December 7, day of sad news
I opened the newspaper I subscribe to here in the Washington, D.C., area, this morning, and it contains nothing about Pearl Harbor–no graceful remembrance, no visit to an old sailor, no iconic photograph.* Today, of course, is the anniversary of Dec. 7, 1941, the “day of infamy” as FDR called it, the dawn air attack at Pearl Harbor that sank American battleships, crippled the navy, and killed more than two thousand U.S. personnel. The bombing raid could have virtually wiped out U.S. naval forces had the Japanese admiralty known enough to fly a second assault.
I lost a loved uncle yesterday, a World War II veteran himself, although he had the other kind of WWII story: immediately after joining up, he became deathly ill, spent months in a military hospital, and was honorably discharged. It happened fairly often; young guys (usually) were barracked together from entirely different parts of the country and were consequently exposed to germs for which they had no immunity. Everybody shared alike. The story is typical; I have heard it before. Same anecdote, different diseases. No Anzio, no Iwo Jima, same degree of danger.
There is no lack of sad news today. Elizabeth Edwards has issued a graceful statement that she is forgoing further cancer treatment.
Republicans in Congress are waging relentless war against the best interest of the overwhelming majority of the American population and seem to be getting away with it. More precisely, their efforts are being dignified in corporate media outlets as ‘budget-cutting’ or ‘conservative’ or sometimes even ‘fiscally conservative.’
Speaking of media outlets, my own paper, The Washington Post, is continuing its relentless campaign against President Obama. As during the nightmarish Bush years, I still oppose policies that harm my country and the world. Those policies that are still in place–most are not, in the new administration–I continue to oppose. But the Post has adopted an almost fiendishly effective tactic against Obama and against the best interest of the majority. Employing public-interest or non-profit entities, the paper now runs long investigative pieces to air concerns about, for example, where the stimulus money went–i.e. ONLY problems dating back to 2009. Be it noted that the Post did not equally emphasize transparency on the same issues during the Bush administration blitz to achieve the Wall Street bailout in the first place. There was no call in my paper for stringent conditions that lenders be required to lend, that large banks be required to capitalize small businesses, that homeowners or students or automobile customers get required access to funding to keep them in their houses, their schools or their cars, when the Post was hysterically demanding that Congress yield on the Bush bailout of the financial sector.
Certainly the loud voice of the Washington Post expressed absolutely no concern about the environmental policies or labor policies of firms about to receive the biggest bailout ever provided by U.S. taxpayers–bigger than bailing out Europe in World War II.
Thus the Center for Public Integrity finds itself getting ink on these concerns in the Washington Post when the same thing did not happen in fall 2008. ProPublica, launched in spring 2009, seems regrettably to be treating the disasters of the Bush administration as ancient history rather than as ongoing problems. So some of our nonprofits are being used as weapons to divide progressives, by a small group of people most intent on defeating Obama and promoting the GOP to major-party status by any means possible. The Post has been trumpeting The Great Recession like nobody’s business, ever since Obama took office–far more emphatically, and with a far more strident editorial voice, than it took to task Bush, who created both the deficit we (now) hear so much about and the recession. This has the effect, of course, of putting the president in an impossible position; only a fiscal illiterate would believe that the White House should sloganize about ‘jobs’ amid the disasters created by Bush; we will have a stronger labor market only when we start trying to address our needs rather than an artificial and reified target of ‘growth.’
Speaking of transparency, on the arrest of the wikileaks founder only Think Progress gets it right: “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange voluntarily turned himself into
British police today. Assange is facing
allegations of consensual but unprotected sex in Sweden, known in
the country as