These have been the words attached to my pinned Tweet on my Twitter feed now for months.
Which is this Tweet, and what people who go look at my timeline on Twitter see first.
That image is courtesy the OccupyDemocrats.com group.
I was inspired to write and post that Tweet by a television show called The Newsroom.
For the rest of the story, please follow me below the fleur-de-kos...
This is HBO's official YouTube channel spot on Season 1 of The Newsroom.
It's NOT the eight minute opening scene to season one which I would prefer to embed, but HBO has forbidden YouTube to allow that bit (which you can see right here on Youtube) to be embedded into other sites anymore. It's their property. But it's critical to my diary. So please, don't watch this one, go watch the actual first eight minutes of the show's premier episode. I'm convinced (two years and counting now) that it is the best eight minutes of television. EVER..
Here is the transcript of that eight minutes.
Laughter from the crowd as we enter the scene already in progress…Will interrupts him here and begins what is, for me, the greatest television soliloquy ever…
The scene begins with overtalk between the two panelists onstage with Will McAvoy and the panel Moderator. Lewis (a conservative panelist) and Sharon (a liberal panelist). They talk back and forth and over each other as Will is sitting silently, looking between them and the crowd.
At this point both of them are sort of drowned out by each other… and the camera fades away from them and onto the face of Will McAvoy as he is thinking and looking out into the audience.
The Moderator then asks a question and opens up with a question from the audience. The very next question from the audience is from Jenny, a college student.
Jenny asks, “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”
Sharon answers, “Diversity and Opportunity.”
Lewis answers, “Freedom and freedom, so let’s keep it that way.”
Will answers, “The New York Jets.”
The Moderator says, pointing at Will, “Uh, I’m gonna hold you to an answer on that. What makes America the greatest country in the world?”
Will replies, “Well, Lewis and Sharon said it. Diversity and opportunity & freedom and freedom.” At this point Will looks into the audience and sees a woman hold up a handwritten note “It’s not” and then another “But it can be”
Moderator, “I'm not letting you go back to the airport without answering the question."
Will looks back at the woman in the audience with the note, but now, she is someone else, dressed in the same clothes. As if he imagined the other woman entirely. Then he says, “Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece. James Madison was a genius. The Declaration of Independence is, for me, the single greatest piece of American writing,” and he pauses momentarily as the Moderator gives him a thoughtful gaze and continues, “you don't look satisfied.”
Moderator, “One’s a set of Laws, the other’s a Declaration of War. I want a human moment from you.”
Will glances back at the audience, and the woman with the notes is back, holding the “It’s not” page up again.
Moderator, “What about the people? Why is America the…” at this point Will interrupts him…
Will, “It’s not the greatest country in the world, professor, that’s my answer.”
The camera pans to the audience, who appear rather shocked to hear this.
Moderator, “You’re saying…”
Moderator, “Let’s talk about…”
Will says, "Fine. Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but he gets to hit you with it any time he wants. It doesn't cost money, it costs votes; it costs airtime, column inches. You know why people don't like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?"That is what inspired me to post that Tweet.
Sharon starts to speak, "Hey!..." but Will just keeps on going.
Will continues, and he directs his attention to Lewis as he says, "And with a straight face, you're gonna tell students that America's so star-spangled awesome, that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom, Japan has freedom, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom. [laughs] So 207 sovereign states in the world, like a hundred and eighty of ‘em have freedom."
Moderator makes an attempt to interject here, "Alright..."
But again, Will ignores him and continues, "And yeah, you, sorority girl. Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there's some things you should know, and one of them is, there's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force, and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only 3 categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined. 25 of whom are allies. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student. But you, nonetheless, are without a doubt a member of the worst, period, generation, period, ever, period. So when you ask, "what makes us the greatest country in the world?" I dunno know what the fuck you're talking about. Yosemite?"
[Pregnant pause - and the most important part of this monologue commences...]
"Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chests.
We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for the last election. And we didn't... we didn't scare so easy.
We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered.
First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore."
He pauses briefly and says to the Moderator, "Enough?"
It's why the issue of the FCC reclassifying Internet Services as a Public Utility is to me a priority issue.
Why I care about so very many issues of the day which our Nation seems to have just written off as undoable, from raising the Minimum Wage to Comprehensive Immigration Reform to Climate Change.
There are so many things which require our attention and time and efforts. But it's damned hard getting anyone in Congress, much less anyone on the streets, to pay attention to most of them.
You know why?
We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered.Right there, he's referring to men like
The men of the television Newsrooms of the mid-20th century. I'm old enough, I remember them. Mostly Walter Cronkite.
Before the Buffoons of the Airwaves began filling our dinner hour with lies and bullshit, like we regularly see from "news" anchors like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and the entire female, blonde, white and apparently ignorant Fox Media cavalcade of Hosts.
We had about four decades of the News broadcasts of America to INFORM us on the events of the day. Those men I listed? They changed America.
Edward R. MurrowMurrow risked his career and perhaps more, to bang his metaphorical fist on the desk and tell America that Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was a danger to us and our Republic.
“This . . . is London.” With those trademark words, crackling over the airwaves from a city in the midst of blitzkrieg, Edward R. Murrow began a journalistic career that has had no equal. From the opening days of World War II through his death in 1965, Murrow had an unparalleled influence on broadcast journalism. His voice was universally recognized, and a generation of radio and television newsmen emulated his style. Murrow’s pioneering television documentaries have more than once been credited with changing history, and to this day his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance in the search for truth..
Broadcast on March 9, 1954, the program, composed almost entirely of McCarthy’s own words and pictures, was a damning portrait of a fanatic. McCarthy demanded a chance to respond, but his rebuttal, in which he referred to Murrow as “the leader of the jackal pack,” only sealed his fate. The combination of the program’s timing and its persuasive power broke the Senator’s hold over the nation.I only know Edward Murrow from history and reading. While I recall Harry Reasoner and Howard K Smith from my youth, the one of these four whom I remember most clearly is Walter Cronkite.
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is named for the former anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” who was often referred to as the most trusted man in America.Biography.com says of Walter Cronkite:
A pioneer broadcast journalist who began his distinguished career as a wire service reporter, Cronkite was a longtime champion of journalism values. The Cronkite School proudly carries on that tradition.
Walter Cronkite was a lifelong news man who became the voice of the truth for America as a nighttime anchorman.When Keith Olbermann became the Voice of liberalism on MSNBC's Cable 'news' during the George W Bush Administration, many saw him as a modern-day Cronkite. Myself included.
Walter Cronkite helped launch the CBS Evening News in 1962 and served as its news anchor until his retirement in 1981. The hallmarks of his style were honesty, impartiality and level-headedness, and “And that's the way it is” was his jaunty nightly sign-off. Identified in public opinion polls as the man Americans most trusted, he provided a voice of reason during the Vietnam and Watergate eras.
But we were wrong. Mr. Olbermann, whom I admire greatly for his courage to speak actual truth to power, was then and is again today, a GREAT sports news guy. It's his passion and it's what he is best at. All of us on the Left who raised him up as the image of what News should look like? We did so because we had been bereft of such an impassioned Voice from the position of "what are the facts" and "what should Americans know about" since the retirement of Walter Cronkite in 1981.
Which I believe did NOT coincide with the rise of the Fundamental religious Right in America by accident. I believe that the inauguration of Ronald Reagan wrought a lot more damage than merely to infuse the Federal Government with four decades of Voodoo Economics in it's bureaucratic employees and the Republicans in office in the US Congress.
It heralded the end of The People having a source of Information which could be trusted, to illuminate the machinations of such actors as Joseph McCarthy when they arise... and make no mistake, we have our very own modern versions of Senator McCarthy at work in America today.
These names are likely familiar to many of you:
US Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
US Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
US Rep Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-FL)
US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
US Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
US Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
US Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
US Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Speaker of the US House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)
These are the ones I can post up just off the top of my head.
While many people would not include John McCain and Lindsey Graham in that crowd, I believe they belong to the list because of their continued and endless calls for War and More War. For support of the Security State which their votes (as both US Reps and then as US Senators) enabled over the past 20-some years.
For their egregious and un-American collusion with the official leadership of the Republican Party as of January 20th, 2009 to make their "number one goal" to ensure that President Barack Obama was a one-term president.
Not to ensure that the nation, gripped in the worst economic collapse since October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday), would recover and begin to create jobs for the millions who suffered as a result of the unregulated secondary stock market derivatives schemes which have as yet NOT been prevented by any Legislation from Congress.
Yes, it could happen again. Because the Republicans, the bug-fuck-nuts Republicans have spent the past six years doing what?
Obstructing. Shutting down the Federal Gov't for 16 days in 2013. Threatening to refuse to Raise the Debt limit (all the while telling The People via the shitty excuse for a Free Press which is all we have left, that such a vote would increase the National Debt, knowing that it was a big, fat LIE), which resulted in the US Credit Rating taking a hit for the very first time.
Refusing to renew Federally paid for Unemployment Extension this past winter - while there were STILL over two people for each and every job created. Leaving over 6 million US families without a source of money to pay rent, mortgages, buy food or other necessities of life. Oh, yeah, and they ALSO cut $40 billion from the SNAP program just before that.
Because they haz a sad over the black guy in the Oval Office.
Because our modern Free Press is exemplified by one Chuck Todd, who was recently given the nod to replace the lackluster and sycophantic David Gregory as the Host of NBC's "Meet the Press", the longest running program on television, beginning in 1947. Here is what Mr. Todd had to say in recent months regarding the Free Press and The People and Truth...
dateline September 18, 2013
MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don't expect members of the media to correct the record.
During a segment on "Morning Joe," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans "have successfully messaged against it" but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that's President Barack Obama's job.
"But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it," Todd told Rendell. "They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, 'Well, it's you folks' fault in the media.' No, it's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it."
Chuck Todd has been in recent years: NBC News Chief White House correspondent and political director (as of March 2007), as well as the host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. He also serves as NBC News' on-air political analyst for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today, Meet the Press, and MSNBC. He will give up his White House Chief Correspondent job when he takes over as Host of "Meet the Press" on Sept. 7, 2014.THIS is the guy who had no problem publicly saying that when it comes to finding out the facts about things that come out of the mouths of politicians, that we should not look to the Press to confirm or decry such utterances. We should look to the politicians themselves for our information.
Can you imagine the Walter Cronkite who brought us the Watergate Hearings live on CBS in the spring and early summer of 1972 saying such a thing?
THIS Walter Cronkite:
Cronkite never stinted on coverage of the Watergate Scandal and subsequent hearings. In 1972, following on the heels of the Washington Post's "Watergate" revelations the CBS Evening News presented a 22 minute, two-part overview of "Watergate" generally credited with keeping the issue alive and making it intelligible to most Americans.America is suffering from a lot in 2014.
White privilege has never been stronger, and it's as though the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s never happened, with nearly two black men (usually unarmed) shot and killed each week by white police officers all across the nation.
The US Congress might as well have been on perpetual vacation since 2009, having passed practically nothing other than the PPACA in 2010 and renaming a boatload of US Post Offices in the intervening years.
The economy is better, but mostly only for those who were not hurt by the Crash of 2008. Real wages are stagnant or falling and there ARE STILL at least two people for every job created.
Global climate issues are increasing in seriousness, disasters directly related to Climate Change and Co2 in the atmosphere and oceans are increasing in number and severity.
Religious fundamentalism is on the rise around the globe, increasing civil unrest in nations from the US to the Middle East and beyond.
When the world is such a terribly difficult place for humans to merely survive anymore, it's an utterly unforgivable refusal of the Free Press to do what our parents and their parents were able to rely on them for, ever since the era of Television News was created: to bring The People the News of the day, in detail where possible, and outline the risks to The People should nothing be done about it.
It's not now, nor was it ever their Job to determine what exactly should be done about any issue in particular. But those "great men" that Will McAvoy speaks of? Some of them did that too, when the need arose.
Murrow warned the nation of the true cost of McCarthyism on his program See it Now:
Murrow said of McCarthy:Walter Cronkite was a supporter of the Vietnam War for quite some time, but he went back again to Vietnam on February 16, 1968 during the Tet Offensive.
His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men ...
We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it—and rather successfully.[cite]
Catherine Tatge documentarian and director of AMERICAN MASTERS “Walter Cronkite: Witness to History" says about Cronkite and the War in Vietnam:The glaring difference between the American television News viewing public of 1964 and 2014 and the consequences of that difference?
He went to Vietnam in 1965 and, like many reporters, was listening to what the military was telling the press and was reporting from that standpoint. And he was also getting reports from Morley Safer, Mike Wallace, Jack Lawrence, and other journalists who were working for CBS. Cronkite, who was very smart and knew a good story, started having some serious questions. During the Tet Offensive, he went back to Vietnam, and that was when he aired his Vietnam reports. He said he felt this was a stalemate situation and that we might want to rethink how we were dealing with Vietnam. It was a big shock to President Johnson, who would eventually say, “If I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost America.”
One thing that surprised me is that his report after Vietnam was actually not his idea. In fact, when he came back he was quite troubled, and Frank Stanton said, “You know, Cronkite, I think you should really tell the audience what it is that you saw in Vietnam.” Cronkite had always been rigorous about maintaining his objectivity and not crossing that line, but he was encouraged to actually express himself. It really was a courageous act.
Let me repeat Will McAvoy.
Those ideas in that Tweet I started this out with?First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.""Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chests.
We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for the last election. And we didn't... we didn't scare so easy.We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered.
They are worthy goals. They are things which ARE possible. But in order for them to happen?
Restore the Middle Class
Raise the Minimum Wage
Save Social Security
Tackle Climate Change
Repair Roads and Bridges
Reduce the Deficit
Unburden our Students
Return to Tax Fairness
The People need to wake the fuck up. They need to be Informed. They need to understand the risks to the nation of inaction. They need to quit being LIED TO by the very people whose JOB it is to inform them.
We need a FREE PRESS in America who do more than put on expensive suits and ties and pick up a microphone.
We need a few good Men and Women who still remember that their primary Raison d'être is not to make a profit for some Corporate behemoth, but to Inform the Electorate - so that our Government of, by and for The People shall not perish from this Earth.
Because without them, look how far we've fallen in a few, short decades.