We live now in a period where we are just as likely to run into someone saying that World War III is upon us as someone saying we are witness to worldwide change that will shift us into a global renaissance.
After two in-depth programs on Israel and the issues surrounding occupation and apartheid there, it is difficult to see any light down the many tunnels of conflict worldwide. From Palestine, Israel and Gaza, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and many other lands, we are witness to a massive upheaval.
Today sociologist Michael Schwartz and I discussed Iraq. More a failure than Viet Nam perhaps. Exxon and Mobil win; everyone else loses, especially the USA taxpayers. Our nation's treasure squandered for what? So the Church Of The Invisible Hand can preach the gospel of free market success? Hardly. If it takes $500 billion in subsidies for Big Oil and trillions for wars, then that is not laissez faire capitalism, that is immoral, illegal empire building so that a few tax-dodging multinational corporations can reap huge rewards. Blood on our hands from thousands of our military and over a million Iraqi people alone.
At our own doorstep we have thousands of unaccompanied children forced north by ... USA meddling in the June 29, 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras. We helped overthrown a democratically elected present (Zaraya) when he was helping poor farmers, established a minimum wage and established a free healthcare system. The USA stood internationally alone in support of the coup and alone in not condemning it. Turns out we trained the coup leaders at the School of the Americas, Ft. Benning, GA.
The most positive note to end this screed is that more and more we are hearing for a movement against the concept of empire here. This had better gain momentum soon and impact hard. Such a massive democratic uprising is far beyond the goals of Occupy and even the peace movement.
So what will it be ... a renaissance, or WW3?
So today on “Everything is Broken” I tried to keep from being shrill. I chose silly old auto related music, eschewed a strong political theme, and chose an ostensibly more balanced and mentally healthy guest, one J. David Gray. Ok, health is relative.
David and I discussed Sonoma, California. We tried to go beyond the “wine country” label and focus on the history and uniqueness, the beautiful surroundings and the culture. While I was hoping for some war stories about his mid 70’s debauch entry into such a place, David did not disappoint in that he provided the listeners with a picture of Sonoma with breadth and depth. A very lovely little town in a very scenic valley in a very cool place that hasn’t changed so much that it is now a caricature of itself. Sonoma is real; so are the tourists. But enough about the tourists.
I was left wondering if perhaps it is time to move the show beyond the whining and the outrage. Is it time to hit the reset on the radio gig? It’s like what I say to my now very dear friends of the North Country Peace Group: “how are we doing!? We started off protesting a war (invasion of Afghanistan) and to date (13 years later) only more wars and more apathy and more counter demonstrators. Why are we still standing here?” So is the radio program getting anywhere? Are we really an outlet for alternative media? Are we presenting issues that the mainstream media deliberately ignores?
People that don’t wallow in the pathos of politics are truly turned off by passionate ideology; hell, so am I. But what about PASSION itself? hm? I’m passionate about a select few family members, photography, cars, cats, geography, travel and getting the hell out of the boring burbs. So crucify me! But enough about me.
So perhaps it all boils down to a matter of style. The USA culture is big on that I am told. Ok, the USA culture is big on style, appearance, fluff and not rocking boats – got it. We are a bit of an empty suit culture to begin with, eh? So should I be Mister Smooth; Mister Calm and Melllloooo? Time will tell. It was actually great having a leftover cold; there seemed to be a radio voice there – wow! Disease is good!
Ok, that’s it for my day in the office. Now back to mucking about and wondering why my office desk looks the very same as the one I left behind when I retired! Oy.
Oh, and I even figured out a way to work in the theme from Mister Ed. Take that!
Yesterday’s “Everything is Broken” tackled the sorry state of our media moonscape. All roads funnel into 6! Back in ancient times, 1993, 50 corporations had the lion's share of USA media; today it is 6. If Time-Warner and Comcast come together …
A documentary film is being shot at WUSB by Tony Salva – he was set up in the studio with me during the program and then did a more formal interview after. Mixed media indeed!
Back to that bleak road we are forced to travel … an informed electorate was considered a pillar of democracy when Sally Hemings’ pot farmer lover Tom Jefferson held sway. And I quote:
“I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree." --Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805. Well, I guess Rupert Murdock “to a certain degree” informs his readers of the WSJ, and mouth-breather viewers of Fox News, but that for another day.
My featured guests on the program represented the Long Island Media Task Force. They are doing everything they can to muster local resistance to the runaway corporate takeover of our society. I applaud their efforts.
I see 3 principal avenues of toxic fallout from media consolidation: 1. outright government and/or corporate propaganda; 2. corporate product marketing in drag: i.e. everything from product placement to story slant to VNR’s (video news releases that a corporation’s PR firm produced that is presented as “news,” often with video of a “reporter” on the scene); 3. the outright blackout of stories we really need to hear: e.g. Fukishima; the TPP; the drone wars; alternatives to capitalism. Im sure you can conjure up more categories for all of this. drop me a note with your thoughts!
The media mess is one area of “brokenness” that we all should be fighting. Do what you can locally; take mainstream corporate media with a grain of salt; find some online sources that are less ideologically filtered. Lets see if we can open our own roads to information, knowledge and the power that comes with that.
Mix your own media!
Hubris … a cultural tick? A byproduct of empire? The USA’s version is both in my opinion. Hubris is dangerous, as we learned with our slide into permanent war since invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. Hubris kills. But has there ever been an empire that acted any different? Comes with the territory (no pun intended).
“Everything is Broken” yesterday delved into hubris and then switched to a life saved by going against the cultural grain. Brad Willis, a.k.a. Bhava Ram was an international war correspondent for NBC News. He pushed thru a broken back for 7 long years; he was addicted to just about anything that could stop the pain. He was also diagnosed with Stage IV cancer (courtesy of the First Gulf War depleted uranium bombs). He told us his story and his climb out of the pit of despair and self-pity. He turned to Yoga and ancient healing arts like Aruveda. Now he teaches others how to heal themselves. He described his “Type A” personality and career arc; he resolved to work harder than anyone else. He soared high; he fell hard, broken. Check out his most recent book “Warrior Pose … a War Correspondent’s Memoir … How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life", at his website.
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