Wednesday, February 25, 2004

In the British newspaper, The Observer, February 22, 2004, the following headline appeared: “Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us.” In the story filed in New York by reporters Townsend and Harris, they report that, “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.”

They report that, “The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure swindling food, water and energy supplies.” According to the Pentagon analysis, “Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life. Once again, warfare would define human life.”

This report published by foreign media was treated quite differently by US media February 25, 2004. “Pentagon downplays report on climate change that it commissioned” is the headline that appeared Tuesday, February 24, 2004. “According to Britain’s The Observer, US military officials censored an alarming report because the issue of global warming could wind up thrust into the US presidential campaign ahead of the November vote.”

Why should that report bother the citizens of the US that prides themselves on free speech? Why shouldn’t the issue get free and open debate? Why would we want to have an issue that might be extremely important to all of us on the planet, censored?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

If we assume that everyone is different from everyone else because of DNA and our place in time and space, then it would seem natural that conflict is inevitable. If we add to that a natural tendency to seek out information that is substantially in agreement with our current positions in life, such as those who are interested in automobiles subscribing to automotive publications and visiting auto shows, then conflict is not only inevitable but also natural.

Add the cultural orientation given to our population by parents primarily, which defines the lives of their children. For example, men are supposed to be assertive, take-charge people who appreciate clear lines of difference between the sexes while keeping their emotions “under control.” Women are to be peacemakers and produce harmony whenever possible.

If in general parents across the land agree that taking care of yourself and making something of yourself are important components of success and that the individual is more important than the group, conflict becomes inevitable, natural and a way of life.

If all of that is true, or even close to it, what should we be doing to fix the problem? Is there anything we can do? Where do we begin? How long will it take?

Sunday, February 15, 2004

“Freedom of speech does not give someone—anyone—the right to bust into your home to exercise it.” A well stated thought from Pseudo news, sordid culture in the Commentary section of Sunday’s Oregonian. The author, Stephen Kline, goes on to say that, “Buying a fax machine or a computer does not constitute a tacit or implied invitation to anyone to badger, harass, sell or promote.”

Just because some publicity agent somewhere hits on the idea of using the Super Bowl for a “coming out” party for Janet Jackson trying to reestablish her career doesn’t mean anyone should be surprised by unwanted actions. Shouldn’t our culture contain enough “expectations” to make it unnecessary to have our courts create rules to govern inappropriate behavior?

Cynthia-Lou Coleman, in her related article, also in the Sunday Oregonian, points out that, “The problem is, fake news over time becomes more interesting than the bland unfolding of reality.” How do we train ourselves, let alone our children, that they should depend on the media to keep them informed so that they can cast votes of value to positive growth in our nation?

Again we must ask the question, “What is there that we can do?” “Is there anything that can be done other than pass laws that prohibit what culture used to control?” “Are we a sinking ship with no way to save ourselves?”

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

For several years we have seen Bill Moyers' work published, on PBS and in person as a speaker in high demand. He thinks, and then tells others what he’s been thinking about. In November of last year he was the keynote speaker at the National Conference on Media Reform ('Our Democracy is in Danger of Being Paralyzed'), and he had a great deal to say about media and what should be happening.

He reminded the audience that the American Revolution “ran in good part on the energies of a rambunctious, though tiny press. Freedom and freedom of communications were birth-twins in the future United States. They grew up together, and neither has fared very well in the other’s absence. Boom times for the one have been boom times for the other.”

Moyers goes on to say that they drive for constantly increasing profits is eroding the role that journalist and journalism used to play in the health of our nation. He told the audience that indeed our democracy is being paralyzed and I think it should be clear that clouds our future as a free nation.

What is there that we as individuals can do to restore journalism in the mass media to a healthier position? Or, is it already too late to fix the system?

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Our entire body is constructed according to the DNA our bodies have to work with. We have different abilities to taste, smell, see, touch and all the other things that make us what we are. The quality of our hair and are brain is ours, which is a good thing.

The hard part in this situation is that when you see, touch, smell or build an idea in your head, you are using equipment that is unique to you. That means that when you’re talking to anyone about the taste of food or the color on the house your “world view” will be different from his or hers.

Out of these differences grows conflict. We’re all taught to avoid conflict whenever possible. The fact is, we cannot avoid conflict. We are different and those differences cause conflict. Since we cannot avoid conflict, we must spend much of our time creating methods that will allow us to resolve conflict in appropriate ways.

Much of our communication must be devoted to the resolution of conflict, or we will suffer unnecessarily in life. Peace is something that seems to be a worthy universal goal, Perhaps we should combine the two concepts and recognize that peace may be the sustained satisfactory resolution of conflict.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

When we listen to talk radio today, we are told repeatedly that “the media” is liberal and often unfair. As we listen we hear a wide range of things which, might lead us to conclude that anything we believe that doesn’t match what the talk show hosts are saying is incorrect.

Is there a possibility that by allowing concentrated media ownership, our nation has invited political control over the media and its listeners? In The Oregonian, February 1, 2004, Garrett Epps’ commentary, “Talk radio: It's time for more than right-wing hot air” clearly spells out the argument that the media is not only not liberal, it is conservative and just possibly conservative by intent.

What we need is balanced media that will provide us with what we need to make long-term plans and empower us to deal with people and issues. That way we can move ahead as a nation of freedom loving people rather than a workforce for a few who are very wealthy.

What do you think? Do we have balanced media? Do we have liberal media leading us down a road to self-destruction? Do we have conservative media creating a world where huge corporations are the primary beneficiaries of everything that makes the United States great?

What do you think? Until we can find another source for comments please use my e-mail address: