Among the many failings of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, our adventures this weekend with the FTA have brought a lot of things into perspective for us.  They’re worth some thought.

First, what is FTA?

Well, that’s short for  free-to-air television.  Most people are happy watching the “corporate-filtered” news dispensed in America to the mainstream.  The upside is convenience.  The channels are dense, there is some variety, and there’s service if the system goes out.  But there are downsides.

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One of these is that on television, if “something doesn’t monetize, it doesn’t air.

The result is that corporate media will only show things that a) they can make money selling ads for, or b) things that are required to keep television station licenses.  And on the Internet, there is no licensing – yet – so public affairs content has all but disappeared.

FTA is like a breath of fresh air.  A free-to-air system is not terribly difficult, or expensive, to set up.  It will cost you for a 30″ dish, a receiver like the additional one we picked up this week.  Try a DynoSat DVB S2 HD Satellite Receiver, Free to air FTA with AC3 1080P blind scan. Great for C Band and KU Band satellites like Galaxy 19, 97 west.. And it was about $60.

There are a few other things you’ll need: HDMI cable, maybe, open HDMI port on your TV, DESQ switch maybe, and some coax cable from the dish (and the LNB – downconverter) to the set.

Aiming a dish for the first time can be a PITA.  But, you can get into the ballpark if you know which satellites existing dishes are pointing at.  Our old DISH network sky-pie (no longer used), had been pointed at EchoStar 10 (110-degrees W) so estimating Galaxy 19 (at 97 W) was just a matter of rotating the FTA dish east from the EchoStar heading by 13 degrees.

This whole thing is made easier with two phones.  You put the satellite box is the set-up mode.  Then you turn on the speaker phone as a friend (Elaine in my case) reads the signal strength numbers and you fiddle with adjusting.  Numbers get stronger as you come up on each new satellite as you rotate the dish.

A quick scan and you can figure out what you’re pointing at.  See www.lyngsat.com for content lists.  After about 4-passes at it, you hit Galaxy 19 and physically lock things down.

Next, go to the receiver and do a “blind scan” and you should come up with a couple of hundred audio and video sources.

And NONE of them will look like anything you’ve seen in corporatized media.

This is the unfiltered world.

For one, you can see the marketing of Islam up close and personal.  Every afternoon, you can watch, for example, the call to the mosque for prayer in countries including Saudi Arabia  (Saudi Kingdom Channel 2).  And countering this is a barrage of bible hell, fire, and brimstone.

In-between there are plenty of other channels.  There are ad channels, an amazing number of Armenian channels, and lots of “call now to order” stuff in more languages than you can shake of clicker at.

An hour of clicking through choices will moderate your views on everything.

That’s because scattered around the channels are some damn-fine news channels in assorted languages and some savory documentaries.

One thing that captivated us was a documentary about traveling around the Dominican Republic with the UN and crossing over into Haiti.  Even in a UN marked vehicle vehicle (clearly marked – boxy 2 foot high letters, right?) there was no access until “necessary permits” were in order.  Ah, the petty bureaucrat disease is global.  Give someone a gun and they exercise power.

Then we laughed as a Russia (or Eastern European network, had funny shtick before a live studio audience.

They invited someone from the studio audience, blind-folded them, and then had them make and cook a fried fritter dish.  It was funny as hell, not to mention messy.

Looked like it was grated apples with some cheese, or some-such.  This was mixed with spices and then made into tablespoon-sized fritters that were turned out into a hot frying pan.  While the contestant was blindfolded, so it was amusing to see the mess evolve.

Out three fritters, only one survived the “flip the fritters while blindfolded” action.  To drain it when done, the contestant just held the white cotton table cloth out sideways and dumped the pan contents to drain off the oil.

Next he tried to find (fingers) the sour cream to put on it…and finally it was done.  Despite my recent serious eye issues, it was funny shtick.  But it was definitely NOT the kind of pathetic, politically-correct pabulum dished out on high-dollar media. They didn’t have “don’t try this at home” disclaimers, and I’m certain no corporate legal department would ever green-light this kind of content for American Sheep.

Just once, I would like to see someone who sues over hot coffee be told by a judge, “Get out of my Court.  You’re an IDIOT.”  We can’t do that…you see?  We’re all so dumb we need counsel.  And they’ll get us both a payday.  It’s the New American Way.  Cooking blind?  Better than Naked News...

With so many channels to scan through, we stopped at iFilm (English) for a while.  But I was in the mood for news.

Iran’s PressTV is on there, but they were in an incomprehensible Iranian segment.  I will have to dig up their English language times when I get around to it. No special hurry…war isn’t for a while, yet.

Russia Today was interviewing John Bolton on events in Syria.  The usual Russian questions, the usual refried PNC-hawkish Boltonizing.

Then we checked out the last of the CNC World news segment which featured China’s first “home grown” aircraft carrier leaving port Sunday (Chinese time) for sea trials.

A 5-minute weather segment followed with just graphics with temps and music background.  But, from a year ago, the emphasis on Chinese cities is WAY up – lots more of ’em. And Pyongyang is now in that grouping now, as well.

As we were going to click away, a documentary came on that was amazing:  It documented the Chinese Railroad Company’s joint venture in Kenya to build a high-speed rail line from Mombasa to Nairobi.

Started in 2008, or so, the Chinese – who in case you’re not up on it,  have turned into the world’s leading rail line experts.  The line is nearing substantial completion of its first phase.

Key things jumped out all over the place.  As an American and someone who would really like to MAGA – the failings of the last three stooges…(presidents) really came into focus.  Seeing the Chinese play globalism compared with our alleged State Department is like watching Bobby Fisher play a schnauzer.

Hapless Americans pour tax money into “security” like AFRICOM.  Chinese interests are promoted in a much different way.

They approached Kenya with a partnership.  90 percent of the work (onf everything) would be done by native Kenyans in new factories.  10 percent would be done by Chinese. Concessions in trade and commerce for China in the future.

Then, unlike corporations or the schnauzers at State, the Chinese shot video of the whole process.  They focused on the local contributions and evolution of a Kenyan female civil engineer and a female heavy equipment operator.  Start to finish.

Chinese expertise was leveraged for problems like running out of fly-ash for the concrete production.  They came up with a  novel use of local Kenyan volcanic ash with good results as a substitute for fChjinaly-ash.

The whole point of the documentary came down to two things:  Local partnering and leveraging local resources. China is building its supplier grid in Africa.

China will not only benefit from the resources but also the political connections to east Africa for decades as a result.  Not what we like to see as schnauzer fans.

It’s possible that something similar being done by US domiciled corporations partnering in key countries.  Doing important life-changing infrastructure projects elsewhere.  But with the exceptions of CERN and Uranium One, I’m not seeing it.  China’s kicking our ass on the ground.

We have too many career political hacks leading the schnauzer.  We need project designers and engineers at State, not another Frat Brother, for crying out loud.

Which gets me to a “thinking point.”

Shouldn’t the US government have something like the DocuChina program to show off our good efforts?  (We might have to find some, of course…)

CNC World will no doubt be called “propaganda” by some, and no argument.  But, we’re getting mostly propaganda from the US corporate media…and frankly, Chinese propaganda is more impressive.  We’re counting genders and playing socialism lite while they’re making shit and conquering the world, one resource pool and partnership at a time.

It would be refreshing to have a US government that promotes American infrastructure and becoming the kings of the world and engineers to the planet…as the Chinese are positioning themselves. Chinese share intel with their businesses on a strategic basis…do we?  NO>  Schnauzers don’t play at that level.

We’re saddled with a do-nothing Congress and a succession of dunderheads in the White House who have done exactly the opposite of what’s necessary to MAGA. And the liberals (alpha-schnauzers) have Trump’s pant leg.

There’s a reason to spend pony up $250 for an FTA system,

See the world – unfiltered.  Because when you do, you’ll see how amateurish our level of play is.

We’ve maybe already lost….in ideological and reputational marketing.

China helping Kenyans build a concrete railroad tie-building factory that turns out 1,400 ties per day for high speed rail is impressive as hell.  Especially when all over the American West in our travels, we still see stacks of wooden ties along all the major rail lines in America.

Social Media hypnosis has triple screwed us to the wall. We have lost our moral and political leadership.  “Likes” are too important to have well-reasoned positions.

We have lost our industrial-technological  lead, and we’ve lost our focus on partnering and instead are hung up with being on top all the time.  China is making railroads.  We’re making body armor.

China’s playing a longer game and America is still playing into it.

And that’s a damn shame.  You need to be aware of it.

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net