Saturday, November 10


Dear Management:

I am an audience member deeply affected by the constant coverage of the Writer's strike. Poor California, we are all thinking, first the disaster fires and now this strike happens. Will California, and the rest of the country, who can only watch with despair, survive all this turmoil and uncertainty?

Remember that old MTV addage: "Video killed the Radio Star?" It can now be the "Internet killed the TV Video Star."

The Writer's Strike and upcoming Actor's strike to contract for internet royalties and income has put management spin on panic alert, though you were thoughtful enough not to ruin the November Sweeps period. And the great white way and others may yet follow. How is California, our biggest state economy and home to our most profitable industry, going to survive this latest blow that insures a country-wide economic downturn? Everyone knows from celebrity and hard news coverage, where the interests appear to lie. From what is not being and said and done, there is too much speculation. That is always a bad sign.

The issues have become bigger than just two warring factions ignoring each other. Issues have quelled like a tsunami, respresenting our future, of things that haven't been dealt with since 1988. We all need to play technological catch up, and you guys are supposed to be the leaders of the charge (pardon the pun!). The internet, as an economic base, cannot be ignored forever, changes will have to acommodate the billions yet to be made in cyberspace. As they teach in management courses, global business follows the money flow and generates more capital which in turn generates more flow (rather like the evaporation cycle in nature).

The more people associated with the internet, get more involved in the multi-dimensional venues of it, and create a greater stake in its survival, thius, the internet his now a more stable medium. It internet is well on its way to becoming the standard medium.
The making of these legal associations must be constitutionally contractual to succeed. INCLUSION SUCCEEDS. Waiver will only delay progress and cause myriad forms of grief in and financial torture, uneccesary painful torture. The establishment and completion of this task basically falls on the management, the producers guild, who run the businesses and whose shareholders will surely hold you accountable for the results of this very public fight.

These following ideas are made from a concerned citizen who loves TV shows, and respectfully suggested with the hope that you will consider them, albeit slightly tongue in cheek, because this is what you are up against:

You may want to include mobile cellular and future such devices in the deal so you don't have to re-negotiate next year when Dick Tracy two-way radio wrist watches appear. And don't forget the brain chips will be marketed the year after that.

You should know the audience actually does have a life and they will find other things to do, music and games, for instance.

Bad publicity won't help either side; it benefits your growing competition. Game-makers are foaming at the mouth over the potential profit they can make off this strike and the future SAG strike. With American idol returning, the music industry will spike enough for radio to rebound and both will overcome the near death you have had them on for decades. You affect so much more than just your industry professionals.

Doing without you is not that big a decision. Book publishers, weekend warriors, political and community involvement, will all re-ignite. Discos, skating rinks, and Comedy Clubs will become cedible venues of activity. People will start to dress up for the theater and concert nadness....they are a lot of other things to do. REALLY!

The other crew and staff are in financial jeopardy, through no fault of their own, and during these holidays, you should make every effort to settle by Thanksgiving. You will be the good guys then, and save your own jobs. Threatening and blackmailing your entertainers to persevere without their writers is not the same as dealing with and resolving these issues. You are the ones responsible for quality broadcasting in this country despite your employees.

You can pre-empt the Actor's strike, if you resolve the writer's strike quickly, since they are striking on those same issues. Maybe you could open a dialogue now, with all your free time.
You lose power when you don't do the right thing, because your bosses and the audience will never take you seriously again.

The Governator, a famous actor, and in light of the CA fires and its toll, these strikes threaten more financial damage than has been covered, can help and probably will if asked--you do need his help. You don't want to force the government to crash your non-starter party.

The sports, news and reality TV people are the new future management, and are so very thrilled for the opportunity to take over before you die and they don't have to force you out. They never want these strikes to end, it is too good to be true for their part of the business. Your acceeding to them makes you look even weaker. I would like to see 7-days of daily hour long 3-D news in primetime, it has long been a dream of mine.

Too much pent up frustration can cause confrontation, misunderstanding and ballistic temperment. We have seen what that does to other professions. Drinking and drugs and spousal abuse won't change your ultimate responsibility of ending these strikes.

Read and apply the Donald's "THE ART OF A DEAL." It is a classic and his new book updates these basics. It should be a must read for going back into any talks for all sides.

This strike situation can get out of control so very easily, and it doesa behooves you to find a deal fast. Before Christmas, perhaps. Public opinion usually favors the celebrity--and they are your moneymakers--a status they have that you don't want to negatively affect because it will reduce your earnings. Their images will sell in any venue, under any boss.

It's just good business not to have two Guild strikes running into each other; or to have their lingering success as it all drags on for others to follow on. A pox on both your houses. Steroidal sports aside, you will likely not be able to salvage the shows you got on the air and were promoted with if the strike goes beyon February sweeps. The awards shows will lessen the and tarnish celebrity image and they will not like you for losing the business opps and publicity that
keeps them working.

It's just good business to companion with the theater venues on this because they are instant sources of footage that can be aired. And the stagehand strike is part of that, too. Downloads from all industry sources should be accounted for in the new contract. They are viable and can be made profitable with your maketing abilities.

A new revenue model to accomodate these new forms and 3-D, for compensation negotiations to be decided upon as other developing media become more profitable and the center shifts to pure digital would resolve all these issues very quickly. I believe capacity is key element to to bonfide and fair resolution.

You can make the future brighter or bleaker just by these next few deisions you make. You can look back on these new contracts as the beginning of the future form of entertainment for us all.

Apparently this someone needs to tell you this because apparently you just haven't figured out what you need to do. RESOLUTION QUICKLY AND PROFESSIONALLY.

You could have won a lot of respect for your position. People only tolerate writers anyway, with their general fussiness and lack of social grace, but the OPPORTUNITY YOU HAVE SQUANDERED would have improved your management image.

A positive response from anyone about management is gone, baby, gone with every lost cent, every unspent buck, on every show that wasn't broadcast, to an audience's increasing disappointment; they will decide not to watch admist all these new technologies they haven't caught up on either, they use their time to catch up instead. And read again.

PLEASE DO ALL YOU CAN toward resolution because your neck is on the line more than any of ours. In this day and age we should be above the violence of beheadings....

It is worth your time and trouble now.

With the Warmest Regards and Respect,

K. Eaton

Friday, October 26


"He said it didn't matter...but I was mad, very mad about what we lost...these things, they're just stuff, just things. It doesn't matter because we still have each other."
--Halle Berry from the film All the Things We Lost in the Fire
The following poem is dedicated to all the victims of the California Wildfires.
by Edgar Allen Poe
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere-
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir-
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul-
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
There were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll-
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole-
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere-
Our memories were treacherous and sere-
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year-
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber-
(Though once we had journeyed down here),
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
And now, as the night was senescent,
And star-dials pointed to morn-
As the star-dials hinted of morn-
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn-
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.
And I said- "She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs-
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion,
To point us the path to the skies-
To the Lethean peace of the skies-
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes-
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes."
But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said- "Sadly this star I mistrust-
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:-
Oh, hasten!- oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly!- let us fly!- for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust-
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust-
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.
I replied- "This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night:-
See!- it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright-
We safely may trust to a gleaming
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night."
Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom-
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb-
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said- "What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied- "Ulalume- Ulalume-
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"
Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere-
As the leaves that were withering and sere-
And I cried- "It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed- I journeyed down here-
That I brought a dread burden down here-
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber-
This misty mid region of Weir-
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Saturday, October 13


"First they mock you.
Then they hate you.
Then you win!"
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
Mahatma Ghandi created "Satyagraha," (truth and firmness) which materialized as a resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, by teaching "ahimsa," (non-violence). His spirituality became a political voice against injustice when he founded the Indian Independence Movement.
He protested an oppressive British Salt Tax with the 248-mile long Dandi Salt March in 1930, many joining his call for Indians walk to the sea to make their own salt. He also called for the British to "Quit India" in 1932. This resulted in the bloodless overthrow of British Rule.
He was entitled the "Father of a Nation." He always advocated non-violence and truth, especially in extreme situations. His many fasts, and long imprisonments strenthened his enduring resolve, even upon his ruthless assasination. His life is his greatest message. His legacy has passed on to future generations. MLK followed his way of peace and desire for justice. Ghandi remains the role model, not only for Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, but for all of us. Just ask any oppressed peacemaker.

Apparently, in the scheme of things, Nobel Laureate prize winners have not been among those promoting and advocating for the "New World Order" begun and since refined through our last four Presidents. Apparently, too, American politics has had this sporadic share of the Nobel Peace Prize:

Sitting 26th President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 for the Peace Treaty between Russia and Japan in 1905 (1901-1909).

Sitting 28th President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 for founding the League of Nations (1913-1921).

Sitting Vice President Charles Gates Davies in 1925 as Chairman of the Allied Reparation Commission for the Dawes Plan (under 30th President Calvin Coolige 1923-1929).

Sitting Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973 for negotiating the Vietnam Peace Accord (under 37th President Richard Nixon 1969 -1974).

38th President Jimmy Carter Jr in 2002 for in his post-Presidential lifetime efforts to find peaceful solutions in international conflict to advance democracy and human rights, and promote social and economic growth. (1977-1981).

The past twenty-five years of globalization has marginalized Human Rights and middle-income productivity for booming economies based on expanding militarization and turn elitist profits no matter who is in power. The burgeoning turmoil of the New World Order had the Chinese people as its first casualty. On June 4th, 1989 people protested their government in Tianamen Square and were killed for it. It was a foreboding on a tighter grip of government over its unsatisfied populace. China's rulers have expanded their paranoia to consolidate their hold on profit and oppression that grows globally ever more threatening, aided by our twisted policies of utilitarian consumption, and so far, as proven, to the detriment of our children and pets.

Then, Nobel Peace Laureate of 1990, sitting USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991), tore down Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin the Wall. He is remembered, in fact, as being the last President of the Soviet Union. When the Wall came down on November 11-2, 1989, there was much celebrating, anticipation, and relief. It appears that only Germany has prospered since. The USSR and its satellites, now free, all suffered tremendous economic upheavals, which were reformed later in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The promise of freedom and choice devolved into a social Darwinistic ladder, a state of survival competition. Lives were ruined, halted by Marshall Law, and subservience under military capture.

The only potent response to all the alleged internal rebellion was a military aimed at defending the government; controlling and destroying their own citizenry. When did this strategy become policy? Many soldiers are conflicted: they attack the people they have enlisted to defend. The victorious moment of freedom and peace quickly dissolved into the deluge of Perestroika and Glasnost; a companion our New World Order policies that signals all the world to follow. Gorby, but not his homeland, carries on the vitallity of his beliefs, castoff from his past, and has only joined the USA. His good intentions led his country into hell, just as much as we are in denial our own path....

I will never forget Boris Yeltsin standing on a tank, in the coup d'etat of 1991. It is the most striking image I have ever seen. It was an image in realtime shown in horror around the world. A speech that overthrew the USSR and its military. He proved that common ideals in this new world are NOT the easy targets the governement would have you believe. Though followed blindly the corruption went to his head. And, afterwards, we are pretty much left with the same old, same old.

He had become the first President of the CIS by speaking out on TV. The military once used to defend a people evolved to herding them with supportive propaganda and broken promises. Under the New world Order, elitists have worked ceaselessly to change constitutions, to label any enemies of the state within the "terrorist" umbrella, to justify the covenience of political murder. They have suceeded in prioritizing their survival over duty by claiming moral authority enforced by military forces. Any future protests, as they define the term, can lead to government--justifiable homicide. This is easily rationalized by any government on Earth because we have bullied our allies and enemies into our New World Order.

The past 16 years has forshawdowed our fall as a superpower from our elitist and partisan domestic and foreign policies. The convenience of coddling our military strength has coupled with a general lack of vision for the future. This bad judgement has damaged our goodwill to others, oppressed our productivity in global market competition, and has greatly indebted us to those countries led by the threats of their guns because no one is good for their word.

The New World Order initially, and naively, was designed to protect governments from terrorist factions seeking to overthrow their own governments. It has developed to create centralized government power, without responsibility or accountability. This means policies of torture and rendition, ends justifying the means, over basic civil rights; our 1st, 14th, and 9th amendment rights sullied at will. The New World Order has come to mean covert and overt unilateral military control to quell any protest that might oust whoever is in office at the time. This means newly created dictators have free reign to kill their opposition whenever they like, because they are combating "terrorism," and above reproach, aka totalitarianism.

Oddly, the New World Order has made terrorism a mainstream enemy; its fear keeping one government in power, unchanging and unresponsive to the needs of it people, encouraging masive corruption. It has become the manner of custom & competition that any country struggling for political recognition and economic development must follow in these armored footsteps. Our principles changed first, and then economically, the USA is fastly becoming a third world country. Wanting a lasting peace and economic freedom instead of historical teases, moderates are not alone in the world wanting to stop civilization's decline.

Thursday, February 22


“Under the President’s proposal health insurance BENEFITS would be taxable income….” The author meant to say “health insurance PREMIUMS.”

It’s a terrible error since it makes the impact sound huge. And crazy!

The value of benefits is often many times larger than the premiums that secured them. In W’s new scheme, all premiums paid would have to be declared income on everybody’s tax returns.

Since very ill persons usually have extremely high health insurance premiums, their premiums are often paid in part by government agencies or others. Without some sort of “safety net” in place, they could end up being chased by the IRS for unpaid taxes. Pensions, tax refunds (!), and other government payments to individuals could be seized to pay their back taxes. And this creates a bad credit score (from unfair Isaac) that could render many unemployable.

One of my friends pays about $2,000 each month in health insurance premiums. She has a long history of cancer and other dread diseases. Bush’s proposal would leave her paying tax on the $16,500 premiums beyond the $7,500 standard deduction. Essentially, she is being taxed for becoming sick!

Under current law she could deduct the premiums as itemized deductions (over 7.5%of her AGI), but W has remained silent on this aspect of his new tax proposal. What about Medicaid? Tricare? Worker’s Compensation? Unemployment related to illness? Family Leave? Will we have to report all “constructive” premiums?

What do we call this new deduction? Also, what is the value of premiums for Medicare part A or Medicare part B beyond what is currently paid for? Bush says these are “yet to be determined.”

Shouldn’t we insure that any modifications to our health care system keep or increase, not decrease as W has suggested, what already exists at current levels?

“Monkeying” with the income tax system has become so complex that even W’s economists and those journalists covering them have failed to spell out the crucial implications. Truly, these are direct matters of life and death.

We could replace income tax benefits through direct grants, except, of course, for religious contributions (which have violated the constitutional separation of church and state provisions for decades).

Before any decisions are made, the ramifications must be known. These and other issues first need to be considered and fully addressed before we act. We complicate tax law by piling on rules upon rules without understanding them. With our tax system, it just never ends!

W’s proposal is the best argument yet to replace personal income tax. Perhaps with a “flat” tax, like the Japanese, or a VAT tax, like our European compatriot’s, we could integrate the costs of health care in a Canadian-style system that covers everyone. There is a better way!

Charles H. Copeland
Retired COO
IRS Brookhaven Center