Monthly Archives: March 2003

No current events here

A prayer for service men and women, their families, and our leaders to find the wisdom thru this.

TV news overage, portrays war like a spectator sport. Can’t stand it. Newspapers and websites seem to be the only place to go.

Speaking of newspapers, Philly.com‘s is among the best. I work for the company and yes I’m biased. But it’s good to see breaking news beyond the expected Reuters and AP.

Kevin Sites is very close to what’s going on. Possibly why he hasn’t updated his weblog since Tuesday.

Wbur.org’s weblog on Iraq is impressive.

The Rational Enquirer is pulling links from around the web.

WashingtonPost: Putting Patriotism to the Test:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

SFGate: Family Portraits: A new generation for peace.

Times Shadow: Responsibility

So when the shooting starts and the terrible things happen, the burden is on us to keep faith with them, not to judge them, even if we couch our judgment in words like ?grieve.? Better one should grieve for oneself than presume to grieve for the moral failure of a soldier doing his or her duty, holding up their end of the bargain while we shirked ours. They will not fail in their military objective. Some few of them may fail in their duty as a soldier and as a human being, and commit acts not in accordance with the laws of war. Even then, the burden is on us to keep faith with them, because we placed them in those circumstances, through our own inaction and indifference. We keep faith with them by holding our tongues, and we forgive them, and we ask them to forgive us. We let them down first. Our institutions will hold them accountable. It?s hard to say if anyone will hold us accountable.

Thanks to Jonathon Delacour for the last one.

Links and questions to make you think

Mainstream TV news sucks beyond belief. It’s commentary seems pulled directly from football games and boxing matches. You will need to dig to form educated opinions.

frontline: the long road to war. Find out how we got here. A comprehensive backgrounder on the last 12 years.

Esquire: The Pentagon’s New Map. The expressed goals: To connect the world. Spread globalization. Disconnectedness defines danger. Shrink the gap.

Guardian: Bill Clinton: Trust Tony’s judgment. President Clinton was globalization’s greatest champion.

Reuters: no clear proof globalization helps the poor. Uh-oh.

Newsweek: Where did the love go?. I won’t repeat their stupid title. But after 9/11 the world stood behind us. What about now? A must read.

WashPost: Gary Hart, out of the shadow of doom. A candidate?

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. President Clinton acted without UN support in Bosnia. Read his speach to the United States justifying our actions. What is it about this time that is different?

  2. Whether or not you believe our actions in Iraq are justified or not, how long do you think our commitment will need to be to reach our goals? How about after the military action stops?
  3. What will the ramifications of the commitment be? Are we prepared to make the called for sacrifices? Is anyone asking us of them? Warning us of them?
  4. What of Bin Laden, the bastard that attacked us? Are we safer today then we were before 9/11? If so, by how much?
  5. Are you among those who think Saddam was behind 9/11? Why with the reporting (altnernative and mainstream) to the contrary?
  6. Does the growing intolerance of thought and expression worry you?
  7. Is patriotrism love of the flag or of the Constitution?
  8. Did you vote last election? Is not voting patriotic? Did you not vote but recently feel someone else wasn’t patriotic? What are your responsibilities as a citizen?
  9. Where did the wide support after 9/11 go? Do you even remember it?
  10. Do you feel these events are beyond your control? Do you wonder why you should even care?
  11. President Clinton was the first Boomer President. President George W. Bush is the second. Boomers and Gen-X are largely in charge now. Do you think it a coincidence that the structures the WWII generation put in place are now being dismantled, marginalized, and maligned?
  12. Broad cooperation is needed to fight terrorism. How have our diplomatic efforts gone to achieve this aim?
  13. Doesn’t it prove something positive that Germany is pacifist?
  14. Are there any historical time periods that mirror our own and do they provide us with any lessons? What did leaders in that age do in response? Were the 90s a mirror image of the 20s?
  15. Do you think that leaving Saddam in place is good for the civilian population of Iraq? How has it been the last 12 years? What are the alternatives?

Also providing you links that make you think: rc3.org, dangerousmeta, Oliver Willis, Eschaton, The Rittenhouse Review.

Like Rafe (rc3.org) I apologize for the current events linkage. I will refrain from commentary and do my best to not contribute to data smog. It’s real, real thick right now.

But yield who will to their separation
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and future’s sakes.
Robert Frost

A musical way to support our troops and Fahrenheit 451

TROOPTrax helps you to send them music.

Speaking of CDs, protestors are now smashing Dixie Chicks disks. I think what they said was stupid. But if I was pissed I wouldn’t try and put words in their mouths and destroy them. Doesn’t this remind you of Fahrenheit 451? If you havn’t read the book… now is the time. Quote:

“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals.”

Can’t stand Bob Dylan?

Bob Dylan is a great songwriter but his voice has always annoyed me. It seems designed to push away people more interested in performance then lyrics. That’s why his songs have always made good covers: musicians recognize a good song from him and put a more accessible performance to it. Which “All Along The Watchtower” do you listen to? Be honest.

I know many of you feel the way I do. His voice sounds like chalk raked across blackboard. I can’t take it.

There is an alternative: Woody Guthrie. Dylan was inspired by him, his songwriting was just as, if not more powerful, and he can sing!

“Do Re Mi.” – Woody Guthrie, 1937

Lots of folks back East, they say, is leavin’ home every day,
Beatin’ the hot old dusty way to the California line.
‘Cross the desert sands they roll, gettin’ out of that old dust bowl,
They think they’re goin’ to a sugar bowl, but here’s what they find –
Now, the police at the port of entry say,
“You’re number fourteen thousand for today.”

CHORUS:
Oh, if you ain’t got the do re mi, folks, you ain’t got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi.

You want to buy you a home or a farm, that can’t deal nobody harm,
Or take your vacation by the mountains or sea.
Don’t swap your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are,
Better take this little tip from me.
‘Cause I look through the want ads every day
But the headlines on the papers always say:

If you ain’t got the do re mi, boys, you ain’t got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi.

Even more optimism to make you blink

What? Couldn’t take a complicated, but overall optimistic, post yesterday? Here goes some more:

Garret has asked, “where are the protest songs?”.

So has The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The NYTimes.

My answer has been in two parts: 1. They are on the way. 2. They are underground.

To support my first point: it took years before the 60s peace movement had great songs behind it. Years before muscians even noticed. Today we expect an instant artistic response.

Well it almost has been. Musicians have been making statements, both for and against war. Sometimes in very public ways. Even Bon Jovi recently took the state in a “Gore/Liberman 2000″ Campaign t-shirt for example. In Washington D.C.

But my guess is, where you will find true protest (pro and con) music, isn’t on the pop charts. Look to country, metal, and hip-hop. If you’re still looking for pop music – fughetaboutit. Isn’t going to happen unless we venture into Vietnam territory. Although I wouldn’t put it past someone like Pink to put out an R & B inspired plea for peace.

Beastie Boys: In A World Gone Mad. There ya go.

And Alwin found a pro-war one too.

Time to start up a database. Anybody want to contribute?

Here goes some more good news: Oliver Willis takes note of The Rise of Patriotic Liberalism.

Sacramento Bee: The Rise of Patriotic Liberalism.

Related Link: The Metaphor Project.

The Metaphor Project reminds me of how Newt Gingrich molded the language of the GOP with his memo, “Language, a mechanism for control.”. Yes, you read that title correct. Gingrich was the GOP equivalent to Clinton. When you hear GOPers use the words mentioned – THINK.

“You?ve got to reach out to the other person”

Times Online: Bush Sr. has a message for his son. Quote: “The first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.” Here is the full text of his speach at Tufts. Salon’s top story today is larger analysis of their differences. Thanks to rc3.org for bringing this to light.

Read the Salon piece. There is a major split, as far as foreign policy goes, in the Republican party. Check out today’s NYTimes story on The Weekly Standard and see the gulf between it’s view point and The American Conservative. That split goes beyond the Republicans.

Is it a generational split?

Disconnectedness defines danger. Memorize the phrase. According to this story in Esquire we are about to embark a strategy that President Clinton pursued thru peaceful engagement. The article gives you a bigger picture then what’s been explained so far. I wonder how anti-globalization activists feel about this? The idea – “Disconnectedness defines danger” – rings true to me, but what of the strategy to fight it?

Tom Brokow in the NYTimes tells us that the Arab world is starting to tune in and “the fundamental structure of Middle East politics has been altered, if not over-hauled. Today, political pressure develops quickly and independently from the ground up, not just from the top down, a dramatic difference from a decade ago.” He is, of course, more then a little biased.

The same is true in weblogging. Mike Sanders says, in his great 7-Habits series, “the solution is through reading other blogs and realizing that they are a mirror into ourselves.” True of any media. But you need to have access to it in order to use it. Many webloggers act as islands of thought, only linking to sites similar to themselves. “Cyberspace is republican” according to the rule. But having easy access to alternative media changes everything. Even alternative blogs. I imagine many so-called far righties and lefties checking out the other side’s sites in private, if not in public on their sites. That is a good thing. It’s a start.

Speaking of a start, did you know we were launching a new high tech peace corps? Good news.

CNN, while declaring Blogging has gone mainstream, may have something when it quotes Chris Cleveland, “The way bloggers link and influence each other’s thinking could lead to a collective thought process, a kind of hive brain.”. The hive isn’t a great thought to me, but people connecting to each other across vast expanses of geography is.

Maybe the digital divide should be purposely tackled after all, but not for the simplisitic idea that it helps to fight poverty. The primary reason(s) would be to spread freedom of expression and thought with the free flow of information, education, and commerce. If “Disconnectedness defines danger”, then “Connectivity builds security”.