PUBLIC ADVOCACY: a New Year’s Resolution: The rise of investigative journalism?

English: Theodore Roosevelt wearing pince-nez,...
English: Theodore Roosevelt wearing pince-nez, traditionally uncredited photograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m concerned. What happened to the great author’s and investigative reporters of our time?

They existed during Teddy Roosevelt‘s tenure in government, in fact, they ran the journalistic pieces, whether in papers, magazines or books which provided the facts for him to prosecute The Trusts. All the great legislation of 1901-1905 was developed by the writers of the day,  reporting on the fraud that was committed by The Rockefeller’s, JP Morgan, the meat packing industry, etc. Teddy knew about the corruption in Congress but he needed proof. The journalists and novelists gave him the proof he needed.

After the depression we had many novelists write about the life and times of the day. The 60’s were full of books and novels on social commentary. So where is the investigative press now? Where are the young novelists ready to write about the wrongs they’ve encountered in Society? Let’s talk about what we know. We can’t ask government or lobbyists or private institutions to turn state’s evidence but we can gather information through private and public channels.

Any one interested In confronting the status quo, can always link their Blog to my site. I require verifiable accurate information. Let’s try an experiment. I’d like to expand my Blog into a newspaper and encourage ” budding novelists to write about the corruption we’re experiencing. Anyone from occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party , or in between, have a story to tell?

We need folks to step forward, being timid only stops you initially, but once you’ve stood up for your rights and what’s right, fear fades and empowerment takes over.

I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you the best. Joyce

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: The Bully Pulpit, then and now

Ida M. Tarbell, head-and-shoulders portrait, f...
Ida M. Tarbell, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an essay on Teddy Roosevelt and the age of Investigative Journalism. I recommend Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s new book about Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft , and the rise of investigative journalism, ” The Bully Pulpit“, a mirror of our own time?

1908 or thereabouts, Ida Tarbell, noted in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s, easily accessible chatty book, The Bully Pulpit, : “At a time when wealth is rolling up as never before, a vast number of hard working people in this country are having a difficult time of making ends meet. Because wage increases were not keeping pace with the escalating cost of living, working men and women were becoming despondent, knowing that no matter how much they earned, there was no such thing as getting ahead. “. Therefore, Tarbell and the leading journalists of the time, focused their attention on the immediate causes of the people’s plight, going after policies that were crippling the Middle Class and shining a light on the face of human misery. It was the secret of their success then and given similar times and hardships should be represented by social activists today.

The mantle should be passed to a new breed of activist journalists. The pen should once again be our sword. Since the ” respected” tabloids have become entertainment, the internet and other papers will take their place . Once again, it is necessary to support diligent investigative reporters who educate the Public, allowing the public to become empowered by giving them the authority and the facts required to proclaim the rights they are entitled to.

The thievery has persisted long enough, 1901-1909 ended in a Wall Street crash. next came the great crash of 1929, then the mini crashes in the 70’s , 80’s, 90’s, and the early part of the 21 st Century, culminating in the “man made” financial crisis of 2008. We the people , need protection from all pervasive greed . The system can be changed, if we all become involved and care about the “Future of the Middle Class”.  We always have choices.

As an afterthought, the movies are becoming one of the vehicles for social change.
The Hobbit Series, written by Tolkien to describe his feelings about the rise of the third Reich: is easily adaptable to modern times and the rise of the Plutocrats.

Or the Wolf of Wall Street, based on a true story. Not yet seen by me, but long on excess and commentary with famous actors taking up the call for social action. They are supplementing the novelists of old. We need more up to date story tellers to create the atmosphere for change.

But change is in the wind, I can feel it and once it roars, it will blow in a breath of fresh air.    Certainly, by the next elections we the people will be ready, because we will understand that Politics effects us all.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY; My thoughts on media and “man”& a need for Compassion

This is the third week of reading the papers and finding almost nothing of importance , which is why, I’m more convinced then ever, that the social media and independent papers, composed of journalists ,  attorneys and people experienced in various industries will become the purveyors of news. Traditional news has become entertainment like everything else in commercial special interest media. As citizens we need to be informed. Whether we use Twitter, Word Press, Facebook , or self printing, Social Media can become the new home of investigative news.

We can broadcast daily through crowd sourcing.   I report on issues which concern me and  you my reader, my knowledge comes from individual “experts in the field”, or many journals.  I graze the news , as others would graze food, sampling many sources.  After the New Year it is my intention to expand my focus.    Through “crowd sourcing”,  I’d like to encourage other experts to join in the dialog to uncover the facts.  As an example:  If I’m covering Finance, someone could be sending me real time info on the progress of bills before Congress, someone else may know the effect of Regulation or lack of it on the daily activity of Banks and ” all other entities responsible for integrated Banking like operations”.  Others could offer human interest stories on the effects of the Financial System on all of our lives.  To lessen the great divide we need easily accessible information, to form choices for action .

Politics effects us all, this is not a pithy statement. We can’t imagine how a one week delay in obtaining your unemployment check, effects a man and his family. As work became scarce during the recession, my mechanics requested to be paid immediately. I used to pay one week after work was completed. They were so desperate for funds they couldn’t wait that long for reimbursement. After querying my fellow contractors and developers, we all agreed; the mechanics performed good work, we had known them a long time, we would honor their request. We were a group, we could not let our fellow man suffer. We paid within 24 hours. It wasn’t easy to tap into your own funds on a moments notice, we became the Bank of last resort.

I don’t really care why other people are insensitive, but I do know that compassion for our fellow man is important.  Politics effects us , we all have the same goals, we merely have to understand what we cherish most and build accordingly. We no longer have time for “cherished” ideology when people’s lives are at stake. We have choices to make and a Middle Class way of life to preserve.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: On the lighter side/ 2 great movies

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan
Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lot of countries are doing it. Their governments have been so corrupt for so long that they are throwing everyone in office out of office. Where is Mr Smith when we need him. Instead we have everyone prancing around as the Red Queen and 300,000,000 are being assassinated. I like to know when I have to take one for the Gipper.

Oh for simpler times, the petty bribery, the horse trading. Not I’ll set you up for life along with your family and your closest . . 1000 friends and guarantee a new job away from the Communities where you sold ” phony bonds, pensions, and securities .
.

This Movie doesn’t end well. LOL: REMEMBER WE DO HAVE CHOICES.

Note: dear reader, if you haven’t guessed, I’m an avid movie fan.. My reference to Mr Smith, Mr Smith goes to Washington, the Red Queen, The Manchurian Candidate,( the original with Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury), taking one for the Gipper, Ronald Reagan of course!

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: A Conversation with Peter Orszag

Official portrait of , Director of the Office ...
Official portrait of , Director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I listened to a Conversation with Peter Orszag, Conducted By The Atlantic’s Interviewer Steve Clemons ( Washington’s Editor at large)  After listening and asking questions, I thought there’s lot’s to worry about.   We’ve  got brilliant self promoting kids, dazzling us with their brilliance and what do they know, they know numbers. They know algorithms , but they don’t know people . They don’t understand the effect of their numbers on people. Technology is not a tragedy, doing everything by the numbers, is a tragedy.

You need smarts , life experience and compassion to run a Country. Otherwise, you are never going to look at the big picture and  the effects of Policy and politics on the People!  According to Peter, this is in fact a big problem, government cannot attract big picture thinkers, the macroeconomics are lacking!

Peter Orszag was described as a policy wonk.  According to the World of Words, A policy wonk, by definition, is a person consumed by minutiae who does not see the big picture. Why would anyone be happy to be described as a policy wonk?   By definition, it means, you know a lot about nothing.

Worse with the revolving door, forever swinging between government and business Peter Orszag has gone from the office of Budget and management to Vice chair of Citigroup Global. ( for further information , see The Atlantic Live for the entire dialog with Peter Orszag). When I asked whether Banks would have been better off with Glass Steagall rather the Dodd Frank, his reply , “Regulations don’t matter”!  ONLY BANK CAPITALIZATION MATTERED.   When, I asked, how much capitalization, meaning the ratio, or % of capital to be maintained vs assets! , he said ,” we follow Basel 3“. For those of you, not Policy wonks, I’ve added a link to Basel 3. , however; the short view is 6% of assets need to be retained to protect Banks against risk. They can define their assets and they can hold money, capitalization, as collateral against risk. Theoretically , they can be leveraged 90% ? Sounds risky to me. Peter Would not discuss the mechanism nor would he discuss the amount of Capitalization required to prevent risk. He merely reiterated, all you need to know about Banks, is One Word, Capitalization. That’s sufficient to keep the Banks accountable and ” honest”, I presume.

I thought back to Dustin Hoffman‘s character, Benjamin, in the  film, THE GRADUATE.   Benjamin, trying to find his niche in life is cornered by his father’s friend, who imparts a single word of wisdom: ” There’s only one thing you have to know Benjamin, that’s PLASTICS.”  PLASTICS  is all you need to know.  Just like Benjamin in the film, I , too, felt I heard a momentous pronouncement, but didn’t grasp it’s meaning.   So now I’m perplexed as this earnest young man , Peter Orszag,  says we only need to know Capitalization. That’s enough to keep Bankers in line? Really, we know how that movie ended once and we’re going down the same road again. The only difference , the middle class can’t bail the Banks out anymore, so the Federal Reserve is propping up the Banks for us. Why can’t the Banks stand on their own two feet, like we’re expected to do. The Banks  have been given the opportunity to write Dodd Frank, they have been capitalized but they are still taking on risk. They are too big to fail, but they can, if we care, be responsible. Since they’ve made Trillions they should contribute  at least 15% of their gross into a default fund, available for Bank bailouts, when required .

The Eu is considering this strategy:  They are looking to establish a centralized Bank fund, contributed to by all Banks under their jurisdiction, containing enough Capital to fund Banks, as they are being unwound into insolvency.  Sounds like a plan, a default account, established by the Banks for the benefit of all Banks!

Is this what Peter Orszag meant.   Step one toward accountability and responsibility? We have choices.

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: 3 new drafts/ to be Published

Hi there: thanks to updates in my technology, 3 posts were released while they were still drafts. They will be published but require editing. Sorry for the mix up. When published, I do hope you will enjoy the Posts and comment.

1. A conversation with Peter Orszag
2. Financial Reforms
3. Outline for the Poll on the Middle East

Thank you for your patience and your continued support . Very truly yours, Joyce

PUBLIC ADVOCACY: Outline of the Mid East, Israel and Iranian Nuclear program Polls

Israel Eilat_20090424093543I think I’ve got it? Some of my readers have requested that I conduct a Poll on various topics and generate feedback from my ” voiceofjoyce” Community. I’ve put together a simple list of questions on topics that are of concern to us on the Middle East. If there are any other issues you wish discussed, please do not hesitate to contact me and we’ll set up an on going dialog. Thanks for your support. All the best. Please respond to these simple questions. All results will be public knowledge.  Feedback Poll to follow:

Poll:
How important is the survival of Israel to you ?

Very important / important/ not at all

Do you think a two State solution is possible?
Yes/no

Should the Palestinian State be demilitarized ?
Yes/no

Do you think a one State solution would work?
Yes/no

Do you think Iran would use or export a bomb?
Yes/no

Should Iran give up terrorism before more sanctions are lifted?
Yes/ no

Anyone else writing on these topics , please feel free to send your URL and the appropriate links. Thanks so much. These interactions are helpful to all of us.

Do You think Iranians understand that their government’s nuclear policy , not  only sanctions ,  contributed to their depressed economy?

Yes/no

Do you think ordinary Iranians know that their country exports Terrorism and spends money on missiles?

Yes/no

For sanctions to be stopped or lifted, what bench marks should be verified?
1. Stop all Nuclear Weapons Production

2. Dismantle their Nuclear Weapon Facilities
3. Require full accountability of all Nuclear production facilities
4. Hold free elections in Iran
5. Allow the people to be informed and have access to the World Wide Web
6. Stop promoting anti Israel and anti US rhetoric .

please select #’s 1 thru 6 ,  any combination , or all of the above.