As the November 8 election approaches, I am dumbfounded by so many voters’ resolute determination to not look behind the curtain at the facts evidencing numerous criminal acts by Hillary Clinton, or the myriad hypocritical business practices of Donald Trump. Nor does there appear to be sufficient consideration for voting for either of the most-prominent third-party candidates (Libertarian Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein), if for no other reason than to ease voters’ consciences by decisively opting out of the “lesser of two evils” justification that no longer suffices. Links to well-documented research and the tip of the iceberg of bad acts can be found at RCReader.com/y/tolerate1, RCReader.com/y/tolerate2, RCReader.com/y/tolerate3, RCReader.com/y/tolerate4, RCReader.com/y/tolerate5, and RCReader.com/y/tolerate6.

The disgracefully unprofessional lack of need-to-know political coverage of all the candidates’ positions on issues – instead replacing such relevant data with Hollywood-style gossip and bashing – is 100-percent by design. Such media strategies coming from the Democratic and Republican campaigns are specifically scripted to target the public’s emotional responses using arena tactics of reckless misdirection, gross misinformation, baseless accusations, and constant sensationalizing, all deliberately derailing measured logical analysis of issues that would otherwise contribute mightily to meaningfully informed voting based on actual records (or not) of leadership.

Most voters are completely unaware that FBI Director James Comey has a well-documented pattern of not indicting criminal conduct by Hillary and Bill Clinton. Comey was the Senate’s special deputy counsel prosecuting the Clintons in the Whitewater scandal while Bill was president. He got convictions of their partners, the McDougals, but gave them a pass. He was also deputy U.S. attorney at the Justice Department in charge of investigating Clinton’s illegal pardons of a host of felons on his last day in office – including his Whitewater partners and other significant donors to Clinton’s charitable funds – but again Comey gave Bill a pass. Comey also sat on the board of directors for HSBC, where millions of dollars in transactions by the Clinton Foundation occurred. (See Wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Comey.)

Comey’s brother Peter worked for the firm DLA Piper that did the first independent audit of the Clinton Foundation after it was revealed it was out of IRS compliance in conducting required annual independent audits (RCReader.com/y/tolerate7). According to forensic auditor Charles Ortel, the numbers did not add up. This and much more malfeasance regarding the finances of the Clinton Foundation can be researched at CharlesOrtel.com for those inclined to find the underlying truth.

Regardless of which candidate Americans support, the glaring media bias and unapologetic abandonment of meaningful, in-depth reporting of unfiltered facts is undeniable. Mainstream broadcast news, talk radio, and newspapers have been reduced to speculative smear campaigns with virtually no evidence or legitimate sourcing.

There will be no coming back from this for corporate media. It has outed itself beyond repair or redemption. Media has clearly taken sides, openly colluding in the extreme with the Clinton campaign while simultaneously relentlessly disparaging Trump’s and systematically marginalizing or simply censoring nearly all coverage of Johnson and Stein (RCReader.com/y/tolerate8).

In doing so, however, the media has neglected to factor in Americans’ internal compass for this woeful degree of political corruption. Regardless of which candidate prevails, voters know deep down it was a dirty, manipulative, thoroughly un-American process, and entirely precarious if the media wields this much control over methods of information delivery.

Which brings me to a short primer on how to consume news articles. First, look for a byline. If none exists, this means no one wants to be held accountable for the information presented.

Second, identify sourcing, including citing or linking to original documentation and naming sources of comments, facts presented, etc. The trend to accept reports that lack this essential verification is nothing short of lazy, corrupt, and untrustworthy, and it’s antithetical to truth itself.

Third, pay attention to the vernacular within articles. Look for broad characterizations of information, imaginative fill-in-the-blank patterns of data delivery, and vague, unaccountable sourcing/reference-dodging. (A simplified example would be “a high-level official learned from documents compiled by an analyst ... .”) Many other cleverly disguised communication techniques easily qualify as propaganda, and certainly not as reliable, fact-based reporting. It is time for all of us to make a conscious decision to demand better!

One of the intended consequences of consistently shallow, fact-less reporting by media is reduced retention of information by voters. Most people’s recall of candidates’ political records is dangerously absent prior to voting, unless exposure to the controversies is very recent. This is evidenced by the onslaught of negative campaign ads running mere weeks before the actual election.

According to the Journalist’s Resource (RCReader.com/y/tolerate9): “The Wesleyan Media Project monitors and analyzes televised campaign ads and found that three-quarters of ads aired during the last presidential race ‘appealed to anger.’ The 2016 presidential election already has become a nasty one, however. A September 2016 report from the Wesleyan Media Project shows that 53 percent of ads that aired over the previous month were negative – compared to 48 percent of ads that ran during a comparable period of the 2012 campaign.”

Additionally: “John Sides of George Washington and Lynn Vavreck of UCLA summarize their research on the 2012 campaign. With regard to advertising, they conclude that ads mattered but only in ‘very circumscribed ways’ and the ‘effect of ads appeared to decay quickly.’ Further, they assert that ‘back-loading – airing ads close to the election – was actually more effective than front-loading – airing ads early in the campaign – if the goal was to influence voters on Election Day.’”

A perfect example of voters’ short memories is currently visible in one of the local races for Scott County supervisor. Tony Knobbe, formerly the CEO of Well Fargo’s Quad Cities market, currently sits on the Scott County Planning & Zoning Commission and is one of the chief architects of and advocates for the newly enacted Industrial Floating Zone (IFZ) that undid Scott County’s agriculture-preservation ordinance to usher in industrial polluters in the name of increased jobs and tax base (RCReader.com/y/tolerate10).

The citizen opposition to the IFZ was enormous, yet Knobbe ignored the collective mandate to the county to preserve the highest-grade soil on the planet via the ag-preservation ordinance – which prevented Orascom (a massive fertilizer plant) from siting here. That outcome is still lamented by his ilk, including the majority of the current supervisors: Jim Hancock, Carol Earnhardt, and Tom Sunderbruch. (Hancock and Sunderbruch are vacating their seats.)

Knobbe publicly admitted to betraying his fellow farmers with his support of the IFZ during public meetings on the matter, instead giving his allegiance to the narrow interests of big utilities, the Quad Cities Chamber, and any potential industrial operator that will bring economic development to Scott County – even if such development relies on consumption of vital natural resources (especially water) and demands large tax subsidies for the privilege of doing so.

Knobbe’s bid for supervisor is also suspect due to the Planning & Zoning Commission’s systematic removal of commissioners who opposed the IFZ, replacing them with people who could be counted on to vote “aye” when the IFZ came up for final approval. Knobbe is determined to advance this narrow economic agenda by running for supervisor, ensuring a pole position to attract industrial operators like Orascom – many of which are highly automated, thereby under-delivering on projected jobs.

Had Knobbe or any of our county officials actually done a cursory investigation into the current status of Orascom in Lee County, Iowa – as Supervisor Diane Holst has – they would have seen a train wreck. It is neck-deep in debt, is reneging on myriad contractual agreements, and is now looking for a buyer after receiving more than $550 million in Iowa tax subsidies that promised a paltry 160 jobs. The economic multiplier effect so far is negligible because it imports most of the labor and materials. The projected future-jobs impact comes from “software of Regional Economic Models Inc., an independent economic-impact-modeling firm based in Massachusetts” (RCReader.com/y/tolerate11). That’s a lot of investment based on one company’s computerized predictions. But for Scott County’s ag-preservation ordinance, Lee County’s financial woes could be ours. Instead we dodged an economic bullet – until now.

So we shall see if Scott County voters reward unaccountable, special-interest, growth-at-any-cost behavior such as Knobbe’s by electing him to the Scott County Board of Supervisors. Such an outcome indicates that voters either don’t remember the details of this particular nonpartisan local political controversy, or they no longer care about preserving our uniquely high caliber of agricultural soil in Scott County. If this is the case, we don’t get the government we deserve; we get the government we tolerate.

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