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Stephen Colbert Joins the Late Show: Who Will Fill the Vacuum?

By: rykky Monday July 21, 2014 1:56 pm

 

Stephen Colbert gained some attention a few months ago when CBS announced that he would take over hosting the Late Show when David Letterman retires some time next year.  While that is flattering to Stephen Colbert, it will create a huge vacuum when he leaves.  Stephen Colbert has contributed greatly to political satire. His sarcasm has become a major voice for the liberal cause.  He, furthermore, has become good at exposing the truth and producing quality news. What can we do to replace him?

John Oliver’s new show, This Week Tonight, appears to be receiving some attention.  His show, however, is only on once a week. It, therefore, cannot produce the amount of coverage that The Colbert Report and The Daily Show have produced, both of which are now major news programs.

My idea is to expand The Daily Show by making it an hour long. Jon Stewart should, furthermore, make sure that his show provides a synopsis of the day’s news events, similar to the way serious news programs do. With The Daily Show being an hour long he can still have his usual daily guest interview as well as put on a sketch.  In fact he could do more interviews and sketches.  Stewart should of course include more news headlines than the other stations, and mention more intellectual as well as international news stories than those other networks. The rest of the program can cover these stories in depth.

He should, furthermore, do it live at 6:30 eastern time (5:30 central), while NBC, ABC and CBS are hosting their evening news programs. Comedy Central should then rebroadcast The Daily Show when viewers in the Mountain and Pacific time zones could tune into the news programs of the three major networks. Then it will put pressure on these three channels to produce more in-depth and honest news, because of the potential for viewers to choose The Daily Show over their news programs.

With these changes to The Daily Show there is a potential for the other networks to produce higher quality news. It, however, might be a stretch to say that the other stations will improve their news programs. At any rate, Comedy Central could still produce some unique in depth news that educates a large audience despite Colbert’s departure.

 

Midnight Raids Rock Turkish Police Force

By: GREYDOG

Posted by snakearbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

Police riot shield

Turkish police are under fire for corruption.

A not-so-secretive home-raiding operation was unleashed just days after the Gulenist movement’s newspapers started revealing statistics of the AKP government’s increasing trade with the Israeli government despite the anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli rhetoric that is prevalent in the AKP party. The operation is taking place only two hours after Erdogan appeared on a TV show saying, “It’s time for a cleaning now.” This sentence was the start of an operation that spread to 22 cities into the morning.

At 2:00 AM on July 22nd, Turkey experienced yet another “first time” in its history, and contrary to the permitted rules of home-raiding operations and arrests, hundreds of doors were knocked on in the middle of the night and arrests began. According to the penal code, house searches and arrests can only be made between 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM. However, in exceptional cases when the operation is led by the Organized Crime and Terrorism Taskforce, home raids on high-level suspects can be carried out at unorthodox times.

At this very moment, hundreds of homes are being raided as this article is being written. Police officers and police chiefs are being arrested, including the ones who participated in the home-raiding operations and operations against the secret service officers who were also involved in the corruption probe investigation against the government ministers, prime minister, and their sons. Another group of police officers are allegedly the ones who uncovered secret Iranian cells operating in Turkey, especially Tawhid-i Salam (linked to Quds Forces/Jerusalem Army).

The charges against the police officers include espionage and forging legal documents that led to the corruption probe being prepared in the last two years. The same accusations had been made against Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) officers after another nighttime raid was carried out on May 31^st against TIB. After the December 17 and 25 corruption probe arrests of dozens of people related to government and business networks, Erdogan had said “we will raid their caves.”

The timing of the operation is also significant. The home raids are taking place just hours before Erdogan addresses the Parliament before it is dissolved for summer recess which, is the last time before presidential elections in August 2014. As the dawn breaks, the operation is spreading to other districts of Istanbul and several other cities. Government “Deepthroat” @fuatavni writes “psychological combat tools are being used to divert public perception right before the elections.” In social media, the operation has been likened to the“Night of the Long Knives” that happened 80 years ago in Nazi Germany.

Editorial Position of the New York Times: Thumbs Up for Gaza Slaughter

By: Norman Solomon

[This post was co-written by Abba Solomon, the author of The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein's Speech "The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews."]

Outside the NY Times Tower

The Times’ editorial staff enthusiastically supports Israeli war crimes.

Over the weekend, the New York Times sent out a clear signal: the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable when the Israeli military is doing the killing.

Under the headline “Israel’s War in Gaza,” the most powerful newspaper in the United States editorialized that such carnage is necessary. The lead editorial in the July 19 edition flashed a bright green light — reassuring the U.S. and Israeli governments that the horrors being inflicted in Gaza were not too horrible.

From its first words, the editorial methodically set out to justify what Israel was doing.

After 10 days of aerial bombardment,” the editorial began, “Israel sent tanks and ground troops into Gaza to keep Hamas from pummeling Israeli cities with rockets and carrying out terrorist attacks via underground tunnels.”

The choice of when to date the start of the crisis was part of the methodical detour around inconvenient facts.

For instance, no mention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s June 30 announcement that the “human animals” of Hamas would “pay” after three Israeli teenagers kidnapped in Israeli-controlled territory in the West Bank were found dead. No mention of the absence of evidence that Hamas leadership was involved in those murders.

Likewise, absent from the editorializing sequence was Israel’s June “crackdown” in the West Bank, with home raids, area closures, imprisonment of hundreds of Hamas party activists including legislators.

Most of all, the vile core of the Times editorial was its devaluation of Palestinian lives in sharp contrast to Israeli lives.

The Times editorial declared that Hamas leaders “deserve condemnation” for military actions from civilian areas in the dense Gaza enclave — but Netanyahu merited mere expressions of “concern” about “further escalation.” Absent from the editorial was any criticism of Israel’s ongoing bombardment of homes, apartment blocks, hospitals, beaches and other civilian areas with U.S.-supplied ordinance.

At the time, there had been one Israeli death from the hostilities — and at least 260 deaths among Gazans as well as injuries in the thousands. The contrast illuminates a grotesque difference in the Times’ willingness to truly value the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians.

In the morally skewed universe that the Times editorial board evidently inhabits and eagerly promulgates, Hamas intends to “terrorize” Israeli citizens while Israel merely intends to accomplish military objectives by dropping thousands of tons of bombs on Palestinian people in Gaza.

A keynote of the editorial came when it proclaimed: “There was no way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to tolerate the Hamas bombardments, which are indiscriminately lobbed at Israeli population centers. Nor should he.”

While sprinkling in a handwringing couple of phrases about dead and wounded civilians, the editorial had nothing to say in condemnation of the Israeli force killing and maiming them in large numbers.

Between the lines was a tacit message to Israel: Kill more. It’s OK. Kill more.

And to Israel’s patrons in Washington: Stand behind Israel’s mass killing in Gaza. Under the unfortunate circumstances, it’s needed.

When the editorial came off the press, the Israeli military was just getting started. And no doubt Israeli leaders, from Netanyahu on down, were heartened by the good war-making seal of approval from the New York Times.

After all, the most influential media voice in the United States — where the government is the main backer of Israel’s power — was proclaiming that the mass killing by the Israeli military was regrettable but not objectionable.

Israel Tries New Rationale for War

By: Siun

Watching Operation Protective Edge move from a few air strikes to invasion and decimation of the land and people of Palestine is so reminiscent of Cast Lead and the horrors we covered then. But there’s a new theme to this round of genocide – the Israeli claim that Hamas has a huge network of tunnels enabling Hamas “terrorists” to attack Israeli locations virtually at will.

A girl with Palestine flag face paint

“Why, if Hamas leadership is underground, are the Israeli forces shelling family homes?”

This tunnel tale has been popping up throughout the coverage over the past few days and Israel is now saying destroying the tunnels is their primary reason for their war on Gaza rather than the rockets touted last week. Of course, if you look closely at the coverage, all the tunnel information comes from Israeli official sources, not from independent analysts or reporters’ own investigation. Take a look at Time magazine, distributing the IDF’s video of how to destroy a tunnel or check out the Washington Post doing an in-depth look at the “terror tunnels” conveniently following the IDFs press briefing on the topic on July 19th and based in large part on the “reporting” of “al-Monitor’s Shlomi Eldar.” Eldar’s orginal article portrays the tunnels as an elaborate infrastructure involving not only the smuggling tunnels we’ve all seen and which were primarily destroyed by Egypt last year but also two other types of tunnels – one to store weapons and serve as a vast underground hideaway for Hamas leaders and their families and the third, a network of tunnels that reach deep into Israel:

It was only after 13 militants from the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades penetrated Israel in an attempt to launch a terrorist attack in Kerem Shalom that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) got the green light to begin a ground assault. And it was only then that soldiers discovered there was an underground Gaza just like there was an aboveground Gaza, and that the Hamas movement had invested an enormous amount of resources into constructing that underground Gaza.

The second network of tunnels is complex and has multiple branches running off it. This network, which was burrowed beneath the cities and refugee camps of Gaza — Khan Yunis, Rafah, Jabaliya, and Shatti — was designed to hide the stockpile of rockets and launchers. At the same time, other tunnels were dug to provide protection to Hamas leaders and allow them mobility. Every single leader of Hamas, from its lowest ranking bureaucrats to its most senior leaders, is intimately familiar with the route to the security tunnel assigned to him and his family. The most senior leadership has its own specific tunnel, which serves as a ‘war room’ in times of emergency, such as the current military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Then there are the tunnels along the border with Israel. These were intended to allow Hamas activists from the Gaza Strip to infiltrate deep into Israeli territory. Israel had already established a security fence along its border with Gaza, which has successfully prevented countless terrorist infiltrations and attacks. So the border tunnels were dug beneath the fence.

Notice how this account – quickly picked up by western press – serves several purposes. At a time when opposition to Israel’s attack on Gaza was growing, the tunnels provide a new rationale, a new reason why Israel must attack – to shut down this newly uncovered “terrorist” access to Israel even though there had been no uptick of attacks in Israeli controlled locations prior to the attack on Gaza and none of the reporters have seen this “underground Gaza.”

Second this tale expands the Israeli line that Hamas does not represent the people of Gaza nor share their suffering – they are all hiding out in their individual tunnels with their families.

And Eldar goes on to write that – again picked up and quoted by various western media – not only has Hamas selfishly only looked after their own safety but they have squandered millions of dollars to do so which could have been spent to improve the lot of Gazan citizens. Here’s Terrence McCoy in WaPo quoting Eldar:

Over Easy: Humans Aren’t the Only Jerks in the Animal World

By: yellowsnapdragon Monday May 2, 2011 4:35 am

The last few days have proved once again that humans are real jerks. Not to be left out, here is a compilation of animals being jerks. If I had to choose, I’d rather hang out with the animals, thankyouverymuch.

Off topic welcome and lurkers must introduce us to their pets. With pictures. How are your critters doing today?

Monday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Monday July 21, 2014 8:23 pm

 

A formal portrait of a young Bly, serious faced

Gonzo journalist Elizabeth Jane “Nellie Bly” Cochran rarely remained neutral on her subjects, for better or worse.

Tonight the Watercooler is in solidarity with National Nurses United and their recent rally for access to water in Detroit.

Thousands of registered nurses, community, labor, environmental and community activists marched in Detroit today in a resounding protests against the shutoff of water to tens of thousands of city residents — an action the marchers called a wanton violation of human rights that creates a public health emergency. RNs lead the march demanding that the Detroit Water and Sewage Dept. turn back on the water to its residents.

[...] Their message: Turn on the water. Restore the water for those who were cutoff. Tax Wall Street to raise the money needed to revitalize cities and communities like Detroit harmed by the Wall Street created economic crash of 2008. And they voiced emphatic opposition to the corporate policies of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his undemocratically appointed emergency city manager who have declared a bankruptcy in Detroit and moved to privatize public resources, such as the water supply.

Jean Ross, RN, co-president of National Nurses United, the lead sponsor of the action, delivered a declaration calling the city of Detroit to be a public health emergency zone, supporting the call of numerous city activists of the health crisis prompted by the shutoff. ‘We need clean water for proper sanitation to combat the growth and spread of multiple infectious diseases and pandemics. We need clean water for a safe and healthy environment. We demand the guarantee that all Detroit residents have immediate and full access to clean water,’ said Ross.

It appears that the activists are being taken more seriously by police with the usual show of force in response: DailyKos reports on the use of an LRAD — a sound weapon used by militarized police — to disperse a crowd of protesters.

And Gonzo journalist Laurie Penny recently wrote about another great pioneer of openly biased journalism, Nellie Bly — who among other accomplishments infiltrated an insane asylum to report on the torturous conditions inside. From The New Inquiry:

In 1893, the celebrated reporter Nellie Bly went to visit Emma Goldman in prison. The young anarchist provocateur was held in the first Manhattan jail to be called the Tombs; it was built on the wreck of an old swamp and stank of rot and feces. The two women had both grown up in poverty and obscurity, and found fame, if not fortune, by writing about the conditions suffered by women and the working poor. But while Bly was lauded for circling the globe in only a fetching checkered traveling cloak, Goldman was locked up for incitement to riot.

Bly was one of the only journalists to show Goldman any sympathy and the first to understand her importance as a cultural figure. In Bly’s piece, Goldman is permitted to speak her truth at length, along with some girly chat about clothes of the frivolous sort that Goldman would never have stooped to in her own writings. These are the details that never make it into the manifestos but nevertheless make the politics a hundred times more human.

[...] ‘Gonzo’ journalism is now read as a macho practice: turn up somewhere ripped and stoned and undercover and immerse yourself in a culture or practice, then write viscerally, from the brain and the gut. In fact, women were doing it first. Bly was just 21 when she got herself committed to Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum to report on the dispiriting conditions suffered by the inmates there: the beatings, the starvation, the cold. Her feature in the World drew public attention to the plight of the mentally unwell in the U.S. and led to some limited reforms.

Penny outlines Bly’s entire rise and fail, and why her famous round the world trip was perhaps the least of her achievements.

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Planning for a Day of Peace

By: David Swanson Sunday June 5, 2011 7:00 pm

 

A few years back, prior to the International Day of Peace on September 21st, a school board member here in Virginia said that he would back a resolution marking that day as long as everyone understood that in doing so he was not opposing any wars.

Wars for peace, like sex for virginity, appear contradictory to some. But what about militarism for peace? What about war preparations and peace? A so-called “defense” department that arms the world; can that be compatible with peace?

We need our governments to begin planning for a day of peace. Instead of investing everything in planning for war, preparing for war, and proliferating enough weapons to fuel plenty of wars, governments could invest in alternatives to war, nonviolent means of conflict resolution, moves toward justice that reduce conflict, international standards of law that make negotiations and diplomacy effective.

One of the tools that we can use to move our cultures and our governments toward planning for a day of peace is to ourselves plan for a day celebrating peace — peace understood precisely as the elimination of war.  September 21st, the International Day of Peace, is one such day. WorldBeyondWar.org is organizing events here. And here is a list of events in the U.S. arranged on a map by Campaign Nonviolence.

Groups and individuals interested in planning events this September can work with Campaign Nonviolence and Global Movement for the Culture of Peace and Peace One Day and A Year Without War. Advocates of peace and environmental sanity who grasp the connections between the two may want to participate in a People’s Climate March in New York City, September 20-21, and bring this flyer: PDF.

Some resources that can be used to create events of various types are here:

At some events already planned for September 21, 2014, people will begin marking 100 years since the Christmas Truces of World War I. You can find great information on World War I at 100 on NoGlory.org

You may want to screen Joyeux Noel: a film about the 1914 Christmas truce. Or use this script for reenactment of a Christmas Truce: PDF. Here’s more Christmas Truce information and videos. And if you’re in the Northeast U.S. or the U.K. you might be able to attend or even set up a production of The Great War Theatre Project: Messengers of a Bitter Truth: Info in PDF.

Peace deserves more than empty platitudes compatible with the preservation of war as our largest public project. Sometimes bringing truth back from propaganda is so jarring as to be humorous. “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work,” said Woody Allen. “I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” We should not want peace only in our hearts or in the press releases of the Pentagon; we should want peace through the ending of war and the abolition of the institutions that continue to plan and create more wars even while they pretend to a sight degree of outrage that each new war has been successfully created.

The Future Is Not Ours (and Neither Is the Past)

By: Tom Engelhardt Friday July 15, 2011 12:11 pm

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Requiem for the American Century
Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph
By Tom Engelhardt

First Paragraphs on Turning 70 in the American Century That Was

Kennedy and McNamara in a Cuban Missile Crisis meeting

A reflection on 70 years of history and life.

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to “create the first great American Century.”  Luce died in 1967 at age 69.  Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s childhood, ceased to exist as a weekly in 1972 and as a monthly in 2000; Time, which launched his career as a media mogul, is still wobbling on, a shadow of its former self.  No one today could claim that this is Time’s century, or the American Century, or perhaps anyone else’s.  Even the greatest empires now seem to have shortened lifespans.  The Soviet Century, after all, barely lasted seven decades.  Of course, only the rarest among us live to be 100, which means that at 70, like Time, I’m undoubtedly beginning to wobble, too.

* The other day I sat down with an old friend, a law professor who started telling me about his students.  What he said aged me instantly.  They’re so young, he pointed out, that their parents didn’t even come of age during the Vietnam War.  For them, he added, that war is what World War I was to us.  He might as well have mentioned the Mongol conquests or the War of the Roses.  We’re talking about the white-haired guys riding in the open cars in Veteran’s Day parades when I was a boy.  And now, it seems, I’m them.

* In March 1976, accompanied by two friends, my wife and I got married at City Hall in San Francisco, and then adjourned to a Chinese restaurant for a dim sum lunch.  If, while I was settling our bill of perhaps $30, you had told me that, almost half a century in the future, marriage would be an annual $40 billion dollar business, that official couplings would be preceded by elaborate bachelor and bachelorette parties, and that there would be such a thing as destination weddings, I would have assumed you were clueless about the future.  On that score at least, the nature of the world to come was self-evident and elaborate weddings of any sort weren’t going to be part of it.

* From the time I was 20 until I was 65, I was always 40 years old.  Now, I feel my age.  Still, my life at 70 is a luxury.  Across the planet, from Afghanistan to Central America, and in the poverty zones of this country, young people regularly stare death in the face at an age when, so many decades ago, I was wondering whether my life would ever begin.  That’s a crime against humanity.  So consider me lucky (and privileged) to be seven decades in and only now thinking about my death.

* Recently, I had the urge to tell my son something about my mother, who died before he was born.  From my closet, I retrieved an attaché case of my father’s in which I keep various family mementos.  Rummaging around in one of its pockets, I stumbled upon two letters my mother wrote him while he was at war.  (We’re talking about World War II, that ancient conflict of the history books.)  Almost four decades after her death, all I had to do was see my mother’s handwriting on the envelope — “Major C. L. Engelhardt, 1st Air Commando Force, A.P.O. 433, Postmaster, New York 17, N.Y.” — to experience such an upwelling of emotion I could barely contain my tears.  So many years later, her handwriting and my father’s remain etched into my consciousness.  I don’t doubt I could recognize them amid any other set of scribblings on Earth.  What fingerprints were to law enforcement then, handwriting was to family memories.  And that started me wondering: years from now, in an electronic world in which no one is likely to think about picking up a pen to write anyone else, what will those “fingerprints” be?