Thursday, October 26, 2017

A PERFECT FALL DAY

Sometimes it takes so little to feel joy bubble up. A short trip to the hairdresser to get my hair cut for the first time in months left me feeling pounds lighter. In the company of my daughter, I relished the Mexican food lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Going to and from these places we both commented on the large splashes of yellow along the roadside. I was missing all of the wildflowers I used to have when I lived in my "barn" in the country. In season, I always had them brightening the interior of my little home in the woods. Carajean delighted me by pulling to the side of the road and gathering enough flowers for a bouquet, which she arranged along with some mountain laurel leaves from the bush outside my front porch. Two days later, these tiny yellow drops of color cheer my kitchen area.

As we approached my road to home, I told her to go straight instead of turning as usual. She had not been to the low water crossing bridge beneath the dam. We stopped on the bridge and there in the middle of the water sat this glorious bird on a pile of rocks. I at first thought it was a crane. CJ pulled out her handy iPhone and snapped a photo.  I cannot explain the feelings of awe at the wonders of nature I experienced that day. (My granddaughter, Audrey, later informed us this is a Great Blue Heron.)
Such a perfect day so far. Not ready to end our visit, Carajean suggested we play a game of 5-count dominoes. As we began our game, she pulled out the best surprise ever -- the most decadent chocolate candy bar. We both indulged, and I suppose my joyful mood assisted me in winning the game. (She assured me later that she did not let me win!)

We had a little lesson on Native American spirituality as well that afternoon. It will be so fun to be able to share this with her in the future as she explores the books I sent home with her. Her best friend is also interested in some of the teachings, so this will be something new for them and us to experience together.

I never asked CJ if she enjoyed the day as much as I did, but I certainly hope she did. We haven't lived in close proximity in many years. I am looking forward to more Mother-Daughter days like this. 

Enjoy your family!

Peace and love,
Marilyn


Sunday, October 15, 2017

GUNS IN AMERICA

Long-time good friend, Jack Garner stays so busy writing letters to the Editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle they ought to give him his own column. After the recent deadly massacre in Las Vegas, he wrote this which they published:
"Addictive Sense of Power"
Fifty-nine people dead; over 500 injured. Even in your worst nightmares, did you believe such an occurrence could materialize? Fifty-nine people dead and more than 500 injured.

Did this horror melt the icy hearts and bulging pockets of the Washington political establishment? How heartrending that elected House and Senate members have declared this is not the time to publicly discuss gun control!

If the NRA has them in their money-lined pockets, there will be no political discussion of gun control.

While they wait for that mythical time, bump stocks that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire like fully automatic rifles are selling faster than Trump can commit another political faux pas.

After all the bloodletting in Las Vegas, why would a sane person pay triple the price that bump stocks have jumped to after their potential power was publicized with the eradication of innocent life.
Truth is, the "gun nut" who will spare nothing to raise the cash to turn weapons in their  collection into the equivalent of a submachine gun, may have a mental problem.

He does not intend to hunt deer, rabbits or squirrels with a fully automatic rifle. He releases their destructive power at gun ranges.

"Jack"
Perhaps you have a mental problem if the sound of guns popping, the smell of gunpowder in your nostrils, and the recoil digging into your shoulder gives you an addictive sense of power, which in turn makes you feel more like a man.

John Nance Garner, V

If not now....when? Gun control for a safer America!

Peace,
Marilyn

Thursday, October 12, 2017

1984 or North Korea?

I was shocked to learn that The Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Not that I read its online news that often, but occasionally I find a particular story interesting. I have always had a nagging feeling that their views were more than a little biased. In recent months it has been quite obvious to me that many of their articles sound like FOX News. Thus, I did a little research and found out why. Rupert Murdoch. They are a bit more subtle than FOX, however, that tends to be dangerous in my estimation. I nearly always check on new sites I've never heard of before, as well as those that sound too biased one way or the other.

The older I get, the more set in my ways I become. I have favorites of everything from my brands of coffee and creamer to the television programs I watch. I almost memorize my favorite channels and their lineup of shows. As I no longer get out and about like I used to, I am always home on Sundays. Consequently, I have watched the same programs on the same network channels for several years now. A few months back I was shocked one Sunday morning when a favorite religious program I normally watched was not on. I switched channels to see if I had inadvertently hit a button that changed it. No.. I listened for a bit, and thought my gosh! I was listening to a FOX News commentator. Not possible. I immediately got online and searched the TV Listings. Sure enough, my regular program had been displaced. This irritating woman named Sharyl Attkisson had her own conservative-leaning, thirty-minute show, pushing my regular, positive speaking, uplifting church service to the next half hour. I angrily muted the audio and vowed to research online later that day to find out what was going on.

Related imageMost of my readers know by now that I am a progressive liberal in my political views. It took many, many years for my "progression", as when I was young I called myself a Republican -- and voted that way as well. Nixon's humiliation and downfall was the beginning of my disenchantment, although it was still several years before I finally admitted I was not aligned with the GOP. Having been fooled into believing a lot of nonsense (most put out by The John Birch Society) when I was very young, and since now having such wonderful access to many, many differing opinions on the internet, and ways to check from whence they come, I can now recognize extremist views like a hound dog on a 'coon's trail! I gave up cable news long ago, and now get only broadcast over-the-air news as well as online news.

It turns out that the local CBS station had been sold to the second-largest television station operator by number of stations in the U.S., and the largest by total coverage. Wikipedia on Sinclair Broadcast Group. Their reach is magnified by the number of digital multicast networks, one cable network, and four radio stations. 

I wrote my first draft of this post when I first noticed the change in my TV programming. I next began to see messages in my local CBS newscast that again sounded like FOX News, with a very definite right-wing slant. One of the commentators I discovered was Mark E. Hyman. Back to the internet again. FOX News Rival Seems Mr. Hyman was a former Sinclair Broadcast executive who now is a commentator for the segment "Behind the Headlines", shown on all Sinclair outlets. I was angry to hear his conservative propaganda. More research and more editing of this post followed.

Sometimes, as most older women do, I wake in the middle of the night. After the obligatory trip to the bathroom, I often cannot go right back to sleep, so I turn on the TV in my bedroom. Imagine my surprise to find that not only was the "Behind the Headlines" segment shown on late night, but once I found that they were repeating the entire 30-minute program of Sharyl Attkisson's that airs on Sunday morning. (I later read somewhere that, although Sinclair demands that his "propaganda" pieces like the above, and the fearmongering "Terror Alert Desk" be aired so many times in a day, some stations sneakily air them late at night or other "low viewer" times like 2- or 3-AM. I have a feeling they won't get away with that forever.)

When I read that Sinclair was attempting to purchase the Tribune Media Company, it would increase his holdings to 233 stations in 108 markets, of course, I went back to the internet. When I found the following video, I felt I wanted to share this. It's rather lengthy, so if you want to save it until later, be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post.  (NOTE: I'm sorry to say that I did not watch John Oliver's video to the end before I posted it here. Unfortunately, profanity of the worst kind is now considered acceptable in our society -- especially since we have such a profane president. Even though Oliver's segment on Sinclair was absolutely correct and necessary, the PBS video at the end of this post covers part of his tirade without the profanity. Their coverage of what I consider a very important subject for the American public is complete and accurate. You can watch the entire Oliver video on YouTube.)           John Oliver on Sinclair Group

"If completed, Sinclair will control a whopping 233 TV stations that reach 72 percent of U.S. households. The transaction, which includes Tribune Media's 42 stations, radio station WGN-AM and other assets, is being reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department's antitrust unit." Big Problems with Sinclair-Tribune Deal

The news reports online state that the chairman of the FCC, a January Trump appointee, Ajit Pai, has been shaking up the department and making it easier for corporations to command a majority of stations by eliminating many initiatives from the past. The Sinclair Group announced its intention to purchase the Tribune shortly after the relaxing of the rules.

Green dots: Stations owned  by Sinclair
Orange dots: Stations owned by Tribune
Sources: Company websites | Note: Only primary TV stations are counted. NYTimes

My kids often tease me about being such a worry wart. When I first noticed what was going on with the Sinclair takeovers, I felt maybe I was being a little paranoid. However, the more I researched, the more I found others were feeling the same as I do -- that our freedom of the press is in danger. Sinclair's monopoly, control, and methods of assuring his conservative (pro-Trump) messages are given priority wherever possible sound more and more like an attempt to control the media as it is done in totalitarian governments around the world.

I nearly always watch the 5 o'clock local news followed by network news. As soon as that hour is passed, I tune in to my most trusted news source, The PBS Newshour. As the hour progressed, I was playing a game of solitaire when my ears perked up as I heard the following segment. I was thrilled to hear everything I had been researching being validated by so many reliable sources. I am not alone anymore. (By the way, this is not the same as the John Oliver video above, although it shows a brief portion of it.)


With everything the Trump administration, along with the GOP-controlled House and Senate, has been eliminating it's hard to recognize the democracy we once knew as the United States of America. 

If FOX News and the Russian Facebook ads truly did sway the election - especially targeting the vulnerable states, what would the takeover of the content of so many other outlets do to those who only listen and not do the homework to discover the who and what motives are behind it?

What to do?

Peace and awareness,
Marilyn