Good Day Sky Dancers!
I feel like we’re in this place of being close to the road to normalcy, competency, and the end of lies and malignancy in the White House. On the other hand, we face this angry white nationalist insurgency which is trying everything it can to remain relevant. State and Federal buildings–where the peoples’ business takes place–have a heavy military presence.
In the District, National Guard have undergone a sweeping background check to ensure none of the guard present have a background that shows any form of radicalization. They’re calling this a layered scrub because it involves all kinds of federal agencies as well as the military. This is via WAPO.
Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, said in an interview with Defense One that the screening represented an “extra layer” of security for this deployment, on top of the continuous monitoring that the U.S. military does of its service members.
“For this deployment everybody is screened additionally, but it’s more of a reassurance, because we do everything we can do [to] know our Guardsmen, our soldiers and airmen,” Walker said.Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, who is overseeing the D.C. Guard and the military’s preparations for the inauguration, said in an interview with the Associated Press that so far the vetting process hasn’t flagged any issues with the troops coming to help protect the inauguration.
We’re also seeing these things: “FBI moves on alleged members of extremist groups Oath Keepers, Three Percenters”. This is also from WAPO.
There was evidently something burning in one of the tunnels. Fortunately, this was the fire from a homeless encampment and not something worse.
I’m also seeing signs that these militia morons maybe trying to mount false flag attacks at state capitols. I imagine these cosplayers are going to get played up as some ANTIFA leftists but tell me, have you ever seen a liberal or progressive activists in militia attire loaded down with semi automatic long guns?
These pictures are from the Michigan State Capitol. Go to the Deadpool thread and you’ll see close up pix of 1776 badges. Not even the leftwing activists of the’60s and ’70s wore paramilitary outfits. This is clearly to provide the Fox nasties like Sean Hannity and worse with pix that he can mislabel. Is this the start of a Reich stag
Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.
A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.
Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally.
The riot at the Capitol, incited by Trump’s comments before and during his speech at the Ellipse, has led to a reckoning unprecedented in American history. The president told the crowd to march to the Capitol and that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
And today is a Federal Holiday. We’re celebrating the legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. while fending off insurrectionists that are basically the sons of the NeoConfederacy. Trump is readying 100s of pardons and it will not be for any one that actually deserves it. They we all be paying for them or get them because they’ve committed crimes that Trump likes or has commited himself. Trump has destroyed the rule of law and the American sense of Justice. This is reported by CNN.
Initially, two major batches had been ready to roll out, one at the end of last week and one on Tuesday. Now, officials expect the last batch to be the only one — unless Trump decides at the last minute to grant pardons to controversial allies, members of his family or himself.
The final batch of clemency actions is expected to include a mix of criminal justice reform-minded pardons and more controversial ones secured or doled out to political allies.
The pardons are one of several items Trump must complete before his presidency ends in days. White House officials also still have executive orders prepared, and the President is still hopeful to declassify information related to the Russia probe before he leaves office. But with a waning number of administration officials still in jobs, the likelihood that any of it gets done seemed to be shrinking.
The January 6 riots that led to Trump’s second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. At this point, aides do not think he will do so, but caution only Trump knows what he will do with his last bit of presidential power before he is officially out of office at noon on January 20.
Noon on Wednesday is the time and day we should be rid of this monster. I expect a period of insurgency starts on that day However, we also have these things to look forward too.
You can read more about this at the NYT.
Via WAPO: Facebook, Google to face tougher regulation under Biden anda Democratic-controlled Senate.
Even before he won the White House, Joe Biden had been unsparing in his criticism of Silicon Valley, practically pleading with Facebook in June to stop President Trump from publishing “wild claims.”
“Anything less,” the Biden campaign said in an open letter, “will render Facebook a tool of misinformation that corrodes our democracy.”
Seven months later, rioters descended on the U.S. Capitol, stormed the House and the Senate, and sought to overturn Biden’s victory — mounting a deadly, failed insurrection that illustrated the corrosive power of Trump’s false online screeds.
The aftermath of that attack now sets the stage for a political reckoning between Washington and Silicon Valley, as long-simmering frustrations with Facebook, Google, Twitter and their digital peers threaten to unleash the most aggressive regulatory assault against the tech industry in its history. On the eve of his inauguration, Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress are pledging to take aim at the country’s largest social media platforms out of concern that they imperil the very fabric of American democracy — and the billions of people who use these digital services every day.
And the MLK holiday is generally seen as a day where we should provide service to our community. I’m planning on filling up my neighborhood fridge as much as I can and then will be delivering what children’s books I can find remaining in my house to the nearest little library. I wish I could set up a huge foundation but I’m just a little old semi retired prof.
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day might have a different meaning for many this year.
There will be no events at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C. because the National Mall is closed.
Also, America bid farewell to civil rights activists and King’s friend John Lewis in 2020.
MLK Day, celebrated each year on the third Monday in January, became a national celebration on January 20, 1986.
It was signed into law by then President Ronald Reagan.
On August 23, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Martin Luther King Junior Federal Holiday and Service Act.
Events celebrating Dr. King’s achievements are still being held all across the country.
The day is designated to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
Dr. King is widely know for his “I have a dream speech” where he rallied for better race relations.
King also led several marches advocating for the civil and economic rights of African Americans.
Dr. King would have been 92 years old on January 15.
He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
Ask yourselves, what kind of country do we want? Want kind of vision of American do you have?
My vision was formed early watching the treatment of protestors in the South during King’s movement to get Voting Rights and economic and social justice. Even as a small child I was horrified by the footage of police officers sending dogs after the peaceful marchers. I also remember that famous picture of the National Guard shooting and killing war protestors at Kent State. What we saw last week was a riot has nothing to do with protesting anything but the ability to be hateful and selfish.
I really hope the Capitol Riot has an impact on young children and a small voice in them screams this is not what we want to be when we grow up. This is basically what my thoughts were as I saw police officers turn powerful fire hoses on kids my age. It is also what I thought when I saw Ruby Bridges try to get to the first day of school in New Orleans in 1960. I was hoping my first day at kindergarten was not going to look like that. The ugly hateful faces on all those white people and a girl my age surrounded by federal officers for protection just to go to school!!
In a matter of minutes, Senator Kamala Harris will become Kamala Harris and then on Wednesday she will become Vice President Kamala Harris. Lawrence interviewed Ruby Bridges about this iconic painting last night. You can watch it here.
Ruby Bridges was six years old when she was the first Black student at her New Orleans elementary school. She tells Lawrence O’Donnell that the inauguration of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has renewed hope and faith in the U.S. “There’s so much more work to be done, but we have to also be able to look at the strives that we make and this is truly one for all women and especially for Black women.”
Hang on there. We’ve made it through trouble before. We can plow through this deep shit again together.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today? “How long must we sing this song?”
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Today’s the day we celebrate the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King and the inspiration of his life, sacrifice, and commitment to civil rights.
I woke up today thinking about the country and neighborhood that I was born into and grew up in. My father was a Ford Dealer in small town Iowa and I spent my first nursery and grade school years there. Eisenhower was president when I was born. JFK was the first president I remember. I was in second grade when he was assassinated. My second grade teacher came into our classroom with tears to announce it. The first election I remember was between LBJ and Goldwater.
I remember watching two things on the nightly news that was a ritual for our family. The struggle for civil rights unfolding in the south and the reports of the Vietnam war occupied much black and white air time. Both were horrifying. I ended my pre-college years in Omaha across the river spending the last years of high school watching the Watergate hearings. I graduated and shortly thereafter, the president resigned. This is the time line of a baby-boomer born right in the middle times.
The most clear thing that stood out to me as I was growing up and into adulthood where I took my place in the women’s movement and then in the fight against AIDS and discrimination against GLBT was that at the very heart of everything was our creed that all were ‘created equal’ and endowed with ‘inalienable’ rights. No one’s life was lived with that creed more in mind than the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. I also remember the day he was assassinated and trying to get to my grandfather’s place in Kansas City the long way around the riots. Some time it takes more sacrifice and anger than we should have to muster to realize those rights. That was 50 years ago.
Looking back at the Obama presidency and the hope I had that Hillary would also be a first, I remember those days as a kid when the holiday we celebrated was President’s day. We celebrated Lincoln who saved the Union and freed the slaves. We celebrated George Washington who could not tell a lie. Through all of this, my young heart got the message that Presidents could be flawed but the great ones did not lie. They sought the freedom and dignity that all of us deserved. They fought in the war against NAZIS and fascism to preserve and establish freedom and dignity for others. They sent Federal Troops to places in America where black men were murdered and black people were denied their basic rights as US citizens because that’s what moved the fight for freedom and dignity along in this country.
The Presidents we celebrated as children were honest and true to our values. They were celebrated for their humble beginnings, their military service, and–in many cases–their great minds. They established national parks to protect our nation’s lands and created the EPA. Nixon went to China. Reagan sought out the Soviets to decrease the threat of annihilation by nuclear weapons. Barack Obama stands in many ways as a monument to the work of King but will most likely be seen as a bright and moral man who led us out of dark economic times with a level head while seeking the establishment of health care for all.
We most often associate Dr King with his “I have a dream” speech and his letters from the Birmingham jail. But, this was also a man who fought for the dignity of garbage collectors to have a living wage for an honest day’s work. Our patriotic days celebrate traits of Presidents and heroes fighting for and establishing our shared values. We celebrate their establishment and furtherance as much as we celebrate the men themselves. (This is also why we need a few more patriotic holidays that enfranchise our women heroes and our indigenous peoples. Hint: NO MORE COLUMBUS DAYS)
The deal is this, I always thought that when they told us those stories of “anyone can become” president that it didn’t mean that it was an anyone that “lied”, avoided military service, ruined relations with allies, praised fascists, and gave speeches vilifying those among us that couldn’t join the Klan and recognizing goods on sides for which good does not exist in the American framework.
My children are grown and I no longer have to pass along the country’s folklore. I’m glad because what we see in the placeholder in the oval office today is anathema to all those lessons I learned during the celebration of President’s day in my grade schools and that both my daughters learned in their grade school classrooms during the celebration of MLK day. Kremlin KKKaligula chops down cherry trees every day and lies about it. Kremlin KKKaligula seeks to send our minorities back into servitude. His speeches are of Dreams of White Supremacy. He is way beyond a flawed man. He daily violates our shared values and looks towards their destruction.
He has to go. One way or another. Many people sacrificed so we could vote and this is the year that we show Martin Luther King that his fight to get voting rights and that his sacrifices were not in vain. I usually think of my grandmothers when I vote because I know they could not vote until well into their middle age. This November, I will hold up the promise of Dr Martin Luther King’s Dream and vote for everything that he lived and died for. Join me and get others to do so too. We need not just a blue wave. We need a rainbow wave. We need a colors of the earth wave.
Here are some reads that you might like.
From Electric Literature: “11 Incredible Books by Writers from ‘Shithole’ Countries. Let’s celebrate just a few of the amazing authors the president says he wouldn’t want in the U.S.”
But it’s a good reminder to celebrate the work of writers from Africa, and from Haiti, El Salvador, and other protected-status countries. As writers, readers, and human beings, we would all be intellectually impoverished by the lack of these voices. Here are some of our favorite novels, memoirs, and poetry by authors from the countries Trump disdains, many of whom celebrate their complicated homelands in their work.
And, from a patron of the Seattle Public Library: “Sh**hole Countries”: a Reading List.”
Our sh*t-for-brains 45th President doesn’t read, but you do! Explore some of the places and cultures he’s maligned, learn history he’s ignorant of, and see the world through the eyes of people whose lives he regards as worthless. Resist hate-mongering and race-baiting, and experience the world and your fellow human beings in ways that only someone not wholly devoid of curiosity, empathy, and functional literacy truly can! *Note: This list is not a publication of the Seattle Public Library, nor intended to be presented on its behalf. It was created on a patron account, outside the library, in the same manner that any library patron can do. (I encourage library patrons everywhere to create and share their own lists!) The Bibliocommons software tags all such lists with its creator’s home library. I apologize for any confusion: it was never my intention to present this list on the Library’s behalf.
From New York Magazine and the Jonathan Chait: “Why Republicans Love Dumb Presidents”.
Rather than segregate questions about Trump’s brain away from the broader partisan debate, they dissolve the former into the latter. They believe that Trump’s being called dumb by the intellectual elite is intimately connected to his political identity. This belief is largely correct. As it has moved farther and farther right, the Republican Party has grown increasingly anti-intellectual. Trump’s base adores him, not despite his obvious mental limitations, but because of them.
Two caveats are in order. First, many intelligent people have conservative values, and rationally support the Republican Party. Second, while Trump’s lack of mental aptitude may be similar to that of previous Republican leaders in kind, it is very different in degree. That said, Trump’s flamboyant ignorance and disdain for intellectual standards are very much in keeping with modern conservative politics.
From the SF Chronicle: “Airbnb loses thousands of hosts in SF as registration rules kick in.”
Thousands of San Francisco hosts on Airbnb and rival home-stay sites have stopped renting their homes and rooms to tourists. Many others are scrambling to register their vacation rentals with the city as a Tuesday deadline looms for Airbnb and HomeAway to kick off unregistered hosts.
From the NYT:
The media often falls back on euphemisms when describing Trump’s comments about race: racially loaded, racially charged, racially tinged, racially sensitive. And Trump himself has claimed that he is “the least racist person.” But here’s the truth: Donald Trump is a racist. He talks about and treats people differently based on their race. He has done so for years, and he is still doing so.
Trump is a Racist, PERIOD. (CHARLES M.BLOW)
Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.
The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.
Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.
The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial (IBRAM X. KENDI)
Mental health experts routinely say that denial is among the most common defense mechanisms. Denial is how the person defends his superior sense of self, her racially unequal society.
Denial is how America defends itself as superior to “shithole countries” in Africa and elsewhere, as President Trump reportedly described them in a White House meeting last week, although he has since, well, denied that. It’s also how America defends itself as superior to those “developing countries” in Africa, to quote how liberal opponents of Mr. Trump might often describe them.
Mr. Trump appears to be unifying America — unifying Americans in their denial. The more racist Mr. Trump sounds, the more Trump country denies his racism, and the more his opponents look away from their own racism to brand Trump country as racist. Through it all, America remains a unified country of denial.
The reckoning of Mr. Trump’s racism must become the reckoning of American racism. Because the American creed of denial — “I’m not a racist” — knows no political parties, no ideologies, no colors, no regions.
So, what do we tell our American children? What does the world tell theirs about US?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I don’t know about you, but I really missed JJ’s Friday Night Lite post last night, so I thought I’d start out Sky Dancing’s Saturday with some political cartoons. I hope you enjoy these — courtesy of Cagle Post.
A few more on Syria:
March on Washington 50th Anniversary:
Labor Day and Income Inequality
NFL Concussion Lawsuit
I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!! And if you’re not out on the beach or doing something else more exciting, please post links to the stories you’re following today in the comment thread.
Thursday Reads: Civil Rights Struggle, Syria Intervention, NYPD Spying, Boston Bombing, and “League of Denial”Posted: August 29, 2013
I’ve got so much news for you this morning, I don’t know if I’ll have room in a reasonable-length post, so I’ll get right to it. I’ll begin with some stories on yesterday’s 50th anniversary of the March On Washington.
PBS had an amazing interview with Rep John Lewis in which he recounted his memories of that day in 1963 and the speech he gave as a youthful leader in the Civil Rights Movement: ‘I Felt That We Had to Be Tough’: John Lewis Remembers the March on Washington. I hope you’ll read the whole thing, but here’s a brief excerpt:
REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-Ga.: On that day, I was blessed.
I felt like I had been tracked down by some force or some spirit. I will never forget when A. Philip Randolph said, “I now present to you young John Lewis, the national chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.”
And I went to the podium. I looked to my right. I saw many, many young people, staffers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, volunteers. Then I looked to my left. I saw all these young people up in the trees, trying to get a better view of the podium.
Then I looked straight ahead. And I saw so many people with their feet in the water trying to cool off. And then I said to myself, this is it, and I went for it.
On meeting with President Kennedy before the March, and how the podium and the crowd came to be so diverse:
He [JFK] didn’t like the idea of a March on Washington.
When we met with him, A. Philip Randolph spoke up in his baritone voice we met with the president. And he said, “Mr. President, the black masses are restless. And we are going to march on Washington.”
And you could tell by the movement of President Kennedy — he started moving and twisting in his chair. And he said, in effect, that if you bring all these people to Washington, won’t it be violence and chaos and disorder?
Mr. Randolph responded and said, “Mr. President, there’s been orderly, peaceful, nonviolent protests.”
And President Kennedy said, in so many words, I think we are going to have problems. So we left that meeting with President Kennedy. We came out on the lawn at the White House and spoke to the media and said, we had a meaningful and productive meeting with the president of the United States. And we told him we’re going to March on Washington.
And a few days later, July 2, 1963, the six of us met in New York City at the old Roosevelt Hotel. And in that meeting, we made a decision to invite four major white religious and labor leaders to join us in issuing the call for the March on Washington.
NPR had a wonderful story yesterday about the history of the Civil Rights Movement’s signature song: The Inspiring Force Of ‘We Shall Overcome’.
It is not a marching song. It is not necessarily defiant. It is a promise: “We shall overcome someday. Deep in my heart, I do believe.”
It has been a civil rights song for 50 years now, heard not just in the U.S. but in North Korea, in Beirut, in Tiananmen Square, in South Africa’s Soweto Township. But “We Shall Overcome” began as a folk song, a work song. Slaves in the fields would sing, ‘I’ll be all right someday.’ It became known in the churches. A Methodist minister, Charles Albert Tindley, published a version in 1901: “I’ll Overcome Someday.”
The first political use came in 1945 in Charleston, S.C. There was a strike against the American Tobacco Co. The workers wanted a raise; they were making 45 cents an hour. They marched and sang together on the picket line, “We will overcome, and we will win our rights someday.”
There’s much more about how the song was passed from group to group and changed over time. Please give it a listen–it’s only about 8 minutes long, but really fascinating.
Not a single Republican appeared at yesterday’s commemoration of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush couldn’t come because of health issues, but John Boehner and Eric Cantor are presumably in good health, but they refused offers to make speeches at the event, according to Roll Call.
That wasn’t a wise choice, said Julian Bond, a renowned civil rights activist, in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon.
“What’s really telling, I think, is the podium behind me, just count at the end of the day how many Republicans will be there,” Bond told news anchor Alex Wagner. “They asked senior President Bush to come, he was ill. They asked junior Bush, he said he had to stay with his father.
“They asked a long list of Republicans to come,” Bond continued, “and to a man and woman they said ‘no.’ And that they would turn their backs on this event was telling of them, and the fact that they seem to want to get black votes, they’re not gonna get ‘em this way.” [….]
Cantor’s decision to turn down the invitation to speak is especially striking given his stated commitment to passing a rewrite of the Voting Rights Act in the 113th Congress, and the many opportunities he has taken over the past several weeks to publicly reflect on the experience of traveling with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to Selma, Ala.
Sadly, Dr. King’s dream of peace has not made much progress in the past 50 years. And now the U.S. and its allies are considering another military intervention–in Syria.
Fortunately, the UK is now hesitating. NYT: Britain to Wait on Weapons Report Ahead of Syria Strikes.
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, who runs a coalition government, is facing political difficulties from legislators mindful of the experience in Iraq, when assurances from Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction proved inaccurate and a false pretext for war.
Mr. Cameron bowed on Wednesday to pressure from the opposition Labour Party and to some within his own coalition who want to allow United Nations weapons inspectors a chance to report their findings and for the United Nations Security Council to make one more effort to give a more solid legal backing to military action against Damascus.
At BBC News, Nick Robinson explains why Cameron “buckled.”
If you think that NSA domestic spying is invasive, you should take a look at what the NYPD has been up to since 9/11. Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman of the AP have a new book out called Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America. There’s an excerpt at New York Magazine: The NYPD Division of Un-American Activities. It’s long, but a very important story. Please give it a read if you can.
Yesterday Apuzzo and Goldman published a related shocking story at AP: NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizations.
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.
Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.
Boston Magazine has published more photos from “Behind the Scenes of The Hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.” Above is a photo of Tsarnaev exiting the boat in which he hid for hours as law enforcement searched all over Watertown for him. See more photos at the link.
In more hopeful news, one long-hospitalized survivor of the bombings was given the go-ahead to return home to California yesterday: Boston Marathon bomb survivor John Odom set to return home to Torrance (Daily Breeze News).
Nearly five months after a bomb almost took his life at the Boston Marathon, John Odom of Torrance was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to finally come home.
Odom’s wife, Karen, who has never left her husband’s side, has been chronicling her husband’s long recovery on Facebook, called it a “monumental” day.
“It’s official, John is released to go home!!!” she posted on the John Odom Support Page. “Although his recovery is nowhere near complete, there is no medical or physical reason he can’t fly home and continue his recovery in California. We are hoping to be home the end of next week, a few days shy of 5 months since we left on that now famous 4 day trip.”
“Famous” is one way to put it. The couple could have never imagined the journey they’ve been on since April 15.
Read the rest of this moving story at the link.
On October 8th and 15th, NPR’s Frontline plans to show League of Denial, “a two-part two-part investigation examining whether — as thousands of former players allege — the NFL has covered up the risks of football on the brain.” The documentary has so far been produced in partnership with ESPN, but last week the sports channel backed out of the collaboration presumably because of pressure from the NFL. From The New Republic: ESPN Quit Its Concussions Investigation With ‘Frontline’ Under Curious Circumstances.
“Frontline,” the prestigious, multiple-Emmy-winning investigative news show produced by Boston’s PBS member station, announced late Thursday afternoon that a 15-month-old partnership with ESPN in which they published a series of pieces exploring how the National Football League has (and has not) accounted for the relationship between playing football, head trauma, and brain damage, had come to an end. Dating back to last November, “Frontline” had run articles on its site featuring the work of Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, ESPN staffers (and brothers) even as these articles appeared at espn.com and as the brothers did segments for ESPN’s award-winning investigative series “Outside the Lines.” The end result—in addition to abook that the brothers are publishing in October—was to be a “Frontline” documentary, League of Denial (also the book’s title).
According to “Frontline,” the documentary will premiere this season on October 8 and 15, but, “from now on, at ESPN’s request, we will no longer use their logos and collaboration credit on these sites and on our upcoming film.” Executive producer David Fanning and deputy executive producer Raney Aronson expressed their “regret” and credited ESPN with “a productive partnership.” They added, “The film is still being edited and has not been seen by ESPN news executives, although we were on schedule to share it with them for their editorial input.”
Aronson told me late Thursday that ESPN contacted “Frontline” last Friday to request that it remove ESPN’s logo from its website, citing the technicality that it was a “trademark issue.” It wasn’t until Monday, after the latest collaboration was published on “Frontline”’s website and aired on “OTL,” that ESPN also requested that language describing collaboration not be used, and that it became clear the collaboration itself was coming to an end.
The circumstances are indeed mysterious. Perhaps it was over-cautiousness on ESPN’s part or perhaps indirect pressure from the League. If you’re interested in this important story, go read Marc Tracy’s piece at TNR.
A couple more useful links on this story:
Bill Littlefield at NPR’s Only a Game: ESPN And Frontline Part Ways Over ‘League Of Denial’
The authors of the book League of Denial will continue their involvement with the Frontline presentation.
I’m running out of space, so I’ll end there, and add a few more links in the comments. Now what stories are you following today? Please share your links in the thread below.
Sorry I’m posting this so late today. I’ve been pondering some issues that have been troubling me for a long time, and I keep getting stuck about how to write about them.
I’m beginning to see the libertarian influence on so-called “progressives” as a very serious problem for the future of our country. Here’s a somewhat incoherent beginning to a discussion of this problem. I’m putting this out there in the hope that I’ll get some feedback from you that will help me sort this out. So here goes…
“I’m a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues. They have been the strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attacks on Wikileaks and on me in the U.S. Congress. Similarly, they have been the strongest opponents of drone warfare and extrajudicial executions.
And so, that’s quite an interesting phenomenon in the United States. The position of the libertarian Republican–or a better description [right?]–coming from a principle of nonviolence, the American libertarian, that produces interesting results.
So, nonviolence, not going to invade a foreign country. Nonviolence, don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the U.S. Army [?? The U.S. doesn’t have a draft]. Nonviolence, don’t extort taxes from people to the Federal government, with a [policeman?]….
Similarly, other acts of nonviolence in relation to abortion that they hold. I think that some of these positions that are held by Ron Paul…I can see how they come from the same underlying libertarian principle. I think the world is often more complex. By taking a laid out principle but sometimes simplistic position, you end up undermining the principle. In the short term, visions of the principle are one thing, visions of the principle…it’s quite hard to know [inaudible].
A few comments…
It’s not clear to me whether Assange supports the Paul’s position on abortion, but clearly it’s a side issue for him–not nearly as important as the Paul’s support of Wikileaks and Assange himself, since he later said that both political parties have been compromised and the only hope for the future comes from the libertarian portion of the Republican Party. HuffPo:
He then put forth an argument against both established political parties in Washington, claiming that nearly all Democrats had been “co-opted” by President Barack Obama’s administration, while Republicans were almost entirely “in bed with the war industry.”
The current libertarian strain of political thought in the Republican Party was the “the only hope” for American electoral politics, Assange concluded.
Assange sees federal taxes as “extortion.” I assume that includes the payroll taxes that support Social Security and Medicare. He never mentions social programs at all; as a libertarian he probably opposes them. This is in line with other libertarians who are leading the fight against the U.S. government keeping any secrets whatsoever, e.g., Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Conor Frierdersdorf, and David Sirota (I’ll have more about this in a later post).
Not only does Assange not know that the U.S. doesn’t have a military draft, he’s pretty mixed up about recent U.S. history. In praising right wing racist news aggregator Matt Drudge, Assange said, via Raw Story:
“Matt Drudge is a news media innovator. And he took off about eight years ago in response to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
(Eight years ago was 2005, the first year of George W. Bush’s second term, when President Bill Clinton had been out of office for five years and the Lewinsky scandal and subsequent failed impeachment attempt were a matter of history.)
Assange claimed that Drudge made his name by “publishing information that the establishment media would not. It is as a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and so of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship.”
Assange says he supports non-violence. I’d like to point out that in U.S. history, one of the leading advocates of nonviolence and civil disobedience was a man named Martin Luther King. Fifty years ago King led a “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” But Assange favors the Pauls’ notion of “nonviolence.” (Assange doesn’t appear to know that Ron and Rand Paul are the recipients of vast corporate donations from the defense industry.) I wonder if Assange knows that Ron and Rand Paul oppose Civil Rights laws? I wonder if he cares?
Julian Assange–along with Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald–is currently the idol of the “emoprogs” who have become so distracted by the NSA leaks story that they don’t even notice that Republicans have a very good chance of retaking the Senate next year. These supposed “leftists” have forgotten all about jobs, protecting social programs, women’s rights, civil rights, economic inequality, and our crumbling infrastructure in order to follow a handful of privileged, young white male libertarian pied pipers who are focused only on their own personal “liberties.”