Last night, we learned of the tragic death of Michael Hastings, a relentlessly independent journalist whose 2010 reporting in Rolling Stone ended General Stanley McChrystal’s military career.
For some necessary context, this is Rolling Stone ‘s description of that piece:
Hastings’ unvarnished 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House.
The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post. “The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be met by – set by a commanding general,” Obama said, announcing McChrystal’s departure. “It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”
This morning, barely removed from news of Hastings’ death, Michael Calderone, The Huffington Post‘s Senior Media Reporter (and a journalist I generally respect), apparently thought it would be an important journalistic task to ask McChrystal what he thought of Hastings’ death:
Calderone’s move to ask McChrystal for comment so soon after Hastings’ death immediately struck me as mildly inappropriate, given the former general’s connection to Hastings. More than that, however, it struck me as something – a comment from McChrystal – that would have virtually no journalistic value or significance.
The month of March 2002 was a terrible time in both Israel and the West Bank. Some 100 Israelis were killed by Palestinian suicide bombers. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon launched a military operation in the West Bank killing some 500 Palestinians. Children made up a significant number of the victims on both sides. The prospects for an end to violence, let alone peace, appeared lower than at any time previously.
It was against that background that Harvard professor, Samantha Power, now President Obama’s nominee to serve as U.N. ambassador, spoke of the need for U.S. intervention.
Our anti-drone action this morning at the federal courthouse in Sacramento was one of many actions taking place around the country this month, during the April Days of Action Against Drones. Five of us still face federal charges for trespassing onto Beale Air Force Base last October during an anti-drone protest. We were protesting drones based at Beale, Black Hawk surveillance drones, which identify targets for killer drones. Even more, we were challenging our government’s illegal and morally reprehensible policies that include kill lists, targeted assassinations, and remote-control killing.
Our trial was originally scheduled for today, but it’s been postponed. Still, today, April 15, Tax Day, is a good day for a demonstration against drones. The drone program consumes billions of our tax dollars. Our government cuts programs that promote the common good and serve basic human needs, while it pours billions into hi-tech robotic killing machines that destroy human lives and communities halfway around the world. To find out more about my motivation for taking this action, go to “Why I Crossed the Line at Beale.”
“Remember those who are in prison as if you are in prison with them.”Hebrews 13:3
Every Thursday afternoon, for years now, a group of Women in Black and their male allies gather at the freeway overpass in my home town, Nevada City, California. Women in Black is a “world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence.”
On Thursday, April 11, we joined these friends with our “Torture is a Moral Issue” banner and our signs to “Close Guantanamo.” This local action was one of many taking place around the country on the National Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention, sponsored by Witness Against Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
by: Sharon Delgado on April 11th, 2013 | Comments Off
Today, April 11, is the National Day of Action to support the Guantanamo hunger strikers and to call for Guantanamo to be closed. This effort is sponsored by Witness Against Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Find an action near you and/or call President Obama urging him to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo. There are phone numbers below, along with a script for callers to use. Support the hunger strikers and end indefinite imprisonment without trial. Close Guantanamo now.
What you can do:
My last blog ended by comparing our lives to a song, and with the reflection: But if we live with awareness and gratitude, compassion and love, we will face the end of the song with grace, knowing that the composer and performer is not us, but forces vastly larger, more creative, and (almost) infinitely more enduring.
I’ve been asked to expand on this thought. What are these ‘forces’? How are they larger and more creative and enduring?
We can start small. Walking my dog this morning through narrow, hilly neighborhood streets, I heard the brilliant “pyou pyou” of a cardinal standing on a tree limb about twenty feet over my head. The bird was only about seven inches long, probably weighed less than two ounces, with a small pointed beak surrounded by quarter inch of black, a tuft of feathers for a pointed crown, and a shockingly red breast and wings. “How does it do that,” I thought, “this tiny thing making a noise that can be heard for blocks? A call louder than the loudest whistle you ever heard from that friend in high school who could put two fingers in his mouth and bring forth a shriek that made people cover their ears and would stop cabs in the street.”
That was the day of the white chrysanthemums, so magnificent I was almost fearful…And then, then you came to take my soul…
For someone way beyond middle age Amour is, as we used to say, quite a trip. To those unfamiliar with this Oscar winning French film, it chronicles the illness, degeneration and death of an aging French piano teacher, who is cared for by her loving, stoic husband. The acting is superb, the writing spare and focused, the pacing almost in ‘real time’ as the camera lingers on the woman’s first stroke, being bathes by an attendant, the husband’s excruciating attempts to get her to eat some oatmeal. In the end the husband, overwhelmed with grief for his wife’s guttural cries of pain, her loss of even a shred of autonomy or dignity, and perhaps also his own exhaustion, frustration, and anger, takes matters into his own hands.
by: Rick Reinhard on January 17th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Credit: Rick Reinhard
On an alarmingly milder-than-normal January day this year, about 100 religious leaders representing Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Islamic, Native American, Buddhist traditions gathered in the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church before processing in a silent march two blocks to the north side of the White House for a “pray-in for the climate.” They were led by NASA scientist James Hansen, a leading climatologist on global warming who was carrying a small inflated globe, and a group of Buddhist drummers. They had just been commissioned by Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar, a former Congressman and Secretary General of the National Council of Churches.
Rev. Edgar spoke about his own conversion in that very church years ago as he listened to Dr. Martin Luther King just weeks before King was assassinated. Dr. King preached that “history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Edgar said his life changed upon hearing King’s words that day. This month, on the 84th anniversary of Dr. King’s birthday, Rev. Edgar reminded those in the pews that they are the leaders that they have been waiting for.
On Wednesday, January 9, nearly 2,000 people rallied against fracking outside of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, in Albany, New York.
Folks danced, chanted, shouted, drummed, and waved signs. Pete Seeger sang, the Reverend Billy Talen shook and shouted halleluyah, Sandra Steingraber, Debra Winger, and Natalie Merchant spoke. Voices of the thousands rang out loudly for hours.
Activists called (and call) for a permanent ban on fracking in the state of New York.
Geologists, chemists, biologists, and medical doctors argue that fracking is a threat to public health, will produce hazardous air and water pollution, and will endanger the state’s food supply. It contributes negatively to climate change as well, according to Phil Aroneanu, campaign director of 350.org. Of additional concern to many, as reported by Treehugger and the New York Times, among others, is the release of dangerous radiaoactive materials into the ecosystem through the fracking process. As of now, the gas industry has no means or plan to contain such radioactive waste.
Online Vigil Image C/O nlennet.ipage.com
The tragic events Friday in Connecticut bring with them a panoply of emotions; everything from grief to anger to fear to shock. As humans we want to understand and we often think that means dissecting the life of the shooter to either find some shred of humanity and some emotional resonance so that we can relate in some small way or find something defective in his chemical makeup that makes him so far from us that we don’t have to imagine someone like him sitting on our continuum of humanity.
But horrors don’t have a logical origin point; there is no way to make it make sense. The topography of our human landscape is altered by these tectonic rumble. We can repair and heal but we will always remember the rumble.