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Sing a Song of Freedom

Bob Dylan  Freedom comes in stages.

This morning I cut the ties to Satellite TV. This action brought a touch of apprehension to my soul. I have realized the addiction for quite some time, but refused to deal with it.

Until now.

The first step to getting rid of an addiction is recognizing it. The second step is actually doing something about it. I’ve tried to quit before, but Andy Griffith and Lou Dobbs kept luring me back. This morning I grabbed my breakfast and tried to turn to one of the usual mind-numbing programs designed to keep us dumb and happy, and found that I had been cut off. That type of thing happens when you don’t pay the bill. My first thought was to immediately go to the computer, type in the Dish Network URL and get my programming back. My second thought was – why? Revolutionary.

I am now listening to a collection of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, The Beatles, and Judy Collins. I remember when these artists were my best friends. I think back to the time when getting the latest album was something that I treasured. These songs spoke to my spirit. I sat for hours passing around a bottle of wine with friends while pondering the Berkeley riots and discussing just how far down the rat hole our nation had gone. We talked about the latest protest and even went to one of the Black Panthers’ first meetings. We hitchhiked where we wanted to go because we were too young to drive. School was someplace to meet and plan our next adventure. The Monterey Pop Festival was the best thing going, and everyone geared up to hitchhike there. We didn’t think of crazy pedophiles in cars trying to kill people, we just stuck our thumbs out and caught a ride. Our bubble burst at the Altamont Speedway Free Concert when violence erupted. Reality pierced the night with a knife, and we began our journey into denial. Yes, violence had penetrated our private world, and things were never the same. If reality was that harsh, we wanted no part of it.

Ain’t it funny how you feel
When you’re findin out its real?

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon,
You’re leaving there too soon. (Sugar Mountain, Neil Young)

Pushed into acquiescence to societal norms, we went our separate ways. Some eased the pain with drugs, others with day jobs. Either way, we were anesthetized. We watched TV, drove back and forth to work, bought houses, and became respectable. We hung up our battle gear and surrendered to the man. That is, until someone got through.

Somewhere along the way, I listened to a small voice pleading with me to wake up and smell the coffee. Then it started – the journey to freedom. A bit here, a bit there. Freedom comes in stages, and it can be painful. During my quest for the truth, TV started looking more absurd to me as time went on, yet I held on to it until I needed it no longer. Reality took up residence instead. Welcome back, it’s been a long time.

So here I sit, wondering what life will be like not having the pacifier that has lulled me to sleep for what seems like forever. I took the 60 bucks I saved on my Satellite TV service, and went to Amazon.com to purchase two books – Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, and The End of America by Naomi Wolf. It looks like a Naomi kind of day.

It also seems I have time left over to consider that the revolution begun in the 60s seems to be resurrecting after a long slumber. It’s about time. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan) and we who are awakening need to get into the spirit of protest that was alive in the 60s and beat the airwaves to try and get through to the people who are still asleep and in denial of the harsh reality around them. We need to dust off the battle gear we hung up so long ago, and prepare for the fight of our lives. How bad does it have to get before we put our remote controls down, get up off the couch and start talking again?

If everything you think you know,
Makes your life unbearable,
Would you change?
Would you change? (Change, Tracy Chapman)

Freedom comes in stages, and it starts with change. The time to change is now, because I am afraid that very soon, we will not have a choice in the direction we take.

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction. (Eve of Destruction, Barry McGuire)

Yes, dear friends, we are on the eve of destruction. The time to put down that remote control is now.

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

Media Consolidation and the March Towards a World Government

Write What You’re Told  Bush appointee Kevin Martin, head of the FCC, is “proposing to do away with media ownership rules that bar companies from owning both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city. In 2003, Kevin Martin voted with the then-FCC chairman to lift the same media ownership rules but the effort was overturned by the landmark Prometheus v. FCC decision” (Democracy Now, 2007). 

“Previous to his FCC job, Kevin Martin served on the Bush-Cheney transition team and was general council for Bush’s 2000 Presidential campaign. His wife, Cathie Martin is a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney – and works in the White House as a special assistant to the President for economic policy” (Democracy Now, 2005). Considering that Mr. Martin has such close ties with the Bush administration, one cannot help but wonder if this is just another attempt by Bush and Company to limit the public’s access to information, as well as reward large media corporations for their cooperation in keeping information from the public.

This type of information manipulation is not new. David Rockefeller expressed his appreciation for members of the mass media in their efforts to help him in his march towards a world government in 1991:

We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries. (David Rockefeller, Baden-Baden, Germany 1991)

What we need is a diversity of information from media outlets that are not controlled by special interests, and not a monopoly of a few large corporations whose interests lie in reporting only government approved propaganda. A report done by the Media Information Center in 2004, “shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.” The following chart shows the startling decrease in the “number of corporations that control a majority of U.S. media” from 1983 to 2004.

 

Media Reform Information Center, 2007 

Media Reform Information Center, 2007 

 

Kevin Martin’s proposal would not only increase multi-national corporate control over what is seen and heard, but also contribute to the stifling of alternate opinion and free speech, which is so important to a viable democracy. Tell the FCC that you will not put up with further limitations of your right to information from diversified sources. Act now, before it is too late.

 

 

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

 

 

References:

 

David Rockefeller. (1991). Retrieved from http://www.fdrs.org/perception_of_freedom.html

 

Democracy Now. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/22/1415254

 

Democracy Now. (2005). Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/17/1442219

 

Media Reform Information Center. (2007). Retrieved from

http://www.corporations.org/media/

 

Internet Found Guilty of Promoting Terrorism

Internet Censorship  According to HR 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, the Internet is guilty of promoting terrorism, and is subject to sentencing by Congressional committee.

HR 1955 can be found in its entirety by clicking this link: HR 1955 text. While reading this bill, it occurred to me that one of the main thrusts of the bill, as indicated in the following excerpt, is to declare the Internet guilty of promoting terrorism, and to lay the foundation for sentencing. Please pay careful attention to numbers 2 and 3:

SEC. 899B. FINDINGS

The Congress finds the following:

1. The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

2. The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

3. The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

4. While the United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

5. Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

Let’s go through the relative portions of this bill, starting with items 2 and 3, listed above:

The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the United States and poses a threat to homeland security. The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

The Internet is charged with promoting violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, which poses a threat to homeland security, and has been found guilty as charged.  

HR 1955 then goes on to determine sentencing by creating a commission that shall be “established within the legislative branch of the Government: the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism” (HR 1955 Section 899C(a)). This Commission is composed of 10 members, appointed for the life of the Commission. The Commission shall:

Not later than 18 months after the date on which the Commission first meets…submit to the President and Congress a final report of its findings and conclusions, legislative recommendations for immediate and long-term countermeasures to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and measures that can be taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence from developing and spreading within the United States…
(HR 1955 Section 899C(q)).

Section 899D of HR 1955 then creates “a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States (hereinafter referred to as ‘Center’)” (HR 1955 Section 899D (a)), to establish a method for carrying out the sentence recommended by the Commission.

The Center’s purpose shall be

…to study the social, criminal, political, psychological, and economic roots of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in the United States and methods that can be utilized by Federal, State, local, and tribal homeland security officials to mitigate violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism (HR 1955 Section 899D (b)).

Section 899E internationalizes the efforts in section 899D:

(a) International Effort- The Secretary shall, in cooperation with the Department of State, the Attorney General, and other Federal Government entities, as appropriate, conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism in their respective nations.

(b) Implementation- To the extent that methodologies are permissible under the Constitution, the Secretary shall use the results of the survey as an aid in developing, in consultation with the Attorney General, a national policy in the United States on addressing radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

The Congressional verdict is in. The Internet is guilty of facilitating terrorism, and poses a threat to homeland security. Congress acts as judge and jury, convicts the defendant of the crime of promoting terrorism, and the Internet now awaits sentencing by the Commission; the method of carrying out that sentence to be determined by the Center.

Here are the steps in chronological order:

1. Congress accuses the Internet of having facilitated, and continuing to facilitate violent radicalization, in direct violation of HR 1955 Section 899B(2), and reaches a verdict of guilty.

2. The National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism committee (Commission) (HR 1955 Section 899C(a)) is assigned to submit sentencing recommendations.

3. A university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States (Center) is given the task of determining the best method/s for carrying out the sentence recommended by the Commission.

4. Step 1, the verdict is in. Steps 2 and 3, sentencing recommendations, and method of dispensing sentencing are awaiting completion. When these steps are completed, the next step is to pronounce sentencing.

5. After the sentence is pronounced, the final step is to carry out the sentence recommended by the Commission, and implement it using the method/s arrived at by the ‘Center.’

Will the government take this to its logical conclusion and eliminate the Internet as we know it? I believe it will try. 

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson 

Homeland Security Links 9/11 Truthers to Taliban

360px-us_department_of_homeland_security_seal_svg.png  Do you remember when Bush Jr. said, “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Well, he meant it. The House Homeland Security sub-committee on terrorism risk assessment convened a hearing on 11-06-2007 to discuss “using the Web as a weapon – the Internet as a tool for violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.” In a video of this meeting, which was last aired by C-Span on 11-12-2007, members of the sub-committee clearly pointed to Internet sites that question the legitimacy of the official 9/11 story as tools for recruiting terrorists.

During the course of the hearing, Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center displayed a Power Point Presentation illustrating what his organization considers terrorist recruitment sites. Here is his testimony:

To illustrate the trends described above, we have put together a short PowerPoint demonstration. Without going into deep detail in these written remarks, I would like to offer some brief descriptions of the material that will be shown. The presentation begins with a look at how 9/11 is viewed in some eyes online, including those who applauded it as well as some conspiracies sites. The presence of the conspiracy site is significant, since so much of what passes as fact online is actually based on some form of conspiracy…

Next is a series of sites of media portals which show some of the varied methods that the Islamists use to get their message out, including some based on United States servers. These are followed by some looks at charts and other manuals on how to use violence, along with a novel interpretation of jihad that calls for an “electronic jihad.”

One of these “media portals” displayed in the Power Point presentation is Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. This site is sandwiched between a Taliban training manual, and several Taliban recruitment sites showing how to make bombs, take captives, and blow buildings up.

Representative Jane Harmon posed the following question to Bruce Hoffman regarding extremist groups using the Internet to recruit potential terrorists: “So this movement develops them into violent killers?” Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown University security studies professor, and Chairman of the Rand Corporation in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency, stated that “falsehoods and conspiracy theorists have become so ubiquitous and believed that you almost have some sort of parallel truth, and it has become a very effective tool for recruiting people.” The “people” he is referring to are potential terrorists. Mark Weitzman stated: “These people are constructing their own version of reality, full of conspiracy theories, full of doctored videos, that will recruit or inflame the emotions.” 9/11 “conspiracy theorist” groups are included in this generalization.

By portraying sites such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth as terrorist recruitment organizations, the Department of Homeland Security has taken a dangerous step towards punishing anyone who questions the government. If you go to the A&E Website, you will see that it is a group of “  212  architectural and engineering professionals and   518  other supporters including A/E students who have joined…in demanding of Congress a truly independent investigation of the collapse of the WTC buildings.” Their mission statement is, “To research and to disseminate the truth of the 9/11 “collapses” of all 3 WTC high-rise buildings to every architect and engineer.” I cannot find any indication that this site promotes terrorism, much less recruits terrorists for the Taliban, yet the Department of Homeland Security has taken the stance that the site is “intended to recruit or inflame the emotions” (Weitzman, M.), and lumps it in with sites disseminating the Taliban Training Manual, and advocating suicide bombings.

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute – The Search for International Terrorist Entities went on to blame the Internet for Bush Jr.’s failed “war on terror,” and Representative Charles Dent stated that one possible way to help fight purported Internet terrorism would be to “turn the Internet into a less reliable source of information” by putting up phony Websites to collect information on terrorists as well as disseminate false information. Parry Aftab, Executive Director of Wiredsafety.org, also suggested that the government should collect IP addresses of suspected terrorist Websites to aid in the fight against terror on the Internet. Websites such as Architects for 9/11 Truth for instance?

If all Websites that disagree with the official government explanation of the collapse of the WTC towers is placed on a list of suspected terrorist Websites, what is next? Like Bush Jr. stated: “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

With the Stroke of a Pen

HopeBy Barbara H. Peterson

With the stroke of a pen, nations are formed, and with the stroke of a pen, they are destroyed. With the stroke of a pen, ideas are also given birth, and hope reborn.

With the stroke of a pen, our nation was formed, and with the stroke of a pen, it was torn apart. With the stroke of a pen, I lift my voice to the heavens to cry out in rage! I rage against the unabated greed of a people gone mad with lust for material possessions, comfort, and wealth. I rage against the death of a world enslaved by greed with the shackles of moral depravity and apathy.

All the material wealth in the world will not cover the poverty of soul that lies deep in the hearts of the foolish who count on their hordes of gold to protect them. Material wealth is fleeting. It can disappear in the blink of an eye, and when it goes, what is left – anything? For those whose only goal in life is one acquisition after another, there is nothing left. For those who place their faith in a life beyond what can be seen and felt, there is hope. When all turns to dust, the only survivors will be those clinging to what cannot be seen or felt.

Those who barricade themselves behind walls of wealth will not survive; their barricades will turn to dust. Those who cling to the hope that there is something more to life – something other than their possessions – will survive. With the stroke of a pen, wealth is created and lost, but hope is eternal. In a world consumed by greed, hope rises from the ashes like a beacon.

I choose to use my stroke of the pen to expose the poverty of material wealth and greed for what it is, and offer a message of hope. It is only a matter of time before the world pukes out this corruption in its belly. This disease is so deep within the bowels of humanity that the world as we know it cannot survive. It is erupting in open sores throughout the world in the form of endless war, torture, perversion, hatred, and fear. These are symptoms of a disease so far gone that the only relief from the agony is death.

So, I lift my pen in rage against a dying world consumed by greed – not to destroy hope, but to offer it. Like the birds that live by taking shelter where they find it, we can survive the coming crisis. We can search within to find the strength to carry on after the world as we know it no longer exists. There is more to life than what we see, feel, and hear. There has to be because if there isn’t, then life has no meaning, and if life has no meaning, we are merely dumb brutes clawing our way through time devoid of consciousness.

Therefore, I lift the banner of hope reborn out of the ashes of a world destroyed by the disease of greed, and lay claim to life after death – without malice or treachery. Here’s to a new beginning.

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

Like Sacrificial Lambs Slain on the Altar of Globalization

Are you ready to sacrifice your standard of living on the altar of globalization? That is what is happening at an alarming rate. We the people are being asked to squeeze our belts until it hurts so that the global elite can continue their lavish lifestyle all at our expense. Woodstoves are being regulated out of existence, older cars are on the chopping block, and we are instructed to use mass transit or ride a bike. Wouldn’t you like to see Dick Cheney or Condi Rice riding a bike to the White House? I would. The likelihood of that happening? Don’t hold your breath.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am for doing as much as we can to eliminate pollution and help stop global warming, but pinching the little guy for all he’s worth is not the solution. Targeting the major corporations as well as governmental agencies and suicidal policies responsible for most of the crud in our environment would seem to be the solution. Soon the older cars that the poorer among us drive will be outlawed due to smog issues. Sorry, but if you cannot afford to get a new car, you will have to walk. Yet, businessmen take airplanes everyday for their corporate masters. Billionaires burn thousands of gallons of fuel daily just for fun. These same people blame the average Joe for global warming and force us into untenable positions while gluttonously consuming petrol and traveling the world to educate the masses regarding the ethical use of fossil fuel products. Their mantra of “stop using the oil so we can use it” is beating us to death. Why don’t the super-rich decide to not fly for one day. I am sure that the emission savings will be sufficient to allow thousands of regular people to go to work, get to the store for groceries, and take their parents to the hospital without putting a dent in the ozone. Is that too much to ask? Evidently so. The great unwashed do not count in the grand scheme of things except as pawns for the “greater good.” But just whom are we sacrificing for? That is the million-dollar question.

In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…The real enemy, then, is humanity itself….Bring the divided nation together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one INVENTED for the purpose…(The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of Rome) (Aftermath News, 2007).

To the global elite, we are the enemy. Therefore, it becomes necessary to manufacture a common enemy that will take our minds off the target, and redirect our energies into fighting a strawman – a manufactured enemy that does not exist. It doesn’t matter if the enemy is real or manufactured. Do we need to cut down on pollution? Yes. Do we need to be concerned about our planet? Yes – we always have. Are we the people the primary polluters? No. Yet we are asked to fight the strawman so that big business can continue to pollute with impunity while we pay the price.

Do your part! The masses are more ready and willing to sacrifice themselves to “save the Earth” than the elites, just as planned (Aftermath News, 2007).

Logan’s Run

(Photo: inmates of the dystopia prepare to voluntarily cull themselves off at the “Carousel” extermination ceremony, from the 1976 scifi film Logan’s Run)

A lawsuit, filed in New York’s federal district court using a common law public-nuisance petition, alleges that the corporations it names are “the five largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the US and are among the largest in the world.” These five – the energy firms American Electric Power, Southern Company, Xcel Energy, Cinergy and the Tennessee Valley Authority – emit approximately 10 per cent of the US’s annual carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions contribute directly to climate change, which, the suit alleges, could lead to severe environmental and health impacts, including a doubling of heat-related deaths in Los Angeles. The suit claims that the melting of the snows that feed California’s water supply could lead to water shortages that would “harm residents, hurt agriculture, disrupt other businesses, cut the source of hydroelectric power and significantly increase the damage caused by wildfires.” The suit points out that means for reducing carbon dioxide emissions are both affordable and available (Red Pepper, 2004).

This does not even take into account the amount of fuel wasted on corporate/government junkets. Here is a 22 page document posted on USA Today that outlines the 2004 corporate plane usage by federal government officials. One would think that our government officials would take heed to the global warming problem and use these planes for important official business in order to save fuel and help protect the environment. Notice that while perusing the document “fund raising” and “campaign” trips comprise the majority of these flights.

And by all means let’s let Mexican trucks roll right through our country courtesy of NAFTA.

In 2005, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published a report on Mexican truck traffic in regards to the first phase of the trucking provision. Their findings report the following air pollution concerns:

–         an extra 50 tons of NOx and 2.5 tons of particulate matter a day will be added to California’s South Coast Air Basin

–         66% of Mexican trucks are older (pre-1993) diesel models and do not have electronic fuel injection

–         25% are diesel trucks older than 1979 having extremely high emissions of NOx and particulate matter

–         unlike the US, Mexico does not require trucks to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (The Airzone Blog, 2007)

Are you feeling like a sacrificial lamb yet? Can you justify squeezing the last drop of dignity from our nation’s poor as we limit their ability to own a vehicle, heat their homes with wood, and provide for their families just so the corporations as well as our corporate-owned government officials don’t have to limit their gluttonous use of fossil fuels? I cannot. I am sickened by it. The system is broken. We are like sacrificial lambs slain on the altar of globalization.

References:

Aftermath News. (2007). Retrieved from: http://aftermathnews.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/most-ready-for-green-sacrifices/

Red Pepper. (2004). Retrieved from: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/article232.html

The Airzone Blog. (2007). Retrieved from: http://www.cleanairsys.com/airzone-blog/2007/09/diesel-long-haul-trucks-from-mexico.html

USA Today. (2004). Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/plane_rides/2004v3.pdf?loc=interstitialskip

Copyright 2007, Barbara H. Peterson

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