Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Peace doesn't come about through silence"

It's late, I am sleepy and I've lost this post repeatedly so you probably shouldn't expect a great deal from this entry. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts on the day's news (which, I'm sure, will be more coherent than my own). I had some e-mails about trouble viewing this site. C.I., Ava, and Jess said there were e-mails to The Common Ills on my site and Cedric's so apparently Cedric's Big Mix and this site were effected. It had something to do with a server and I won't pretend to understand what the problem was.

"Feingold Criticizes Fellow Dems Bush Measure" (Democracy Now!):
Here in the United States, Senator Russ Feingold has lashed out at fellow Democrats for not supporting his measure to censure President Bush for his warrantless domestic spy program. Feingold has failed to attract any co-sponsors. Appearing on Fox News, Feingold said: "I'm amazed at Democrats, cowering with this president's numbers so low. The administration just has to raise the specter of the war and the Democrats run and hide. … Too many Democrats are going to do the same thing they did in 2000 and 2004.… [Democrats shouldn't] cower to the argument, that whatever you do, if you question the administration, you’re helping the terrorists."

Is it a surprise? No, but it's still very sad. Rebecca's furious about this and I understand her fury. Maybe I'm too tired to feel fury today? I just know it's disappointing and not surprising considering the state of the Democratic Party. Too many of our elected officials have been able to get away with silence on the Iraq war. Then there are the ones still cheerleading it. If there's a 'crisis of faith' in the party, religion won't save it. The crisis has to do with an inability on the part of some to speak out and give voice to convictions. In terms of Russ Feingold himself, I think he looks even more presidential than his would be contenders as a result of standing alone. Bully Boy would call it clearing the brush, I'd say it was wiping the floor with the spineless.

"Top US Military Commander: No Evidence of Iran Links" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, the top US military commander said Tuesday there is no evidence Iran is aiding the Iraqi insurgency. At a Pentagon briefing, Gen. Peter Pace, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked if he thought Iran was arming militants or sending weapons to Iraq. Pace replied: "I do not sir." Pace's comments appear to contradict recent statements made by both President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld linking the violence in Iraq to the Iranian government.

So the "link" has no evidence to back up the assertion? We've been here before, haven't we? Bully Boy and his cronies call something a "slam dunk" but they have to fix the facts to make the case. That they still haven't been called out loudly on their lies universally in this country gives them the fantasy that they can pull it off again. I believe Hillary Clinton's on board for this one too, right? Or am I confusing her with Geena Davis' character in Commander-in-Chief?

Brenda e-mailed to ask me what I thought of her "chances." I see the same people propping up her run publicly that propped up Joe Lieberman's in 2004. Wasn't he a sure thing too? Hey, maybe they can do a Clinton-Lieberman ticket and alienate every Democrat in America?

FBI Documents Raise New Questions about Extent of Surveillance" (Jonathan S. Landley, Knight Ridder via Common Dreams):
An FBI counterterrorism unit monitored - and apparently infiltrated - a peace group in Pittsburgh that opposed the invasion of Iraq, according to internal agency documents released on Tuesday.
The disclosure raised new questions about the extent to which federal authorities have been conducting surveillance operations against Americans since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Previous revelations include FBI monitoring of environmental and animal rights organizations, scrutiny of anti-war organizations by a top-secret Pentagon program and eavesdropping by the National Security Agency on domestic communications without court authorization.

"The Ides of March" (Danny Schechter, News Dissector, March 15, 2006):
We have had a great response from readers. More than 100,000 emails have gone out and activists are responding.
We are not expecting to set the world on fire. Some of our fellow media reform groups did not rise to the occasion, insisting more time was needed and that they are busy, busy, busy. So be it. Other groups like CPJ which claim to be protecting journalists won’t be supportive because they are not “partisan” as if demanding investigations of murdered journalists is partisan and means you have to take a stand on the war. (The fact that this Committee is funded by media companies may have something to do with their reluctance to go beyond letter writing to action.) We also invited MoveOn to join us. No response at all!

Okay. Now look, I know people have events planned. But this is the second time MoveOn has ignored personal contact from Media Channel. The first time was early in 2005. We were working on the discussion for the gina & krista round-robin for Thursday so we'll all be running late in posting tonight. (But we wanted to avoid being up late. I can't believe C.I. posted this morning. A half-hour's sleep isn't sleep for me.)

So at the start of 2005, Danny Schechter's film Weapons of Mass Deceptions was in theaters (I hope I'm remembering this right, C.I. covered it when it was going on). It was also due out on DVD. MediaChannel was willing to partner with MoveOn.

MoveOn had, and sorry if this hurts anyone's feelings, MOVEDON from the Iraq war. They dropped the issue. They were on to other things. It took membership to make it an issue again. (They were not the only ones to back off from the war but considering how so many attempted to channel opposition to the war in the lead up to the 2004 elections, I question many of their committments.) So they just ignored the chance to partner.

Now, once again, they have no response? I'm getting really tired of it and tired of MoveOn. I really think they're over and it's because they achieved something in 2004 and have since been trying very hard to be "respectable." That's not what inspired people. You visit the main page today and there's not one word on Iraq.

They're a political action committee, a turn out the vote organization. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's why most people I know ignore their action alerts now. They lost interest after the 2004 elections when MoveOn moved on from the war.

They have no events posted to protest the war on the third anniversary of the invasion. If you visit their "campaigns" page, you'll find Iraq is number seven of their "actions." Write to your Congress member to tell them you want the troops out of Iraq. "If you, like most Americans, want a plan to bring the troops home, then tell your representatives today," it reads. So that's what MoveOn is today. It's asking you to do what most people are already doing. It's not leading.

If this were an issue where someone begged off because they already had their actions planned, that would be one thing. CODEPINK, for instance, had their actions planned months ago and they include a speaking tour of Iraqi women. If they begged off because they had already had their plans in motion, I could understand that. I can't understand failure to participate when all your participation would amount to is yet another mass e-mailing to your "membership." ("Membership" because most people I know, again, ignore those mailings now.)

It's ironic because the Committee to Protect Journalists turns down participation so as not to be "partisan" but, to me, the problem for MoveOn has something to do with the fact that Danny Schechter's not "partisan." He's on the left. But he's not a cheerleader for anyone party.

As for CPJ, that's disgusting as well; however, it's not surprising to me. I'm sick of the silence in my own profession over the participation of doctors in the Bisquits teams used to spotlight, manipulate and utilize weaknesses that they bastardize their medical training to discover.

I'm not saying, "I understand CPJ's position." I think they're disgusting. But within my own field, professional organizations can't speak out either.

I hope and United for Peace & Justice had tremendous success today.
They have an action alert set up so that anyone can take part in it and I'll put that up here again:

"Take Action: Demand Better Iraq War Coverage" (David DeGraw,
Join United For Peace And Justice, and tens of thousands of Americans in calling on U.S. media outlets to do a better job of reporting on the war in Iraq and the anti-war movement protests against it.As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the nationwide Peace & Justice movement is, for the first time, focusing protests on the Pro-War media slant that has made the war possible.With public opinion shifting from support for the war to calls for immediate withdrawal, the news media has an obligation to reflect on the role it has played in building a pro-war consensus with false and deceptive reporting. Many media organizations have published "mea-culpas" admitting "mistakes" and "flawed reporting," but the problem goes deeper and is ongoing.
The coverage remains one-sided and excludes anti-war voices from citizens and anti-war groups all over the world. We need real journalism, not jingoism.
It's Time to Make the US Media Accountable!
Click on the link below to send an email to U.S. media outlets now!
Take Action: Demand Better Coverage

I'll note, as C.I. did, that if you have your own way of contacting your media or would like to go through your own channels, you can. You should, in fact, if you have a connection of some sort. (I know C.I. spoke on the phone to many people because they are friends.) But if you're wanting to participate and not sure how to go about it, use the link above.

Zach e-mailed me directly. He said he knew C.I. was busy and knew I supported United for Peace & Justice so he was hoping I could note an event in his state. From San Diego Indymedia:


1:00 PM
The 3rd Anniversary of the Iraq War
1:00 - 5:00
2:00 - 4:00
The week surrounding March 18th will mark the third anniversary of a war that never should have happened -- a war based on lies that continues to devastate the lives of thousands, both in Iraq and the United States. The San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice joins our partners in the global antiwar movement in calling for a massive outpouring of opposition to the war in Iraq. We are urging opponents of the war to rally in the park to show outrage for the lies and deception our leaders have inflicted upon the United States and the rest of the world. The North County Coalition for Peace & Justice will be organizing a "Peace Train" on the Coaster that will arrive at the Santa Fe train station at 1:00.
People are encouraged to meet them and march to the park.
Please check the NCCP&J website, , for more information.
More info:

Find an activity you know of and I'll highlight it Friday. (I'm off tomorrow.) This weekend, it is important that you make your voice heard. C.I. said it best this morning in "NYT: They're calling the current situation in Iraq 'strife'."

"Peace Quote" (from me):
Peace doesn't come about through silence.