Friday, February 19, 2010

Hey Joe

It's the morning after the plane flown by Joe Stack was "kamekazied" into the Echelon building housing the IRS here in Austin. In this tragic murder/suicide the one blessing is only one person was killed, not counting the pilot. The similarities to the morning of 9/11 were eerie. Just as on that morning, I looked up at a very blue sky on a beautiful day wondering when the next plane would drop out of the atmosphere to bring more death and destruction with it. My immediate thought was, 'oh no, here we go again.'

However, this proved to be different. This was an American terrorist of sorts. This was a middle aged, white guy with a beef against the U. S. Government and the IRS, specifically. Not to mention his anger against Catholics, George W. Bush, the Austin high-tech industry, Wall street and big corporations as well as corrupt political officials. I think many of us could agree with some of his issues, but at the end of his diatribe he bashes Capitalism and quotes from the Communist Manifesto; not exactly right-wing rhetoric. This man clearly was full of frutration and driven mad by it to the point of becoming a killer. In his mind, Joe Stack needed to add "his pound of flesh" to the body count in what he perceived was a war that had become personal.
Knowing the media as well as I do, I knew it wouldn't be long before they were looking for the back story to this heinous crime. All it took was a few scant hours after all of this nightmare unfolded that Chris Mathews of MSNBC's Hardball and a spokesperson from the Southern Poverty Law Center were spinning this as a Right-Wing extremist gone a-wry. They both claim to have read his diatribe, but somehow missed his bashing of Capitalism, bashing of former President George W. Bush, and quoting the Communist Manifesto. Nevertheless they coupled Joe Stack with Tim McVeigh and the militia movement, though in reality Tim McVey was not in a militia but was AWOL from the U. S. Army, the anti-income tax movement, though in his own words Mr. Stack attended conferences on how to play BY the IRS's rules, pay your taxes and get the maximum deductions like the big boys, and the TEA party movement etc. I will be nothing short of surprised if the DHS does not do a similar spin especialy if they see that the manuer coming from mainstream media sticks to the wall. The reality is, by his own words, and I've never known a dying man to mince his words, was that Joe Stark was LEFT leaning. But, let's not confuse hacks like Chris Mathews and others with the facts.

I'm not trying to turn this into the game of Left vs. Right. However, the truth is the truth. I've had some journalistic training and what is heading our way, like a bursting sewer main, is a smear campaign and yellow journalism on anyone who dares to dissent against those in government, question the existence and role of certain institutions, speak out against ever soaring tax burdens and run away, deficit spending which is endangering our republic as badly as Al-Quaeda. In the coming days, media elites will circle the wagons, omit or white wash the truth about this nut and do the best they can to couple Joe Stack with Joe "the Plumber," us hate mongers in talk tradio, and the TEA party movement. Yes, those 'tea baggers' who are so vicious and scarry to people like Rachel Maddow who apearantly is frightened by old, retired Korean and WWII vets, little old ladies, soccer moms and their vicious, little, loaded diaper, pacifier wielding, blood thirsty babies in strollers. In short, these media types would rather spend energies on an orchestrated, ad-hominem attack on the folks raising legitimate issues of concern rather than addressing the issues themselves.

Scripture says that "evil men love darkness more than light." As a moth is drawn to a light bulb on a sultry, summer night, many main stream journalsits and commentators are drawn to half truths and spin, which in truth, are still lies. Lies abode in darkness. These people can't take criticism of their Savior which is government. Cosequently, they worship at the altar of the preists of their idolitry which are politicians friendly to their god. Anyone who challenges their god and his servants will be mocked and crucified.

The poor soul who lost his life at the hands of the mad man Joe Stack will have the mad men and women of the media establishment stand on his remains and rail against that which they choose not to understand and, ultimately, at their own peril. That is the second tragedy unfolding of what happened in my hometown of Austin, Texas. Joe Stack was not a right-wing extremeist. Joe Stack is THEIR Timothy McVeigh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I haven't been on your site for long, but it has been fun. It was nice to meet up with old friends and family I haven't seen in a while and some I've never seen. You have provided a wonderful way for all of us to stay connected in an interactive setting. So, thanks!

Now I know you guys are sore at Google for wanting to step on your internet turf a little and I'm sure you want to go "Mafia Wars" on them and tell them to get their cyber-hineys back on their own "Farmville." But, you know, the internet is a big, big place and I think there is room for all of us to play nice whether in the social networking world, search engine universe or whatever our particular thing is on the net. I'm sure you guys have sat around sipping S-Bucks and strategizing on how you can push back at the Google clan and let them know who's boss. I got it. I understand. And, maybe part of that strategery was to make Facebook a little more spicier for us "Facers" so we wouldn't jump ship and onto Google's new party boat. Maybe you had the best intentions. However....

Fear is often a dangerous motivator and in your zeal to spiff up the joint, you actually made it tackier than Elvis and Lady GaGa decorating a basement for a Bah-mitzvah. Now I'm all for creative innovations, but the "new look" and layout of Facebook seems rather jumbled and overwhelming; not to mention all of the errors from things suddenly not working or freezing up. As an example, as a consumate "Twitterer," I love the simplicity of the layout there. Not too many whistles and bells and I can choose which functions and apps I want, to some extent. They make sense and Twitter is in constant touch with their users on feedback and suggestions and even critiques of the overall site. I know both sites work well together, so maybe, take a cue from them. I beleive they call that good 'customer service.' Granted, most of us don't pay for all of this Facebook fun and frivolity, yet if it weren't for us, Facebook wouldn't have the clout of huge numbers to help sell ads and links.

I have heard rumblings and grumblings from many a "Facer" who is considering ditching Facebook all together. That would be too bad. It would ultimately play into the hands of all the other social networking sites and, dare I say, Google? Yes, this could all blow back in your face(book). This situation is analigous to a wife who thinks that the new secretary at the office where hubby works, may turn her man's head too often. So, feeling insecure, the wife gets a make-over and ends up looking like a cheap hooker or a clown and actually turns the hubby off; the very thing she feared! In reallity, the husband loved his wife just the way she was. Facebook, we users are the husband and you are the wife. We loved you just how you were.

That tired, Billy Joel song comes to mind right now, "Just The Way You Are." We still love you Facebook. Take off that silly wig and the fire engine, red lipstick. Look in the mirror and love what you see and what you have done to change social networking. The Beatles said it well; "Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged." Please Facebook, get it back to something a little less error prone, confusing, and more like it was. Otherwise, the song by One Republic, "Too Late to Apologize," could becomes your theme. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Thanks.

From my smiling face to yours,
Richie L.