Friday, October 20, 2006

Truth in Fact and Tone

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens "Unlawful Enemy Combatants" and ship them somewhere — anywhere — but may now, if he so decides, declare you an "Unlawful Enemy Combatant" and ship you somewhere - anywhere....

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?...

"One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks," you told us yesterday, "said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America."

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas Corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The Moral Force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush… they would be "the beginning of the end of America."

-- Keith Olbermann, October 18, 2006 (via)

Only shrillness can save America.

-- Atrios
We in the reality-based community all love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert not just because they are funny, but because they speak, not truth to power, but merely truth -- at a time when to approach anything that deserves the name requires a "shrillness" of speech that most of the pusillanimous opinions-on-the-shape-of-the-Earth-differ reporters of the so-called liberal media shrink from like vampires from the light. But, of course, as they themselves remind us, neither Stewart nor Colbert are journalists; they're comedians.*

That fact has allowed them to tell a deeper, a bigger, a more important truth that has eluded those who speak truth in the dry tones of "factual" reporting: the truth about the genuine nature of this administration, and the harms it has done, is doing and, unless we manage to stop it, will do to our country. They can do it because comedy has always allowed jesters to speak truths to kings. Because people will listen to a joke who would not listen to an anguished cry.

Because today, it is not facts we are lacking. The facts are all there: the lies, the crimes, the attacks on everything that is good and decent and free about his, our once-noble country. Bush and his henchmen's true uniqueness is not what they have done, but the brazenness with which they have done it. Bush breaks the law and boasts; he guts our freedoms and smiles.

So what to do, when truth is easily found, but is drowned out -- by lies, by gossip, by boredom? What to do, when putting facts down in plain order kills them, and allows us the understanding of dissection but not of a living ecological study? What to do when plain reporting itself becomes a lie, when the only way to tell the truth is to scream it, for anything less is a lie, not in fact, but in tone?

All we can do, then, is scream. And hope we are not drowned out by the wind.

And honor those who scream louder than we can.

How few actual journalists have spoken, not simply words, but in a tone that truthfully conveys the state of our nation? Paul Krugman, of course, has done so for years; but this is the age of digital media, not of dead-tree print; and who listens to Krugman?

Well, Keith Olbermann is speaking truth: truth in his words, truth in his tone. In recent weeks, he has being doing so again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

And he's been doing it on television.

Oh, I wish he would speak more about, say, Iraq; but then, there are so many issues to be shrill about these days. And the full-scale attacks on our civil liberties, and on truth, by this administration is as worthy as any. And Olbermann is telling the truth about them, to his eternal honor and credit.

We should - we must -- honor him for it. While there's still time. Before someone decides that he is an enemy combatant and we no longer can.

And if you think that that last sentence is too shrill go read -- or, better yet, watch and listen to (because it is not so much the words as the voice that is so special) -- all of those links above.

And remember that, if you think that Olbermann's safe, it is no longer because there is a law protecting him. It is simply because you -- yes, you -- are trusting George Bush's honor and honesty and respect for the truth.

And then honor Olbermann's words. While we can.

While he is still here.

While we are.

While what is left of our country is.

* I just read that phase on a blog today; but danged if I can remember where. If I can find it I'll link; otherwise, apologies....

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