both your houses” attitude toward both parties and political gridlock in federal government. That is, the press (think softly conservative) suggests to Americans that Democrats are as ideologically intransigent as Republicans. This is untrue. Democrats have moved for 30 years farther toward the right. Clinton declared, “The era of big government is over.” Consequently, Democrats as a party are less “liberal,” but there are presently no moderate Republicans left in the U.S. Senate other than Susan Collins, who is hiding under her desk from Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan. Ask Richard Lugar or Olympia Snow, or a host of others kicked out of politics for the crime of moderation.
My last letter spoke of operative metaphors and lies. Here’s a mainstream media favorite: Republicans are the “Daddy Party,” Democrats are the “Mommy Party.” We still live in a somewhat sexist society, and this analogy is vaguely insulting. In any event, “Daddy” has become increasingly abusive toward “Mommy,” and less interested in the welfare of his family. Mommy “has had it up to here” and will not tolerate increasing abuse. The unwillingness of the Democratic Party to move any farther toward the Far Right, the “liberal press” regards as just a mirror image of ideological intransigence.
The “international tripe scale” has caught me. Next time: the effect on politics of Paul Ryan’s and Rand Paul’s favorite author, Ayn Rand; why we don’t need a “third party” because we already have one controlling the U.S. House of Representatives.
by network TV
To the Editor:
People who get their news and opinions from cable TV “news networks” are the most consistently misinformed citizens in the U.S. These networks are run by corporate powers that push an ideological agenda, and their propaganda has been given credibility as a solid source of information.
It’s easy to understand why these networks have so many viewers, it’s because they are easy to listen to. When people get home from working all day they would much rather sit down, relax, turn on the TV and watch the news from the comfort of their favorite chair. It’s so much easier to get the news that way than to search for credible reports that haven’t been filtered through the corporate propaganda machine. Because they are on 24 hours a day, they can exploit people no matter their working schedules. They are pounding people on the head with this constant agenda-driven “news” machine. Propaganda of this kind will slowly take away a person’s ability to question and challenge what they are hearing and seeing.
The commentators are the most dangerous people on these networks. They have a way of mixing a news story with their own opinions and beliefs so as to push that opinion on people in a way that will stir up emotion. Emotion is useless and easy to experience when a story’s subject matter is of a political or economic nature. When it comes to military conflict, emotion has become the go-to reaction of citizens. The one-sided opinion to military intervention is, “We’re bombing them, they must hate us, so I hate them.” It seems to be becoming more difficult for people to step aside and look at an issue from a different perspective. The motivation for a bombing or invasion will be spread all over the TV as an act of retaliation or a preemptive strike because some sort of transmission was intercepted that contained a statement about U.S. destruction or something of the kind. This is what we’re told, and people agree because they have been convinced that all of the military action is carried out to keep the American people safe.
We must remove the blinders from our eyes and take a look at the world without the influence of network news. If an anchor on a news program said, “Today, a protest in Germany about human rights ended violently and several of the participants were arrested,” it would sound like a typical story. The problem is we’re not told why it ended violently, who ended it, and why those people were arrested. Presenting a story in such a way suggests that the protesters were the violent ones and law enforcement officials had to step in in order to maintain peace, but usually the police are the violent ones creating chaos where there was none in order to get rid of “troublemakers.” People have the right, the obligation, to question authority and challenge popular belief. Independent thought is being lost, and blind devotion is taking its place.
To the Editor:
The number of attorneys seeking to represent public retirement systems has increased. It is a gathering bonanza for attorneys offering free advice. Free advice is worth nothing and is not free. Lawsuits against giant corporations and retirement boards are increasing.
Public retirement systems across the United States are trying to find an extra point or two in the investment market. The KRS investment with placement agents is a good example.
It was buying of hedge funds that hurt KRS. A hedge fund is an investment fund that can undertake a wider range of investment and trading activities than other funds, but which is only open for investment from particular types of investors specified by regulators. These investors are typically institutions, such as pension funds, university endowments and foundations, or high net worth individuals. As a class, hedge funds invest in a diverse range of assets, but they most commonly trade liquid securities on public markets. They also employ a wide variety of investment strategies, and make use of techniques such as short selling and leverage.
Surely, the board has felt the embarrassment of the investment in hedge funds. However, the overall return on investments by the Kentucky Retirement Systems has been good. Moreover, KRS will continue to be an educated, experienced investments source.
The confusion seems to be who was the point person that encouraged investment with Arrowhawk? Glen Sergeon of New York had a prior working relationship with Adam Tosh in Pennsylvania. Tosh resigned from the KRS when this mess made the news.
The stock market was virtually in the toilet during the past three years. A large part of the economic downturn involved Wall Street corruption. While the stock market has gone from 7,000 to 13,000, it is obvious the corruption on Wall Street heavily affected future investment for a short time.
Overall KRS, investments have done well. Still that does not clear the question of how a New York placement agent, not a stockbroker, convinced (sold) the retirement board on hedge funds. It is likely KRS will get its money back if the company has enough reserve.
The SEC is trying to find out how Sergeon was able to build up placement fees of $6 million. If fees have already been paid by KRS, where did Sergeon invest the money? What was the total amount he invested, if any? If short on investment, what happened to that part of the $6 million that was not re-invested?
Until the smoke clears over hedge funds and the Connecticut investment firm returns any money, the question investors will always wonder is how this all came to be. If the New York investment firm does the right thing, then this entire mistake will be a learning lesson to the KRS. Institutional investing has made a better than average return for KRS over the years. If the return on institutional investments were not so low then hedge funds would suffer. After all, it is a hedge.
Jim Anderson Stivers
To the Editor:
Our state has just purchased one of the most expensive buildings in our history. The Drumanard Estate off Wolfpen Branch Road in Jefferson County was purchased for more than $8 million and the taxpayers are paying $270 million extra to build a tunnel under a historic garden. The nearly $280 million estate costs more than the new YUM Center in Louisville.
A property this precious and historic needs to be seen and enjoyed by the public. There is talk that it is going to be sold back to private owners after the Louisville bridges project is complete. I think your crack staff should do a feature on this Kentucky castle and historic garden. We would like to know what the property looks like and the history behind it. There may be money trees growing in the garden and all of our budget problems will be over.
Greg R. Meyer
To the Editor:
In this season of Memorial Day remembrance, challenging as it sometimes is, we can’t take for granted what we expect will be.
Last week I traveled to place flowers on the recently departed loved one’s grave. A somber time again, disappointing as the groundskeepers who kept hitting the urn with the mowers and bending it had now run over it and jammed it so as not to be removed to accept my flowers.
Another visiting party at Sunset Memorial Gardens saw my dilemma, came over and tried to assist, also to no avail. At this point we looked around at the other grave markers and how the urns were bent and very unsightly, to say the least. Our new grave had a little date marker that had been placed on it with only one screw as the date plate did not fit and the second screw hole did not align to accept the second screw. These are shameful and without excuse. Sunset is in a hurry to sell you a grave lot but the follow-up is far from professional or acceptable. Some Memorial Day! God protect our troops around the world.
High gas price
no news now?
To the Editor:
Where is The State Journal’s coverage of the now over $4-per-gallon gas prices in parts of the U.S. and nearly $3.50-per-gallon in this area? If I recall, when the previous administration was having to address the last time that gas prices were near these current prices, The State Journal and other media were all over the story with periodic reminders that gas prices were high. Is it because the present administration’s energy policies have failed, resulting in the increasing prices?
To the Editor:
I just had to write in praise of the Mission Clinic, the doctors and nurses who donate their time.
I am so thankful to have medical insurance and I am concerned about those who do not. I cannot imagine what these patients go through to get help and even how they pay for medicine.
May God bless you all, and I’m sure he will.