Category Archives: Politics
Harrowing predictions of climate scientists are coming true, as glaciers melt, forests burn, heat waves proliferate and freakish weather strikes in unexpected places. But the propagandists of global-warming denial have succeeded in silencing most politicians and the mainstream press. Written by Robert Parry
Something called a “derecho” – a fast-moving line of thunderstorms – strikes the Washington area knocking out power for days. Massive forest fires ravage Colorado. A record heat wave covers much of the country. The U.S. press treats these events as major stories, but two words are rarely mentioned: “global warming.”
What has become most striking about the growing evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger – indeed an emerging existential threat – is the simultaneous failure of the U.S. news media to deal seriously with the issue, another sign of how the Right can intimidate the mainstream into going silent.
Evan Vucci/AP In Pictures: Extreme weather 2012
We have seen this pattern before, as the Right sets the media agenda by bullying those who threaten its ideological interests. Before the Iraq War, anyone who dared raise questions about the Bush administration’s justifications could expect to be marginalized or worse. Just ask Phil Donahue, Scott Ritter and the Dixie Chicks.
During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, his hard-nosed propagandists dubbed this tactic “controversializing,” that is, anyone who got too much in the way could expect to be subjected to systematic smears and professional deconstruction. With so many right-wing voices willing to say almost anything, it wasn’t hard to intimidate people.
The smart career play was always to retreat when these forces were arrayed against you. Why risk your six- or seven-figure salary on some issue when there are so many other stories that you can work on without all the grief?
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Mr. Obama said.
Long a proponent of civil unions, Mr. Obama said his views had changed in part because of prodding by friends who are gay and by conversations with his wife and daughters.
“I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient,” Mr. Obama said. “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.”
Mr. Obama also invoked his Christian faith in explaining his decision.
“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule — you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated,” he said. “And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”
Paul Cezanne, “Hortense Breast Feeding Paul”, 1872,
Breastfeeding moms and their supporters have been hearing empty apologies from Facebook for months, for a problem that dates back years. We have reuploaded photos and shared them, only to have them removed again, and again. We are still being harassed, bullied, intimated, and our accounts are being suspended.
Cherie Raymond, suspended now for 30 days for sharing Cézanne’s 1872 painting of his son being breastfeed, was also suspended for 30 days in February for sharing our media notice with a photo Facebook encouraged Emma Kwasnica to reupload after you apologized for its removal.
Empty apologies do not make good public policy.
One of the many reasons why I despise Facebook.
This is one of my favorite stories from Christmas past. I am reposting this from the archives of November, 2005.
WWI veteran, 109, was Scotland’s oldest man
LONDON, England (AP) — Alfred Anderson, the last surviving soldier to have heard the guns fall silent along the Western Front during the spontaneous “Christmas Truce” of World War I, died Monday at age 109.
More than 80 years after the war, Anderson recalled the “eerie sound of silence” as shooting stopped and soldiers clambered from trenches to greet one another December 25, 1914.
His parish priest, the Rev. Neil Gardner, said Anderson died in his sleep early Monday at a nursing home in Newtyle, Scotland. His death leaves fewer than 10 veterans of World War I alive in Britain.
Born June 25, 1896, Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from the trenches that Christmas Day in 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud, barbed wire and shell-holes of no man’s land.
The informal truce spread along much of the 500-mile Western Front, in some cases lasting for days — alarming army commanders who feared fraternization would sap the troops’ will to fight. The next year brought the start of vast battles of attrition that claimed 10 million lives, and the Christmas truce was never repeated.
“I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” Anderson told The Observer newspaper last year.
“All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine-gun fire and distant German voices,” said Anderson, who was billeted in a French farmhouse behind the front lines.
“But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas,’ even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.”
During the war, Anderson served briefly as batman — or valet — to Capt. Fergus Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Mother Elizabeth. Bowes-Lyon was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.
Prince Charles said he was “deeply saddened” by Anderson’s death and recalled meeting him several times. “We should not forget him, and the others of his generation who have given so much for their country,” the heir to the British throne said.
Anderson fought in France until 1916, when he was wounded by shrapnel. In 1998, he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor for his war service.
Anderson was Scotland’s oldest man. The country’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, said he “represented the generation of young Scots who fought in the First World War, and endured unimaginable horrors.”
“Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and we must never forget what they have given to us.”
Lt. Col. Roddy Riddell, regimental secretary of the Black Watch, said Anderson’s death marked “the end of the epoch.”
“The entire regiment is in mourning and we are all the sadder for his passing,” he said.
Gardner said Anderson “was quite philosophical about his wartime experiences.” Anderson himself said he tried to put them out of his mind.
“I think about all my friends who never made it home,” he said once. “But it’s too sad to think too much about it. Far too sad.”
In later years, Anderson spoke often of the guilt he felt over the loss of friends and comrades.
“I felt so guilty meeting the families of friends who were lost,” he told The Times newspaper this month. “They looked at me as if I should have been left in the mud of France instead of their loved one. I couldn’t blame them, they were grieving, and I still share their grief and bear that feeling of guilt.”
PORTLAND, OREGON — November 17, 2011 — A police officer deployed pepper spray at SW Yamhill, between the JP Morgan Chase bank and Pioneer Courthouse Square. The photo was taken from the southeast corner of the square, looking toward the intersection of 6th and Yamhill after a day of marching through downtown Portland, Ore., by Occupy Portland participants. People gathered on the east side of the Steel bridge earlier in the morning to demonstrate in support of the Occupy movement, on the day known as N17. Several people were arrested and the march continued over the lower span of the bridge into downtown, where a rally was planned. Later in the day people were arrested in a Wells Fargo branch downtown.