The roundup of the news that catches my eye and matters to me is focused around a national theme, as it often is.
We are too easily misled and kept in the dark. When we see a bit of light, it is too easy to cover our eyes. We have been progressively desensitized, but we’re not the first.
I am beginning to have some hope again.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” — Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Americans are starting to be unable to avoid recognitions of some of the consequences… at last. Don’t forget the lessons of the “Good Germans”.
Our moral trajectory over the Bush years could not be better dramatized than it was by a reunion of an elite group of two dozen World War II veterans in Washington this month. They were participants in a top-secret operation to interrogate some 4,000 Nazi prisoners of war. Until now, they have kept silent, but Americaâ€™s recent record prompted them to talk to The Washington Post.
â€œWe got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,â€ said Henry Kolm, 90, an M.I.T. physicist whose interrogation of Rudolf Hess, Hitlerâ€™s deputy, took place over a chessboard. George Frenkel, 87, recalled that he â€œnever laid hands on anyoneâ€ in his many interrogations, adding, â€œIâ€™m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.â€
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those â€œgood Germansâ€ who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. Itâ€™s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the warâ€™s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our countryâ€™s good name.
In related news, Gen. Michael V. Hayden has ordered an investigation of its own Inspector General John L. Helgerson – for Helgerson’s own investigations into the CIA’s involvement in torture. Got that? Read it again.
This warrants an immediate and aggressive investigation by Congress into a clear case of attempting to suppress dedicated public servants because they may believe the United States should abide by international law and basic human morality. … This story fits the pattern of absolutely everything this Administration does: fail, commit crimes, try to cover up those failures and crimes, and when honest and competent people make honest and competent efforts to keep our government honest and competent, punish them.
On the domestic front lines, it looks as though the NSA approached Qwest before 9/11 to enlist telecommunications firms in surveillance without court oversight. Don’t give me any more fluff about the “post-911 world,” if you please.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio’s lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records. In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest’s refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution.
From Gary Wood at Hear My Thunder, here’s a commentary worth reading on our 4th largest city, Prison USA:
Based on 2005 population figures for both our prisons and U.S. cities the prison population would rank as the 4th largest city behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago while beating Houston out by over 200,000 people.
Check out Amy Branham’s article on how we went shopping while our constitution burned, too.
Be sure to take a look at Jon Stewart’s little video on Americaâ€™s favorite private mercenary force (Killing People since 1906 … for Money), care of Crooks and Liars.
One nice thing in the news, at least. Hey, Al Gore! You rock! Congrats on the Nobel Peace Prize!
But McCain is such a wanker, making this nasty and absurd statement:
Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain said the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, announced today, should have gone to someone else other than former Vice President Al Gore. “I would have liked to see that prize go to the Buddhist monks who are suffering and dying in Burma,” McCain said after a speech this morning in Davenport.
I sure hope not, but nice try for the heartstrings. There would have been a long line of suffering and dying people who would have been in line before them.
I think Gore’s contribution was to work for the recognition of a worldwide problem that we need to solve together in peace. We can all be warring with one another until there is nothing left to fight for, or we can work together on a larger project, one that is truly a global problem.
…McCain, an Arizona senator, said he hoped Gore would now support nuclear power and a cap and trade proposal made by McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman to mandate that all sections of the U.S. economy reduce greenhouse gasses through a market-based system of trading emissions.
Trading guilt – like indulgences?
At this point, the second Lieberman’s name is on it, I have serious reservations. I would be more optimistic about nuclear power in the US if I felt sure about the government’s true ability or inclination to safeguard the public…
The statement from White House spokeman Tony Fratto on the honor to Gore was hilarious (or maybe it’s just me). Not only is Bush fully aware that Gore should have been President… but don’t forget that Bush has vigorously opposed mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas throughout his “reign,” appointed industry cronies to important posts, and even interfered with scientific reports. Bush may be the least environmentally-friendly President in history, and he is no friend to Gore (obviously). So, what can he say?
First there is the humorous suggestion that the President is “happy”:
â€œOf course heâ€™s happy for (former) vice-president Gore and happy for the international panel on climate change scientists who also shared the peace prize.â€
But it gets better!
Obviously, itâ€™s an important recognition and weâ€™re sure the vice president is thrilled.
It almost gushes – we’re SURE the vice president is THRILLED. Mrriooww- hissss.
I want to see, and I think it’s really time for us all to see, a serious unmoderated round-table debate between John Edwards, Dennis Kuchinich, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and maybe even Ron Paul. I’m getting tired of the bull already. I don’t want a performance – I want to see a serious discussion where they have to deal with each other.
What I’ve seen of the Republican debates doesn’t make me want to see any more, but they should do this too.
And – hey – why not have a series of two at a time? Not the stupid dogshows they do later, but real debates. Unmoderated debates, but under standard rules of debate. Sigh. I’ll keep hoping, although everything I see works against it ever happening.