Sunday, June 29, 2014

PPTS For Sunday, June 29, 2014: "The War on the Poor!":The Battle For Equality" (Part 1 of 3)

For the majority of 2014, PPTS has been investigating a series of realities in the United States, and around the globe. We have chosen the title "The War on the Poor".

As we begin the seventh of a planned series of eight particular investigations, "The Battle For Equality", I'd like to give you our framework for every episode in this series. It's nothing magical, or ultra-intelligence at play. It's very simple, formulaic, and something we highly encourage anyone to use if they wish to look into something of both value AND substance. It's been a long look for us, and we've had to remain flexible to current news and activities. Periodic interruptions have put the series into a "time out" of sorts along the way. So, following the PPTS Rule #1:

Rule #1

Flexibility is the first requirement of success.

With a really good plan, things happen intentionally. There is no doubt that sometimes, unanticipated things just happen. But things tend to happen at the speed of life. If your plans are so fixed that any deviation causes your plan to collapse, you have not planned properly or realistically.

On our show, we have learned the skills of flexibility well. I'm proud of our teams who have come to understand and adopt for themselves the necessity of flexibility. One member gets very ill, and must be hospitalized. Someone fills in, without complaint. The team continues forward, according to the plan. Or not. If we cannot viably cover that team member's role (and we should be able to, normally.) then the activity is temporarily suspended. Other activity, which is possible, is pursued until all is well, the team re-united, and we move forward together.

It's not because we have, as a team, committed inflexibly to some rule, or policy, or procedure. It is rather because we have committed, as a team, to each other, the show, and our listeners. As we do find our show's origins generally within the scope and sphere of politics in America from the Progressive viewpoint, the production values of an episode are vital to our success. One of those production values is current relevance to our listeners. Natural disasters, crime, war, and many other new realities upon us as a nation may show a need to create an entirely new episode, on the fly. This team has learned to do that very well. Flexibility continues, sometimes even in the midst of a live show.

The Questions

From a "clean screen" to the final edited show for the archives and replay, the following questions are always in play:

1. What do we think we know? (Opinions, the "noise" of the moment, etc.)

2. What can we prove we know? (What is truth, versus opinion, versus lie?)

3. What do we know we know? (The difference that will become our episode.)

And then, a second series of questions guides our team through the final production of the episode:

4. What does our listener know? (Have we correctly parsed the issue(s) into sufficiently useful information for our listeners in a way they can use correctly?) 

In this series, this is the focal point of the first of the three episodes around each battlefield.

5. Why should he/she care? (Have we truly engaged our listener in a manner conducive to a passion of interest that will change their lives?)

This is the second focus, and usually (but not always) grounds the show's second of the three episodes.

6. What are they now empowered to do about it? (What confidence do we have in our product that our listener will "buy into", and take personal ownership responsibility for in their lives of activism?)

This is the final focus, which brings together the previous two episodes in the series, and hopefully catapults our listeners into action.

When we begin to tackle the whole arena of "Equality", we very quickly began to understand that this is a very active word, with multiple meanings to multiple constituencies. We saved it for the seventh "Battlefield" because of the potential universal application of the term across many fronts. We will give voice to several areas of equality in this investigation, and we will focus, beginning today, on some of them.

However, this is the point in our investigation where our listeners can really "bring us home"! There is not even a reliable textbook definition of some forms of equality that we live with every day. The correct use of the term completely depends upon context. Mine is not yours. Yours matters.

We looked, as we began planning for this series, for impressive and knowledgeable Special Guests to help us all speak as one voice, equal. We learned that this particular goal is simply not possible: impossible, in fact. The strongest voice is not necessarily "The" voice required. Yours is.

We hope you will join us on Sunday, June 29, 2014, for a two-hour conversation about "The Battle For Equality" and let us know your answers to the questions which drive PPTS.

We'll see you there!

For Progressive Politics:Tennessee Style, I am

The Tennessee Progressive

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 14th, 2014 "The War on the Poor:The Battle For Religion" (Part 2 of 3) "Dialogue"

Today's show now posted for your viewing and commenting pleasure, is a "raw" cut, which means it has not yet been edited. When that edit is complete, I will reload the edited version to the Blog Talk Radio site, and this blog as well.

In a quick re-listening (always a difficult task for me), I must tell you I was not drunk. That being said:

The working title for this episode was "Dialogue".

The term comes from two Greek words of origin. The first is "Dia", which is most correctly translated as "two". The second word is "logos", which most correctly translates to the English word "words".

The rather common definition of the term, then, comes to us as "Two words". The words themselves are each owned by another than yourself. The idea behind it is that it takes two to have dialogue, or discourse on some subject or another.

Before the words matter, the concept of dialogue should be addressed. Sometimes, by voluntary participation, two different words, or ideas, or positions find each other in the same place at one time. In these days, many feel compelled not to speak at all. Most of those who feel a significant allegiance to one position or another may not come to that position from a logical path. When faced with the option of participating in discourse, any number of emotional responses might immediately feed the mind, while completely ignoring the voice. Words make us think. They also make us feel. Emotions do not think. Logic does not feel.

It would therefore make some sense that these two relational differences might at first seem to be antithetical to the entire notion of dialogue. That's because they are. These two worlds exist as polar opposites, yet they do feed into the human determination of what in politics we call "position". Do you have a position on ____?

How many times will your initial response be something like "Well, I'm not sure. Let me give that some thought (and emotion) and I'll get back to you. Would that be alright?" Why should it be? Why not?

Asking for, or offering a position on virtually anything can nail you forever to that particular spot, no matter what the topic may be. It may be a voluntary assignment, or an involuntary determination placed upon you by another. We have this overwhelming competitive spirit as humans (well, at least those of us with a belly button!) that we will most often immediately gravitate to the internal opinion that we are needing to be "right" (correct). Our opinion or understanding of a topic really takes a back seat to our intent to win.

Politics is filled with this dangerous paradigm. We must, however recall that, across the arc of human history, politics has started or ended many fewer conflicts between humans than religion ever has. Human secularism has sought to fill it's population from that perspective, namely if religion has wrought this, then religion just is not for me. Further, and in these days more commonly, we hear that having a religious identity or a personal faith is an outward sign of our ignorance. I refer to such thinking as "fleeing to the extremes" because that is precisely what we do. How can dialogue exist in such an environment?

Oddly enough, that very truth has become a defensive weapon on one side, and a powerful offensive weapon on the other side of the Battle For Religion. One reason fleeing to the extremes is so potent for both sides is that the middle ground is vacant. It is the middle ground where dialogue potentially exists. As a result, dialogue just doesn't happen.

Is it possible to create dialogue in such a place with views, opinions and/or convictions are so concretized as if hard wired within us? What is it that we fear losing, and at what cost? If we can come to grips with this answer, not only does dialogue become possible, but so does dialogue about pretty much anything else. Therein lies the hope of some, and the greatest possible danger to others. The ideology surrounding this concept is the power center for both. When we exit the possibility of dialogue, we give up the possibilities for dialogue, consensus, and compromise. We need not give up our religious or faith beliefs to have such a dialogue, yet we constantly feel threatened at the notion.

Abortion. Marriage Equality. The Death Penalty. These are but brief examples of a very long list of issues which are, or are alleged to be centered around the idea of "religious liberty". Some look at our First Amendment to The Constitution as giving American citizen the freedom OF religion, while others view the statement as insuring the American citizen the freedom FROM religion. Sadly, there are very few better examples of fleeing to the extremes. The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a State Religion. This comes from history, specifically feudal and fiefdom theology of Europe, where towns were said to belong to a specific religion. We said that we would not have such a thing as a State Religion here in America. Some States and Commonwealths did establish official "State" religions upon their founding. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts come to my mind. Utah comes to mind. Pilgrims were considered to be a religious sect. That notion, and those constitutional foundations have since been repealed.

Bring us forward through the annals of our national history, and you arrive at the notion of religious liberty as it applies to virtually everything, and usually in a most negative way. The Catholic Church is excoriated for it's denial of child sexual assault while protecting the perpetrators from the world of Justice. Many Catholics now face the wrath of ignorance by those who tell them that being Catholic automatically implies their support of pedophilia. This is the cultural insanity that can originate in one wrong logical thought. Why bother having a dialogue about this, or any other religion-centric topic?

For the same reason we should come together, and reason together.  The American citizen is not asked which side should win. The American citizen is not asked who is right in the position they hold.

The American citizen is required to answer the question that asks "What is the best result for the citizen?"

If we can just come together with our different opinions and convictions, especially with the answer to this question as the basis (and limit) of civil discourse, there is much we can do. There is much we cannot do, issues we cannot reasonably arrest and force into the common marketplace of ideas, debate and discourse. But there are many things we can do. Having a reasoned, civil, respectful, honest discourse is something we can, should, and must do. We must determine that we will not flee to the extremes.

Even in conversations about religion.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Where Have The Blog Posts Been?

Interesting question. More interesting answer.

Note To Whom It May, or May Not Concern: 

You chose to allow me no respect, civility, courtesy or rational discussion on your blog. No problem. I'll do it on mine. Come and find me. Just remember, I know where you write, as well. It ain't over until I've had MY say, too. Deal.

I am, after some serious discussions with several different groups of individuals, corporations, national affiliations, etc., choosing to stand as a candidate for the Presidency, Board of Directors, Coffee Party USA. (I KNOW!) :)

Should I be honored enough to win this election, I will immediately be 2,847,091.06789st in the line of succession to the Presidency of The United States. So, I believe we're safe. No, I'm sure we're safe.

Because of that particular diversion of my life, the previous two PPTS shows have removed the show from the intended track just a bit.

A. Two weeks ago, the Acting President of the Coffee Party USA, Debilyn Molineau was my Special Guest. We spent the show discussing all things CPUSA from primarily her point of view. We talked of her plans and goals for the movement in the next two years, as well as her feelings of the accomplishments the Coffee Party has been able to achieve in the 2 months since her coming to the Board of Directors, having been appointed by a greatly reduced Board to the position. Mine was an offer to the Acting President of Coffee Party USA to face our membership, answer some important inquiries of concern to the organization's membership, and try to smooth some ruffled feathers within the membership.

Great show. No problem.

Last week, I invited several potential candidates to share the show with another potential candidate (myself), to perform together a bit of Kabuki theater. My idea was to have an educational experiment, whereby:

B. Potential candidates might seriously reflect upon the roles they would assume in the Coffee Party USA organization with a successful campaign and election. To that end, I believe most of the candidates did a superb job of genuinely considering the responsibilities and obligations of leadership, generally and within a fractured Coffee Party USA membership, specifically. There were some developments into particulars regarding current or future potential (or both) members of the board that came up, and I take full responsibility for every one them. It was not, as has since been falsely alleged, a "campaign ploy using Coffee Party USA Radio to further candidates in favor of other candidates". It was not "ill-conceived and unfortunate timing" by myself or anyone else, for that matter. Two things on that:

     1. We responded to questions from our audience about specifics. This was absolutely intentional. Having my Special Guests interact from the potential capacity as a sitting member of the Coffee Party USA Board of Directors was a specific educational intent of this particular show. I specifically informed my guests that, if a specific question arose, either from the audience OR the panel, it should be addressed by the person(s) whose position should most likely be responsible for handling it AFTER the election.

     2. I was on that panel, as well. I understood from the beginning that this might get "dicey" down the road, and spent many hours with many people arguing that the educational value for these potential candidates, and our general membership outweighed the potential for unnecessary drama from the ... anything.. After hearing all the arguments for and against, I went with "For" the motion. As much as this was an educational experiment for the potential candidates, I also wanted there to be a real sense of what it feels like for these candidates, now loosely confederated into some ethereal (at the time; it would concretize on this show!) entity loosely referred to as "The Civility Slate". The goal was to have real-time interaction to, and from our membership. Who are our members? What do they truly and passionately care about? I don't know, let's ask them--and listen intently to their response. They spoke, as did we, the potential candidates. We listened, as did they, the audience of PPTS. The experiment proved successful, purely on those grounds.

Not so good.

CPUSA pulled the show. CPUSA excoriated the show, myself and staff, the episode's panel--and the membership--on the (then) front page of the CPUSA blog. These actions were, according to Debilyn in a subsequent, and completely uncivil conversation on my part, the work of both Debilyn and CPUSA current Vice President Egberto Willies.

Both of these events were undertaken and completed without preamble or notice to me. I learned of them as I was preparing to leave for an emergency medical consult with my Physician. I learned of them as my Facebook page exploded in front of me. I stayed and dealt with it, and lawyers, and corporate Boads of Directors wanting some serious CPUSA financial blood. I'm dealing with the medical stuff still. I was angry then. I'm sore now. I'll most likely, at this particular point survive both. No problems. Moving on....

I own the show, not CPUSA.  It is the proprietary intellectual property of a corporation NOT CPUSA. It is my corporation's intellectual property, not CPUSA. Courtesy matters where I come from. Respect is due those who give their time, talent and treasure to your cause. Yadayadayada.

For some mysterious reason, the show suddenly reappeared. I had nothing to do with either occurrence. It disappeared, and reappeared. Again. It disappeared and has not, as of this writing, reappeared.

CPUSA used the blog post to refute the show, the candidates opposing them in the upcoming election, screaming of "unfair advantage" "incivility", etc. While I would have LOVED to respond with a Blog post of my own, I was not afforded so much as the courtesy of an opportunity to reply to that blog post. Evidently, I am persona non grata on the Blog. Time out for bad behavior. Please see item A above.

So, a potential candidate for the Presidency, Board of Directors CPUSA comes on my show, at my invitation and spends two hours presenting herself in every possible position, and it's all fine and good. "Her" camp approves. (By her own statements after the fact, just so ya know. It was honestly a tough show to host, and my guest stood in the face of an ill wind with considerable aplomb. She deserves credit for that, and I happily give what I can of it to her.)

C. We are all, as I write this, potential candidates. No applicant has been given that status of "Candidate" yet. HER candidate vetting committee is currently determining for themselves who will be found worthy to stand for the general membership to choose which candidates (that survive the vetting process) will be on the ballot. The deadline has passed (currently) for applications. The applications closed on the midnight, Hawai'i time following the show last Sunday. No more applications would be accepted. You didn't pay your membership dues until two days following the deadline for financial or other reasons? Sorry. Thanks for the bucks. Hope ya run next year. (Twice). Yeah, some of my Special Guests last week, in fact. Don't know, but haven't heard of any others.

Well, except the one person who my Special Guest from two weeks ago "supposedly" begged to run...yesterday. (Pease carefully note the quotes. This is nothing more than pure, unsubstantiated speculation--except for the email, the sworn testimony of the allegee, the eyewitnesses to the events and those immediately following the alleged incident, etc.) Are their others? Who knows? Only a few select persons (Members of the current BoD, and some 3 "volunteer members", one of whom was a previously paid employee of CPUSA, but I do digress...

Yus, I haz a sad. I'm sorry, does it show? Ignore, move along. Nothing to question here.

Ergo, the basis of why about 40% of the known general membership has been demanding for some time now that the current board step down.

Which is why I chose to run in the first place. Choice matters when you speak truth to power. Things change, or at least they can change. Silence changes nothing other than the irrational belief that there is now consent. If the membership of Coffee Party USA are willing to vote me to be the next President of our organization, it will be because I have earned their vote, I didn't buy it, or intimidate it, or promise in return for it. If I have not done so honestly and honorably, I should not be elected to this important (and volunteer) position. Nobody should. Ever.

Given that, in light of these and other difficulties over the past couple of weeks, the PPTS you know and love has gone forward to what will be, this coming Sunday, a continuation of our originally intended show's operation and investigation on "The War On The Poor: The Battle For Religion" (Part 2 of 3) PPTS is safely and permanently ensconced, once again, in our previous digs at Progressive Politics: Tennessee Style" (PPTS). The show will no longer, for at least the foreseeable future, reside or be a part of Coffee Party USA Radio Network. Why?

1. Call me names. Don't take my stuff. I don't like it when you take my stuff. Ever. Call it Hillbilly Privilege. Don't hurt my people. As in, stop hurting my people. People say that I'm not significant enough to worry about. They are probably correct. They are correct in the exact same way as when they say a Mother Bear is not significant to anyone threatening her children, the baby bears. Probably. Well, close at least. Close enough? We'll see.

2. In all honesty, whether or not I am "vetted" and allowed to stand as the opposition candidate for the Presidency of the Coffee Party USA, having my show on Coffee Party Radio Network in it's current form is simply lightening waiting to strike. I learned this last week, as well. It's not Conflict of Interest which worries me, although that has already emerged as an issue for some people. Some people have told me that do not listen because they do not care for the theme music. Some say that, while they love the show, they are hesitant to recommend it to others because of the first word in the title.

Simple. Problem solved. It's not about any "unfair advantage". One potential candidate got two uninterrupted hours with me. Problem solved. You will find that show here. You will no longer find that show there. Fairness for all concerned is only fair.

This election matters to many thousands of members and interested persons looking to the Coffee Party USA to be dispassionate arbiters of compromise. As it's potential President, one of the conditions of my candidacy (and every other person's candidacy, too!) is that my obligation as Candidate (if and when that happens) requires something of me that would be only marginally required otherwise as PPTS. Here, I'm not a freakin' public figger, for cryin' out loud. I'm just a Hillbilly with a big mouth and a microphone. Who cares?

As a leader of Coffee Party USA? Yeah, that's an equine of an entirely different hue! (A famous line from one of my novels.) The show's separation does offer a couple of distinct advantages in this regard. Candidates have been urged not to campaign at all until the official ballot is released. Great, if not hilarious. Yeah, right.

We'll see you right here, on Sunday, June 15th, 2014. We'll be on the air (and we'll STAY on the air!)

We'll see YOU there!

The Tennessee Progressive