Fighting the New Cold War

As someone who tries to look away from the news that bombards me from every public and private corner, like a train wreck impinging on my better instincts, I catch bits and pieces of the news on a continual basis – kind of like an unwanted stream of consciousness – that I would rather ignore. But I can’t. Trump, of course, is lurking in just about every news corner.

Trump and Russia are two of the most persistent and pernicious news themes today. Trump is mentioned together in nearly every news story on Russia’s meddling in American politics. I don’t think I am speaking out of school to say that Russia’s meddling in American politics is fact. We are beyond that question, aren’t we? But there is more to this story than Trump.

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Friends, Enemies and Neighbors on Social Media

Crazy couple screaming over chalkboard background

Depositphotos Image ID: 98171734 | Copyright: Vadymvdrobot

While the Godfather might have lived by the motto, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”, most of us shut out enemies out and listen only to our friends.  This is human nature.

These thoughts occur to me as I reel from the flurry of angry and angst-ridden posts on Facebook. We have endured a particularly long and relentless period of political and sociological tensions dating back to the last Bush presidency. That the angst seems to have arisen with the rise in popularity of social media sites, I think, is no coincidence.

Regardless, the Bush, Obama and now Trump presidencies have proven to be fraught with angst and angry rhetoric from all sides. Social media was barely a thing when George W. Bush exited office, though he did exit office under a barrage of social media posts.

Considering human nature, and assuming that we all want our voices to be heard and taken seriously, perhaps we should think a little deeper about the difference between the voices of friends and enemies. Maybe an understanding of human nature, including our own, might help us to be heard better than it seems we are now.

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Should Google Censure the News?

Some of the backlash following the surprise results of the recent presidential election is the focus on the bogus news sites that were ubiquitous on social media during the dreadfully long campaign season. I’ve witnessed many conversations and multiple, people of good faith ask: how do we know when a news source is biased?

The latest thing on social media is the creation of lists of fake news sites for people to avoid. Everyone seems to be eager to jump in as a consultant. LA Times,[1] AOL News,[2] US News & World Report,[3] Snopes,[4] of course, and many, many others. The problem is compounded when the people reporting the list of fake news sites are charged with being misleading.[5]

Even the answer to the question of what news sites to avoid depends on who is answering the question. According to Scott Shackford of, Editor of, false news and satirical news sites are one thing, but slanted news sites are another.[6] If the news being reported isn’t false, who’s to say how slanted is “fake”? Continue reading