Thursday, April 5, 2007

Who Will Pay For The News?

Here's my latest--and last--"Loyal Opposition" column for TomPaine.com. The website will be undergoing changes in the coming weeks. Please check it out....


Who Will Pay For The News?
David Corn
April 05, 2007
www.TomPaine.com


David Corn is The Nation's Washington editor and the author with Michael Isikoff of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.

A few months ago I gave a speech at a university, and before the event I attended a luncheon with members of the Democratic and Republican clubs on campus. There were two dozen students present. We talked about politics and the media. The questions were sophisticated. They asked about political figures in Washington and media players they read and watch. It was heartening. These young adults were clearly well-informed and dedicated consumers of news.

I asked them to rattle off their main information sources. It was the usual suspects: CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Newsweek, Time. That is, the dino-media (a k a the MSM). A few libs at the table were familiar with The Nation, while some cons were fans of the National Review. As media consumers, they were getting a decent mix. Then I asked a follow-up: How many of you pay for media? Only three raised their hands. The rest get it for free from websites. I shook my head.

The information revolution we are all living through is wondrous. Thirty-five years ago, when I was an adolescent Watergate junkie, I couldn’t read The Washington Post’s coverage. I lived outside New York City, and it was impossible to find The Post. I still recall the delight I experienced when I passed through the Atlanta airport during a family vacation and walked by a newsstand that sold out-of-town papers. There was a copy of The Post . I quickly bought it—and was not disappointed that it contained merely a tiny, inside-the-front-section article on the latest Watergate wrinkle.

These days anyone with a computer has access to newspapers across the country and around the world—and much more. And all the news, information and analysis zipping around the Internet is amassed, amplified, digested and dissected by a wide array of aggregators and bloggers—and generally served up for free. It has never been easier for a citizen to be well-informed. One can obtain government reports, drafts of legislation and transcripts of press conferences and congressional hearings directly. You can watch government and public affairs in action on the C-SPAN channels and websites. See candidates speechify; read their position papers. There is no need to rely on journalists to bring you what (they think) is important. During the recent Scooter Libby trial, bloggers sat in the media room, watched a closed-circuit broadcast of the trial and posted a pseudo-transcript of the proceedings in near-real-time. (No media cameras were allowed in the federal courtroom.) Citizens obsessed with the trial didn’t have to wait for my (or The New York Times ’ ) reports; they could read along with the action.

It’s also never been harder for a citizen to be well-informed—since there is so much freely available news-related material to wade through and so much other media that competes for attention. Borat clips on YouTube, the latest dish on celebrity gossip sites, easy-to-grab music on iTunes, personal diaries and video confessions on MySpace.com, not to mention tens of thousands of programs on hundreds of cable and satellite television channels. To make an old fuddy-duddy point, it used to be that if a person wanted sports news, he or she had to flip through a newspaper or sit through a news broadcast. Now you can choose from a variety of sports-news delivery vehicles (the various ESPN outlets among them) and not be inconvenienced by any non-sports news. If bowling is your passion, you can find sites that will keep you busy for hours. We reside in a media world of niches.

There’s a lot more information—that is, distractions—out there, but still only 24 hours in a day. (Did I mention the Borat clips on YouTube?) Which means it does take time and effort—and perhaps most of all, discipline—to consume a healthy media diet. But one foundation of such a diet has to be solid journalism: reporting that reveals what is going on in the world about us. And my fear is that obvious and easy-to-bemoan market and cultural forces are placing pressure on the production of good journalism.

Keep those students in mind. They benefit from the work produced by big media institutions, but they do not pay for it. They have become accustomed to obtaining information for free. But it costs newspapers, news networks and magazines a lot to field reporters (even underpaid ones) and editors who produce the stories that can then be obtained for no pay on websites and that are grabbed by aggregating sites. There has to be revenue to support these operations and infrastructures.

I’m not crying over the troubling PNL statements of major media corporations. Yet the impact extends beyond the newsroom and the boardroom. The world is probably more complicated than ever. There is more to know, more to cover. Yet newspapers are firing, not hiring, reporters. The Washington Post booted out some of its most experienced hands (enticing them with last-chance buyouts). The New York Times, The Los Angles Times, The Boston Globe, NBC News—cutbacks everywhere. Time recently ordered its Washington bureau to axe four of its eleven correspondents (while the magazine’s honchos in New York hired neocon Bill Kristol, who was wrong on practically everything about the Iraq war, to write a column).

Across the traditional media landscape, this is the scene: fewer overseas bureaus (if any) and fewer seasoned journalists collecting and presenting information. Sure, a new business model may arise, with revenue coming from website ads or pay-to-read fees. But we’re not there yet. And one can wonder how much dislocation will occur before such models emerge—and if the effects of that dislocation will be reversible.

The MSM has screwed up plenty. Look at how it covered the run-up to the Iraq war. And the corporate overseers of media conglomerates tend to worry more about profit than public service. Networks are slaves to ratings. You know the rap. (For a tutorial on the evils of cable news, see the latest, "What We Call the News.") I’m grateful for the limitations of the big media outfits, for they create a market opening for the work I do. But these large journalistic entities—for better or worse—provide an information baseline for public discourse. And they bring to public attention crucial stories: CIA secret prisons, the NSA domestic wiretapping, Enron’s misdeeds, Hurricane Katrina foul-ups, Jack Abramoff’s sleaze. The citizenry needs them to be healthy.

Let a million bloggers bloom, indeed. And the more websites, the merrier. Let the information free-for-all unleashed by the Internet continue, even if bad information (rants, inaccurate material, unvetted data) too frequently drowns out good information. But we ought to be mindful that bad information—and cheap-to-produce information—can drive out needed information that is expensive to produce. It costs much for media outlets to cover overseas developments, to mount investigative projects, to field talented and experienced reporters to penetrate the darker corners of governments and corporations, and to deploy a sufficient number of journalists to report on key institutions such as Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, the EPA and the State Department. Blogs and cut-and-paste-and-dissect websites provide essential services for a media consumer—producing news of their own and analyzing the news produced by others—but we ought to remember that much of what we know of the world we know because of the work of journalists toiling within mainstream media environs. In other words, support your local MSM—as well as alternative media (say, my home base, The Nation ) that employ and deploy reporters to gather and disseminate facts. Without them, there would be much less to blog about.

This is my last "Loyal Opposition" column forTomPaine.com . It’s been a pleasure to write for TomPaine.com for nearly seven years. The editors I’ve worked with have been generous in their support and have afforded me tremendous latitude. I thank them and wish the site well, as it navigates the ever-changing media environment.

18 comments:

capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

If the MSM can ever return from the land of lies they might stand a chance. We pay for the media - we all do. Look at the cost of the MSM carry water to this criminal enterprise in the WH?

The failure of the press to provide the truth - a truth once trusted to them - should be the end of them. Nobody likes being lied to.

I cannot believe anybody would still "pay" for the NYT's or WaPo.

The "press" is not suppose to be the story they are suppose to report the stories. Their abject failure and eventual absence will go unnoticed and I predict under-reported.

""The Press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of the government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people."
~ Justice Hugo L. Black - (1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice - Source: New York Times v. Unites States (Pentagon Papers) 1971

The press has failed - they should be retired from the corps and lets the lies fly on the Internet. That is unless the press can get back to doing their job - honestly and truthfully. Being right and truthful is a position that no amount of lies can imbalance.

Thanks for all of your work!

Kirk

Saladin said...

Flow Charter: 'Anti-War' Democrats Give Bush Victory on a Platter
Written by Chris Floyd
Monday, 02 April 2007
I've been writing on the "War for Oil," piecemeal, for years (e.g., Claiming the Prize: Bush Surge Aimed at Securing Iraqi Oil), but Richard Behan has provided one of the best, most succinct summaries of the Bush Administration's true aims in their war of aggression against Iraq in "George Bush's Land Mine: If the Iraqi People Get Revenue Sharing, They Lose Their Oil to Exxon.

As Behan notes, the new "Iraqi oil law" (originally written, in English, by Bush's own oily cronies) will essentially transfer up to 80 percent of Iraq's oil revenues into the coffers of American and British oil companies, for decades to come. This plan was conceived long before the war -- and long before the 9/11 attacks used to justify the war. As Behan notes: "This bizarre circumstance is the end-game of the brilliant, ever-deceitful maneuvering by the Bush Administration in conducting the entire scenario of the 'global war on terror.'"

Victory is indeed at hand, and is being offered to Bush on a plate by the Democrats, in the war appropriations bill they passed with such self-congratulatory fanfare last week in a supposed slap in the face for Bush. As Behan notes, Bush, for all his veto-threatening bluster, could well sign the bill in the end, because it does give him what he really wants: the enshrinement of the "oil law" as the ultimate "benchmark." In this measure, the Democrats have joined Bush in pressuring the Iraqi government into passing the law -- or else the Americans will stop propping up the Maliki regime -- and find a more pliable puppet.


Excerpts:
If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5’s of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq. That is the wretched goal of the Bush Administration, and in his speech setting the revenue-sharing “benchmark” Mr. Bush consciously avoided any hint of it.

The legislation pending now in Washington requires the President to certify to Congress by next October that the benchmarks have been met-specifically that the Iraqi hydrocarbon law has been passed. That’s the land mine: he will certify the American and British oil companies have access to Iraqi oil. This is not likely what Congress intended, but it is precisely what Mr. Bush has sought for the better part of six years.

It is why we went to war.


We must disagree with Mr. Behan on one point here: the enshrinement of the oil law is very likely precisely what Congress intended. As noted often here, America's imperial right to secure the lion's share of the world's resources – by any means necessary – has long been a basic, bipartisan assumption of U.S. foreign policy for decades. After all, was it not the saintly Jimmy Carter who first openly declared that America would go to war in the Middle East if "our" oil supplies there were threatened? But it's true that the Bushists have taken this policy to new heights of naked gangsterism. Behan describes it well:


Planning for the two wars was underway almost immediately upon the Bush Administration taking office–at least six months before September 11, 2001. The wars had nothing to do with terrorism. Terrorism was initially rejected by the new Administration as unworthy of national concern and public policy, but 9/11 gave them a conveniently timed and spectacular alibi to undertake the wars. Quickly inventing a catchy “global war on terror” theme, the Administration disguised the true nature of the wars very cleverly, and with enduring success.

The “global war on terror” is bogus. The prime terrorist in Afghanistan and the architect of 9/11, Osama bin Laden, was never apprehended, and the President’s subsequent indifference is a matter of record. And Iraq harbored no terrorists at all. But both countries were invaded, both countries suffer military occupation today, both are dotted with permanent U.S. military bases protecting the hydrocarbon assets, and both have been provided with puppet governments.

And a billion dollar embassy in Baghdad is under construction now. It will be the largest U.S. embassy in the world by a factor of ten. It consists of 21 buildings on 104 acres, six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York city, larger than Vatican City. It will house a delegation of more than five thousand people. It will have its own water, electric, and sewage systems, and it is surrounded by a fortress wall of concrete fifteen feet thick. For an Administration committed to fighting terrorism with armies and bombs, that’s far more anti-terror diplomacy than a tiny country needs. There must be another purpose for it.

In the first two months of the Bush Administration two significant events took place that preordained the Iraqi war. Vice President Cheney’s Energy Task Force was created, composed of federal officials and oil industry people. By March of 2001, half a year before 9/11, the Task Force was poring secretly over maps of the Iraqi oil fields, pipe lines, and tanker terminals. It studied a listing of foreign oil company “suitors” for exploration and development contracts, to be executed with Saddam Hussein’s oil ministry. There was not a single American or British oil company included, and to Mr. Cheney and his cohorts that was intolerable. The final report of the Task Force was candid: “… Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.” The detailed meaning of “focus” was left blank.

The other event was the first meeting of President Bush’s National Security Council, and it filled in the blank. The Council abandoned abruptly the decades-long attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and set a new priority for Middle East foreign policy instead: the invasion of Iraq. This, too, was six months before 9/11. “Focus” would mean war.

By the fall of 2002, the White House Iraq Group-a collection not of foreign policy experts but of media and public relations people-was cranking up the marketing campaign for the war. A contract was signed with the Halliburton Corporation-even before military force in Iraq had been authorized by Congress-to organize the suppression of oil well fires, should Saddam torch the fields as he had done in the first Gulf War. Little was left to chance.

The oil industry is the primary client and top-ranked beneficiary of the Bush Administration. There can be no question the Administration intended to secure for American oil corporations the rich petroleum resources of Iraq: 115 billion barrels of proven reserves, twice that in probable and possible resources, potentially far more than Saudi Arabia. The Energy Task Force spoke to this and the National Security Council answered…

A year before the war the State Department undertook the “Future of Iraq” project, expressly to design the institutional contours of the postwar country. The Oil and Energy Working Group” looked with dismay at the National Iraqi Oil Company, the government agency that owned and operated the Iraqi oil fields and marketed the products. 100% of the revenues went directly to the central government, and constituted about 90% of its income. Saddam Hussein benefited, certainly-his lavish palaces-but the Iraqi people did so to a far greater extent, in terms of the nation’s public services and physical infrastructure. For this reason nationalized oil industries are the norm throughout the world.

The Oil and Energy Working Group designed a scheme that was oblique and sophisticated, indeed. The oil seizure would be less than total. It would be obscured in complexity. The apparent responsibility for it would be shifted, and it would be disguised as benefiting, even necessary to Iraq’s well being. Their work was supremely ingenious, undeniably brilliant.

The plan would keep the National Iraqi Oil Company in place, to continue overseeing the currently producing fields. But those fields represent only 19% of Iraq’s petroleum reserves. The other 81% would be flung open to “investment” by foreign oil interests, and the companies in favored positions today-because of the war and their political connections-are Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell.

The nationalized industry would be 80% privatized…

The Iraqi oil industry does very much need a great deal of investment capital, to repair, replace, and upgrade its infrastructure. But it does not need Exxon/Mobil or any other foreign company to provide it. At a reduced level, Iraq is still producing oil and hence revenue, and no country in the world, perhaps, has better collateral against which to float bond issues for public investment. Privatization of any sort and in any degree is utterly unnecessary in Iraq today.

The features of the State Department plan were inserted by Paul Bremer’s Provisional Coalition Authority into the developing structures of Iraqi governance. American oil companies were omnipresent in Baghdad then and have been since, shaping and shepherding the plan through the several iterations of puppet governments-the “democracy” said to be taking hold in Iraq.

The package today is in the form of draft legislation, the hydrocarbon law. Only a handful of Iraqi officials know its details. Virtually none of them had a hand in its construction. (It was first written in English.) And its exclusive beneficiaries are the American and British oil companies, whose profits will come directly from the pockets of the Iraqi people.


This is what more than 3,000 American soldiers have died for. This is what tens of thousands more have given their limbs, their eyes, their burned flesh, their scarred psyches for. This is what more than 600,000 innocent Iraqis have been murdered for. This, and only this: the vast profits that flow from oil, and the strategic and political power that comes from controlling that flow.
============
Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. The dems and repugs are all traitors, get used to it.

Robert S said...


The CIA and the Media
by Carl Bernstein
Rolling Stone, Oct. 20, 1977


In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.

Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services -- from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements America�s leading news organizations.

The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception . . . .

Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were William Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the Louisville Courier-Journal and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, The Miami Herald, and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune. By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with The New York Times, CBS, and Time Inc.

... From the Agency's perspective, there is nothing untoward in such relationships, and any ethical questions are a matter for the journalistic profession to resolve, not the intelligence community ... .

Many journalists were used by the CIA to assist in this process and they had the reputation of being among the best in the business. The peculiar nature of the job of the foreign correspondent is ideal for such work; he is accorded unusual access, by his host country, permitted to travel in areas often off-limits to other Americans, spends much of his time cultivating sources in governments, academic institutions, the military establishment and the scientific communities. He has the opportunity to form long-term personal relationships with sources and -- perhaps more than any other category of American operative -- is in a position to make correct judgments about the susceptibility and availability of foreign nationals for recruitment as spies.

The Agency's dealings with the press began during the earliest stages of the Cold War. Allen Dulles, who became director of the CIA in 1953, sought to establish a recruiting-and-cover capability within America's most prestigious journalistic institutions. By operating under the guise of accredited news correspondents, Dulles believed, CIA operatives abroad would be accorded a degree of access and freedom of movement unobtainable under almost any other type of cover.

American publishers, like so many other corporate and institutional leaders at the time, were willing us commit the resources of their companies to the struggle against "global Communism." Accordingly, the traditional line separating the American press corps and government was often indistinguishable: rarely was a news agency used to provide cover for CIA operatives abroad without the knowledge and consent of either its principal owner; publisher or senior editor. Thus, contrary to the notion that the CIA era and news executives allowed themselves and their organizations to become handmaidens to the intelligence services. "Let's not pick on some poor reporters, for God's sake," William Colby exclaimed at one point to the Church committee's investigators. "Let's go to the managements. They were witting" In all, about twenty-five news organizations (including those listed at the beginning of this article) provided cover for the Agency.


More.


****************************

Carl Bernstein, presumably one of the journalists that Mr. Corn is referring to in the Washington Post's coverage of Watergate, provides this look into the mainstream media. Reading this, and then remembering Bob Woodward's recent protestations that the Valerie Plame Wilson case amounted to nothing, before we knew that he was personally involved, well, it almost makes one's head spin.

Weapons of Mass Distraction, and the latest wrinkle, got a new book to peddle?

And a subject I brought up on MLK's birthday, now reprised by Normon Solomon and Jeff Cohen on the 40th anniversary of the Riverside Church speech, the 39th anniversary of his assassination:


The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV
By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributors
Wednesday 04 April 2007


**************************

How does the BBC manage to fund itself? Taxes. An informed populace being presumed to be good for the nation, you see.

**************************

It being true that one had to watch a whole broadcast to get to the sports news, in the good old days, many folks read the papers from the back and never got to the news stories...didn't work for the NYTIMES, but those folks didn't have to read it all, it was nice to know it was all there... provided by the CIA, curveball, or respectable, credible journalists. At least in the Ball Scores.

Robert S said...


John (I got my job through GHWB) Burns
complained that Saddam Hussein called him a CIA asset, at this forum, he disclosed that George Herbert Walker Bush helped get him his job. Try finding a transcript, though.

Robert S said...


Ford give execs huge bonuses despite record losses
AFP
Published: Thursday April 5, 2007


Struggling Ford Motor Company awarded multimillion dollar bonuses to its executives last year despite the fact that it posted a record loss of 12.7 billion dollars, according to a document filed Thursday with securities regulators.

The automaker said in March it would be awarding "modest" bonuses to all company employees in order to recognize their work in reducing costs and "courageously" restructuring the company as it shutters plants and lays off 40,000 workers.

The bonuses amounted to an average of 500 dollars each for factory workers.

Chief executive Alan Mulally, who took over from Bill Ford on September 1, received a total compensation package of 28.2 million dollars which included a salary of 666,667 dollars for his four months of work at Ford.

Bill Ford, who currently serves as chairman, kept to his May 2005 decision to forgo new compensation until the company's automotive sector achieved sustainable profitability. While he received no cash salary, bonus or other awards, Ford was nonetheless received nearly 10.5 million dollars in previously assigned stock options and 'other compensation' such as the use of the corporate aircraft.

Among other awards, chief financial officer Don Leclair received total compensation of 4.4 million dollars, which included a salary of one million dollars, while Mark Fields, president of the Americas division, earned 5.5 million dollars, which included a salary of 1.3 million dollars.

*******************************

Er, how does one earn sawbacks by losing them. Obviously, one can certainly acquire much dinero through corporate mischief, but the use of the word earn is insulting to those that have to.

capt said...

Dear capt,

Thank you for speaking out on this important issue.

Spread the word:
Use the Tell-A-Friend feature and encourage others to take
action to support funding for embryonic stem cell research.
http://action.ncjw.org/campaign/2007_senate_stem_cell/forward

Visit the NCJW Action Center at
http://action.ncjw.org/ncjw/home.html to speak out on other
issues of concern to women, children, and families.

capt said...

Despite contrary poll data, Matthews claimed Midwestern voters "may not like people like Hillary"



On the April 3 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews responded to Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson's assertion that "the only way a Republican can win in 2008 is carry the Upper Midwestern states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa" by saying: "You're speaking my language. I agree with you. That is the vulnerability of a [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham Clinton (D-NY)] campaign." Matthews added: "Michigan, Ohio, those states in the industrial Midwest, they're sort of -- well, I think they're macho states. They're gun owner states. They may not like people like Hillary." Matthews did not offer any evidence to support his claim and, in fact, recent polling in Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio -- three of the four states Matthews and Thompson named -- suggests Clinton would run strongly in a general election campaign in those states:

A University of Iowa poll, released April 3, noted that "Clinton led with 13.5 percent support" when respondents were "asked an 'open-ended' question -- to name their presidential preference -- without being prompted with candidates' names." That same poll noted, "When registered Iowa voters were given the top six candidates by name, Clinton led statewide with 19.3 percent."

More HERE

*****end of clip*****

As long as the MSM just lies we all might as well get our lies for free on the net?



capt

Robert S said...


Florida Restores Felon Voting Rights
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 5, 2007


******************

AP/NYTIMES - I presume it's valid, however.

Gerald said...

We must have a free internet system for information. I recall reading a Jane Eisner's article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. She wrote about the Fall of the Islamic Culture. Back when Islam started, it thrived beyond the westrn cultures. Its downfall was because women were not able to move forward and books were not published and so the Islamic culture became stagnant. If Islam is such a great religion, the Muslims should welcome a dialogue between the various religions. Failure to do so says to me that Islam can't cut the mustard.

Robert S said...

Wolfgang's Vault has released
Country Joe McDonald's set from a Benefit Concert for Viet Nam Veterans at Moscone Center May 28, 1982
I just heard this performed by Country Joe.

Luang Prabang
(Dave Van Ronk)

When I came back from Luang Prabang
I didn't have a thing where my balls used to hang
But I got a wooden medal and a fine harangue
Now I'm a fucking hero


cho: Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you wanna be a hero, follow me
Mourn your dead, land of the free
If you wanna be a hero, follow me

And now the boys all envy me
I fought for Christian democracy
With nothing but air where my balls used to me
Now I'm a fucking hero

One and twenty cannons thundered
Into the bloody pale blue yonder
For a patriotic balless wonder
Now I'm a fucking hero

In Luang Prabang there is a spot
Where the corpses of your brothers rot
And every corpse is a patriot
And every corpse is a hero

******************

The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship also performed.
The Dead set can be heard here.
Includes jams with John Cippolina and Boz Scaggs.

Gerald said...

Love one another as I have love you. Jesus of Nazareth

A Labor of Love

We have a tendency to think that love involves only our emotions.

In fact, love is a conscious choice to open ourselves to others; to care about and for others with our actions, not just our feelings. Here are some more ideas on love:

“Love in dreams is easy, but love in reality is a harsh and dreadful thing.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.” – St. John of the Cross

“At the hour of death, when we come face to face with God, we are going to be judged on love; not on how much we have done, but on how much love we have put into our actions.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Love flows from person to person or it doesn’t flow at all. More than that, true love for others, for ourselves, for God, is an achievement of grace and courage.

Love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave…Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. (Song of Solomon 8:6,7)

Spirit of Love, fill me with Yourself so that I may never fear to love with my whole heart.
I pray for a joyful spirit, Risen One.

War is a failure to love and to view others as our brothers and sisters in God.

Gerald said...

Dream On

We’ve all heard the expression “pipe dream,” meaning something that is unlikely to ever materialize.

Yet, many successful and happy people admit that it was their dreams – deemed too lofty, or unrealistic, by others – that kept them motivated on their path to success and fulfillment.

Michelle Madrid-Branch, a successful, Emmy-nominated anchorwoman, loved her job.

Yet, “a voice inside kept saying that there was something else I was supposed to be doing.” Soon, she realized her true profession – an advocate for adoption worldwide. “I was adopted, and I wanted to tell the world about my experience and help children-in-waiting find their own ‘forever’ families,” she says.

Dreams can fuel great accomplishments and personal fulfillment. American naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”

Don’t let naysayers calm the wind beneath your sails – dream on!

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream…young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28)

May I remain ever growing into the person You made me to be, Loving God.

Let us not just dream of a world of justice and peace. Let us pursue it with every ounce of energy and breath in our bodies.

Gerald said...

Lend a Hand

A story is told about a statue of Jesus in a German cathedral that had had its arms blown off during World War II. Later, someone attached a sign: “Christ has no hands but yours.”

Faith is something to be lived out and shared, notes St. Anthony Messenger columnist Susan Hines-Briggs. She has suggestions for ways our hands can do the work of Jesus.

For instance, we – perhaps joining with other family members or friends – can offer to paint a room, make repairs, clean a yard, shovel snow or shop for an elderly or ill neighbor.

It is easy enough to remain self-centered. We’re busy. We have our own problems. “Sometimes we can use a good reminder that it’s not all about us, and we are called to act in Jesus’ name,” writes Hines-Briggs.

Think about what you already do for others – and acknowledge your own efforts. Then ask yourself what else you can do today to touch another with loving-kindness.

A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. (Luke 6:38)

Help me appreciate what I do for others, Jesus. May this encourage me to show generosity with my hands and heart.

Gerald said...

In God’s Presence

The writings and conversations of a 17th- century monastic, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, born Nicolas Herman, have impressed many including the late author Rev. Henri Nouwen.

Nouwen says that Brother Lawrence’s book The Practice of the Presence of God shows that “prayer is not saying prayers but a way of living in which all we do becomes prayer.”

With the guidance of Brother Lawrence many 21st century people have learned to turn their attention to God every few minutes; to speak frankly and simply to God; to approach God with a childlike faith; to offer their work to God. They also make an effort to place their confidence in God; to try to make their heart a place of calm and silence; to try to treat others with kindness and to obey the Commandments.

“The soul – accustomed by this exercise to the practice of faith – can actually see and feel God,” wrote Brother Lawrence.

O God, You are my God, I seek You, my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)

Holy God, help me abide with You always and everywhere.

Our actions, behaviors, and deeds are forms of prayer. Work to make our actions, behaviors, and deeds acceptable before God!!!

Gerald said...

There is one body and one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. (Ephesians 4:4,5-6)

Remind the members of Your scattered and divided church to respect each other’s differences, Adored Redeemer.

capt said...

New Thread!

Gerald said...

An Interesting Article!!!

January 26, 2007 at 19:51:32

State of the Union: a defeated nation

by Mark A. Goldman Page 1 of 1 page(s)

http://www.opednews.com

There is a lot of discussion about whether or not we can win the war if we send more troops. The war is already over. We lost. We are a defeated nation. No amount of troops can secure a victory now. In fact the more troops we send the more we lose. What was at stake in this war? Everything.

If you listen to the pundits and the news, it is all about the war in Iraq. They will even tell you that the last election was about the war. But the war I have been fighting has nothing to do with Iraq. The war I have been fighting has nothing to do with terrorists. But the war is about who will win: the people who continue to honor and hold sacred the Constitution and the rule of law or those who do not. Those who do not have won. At least as far as I can tell. I'm not surrendering. I'm not dead yet. I am only taking stock of the dead and the wounded; I am counting the hours before the sun sets, and seeing what is left of my candle.

Even if they kill every Al-Qaeda "terrorist," the war will still be lost. They are not the enemy. They never were. There never was an external enemy who could transform our government from a constitutional representative democracy into something else. I have no name for what it is, but what we have now is not that.

The only reason that it still might look like one is that many of our people believe and act as if there still is one. The only thing that will convince them that they are living an illusion is when the reality hits them where it hurts, as it did and continues to do for many of our citizens who used to live in New Orleans. They now know what they have lost is more than their homes, their jobs, their money, and their stuff.

To win back our constitution and reinstate the rule of law we will have to fight another war, a different war. To win that war will require a critical mass of citizens who have the vision to see, the heart to fight, and the will to win. Maybe that war will be fought by our great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren. I'm guessing it will take that long for our children and grandchildren to unlearn what we have been teaching them by our example. Maybe I'm being too optimistic.

About a hundred years ago there was famine in China. I predict that one day there will be famine right here in the United States. When they read what is happening to us, they will care as much about us as we cared about them when we read what was happening there. The bread that will be consumed in many nations will be baked with wheat that was grown here, even as America's children go hungry... it will be called the great hunger in the midst of plenty.

Mark A. Goldman, thank you for a good article!

Here is my prediction that one day we will be running around like scurvy rats in a maze for bits of crumbs from the rich and the powerful.

Tim said...

Excellent piece. As a consultant for the national association of broadcasters, I was particularly interested in your points about traditional media.

Bottom line: Our local TV and radio stations are struggling to compete with all the choices out there (itunes, internet, cable, satellite, tivo). The choice and competition is great for democracy. However, this is exactly why NAB is looking to the FCC to reevaluate the media ownership rules so stations can continue to provide communities with free programming.