American Journalist, Antiwar Activist, Media Critic and Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
American Journalist, Antiwar Activist, Media Critic and Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives
A vision of the future that I have is not particularly optimistic. It is certainly not fatalistic. All of this is up for grabs. The momentum that we?re up against, in terms of the military-industrial complex and all the rest of it, can be counteracted. I believe ? not to be Hallmark card about this ? in the human spirit. The human spirit can?t be killed, but it can be sedated. And we need to be able to shake off that sedation. It means wake up, get past the psychic numbing, help each other to do that, and organize and organize.
It's kind of like going to a store and there's fifty brands of cigarettes, they're mostly owned by three different corporations. You do have the Internet, but Jupiter Media Matrix just did a new study finding that 47% of the minutes spent on the World Wide Web by people in the United States are on sites owned by three corporations.
We desperately need a substantive national debate on U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While the Obama administration says that the problems of the region cannot be solved by military means, the basic approach is reliance on heightened military means.
All three branches of the U.S. government are now largely under the control of forces with stunning contempt for basic legal processes required by the Bill of Rights. Mere words and mild reforms from members of Congress may mollify the gullible, but only a direct challenge to the Obama administration?s policies can rise to the level of the current historic imperative to restore civil liberties in the United States.
Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America?s Warfare State.
We have lived, we have been incubated by a warfare state for five, six decades. And the effects of that are terribly pernicious. Martin Luther King talked about the "spiritual death" ? his phrase, the "spiritual death" ? that accompanies a society which year after year spends more on military defense than on social uplift. That was 40 years ago. What are the effects then of that spiritual death? And so, we have a chance to counteract those sort of dangerous, horrible trends with such terrible results, but we need to activate ourselves to do that.
As the largest Web retailer in the world, Amazon has built its business model on the secure accumulation and analysis of massive personal data. The firm?s Amazon Web Services division gained the CIA contract amid fervent hopes that the collaboration will open up vast new vistas for the further melding of surveillance and warfare.
Nearly 96 hours after the Observer had reported it, I called Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale and asked why not. 'We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting,' Smale replied. She added that 'we could get no confirmation or comment.' In other words, U.S. intelligence officials refused to confirm or discuss the memo -- so the Times did not see fit to report on it.
What has not changed is the profusion of corporations making a killing from the warfare state in tandem with Washington?s quest for geopolitical positioning, access to fossil fuels and other raw materials ? and access to markets for U.S.-based industries ranging from financial services to fast food. Let?s give credit to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for candor as he wrote approvingly in his book The Lexus and the Olive Tree: ?The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald?s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley?s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.?
But the U.S. Record, as assessed by independent organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, is reprehensible.
Realities on the ground in the Middle East are undermining the fantasy-based policymakers in Washington. So, the Israeli iron fist, backed up by Washington, can do little to sweep away the electoral results from Palestinian votes that reflect actual opinions among Palestinian people.
What is critical to me is that the process is a two-way street.
Her reality was, so to speak, a crowbar to open the lid on what had been sealed, which is the human dimension. The media and politics don't engage with death very well. And Bush has been effective until this summer at keeping US victims of this war in a hazy middle distance, close enough to exploit as a photo-op prop but not up close and personal enough to begin to deal with the grief of war.
Some other Americans are on a rescue mission. One of them, Congressman Justin Amash, began a debate on the House floor Wednesday with a vow to ?defend the Fourth Amendment.? That?s really what his amendment ? requiring that surveillance be warranted ? was all about. No argument for the Amash amendment was more trenchant than the one offered by South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan, who simply read the Fourth Amendment aloud. To quote those words was to take a clear side: ?The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.? Edward Snowden?s heroic revelations have made it possible for some House members from both parties to blow away the fog that shrouds so much tap dancing on Capitol Hill. When the Amash amendment went to the floor, there was no place left to hide.
What matters for those of us who watch T.V. and listen to the radio and read printed, uh, outlets is the content. And there you have a very different matter. If you subject what's on the airwaves and in major print outlets to a content analysis, it's very, very different. Now the media industry is structured, I think very similar to other industries. People at the top have a lot more to say about the constraints that the workers work under than people at the bottom.
Huge corporations are now running roughshod over the Internet. At the illusion-shattering core of Digital Disconnect are a pair of chapters on what corporate power has already done to the Internet -- the relentless commercialism that stalks every human online, gathering massive amounts of information to target people with ads; the decimation of privacy; the data mining and surveillance; the direct cooperation of Internet service providers, search engine companies, telecomm firms and other money-driven behemoths with the U.S. military and "national security" state; the ruthless insatiable drive, led by Apple, Google, Microsoft and other digital giants, to maximize profits.
That's a very different approach to what the CAW has done in the past.
When people decry civilian deaths caused by the U.S government, they're aiding propaganda efforts. In sharp contrast, when civilian deaths are caused by bombers who hate America, the perpetrators are evil and those deaths are tragedies. When they put bombs in cars and kill people, they're uncivilized killers. When we put bombs on missiles and kill people, we're upholding civilized values. When they kill, they're terrorists. When we kill, we're striking against terror.
I think because of the more than 100,000 people who signed the RootsAction.org petition and because it speaks to deeply felt, growing concern and anger, it all resonates. People are fed up with war being labeled peace.
The belief in the bodily resurrection has no religious foundation, and the doctrine of immortality refers to the after-existence of the soul only.
While the House has grown somewhat restive, the Senate has remained notably pliant for the surveillance state.
I think it was President Eisenhower who said, in one of his more lucid moments, that the people of the world want peace so badly that one day the governments are going to have to get out of the way and let them have it. And I felt from so many people I met in Norway, a hunger to break out of the old paradigm. So many countries are under intimidating duress from the United States government. Those of us who live in the USA, it?s a particular challenge and responsibility to insist that human decency prevail over the mendacity and cruelty that is so implicit in the US government?s priorities. It?s really not that different for people in different parts of the world. We want some candor. We want some honesty. We want a process that can elevate government actions so that they respond to what?s best in human beings instead of what?s worst.
The Bush rhetoric about democracy has little to do with Washington's actual policy goals in the Middle East.
I think, a disquiet that exists in Norway as in many other parts of the world, but perhaps most acutely in Norway, that there?s concern the Nobel Peace Prize has lost its way and that the organization with the formal name Norwegian Nobel Committee is without a moral compass.
The espionage law is about 95 years old. It?s absurd to use it against a whistle-blower, and it conveys a government attitude that the ?enemy? is first and foremost the people of the United States. That is a tacit approach that embraces secrecy as a way of continuing to perpetrate policies that can?t stand the light of day. So they?re kept hidden in the dark. A basic precept of democracy is consent of the governed, and it?s only meaningful if you have informed consent of the governed. And when you see what Bradley Manning has said not only in the courtroom, but also in his online chats, when he never had any thought they would go public, he had an acute sense that the public needs to know what is being done, that that?s an absolute prerequisite for a meaningful democratic process. Most people don?t want war, and so the manipulation of information and filtration of it and the twisting of it, all that is a prerequisite for a warfare state. Bradley Manning was aiding the enemy only if the enemy is truth. Bradley Manning was committing espionage only if the beneficiaries of the alleged espionage are understood to be the citizens of United States, and for that matter people of the world, who are so much at risk from aggressive military action.