September 3, 2015

A few things DC taught me about ethnicity

Sam Smith - One of the advantages – and pleasures – of having lived most of my life in Washington DC is that you experienced, absorbed, enjoyed and comprehended the great complexities of ethnicity. As I listen to the current national debate on the matter – led by the neo-segregationists on one side and liberals taking selfies of their virtue on the other, I find myself wishing I was back in DC dealing with such matters in terms of specific people, communities and issues rather than as endless conflicting grand abstractions.

As I wrote in The Great American Political Repair Manual 18 years ago:

It is hard to imagine a non-discriminatory, unprejudiced society in which race and sex matter much. Yet in our efforts to reach that goal, our society and its institutions constantly send the conflicting message that they are extremely important.

For example, our laws against discriminatory practices inevitably heighten general consciousness of race and sex. The media, drawn inexorably to conflict, plays up the issue. And the very groups that have suffered under racial or sexual stereotypes consciously foster countering stereotypes -- "you wouldn't understand, it's a black thing" -- as a form of protection. Thus, we find ourselves in the odd position of attempting to create a society that shuns invidious distinctions while at the same time -- often with fundamentalist or regulatory fervor -- accentuating those distinctions.

In the process we reduce our ethnic problems to a matter of regulation and power, and reduce our ambitions to the achievement of a tolerable stalemate rather than the creation of a truly better society. The positive aspects of diversity remain largely ignored and non-discrimination becomes merely another symbol of virtuous citizenship -- like not double-parking or paying your taxes.

In DC there was no way to talk about ethnicity without someone saying, “Yes, but. . .” I learned that over a half century ago when a black Howard University professor told me about integrating a bowling team. The problem was that now he felt he had to go bowling whether he wanted to or not. What he had really been fighting for, he realized, was the right to be as bad a bowler as everyone else. Seeking equality in unreliability.   

Consider some little known ethnic facts such as that DC, along with Maryland and Louisiana, are among the few locales with significant numbers of black Catholics, the present mayor and her predecessor among them.

A group, DC Black Catholics, gives some of the history:

During the days of slavery in the United States, two slaveholding states, Maryland and Louisiana, both had a large contingent of Catholics… The Society of Jesus owned a large number of slaves who worked on the community's farms. Realizing that their properties were more profitable if rented out to tenant farmers rather than worked by slaves, the Jesuits began selling off their slaves in 1837. In 1839, Pope Gregory XVI issued a Bull, entitled In Supremo. Its main focus was against slave trading, but it also clearly condemned racial slavery: "We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks or other such peoples."

However, the American church continued in deeds, if not in public discourse, to support slaveholding interests. Some American bishops misinterpreted In Supremo as condemning only the slave trade and not slavery itself..  During the Civil War, American bishops continued to allow slave-owners to take communion. Pope Pius IX made no secret of his affinity for the Confederacy, and the American hierarchy was so fearful of local schisms that the bishops were reluctant to speak out on behalf of abolition. African-American Catholics eventually operated largely as segregated enclaves. They also founded separate religious orders for black nuns and priests since diocesan seminaries would not accept them.

Atone church, however, the story was dramatically different:

Saint Augustine Parish traces its heritage to 1858 and the efforts of a group of dedicated emancipated Black Catholics.  Faced with a society that was not yet willing to put off the last vestiges of slavery and a Church that, at best, tolerated the presence of Black people in its congregation, these men and women founded a Catholic school and chapel on 15th Street under the patronage of Blessed Martin de Porres.  In what is perhaps a touch of historical irony, this school was operating four years before mandatory free public education of Black children became law in the Nation’s Capital.

And in 1949 – five years before Brown v. Board of Education Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle integrated the city’s Catholic schools. One of my friends with Irish roots remembers that while he was there, his basketball team could only play Catholic schools or black public schools.

This is just one example of how Washington’s history doesn’t favor ethnic cliches. Another is the fact that the city had a significant number of free blacks going back to the early 19th  century. Their descendants would share a town with those whose ancestors were slaves or who came to the city from the South in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s, working in  SNCC, I became aware of the hostility of some older black residents towards young black activists who were threatening the quid pro quo they had established with the white government and establishment. But if you studied this older subset you also found a remarkable heritage of cultural survival. 

Or consider that in that in the 1960s black and white middle class homeowners came together to begin an ultimately successful fight against a proposed freeways system that would have turned DC into an east coast LA. Or that just a few years after I had sat in a room at SNCC as Stokely Carmichael declared that we whites were no longer welcome in the civil rights movement, I found myself working with others to create a biracial third party that would hold a seat on the city council and/or the school board for a quarter century.

If  such  tales seem a  little odd – even  irrelevant – in today’s environment it’s because our discussions of ethnicity have little room for complexity, or even for interesting accounts of progress. With the help of the corporate media, we prefer to stick to simple issues and grim prognostications.

But it is in true stories and real relationships that we actually find what we have in common with others. Part of the story of places like DC is that blacks and whites – even under segregation – lived close enough physically to learn each other’s real sins and virtues. One small symbol of this was Odessa Madre – the nearest DC ever had to a mob boss, who controlled drugs, prostitution and numbers. Part of her success was that she had grown up near Irish kids some of whom became the city’s cops.

If we want to get along better with others, it would also help if we celebrated the multicultural experience more than we lecture or scold others about it.

.In The Great Political Repair Manual I tried to suggest this

I’m a native Washingtonian and have lived in DC most of my life. DC is two-thirds black. When someone asks me where I live and I tell them, they sometimes look at my fifty-something white face and say, “You mean in the city?” What they mean is: with all those blacks?

I don’t live in DC out of any moral imperative. I’m not doing anybody except myself a favor. I live here because I enjoy it. Beside, I’d rather be in the minority in DC than in the majority in a lot of places. Here are a few reasons why:

I’ve found black Washingtonians exceptionally friendly, decent, hospitable, and morally rooted. They’re nice folks to be around.

Black Washingtonians will talk to strangers without knowing “who are you with?” White Washingtonians, especially in the political city, are often far more formal and distant. – and more likely to treat you based on your utility to themselves.

Black Washingtonians understand loss, pain, suffering and disappointment. They have helped me become better at handling these things.

Black Washingtonians value humor; many white Washingtonians try (as Russell Baker once noted) to be somber under the illusion that it makes them serious. I like to laugh.

Black Washingtonians value achievement as well as power. Teachers, artists, writers and poets are respected in the black community. As a writer, I like that.

Living in close proximity with another culture provides a useful gauge by which to judge one’s own.

The imagery, rhythm and style of black speech appeals to me far more than the jargon-ridden circumlocution of the white city.

Many black Washingtonians are actively concerned about social and political change; much of white Washington is seeking to maintain the status quo.

White Washington always seems to want me to conform to it; black Washington has always accepted me for who I am.

This is not the way we have been taught to think about cross-cultural relations. But until we view them as an asset to be fostered rather than as an endless problem to be mitigated and regulated, we will continue to define them by their failures rather than their successes.

And we’ll miss out on a lot of fun 

September 2, 2015

German editor admits planting stories for the CIA

Ralph Lopez, Digital Jouranl -  Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a "propagandist," an editor of a major German daily has claimed that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's largest newspapers, said in an interview that he ... accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said he gathered the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

Among the stories Ulfkotte says he was ordered to plant in his newspaper over the years was a story that Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi was building poison gas factories in 2011. Ulfkotte also claims he was an eyewitness to Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas against Iranians in the war between Iran and Iraq, but that the editors he worked for at the time were not interested, because Iraq was a US ally at the time.

It should be noted his allegations have not been corroborated by a third party.

Ulfkotte says he is better positioned to come forward than many journalists because he does not have children who could be threatened. Ulfkotte told the Russian newspaper Russian Insider (RI):

""When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Ulfkotte's nwspaper) that I would publish [my] book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of. And you must know I was severely injured during the gas attack I witnessed in Iran in 1988. I'm the sole German survivor from a German poison gas attack. I’m still suffering from this. I’ve had three heart attacks. I don’t expect to live for more than a few years.""
Ulfkotte says that remorse of having "lied" to mass audiences over the years drove him to come forward. He told RI that he was: ""taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public."

Ulfkotte says: "I'm ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this."

Word: The Iran deal

Lawrence Wilkerson, US News - Rejection means the U.S. is alone. No one else, not even Britain, will follow us. We will be acting entirely unilaterally, without friends or allies (with the exception of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu). And those who claim that we can simply return to sanctions are hopelessly blind to reality. No one will be with us – absolutely no one. The sanctions will be unilateral and even more feckless than they were before diplomacy achieved comprehensive participation in them. We will be the isolated state.

In our splendid isolation, if we still find Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon "unacceptable," as we have declared, then we have two remaining courses of action available: bombing or invasion. Either of these moves will also be carried out alone because no one will follow us except Israel.

Lawrence Wilkerson was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen - I have studied this agreement, attended hearings and briefings, and reviewed classified assessments on our ability to verify Iran’s compliance. This agreement slashes Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, bans weapons grade uranium enrichment and puts in place a rigorous and intrusive inspections regime. The agreement reduces Iran’s number of centrifuges by more than two-thirds for a decade and maintains inspectors’ access to Iran’s uranium mines and mills for a quarter century. Nuclear experts are confident that we will be able to detect violations by Iran and, importantly, the US can respond unilaterally to a violation by snapping back sanctions.

This is the best available option we have for preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Rejecting this agreement would leave us with no credible non-military options for stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

South Dakota decides to make its students dumber

The South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do not require high schools to teach U.S. history beginning next year.

Research pays off

Improbable Research - Congratulations to Kees Moeliker, “the duck guy”, who on December 1 will become director of the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam, where he is currently curator. Kees was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize for biology, for documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck.

Global dumbing: The politics of entropy

From our overstocked archives

Sam Smith

Global dumbing, according to the thesis I have been considering lately, involves the virtually imperceptible but steady deterioration of the aggregate human mind -- as well as of its institutions -- much as the temperature of the earth is apparently rising at a rate so minuscule that scientists will be still be debating its escalation even as the waters of the Atlantic Ocean lap at the potted plants in the lobby of the Trump Plaza.

In fact, global warming and global dumbing are intimately connected. Without the latter, something actually might be done before that portion of Washington below the fall line of the Potomac is totally submerged. And like global warming, global dumbing concerns itself with losses incurred by energy transfers and nature's ceaseless quest for the random equilibrium of chaos. It is, in short, the entropy of the human spirit and of the systems it has created.
In physics, entropy is a measure of unavailable energy. In the natural world, entropy is reflected in the pollution from your car and the radioactive tailings from Seabrook. If the world were perfect, energy would do just what it was supposed to do and not go wandering off like some groupie of that cosmic band, The Second Law of Thermodynamics. As it is, much of it is wasted and thus when you bake something, your kitchen as well as your oven gets warm. Such phenomena led the German physicist Ruldolf Clausius to propose in 1865 that we were losing energy everywhere and that we call this sorry state of affairs entropy. It's been downhill ever since.

Allow entropy to go on long enough and you could theoretically have all energy transferred from where it is to a great hyper-heated toxic dump in the sky, with the result that the whole universe would just burn up. Fortunately, there is still debate about this.

Entropy causes enough problems as it is, such as the tendency in nature for things to move towards an equilibrium of disorder and towards a simple, inert state. Thus while we can easily burn wood in our fireplaces, no one has figured out how to take the ashes and turn them into a tree limb again, let alone recreate a whole rain forest. Information theorists say entropy goes on in communications as well. The repeated transfer of information results not in knowledge, they argue, but noise and static as the information degrades in its repetition, much as a fifth generation photocopy of a fax becomes unreadable.

Cultures lose energy, too. Which is why the Egyptians don't build pyramids any more, and why Guatemalans have to import digital watches rather than just checking their Mayan calendars. The creation of a great civilization or a great world power wastes a enormous amount of energy. As Barry Commoner put it, in nature there is no free lunch.


Links: Black

Black news
Film and facts: The Selma controversy Making cities black & poor
Mississippi Summer 1964
!965 Mississippi civil rights hearings
Integration of Glen Echo amusement park
How affirmative action debate could have gone better
Marion Barry, Ronald Reagan and the rise and fall of black power
How to get along with other Americans
How minorities change America
Color of Change Ferguson action NAACP
Urban League
Other groups
Black Agenda Report
Black Press USA
Bruce Dixon
Glenn Ford
Margaret Kimberly
Make It Plain
New America Media
Mark Thompson
Your Black World


If history shows that a violent response to an act of terrorism begets more terrorism, then why is a violent response the predominant choice of the experts and politicians of the world? - Beau Grosscup

September 1, 2015

The People's Party: Iran

55% support the Iran deal

Earlier polls put support at 59 and 68 percent

Scott Walker cheated his own security guards out of overtime pay

WKOW, Madison - A 27 News investigation has found the U.S. Department of Labor  is requiring the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to award retroactive overtime pay dating back to May 19, 2013 to nine Wisconsin State Patrol officers who serve as bodyguards for Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) and other state dignitaries.

Those officers comprise the state's Dignitary Protection Unit, which provides security for Gov. Walker 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That includes his protection on the presidential campaign trail. Since the State Patrol is a division of WISDOT, the officers are paid out of that agency's budget.

The cost for Gov. Walker's security detail jumped from $1.6 million in 2011 to $2.4 million in 2014. The out-of-state portion of that 2014 tab was $89,454, a number which is expected to jump up exponentially in 2015 with his run for the GOP presidential nomination.

13,000 become homeless in LA every month

Popular Resistance

How many illegal immigrants would Scott Walker's 4000 mile Canadian wall stop?

About 822 a year

Clinton even having problems in the Hamptons

Page Six - Hillary was fĂȘted by a high-fashion crowd at Tory Burch’s majestic Hamptons mansion on Sunday — but well-heeled guests got drenched by the designer’s sprinkler system as the presidential candidate stood up to speak.

Guests at Burch’s palatial, $38 million “Gatsby”-era estate, which sits on 15.4 lush acres in Southampton, included Anna Wintour, Martha Stewart, Donna Karan, Barneys owner Richard Perry and his designer wife, Lisa. But as Hillary, who was on a covered terrace, started to speak to 200 guests who fanned out into the garden, Burch’s sprinkler system suddenly went on, soaking some of the well-attired attendees.

One told us, “It was really very funny. Tory’s home is gorgeous … Everything was perfect. There were so many impeccably turned-out fashion people there. Anna Wintour looked like she could have been cut out of her own magazine: beautiful summer dress, not a hair out of place.”

The source continued, “Anna introduced Hillary, a wonderful introduction, moving enough to make a grown man cry. Then, all of a sudden the sprinkler system went off, and those who were on the lawn got soaked. You could hear some people screaming.” The source joked, “These perfect Hamptons people can withstand 100 percent humidity, but a really good sprinkler system did the trick to ruin their hair.”

Clinton reacted quickly by telling guests to crowd forward into the covered patio area, which had just been cleared by her security, as Burch’s staff scrambled to turn off the cascading water.

Entropy update: The new journalism

Justin Ellis, Neiman Lab - It’s that time of year: Journalism students are returning to campus, charting their courses for the next semester, and professors are fine-tuning their syllabi. Turmoil in the news business means that many professors are also reckoning with how to adapt their teaching approaches in an era of data visualization, apps, and distributed content.

One department at The New School, however, doesn’t have to worry about history too much: Its Journalism + Design program launched in 2014. “We got to say, ‘What does it mean to do journalism in 2014 and moving forward?’ That’s our baseline,” said Heather Chaplin, director of the now one-year-old program.

The new undergraduate degree program was created with the help of a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Applying its startup funding approach to education, Knight’s aim was to encourage the New School to develop a new kind of journalism curriculum framed around the concept of design thinking....

Chaplin said the goal is to use design thinking to prepare students for the future. “I’m not so much interested in specific skills as dispositions,” she told me. “Are we helping people be able to learn really fast, so when things do change they can move with it without completely freaking out?”

Heather Chaplin - The idea that journalism is a set of values, and has a specific role to play in a free society: What if we took those traditional practices and mapped on top of them some design practices and design principles to help people be more imaginative, more nimble, better problem solvers? We could do the kind of journalism that might actually have a chance to flourish.

...Design can be thought of in a couple different ways for journalistic purposes. When people talk about design, they often talk about visuals, and visuals are obviously important. But we’re really talking about design beyond the visual.

You can think about design as audience engagement. Designers always start by asking who they are designing for and why. So when we think about audience engagement and wanting to know our audience, design as a discipline can really help us. I also think about design as new product development: Nobody knows how people will consume news as we move forward. What might it look like, and what are the newspapers of the future? Design processes can help us come up with that.

...It’s a bottoms-up approach to journalism: You’re out in the community that you’re serving, saying, “Hey, what do you need to know about, what are your information needs, and what’s going on in your world that we can help you understand better?” It’s not people sitting in a newsroom saying, “These are the things people need to know.”

... Last semester, we had Andrew Losowsky, who’s now leading the Coral Project, teach something called “stealth journalism” — how journalism could exist in unexpected physical spaces. All semester, the students designed journalism to be in the Union Square subway stop.

Pope allows forgiveness for abortion

Daily Beast - Pope Francis announced Tuesday that priests are allowed to absolve the sin of abortion if women “with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it” during the Holy Year of Mercy, beginning Dec. 8. “I am well aware of the pressure that has led [women] to this decision,” the pope wrote. “I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal.” Abortion is considered a grave sin by the Catholic Church, and the consequence is usually excommunication. Only senior church officials were previously allowed to provide absolution.

January 2021 cover of the Washingtonian Magazine


College pot smoking highest in 35 years

Guardian -The number of US college students smoking marijuana every day or nearly every day is greater than it has been in 35 years, a study shows. Nearly 6% of college students reported using pot daily or near-daily in 2014, up from 3.5% in 2007 but less than the 7.2% recorded in 1980, the University of Michigan’s monitoring the future study found. Ohio voters to decide on marijuana legalization in November election. Less frequent pot smoking was also on the rise, although not as sharply.

776 people killed by police this year so far


Links: Arts

Arts news
Music news
How to keep people going to museums
What's a humanities?
Five years of failure
Arts & Letters Daily
Arts Journal
Art News in Brief


We are mad, not only individuals but nations also. We restrain manslaughter and individual murders; but what of war and the so-called glory of killing whole peoples? . . . Deeds of cruelty are done every day by command of the Senate and popular assembly, and servants of the state are ordered to do what is forbidden to the private citizen. The same deeds which would be punished by death if committed in secret are applauded when done openly by soldiers in uniform. -- Seneca, Letters 95, c. 63 AD

The media and Iraq

From our overstocked archives

Sam Smith, 2002  - As we moved this year towards a broader war against Iraq - remember, the last one never ended - one thing became clear: there was a definite need for a regime change. . . in the American media.

Through a combination of ignorance, negligence, and complicity this media has, for more than a decade, badly misled its audience through mindless quotation of official sources, major omissions, chronic incuriosity, and masochistic submissiveness. In the war's earlier period, the major media wouldn't even join the alternative press in a lawsuit to demand the sort of access that would have made honest war coverage possible.

A prime example of the problem is the fact that the U.S. and its allies have, over the past decade, killed more innocent Iraqi citizens than has the Butcher of Baghdad. Not just by our continuing and largely unreported bombing, but through the economic, social, environmental, and health costs of our sanctions - as much an act of war as an invasion. It matters not to the dead whether you shoot, bomb, or starve them.

Approximately 5,000 children under five have been dying each month as a direct consequence of our embargo. In one of the rare media references to this, Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes in May 1996 asked Madeleine Albright, "We have heard that a half-million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And - and you know - is the price worth it?" Madeleine Albright's stunning reply was: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it." This was the same woman who lectured us on the evils of Slobodan Milosevic.

And this year, even as we moved towards a new invasion, the media remained quiet. An archive check of the Washington Post for 2002, for example, finds only two references to the deaths of children in Iraq, neither by a Post reporter.

Religion writer Karen Armstrong noted, "Muslim extremists are opposed not to American freedom but to the foreign policy of the United States, which, rightly or wrongly, they have experienced as invasive and aggressive. They cite American support for despotic rulers, and Americans' apparent indifference to the plight of Muslims in Palestine or in Iraq, where thousands of children have died as a result of U.S.-led sanctions."

And in June, Paul William Roberts wrote the truth, but in a book review, one of the least read parts of the paper:

Imagine that England went to war with Russia over a long list of grievances, including Russian military assistance to the Irish Republican Army, and that the war lasted a decade before ending inconclusively, with millions dead and the economies of both nations in tatters. Then imagine that England invaded Ireland, the United States went to bat for the Irish and, when British forces refused to withdraw, launched air attacks that reduced London to rubble and the rest of the country to the pre-industrial era. Imagine next that, through the United Nations, Washington insisted that the British surrender all weapons of mass destruction and sent in teams of inspectors to every military base in the country. Unsurprisingly, these weapons inspectors would meet with little cooperation. So imagine finally that the Americans urged the UN to impose such severe trade sanctions on England that they effectively terminated the entire British economy for the next 10 years, causing widespread malnutrition, disease and the death of some 500,000 children under the age of 5.

Oh, and while all of this is happening, the rest of the world, if it thought about England at all, did not seem to notice that any great injustice had occurred.

If you can imagine this far-fetched scenario, you may be able to grasp something of the tragedy that is modern Iraq. With a few notable exceptions, the media have acted for more than a decade, and continue to act, as little more than propagandists and apologists for the largely Western-held — and U.S.-led — position that Iraq merely got what was coming to it and that Saddam Hussein is really to blame.

America has a sordid and criminal history of using its military power to excess and then declaring its actions to be blessed. And the media has long played a dirty and disreputable role in this rotten business.

Quite accidentally, your editor stumbled across a manifestation of this phenomenon a few years back. I had spoken at the first anti-war rally in DC during the Yugoslavia war. It was, I thought, a pretty good speech and was pleased the next day to turn on C-SPAN as it was re-broadcasting the rally - right at the point that a folksinger said that she was "just the warm-up act for Sam Smith." I naturally stopped my weekend chores to have a listen. But I never appeared. My speech had been cut in its entirety, the only one to be so excised. I went back to find what I might have said that so offended C-SPAN's sense of suitable Beltway discourse that they chopped me out. I have a pretty strong suspicion it was this:

By the count of author Bill Blum, since 1945 we have bombed China, Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia. . . At what point does the constant reiteration of failed and fatal policy become a war crime and reckless incompetence become grotesque cruelty and tactics of death become — to use a term used casually these days — genocide? ~ The Holocaust resulted in some six million deaths. Now here are some other figures: There were nearly two million killed during the Vietnam war, most by air attacks that dropped twice as many bombs as we did in all of World War II — nearly one 500-pound bomb per person. One million civilians were killed by our strategic bombing in Japan even before we got to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than two million civilians were killed in our bombing runs over North Korea. And one million Iraqi have died as a result of our sanctions.

Add these up and you come to the same figure as the Holocaust. . . Trace the American role in this extraordinary violence to its source and you come not upon political extremes, but to the heart of this country's establishment.

And now we're at it again, and once again the major media doesn't say a mumblin' word.

I ended my speech with words with something that seems just as applicable now:

At the end of the Second World War, Albert Camus had a character write a letter to a German friend in which he said, “This is what separated us from you; we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation and we dreamed of giving ours her truth.”

That is our business today, and every day, until those who lead us make it theirs as well — and no longer hide behind barricades celebrating mindless power, deadly weapons, and corrupt intentions. Until they turn instead to their proper business which is to join us in giving all the lands of this fragile earth their truth