Mike and I are doing the same two items from today's headlines on Democracy Now! and Kristle e-mailed asking that I ask Mike if the Arundhati Roy headline could be included. Kristle, I didn't have to ask. Mike and I both wanted that in. Be sure to visit Mikey Likes It!
Arundhati Roy Refuses Writing Prize to Protest Indian Policies (Democracy Now!):
In India, writer Arundhati Roy has refused to accept a prestigious Indian writing award in protest. Roy accused the Indian government of toeing the U.S. line by "violently and ruthlessly pursuing policies of brutalization of industrial workers, increasing militarization and economic neo-liberalization."
I really don't have any work to do on this one. Arundhati Roy is obviously correct and Kristel found a link.
"The Opposite of a Nuclear Bomb" (Arundhati Roy, Ms. Magazine):
The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as nonfiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they're engaged in. The term "anti-American" is usually used by the American establishment to discredit its critics (myself included). Once someone is branded anti-American, the chances are that the person's argument will be lost in the welter of bruised national pride.
But what does the term "anti-American" mean? Does it mean you are anti-jazz? Or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? [Audience laughter] Does it mean that you don't admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?
This sly conflation of America's culture, music, literature, the breathtaking physical beauty of the land, the ordinary pleasures of ordinary people with criticism of the U.S. government's foreign policy is an effective strategy. It's like a retreating army taking cover in a heavily populated city, hoping that the prospect of hitting civilian targets will deter enemy fire. But there are many Americans who would be mortified to be associated with their government's policies. [Applause]
It is dangerous to cede to the Indian government or the American government the right to define what "India" or "America" are or ought to be. To be "anti-American" (or for that matter, anti-Indian or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those the establishment has set out for you. If you're not a Bushie, you're a Taliban. If you're not Good, you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists.
Al Gore: Bush "Repeatedly and Persistently" Broke Law (Democracy Now!):
On Monday, former Vice President Al Gore gave a major speech in Washington accusing Bush of "repeatedly and persistently" breaking the law by authorizing the NSA wiretaps. Gore called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuses. Gore said Bush's illegal spying program threatened "the very structure of our government."
If you're missing news of this speech, here's a section of it.
"'We the People' Must Save Our Constitution" (Al Gore, Common Dreams):
At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.
A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."
An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
Now how might you have missed the speech? Because a lot of the mainstream media is ignoring it.
"What Would Happen if an American Politician Told the Truth and No Mainstream Media and Establishment Democrats Listened -- It Happened on Martin Luther King Day. Al Gore Was That Man" (BuzzFlash):
As expected, the mainstream press, ever afraid to offend Bush, has largely ignored or marginalized Al Gore's spectacular speeches holding up a mirror to the reality of the Bush Administration. Indeed, in the front page of the morning January 17th Internet editions of the Washington Post and The New York Times, not a single story could be found on the Gore speech (except for a story in the rolling AP list on the NYT about the current Bush consigliere -- and U.S. Attorney General -- Alberto Gonzales "refuting" Gore!).
[. . .]
No, lackluster Senators like Dianne Feinstein do the administration's work by signaling there won't be a Democratic filibuster of Alito. Di-Fi says that Alito did just fine in the hearings. Yeah, she says she won't vote for him, but that is meaningless without a filibuster.
Di-Fi has long been an administration enabler, never risking much of anything on a vote or a pronouncement. She'll not join a filibuster, even though Alito adamantly believes in the concept of Bush as the "unitary executive," which, in the vernacular means, a man with dictatorial powers. Di-Fi would rather allow an egomaniac of immense mediocrity and incompetence to become an entrenched ruler with dictatorial powers than speak out for our Constitution.
''I was impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor," Feinstein added about Alito, on CBS's ''Face the Nation." Is Di-Fi reading from a Ken Mehlman script? This sort of statement is sort of emblematic of the establishment Democrats who go along with the Republican "script" every time, despite reality-based records that entirely contradict the script. It's like enabling an alcoholic -- giving it its best spin -- or trading off democracy for financial favors at its worst (Di-Fi's husband gets large Defense Department contracts.)
Yes, people like Di-Fi have forgotten about our Constitutional system of checks and balances -- or they just don't care anymore. They have other priorities, more personal ones.
End Zone e-mailed the editorial to C.I. who highlighted it this morning and asked that it be passed on to me as well.
Any time I write about Diane Feinstein's husband, even when I've got a link to a major paper, I end up getting e-mails that say, "It can't be true!" It is. So if you're one of the hold outs still praying I've made a mistake, check out BuzzFlash's editorial.
"Peace Quote" (Arundhati Roy Quotes):
The mullahs of the Islamic world and the mullahs of the Hindu world and the mullahs of the Christian world are all on the same side. And we are against them all.
the common ills