the citizen has become a pawn in a high-stakes game of political maneuvering that has morphed from the competitiveness and rhetorical give-and-take of 40-plus years ago, to something more closely resembling combat, with countless new and old deceptive strategies continually being auditioned and evaluated for their mass appeal. Elections 1952 and 2012 are rather like the difference between the classic 1980s video game, “Pac-Man,” and later concoctions such as “Grand Theft Auto.” The old classic was challenging entertainment; the new renditions incorporate intimidation and are wholly calculated to make the players (as well as any onlookers) uncomfortable.
Pick any issue of political significance—education, for example—and you will find yourself awash in a high-stress, depersonalized battle. But it will be one that you, the ordinary “player,” have virtually no chance of influencing one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the ever-expanding civil-service “machine” churns out a familiar hodgepodge of rules, regulations and controls, zealously guarding old turf, while greedily appending new offices, bureaus and directorates.
Consequently, today’s political contests bear no resemblance to the post World Wars I and II eras. Rather, there exists a calculated effort, by all sorts of demagogues, to sow dissention—to alienate, demoralize and, if possible, neutralize entire potential pools of voters, with all the negative energy such a scheme entails: coercion, ostracism, intimidation, loss of status or job, and outright censorship. In this scenario, the agenda becomes all-important; the individual recedes into expendability.
This book was initially conceived as a response to readers’ requests for help in communicating effectively with local, state and federal representatives on complex issues. Concerns like national health care, the budget, energy policy, educational standards, foreign wars and job creation all have many aspects. Unfortunately, they are awash in the nuanced language of attorneys, politicians and special interests. This makes it not only difficult for the layperson to comprehend the subject at hand, but to link it to other, tangential topics that necessarily affect discussion.
Efforts to contact representatives for a one-on-one conversation are roundly discouraged, save for exceptionally wealthy individuals—and then only because such persons might be cajoled into donating tens of thousands of dollars. Anyone not belonging to that category can expect to encounter a phalanx of screening mechanisms—receptionists, “executive” assistants, aides, and “contact me” forms on websites that require some 30-minutes’ worth of menu options and mandatory inputs aimed more at identifying new campaign contributors than ascertaining constituent viewpoints. The “comments” box is calculated to discourage the addition of explanatory remarks and, in any case, the message is reviewed by someone other than the intended recipient, and only rarely is it passed along.
Today’s political leaders are quite satisfied with this process. They are not keen on engaging in a logic-laden exchange of ideas with those they pretend to serve—that is to say, average voters. While their minions tweet, dig up dirt on opponents for ad campaigns and help political marketing firms set up irritating robo-calls, legislators themselves are busy consulting with their speechwriters and practicing brief position statements that will sound good on the stump and in televised pseudo-debates. Such debates are typically moderated by TV commentators or newscasters—most of whom are more concerned with their own celebrity than eliciting the views of office-seekers.
Recognition of this sad state of affairs led to a re-examination of this book’s purpose. In struggling to simplify concerns such as health care options, foreign policy, environmentalism and education, so that typical taxpayers could communicate knowledgeably with elected representatives and local authorities, it became increasingly apparent that the voting public is being “played.”
From Agenda Games, expected release: August 2012
- For the first time in American history, average citizens are worrying about being targeted by their own government—not from police looking down the barrel of a gun, but from bureaucrats sharing intelligence from a computer or illicit wiretap.
- Thanks to satellites and an Interpol-on-steroids mindset, personalized data collected on every conceivable subject can be transmitted worldwide in seconds. The only data we can’t seem to transmit is that on illegal immigration, which passes through a Swiss-cheese “fence,” protecting less than half the Southern border. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s leaders consider illegal immigration an asset to their careers, if not necessarily the inhabitants of their respective states.
- The presumption is made that people who have nothing to hide won’t mind a bit of bureaucratic overkill in the name of security. The nothing-to-hide argument implies the freedom to opt out. In practice, of course, there are repercussions for refusing. The 2007 $9.75 million lawsuit brought by law student Stephen Dunne against the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dramatically highlighted the nature of these repercussions, just as the lawsuit against the TSA by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura demonstrated that refusal is not an option.
- The trouble with curriculums like “conflict resolution,” which dates back to the late 1970s, is that young students failed to understand that some people don’t want their grievances resolved. When educators mentioned this at all, they labeled such people “mentally ill.” But, as the various terrorist organizations have shown us, their “sickness” is one of spirit. They have not lost their mind, they have lost their conscience. Unfortunately, the same students whose attitudes were shaped by those conflict-resolution courses in high school sit as national security and foreign policy decision-makers.
- Read more in the upcoming book: Agenda Games
Direct attempts to rescind laws that once protected citizens have begun in earnest (see http://www.thenewamerican.com/opinion/972-beverly-k-eakman/9641-justice-dept-targets-freedom-of-information-act
): A Justice Dept. that is already under fire has taken the audacious step of targeting the Freedom on Information Act, a law first enacted by liberal Democrats back when it was to their advantage. Today, not so much… Among the proposed changes: lying to requesters about the existence of documents. Due to the outcry, the Dept. just rescinded (for now) that particular section, but insiders say it is strengthening other aspects of the proposal to make it difficult-to-impossible for requesters to secure information.
WRITTEN BY BEVERLY K. EAKMAN
FRIDAY, 15 JULY 2011 15:57
Six above-the-fold headlines in the space of just three days speak volumes about the liberal-left’s campaign strategy leading up to Election Day 2012. All were widely reported, although they covered issues of lesser stature than the $14 trillion economic impasse-cum-sink-hole that dominates newscasts. This makes the six headlines all the more revealing of liberal Democrats’ end-game, no matter who technically wins the presidency or a few congressional seats.
The reports included the failure of House Republicans to overturn the hugely unpopular phase-out of incandescent light bulbs; new regulations requiring Colorado child care facilities to provide a politically correct ethnic-racial mix of dolls, among 98 pages of other trivia; simultaneous pieces of state and county legislation aimed at imposing an 11 p.m. curfew on anyone 18 and under, with the threat of jail and community service for “offenders” and their elders being required to take parenting classes; bans on smoking on public beaches, in parks, laundry rooms and even privately owned playgrounds, due to unproven risks posed by second-hand smoke; a commentary in the flagship publication of the American Medical Association (AMA) calling for government to take custody of obese children, a determination that would morph, as have so many similar diktats, to cover much broader targets; and the installation of an additional 113 revenue (a.k.a. “speed” or “traffic”) cameras, already universally despised, in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
What connects these stories is a “Government Knows Best,” “Taxpayers-Be-Damned” mentality. All reflect an arrogance that goes against the wishes of a majority of citizens and cuts across partisan lines.
Increasingly, it appears that left-leaning, socialist-minded liberals have learned a lot from the outrageous violations of Americans’ constitutional rights over the course of the Obama Administration, especially through the Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Security Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Health and Human Services, with arbitrary land grabs of private property without compensation (EPA), warrantless searches and seizures (TSA), defiance of constitutional principles like “probable cause” (DEA) and over-the-top child-welfare mandates in the name of diversity (HHS). The main premise learned is that average Americans will not put up a significant fight, even when the agents in question are caught red-handed, on camera.
A second insight gleaned from the three agencies is that average citizens can be treated with disdain and contempt, as though the common people carry on their lives at the pleasure of the government, not that government bureaucrats (and agencies) work for the people. Take Colorado’s new Day Care facility diktats, compliments of the state HHS’ Child Care Division. Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times reports “a previously unseen level of detail, including specifications for the number of crayons, paintbrushes and blocks per art kit, the racial composition of dolls and the number of nature scenes per classroom…. In addition, the proposed rules say that 'activities shall be culturally sensitive and represent diversity' and that 'boys and girls shall not be restricted to gender-specific role-playing.' ”
State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, descried the new measures as being emblematic of the Nanny State. “It will increase the cost of doing business, pricing many families out of their day care options,” as well as "drive many child care facilities out of business.” Obviously, private, in-home care, shared by neighbors, could never compete in such an environment, leaving the HHS-preferred government option as the uncontested survivor. Under the initiative, "children would not even be allowed to drink whole milk unless they have a written note from their health care provider," thereby commandeering parental prerogatives again.
A third perception by the left into current American thinking is that, even with extensive coverage of the more outrageous overreaches, people will continue to believe "it can’t happen to me," just as it was in the years leading up to Hitler's Holocaust and the Soviet Terror under Stalin. One recent case in point, finally headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, involves the four-year legal tug-of-war by Mike and Chantell Sackett, in which the EPA effectively seized their Idaho land and ordered them to stop building a house on the half-acre lot, even though it was already zoned for residential use and situated between other houses in a suburban neighborhood, complete with a sewer hookup, because, the agency decided, belatedly, that it was federally designated wetland and in violation of the Clean Water Act. The EPA’s special-permit application itself would cost some $200,000 — more than the value of the property. Challenging “compliance” requirements in court could put the total cost into the stratosphere. The Sacketts' attorney, Damien Schiff said, “Charging property owners a sky-high admissions fee [merely] to get into court isn’t just wrong, it’s flat-out unconstitutional.”
In another example of the can’t-happen-to-me variety, a passenger this month in a TSA security line requested a pat-down as opposed to going through a body scanner at the insistence of her doctor, who advised that since she had received so many recent X-rays in a series of medical tests, she should avoid airport scanners. TSA agents insisted she go through the scanner anyway, at which point, she lifted both arms in helplessness, letting them fall to her sides in exasperation, then walked through. The TSA agent pointed to her and literally shouted: “You! Go to the back of the line and walk through again, or else miss your flight! And now we’ll check every last item in your carry-on too,” even though the bag had already passed easily through the conveyor-belt’s device. The passenger in question was a seasoned flier and a retired federal employee who, until that time, had shrugged off any inconvenience as not worth getting excited about.
Ron Ewart, president of the National Association of Rural Landowners, has pointed out that cases like the Sackett’s, especially in rural areas, are not unusual, and TSA heavy-handedness has, of course, become legendary. Mr. Ewart is stymied as to the attitude of the public at large, which, he says, “is still not sufficiently energized” to demand that agencies like the EPA and the TSA be reined in.
The upshot is that left-leaning liberals — whether they call themselves “Democrats,” “Greens,” outright “Socialists,” or even members of the Communist Party USA — are finding that the timing is ideal to pour on the kinds of intimidation characteristic of a Nanny-style, even totalitarian State, so that conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, and other traditionalists, currently distracted by the economic debacle, will find they have to fight too many battles on too many fronts to have any chance of securing the kind of sea-change required to turn the country around in November 2012, now little more than a year away.
by Tom DeWeese
May 14, 2011
America is being transformed. Americans know something is very wrong and are desperately digging for answers. Spending is out of control. Rules and regulations are enforced over every aspect of our lives. Not only can we not build on our private property, but our rivers and streams are becoming off limits; energy prices are skyrocketing as our government refuses to even consider using American energy reserves that are locked away, apparently forever. American jobs are disappearing oversees. Our money is growing more worthless every day and taxes are going up on everything we buy, eat, drive, or wear. Schools don’t teach. healthcare isn’t about health. Investments translate to bankruptcy. And Social Security isn’t secure.
We just held an election demanding that the run- away federal budget and government intrusion be reigned in. But after a lot of fast maneuvering, hot rhetoric and back slapping, basically nothing was cut. how can all of this happen before our very eyes, in broad daylight, against our will? Bottom line – politicians at all levels have found a way to ignore the American people while accomplishing the greatest transformation in American history.
How indeed? Alert political activists may have noticed a major change in the way government and public policy has been run for the past couple of decades. That change is the key to how we are being outmaneuvered – right before our eyes. There are many names for the tactic: Group Manipulation; Consensus; Facilitation. Psychologically- Controlled Environments; Scientific Coercion. It all means the same thing; professional manipulators are being employed to control public meetings through a pre- determined outcome, and they are trained to lead you straight to that result and even make you think it was your idea.
If you’ve been to a public meeting lately, you will see the meeting is run by a man or woman who is not really part of the group in an “official” capacity. They are called “facilitator.” his/her job is to bring the group to “consensus,” which means there is not to be debate or disagreement. The policy or project or program on the table is not discussed in detail so that the group can judge the item on its merits and vote on it. In fact, if you begin to question the policy, or ask who the facilitator represents, or in general show signs of disagreement, the facilitator quickly loses his/her charm and begins to describe you to the group as “uncooperative” or a troublemaker who is wasting the group’s time. There is never a vote on the issue. Instead, the group somehow reaches “consensus.”
The average activist or concerned citizen doesn’t have a chance to debate merits of the program. A property owner is viewed as selfish and unenlightened to bring up how a policy might affect his/her property. And if the facilitator is good at his job, and they usually are highly paid to be good, then it won’t matter how many protesters manage to turn out. It doesn’t matter how much pressure has been brought to bear in letters to the editor. The facilitator brings his group home to the predetermined outcome, the policy becomes law. Government grows, freedoms are lost. …Until now — that is.
Best-selling author Beverly Eakman has been conducting one-day seminars for years to teach the good guys how to bust up these facilitator-controlled public policy meetings. Those attending her events have also been provided a copy of a manual detailing how to organize and fight back. The problem was, Beverly could only conduct so many seminars and that made for a small distribution of the manual. Now that has changed.
Beverly has updated the manual to stand on its own, without the necessary seminar, and she has released it as a stand alone book. That means activists across the nation can now learn how to take back control of their government just by reading and following the advice in “How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics, 2011 Edition.” The book is available from Amazon.
She details how “Provocateurs,” “Agitators,” and “Change Agents” are able to force through their agendas right under your nose. She teaches you their lingo and how they use it to divide you from the group and marginalize your honest questions and objections. Beverly goes into great detail, giving you specific dialog and words that would be used against you. She shows how, once you have reveled your opposition, the facilitator will focus on you, using lines like, ‘even a child would understand…” or “everyone on the committee understands…” indicating only you are out of step.
It’s psychological warfare and Bev Eakman’s book gives you everything you need to know to take control of the battlefield. She teaches you how to recognize that the process is in use; she shows you how to remain calm and under the radar until you are ready to launch an effective counter attack – and she shows you how to turn the tables on the facilitator. She also gives you the five basic steps to indoctrination and how to counter them.
We are engaged in a titanic battle for American freedoms. We are losing on battle fields at every level. And group manipulation is being employed as a tool to turn our Constitutionally-correct public policy process into a weapon against us. Beverly Eakman’s book, “How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics” is not only a valuable tool for our side, it is a mandatory weapon of mass destruction in the arsenal of the forces of freedom. Get a copy and start turning the tables on their psychological tactics.
© 2011 Tom DeWeese - All Rights Reserved
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.
A native of Ohio, he’s been a candidate for the Ohio Legislature, served as editor of two newspapers, and has owned several businesses since the age of 23. In 1989 Tom led the only privately-funded election-observation team to the Panamanian elections. In 2006 Tom was invited to Cambridge University to debate the issue of the United Nations before the Cambridge Union, a 200 year old debating society. Today he serves as Founder and President of the American Policy Center and editor of The DeWeese Report
For 40 years Tom DeWeese has been a businessman, grassroots activist, writer and publisher. As such, he has always advocated a firm belief in man’s need to keep moving forward while protecting our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights.
The DeWeese Report , 70 Main Street, Suite 23, Warrenton Virginia. (540) 341-8911
At this writing, a piece of state legislation in Maryland, HB 235, has passed the state House in Annapolis and is poised to be fast-tracked through the state Senate via the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee within a matter of days. Conveniently, there will be no public hearing on the Senate side, because there is no Senate version of the bill. This is not exactly an anomaly, but it’s not Standard Operating Procedure, either. Almost no one likes the bill, as it involves using the force of law to impose cross-dressing, "transgenderism," and a range of related behaviors in public places. As written, the bill appears designed to intimidate average citizens, most of whom, despite Maryland’s liberal bent, still lean, in practice, toward traditional values and standards.
Because HB 235 defines gender identity as “a gender-related identity or appearance of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth,” the bill:
- requires Maryland employers, including government agencies, to hire, promote, and include cross-dressers in all facets of the workplace without bias, with business owners facing threats of lawsuit or punishment if, say, men cannot wear dresses to wait on customers.
- extends into public schools and day-care centers, which will be legally bound to hire cross-dressers and “transgenders,” if they apply, to teach and work with children.
- normalizes "transgenderism," cross-dressing, and related behaviors and incites activists to promote bizarre sexual conduct through diversity-training workshops targeting businesses and school assemblies.
- covers real estate transactions — further eroding the right of choice in renting or selling units and homes.
- provides for easy access by “transgenders” — and sexual predators — to restrooms in stores, restaurants, schools, day-care facilities and workplaces.
- forbids genetic testing to determine the actual sex of any employee or applicant.
It should be noted here that attempting to change one’s sex is biologically impossible, as every human cell’s chromosomes identify one as male or female. While it may be true that secondary sex characteristics occasionally get mixed up, there’s a medical term for that: birth defects. By lumping together homosexuals, exhibitionists and those with bona fide birth deformities (i.e., rare instances in which male babies are born with undersized genitalia or, at onset of puberty, breast development; and females who never menstruate), HB 235 is bureaucratic overkill.
Opponents of the bill are expected to fight it on moral and religious grounds. Advocates backing and promoting HB 235 are counting on that, because it gives them a psychological advantage. They already know that neither the U.S. Constitution nor the Bill of Rights provides any stipulation about individuals having a “right” to choose their gender or change their mind about which sex they want to be.
Moreover, undercutting traditional norms and religious beliefs are, for advocates, only spin-off returns from this bill. Proponents have a larger stake — namely, compromising property and ownership rights, thereby diverting more authority to government to regulate people’s lives. Miss this causal relationship, and taxpayers lose — twice.
The fact that there is no Senate version of the bill to debate facilitates the process of taking what is essentially a “pilot project” in Maryland from the blueprint stage to a national mandate. Passage of model legislation in one state serves as a precedent for others. Once a number of states have passed similar bills, the national/federal version is usually a slam-dunk.
That is how the “medicinal” marijuana tactic helped normalize and legitimize marijuana use; how the “civil unions” approach assured passage of same-sex “marriage” in state after state; and how psychological screening of schoolchildren under the cover of health reform made privacy violations part and parcel not only of the educational experience, but normalized interrogations, searches and seizure projects that spread to other demographics.
A prime example is the New Freedom Initiative (NFI). It blazed a trail in federalizing unpopular state initiatives. What began as survey to identify troubled schoolchildren now covers nursing-home residents, pregnant women and others. More significantly, it promotes the use of newer, more expensive antipsychotics and antidepressants as a sop to drug companies which, of course, can bankroll politicians.
Here’s how the scheme worked: A 1995 blueprint called the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) was funded via a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “philanthropic” grant and support from then-governor George W. Bush. While Texas was enacting the TMAP blueprint, Illinois was drafting the national legislative model: Its state legislature passed the $10 million Illinois Children's Mental Health Act creating a Children's Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP), which promptly was picked up, with a phrase changed here and there, by other states. (Such well-coordinated efforts are frequently facilitated by the Commission on Uniform State Laws.) ICMHP required the Illinois State Board of Education to develop and implement a plan that — get this! — incorporated social and emotional standards as part of mandatory Illinois Learning Standards. Social and emotional standards became the benchmarks for universal mental-health screening — the New Freedom Initiative (NFI), ostensibly an early-detection strategy.
By 2004, pre-emptive mental-health screening was ubiquitous, even though it didn't work. President George W. Bush created the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in 2002 and instructed more than 25 federal agencies to develop a nationwide implementation plan based on the old TMAP blueprint (Read "What? Are You Crazy?" by this author). NFI was born. The U.S. Congress passed it by a large majority, making behavioral “health” a priority, with assessment of private opinions, and referrals to psychiatric services. Other states jumped on the bandwagon with their own versions of mental health screening, expecting monetary “incentives.”
Inevitably, such federal incentives to state and local entities translate to government dictating how citizens must live. As columnist and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly stated in her March 2005 analysis of TeenScreen, an integral part of NFI aimed at youth depression, parents find themselves facing coercion and threats from school staff; permanent, stigmatizing labeling of their children; charges of child neglect for refusing privacy-invading surveys; and an avalanche of unproved, even deadly, medications.
What does this have to do with Maryland’s HB 235? Just this: The route to nationalization is following a familiar course, in the name of pre-empting discrimination in housing, education, employment and providing tax-supported social services.
In an effort to explain her support for the bill, Maryland Senator Karen Montgomery wrote to this author in an e-mail that “[t]his bill is just clarifying that it is not acceptable to discriminate against people regardless if it is a choice, part of their genetic make-up, or a ‘shifting psychological state’…. ”
So, HB 235 isn’t about disability. It is a blank check aimed at providing sexual license and, in so doing, also restricting the property rights and decision-making prerogatives of citizens who balk.
Consider: Most people with embarrassing medical conditions do not wear a sign announcing their ailments. An individual with migraine headaches or kidney disease may approach a potential employer with the caveat: “I get migraines and occasionally need to lie down,” or “my kidney condition requires dialysis at specified times. But I'm good at what I do; please hire me anyway." If the job-seeker’s credentials and background are otherwise solid, many employers would go the extra mile.
If, on the other hand, a job-seeker approaches an employer (or an apartment owner) loudly announcing his or her sexual proclivities, then that candidate is a provocateur. In an era when special keys or codes are required to enter an office restroom and abductions and sexual murders by deviants are almost daily news, accommodating exhibitionists is counterproductive — unless, of course, there is another agenda entirely, one that utilizes sexual license as a side-show to divert attention from ulterior motives.
Let’s hope Marylanders see through this one before HB 235 goes from state model to federal law. Right now, most of the advocacy seems to be on the side of the bill’s proponents, while its real originators sit back and watch outraged traditionalists miss the larger issue — again.
WRITTEN BY BEVERLY K. EAKMAN
MONDAY, 14 MARCH 2011 14:59 The New American (www.thenewamerican.com)
As House Republicans pushed to eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) this month, Democrats fought back with a vengeance. Barack Obama even upped the ante a whopping $6 million, by asking $451 million for CPB as part of his $3.7 Trillion-Dollar Baby. This is the same historic 2012 budget that many lawmakers say is already trimmed to the bone (with a gross federal debt approaching $14 trillion).
In response, NPR and PBS stations nationwide stepped up their rhetoric to listening and viewing audiences, going so far as to ask them to “stop the Senate” (and even “Republicans” in particular) and “defend federal funding” for public broadcasting. Some legislators and opponents predictably cried “foul,” insisting that CPB and/or its affiliates had violated laws that ban nonprofits and government-funded entities from lobbying.
Try telling that to leaders at the National Education Association, which for years has not only produced a highly politicized, and barely education-related, Legislative Agenda, but by advocating for every leftist cause imaginable. It also owns a big, apparently tax-exempt, office building in the heart of Washington, D.C.
Weekly Standard writer Philip Terzian has pointed out in his recent article that just because “public broadcasting depends on federal funds does not mean that it cannot subsist without federal funds"; and advocated breaking its “welfare dependency.” He also notes that “If NPR and PBS were to go private, that would not only end the perpetual tension … between taxpayer funds and public accountability, it would leave them exempt from political pressure and interference” so they could air whatever they wanted.
All true. But Mr. Terzian’s best point broaches an issue rarely discussed in public, although frequently in closed company: “…while it is theoretically possible that a certain number of stations in marginal markets would succumb, that might well be the cost (if it happens)….” The underlying issue here is a topic that other countries, such as France, once believed to be crucial. Like our own nation, France, too, wound up overwhelmed by what some disdainfully describe as “the popular culture,” despite a Ministry that worked for years, in their case, to avoid what one appointee once described as “the horror of American radio and television.”
Mr. Terzian opined that the kinds of radio and television he likes — classic jazz and classical music, as well as documentaries on history, literature, and science — were nearly nonexistent on the air, except on PBS and NPR, but that “the market has demonstrated that no private broadcaster would [ever] fill the vacuum.”
He is not alone in his basic complaint, but it is far from clear that the “market” per se has demonstrated any such thing. If Mr. Terzian is correct in his view that the typical fare presented on commercial radio and television is “predominantly … or relentlessly lowbrow” whereas “the kind of elitist fare” he likes is found only on PBS and NPR, then it might be because the “market” for lowbrow entertainment has been artificially subsidized.
Beginning in the 1950s (read about "Payola"), disc jockeys were lambasted for taking kickbacks from managers and other interested parties to play certain songs and music, to feature the works of particular entertainers, and, finally, to offer only “reliable” genres like soul, country, classical, or rock to the public. Stations were often bought and sold with that in mind. By the 1990s, many people were turned off by the nonstop howling and screeching of so-called popular music, not to mention noisy, crass commercials. They didn’t want to set their alarms and wake up to such cacophony.
So, radios started being sold that had an accompanying audiotape feature so one could awake to a favorite tape, commercial-free. As digital came along, Sirius and XM satellite providers provided listeners with the capability to access their favorite genre 24/7, even in their car. No more station-fade-out problems on the road or local jabber when traveling through an unfamiliar part of the country.
The only problem was that one didn’t get any weather, traffic updates or news that way. That is probably the largest reason why local radio stations stayed in business. Even those who like “popular culture” listen to MP3 players and iPods; they are not necessarily listening to the radio the way Baby Boomers did. Talk shows, of course, are in a class of their own, and conservative hosts have to carve out their own niche instead of having it handed to them. Some do not listen to talk shows at all, of course, conservative or otherwise.
But the thorniest dilemma in Mr. Terzian’s piece is the part about it being “theoretically possible that a certain number of stations in marginal markets would succumb [without government subsidies]."
The problem is that not everyone can be a one-man Annie B. Casey Foundation or a Pew Charitable Trust. We live in a mobile society, and that means people transfer with their jobs — lots of people. Dallas, Texas, for example, abolished its PBS stations a few years ago, which meant not only classical music disappeared, but financial TV shows such as "Wall Street Week," which caters to an audience a bit more sophisticated that the one that listens to Dr. Phil. As classical music stations dwindled to the point of no return, anyone wishing to listen to complex orchestral pieces was forced to purchase a CD player, CDs, subscribe to satellite and/or cable (a sizeable outlay in some cases), and change out the radios that once graced the nightstand.
So, when we talk about a “market” for music, are we willing to say that only the elite, the rich, could possibly be attracted to Harry Connick, Jr.? Or guitarist Chet Atkins? Or what is, perhaps, the greatest stage musical of all time, Les Misérables? Now that’s a stretch….
Yet the musicians and musicals above were among the cream-of-the-crop features of PBS channels during last week’s Pledge Drive, not the music of controversial political figures, regardless of their merits at other times of the year. So, it is obvious that PBS executives know what the public likes best and what kind of programming is apt to draw pledges. If they know, so do a lot of other media moguls, philanthropists, and heads of charitable organizations — including conservative patriots.
In Tony-award-winning actress Patti LuPone’s new autobiography, she describes how she and her fellow thespians lived for years out of suitcases, traveling all over the country to perform before throngs of enthusiastic audiences, some of them out-of-the-way locales. The stages ranged from relatively small, as in college towns, to medium-sized like the Dallas Theater Center, to larger venues the size of The Strathmore in Kensington, Maryland, or The National Theater in Washington, D.C., and, of course, the biggest of them all, Broadway in New York City. The point, however, is that there is no dearth of fans for sophisticated entertainers, even among those who cannot afford large donations. In fact, many an individual’s one big splurge for the year might be for a chance to see, say, Andrea Boccelli, the blind Italian tenor from Tuscany whose incredible voice was first heard by many people on PBS. Boccelli then proceeded to pack sold-out houses the size of a football stadium around the country.
That kind of thing is going to change as young people and those living in outlying areas, long distances from major cities, hear nothing but boorish performances from the likes of Christina Aguilera and Eminem. Without a PBS around, they will never know whether they might have enjoyed operatic-crossover tenor Josh Grobin; or the dance phenomenon of Riverdance fame, Michael Flatley; or the Irish-Riverdance-spinoff female group, Celtic Woman — all seen for the first time by most people on PBS.
Of course, our “Ministry of Culture,” as it were, is called the National Endowment for the Arts. But it, too, has surrendered to political correctness, proliferating the works of extremists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, the “artist” of gross-out homosexual works, and Annie Sprinkle, the talent-challenged goofball who urinates in public.
In the present political climate, where even children’s programming is rife with leftist messages, junk science, and psychobabble, however subdued, it is probably a mistake to support CPB with taxpayer dollars. However, if the culture is ever to be turned around, conservative traditionalists need to step up to the plate and get on the boards of organizations that will present the kinds of high-culture programs that PBS does. The Left managed to get hold of the reins of the media, not by calling themselves The Marxist Entertainment Group. They simply got their act and funding partners together until they held a majority on most boards in journalistic circles, film, and television.
Monikers such as National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting carry no self-defining political terminologies. Conservatives, on the other hand, stupidly advertise themselves — and, thus their intentions — by labeling their networks, programs, and groups using religious and conservative titles right up front, so the Left doesn’t have to do it for them.
The result is hundreds of channels and stations to choose from and, more often than not, nothing uplifting to hear or watch.
Great idea! A diet wherein the first things to be sacrificed are your lungs, heart and brain. Sound good?
It's called the Politicians' Budget Cutting Diet. It has been in use for decades and hasn't worked yet. No wonder it keeps getting implemented.
Here's how it goes in real life: You demand the budget get cut, everyone agrees, so those you trust (giggle!) to represent (giggle!) you go to work (giggle!) and start cutting expenses. The first things they cut are the Fire Department, Police Department and School System. Before you know it, you are screaming for the budget cuts to stop before we are completely stupid and defenseless. Of course, by then, you have no library system left, though no one knows (giggle!) where the money went.
It goes back to Proposition 13. The voting public told the California legislature that they demanded lower spending and the Police, Fire and Education cuts were the first, last and only cuts made. In North Carolina, education is 2% of the budget, yet it is the first thing mentioned by our governor when budget cuts are brought up.
There are redundant reports, useless studies (like the US study to discover why men in prison are depressed) and stupid projects galore in the budget, yet these remain in place while Fire and Police Departments go begging. We don't need another million dollar paper on the North American Blue Bird. We need a balanced budget.
Remember the ex-governor of North Carolina, Mike Easley? It took two years to investigate his abuses, financial and otherwise. He made millions illegally while in office, yet was charged $1000 in fines and $153 in court costs. So the taxpayers paid millions to investigate him and yet he is charged $1153? Give me a break! How do you balance the budget? Make him give all the stuff back and pay the money, covering the costs of investigating him and prosecuting him. Dock his pay. Wherever he goes to work, take it out of his weekly until the state is even again. Maybe that will be a deterrent to future criminals who want to make crime pay by going into public office.
It goes for state budgets and for the Federal budget. The President keeps talking about cutting domestic spending. Domestic Spending – does that bring up a question? What about International Spending?
For years we have heard about billions (Billions!) given to countries that hate us. It is not talked about a lot on national television, but we are still giving billions to countries with whom we are at war. We support them while fighting them, destroy them, then rebuild them – and they never give us anything back for all that. The only country ever to repay a war loan is Finland.
What if we stop giving our money to other countries, maybe we won't be in financial ka-ka ourselves. Let's start with countries we are at war with, then go to countries that merely hate us, then we can take the weekly allowance from countries that just don't care for us. Eventually, we will balance the budget.
See, I didn't even mention the politicians that served one or two terms and we are still paying them for it. Gee, if we just hired them like we do everyone else, we wouldn't have to pay them forever. But I didn't mention it. That's another blog.
WRITTEN BY BEVERLY K. EAKMAN
MONDAY, 07 FEBRUARY 2011 11:45
The District of Columbia, like other metropolitan areas, has been using traffic cameras to catch motorists who speed or run red lights. It has even deployed surveillance cameras in neighborhoods. Moreover, if security officials have their way, both the number of cameras and the uses to which those cameras are put in the nation's capital will be ramped up.
Washington Times reported last week: "The District's top security chiefs are planning to expand their use of electronic surveillance by issuing tickets for more traffic offenses, integrating thousands of private and public cameras into a single feed and adding portable cameras that can be positioned to peek into any neighborhood." High-tech cameras will now be peering into neighborhoods, pinpointing both incidences of a petty nature (public urination, graffiti, and jaywalking) as well as larger offenses (purse snatching, burglary, murder and kidnapping). All in the name of safety, of course.
When "traffic" cameras were initially installed at busy intersections, they were supposed to be used to catch motorists endangering our safety. Now surveillance cameras are used for much more than that. But should we really be surprised by this trend? As late-night comedian Jay Leno would no doubt quip, using his favorite line: “Well, who could have seen that coming!”
Of course, the growth of the surveillance state is not limited to cameras. And when you consider the vastness of technological developments that can be deployed by a growing surveillance state, which this author has repeatedly warned against over the years, the picture for America's future is not warm and fuzzy. Consider the Orwellian possibilities: Specialized, implanted identification chips in humans (including newborns and the elderly); universal mental “health” screening; routine bag and purse checks in buildings; Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expansions into all subways, trains, etc.; backpack checks and metal detectors in every school (including random student strip searches); and surreptitious, snoop questionnaires disseminated in classrooms in an attempt to identify “politically unreliable” opinions.
Fantastic? Not when you look at current trends and project the lines. Many Americans have already accepted the notion that their right to privacy must be violated at airports for their own good. But what is the difference, in principle, between the searches the government is routinely conducting at airports — in violation of our Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures — and similar searches carried out in other venues? Moreover, if government officials can gawk at our nude photos and grope us for the stated purpose of keeping us safe, then, we should ask, what other measures might these guardians of public safety someday impose — ostensibly for our own good or the good of society as a whole? How might developing technology be deployed to make the emerging surveillance state even more pervasive?
Of course, technology can be used for good purposes as well as bad. “EZ Passes” at toll roads, for example, are obviously considered a benefit by those who use them. But this same technology can also be used to monitor individuals' travel. And that thread of information can be interwoven with myriad other threads, both public and private, to create a detailed profile of an individual in a government database.
Should medical records, credit-card purchases, phone numbers dialed and received, magazine subscriptions (both print and online), religious preference, opinions of students and parents (which children freely divulge), and other information about yourself be compiled and cross-referenced by the government in a huge database, it is easy to imagine how that information could be "interpreted" by government and abused. Regardless of what the data collection is called — "Total Information Awareness," “Data-mining,” “Super-Snoops," etc. — it does not present a happy picture.
The statistical model created from this computerized information could be used to predict, sometimes with stunning accuracy (or worse, deliberate inaccuracy) future behavior. This is called “predictive computer technology,” and the model can be used by experts to assign a “level of danger” to specific individuals. We've all heard of the "no fly" list, which bulges with the names of many ordinary, law-abiding citizens. That list is just the tip of the iceberg of how ordinary citizens could be viewed as potential criminals by their government as the surveillance states grows.
Especially troubling is that many of the nation’s conservative columnists are buying in to these technologies as increasing instances of mass shootings by radicalized foreign entities, as well as demented individuals commit mass attacks on Americans. What these columnists do not presently recognize is that this sort of thing can be used against even columnists themselves somewhere down the road, should they offend the Powers That Be, or even irritate their employers. Our nation’s leaders, heads of agencies, and the major media are becoming more elitist by the day, and perceived opinions, after all, will become increasingly important to them.
The main impetus behind the emerging surveillance state may be the threat of terrorism, both real and perceived, but it is not limited to that. Even parents are buying into tracking technology for their children. As far back as the year 2002, implants were already selling for big bucks under names like “the Babysitter,” “the Constant Companion,” “the Invisible Bodyguard,” and “the Micro-Manager” — and the public was buying them because of the hype over babies being abducted from hospitals, CEOs and executives being kidnapped, and family members with Alzheimer’s getting lost. But if the technology can be used for these purposes, then why not use the same technology to monitor those who are likely to commit crimes based on the government's statistical model?
The bottom line is that many Americans are being unwittingly "conditioned" to accept more monitoring and surveillance in various aspects of their lives. For example, the latest crop of high-tech crime-stopper TV dramas routinely show the “good guys,” the ones with the highest government clearances, using large, mounted touch-screens to isolate, enlarge, and super-impose with their fingers footage taken from video-cameras on freeways, in stores, and at major intersections to “catch” criminals or zoom in on something as small as a license plate. Such capabilities are no longer science-fiction, yet remain novel enough to capture the imagination of viewers. But by their very repetition, such scenes also “acclimate,” or “condition” Americans to accept being constantly watched.