By Doug Porter
Journalist Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! spoke to an overflow crowd at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on Tuesday evening.
As a progressive journalist, Goodman puts her fame to good use, hosting benefits for independent and public media wherever she goes. The local beneficiary was KNSJ (89.1FM, but it’s easier to hear online.), a local all-volunteer community broadcaster born through the efforts of Activist San San Diego.
Democracy Now!, co-hosted by Juan Gonzalez, is the largest public media collaboration in the U.S, broadcasting on over 1400 Pacifica, NPR, community/college radio stations; on public access/cable networks, and on the internet.
Since 1996 the program has offered access to people and perspectives rarely heard in corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts.
Goodman’s talk was both a series thumbnail histories and an affirmation of the need for independent media. (Activist San Diego should have a video of the entire talk online soon. When available, I’ll post it.) Here are a few quick quotes.
“I really think that those concerned about war and peace…the increasing inequality in this country…racial and economic justice…LGBTQ equality…climate change, the fate of the planet are not a fringe minority, not even a silent majority, are the silenced majority; silenced by the corporate media in this country….”
…When you hear someone speaking from experience, whether it’s a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother…a native elder from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation or an uncle from Afghanistan–where President Trump is now promising to expand this longest war in U.S. history by sending in thousands and thousands of troops…
…But whether it’s any of those voices speaking for themselves, you begin to understand where they’re coming from–I didn’t say agree with them,– why they’re saying what they’re saying, it is much less likely you’ll want to destroy them.
I think that understanding is the beginning of peace.
Amy Goodman’s tour was part of the promotion for the paperback release of the book, Democracy Now! 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America.
Moving on to other news–because there’s so much to say…
Turkish Thugs Run Amok in DC
US officials confirmed to NBC News that a group of thugs, some armed, who beat protesters outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC on Tuesday DC are President Erdogan’s bodyguards.
Nine people were injured and two arrested as the Turkish President visited with President Trump at the White House.
A demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in northwest Washington led to nine people being injured, and two arrested pic.twitter.com/6SQTlQAUaa
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) May 17, 2017
Here’s an eyewitness account via The Daily Beast:
As my car approached Sheridan Circle, a roundabout a block north of the detour, I noticed three or four clumps of people tumbling onto its grass, in small tornadoes of flying fists. Each group consisted of three or four men beating or kicking a single person they had surrounded. I was immediately struck by the fact that their blows were landing, with precision and terrible force. Anyone who’s seen a street fight knows how unusual it is for more than a punch or two to find its mark, but these men were not swinging wildly. This was not a street fight.
An older man in a white, button-down shirt was being beaten and kicked by three younger men in suits, a young woman was being kicked by two men, and another woman was lying on the ground holding her head in pain.
The State Department had no comment. UPDATE: State Dept. statement:
Issa Says He’s Number One
I’ll let the tweets tell the story. The players:
Rachael Bade is a reporter covering Congress for Politico.
Darrell Issa is a Congressman Representing the 49th District.
Erica Werner is a reporter covering Congress for Associated Press
Dave Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post
I just asked @DarrellIssa abt the Comey news and he flicked me off — literally gave me the middle finger — and kept walking. Said nothing
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) May 16, 2017
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) May 16, 2017
@rachaelmbade (cont.) On not answering @rachelmbade’s question, I have nothing against her, there’s just limited time to talk when we’re rushing to vote!
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) May 16, 2017
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) May 17, 2017
Increasingly doubt that he runs again in 2018. https://t.co/4iwQST0HdU
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) May 16, 2017
DC In a Nutshell: Don’t Look Away
I’d love to write about Donald Trump’s latest drama(s), but afraid anything I post will be outdated by the time it gets read…
Suggestions the President may have attempted to obstruct justice by asking then-FBI Director Comey are rocking both the political and financial worlds.
Certain CongressCritters of the Republican persuasion are wrinkling their brows. CBS News asked twenty GOP Reps for an appearance on this morning’s news broadcasts; all declined.
Fox News has gone into serious meltdown mode. Oh, and their ratings are going into the toilet, too, now trailing CNN and (#1) MSNBC in primetime news in the wake of Comey’s firing.
But don’t get your hopes up too high. Here’s Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:
The wiggle room in proving obstruction of justice could end up meaning that, even if we come a lot closer to establishing that Trump did interfere in the manner reports have indicated, we could still genuinely fall short of proving his clear intent. More cynically, even if that standard is reasonably cleared, Republicans could take refuge in this murkiness and then buttress this position by arguing that we should not re-litigate the election simply due to Democratic sour grapes.
Remember, Trump has been assaulting our democracy on multiple fronts since the beginning, and Republicans have mostly looked the other way. There is an unfortunate tendency to cover these various stories as separate from one another, but Trump has abused his power in multiple ways that, ultimately, all trace back to the same autocratic impulse. In addition to the Russia affair, there’s also the unprecedented, middle-finger-brandishing lack of transparency around his tax returns, even as he backs tax reform that would deliver his family a massive windfall; the laughably substandard ethics arrangement for his businesses and the perpetuation of likely emoluments clause violations; and the continued use of diplomatic business to promote Mar-a-Lago and steer cash into his pockets.
All of these — taken along with the alleged interference in ongoing probes — add up to a level of autocratic, above-the-law contempt for our democracy that is larger than the sum of its parts. And Republicans have effectively shrugged off most of it for as long as possible. So it’s plausible that even if obstruction of justice were reasonably well established, they’d find a way to evade taking it to its logical conclusion.
So don’t forget– Persistence in Resistance Matters. Keep those calls and letters coming.
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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