Time is Finite, Peace is Infinite

There is only one thing finite in your life.

Time

Time is the ruler of all things.

It makes people stress, it makes mountains wither.

It makes me question our motives.

Several years ago we were told that in 2014 the wars would be over and our brave soldiers would be coming home. But war is a money machine. Without a war the need for a standing army 2.2 million people strong dwindles. Enlisted men and women who want to do their service for the nation are furloughed and asked to go back to their civilian life. Educated officers and lifelong members of a special league of people who are willing to take a bullet for you, me, and an idea are, in a sense, let go. They have been downsized because without war they are no longer needed.

We owe our soldiers our sincerest gratitude. Thank you for your service. We know your future is uncertain, but we, who are not in charge, salute you.

It is time that has determined that the war is over, no matter what life will become for the citizens of the countries we occupy we cannot stay forever. They wouldn’t want us to stay forever.

Time is finite.

If we do not teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence. –Colman McCarthy

I teach my children peace. How they may think play fighting is fun, but really they need to not fight. They need to not hit each other in abrupt human responses and behave according to the golden rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Admittedly it doesn’t always work, some days it doesn’t work at all, but the ideal is impressed upon them that they are the one determining their future by their response. If your goal is peace, you will undoubtedly have some hardship, but in your reaction there will be at peace.

Knowing that you are in charge of yourself is empowering. Even to a toddler.

I am an American. I am a peaceful person. I live a very quiet life in a suburb of Houston. I work with a team trying to house so many of the veterans that are forgotten after war. The men and women left to their own devises that may or may not have someone to lean on in a crisis. I show my gratitude in service to them.

My time is finite.

My perspective isn’t shared by my whole community and I fear that my work is infinite, but the people willing to help are finite.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. –J.R.R. Tolkien

We decide what to do with our minutes, hours, days, months and lives.

We decide to become power-hungry politicians or peaceful-giving private citizens. Some people give their lives in service to their church, some to the military, and some to their families.

It is my opinion that many people become politicians so that they can live in service to something greater than themselves. They believe in the ideals and the histories of the nation and they feel in their soul that they must be a part of it. Then they are elected to office.

They begin to feel the power of their actions.

They know their time is finite.

They have two, maybe four, years to really make a difference in their communities and then they move on. Some seek reelection, but once they see how much they can change their small community they want to change something larger. Their vision grows; people start to notice what they can and cannot do. They begin to compromise their vision for their lobby. They begin to barter political clout for rich rewards in their home life.

Their vision joined time and became finite.

In our infinite universe the political structure is not built to expand except through more red tape and to constrict through compromise.

A visionary politician becomes the pragmatic scapegoat of politics.

No decision is made by an individual. We can believe what we want, but it is true. No decision made in our political structure is made by a single individual. It hasn’t in a long time. Every leader has people they depend on for counsel and support. Every choice, good or bad, is made by the group.

This week we are commemorating the 1963 March on Washington that helped change the tide of the civil rights movement. We are listening to Martin Luther King, Jr’s recitation and Congressman John Lewis’ passionate words. We are remembering that we once stood up to the scapegoats of Washington with facts and fortitude. We are remembering that we can incite change.

Also this week President Obama is in talks to justify bombing a nation of citizens (both public and private), starting a war, picking a fight just as we are ending our occupation of another country.

Why?

I have read and reread the statements provided to the news, but it doesn’t make sense!

There are few people outside of the political structure that think war is a necessary function. As a planet we have witnessed how peaceful protests and positive disruption have changed more than any fight picking and calls to arms.

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. –Jim Rohn

If we are the creators of our futures and the dreamers of our dreams than why do we not hold the political structures in place accountable to us? We should not say,“Oh someday…” we should yell, “Now! Now is the time to change. Now it is time to give peace.”

Time is finite. Peace is infinite.

We are wasting the gifts we have been given in an indeterminable future.

All quotes and this photo were borrowed from the Charter for Compassion's Facebook page.

All quotes and this photo were borrowed from the Charter for Compassion’s Facebook page.

Governed through Consent

You and I are governed through consent.

This is a given in a world of question marks that I don’t have all the answers, but a world in which I try to exist. What happens when you no longer agree with how you are governed? Who is it that will inevitably control your consent?

Last Friday, The Guardian published an article on PRISM. An NSA program targeting all of the data processed on every cell phone number Verizon provided. When we say all of the data, we mean all.

Every tweet.

Every status update.

Every nonsensical thought.

They want to predetermine subversives and terrorists.

They want to know all of this information to prevent mass bombings and solve criminal behavior.

Why do we use the term “They”?

“They” are the organizations that prevent the behavior?

It’s my theory that “They” are not middle income government employees, but let’s not go there. That is dangerous territory in this day and age.

I am often asked, “What is my political affiliation?”

For many reasons I am pretty conservative in my actions. For many more I am liberal in my views.

Basically I feel we each have the right to private property, life built on our own terms and the ability to express ourselves without recourse.

It was pointed out to me yesterday that I am Libertarian.

Now, I have looked that up and largely agree with their views, but I don’t believe that I am.

Then in that same conversation I was asked if I am an anarchist.

This led me down a train of thought that you can only imagine.

While I am not happy with how we are governed I do believe we need to be governed. I believe there needs to be systems and processes in place to provide the infrastructure we have come to enjoy.

Without an entity worrying about the details we would not have reached the diversity in thought and availability of information.

We would not have moved beyond the Industrial age to the Information age.

We would have halted our theoretical evolution.

OR perhaps not, but we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Many of the arguments I have read refer to our Founding Fathers. They contain great quotes by great men who were themselves subjected to a tyrant. Benjamin Franklin is HUGE right now.

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

That is the one that circulates and recirculates until your head spins. But what was his context?

I haven’t actually had time to read the entire book I found involving this, so we will just have to believe that he was referring to the standard practices of the British who ran the Colonies at the time.

Franklin also believed that in order for the republic that would be formed the peoples had to be virtuous for it to survive.

His parents were pious Puritans. Puritan values include devotion to egalitarianism, education, industry, thrift, honesty, temperance, charity, and community spirit.

These values have become so integrated with the American spirit that you can feel Franklin’s impact daily.

Franklin also believed in the “Divine Providence” of this endeavor. This nation built on freedom and self-reliant responsibility. He felt God was in command of our every action.

To me he was correct.

God’s divine providence created a whole new world of governmental possibilities.

However, Franklin also believed that in order for the Republic to survive it had to be run by good, virtuous men.

Nearly 100 years later Lord Acton provided a memorable thought.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

What the Founding Fathers built and believed in was a system of small federal government that kept the states in control of their destinies. No, not all the representatives agreed to that ideology, but their history proved that only the local governments could understand the needs of the local population.

The foundation was set for freedom and liberty and due process.

(Due Process 2013 style is another post entirely)

Now nearly 250 years from the Continental Congress we are met with a growing dissidence to the actions of the government that has constantly been handed more and more power.

We give them power for our safety.

We write the rules of social responsibility with the government providing the keys to the piggy bank that will provide prosperity to the nation.

We provide our consent to security beyond anything our forefathers ever imagined.

I can remember when I was a child we had some freedom to explore. We could wander within a range of our home and experience the liberty of our own choices. Nothing was more liberating than walking to the corner store with a dollar and buying a candy bar and then eating it in the woods with my friends.

I was 8 years old and felt like I had some control of my existence.

Today, my son is 7 years old and when I think of letting him walk to the building next door to our apartment to buy a candy bar alone I cringe.

Why is that?

Because our world is incredibly different.

We live in a world where it seems the majority of the population has forgotten that to be a part of a free society they have to have a certain level of virtue and decorum. The unwritten rules of life and propriety that are scoffed at in the modern world are the precise rules that let us be free.

So when we are faced with the choice to put up surveillance cameras to monitor the actions of others to place blame when something bad happens, we let them.

We allow the monitoring of ourselves to protect ourselves from thieves, murderers, vagrants, and child abusers.

We trade our privacy to protect. We began doing this while I was a child.

Monitors in that store where I bought the candy bar would blink and the VHS tapes would record and if something bad were to every have happened to me there I would have been seen.

When my mother and grandmother were children they had the ability to have that same freedom I felt, but the monitoring of their actions didn’t exist. That was when community meant something. That was when if you miss behaved your mother received a phone call from the store clerk telling her that you had pinched a piece of chocolate and she could pay for it next time she was there.

We have replaced this line of thinking.

We now do what we want and leave it to a prosecutor to catch us. We have allowed the disintegration of the community that the founding fathers had wanted to create.

We now have “Big Brother.”

Where your actual blood brothers should be we have a video camera, a satellite link and digital relations watching out for us.

As technology has developed during my lifetime, I’ve watched the preventative measures to unseen dangers develop as well.

For every milestone made in technology there is a milestone in government bureaucracy. We give more power and the government willingly and joyously accepts.

All in the name of security and jobs.

I think back to Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I think back to Ben Franklin’s belief that for the republic to prosper we need virtuous leaders.

I’m of the opinion that the bureaucratic power we have provided the government lends itself to absolute corruption. If we are governed by consent we have given the powers in charge the ability to do whatever where ever they want.

My freedoms dwindle while they remain unchecked.

But

There is another piece to this puzzle.

Education

We were given an education that caused us to think for ourselves, grasp theories and explore possibilities, write our own opinions and develop the tools to think for ourselves.

Whether we were introverted or extroverted we were taught to develop ideals that would have a positive impact on the world.

I don’t know if this was everywhere, but I know this is what I was taught by the leadership in my school.

Think for myself.

Share your theory and have an open discussion.

Build the idea alone and then put it into action as a community.

Whether that community was a few students or a whole organization.

It is with this line of thinking that we have developed the tools that allow for the wealth of human knowledge and history to be available at a moment’s notice. By developing a theory alone and putting it into practice within a group humanity has developed the internet, the computer, the personal computer, cell phones, GPS, and on and on.

We embraced all of these technologies that we have built because of the knowledge that exists within them.

Humans are curious. Humans crave connection. Humans crave community.

So here we are. 2013.

Our curiosity, our connection, our community exists online and through the internet. We share knowledge, opinions, news, and need to innovate.

We share one with another in hopes of creating breakthroughs in our own human, temporary, existence so that all of society can improve.

Our education provided the tools to make this possible.

I graduated high school in 1999, having completed courses in Physics and Calculus, advanced placement in History and Government. I don’t know if we were an exceptional class, or the norm for the country of the time, but I was normal for my peer set.

I look back with interest as I discuss education today with my peers who have become teachers.

Nothing is taught in the same light as before.

Where once teachers shared their idealism and need to get the children to think for themselves. There is now a need to conform and teach to the prescribed curriculum.

A curriculum that has been dumbed down.

In a world whose lifeblood is knowledge we are hindering our children who attend public schools.

We are teaching to the base line instead of setting our expectations higher.

Why?

Through my research I have found several reasons…none of them are good.

First, it is not easy to control someone who has the ability to think for themselves.

Second, we are a resource based planet. We can never create more of any of our finite resources and it has been suggested that more educated people require higher incomes and therefore will consume more resources with these higher incomes. So it’s actually a threat to our sustainability.

Finally, those in power like to feel superior to the norm. If you price education out of their range and remove the tools to assist in the payment of that education; and then tax and fee the student to death they will never meet their potential. By never meeting their potential that makes room for those with the money, no matter their common sense and reasoning, to become the societal elite.

My children are being raised at a time when math isn’t thought to be of much importance. Reading words and comprehension are vastly different topics. Science isn’t really about innovation, but about repetition. Recycle, reduce, reuse the same theories until they learn more at home than in the school that is supposed to be teaching them the keys to the world.

The state that I live in, love and pay taxes to has rewritten our public school curriculum to their political affiliation, rewriting history and adopting books that change the very foundation of knowledge.

I could go on and on about the travesty that is our educational system, but really what does this have to do with the problem at hand?

By being taught to only do as the authority tells you and to be punished for thinking otherwise we are predisposing our kids to a life of surveillance. By not educating them to think for themselves they will never cause dissidence or create polarizing arguments.

They will never feel the passion of knowing something isn’t right at the very core of their being.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Right now we are at an impasse.

Society, government, virtue, and education are all being forced to reexamine themselves.

I have more questions now than when I began my research for this topic.

Questions that go to the very core of who we are as Americans, who we are as Humans, and who we want to become.

Do we want to continue down this path of centralized, political subservience?

Do we need to reboot the system?

Do we know who is dependable enough to not seek selfish gains to correct the problems?

Is it possible to create the world we want while hurting no one?

The undercurrents of society are not sure about the last one, but I feel as others feel that in order to change the future you have to do it differently than in the past.

War in any form is not an option because it would take from the very premise of the changes needed to improve society.

So, to you dear reader, how can we make this country, a country we can be proud of once again?

Take Ownership

There is a problem rampant in the world.

Refusal to take ownership.

I run across it daily in my professional life. People refuse to take ownership of their actions.

“I didn’t do that.”

“I can’t do that.”

 “It is the company.”

“It isn’t me, it’s the business.”

I always want to shout through the phone or through the office.

I run across this in my private life. People who refuse to accept the responsibility for their actions. Always blaming it on the next person never on themselves.

I am a take responsibility kind of person.

I take ownership of the projects, work, and information provided to me by my company. I consider that the most important function of my job. Knowing what or how or who needs what.

I have been this way in my personal life also. I don’t have the attitude that my circumstances aren’t based as a result of every decision I have made to date.

Life is a result of every choice made each and every day.

Take ownership of your reality.

Your professional life is the result of the choices you make day in and day out.

Take ownership of this!

The other night I watched “The Iron Lady,” the movie about Margaret Thatcher, and I started thinking to myself about the lack of leaders who take ownership. Do we have a strong leader out there like her? I am too young to know if she took ownership of her failures in life before she was out of the public eye, but the film made it appear as though she did.

Do we have some person who has made choice after choice to do what is best, even if it’s not what’s easy?

Do we have leaders who take ownership of not only their triumphs but of their failures?

As a politician Mrs. Thatcher made the choices to serve her country before herself or her family. It made her relationships difficult, but look at the mark she left on the world.

Right now what do we know of the men running for the highest office in our land?

We know that one…they do not take ownership of their failures.

Like most politicians they gladly own their successes but how often have they said, “This was my choice. I did this. I’m sorry for the result, but it seemed like the best option at the time.”

Never.

At least not to my knowledge.

Maybe they do in the quiet confines of their offices, but they pay people to spin the story.

A good PR person can be worth their weight in gold if the problem is of their own doing.

Pay the media and they will do or say whatever you want them to. Befriend them and shower them with gifts. It may not be the ethical approach but it gets you the results you need.

Why is it so hard for people to say – “I messed up”?

I messed up and there is nothing that can be done about it except try to accept and learn from the failure.

I know why too. I know the answer to this question.

Because people are afraid of failure. They would rather lay blame elsewhere than accept failure for their poor decisions.

But like I said I am a person who takes ownership, to my detriment I assure you on many occasions.

Professionally I have only been fired from one job. Why?

I accepted responsibility for a mistake made by several because I should have seen it. I should have recognized it. It didn’t matter that it was in my training period with the company and the export forwarder from China sent me the wrong information. It also didn’t matter that my trainer and our supervisor were both actively involved in the shipments. What mattered is that I had three typos on a shipment release and it cost the company money.

But you want know something? I’m okay with this. I learned a lesson about trust and leadership. (Not to mention double and triple checking my work.)

What did I learn about leadership?

I learned that people make mistakes and you shouldn’t judge their future based on one mistake. A true leader looks at the potential.

I learned that you should take ownership of your choices – no matter the result. A true leader knows that they will make good and bad choices and accepts it.

I learned that in a corporate environment you can’t trust your coworkers when they feel you are competition. They would just as soon throw you under the bus than admit their own faults.

We all have faults. We are human. We are not expected to be perfect nor can we be perfect. If you set that as your expectation you will fail every time.

Rather set your expectations on ownership. Can you effect change or results in any given situation based simply on the choices you make?

If the answer is yes, then do it.

If the answer is no, then find someone who can and let it be theirs.

We can’t all end hunger or feed nations, but we can accept that we can do our part.

I think it is time for our leaders to accept ownership of the condition of the nation, the successes and the failures.

I think it’s time for citizens to accept their circumstances.

Regardless of what is happening you can change them.

I changed mine.

If I can change mine – you can change yours.

All it takes is making the choice.

Now be good boys and girls and Share

I have been trying to think of a way to explain and humanize the information on ACTA for you all. As to what it means to the average citizen…how it will affect our lives.

I must admit it is hard.

I am a blogger. I post my opinions on life. I post my opinions on politics. I post my opinions on the government and civil liberties. Occasionally I have shared music videos and speeches. I have posted photographs that accentuate the point I am trying to make. I don’t fill the page with images, I see no point in that. I am not a photographer, I am a writer.

I write utilizing my first amendment rights to freedom of speech and press.

I consider it a wonderfully fun part of my day, this sharing process that occurs with you all.

Some posts I think of me talking to a shrink, that’s really what this blog started out as…a place to put my thoughts. Other posts are more like news articles sort of the content of the last weeks or content on the occupy movement. I have commentaries on how I perceived the Houston branch of the Occupy movement, my life over the course of the last year, and how we can effectively change the world. I wrote – not so long ago – about the Human Project. I plan to write on the Venus Project and more from TED.

Acccording to the Freshly Pressed home page there are  445,814 bloggers on WordPress alone. There are dozens of free blog hosting sites, not to mention the sites that own their domain, and have a blog to share content with you all.

Imagine all of them disappearing.

Last Wednesday’s SOPA/PIPA protest was just a taste of the changes that would be made.

Here’s the thing though…that legistlation is going to be resubmitted and reworked and attached as riders to other bills until it is passed.

UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

When I think of or hear the word Treaty I think of war. There is a treaty signed to end most wars. So…I Googled the word “treaty,” and if you can imagine it Google gave me the Wikipedia link first!

SOPA/PIPA for shame! ACTA be damned! (Haha)

Anyway, Wikipedia defines a treaty as “an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.[1] Treaties can be loosely compared to contracts: both are means of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and a party to either that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.”

I know when I worked with contracts that if a contractor did not live up to the contract that they were in default and we dealt with the company accordingly. Sometimes in court, sometimes in words, either way we made sure to have the partner company make good on their contract. Only one service contract I know wasn’t honored and that contract was terminated.

This makes me wonder what will happen if the U.S. Trade Representative and the IIPA is unable to convince the majority of the Congress to vote for a bill that would dissolve the use of freedom of expression, speech and press. Simply because we are now able to share content through a medium like the Internet.

ACTA is a treaty after all, it’s important to know what that means.

Share…is that a bad word? My five-year old thinks so…he has toys, but now he also has a little brother. His brother is growing up and wants to play with his toys too. He didn’t pay for them, but they are there and he wants to use them. I have to teach a lesson in sharing every morning and evening to my five-year old. He had a monopoly on the toys for five years, but now he does not.

He is angry about it, but it has to be done. He has to learn this to be able to socialize properly.

The five-year old is a whiz at utilizing the Internet. He can download, upload, and I think he has even shared videos on my Facebook page. He redesigns my Droid homepage on my phone every chance he gets. He can’t wait to be able to have a computer of his own to play with and create on.

The treaty the U.S. government has signed with other nations effectively ends this right. This thing that my son can’t wait to do is dying because someone in Hollywood who used to dream this way as a child says no you can’t do that anymore (at least not without giving me my dues.) What would the world be like if Steve Jobs or Steven Spielberg hadn’t had dreams of grandeur as children?

Original content is their argument. What original has come out of Hollywood in the last few years? Really?!

Everything is recycled, reproduced, reused, and we are on our fourth and fifth installments of some movie enterprises.

I don’t care to see another Marvel comic book made into a movie! If I wanted to watch a comic I would actually go to the comic book store and buy one!

Original content…really?!

Are we at war over the Internet? Are we choosing our sides as we share?

The anonymous hackers that are bringing their message to the nations that support ACTA believe we are.

The government is behaving in a manner which says you are guilty until proven innocent, and the only time I have witnessed that stance is in wartime.

I have been raised to believe that the Bill of Rights is something I can depend on that will allow me the freedoms I need to be a fruitful member of society. I should be able to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.” I should be able to speak out against a bill, a charter, or a treaty; and not be keyworded into being an enemy of the state. The wording of the Patriot Act is perfectly clear and even if the Supreme Court has declared some line items unconstitutional, by speaking about changing the world as we know it, I am siding with the dissidence. Whether I agree with how they are doing it or not I do agree with the groups at Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Congress, Occupy the Courts, and all the other protests.

Humanity is at a precipice.

We are at a point in history that decides our next evolutionary marker.

Are we going to allow our governments to put an end to things like open-sourcing and sharing of ideas? Are we going to allow a few men at the top to tell us that they are right and we are wrong and we are not allowed to have an opinion much less voice it in a digital media that can be shared?

Are we sheep?

My favorite quote from Einstein is, “In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep.”

I am not a sheep, and I don’t even pretend to be immaculate. I feel sorry for those who do. I try to live right, but if that means to some I am living wrong, that is not my karma.

Sharing and speaking and gathering to protest is the right thing to do right now.

We are at a point when we either follow or create a new path.

We can live as previous generations extolling the high moral standards of the immoral or we can be a generation of exacting change.

Choose wisely.

John Lennon was way ahead of his time, but that's what makes him eternal.

What is mightier?

If you have read my last few posts and listened to the videos contained in yesterday’s post it is safe to say the governments of the world have known problems with file sharing.

From Anonyops

Yesterday – in grand US government fashion – the website Megaupload was shutdown. According to the article by Matthew Barakat, “One of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company officials were accused of facilitating millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content. A federal indictment accused Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue.”

Here is my view on copyright violation…if you’re not making money off of it – use it.

Now I do not know how Megaupload works, to be honest I didn’t even know the site existed until about 10pm last night. They may be making money off it, they may not…if someone reading this knows how they work please share :).

The internet wide protests against SOPA and PIPA on Wednesday make the shutting down of Megaupload a little funny. These bills haven’t passed yet and already the government is finding loopholes in other laws to be able to shut down websites that they determine are doing something illegal. Whether they are or aren’t I do not know….too much time to figure that one out.

I wonder who is to say that if you purchase a CD, download a song to your computer, you send that song to a friend that DIDN’T purchase the CD, that you aren’t committing a crime. Is this copyright infringement? Did you just facilitate an illegal act? If you do it repeatedly does that mean that the government has the right to come into your home and take away your computer?

I suggest that they will try. The Patriot act made it legal for them to monitor our every move online. To quote the video I watched before Christmas, “If you think you have to be a terrorist or doing anything wrong to be directly impacted by [the Patriot act] think again!”

In one of the videos I posted yesterday the speaker talked about how the entertainment industry filed lawsuits against the first makers of VCRs and MP3 players.

Do you remember recording to your VCR on tapes? Apparently it was a horrible atrocity for the entertainment industry. It meant that you were willing to watch something more than one time and you weren’t going to be compensating them for it. I remember being a kid on a little island in the mid-Atlantic with no American television shows, but my grandmother would send us tapes. Tapes with cartoons in English that we could understand. We watched those tapes until they wore out…was that illegal? Should she have gone to jail for distribution?

We praise our DVR’s but isn’t that just another method the cable/satellite providers are using to control how you view your television? If you have the “right” cell phone provider you can share the files to your phone and watch it anywhere, but if you don’t have the “right” provider than you don’t have that ability. You pay the cable company, you pay the cell phone provider, they bombard us with ads and we can’t share a video or movie?

They have fought the VCR in court, they have worked with the electronics companies to make sure the DVD’s we view and buy are not able to be copied. The VCR/DVD combo disappeared fast once they realized you could copy a DVD on to tape and share it with a friend. The internet is a place to share. It is a place that in the hands of anyone could shut the entertainment industry down.

I love my movies. If I know someone who wants a copy one that I have I SHOULD be able to give it to them. I can not tolerate the idea that I am not going to face going to jail because I didn’t pony up more money to the industry by sharing. That by sharing something I purchased and own is illegal.

Also, if my son is hilarious and sings along to a song from the radio. I share it on Facebook with my friends. I can now be charged with copyright infringement. How freaking stupid.

I don’t think these guys are hurting for cash. (Which is why they can fight us)

In response to the shutdown of Megaupload, last night a group of anonymous hackers shutdown the FBI’s website. I did not say it was “Anonymous” simply a group of individuals who realize the banality of the entertainment industries actions and their puppet agency known as the FBI. I am not saying this out of sedition or revolt, but out of a love for my civil liberties that apparently I haven’t had since 2001.

There was a speech by President Bush, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was rushed through Congress and signed into law that went something like this…

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure out domestic security and protect our homeland.”

That is a great line. You believe it, right? You think woo hoo America!

As is often the case online these words have been attributed to Hitler…however in fact checking this blog for you I have learned that someone didn’t check THEIR facts before posting the video online. (so not going to hunt down that video)

As Hitler announced the Gestapo a memo was released and posted throughout Germany and the totalitarian German state was born.

Does this sound familiar?

             “The burning of the Reichstag was intended to be the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war. Large-scale pillaging in Berlin was planned for as early as four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. It has been determined that starting today throughout Germany acts of terrorism were to begin against prominent individuals, against private property, against the lives and safety of the peaceful population, and general civil war was to be unleashed…[1]

What about their response?

Ordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State
Auf Grund des Artikels 48 Abs. 2 der Reichsverfassung wird zur Abwehr kommunistischer staatsgefährdender Gewaltakte folgendes verordnet: On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:
§ 1. Die Artikel 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 und 153 der Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs werden bis auf weiteres außer Kraft gesetzt. Es sind daher Beschränkungen der persönlichen Freiheit, des Rechts der freien Meinungsäußerung, einschließlich der Pressefreiheit, des Vereins- und Versammlungsrechts, Eingriffe in das Brief-, Post-, Telegraphen- und Fernsprechgeheimnis, Anordnungen von Haussuchungen und von Beschlagnahmen sowie Beschränkungen des Eigentums auch außerhalb der sonst hierfür bestimmten gesetzlichen Grenzen zulässig. § 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Now we all know the tragedy that befell us on September 11, 2001. I do not deny that tragedy, and I felt such sorrow for the condition of the world and the people who lost their lives. However…the reaction of the US government hasn’t been the best and we have all (myself included here) allowed the passage of such knee jerk bills.

In true internet user fashion I refer to Wikipedia for the information about the Patriot Act. I hope it is accurate…I know they try.

The Patriot Act is our “Order…for the Protection of the People”

“The act, a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ ability to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.”

“The Act was passed in the House by 357 to 66 (of 435) and in the Senate by 98 to 1 and was supported by members of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; searches through which law enforcement officers search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s permission or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order, and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records.”

As citizens we have been fighting it though.

“Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and Federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.”

Here is another problem I have with it…the bill implies that indefinite detention only relates to foreigners on American soil, not Americans…but it gives the provision for Domestic Terrorism.

What is domestic terrorism?

“According to a memo produced by the FBI’s Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in 1994, domestic terrorism was defined as “the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”[2]

Another problem I see is that some of the provisions in the Patriot Act were set to go away in 2006, and the legality of the act was set to end in 2011. But Congress quietly passed it through and our “President for Change” signed it back into law last year. Yay us. (And I realize I have shared that with you all before.)

In our ever-changing, evolving, connected world, are the actions of either the US government or the anonymous hackers appropriate? Was taking down the Megaupload website an act of retribution for the internet-wide blackouts Wednesday? Was the response from the hackers an attack in a “Cyber War”?

I stand with my comments to the Anonyops website last night. If progress is what we are hoping to accomplish with the occupy movement and the enlightenment of society than what we need is a coordinated effort that involves the education of all people. Most “normal” people will not stand with the occupiers or Anonymous because they don’t understand what is going on, they don’t see that shutting down a government website was a good thing, all they see is the attack. I still believe that occupy needs leadership (although I have been told that idea is arcaic.)

I have so much more to say with regards to the current state of the search for a Republican Presidential candidate and Ron Paul and international relations and the military, but that will have to be another time…we are nearing 2000 words here.

I  hope you all think about the world we are living. I hope you consider the fact that “things” aren’t going to get better until we are all able to work together to educate and inform and maintain progress. Stay informed.

Don’t get your news from the national media because they aren’t talking about ANY of this. I tried to find information on this last night as I flipped from CNN to HLN to MSNBC to Fox.

It’s not there. Use your tools. Use the internet. Stand together.

From Anonyops

Have a blessed weekend!

You have power – Use it!

I don’t remember where I found this picture…maybe HuffPost

Here is a tidbit that you are missing if you aren’t in the know, because none of the national news organizations are carrying the news.

Today is the start of the Official Occupy Congress.

This is in addition to the Occupy Wall Street movement. There are no leaders of the tribe though and without will full leadership there will be no change in the status quo. I am going to refer you to my comments in an ongoing conversation on the seeming failure of the occupy movement.

I don’t think it’s doomed to failure, but I think we need to choose leadership…now.

Also there is SOPA, AKA Stop Online Piracy Act There is talk about rewriting and reworking the information, and resubmitting through the House for approval.

Have you heard about SOPA yet?

I haven’t talked about it…but here is the short skinny on it.

“The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.[4]” 

The above was courtesy of Wikipedia…an information source that would likely be shut down if this bill were to pass.

My personal opinion is that the government is try to impose sanctions on a system that is set up to provide information at will. We use the internet to double-check the lines they feed us, and we get startlingly different views if we check our news against international newspapers. The edit/censor button is far too familiar to the US government and the big businesses that the Occupy Movement is rallying against.

The sad part to the paragraph above is that I have been doing it since the mid 90’s. I wanted to live in London after high school, so I would read the Observer or the London Times. The differences were so startling I have continued to do it.

I know the pains the music industry has had since Napster’s creation. The part I didn’t understand was charging kids with crimes when they didn’t have a clue that what they were doing was wrong. They were downloading music to their new toys. They happened to find it online for free. How freakin’ awesome…if I had been able to have a computer back then I would have done it too.

But now it’s not just music.

I read a piece on Craigslist about this now becoming an issue for all the items we buy or sell online. Click on the link to read the entire piece, but if I want to sell my old stereo cables, I’m going to. I paid the seller who paid the manufacturer. If they want to make more waste and fill more land with garbage that’s their karma.

Think about the effects of something like this. We are no longer able to buy or sell any used items in an online environment. How many of us do that all the time?

I am flabbergasted that House Representative Lamar Smith even laid out the details of a bill such as this in the US Congress. I suppose Rep. Smith (of Texas by the way) forgot that he lives in the United States. I suppose he thought that with everyone arguing indefinite detention and NDAA that he could just scoot his bill through.

Not going to happen.

I am trying to think of a single website that I use during the day that wouldn’t be shut down, and there is not one that I can think of…Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress, Craigslist, TED, Yahoo, Huffington Post.

All of them would fall prey to a bill like this.

It makes me think of communist China, they have so many government imposed censors on the internet there that you are not able to log into several of the sites that I mentioned above.

By all accounts the bill is dead in the water, but you never know with these things, best to stay informed.

Back to Alice Walker again, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

You have power…use it.

The Constitution says “We the People” it doesn’t say we the businesses. If we don’t start taking control of our own actions and making our voices heard we will no longer have the ability to be a voice.

What is happening to America?

Is that shredding I hear?? Oh – yes! It is the American politicians and they happen to be shredding our Bill of Rights. I am going to try to make this as unbiased and fact filled as possible, but inevitably my opinion will shine through. So…here goes, and here is hoping that I am not someone who will be subject to “Prolonged Detention” for simply holding and speaking my opinion.

When we were forming as a nation, we fought against the government that we are now creating within our borders. Please read the Declaration of Independance when you have time. It’s enlightening.

What does the Preamble say in the US Constitution?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What about these words says military state? What about them says the government has all rights to our life, liberty and happiness? Nada. 

So I located a copy of the Bill of Rights. You remember what that is, the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States? Proposed by James Madison and ratified by the first congress?

 Anything here say that “Prolonged Detention” is legal?

Nope.

But that was over 200 years ago and things have changed. Laws reinterpreted by case-law and state constitutions and so many policies that have come out of Washington in the last 100 years.

Okay maybe not the last 100, but here’s the deal. At least this was what FDR proposed before his untimely death.

What is this? A second bill of rights?! What is this a bit of protection for the average man? Well, this in the hands of the less than um…savvy…would have lead to a form of socialism that even New Yorkers would find irreprehensible.

I have lived in New York, I love it there. Everyone has access to healthcare and a dentist and an affordable education. I feel like there should be a green field filled with lilies that I dance through a cloud of butterflies in…but here’s the reality of that situation. Healthcare is subpar, the dental care is rudimentary, and the education you receive is whatever you make it because the teachers don’t make what they could in other states so they go to the other states. Sorry, New Yorkers for offending your belief in your superiority.

That being said…I live and grew up in Texas. We have NOT done it right either. Our education costs are too high and rising in every bianum Congressional vote. Our medicine may be top of the line and internationally known, it also is not given to people with out the proper insurance. Should you get sick, I mean really sick, you better have absolutely no income of any sort and be homeless. Dental care is a laughable thing. Not many people get the proper dental care as is evidence by many. We will supposedly have a budget surplus in two years, but I am sure the Gov. Perry’s $10,000 a month mansion rental will eat that up. Thank you Perry for not being able to stay in a lesser palace while the Gov. Mansion is under construction. I don’t fault you, I just don’t understand.

So, where did this beef with the way of things and the inspection of the declaration of independance and bill of rights come from? Well. A video…or really several things spotted around the net. First the video.

Then there is the controversial bill that passed the US Congress not so long ago. Here is a link to the information regarding the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. I understand that President Obama has stated he will VETO the bill if it actually makes it to his desk, but the very idea that any member of the Congress believed that any of this agenda was necessary to be passed appalls me.

We elect people into office as a means to have a voice in Washington that will see to our best interests. What about allowing the military to use indefinite detention is even constitutional?! The very idea that Obama will veto the bill is hilarious at best. If you watched the video you will see that he has every intention of ALLOWING the military to do this. And NOT just to terrorists or terror suspects but to people who MIGHT commit acts of terror, that means ANYONE. YOU can be arrested and held for an undetermined period of time for as long as the administration or acting officials feel that YOU are a threat.

So, does that mean that every Occupy protestor is a potential threat to the confines to the US civil systems? Does that mean that if the President decides he is tired of their banter he can have them all arrested and held indefinitely until their riotous acts are squashed?

WHAT does it mean? WHO does he mean? WHAT rights do we have if we speak against this or any President or member of the political hierarchy?

What does this make us? We are but Serfs. We are the lowly people in the kingdom. We are the ones that run around and make sure the world is as it always seems to be, all the while eating the bull shit that comes out of Washington and off the television. Someone once said to me that you had to either have political backing or money to make any sort of difference in the world. While I agree with them, I also believe that if we grow tired and ill-tempered and grieve our missing rights our voices will unify and grow stronger.

I am not saying this as a member of any Occupy movement – I am not a member of the movement.

I am simply saying this as one girl who wants to live her life free, say what she wants, live as she wants, provide for herself and her family as best she can. I want to be able to watch the news and learn facts instead of having to filter out the hyperbole. I want the best future I can for my kids. Right now. I need us to make that shift in unison.

Peace now. Life now.

I’m not sure how to fix it, this thing we call our government, I just know it needs to happen now.

EDIT: Now here’s the bad news

Ideas – Solutions – Thoughts to make this work!

I keep saying I have ideas for the general population to make life work for the benefit of the whole, but since no one has contacted me, I guess I will write a post and see what happens.

On a side note: In all you do harm none. Non-violence is the goal in all this. Be aggressive in your pursuits to change yourself, but realize that you can’t change anyone else. Not their opinions or their way of doing things. Only yours. 

Here is my list of the top 15 things YOU can do to make the world a better place and silently side with the Occupiers.

1) Move your money from a bank to a credit union.

2) Pay cash for all your purchases…this isn’t just for the benefit of your bottom line, this keeps you from paying fees to the thieves.

3) Shop at your local markets and local farmer’s markets.

4) Find a local butcher for any meats you may need, check to make sure that the animals are grain/grass-fed and not fed with corn.

5) Remember your three R’s! Recycle, Reduce, Reuse! – Find new uses or homes for things you are throwing out. Reduce your carbon footprint. Reuse EVERYTHING.

6) Buy from resale shops (Thank you Cathy for this one)

7) Donate items to a local charity. A local library that might have a shop to fund their book purchases.

8) Stop buying name brand products.

9) Plant a garden, if you are in an apartment community see if they would be interested in a community garden.

10) Research your service providers. Find providers that have sustainability clauses.

11) Use public transportation whenever possible. I did this for years when I lived downtown I loved it. Walking, meeting new people and getting free entertainment because of some of the crazy people…and its cheap – just be safe!

12) I know that a lot of people are not going to agree with this one – BUT – I have to say it – STOP SHOPPING AT MAJOR STORES LIKE TARGET AND WAL-MART. Woe to me the naysayer of these stores, but here is the thing…these are the guys sending massive amounts of money overseas. These are the guys that are sending our manufacturing jobs overseas. The American Textiles industry is just about shot because these guys want to pay someone 10 cents an hour for a task that used to be completed in the USA but then they had to PAY people more…so they thought of THEIR bottom line and shipped jobs overseas.

13) Think about where you are working…what are you doing?? Who is benefiting from your job the most? I quit a job a few years ago after witnessing corporate greed first hand. The company I worked with received a several BILLION dollar government contract and turned around and laid off at least 1000 people claim to not have jobs for them, but then asked those people to work for them overseas. MEANWHILE those of us that were left had to do the jobs of allllll the people who were let go did not receive compensation for this BUT had to work 80 hour weeks just to keep the company working.

14) Get the word out. Research. Tell your friends and neighbors what they can do to help. Spreading the solution is just as important as finding a solution.

15) Many people find fault with me using Facebook or having a smart phone…you know what – I don’t keep a house phone. My cell phone is the only phone I use (AND it is not with a major provider), so why not have one that will keep me updated on email and cyber life? I have written blogs and posted them on that little thing. As for Facebook, I talk to people I would otherwise never be able to speak to through a format made for my generation and it has been embraced by the world. I have been on Facebook for nearly 7 years, I’m not quitting.  Take these things and use them as tools to inform the public.

Start here, start now, tell me your ideas to change the world…

A few thoughts on Occupy

I don’t know if this will be my last post on the Occupy movement, or not, that remains to be seen…BUT I think I need to share a few lasting impressions that I gathered over the weekend.

1)  The key to doing is organizing.

If you are going to accomplish anything you need to have a plan of action. You need to know not only what your goals are, but how you are going to get there.

2)  To change the world you have to STOP arguing amongst yourselves!

Who cares if you are protesting for change if you don’t shut your mouth and realize that you will not solve anything by not having a unified front. Quit yer bitchin – PLEASE!

3)  No one wants to be part of something that is seemingly ineffective.

That is maybe the biggest problem. If you don’t know where you are going. If you can’t stop discussing the issues. If you can’t consider the greater good for a few minutes. If you can’t develop solutions for all the ills you see in the world, then you are ineffective. You will have no results.

You will simply, eventually, go away.

These are my problems with this movement and they seem to be the things that keep the average citizen from joining our ranks. The very idea that people are quitting their jobs to hold signs up to be part of the crowd is so completely NOT what we need to be doing. 

That is a problem that the older generations see with this movement…”The Greatest Generation” worked hard for everything that they have/had. They worked and sweat and plowed and did all of the labor to create the infrastructure that makes this nation so great, but they do not want to get behind what they see as a bunch of lazy free money seeking liberals with chips on their shoulders.

I have heard so many varied opinions from politicians and citizens alike. Some say our protests are Anti-American and others that the very ability to hold these protests is Americanism at its finest.

What we have here is a noble cause! We have a fabulous idea! We have the ability to influence the future RIGHT NOW!  

This is a copy of a note I sent to the organizers of the Occupy movement in Houston, because lets just say I was less than impressed by the situation I witnessed.

We’ve got the bones to make this a truely awesome event…it’s what we make it.

I have been researching the movement and agree with the most ardent issues.  There is, however, a less than pragmatic approach to changing the world as we know it based on what I witnessed while attending the event on Saturday. Figuring out what we are as a team is difficult. Knowing what we are fighting for is the easy part.

Saturday all I witnessed were people determined to argue points that we all already know. Corporate greed is bad. Decision making in the government is broken. The democratic process is no longer democratic. Come on. We can discuss these things until we die and we would still be arguing amongst ourselves. It does no good.

What we need is to go beyond the voice of the protest and find solutions that can be organized and implemented that would actually change things. Organize period. Get the permits needed for sound equipment. Get the approval to stay at Eleanor Tinsley. What better place in all of Houston than directly across from our branch of the Fed. Let them see us. Know that we aren’t going away. Don’t rename the park that’s ignorant and only lends itself to allowing the image of the group to be marred by fanaticism. (That was probably voted down, but really…it was ridiculous.)

Allow the points raised at the GA meetings to be voted on by all who would like. Create a page on the Occupy Houston webpage specifically for the referendums and provide a 24 hour period for voting on the actions of the group. Allowing the 85 people in attendance to make decisions for the almost 8000 people in the group is not any better than what we’re fighting against.

Allow people to teach the group what economics is in theory and then what it has become in reality. Find a professor willing to explain what the democratic process is then explain what it has become. We’ve all taken a few classes but who couldn’t use a refresher. Saturday I saw the need for that all over the place.

Take a step back and look at how you want to be perceived by the general public. Do you want to be the fanatic group that scares the remainder of the 99% away or do you want the population to be able to relate? There is a big difference  and only one will give you the backing you need to actually make a difference. Give the 800+ people in attendance at the original march and the nearly 8000 on this page the opportunity to continue their support.

I am not the only person thinking these things. There is a huge difference in approach to what Occupy Houston is doing versus other groups that have been organized are doing across the nation.

I would share all this in the GA this morning, but I have to work. And on that note, anyone not going to their actual jobs to attend this is missing the point of the protest to begin with.

I know that on some things I am missing their point, but in reality, which point of view is going to gather more support? Feel free to post and ponder.

Anyone interested in forming a solutions work group just let me know…because I have ideas…ideas that won’t end the world as we know it, but might change the way things work.

QUICK NOTE FOR ANYONE VISITING FROM CRITTERS AND CRAYONS! These last few posts are NOT my normal material…however…this is highly relavent to current events and I think it needs to be discussed. If you are interested in self development, recovery, recovery from an alcoholic marriage, et al…please see previous posts and CHECK BACK TOMORROW! 🙂

This is NOT happening, just in case you hadn’t heard

Occupy Wall Street, NY, NY

Today is a little bit of a different approach to my post…there is so much good content online and I want you all to see what is “not happening.”

Major media outlets are still not taking this seriously. Our nations leaders are not understanding our call to action…we will be heard. All images seen here are from facebook, Occupy Austin, Occupy Dallas, Occupy Houston, and images that have been shared on my own facebook wall.

Occupy Austin, Oct. 6, 2011

Occupy Dallas, Oct. 6, 2011

Occupy Houston, Oct.6, 2011

 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Ephesians 5:11-14

This video is from a Russian television station. Information you WILL NOT hear from our American television sources.

 

Protesters – cling to this ideal! ↓

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! Begin it now!” – Goethe

Everyone note…

“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
Expediency asks the question – is it… politic?
Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
But conscience asks the question – is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” ~MLK, Jr.

Remember this next time you think one of us in this protest are nuts

Always remember that it is the content of your character, not people’s perceptions of you that matters.

Have a glorious day at Occupy events all over the nation! It’s gorgeous!