Mother and Child in Pakistan
by Chris Theodore
What makes humanity different from all other life? Is it not our power to communicate? When you consider how fundamental this ability is to our dominance what emerges is how great the threat when communication fails to inform and empower, and instead solidifies the power structure, because communication has been centralized into the hands of a few.
The very serious problems of the threat of nuclear war and the destruction of life on earth from climate change are evidence we must establish the means to bring honest information to all, so that we may respond to reality and make use of our principal gift, our ability to communicate, and avoid becoming the victim of its misuse.
All of this is possible and is what we are bringing into existence now through The Reader Magazine, using paper, words, imagery and the trump of truth.
An image from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” showing a boy and girl signifying want and ignorance
A favorite video of Max T.
No amount of Security Council sessions, reports or briefings could have prepared me for what I witnessed today. The destruction is beyond description. The mindless pattern of blockade, rockets and destruction must stop
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, visiting Gaza yesterday for the first time since this summer’s 50-day ground and air assault by Israel in Gaza.
The Gaza recovery plan drawn up states that 2.5 million tons of rubble must be removed and that 60,000 homes were damaged in the war. Of those, 20,000 were severely damaged or completely destroyed.
It’s a memory I don’t want to ever forget, found in the light rays of the middle picture. In those rays, in nearly the exact center of the picture is my son who linger at the black metal gate after I dropped him off at preschool at 140-year old Trinity Episcopal church. I would stay as long as I could, watching him play and run with the other kids and then tell him at a certain point, that it was time for me to go. We would hug and then I would leave and we would both walk on opposite sides of a large thick hedge as I walked down the sidewalk calling to each other. Max would stay at the gate, which you may see in this picture and there everytime would call to me “bye Daddy! Bye Daddy!”
I felt like I had been kissed by luck and fortune as I walked underneath the sun, moving along, free, headed to work I loved.
In the 1960s, my mom worked in a tiny two-room Pasadena office where she wrote and designed World Vision’s very first pamphlets sent around the world to raise money for some of the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. It was in the doorway to that office where my parents met, and her influence and my fathers’ led me to start The Reader. Its mission is to dramatically raise awareness in the most influential country on earth about the realities we face and the solutions open to us.
Thomas Jefferson knew quality information and its free-flowing distribution were as important to democracy as freedom of speech. He called them two pillars as important as government in achieving democracy. People sometimes stop at his quote of preferring a nation with newspapers and no government to a nation with a government and no newspapers. He goes on to say quality information must be distributed to all, not only accessible.
It was he along with James Madison and George Washington who put this belief to action by government subsidization of postal rates, as the mail was the primary way newspapers were distributed at the time.
In a letter from Paris to Edward Carrington Jefferson wrote:
The way to prevent [errors of judgment by] the people is to give them full information…& to contrive that [it] penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.
What kind of “errors” in how government was working should the people know about? Another founder answered that question.
John Adams said: “All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in the Constitution or confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.”
Since 2011, in The Reader we have looked closer at what our money is and discovered a violence and destructive power tied to its nature and who controls its circulation which unquestionably diminishes our personal freedoms.
Today we our money is created most often by commercial banks in the form of new loans with interest that has to be paid. There is much more money circulating in the system as a result of this “bank created” money, created as an accounting entry, than there is in the form of currency and coins. What does this mean? It means very simply that the people’s own power to create currency (through representative government) has been usurped, and this making quite an impact on American life.
The ugly truth is that commercial banking has usurped what is rightfully the sacred responsibility of a nation— control of how much money is in circulation. What turned a light on for me was coming to the realization that no for-profit bank anywhere has a right to control the supply of something that is ultimately backed by the people’s credit.
Consider the example of people being on a desert island— just like you might think of a nation of 300 million Americans being on our big island. On the island, to make it easier for people to trade with each other as well as to contribute to projects that benefit everyone, a form of money is created and each person receives some of the money. The money is created as a public good, backed by the faith and credit of all members of the island to honor it as a form of value and as payment for things.
Would it be good for all on the island if one person declared they alone had the right to create money and had the right to charge interest for using it? What do you imagine would happen to the value of the original public money once this new “debt-money” came into existence? One thing for sure— it would certainly cause confusion.
What would happen if the person who wanted to create their own money and charge interest for it recruited onto their team the best storytellers and communicators on the island to convince others that the “public money” wasn’t really that good, and that in reality, everyone should be using their money— that of course wasn’t free anymore— but it did have a zero percent introductory rate?
If we believe that “money makes the world go round” and that absolute power corrupts absolutely, what is in store for a people who have lost control of their money supply? In truth, what used to be our right— control through representative government of the nation’s money supply— has been usurped by for-profit banks who wield enormous power that they are able to buy up government, educational institutions and the press all of which are intended to prevent such concentration of power.
It’s important to remember history again— and that we don’t need to demonize people to fix the system— we just need to figure out how to fix the system, graciously, courageously and gently do it. I remember a T-Shirt worn by a person that looked like your average Inland Empire mom who was standing outside a meeting of the leaders from the 20 largest industrialized nations which said, “You are 20, We are Billions”. Anyone putting their efforts towards changing the system now for good has the power of billions of people on their side for whom the system does not work.
One of many important things you can do to stand up for your freedom is support institutions like The Reader that are committed to preserving it.
Paul: My Amazing Brother
He is a teacher, writer, and could have been a preacher. He is also a father, husband, son. This is the story of today.
It’s not an easy story to tell, not an easy one to do justice to. There are times when what you’re writing about surpasses what you’re capable of fully appreciating. But I will try. I went to see my brother Paul today, with my father and Barbara. I had very little sleep, three hours or so and so my spirit was pretty weak and my heart was dead weight as I thought about my brother Paul drifting away from this earth and entering whatever is beyond it. I drove and drove and thought about times we were together.
I picked up Dad and Barbara and we drove together towards the hospital and arrived there an hour later. Carol woke Paul up, he looked around, saw us and a flood of joy came over him. Waves of joy and gratefulness rippled his face, grimaces of joy. My heart broke and I started to cry a bit, told him how glad I was to see him. I was so amazed at how kind and grateful he is. He was not easy to understand, as he’s suffered nerve damage all throughout his face, his saliva glands nearly non-functioning.
Where does his faith and gratefulness come from? He said some things I never want to forget because they are a reminder of what it means to be courageous. He asked me, after talking about old high school friends who had contacted him, if I’d let him know when homecoming or a reunion would be. He said, “I don’t know if I’d be able to go, but I sure would like to try”. I thought of that. Here was my brother, ravaged by cancer, his body in free fall, wanting to go to a place where old friends were, blind (beautifully blind) to his non-functioning body, understanding far more than I did that the purpose of the reunion is being together again. To him it didn’t matter if people saw him ill, failing, or needy: what mattered was being there, whatever the circumstances. That is a kind of courage or insight made possible from a deep understanding of life.
Another time Paul’s wife Carol touched Paul’s hair and cheek and Paul looked at her and told her with a level of sincerity that puts normal conversation to shame, “your touch is so magical”.
Paul talked and talked about everything. Barbara looked at him and said, “you’ve done an amazing job, there are people— and I’ve seen my share— who when they get ill become mean and ugly and they drive everyone else away and make it just hell.” He took in these words. I helped him when he needed to get up and take a little walk.
He was trying to tell me— tell us— the truth about what is important. He said it, too. There are so many things we make priorities that are not really. This experience has shown me what is important and what is not.
I tried to take this in, tried to be made more firm in my understanding of what his suffering meant.