An Ode to Net Neutrality

Farewell,
Oh fickle friend,
Who imparted both knowledge
And filth
And started many a rabbit hole of
Wasted time
Over the years.

The meager mewling of many
Claim that those
Who lament your loss
Regret potentially
Paying more for
Pornography and
The chance to
‘Netflix and chill’.
They want the whining
To stop on this
So they can get back to their
Premium cable and satellite packages
To consume their own
Method of escape.

But without you,
We live with more
Government and
Corporate control
(And how sad
There are those who still deny
These are one and
The same).

You dissent?
It will be monitored
And buried.
You sell small?
You will not be able to
Compete
No matter the product.
You want a variety of sources?
Equality of the classes
On the world wide web?
Do you think that the
Overlords will give
That to their slaves?

There is no government
Of the people.
It is a farce and
Has been for
A very long time.

So farewell,
Net Neutrality.
You’ve been a friend
But it’s time for our
True status
As a people
To come to light.
It didn’t have to be
Like this,
But it seems
We don’t get to keep
Anything nice
These days.

May your death
Not be
In vain.

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

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Democracy, An American Novel Review

I just finished reading Democracy, An American Novel by Henry Adams last night, and it was a fascinating read for several reasons. The history behind it’s publications is really interesting. Henry Adams published it in 1880 anonymously, and his publisher didn’t release his authorship until after his death even though the novel became popular.

It deals with the corruption of politicians and lobby groups in Washington D.C., which goes to show you that nothing much has changed over the several centuries of this “great experiment” of a nation, and includes some absolutely delicious quotes like “…a government of the people, by the people, for the Senate…” and “No representative government can long be much better or much worse than the society it represents. Purify society and you purify government.”. It gives some remarkable insight into both the male and female positions in society during the 19th century, and those who were “in” society and those who were not. You can read the Wikipedia entry here and get the book for free over at Project Gutenberg (both of which take donations and if you have a few bucks to spare at the end of the year, I would suggest either as worthy causes since they are the depository of so much free information).

I got two very big things out of this book for myself. Firstly, the main suitor of our heroine, a Senator Ratcliffe, honestly thinks he is behaving the only way he can in the corrupt world of politics, and he also honestly thinks he loves the widow Mrs. Lee as far as any self-serving narcissist can, and Henry Adams neither makes apologies nor condones his (or any other character’s for that matter) behavior during the course of the book. Ratcliffe operates in the only way he knows how to operate in the only game he knows how to play, even though it is repugnant and reprehensible in many ways. Apply this to a lot of the people who are not only allowing evil to operate in this world but encouraging it because it allows them to feel some semblance of power and privilege to do so. Many of them don’t know better. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, nor should the general population allow such behavior to happen, but knowing that they don’t know better provides us common folk with some clues on how to correct the problems, if enough of us ever stand up and start trying to. Secondly, Mrs. Lee almost gets trapped in a kind of savior complex in trying to “save” Ratcliffe from his lower instincts and thus help influence a change in the overall machinations of D.C., but she realizes that this wouldn’t happen and it would be her character that would change and be destroyed in the filth of the political atmosphere, a kind of textbook narcissist/empath relationship played out on a grander scale. This is important for those of us who do want to change things to keep in mind as we go about our work.

Some might read this novel and despair at the impossibility of real change ever happening, considering the distance between then and now and yet the similarities in corruption. But I really do feel like this period of time we’re in now is a necessary purging. We can’t hide from the filth anymore, nor should we, so our options now are to drown in it or to clean it up, personally and collectively.

Anyway, a random but timely quick read, and I recommend this book if you like witty, sarcastic 19th century literature.

Current Affairs

I’ve thought a lot in the past couple of weeks about what I can say to help with what’s going on lately. Life feels more fragile, a little more tenuous in the face of it all. But the truth is that life is always fragile. History is full of brutal manmade destruction and rife with natural disasters even while it is equally full of soaring beauty and truly wonderful levels human achievement. We are being reminded almost daily that everything we know can be snatched away at a moment, outside of our control. And we can either fear that and go on autopilot, or try to deny it and escape reality, or we can accept it and work to live up to our potentials in whatever stretch of time we have. And if we’re not striving towards the third option, what’s really the point?

So do what you have to in order to practice self-care. Heal yourself to the point where you can turn off the autopilot and stop the escapism for little stretches of time at first and then longer and longer moments. Find a life of meaning in whatever you do, and if something isn’t working, don’t fear changing it. And don’t be afraid to shine your inner light. Also, if you feel like you want to change things, find ways to help where you can. You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone. You can’t control the way the world operates, but you can control how you operate within the existing parameters and work to change those parameters.

Finally, if you really want to change the world, stop letting assholes win. If all the caring, empathetic people in the world would adopt this attitude individually and collectively, things would change so fast. Stop supporting those who don’t value their fellow human beings, whether it be the big fish in the small pond or the sharks in the ocean, small-town sleezy landlord or big time Hollywood producer or career politicians at any level. Stop giving them your money, stop giving them your time and attention unless it’s to rub their faces in their misdoings like a dog and say “no” very loudly and repeatedly until they get the message. If you are going to start demanding the best of yourself, demand the best from those who profit off of you as well. There is so much potential power there.

It is hard not to get caught up in the fear and the drama. But that let’s those assholes win, and that is the one thing I refuse to do.

State Constitutions – do you know yours?

I was inspired a few weeks ago by a podcast that had someone elucidating the rights spelled out in the PA State Constitution, which has inspired me to slowly work my way through the NYS one. Because while I’ve read the US constitution in government class, I’ve never looked at the states before, and I have the feeling that those may be more important in days to come.

The history of the NYS constitution is interesting. It’s been amended and even re-written a couple of times. And a vote is coming up this year on whether to call another constitutional convention.

I’ve finished Section 1, and I have several tidbits I want to bring up and discuss, and I think I’m going to use Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to do it because I really don’t use those platforms aside from sharing my blog links when I update. I’ll go in order, but I’ll pull one positive one out for today.

[Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel] §8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;

NYS constitution Section 1, Article 8

Bam! Freedom of speech protected but you are also FULLY responsible for what issues out of your brain. More people need to understand this, at every level of society. Maybe especially the politicians.

Now I really would prefer we live in a truly self-governed society and that humanity was evolved enough to be able to live in this way, but until that happens, it’s important to know what we’re working with. There is already some verbiage in the first section that made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Do you know what your state constitutions or even local community charters look like? Do you know what rights of yours may be being infringed upon either legally or illegally? Do you care?

Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.

Liberty for All – A Poem

What have we done to Fellowship?
Where’s the love for our fellow man?
The insular lives we now lead
Means that we don’t do all we can
No more living the Golden Rule
Each for theirself, so weak, so small!
No help for your neighbors, nor hope!
It’s one for one, not one for all.

Can we e’er find Equality?
So elusive, it seems to hide.
It’s us verses them ev’ry day.
To walk this path, always deride.
Rather judge a person theirself
By thoughts, actions, and their deeds.
Instead of what we still look at:
Gender, race, sexuality, and creed.

Whence has flown great Intelligence?
Where have our brilliant minds all gone?
No more knowledge for its own sake,
The focus is on rich gains alone.
The latest big consumer toy
Or vanity pills down our throats
Learning reviled, hated, in vain.
Party lines are our only quotes.

How can we now achieve Justice?
That lovely and resilient song?
Impartial code for all to see.
Two rights can never make a wrong.
No more destruction or violence.
Each working to remove that stain.
Natural rights for ev’ryone.
The end of strife and futile pain.

Who knows how to speak out the Truth?
Unbiased and clear as a bell.
And could we even recognize?
We may not know and dare not tell.
It still is there for us to hear.
All it takes is for us to start.
The clarion sound can ring out loud
If we carry it in the heart.

Who now remembers Liberty?
To get it, will you make a stand?
Rights and responsibility,
Alway together, hand in hand.
Never yet in our history
Have we seen this, but let’s begin.
To grow beyond our current fate,
Search the mirror, dive deep within.

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

Postcards

I got my postcards for my gathering this weekend. I invited over 100 people to stop by and am guessing I will get between 10 and 20. But that’s how it goes. You can only do so much to get people active, and hopefully even if people are too busy or are sick of politics, getting the invite will get them thinking a little.

I hope I get some surprise guests and have to run out for more snacks. But I am excited to see everyone who has said they are coming and look forward to talking social issues and real solutions beyond begging for proper treatment from our current crop of so-called leaders.

But look how pretty!

IMAG0031

America Image – Creative Commons License

postcard-front

Here is the redone illustration created for postcard size. I am granting this a CC-BY licensing, so if you want to print out your own postcards or flyers or use this for what you will, have at it.

My postcards will be ordered tonight for my Write-to-a-politician gathering. My friend who is an artist AND a scientist has created a science-friendly postcard that I will be printing as well, and I hope to get a good turnout when I schedule this event (probably early March by the time things ship). And my suggestion of a workshop at our local domestic abuse shelter got positive feedback and has been forward to the pertinent person in the organization, so my efforts for getting involved are progressing.

My new job got pushed back a week due to complications in the life of the shop owner. I am getting a little nervous but glad to have an extra week at home with the baby and take advantage of the extra time to get some smaller projects done. Life is what it is, right?

Do the Right Thing, Always

“Do the right thing, always”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It was one of the core values at the office job I had on my last break from the theater world, and it is a value I have always felt (though sometimes fallen short of). But it is one we should all be striving for.
 
“Do the right thing, always” – Not “Do the right thing when convenient”. Not “Do the right thing because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t.” Not “Do the right thing when someone else is watching”. Not “Do the right thing because the higher power I worship is telling me to.” Not “Do the right thing when it also serves my financial interest.” Not “Do the right thing for me and mine and screw everyone else.” But “Do the right thing, always” because it is the right thing, and it is done for the sake of itself.
 
I think it is so important that as many of us as possible carry this value in our hearts and live it every chance we get. That we take action in our world out of rightness – at home, at work, with our families and neighbors and community. That we start supporting celebrities and businesses that follow this core value rather than excusing and admiring bad behavior. That we hold all of our so-called leaders and civil servants to this level and demand they play by a strict code of ethics. But it starts with individuals. It starts with us. Because it is only by standing and taking action through rightness, even in the face of adversary, that we will get through this. It isn’t easy and it isn’t comfortable, but it is absolutely necessary. Are you ready?
In the interests of being honest, I posted the above word-for-word on my personal Facebook page, too. I felt it was important to share both places.