Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 Armistice Day (One Holiday Not Designated for Celebration of GWOT) Who Do These MotherF*ckers Work For? Not the Taxpayers - You Betcha! (Chris Matthews Exposed or Redeemed?)

Tranquility Park - Houston

 27 Houston cops arrest six protesters for having tarp in park
In all, a total of 27 police officers responded to the scene in 19 squad cars, according to the protesters. Police had confronted the group around 11 p.m. about a tarp they were using to protect their equipment from the elements. It was not being used as a makeshift structure.
After about 20 minutes of negotiating, police decided to begin arresting the protesters, who refused to remove their tarp. Six individuals were peacefully arrested, and police confiscated the group’s equipment, along with the tarp. Another three were also detained for “jaywalking” and interfering with police, but later released.

Idiot? Or Just Well-Paid by Banksters?

Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois became noticeably upset during a meeting with his constituents in Gurnee over the weekend after it was suggested that financial regulatory reform would be beneficial.

One person in the UNO Bar & Grill pointed out that people in the banking industry often occupied positions at federal agencies charged with regulating the financial sector.
“I agree with you about that,” he yelled. “That’s not the problem!”

. . . And it’s not the private marketplace that created this mess. What created mess this mess is your government, which has demanded for years that everybody be in a home. And we’ve made it easy as possible for people to be in homes. All the marketplace does is respond to what the government does. The government sets the rules.”

“Don’t blame banks, and don’t blame the marketplace for the mess we’re in right now,” he continued. “I am tired of hearing that crap!”
Watch video, clipped by ThinkProgress.
  WATCH LIVE: Police considering arrests at Occupy London

By David Swanson

Global Research, November 8, 2011

Believe it or not, November 11th was not made a holiday in order to celebrate war, support troops, or cheer the 11th year of occupying Afghanistan.  This day was made a holiday in order to celebrate an armistice that ended what was up until that point, in 1918, one of the worst things our species had thus far done to itself, namely World War I.

World War I, then known simply as the world war or the great war, had been marketed as a war to end war.  Celebrating its end was also understood as celebrating the end of all wars.  A ten-year campaign was launched in 1918 that in 1928 created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, legally banning all wars.  That treaty is still on the books, which is why war making is a criminal act and how Nazis came to be prosecuted for it.

"[O]n November 11, 1918, there ended the most unnecessary, the most financially exhausting, and the most terribly fatal of all the wars that the world has ever known. Twenty millions of men and women, in that war, were killed outright, or died later from wounds. The Spanish influenza, admittedly caused by the War and nothing else, killed, in various lands, one hundred million persons more." - Thomas Hall Shastid, 1927.

According to U.S. Socialist Victor Berger, all the United States had gained from participation in World War I was the flu and prohibition. It was not an uncommon view. Millions of Americans who had supported World War I came, during the years following its completion on November 11, 1918, to reject the idea that anything could ever be gained through warfare.

Sherwood Eddy, who coauthored "The Abolition of War" in 1924, wrote that he had been an early and enthusiastic supporter of U.S. entry into World War I and had abhorred pacifism. He had viewed the war as a religious crusade and had been reassured by the fact that the United States entered the war on a Good Friday. At the war front, as the battles raged, Eddy writes, "we told the soldiers that if they would win we would give them a new world."

Eddy seems, in a typical manner, to have come to believe his own propaganda and to have resolved to make good on the promise. "But I can remember," he writes, "that even during the war I began to be troubled by grave doubts and misgivings of conscience." It took him 10 years to arrive at the position of complete Outlawry, that is to say, of wanting to legally outlaw all war. By 1924 Eddy believed that the campaign for Outlawry amounted, for him, to a noble and glorious cause worthy of sacrifice, or what U.S. philosopher William James had called "the moral equivalent of war." Eddy now argued that war was "unchristian." Many came to share that view who a decade earlier had believed Christianity required war. A major factor in this shift was direct experience with the hell of modern warfare, an experience captured for us by the British poet Wilfred Owen in these famous lines:

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

The propaganda machinery invented by President Woodrow Wilson and his Committee on Public Information had drawn Americans into the war with exaggerated and fictional tales of German atrocities in Belgium, posters depicting Jesus Christ in khaki sighting down a gun barrel, and promises of selfless devotion to making the world safe for democracy. The extent of the casualties was hidden from the public as much as possible during the course of the war, but by the time it was over many had learned something of war's reality. And many had come to resent the manipulation of noble emotions that had pulled an independent nation into overseas barbarity.

However, the propaganda that motivated the fighting was not immediately erased from people's minds. A war to end wars and make the world safe for democracy cannot end without some lingering demand for peace and justice, or at least for something more valuable than the flu and prohibition. Even those rejecting the idea that the war could in any way help advance the cause of peace aligned with all those wanting to avoid all future wars - a group that probably encompassed most of the U.S. population.

As Wilson had talked up peace as the official reason for going to war, countless souls had taken him extremely seriously. "It is no exaggeration to say that where there had been relatively few peace schemes before the World War," writes Robert Ferrell, "there now were hundreds and even thousands" in Europe and the United States. The decade following the war was a decade of searching for peace: "Peace echoed through so many sermons, speeches, and state papers that it drove itself into the consciousness of everyone. Never in world history was peace so great a desideratum, so much talked about, looked toward, and planned for, as in the decade after the 1918 Armistice."

Let us try to revive some memory of that foreign world on the occasion of the latest "veterans day" this Friday in this brave new era of searching for more war.

(David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War" from which this is adapted.)

I don't watch Chris Matthews' Hardball as I've never thought he was particularly knowledgeable about history or politics and that the only hard ball played there was against his personal enemies (whoever they are at the moment).

Matthews has written a book on JFK that is being well reviewed, so I may have to change my opinion after I read it. Seems unlikely now, but I will give him a chance to redeem himself (a little bit anyway).

Here's the letter David Brock sent to NBC News President Steve Capus on the subject of Matthews' unprofessionalism back in 2008. Do you think he behaves more professionally on air now? I'm bracing myself for the onslaught of his friends' book reviews.

January 16, 2008

Steve Capus
President, NBC News
NBC Television Network
30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

Dear Mr. Capus:

I'm writing today to express urgent concern over the appalling on-air conduct of MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews and to ask that you engage Media Matters for America and other concerned parties in the broader community of NBC viewers in a constructive dialogue about appropriate remedies to this most unfortunate state of affairs at NBC's cable news channel MSNBC.

As you know, the event precipitating the current firestorm surrounding Matthews' conduct occurred on MSNBC last week in the wake of Senator Hillary Clinton's victory in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. During MSNBC's coverage that night, Matthews said he would "never underestimate Hillary Clinton again" - an apparent reference to his long-standing pattern of on-air denigration of Senator Clinton's candidacy and persona - documented in a Media Matters survey of Hardball with Chris Matthews published December 18, 2007 (attached). The following morning, on the MSNBC program Morning Joe, Matthews said of Clinton, "the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around" and that "she didn't win [New York] on her merits." These statements were demonstrably false, utterly disrespectful, and, as the ensuing controversy has revealed, deeply offensive to many Americans.

Given Matthews' history of animus toward both Senator Clinton and President Bill Clinton, these remarks might be seen as just par for the course. After all, MSNBC has entrusted Matthews - as Hardball host, frequent on-air news anchor for MSNBC, and host of the syndicated Chris Matthews Show run on the NBC broadcast network - with a prominent role in political campaign coverage throughout the last year, despite his 2001 statement referencing Clinton reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer magazine: "I hate her. I hate her. All that she stands for." To my knowledge, Matthews has not disputed the quote, which betrays an ugly and unprofessional personal bias that unfairly skews political coverage of one of the leading candidates for President of the United States night after night on MSNBC.

Matthews has referred to Clinton as a "She Devil," compared her to a "strip-teaser" and referred to her as "witchy." He has referred to men who support her as "castratos in the eunuch chorus." He has suggested Clinton is not "a convincing mom," and said "modern women" like Clinton are unacceptable to "Midwest guys." Even Matthews' journalistic guests have called out Matthews for using sexist rhetoric. On one episode of Hardball devoted to what Matthews repeatedly referred to as Clinton's "cackle," Politico reporter Mike Allen broke in and said, "Chris, first of all, 'cackle' is a very sexist term." Matthews has hosted right-wing radio host Michael Graham, who said on Hardball:

"Anyone listening to Hillary Rodham in her speech last week about patriotism, that screaming, screeching fingernail, I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron. That's what I wanted to do." (Matthews is quoted on the jacket of one of Graham's books endorsing the radio host as "the funniest political observer in the country. The guy turns the truth into a punch.")

According to a Media Matters count, over the course of two weeks in 2006, Matthews barraged his guests with 90 separate questions about what Matthews has variously described as Bill Clinton's purported "lifestyle," "social life," "personal behavior," and "personal life." This pattern of obsessive personal attacks on the Clintons has, of course, been glaringly on display for years; back in 1998, Salon memorably described Hardball as the "official cable club house for Clinton-haters."

But last week - with America engaged in an invigorating democratic process, in a moment freighted with the potential for historic progress and promise in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans as, for the first time in our history, both a woman and an African-American are leading candidates for the presidency - Matthews' sexist attack struck a nerve.

Senator Clinton's candidacy aside, Matthews' degrading attacks on women constitute a broader and more troubling pattern that has unfolded over the years. During his coverage of the 2000 presidential race, Matthews repeatedly referred to author Naomi Wolf as "the political equivalent of Viagra." His on-air treatment of CNBC anchor Erin Burnett ("Could you get a little closer to the camera? ... You're beautiful. ... You're a knockout.") has been described by Emily's List President Ellen Malcolm as "sexual harassment brought to you by MSNBC." Matthews once ended an interview with right-wing radio host and author Laura Ingraham by saying, "I get in trouble for this, but you're great looking, obviously. You're one of the gods' gifts to men in this country. But also, you are a hell of a writer."

During coverage of a presidential debate last spring, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell appeared compelled to remind Matthews that Democratic Senator Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, is a Harvard-educated lawyer as Matthews focused obsessively on her physical appearance, stating she "looked perfect," "well-turned out ... attractive - classy, as we used to say. Like Frank Sinatra, 'classy.' "

Why NBC apparently believes such conduct and speech to be informative, appropriate or responsible broadcasting in the public interest is a question for you and for General Electric's management and Board of Directors. In this regard, I should note that gender-based attacks have also been documented by Media Matters on MSNBC's show Tucker, hosted by Tucker Carlson. Carlson invoked Lorena Bobbitt to claim that Clinton is tapping into women's anger toward men, and on another broadcast of Tucker, said of Clinton: "[W]hen she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." During a discussion of how gender might play into Senator Clinton's candidacy, Carlson's right-wing guest Cliff May said, "At least call her a Vaginal-American."

My concern about your network's broadcast standards is not limited to sexism. In 2006, Matthews hosted right-wing pundit Ann Coulter the day after she had posited on another NBC cable network, CNBC, on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, that Bill Clinton is gay. Questioned about the remark by Matthews, Coulter offered a bizarre theory to conclude Clinton "shows some level of latent homosexuality." She continued, "I don't know if he's gay, but Al Gore - total fag." Matthews concluded the interview with, "Well, thanks, Ann, you're great."

In Warp Speed: America in the Age of Mixed Media, the esteemed media critics Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel wrote, " 'Hardball' has no grounding in reporting, no basic news function, is not designed to elicit facts or explore issues with policy-makers."

That judgment notwithstanding, as you well know, programs like Hardball define wider media narratives and agendas and shape public perceptions about public affairs, especially, as is the case now, when the nation is poised to make critical choices about its future direction. Given Matthews' record detailed above, I fear that he will continue to insult, misinform, and ultimately disserve the public as we continue to engage in a basic process of our democracy in the coming months.

My concerns are based in fact. According to a study by the nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism of political media coverage in 2000, Hardball accounted for 12 percent of all media reports that discussed presidential candidate Al Gore's purported "tendency to exaggerate," a false campaign narrative perpetuated by the Republican National Committee. Indeed, Matthews seemed so unfair in his treatment of Gore that NBC Today show host Matt Lauer upbraided him on the air, saying, "Let's be honest here. Al Gore irritates you." "The public has been saying that too," Matthews replied.

The aforementioned Media Matters study examined Matthews' statements on Hardball about the two then-front-running candidates in each political party, Clinton and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in the months of September, October, and November 2007. The results showed Matthews made 10 negative remarks about Clinton for every negative remark he made about Giuliani. Moreover, Matthews made nearly three times as many positive remarks about Giuliani as about Clinton.

In addition, Matthews has said on Hardball that he believes Republican Senator John McCain "deserves to be president."

Mr. Capus, during the controversy last spring surrounding Don Imus' racist and sexist remarks broadcast on MSNBC - remarks first documented by Media Matters - we commended your acknowledgement that NBC has a responsibility to protect the network's trusted reputation for fair and equal coverage and to "continue the dialogue about what is appropriate conduct and speech" on its air. In the case of Chris Matthews, I implore you to once again consider the gravity of that responsibility.

I look forward to your reply.


David Brock,
President & CEO
Media Matters for America


Bustednuckles said...

Keep after the bastards baby.


This bullshit with the OWS's is coming to a head.

Suzan said...

You know I will, sweetheart.

Just wish we could form a posse of reporters so nothing gets by when the occupiers are taken down.

TONY said...

I was watching the GOP debates the other night, Suzan, and it occurred to me that none of these clowns could defeat Obama head to head. In the unlikely event he loses, his nemesis will have been not anybody from the GOPers, but Angela Merkel. If she fails to save the Euro and Eurozone, the resultant global ramifications could bring Obama down in the vortex. With President Romney in power to deal with OWS or what remains of the movement in 2012, I predict repression followed by UK-style riots in parts of America.

Suzan said...

You're always right, Tony.


Greece back to the drachma, Italy to the lira, Portugal to the escudo, and all bets off?

Work for peace.

And a new progressive US government that will address the real problems we face in the world today.

I must be dreaming to even say such fantasy, huh?

Love ya,