Monday, November 26, 2007

Truth Is Anger

I generally ignore the so-called presidential Democratic or Republican "debates" televised a year before the actual election.

First, it's because they are not debates at all. If they were, every candidate would have an equal amount of time to speak. Usually the candidates with the most money or name recognition are given more time and questions than the rest. I become suspicious that the corporate media may be attempting to form our perceptions and guide our support toward the front-runners.

Second, we only get pre-selected whitewashed questions so the politicians can spew their bumper sticker slogans and simplistic talking points. It's as if the respective parties are applying their own political correctness to the issues.

This year, however, "second and third tier" candidates actually made some reality based comments, only to have them promptly buried or otherwise dispelled.

Does anyone remember all the press coverage over Ron Paul's comments at the Republican debate last May? Me neither

He had the gall to utter, “Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attacked us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East. So right now we're building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, 'I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier'."

The corporate media punditry handled that like a vampire would a silver cross on a wooden stake. It illustrates their deliberate avoidance of certain unpleasant truths in our world. They just love a good, unpleasantly true story about natural disasters or rampaging gunmen, or big explosions. It's a different story when the truth cuts close to the bones of their corporate anointed politicians' behinds.

No rocking the boat from the embedded, or inbred, "journalists" at Corporate News Network or Faux News. They are all quite happy in their little la-la land where nobody lied us into unending war. Nobody cares what the war will cost in lives or money. Nobody wants to know how many good jobs are sacrificed to corporate greed. No need to remind the public of increasing poverty or the growing number of uninsured children. Just keep humming the happy harmonies of their tired old songs of tax breaks and a robust economy. In other words, just what the DC Mafia want them to do.

They have no idea that they come across like cheerleaders for gangsters.

Now let me provide some balance here with another example from a recent political dog and pony show.

The Democratic "debate" held in Las Vegas on November 15th would have been just more fawning over Hillary (As in pearls or diamonds?) if not for something said by John Edwards. Thankfully the interruptions from Wolf Blitzer were ignored.

EDWARDS: The question is: Will America be fine?

... 35 million Americans, last year, went hungry; 37 million people in this country live in poverty every day; 47 million Americans have no health care coverage.

And there is a fundamental choice that everyone in this room, and Democratic voters have to make. And that is, who do you believe will take on this system and change it so that it's no longer rigged... corrupt and rigged against the interests...

BLITZER: All right. All right.

EDWARDS: ... of the American people.

That is the fundamental choice. And I think people are entitled to know that they have choices. There's nothing personal about this. This is about what America needs to be. This is about those 35 million people...

BLITZER: All right.

EDWARDS: ... who are hungry every single year. When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind?

It seemed like Blitzer was waving off the crowd with, "Nothing to see here folks, just keep moving along." Or for you younger folks, "These are not the droids you're looking for."

Well, what will the Corporate News Network do with that bombshell? Would it be swept under the carpet as usual?

Not this time. The censors and arbiters of American politics decided to pounce.

On a CNN news show the following Sunday, I saw the banner reading, "Grading Edwards" across the screen.

"Great," I thought, "Now I'll know what I'm supposed to think about that outrageous display of truth."

There, for America's edification and enlightenment were Blitzer and his fellow "reporters" Candy Crowly, Suzanne Malveaux and Dana Bash. Essential in their assessments, of course, were the important details of how Hillary handled whatever it was Obama said about her. And when Edwards' challenged her for voting with the neo-cons on Iran, Hillary accused him of "mudslinging." Yes, now that's leadership. And Blitzer pronounced, "The consensus, I guess, Candy, is that Hillary Clinton won."

Now it was time for the smaller fish to fry.

Speaking of Edwards, Dana Bash told us, "His campaign says that, well, he is running to reflect the growing anger among Democratic primary and caucus voters."

Blitzer then quoted an Iowa political columnist, "...John Edwards should have stayed home."

Candy Crowly responded, "He may be a little bit too angry... he's the firebrand, and that turns some people off."

Blitzer went on to quote Senator Dodd, "I'm surprised how angry John has become. This is not the same John Edwards I once knew."

Blitzer added, "I guess that's a problem he faces, Suzanne, how far do you go in expressing that anger without potentially turning off some Democrats."

Suzanne Malveaux then informed us, "Polls show that people don't like that kind of negativity."

Gosh. And to think I was starting to like John Edwards. I was beginning to respect him for his honesty and accurate assessment of our political system. Come to think of it, all that anger of his is starting to turn me off. And that anger is obviously a result of his telling the truth. So now, thanks to the Corporate News Network, I've learned the one thing we Americans don't need from our politicians is truth.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

It may be difficult this Thanksgiving to find much to be thankful for, living in these dark days of our seventh year under King George’s rule. A reign marked by secrecy, deceit, unjust war, terror, and fear mongering. We also discover more each week about the White House’s open contempt for the rule of law and its shameless hostility towards citizen’s rights. We watch helplessly as their crony capitalism robs the national treasury.

It is now sadly becoming a string of revelations, as we learn more and more about a Congress that cares less and less about our Constitution and the liberties it once granted us. If, as Pelosi says, “Impeachment is off the table,” then so is the Constitutional mechanism for justice.

Our nation’s dwindling freedoms and faltering democracy have fallen into as dismal a condition as any living person can remember.

Nevertheless I will try to look for the things for which we can still be thankful. Optimism and hope must never be abandoned by freedom loving people. Tyrants fall and empires collapse.

For now, we can be thankful for a roof over our heads, for the love and support of family and friends, and yes, for the food on our table.

Let us also be thankful for the spirit of freedom and justice that moves our new heroes.

Let us thank those who have spoken truth to power, and acted on their words.

Thanks to Cindy Sheehan for her sacrifice and her efforts towards the cause of peace.

Thanks to the Dixie Chicks for speaking out earlier than most against the war and its instigator.

Thanks to Air America Radio for countering the right wing corporate media.

Thanks to Keith Olbermann for his special comments and courage to broadcast them.

Thanks to Paul Riekoff and his Operation Truth and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Thanks to Lieutenant Ehren Watada for having the vision and conviction to refuse orders to fight in Iraq on grounds that the war is illegal, and having the courage to face a court martial for it.

Thanks to Doris "Granny D" Haddock for her walk across America, in support of the cause to eliminate private money from elections.

Thanks to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for exposing Bush’s lie intended to start a war in the State of the Union Address.

Thanks to Valerie Plame Wilson for her service to our country, until she was treasonously betrayed by the White House

Thanks to John Dean for his book, Conservatives without Conscience.

Thanks to Richard Clarke for his book, Against All Enemies.

Thanks to Elizabeth de la Vega for writing The United States v. George W. Bush.

Thanks to Wil S. Hylton for writing The People v. Richard Cheney.

Thanks to Neil Young for his album "Living with War".

Thanks to the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos,, and the other bloggers for their very necessary questioning of authority.

Thanks to Bill Moyers for bringing some conscience and genuine investigation to television.

Thanks to Michael Moore for the film SiCKO, showing us a country’s greatness must also be measured by how it treats its sick people.

Thanks to Robert Greenwald for his films Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.

Thanks to retired AT&T technician Mark Klein for alerting us to the illegal wiretapping and data mining by the NSA at the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco.

Thanks to John Edwards for saying on November 15th at the Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas,”… 37 million people in this country live in poverty every day; 47 million Americans have no health care coverage. And there is a fundamental choice that everyone in this room, and Democratic voters have to make. And that is, who do you believe will take on this system and change it so that it's no longer rigged, corrupt, and rigged against the interests of the American people. That is the fundamental choice. ..
When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind? “

Thanks to Dennis Kucinich for House Resolution 333 calling for Cheney’s impeachment.

And thanks to William S. Burroughs for his Thanksgiving Prayer.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

One More From Carlin

Here's a passionate rant from George Carlin. Really. This blunt assessment is exactly what is missing from the public's awareness of what is happening to the country. It's a refreshing wake up call and antidote to the nation's state of somnolence engendered by the corporate media.

This is not comedy. It is, however, the product of a comic's observation of his environment.

After hearing these three minutes, you will be convinced that this needs to be a civics lesson for every US citizen. It is harsh and cynical language, but it is hard to argue against what he is saying.

You have no choice. You have owners