Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Subscribe to My Weblog to Get Updates by Email

I am very pleased to announce an extremely useful new service which is now available to my readers: You can subscribe to my mailing list!

As a subscriber, you will receive a brief notice in your email whenever I update my weblog. Subscribing to this free notification service will ensure that you are kept current on the latest developments here while saving you the trouble of checking my blog periodically for updates. It ensures that you will never miss a new post or lose the opportunity to leave a timely comment!

Managing Your Subscription

Now that you understand the benefits of subscribing, let me explain how your subscription is managed. After considering some fifteen different mailing list services and testing seven of them thoroughly, I finally chose a free mailing list service provided by Bravenet (which also provides dozens of other free web tools for webmasters). Bravenet's mailing list service is free because it is advertiser-supported. That means Bravenet may insert a small advertisement before or after the messages I send to my mailing list. I have decided that the high reliability, great ease of use, and rich features provided by Bravenet mailing lists are well worth the minor inconvenience of a few small ads.

You can subscribe to my mailing list quickly and easily by filling out the simple web form at the top of my blog. You can also unsubscribe using the same form. To prevent unauthorized changes to the mailing list, Bravenet uses a "double opt-in" and "double opt-out" process—that means a confirmation email will be sent to the address you specify whenever you ask to subscribe or unsubscribe. The confirmation email contains a link which you must click to confirm your request and thereby prevents anyone else from changing your subscription status.

Privacy and Community

Let me assure you that I will not share your email address with anyone for any reason—that means you will not receive any spam as a result of subscribing to my mailing list! This list will be used solely for the purpose of keeping you informed of updates to my blog.

If you subscribe to The Way of Peace, you will not only stay informed on a wide variety of vitally important issues, you will become an important part of a vital and thriving community. As we join together in this way, remember that this website is but one of thousands which right now are building armies of well-informed citizens. Know also that when we mobilize our combined forces, we will make a profound difference in this world—and the world will have you to thank for it. My dear reader, my good citizen and fellow soldier, why wait any longer? The world needs you today—I implore you to enlist now!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Our First Duty Is to Uphold the Truth

In my inaugural blog post and its follow-up post, I described my encounters with some of the people who have most deeply influenced my thoughts—who inspired me to take my first baby steps of political action and begin working towards peace in an increasingly violent world. These same people inspired me to start this blog as a form of political action.

Among other things, this blog serves as a voice for my conscience. It gives me a constructive outlet for the sheer outrage I feel when I read about the blatantly dishonest and shockingly unscrupulous actions of so many of the key leaders in the current American government.

As I see it, my first duty as an American citizen is not to protect those in power, but to uphold the truth. By telling the truth on this blog, I will expose the unlawful acts of these rogues in my own government and shine the light of public scrutiny on their appalling lack of principles. It is absolutely vital that the truth be made widely known so that we, the people, can hold our own government accountable—only then can we put a stop to the unconscionable wrongs which our government does in our name over and over again, both at home and abroad.

We Have Seen the Enemy

Only by embracing the disturbing truth in all its ugliness can Americans hope to confront the greatest danger of our time: the unprecedented moral failure of leaders in all three branches of our own federal government. This failure of leadership poses a far greater threat to both our personal security and our fundamental liberties than all sporadic acts of terrorist violence combined. Truth is the foundation for all genuine social and political progress, and this particularly ugly truth will be the cornerstone of that foundation in our country for a long time to come.

Given the supreme importance of discovering, accepting, and spreading the truth, we must carefully consider how we can reliably find out what the truth really is. Nearly all of us depend completely on the reports of journalists to find out what is happening in our country and throughout the world. Because of this complete and utter dependence, it is incumbent upon us to choose our trusted news sources with extreme care. The most visible choice may actually be the worst choice!

The Internet to the Rescue

Like a great many progressives, I believe that the Internet is the last bastion of serious journalism available to Americans. These days, most of the television, radio, and newspaper media outlets in America do little more than spread government propaganda. They routinely fail to report vitally important news. The mainstream media have compromised their journalistic integrity and capitulated to the unholy confluence of political power and corporate influence. In response to this phenomenon, some progressives now call the mainstream media by the colorful name, "media whores." Of course, this comparison is terribly unfair—to the world's oldest profession—but it is useful nevertheless!

What has led so many mainstream journalists to prostitute themselves so completely? What has led them to do this in a time of national crisis, no less? Why do they do this at a time when the public desperately needs journalists to fulfill their traditional role as government watchdogs? A large part of the answer is that the same wealthy cabal which has seized power in our government by a host of illegitimate means also owns and operates enormous media conglomerates—which it does not hesitate to use to poison the public mind with government propaganda masquerading as unbiased news and informed commentary.

The most egregious example which comes immediately to mind is the Faux News Channel, whose real name is not worthy to be mentioned on this blog. The vitriolic talking heads on this cable network deal from a stacked deck of profoundly biased sources. Contrary to the network's claim, such coverage is not "Fair & Balanced"—the insidious lies which these right-wing partisans deliberately spread to smear and destroy their political adversaries are a simple but effective combination of "Guile & Bile." Even more alarming is that this particular cable network is merely one vicious cog in the much larger right-wing attack machine which marches in lockstep with our leader.

The Disease and the Cure

This partisan practice of waging malicious and unprincipled disinformation campaigns is so far beyond bad journalism that it resembles mental illness more than it resembles rational political discourse. Although we must exercise extreme caution before characterizing the behavior of any political group as pathological, there are situations in which such a characterization is sadly accurate. In this particular instance, there is a well-documented pathology, complete with classic psychological manifestations like the idealization of self, the demonization of others, the gross distortion and outright denial of factual realities, and the projection of one's own unacknowledged motives and behaviors onto others.

This national sickness started at the head of our government and has spread rapidly through the entire body politic like a virulent strain of cancer. Do not let it infect you! A genuine willingness to consider all points of view with a clear head and open mind is the only prevention and the only cure for this potentially deadly disease. Only by drawing upon many different sources—and carefully examining conflicting points of view—can we hope to separate the vital truth from the numerous lies. Only when we know and accept the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth can we begin to take effective action to solve the extremely serious and highly complex problems we now face.

In a future post, I will recommend a number of excellent online resources which can help us not only discover the truth, but apply our new-found knowledge in constructive ways in order to make a difference. You will find links to a dozen of these resources already listed in the margin of my blog! I encourage you to explore the many facets of these wonderful resources—you will find that they have considerable depth. Please use these fine resources as an integral part of your own personal mission to transform the whole world into a haven of safety and justice, without which there can be no peace.