By Al Giordano
I've just posted a news story over on the Narco News side of these pages:
Because this story mirrors a struggle going on throughout the United States as a new wave of change-agents confront the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, I've also cross-posted it to Daily Kos.
Spread the good word, Field Hands.
By Al Giordano
Obama is now on stage in Berlin at 1:23 p.m. ET, with roadblocked cable TV coverage and livestreaming at CNN.com.
Here's how it began:
I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.
That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life...
Add your comments and reactions here.
Update 1:30 p.m. ET: The message is pitched not at Berliners but, after praising the toppling of the Berlin Wall, at "People of the world: Look at Berlin!"
More at 1:36 p.m. ET:
The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.
So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other...
Money Quote: "In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past."
Post-Speech, 1:50 p.m. ET: Most of the paragraphs of the speech began with the words "This is the moment," a line he's used before, and also "this is our moment." Fox News commentators are having difficulty trying to criticize the speech.
I must offer a critique of the moral equivalency Obama drew between terrorists and poppy growing farmers in Afghanistan (for whom he used the drug-warrior language of "traffickers putting heroin on our streets") but on the other hand I thought the words overall were far more progressive, and shining light upon injustices throughout the world, than anything a US president has said abroad in recent decades. And as the Fox News commentators' stuttering response indicates, he didn't give an inch to those who wanted to portray giving a speech abroad as somehow un-American. That was the major risk of holding the speech there in Berlin, now a risk averted.
By Al Giordano
Jed has outdone himself with his new viral video (complete with soundtrack by Beethoven), which after half a day has been watched by more than 100,000 viewers:
My newest video features John McCain talking about the Iraq war from 2002 through the present, exposing -- in his own words -- the lie behind his claim that he was the war's "greatest critic." It demonstrates his chilling commitment to fighting this war no matter what the people of America -- or Iraq -- want.
Here's something to watch while waiting for the internationally-televised Obama speech in Berlin, to start in about an hour (and which we'll be liveblogging here):
Add your Digg the 5,828 who have "Dugg it" already.
By Al Giordano
I'm still formulating what I hope will be a meaningful wrap-up of a wonderful and productive long weekend at the Netroots Nation convention in Austin (which, in part, was a test-drive for our upcoming attendance at and reporting from the Democratic National Convention in Denver, a month from now). One of the successes in Austin was in our hosting the best convention-eve party there: we met a gigantic posse of friends, Field Hands, readers and colleagues to help us navigate the rest of the week.
Our party in Austin was free (well, for everyone else: we sprung for the food) and the trip overall cost us more dough. The expenses for the Denver coverage have already been met through so many of your donations last month, but we've also got to keep the labor, the hardware and the software of this project going: The Fund for Authentic Journalism, which supports our work, relies on your contributions.
And so with the help of some Colorado Field Hands - including Keith Howard, who has lent us his beautiful home on Sunday, August 24 - our garden party in Denver will also be a fundraising event.
And so, The Field and Narco News cordially invite you to:
A Sunday Afternoon Reception in Denver
Sunday, August 24 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
At the home of Keith Howard
4303 Umatilla Street
(Seven minutes from downtown Denver)
A reception to benefit:
The Fund for Authentic Journalism
Minimum contribution: $50
Sponsors: $100, $250, $500, $1,000
Space limited. Make your reservation today by clicking this link.
Even if you can't be in Denver, we'd love to include your name among the sponsors.
And please consider making a $50 contribution (or a donation of any size) from afar even if you can't be there in person. In addition to the importance of your support to the work, we'd like to be able to announce impressive results to kick off that historic week in Colorado.
Press and other inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special guests and entertainment to be announced.
By Al Giordano
Salon.com writer Glenn Greenwald (whose got-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed correspondence with The Field got him featured here a couple of weeks ago) has written a post that I agree with. He says that the Democratic National Convention Committee isn't helping its candidates by selling ad space to telecom corporations on the convention swag bags to be doled out to delegates in Denver next month:
What's most striking about the Convention bag -- aside, of course, from its stunning design -- is how the parties no longer bother even trying to hide who it is who funds and sponsors them.
That's right, Glenn. Go get ‘em. Accepting paid advertising from big telecom companies is very damaging to anyone's credibility and reputation. It's a wonderful thing to have champions that eschew such conflicts as they make the people's case. They've taught us that absolute purity is very, very important in all political discourse.
Now, I'd like to read more from Glenn over at Salon.com, a place where I surely won't be assaulted by ads and logos from big telecom companies - like Verizon - to be able do so...
Oops. Never mind.
By Al Giordano
Bio: Tom Bevan is co-founder & Executive Editor of RealClearPolitics. In addition to writing features and a popular blog for RealClearPolitics, Tom spent two years as an opinion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. His work has also appeared in The New York Sun and The Arizona Republic, and he has been featured as a political analyst on a number of national radio and television shows including FNC's Hannity & Colmes, CNBC's Kudlow & Company, the BBC's Worldview, and C-Span's Washington Journal, among others.
In fact, Bevan lists zero foreign reporting or policy experience (unless having been on Hannity and Colmes counts as space travel of some sort). Bevan, in reality, is an advertising agency account executive by training and a right-wing political activist that woke up one day and decided he wanted to be a journalist.
That's all well and good. Blogging has opened up commentary to the amateurs and democratized the news in the process. The Field links to RealClearPolitics ("RCP"), among the blogs on our sidebar (we clearly don't agree with all of them all the time), from this site and I check it frequently because it links to so many other sources of information on the subject of US politics, right, left, center and other.
But when it comes to the foreign policy stories it includes, RCP's bent is not merely slightly right-wing, but almost exclusively so and, worse, through a Cold War nostalgic lens. That the blog (and its bloggers) were gobbled up at some point by Time magazine also puts it more into the category of commercial media than that of independent blogs. And yet its right-wing activist bent continues to shine through.
In 2003, Bevan's RCP co-founder, John McIntyre, told the conservative magazine Human Events of their agenda:
"We have a frustration that all conservatives have, which is the bias in the media against conservatives, religious conservatives, Christian conservatives."
So now we can understand how, in its daily link-a-thon to articles about US politics, RealClearPolitics sprinkles that with frequent right-wing spin links regarding foreign policy (that's especially true of stories about Latin America).
There's an evident dose of projection in Bevan's latest blog entry about Senator Obama and what Bevan calls his "arrogance" on foreign policy.
The entire post of 819 words is based upon only two sourced claims, and lightweight ones at that:
One, what an advisor to Obama reportedly told some people, according to conservative National Review pundit Jim Geraghty.
Two, a March 2008 blog post by Mark Andreessen recalling an alleged 2007 conversation with Obama (one that he says gave him a very positive impression convinced him to vote for him; Bevan twists it to fit his own spin).
Based entirely on these two pieces of hearsay, Bevan concludes:
Humility is a virtue not always consistent with running for President. It is one thing to be confident in one's abilities, and another thing to be overbearing to the point of arrogance.
To try to demonstrate such "overbearing... arrogance" on the part of Obama, Bevan offers only - let me recap in case you missed the entirety of his argument - what a supporter said about the senator, and a paraphrasing (not even a direct quote) of what another supporter says Obama said to him in early 2007. It's like a friggin' game of telephone. And, clearly, the senator's arrogance is so overbearing that... you need a damn microscope to see it.
I found this funny because in a previous column earlier this year, Bevan explained his own vast personal experience (cough) that makes him, in his mind, an expert on Latin American politics and on Venezuela in particular (a topic upon which Bevan and his website are one-sidedly and constantly on the "demonize Hugo Chavez" end of the spectrum):
I remember this period fairly well, because at the time I lived in Miami and worked with a young woman from a well to do family from Venezuela. Her parents, along with the rest of the business class in Venezuela, were petrified by Chavez...
Got that? Bevan is an expert on the subject of Venezuelan politics because he once worked with a young Venezuelan oligarch in Miami, and based on her family's "petrified" response to Chavez, Bevan absolutely knows what is happening in that area of the world.
And now Bevan is an expert on Obama's alleged arrogance (a key talking point suggested by GOP strategist Karl Rove's country club portrayal some weeks back) because, well, Bevan himself is a walking poster boy for a certain overbearing arrogance rooted in a complete lack of experience in the subject matter upon which he deems to write.
Pot, Kettle, Bevan.