Saturday, May 27, 2006

Speaking Truth to Power. A Memorial Day Essay

"Fearlessness has a new name -- and it's Jean Sara Rohe."

So begins Arrianna Huffington in one of her many glowing tributes to the New York's New School graduate who managed to sideswipe (not really ambush) Senator John McCain who had been invited to give the Commencement Address for the 2006 Graduating Class. LINK TO ARRIANNA'S POST: CLICK HERE.

The entire Huffington Post roster of Hollywood glitterati has fallen head over heals in love with Jean Sara. She is, beyond doubt, a modern day Joan of Arc, both a prophet and a fearless leader.

It's as if Jean Sara had handily won the liberal politicos version of American Idol. And it only took one performance on stage.

If you would like to read Jean Sara Rohe's commencement speech and her reasons for making the speech, just read her guest blog entry in The Huffington Post. LINK: CLICK HERE

I am not going to comment on Jean Sara's remarks or her reasoning for making them. That isn't my point and I believe you can read her remarks and "decide for yourself."

But what I find absolutely astonishing and worthy of comment is the recent gushing of praise from the press, professional commentators and bloggers that Jean Sara and others should be lionized for bravery for speaking out publicly to an elected official in the United States.

Stephen Colbert has been similarly praised for his recent White House Correspondent's Dinner appearance. And of course, the bravest of all is Cindy Sheehan.

Today's catch phrase is "Speaking Truth to Power."

Huffington writes, "With the Senator, and likely 2008 presidential candidate, seated just a few feet away (shades of Stephen Colbert taking on Bush), Rohe said, 'The senator does not reflect the ideals upon which this university was founded,' drawing cheers from the crowd."

"Can you imagine the courage that took? Not just to speak truth to power, but to do so in such a personal and public way?"

Actually, Arrianna, it took almost no courage at all. Not an ounce.

Jean Sara spoke to a very friendly audience and told them exactly what they wanted to hear. Her speech was met with "cheers from the crowd."

It might have taken an ounce of bravery to support McCain and support the Iraq war in front of that audience. The students would have booed her and turn their backs on her and tried to silence her. There would have been editorials against her in the student newspapers. Petitions would have been filed to keep her from exercising her rights to free speech. She would have been ostracized, a pariah on her own campus.

In other words, she might have been treated like John McCain.

And, likewise, it took no courage for Stephen Colbert to fulfill his appointed duties as the main speaker at the correspondent's dinner. Nor did that stint require any talent or humor, but I digress.

And what little courage it might have taken for Cindy Sheehan to begin her quest, it took almost none to continue it as she was surrounded by supporters, then sheltered and finally manipulated into becoming a spokesperson for the bizarre anti-corporate anti-Semitic conspiracy wing of the liberal movement.

No, it takes no courage at all to "speak truth to power" here in the United States. Jean Sara will go on to a great job, a better job because she did speak out. She has already become a left wing folk hero.

Stephen Colbert took no risks in turning his keynote speech into a diatribe against the President. There was absolutely no risk that he would disappear in the dark of night. A jail term was never a risk. Torture was out of the question.

Cindy Sheehan held a massive protest rally outside the President's Ranch in Texas for six full weeks. The only risk she took was the risk of sunburn.

Frankly it takes a hell of a lot more courage for Ann Coulter to speak at any of the Universities that idolize Jean Sara Rohe. Ann faces real physical risk. With courage and humor I might add.

This isn't Iran. It's certainly not Saddam's Iraq. This isn't North Korea. Or communist China. It's not the Sudan. Or Darfur. Or Saudi Arabia. Bravery is speaking truth to power in one of those places.

Compare the bravery of USA's Jean Sara Rohe to China's Hao Wu.

Hao had a blog called Beijing or Bust in which he wrote under the pseudonym of Beijing Loafer. He was also the North-East Asia editor of the website Global Voices, to which he contributed under the name of Tian Yi.

Hao was arrested on 22 February while preparing a report on China's underground protestant churches. According to the Chinese authorities, Hao is currently under "house arrest." He cannot receive visits or telephone his family. He has been denied access to a lawyer. The Chinese government is also still refusing to tell him or anyone why he has been arrested. LINK: CLICK HERE

But the good news for Hao is that he is not alone. Telling truth to power virtually always results in a jail term on China. At least for the lucky truth tellers. The rest disappear forever.

This Memorial Day we pay tribute to those who have gone before us. We will honor those who fought for our right to speak "Truth to Power" in complete safety, without fear, without the need for bravery. Thank goodness we have those rights.

So let's pay tribute to Jean Sara Rohe for she is a living example of the freedom, respect and honor with which the United States treats it's protestors. Through Jean Sara we can see that our veterans and all those who came before us built a great nation where we can all speak truth to power.

* * *

Wizard Radio has a big Memorial Day Special, all day, May 29, 2006. Wizard Radio can be heard on any Interent connection, world wide. There will be several Memorial Day tributes to our soldiers and all those who can before us in building this great nation. Patriotic music and Americana will be woven into a most enjoyable tapestry of eclectic music that is the trademark of Wizard Radio. From Jimmy Buffett to The Beach Boys to New Orleans style jazz, Wizard Radio brings you the perfect soundtrack for the kickoff to summer. I hope you'll join us. TO LISTEN TO WIZARD RADIO : CLICK HERE

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm From the Government and I'm Here to Help

Long time readers of the Wizard, fkap Journal are at least aware that I operate three Internet Radio Stations. The links to those three stations are on the Links bar to the right of this essay. To say these stations are unique in quite an understatement. If you've never listened to Internet Radio you are in for a real treat. Click on one of the links and find out for yourself.

There is a real possibility that in the not too distant future that these three stations and thousands of other Internet radio stations like them will cease to exist. Why? Because the Federal Government is here to help! The same folks who have made FEMA such a monumental success want to enhance the listener experience in Internet Radio.

But they have a lot of help! Advising our Representatives and Senators are the major media companies like RCA, Sony, and more. The major record labels through their professional association, the
Recording Industry Association of America (or the RIAA for short) are taking steps in several arenas that will actually make it impossible for Internet radio to survive in its current form!

Today's villain is called the PERFORM ACT, sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). This certainly proves the RIAA can effectively lobby both political parties. Or that they RIAA has the finest senators that money can buy!

The focus of the PERFORM ACT is on satellite radio, but it has significant implications for internet radio as well. If this act passes as currently written, internet radio stations would no longer be able to use the standard digital formats currently in use, but would instead be forced to adopt proprietary (i.e. more expensive) formats and rewrite their software to match. These actions would also have a by product of removing most creativity from Internet Radio Broadcasts. You can learn more about the PERFORM ACT from my friends at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation's Action Center.

Wizard Radio is a non-profit "hobby" station. There are thousands more just like us. We make no profit , but gladly pay hundreds or thousands of our own dollars in royalties and broadcasting expenses (like bandwidth, storage, and music acquisition).

In addition to the PERFORM ACT, we also face an effort by the RIAA to force Internet broadcasters to pay even higher royalties to recording artists and, much more importantly, to the recording labels themselves.

Internet Radio ALREADY PAYS THESE ROYALTIES and always has. Traditional AM/FM radio stations that broadcast over the PUBLIC AIRWAYS are exempt from paying royalties to artists or record labels. Only Internet Radio actually pays the artists for the music they have created!

There are actually two types of royalties that Internet broadcasters pay. The first set of royalties go to composers and lyricists and are paid through organizations like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. It is these songwriter (composer) royalties that are also paid by AM/FM, and satellite radio as well as internet radio stations. The rates for composers are extremely fair and are applied equally to all media. No one objects to these royalties.

Ahhh, but the second set of royalties are those that go to the artists (performers) of the musical work (50%) and to the RECORD LABELS that sign the artists (the other 50%). AM/FM radio has always been exempt from paying these royalties. Only Satellite and Internet radio pay these royalties, but at different rates that put internet radio in the position of paying a much higher percentage of its revenues in royalties than satellite radio pays.

Have I confused you enough, yet? Stay with me, it gets worse.

The royalty rates are set via a process involving the Library of Congress. If the record labels get their way in this process, Internet Radio will pay huge rate increases that will make it absolutely impossible for anyone to broadcast, except...... you guessed it.... the actual RECORD LABELS THEMSELVES!!

What a neat trick. Pay royalties to yourself and it actually costs you nothing!!! And that is the RIAA goal.

The RIAA really hates Internet Radio because we play independent and unsigned artists. The RIAA (the big labels) gets no money from these independents and, worse yet, when you find a new artist you like on the Internet, you're less likely to buy the RIAA's latest dream act!

The RIAA wants you to be able to hear only the big artists and only the music they promote. If all you hear is Clive Davis' latest Idol, he or she are likely to be only CD you'll buy! What we really have here is legalized payola!!

What can you do? If you love Internet Radio and the endless variety we offer, please contact your
Senators and Representative in Congress and tell them that you support internet radio.

Because many of our Senators and Representatives are not familiar with Internet Radio they have no idea that Internet Radio actually support artists by paying them royalties. And they are probably unaware that Internet Radio is promoting independents and emerging artists that has no outlet in corporate controlled AM/FM radio.

My guess is that the huge and well financed RIAA lobby is drowning the Senators and Representatives in misinformation. Your voice can help clarify the situation and you can help level the playing field.

Internet Radio Stations like
Wizard Radio offer the one thing you can't get anywhere else: VARIETY!! We play hundreds of different genre's of music including international, classical, folk, jazz and musical theatre.

Let your
Senators and Representatives know that you value what internet radio offers and that you want to see it supported and strengthened, not killed.

We need help. Hurricane RIAA is bearing down on our shores. Don't let the Senate send us the RIAA's version of FEMA.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Telling Truth to Power

From through the resources of the AFP LINK: CLICK HERE

A US lawmaker and former Marine colonel accused US Marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a roadside bomb

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters. The November 19 incident occurred in Haditha, Iraq.

"There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range, the Vietnam war veteran said, denying early official accounts, which said that a roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis.

"There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people," he said.

Time magazine reported the shootings on March 27, based on an Iraqi human rights group and locals, who said that 15 unarmed Iraqis died, including women and children, when Marines barged into their home throwing grenades and shooting.

"It's much worse than reported in Time magazine," Murtha said.

This is really tragic. But the guilty will be brought to justice. In public. With the entire world's press reporting and investigating and commenting and exploiting. I'm betting that the New York Times will devote at least 50 front page stories to the Iraqi massacre.

Oh yes, the press will report. There will be so much sunlight, you could easily get sunburned. You will know the name, rank and serial number of every soldier remotely involved in the murder. And you'll meet their wives, girlfriends, ministers or priests and their third grade teachers.

Meanwhile Al Queda and the insurgents purposely target and kill women and children every day. Every day. Without exception. Children are killed by Al Queda every day.

And not by rogue troops. Not by out of control soldiers. Not by over-stressed or poorly trained National Guard units. But children are murdered by trained assassins acting under direct orders of leaders (usually religious leaders). It is no accident that Al Queda are targeting and murdering children every single day.

But unlike the US soldiers the insurgent assassins will never be arrested. They will never be tried. The world's press will never run their stories. There will never be marches or protests or strikes or even a modest editorial in the New York Times.

Of course there will be numerous posts in blogs that absolve Al Queda of blame and call them idealistic young freedom fighters. Telling truth to power.

My prayer... my hope... my dream.... is that every horrific crime on earth, every rape, every murder, every torture, all be done by US soldiers. That way the world would finally hold all victims and all perpetrators of violence equal instead of focusing 99.9999% of the press, the emotion and the hate on 0.0001% of the acts of violence.

I, for one, am in tears every day. I don't have to wait for John Murtha to tell me for whom I should shed a tear.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Moonbats vs. Vicious Mudslinging Thugs

I noticed with great interest this morning a direct frontal attack by conservative blog star (and fellow free speech advocate) Michelle Malkin on the "Moonbats of the Huffington Post" and one HuffPo buffoon in particular, Bob Burnett. LINK TO MALKIN'S POST: CLICK HERE

By referring to Bob Burnett as both a "moonbat" and a "buffoon," and never using his name, even when quoting him, Malkin did the one thing that seems to irritate liberals the most: name calling!

Bob Burnett is neither a moonbat nor is he a buffoon. He is a respected writer and technocrat, and one of the founders of Cisco Systems. Malkin actually knows all that.

But, any serious reader of Malkin (who doesn't just grab a few quotes entirely out of context), knows these cutsie names like moonbat are her form of satire. They are hardly serious and certainly not hateful.

Certainly Malkin does have a serious point to make about Burnett's essay. LINK TO BENNETS ESSAY: CLICK HERE

Burnett's views, if actually put into action, might actually endanger peoples lives and perhaps even the endanger the future of this country. And Burnett's stated objectives are about as stupid as anything I've read recently.

Malkin is satirical and often sarcastic. She is frequently funny. She is amazingly insightful. And she is always worth reading.

I bring all this up only because earlier this week I was looking really hard for some funny, satirical or sarcastic liberal comments. They are really hard to find. Liberals seems terribly serious.

Instead, you find their writings are really venom filled. The hatred pours from nearly every line. The Huffington Post itself is a boiling pot. But rarely is it funny.

Here is quote from an essay today by Tom Gilroy (the emphasis is mine). LINK TO GLIROY'S ESSAY: CLICK HERE

Tom Gilroy wrote:

Or so the story goes, if you listen to Karl Rove, Robert Novak, Peggy Noonan and the other shit-spinners who learned their chops at the feet of Reagan/Bush PR wunderkind Lee Atwater, a vicious mudslinging thug who died young of a brain tumor and renounced his scurrilous tactics on his deathbed---tactics that have made Karl Rove a household name.
It was easy to look away from inconvenient historical facts of Christianity like the Inquisition, the Crusades, or the pedophilia of the priesthood when you could still see true people of faith marching for civil rights, working in soup kitchens, or bearing witness in Nicaragua as the Reagan-funded militias gunned down families of peasants.

But 'The Great Awakening' now brings us faith-based leaders promoting torture and war, who lie to us on a daily basis, and violate our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

HuffPo is also a must read. It is also insightful, provocative and informative. I read HuffPo everyday. It's just not funny (at least not often).

Thank goodness the liberals do have Al Franken and Steven Colbert (who used satire to great benefit last week at the Presidential Correspondent's Dinner).

So I'll leave it to you. Moonbats or Vicious Thugs? Buffoons or shit-spinners?

Those on the left feel that Malkin (and her fellow conservative commentators) call names and spew hate.

And those on the right feel Huffington and company call names and spew hate.

And neither side can see the truth.........

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Where is Our Holy War?

This is a short essay, because I have only a question.... and I do not have a answer.

Here's the background. There is a news report in today's World Net Daily LINK: CLICK HERE that Muslim leaders have dispatched twelve terrorists to Denmark whose only task is to kill the twelve Danish cartoonists who drew the very controversial cartoons depicting Muhammad.

We all witnessed the massive demonstrations that paralyzed much of the Middle East and parts of Europe as Muslims protested the portrayal of Muhammad. Hundreds of thousands demonstrated and many died. Many leaders, most notably Osama bin Ladan, have declared a Holy War against the west and against Denmark in particular.

While most nations in Europe (and many newspapers) re-ran the cartoons in solidarity with the Danes, the U.S. has largely been silent. Either out of fear for their safety, or out of an effort to achieve political correctness, many universities have refused a traveling exhibit of the cartoons and a discussion of the issues involved.

Only a few U.S. newspapers have reprinted the cartoons. You can see all twelve cartoons here, courtesy of Michelle Malkin who has been a real leader in the Free Speech movement. LINK: CLICK HERE. On this same page you'll find links to Michelle's extensive coverage of this issue.

There is no doubt that true Muslims feel very strongly about this issue. To be certain most moderates stop well short of advocating murder of the cartoonists. But all feel very strongly about the portrayal of Muhammad. All images of Muhammad are forbidden by Mulim Holy Law as written in the Koran.

How will we feel if even on of the terrorists succeed and kill just one cartoonist? What will we say?

"He knew the risk."

He invited trouble."

"He deserved to die."

"He shouldn't have rocked the boat."

"He should have been sensitive to the Muslim religion."

Or will we feel this issue is much bigger? Will we feel that such an attack on our civilization DEMANDS justice?

Is this even important? What's one cartoonist, more or less? Where do we draw our line in the sand?

When do we say "This is our Holy War?"