Sunday, December 31, 2006

Freedom and JFK

John F. Kennedy's speech back in 1961 on Secret Societies and Freedom of the Press now looks as if it was a warning to the American people. If we could only have heard what he was saying! But he was silenced shortly after the speech and the meaning was lost in the turmoil which ensued. Kennedy must have known we were treading in dangerous waters as he quoted Orlando A. Battista, "An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it!" And he must of known the necessity of maintaining our freedom when he said, "Confident that with your help, man will be what he was born to and independent!"

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Our United States I.Q.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

How many of us know in which document the above quote first appeared? We sit around all comfortable and secure, and then somebody throws this quote out in front of us and asks if we recognize it! We recognize the quote, and we have heard it before. But from which document was this quote taken? Was it taken from the Magna Carta, Declaration of Rights, or the Articles of Confederation? No wait, maybe it's from the Constitution!

The U.S. literally has thousands of documents which are the very essence and outline of our democracy. These documents represent how we claimed our freedom as human beings and fought for an equitable social structure. What's that? You say that one was easy? Okay, how about this one. Is it just as familiar?
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

Wasn't that Bush who said that right before we deployed our sons and daughters in the fight for freedom? No wait! I think that quote is from the Gettysburg Address isn't it? Oh man, the quote sounds as if it might have been part of the Nixon/Kissinger plan to bomb Hanoi back in 1972! Yeah, maybe that was where I read that! What's that? You say this is simple stuff! Give me something more obscure and tougher to figure out! about this one?
All bills appropriating money shall specify in Federal currency the exact amount of each appropriation and the purposes for which it is made; and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to any public contractor, officer, agent, or servant, after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered.

Easy...that's straight from the Constitution isn't it? From what I've seen from Halliburton, this part of the document doesn't seem to be working! Hmmm...maybe this quote is from...hell I don't know! Is it important?

How much do we really know about the laws and rights afforded us in our country? Here is a quick test you can take to determine your Constitution I.Q. You know the less we know, the more it hurts us! But there are just so many documents, laws, amendments, and declarations that it is overwhelming for most of us. So we end up placing our trust in our local law associates. Who we eventually might vote into public office to guard our freedoms and rights. Representative government at it's best. But once we vote them in, whose responsibility is it to watch their progress and grade them on their actions or inactions? If we don't have a working knowledge of our most important documents, how will we know if our representatives are working in the best interest of the people?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You, Me...Us

I suppose most of the people have realized I am from the state of Mississippi. Now in all fairness to this state, I do need to state that I am not a native of the state of Mississippi but I've lived in Mississippi since 1985 and our roots run very deep! My children and their children were sprouted here and they have breathed the warm moist morning air, they have ate each other's dirt running down the gravel roads, and they have drank deeply of the sweetwater springs that abound. It's this connection of family that pushes me to do something. Even if I do nothing more than say how I feel about our destructive directions. It somehow makes me feel better knowing that I'm not entirely ignoring my responsibility as a human being.

It just came to me one day that I'd rather go out active and awake rather than lazy and delusional. My Mother was 95 the 8th of December, and she remains independent and still lives by herself. She is a warrior in her own right and she holds almost a century's worth of wisdom! The point being, she remains active even through the pain and contributes what she can to her family, friends, and community. I truly think it's that giving nature she has that has kept her mind so young and sharp. She seems to be doing her part! So I keep throwing these stories and opinions out there if for nothing else than to share with somebody a small piece of my life. Yeah, I know! And I agree that sharing pieces of my life sure isn't much of a contribution! And it's worth certainly wouldn't have much trade and barter value! But there is a value that applies to any contribution within a community regardless what form the contribution takes!

About the only value these words of mine have if any, lies in the foundation of the story. The foundation of anything we do is what we call ''time''! Any sort of contribution has to begin there and then we design and build according to the time we have allotted for this foundation. Our lives are composed of over 8,000 hours a year. Out of those 8,000 hours we spend about 6,000 on essentials such as sleep, work, travel, food, and hygiene. That gives us just 2,000 hours per year to do with as we choose. And I've not even taken into cosideration the social family duties we accomplish daily. Many of us have spouses, children, grandchildren, and neighbors who rely on us for support. So how much time do you think we have left after we total all the above? What it boils down to is ''time'' is a limited resource for all of us and it could well fall into the ''priceless'' category I'm thinking.

So any contribution toward social awareness, support groups, or building communities has value in my eyes. I have truly appreciated the welcomes, along with the acceptance, and support I've encountered at so many of our growing communities. And I have grown to understand the value of the contributors of these communities. I was once told that I had a marvelous writing style. Not that my ego doesn't appreciate a compliment every now and then, but I had to laugh when I read it! It was a show of support from one virtual neighbor to another. And it was appreciated and it made me feel welcome! It's just that I find it hilarious because I know I have no style! I don't format, outline, compose, or attempt to structure anything I write. I haven't had that much education and quite frankly, I would rather just talk as if you were sitting right here. Fitting within pre-ordained, pre-structured mainstream boxes has never been my strong suit I'm afraid.

In order to change it, we have to change the stories! I first came across the thoughts of David Korten when I wrote a piece on The Insurrection of Subjugated Knowledge. I immediately was impressed by Korten's views between the two contrasting models of civilization we are now facing. He termed the two models Empire and Earth Community. And this is basically his definition of what will constitute an Earth Community:
So let’s put this task in its larger perspective. We live in what is arguably the most exciting time in the whole of the human experience. Having reached the limits of domination and exploitation on a small planet, we are called as a species to make an intentional collective choice to bring to an end a 5,000 year era of Empire and take the Step to Earth Community, the creation of a new human civilization based on partnership, caring, and mindful responsibility.

This is the first time in the history of us human beings that we have had an opportunity to choose our future! As our world becomes more interdependent and very fragile, we can either accept the continued control of empirical ideals or we can recognize we are all one family...the human family! The Earth Charter says ''We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.'' We are the very ones we've been anxiously awaiting to change our situations and create a better world. If our world can be saved, it will be due to the common people of our planet sharing their stories.

Communities have grown in response to Korten's book, The Great Turning, and many community intiatives have been built around the premise that the people must accept the responsibility of the turning towards a Earth Community. Once the realization hits us that we have been controlled by the stories given us by these empires, we should be mad enough to want ot make a difference. And changing the stories is where we start! In Korten's piece on Changing the Story, he states the need for new compelling stories.
We humans live by stories. Empire has maintained its hold on human societies for 5,000years in part by controlling the shared stories that define our cultural beliefs and values.
In so doing it induces a kind of cultural trance that obscures our ability see the consequences of Empire and the possibilities that Empire denies. Although it may seem absurdly simple, one key to turning the human course from Empire to Earth Community is to displace Empire’s favored stories with compelling stories of the possibilities of Earth Community.

I agree with Korten that we need to change the stories and it's up to each of us to participate. This blogging is merely a tool; a way to share my thoughts and views of the world from my unique little perspective. But as we share more and more of each other's stories, we continue to enhance our relationships, our understanding, and our respect for one another while empowering our communities. And just perhaps we won't let this opportunity escape us, and the idea of an Earth Community can be turned into a reality!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh No, It's the Yes Men

These guys began hitting the main stream media with their unique activism style somewhere back around the turn of the century. One of their first break-ins on main stream media was their controversial website, which forced our president to say to the public, "There ought to be limits on freedom"! For anyone who hasn't heard of the Yes Men, your in for a treat I'm thinking! Perhaps it's just my poor opinion of our current corporate state, that drew me to these alternative media activists. The following video of The Yes Men should be on the must see list for anyone who has a concern for our earth's sustainability. And this is "The Yes Men" on wiki.

I hope you Enjoy! And if you don't enjoy the video, consider this a public disclosure, that there are absolutely no refunds! :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Grandparent's As Reformists

There's something very awakening when a person realizes they have turned into someone who looks and sounds a whole lot like past images of their Grandpa or Grandma. Not a bad thing mind you, just sort of shocking at first recognition! I don't know when the reflection actually hit me. It didn't hit me when the kids were grown and gone. It didn't even hit me when I actually became a Grandparent. The awakening may have come to me when I was in recovery from joint replacement but I'm not really sure. Then again, I can't nail the moment down to any particular event or time. Maybe it didn't come as a bolt of lightning or a clap of thunder. Perhaps this realization of becoming a senior citizen has been a slow evolutionary process. I'm not fully awake yet...and in my mind's eye at least, I haven't aged a single bit! :)

But I'm certain I don't see things as my Grandparent's did because today isn't as simple as it was in their later years. I'm not saying it was an easy time, and being farmers and living independently as they did, they worked very hard and were very satisfied up until they died. Anyway, as a Grandpa myself now, I know for a fact that my views of the world and those of my Grandparents are worlds apart. In their time we still had an unlimited amount of land, resources, and time! Just not so anymore and to believe otherwise is suicidal in my personal opinion.

Independent...that's a tough one these days. The social structures we live within don't have much tolerance for independence. The system just isn't geared for that sort of thing anymore. But perhaps that's changing and we will see more and more support for independents in the near future. At least I think we will as we move away from centralized bureaucracies and move more towards peer to peer or self-leveling communal organizations. And the changes revolve around the distribution, sharing, and utilization of information and somehow turning it into power of knowledge. But there is so much information that it must be dugg, farked, furled, shared, categorized, filtered, embedded....Shit!...I could spend my entire day aquiring information and wouldn't have any time left to utilize the knowledge in any way. There are times when we have to decide which of our interests are most important and focus on a smaller cross-section of our world. If we really want to use these knowledge sources that the web offers all of us, then each of us has to make a personal decision to support certain causes or particular injustices that effect the people, our world, and civilization.

But I've found there is a problem with most of these big organizations who promote these necessary changes. For example, I support the efforts to reform our media and I am definitely an advocate for independent journalism and all other forms of media. And freepress recently posted notification of the 2007 National Coference for Media Reform, which is going to be in Memphis! This is a great thing and wow, it's only a few miles down the road! So I figure I'm going to register for this weekend of workshops, meetings, and speeches. You know, speeches from people such as Bill Moyers, Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Amy Goodman...kind of the who's-who in the democratic activist list! Well anyway, I go on their website to register and after clicking here, clicking there, reading this, reading that...I find out the cost is $260.00, which isn't that bad I suppose if you have the bank accounts of the celebrities who are going to be speaking at the damn thing!

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this will be a good weekend and people will learn a great deal and find some solidarity among other like-minded people. But where does that leave the common people who want to be involved. What do the good hearted, social conscious people, who live on a low or fixed income have to do to become active in these efforts. Well, I did find an alternative...and it's right down my alley. They have a volunteer-work program that will waive the fee and allow you to participate when you're not working! Well, I've had plenty of practice working, so I submitted my volunteer application. But acceptance is doubtful because I know they will only take a small number of applicants. So what about all the other people in our grassroot communities who are proponents of media reform? What I've discovered about the majority of these big organization's workshops and functions is...the people who can attend are usually the ones who aren't even affected by the atrocity the group is fighting against! They promote good things but they miss the whole concept of community and they lose because they don't embrace the huge power base of the people! And until the common people of our contry are taken into the mix, we all will continue to lose and the needed changes just won't happen!

I have to say I do wonder why they would want to hold the conference down south. We have some of the biggest wealth and health disparities in the entire nation. Corporations have been flowing from the north down here for years because of the tax free enviroment. Meanwhile we've watched our wages go down while the media has bolstered their efforts in the support of the new corporations moving into town. Hey, they create jobs after just can't live on what they pay! I thought why would a media reform organization come to such a corporate controlled area when we all know it's big corporations which have taken over the media and stiffled the truth. Maybe it's the low price quoted by the Memphis city council for the rent of the facilities. Could it be that they just wanted some good ol' southern barbque or tasty soul food? Or maybe it's because of the little LasVegas we call Tunica, which is littered with casinos just thirty minutes away from downtown Memphis? Naw...I bet they chose Memphis just so they could throw it in the corporatist's faces! Flaunting their rights and building movements through concensus and all right in corporate's face! Yeah, that's bound to be the reason! I wonder what I'll have to do if I get a chance to participate? Probably take out their garbage or keep their water glasses filled! Nothing like participating in reform movements! Who knows, maybe one day I can tell the Grandkids their Grandpa helped better society by bagging and hauling Jane Fonda's garbage to the dumpster out in the alley! And when we drive by the place I can say, Right there...see right there in that alley, that's where I threw their garbage that day!
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