Someone posted something on Facebook recently about how only crazy people believed what they saw on YouTube. I nodded, feeling superior…yes, those easily manipulated dolts who believe in mermaids and conspiracies.
Then I thought, ‘oh, wait’. That’s me. I have taken to YouTube and of course, big fat wonderful books, to fill in all the gaps in information I am not finding anywhere else. I try to be careful and make sure that any video I take seriously is put out by a reputable organization, or cites information I have read from another credible source. Still much of what I find is shockingly flip about gravely serious matters. That, of course is another post.
What follows is something I wrote up for someone I know who is very conservative and watches lots of FOX news. For whatever else they do in the world to misinform and damage credible arguments, in this case, this was the only voice on TV I heard that was in favor of what the rancher was doing.
My point in mentioning FOX specifically to my friend here is to mention the broader idea that this whole concept that one side of the larger news media is more biased or dishonest than another is ridiculous. I saw this quickly when I began to learn about things like the NSA leaks, drones, extrajudicial assassinations, mass incarceration of tens of thousands of undocumented workers etc., and then I tried to look the same issues up on YouTube. Sometimes there is valuable and thought provoking commentary in the segments posted by the big guys, but often it is just a show, or worse important information is left out or ignored.
One of the comments to a recent article I was reading used the catchphrase, “War on Distraction.” Since I have already drafted a post on the same idea, prompted by my annoyance at all the distracting and seductive celebrity puff pieces that trail down the side of many online articles I commandeered the term for my title.
I liked seeing the notion put so succinctly, though in the end it seems like the larger problem is how my initial opinions can be controlled by catchphrases in general. Whether I should be better than this or not. Just think about how quickly commentary turned for Cliven Bundy in the media when they started calling him a racist. The story was no longer about government misdeeds and became all about the man’s totally irrelevant views and more idiotic, the personalities who had been either for or against his cause.
Dear Friend Who I Usually Avoid Political Discussions With,
I have been watching quite a lot of stuff on YouTube lately. None of the news organizations, including FOX, can be trusted to report
anything like reliable news. Suspicions that I had, and that I was afraid to voice, are
held by many others who are much better at articulating and proving all of
it, and as far as I can tell, they are nonpartisan.
Reporters have gone over to the many countries in the
middle east and reported on what they found there. Soldiers and contractors are speaking out
about what is going on. At the moment they are being persecuted for it. I think the way the Cliven Bundy story was turned into
a conversation about racism was an excellent example of all of this. One conservative commentator was
backpedaling and defending his initial support by renouncing Bundy for his comments about black people, others followed suit, and still others reported on this. The real story had
nothing to do with Bundy’s beliefs and everything to do
with government corruption and criminal behavior, even if Bundy in the end is at fault as well. Not one person I heard after that said anything about why the whole situation blew up in the first place.
I suspected this attempt to distract us all and I am seeing that others believe this as
well. There is no longer a valid distinction between Republicans and Democrats. If there was Obama
would have had Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld plus scores of others brought up on
criminal charges, maybe even handed them over to the UN to prosecute them for
war crimes. Obama has taken all the insanity further–as I have personally felt
the effects of–and the Republicans haven’t really gone after him for any of it. He
lied about the NSA. He lied about immigration reform. He has lied about civilian
casualties. That sounds extreme I know, but I believe he lied especially in this case by way of changing the definition of a combatant to
anyone who could possibly be a civilian so there is no way to even say what the
numbers are anymore. Enhanced interrogation technique anyone?
I have taken to listening to Jesse Ventura (he quotes John Lennon and wears tye-dyed shirts and knows how to handle a gun) who ultimately may be discredited as a crackpot for his
conspiracy theories, but everything so far that he has said makes sense from the
drug war to immigration to this abomination known as The War on Terror.
All along there has
been a war on truth. Most of our domestic ills would have a chance if we quit murdering populations all over the globe. Mass murder and torture are
expensive. Again, I know this sounds like I have been chugging radioactive Kool-Aid, but I have seen enough interviews and read enough well-researched articles and marked up enough heavily-footnoted books to believe it
If my daughters are strong and brave enough to
speak out and become active in any way, it looks like they could quite easily be
labeled whatever it takes to shut them up. I know I sound paranoid and grim, but what I am finding is scary. There is so much hard evidence, from Top Secret documents to the Abu Ghraib photos to the scores of videos posted that document the misdeeds floating around
out there, and still nothing has happened to make a change.
A few movies I have found especially enlightening can be found
at these links:
Dirty Wars, about the many small wars being waged in so many countries all over the world. My fear before watching the film was
confirmed after watching this. This is my own take, not something the film said: At some point in the not-too-distant
future, citizens who speak out will be labeled
“domestic terrorists.” Anyone who may be thought of as a potential threat to
the U.S. inside our border will begin to be rounded up including our whistle blowers and journalists who right now really need our support.
Drone Wars, this one struck me especially for the young
man–Brandon Bryant–who starts this, he is from Montana. He was actually operating drones and was brave enough to speak about this. He talked about men in
the mountains with guns. In Montana these are PEOPLE, in the places these
drones go they are considered militants and are killed without hardly a shred of evidence. Since when did someone’s judgment trump the law? I expect you may be turned off by the Code Pink stuff but I urge
you to look past that to the bigger picture that the movie explores, as I am sure
you are able. I am not naive enough to believe that in LEGITIMATE battle there
are no civilian casualties, but all that I am seeing–here and elsewhere–show
that what is happening now is just completely out of control and with no regard
for human decency or our immediate self interest.
Bryant said near the end, “We
need to stop letting our public servants be our public masters.” I wrote my last post about some of what has happened after my husband
was deported and I quoted this young man at the beginning.
I am reading about Edward Snowden. He is called a
traitor and enemy but his actions prove who the actual criminals are (still not held accountable by Congress!) and to think how easily I believed what I heard in the mainstream media while going about my daily life almost a year ago. My thoughts then were undecided but leaned toward him being some kind of egomaniac who was handing over
state secrets to the enemy.
What I have learned is that all the way along Snowden has made sure that responsible
journalists (who even consulted government agencies before they printed) were involved, and that he
couldn’t be PROVEN in any way to be working with either China or Russia, or doing anything but exposing problems that we all need to be aware of. He embodies
our ideals, and the fact that he has to hide in Russia is an example of how whacked the situation has become.
I was initially excited about the Oath Keepers but then found some angry rants done by them posted on YouTube. But I
do think their initial mission is beautiful, as anti-immigrant as I might imagine them to be. When we began privatizing
military to contractors (and paying them six figure salaries when our vets can’t
even get meaningful medical care and have to beg to the general public for assistance via
the Wounded Warrior project) we
lost something vitally important. I loved the idea that there are organized men and women
who put the people and laws of our country first. They are obviously far from perfect but are at least willing to stand up and speak out.
Enough from me, if you find any of this compelling, please
pass it around to your people. I think this next election and other political
action in the near future, will mean the difference between us turning into a modern equivalent of Hitler’s Willing Executioners or returning to a free society where we can focus on regular
old issues like abortion, gay marriage, marijuana legalization etc.
have fucked things up so badly it is impossible to get my head around it. As
a citizen I have done nothing to stop it or even lend a voice to the others until now.
The bad news of the world was once just a distraction. Not anymore. Policies that our government has put into place and enthusiastically acted upon are now very much affecting my daily life, and that of my children.
For the sake of our kids who may grow to become the soldiers and private contractors in these events, or who may one day become the victims of them, I feel strongly that it is time to start paying attention before even that won’t make a difference anymore.