I am just making some observations tonight, but I am not getting on my soapbox, because that's what friends do; we just talk to each other.
A few years ago a former client came to me and wanted me to represent his little brother. He was upset because, as he put it at the time, the young man was a "civilian" and wasn't in "the game". He didn't have a record and was just caught up with some bad kids in the neighborhood. According to his brother, "he (his little brother) wasn't a soldier" like him, and he didn't want him to become one.
Anyway, I have since heard that term "civilian" used to describe folks who aren't involved with a certain lifestyle by folks who are in that life. And I have since heard them address themselves as "soldiers" as well. I suppose that in their own minds, most of the people getting killed in our inner cities are "soldiers" fighting their own meaningless wars for drugs, money, and turf.
That is how the rest of society views them as well. Maybe not as "soldiers", but
people thugs caught up in a deadly and violent lifestyle who kill each other all too frequently. But we know where they are, and we know when to stay away and who to stay away from. It is why even though we have had 193 murders and counting so far in Philly (not to mention the carnage taking place in other cities all over America) we don't even seem to notice or care. They are way at the bottom of our consciousness scale. Those killings don't affect us.
It is why President Obama did not make an official statement about the 274 murders in his hometown of Chicago so far this year, but he had to make one about the shootings in a movie theater in Colorado.
When violence is random and in places that we don't expect it, we get 24 hour cable coverage and front page news headlines. We know the names of all the victims and the shooter will forever live in infamy. It ignites gun control debates and we ponder and pontificate about the violence of our culture until it fades away and the next tragedy strikes.
That doesn't happen when we pick up the paper on Monday morning and read about the shootings and mayhem in the streets of pick a city, that's just the way it is with "those people". We expect that. It's like reading the box scores from last night's baseball game. And, believe it or not, the "soldiers" fighting their senseless and violent battles want it that way. They have their turf and their enemies are defined: Other "soldiers" in the game who know the rules and who, for the most part, play by them.
Sadly, the folks who live within the confines of their battle field do not have the luxury of just moving out or tuning out the violence. They might not be soldiers in the battle, but they are also at war. Unfortunately for them, though, the presidential candidates will not take a break from their campaigns to consider their plight and mourn with the rest of the country. Flags will not be flown at half-mast, and the residence of North Philadelphia, East St. Louis, or the city of Detroit will not be getting a visit from the president.
?Turned on the TV this morning. Had this shit on about ? about livin? in a violent world. Showed all these foreign places?where foreigners live, and all. Started thinkin?, man. Either they don?t know?don?t show?or don?t care about what?s goin? on in the ?hood. They had all this foreign shit. They didn?t have shit on my brother, man.? ~Doughboy (Ice Cube) Boyz N The Hood~
Well Doughboy, Aurora, Colorado is right here in America, but it might as well be in a foreign place to folks "in the hood".
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I always feel badly when one of our candidates doesn't get elected and Norman Solomon's loss was painful. But Norman worked effectively for the progressive cause for decades before he ran for office and he'll continue his work far into the future. Not everything happens in Congress... far from it. I was listening to an interview with author Peter Dreier on the radio the other day, a discussion of his new book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century. Most of the 100 greatest and their accomplishments-- from W.E.B. Du Bois, Cesar Chavez, Emma Goldman, Bob Dylan, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein to Helen Keller, Saul Alinsky, Barbara Ehrenreich and Dr. Seuss-- had nothing to do with being elected to office. Woody Guthrie was on that list as well, of course. And yesterday Norman Solomon sent out an e-mail reminding voters of one of his lesser-known songs, "I've Got To Know" (video above).
After the commemorations of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday last week, I thought about one of his less-known songs, "I've Got to Know."
Why do your war boats ride on my waters?
Why do your death bombs fall from my skies?
Why do you burn my farm and my town down?
I've got to know, friend, I've got to know!
Of course this song was written many decades-- and countless wars-- ago. But Woody Guthrie's voice endures, raising crucial questions. Like:
What makes your boats haul death to my people? ...
Why doesn't your ship bring food and some clothing?
California's new North Coast congressional district will not be represented next year by someone with a record of challenging the warfare state. But we can continue to build on the momentum of our campaign-- organizing for long-term capacity to challenge elected officials who don't show a commitment to peace and social justice.
There are several prominent Republican politicians in these states who seem like plausible Romney running mates, but none of them would have much of an impact on the home front. If Bob McDonnell was Romney's choice the race would simply shift from a 50-42 Obama advantage to a 50-43 one in Virginia. If Richard Burr was on the ticket Obama's 47-46 edge in North Carolina would remain completely unchanged.
The one person we looked at who would make a big difference is Eric Cantor in Virginia. Cantor has a 22/41 favorability rating and on the off chance Romney selected him Obama's advantage would become 12 points at 50/38. That's a pretty strong sign of how weak the House Republican brand is right now.
Donald Rumsfeld once famously said:
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns?the ones we don't know we don't know."And never has that been more true than with regard to Mitt Romney.
Here's what we know we know about the presumptive GOP nominee:
And here's what we know we don't know:
I'm not exactly sure what we don't know we don't know, but I think maybe that was Rumsfeld's whole point.
Perhaps you people can help me out with that one.
Up host Chris Hayes out lines the week of noteworthy news items with guests Richard Benjamin, a senior fellow at Demos and author of "Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America;" Betsey Stevenson, (@BetseyStevenson)[...]
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Dissenters' Digest takes a look back at news stories covering whistleblowers, watchdogs, and government accountability.[...]
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