Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bob Schieffer - Part-Time Journalist or Full-Time Courtier?

Magic Lantern Slide of Dog Jumping Through a Hoop
 (National Media Museum 1830)

Well it looks like Bob Schieffer of CBS is at it again. Back in 2010 I posted a piece about him where he went after the Salahi's for crashing a White House party. He didn't want to investigate the Bush administration torture program but he got all indignant about the Salahi's crashing a White House party. He wanted no accountability for war criminals but he wanted to throw the book at the Party crashers for their hideous crime.

Now he has focused his wrath on yet another enemy of the state by going after Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who has exposed government wrongdoing in the illegal NSA spying scandal.


Our "serious" journalist, Bob Schieffer tells his viewers:

"I like people who are willing to stand up to the government. As a reporter, it's my job to do that from time to time."

From time to time, Bob? Wow, you're just a part-timer? Shouldn't that be your job all of the time? Bob then goes on to say:

Some of the people I admire most are in the government

What? Where did that come from? That's oddly out of place in the discussion, isn't it? Well then again, maybe it's not. I submit that this oddly placed statement actually let's us know the truth about Bob's kind of journalism. His admiration for the people in government that he's so anxious to get on the record may help explain why he only stands up to government from time to time. You see in Bob's world, what David Sirota calls "Permanent Washington," you defend others who are also a part of permanent Washington. A long time ago this would have been called circling the wagons.  When anyone dares to challenge the narrative created and nurtured by permanent Washington insiders they all circle the wagons to protect each other by attacking the person or persons who have the audacity to challenge their rule. It's how they turn an almost certain defeat on the merits into a victory through propaganda. They are especially incensed when the challenger is someone they consider beneath them. You know, someone who didn't go to the right schools and get the right piece of paper, etc. 

Bob then goes on to wax poetic about giants in the Civil rights movement to try to use their stature to raise his own.

"Men and women who led the civil rights movement - Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. - they are true heroes".

Now who could argue with that? But what Bob fails to remember or has conveniently forgotten is that Martin Luther King, Jr. was himself spied upon by the FBI. I hardly think Martin Luther King, Jr., were he alive today, would be on Bob's side for obvious reasons.

Bob also tries to pretend that he's really not defending what the government has done:

Schieffer noted that his criticism of Snowden did not mean that he approved of the programs that he helped reveal to the public, saying "I don’t know yet if the government has over-reached since 9/11 to reinforce our defenses, and we need to find out.

Bob says we need to find out if the government has over-reached. Ok Bob, put your part-time journalist hat on and start pressuring some of those people in government who you admire so much and find out what in the world they are doing. After all isn't that what journalists are supposed to do? Maybe if you and others like you were actually doing your  job by speaking truth to power, maybe people like Mr. Snowden wouldn't have to risk their lives to become whistle-blowers. 

But Bob isn't really interested in investigating this story.  That self-serving comment he made is just for show. We know this because Bob also said this in his commentary:

"I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us. I don’t know what he is beyond that, but he is no hero. If he has a valid point—and I’m not even sure he does—he would greatly help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences."

So after Bob tells us how we need to find out if the government over-reached he then tells us he isn't even sure Mr. Snowden has a valid point by showing all Americans what their government is doing. What? For crying out loud Bob if you feel like this I'm not very confident that you really are interested in getting to the bottom of this NSA spying program any more than you were interested in getting to the bottom of the Bush era torture program. 

Face it Bob, you aren't even a part-time journalist, are you? You are just another Washington courtier who sucks up to power by doing it's dirty work. Admit it, the whole purpose of your commentary was to attack the whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who is doing the job you should be doing by holding the friends you admire so much accountable for their bad deeds. The rest of your commentary, that is wrapped around this attack of Mr. Snowden, is mere  camouflage to fool the uninformed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

K. Bigelow Gets a New Dance Partner

La Marr's Dance Band - Albury, NSW - 1926

Yesterday I watched Kathryn Bigelow on CBS This Morning. Once again she was defending her film Zero Dark Thirty by pretending that the only objection to her film was that she depicted torture. There have been numerous articles written that have called her out on her use of this strawman argument but she still continues to use it and the corporate media doesn't challenge her on it.

What I found really interesting about her appearance yesterday was that she received assistance in framing her defense from a CBS employee. John Miller, CBS Senior correspondent, is former DNI and former FBI  Needless to say he has very strong ties to the intelligence community. That's right, she had a former intelligence officer (some might say current intelligence officer on assignment) sitting next to her being interviewed by his own colleagues as if Ms. Bigelow and he were making a joint guest appearance.  It was very strange.

It's been widely reported that there are no plans to call Ms Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty's screenwriter, Mr Boal,  to testify in front of Congress to answer questions about their movie. However, I did find one source who suggests that they might be given a subpoena and Mr. Miller also implied yesterday that they will be called. If they are called to testify, Mr. Miller evidently wanted to prepare them. He suggested they could avoid answering questions about their sources. That's right, Mr. Miller suggested that Ms. Bigelow and Mr. Boals were journalists and as journalists they had to protect their sources (unless of course it's a source the intelligence community doesn't like). He appeared very eager to get that claim on the record. Is he worried they will be called and reveal who told them the falsehood that torture was needed to capture Bin Laden?

Another interesting thing I noticed in the CBS video was when Gayle King said, "John you had said the portrayal was extraordinarily accurate in a way that movies are accurate, what do you mean by this?"  Mr. Miller then goes on to explain what he meant. I found this interesting because I also watched a video of The Colbert Report yesterday where Ms. Bigelow made a very similar comment. She told Colbert "it's accurate in a way a movie can be accurate".  Hmmmm, they both used an almost identical and what I'd describe as a very unusual way to describe the film. It made me wonder if we have some coordination going on with Ms. Bigelow and Mr. Miller and possibly others. Does Ms Bigelow have a handler in the intelligence community that is walking her through her interviews ? It sure looks that way.

Now I'm just a regular citizen. I don't have access to any more information than what appears in public. Maybe I'm wrong about what I see in these two videos but then again maybe I'm right. Maybe these people are so arrogant that they don't even care that regular people like me can see through their machinations. Maybe they're so confident that nothing will be done that they don't care if people see them manipulating what the public sees. After all they were brazen enough to insure that torture propaganda was added to this movie in the first place so they most certainly have a vested interest in making sure that the real story doesn't come out.

Ms. Bigelow claimed in the Colbert Report interview that her movie was a 1st draft of history. Let's hope that there are some principled people still left in Washington who won't allow this false first draft to be written into our history books. Let's hope that they work towards revealing the real story behind the Bush/Cheney torture program. Let's hope that we finally look backwards at torture so that we can finally have a  future based on truth, not twisted fiction. Let's hope that when someone watches this movie in the future that they know without a doubt that it's factually false because the people affiliated with the torture program and those that protected it are held accountable. And finally, let's hope our corporate media stops using intelligence officials as Senior correspondents unless these former officials have written a real tell all book about their former profession.

Here is the video from the Colbert show that aired before the CBS video

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Exclusive - Kathryn Bigelow Extended Interview
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Here is the CBS video where Bigelow and Miller do the two step:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. King's Anti-War Vision for America

Title: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interrracial Justice, in a crowd.], 08/28/1963
U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 306-SSM-4C(51)13

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967

Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City
[Please put links to this speech on your respective web sites and if possible, place the text itself there. This is the least well known of Dr. King's speeches among the masses, and it needs to be read by all]

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.
Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.
This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.
Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.
Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.
The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese --the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.
They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?
Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.
Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.
When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.
At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
  1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
  2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
  3. Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
  4. Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
  5. Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.
Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War

Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.
As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Rules of American justice

A really excellent Greenwald post today.

Rules of American justice

Thursday, June 28, 2012

American Autumn

The above video documents the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It shows how citizens who are united can help change our world for the better. You don't have to be a Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal to come together to fix the enormous problems we have in our country. We are allowing greed to destroy a once great country and it's high time we join together across the political spectrum to fix it.

I'm proud to say that I along with many others helped contribute to the making of this documentary. My married name of Patty Call is in the credits at the end.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CNN journalist: don’t be nosy

Members of our MSM don't even pretend anymore to be real journalists. These people are corporate shills.

CNN journalist: don’t be nosy

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Militarization Of Our Community Police?

S.W.A.T  Special Police photo by vudhikrai courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos. Net

I just heard on WAVE-TV news that Scottsburg, IN was one of (6) cities in Indiana to get a "Cop Grant" from the Department of Justice.  While I have nothing against VETS (my husband is a VET) it gave me pause when I heard that the communities receiving money from these 221 grants MUST hire ONLY former military personnel who served after 9/11. 

For any new hire positions awarded, grantees are required to hire a new police officer who is a military veteran that has served after 9/11 for a period of no less than 180 days and has been honorably discharged. 

Our police departments are already adopting way too many military style policies and procedures and even using the same weapons that our soldiers use.  I worry that the erosion of our civil liberties will only increase with an increasingly militarized police department. Hiring only former post 9/11 military for new police officers is a giant step in the wrong direction.

With so many communities suffering under budget shortfalls these grants will more than likely be the ONLY source available for hiring new police officers in these communities. 
The COPS Hiring Program makes grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. Along with the pledge to hire military veterans, grantees for the 2012 Hiring Program were selected based on fiscal need and local crime rates. An additional factor in the selection process was each agency’s strategy to address specific problems such as increased homicide rates and gun violence.

Perhaps I'm worried unnecessarily but the requirements for these grants really set off my radar. This passage from the excellent Arthur Rizer and Joseph Hartman piece in the Atlantic  sums up my concern: 

The most serious consequence of the rapid militarization of American police forces, however, is the subtle evolution in the mentality of the "men in blue" from "peace officer" to soldier. This development is absolutely critical and represents a fundamental change in the nature of law enforcement. The primary mission of a police officer traditionally has been to "keep the peace." Those whom an officer suspects to have committed a crime are treated as just that - suspects. Police officers are expected, under the rule of law, to protect the civil liberties of all citizens, even the "bad guys." For domestic law enforcement, a suspect in custody remains innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, police officers operate among a largely friendly population and have traditionally been trained to solve problems using a complex legal system; the deployment of lethal violence is an absolute last resort. 

Soldiers, by contrast, are trained to identify people they encounter as belonging to one of two groups -- the enemy and the non-enemy -- and they often reach this decision while surrounded by a population that considers the soldier an occupying force. Once this identification is made, a soldier's mission is stark and simple: kill the enemy, "try" not to kill the non-enemy. Indeed, the Soldier's Creed declares, "I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat." This is a far cry from the peace officer's creed that expects its adherents "to protect and serve."  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: A watchdog worth saving

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: A watchdog worth saving

We have to educate the Republican voters about this agency. I think most rank and file Republicans will be happy with the work this watchdog is doing once they know more about it.

The U.S. and the Saudis

The U.S. and the Saudis

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bubber Miley - St. James Infirmary


I recently purchased a cd just to hear Bubber Miley playing trumpet on this song, St. James Infirmary. Oh how I wish Bubber hadn't died so young. I could listen to his playing 24/7. My thanks to the Internet Archive for posting this on their site.

This one's for you Dad. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wikileaks Helping Us Set Brushfires of Freedom In The Minds of Citizens

Columbia River Gorge at Sunrise, From an Elevation of About 7,000 Feet 05/1973

"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." — Samuel Adams

Friday, November 5, 2010

President Obama on the Wrong Track

Why is it so hard for President Obama and his staff to understand why so many Democrats stayed home on election day? We we're willing to support Obama change the system in Washington and instead we got a bait and switch presidency. We were played and they wonder why we are angry. They better figure out how to turn this White House around or this is going to be a one term presidency. And NO President Obama the answer isn't to move even further to the right to appease the Republicans. Anyone that tells you that should be fired on the spot.

Maybe you should watch this great discussion with Dylan Ratigan, Cenk Uygur and Glenn Greenwald to get a clue.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clueless Establishment Media

Magic Lantern Slide of Dog Jumping Through a Hoop
 (National Media Museum 1830)

First we had CBS's Bob Schieffer who got all bent out of shape about the "Party crashers" at the White House. He was so offended by the Salahi's party crashing that he wanted them prosecuted. This coming from a man who never once called for investigations, much less prosecutions for anyone in the Bush administration for the hideous state sponsored torture that was done in all of our names.

Then we had CBS's Lara Logan who wanted the Rolling Stone reporter, Michael Hasting's story investigated because she felt what he wrote just couldn't be true because she knew the real General McCrystal and he just wouldn't have done what Mr. Hastings attributed to him.

Now we have ABC's Diane Sawyer, who after watching a report about the leaked Wikileak documents that detailed what Glenn Greenwald described as "..mass torture, abuse, government deceit and reckless civilian deaths in Iraq" and all Diane could think to ask was whether Wikileaks would be prosecuted for revealing the information. What? That's it. That's all you want to know, Diane?

And our establishment media personalities actually wonder why we speak of them with such utter contempt. They are so out of touch with reality that it's just breathtaking.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Puttin On The Ritz

In my opinion this is the best version ever of the song Puttin' on the Ritz. It's performed by Leo Reisman and his Orchestra in 1930. If I'm not mistaken the fantastic trumpet player on this recording is none other than Bubber Miley, who played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Way to go, Bubber!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Will We Ever Know The Truth About What Happened to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui?

Will we ever find out the whole story about what happened to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her children? Was she held in Bagram or some other prison? Was she tortured, as she claims? I know one thing...the photos of her before her disappearance in 2003 and the photo of her when she was arrested by the U.S. show a dramatic difference in her appearance. The photo when she resurfaced looked nothing like the vibrant woman captured in the earlier photos. The difference clearly seen in the photos leads me to believe that wherever she was during the "missing years" that she must have gone through hell because hell is clearly etched upon her face.

With this weeks sentencing of Dr. Siddiqui we now know that the future for Dr. Siddiqui is to spend 86 years of her life in prison (a life sentence). But knowing her future is not enough for me, I want to know the full truth about her past. I want her claims about torture to be thoroughly investigated and not just covered up using the ubiquitous "state secret" mantra.

For those of you who know little about Dr. Siddiqui I am posting links to two good pieces that I found on the net.

This video is from the website RT that was done after her sentencing.

Here is a piece from 2006 from Boston Magazine about Siddiqui that provided much more information than what most of us have seen in the MSM reports about her. In other words it was not written merely from the government's perspective.

If anyone has any other links that might help shed light on this case I hope you will post them here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8 Ban on Gay Marriage Struck Down

Read the daily transcripts posted at the American Foundation For Equal Rights website. Pay particular attention to Day 10, 11 & 12 to read the marvelous David Boies cross examinations.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Don't Be Fooled - Top 5 Social Security Myths

Don't Be Fooled

Top 5 Social Security Myths

Myth #1: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever. After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits—and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers' retirement decades ago. Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth #2: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is a red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than they did 70 years ago. What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly—since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half. But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth #3: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth #4: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market—which would have been disastrous—but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth #5: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit. Defeating these myths is a powerful step to stopping Social Security cuts. Share this list with your network.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Agree With Napolitano - Bush and Cheney Should Be Indicted

So when is our Justice Department going to do it's job? This is not a right vs. left issue. Judge Napolitano can hardly be described as liberal. This is a law and order issue and always has been.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gossip and Insinuations Passing for News on CBS

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Watch this interview with CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Lara Logan. Pay particular attention to the end of the video where she insinuates that the reporter for Rolling Stone, who wrote the article that's gotten General McChrystal into hot water, may have violated the "trust" of McChrystal and his aides. She offers no evidence of this other than to claim that people who know McChrystal are stunned by this lapse of judgement because it's so unlike him and so uncharacteristic of him to be so undisciplined. She goes on to say that "a lot of people" are asking - "how did this reporter get inside the inner circle of trust and did he violate the trust?" She ends the piece by saying that it just doesn't add up - it's completely inconsistent with everything that people know about General McCrystal and it raises some very interesting questions that haven't been addressed yet. I agree. I have a few questions of my own.

What kind of reporting is this? Who are these people who she says are "a lot of people" questioning the reporter from Rolling Stone? Why is she allowed to take a potshot at the reporter who did this story about McChrystal without offering one shred of evidence that he did anything wrong? Why is CBS allowing their Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent to use anonymous sources described as "a lot of people say" to impugn the integrity of this Rolling Stone reporter ?

I sure hope we get an explanation for this strange interview on tomorrow's CBS Morning show. I also hope that CBS has the decency to invite the Rolling Stone reporter, Michael Hastings, onto their show so that he can respond to Ms Logan's insinuation that he might have done something wrong.

If Mr. Hastings did something wrong then Ms. Logan should prove it and not just take cheap shots at Hastings without offering any evidence that he did anything wrong.

Here is a link to the Michael Hastings Rolling Stone piece entitled The Runaway General.

Update: Jason Linkins has a great piece up at Huffington Post that may give us a clue about the identity of all of the people Lara Logan said were questioning Michael Hastings reporting.

Update: I found this information in a blog post by emptywheel that was done yesterday. Evidently General McCrystal didn't have the same questions about the Michael Hastings story that Lara Logan and all of those people she mentioned in her interview had.

Rolling Stone’s executive editor on Tuesday said that Gen. Stanley McChrystal did not raise any objections to a new article that repeatedly quotes him criticizing the administration.Eric Bates, the magazine’s editor, said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that McChrystal saw the piece prior to its publication as part of Rolling Stone’s standard fact-checking process – and that the general did not object to or dispute any of the reporting.Asked if McChrystal pushed back on the story, Bates responded: “No, absolutely not

**More people commenting on Lara Logan's style of "journalism."

Glenn Greenwald

and Matt Taibbi.