Norman Solomon


American Journalist, Antiwar Activist, Media Critic and Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives

Author Quotes

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 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.

The character of the Bush administration is such that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations will -- in practice -- indignantly refuse to recognize a single standard of human rights whenever such a standard would put the U.S. record in a negative light.

Charities and other nonprofits are struggling to cope with deep economic wounds that have been festering for years. The dire consequences are far more widespread than private agencies can possibly heal.

Only government has the capacity to provide economic remedies for social distress of this magnitude. But government is failing.

Uncle Sam is making bad choices. For instance, policymakers are squandering money — and taking lives — in a war effort that costs about $1 million per year for each U.S. soldier now in Afghanistan. The failure of Congress to enact a proposed one-quarter of 1 percent transaction tax on Wall Street is depriving the U.S. Treasury of $150 billion a year. And so it goes.

Our national funding priorities are out of whack. We must change them to revive our communities.

The boast that the United States is now the world's only superpower has a grim undertow in the area of human rights; no one can tell Washington what to do or not do, no matter how egregious its cruelties.

The policies are matters of priorities. And the priorities of the Bush White House are clear. For killing in Iraq, they spare no expense. For protecting and sustaining life, the cupboards go bare The problem is not incompetence. It's inhumanity, cruelty and greed.

The country’s largest media institutions operate on a basis of enormous respect for presidential power. Overall, mass media outlets restrain the momentum of denunciations lest they appear to create instability for the Republic.

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American Journalist, Antiwar Activist, Media Critic and Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives