Saturday :: Jun 11, 2005

Here Comes The Sun

by pessimist

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

- George Harrison

There are times when things can look really bleak to a progressive blogger. One gets to wondering just why one does things, especially when it looks like one isn't getting anywhere. It's as if we have both the Curse of Cassandra - seeing the future and not being believed - and the fate of Sisyphus - condemned to rolling a rock uphill, only to watch it roll back down as we almost reach the top - cast upon us.

For those of us who saw clear back in 1999 nothing but great harm in the persona of George W. Bu$h, it has been a frustrating almost 6 years. We could see the pro-Bu$h media bias, and we were sure that the people of this country would rally to the cause of Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, who used his prosecutorial experience to charge that the Rehnquist Court commited treason by their bending of the law on a partisan basis to find in favor of George W. Bu$h. But we were not to see Americans rise up like the people of Bolivia just did in the defense of their nation's political and economic freedom.

Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.
- Thomas Jefferson

It was enough to make one give up hope, but like the British in 1940, faced with the onslaught of the Luftwaffe, we held out, waiting for the tide to turn.

That time may well be here.

For instance, King George's approval polling has never been lower, and there are other signs that the Red State mentality is finally beginning to fade - as all things red will do when exposed to the light. One of my Orange County (CA) Republican coworkers just sent me an email concerning Der Governator's attack upon the unionized state employees, saying that we have to stand up to him. And, I have been able to have discussions with certain coworkers who are evangelicals and fundamentalists and not have them lapse back into the latest lines they learned from Sean Hannity.

"The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
- Thomas Jefferson

And there are more favorable portents that foretell good fortune ahead.

The Democratic Party has been under the thrall of the Democratic Leadership Council far too long, but that influence over the congressional Democrats has been slipping of late, as the public demands more of their representatives than GOP Light. Certain brave souls like Howard Dean and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer and John Conyers have all taken very public stands against the excesses of Bu$hCo, and are paying the price for it - as any Google seach can attest from the number of negative articles to which Google seems to link first before any of the progressive articles begins to show up.

[Memo to Google - your search algorhythm has a distinct pro-radical-conservative bias - and I don't care what your denial or excuse is! I know this from experience. I know that I often have to get several pages into the results before I find non-right-wing links I can use.]

The world's media coverage is all over the extra-legal activities of Bu$hCo, and are a most-revealing souce of information that one can't easily get from the American media. But even this seems to be changing, as the American media is more and more performing the duty ascribed to them by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, who said:

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

As more people expand their range of information sources away from the traditional, confidence in the accuracy presentations of the traditional sources is falling:

Gallup: Public Confidence in News Media Falls to All-Time Low

Public trust in newspapers and television news continued to decline in Gallup's annual survey of "public confidence in major institutions" in the United States, reaching an all-time low this year. Those having a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers dipped from 30% to 28% in one year, the same total for television. The previous low for newspapers was 29% in 1994. Since 2000, confidence in newspapers has declined from 37% to 28%, and TV from 36% to 28%, according to the poll.

Looking at the newspaper numbers, of those surveyed, 24% say they have "very little" confidence in them, while 1% said "none." However, some other institutions fared far worse this year, suggesting a broad level of distrust, cynicism or malaise.

That should make Rupert Murdoch more than a little nervous!

There are also signs, however, that the media has noticed this lack of confidence in them, perhaps due to the amount of commentary levelled at them at the National Conference for Media Reform. As Bill Moyers said in his keynote address:

We're seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable. An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy—or worse.

I decided long ago that this wasn't healthy for democracy.

I came to believe that objective journalism means describing the object being reported on, including the little fibs and fantasies as well as the Big Lie of the people in power. I told our producers and correspondents that in our field reporting our job was to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth. The rise of a homeland security state meant government could justify extraordinary measures in exchange for protecting citizens against unnamed, even unproven, threats. Furthermore, increased spending during a national emergency can produce a spectacle of corruption behind a smokescreen of secrecy.

And always — because what people know depends on who owns the press — we kept coming back to the media business itself — to how mega media corporations were pushing journalism further and further down the hierarchy of values, how giant radio cartels were silencing critics while shutting communities off from essential information, and how the mega media companies were lobbying the FCC for the right to grow ever more powerful.

The more compelling our journalism, the angrier the radical right of the Republican party became. It wasn't that we were getting it wrong. The problem was that we were getting it right, not right-wing — telling stories that partisans in power didn't want told.

Apparently there was apoplexy in the right-wing [Chickenhawk] aerie when I closed the broadcast one Friday night by putting an American flag in my lapel, and here is [an excerpt of] what I said:

"I wore my flag tonight. First time. Until now I haven't thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see. It was enough to vote, pay my taxes, perform my civic duties, speak my mind, and do my best to raise our kids to be good Americans.

"So what's this doing here?

I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo — the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism.
"I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don't have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing (after they first stash the cash). I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what Bin Laden did to us.
The flag belongs to the country, not to the government.
And it reminds me that it's not un-American to think that war — except in self-defense — is a failure of moral imagination, political nerve, and diplomacy. Come to think of it, standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country."

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
- Thomas Jefferson

Someone has said recently that the great raucous mob that is democracy is rarely heard and that it's not just the fault of the current residents of the White House and the capital. There's too great a chasm between those of us in this business and those who depend on TV and radio as their window to the world. We treat them too much as an audience and not enough as citizens. They're invited to look through the window but too infrequently to come through the door and to participate, to make public broadcasting truly public.

We're big kids; we can handle controversy and diversity, whether it's political or religious points of view or two loving lesbian moms and their kids, visited by a cartoon rabbit. We are not too fragile or insecure to see America and the world entire for all their magnificent and sometimes violent confusion.

"There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by," John Steinbeck wrote. "It was called the people."

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of ... [Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.
- Thomas Jefferson

And now, as Moyers relates, one of these people now speaks out:

Vox Vocis Publicus

This letter came to me last year from a woman in New York. She said that "After the worst sneak attack in our history, there's not been a moment to reflect, a moment to let the horror resonate, a moment to feel the pain and regroup as humans. No, since I lost my husband on 9/11, not only our family's world, but the whole world seems to have gotten even worse than that tragic day."

She wanted me to know that on 9/11 her husband was not on duty. "He was home with me having coffee. But my Charlie took off like a lightning bolt to be with his men from the Special Operations Command. 'Bring my gear to the plaza,' he told his aide immediately after the first plane struck the North Tower ... He took action based on the responsibility he felt for his job and his men and for those Towers that he loved."

In the FDNY, she continued, chain-of-command rules extend to every captain of every fire house in the city. "If anything happens in the firehouse — at any time — even if the Captain isn't on duty or on vacation, that Captain is responsible for everything that goes on there 24/7."

So she asked: "Why is this administration responsible for nothing? All that they do is pass the blame. This is not leadership."

They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of the labor, property, and lives of their people.
- Thomas Jefferson

The fact that one such common person is asking this question has to be bad news for Bu$hCo - it means that their use of terrorism as a Weapon of Mass Distraction isn't working anymore, especially now that the Downing Street Memos have somehow reached through the fog of the War on Terra with the truth, and refuses to die despite the massive effort by the Righty Whirl-LIE-tzer to bury it under the snow job they call news.

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.
- Thomas Jefferson

Maybe the shift of the coverage of the American media has to do more with declining reader/viewership (and the ad revenue those numbers facilitate) instead of an editorial shift in the owners, but it looks to me that a real shift in the media cover over Bu$hCo has slipped off. Regardless of the reason, Bu$hCo isn't getting the free ride they have enjoyed since 1999. There are more eyes peering at them, and there is more whispering going on in the dark corners. There is more open denunciation, and more satirical presentation.

Despite the wrong-wing attempts to claim that these numbers lie, this puts them in direct contradiction of their stance on the exit polls. If the numbers in these approval polls are wrong, why should we not also believe that the 2004 exit polls were telling us the real story - and that the vote counts really were altered?

The Fall Of The House Of Gusher

The evidence that things are not right with the government of this nation is piling up to the point that even Red Staters can't ignore it. As they remove the religious blinders that superimpose halos around the heads of their 'chosen' national leaders, they can see that they were lied to. If they truly believe that a man's word is his bond, they have to feel that they have been cheated. It isn't going to matter anymore about gay marriage if those who pledge their word prove to be false to that pledge. It will begin to matter that there were no WMD when Johnny's casket comes home as Dad's job goes to India or China. It will begin to matter that America is not a free country anymore when a man can't stand up for his rights on the job because his employer owns the government enforcement agency which is to ensure his rights, and which guarantees that the employer pays less taxes.

The path that lays ahead of the Bu$hCo agenda isn't making anyone more free. No one should know this better than those whose traditions include those of the Free Soilers - and it is looking like they are beginning to remember this.

They might also heed the words of the FDNY widow to Bill Moyers:

She wrote: "We need more programs like yours to wake America up.... Such programs must continue amidst the sea of false images and name calling that divide America now.... Such programs give us hope that search will continue to get this imperfect human condition on to a higher plane.... Without public broadcasting, all we would call news would be merely carefully controlled propaganda."

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
- Thomas Jefferson

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

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pessimist :: 12:34 PM :: Comments (21) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!