Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
Posted in Activism, Civil Rights, Corporations, Current Events, History, International, Justice System, Law Enforcement, LGBT, Media, Politics, Republicans, Wall Street, Writing on May 2, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Today has been crazy busy, so no posting except for my column this week, which should piss a few people off.
It’s about Pfc Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence officer who leaked some things (actually many thing) to Wikileaks that were very bad or very good, depending on your outlook. I side with the latter viewpoint.
Manning is the U.S. Army Pfc who was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly passing classified secrets to Wikileaks, which published many of them. Manning, who was unhappy with his life in the military, was accused by prosecutors of being motivated primarily by this unhappiness. Manning and his supporters argue that he motivated by the very things I mentioned at the beginning of this piece: a desire to expose the hypocrisy of a military system that professed to be using troops to defend truth, freedom and the American way, but which instead was wasting untold military lives to wage wars which would, as we all know now, end up being next to pointless.
But Manning exposed more than just a government and military willing to kill its own for ephemeral gains. He also exposed needless deaths of Iraqi and Afghani civilians, including the May, 4, 2009 Garanal massacre, a B-1 bombing raid which is said to have killed between 86-147 Afghan civilians. This was a war crime, pure and simple.
American government and military officials say that Manning put American military lives in danger because of the anger these kinds of leaks engendered in local populations. A more critical reading of these incidents brings up more important questions, including the most important one of all: Aren’t we supposed to be the good guys? All it takes is a few mass murders by our military, and the sheen of righteousness in which they cloak themselves washed away.
Manning had issues and we may never know how pure his motivations were. But that is not relevant. The information he released showed an American government and military, which were telling the U.S. public one thing, while committing war crimes in the Middle East. The Manning leaks also show a military effort that was often haphazard and at odd with its stated goals. If you cannot work up a tear or two over civilian casualties in war, how about working some up over dead soldiers who were fighting and dying for little more than window dressing meant to sell the war to a skeptical public at home?
Sound familiar? It should if you know recent American history at all, because of a psychiatrist and private contractor with the Rand Corporation named Daniel Ellsberg who, in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers showing that the U.S. government basically had no idea what it was doing in the Vietnam War. Those papers were published by no less than the New York Times, and the incident is considered a seminal moment in free speech and newspaper publishing in America.
You can read the rest here.
Clearly I’m somewhat less than an expert in this area.
Actually, not much more.
Watch as news anchors get the giggles after interviewing the hydrologically talented, but obviously vacuous, Ryan Lochte.
Begins with a commercial you can cancel out of after a few seconds. Worth the wait.
I had a roommate once who was going through a terrible break-up and all he would do is sit in our living room and blare “I Will Always Love You” over and over again through the stereo speakers — and not the cool Whitney version, but rather the treacly, twangy “Best Little Whorehouse In Texas” version.
If he had not found another boyfriend when he did, I believe there would an outside chance that I would have spent time in prison for assault.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the worldwide mainstream media news stream today, you know that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died. The deification of the heartless former PM, and whitewashing of her terrible record on economics and social policy, has begun ad nauseum.
Now along comes Glen Greenwald in The Guardian to basically remind us that not all public figures, especially ones whose politics and policies helped get the world in the financial mess it is in today, deserve to have their memories preserved in a positive way:
News of Margaret Thatcher’s death this morning instantly and predictably gave rise to righteous sermons on the evils of speaking ill of her. British Labour MP Tom Watson decreed: “I hope that people on the left of politics respect a family in grief today.” Following in the footsteps of Santa Claus, Steve Hynd quickly compiled a list of all the naughty boys and girls “on the left” who dared to express criticisms of the dearly departed Prime Minister, warning that he “will continue to add to this list throughout the day”. Former Tory MP Louise Mensch, with no apparent sense of irony, invoked precepts of propriety to announce: “Pygmies of the left so predictably embarrassing yourselves, know this: not a one of your leaders will ever be globally mourned like her.”
This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. “Respecting the grief” of Thatcher family’s members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person’s life and political acts. I made this argument at length last year when Christopher Hitchens died and a speak-no-ill rule about him was instantly imposed (a rule he, more than anyone, viciously violated), and I won’t repeat that argument today; those interested can read my reasoning here.
She was a terrible person. She had to be to champion the Ayn Randian policies she rammed through on an unsuspecting public.
I feel for her family. But she was still an awful person.