Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Homegrown Thoughts

This is a citizen wake up call prompted by the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, or as it's known by our dedicated and loyal public servants, H.R. 1955. WAKE UP! Did you hear me? I said...WAKE UP! The dark veil is being placed over our heads, and the noose is being tightened around our pretty little naive necks. When is it enough people? When do we finally realize our democracy is failing? How long before we fully understand that the very principles on which our country was designed, can no longer be seen within our political structures?

Within the Bill, one of the findings is that the Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically bsed violence, and the homegrown terrorist related propaganda to the U.S. by providing access to citizens! Well now, Gawd knows our citizens can't be trusted to make up their own minds concerning what's best. So perhaps we do need some government oversight established to filter what the citizens should have access to. Maybe it would be in our best interest if we had some established pararmeters as to what the citizens shouldn't read, what videos they shouldn't watch, and what music they shouldn't listen to. Hey, China has established something similar to this and it seems to be working for them...doesn't it?

Let me see if I understand how this would work...If we establish some new parameters that will focus more on the ideology of our citizens rather than their actual criminal activity, we could establish a heightened scrutiny of our citizenry that would enable us to nip it in the bud, so to speak! We could bust them before they actually commit a criminal offense! Yeah! That could just work! I mean the majority of our citizens don't participate in the democratic process we have now, so why not give totalitarian democracy a chance? Perhaps that is what will be the wake up call. Only one problem...we've already hit the snooze too many times, we are late, and our positions we once held within the democratic process have been given to a committee to facilitate the protection of the Homeland.
Harman’s bill would convene a 10-member national commission to study “violent radicalization” (defined as “the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change”) and “homegrown terrorism” (defined as “the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States […] to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”).

Hmm...sounds familiar somehow! The Bill also directs the Department of Homeland Security to designate a Center of Excellence, based in a university which will require academics, policy makers, private sector participants, and other stakeholders to collaborate in order to better understand and prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. But...the Bill also stipulates that this Center of Excellence be chosen on the basis of merit according to existing Department of Homeland Security protocols!

So it sounds as if this Bill will skate right through the Senate with very little resistance if any. Just as it did through the House. So consider yourself warned that with the passing of this new measure, even your thoughts may be considered a crime to the DHS. So people, choose wisely what you read! Be very discriminate about the words you use! Be careful of which charity you donate money! Brother will be watching you!
The historian Henry Steele Commager, denouncing President John Adams’ suppression of free speech in the 1790s, argued that the Bill of Rights was not written to protect government from dissenters but to provide a legal means for citizens to oppose a government they didn’t trust. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence not only proclaimed the right to dissent but declared it a people’s duty, under certain conditions, to alter or abolish their government.

What's that sound? Oh...it's that stupid alarm clock again! I should get up, but it's so comfortable here in this warm little cocoon I've built! I wonder if I should bother with hitting the snooze again or just turn the damn thing off? I do have many things I really need to do...but what the hell...there's always tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mike Santana at MO's Edge

Being a member of the grassroots independent Whole Wheat Radio community has allowed me to meet some extremely talented artists. And last night at MO's Edge, I was fortunate enough to hear a fellow Wheathead perform in MO's intimate setting. I'm speaking of Mike Santana from the Memphis area. I got to know Mike from his participation at Whole Wheat and was introduced to his music that he had submitted to our library. Mike's artist page contains his three CDs...Point of Departure, In Transit, and Night Flight. All of which are extraordinary releases!

For the last couple of years Mike's new business has required that he put his music activity on the back burner. I asked him last night if he was ready to wade back into his music career with both feet and he admitted he would love for that to happen, depending on how the night went. And if what we heard at MO's last night is any indication, I believe we will be seeing Mike Santana playing venues once again around the mid-south! At least myself and many others are definitely hoping that's what will happen!

Accompanying Mike's extraordinary harmonica playing and vocals was old friend Joseph Aaron Fick ("Slick" Joe Fick) on the doghouse bass. Some of you may be aware that Slick Joe Fick runs the bass lines in the very popular band, The Dempseys. The Dempseys like Mike, also have their music in the Whole Wheat library. Two CD's...Drinking Songs For Your Grandparents, and Radio Friendly Hits For Your DJ To Play, both of which are available from their website.

And rounding out the trio was another of Mike's friends, guitarist "Big Al" Rollag, who was with Mike a few years ago when together they formed the band Metropolitan Avenue with Steve Earnshaw on bass and Mike Karcz on drums. "Big Al" with his uptempo electric blues and his low down jazzy licks was absolutely awesome!

Mike told me this scheduled performance was quickly put together and the three of them only had a couple of sessions prior to the gig. Sitting there sippin' on my double shot espresso and listening to their wonderful sound...I would have bet the farm that they had been playing off each other for years! A truly amazing non-stop two hour set that left everybody wanting even more! Others wanting to know where they had been playing, and where was their next gig. Two thumbs up for these three guys! They provided a wonderful night of entertainment for this old codger from Sardis, Ms.! ;-)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.