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A surprisingly lucid Bruce Ogata makes a valid point (despite a valiant attempt at comic relief from Jumbo Nolan), especially given how one of the local dailies practically celebrated the hiring of an Iraq War vet by the EPD, not to mention the other vets going through the CR Police Academy. Given the paltry, if not laughable, local standards for education and training (six months as opposed to the college degrees required of officers in many central and southern California law enforcement agencies), it begs the question: How long until Fallujah-style tactics are deployed here on the streets of Humboldt County, especially with the multi-agency SWAT Team planwaiting in the wings?
This is especially troubling given the true butcher's bill of casualties from the war the press just can't stop pimping itself for. As revealed in another excellent excoriation of the prevailing "4,000" myth by Alex Cockburn, the true toll of American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan is 655,000 dead and injured, as detailed in a report from those flaming radicals at the RAND think tank. That's an estimated 320,000 returning soldiers suffering from brain injuries and another 300,000 psychologically wounded with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (which just might have something to do with the estimated 1,000 suicide attempts per month among Iraq War vets).
But no, if one were to rely on the local establishment rags for all their information, they would think our local vets get a pat on the back, a medal, and a job running around Eureka with a gun, with no further attention required. Of course there aren't any homeless veterans around here, or anywhere in the U.S., if you were ignorant enough to trust the word of The Eureka Reporter's favored bloviator, Bill O'Reilly.
As with almost every subject in Humboldt County, the topic inevitably returns to the local economic engine, medical marijuana. Given the needs of returning vets for palliative remedies which don't turn them into lithium zombies or crazed prozac patients, does the decision by Arcata's City Council to pull the plug on the already-constructed and permitted Humboldt Medical Supply facility appear not just as part of the increasing tide of Yuppiecrat intolerance, but as a cruel revenge against suffering, stressed-out ex-soldiers who doubtlessly qualify under California Health & Safety Code 11362.5? Does Arcata care more about civil certificates for its well-off lesbians than about the imploding vets out there on the streets? The Eye might think so, but as for what the people will actually put up with, time will tell.
In fact it was shown last year how many bloggers, both Democrat and Republican-leaning, are getting paid off by the same burghermeisters funding both political machines, taking 'pay-for-play' to a whole new realm of technological communication. Cockburn rightly skewers the inane ramblings of those such as Daily Kos who obsess over trivia and deflect energies from a more holistic analysis of the mess we're in and how both major political parties have put us here.
"In political terms the blogosphere is like white noise, insistent and meaningless, like the wash of Pacific surf I can hear most days. But MoveOn.Org and Daily Kos have been hailed as the emergent form of modern politics, the target of excited articles in the New York Review of Books.
Beyond raising money swiftly handed over to the gratified veterans of the election industry both MoveOn and Daily Kos have had zero political effect, except as a demobilizing force."
Take yesterday's protest, for example, with both daily newspapers, the Times-Standard and The Eureka Reporter posting decent enough photos for both -- no surprise there since both publications have excellent photographers.
Yet check out the articles beneath these images. Is something missing here, such as who the target of this protest was? I certainly doubt these activists were expecting President Bush to suddenly change his mind and forget the whole project of Iraqi occupation. While there was no shortage of invective for a man one protester thought should be "imprisoned for life," every last person I spoke with at this protest expressed their dissatisfaction with Congressman Mike Thompson. Although he's part of a House majority for the first time as he enters his fifth term in office, he continues to refuse to join the Out Of Iraq Caucus, to co-sponsor Rep. Jack Murtha's immediate withdrawal proposal or to pledge a cut-off in funding of the war.
Admittedly the Times-Standard ran a companion piece citing Thompson's statement promising "intense scrutiny" of funding the escalation of troop levels in Iraq promised by the Administration this week. Yet those of us all too familiar with politician-speak know, that's not the same thing as a promise to use the only real power Congress has, the purse strings.
I don't blame Mr. Faulk or Ms. Bender for failing to pick up on the weasel words involved here, as I'm sure any other staffers at either paper would have done a similar job. I'm questioning the institutional bias of playing into the two-party, left-right, Democrats vs. Bush game which gets us no closer to the truth than the day before. Nothing is more demobilizing than being left with the option of praying for an old Blue Dog Democrat to learn new tricks, and in neither paper are local citizens of conscience going to find an institutional analysis of why this is the case.
If there a real change of foreign policy being fought over here, it's not going to happen with the same politicians putting new window dressing over the perpetuation of the same imperial system we've had for as long as I've been alive and for decades prior. Either way, this change won't get the kind of coverage from the local mass media that it deserves. That's why I started the Humboldt Sentinel, and that's why I started this blog today.
Or as Lewis Stevens put it in his Thoughts On Slavery:
America, how lost thy fame!
How stain’d they glory, vile thy name!
Thy crimes are crimes of deepest dye,
Thy proud profession is a lie!
Such villanies can ne’er be blest,
On them our hopes should never rest,
They soon will bring our glory low,
And whelm our land in waves of woe.
If we would be the nations light,
We must regard all human right,
Do right to each do right to all,
Do right although the heavens fall.