From my Corner: May 15, 2021

Important announcement

I’m giving up.

There are times when losing a battle is part of the process to plan a different strategy to keep fighting but, this time, I’ve had enough!

For the past 16 years, I have been writing about Lawrence Community Access Television (LCAT) and that their studio on Essex St. was created for the use of any Lawrencian interested in producing local programs.  The purpose was to bring entertainment, news, information, education, etc. to everyone but they prefer keeping our community ignorant.

Comcast and Verizon subscribers pay in their monthly cable bills an amount covering the salaries and equipment to run the local community, government, and schools channels.  LCAT does not handle the schools and their portion of what we pay goes separately to Lawrence Public Schools.

On Tuesday, they held an Open House which Rumbo publicized a lot in the hope of having our residents ask questions and apparently, none of the people who promised they would do so, made it that night.

One thing is obvious: Lawrencians love the victim role.  Through the years we expected the government to do everything for us and get everything for nothing.  It’s proven that politicians don’t defend our rights and we are not about to do anything about it, not even asking the board of directors why we are not allowed to use the studio.  Worst of all, we keep voting them in.

Elections are coming and, for the first time, I may leave my ballot blank because I don’t see anyone who is worthy of my vote.  My conscience will be clear knowing that I was right.  We have never heard any candidate mention LCAT and no one asking them about it, either.  I approached some of them only to get promises and doing nothing; meanwhile, we continue paying without receiving what we are entitled to.

So, on this day, May 15th, on the 25th anniversary of establishing Rumbo, I can promise you that I’m giving up my fight on LCAT because this community doesn’t deserve it.

If no one cares, neither would I.


Cancel culture and Section 230

For those of us who care what goes on around us, is very concerning what’s happening in this country.  There was a time whenever we heard about something being canceled, it happened to be a television program and that was all.

Today, it’s everything; books, movies, newspapers, social media, and even our live comments.  We have to watch carefully what we are saying because it could be insulting or “hurtful” to someone else.  I cannot get used to that; I speak my mind, never offending anyone but it’s out of my control what “offends” people this day and age.  I am very careful of what I write on Facebook (the only social media I used) because it depends on who reads it how it will be interpreted by others.

One thing is for sure, I want my right to say what I believe without being censored by anyone else.  Besides, we are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution that guarantees our right to free speech – of course, there are limits.

We also have laws that assure those rights and Congress is in charge of that – or used to be.

With the proliferation of social media, they created Section 230 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect the free exchange of ideas while shielding those technology companies from being sued by anyone upset over something found in those platforms.  This protection was guaranteed as long as there was no interference on the content, otherwise, the government would cancel that agreement.

During the past few years, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. (there are a million of them) have deleted entries and even canceled individuals because of their postings.  People called for the removal of Section 230, a part of US law that shields tech companies from legal liability.  That move will allow users to sue those websites.

The free flow of information is critical to the security of our Republic, as illustrated by freedom of speech and the press being in the 1st Amendment of our Constitution. Censoring speech and expression, distorting speech, spreading disinformation by government officials, private entities, and the media is a method to suppress the free flow of information, a tyrannical technique used in closed societies. We must counter this on all fronts beginning with removing Section 230 protection from big tech.

If someone doesn’t like what I have to say, simply go to another site.  Cancel culture continued on its merry way unabated while Congress wouldn’t take any action.

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