Monday, July 25, 2005

License to Kill the Innocent

Regrets, but No Apology, in London Subway Shooting - New York Times:
" 'We are living in unique times of unique evil, at war with an enemy of unspeakable brutality, and I have no doubt that now, more than ever, the principle is right despite the chance, tragically, of error,' Lord Stevens said in the opinion article on Sunday."

There is not much particularly unique about our times. All enemies have been demonized in history to justify policies of aggression against them. When these policies start justifiying the killing of the innocent-among them as among us-, we are way pass beyond the legitimate excercise of government authority.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The New York Review of Books: The World Is Round

The New York Review of Books: The World Is Round: "It is an irony of history that a view of the world falsified by the Communist collapse should have been adopted, in some of its most misleading aspects, by the victors in the cold war. Neoliberals, such as Friedman, have reproduced the weakest features of Marx's thought: its consistent underestimation of nationalist and religious movements and its unidirectional view of history. They have failed to absorb Marx's insights into the anarchic and self-destructive qualities of capitalism."

This is a great insight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Understanding the Press Failure to Report Downing Street Memo

Thanks to Mark Danner once more for his candid exposure of the problem behind the unfortunate roll of the press in its deficient coverage of the Iraq war:

"The Downing Street memo serves, among other things, as a not very subtle reminder that much of the press was duped by the government in a rather premeditated and quite successful way. No one likes to be reminded of this, certainly not reporters and the institutions they work for; claiming the memo is "not reportable," in Smith's words, not only avoids revisiting a painful passage in American journalism but does so by asserting that the story "had already been covered" -- that is, that it had never been missed in the first place. When it comes to the war, much of American journalism has little more institutional interest in reexamining the past than the Bush administration itself."

Remember the tale of the emperor's new clothes? This is exactly how it worked. Any one who would admit of not seeing the invicible robe would be brand a fool by public opinion. That is how truth has slipped from the media's attention; how clear historical evidence of the deception leading to war is rather ignored than acknowledged.

If you have not yet read the Dowing Street Memo. You must.

Freedom Over Fact

If you have been, like me, apalled by the weak roll of the Main Stream press these days you may want to check the article : PressThink: Rollback:
By the end it quotes a parable that highlights the problem at the bottom of all this.

The Parable:

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Today the prosecutor is studying what they do, and there’s no way to roll that back. In a Salon interview after the Times article came out, Suskind (whose sources were mostly Republicans) was asked whether the Bush forces were indeed trying to "eliminate a national point of reference on facts."

Absolutely! That’s the whole idea, to somehow sweep away the community of honest brokers in America — both Republicans and Democrats and members of the mainstream press — sweep them away so we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.

No more honest brokers; and claims take the place of facts. Disguised by the culture war’s ranting about media bias, that very thing is happening all around us today. Limits on what liberties could be taken with the factual record without triggering a political penalty are being overcome. Joseph Wilson interfered with this, forcing the White House to pay a penalty: the so-called sixteen words in the State of the Union speech that had to be withdrawn after his op-ed. So he had to pay. And that’s how roll back, freedom over fact, culture war, and the naming of Valerie Plame connect to one another.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bagdad Bob Virus in the White House

"When they are constantly on the run they can't plan attacks, so we and our allies will stay on the offensive," Bush said this after the London attacks.

Just one question Mr President.

How is it that they were able to plan the London attacks while you and your allies have been constantly on the offensive?

Your offensive war on terror is part of the problem not the solution.

How many people have to die before you acknowledge your errors and deceptions?