Posts from — March 2008
The always on-target Howard Zinn makes like a presidential candidate with a “speech” calling for an FDR-like “New” New Deal. God knows we could use an FDR right about now; can you imagine a leader who asks us to discard fear, rather than one who exploits it for a few votes?
Anyway, a few of the jewels in this must-read article:
Kind of brings tears to your eyes. Think about it: We’ve allowed corporate interests to dominate our social conversation to the point where “conventional wisdom” comes out the boardroom, rather than the dining room. We’ve forgotten – or willfully discarded – the notion of government AS the people for a government that’s the TOOL of the wealthy. Along the way we’ve managed to turn Democracy into some kind of radical concept.
What is it that we really want out of our lives? Should we measure our societal success based on the number of plasma TVs we can buy, or on the $500/month Lexus we can lease? Or is it time to replace the GNP with GNH – Gross National Happiness? Isn’t a successful society one that allows us to live fulfilled lives where our kids can breathe clean air, where we can trust the water that comes out of our taps, where we know that if we get sick the best care will be there for us?
How about turning our backs on consumerism: Unplug the TV, put cable news on “ignore” and start thinking for ourselves. Let’s build a society based on compassion and personal fulfillment, where we pool our resources for providing the things we need. Let’s have a New New Deal!
TIME has an article out where they wonder about FOX News in a post-Bush world.
Here’s a better idea: It can just go away. Where is it written in the social contract that we must have three 24-hour news channels? We don’t need three 24-hour news channels. We don’t even need one.
Fox may have invented the “Fair and Balanced” nonsense but really, all Cable news networks operate as if we live in a pretend nursery school world where “every idea is always right”. But in the real world there are bad ideas which are undeniably WRONG. If you don’t take a stand and point out the obvious problems – even if it means giving more coverage to one “side” than another – you end up legitimizing absurdity.
Wrong is always wrong and it’s the media’s role to be brave enough to point this out. Yet over and over again it has failed in its duties as the Fourth Estate, even when it knows better. You don’t have to go back to the media’s complicity in the War buildup in 2002 to see this; just look back at the last six months of “Surge” coverage (not to mention the complete blackout on Winter Soldier coverage the past few weeks). Judging by the optimistic and – we’re starting to learn – wholly simplistic analysis you’d have thought The Surge was the turning point towards peace. Now we’re seeing that things are much, much more complicated.
Ironically, the plain truth in America these days is that if your desire is to be fully informed about events you’re better off – by far – if you shut the corporate news out. You’ll get less disinformation and can start thinking for yourself for a change. Now imagine millions of Americans doing the same thing….that’s the way you start a social change movement!
From the “In Case You Missed It” camp:
- Joel Klein (the guy who makes you say “arghhh”) redeems himself for a day with an eyebrow-raising column that envisions an Al Gore-Barack Obama ticket coming out of the convention. And no, April 1 is still next week..
- The always enlightening David Brooks (I jest) does offer a very insightful analysis on Hillary Clinton’s chances: He puts them at 5%. Check this one out.
- Daily Kos and the “Blue Majority” officially endorse Obama…
- Hillary Clinton: “Liberal-baiting” Obama? It gets nastier and nastier. Buzz Flash has more…
- Clinton “Approval Rating” rating falls to a new low of 37%. Hard to understand, isn’t it? Could it be those creative tactics of hers which are making even Democratic party Superdelegates uneasy? Nah.
- NPR: National Pentagon Radio? Norm Solomon breaks it down.
Tags: lefty links
I gave up watching mainstream news a long time ago. It’s a pretend version of reality that uses spin and simplicity to manipulate us emotionally and redirect our anger away from the real sources of our problems. But sometimes I stumble onto clips and even though I know better I click on them anyway. And now I sure am stirred up emotionally – in fact I’m going to snap my keyboard I’m typing so hard – but it’s not misplaced.
This week we saw Barack Obama give a deeply personal, eminently thoughtful 45 minute speech on the state of racial ideology in America. It was the kind of honest intelligence you do not see from politicians, and it continues to be the reason I am so drawn to his candidacy, even when I know he won’t bring about the true progressive changes that are so badly needed. But I agree with John Stewart when he said that Obama “spoke to Americans as though they were adults”.
In this beautiful speech there is a particularly moving section where Obama discusses cringing childhood moments when his white grandmother would make racial comments about black men – in his presence. From the speech:
Honest and disturbing but undeniably true. Who among us hasn’t cringed at things our own family members have said in our presence? I know I have, and they’ve been said by people I deeply admire otherwise.
Apparently a day after giving the speech he had the following to say on a Philadelphia Sports-talk morning show:
The media is having a field day with this, with Fox News apparently spending two hours replaying the quote but cutting it off after “typical white person.”. You can watch the clip for yourself here, if you can stomach it.
The corporate media, in its typically simplistic, anti-intellectual manner is using that “if a white person had said this…”argument. The point that they (deliberately) miss is that a white person would not say this because the history of racism in America has been against black people. Do we now need to re-write 230 years of American history just so we can satisfy the corporate infotainment’s need to be “fair and balanced”?
We’ve managed to somehow survive Bush’s eight years and most of the country is eagerly awaiting January 2009. A lot of people are now wondering how a man who uses “fuzzy math” as a scientific term or who boasts about “never reading” ever managed to get elected in the first place. The thing is, if we’re not mature enough to see past Obamas “three little words” in order to recognize the sophisticated and elemental truth of his argument, then we will continue to get the simple-minded leaders we deserve.