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Thoughts on the George Floyd Protests
What You Can Achieve if the Media Gives You a Voice
Posted June 4th, 2020
I'm all for peaceful protest and reforming law enforcement and I hope the protests achieve real change. What we are witnessing is what you can achieve when the media gives an issue a voice. Indeed, they have given a voice to this movement. And that is because solving it does not need to adversely affect the bottom line of corporations in any real way. But there are many other issues out there arguably important enough to protest that get no voice. Not to minimize the issue of the day, but why couldn't we organize this kind of protest for universal healthcare? You might say police brutality is more inflammatory of an issue. But I posit that is not why. And if you read on I will get to issues even more inflammatory than police brutality, that go unprotested. But regarding healthcare, there are no other countries in the First World without universal coverage, it is widely considered a basic human right, the lack of which has cruel and devastating human consequences. More Blacks die from lack of healthcare than are murdered by the police and it's just as inhumane. But we cannot organize to protest that injustice like we are George Floyd, because the media do not give a voice to that issue. We let the corporate media limit the boundaries of our discontent and they are very successful at it. On healthcare, the most they will give us are corporate friendly options with the poorest tens of millions getting nothing. When they do even mention anything that would achieve universal coverage, it is to denigrate it as "evil socialized medicine". Proponents of single-payer are never given enough air time to make an impact, if given any at all. After decades of a consistent message, the people take it to heart. In comparison, every news channel from CNN to FOX is giving a voice to the critics of racism in law enforcement. We are guilty of allowing ourselves to be manipulated in this way. They decide what we are allowed to care about and what is forbidden. This should outrage people, but is rarely discussed. And as I indicated above, even this issue pales in comparison to some others.
It pales in comparison to what we do to third world countries - which goes on with absolute continuity from administration to administration. In many of our client states protesting for basic human rights has been punishable by death. When the U.S. murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians in cold blood in Guatemala and El Salvador to maintain puppet dictatorships, including mowing down priests at the pulpit with machine guns (e.g. Father Oscar Romero), nobody cared, nobody lifts a finger for those people. That is because their deaths support our economy. We grow our fruit on their land using the indigenous peoples as slave labor, who have no rights whatsoever. We export their valuable natural resources and give them nothing. That is why in the third world there's nothing we hate more than democracy. We fight it at any turn, with military methods whenever necessary, usually covert. We fought a war against Guatemala for 36 years all the way through the 1990's and still won't admit it to this day. And because of our actions those people live under far more oppression than any American. Described most elegantly by Major General Smedley Butler after he retired from the U.S. Marines in 1933, but nothing has changed. That is why we are the richest country in the history of the world, because we have all of our resources and so much of the resources that should belong to other people. And it is not even shared very fairly amongst us in this country. We all benefit from Murder Incorporated, but the bottom 1/3 see a small proportion of it compared to the top 1/3. The media are giant corporations with corporations for customers. So, it should be no surprise that they have no interest in telling this story. That is how journalists get marginalized, not how they win Pulitzers. And that is why the media will latch on to an issue like police brutality, it makes them appear to be challenging power like they are supposed to, but ultimately it does not rock the boat in terms of the rights of rich people to steal and plunder. Almost nobody is asking for economic justice in the ongoing protests. Once that becomes a theme, the media will be playing a very different tune. And they will win.
We overthrew the progressive and popular democracy in Guatemala in 1954 in a CIA coup, because the president tried to distribute tiny parcels of land belonging to U.S. corporations, land not even being used, to starving peasants so they could do subsistence farming. We then waged a 50-year war against the population to make the coup stick. In that war we murdered literally hundreds of thousands of innocent people just for asking for the most basic rights. If you do not know about this, that's because the corporate media refused to cover it. A war in our backyard, executed by us, where hundreds of thousands were killled. Yet virtually unreported. That should give you pause. Read "Bridge of Courage" by Jennifer Harbury if you don’t believe me. That's not just Republicans it's both parties in lock step. It was Jimmy Carter who oversaw the murder of 300,000 East Timorese. It was LBJ who oversaw the murder of some two million civilians in Indonesia in the mid-60's to make our coup stick there. Nobody knows about that, nobody talks about it, nobody cares. The corporate media do not report on any of that because we profit enormously from those genocides. But it is very easy to find out, especially now in the internet age. So, we really have no excuse for not knowing. We follow the lead of the corporate media way too much, they get to decide what we care about and what we do not. And they never challenge the real seat of economic power. Because without the mass murder and torture and oppression our economy would suffer. So, these things are ongoing with no end in sight. Our actions throughout Latin America continue to be horrific. It is always done with an excuse. Communism, Drug Trafficking, Terrorists. But it is always done for the same reason. Supporting our economy. Obama was indistinguishable from Bush and Trump on these matters and so will be Biden.
Thoughts on Perseverence
Posted February 14th, 2016
Only six people showed up to his funeral. The New York Evening Post published his obituary as "He had lived long, did some good, and much harm." He was almost universally hated. His name was Thomas Paine. The world wasn't ready to accept the truth. But he stuck to the principles he had come to undertsand were true, regardless of the consequences. Writer Robert G. Ingersoll wrote at the time of his death:
Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned and abhorred – his virtues denounced as vices – his services forgotten – his character blackened, he preserved the poise and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, but his convictions remained unshaken. He was still a soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, their friend – the friend of the whole world – with all their hearts. On the 8th of June, 1809, death came – Death, almost his only friend. At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her son who had lived on the bounty of the dead – on horseback, a Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed of his head – and, following on foot, two negroes filled with gratitude – constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine.
When we feel ourselves overwhelmed by the fact that even now almost the entire population is dangerously ignorant, we draw inspriation from Thomas Paine and the fact that he preferred to walk the extremely lonley and difficult road he walked, and to die hated and alone, than to concede to that which he knew was so severely and dangerously wrong.