Flashpoints, for September 1, 2011 - 5:00pm
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Thankyou to the Chief for saying that he could be most useful if NOT arrested... my mind is being blown by the constant framing of the mass numbers of protester arrests down in D.C. as productive... like the more folks in and out of the jail the more effective the whole action is. Thankyou Chief...wake up y'all - your body in the jail is symbolic nonsense easily ignored by those in power. In fact - in jail is where they'd like to put and keep anyone who could be of any real use at all in declawing the institutions.
Do us all a favor - ACTUALLY stand in the way, and whenever possible DO NOT be captured so that you may be around to keep fighting.
The Story of the Hummingbird
Intro: “Today on Flashpoints, WikiLeaks documents show U.S. soldiers shooting kids in the head in Iraq [in an apparent retaliation for having been themselves attacked].
“Also, a series of reports on the growing protests against the 1,700-mile Tar Sands nightmare pipeline coming out of Canada [and into the U.S.]. We’ll speak to protest leaders and scientists. And we’ll speak with Bill McKibben, also a young Nebraska rancher [regarding the Ogallala Aquifer], arrested yesterday [protesting the proposed Keystone XL petrol pipeline, alongside hundreds of protesters arrested in D.C., including Obama faithful wearing Obama pins, perhaps gluttons for pain, experts, scientists, actors from Canada, like Margot Kidder, and the U.S. like Daryl Hannah, and even “a senior email writer on the” 2008 “Obama Campaign's new media team that helped propel him to the presidency,” and many other Obama campaign supporters, as Obama ignores them all].
“Also, several leaders of the indigenous communities of Canada and the U.S. [on the XL Pipeline issue, including Marty Cobenais (Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, Environmental Network anti-pipeline campaigner) and Chief Bill Erasmus (Assembly of First Nations, Regional Chief of Northwest Territories)]. All this and more straight ahead.”
From the Bill McKibben interview: “This has turned into a very interesting thing, by far the largest civil disobedience action in the environmental movement for a generation. I guess today is day 12 and there have been 843 people arrested in front of the White House. We’re gonna go two more days in this phase, so they’ll be two more days of mass arrests before we sort of move some of the civil disobedience actions to Canada and start fanning out around the country to bird-dog the president wherever he’s going. It’s a really interesting fight because the target is really important; this Tar Sands up in Canada is the second largest pool of carbon on Earth. If we tap into it in a serious way, we can’t deal with global warming. In fact, Jim Hansen, our foremost climate scientist said recently if we go into this place in a big way, it’s essentially game over for the climate. That’s why so many people have showed up to put their bodies on the line. [Jim Hansen, himself,] was arrested yesterday.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s spokesperson has said he hasn’t even discussed the pipeline issue with him yet. This shows how much Obama cares about the will of his constituency. Obama doesn’t even need Congress to shoot this nightmare pipeline down and keep his promises for renewable energy development. But we know who Obama really works for. Dennis courageously asked Bill McKibben “who owns him.” I only wish host, Dennis Bernstein, would have mentioned third-parties, opening up the debates, and electoral reform and brought aired more voices from alternative political parties, broadening people’s imaginations. It’s baffling how U.S. voters have restricted their entire world-view to the two-party dictatorship pushing perpetual corporate profiteering over common sense policies reflecting the needs and aspirations of the people. We dearly need to hear more independent and third-party voices on KPFA.
Obama’s pro-nuclear, pro-oil, pro-war, anti-environment, anti-working-class, anti-public education, etcetera, etcetera. And we knew this back in 2008. At what point does the cognitive dissonance amongst our family, friends, and neighbours collapse under the weight of its own lack of logic?
It’s appalling that some at KPFA want to hold up Arbitron ratings to qualify or disqualify KPFA programming instead of working to promote challenging, but valid, relevant, and crucial investigative news programming like “Flashpoints.” It’s not easy to produce investigative news media and less so to win over audiences in an increasingly twitterised mass psychology. Now, if we can only get KPFA programmes like “Letters and Politics” and “Against the Grain” to utilise their intellectual analyses to make the connections between their penchants for historicity in their world-view to the immediacy of activism, every day grass-roots human civic engagement, on the streets today.
Great show, Dennis and company. (And wonderful Django Reinhardt-style music, wonderful levity without frivolity.) We rely on Flashpoints broadcasts to bring the true stories affecting our day-to-day lives, even if too many of our friends, family, and neighbours prefer endless entertainment over informing themselves and taking action to struggle for justice. As Wangari Maathai has said, we do the best we can even as our neighbours look on passively, like the hummingbird fighting the forest fire, as the elephant with his big trunk looks on bemusedly.
(I’m reminded of the “LOCKOUT! KPFA Under Siege” videotape I received as a thank-you gift during a fund-drive, wherein CS Soong casually walks into the frame, looking down on a handcuffed Dennis Bernstein sitting on the floor of the KPFA studio, holding it down for the people, refusing to give in to the intimidating armed thugs. I was surprised to see so little camaraderie coming from CS Soong, as he was then a Flashpoints co-producer. Soong didn’t even bend down or hunker down to confer with his colleague. I expected Soong, with his legal training, to be up in arms and vigorously moving to help his comrade and colleague, but nope. And I digress.)
“The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out. And they are transfixed, as they watch the forest burning. And they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire.’ So, it flies to the nearest stream, takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire. And runs up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger animals, like the elephant with a big trunk, could bring much more water, they are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the animal, ‘what do you think you can do? You’re too little, this fire’s too big! Your wings are too little! And your beak so small! You can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’ But, as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them, without wasting any time, and tells them, ‘I am doing the best I can.’ And that, to me, is what all of us should do. We should always be like the hummingbird.” –Wangari Maathai (quoted in “Dirt! The Movie,” 2009)
We don’t despair; we persevere with courage, love, righteous indignation, and strongheartedness.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.”
- Frederick Douglass
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass
I am sick of Raed Jarrar. The man's a Barack Obama addict and an idiot. I want Iraq coverage but I'm not going to listen to Raed Jarrar and his dumb self. He's disgusting with his worship of Obama. Hey, Raed, write again about how the Iraq war ends in 2011 because of the SoFA!! Yeah, he's about as informed as Cokie Roberts and about as accurate as her. Bring on Dahr Jamail or someone who knows what they're talking about.
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