|TWO ITEMS OF IMPORTANCE...||
ITEM #1 -- On June 2, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC)
-- of which Coleman Powell's son is Chair (Who knew???) -- is planning
on authorizing sweeping changes to rules which govern American media.
The rule changes could allow your local TV stations, newspaper, radio
stations, and cable provider to all be owned by one company.
Why should you care? Well, according to MoveOn, "After the FCC and Congress relaxed radio ownership rules, corporate giant Clear Channel Communications swept in and bought hundreds of stations. Clear Channel has used its might to support pro-war political rallies and conservative talk shows, keep anti-war songs off its stations, coerce musicians into playing free promotional concerts, and bully them into performing at its music venues. In many towns that used to have a diverse array of radio options, Clear Channel is now the only thing on the dial."
Monopoly power in media is a dastardly dangerous thing. For example, NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox could have the same corporate parent. "The resulting concentration of ownership could be deeply destructive to our democracy," said Eli Pariser, MoveOn organizer. "And Congress is supposed to guard against it."
But according to Pariser the proposed deregulation could change the media landscape, ushering in an era in which a few corporations control access to news and entertainment. To speak out in support of a diverse, competitive media landscape click here.
ITEM #2 -- According to the ACLU, an infamous provision in the USA PATRIOT Act (controversial and sweeping anti-terrorism legislation which was rushed through Congress just after 9.11), gives the FBI the power to search your library and book-buying records by simply telling a secret court that the records are "sought for" in an intelligence investigation. Furthermore, if the librarian or bookseller tells you that they turned your records over to the government, they could be imprisoned.
Proposed legislation is now before the U.S. House of Representatives -- titled the "Freedom to Read Protection Act" -- would remove this power to search your records without a warrant or probable cause. This positive legislation will restore Constitutional protections of our privacy. To speak out in support of our Constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, click here.
I subscribe to lists. But not those like
the ones being compiled in accord of the U.S. Patriot Act, to
“identify potentially hazardous human beings.” I mean in some way,
separated only by degrees, wouldn’t all of us somehow fit on such a
Why do I do this? I dunno. But I guess it's for the same reasons expressed by people who climb mountains: Because it is there to be done. Only to me, the mountains are in my mind.
Anyway, getting back to the "list research" I do for our family's own little departments of health, education and welfare, I weave these threads of discovery, invention and improvement into the fabric of my consciousness so that I may beneficially enhance the quality of my and my family's daily life.
Also in doing this, I understand that each
of these specialized area of knowledge is a type of
electro-magnetic-bio-chemical “field” which is in a perpetual state of
flux. And that this flux is an energizing dynamic of our Gaian
(socio-cultural matrix) neural net. Also that this "reality template" is
at the same instant both generated by and precipitated upon (all of) us.
Let's start with something that someone on
an education list wrote recently: “I don't believe that God ever
said anywhere that it was OK for me to want to preserve my lifestyle
when it was arrived at on the backs of mainly indigenous people in the
developing countries while at the same time we wasted the Earth which is
our life support system.”
Inherent to this conversation about life
quality, liberty and justice, we recently
looked at some documents which report on the standards of living and
pay scales of workers employed by WalMart in China about 3 to 4 years
ago. In the words of one gentleman, the data was “pretty damning.”
Reading this, I flashed on a TV show I'd watched the other day. It was about "primitive" peoples and their ways of life. And the vista I saw, courtesy of The Discovery Channel, was filled with the smiling faces of happy children and laughing adults who were for the most part dancing their way through (what we "civilized" folks would call) the mundane drudgery of life.
That is, the primitives were at baseline doing exactly the same things with their time, energy, ambition, resource and talent that all of us civilized folks do: Feeding, clothing, sheltering, and sustaining ourselves; loving, enjoying and celebrating life with our neighbors, families and friends.
However, from the looks of all I see before my ponderous eyes, it appears that the primitives -- and I mean here the indigenous peoples who reside in tribes at the fringes of and thus nearly completely unblemished by the schematic of our modern social norms -- from all appearances, certainly seem to be having a whole lot more fun. But I digress, and my friend continued:
“Making products overseas for world markets allows the costs to be rung out of products. This reduces the selling price of the products, and increases the standard of living here and elsewhere… This money recirculates throughout the Chinese economy, creating millions of jobs, and increasing the standard of living for the Chinese. In the next 20 or 30 years, they will begin to surpass the US in such key areas as education, job skills, productivity, and health care. China is doing just fine. So, you can look at global trade as a positive thing or a negative thing. I look at global trade as a positive thing. One man's sweat shop is another man's means of supporting his family. I sure understand the opposition point of view. I just don't think this is evil. What it is, is business.”
And I thought to myself, wow. Let's see... I wonder who's gonna explain the "very good reason" for all of this "economically calculated impoverishment" to the kids of those primitive folks who are, without their foreknowledge or consent (like the folks who were living very peaceably, comfortably and in perfect harmony with nature in the mountains of China before their government decided that it was essential to build a dam and trash their centuries-old way of life in order to supply power for all the civilized folks downstream) being forced to become "working class members of the global economy" in the name of making all of us "more civilized" and thus, supposedly, "better off."
At the same time, I totally agree with my friend, that “you can look at (anything) as a positive thing or a negative thing.” And that, to me, neither polarity is inherently “evil.” However, like electricity the inherent power may at will be used to produce and cause great harm, or great good.
And also at the same time, it is to me a
self-revealing and profoundly resonant truth that this type (for the
good of the global economy) “Industrial Age thinking” is
absolutely and beyond a shadow of a doubt what has gotten us into a
gargantuan global mess, the specifics of which are plain for all eyes to
see, and that doing more and more of the same thing over and over again
is NOT the means by which we’re going to get over it, get on with it and
equitably harvest well-being, prosperity, liberty and justice among all
women, children and men.
Yet I don't want to go back to living like a bushman to accomplish this. I simply want to understand all the available options and change some of our (modern day) norms. Thus my interest in geodesic housing because --to paraphrase another friend, "houses are dreams that live."
Of course if you’re NOT a devotee of
Buckminster Fuller, you may not catch this quantum-leap of thought.
So rather than go into a dissertation on the myriad economic features,
environmental advantages and creature comfort benefits of utilizing
geodesic structures for housing, I'll suggest that you read the "Good
Karma Manifesto" (which I must note is tremendously significant
right now, given the powerful storms that raged across the Midwest last
week). Given the subject matter captivates you, I trust that you'll
springboard yourself forward from there.
I mean -- dear God in Heaven -- if viciously brawling "teen hazings," staged in the name of "having some fun," aren't evidentiary of the havoc our (family values & educational system) "bread cast upon the waters" is reaping... well then, nothing is.
At the same time, I affirm that each one of us must, by self-reliant means, “earn” our rightful measure of respect and dignity. But that we are entitled by birth to start off at "ground zero" and proceed, in our own manner, uphill or downhill, backwards or forwards, as we mature.
Yet in order for any of us, individually, to do this we must in some manner integrate each isolated self with a comprehensive system of community self-governance. And in doing this we must choose to remember and implement as daily practice the Biblically articulated, Constitutionally bound, and unanimously self-reliant pragmatism: "The law was made to serve man, not man to serve the law."
Thus in order to ensure that all of our most basic needs are met and to do those other things which can only be done “as a group,” arises my interest in the general topic of "policy making" (as this is the full-time "business" of any government) with a special look at our federal, state and local policies on (what the laws we make define as illegal) use of drugs.
The thumbnail here is that I see this particular policy making system as being broken with inconsistency to the degree that this function of government is now causing bigger social and economic problems than the ones it endeavors to fix. And please, DON'T take my word for this, but do take a long look at Drug War Facts.
Speaking of war, a few short weeks ago a
poster to another educational list wrote: "It's easy for those of us who
oppose the Government's immoral slaughtering of Iraqis to blame George
W. Bush & Co. But perhaps this war is not as ‘cut and dried’ as we might
want it to be. Each of us has to ask himself if he doesn't bear some
responsibility, no matter how indirect, for these deaths… (because this)
war is for oil. And certainly those at the top stand to profit a great
deal in acquiring access to the rich Iraqi oil fields, just as they
stand to profit from the pipelines through Afghanistan that will bring
to tankers in the Persian Gulf oil from the former Soviet republics to
its north. But that brings up the question of why they will profit from
this, and the obvious answer is that they will profit because you and I
want that oil. We need it… (so) let's be as blunt as possible: What if
this war is not metaphorically but literally a battle for ‘our way of
And in these wars, we are each at the same time both a foot soldier and the commander in chief, because in the very act of making the simple choices we routinely make every day we are actually construing the rationalizations we contrive to justify the "goodness and necessity" of such exploitative practices as “business as usual” sweat shops as an “economically positive” thing.
In the doing of this status quo (Industrial Age) "thinking," we become a causative factor -- contributors to and enablers of the gravitational flux -- casting our self-governance bread upon the waters and saying, in essence, “It’s okay for me to treat others that way because I look forward to being treated that way myself."
Don't believe me? Think I've gone nutz?
Well boys and girls, all I can tell you is to take a long, clear,
penetrating look around at the shape of EVERYONE’S housing, education
and welfare as each exists right now, today. Factor in a bit of
scientifically grounded knowledge about demographics, the polarization
of wealth corresponding to the spread of poverty, the inability of a
college-grad "McDonald's manager" to make change for a $20 without using
an electronic brain and, most importantly, take a look at the quality of
your personal homelife in contrast with that of (one of the few
remaining) "primitives." Then forget everything everyone has ever "told"
you about any of this and make up your own mind.
And do you agree with me that the act of doing this is relatively simple? That doing it takes no special training or knowledge? That we are already, each and everyone one of us, automatically enacting those things we willfully focus our attention on, choosing to align our efforts with those of "againstness" or choosing to enable the consciously well-reasoned co-creation of our deepest and most egalitarian hopes, wishes and dreams.
In other words, to the best of our ever growing ability, we have everything imaginable under control and the more we consciously realize this, the greater our power becomes.
At least that's what I (choose to) think.
What do you think? As usual, lemme know….
My friend, however, being aware of events that transpired this past Saturday in Leslie, Arkansas, made an interesting correlation in his short dissertation which I found quite provocative and thus am choosing to share it (with Larry's permission) with you.
Oh! What a beautiful
What I can say is that life -- as always -- is interesting and abundant with opportunities to harvest big fat lemons, add some enthusiasm to "do the right thing," mix well with faith in the virtue of altruism to triumph, and serve up a delicious batch of good ol' fashioned hand-squeezed lemonade!!!
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." Doing this is both easier and more difficult than one would think, calling on you -- like any new "work out" program, to "exercise muscles you didn't know you had."
So anyway, what I'm doing here mainly right now is filling space. But you know, at some level that's all that any of us do anyway... thus is seems that our primary objective *should* be to fill it up with something good! Speaking of which...
This morning, a friend forwarded to me a "humor type" email that has made the rounds before but has now been "updated" with references to current events. And the comment my friend made about it ("lotta truth here") caught my attention. As I read it over again, I realized that he is right.
At least in the sense that I believe that this "joke" email admirably "puts into words" the things that many of us are "feeling" about the stuff we see going on around us everyday, throughout our hometown neighborhoods and International back-yards. Thus I've posted the pass-along here, thinking that maybe you'd enjoy looking at it this way too...
Why did the chicken cross the road?
COLIN POWELL: Now at the left of the screen, you clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.
HANZ BLIX: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.
JACQUES CHIRAC: We will veto any resolution regarding non-compliance of the chicken whether it has or has not crossed the road!
MOHAMMED ALDOURI (Iraq ambassador): The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We don't even have a chicken.
SADDAM HUSSEIN: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.
AL GORE: I invented the chicken. I invented the road. Therefore, the chicken crossing the road represented the application of these two different functions of government in a new, reinvented way designed to bring greater services to the American people.
RALPH NADER: The chicken's habitat on the original side of the road had been polluted by unchecked industrialist greed. The chicken did not reach the unspoiled habitat on the other side of the road because it was crushed by the wheels of a gas-guzzling SUV.
PAT BUCHANAN: To steal a job from a decent, hard-working American.
JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Isn't it obvious? Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "other side." That's what they call it-the other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And, if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side."
DR. SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, The chicken crossed the road, But why it crossed, I've not been told!
ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain. Alone.
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.
GRANDPA: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.
BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart- warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting and went on to accomplish its life-long dream of crossing the road.
BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2003, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook - and Internet Explorer is an inextricable part of eChicken.
ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road or did the road move beneath the chicken?
BILL CLINTON: I did NOT cross the road with THAT chicken. What do you mean by chicken? Could you define chicken, please?
COLONEL SANDERS: I missed one?
Wishing all of us the future we prefer, desire and deserve to enjoy...
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