Friday, December 22, 2006

PAUL JOSEPH WATSON: Is It Now Illegal To Link To Other Websites? + SIR GNARLS BARKLEY wins Urb + NBA FASCISM vs. The Beast













Is It Now Illegal To Link To Other Websites?

Landmark Sydney legal ruling sets precedent for wholesale devastation of Internet news websites and blogs

Prison Planet | December 20, 2006
Paul Joseph Watson

A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.

Following our report last month that an RIAA legal argument would, if the case was eventually won, criminalize simply making files available on the Internet, many readers scoffed at the serious implications of the case. Such a precedent would change the entire face of the Internet because "making files available" is so loosely defined it could criminalize simply placing links on ones website or blog to other websites.

Some accused us of yellow journalism and scaremongering yet the warning that the Elektra vs. Barker case could criminalize the very mechanism that characterizes the Internet was not concocted by Alex Jones or Paul Joseph Watson, it was a statement made by the very lawyer fighting the case, Ray Beckerman.

And that's exactly what has now happened in Sydney, where an Australian federal court has opened the door for simply linking to other websites to be classified as piracy.

A landmark ruling was upheld against Stephen Cooper, who ran a website which acted as search engine for locating and downloading MP3's not from his own website but from other MP3 download websites. Cooper was charged with piracy and his ISP is also being targeted for not shutting down his website quickly enough.

"Sabiene Heindl, general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) said the decision meant that anyone who stuck a link on MySpace or on their bogs could now expect a knock on the door from its briefs," reports the UK Inquirer .

And for those who dismiss the precedent as only applying to those who link to copyrighted MP3 files, consider this - Cooper was only doing the same thing as Google in providing a means of finding files on other website. The MIPI is also preparing to take action against Google in "other jurisdictions," meaning it is building a case to sue Google for linking to all manner of different files from its search engine hub.

If such a precedent becomes accepted, it would be the death knell for alternative websites like the one you're reading now and others, who primarily rely on linking to other sources in order to collate important news and information. It would also put an end to some of the biggest websites on the Internet such as Fark.com and the Drudge Report , which are both almost exclusively devoted to collecting the world's most interesting news and offering it to readers in one place, by linking to scores of different websites.


Under these terms only internal linking would be permitted, which would not significantly impact commercial powerhouses like Amazon.com but would effectively put an end to all blogs.

The skids are clearly being greased for the mandated introduction of Internet 2, a tightly controlled, surveilled and regulated cyberspace police state run solely by telecommunications giants in consort with the U.S. government and the United Nations. Net Neutrality campaigners are desperately trying to raise awareness to the dangers of this as legislation that will kill the Internet as we know it is on the brink of debate and passage in the first session of Congress early next year.

...

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Earlier this year under the headline, The End of the Internet?, The Nation magazine reported ,

"The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online."

"Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers--would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out."


Internet 2 is being billed as the next generation of the world wide web and it has already set global speed records in terms of data transfer, far outstripping the old Internet.

One of the fathers of the Internet, David Clark, who served as chief protocol architect for the government's internet development initiative in the 1980s, has been given $200,000 by the National Science Foundation to covertly work on a "whole new infrastructure to replace today's global network," according to Wired Magazine .

Clark has vowed to create a "brave new world" in designing the new Internet, characterizing what he wanted for the new network to be "a coherent security architecture."

Dovetailing the onset of Internet 2 are government propaganda campaigns to demonize the existing Internet as a wild backwater for hate crime, child pornography and a terrorist recruiting ground. We have detailed these moves at length in previous articles .

The last outpost of freedom of speech, the world wide web, is in the crosshairs of corporate lobbyists and big government control freaks, who are putting the finishing touches on the pincer attack plan that will put paid to the greatest technological revolution of the latter 20th century.

"TerrorStorm is something that should be seen by everyone, no matter what their stance/affiliation/political bent. " - Rich Rosell, Digitally Obsessed UK
Get TerrorStorm on DVD today


SOURCE FOR INTERNET ACCESS - http://www.infowars.com/articles/ps/internet_now_illegal_to_link_to_other_sites.htm











TOTAL RECALL

They changed the way a song becomes a hit. They wore joking costumes while singing about sex with dead people. And they joined Jethro Tull in the canon of famous bands named after imaginary people. But who is Gnarls Barkley, really?

You're about to find out.


by Andrew Parks
photography by Kareem Black

Something seems a little out of place. We really shouldn't be here. I know it. Danger Mouse knows it. And a pajama-clad Cee-Lo knows it. Just ask the cocktail waitress who's silently judging Cee-Lo's manager, curtly asking for a hotel room key before allowing us one step further onto a penthouse patio full of suits and ultra-smooth $15 martinis. Of course, as soon as we show proof of residence, she's quick to fill our drink order. Just some tap water, thanks. Oh, and a Diet Coke for Danger Mouse. Hiding underneath simple shades and an oversized sweatshirt, he's still recovering from the night before, an afterparty attended by-as Cee-Lo states proudly-actor Efren Ramirez who played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite.

"That was a highlight of this tour, for sure," the gregarious singer smiles, struggling to speak through strained, scratchy vocal chords. "My homeboy said he was bringing him out. I was like, 'Whatever, man,' but there he was."


As we sit around a pool overlooking the entire Meatpacking District of New York City-far away from the chattering masses and clanging glasses of two adjoining bar areas-I congratulate the pair on the continued success of St. Elsewhere, a heat-seeker of an album recently certified platinum due to the Herculean strength of "Crazy," this year's "Hey Ya!" and the most consistently butchered single since "Louie Louie," "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and that granddaddy of revered sides, "Yesterday." To give you an idea of its pop music resonance, Billy Idol, Nelly Furtado, Ray LaMontagne and The Raconteurs have all covered "Crazy" in some capacity.

"Billy Idol, man," says Cee-Lo, still in awe. "I can't remember any song being covered as much as 'Crazy.'"

And it hasn't gotten too annoying yet, although I did hear "Crazy" playing in the background during some crime-time drama. To which Mom commented, "I wish you had listened to pleasant music like that when you were growing up."

Riiight. At any rate, it's been reassuring to witness a decent single rule the airwaves and record store shelves for the past six months. Not to mention amusing to watch Gnarls Barkley's stage-swallowing 13-piece band perform Pink Floyd's stoner classic "Breathe" dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz (the group's Coachella debut) or Gladiator (opening number, "We Are the Champions"), all costumes seemingly lifted off the hangers of a Hollywood back lot.

Turning to Danger Mouse, I have to stop all the "you guys rule" speak for a second and ask one thing: This is all a little odd, isn't it-the sight of you two reclining here with non-alcoholic drinks in hand, next to a rooftop pool meant for deep pockets and B-list celebrities? Sure, Cee-Lo wrote the Pussycat Dolls' Velveeta pop hit "Don't Cha" while Danger Mouse surpassed Dan the Automator in helping cartoon band Gorillaz move millions, but neither one fits the jetsetter role they've been thrust into.

"We have been on a lot of planes lately, so I guess you could call it that," says Danger Mouse, laughing slightly. "But just so you know, this (he points to the panoramic skyline) doesn't represent us. This is our tour. We are out here losing money ourselves."

Although it's unclear how much money anyone is losing or pocketing from Gnarls Barkley's touring this year, Danger Mouse has a point. While it may have appeared like a major-label marketing scheme (Gnarls' "indie label," Downtown, is actually an Atlantic subsidiary), the meticulous marketing campaign behind the duo's debut has been the very definition of do-it-yourself to an absurd degree.

Some examples: The bio writer who reeled in the press with an ingenious and intriguing "Who is Gnarls Barkley?" angle? That'd be Emerson Dameron, a college friend of Danger Mouse who likely still calls him Burton for short. Frequenters of www.gnarlsbarkley.com will also known him as A.B. Vidal, the blogging "Chief Executive of St. Elsewhere." As for the Behind the Music-by-way-of-Forrest Gump video for "Smiley Faces," the aforementioned concert costuming, and press photos featuring infamous movie poses (Pulp Fiction, A Clockwork Orange, Napoleon Dynamite), they're all carefully planned joint agreements between the group and Jeff Antebi, the founder-creative director of Waxploitation, a management company and occasional record label. Every Gnarls Barkley decision is given the final go-ahead by Antebi-Danger's manager since his Ghetto Pop Life days with Jemini the Gifted One-rather than the label or Atlantic's publicist.

"It's a big deal for either of us to commit to a project as long as we have with this one, so we take it all seriously, right down to the art and the videos," explains Danger Mouse. "We have control of everything, 100 percent. It's such a personal record, so we didn't want to look like an idiot in any way."

"Sometimes the best thing a label can do with their artists is to let them be free to not just make the album, but also guide everything else," adds Antebi via e-mail a few weeks later. "Where a label might see 'marketing,' a band is simply taking the music and extending it as a broader vision. It's organic because the music and the vision have the same source."

When I pry him for further details as to the how and the why of the costumes, the photos and the "Who is Gnarls Barkley?" bent, Antebi deletes certain questions from the e-mail, explaining that he "didn't have good answers."

Danger Mouse has a more blatant response: "My favorite thing to say is, 'I can't talk about that.'"

Danger's zipped lips thankfully loosen as time wears on. But before that can happen. . .

"It's freezing," proclaims Cee-Lo, as he looks around the pool with a "Why the fuck are we talking here?" expression. "Shit. Let's go to my room. I don't care. Sheee-it."


SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT

Like many trendsetting bloggers, Stereogum founder Scott Lapatine latched onto "Crazy" more than six months before it was properly finished. It was October 6, 2005, to be exact, when a leaked version of the song first hit the music blogging circuit, marking the start of the hit's peculiar shelf life. As would be the case with most, Lapatine was already down with Danger Mouse due to the digital rights fervor surrounding 2003's The Grey Album, but he was "barely familiar with [Cee-Lo's former hip-hop group] Goodie Mob." Imagine his surprise three seconds into "Crazy," then, as Cee-Lo climbs atop a cloud and immediately starts wringing heartstrings like a soaked-to-the-bone T-shirt.

"As soon as Cee-Lo comes in with 'I remember when,' you know who's running the show," says Lapatine. "It wasn't just one thing about the tune that grabbed my attention; everything about it screams earworm. That obscure hook from Gianfranco Reverberi's 'Nel Cimitero Di Tucson,' the chorus you have to sing along to, and Cee-Lo's silky, soulful delivery made for a winning formula. Forget Justin Timberlake-Cee's the one who brought sexy back this year. A paranoid kind of sexy, but sexy nonetheless."

Glenn Peoples, a former Caroline Distribution employee and the blogger behind Coolfer, had a slightly different reaction at first. "I don't remember when I first heard the song, but I remember not being all that impressed. It grew on me, though, as it's unique, atemporal and, at the heart of it all, a convergence of classic sounds like R&B, soul and hip-hop."

At press time, Stereogum had four lengthy, archived pages of Gnarls Barkley postings, including ones about the new animated "Gone Daddy Gone" video (". . .the greatest scoop of the week! The third, and best, video from St. Elsewhere. Gotta say these are the band's creepiest costumes yet. . .") and a July show with Grease garb and some choice covers ("Just when you thought Gnarls might be out of tricks, they prove everyone wrong. At two recent sold-out shows at the Avalon, the duo performed the Doors' b-side 'Who Scared You.' Cee-Lo said he and Danger are big fans of the band. . .").

As for Coolfer, they've taken a more careful look at the group's growing success. On April 26, back when the song was dominating UK radio (it was eventually "deleted" from chart contention due to fear of overexposure), Peoples theorized that radio programmers in the U.S. would be afraid of playing "Crazy" due to the industry's rampant problems with payola. (Authorities would assume Atlantic sent station managers to Tahiti in exchange for taking a chance on a song that was different from "My Humps.") "At the end of the day, this might come down to how good the album is," wrote Peoples. "[Hip-hop blogger Bryron] Crawford panned it, ending his track-by-track review with, 'I didn't like a song on here.' This is also a good test case for Internet buzz. What's the ability of the Internet-on its own-to create a hit? The feat hasn't been accomplished yet. Will this be the one?"


Since there's no true way of gauging how much Stereogum and its competitors influence record sales, it's easy to claim but not prove that "Crazy" and the Gnarls Barkley phenomenon thrived based on the nimble hands of easily excited bloggers. However, Lapatine and Peoples are quick to downplay such an assertion.

"This would have taken off if not a single blogger posted it," says Peoples. "Downtown [Records] did a very smart and understated publicity campaign. . . for a change, the rest of the country wasn't behind the curve."

"In this case, I think we added fuel to the fire, but can't rightly claim credit," adds Lapatine. "The phenomenon was cleverly and perfectly marketed from the get-go. Overseas, 'Crazy' was record-breaking for topping the charts based solely on download sales. From there on out, the new media frenzy was inevitable. Dressing in Wayne's World or Napoleon Dynamite garb didn't hurt, though. Can you think of any other act that generated buzz with a publicity photo?! Ultimately, however, Gnarls' online success was less about nostalgia-baiting and more about giving Generation MySpace what they wanted: something to blog about."

RAISING CEE-LO

It's fitting that St. Elsewhere begins with a film reel unfurling while a jet stream of horns overpowers the words "pump up the peculiar." You see, before the big-budget music videos, the elaborate photo shoots and the campy performances, Cee-Lo was already playing himself in one fucked-up sonic biopic while Danger Mouse directed a dense plot of dark alleys and thunder claps with a sampler and a whole lot of foresight.



"This was one hell of a release," said Cee-Lo in an unpublished interview last February-when the Gnarls Barkley hype was still limited to bootleggers and BBC DJs. "I'm a domestic schizophrenic or something-I deal with the yin and yang of my life always. My anger or rage can feel evil, so everything is equated in spiritual terms for me."

"People have to think you're nuts, a complete crazy man, for you to be taken seriously as an artist," added Danger Mouse, explaining the underlying premise of "Crazy" without even realizing it. "You just can't be a regular guy. As artists we think we're normal in our own heads, but we don't want other people to see that."




Danger Mouse was as normal as he'd ever be back in 1998, the year his University of Georgia rap group, Rhyme and Reason, won a contest to open up for Goodie Mob and pre-pop royalty OutKast on campus. At the time, the closest thing he had to a music career was Pelican City, a vaguely psychedelic, pitch-black instrumental project that could easily score a film noir festival. Never one to pass up a glaring opportunity for creative growth, Danger Mouse consequently waited by Goodie Mob's bus and placed a self-produced demo (a CD-R with the cryptic word "Pelican" scrawled across it) in Cee-Lo's hands.

"I don't think he even remembers that happening," says Danger Mouse. "I gave him the out-there shit because I knew he was into that stuff and might dig it one day."

That day came five years later, when UGA alum Brian Burton dropped Pelican City for his Danger Mouse guise and released Ghetto Pop Life on UK hip-hop imprint Lex Records. While working on the Twenty Six Inch EP, a mutual friend suggested Cee-Lo for a new Jemini and Danger song called "What U Sittin' On?" While in the studio during September of 2003, Danger Mouse shared some long-incubated tracks that would only work with a natural-born eccentric like Cee-Lo. The bald, wise one was sold after only hearing a few songs, including "Just a Thought" and "Storm Coming."

"You may get a track CD from a producer that has one or two things that you're into, but I got into almost all of his productions," says Cee-Lo. "I was in awe over the range and unique quality of the tracks. He definitely gave me an excuse to spread my wings further, to push the envelope right off the table."

The producer also unlocked parts of Cee-Lo's psyche that he hadn't explored in years, ones as willing to look inward as out. Take the Portishead/Phantom of the Hood pastiche, "Necromancer," originally christened with the horror-core title "Necrophelia." As Danger Mouse explains it, the song came out of stumbling upon a Rolling Stone photo shoot with teen rockers Kings of Leon and a gang of pouting, preening groupies.

"The next thing you know, he's in the booth doing a song about women being used-up bodies you just want to fuck," says Danger Mouse, "like there's nothing inside them that we care about."

"It's about a party girl who's beautiful and bold under the influence," explains Cee-Lo. "And I like her better that way. The further she gets from herself, though, part of her dies. It's a slow death, like a needle to the vein or a line to the brain."

When I ask him if the song is autobiographical at all, he gingerly counters with a chuckle and "I've never done any drugs-just weed and a lot of Cognac. In fact, I've passed on more plates in my life than most people. I can relate, though."


THE TWO AMIGOS

Sitting before meager silver platters of tea packets and hot water pots in Cee-Lo's modest hotel room, I begin to feel bad for Gnarls Barkley. Yes, they're making money and landing on several year-end magazine covers, but the duo looks too exhausted-too used, frankly, by journalists, by their record company and by the public-to enjoy it at all. Especially at this very moment: Cee-Lo and Danger have to be uptown for a private, industry-only performance in an hour despite not knowing what costumes they will be wearing or what identities they'll be assuming (will it be the hair-metal band Brushfire, the tennis player troupe Love 40, the prep school assembly School of Rock?). At this point, they don't look like they care.

Why the costumes, then? Why build up an upper echelon of expectations that's so hard to follow through with on a daily basis? (If only you knew the amount of preparation and deliberation that goes into a simple magazine spread.)

"A big part of it was separating ourselves from our art so we could get people into it based solely on the output," explains Cee-Lo.

"A lot of the outward appearances came after the fact," adds Danger Mouse. "Look, somebody wanting to take a picture of me in jeans and a T-shirt bugs me out. What's camera worthy about something like that?"

"Thirteen people onstage in costumes is quite a sight," says former Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna, who was the first to join Gnarls Barkley's touring band. "My favorite has to be performing on the MTV Movie Awards show, where we dressed as Star Wars characters. [George] Lucas sent down the actual, original costumes for us. Playing drums as Chewbacca was definitely a highlight."

But that's what still doesn't fit into the complex schema of all things Gnarls Barkley: After producing such an uneasy, ego-expunging album of suicide, drug addiction, split personalities and lost love, with a smash hit single about losing your sanity, you'd think they wouldn't want to treat every night like it's Halloween. When I ask Danger Mouse about this weird dichotomy, he admits some shows have confused the hell out of people who came to see "Brushfire," not the man that bleeds the song "Crazy" with every breath.

"People come to hear high-energy stuff, but the record is dark and heavy," he explains. "Well, we're not going to change anything so people can clap. It is what it is. Some people get that and some people don't."

He pauses and continues, "Nothing was forced about the record. The reason why it's good is we're paying homage to a particular art, time and space. It may be based around a sample, but it's something obscure still, something real that makes you feel like we were right there when [the sample] was recorded. I didn't want it to sound like guitar, bass, drums, keyboards; I wanted you to listen to the melodies and not know exactly what was playing, so you could jump into your fantasies some more."



Suddenly, it all makes sense, all goes back to something Cee-Lo said to me back in February, months before St. Elsewhere was finished: "It's like taking the red pill. Once you know, you can't ever stop knowing. I took the red pill and I'm in and out of the Matrix, trying to pull people out."




SOURCE FOR GOOD URB - http://www.urb.com/online/features/142_gnarls.php







Peace by partying with Paul Joseph Watson...
BK

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Black Krishna Brand

MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/blackkrishnaverse

Philosophy - http://blackkrishna.blogspot.com/

Music - http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/blackkrishna.htm

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P.S. Stewart and Colbert show us they're lying and trying to dumb us down, to find out why and help Save The World, please Google for "TerrorStorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism", "America: Freedom to Fascism" and "SaveTheInternet.com". Also, check the daily newswires at "Infowars.com" and "PrisonPlanet.com" -- and pass this info on to everybody -- NOW!!!








Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Etan Thomas: The Dawn Of A New Era

in NBA, Features, Columnists, Etan Thomas

by Etan Thomas

There have been countless opinions expressed and articles written regarding the new ball. The overall perception seems to be that David Stern, out of the kindness of his heart, listened to a bunch of spoiled crybabies whine about not liking the ball, took pity on them and decided to give them their old ball back. As if it were some type of meaningless toy. Some of the articles and commentary have really surprised me, because so many people are ill-informed. Apparently, much of the public opinion was that we, the players, should be happy with whatever ball we use and should simply shut up and play.

Lets review the facts: The NBA decided to use the new synthetic ball this season without consulting the players. The ball was previously used in the All-Star Game, NBDL games and summer league games. Otherwise, the players were never exposed to the ball, and had no say in its implementation. After the players across the board reacted extremely negatively to the ball — claiming it was too slippery, bounced less than the old ball, that the spongy material created friction that irritated and caused cuts to player’s hands — the NBPA filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which is the statute that governs the relationship between labor and management, management must bargain with the union over three things: wages; hours; working conditions. We (the union) claimed that the NBA was not entitled to make such a fundamental change to our working conditions, unilaterally, without bargaining with the union.

Before the charge could be found to have merit or not, the NBA decided to change back to the leather ball, with the Commissioner conceding that he made a mistake and that the players should have been consulted before instituting such a significant change.

However, these facts were apparently unavailable to many reporters, columnists and commentators. They created the public perception that the players were once again unjustly complaining about something we weren’t happy with.

Creating an overall illusion — no matter how off base or completely wrong it is — can change the public perception of what is being implemented. Furthermore, it can garner support for something the implementer knows is wrong. We saw this with the invasion of Iraq, but that’s another essay. Knowledge is power, and people perish for lack of knowledge.

A wise man once said, “Know the business of the business you’re in.” It is imperative that my colleagues become fully aware and avoid a state of complacency. We cannot be trapped in an illusion that the fruits we enjoy now will forever be plentiful and abundant. Things can and will change right before our eyes if we don’t stand up and fight.

Now, don’t get me wrong, because it is an absolute blessing to play in the NBA. Every morning when I wake up, I thank God for allowing me to live a dream. This issue I’m writing about is not a matter of being ungrateful, a sentiment often attached to NBA players.

What Commissioner Stern will attempt to employ, if we allow him to, will devastate the future of our league as we know it. Collectively, we have a strong voice, but if we don’t understand the rules, how can we play the game? If we didn’t understand that legally David Stern was in direct violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement by changing the ball, we would have been rendered powerless. We would have been left to our complaints, which would have fallen on deaf ears.

What could possibly happen in the future could greatly exceed excessive technical fouls, the dress code, meaningless nagging about tucking in our shirts, wearing wrist bands below the elbow and the length of our shorts. If we don’t speak up now, it could get a lot worse.


The league would love to transform us into the NFL, and they will continue to attempt to chip away at guaranteed contracts. During his attempt to gain “cost certainty,” the Commissioner has previously offered during collective bargaining to simply pay one guaranteed amount and allow the players to divide it among ourselves — so long as the amount is fixed in advance, and the owners need not pay even a dollar more than the guaranteed amount. In essence, that would completely cut out the NBA’s middle class. (Interesting how there are so many parallels to a certain administration.)

The way things are structured now eats away at the owners, who must guarantee a player his salary even if he is not “earning” it. But what exactly is “earning it”?

If you get injured, do they want the right to cut you like in the NFL? They try to win players over during the bargaining process, arguing that guaranteed dollars paid to “undeserving” players takes away from the pool of available dollars that could be paid to “deserving” players. (This is similar to the argument that taxing the rich punishes them for being rich.) Meaning if you have a bad year, they can rip up your contract and force you to sign a new one or be waived, like in the NFL.

During this last Collective Bargaining negotiation, David Stern put an offer on the table saying that he would be willing to do completely do away with the salary cap if the players would agree to non-guaranteed contracts. Don’t think for a moment this proposal is not going to come up again.

No disrespect to Billy Hunter, because I think he is doing a wonderful job fighting for us, but I feel we should consider examining baseball’s example, maybe even actually having a sit-down with their union to see exactly what they did to make their group so strong. I look at their union with eyes of admiration, because that’s how a union should be. They don’t even think about getting licensing checks — that money is put into a fund just in case it’s needed in the future. We should do the same. We should only distribute them once a player retires. In addition, the baseball players are strict about players who act in ways that are detrimental to the union. If a player has a secret meeting when “they” pull you to the side to divulge information, or if a player speaks out of turn to the media (we should have a gag order) or crosses the line in any way, that player is out of the union. No longer protected nor allowed to partake in any of the benefits that come along with being in the union. We should have our own zero tolerance policy. We also need to get our international players involved in the union, being that our future is intertwined.

I now hold a seat on the NBA Player’s Association executive board, so I am going to do what I can to implement some of these changes and make our union as strong as it can possibly be. I feel that it should never have previously come to a lock out. If we don’t rebel, don’t voice our disapprovals, don’t know what we can legally do, don’t have a unified front, believe me, they will not listen. Nobody wants a lock out, but they have to know that we mean business. Then, it never even has to come to that. We can simply work together respectfully.

As NBA players, we collectively have to wake up and become aware. What type of league are we leaving for the future generations? For our children? There is not one player alive who wouldn’t want his son to follow in his footsteps, wear his number, attend his college, maybe even break one of his collegiate records and play in the NBA, just like his father. Players before us have made countless sacrifices in order for us to be able to enjoy the life we have.

It is imperative that we fight to preserve this league.


An untitled poem

Raising consciousness to the height of light and truth
Awareness takes on a breathing like necessity
Preparing to block the avoidable destiny
Altering the events that would present a dismal future
Security would be something of the past
Cast into the sea of a distant memory
We would become mirrored images of the national football league
Left to reminisce on the good old days
The previous ways in which we used to enjoy our individuality
The elapsed freedom of creativity
Giving birth to a seed of non threatening entities?
Soothing the need for Middle America’s level of comfortability
So smile for the camera and show that you care
Killing you softly as you stand unaware
Transformed into robotic machines
Emotionless clones
For the right amount can your soul be rendered?
Tattoos, cornrows, and dreads may be next on the agenda
I don’t need a crystal ball to interpret the monologues of the commissioners’ plans
I can see them clearly like a cloudless sky
Tap dancing has never been the ship that I’ve sailed
Together like a fist we can stand
All we have to do is rebel


Etan Thomas is a center for the Washington Wizards and a columnist for SLAMonline.com. You can order Etan’s book “More Than An Athlete” on amazon.com here and through his publisher here.


SOURCE FOR SLAM-DUNK OPINIONS - http://slamonline.com/online/2006/12/etan-thomas-the-dawn-of-a-new-era/



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