Monday, December 05, 2005

"No matter how big a nation is . . ."

I'm adding this paragraph to this post from earlier. If you didn't see it earlier it's because Blogspot accepted it but told me I'd have to come back later and publish. I was wiped out from the day and just wanted to go to sleep. Unlike what Rebecca thought (and wrote), I didn't go to bed. I grabbed an afghan and laid down on the couch. If I'd gotten into bed, I probably wouldn't have woken up when Rebecca phoned a few minutes ago.

Please read Rebecca's post 'obligations' because she's very upset. She's not sure it makes sense. I read it and it does. She was bothered by CBS Evening News "reporting" on Saddam Hussein's trial because they felt they could spin because no one would challenge them on it. I agree with Rebecca that when reporting something that won't lead to anyone challenging them because the subject is so unpopular you do see the actual news "ethics" at work. I also think it applies to the peace quote I'd selected for this entry. What follows is my original post plus I'll add Rebecca to the tags at the bottom.

So Blogger/Blogspot is having problems today and you can't view some sites. Mike's posting anyway and I was on the fence about whether to or not? I was thinking about waiting and posting later but I'm really sleepy despite the hour. So I'll go ahead and attempt this despite my fear that since the sites aren't viewable, I'll hit "post" and learn that my entry is lost.

Be sure to check out Mike's site because he's going to cover the same two headlines from Democracy Now!

U.S. Acknowledges Admits It Paid Iraqi Press to Run Propaganda (Democracy Now!):
The U.S. military acknowledged on Friday for the first time that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq. The admission came after a series of news reports indicated the U.S. paid a private company called the Lincolon Group to plant stories in the Iraqi press and to pay off sympathetic Iraqi journalists. The Knight Ridder news agency reported U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders. In addition the news agency reported that on at least one occasion, psychological warfare specialists took a group of international journalists on a tour of Iraq's border with Syria.

They aren't even ashamed by this. They're arguing that you do what you have to. They lied. They were caught. There's no apologizing and there's no embarrassment. To them, it appears to be business as usual. They lie with impunity.

They are caught planting stories in a supposed free press and it's not a big deal to them. That tells you everything you need to know about the "values" of this administration as they continue to practice situational ethics and demonstrate their disregard for democracy and the free exchange of information.

Tens of Thousands in 30 Cities Protest Global Warming (Democracy Now!):
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in 30 cities across the globe to call on world governments to do more to halt global warming. The largest protests took place in Montreal which is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference -- the largest international conference ever on global warming. In London environmentalists held banners declaring President Bush to be wanted "for crimes against the planet." In Washington, drivers of hybrid cars circled the White House. And in New Orleans, residents held a "Save New Orleans, Stop Global Warming" party in the French Quarter. On Saturday environmental groups presented a petition signed by 600,000 Americans urging President Bush to do more to stop global warming. The Bush administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gases. The United States emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases even though it has just five percent of the world's population.

Mike was depressed by this story when we spoke of it. He's aware that environmentalism is a global movement of many years but it saddened him that a movment that began before he was born (by many years) is still having to battle. As a feminist, maybe I'm more accustomed to it.
Feminism started a century prior to my birth. Like feminism, environmentalism is a long term movement.

Which doesn't mean that I'm not worried. It seems like the damage we've done is now surfacing in hurricanes. The hole in the ozone is no longer an abstract worry. I think we're seeing the results of pollution and there's no quick fix.

But in terms of the movement itself, I never knew anyone who thought, "I'll sign a petition and tomorrow everything will change." The desire to choose profit over the environment is one that business and governments have acted on for years.

I think great strides have been made in awareness. I'm honestly not sure where we stand at this moment. But I'm trying to remain hopeful.

C.I. highlighted a piece by Tom Hayden that I wanted to note but I don't remember where it appeared and The Common Ills, like all the other Blogspot sites isn't viewable. I'll catch that tomorrow. I also wanted to highlight C.I.'s comments about Green Zone "reporting" from this morning. I can't for the same reason but Julie did e-mail me about that so I have the link at least. If you missed it and Blogspot is not still having problems, click here to read the commentary.

I don't have a link for Ruth's latest Ruth's Morning Edition Report. But I did read it this weekend and did listen Sunday to Sunday Salon. The topics were Iraq and executions. Tom Hayden was a guest for both hours so if you missed it, it's worth listening to.

I wasn't familiar with another guest who impressed me and I called C.I. about that Sunday evening. Her name is Judith Coburn and they spoke of an article she'd written. C.I. was kind enough to e-mail the article to me and I'll note it in a moment.

But I want to say thanks to Ruth for the heads up to Sunday Salon and to remind everyone of her other heads up. Pacifica Radio is digging into their archives Tuesday for a broadcast that will begin early in the morning and last through Wednesday morning. This is part of a pledge drive to preserve the Pacifica Radio archives so, if you have the money, please donate. If you don't, you should still listen, without guilt because it's public radio. If you've never listened to Pacifica Radio you don't know what you're missing. Tomorrow they'll focus on a number of things including civil rights and a reading of War & Peace. (Partial reading from their original marathon reading where various notables read from Tolstoy's classic.)

I want to talk about the guilt factor for a moment because I know guilt can be a burden. Pacifica Radio depends on the donations of their listeners and if you can afford to give, I can't think of a better cause. However, Pacifica Radio also has power through it's reach and you can contribute by listening as well as by getting the word out.

Some won't have the money to give, especially during the holidays. That shouldn't prevent you from enjoying the broadcasts or getting the word out.

"Worse than Watergate?" (Judith Coburn, Mother Jones):
On July 31, 1973, while the Vietnam war was still being fought, Representative Robert Drinan, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the first impeachment resolution against President Richard Nixon. One of the grounds for indictment Drinan proposed was the secret bombing of Cambodia, ordered by the President. To Drinan, this was a crime at least as great as the domestic scandals which had already come to be known as "Watergate." The fourteen months of massive B-52 "carpet bombings," which killed tens of thousands of Cambodian villagers and an unknown number of Vietnamese communist soldiers in border sanctuaries, were run outside the military's chain of command. They were also kept completely secret from Congress and the public (until exposed by New York Times reporter William Beecher). In recently
released transcripts of telephone conversations between Nixon and his closest aides, the President ordered "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia [using] anything that flies on anything that moves." (The transcript then records an unintelligible comment that "sounded like [General Alexander] Haig laughing.")
The secret bombing of Cambodia involved the same abuse of power and political manipulation of government agencies as Watergate, but only a few Congressional representatives like John Conyers, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Edward Mezvinsky supported Drinan's Cambodia article, which was soundly defeated by the House impeachment committee 26-12.
There are many myths about Watergate -- among them that Woodward and Bernstein rode into Dodge and rescued the republic all by themselves, that the impeachment of Richard Nixon saved American constitutional democracy from destruction, and that the grounds on which Nixon was impeached were a fair reflection of what he and "all the President's men" had actually done. In American mythology, "the system worked."
To most Americans, the slaughter of millions of Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Lao, as well as the destruction of their countries, seem unrelated to "Watergate." Henry Kissinger, one of the architects of the secret bombing of Cambodia, who had ordered his own dissenting staffers and several journalists illegally wiretapped to stop leaks, escaped indictment and would soon be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Few now remember that it was Indochina, not the burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Complex that really set Watergate, the scandal, in motion and led to a pattern of Presidential conduct which seems eerily familiar today. In his 1974 book,
Time of Illusion, Jonathan Schell wrote of "the distortions in the conduct of the presidency which deformed national politics in the Vietnam years -- the isolation from reality, the rage against political opposition, the hunger for unconstitutional power, the conspiratorial mindedness, the bent for repressive action." He concluded that three presidents "consistently sacrificed the welfare of the nation at home to what they saw as the demands of foreign affairs."

Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.
Marian Anderson